Thursday, 27 February 2014

Review: MUA Clear Mascara

It was only while googling "Clear Mascara" for the purpose of this review that I came across a vast array of uses for clear mascara that I'd never even thought of! For me, clear mascara has always just served the purpose of keeping my brows in place after I'd filled them in using either a pencil or a brow shadow. And that's exactly why I bought this one in particular.

This product is as un-fancy as it could possibly get. The packaging is straightforward, but nevertheless sturdy and serves its purpose well. It doesn't even have an obnoxiously long name - as a matter of fact, it's just called "Mascara". Even the wand is probably the most standard, average mascara wand you could think of.
But for grooming and keeping my brows in place it was pretty much spot on. The brush held on to each brow hair and sorted out any strays, while giving the faintest hint of glossiness to the brows.

It won't make your brows go hard and crispy, but in return I found that it didn't last that long and after a few hours my brows could be all over the place again. If you hate brow products that are a bit too solid and glue-like, this will be perfect for you, but I for one would have happily sacrificed a bit of stickiness for slightly stronger hold - but that's just personal preference.
All in all, considering the price point, this is almost unbeatable. It's £1 (yes, ONE pound) for a solid, reliable brow product (or flyaway tamer or lash glosser or pigment base etc etc). Just bear in mind that if you do use it for taming your brows like I did, the clear packaging won't look as nice as when you first got it for long....

The MUA Mascara in shade 1 seems to have disappeared both from Superdrug's as well as MUA's own website, but I know for a fact that I've seen it in shops not too long ago. Meanwhile, if you fancy any other shades of MUA's aptly named "Mascara" mascara, you can find all other colours here.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Review: Percy & Reed Finishing Polish

I think it's been about a year and a half since I got a tube of this with a copy of Glamour magazine and it's verging on scandalous that I've only sat down now to dedicate an entire blog post to a product I could barely imagine living without.

Put quite simply, this is one of the best hair products I've ever come across. My hair is thick, dry and wavy. Not sexy California beach girl wavy, but crumpled up ball of yarn wavy. So for years and years my routine would look like this: Shampoo to get my hair clean, condition or deep condition to get it soft, then blow dry it and straighten it to get rid of those unruly curls. Only problem being that my hair dryer and my straightening irons undid most of the hard work I put into making my hair soft and manageable with all that deep conditioner and instead left me with a frizzy mess. A straight frizzy mess, but a frizzy mess nonetheless (rhyme was completely unintentional).

Then along comes this and with a tiny amount rubbed into the tips of my hair and any random flyaways, my hair suddenly looks just how I wanted it to look after spending hours washing and nurturing and styling it.

The thing is, it doesn't really do that much. It's certainly not sticky or slimy or crispy in any way, but all it does is just put hair in it's place. It doesn't even add any shine to my hair, but by smoothing out broken off strands it lets my hair's natural shine come through.

And you literally only need the tiniest amount. I use about a pea-sized blob each time and it's enough for my entire head, but as I said before I only use it on the tips and on random flyaways - but that's all it takes! Using such small amounts makes it weightless in my hair and also means that even after a year of continuous use I've barely made a dent in my tube. I swear I'm not even halfway through.

When (IF?) this ever runs out I'm going to be incredibly sad and rushing out to get a new tube as soon as I can. It's not often that I say this, but this product, ladies and gentlemen, is truly a game changer.

Best of all, it most definitely falls into the affordable price range at £10 per tube over on Beautybay.

Sunday Catch-Up #20

Playing with my green Nail Rockit... Flowers make me happy Mrs Owl is certainly brightening up...
Playing around with my Nail Rockit // Flowers from the new neighbour // Lighting the night

Antique Victorian steamer trunk aka our...
Coffee table

This week hasn't been particularly exciting, as I've been mostly working and not much else. We currently enjoy just sitting around in our new home and thinking of new ways to decorate it.

I'm completely in love with this Victorian steamer trunk which we're using as a coffee table. Definitely a great investment. 

I also spent most of last Sunday night playing around with a green Rockit Kit for London Beauty Queen's "How I Wear It" feature. I quite enjoyed playing around with the various gems, but as you can imagine looking at the size of them, they didn't stay put for very long.

I think tonight is going to be celebrated with a long soak in the bath and a relaxing read!

How's your week been?

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Friday, 21 February 2014

Review: Marc Jacobs Honey Perfume

I'll start off this post by saying that I didn't want to like this perfume. I've seen dozens upon dozens of blog posts on this one - everybody seems to love it and therein lies the problem. I don't want to smell like everyone.

But when I stumbled into the beauty hall at Selfridges in the search of a new scent, even after I'd smelled so many that they were all merging into one, this perfume still somehow stood out to me. It is pretty much perfect.

The scent is described as having heart notes of orange blossom, peach nectar, apricot, honeysuckle, top notes of pear and juicy mandarin and base notes of honey and golden vanilla. Somehow it manages all that without being overpoweringly sweet or sickly. As a matter of fact, I'm not a fan of honey (even less of the taste than the smell), but in this fragrance it just adds a slight sweetness without losing any of the freshness of the fruitier notes.

Basically, imagine eating a fresh fruit platter on a fragrant summer day. It's a scent that instantly lifts my mood and brightens my day.

Not to mention, the bottle with it's white polka dot design and pearly bee on its lid looks incredibly pretty and girly on my dressing table.

Marc Jacobs Honey comes in three sizes: 30ml for £39, 50ml for £50 and 100ml for £68 - but I found them all a bit cheaper over on Scentstore.

Review: Simple Vital Vitamin Night Cream

Simple is a brand I just keep on returning to whenever I'm in need of something that's cheap, but that I know will be good for my skin. There's just something about their products that works brilliantly with my skin type each and every time and this night cream is no different.

It comes in a lightweight plastic tub which while it's not particularly luxurious, isn't exactly cheap looking either.
My worries with night creams are that they're usually a tad too heavy and I find myself waking up in the morning with greasy face, but this one is surprisingly light for a night time moisturiser.

I'd even go as far as saying it's a touch too light in winter on my combination skin, but during the rest of the year it's absolutely perfect. If my skin's feeling a bit drier I'd either switch to a different moisturiser, or simply use a more nourishing serum underneath.

It doesn't perform any miracles on the skin, but it makes me wake up to a fresh face with soft skin that doesn't feel sticky or heavy and I just know that I'll keep going back to this, because it's affordable and delivers solid results.

Even though it's marketed for sensitive skin I know that many people with that skin type struggle with Simple products, but I've also read great reviews from others. If you do find that you tend to get adverse reactions from a lot of skincare products it's maybe best to test this one out first.
But for anyone without sensitivities, particularly for those with oily, normal or combination skin, I couldn't recommend this more.

Simple Vital Vitamin Night Cream is available at Boots for £5.99

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Face of the Day #02

Time for another Face of the Day post! I'm currently sporting a golden-bronze eye with a matching shimmery nude lip. The Rimmel eye shadow used to be a firm favourite of mine, but then got shoved to the back of my make-up collection, so it was about time to dig it back out. I bought it after seeing Lisa Eldrdige recommending it for people with blue eyes in one of her videos. And I couldn't agree more, it really does make my eye colour pop! A few of these items, such as the Artdeco brow gel and the Omorovicza BB Cream are on their last legs, so I'm making sure to use them every day until they're ready to be chucked and/or replaced.


Desperate to squeeze out the last little bits in the bottle, I started off by smoothing the Omorovicza Complexion Perfector BB SPF 20 all over my face using my hands. I find that the thick texture can drag a little if you're using a brush, so finger tips are definitely the way forward with this one! I then used a flat concealer brush to apply the Seventeen Phwoarr Paint in Fair under my eyes and on two blemishes around my mouth. This stuff is absolutely amazing and gives insane coverage for a drugstore product - it's got a firm place in my list of favourites! I then set my make-up with the Rimmel Stay Matte powder - the one I showed in my last FOTD post has sadly crumbled to dust, so this one is my back-up powder. To finish off, I applied a swish of MAC Iridescent Powder in Golden Bronze on my cheeks for a hint of blush and highlight all in one. The pot is huge and I can't imagine ever running out of this even if I used it every day for the rest of my life!


For my eyebrows I used the same procedure as always: First defined them with my HD Brows palette in Foxy, then set them with the Artdeco Clear Lash & Brow gel. There can't be more than about a week's worth left in the tube, so I'm gonna have to look for a replacement product pretty soon. Any suggestions?
As always I primed my lids with my trusted MAC Paint Pot in Painterly and then packed on the Rimmel Glam'Eyes Mono Shadow in Spicy Bronze, before blending out the edges with a fluffy blending brush. With my pinky finger I added a sparkly gold eye shadow from my big Sephora palette (not shown) in the inner corners of the eyes. I then applied the L'Oreal Contour Khol in Iced Chestnut to the lower and upper waterline for a bit of added definition. As I was feeling a bit lazy I couldn't be bothered to curl my eye lashes and just applied my A La Carte Cosmetics Divine Lash Mascara in Black straight away. I got this one in last month's Love Me Beauty Box and it has become a firm favourite ever since!


On my lips I added a touch of shimmer and shine with the Elizabeth Arden High Shine Lip Gloss in Golden Pearl.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Review: Lee Stafford Poker Straight Flat Iron Protection Shine Mist

Woahhh, what a mouthful this product name is! Gotte love them 3 for 2s at Boots, though. I was stocking up on purple shampoo and conditioner when a little offer meant I could sneak something into my basket completely free of charge, so in went this little pink bottle which promises to protect my hair from the almost daily straightening that I put it through. Granted, that was quite a while ago now, but I'm sure there'll be another 3 for 2 soon, as they have a tendency to crop up frequently.

I love the bright pink packaging of Lee Stafford products and it always draws me towards them when browsing the aisles of Boots, but I could definitely do without the mixture of upper- and lowercase lettering on the label. It's awfully outdated.
I've always been told that it's important to use heat protectant when blowdrying and straightening your hair to avoid breakage, but chose to avoid this advice for the majority of my life. Ever since I started using heat protectant my hair has been stronger and healthier, though I wouldn't say the difference is particularly mind blowing.

Anyway, this isn't the first heat protectant I've used and it's always a tad difficult to judge their efficiency other than by the fact that my hair isn't ruined (hey, that's better than nothing).
Positives I would like to mention is that the spray smells nice, albeit a little too sweet for me, the nozzle doesn't get blocked like it does with some other sprays and you can be quite generous with it without your hair going sticky or crispy.
Not bad for £5.99! If you're interested, you can find the Poker Straight Flat Iron Protection Shine Mist (whew) here.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Sunday Catch-Up #19

Goodbye London and your horrendously overpriced... Who doesn't love handwritten letters? Mmmmh, sweet treats!!
Bye London and your horrendously overpriced coffees // Handwritten mail // Sweet treats from Poland and Germany

Time to get arty with my... I have palm trees on my... Epic Cajun chicken pasta for dinner...
Competition win - time to get arty! // Amazing palm tree leggings from Primark // Cajun chicken pasta was much needed on Sunday night

So this week we finally got our internet sorted in our new home - those two weeks without any internet connection have been truly horrendous and unsurprisingly I used up all my data on my phone contract. It's unbelievable how helpless you feel these days without an internet connection!

Thankfully there were still lots of things to be done around the new house, so that kept us busy for a fair bit. As the days have been spent driving and running around doing errands and buying stuff (and as the weather has been absolutely awful), my running has been put on hold for a bit again and hopefully I'll be able to resume next week.

Me and Joe didn't actually do anything fancy for Valentine's day. As a matter of fact we didn't do anything at all. I bullied him into buying me some chocolates last week and they were gone before the actual day rolled around. We're both not really huge fans of the pressure of telling someone how much you love them just because there's a holiday for it - it's something you should be doing every day anyway. But hey, some people love it and whatever floats your boat is fine by me.

How's your week been?

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Love Me Beauty Box February 14

Hooray, we finally, finally have internet at our new home! When the Virgin man came over on Friday this week I literally couldn't have been happier. This month's Love Me Beauty Box arrived on Monday and the pictures have been sat on my computer waiting to be uploaded and talked about all week.
This month saw the inclusion of a surprise product for the first time ever - the only thing the subscribers knew was that it would be a hero product from a previous box. This is something that had me slightly worried, as I'm not a huge fan of repeat products, but I needn't have panicked as I got something I loved the first time around and used up every drop of.

Full size: £12.00

I've certainly heard of dry shampoo before and I'm not entirely sure how I'd survive without it to be honest, but dry conditioner? I gave this a quick spritz yesterday and it's pretty impressive stuff. It is literally like instant softness in a can. A spritz of Batiste followed by a spritz of this and who needs to wash their hair ever again? (Okay, maybe that's going a step too far) I also own a styling creme by Percy & Reed which came with a magazine and both products are awesome, so it's definitely got me hooked on trying more from the brand.

Full size: £24.00 for 200ml / Sample value: £3.43

La Claree is not a brand I've ever heard of before and I could only find a link to their French website, though they do seem to ship to all of Europe. The body milk has a very light and airy texture, but is nonetheless rich and moisturising. It has a very soft, soapy and slightly almondy smell and is overall a very lovely product. Shame I had to throw half of my sample in the bin, because after two applications it's nigh on impossible to get the rest out of the packaging. I see the idea behind the pretty little mini bottle, but it just doesn't work in dispensing the product!

Full size: £4.95

This is yet another brand that's completely new to me and from the looks of it it can't be a very big company, as the label looks like it's literally been printed on someone's home printer. The balm is quite hard and waxy in texture and I do wish it was slightly softer, as that would just make it so much easier to pick up. It has quite a strong scent of essential oils, but as you only use small amounts at a time, it tends to diffuse quickly. I've used it overnight on my lips, as they get a bit dry in this horrible weather and have woken up with soft lips every morning.

Full size: £15.00

This is a product I was really excited about when it came to this month's boxes. It's exactly the kind of thing I'd really like to try, but can't quite get myself to spend the money on it in case it's rubbish or I don't like it. I don't think any other beauty boxes have done vitamins before, either, so these have got quite the novelty factor as well. I'm a firm believer in looking after yourself from within - my skin always looks its best when I make sure to eat well and drink 2 litres of water a day - so I'm really curious if I see an improvement after the two weeks of this course.

5) Murad | Osmolyte Tonic
Full size: £10.00

So, after reading a handful of blog posts on everyone's February box I was fully expecting to see an Artdeco gloss in my box - instead, I got this spray on toner which I also received back in my September box last year (full post here). That's not to say that I'm disappointed, because I really liked this product and I'm sure I'll use it up a second time around. I wonder if the mystery products were chosen at random, or if I was given this because unlike most people I consistently rank skincare at a higher preference than make-up. If it's the latter, then hat off to you, Love Me Beauty, as it would make you the first and only beauty box brand to ever take into account what your customers put into their profile.

Total value: £45.38

It feels like another success from Love Me Beauty who have once again provided me with a box full of products that I will actually use and make the most of. Not to mention that four out of the five products come in full sizes. I honestly didn't think that they'd manage to pull off giving away so many full products each and every month for so long, but somehow they're still going strong. While the mystery product was a nice touch this month, however, I'd still prefer to get new things each month rather than repeat items. Other than that, this beauty box has managed to impress once again.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Review: L'Oreal Studio Line #TXT Range

These two products are some of the line-up from the new L'Oreal #TXT range for Studio Line, which aims to give hair a textured look with plenty of grip - a slightly edgy, messy look which is exactly what I usually go for with my hair style. As it turns out, one of the above was a total hit with me, while the other is one I'll be giving a miss. Can you guess which is which?

Let's start with the Wave Creating Spray. According to instructions you're meant to generously spray this onto damp hair, then blow dry until your hair is half dry, put it up into two or more buns, blow dry it a bit further and finish drying it by scrunching it upwards.

My hair is actually naturally wavy and I usually straighten it right after washing and then just let it naturally curl and wave as it pleases the day after. A curling spray is therefore not something I would usually look for, but nevertheless I thought I would give this a whirl.

I followed the instructions carefully with the only difference being that I put my hair into three top knots rather than two - one in the back and one either side of my head, as I felt that that would give my waves some better structure.

Sadly, what I ended up with was nothing like the girl in the picture's hair. It was more like three big sticky dreadlocks. I wouldn't say my hair was any wavier than usual, it was just messy - and not in a good way. I wonder if it's because my hair is naturally quite thick and wavy? I do find that my hair is particularly picky when it comes to styling products, but then I've read other reviews and they paint a similar picture to what's happened with my hair.

Moving on to the second one of the bunch: The Volume Supersizing Spray. Now, here's a different story altogether. For a start, a bit of volume is something I'm always happy about. I have to use a lot of heavy deep conditioners and hair masks to keep my bleached hair strong and shiny, but they can often weigh it down and make it look a bit flat.

You use this by spraying it directly onto the roots and then giving them a bit of a rub with your fingers for instant lift. You can then smooth over any rough and rebellious bits afterwards. Make sure to keep a good distance from your head with the spray, though, or otherwise your hair will feel wet and greasy (obviously what I did on first application). But aside from that, this stuff really works and it works well! Here's some cheesy before and after pictures:

Before: With freshly straightened hair. Grumpy faaaaace!
After: Va-Va-Voom to my roots!
There's your proof. The finish is a bit messy, but in a "messy on purpose" way and I can easily see myself repurchasing this spray once it's run out.

There's two more products in the #TXT line-up, which I don't have, as they're aimed more towards short hair: the Dishevelling Dry Putty and the Grooming Soft Clay.
Meanwhile, you can find the Wave Creating Spray for £3.79 here and the Volume Supersizing Spray for the same price here (or in any drugstore or big supermarket).

Have you tried anything out of the Studio Line #TXT range? What did you think?

Sunday Catch-Up #18

Bought this for the new house... Byebye Tooting. It was fun while... Hello new home! Can't wait to...
Old typewriter for decoration in our new home // Byebye, old flat... // ...hello, new house!

No TV stand? Oh well, old... Passed a WHSmith - just couldn't... After last night, a morning muffin...
No TV stand? Just use an old suitcase! // Couldn't resist the book offer // Much needed morning muffin and latte

As I mentioned in last week's catch-up post, this week has been mental. We moved from a fully-furnished flat into an unfurnished three bedroom house and had one day to get pretty much everything - a washing machine, a fridge, cupboards etc. - while also packing up all the stuff we do have, which barely all fit in the van.

Living in London was a lot of fun and I still think it's one of the most amazing cities in the world - but also one of the most expensive. There was absolutely no way we could move into another flat share and what good is it having so many amazing things to see and do around you if you never have the money to see and do them? We actually pay the same money now for the entire house as we did for a small bedroom in a shared flat with two others - isn't that crazy?

Most of the week has been spent unpacking, buying more things (lots and lots more things) for our new home and decorating. Then for the weekend I had to pop back down to London to work for another three days and trust me when I say that I am absolutely shattered!

We don't get internet in our new home till the 14th, but I promise that from then onwards there'll be plenty of regular posts and updates again.

How's your week been?

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