Sunday, 19 December 2010

Perfume Parlour - the alternative to expensive perfumes?

Hello everyone, me again. Hope you've all had a lovely festive Christmas weekend - can't believe it's only 6 more sleeps (as my advent calendar has informed me!) until the big day!
I'm meant to be going out shopping with my Mum later, but until she gets ready I thought i'd do a "quick" post on my foray into perfume oils.

Being an ex-student (and hence rather lacking in the money department at the moment), I often frequent the forums on the website for beauty, hair, cosmetic etc money-saving ideas.
In the Health and Beauty forum someone mentioned the idea of perfume oils as a cheaper, money-saving alternative to big-brand spray perfumes, and in particular the Perfume Parlour website, which claims to be "the largest designer perfume oil and fragrance oil seller in the UK", and can apparently save the average customer £200 on perfume in a year.
I should explain quickly that Designer "type" perfume oils from the Perfume Parlour are meant to have the same top, heart and base notes as the designer perfumes available on the high street, whilst the non-designer fragrance oil is simply an uncut oil (for example orange blossom, lilac, vanilla etc) which can be used in air freshners, soap making, candle making, body lotions and so on.
I was immediately drawn to the Designer type oils (available for both men and women) and the huge list available, ranging from Thierry Mulgar Alien ("type") to Vera Wang Princess.
These oils come in a small glass bottle (choice of 3, 6, 8 or 12ml sizes) - ideal for your handbag - with a roller ball top (also certain fragrances available in sprays) and are presented in a leather-look pouch, and are very reasonably priced - for example the 12ml bottle is £6.75, with free delivery on orders over £10.00 (UK only).

Being a big fan of Thierry Muglar's Angel, I immediately popped one in my basket, along with a sample of Victor & Rolf's class Flowerbomb, which I'd always fancied trying but could never justify the price!
Delivery was very quick, and the oils came very carefully packaged.

(I'm afraid I only have pictures of the "Flowerbomb" oil - I managed to hoover up my Angel one...long story!)
If i'm honest the Angel oil was slightly different to the original "real" perfume - it's a lot more musky and is a bit too strong for my liking. The Flower Bomb oil however is perfect - I did a "smell test" at Gatwick Airport Duty Free and I honestly couldn't tell the difference.
Being an oil it's a stronger smell and lasts a lot longer on the skin, and although the bottle looks tiny (I think mine was an 8ml) it lasts a loooooong time as a little goes a long way. I also love the fact it's so "portable" and I can touch up my perfume throughout the day whenever I like (i've nearly came to the end of this particular bottle).
Bearing this in mind and given the price, i'd say it's a brilliant alternative to actual designer perfumes, and would even make a lovely present for someone.
Off to the shops I go now!
Melanie x

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

HRH Haul...

Hello again everyone, hope you're all ok and getting into the Xmas spirit!
Thought i'd do a wee haul post, as I know these are quite popular (I certainly like a nosey at them on other people's pages!). I apologise in advance for the quality of my pics - i'm currently working with my ancient Samsung ES17 camera, but i'm hoping Santa will bring me a new one!

(Left to right)

1. Boots Mallow and Cocoa Butter body lotion - hastily snapped up at the Gatwick Airport branch of Boots in place of my favourite Palmer's Cocoa Butter. I wasn't expecting much of this (think it was around the £2.00 mark) but its super absorbant and smells really light and pretty.

2. Botanics Skin brightening toner - I've been very naughty the past while and not bothered with a toner after cleanser, but my interest in this had been roused by recommendations on blogs such as the Yummy Mummy's Beauty Blog and so I decided that for £3.99 for a massive bottle (250ml) I could afford to splash out. I have to say even after only a few day's use i'm already impressed, and actually look forward to using it, as it gives my skin a lovely glow without drying at all. This particular product is part of a range of Botanics toners along with 2 others (one for blemish prone skin, and an organic toner), and works to "refine pores and minimise excess oil." I think once my current cleanser runs out i'll buy the Botanics cleanser and try that too.

3. Ponds Cold Cream Cleanser and moisturiser - first thing's first - I can't believe how TINY these jars are - a measley 50ml of each! I suppose at £3.99 each I can't complain, but the jars seem to be all lid, and I certainly don't remember them being so small! Anyway these are good, reliable, traditional, no-fuss products which do exactly as they say on the tin.

4. Sleek powder blusher in Flamingo - on first impressions this is an uber bright pink blusher (see pic below) but is actually a lovely soft, buildable colour on the skin, and lasts all day. It's quite a tiny palette, but a little goes a long way and for £3.99 you can't go wrong!

5. Sleek Glo highlighter in Peach Shimmer - I picked this up along with the Blush above and lip product (below) as Superdrug are doing a 3 for 2 promotion at the moment. I was looking for something to replace my Bobby Brown Shimmer brick, and on first impressions this is quite similar (as well as being considerably cheaper at £4.99!). I would say the pay off isn't quite as"noticeable" or indeed blendable as the BB Brick, but I quite like that I can use the darker colours as a bronze/contour and the lighter colours as a highlight.

6. Carmex lipbalm (Cherry) - the handbag staple. This smells YUM, and it is a good reliable product, but it can, strangely dry my lips out.

7. Sleek pout polish in Electro Peach - I love love LOVE this product. On first appearances this is a VERY scary peachy orange colour, but in reality it's quite a sheer buildable colour which gives a lovely moisturising sheen to your lips, containing almond oil, shea butter, avocado extract and vitamins A C and E, as well as the all important SPF 15. Available in four other shades for a purse friendly £3.99.

8. Britney Spears Midnight Fantasy EDP - currently on offer in Boots for £10.00 for 30ml. This is a very sweet fragrance (as are most of Miss Spears' perfumes), possibly suited to the younger market, but it has really good staying power and it makes a nice change from some of the heavier perfumes I like to wear.

I also picked up...
Cotton moisturising handgloves from Tesco for £2.50
Two veet in-shower hair removal creams (BOGOF) also from Tesco for £5.00
Fitflop "snugger" boots in Bronze for tackling this horrible weather! (I may do a seperate review on these...)
DVD's - First two Narnia films, G-Force, The Grinch and The Muppets Christmas Carole.

Phew that haul wasn't as small as I thought it was...!

Melanie x

Monday, 13 December 2010

It's the little things...

Suffice to say Monday is not my favourite day of the week. I did consider doing an "In/Out" post as has become popular, but in order to try and cheer myself up on a Monday i'm going to list 5 things that have made the previous week...
  1. My orchid sprouting a new bud. Sad but true. Lee (my Fiance) purchased said orchid for me about a year ago, and in that time the flowers inevitably dropped off and I was left with, well, two sticks and some leaves. However to my great amazement a little green bud has sprouted and i'm so PROUD! Lee meanwhile is just amazed I haven't killed the thing...
  2. Finishing all my Xmas shopping. And christmas coming in general. It's definately my favourite time of the year (and not just because of the presents...!)
  3. Watching Jason Manford on DVD. He's now possibly my third favourite comedian after Billy Connelly (second) and Michael McIntyre (the ultimate. I am obsessed).
  4. Cosying up in my brand new duvet reading a book (or often in my case, blogs) by candlelight. Bliss.
  5. Starting my blog. And already having a follower. I don't care if I have one or a thousand followers, i'm so glad i've begun!

Melanie x

Oo la la - a Bourjois Bio Detox Foundation Review

Hello Ladies (or should I say, Bonjour! given the subject of today's posting...)
I've decided for my third foray into blog posting to do a little review on one of Bourjois' latest foundation offerings: Bio Detox organic foundation with chlorophyll, which Bourjois claim to give you a "fresh and even completion and detoxified skin," through the use of oxygen and filtering of pollution.
(Please excuse the messy bottle. I have been using this for a few weeks now and inevitably it has gone everywhere!)

I have to admit I am a sucker for "organic" products therefore when Gemma from Gemsmaquillage mentioned she had been sent this new product (which claims on the side of the bottle that 98.8% of its ingredients are from "natural origins" and 21.9% are from organic farming), I hotfooted-it down to my nearest Boots and snapped up some - RRP for Boots is £10.99 for 30ml but I think it was on special offer.
FYI: mine is the shade No.51 - light vanilla. Cue cheesy posing photo...

The foundation is dispensed using a pump (very handy and hygienic, until you start running out..!) and on first appearences is a lovely creamy consistency with a slight shimmer through it which does give a certain glow to your skin.

However unfortunately for me that's where the positives end. For some reason no matter how much moisturiser I may apply beforehand (and my skin has never been particularly dry), my skin seems to hoover this up and it sticks itself to all the possibly dry bits on my skin, making it hard to work with. I therefore have to apply quite a few layers and buff in using a foundation brush to get a satisfactory result, and even then sets to a strange almost powdery finish, which rubs off VERY easily - I often find where i've happened to have touched (never mind rubbed) my face i'll have traces of the foundation all over my fingers/nails. Therefore by the end of the day it has almost evitably rubbed off, and although I do realise that Bourjois have not promoted this particular foundation as having staying power, but I can't say any of my previous foundations rubbed of as easily as this one.
I also found that the start of using this foundation co-incided with my break out in several large horrible red spots, although admittedly I did change my skin care routine at the same time so this could also be to blame.

On the other hand this might suit those looking for sheer/medium, buildable cover without the need to use a powder thereafter, and I do applaud Bourjois for releasing a foundation that has more "green" credentials than many others.
I'm going to persevere using this bottle (possibly trying a primer underneath first...) and then i'll be on the hunt for a new foundation - any suggestions?!

Melanie x

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

She sells Sea Shell(ac)s on the sea shore - A CND Shellac review

My nails have been a bit of a labour of love - after years of biting they were in urgent need of TLC, so a couple of years ago I took my mitts to the lovely Lee-Anne at Glamour, who has since spent many a time rescuing my hands from nail disasters.

In those early days I started off with tips and acrylic, then progressed onto gel. However recently I have been Lee-Anne's guinea-pig in trying out Shellac from CND: a product that "goes on like polish, wears like a gel and removes in minutes." (All info can be found here)

As you can see (modelled holding my lovely dirty pink DS!) I am currently wearing a pale pink colour, which from looking at the Shellac website I think is the colour "pink lily."

I'll have had this on for one week this thursday, and I have to say I am quite impressed.

  • Firstly and most vitally, it stops me biting my nails. I HAVE to have something on my nails or all my nail-growing efforts go to waste and they get gnawed off in seconds. Disgusting habit I know.

  • No chips or fade - the colour is still lovely and shiny. However I am yet to test whether the shine will still be there once I put a polish over the top and then remove after a couple of days.

  • Feels more natural/light than acrylic or gel. Whilst gel is more "natural" than acrylic in the sense it grows out a bit better with your own nail and is less prone to lifting from the cuticle, over time and after several nail sessions it can become really thick and fake looking...does that make sense?!

  • Good range of colours (Lee-Anne only had the basics, but theres quite an extensive range on the website)

  • Cheaper than gel/acrylics - I was £18.00 for a set, compared to around £30.00 for gel/acrylics. Obviously prices will vary depending on area/beautician etc.
Overall I think for the near future i'll be sticking with the Shellac. Its quick, convenient and my pocket takes less of a bashing! I'd definately recommend it as a long lasting alternative to polish, and can act as a good solid base for other polish over the top. What do you think?

Melanie x

Monday, 22 November 2010

Hello world...

...eek i'm not sure what to write!
After (literally) years of reading other people's blogs (the first being Lollipop26 and Imogen Foxy Locks, I believe) I have decided to join the bandwagon and start my own.

Given the title of my blog, I'd like to think I will provide opinions/perspectives of things which come more from the highstreet/low-end price bracket, although to define the jist/content of my blog at this moment in time is rather challenging! I'm just hoping to go with the flow and write whatever comes to me!

Firstly, a round of randomness about moi...

1. I have a tattoo on the outside of my right wrist which says "Ad astra..." meaning "to the stars" (and short for "perseverance through adversity to the stars..."). My mum hates it.

2. I work at an aircraft maintenance company. We do things like wear our pyjamas to work (...for charity may I add)

3. I have a tail-less cat called Tanya (the mystery of how said tail was lost remains unsolved...)
4. I'm getting married in under two years! (Prepare for wedding-themed blog posts)

(Me and the boy, Lee)

5. I love football and have a season ticket at Kilmarnock FC (best team in the world. Honest)

6. Other than chocolate, I have an unhealthy obsession with Dairylea and could happily eat it with a spoon out the tub!

I'd love to know if there are any particular topics you'd like me to discuss or any products to review (highstreet in particular!), so either comment or send me a message. I'm hoping to get myself some sort of camcorder in the not-too-distant future and to start You-tubing, so watch this space!

Melanie x