Wednesday, 29 February 2012

February 2012 Favourites

February's favourites are a tad few and far between this month, simply because (other than the month seems to have zoomed past), i've been concentrating on trying to 'shop my stash' and not buy anything else new until i've used up what i've already got.

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Pink Quartz - I hold my hands up and admit this is only a favourite this month because it's a treat to myself and its oh so pretty! (Quickly glossing over the rather expensive price tag...) You can see my review post here.
George Shimmer Me! brush on powder in Heaven Sent - A spectacular dupe for the Bobbi Brown shimmer bricks, this little lovely number is a snip at only £4.50. I've come to the conclusion that my skin tone suits peachy blushers, and these shades blended together are perfect. Another product i've also reviewed, you can have a little look here.

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation - I doubt i'll ever do a review on this foundation, simply because, as a popular product, there is already tons of reviews out there. In a nutshell I am loving this because it actually does what it claims to do, and is one of the most accurate colour matches for my skin thus far. Admittedly it might not necessarily last the full 16 hours as stated on the packaging, and I do start to get a tad shiny (i'd rather call it 'glowy') round the t-zone, but you know what, I like it and that's that! ASOS are currently selling this on offer for £7.50 (see link).

Sudocream - An old classic when it comes to fighting spots, i've been using this for the infamous 'sudocream facemask' (as recently sported by Nicola McLean in CBB!). As the link shows, this can be bought in different sized tubs (and a tube now too) and is really cheap and effective.
E.L.F. Zit Zapper - This little roller ball stick of wonders contains the magic spot fighting ingredients of Witch Hazel, Salicylic Acid, Tea Tree Oil and Camphor, and all for £1.50. I've had this for ages and do generally use it on a daily basis (pesky stray spots), but you'd never know!
Savlon - Similar to Sudocrem, this is a very inexpensive, multi-purpose antiseptic cream that I have mainly been using on spots, but can also be used on cuts, grazes and so on. I usually have this small tube in my handbag.

17 Mirror Shine On Lipstick in Beehive - Another 'must have' product in the blogging world (and thus one I don't need/want to say much about), i've included this in this month's favourites as I have literally been wearing it every single day. I wouldn't say its 'mirror shine' shiney, but has just the right amount of nude tint/gloss combined.
17 Ultimate Volume lipgloss in Very Berry - A bit of a surprise inclusion, in the sense that I put off trying it out for ages and ages because I thought it looked so dark and scary a shade! However it's actually quite sheer and buildable: the (somewhat blurry - but you get the idea) photo I've included above is maybe around 3 coats worth of the gloss. I also like the fact when the actual gloss wears off the colour leaves a nice stain to your lips, and the fact when it wears off it doesn't leave your lips tacky, 'bity' or at all dry.

♥ Favourite Blog: Leanne-Marie - I love the 'few to follow' post she does every Friday, where she lists some of her favourite blogs for that week - i've found so many new fabulous blogs this way.

♥ Favourite Youtube: LoveMelisaMichelle - I love her quick, easy tutorials she does using (largely) affordable make-up products/tools - she's a big fan of ELF brushes.

♥ Favourite Book: The Radleys - Following the lives of a family of 4 'abstaining' vampires, The Radleys is a really original take on vampire literature (and nothing like Twilight, if you're not a fan of this!), and one in which I really enjoyed reading and would throughly recommend.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Work in progress

As you'll note from my new header (created by the fantastic Shelley at ShelleyHearts - i'm eternally grateful!), i'm trying to overhaul my blog at the moment. I'm not very technically minded when it comes to these things (and i'm terrified I muck it up!) so you'll have to bear with me as I tweak bits here and there!

More finished products - would I buy again?

It's that time again folks...more empty products!
Links to where you can find each product have been provided.

001. Carmex Cherry lipbalm - I loved this for the smell (and taste...who doesn't have a crafty lick of their lipbalm?!), but I've tended to find that Carmex lipbalms (not unlike Vaseline) often leaves my lips drier than they were to start with. Would I buy again? Probably not, especially given that Carmex is one of the more 'expensive' (ok not by much, but still) lipbalm brands.

002. Bourjois Volumizer Mascara - meant to be a dupe for the Make-up Forever Smokey Lash, I bought this after seeing the fantastic results SWalker had using it. However it's been a bit of a damp squib for me - don't get me wrong it's a perfectly good 'general' mascara, but I've never been completely knocked off my socks with it. Would I buy again? Maybe if it was on special offer - I can't justify paying over a tenner for a product that's a bit 'meh.'

003. Rimmel Vinyl Gloss in Take a Chance - if you read my review here, you'll know the answer to the 'would I buy again' question already! A beautiful nude shade with peach/gold undertones, this lipgloss promised so much when I saw it sitting on the stand, but alas to a lipgloss lover like myself, it has been a letdown.

004. Nair Course/Dark Hair Removal Cream - Not the most exciting of products, but a bit of a necessity i'm sure you'll agree. Not much to say about it apart from it did the job! ('nuff said). Would I buy again? Yes, although I would like to find a brand of hair removal cream that isn't tested on animals, if thats possible!

005. Palmers Cocoa Butter (400ml bottle) - This product has featured in my previous 'use-up' posts countless of times, and will continue to do so I would imagine! As well as being really inexpensive and smelling AMAZING, this product really does the job - it's thick and comforting for tight, dry winter skin, but is also perfect in the summer as as after-sun. Love! Would I buy again? Do you even need to ask?!

006. Superdrug Simply Pure Gentle Eye Make-up Remover - one of my most recent reviews, I have been really impressed with this bargainous little product, and out of any other eye makeup removers i've used, i'd probably say its actually most like the Bioderma Crealine H20 cleansing water in terms of effectiveness and 'feel.' I also love the fact it is free more parabens, not tested on animals and, of course, really cheap. Would I buy again? Yes I would. It's inexpensive, it works, and it has good moral values as it were!

007. Boots Essentials Cucumber Cleansing Lotion - I received this (along with the face wash, cleanser and moisturiser) as part of my Christmas presents, and whilst it might not necessarily be something i'd buy normally, it has done the job: I used to use the hot-cloth cleansing method before, but found I was coming out in spots, but since using this my skin has been quite good (*touch wood*). There's nothing fancy about it (simply put it on a cotton wool pad and wipe over your face and repeat as necessary), but it cleanses well and costs under £1.50! Would I buy again? Yes, for the days when I want to quickly cleanse my face without a load of hassle.

Have you used up any products you'd repurchase/recommend?

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Tag: Book Lover

I saw this tag on one of my favourite blogs, Girl in a Teeny Town, and couldn't wait to do it myself!

I am a Kindle owner (more out of practicality than anything, as sometimes its just hassle trying to lug round door-stop sized books in your handbag!), but I have to admit you can't beat the real thing when it comes to books: the beautiful cover illustrations, the texture/scent of the pages, even the way the pages get bent and folded and the spines bend and crease with age.
They tell stories in more ways than one-who knows you might have owned and read your book before you? - and are like old friends sitting on a shelf that you can return to again and again.

I heart books!

Imagine you sit in front of a fireplace. you read and beside you is a cup with something hot in it. What would that be in your case: tea, coffee, or hot chocolate?
Definitely tea. I am a tea-aholic. I'd need to have a choccie biscuit (or two) to go with it as well...

If the author gave you the chance to rewrite or change the fate of a book character, who would you choose?
Only because it's recently (and therefore the most 'raw' as such), I would change the fate of Prim in The Hunger Games. I'll not say what happened to her as there may be people who haven't read it yet (if not, get it read!), but those who have will know what i'm talking about!

Did your parents read stories to you when you were little? If yes are there any special ones you remember the most?
I have no doubt that my parents read countless stories to me when I was little, but Henny Penny stands out to me the most ("the sky is falling!"). The book I had had little illustrations in place of words (so for example instead of seeing Henny Penny written, you would see a little picture of said chicken in the sentence), and featured other originally-named characters such as Goosey Lucy and Foxy Loxy!

What do you like more, the smell of old antiquarian books or the smell of new fresh ones you just bought? 
Hmm I do love old books, but sometimes even i'll admit they can smell a tad...foosty (as we say in scotland), and I do happen to have a strange addiction to brand-new book smell. It's like envelope gum, I love the taste! (that makes me sound like I also lick books. I don't. I simply deeply enhale them occasionally...)
You get the opportunity to choose between two secret talents: either to be able to make things come to life through reading them, or the gift to read yourself into a book. Which would you choose?
I would read myself into a book (providing I could get myself back out of course haha). I don't fancy reading about dragons and orks and oompa loompas and having them break loose!
Do you have a favourite children's book or a favourite fairy tale?
It's a tough one to choose anything by Roald Dahl, or the Chronicles of Narnia books. The likes of The Great Glass Elevator and Danny the Champion of the World I have read countless of times, and still would today.

Someone would talk to your friends and ask them to compare you to a book character. With who do you think they would compare you?
When I was younger my friends used to compare me to Hermione Granger, largely due to the bushy hair similarity! Admittedly however, like Hermione, I am a bit of a swot, and do like to be right all the time...

Tell me the name of a writer you would like to have as a friend.
JK Rowling. Simply because i'd love to tap into that amazing ingenious brain of hers.
You can hide in a written down world for only one night, into which world do you escape?
As many people have doubtless answered, I would have to say Hogwarts. Who wouldn't want to experience a place where pictures move, broomsticks fly and magic really is real?!
Something terrible happens: you have to flee to an unknown place and all you can take with you are three books of all the ones you own. Which three do you put into your bag?
The Roald Dahl treasury (a giant book which contrains extracts of all his stories), Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone (because that's where it all began) and Wendy Holden's Simply Devine (because it's silly and i'd imagine i'd need something funny to cheer me up in said unknown place!)

I think this is an amazing tag, and i'd love to see if any of you do it - please let me know in the comments box.

Friday, 24 February 2012

NOTW: Essie Island Hopping and Barry M glitter polish

This post is unbelieveably late/overdue (so much so that i've since changed my nail polish) due to Blogger having a bit of a fit and not letting me create/edit posts since Tuesday, but it was such a pretty nail combination I thought i'd share it with you.

I'm going through a bit of a glitter polish obsession at the moment (such a magpie), and it was all I could do not to coat all 10 of my nails in glittery sparkly lovliness, but I managed to just go for the one 'Lady GaGa' nail that seems to be so popular at the moment (although I am loving Karris' slightly different take on it where she's painted her index finger nail instead).

Island Hopping is only my second Essie nailpolish, and one which I got a while ago from a blog sale.
When I received it I wasn't too keen on it for some reason (goodness knows why) and it has been languishing in my nailpolish box for some time.

However in a bid to get through some of my nailpolishes (and reduce the ridiculous amount I have), I decided to whack this shade on, and I have been LOVING it.
It's the perfect 'inbetweeny' shade (i.e. between Winter and Spring when the weather is still a bit naff): a lilac/mauve/grey/burghandy combo which I can only be described as very sophisticated!

I then of course had to bring out the glitter...

You can buy Island Hopping from the likes of Ebay, and despite the prices of Essie being around £9 (and the brush, which I find too small/thin), I am really tempted to buy more as the formula is excellent and really hardwearing.

Do you recommend any Essie polishes?

Monday, 20 February 2012

Review: St. Ives Microdermabrasion Scrub

If there's one thing I always like to have as part of my skincare routine, it's a facial scrub of sorts, and for the past while I have consistently been steering towards the St. Ives range when looking for a good 'hearty' scrub!

St. Ives Elements is a range in which each of the products has been formulated to help rejuvenate skin using natural elements. The line is also paraben-free for those that are trying to do right by their skin but aren't ready to completely go all natural.

What is Microdermabrasion?
If like me, you might have heard of Microdermabrasion (either on the TV, in magazines or - most likely, if you're me! - on blogs/YouTube) but aren't entirely sure of what it entails, a definition can be found here.

In basic terms it can be described as a painless and invasive procedure in which the skin undergoes a series of resurfacing treatments. The treatments are meant to thoroughly exfoliate the top layer of the skin diminishing fine lines and wrinkles, fading age spots and acne scars, as well as refining pores, in order to return your skin's natural glow.
Initially only administered by plastic surgeons and then beauticians, microdermabrasion kits and products are now largely available on the highstreet for consumers to try without having to spend hundreds of pounds on professional microdermabrasion sessions.

Enter stage left St. Ives Microdermabrasion!

(I have had this particular bottle for some time, and since then the product designs have changed slightly)

St. Ives Microdermabrasion Scrub
Forget the Clock. Microdermabrasion treatments are known to reduce the appearance of fine lines and improve the texture of the skin. St. Ives Timeless Skin products are dedicated to maintaining your youthful appearance.  Daily Microdermabrasion with fine mineral crystals, chamomile & vitamin E. This daily microdermabrasion scrub gently exfoliates to reveal younger looking, refined skin.With fine mineral crystals, chamomile & vitamin E - St Ives

I'll admit, when I first bought this it was a use-it-once-then-bung-it-in-the-cupboard-to-be-forgotten-about number, but I unearthed it one day and decided to make a real effort of using it every day (even just to use it up), and i'm really glad I did as I can see results now after using it consistently for some time.

The consistency of this particular scrub is different to most scubs in that it is like a paste, with fine mineral crystals rather than harsh 'scrubby bits' contained within it, making it perfect for daily use, whilst still giving a good deep clean without harshness or worry of scratching the skin.

It lathers up slightly when massaged into damp skin, although it is not at all sudsy/soapy - but you do have to ensure to rinse it all off thoroughly, as the scrub does start to crystallize (i.e go bright white and crusty!) when left to dry - there have been a few incidents round my nostrils and the bridge of my nose...!

There is also a slight chamomile scent to the scrub, although not obviously so, and not one I would say would contribute to the irritation of sensitive skins.

It claims to minimise fine lines, but right now (touch wood) the only lines I have are round my eyes, so I can't really verify that claim, but it definitely gives my skin a 'glow', makes it soft, and helps get rid of blackheads.

I picked up my bottle when it was first launched and was on special offer at Tesco, but is now retailing for around £5.49 for 125ml (talking of Tesco, they have it on special offer until the 13/03/12 for £3.50).
Compared to the 'traditional' St. Ives scrubs, which are 150ml for around £3.99, you do have to spend a bit more for a bit less (in terms of product amount), but I think this is to be expected given that they are trying to project a fairly 'specialised' product to a niche market.

The product comes in a squeezy tube with a flip-top lid, as with the majority of St. Ives products.
I would imagine most people would prefer this to a jar to avoid spread of germs and whatnot.
The only downside i've found to this is that the type of consistency the scrub is, it can start to clog up round the top of the lid, but this is just a minor problem that could be solved by washing off any excess each time you use it.

Where can I buy?
St. Ives as a popular beauty brand, is generally largely available at all the 'usual suspect' highstreet retailers, such as Boots and Superdrug, Supermarkets such as Tesco, and online (at Amazon, for example).
It is also occasionally available at discount stores including B&M and poundland, so keep your eyes peeled!

Have you tried this or any other microdermabrasion products?

Melanie x

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

A little bit of luxury...Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick - Pink Quartz

There is no doubt I am a champion of highstreet/drugstore/affordable products (whether it be make-up, skin/haircare, clothing and so on), but sometimes everyone needs a little bit of luxury in their lives, and so recently I decided to treat myself to a little bit of make-up opulence!

I consider Bobbi Brown to be one of the ultimate luxury make-up ranges around, and one which I am definitely more inclined to head towards rather than the likes of MAC when I want to treat myself.
I LOVE the simple yet sophisticated sleek (bit of alliteration for you there) black packaging, and the products do literally make you feel like you're really indulging yourself when you use them.

After recently discovering Buyapowa through Twitter, I signed up to be alerted when upcoming co-buys had gone live, including this particular one for the Shimmer Brick in Pink Quartz.

I have only owned one Shimmer Brick before (Rose Shimmer), and since then have not quite been able to justify the £30.50 expense of buying another one (especially since discovering and loving the excellent dupe from George at Asda), but when I saw this on BuyaPowa my heart skipped a beat (quite literally), and I knew with the possibility of getting it at a discounted price, I had to have it!
So before I knew it I was clicking 'join co-buy'...and ended up getting it for £25 (with £2 P&P).

The .4oz/10.3g handmade (in Italy apparently!) shimmer brick comes in a black compact with a built-in mirror in the lid (which I love - I hate the hassle of having to carry a seperate mirror).

Unlike my previous shimmer brick, Rose Shimmer (which consists of varying shades of pink), Pink Quartz is a mix of both pinks and neutral shades/tones (i've tried to show it in the pics above, but the Bobbi Brown website has a better representation here) with a pale champagne-gold shinmmer to it which adds a really lovely pink glow to your cheeks (worn alone or over another blusher), with the option of using the neutral shades as a soft bronzer/contour.

The fine shimmers reflect light and create a very natural lovely glow on your face. It's also very easy to work with, and I never worry about applying it too heavily as it isn't uber pigmented and the colours are really soft.

The price of the palette is what made me hold off for so long, but I’m quickly finding that with Bobbi Brown cosmetics, you get what you pay for.  The prices are a bit extravagant, but the products are well worth it.  I’ve never come across a brand where this was more true- her products are actually WORTH it.  The shimmer is so fine, it doesn’t look like sparkle on the skin, it makes you have a healthy, youthful glow.

Have you tried the Shimmer Bricks or any other BB products?

Monday, 13 February 2012

Making Memories...13/02/12

001. Because everyone needs a chocolate-covered loveheart shaped biscuit in their lives!
002. Me - sometimes I wonder if you know what I look like!
003. Another addition to my Yankee Candle collection - this one i'm keeping for when I move in with Lee :)
004. Suffice to say i'm still not dieting!
005. I love taking pictures of Tanya, especially with Instagram
006. Paint swatches for Lee's room - since i'm moving in (update blog post to come) I get to redesign it!
007. Rory the flat coated retriever - my next door neighbour's new puppy.
008. Don't ask - it made me laugh!

NOTD: No7 Totally Teal & Technic Carnival

If you follow me on Twitter, you will have seen my twitpic of this last night, and I love it so much I just had to do a NOTD post!

(Again excuse the horrendous state of my cuticles. They're work in progress!)

I had originally started off with No7 330 Totally Teal on my nails, but when shopping yesterday I popped into BodyCare (to get cuticle pushers, funnily enough) and when at the checkout I literally *squealed* when I saw this as I had been desperate to get my mitts on it for ages:

Carnival by Technic has been hailed as the perfect dupe (if not better) for OPI's Rainbow Connection from the Muppet's Collection, and is perfect for putting on an 'accent nail' or just for all over sparkle like i've done.

As well as being almost identical in colour and consistency (you can see the comparison in LLYMRS blogpost here), the best part is the price: Rainbow Connection costs around the £14 mark for 15ml, where as I got mine from BodyCare for 99p!
As well as Bodycare, you can pick Carnival up from the likes of Ebay, Amazon and Fragrance Direct (albeit at slightly more expensive prices - but we're talking the likes of £1.50 here compared to £14!) - just type Technic Carnival into Google and voila!

Although it is a glitter polish, it doesn't feel like chunky bumpy glitter when applied as it leaves a totally smooth finish.
I currently only have one coat on my nails (without top coat and so far it's lasting pretty well), but i'm tempted to do more coats next time for some serious sparkle!
I also love the effect it gives over pale/nude polish, as shown by Louise here.

What do you think? Are you a glitter girl?!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Making Memories...07/02/12

It's amazing how much photographs, notes and the little things in life can mean the most...

This is Lee's dog Holly. She's the most human-like dog I have ever met.
I wish I could clone her!

My sister Nic - nickname: Dory (like from Finding Nemo. She's a bit scatty).
She is the funniest/craziest person in the world and i'm so proud of her as my sister.

The love/bain of my life - Tanya. Also known as Little Miss Bossy!

Lee (the real love of my life).
Look's a bit 'gangsta' here (maybe because we had just finished watching Harry Brown), but he's lovely really! :)

Found this cheesy wee note from my Mum in my 'happy box' (a place I keep little bits of sentimental value, like cinema tickets, notes and so on) - it made me smile.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Review: Superdrug Simply Pure Eye Make-up Remover

I've come to realise I have a bit of a 'grass is always greener' attitude when it comes to beauty products: i've yet to find my 'holy grail' items (although I think I may have found it in terms of foundation - review to come!) and so whenever i'm using a product that doesn't instantly amaze me or stand out, I automatically start thinking of the next product/brand I can move on to.

Sometimes, however once i've used a product up and I have indeed moved on to something else, I realise that, in comparison, it was actually quite good and I would buy it again.

The Bioderma cleansing water was one such product, as is the subject of this review:

At £2.59 for 150ml, it is part of the Simply Pure range at Superdrug, which was launched in June 2010 and created specifically for the special needs of sensitive skins - with terrific 'free from' properties to boot.
The range also includes 2 facial moisturisers/creams, a face wash, scrub, face mask, cleanser and toner.

The 'pure' idea covers all aspects of the brand, given that Superdrug own brand products carry the BUAV leaping bunny symbol, and hence are suitable for use by vegetarians/vegans.

The product comes in a simple screw-top (recyleable) bottle, and to dispense you simply unscrew the lid, and 'slosh' it onto a cotton wool pad.

I then place each cotton pad over each eye for about 20 seconds, then gently wipe away.
As you would expect from a product designed specially for sensitive skin, it is very gentle on the eyes and does not irritate them, nor is it greasy and/or constrictive (in terms of tightness on the skin).

Similarly to the Bioderma cleansing water, I find that I have to go over my eyes a couple of times in order to remove all my eyemake up (and thus avoid the panda look the next morning), but as it is a gentle product I don't mind - and i'm still impressed how well it removes my everyday eye make-up (concealer, eye primer,  3 different eyeshadow shades - on average - liquid eyeliner, mascara and leftover duo eyelash glue!)

So thumbs up from me - you can't beat a product that not only works well but you can use guilt free knowing that some little rabbit somewhere wasn't tested on in the process!

i'll definitely be picking up another bottle next time i'm in Superdrug.

Have you tried any of the Superdrug Simply Pure range?

Friday, 3 February 2012

50 Subscriber Giveaway Winner!

Hello girls

thank you so much for the entries I have had for my 50 Subscriber Giveaway - i've also gained a few followers through it, so hello to you!

Sadly my Mum wasn't available to help me choose the winner, therefore I enlisted the help of (the idea being that every comment/entry was numbered and totalled then entered into the number generator below) and i'm very pleased to annouce that the winner is...

Congratulations my lovely lady, i'll be in contact soon for all your details.

Thanks again everyone

Melanie x