Sunday, 26 May 2013

The Body Shop Buys!

Shopping again, I hear you cry - I just can't help myself, especially when there's a bargain to be had. Fee from Makeup Savvy had tweeted about The Body Shop doing a 40% off offer last weekend (sadly finished now, although they are currently doing a £10 off when you spend £30 with the code 'New30') and, you know, I just had to take a look...

Camomile Gentle Eye Make-Up Remover, RRP £8.00, sale price £4.80 - I am currently half way through my first bottle of this and really like it, so decided to buy a back up bottle!

Born Lippy Pot Lip Balm in Guava RRP £2.00, Sale price £1.20 - I'm a bit of a lip balm/lip gloss addict, so any product that moisturises and glosses your lips (and costs less than a magazine!) is a winner to me!

Rainforest Shine Shampoo RRP £4.50 (for 250ml - 400ml is available) sale price £2.70 - It's quite difficult to find a reasonably priced scalp-friendly (i.e. no sulphates, parabens etc) shampoo, so I was rather excited to find this one.

Banana conditioner RRP £4.50, sale price £2.70 - Fee had bought this as part of her llittle haul and I had read good things about it online, so into my (virtual) basket it went. I would have bought the accompanying shampoo but it contains SLS, which i'm trying to avoid where possible.

Rainforest Moisture Hair Butter, RRP £3.00 (for 50ml - 200ml is available) sale price £1.80 - another paraben/silicon free product, and one which i'm hoping will inject some much needed moisture and repair into my frazzled locks!

Grapeseed Glossing Serum, RRP £7.00 sale price £4.20 - Aside from the obvious shampoo and conditioner, i'm not much of a hair product user, but I thought I could use this as a 'finishing' product after blow drying/straightening my hair to help smooth and tame it - it can go a tad 'fluffy puppy!'

Leona Lewis White Musk Libertine EDP Limited Edition RRP £13.00 Sale Price £7.80 - I took a bit of a gamble with this one ordering it online without smelling it first, but I LOVE the bottle design, and the reviews were very positive so I took the chance! It's a rather small bottle at 30ml but I'm not complaining for the price I got it at for an EDP.

Did you manage to get anything in the 40% off sale?

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Review: Lush Love Lettuce Face Mask

Another day, another blogpost, another 'Lush Lesson' (...hey, maybe I should make that a series title?!)

This time it's the turn of the Love Lettuce Fresh Face Mask, which I picked up in exchange for 5 empty Lush pots (for those newer to Lush, for every 5 empty tubs you take back, you get one free face mask - their version of 'Back to MAC', if you will!) but you can buy for £5.95 for 75g.
I didn't go in with intent to buy this particular mask - I plan on working my way through every one on offer just to say i've tried them all! - but the lovely girl in the Braehead store recommended it to me when I described my generally normal-but-occasionally-oily-and-a-bit temperamental skin to her (does that make my skin combination?). 

The Lush website describes this mask as a seaweed gel with exfoliating particles through it. Ideal for those who want to clear away dead skin and brighten the face, whilst also gently treating it to softening ingredients.

Luckily I don't tend to judge a book by it's cover, as on first impressions, Love Lettuce is a bit of an ugly duckling, what with the lumpy green texture, herbal smell and somewhat bland name (when I think of exciting, Lettuce does not spring to mind first!). 
The 75g tub is also incredibly deceptive. I always think with these 'wee' tubs that I could get one, two or maybe 3 face mask applications out of them at a push, but i've had at least 4 decently-slathered face masks out of it yet - having one mask every week or so - and still have enough for another one or two - talk about a tardis tub!

Normally I would be very chuffed with this, but as a fresh face mask (and no preservatives) it has a use-by date that (as the term suggests) you are meant to use it up by. Heed this warning, or your product will end up like photo number four, with MOULD! I have previously tried the Ayesha Face Mask and didn't experience any 'growth' then, so opening my pot the other day to be faced with fuzzy blobs was a bit of a shock! Despite being very tempted to chuck the product out there and then, I simply scooped out any dodgy bits and found the rest of the mask to be fully functional, as it were. Bit of penicillin never did anyone any harm, as my dad says...!

But fuzzy bits aside, this mask spreads really easily onto dry skin - a little goes a long way, to cite a very cliched phrase - and is lovely and cooling on the skin. As with most masks it tightens/solidifies after about 10 minutes to a fairly hard paste, and I find it easiest to remove with a flannel soaked in warm water. Removing it in this method might be too much if you have particularly sensitive skin, given that it is a very exfoliating mask to begin with (containing almond shells), so massaging off with just warm water might be a gentler solution - i'm just too impatient! I would also recommend finishing up with a gentle toner (I use rose water) afterwards to ensure all traces of mask are removed.

A number of herbal-based scents are released on removal of the mask (i've not got a very good nose for scents, but I swear I could smell some sort of mint!) , adding a little aromatherapy aspect to the process, but these don't linger once the mask is washed off. 

My skin always feels incredibly refreshed after using this mask and there is a definite 'glowy' after effect, as well a 'lifting'/toning of the skin (albeit a temporary one). The exfoliating almond particles help clean deep down (those annoying 'bumpy' bits I get on my nose are removed) and smooth out the skin to provide an ideal canvas for moisturiser.

I would definitely recommend this if your skin needs a bit of a pick me up/revival, and will definitely consider picking up another pot next time i've got 5 empties to trade in.

Do you recommend any of the other Lush face masks?  Or have you tried Love Lettuce too? 
Let me know what your thoughts are.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Conscious Cleaning?

'Cleaning? That's not very beauty related!' I hear you cry, but before you go to close this page, I urge you to read on - please!

As I have mentioned many times before, i'm on a mission to become cruelty free in every aspect of my life - and this includes the products I use in my home, not just the food I eat, the clothes/shoes I wear, the beauty/skincare products I use, and so on. 

Cleaning products - such as toilet cleaners, washing powders etc - can have a horrendous environmental/aquatic impact due to the chemicals they contain and also the packaging they come in. Detergents are now all biodegradable, though some may break down quicker than others, and still may contain many other harmful chemicals. Phosphates can cause eutrophication (process where water bodies receive excess nutrients that stimulate excessive plant growth), upsetting the balance of nutrients in rivers and streams, while many products also contain enzymes, bleaches, brighteners and perfumes. People with sensitive skin or allergies many also find these substances may aggravate their condition.

Cruelty free and environmentally cleaning/washing/kitchen etc products are surprisingly hard to come by in the big supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda, and as you'll see I had to visit several different stores in order to compile the products shown below. 
The only stores I couldn't get to were Sainsbury's, whose own-brand products were awarded the Leaping Bunny Logo in 2011, and as such as certified free from animal testing, and The Co-Op (less widely available in Scotland that in England - well, certainly in my area!) are likewise certified - big Brucie bonus points to them!

But - to cut a long story short - I wanted to show what products are currently available when you look for them...

Asda Eco Friendly Double Concentrated Liquid Wash, 735ml £3.30 - The Asda Eco-Friendly range contains 6 other products (bathroom cleaner, toilet cleaner, fabric conditioner, kitchen & hob cleaner, multi surface spray and washing powder), all of which contain biodegradable ingredients sourced from plant-based materials and readily renewable sources to be kinder to the environment. They do not contain petrochemical based ingredients, artificial colours or preservatives, and have a 100% natural fragrance.

Ecover Fabric Conditioner 750ml £2.00  / Toilet Cleaner 750ml £1.69 / Washing up Liquid 1L £2.25  *on offer in Tesco until TOMORROW (21/05/13)! * - Ecover is a belgium-based company that manufactures ecologically sound cleaning products (made from plant based and mineral ingredients) and is part of the Ecover group; a global organisation with a strong sustainability track. Aquaver and The Change Initiative are also part of this group. They are one of the most widely-available (in terms of supermaket availability etc) eco-friendly brands out there - as well as online, I found them stocked at Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Wilkinsons in my town. 

Astonish Multisurface Cleaner With Bleach / Antibacterial Cleanser / Mould & Mildue Remover / Window & Glass Cleaner, all 99p! - I have Karris to thank for putting me on to these little gems: she put a picture of them on her instagram saying how they are BUAV approved, and I was on the internet finding out where they were stocked faster then you can say 'Bunnies!'. 
I was really pleased to find out they are stocked at a really wide range of places (many of which are in my town, hurrah), including B&M (where I got mine), Home Bargains, Poundland, Savers and Wilkinson. Their website actually contains a really useful little grid that shows you what stores stock what products - in case you do what I did and rock up to a place (Wilkinsons) and find they only stock stainless steel cleaner! 
But that's not the best bit: I expected the price of these products to be on par with the other environmentally friendly/cruelty free products (i.e. a teeny bit more expensive than other brands), and so couldn't believe it when all of the products above were only 99p! All of the products are environmentally friendly, with the company focusing on minimizing their environmental impact and has  an ongoing commitment to running an efficient, environmentally friendly operation, as demonstrated by their ISO 9001 and 14001accreditations.

Wilkinson Eco Baby Wipes £1.80 - Most baby wipes take several hundred years to break down, and considering the total number of wipes used over a baby's life has been estimated at 5000, that's a lot of landfill (especially when it isn't even taking into account wipes used for makeup remover, bathroom wipes and so on). These wipes are 100% biodegradable, enriched with organic chamomile and aloe extracts and are free from fragrance and any nasty parabens/chemicals. They aren't the thickest of wipes, but they are incredibly moist, and are ideal for everyday useage - I think 70 wipes for less than £2 is a bargain, especially when they're earth friendly.

As well as the above, which are excellent examples of environmentally/animal friendly products, you could make your own, and you are then guaranteed of their origin and cruelty free status, as well as being very economical. 
Vinegar has long been touted as the perfect multi-use product - there are several websites dedicated to it, including The Vinegar Institute!
I would also point you in the direct of A Thrifty Mrs blog, which has it's own 'how-to' section on Cleaning and House Work, where you can learn everything from how to clean with bicarbonate of soda, to how to make your own multi-surface spray!

Do you have any environmentally/animal friendly products you would recommend? Or maybe you're like A Thrifty Mrs and make your own? 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Braehead Haul

 I realise looking at the past few posts and YouTube videos that I've put up it looks like all i've done is shop, but that really isn't the case! 

I have a bad habit of buying stuff over a period of time and keeping it in bags but never getting round to doing posts of videos till weeks later (this one is a prime example: we were at Braehead about 4 weeks ago!) - but better late than never, eh? 
(FYI for anyone not from Scotland: Braehead is a shopping centre in Glagow).


How Cute is this little guy? He's a doorstop and was on sale down to about £3 - I couldn't leave him!

(Excuse the horrendous wrinkles - I told you i'd kept the stuff in bags!) This 'boyfriend t-shirt' is just perfect - soft cotton, slightly oversized with turned up sleeves and sits just perfectly, making it ideal to dress up (under a blazer for example) or down with jeans. It was about £6.

This longer-length pencil skirt is ideal for my work, as it looks really smart whilst still being really comfortable due to the stretchy cotton material. And it only cost £8 - I wish I'd bought other colours!

My quest for a smart/casual black blazer is finally over - hallelujah! I'm very particular when it comes to my blazers: I like shoulder pads, NO buttons, slightly longer I was very pleased when I found this little number which ticked all the boxes and only cost £22!

Ok admittedly I have no idea when I'm going to wear/use these headphones, but, being the mapgie I am, I couldn't leave them in all their pink, glittery, tacky glory, and so they were in my basket before I knew it! They cost £7 so I didn't exactly break the bank even if I don't use them...


I originally went in to Boots just to pick up the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush (£9.95), but then noticed there was a 3 for 2 offer on, and so picked up these 2 Sinful Colors nail polishes (£1.99 each).

The Body Shop

Talking of 3 for 2 deals, The Body shop also had such an offer on, but I actually found I struggled what two other products to buy as I had only went in specifically for the Camomile Eye Makeup Remover.  I eventually opted for the BB Cream (£12) and Tea Tree Pore Minimiser (£7.50) as I'd heard Corrie from DizzyBrunette3 talk about them.


Lush is, without a doubt, one of my most favourite shops in the whole world (well, Britain. Cause i've not been round the whole world!). I had saved up 5 pots to take back in exchange for a face mask (hence the Love Lettace), but being the sucker I am, I also came out with the soft coeur massage bar (£4.75) and two small trial/travel shampoos: I Love Juicy (£4.95) and Cyntha Silvia Stout (£4.40).

Monday, 13 May 2013

Recent Favourites

I haven't written a 'favourites' post in some time, largely because I didn't want to put up a monthly post just for the sake of it, where the things I mentioned I didn't particularly like or hadn't used for any great length of time.

Therefore, the (admittedly somewhat random) items in this post are those that I genuinely like and have been using/reading/watching...

  • Silicon oven glove - my version of the Sigma Brush Cleaning Glove, this cost me less than £3 from Ebay, compared to the $39 that Sigma are asking for theirs! Despite not having the different ridged 'areas' that the Sigma glove has, this definitely does the job in making brush cleaning quicker and more efficient - not to mention saving my hands from turning into a pruney mess!
  • Quinoa - in a bid to eat more healthily, I have been eating this instead of bread/pasta/rice as it is pure protein, rather than a carbohydrate. When cooked it's not too dissimilar to rice (and as such needs some sort of sauce or seasoning to give it flavour) and i'm really enjoying it.
  • The Night Circus - one of the most magical books I have ever read. I'm only halfway through it so far, but, as the saying goes, it's all about the journey rather than the destination, and i'm loving it so far!
  • The Body Shop Camomile eye makeup remover - a product I am going to review very soon, I have really been loving this - mild on the eyes yet ultra-effective, what else could you ask for?!
  • Dr Bronner's Peppermint Liquid Soap - I have been using this in place of shower gel, as I have psoriasis and am trying to avoid any unnecesscary chemicals on my skin. I was really surprised how well this soaps up without the 'usual' foaming agents, and I only need to use a little at time. It's multipurpose too.
  • Rose Water - Again to go back to using natural products on my skin, I have been using this as a skin 'refresher' every morning before moisturiser. It adds just the right amount of moisture to my skin and 'cleans' it more than just splashing water on it would.
  • George Shimmer Me! Shimmer Brick - I 'shopped my stash' for this one, and right now I can't think why I ever put it away! You can read my original full review here, but in a nutshell it is a very obvious dupe for the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks, but is actually nicer in my opinion! It just adds the most beautiful peachy glow to my skin without big chunks of glitter - and it only costs about £6!
  • 'Extreme Couponing' on TLC - There are no words. If you have access to the TLC channel (on Sky etc), then get it watched. These people manage to get supermarket shops worth hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of dollars down to pennies using coupons. It's simply unbelievable and i'm addicted now!
  • Le Floof TV - The ultimate vlog channel on YouTube without a doubt - many of you (if not most) will know of Jonathan and Anna Saccone-Joly and their gorgeous little baby Emila (as well as their 6 maltese dogs!). They upload vlogs every single day at 6pm (GMT) which are genuinely funny, and I can't say i've been watching anyone else as much recently!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Edinburgh Zoo

Because sometimes it's nice just to look at photos!

Lee and I went to Edinburgh Zoo a couple of weeks ago, and had the best time. Lee also managed to get some amazing photos too with his DSLR - the photos I took on my iPhone didn't quite compare!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Review: Bourjois Volume Clubbing Black Jack Mascara

Mascara. It's a bit of a minefield out there, and a confusing one at that. Do you want black, brown, coloured, volumising, lengthening, defining, waterproof...the list goes on! 

I for one have yet to find the 'perfect' (or, to coin a classic blogger phrase: the Holy Grail) mascara - it's very much a trial by error process!

My search is narrowed somewhat in that makeup I now buy has to be cruelty free, which cuts out many  highstreet brands that are known for their mascaras in particular (such as Maybelline or Rimmel), so when it came to looking for a new mascara this time around, I turned to Bourjois. 

Black Jack is a revised version of their classic Volume Clubbing mascara, with the original formula enriched with teeny tiny gold particles intended to add extra sparkle to your lashes. With the glitzy gold packaging it's the Essex of the mascara world!

As you can see from the photo above, the mascara wand is rather MASSIVE, and pretty chunky, but is packed with soft bristles which certainly help coat every eyelash with the intense black formula, quickly and easily. 

Said formula is pretty no-nonsense: it doesn't pretend to curl or define/seperate your lashes, but it certainly helps to bulk them out, and as such because it is so volumising it can become slightly clumpy if you don't comb through afterwards.

That being said, I haven't found it to flake off at all, as can be the case with volumising mascaras, and find it has generally good staying power - possibly because it is a tad more 'drier' formulation. 
It's also easy to remove at the end of the day (or night at the casino), which is always a bonus!

I can't say I noticed the gold flecks on the mascara wand nor on my lashes at all - indeed the only time they are noticeable is on a cotton wool pad!

You can find Black Jack at most Superdrug and Boots stores for an RRP of £7.99.

Go on, take a gamble on this one!