Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The high street secret to long wearing makeup | L'Oreal Infallible Primer



I didn't set out to buy this, but I'm a sucker for a 3 for 2 and I was a product short. Given that I had squeezed the last tiny bits of life from my tube of Porefessional, there was a primer shaped hole in my makeup bag and so it made sense to grab one.

I haven't bought anything from the Infallible range before, but I picked this up after some initial swatching at the beauty counter showed that it outperformed its competitors.

The L'Oreal Infallible Mattifying Primer is the brands first priming base that one in the form of a gel. And what are its claims? It's designed to minimise pores and imperfections, while its mattifying properties reduces shine. 

I much prefer primers that give a matte effect; I've tried illuminating primers in the past and while they do brighten the skin, they can also make your face look greasy. 

The L'Oreal primer is super smooth, and just glided onto my skin. It has a really handy nozzle, making it easy to squeeze out the right amount and not overuse. The clear gel blended into my skin well, and I only used about a pea sized amount to cover my problem areas. You're advised that less is more, and I think that's certainly the case. 

To my delight my skin wasn't greasy, but smooth and the primer felt really light on my skin. I had a good even base for my foundation, ultimately improving its coverage and specifically making my pores much less glaringly obvious.

Since using the primer, my makeup has worn much better throughout the day. I have a midday test; if by the time I look in the mirror on my lunch break it looks like it was a waste of time bothering to get up early cos my makeup has all but disappeared - we're on to a loser. It wasn't the case for this product though. My current foundation lasts pretty well anyway, but the primer definitely helped to prolong it that bit more.

What was most impressive about this primer was how it compares to high end products. I've been a big fan of Benefit's Porefessional for some time now, but this one is the perfect high street equivalent. It removes even the hint of a greasy T Zone, reducing the need for powder. 

The L'Oreal Infallible Primer retails at £7.99, which I think is very reasonable considering how well it performs against its higher end counterparts. It's a winning formula, and you really don't need to use too much. Its clear packaging is also a bonus, as you can see how much you have left. That said, I've been using it daily for the last couple of weeks, and I haven't noticed it depleting at all. 

So would I buy it again? Definitely. Not only that, but I've been so impressed with it that I would also buy the Infallible Foundation. If the primer is this good, the foundation must be pretty great too.

Have you tried the Infallible range? Let me know how you rate them and if you've tried the foundation in the comments below.

SHARE:

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

THEN AND NOW: THE EVOLUTION OF A MAKEUP COLLECTION, FROM TEENS TO TWENTIES

Remember your teenage makeup bag? Well recently I got to thinking about mine and how, in the 10 or so years (sobs heavily!) since I first started experimenting with cosmetics, it has undergone nothing short of a dramatic transformation. Think ‘Extreme Makeover: Beauty Collection Edition.’

I was inspired to do a little ‘Then and Now’ post, in part by a snapchat story from Em Ford over at My Pale Skin Blog. While scanning the makeup aisles, she paused on a Maybelline foundation. THAT Maybelline foundation, which I had long long forgotten, had once stood pride of place on my dressing table – and it wasn't the only thing that a greater product knowledge (and disposable income) has led me to wave goodbye to.

Foundation and Concealer
No doubt to my skin’s delight, I was late to discover the perks of foundation. While these days I opt for a liquid base, back then I was more interested in mousses and 3 in 1 wonders.

Then…
Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse
The clue being in the name, this mousse foundation was silky smooth to touch. When it came to blending it across the face however, despite being a reasonably thick formula it was a bit of a nightmare to apply with brush or sponge and I never found that it lasted me very long. It definitely gave me a matte finish, but it was a bit on a patchy side.
Photo source: Boots.com

Collection (2000) 3 in 1 Compact Foundation
A quick scout of the internet leads me to believe that this product is no longer made in its former guise – but back in the day, I assure you I thought it was the coolest thing ever. A powder based product, if I remember correctly, the idea of this was to wet a sponge before dabbing in the powder to get foundation and concealer, and then finish off by applying the powder with a dry sponge or brush to get a dry matte finish.
Though it had a real space saving design, which admittedly made it super easy to reapply at school lunch breaks, this product got a thumbs down. It did need re-application, and getting all three of these products for under a tenner in a handy set was always going to be too good to be true.

Now…
I’ve bought a couple of foundations this year I have been really impressed with, namely MAC’s Studio Fix and Boots No7 Stay Perfect. I now prep my skin with a good primer, and coupling my foundation with concealers such as Benefit’s Bo-Ing means I have a lasting face base I can rely on. Bingo!



Strobing, contouring, blushing and bronzing also now feature in my makeup routine, and alas, my complexion is far less ghostly!





Mascara

Then…
When I first started using mascara, I generally stuck to the brown ones which I thought would be better suited to my super light colouring. Given that my eyelashes are pretty light, I soon moved onto black and waterproof versions realising these were what was really going to make my eyes POP!
Photo source:Boots.com

Back then I tended to stay loyal to Rimmel; I loved their Super Lash Mascara and to this day it’s still an old faithful, and a snip at under £6. I never got on with those ginormous brushes that claimed to create incredible curves, so this (and the now discontinued original Glam Eyes) was always a great choice for me.

The worst mascara I have ever used was undoubtedly the Loreal Telescopic Explosion. I was completely drawn in by the glossy Eva Longoria adverts, that I saved for this one only to find it was a complete and utter disaster product that left my lashes with either big clumps of mascara – or none at all.

Now…
Super Lash still has a special place in my makeup bag, alongside Benefit's fantastic Roller Lash. The 'Hook and Roll' brush is just what my lashes have been looking for, as it coats well and leaves them a little curled. A real victory for the girl with super straight eyelashes! 



Lipstick and Glosses

Then...
Remember those lip glosses which had a little rollerball in the top? I used to apply a (too) generous amount and admire how on point my pout was.

I wasn't one for lipsticks, and am pleased to say that I was never one for the vile candy floss pink lipstick which seemed to be favoured by most other girls in my school. Nah...

Now...
This year, I bought 'Velvet Teddy' - my first ever MAC lipstick. Sadly, this little indulgence started a mini obsession and I have since bought another 5 lipsticks, 4 lipglasses, and my wish list is forever growing. Thank goodness for Christmas. 



These days, I also appreciate the true benefit of tactically applied lip liner (thank you Kylie Jenner), and my go to look is no longer excessively applied lip gloss. 


While the products in my collection have changed over the years and I have developed a cosmetics hoarding problem, it's also worth mentioning that my makeup bag has also evolved to be about three times the size of what it once was. And understandably as a result, the days of getting your makeup done in five minutes is long gone. In fact, in that time I've barely even chosen the eyeshadow shades to use in my Urban Decay palette.

And so rounds up my little blast from the past! Have you got any products from your teenage makeup bag which you still love or now loathe? I'd love to hear about the evolution of your cosmetics collection in the comments below.





SHARE:

Monday, October 19, 2015

#PartyPolished Nail Bloggers Competition - Barry M and Bon Prix

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from the guys at Bon Prix asking if I'd like to take part in a nail art competition in association with Barry M.

Readers of my blog and followers of my Instagram will know by now that I am a big Barry M fan, and my collection of their nail polishes extends to the hundreds. Obviously, it was a nobrainer to take part.

The brief was simple; create a nail art design using one of six Bon Prix as inspiration. The winner of the competition would receive a £50 Bon Prix voucher as well as £47 worth of Barry M goodies. Completely disregarding where I would actually house any 'goodies', I started studying the dresses and coming up with an appropriate design.

I chose the 'Luxe Sequin Shift Dress'(below). It's a black dress (though it does also come in red), and features turquoise sequin flowers all over. A great sparkly number for the festive season!



I created my design using some of the Barry M products below;


I actually created two designs; the first was a gothy style with turquoise accents but at the last minute I decided I didn't like it - so did something else.

For my design I used Aqua Glitter, Guava, Teal, the silver nail art pen and of course my clear topcoat. I chose the real colour base as I thought it would really pick out the flowers in the dress. 

Guava is one of my favourite shades from the Gelly range so that was used as a base, with the Teal and glitter used on one side. I liked that this was slightly more subtle than a completely glittery nail - and you can't go wrong with a bit of everything! There are some silver sequin flecks on the dress, so I tried to pick this out with some silver dots to highlight the divide between the two polishes on the nail. 

And here's the final product!



What do you think? If you've created a look for the #partypolished competition, drop me a link to your design in the comments below.

If you are a nail art enthusiast and would like to enter the competition, you can do so here;

SHARE:

Sunday, October 11, 2015

GET GLOSSY LOCKS WITH AUSSIE HAIRCARE

I've always been a big fan of Aussie hair care products, and just recently I've been using two products which have left my locks in such luscious condition that I thought it would be unfair not to share them with you. I've been using Loreal Paris Elvive range I've been for a while now, and although I have absolutely no complaints there, I do like to switch my products up a little every now and then and Aussie is a brand I always come back to.



I am quite luckily to have generally quite glossy hair, but I like to maintain its condition with the Miracle Shine collection;

Aussie Miracle Shine Shampoo

Formulated with Australian Ginseng extract, which boosts energy, and Pearl Powder, this shampoo is made to revitalise. It lifts dull and limp hair, leaving it glossy and silky smooth.
I squirt a just bigger than ten pence piece sized amount into my hand and rub it through my hair before washing it out. The shampoo has a fantastic scent and lathers up quickly, so you only need a small amount to cover your head. This coming from a girl in dire need of a trim, whose hair is set to rival Rapunzel's soon.

Aussie Miracle Recharge Leave-in Conditioning Shine Spray

Fresh from the shower, I towel dry my hair and spritz in some of this fab spray. I use this frivolously, all over my hair rather than just on the ends. Aussie advises that you comb it through and then, I quote ' read, whistle, dance... anything, as long as you don't rinse it out!'
I comb it through my hair, and then blow dry as normal. This contains the same Ginseng in the shampoo, and with an added beauty vitamin called Panthenol which is supposed to 'rekindle hair's spark'. It also enhances the fabulous scent of the shampoo also.

Having used both products for over a week now, I can honestly say it has left my locks looking radiant - and that's not just me being biased!




The shampoo comes in at £5.99 and the conditioner is £4.69, though if you shop around there are usually some offers if you buy two products together.It's certainly worth the money in my opinion!


SHARE:

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Why You Need To Quit Fretting Over That 'Fitness Rut'

You’ve come in from a long Monday in the office, taken one look at your trainers and realised that your motivation levels have plateaued and any good intentions to go to the gym that evening appear to have all but completely disappeared throughout the day.



Know what you can do? Stop feeling bad about it for a start.


Recently, I've found myself in a bit of a 'fitness rut'. Its a real thing; even Womens Health are talking about it. Sometimes life just gets a bit in the way, and that meticulously planned workout regime goes shooting out the window...

Moved house? 'Oh well, lifting all these boxes has been enough hard work for today, I think it's time I just relax on my freshly delivered new sofa'
Holidays over? 'Well the bikini is back safely in the draw. Who needs sit ups?'
Just had a birthday? 'Birthday cake calories don't count = no reason to sweat them off' 

It's so easy to get out of the routine, to stop making time - and to make up those elaborate excuses as to why you're not making time. Even if my examples above are just a little far fetched, you get the idea.



Whatever your reasons the chances are, you are probably going to feel a little bad about it. Social media is saturated with people sharing gym tweets, progress pictures and general six pack selfies that might just leave you feeling a little guilty. And, well, they shouldn't.

Something I have recently discovered is that you should go at your own pace - and focusing on how far you've come - rather than how far there is to go - can ultimately  spur you on and make you realise just how well you've done. 

When I first started exercising, I couldn't run for three minutes without stopping and now I can do more than three miles. A few years ago, I wouldn't even attend a gym class because I was nervous people would laugh at my lack of fitness - now I'm always scoping out new ones I might enjoy. 

The key is to take it all in your own time. Having spent a good few weeks dragging myself to the gym, and barely staying long enough that my car parking was even worth it, I decided that it was time to take a break. To get back into exercising again when I was ready - when it's fun again not forced, and you aren't staring at your watch willing the time to go faster. 

For me, that 'ready' point came last week. One spin class quickly turned into two and followed by a Body Balance session (a yoga/pilates/tai chai combo), I feel like I am firmly getting back into the swing of things. I'm no longer closing my mind up to the idea of good workout and the result is that I am benefiting soooo much more from it.  



My fitness levels are not quite back at the level they were a few months ago (but hey, consistent exercise should improve it in no time), and after the three classes in four days I may be aching in all kinds of places, but all in all the good news is that my fitness mojo came back - and I am really happy to see it!



SHARE:

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Makeup Revolution Ultra Base Corrector Review


I've seen fellow bloggers raving about Makeup Revolution for some time now, and a few weeks ago I though it was high time for me to try their products out for myself so I purchased the Ultra Base Corrector Palette.

When corrector palettes first came on the scene, I was a little underwhelmed and really did question how dramatically they could improve the look of your makeup. As a result, I started small by purchasing one of the Max Factor Colour Correctors. I picked up the one in yellow, specifically for use on under eye bags and I was reasonably pleased with it. If I'm honest, I forgot all about colour correction until the Makeup Revolution one dropped.



The palette contains 8 different shades, and at just £6, I thought it was an absolute steal. When I got it home, I was hoping there would be some kind of instruction for a novice like me about what shades to use where, although sadly there wasn't. That said, it didn't take too long to scour the internet for some - and then I was away!

The Makeup Revolution website lists the colour properties as below;

Pink - Brightens
Lavender - Neutralises yellow tones
Green - Neutralises redness
Orange - Neutralises blue tones
Peach - Helps to balance out slight discolouration
White - Adds natural highlight and brightens
Cream - Neutralises purple and covers dark areas
Brown - Balances ashiness in medium to dark skin tones






For my skin, the green, cream and pink are definitely proving to be the ones I reach for the most.

I tried out the green first, applying it to my chin, nose, and a little on my forehead. The texture of the correctors are really creamy and it's so easy to apply more than you need. My recommendation is to add a little and then work up if you need to. On my first attempt I totally overdid it and even with my normal makeup on top, I definitely had a look of Casper about me.

Provided you take note of the guidance above, the correctors are really easy to blend and I was really surprised how quickly I saw a difference when I was applying it. The green shade has proved invaluable when I've suffered a breakout, and I might even go so far as to say that the cream shade for under eye bags is actually better than my Max Factor Colour Corrector (£8.99). Who says paying that bit extra means you get the better product, hey?



I don't have a use for every colour in the palette, but at this price, I don't need to. I love that I have a bank of corrector shades just waiting if I'm struggling in a particular area on a given day. If I had to pick a flaw? The white highlighting shade is a little much for me; its actually more of a super shiny intergalactic silvery shimmer and I seemed to find it a little harder to blend than the others.

So, would I purchase this again? Definitely. Although, given how much I have used this already and how few signs of wear it is showing, I can't imagine I will need to be grabbing another one for some time.

After trying this, I will also certainly be grabbing some more Makeup Revolution goodies. It's incredible to find such great quality in a product so much cheaper than it's competitors, and I'm excited to check out more of their items in the future.



Got a favourite from Makeup Rev you think I should be using? Drop me a comment below!


SHARE:

Monday, September 07, 2015

Doughnut Milkshake Delights!

My boyfriend is better than yours. I arrived back from work a few weeks ago, only to be ushered out of my kitchen while The Boy informed me that he was going to be whipping up me up a little pre-birthday treat.

If you're an active user of well, any social media, you likely witnessed people going a little bit crazy over a crazy new Nutella doughnut milkshake combo.

While I like a bar of Galaxy as much as the next girl, chocoloate flavoured things aren't exactly my favourite thing. And, my lovely boyfriend took this into account when he created this healthier (marginally), fruity alternative.

The great thing about these little milkshakes is that they are really super easy to make! And they are quick too - my boyfriend had done them within 10 mins (though this definitely didn't include the clean up!)



1. In a blender, add around 3 scoops of ice cream. It's really up to you what ice cream you choose, but ours was made just using simple vanilla. 

2. With this, add around 150ml of milk (though this will depend on the size of your receptacle). Generally, the consistency should be quite thick. 

3. Hold the jar at a 45 degree angle and squirt the strawberry sauce around the rim, as you turn it.

4. Add the blended mixture.

5. Push the doughnut onto the top, and decorate with fruit around the top of the jar. They work best with jam doughnuts, although on this occasion we used rings.

6. Put a straw through the doughnut into the mixture.

7. ENJOY!


If you missed the original, check it out below. Personally, I think the strawberry variation is FAR better!

People are losing their minds over these Nutella doughnut milkshakes
Photo credit: BreakfastinSydney/Instagram

Have you tried a doughnutty milkshake? If not, give it a go and let me know what you think in the comments below. Happy drinking!

SHARE:

Monday, August 31, 2015

DATE NIGHT | Las Iguanas, Gunwharf Quays

I went to Las Iguana for the first time a little while ago, and I was so impressed with the food (and drinks - who can resist 241 happy hour?), that I really wanted to go back. When I received an email saying I could claim a free main meal for my birthday, and with The Boy and I due to spend a week while he heads off on holiday, it seemed like the perfect excuse to spend some quality time with each other. Hey, it pays to sign up to newsletters!



We put on our glad rags and headed over to our local Las Igaunas in Gunwharf Quays. We were seated straight away at a quaint little table for two, and got straight to the menus.

Our waitress came over quickly to take our orders, and arrived back with our drinks in no time. When we realised that the syrup seemed to have gone in the lemonade - with a hefty amount of packing ahead of us, we went alcoholic free - they were only too happy to switch it and were full of apologies.



On my first trip, I absolutely loved the calamari they had on offer - so it was a no brainer for me to choose the cayenne and cassava crumb Calamares for my starter (£5.70). As it was my boyfriend's first time, he needed a little time to deliberate but eventually settled on the Pato Taquito (£5.70), which comprised of little tortillas filled with roasted duck and caramelised onions.



We both loved our starters and definitely thought they were the best part of the meal. My boyfriend has a bit of an aversion to fish, but I was raving about the calamari so much that even he gave some a try. And he was pleasantly surprised!

As we were dining on National Burger Day, it seemed like that was the obvious choice for our mains.

I went for the Classic (£10.90); chargrilled chicken breast with cararmelised onion in what appeared to be a brioche bun - and I added some emmental cheese for good measure. I chose to have it with fries, and as there was a wide selection of dips to choose from, I ordered some garlic chipotle sauce to go with it.
My burger was really delicious, and the addition of the caramelised onions really gave it a sweet little kick and I really liked their slightly rustic french fries. Our waitress said she'd had the chicken burger that day too - so it's obviously a popular choice!



The Boy was a little more adventurous with his main, selecting The South American Dream (£10.90). His exotically named burger was made up of a beef patty which had been lightly spiced, as well as coleslaw, lettuce, tomato, a touch of gherkin sauce and some chimicurri - a herby Argentinian sauce. It was slightly different to what he would normally go for when we are eating out, but I think the risk paid off as he demolished the whole thing. The Boy can be very specific about his coleslaw, but even he was full of praise for Las Iguana's version.

(Excuse the salt overload in the picture below - it came out a little fast, and I hadn't managed to snap away beforehand!)


We skipped dessert as we had lots to do back at home, but having eyed up the menu I will definitely be sampling the sweet treats when I pop in next. I have already tempted a couple friends with tails of the fantastic calamari and the fact they also have churros on offer - so I doubt I'll have too long to wait before returning.

All in all, we really rated Las Iguanas, While we loved the food, the service was impeccable too - and that just makes the evening twice as good. When we asked for the bill, the waitress came over apologising that our meal seemed to have completely disappeared from their system! She checked through everything that we had, even adding it all up in front of us and offering us to keep the list for our own reference. We are pretty trusting, but thought it was sweet nonetheless.

So, if you're looking for somewhere to dine this bank holiday which boasts top food and enthusiastic and super helpful staff (even when the restaurant is mega busy!), I'd definitely give this place a try. 
SHARE:

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Pantene Expert Collection Paltinia Hair Strengthening Primer Review*

When I arrived home from holiday a few weeks ago, I was thrilled to find I had received a little parcel from Boots. And it just so happens, that the product inside couldn't have arrived at a more opportune time!



A little while ago, I wrote a blog post about how I was working to get my hair in tip top condition prior to my jaunt abroad. Alas, my efforts were thwarted by chlorine and the extended dips in the pool left my locks feeling just a bit straw-like. I was lucky then, to have been sent the Pantene Expert Collection Paltinia Hair Strenghtening Primer.

While I'm more than familiar with face primers, hair primers are not something I had sampled before. Part of the Expert collection, the Pantene primer is formulated with caffeine, panthenol, niacinamide and pal-kt and design to strengthen not only the existing hair on your head - but your emergent hair too!

The directions on the box state that you should spray about 15 pumps into your roots, covering your scalp from ear line up. Don't make the mistake I did, and not realise that there's a cap over the end of the pump! It says that you can apply to wet or dry hair; I personally chose prefer to use it when my hair is wet, and then blow dry and style my hair as usual.

The first thing I noticed was that the primer has a really pleasant smell, and I was pleased that the formula wasn't sticky and blended well through the hair and dried normally. I've tried sprays before which have been quite oily, and left my hair still wet after thoroughly drying it! 



It is recommended that the product is used daily, but I've been using it every other day and still noticed a big difference. My hair gradually went from straw like to its normal silky condition, and it's really been thriving since! My hair definitely feels fuller, and perhaps a little bit thicker too. Generally, my hair feels better protected, and back to its best - if not a little better.

Another claim on the box, is that using the primer should result in you finding less hair loss on your hairbrush. This is a bit of an issue for me, and I do tend to moult just about everywhere. I do think that in using this, this has reduced a little bit. As I've only been using this for about a month, ideally I'd like to review it again in about 6 months time to note if there's been any considerable difference.

The Pantene Expert Paltinia Hair Strengthening Primer retails at £14.99 at Boots. Personally, it's a little bit more than I'd pay for this sort of product usually, but then I have been pleased with the results. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is struggling with damaged hair and in need of a little TLC.

*received as part of a Review Panel.


SHARE:

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Bourjois Radiance Reveal Healthy Mix Foundation Review

After seeing this foundation rated highly across blogs and vlogs alike, a little while ago I thought it was time I picked it up for myself to see what all the fuss was about!



The Bourjois Radiance Reveal Healthy Mix Foundation is formulated with a number of fruity ingredients to leave you with a flawless complexion. The combination of apple, melon and apricot is designed to leave skin looking youthful, hydrated and radiant. 

Unsurprisingly, the combination of these natural ingredients gave it a really delightful scent - which is obviously quite pleasant for something you're going to be rubbing all over your face! 

The foundation comes in 8 different shades, and as a true English rose, their lightest shade - aptly named 'Lightest Vanilla' - was the best fit for my skin tone. I'd describe it as having a medium coverage, which is easy to build up and the generally the formula blends very well. 

The packaging claims that the foundation is long lasting, and you can expect great coverage for up to 16 hours. Sadly for me, this was far from the truth. I experimented with using this on its own, with and without powder and with and without my favourite Benefit POREfessional - but generally found its longevity to be limited. 

While using a primer did make the foundation last a little better, it was marginal. After applying in the morning, come lunch time, the dewy coverage I'd relished earlier had all but disappeared.

Having nearly come to the end of my pot of this stuff, I can certainly say I've persevered. Unfortunately, it isn't one for me and won't be making it to my repurchase list.

The Healthy Mox Fiubdation retails for around £9.99 at Boots.
SHARE:

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Barry M Daylight Curing Collection Review

There is no denying that gel nails are all the rage right now. High street brands have been clambering to deliver products that can deliver the same long lasting finish at home, without the need for UV light or hefty salon price tag.

A few months ago, following their Gelly Hi Shine polishes, Barry M went one better to deliver their Daylight Curing collection of nail varnishes. Yes, it has taken me a long time to get a review of these out there, but I really wanted to give them a good test before I delivered my verdict. When I first picked these up, I also hadn't actually tried out real gel nails before either, so I thought I should probably give them a try too in order to make a better comparison.



The collection comprises of  the Sunset Daylight Curing top coat seven classic and versatile colours - a nude, some pastels and darker shades. The coloured polishes can be added directly to the nail, without the need for a base coat, and just two coats gives a really rich hue. The top coat can then be applied on the top, making the varnish more resilient as it bonds to the nail like a gel in daylight.

I've tried all of the colours, and if you follow me on Instagram, you'll probably have seen me rocking the different shades here. Here are the swatches of each of the colours below;


On average, I found that the polishes lasted a solid four days before I started to see a bit of wear to the tips of some of my nails. My nails tend to take a bit of a bashing, so I was actually really impressed that they were still largely intact more than a day after application. While, realistically, I imagine that all of the colours are formulated in the same way, I strangely found 'Can't Get You Out Of My Red' to be the most hard wearing. It stayed super shiny and really kept that 'just polished' look.

While they didn't have quite the longevity of the gel nails that I had done before I jetted off on holiday. at more than half the price I really don't think they are a bad alternative. This collection has been my go-to for my toe nails, as the finish stays impeccable for so long. I actually matched my gel manicure to 'Peach For The Stars' shade I already had on my toes, because I knew they were certain to last the duration of my break.

All in all, this is another great addition to the Barry M range. I am forever impressed by the new things that these guys bring out, and these were no exception. Each of the polishes come in at £4.99, although it is definitely worth keeping an eye open for some offers on these.





SHARE:

Monday, June 22, 2015

'I Do Declare It's Summer...' Part Three: The Skincare

For the third instalment of my summer beauty series, I wanted to tell you all about the skincare - and especially, facial skincare - products that I'm currently raving about.



Garnier Pure Active Micellar Water



A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about Garnier's Micellar Water. It was a new but welcome discovery for me, and I'm completely converted. It removes all trace of makeup gently and with ease, leaving skin soft and cleansed. Just as easy as a makeup wipe - just better for the skin.

This time, I picked up a slightly different version - though staying loyal to the Garnier brand. This time I tried the new 'Pure Active' version, which is more targeted to oiler skin and this is something I can sometimes struggle with. 

There isn't much difference to report between this and the original Micellar that is tried before. That said, as my skin is more oily than sensitive, this is probably the better choice for me.

Overall, still love it - and Micellar Water is definitely my favourite discovery of the year so far. As a newer product, I've seen quite a few places offering reductions on this, but it is normally £4 but should allow you 200 uses.

Clinique 3-Step Skincare

My first experience of using Clinique cosmetics was when I got a 'Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion' as a magazine freebie - and it very quickly became my favourite moisturising product... Ever.

The DDML is part of the 3-Step skincare range, where you combine three of their fabulous face products to give you visibly healthier skin.

The 3-Step skincare range includes Facial Soap, Clarifying Lotion and Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion. The range is slightly different dependent on your skin type, with four variations. 1 is for Very Dry to Dry skin, 2 is for Dry Combination skin, 3 is for Combination to Oily skin and 4 is for Oily skin. Each is specifically developed to leave your skin perfectly cleansed and nourished. 

I skipped Step 1, which is the Facial Soap, and went straight for the next step.  I didn't feel like I really needed to add it to my shopping basket, as I already have some and my ability to wash my face isn't an issue of concern for me.

Clinique Clarifying Lotion 2



Step 2 is to use the Clarifying Lotion. It's a gentle exfoliating solution, which in Clinique's own words 'de-flakes to reveal clearer skin'. It's formulated to remove excess oil, leaving a better base for moisturiser.

I apply it with a cotton pad, after taking my makeup off and washing my face. It has a really powerful scent, and actually has a really tingling effect on my skin. The solution does contain alcohol, so I would definitely be careful about using this on broken skin. It is advised that you use the skincare plan is used twice a day, but I would be concerned that this would be a little harsh on my skin if I used this so frequently.

After use my skin feels revitalised and fresh, and ready for the next step.

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion



I love love love this. No exaggeration. I first used it alone and was so impressed with how smooth and radiant my skin was after use. 

Combined with the Clarifying Lotion, it really feels like I'm taking off a layer of rubbish on my skin and leaving it feeling brand new.

Clinique claims that it strengthens skin's moisture barrier, and I'd certainly agree. My makeup glides on more easily and stay on for longer, as I'm not suffering with dry skin.

I find that a little dab of this moisturiser goes a long way, and previously it's lasted me really well so it is good value for money. 

In total, the Clarifying Lotion comes to between £16.50 and £26.00 dependent on size. The Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion comes to between £17.50 and £30.00 dependent on the size.


Have you tried any of the products above? What are your summer skincare staples? Let me know in the comments below! 











SHARE:

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

'I Do Declare It's Summer...' Part Two: The Hair

Since I envision this is the first summer in a while where my hair will be doused in chlorine infused waters, I've been working to make sure it's in good condition before I take that flight.

Chlorine can remove the natural oils in our hair, taking its shine away with it and can even leave us with split ends. It's notable, that these scenarios are most commonly linked with extensive exposure to the substance - but as I do plan to splash around in the pool a bit, I want to make sure the barnet is looking good before I fly.

Loreal Elvive Fibrology Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner



If you're a big reader of the blog, you'll know I've reviewed a few of the Loreal Elvive shampoo and conditioners, and just recently, I found another favourite.

I'm currently using the Loreal Elvive Thickening Fibrology range. It contains a patented ingredient called filloxane, which penetrates deep into the hair and works to cleanse and thicken it.

I'd normally be dubious about such bold claims but having used the product for more than a month, I can definitely vouch  for its effectiveness. Rather than just feeling like my existing hair has thickened, I feel like I've gained about 20 times more of the stuff! It's much more bouncy and full of life, and the condition is great. 

After shampooing, I use the conditioner. I'd definitely recommend combining the two, as the conditioner leaves my hair feeling that little bit softer. 

One thing I really love about Loreal Elvive hair care products is that they all have a fantastic scent, and this one is no different.

Both products are £3.99 each, which seems a relatively standard price for these type of products. It's worth noting they're often included in various 3 for 2 or 2 for so much type offers, so keep your eyes peeled!

Macadamia Oil Extract Mask



I received one of these as part of a Christmas gift hamper, and it took me a little while to get around to using it. I'm not the sort of person who can lay about in the bath for hours when I'm thinking about the billion other things to do, so I never really have the time for hair masks and treatments.

When I finally got around to trying this, I was really surprised. At just £1 in some supermarkets, this product is a real bargain but it definitely does the job. 

The macadamia oil ingredient is nourishing to hair and boosts its strength. You apply it after washing your hair, leave on for ten minutes and rinse out. After use, my hair was much glossier and super soft. 

At such a reasonable price, you can't go far wrong with this one - which is a lovely little treat for the hair. Dry and damaged hair is a thing of the past!

And finally...

I'm also hopeful that my holiday will do wonders for my hair. I've always been blessed with hair which naturally highlights itself and hey, it would be nice if the sun could save me a little on highlights. Here's hoping! 

Photo credit: http://www.amazon.co.uk/MACADAMIA-EXTRACT-HAIR-MASK-250ml/dp/B00IO6CMW6 (Macadamia  Oil Extract Hair Mask)
SHARE:

Thursday, June 11, 2015

'I Do Declare It's Summer...' Part One: The Legs

As we enter the month of June, realisation is suddenly starting to dawn on me that we are heading straight into summer - and it's time to step up the beauty regime.

In true blogger style, I thought it would be good to document the process and so you can expect to see a few more parts to my 'I solemnly declare its summer...' posts over the next few weeks.

I'm due to go on holiday in a few weeks, and the prospect of slipping into a tiny bikini is definitely feeling a little bit daunting. I work out, I eat reasonably well and do generally take care of myself - but getting my legs out (thigh up AND ALL!) in a sun drenched location does make me a little nervous.

In preparation for my departure abroad, I've incorporated some additional items into my normal routine to help my leave my pins looking pristine...

Body Brush



One item I picked up was a long handled wooden brush. Why? Well because scrubbing this up and down your legs every day can make them look pretty damn good.

Body brushing has been a 'thing' for a little while now. It effectively exfoliates your skin, and frequent use is supposed to improve lymphatic draining, blood circulation and reduce the appearance of cellulite.

While so far I, *touch wood* have managed to avoid the dreaded peely skin. That said, I view body brushing as a positive preventive measure to get into the habit of doing early. Additionally, it's believed to generally improve muscle tone which is obviously a further benefit.

Since including this in my daily routine, my skin does appear to be a little bit firmer - and my legs are twice as smooth.  It's such a quick thing to do, I'm going to try and stick to this all the time.

I picked up my brush in Superdrug for about £6, so this is a real bargain beauty tool. 

Nip + Fab Cellulite Fix



I'm a huuuuuuge fan of Nip + Fab products - no exaggeration. My obsession started when I tried out 'Bust Fix' after seeing it won rave reviews online (I'll also be using this in my holiday prep). 

Cellulite Fix, which is endorsed by Millie Mackintosh, is formulated with cell active shape complex and caffeine which helps to breakdown and eliminate fat cells. It's intended to firm skin, reduce cellulite and leave skin smooth.

While I don't so much need this specifically for the cellulite reducing properties, I've found its been great at making making the skin around my thighs and bum that bit firmer. 

I use this every day after showering and brushing, and I'm pleased with the results so far. The tube recommends using this twice a day for best results, so I'm planning on doubling my usage the week before flying.

Running


In the 'run up' (excuse the pun), to my holiday, I've been super busy but I'm still trying to squeeze in running a few times a week just to tone up a bit before donning my bikini.

I'm signed up for the Race for Life 5k in July, so in keeping up my training for that I'm keeping my bod in check at the same time. Bonus!

Running also tends to chill me out and I feel so much better after completing one,'so I'm enjoying the benefits to mind and soul - as well as body! 

Drinking lots of water

I drink far less than is recommended on a daily basis so I'm trying to improve this in the interests of absorbing the benefits for my skin, hair and energy levels! 

Drinking water also helps to make skin more supple and strengthens collagen - which is just the sort of results you want to see in your pins! I'm aiming to drink 3l a day, and I'll definitely need to keep this up while I'm in the sun!


What does your pre holiday prep entail? Stay tuned for the next part of my 'I do declare its summer...' posts! 



SHARE:

Monday, June 08, 2015

No7 Stay Perfect Instant Tan Review*

I recently received some blogger mail in the form of a new instant tan from No7. As a naturally pale skinned lady, obtaining a natural tan is nigh on impossible for me so I do find myself reaching for the bottle in my attempts to achieve that summer glow. No7 is a brand of tan that I hadn't sampled before, so I was curious to see how this one would perform.



Firstly, I was really pleasantly surprised to find that this didn't come with the usual strong tan smell that could basically highlight to anyone in a 100 mile radius that you're faking it. This one actually smelt really pleasant, and not remotely over powering as can sometimes be the case. 

I set about slathering it onto my pins with my tanning mitt and was really impressed with how well it blends together. It was incredibly easy to avoid any lines or streaks, and it runs in well and is quick drying so it's really easy to build up colour without smearing. 

The shade I used was Light/Medium, which was a perfect match for me. It gave me really natural coverage, completely avoiding any Tango-esque faux pas'.



I wore it to an engagement party, and my outfit for the evening encompassed a white blazer. I thought this was the perfect test to see if the tan transferreed easily, even if I was a little concerned about the longevity of my favourite jacket if it did. Beauty bloggers got to do, what a beauty bloggers got to do and all that...

I needn't have worried, as my tan stayed completely intact - as did my outfit. And I managed to test the longevity of my tan even further when I got back so late couldn't be bothered to shower it off before bed. The next morning, I still had a healthy glow and no tell tale signs on my bed sheets either!



I'm so glad I got to give this a try, as I was really impressed with the results. The colour of this is much more subtle than with tans from other brand I've used, which definitely boosted my confidence wearing it - given that it actually looked realistic!

The price tag for a bottle is £12.50, which is probably a little more than I would ordinarily pay for an instant. That said, the formula did go a long way so I'd envision that it would last quite well. 

Overall, I really liked this No7 product and I'll definitely be reaching for it again in the future. 

*received as part of a Review Panel.
SHARE:

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Long distance love: Why it isn't THAT bad


Perusing the pages of the April issue of Cosmopolitan, there was one article that really caught my eye. ‘Am I weird for keeping his toothbrush?’ asked Jameela Jamil. Yes, I thought, loopy as they come.
In fact, as I read on, I found that the odd title had been triggered by a recent love split. A love split from a guy who could trigger an hour long panic attack when she considered for too long the prospect of not waking up next to him. His dental products presumably eased the pain. 

The cause of the split was a career move to the US. In following her career stateside, she was faced with the prospect of long distance relationship – and ultimately decided that option was a no go. 

Having read such an emotive description of this 'king among men',  I was flabbergasted that they weren't even going to attempt to maintain a cross continent courtship. In fairness, she lays out some valid reasons. The act of navigating a long distance relationship is something she describes as a ‘tricky combination of pen pals and chastity belt’. Those couples ‘share anecdotes not experiences’, they lose their connection. And maybe she has a point. But it’s not all bad. 

I've done long distance twice. Most of the first three months of my relationship was spent 200 miles away from my new boyfriend. Two years in we were in the same situation again; the price you pay for meeting your partner at university. Granted, it wasn't the sort of distance Jameela and her beau would be faced with, but it was definitely not commutable.

While long distance isn't the most enjoyable thing in the world, it can be done. Having become a bit of a dab hand over the last four years, here are my top tips for making a bad situation a little more bearable.

Skype
Jameela likened video messaging to 'standing outside a closed patisserie' - being able to look but not touch. Personally, I'd prefer to be at least checking out the nice slab of cake I'd nabbed for myself than not at all. After all, who doesn't like cake?

Fill your calendar
Scribble the next time you're going to see eachother BIG in your diary and highlight the crap out of it. Plan something super fun and get excited counting down to it together. It'll come around before you know it.

Be normal - but not possessive
Check in with eachother and take an interest in what you're both getting up to - but not 24/7. Jameela notes that long distance you have to be careful talking about a new friend of the opposite sex, and I disagree. Be as normal as you would in person. If you are going out of your way to be shady on the off chance you might stir up a bit of jealousy otherwise, then you're really digging your own hole and jumping right in.  

Go shopping 
No I'm not suggesting you drown your sorrows in credit card debt after overdoing the retail therapy. Everybody loves a present. It doesn't have to be big or grand but unexpected post is a cute way of showing your other half they're on your mind.

Remember why you are doing it
If it was just a mindless fling you wouldn't be bothering. You obviously have enough faith in the relationship to know you want to give the long distance thing a bash. Let that be enough to spur you on at the difficult bits! 

Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder and one of the advantages of long distance love is it's hard to get complacent. You don't get accustomed to seeing eachother all the time, so the buzz is twice as big when you do. And on that note, I hope that's the case for Jameela and her boy. If anything is going to make the heart swell, my bet is a few months in the U.S. should be enough to do it!


SHARE:
BLOGGER THEME CREATED BY pipdig