Friday, 26 December 2014

What I Got For Christmas

For Christmas this year, we knew most of the presents we were getting from one another in my family. It wasn't as 'exciting', but we all received things we really wanted this way. I decided to choose things I wouldn't normally buy myself. For example, I couldn't justify buying the Topshop Dressing Gown (so soft!), Lush's Ro's Argan Body Conditioner (love, but expensive) or Lindt Lindor Maxi Ball for myself, so asked my parents for them. They also bought me Lush's Montalbano and Braziliant Shampoo Bars, Accessorize Koala Slippers, and a tin of sweets (mostly for the tin to store my baking bits in!).

From my sister, I received the Clintons Heart Print Diary (great quality pages), Paperchase List Book and Pen (love the print), battenberg shaped tin with recipe notes (we used to eat these on the way home from school - makes me feel sick just thinking about it now!), Next Apricot Blossom LED Candles, Next Apricot Blossom Reed Diffuser (had the smaller one previously and loved it), a pretty Next glass for milkshakes, and some sweet treats.

I just wanted to show you the things I chose, instead of everything I received. I had to include the Debenhams Fox Slippers my friend got me, though, because they're so cute!

I hope you had a good Christmas!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Boots Star Gift - No7 Ultimate Collection

The last Star Gift leading up to Christmas is the No7 Ultimate Collection. It's better than half price at £37, down from £75. They've annoyingly increased the price from last year, but you still get £124.45 worth (the box says 'over £130 worth', but I've worked it out to be £124.45). I bought this for the Protect and Perfect Intense creams, which are £23 and £24 on their own. I'm also intrigued to try the rest of the contents in the smaller box. I'm thinking about leaving the products in the larger box and giving as a present, possibly for Mother's Day.

In the No7 Ultimate Collection, you receive:
Protect and Perfect Intense Day Cream - £23
Protect and Perfect Intense Night Cream - £24
Protect and Perfect Intense Hand Cream - £10.50
Beautiful Skin Dry Skin Rescue - £12
Lovely Lashes Mascara in Black - £12.95
BB Lips Beauty Balm in Ballerina - £9
Blissful Body Wash - £7.50
Beautiful Skin Cleansing Lotion - £9.50
Sumptuous Bath Soak - £7.50
Completely Quenched Body Lotion - £8.50

I think this would make a great last minute Christmas gift, especially because it's packaged so beautifully. Or you can buy it for yourself, like I did!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Foundation (No7 Beautifully Matte and Stay Perfect)

2014 has been the year I've started wearing foundation. Before, I just used concealer because I didn't like the way foundation looked on my skin, or the colour selections available. I would have continued doing so, but as well as using it on blemishes and under my eyes, I started using it on the rosy bottoms of my cheeks and my nose where there's so many freckles that it's a couple shades darker than the rest of my face. I thought it'd be more cost effective to just buy a foundation.

I bought the No7 Beautifully Matte (£13.50) and Stay Perfect (£14.50) foundations because I had a Boots employee voucher. I wouldn't have bought them if it wasn't for this, but now that I've used them, I'd buy them again. I have the lightest shade (Calico) in both of these, and although I think it's still one shade too dark for me, my sister insists it looks fine. It's also lighter than most other highstreet foundations I've seen. Although the Stay Perfect packaging looks more appealing, with its glass bottle, the Beautifully Matte one is definitely more practical, pushing the product up so none is wasted. Aside from this, they're very similar, in terms of formulation. The Beautifully Matte one is ever so slightly more matte (hence the name), but that's it. They both have a medium to full coverage, don't feel heavy or look cakey, and have an SPF of 15. They don't keep my oily complexion at bay all day, though, even with a primer and powder, so I have to use shine absorbing sheets half way through to help control this.

I would absolutely love for them to bring out a lighter shade, but for now, these are doing a great job, and have converted me to foundation. I would love to try some others, though, so let me know your recommendations (especially if you're as pale as me!).

Monday, 8 December 2014

Sheer, Berry Lips

Although I'm not one to adhere to seasonal shades, I do find myself gravitating towards berry lip products more in the winter months. A lot of people prefer their lighter, summer shades to be glossy, and darker, winter shades to be matte, but I've been liking something in between. You see, I'm still dipping my toes into the darker shades water, and I feel like the shades above are perfect for that introduction. 

The No7 BB Lips Beauty Balm in Berry Rose (£9) and Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick in Raplumsel (£8) are both incredibly balmy, which is why I love them so much. They also fade well, are quick and easy to reapply, and your lips don't have to be in perfect condition for them to look good. All of these aspects make up for the fact that they don't last as long as a heavier lip product would. The other shades I have of these are also some of my favourites, so I'd definitely recommend looking out for the ranges on your next shopping trip.

What kind of lip products do you see yourself gravitating towards in the colder months?

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

The Body Shop Hand Creams (Including New Christmas Scents, Frosted Cranberry and Vanilla Brulee)

My hands go through a lot more now that I've left uni and started work, so I've found a new appreciation for hand cream. The ones from Figs & Rouge are some of my favourites, but I'm really liking these from The Body Shop. 

Like the Figs & Rouge ones, they're not greasy in the slightest, but still leave your hands feeling moisturised. Unsurprisingly, I bought the Mango one first, which smells just as good as the other products in the range. Then, after smelling the new Christmas scents, I decided to buy two out of three of the hand creams available. Frosted Cranberry smells like the old Cranberry Joy range, and has a beautiful, crisp berry scent. Vanilla Brulee was a pleasant surprise, smelling exactly like the name suggests. I was expecting a simple, been-done vanilla scent that just had a fancy name. It really does smell like a dessert, though. Glazed Apple is the other seasonal scent, and although I like it, I'd prefer a crisp apple fragrance over the sweet one it has.

They're £3.50 for 30ml, but I've never paid more than £2.10 because of the offers and codes they always have going on. Still more than your standard tube of hand cream, but they're worth it for the scents alone! They're also perfect handbag size.

Have you tried The Body Shop's hand creams? Or smelt the new Christmas scents yet?

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Soap & Glory Christmas Gift Sets

Soap & Glory are known to have great Christmas gift sets, but only this year have I bought them. I think it's because 2014 has been the year I've really started loving their products. I still don't care for their classic scent, but am a fan of their Sugar Crush range, as well as their makeup and facial skincare. I'm introducing my mum to the brand by gifting her with three of the sets this Christmas, but thought I'd talk a little more about the two gifts I've bought myself! Because you have to treat yourself when Christmas shopping, right?

They have a couple of these hatboxes available this year, and I think they're the perfect way to introduce someone to the range, or even give to someone who's already a fan. The products are also great for travelling. The main reason why I bought this, though, is because it contains a Sugar Crush Hand Food. A Sugar Crush Hand Food! I've been loving hand creams recently, and adore the sweet lime scent of Sugar Crush, so this is perfect. 50ml is a decent size, too.

These crayons (which are full sized) are £8 individually, so you're getting three for the price of two here. The shades included are Fuchsiaristic, Bashful, and Raplumzel. Fuchsiaristic is a bright pink, Bashful is a natural pink, and Raplumzel is a plum, hence the name. I already have Fuchsiaristic, and since they're individually wrapped, will be giving to a friend as part of her present. The crayons are sheer, but can be built up, and are incredibly balmy. I'd definitely recommend them.

The gifts, which can be found in Boots and start from £5, are also 3 for 2, so you can get a little more for your money. Will you be gifting a Soap & Glory set this year? Or do you plan on treating yourself to one?

Monday, 24 November 2014

A New Fragrance

When Burberry Body was released a few years ago, I only wore fruity body mists. It's only in the last few months that I've started wearing perfume on a daily basis, actually. So, when I received a sample of this, I was surprised by how much I liked it. It's not light and floral like my Marc Jacobs or Nina Ricci fragrances. It's more sophisticated and has top notes of green absinthe, peach, and freesia, heart notes of natural rose absolute, iris, and sandalwood, and base notes of woody cashmeran, creamy vanilla, sensual amber, and musk. It's warm, slightly sweet, and lasts for hours on the skin. I love it the most when the softer base notes come through because it's quite strong at first. Some have labelled it as an 'old' scent, but I don't think it is, and have read many comments from twenty-somethings sharing my opinion. Although I love my other fragrances, they don't last that long, so I'm definitely going to be looking at eau de parfums over eau de toilettes in the future.

I wanted to buy this perfume when it was first released, but it was a lot of money, and then I forgot about it. Then, about a week ago, I was browsing when I came across it again. They have the eau de toilettes, eau de parfums, body milk, body spray, limited edition packaging, Intense, and Tender versions. I went for the original eau de parfum 85ml for £36.95 instead of £75 (they've now increased the price to £39.95). It's also available in rose gold packaging, but the bottle is opaque metal rather than glass, and I don't like it as much. I'm happy with the original packaging because it's simply beautiful!

I've bought a couple fragrances and makeup products from All Beauty now (formerly known as Cheap Smells), and I'd definitely recommend them. They've been cheaper than Fragrance Direct for the perfumes I've wanted, so it's worth comparing both sites before purchasing from one!

Have you bought anything from All Beauty before?

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Empties #10

Mitchum Pure Fresh Deodorant Stick, £3.20-£3.35/41g, Boots or Superdrug
I rarely talk about deodorant on here because there's not much to say about it, but thought I'd mention this one because it's my new favourite. It comes in a stick formula, which is my favourite, it smells fresh (and also sherbety?), and keeps me dry and smelling clean. They're usually on offer for 2 for £4, too.

Aussie Miracle Hair Insurance Leave In Conditioner, £4.49/250ml, Boots or Superdrug
A classic. I've been through bottles and bottles of this stuff. It smells incredible and leaves your hair feeling soft.

No7 Beautiful Skin Quick Thinking Wipes, £7/30 wipes, Boots
I would never, ever pay £7 for these, and I don't think anyone does. They're usually the product people pick up when the £5 off vouchers are floating around (which is regularly). They removed all my makeup easily enough and didn't dry my skin out, but then my Simple Baby Moisturising Wipes don't either (and they're a lot cheaper!). I've already bought another pack of these because I can get them for 42p with staff discount, but I wouldn't recommend them over any others.

Maybelline The Rocket Volum' Express Mascara, £7.99/9ml, Boots or Superdrug
One of my all time favourite mascaras. It darkens and lengthens my lashes, and doesn't clump, which is all I look for in a mascara.

Lush Whoosh Shower Jelly, £3.50/100g, Lush
I used to be a Lush Mystery Shopper, so bought this with the credit they gave me. It smells very fresh, which I love, but it's not something I'd buy again. It's expensive for what it is, and you end up wasting a lot of it. I can appreciate the gimmick, though, and think it's worth trying at least once!

Superdrug Face & Bikini Wax Strips, £4.29/20, Superdrug, review here
They remove the hair I want without irritating my skin, and that's all I can ask for! My hair grows so fast that I have to use these every couple of weeks, but I don't mind for the price. I usually buy them when they're on offer for 2 for £5 (which is now!)

Imperial Leather Foamburst Luxurious Body Wash in Moisturising Honey & Almond Milk, £3.15/200ml, Boots or Superdrug, review here and here
I love these body washes. I prefer the fruitier scents, but still enjoyed this one. It's slightly sweet, but still neutral, so I can see many people liking it. I usually buy them when they're on offer for £2, but definitely think they're worth the price.

Have you tried any of these products?

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Bourjois Volume 1 Seconde Mascara just £3.60 at Superdrug (for one day only!)

I know a lot of people are fans of this mascara, so thought I'd inform you of this fantastic deal. The Bourjois Volume 1 Seconde Mascara is just £3.60 for the next day on, instead of £9.99. Not only this, but it's also included in the current 3 for 2 on cosmetics deal, so you're able to buy three for just £2.40 each. It's also triple points on cosmetics and free delivery for those with a beauty card (otherwise delivery is £3 or free when you spend over £10).

I recently included this mascara in an empties and said I found it a little too clumpy in the beginning, but liked it after. I wasn't going to repurchase, but it's definitely worth the money at this price!

You can find the offer here. Let me know if you buy one (or three!).

UPDATE: It's now sold out on Superdrug, but you can get it on Feel Unique for £3.60 here (limited time!).

Friday, 7 November 2014

The Body Shop Haul

Just hours after publishing this post, I placed another order with The Body Shop. Two, in fact, to make the most of the £20 off £40 code (14320, ends 11.11.2014). They annoyingly upped their free delivery threshold to £30 instead of £20, so I had to pay two lots of postage (I couldn't use the code in my local store), but managed to get £40 off the products you see above. Most of them are presents, but I couldn't resist a couple things for myself!

Will you be buying any of The Body Shop's Christmas gifts this year? I'll be buying a few more when the sales start!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Glamour Magazine December 2014 | Free Nails Inc Nail Polish, The Body Shop Gift Card, and 20% off H&M

I don't read magazines because you get more adverts than content. Every now and again, though, I can't resist the freebie, and this month's Glamour is a good'un. For £2, you receive a choice of four Nails Inc nail polishes (there's also a lighter red and purpley navy shade), a 20% off H&M card when you spend £20 or more, a sample of Pantene Pro-V Conditioner, and a The Body Shop gift card. 

I bought the magazine for the latter. On it will either be £3, £15, £100 or £1000. Both of mine have the code 38933, which I've worked out to be £3 from online comments. Still, £3 for a £2 magazine? I'm happy! You can only use it on full priced products, but there's plenty around £3-4 mark. I'm either going to buy a shower gel (RRP £4) or hand cream (RRP £3.50) with mine. There's no point buying something more expensive when there's always a code floating around that'll give you a bigger discount overall. 

One thing I will say, though, is that some people haven't received a gift card, and others have received two, so I think there were issues in production. People have been told to contact Glamour about this, but I'm not sure what's happening there. If you're planning on buying more than one, I'd suggest buying one first and seeing if there's a card inside, and then go back and buy the others (they're likely to be from the same batch).

Will you be buying a copy or two?

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Empties #09

It used to take me months to gather enough products for an empties post, but that doesn't seem to be the case these days. In fact, I'm having to split this post in two because there's just too much to talk about!

Figs & Rouge Mango and Mandarin Hand Cream, £3.95/20ml, Feel Unique, review here
The packaging, scent, and formula were all beautiful and made this the perfect handbag product. It wasn't greasy in the slightest, but still left my hands feeling soft and moisturised. I don't think I'd pay the full price of £3.95 for 20ml, but will certainly repurchase when there's a discount or code.

Bourjois Volume 1 Seconde Mascara, £9.99, Boots or Superdrug
Initially, I wasn't a fan of this. I just found it too clumpy for my liking. Then, once it'd dried out a little, it was perfect for a few weeks. Then it became too dry and clumpy again. For those few weeks, it separated my lashes and gave them length and volume, but I wouldn't repurchase because of the times either side.

The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter, £12/90ml, review here
The camomile cleansers from The Body Shop have become my all time favourites. My other cleansers don't compare, and I'm thinking about getting rid of them and just stocking up on this and the oil. They remove makeup so well and leave your skin incredibly soft. Even after months, I still get that same baby soft skin after using them every night. I love them both equally, but would recommend the butter if you travel.

Lush Mask of Magnaminty, £5.50/125g
First of all, I managed to get 20 uses out of this small pot, which is about 28p a time. So cheap. It also left my skin feeling thoroughly cleansed. I'm not sure if it helped with blemishes, but my sister thinks it helped hers. She's even bought her own pot, and she's not a fan of Lush!

Blistex Intensive Moisturiser, £2.63/5g Boots or £2.59/5g Superdrug (currently just £1.28, though!)
This is the best lip balm I've ever used, and the first I've actually finished. I apply it at night, and wake up with incredibly moisturised lips. It doesn't just moisturise the top layer of skin, like so many others do. Repurchase? Already have!

Nelsons Pure & Clear Blemish Gel, £7.40/10g, Feel Unique
This used to be sold in Boots, but I can't find it on the website any more. I managed to buy a tube on clearance for less than £2 a month or so ago, so I'm guessing they were removing it from the shelves. Anyway, I've always been unsure as to whether blemish gels work, but I can definitely see a difference when I use this. It just seems to calm and reduce spots. I prefer it over Lush's Grease Lightning, and the tube lasts for ages. This is another product that I've already repurchased.

Witch Anti Blemish Skin Clearing Primer, £6.99/30ml, Boots
I've used and loved this before, but stopped using it to try others. Then I found it in Superdrug heavily reduced (I think they were discontinuing it), so picked up two bottles for just 87p each. My skin's so used to this now that the effects have become the norm. I don't remember what makeup applies like without it, but I do remember thinking this made it apply smoother when I first started using it. It also reduced the amount of creasing around my eyes. I won't be running out to repurchase another bottle just yet because I've been loving the blur effect primers recently, but it's something I can see myself going back to in the future.

Have you tried any of these products?

Saturday, 1 November 2014

The Body Shop Purchases

The Body Shop currently have a sale and 40% off (when don't they?), so thought I'd repurchase a staple and try a couple other bits. I was quite restrained this time! I was tempted to buy another Camomile Cleansing Butter and the entire Frosted Cranberry range, but really need to use what I have first!

All in One Face Base in 02 - RRP £14, paid £8.40
This is my 4th one of these, and I love it. It has a little coverage and a velvety smooth, matte finish.

Vineyard Peach Body Scrub - RRP £12.50, sale price £6.50, paid £3.90
The one thing my stash is missing is body scrub because I normally just use exfoliating gloves. I love the rest of the Vineyard Peach range, so thought I'd give this a go (especially for the price!).

Frosted Cranberry Hand Cream - RRP £3.50, paid £2.10
I think the new Frosted Cranberry range is the same as the old Cranberry Joy one, or at least very similar. It's amazing. I thought I'd just get the hand cream for now, since it's something I've started using a lot in my job. The seasonal products that have just been released (Frosted Cranberry, Glazed Apple, and Vanilla Brulee) aren't actually included in the 40% off promotion, but it was applied to everything at the till. I'm not complaining!

I never used to buy products in store because I didn't realise the codes could be used at the tills. Even though you can get cash back online, I think I prefer being able to smell and swatch the products available. Have you bought anything from The Body Shop recently?

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Autumn Treats | Apple, Cinnamon, and Raisin Muffins

I hadn't baked in months, so wanted to change that yesterday. I found a basic muffin recipe, changed it to my liking, and then added my fruit and flavours of choice. Thankfully, they turned out well (my dad ate six last night), so thought I'd share it with you. I wasn't planning on blogging about them, and they're already gone, hence the Instagram photo! Feel free to change the measures and ingredients to your taste!

Makes 12

You will need:
260g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
100g caster sugar
100g butter
180ml milk (I used full fat, but semi skimmed will be fine)
2-3 peeled and chopped apples (I used granny smith, but you can use cooking ones if you have them to hand)
Raisins (I just dumped these in the bowl without measuring, so it's up to you!)
Demerara or brown sugar to sprinkle over the top

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line your muffin tray with cases
2. Cream together the butter and caster sugar
3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon
4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar, alternating with the milk
5. Fold in the fruit
6. Spoon the mixture into the cases and sprinkle with demerara/brown sugar
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes

I'm definitely going to bake these again this autumn, and I think they would be perfect in a bowl with some hot custard. Let me know what your favourite muffin recipe is!

Monday, 27 October 2014

AW14 with GOSH | New Velvet Touch Lipstick Shades and Giant Blush Sticks

GOSH Velvet Touch Lipsticks in Angel, Adorable, Temptation, Divine, Scarlet, Diva, Pretty, Night Kiss, and Twilight, Velvet Touch Lipliner in Raspberry Dream, and Giant Blush Sticks in Shy and Passion*
Angel, Divine

I feel like GOSH products haven't been spoken about much recently. I personally haven't used them in ages. So, I was intrigued to see if these AW14 releases were any good! 

The lipsticks haven't disappointed, and are just as intense and long lasting as I remember, without being drying. I dislike Adorable because I'm really not a fan of candy pinks, and Angel is a little too light for my liking, but the rest of the shades are beautiful. Although Angel has the potential to make me look like a corpse, I wanted to show you it on the lips because it's not chalky at all, and that surprised me.  

The lipliner has impressed me more than I thought it would. First of all, the colour is beautiful. It's also creamy and very long lasting. I'll definitely be taking a look at the other shades available next time I'm in store!

The blush sticks are okay. I don't like them as much as the lipsticks, but then I think I'm going through a lipstick phase at the moment! They're supposed to have a cream to powder formula, but I feel like it varies between the shades a lot. Shy is very dewy, even when blended, and it almost disappears, so you need to build the colour up. Passion, on the other hand, has more of a satin finish and is a lot more pigmented. A little amount with considerable blending is needed. I like them, but would like them a lot more if the formula was in between both.

The Velvet Touch Lipsticks are £6.49, the Velvet Touch Lipliner is £4.99, and the Giant Blush Sticks are £6.99, so they're all reasonably priced. You can purchase them from Superdrug stores and

Monday, 20 October 2014

Huge Boots Haul!


Boots staff double discount happened, and this isn't even all of it! I've removed some presents and doubles from the photo, and I forgot to include the No7 mirror and foundations (which I paid pennies for thanks to clearance and vouchers). In my defence, a number of items above are Christmas presents for various people. I'm just going to talk through a handful of things because we'll be here for a long time else!

I'm not one for false lashes, but I had a few styes and started pulling mine out (I know), so needed something to fill the gaps while they grow back! The individual lashes have been great, and while they don't last for days and days, they look natural. I remove them every night like I do with any cosmetic. This would be time consuming if I applied a full set every morning, but I only apply a couple. The Naturalites (10) also look promising!

I well and truly stocked up on the Tresemme Platinum Strength shampoo and conditioner because they ended up being just £1.87 a bottle. It's definitely a range I'd recommend trying!

Original Source have brought out some body moisturisers, and I couldn't resist buying the peach and apricot lotion. It smells like a peach and apricot yoghurt! There's also a watermelon one, which I wouldn't mind smelling at some point.

29, 34, and 35 were on clearance in my store, so I ended up paying just 39p and 87p for them! Another exciting lip product purchase is L'Oreal's Colour Riche Exclusive Red Lipstick in Julianne. It's beautiful!

The Babyliss straighteners and Soap & Glory gift sets are for my mum for Christmas. She's only ever had mine and my sister's old straighteners, and her favourite colour is purple, so I thought the Elegance Pro would be perfect. She's not familiar with Soap & Glory, but after telling her a bit about the products and showing her reviews/swatches, she's excited to start using them!

Other points to mention: I'm excited to use the No7 makeup products (7 and 25-28) because they all have great reviews, I love the Laura Ashley kitchen accessories, and I don't know why I included the anti-blister stick and spray plaster. It must have been a long day!

Have you splurged recently?

Friday, 3 October 2014

Graduation Dresses

I'm graduating this month! Finally. Other universities had their ceremonies months ago. So, weeks had gone by, thousands upon thousands of dresses were looked at, and I didn't like any. Then I stumbled upon House of Fraser and Zalando, and they both had dresses from the brand Closet. I'd never heard of this brand before, but liked it straight away. The dresses were closer to what I had in mind than any others. They were just the right amount of formal, and the shapes and cuts were simple yet flattering. 

I ordered the two above within five minutes of each other, and I'm keeping both! The first one, with the little heart print, was from House of Fraser here, and the second one was from Zalando here. I wasn't planning on going with navy (they look black in the photo, but they're definitely navy), but that must be what I gravitate towards. Both feel like great quality (I ordered another from Miss Guided, but it felt and looked cheap) and both have pockets! I love that they have pockets. They don't look like much on the hangers, but they really are beautiful. I think I'm probably going to go with the laced bottom one for this occasion, though. It doesn't look as nice as the heart print one on the hanger, but it fits perfectly. The shape is just what I wanted.

I just need to find shoes and a necklace now. I'm thinking these should have a pop of colour. I've seen some dark red, perfect-for-autumn heels, which I think would go beautifully with the navy. My dad thinks I'll look like Dorothy, but is there really anything wrong with that?! I'm not talking about a bright red anyway, so I don't think I will.

What accessories would you choose?

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Maybelline Colour Elixirs and No7 BB Lips Beauty Balms

Maybelline Colour Elixir in Mandarin Rapture, Maybelline Colour Elixir in Alluring Coral, No7 BB Lips Beauty Balm in Geranium, and No7 BB Lips Beauty Balm in Blush Coral

The Maybelline Colour Elixirs and No7 BB Lips Beauty Balms are similar products, in the sense that they're both a liquid balm with a decent amount of colour payoff and a high shine finish, so I thought I'd group them together in one post. I also thought that this would make up for the lack of lip swatches. I just couldn't get the photos right! Speaking of which, the photos above look fine on my screen, but not so fine on my dad's, so sorry if they're not looking great on yours!

The Maybelline Colour Elixirs (£6.99) were not something I intended to buy. I hadn't looked at many reviews online, and the packaging didn't appeal to me. Then I swatched them and realised how balmy and similar they were to the NYX Butter Glosses. I bought Mandarin Rapture first because my store had a very small selection and I didn't realise there was a coral. Then I ordered Alluring Coral a few days later. I definitely prefer the latter. I prefer the colour, it's more opaque and even, and it has no shimmer. Mandarin Rapture's shimmer is very fine, mind you, and you can't detect it on your lips, but I'd prefer there to be none. I feel like they're more pigmented than your standard gloss, they're moisturising, and they last a few hours. Alluring Coral also stains my lips slightly. The scent is a mix of perfume and fruitiness, but it's not offensive. I can see myself buying more of these in the future.

I don't like the name of the No7 BB Lips Beauty Balms (£9), because they've simply jumped on a bb everything trend, but the actual product is impressive. They're like the Elixirs, but they're thicker and more balmy. They also have SPF15, which is an added bonus. Geranium is my favourite because it's more pigmented, but Blush Coral is perfect for those more natural days. I'm not sure how well it'd show up on those with more pigmented lips, though, so keep that in mind. They're more expensive than other high street lip products, but No7 always have an offer on. Buy one get one half price, £5/£3 off voucher, free gift (sometimes you can combine two of these deals at once, too).

Are you a fan of these balmy hybrids?

Monday, 22 September 2014

Empties #08

As I'm writing this, I already have three products for my next Empties. I could include them here, but that would mean taking the photo again!

I don't like to include every shampoo and conditioner I go through in these posts because it gets incredibly tedious. However, this one's worth mentioning. I even dedicated an entire post to it here! It's the Tresemme Platinum Strength Shampoo. I was skeptical at first, but it really did make my hair feel softer, stronger, and overall healthier. I've already bought more, and would definitely recommend giving it a go.

The Nivea Waterlily and Oil Shower Gel was something I bought ages ago because it was on offer, but only started using it recently. I usually prefer fruity shower gels which pack a punch, but enjoyed using this delicate number. I didn't notice my skin feeling any more moisturised, though. It's nice, but nothing special, so I probably won't repurchase.

I can no longer see The Body Shop's Vineyard Peach Body Mist (review here) on their site, and I'm kicking myself for not stocking up. It smells like a fresh, juicy peach, and it's amazing.

I also finished up another bottle of Superdrug's Colour Effects Conditioning Colour in True Chestnut (review here). I think I've mentioned one of these in nearly every Empties, and I'm starting to sound like a broken record! Just read my review or previous posts to find out why I like them.

I liked the Revlon PhotoReady Perfecting Primer (review here). It left my skin looking and feeling smooth, mattified it slightly, and made my makeup look better. I just wish the packaging was different because I had to pry the lid off and whack the bottle on my palm to get the last little bit out (which was actually more than a little bit).

The Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner in Intense Black and Colour Tattoo Gel-Cream Eyeshadow in On & On Bronze are not empty, but they are drying up (after having them for years, may I add). Both are creamy, intensely pigmented, and last all day. They've become part of my daily routine, and I've already repurchased both.

Have you tried any of these products?

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Some of My Favourite Books

I could never have predicted that these books would become some of my favourites, and that's one of the reasons why I think I love them. They're a breath of fresh air.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova 
When Alice finds herself in the rapidly downward spiral of Alzheimer's Disease she is just fifty years old. A university professor, wife, and mother of three, she still has so much more to do - books to write, places to see, grandchildren to meet. But when she can't remember how to make her famous Christmas pudding, when she gets lost in her own back yard, when she fails to recognise her actress daughter after a superb performance, she comes up with a desperate plan. But can she see it through? Should she see it through? Losing her yesterdays, living for each day, her short-term memory is hanging on by a couple of frayed threads. But she is still Alice.

I remember buying this simply based on the reviews, but couldn't see myself loving it. How could I relate to the main character when we're so different? Well, I loved it. Reading the progression the disease has on someone, seeing them slip away, and the effects it has on those closest to them really makes an impact. There's a part near the beginning where Alice is eating an ice cream, and she doesn't want the day to come when see can't even remember how to prevent it dripping down her hand. Towards the end of the book, she's eating an ice cream with it dripping down her hand, and it's a sad moment. I'd wholeheartedly recommend giving this book a read.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett 
Enter a vanished and unjust world: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children, but aren't trusted not to steal the silver . . . There's Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own son's tragic death; Minny, whose cooking is nearly as sassy as her tongue; and white Miss Skeeter, home from College, who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared. Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. No one would believe they'd be friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely upon one another. Each is in a search of a truth. And together they have an extraordinary story to tell...

I read this ages ago, so I can't remember all the details, but I know I loved it. This was another book that I thought wouldn't be for me, and I actually disliked the first however many pages. I ended up loving it, though, and it's one of those books which opens your eyes and makes you think about the wider issues in this world. I don't agree with the hype surrounding a lot of things, but I can see why this book is loved by many.

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes 
France, 1916. Sophie Lefevre must keep her family safe whilst her adored husband Edouard fights at the front. When she is ordered to serve the German officers who descend on her hotel each evening, her home becomes riven by fierce tensions. And from the moment the new Kommandant sets eyes on Sophie's portrait - painted by Edouard - a dangerous obsession is born, which will lead Sophie to make a dark and terrible decision. Almost a century later, and Sophie's portrait hangs in the home of Liv Halston, a wedding gift from her young husband before he died. A chance encounter reveals the painting's true worth, and its troubled history. A history that is about to resurface and turn Liv's life upside down all over again . . . In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for what they love most - whatever the cost.
A book following the history of a painting? Not for me, I said. Again, I was wrong. I couldn't get into it at first, but soon couldn't put it down. I didn't realise how caught up I was in the past until it flicked to the present and I just had to know what happened. Slow at first, but I'm glad I persevered. 

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes 
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop, and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now, and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.
This is another book which really makes you think, and I love it for that. It's so much more than your typical romance. It looks at serious issues, and shows you that some things are not black and white. The ending reinforces this, and left my emotions torn for the characters. Definitely give this a read, if you haven't already.

Belle by Lesley Pearce 
She witnessed a murder - and now her life is in danger . . . Fifteen year-old Belle, though raised in a London brothel, is an innocent. But when she witnesses one of the girls brutally strangled by a client, she is cast into a cruel, heartless world. Snatched from the streets and sold into prostitution, she is made a courtesan in New Orleans. At the mercy of desperate men who crave her beauty and will do anything to keep her, Belle's dreams of home, family, and freedom appear futile. Are Belle's courage and spirit strong enough to help her escape? And what will await her at the end of the long, dangerous journey home?
I bought this from a charity shop because the blurb instantly intrigued me. It's a large book, but so eventful that it didn't drag. The topic is one that grips you, that's for sure. There were a couple things that could have been improved upon, though. The main character was a little too naive at times, especially towards the end of the book when you think she'd learnt her lesson. The ending was also left a little too neat for my liking. It's still a book I'd recommend, though. I haven't read the books following this one yet because I read some major spoilers, but they're on my list of ones to get around to.

I haven't featured any dystopian books in this post because my favourites are parts of series. I feel like it's difficult to capture a dystopian society in one book. Some of my favourites include the Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver, the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth, the Maze Runner series by James Dashner, and of course The Hunger Games books by Suzanne Collins.
Please leave your book recommendations below!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Bedside Beauty

I've unintentionally accumulated a small gathering of products beside my bed, and thought I'd talk a little about them today.

Just before bed, I'll sometimes want to moisturise areas such as my elbows, knees, and feet. My body butter of choice at the moment is Soap & Glory's Sugar Crush Body Buttercream (review here), but I'm also a fan of The Body Shop's Raspberry and Vineyard Peach varieties. They all smell incredible, aren't too greasy, and provide my skin with a lot of moisture, leaving it soft and subtle.

I've also been moisturising my hands before bed because they've been needing more TLC since starting work. I'm absolutely loving the Figs & Rouge Hand Cream in Cherry Blossom (review here). It isn't greasy in the slightest, but still leaves your hands feeling hydrated. It also smells amazing!

For facial moisturisers, I have the Organic Surge Blissful Daily Moisturiser (thoughts here) and the Balance Me Moisture Rich Face Cream. I used, loved, and finished my pot of Organic Surge Super Intensive Daily Moisturiser, so am now making my way through the Blissful Daily version. It's obviously not as moisturising, but still sinks in well and leaves my skin feeling soft. The Balance Me one is a generous sample I received in a magazine the other month, and I'm still making my mind up about it. It isn't greasy, and leaves my skin adequately moisturised, but it's heavily fragranced. If you don't like strong rose scents, you'll struggle to use this.

For lips, I have the Blistex Intensive Moisturiser and Nivea Soft Rose Lip Balm. The Blistex Intensive Moisturiser is amazing, and leaves my lips feeling softer than any other product. More often than not, though, I find myself gravitating towards the Nivea Soft Rose Lip Balm because my lips don't need the Blistex one every night. The Nivea one is just like your standard tube of lip balm, but it's one I use a lot.

For blemishes, I use the Nelsons Pure & Clear Blemish Gel. It seems to do the job better than others I've tried, and that includes Lush's Grease Lightning.

Then I just have some products that I haven't been using that often, but are there just in case. I'm still deciding whether The Body Shop's Vitamin E Moisture Serum gives my skin any extra moisture. I'm honestly not sure. Then there's the Superdrug Vitamin E Skin Oil, which I'll use if my skin is feeling particularly dry (which is not that often).

Have you tried any of these? What products do you use in the evenings/just before bed?

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