Monday, 29 September 2014

How To Smell Like A Strawberry

I took full advantage of my staff discount last week and stocked up on some delicious smelling goodies from The Body Shop! I know that the strawberry scent is generally a big hit with the younger customers but I just can't resist the gorgeous sweet and fruity scent. I want to always smell like strawberries and these products will certainly help.

The Strawberry Shower Gel lathers up really well, especially when used with a bath lily/loofah and it leaves the yummy strawberry scent on the skin after your bath or shower. To keep my body nice and moisturised and to layer the strawberry scent I then use the Strawberry Body Sorbet which is a lovely lightweight non-greasy all over body moisturiser with community fair trade aloe vera. The sorbet texture has a very refreshing and cooling effect on the skin, perfect for summer in particular. As the weather gets a bit cooler I will switch to the Strawberry Body Butter but apparently we are in for a late burst of summer in October so this one may be in the rotation for a while!

The final strawberry product I bought was one of the new mini hand creams. Made with community fair trade shea butter from Ghana the strawberry hand cream is a gel-cream formula which absorbs in to the skin really quickly and leaves the skin lovely and soft. It is also the perfect size to keep in my handbag, as my hands get very dry especially in autumn/winter and it's nice to moisturise on the go. All of these products include cold-pressed strawberry seed oil which really helps the scent to last.

What is your favourite scent from The Body Shop?

Although I work for The Body Shop I have not been asked to write this blog post and the products were bought by myself with my staff discount.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The Most Beautiful Brush Ever?

When I left my last place of work they were very generous and gave me a gift voucher for John Lewis as a leaving present. I went straight to the John Lewis beauty department on their website to drool over the possibilities! (After saying thank you of course).

I decided to buy something luxurious that would last for years which would always be a nice reminder of my time there. After deciding that the Real Techniques Blusher Brush was better suited for bronzer I have been on the look out for a new blusher brush and I had heard amazing reviews of the Japonesque brushes.

This Japonesque Pro Blush Brush is £28 so it's not the cheapest choice but as I had a gift voucher and because it was a leaving present I decided to treat myself.

I really can't describe just how soft this brush is, far softer than any other brush I own (with a much longer handle too). Even when washing, the brush hairs feel like silk in the water.

The brush picks up a perfect amount of product and the softness of the hairs diffuses the colour and blends it perfectly on the cheekbones. The size of the brush is actually relatively small in comparison to my other blusher brushes which allows for a more precise application, which could also be used for highlight and contouring.

It has shed a couple of hairs in the few weeks that I have had it, which is a little disappointing but not to the point where it would be a problem, and I still think it is the most beautiful brush I own. It is a real pleasure to use and I wish I could pick up a few more from the Japonesque brand. But almost £30 for one brush really is a lot when there are some fantastic and more affordable brands available.

I absolutely love this brush and I know that I will use it for a very long time, so thank you again to the lovely people at my last place of work for letting me choose such a beautiful present!

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Sunday, 14 September 2014

Life Update...

It has been very quiet on this blog lately, mainly due to some new stuff going on in my life and a lack of time and energy. The most exciting thing going on at the moment is that...I have a new job!

I have been looking for a new job for quite some time now as I wasn't entirely happy where I was. Having worked for a lot of small/new companies, things can be challenging. Job descriptions aren't always clear, workloads can be very overwhelming due to a lack of staff, and correct training may not be a priority, and so I decided that I wanted to work for a larger and established company. I always knew that I would like to get in to the beauty/cosmetic/skincare industry and began to research businesses that I may want to work for.

I began by looking at companies whose products I personally loved and one that really stood out was The Body Shop. Not only do I love their products (its the only skincare that I can really use) but their company ethos beat all the others. If you are going to work for a large international company than surely the ethical company that concentrates on honest products, sources and uses community fair trade ingredients, campaigns for both human and animal rights, works to encourage self-esteem in women and rewards it's employees fairly, is the one to go for! I wanted a job that I could really get stuck in to, be enthusiastic about and work for a company that I am proud to work for.

I decided around 4 or 5 months ago that I wanted to work for The Body Shop and now I do. I have to say I am quite proud that I set my mind to something and achieved it. And trust me, the recruitment process wasn't easy, at one point it really felt like I was on The Apprentice!

I did wonder how my new role at The Body Shop would effect my blog. Would it be a conflict of interest to write about beauty products from other brands? Would The Body Shop want me to write about their products? But actually when I looked in to it I was happy to see that high on The Body Shop's agenda is honesty and transparency. We are allowed to write about The Body Shop products on our own social media/blogs etc but we are told that we should always make it clear that we are employees so as to avoid any confusion and to stay honest. I personally find this very refreshing!

So yes, as an employee I will be spending the majority of my time learning about the products and testing them out and I will no doubt feature some on this blog, but I will always make it clear that I am an employee and I will always be honest. We aren't asked to write about products so it will always be my personal choice to do so. I will also continue to write about products from other brands that I personally use and love that I think you might be interested in.

So apologies for the total lack of blogging lately, I am going to do my best to get back on track.

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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Rediscovering A Past Love...

When I was younger I absolutely loved to paint. I would shut myself away in my room for hours at a time with a blank canvas and get lost in the process of creating a piece of art. I loved it so much that I went to University to study History of Art and Architecture. After uni I continued to paint and eventually convinced my boyfriend (now husband) to try painting as he was great at drawing. He had an amazing natural talent for it and has been painting ever since. He now regularly receives commissions and is paid to paint in his spare time. He was so passionate about painting that it was like I had passed on the baton and lost my own motivation. I let him take over and stopped for a while.

Jane Eyre Flees Thornfield
But a couple of weeks ago, after maybe two or three years, I decided to pick up the paintbrush again. I forgot how much I loved it. It is a wonderful escapism and time seems to move differently with a paintbrush in hand. I find myself thinking about painting the way I used to and inspiration has returned. I don't know if this new found motivation to paint will stick around but I hope that it does.

I know that my husband and I have very different painting styles, although I would like my paintings to be realistic, they are not and instead I will embrace the style that I have.

I sat down with my sketch book a couple of weeks ago and decided to just paint from my imagination.

I took inspiration from my favourite book, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and painted a scene of Jane lost in the moors after she flees Thornfield. I am reasonably pleased with how it turned out considering that I am out of practice and am contemplating painting a series all based on the tragedies of Jane's life. I am currently planning a scene in the red room when Jane is a child living at her aunts house. Or maybe I will paint scenes from some of my other favourite books. If I do decide to continue I will post some updates on here.

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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

What's In My Makeup Bag?

To be honest, I mainly just wanted to show off this gorgeous makeup bag which I found brand new in a local charity shop for just £2.50. It says Elie Saab Le Parfum so I'm guessing it was a free gift with an Elie Saab perfume a while back. But it's just what I have been looking for and it's a nice excuse to do a current 'whats in my makeup bag' post.

I am sort of on a mission at the moment to find one perfect product for each makeup category (mascara, foundation, eyeliner etc.) to keep in my makeup bag at all times so I don't constantly have to choose between 10 blushers and 5 concealers each day.

These are my current makeup bag staples...

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF50+ Melt-In Comfort Cream
Being fair skinned I rely very heavily on sun cream in the warmer months. I am obsessed with wearing SPF and nagging other people to do the same. This is one that I recently purchased. It is quite thick but does melt in as the name suggests and makeup actually sits very well over the top. I apply it first thing in the morning but make sure I carry another SPF in my handbag for touch ups throughout the day (Piz Buin Allergy Face Cream SPF50+).

Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin Foundation 005 Light Beige
This has been my go-to foundation for a few months now. It is a great daily base as it's not too heavy, has pretty good coverage, lasts well and is affordable. It's an effortless choice in the morning.

The Body Shop Honey Bronzer - 01 Light
This is the only bronzer I have found that works with my pale skintone. I lightly sweep it across the cheekbones for a sunkissed look, or if I am feeling particularly brave I may attempt to contour with it as it is an entirely matte formula.

Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Pale Pink
This cream blusher was left forgotten at the back of my drawer for far too long. It is the perfect rosey pink colour with a slightly dewy finish. You need the tiniest amount, I just pat my finger in the pan and then blend it across my cheeks. It can even be used on the lips although I find it can be a bit too pale on mine and prefer it as a blusher.

Maybelline Volum' Express Big Eyes Waterproof Mascara
This is the latest mascara I have been trying out from Maybelline. It has two wands, one for upper lashes and one for lower lashes. I'm not sure I like it as much as The Falsies Waterproof or The Rocket Waterproof though. It is very good at lengthening but not as good at adding volume or holding a curl and my lashes can sometimes look a bit spidery. I do however like the novelty of the smaller wand for the bottom lashes.

Maybelline Master Precise Liquid Liner
I think I have talked about this product enough already. It is perfect for creating a winged liner look, it dries quickly and lasts all day. Can't be without it.

Une Eyebrow Pencil in B05
I have used this eyebrow pencil everyday since last June (so just over a year) and I am still only on my second one. It is very pigmented and quite soft. I apply a few lines to my brows and then use a spoolie to blend it out and make it look more natural. I have to make sure I don't use too much though or my brows can look very heavy and dark.

MAC Pro Conceal and Correct Palette - Light
I really like the formula of the MAC Studio Finish concealers as they are creamy and easy to apply with your fingers. They have pretty full coverage and the palette gives me a lot of colour choice as well as two corrector options for dark circles and redness. I mainly use shade NC15 for blemishes and the Pale Pink for the under eye area. My only problem with the formula is that it doesn't set and can easily move/disappear if you touch your face. For a detailed review and swatches see this post - link.

Maybelline Colour Tattoo - Nude Compliment
I have used this cream eyeshadow pretty much every day since I got it in May, either on its own or as a base for other eyeshadows. It is subtle but can be built up and adds a lovely wash of colour that's really easy to apply and lasts a good 8-9 hours. For swatches see this post - link.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Black Market
This is the eyeliner I use every day to add some definition to my lower lash line. It is a mini version of the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencils which came in the Black Market gift set for Christmas along with 5 other shades. The shade Black Market is a slightly grey black and the formula is creamy so that it is is easy to blend out for a smokey eye. Once set the eyeliner lasts a very long time, even on the waterline.

Have you tried any of these products? What are your current makeup bag staples?

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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Embrace The Freckles!

Just a quick post today guys. When taking pictures for my Berry Lips post - read here, I realised just how freckly I had become! I used to hate my freckles. Everyone else seemed to get a lovely golden tan every summer and I would stay the same shade of bright white but there would always be the inevitable explosion of freckles all over my face. I guess from a distance it may look like I had some colour, but up close it's almost tempting to play dot-to-dot and see what patterns I can make.

Over the last few years, I have learnt to love my freckles, and I think they look really cute on other people. Most of the time I don't even notice them but every now and then someone will tell me how much my freckles have come out in the sun and I quite like it.

Freckles most often appear on those with fair skin like me who are particularly sensitive to the sun, so I always make sure I wear a very high factor SPF on my face. I am currently trying out the La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF50+ Melt-In Cream and will do a review shortly.

So if you also have freckles, embrace them, love them, and wear lots of sun cream!

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Saturday, 5 July 2014

Berry Lips - Kiko

I am not really a bold lip colour kind of girl. I don't always feel I have the confidence to wear them and when I do I find them quite high-maintenance. But I have found myself drawn to the recent bold pink/berry lip trend and when I was in Kiko looking at more lipsticks to add to my quickly growing Kiko lipstick collection (see previous post here) I just had to pick up this beautiful shade (shade 914).

I would say that it is a bold pinky purple colour with blue undertones which in some lights can even look more on the red side. It is a raspberry toned pink which I think would work perfectly all year round. It looks very dark in the bullet but much lighter when swatched and applied to the lips. The pigmentation is fantastic though and the colour seems to stain the lips slightly meaning that it actually lasts a reasonably long time. 

It is very easy to apply and doesn't seem to bleed at all. When applied straight from the bullet you get a strong bold berry lip colour but for everyday I prefer to swipe gently and then pat the colour in to the lips for a softer easier to wear look, meaning that this lipstick is very versatile. 

Patted in to the lips for a softer look.

I have been so impressed by the Kiko Smart Lipsticks so far, especially considering that they are only £3.90! I do prefer them to other high-street brand lipsticks that I have tried and I am sure I will be purchasing some more in to the not too distant future. 

Have you tried any of the Kiko Smart Lipsticks? What berry coloured lipsticks would you recommend? Let me know by commenting below...

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Sunday, 22 June 2014

Nuxe RĂªve de Miel - Is it really worth the hype?

I definitely don't buy every beauty product that I want, or every beauty product which receives a good review from another blogger. In fact, because I am trying to save for a deposit for a house, I have been very good lately! But when you hear about one product over and over again (all things positive) my willpower is beaten little by little until I finally cave.

After watching all the new Lip Product Addict Tag videos that have been going around, I noticed that one product was mentioned in pretty much every single one as the favourite lip balm. My will power was getting weaker and weaker, and then I saw it on sale on (down from £9.50 to £6.33)! I just couldn't resist, although that is still quite expensive for a lip balm. The lip balm of which I speak is of course the Nuxe Reve de Miel.

The other reviews that I read suggested that the lip balm has a matte and very thick texture which does seem to be true quite true although I would say it is more 'semi-matte' and still has a very slight glossy finish. Because of this semi-matte texture it does seem to stay in place longer than other balms I have tried, which is good in that it doesn't just disappear within minutes but bad in that it can sometimes feels like it is just sitting on the lips and not really being absorbed.

I have to say, after a couple of applications, I did find myself yearning for the refreshing, cooling and tingling feel of my trusty Carmex. The Nuxe Reve de Miel is soft and thick, and sort of warm, which just felt a bit strange. This however, may be more comfortable and appealing in the winter. Have you ever put on a refreshing minty lip balm and then gone outside in to the icy cold air?? Not the nicest experience.

I had very high hopes for this lip balm and I must say, I am a little disappointed. I used solely this product on my lips for about 4 days (no other lipbalms and no lipsticks) in order to really test it out. I mainly applied it before bed but also used it a couple of times throughout the day and to be honest, I really didn't notice a difference compared to any other good lip balm. I expected my lips to be extra soft and that application would be needed less regularly but it was basically just the same.

For an RRP of £9.50 and even at the sale price of £6.33 I don't really think it's worth it. I am happy to stick to my Carmex for a few quid less. I do think I might prefer the Nuxe Reve de Miel a little more in the winter though so I am happy to hang on to it and will use it. The smell is also very nice. But in my opinion, I just don't think it is worth all the hype.

Have you tried the Nuxe Reve de Miel? What do you think? 

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Saturday, 14 June 2014

My Favourite Books!

Our flat is being taken over by books! My husband and I are big readers and our little one bedroom flat can no longer cope. Our bookcase is close to collapsing and we may need to start storing them in the bath tub due to a lack of other options! But to celebrate our love of books I thought I would share my all time favourites with you.

My favourites are pretty varied, there are a couple of classics, some children's literature and some modern novels as well.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J K Rowling

Although this is the Harry Potter book that I have included in this list, it is really representative of the entire Harry Potter series, this just happens to me my favourite of the seven. The Harry Potter series is really what inspired my love of reading as a child and it will always have a special place in my heart. I have read the entire series a number of times and I am sure I will read them all again in the future, hopefully to my own children. This particular book is my favourite as I loved the back story of Harry's dad and his friends at school and the introduction of characters such as Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. If you haven't already read them, what are you waiting for?? You'll love them!

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

This was my first taste of the works of Oscar Wilde and I was absolutely blown away by it. It is a psychological thriller about a young, innocent and handsome socialite who becomes the subject of beautiful portrait. Corrupted by the older and 'wiser' Lord Henry Wotton, Dorian becomes obsessed with youth, vanity and the satisfaction of all of his desires. It is a fascinating read and Lord Henry Wotton is in my opinion perhaps the best character ever written. Yes Oscar Wilde can be very descriptive but the language is beautiful and the story intriguing. Trust me, it is worth a read.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Based in Mississippi during the civil rights movement, The Help follows three main characters, Skeeter the daughter of a wealthy white family who has recently graduated from University, and Aibileen and Minnie, two black maids who work for similar families helping to raise white children. The story takes a close look at the relationship between these children and the black women who look after them. Skeeter who is trying to find out what happened to her own childhood maid decides to write a controversial book about the experiences of other maids in the community, women who end up risking the safety of themselves and their families to help her, and in their own way stand up to the racism that they are subjected to on a daily basis. Kathryn Stockett has written three extraordinary and lovable characters who, you as a reader, really end up feeling and fearing for.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

I absolutely love this book, it had my laughing from start to finish! It is a charming story about a hundred-year-old man who decides to escape from a retirement care home on his birthday and start an adventure. The story has two continuous time lines, Allan as an old man who comes across a range of interesting characters including drug dealers and murderers, and Allan as a younger man. As the story goes on we realise just how much effect Allan has had on modern history. It is similar to Forrest Gump in that he just seems to pop up in these big moments in history and at the same time ironically has a complete apathy to politics. I loved learning about the cold war for A Level history so it was interesting to see it all from a different view point. I have recommended this book to everyone, some have liked it and some just didn't get it but I love it.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

I'm pretty sure I read the book of The Time Traveller's Wife before I saw the film but I thoroughly enjoyed both. The story centres on two characters, Clare and Henry. Henry is a time traveller who has been visiting Clare since she was a child. As she gets older they fall in love (honestly it's not as creepy as it sounds) and we follow the story of their relationship. The constant switching between past and present can be a little hard to follow, in fact a friend of my sisters had to write a timeline just to keep track! But it really is a beautiful story and I would highly recommend the book and the film.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I expected to hate this book, my sister told me time and time again how boring it was but actually I love it! I got completely swept up in the romance between Jane and Mr Rochester and the twist adds great drama. It's not just the book either, I love almost every film adaptation I have seen as well. Jane is an incredibly kind and moral character who has been subjected to more than her fair share of tragedy. I have read it a few times now and know that I will continue to read it every couple of years. My husband bought me this beautiful copy from The British Library when we went to a literary exhibition (where we saw part of the original manuscript!) and I just treasure it.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

I read The Snow Child last winter and fell in love with it instantly. It is the story of Jack and Mabel, a middle aged couple living in the harsh wilderness of Alaska in 1920. We learn early on that Jack and Mabel move to this harsh landscape to escape the pain of having lost a baby in childbirth. Unable to have children and struggling to live off the land, they are isolated and drifting apart until one night, after building a child out of snow, a young girl mysteriously appears. Is she a magical gift from the winter or a lost child who needs help? The story is slow to start but it is 100% worth sticking with it, you won't regret it. Based loosely on a old Russian fairytale, the story is beautiful, heartbreaking and intriguing and it will stay with you long after you have read it. I also recommend reading it in the winter for the full effect!

What are your favourite books? Any recommendations? Let me know by commenting below...

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Sunday, 8 June 2014

May '14 Favourites

May was a much better month than April. I had a week off work, I am loving my new shorter hair do and the hubby and I bought our first car! I'm looking forward to a summer of fun day trips and the new freedom we have. Bye bye buses and trains and hello little car! But wow I have been a rubbish blogger lately. I have been asked to write for the blog at work and now that I am working on that quite regularly I am struggling to find the motivation when I get home to keep this one up to date. I'll try harder!

The products I have been loving this month are....

Maybelline Color Tattoos in Pure Nude and Nude Compliment
A very good friend of mine recently picked up these Color Tattoos for me on a trip to the US. They are part of the Maybelline Limited Edition Dare To Go Nude Collection which unfortunately isn't available in the UK. Pure Nude is a shimmery pink-tinged champagne colour and Nude Compliment is a cool-toned shimmery brown-taupe. They are fantastic eyeshadows bases, I have mainly been using Pure Nude under purple tones this month to really make the colours pop and Nude Compliment is perfect just on it's own. For swatches and a full review see this post - link.

DKNY Be Delicious Fresh Blossom 
I recently mentioned this perfume in my Spring and Summer Fragrance Collection post (read here) and it's fresh and fruity scent has been a perfect accompaniment to the sporadic summery days we have been experiencing. It has a strong apple base note which is perfectly balanced with floral notes for a happy and uplifting fragrance.

L'oreal Paris Lumi Magique Primer
I have mentioned this product a number of times before and it has managed to claim a permanent place in my makeup bag. I like to use it under foundation to add a glow or on the cheek bones after foundation for a highlight. The only down side is that I have found the formula can sometimes separate and needs a good shake before use.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil
This serum-in-oil has such a lovely effect on my skin that I have been neglecting a lot of my other skincare and just reaching for this every night before bed. It really helps to keep my skin hydrated and nourished and also helps to calm the redness from scarring. It's perfect for sensitive skin.

Tangle Teezer
After hearing so much about the Tangle Teezer and persuading a number of friends to buy it, I finally got around to picking one up for myself. I can't believe how easy it is to brush my hair after a shower! Seriously what tangles?? It just glides through wet hair. 

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil  in Black Market
I decided I fancied a change from my usual warm brown eyeliner in the form of the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in West and instead have been favouring the same eyeliner in the shade Black Market (both from the Black Market Christmas Gift Set). Black Market is a grey toned black which gives lovely definition to my lower lash line. These eyeliners really do last all day. They set quickly but allow enough time to easily smudge for a smokey eye effect.

What were your favourite products in May?

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