Sunday, 22 December 2013

December 2013: Used, Abused & Reviewed.

The last empties post of the year and it's a big'un! I finished off a lot of perfumes this month, just in time to stock up on more in the sales

Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb: I adore this perfume, the price sickens me slightly when I'm handing over the money but it's such a long lasting fragrance and well worth it. My mum who never likes a perfume enough to wear it daily has now adopted Flowerbomb as her signature scent so I stopped wearing it as often as I used to but I always have a bottle in my collection. Does anyone know what the Zara dupe is called?
Repurchase? Yes. 

Thierry Mugler Alien: When Alien was first released I loved it but over time it started to bring on migraines as it's so strong. A family member loves it now so I've started buying it for her at Christmas, I love how it smells on her but on myself I find it too overpowering. It's a great Winter scent though so I'm sure I'll use up the mini bottle I still have lurking around.
Repurchase? Yes but not for myself.

DKNY Be Delicious: A really fresh scent that smells gorgeous on other people but on my skin it just doesn't work. There's a few different variations now though so maybe I should give one of those a try.
Repurchase? No

Diesel Loverdose: This is without a doubt my favourite perfume and has been all throughout 2013. Diesel isn't a brand I would head to in search of a fragrance but after getting a sample with a Debenhams order I was hooked! The mix of vanilla and liquorice is addictive and the staying power is great, on par with the likes of Alien.
Repurchase? Already have and always will.

NEXT Paradise Body Mist: Back in the day I found a scent from NEXT  that I loved, I loved it so much I stocked up on the gift sets in a sale but sadly it's been discontinued and I only have one bottle of the perfume left. :( it's great for days when I'm not going anywhere and don't want to use a more expensive perfume but still want to smell nice.
Repurchase? I would if I could.

Febreeze Vanilla Limited Edition Candle: I can't remember the exact name of this candle, it's something like Midnight Vanilla but I bloomin' loved it! The scent throw is on par, if not better than Yankee Candles plus I think it was on offer for a quid when I bought it.
Repurchase? If it's still available.

Yankee Candle Clean Cotton House Warmer Jar: Clean cotton will always be in my candle stash in some form. Love this scent, who doesn't want their house to smell fresh and clean.
Repurchase? Yes, I've already got a medium jar burning.

Yankee Candle Sparkling Lemonade Wax Tart: This smelt like the real thing, really fresh and lemony, it even smelt sparkling but as soon as I put it in the tart burner the scent completely changed, smelt more like bath/shower cleaner.
Repurchase? No.

The Body Shop Earth Lovers Watermelon & Eucalyptus Shower Gel: Stocked up on these in the sale aaages ago and I'm so glad to see the back of them now. Everytime I got to what I thought was the last bottle, another would appear. None of the scents really appeal to me and the shower gel itself is very watery.
Repurchase? No.

DGJ Organics Hair Juice Clarifying Shampoo*: A great smelling, reasonably priced, SLS free clarifying shampoo that got rid of any build up without stripping my hair. I used this once or twice a week depending on how many products I'd piled on my mop. You can see my review here.
Repurchase? Yes.

L'Occitane Mango Flower Hand Cream: I stock up everytime these come as a magazine freebie. The original version is still my favourite, I'm yet to find a hand cream that beats it.
Repurchase? Always.

Orhis Nourishing Face Cream*: This came in a BeTrousse box ages ago. I used it up a while back but forgot to include it in my last empties post. Unlike a lot of French skin care products, it wasn't anything special.
Repurchase? Not sure if it's available in the UK but no.

Super Facialist By Una Brennan Tea Flower Purifying Facial Wash*: This face wash has lasted such a long time as I only used it when my skin felt congested. It did help clear up my skin but is heavily fragranced which could cause irritation on sensitive skin if used daily.
Repurchase? No, I want to try a non foaming purifying cleanser.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra: Ended up with a few samples of this while in Paris and I love it! Still have another one to use then I'll buy the full size. It's a moisturiser for ultra sensitive/allergic skin.
Repurchase? Yes!

Mitchell & Peach Shower Wash*: I was planning to keep this for a weekend away but I'm a shower gel junkie and used it straight away. The scent isn't really my cuppa tea but it did lather well and left my skin feeling really nice.
Repurchase? No. It's too pricey at 20 quid, I would have to love the scent to spend that kind of money on shower gel.

Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel: Can't remember too much about this other than it didn't irritate my skin.
Repurchase? No

REN Vetiver v7 Hand And Body Cream: Wasn't a lover of the scent and it didn't feel as luxe as other REN products. There are better hand and body creams out there, a lot cheaper too.
Repurchase? No.

SBC Echinacea Gel: The reason I bough this was to use on my temples for migraines instead of having to take painkillers all the time. I'd heard on QVC it's great for headaches and when you're stuffed up with the cold as it contains natural decongestants - menthol and eucalyptus. I swear by the Arnica Gel by SBC, it really helps with back pain but the Echinacea Gel didn't do a lot for me.
Repurchase? Not in this form but I might try the bath/shower gel.

ESPA Lift & Firm Intensive Eye Serum: My eye area just felt tacky after using this, didn't notice any change for the better in the ol' saggy baggy area.
Repurchase? No.

Revlon Grow Luscious Mascara: (not pictured) My current favourite and it has been for a few months now. If a mascara can give a curl to my almost downwards pointing lashes and hold it all day, it's a good'un! It gives me length and volume too. Doesn't crumble into my eyes or irritate them at all, it's brilliant.
Repurchase? Already have, think I'm on my third tube now and bought the Lash Potion and Plumping versions to try.

Macadamia Moisturizing Rinse*: Another product I finished ages ago but forgot to include. Not the best conditioner I've ever used but I love most Macadamia products I've tried. You can read my review here.
Repurchase? No.

Trevor Sorbie Beautiful Volume Dry Shampoo: I usually use Batiste but this was on offer in Boots a while back. If you prefer a simple, clean scent from your dry shampoo rather than the various scents Batiste offers, go for this. It didn't offer more volume than other dry shampoo's I've tried before but it was nice enough.
Repurchase? If it's on offer again.

Essyta Lait Corporel*: An organic body lotion that smells a bit funky. It left my skin feeling nice and soft but other lotions work just as well.
Repurchase? No.

Did you get through many products this month?

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*PR sample

Saturday, 21 December 2013

NOTD: House Of Holland 'Dotty'

I'm so fussy when it comes to nail shape, even when my mate works her magic and does gel overlays on my nails to stop them from being bendy, I file my nails first. If I went to a nail salon I would do the same, some might think it's rude but I just know what I like and would rather have a shape I'm happy with than think 'meh' everytime I look at my nails. Wanting to step out of my comfort zone but not wanting to dabble too much with the shape of my natural nails I grabbed a box of House Of Holland 'Dotty' Falsies. If you've been reading my blog for a while now you'll know I don't do matte nails in any colour other than black, I like a good gloss but with Christmas nearly here I wanted to go for something different than glitter, which is what I always coat my talons in come Christmas.

House Of Holland falsies are really easy to apply IF they fit your nails. I have quite long nail beds but the width, especially my thumbs, is narrow. I managed to make most of the nails work but I had to file away at the thumbnails for ages and as a result, completely ruined the shape. The quality feels good though and the glue seems strong so if you're someone who loves trying out different nail shapes/designs I would recommend them. I'm still not sold on the shape or length, I find it impractical and think my hands look ridiculous to be honest, think it's safe to say I'll be a squoval nail shape girl for life.

What nail shape are you most comfortable with?

House Of Holland Nails, 8.99 from Boots

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Thursday, 19 December 2013

Make Up Collection Part 1: Bases

I would say my make up collection is pretty streamlined, for a beauty blogger. My friends and family would disagree but it really is quite small when you compare to most make up collections. If I don't like something I'll pass it on to someone who will get some use from it rather than letting it be a space take-er up-er. First up is bases, something I never had much interest in before I started blogging but now a good base is hard for me to pass by. The older I get, the redder and blotchier my skin gets so for me, a bit of coverage is essential.

Links will be added to any I've reviewed before.

Liz Earle Signature Foundation*: The shade I own is 'Nude 03' which is slightly too dark for me plus it oxidizes quite a bit which could be a bad thing but not for me, it means I'm able to use it on nights out when I've slapped on some tan. It lasts well on the skin and offers medium to full coverage depending on how much you apply.

YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat: Excited doesn't cover how I felt when this beauty was released. I've repurchased the Touche Eclat pen since my early teens and lost my mind a wee bit when I heard YSL were coming out with a foundation version.

Laura Geller Balance -N- Brighten: The HG foundation for many but not for me, unfortunately. This has now gone in my Blog Sale.

NEW CID I-Perfection Colour Adjust Foundation*: If you have oily skin and always go for matte finishes but hate the dreaded flat/cakey look that comes with formulas designed to keep shine at bay, try this. The high points of your face glow yet it doesn't feel tacky in the slightest and it lasts all day. The shade I own is 'Vanilla' which is the 3rd lightest in the range. It does look quite dark but the colour adjusts slightly, this is one of the few foundations I'm able to wear with or without tan.

bareMinerals: I've had this mineral foundation in the shade 'Medium Beige' for a few years now. At first I hated, it made me look like one big powdery wrinkle but I held onto it as everyone else seemed to love it and I'm glad I did. It still isn't one I reach for often and I'm not sure I'd repurchase but it works a lot better with my skin now for some reason. Don't think I'll ever prefer a mineral/powder foundation over liquid though.

Daniel Sandler Invisible Radiance Foundation & Concealer*: If you like YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat, chances are you'll like this. It covers redness but still allows freckles to show through. The finish is gorgeous, they weren't joking when they named this foundation. I went for the shade 'Beige' which is a pretty good match for me once blended.

Chanel Pro Lumiere: Pro Lumiere was discontinued and replaced with Perfection Lumiere which didn't go down well with many bloggers. I haven't tried Perfection Lumiere so I'm not sure how they compare but Pro Lumiere has a light to medium coverage which can be built up in areas where you need it.

Estee Lauder Double Wear: If you need full coverage, you can always count on Double Wear. It's full coverage, long lasting and doesn't transfer on to anything. I don't wear this as often as I used to as the shade I own 'Fresco' looks very pink but it's still a great one to have in your collection for days when you feel like covering your face with a paper bag.

Pur Minerals CC Cream*: My most worn base this year! When CC Creams first came out, I yawned and thought 'what next?' but this right here is one of my favourite bases ever. The coverage is brilliant, I'll definitely repurchase.

Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint: (not pictured) This is another one I really disliked at first. It feels heavy as if it's just sitting on the skin ready to slip around but when my skin is seriously dry and dull it just adds a bit of life. Can't remember the last time I used this though, it isn't high up on my love list. 

Pur Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Foundation*: Dry skins steer clear, unless you moisturise well first this can look a bit cakey. If you like to stay away from nasty ingredients then Pur Minerals is a brand worth checking out. As far as I know it's only available from M&S if you're in the UK.

Pur Minerals 4-in-1 Liquid Foundation*: The liquid version of the one above and as I'm sure you can guess, I prefer it. It works much better on dry skin and the finish is more flattering on my skin.

Rimmel 9-in-1 BB Cream: If someone asked me to recommend a budget base, this would be it. I don't own any bases you can buy in Boots/Superdrug etc (apart from this) ones I've tried in the past just don't sit well with my skin and the shade ranges are always lacking but what this offering from Rimmel lacks in shade range, it makes up for in formula.

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*PR sample

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

I have A Problem, I Can't Stop Buying Shower Gel.

Meet Rose Jam and Snow Fairy, the newest additions to my overflowing shower gel stash. 

I very rarely go into LUSH these days, like not even once a year but when a recent LUSH Times (is that what it's called?) came in the post I spotted Rose Jam and instantly put it on my wish list. I went for the small 100g bottle in the hope of not feeling so bad about buying yet another shower gel but I still managed to grab a bottle of Snow Fairy before heading to the till. I'm not even a lover of Snow Fairy, I've had it before and find the sugary sweet scent quite sickening and that's saying something, I'm usually all over sweet scents. But, there's just something about limited edition products that gets me everytime AND it's full of shimmer, most of which sinks to the bottom of the bottle (last photo)

You know you have a problem when you own enough shower gel to keep all your readers smelling good for a few months. Think it's about time I put myself on a shower gel buying ban.

Are any of you shower gel junkies?
Whats your problem?

Rose Jam & Snow Fairy are both available from

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Secret Santa/Stocking Filler Idea: Organic Surge Spiced Lily Foaming Bath

If you're after a luxurious bubble bath at a reasonable price point, head straight to Organic Surge. How this product feels on the skin doesn't reflect the price at all. I can guarantee if you give this as a gift to someone who loves bathing products but isn't familiar with the brand, they'll think you spent a lot more than just 5.99 for 250ml. Plus, if you place your order this week and enter XMASDEL at the checkout you'll get free p&p (UK only) anyone else easily swayed by free p&p? ;) Give me online shopping over trying to make my way through the Christmas crowds in town any day. Saves the backs of my ankles getting bashed by prams and being ran off the path by mobility scooters (trust me, it's happened more than once)

Spiced Lily Foaming Bath* contains patchouli and spicy clove-bud essential oils which helps to de-stress and revive body and mind. I'm not the biggest lover of spicy scents but the clove is so subtle I wouldn't even know it was there if it wasn't mentioned on the bottle. There's definitely a warmth to the scent but it's delicate and lightly scents the skin for a few hours after use. I can't see Spiced Lily offending anyone's nostrils, unless you only like scents such as Snow Fairy from LUSH. It also contains Aloe Vera to soothe the skin and I haven't noticed any tightness after use which can happen with a lot of foaming products.

Are you an online shopper or do you prefer seeing products in person first?
Have you tried Spiced Lily Foaming Bath?

Organic Surge Spiced Lily Foaming Bath, 5.99 from

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*PR sample

Monday, 16 December 2013

Fail: Chocolate Hazelnut Shortbread

I had the bright idea to try my hand at chocolate shortbread. Everything seemed to be going ok, it even looked ok but once I'd left it to cool down and tried to cut it, disaster struck! I really don't know what went wrong, I've either added too much cocoa powder or left it in the oven for too long but it crumbled into what looked like the contents of a toaster crumb catcher. This isn't a how-to post at all, more of a help me post, if you know where I went wrong please let me know in the comments.

I followed the same recipe I used in this post and you can see they turned out really well. This time I added cocoa powder, not sure how much, maybe 3 tbsp and baked for half an hour rather than 15 mins as I'd used a tart tin this time instead of small cookie cutters.The chopped hazelnuts were scattered on top after baking so I know they had nothing to do with the disaster. It still tastes really nice but now resembles a dogs dinner.

Any idea where I went wrong?

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Bedside Table Essential: Conscious Skincare Soothing Hand Cream For Hard Working Hands

Lovers of rich, intense, almost balmy hand creams look no further, Conscious Skincare's got your back with this organic beauty which recently featured in the Daily Mail and was shortlisted in the 2013 FreeFrom Skincare Awards. I've reviewed a couple of products from Conscious Skincare, you can see those posts here and here where I go into more detail about the brand.

Conscious Skincare Soothing Hand Cream For Hard Working Hands* may be great for gardener's but it's also the perfect addition to your bedside table. I slather it on during the day when I know I have an hour or so were I won't need to use my hands much. The texture is incredibly rich, it turns into an oil once in contact with the skin which is why for me it makes a brilliant night time hand treatment. The dinky EPA lined aluminium jar holds 50ml of product and judging from how little I've used so far, it'll last me a long time. The hand Cream contains organic avocado oil to nourish the skin and add lustre. It really does make the skin look healthier from the first use and unlike some hand creams, I don't feel the need to keep reapplying more apart from after washing my hands. 

What are some of your bedside table essentials?

Soothing Hand Cream For Hard Working Hands, 14.99 from

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*PR sample

Friday, 13 December 2013

I Made Shortbread :)

I never stray too far from beauty here on the ole blog but my other love is baking. I'm not very good at it, my cakes look, feel and taste like bricks but my pavlova's kick arse! I love shortbread but recipes I've tried in the past haven't worked well at all. I put it down to me being completely rubbish in the kitchen BUT I've finally found a recipe that works. If you follow Jenny who blogs over at RedHead Beauty Diaries you'll know she's queen of baking so obviously I knew her shortbread wouldn't let me down. This recipe is completely pinched from her blog, go look at her fancy Vanilla Snowflake Shortbread Biscuits here.

The cookie cutter I used is a lot smaller than Jenny's so I adjusted the cooking time to 15 minutes but you'll know when they're ready, the edges go a lovely golden brown colour.

110g butter
50g caster sugar
175g plain flour
1tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Add butter to a mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon (far better/easier than an electric whisk) until the butter is soft and smooth.
Add the sugar and beat again.
Then add the flour and vanilla extract.
Bring most of the mixture together with your wooden spoon then use your hands to do the rest and you should be left with a big ball of dough.
Add a wee bit of caster sugar to your work surface and roll out the dough to a thickness you're happy with.
Using your cookie cutter, cut out your biscuits and place on the baking tray.
Bake in the oven until golden brown. You'll need to adjust the time depending on how thick your shortbread is.

If you're a chocoholic you can melt some of your favourite chocolate in a bowl over a pot of boiling water and dip your shortbread in. Melt some butter in with the chocolate, this keeps the chocolate shiny and stops a white film forming once the chocolate sets.

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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

December 2013: Love Me Beauty Box & 20% Discount Code

You'd think I would be used to beauty boxes by now and the notion would've worn off (it has in some cases, a long time ago) but every month when I know my Love Me Beauty box is due I can't help but get a teeny tiny bit excited. It's one of the few boxes that deliver great products month after month, I'm yet to receive a box I hate. You can see the contents of the boxes every month and really make sure it's something you would love before ordering and best of all, each month you can choose from three menu's.

This month I went for menu 1 which includes:

Lord & Berry Intensity Lipstick 'Glazed Pink', RRP: 12 (full size): This is the third Lord & Berry lipstick I've received in a Love Me Beauty box but the formula is great so I have no complaints.

Lord & Berry Kiss Proof Lip Liner 'Romantica', RRP: 7.50 (full size): This is probably my favourite product in this months box. I never use lip liners to line my lips, I use them as a lippy and this colour is right up my street. Tried it out today with a bit of balm on top which did affect the wear time slightly but on it's own it lasts for hours. The formula is creamy and easy to apply but you won't get any smudging at all.

Headline Colours Nail Polish 'Quicksand', RRP: 9, (full size): The third full sized product in Decembers box is this gorgeous nail polish from Headline Colours, a brand I've never tried before. 'Quicksand' is described as a light chocolate nude which is exactly what it is. I only own a few nudey browns so this new addition to my nail polish collection is more than welcome. I've got gel overlays on at the mo but as soon as my nails are naked I'll post a NOTD with this shade.

S5 Vitality Mask, 15ml, an exclusive to Love Me Beauty: This month there was a choice of 3 different S5 products to choose from but the Vitality Mask claims to reduce pore size by 20% and imperfections by 60% so of course I had to go for Menu 1. There's no price included for this one but I think I'm right in saying S5 is a pricey organic brand.

Rodial 5 Minute Facial, 10ml sample, RRP: 35 for 50ml: I adore Rodial candles but am yet to try any skin care from the brand. This 5 Minute Facial is an exfoliating and decongesting mask. Like the S5 Vitality Mask, it claims to reduce pore size and reveal smooth, bright and glowing skin. It's also designed to lift, firm and reduce the look of fine lines.

Love Me Beauty have kindly offered a 20% discount code for beauty blog readers (first time orders only) just enter LMBBB20 on the delivery section when signing up (valid from 5th Dec - 10th Jan)

What do you think of Decembers box?
Are you subscribed to Love Me Beauty?

Love Me Beauty box, 10 quid plus P&P from

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*PR sample

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Christmas Gift Idea #3: Orla Kiely Geranium and Myrrh Mini Scented Candle and Reed Diffuser Set

If you didn't see my Christmas Gift Idea's #1 & #2 you can find them here and here but today I have a gorgeous gift set from Orla Kiely to share with you. 

Not everyone is into skin care or make up but I don't know many people who would turn their nose up at home fragrance, especially when it's presented in such a gorgeous gift box with an instantly recognisable flower oval print design which Orla Kiely is famed for. Orla Kiely Geranium and Myrrh Mini Scented Candle and Reed Diffuser Set* is something I feel would fit all ages. The scent isn't young or old and although it isn't a scent I would have chosen for myself without smelling it for myself first, I actually really like it. I was expecting the myrrh to be overpowering but both the candle and reed diffuser have a sweetness to them yet the scent still remains rich and grown up. Even though the candle is a mini (75g) the scent throw is great and the reed diffuser (30ml) may look dinky but packs a punch when kept in a smaller room. If geranium & myrrh isn't your cuppa tea, there's also a basil & mint option in the same set.

Have you tried Orla Kiely home fragrances?
Would you be happy to rip this beauty open on Christmas day?

Orla Kiely Geranium and Myrrh Mini Scented Candle and Reed Diffuser Set, 22.95 from

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*PR sample

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Sephora 12HR Wear Jumbo Liner '05 Beige'

I adore the Jumbo Liners from Sephora. They're creamy, don't slip around the eye lids or crease, last all day and are the easiest products in the world to apply. The other shade I own '04 Taupe' works brilliantly on it own, there's no need to layer eye shadow on top unless you really want to but I use it on its own. The only thing I do is blend out the edges. 

Sephora 12HR Wear Jumbo Liner in '05 Beige' is just as good as '04 Taupe' formula wise. There's no tugging or dragging at the delicate eye area as the liner is so smooth and creamy. It glides on and sets within a few seconds so if you were wanting to use it as liner and get your smudge on, you need to act fast. I have no complaints when it comes to pigmentation, staying power or formula, my only problem with '05 Beige' is that it isn't as wearable as it looks before swatched. You can probably tell in the photos it looks darker in the pencil than it does on the skin. It's quite a pale shade and looks stark against my fair skin tone, there's no way I could use it as a wash of colour all over the lid on it's own so what I've been doing is either using it as an inner corner highlight or as a base for shades such as Stilla 'Kitten' and Urban Decay 'Sin' before adding a darker shade in the crease to stop things looking too spangly. I don't own any of the darker shades but I'm wondering if they're as pigmented as the two I have? Let me know if you've tried them and if you have any shade recommendations. :)

What's your favourite fuss free eyeshadow?

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