Sunday, December 15, 2013

Hair Heroes..?

My hair can be a handful at the best of times, but with the cold weather drawing in, my poor, dried-out ends are in need of an extra boost..or three. So lately, I've been concentrating my (minimal) beauty-related shopping efforts on picking up a couple of helping hands for my dehydrated locks, the first and most notable of which being the Charles Worthington Salon at Home Secrets Collection Moisture Seal Intense Rescue Melting Balm (phew! Longest name ever!?) Thick and waxy in texture, this emulsifies into an oil when rubbed between the hands, and is spread generously through dry hair. Leave for twenty minutes and then wash and condition as normal, and hey presto - soft, bouncy, healthy-looking hair. Yes, I'm fully aware that I sound like a shampoo advert, but this little pot of magic really is something.
Next up, I've been brandishing this little Bumble & Bumble duo when styling my bonce (!) The Bumble & Bumble Thickening Hairspray (£7.50 for 50ml) is spritzed on generously and combed through while hair is damp, while the Shine On Finishing Spray is misted over the hair once styled for a glossier finish.
Now I may be about to shock some of you, given the fantastic reputation this stuff has, but I'm not at all convinced the Thickening Hairspray is all it's cracked up to be. In fact, I can't determine any notable difference between when I have and haven't used it.  I'm definitely glad I picked up the miniature version rather than immediately splurging £22 on the full-size! Bumble & Bumble do, however, recommend that this is layered up over their Tonic Lotion for best results, so it's a toss-up between giving that a go or shelving my spray for good.
As for the Shine On, this one does the job and makes a lovely finishing spray with a pleasant scent.  Used sparingly, it gives me a polished look which is perfect for the party season.

Which products have you been relying on to get your hair ready for the Christmas festivities?

If you haven't entered my Christmas giveaway yet then there is still time - enter via the widget below for your chance to win gifts from Yankee Candle, Ren, Bumble & Bumble, Bourjois and M&S!
Good luck!

Monday, December 9, 2013

John Lewis Blogger's Secret Santa: Unwrapped!

Christmas has come early here at Mirror on the Wall!
You may remember me mentioning a few weeks back that I had been invited to take part in a very exciting Secret Santa gift swap this year - arranged for us bloggers by the one and only John Lewis. Now, unless you've been hiding under a rock, you will have undoubtedly seen, or at least heard about their Christmas advert for 2013, The Bear and the Hare. If you haven't, then I strongly suggest you hold on at the end of this post and give it a watch, as it's absolutely adorable!
Anyway, back to the matter at hand.

My John Lewis Blogger's Secret Santa gift - from the lovely Jessica Louise over at Forever Miss Vanity - arrived in two parts, and the first package was ripped eagerly open to reveal a beautifully embroidered red stocking. I was instantly excited, and upon reaching inside I was met with a plethora of Liz Earle goodies - now show me a beauty blogger who wouldn't be thrilled to bits with that! The treats included a full-size tube of the iconic Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, and travel-sizes of the Instant Boost Skin Tonic, Skin Repair Moisturiser, Orange Flower Botanical Body Wash and Nourishing Botanical Body Cream, as well as a couple of muslin cloths to boot. For me, this couldn't have come at a better time, as having recently reverted back to Cleanse and Polish, I had just reached the end of my tube of the limited edition Grapefruit and Patchouli version.
Exclusive to John Lewis, this Liz Earle Jan Constantine Stocking Skincare Giftset is available for £50, and I think that this would make a fantastic stocking-filler for any skincare lover out there.
Next up came the second part of the gift, and for me the most exciting of all. Jessica got it absolutely spot on with this one, and I shrieked with excitement upon tearing open the second box to be met with a beautiful Jo Malone box. I instantly knew that Jessica had been doing her homework, as I have often harped on about just how much I wanted to make a Jo Malone candle mine, and this Mandarin and Lime Basil delight now has pride of place on my living room mantelpiece!
John Lewis has got a range of luxury Jo Malone candles in-store, with the 250g setting you back £39. You can find the larger size of the Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin Deluxe Candle by clicking the link, but I'd definitely recommend having a browse at some of their other scents too!

Personally, I'm absolutely pleased as punch with my Secret Santa gifts, and I hope Jessica is too. I'm so greateful to have been given the opportunity to take part in such a fantastic event and it's really got me into the festive spirit.
Now? It's time for a freshly baked mince pie and a glass of mulled wine.


Have you taken part in a Secret Santa this year?
Where will you be doing your Christmas shopping?


Monday, December 2, 2013

Lush Santa's Lip Scrub

Having missed out on Lush's Christmas offerings for the last few years, I was in there like a shot when they rolled out their festive favourites this time round. I'd been meaning to pick up a lip scrub for some while, as I do tend to suffer from dry, flaky lips at the best of times, so as you can imagine, the winter months are even more of a catalyst. Is there anything more annoying when you're keen to showcase the latest lippy to have joined your collection?? I think not, and with Christmas just around the corner, I'd say it's a pretty likely scenario.
After a thorough discussion with one of the very knowledgeable sales assistants, I made my selection, the first item being Santa's Lip Scrub. At the time, I was drawn in by the assistant's suggestion that it was made with fig, but upon closer inspection on arriving home, I noticed that it was actually cola. Is there fig somewhere in the ingredients? Not that I can see. Maybe I misheard her.
Anyway, onto the product itself. As with all Lush lip scrubs, it comes in a sturdy screw-top pot, which is handy for keeping it fresh, as well as ensuring that nothing goes to waste. Very much a coarse sugar-scrub in texture, I massage this into my lips a couple of times a week to leave them feeling smooth, soft, and ready for a vibrant lip colour. I was advised that there's a balm to go with this, which I may well pick up on my next visit. I wouldn't have thought I'd much enjoy any cola-flavoured beauty product, but it's actually quite pleasant, and more reminiscent of those gummy cola bottle penny sweets from back in the day. Remember how they actually were a penny!?? How times have changed - I saw them at 5p in the local shop last week.
Anyway, I digress. This does the job, and I'll definitely be using it up. But frankly, I didn't really see where the Christmas theme was meant to fit in. Unless we're relating it to the Christmas Coca Cola adverts, which really, I think is clutching at straws.

Are you a fan of the Lush Christmas range, or do you have another favourite festive beauty product?

Don't forget to enter my Christmas Giveaway if you haven't already!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cosy Nights and Festive Scents

Brrr! Winter has been on its way for a while now, and the switch on of the Christmas lights last Thursday and the arrival of the German markets in the city centre can only mean one thing: The festive season is upon us! Now, I've been seeing numerous gift guides and advent calendars popping up on my Bloglovin' feed for a good few weeks now, but only now that we are nearing the end of November has it really begun to feel real. The temperature has  dropped dramatically over the past couple of days, leaving me wanting to do nothing more than snuggle up under a blanket on the sofa, with a glass of mulled wine in hand and some Christmas candles burning. I can always rely on Yankee Candle to get me in the mood (for festivities, that is! How rude.) and with an array of delicious winter scents to choose from at quite reasonable prices compared to other brands, I haven't been able to resist picking up a couple in recent weeks.
Spiced Orange is a deliciously warming scent, reminiscent of juicy oranges, cloves and nutmeg - think the afore-mentioned mulled wine.When I'm in the mood for something a bit less heady and a little more dreamy, I opt for Fireside Treats, which envelops you in a bundle of cosiness, literally like toasting marshmallows on a roaring fire. Love.

What are your favourite Christmas scents? Are you in the festive mood yet?

Don't forget to enter my Christmas Giveaway if you fancy landing yourself some treats from Ren, Bumble & Bumbleand more.


Friday, November 15, 2013

The Weekly Selection

It's been a few weeks since I last did one of these, and suffice to say, there are one or two beauty treats I've been very much looking forward to sharing with to you. Ok, make that four.
I'm often found loitering around the Bumble & Bumble stand in Boots, desperately wanting to grab all they have to offer, throw it into my shopping basket and sprint for the till point. Alas, I usually have to summon the strength to peel myself away, as at pushing thirty pounds a pop, their products are definitely not cheap. Imagine my delight then, when I stumbled upon a little shelf of miniature Bumble & Bumble goodness, tucked sneakily away in the depths of the general haircare oil. For between £7.50 and £10, you can pick up all manner of coveted haircare products, for a fraction of the price of their heftier cousins, in miniature. Genius, I tell you. Needless to say, one or two items definitely did venture till-wards with me, one of those being the lovely Buble & Bumble Shine On Finishing Spray, £10 for 60ml. Granted, it might be still a little bit on the pricey side for the amount of product, but if you're a fan of trying before you buy full-size then this is a great idea. I've been spritzing this onto my dull mop after styling each day, for a bit of extra dazzle, and it's not half bad.
Speaking of lank locks, I couldn't help but pick up the Charles Worthington Salon at Home Moisture Seal Intense Rescue Melting Balm (aaaand breathe....), a novel concept if I may say so. Rather than slathering this onto wet hair as you would expect with a hair masque, this thick balm is rubbed between the palms where it becomes an oil, and slicked generously onto dry hair. Leave for twenty minutes, and hey presto, you're ready for your shampoo and conditioner as normal. Having only used this once, I'll reserve full judgement until later, but I did definitely find my hair to be more manageable after dipping my toe in for the first time.
Another new product welcomed into the fold has been the Ren Resurfacing AHA Concentrate, which has been on my shopping list for an age. I finally cracked last week, after much umming and ahhing over whether or not it was worth it, given that I already have and enjoy the Clarins Brightening Exfoliator Toner. Once again, we aren't yet full acquainted, but after a couple of uses I can report that this smells fruitily fantastic (much like the Glyco mask from the same range) and leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth in the mornings.I shall report back soon!
Last but not least is this delightful Indulgent Fig & Orange Oil Moisturising Hand and Nail Cream from M&S. Smells divine and does the job, which is all you can ask, really!
Candle-wise, I've been loving the warming scent of my latest Christmas Yankee in Fireside Treats - sweet and toasty, without being sickly or overpowering. Definite winner.

Which products have been floating your boat this week?
Have you entered my Christmas Giveaway?


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mirror on the Wall: Christmas Giveaway!

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and in my eyes, there couldn't be a better time for a bit of a festive giveaway. Not only that, but for my first ever competition on Mirror on the Wall. 
Yep, that's right, in all the time I've been posting on here, never before have I given you the chance to win a bundle of fantastic treats, and now that I'm settled back in the UK, I just want to say a big thank you to all of you for getting me through my time living abroad. If you're a regular reader then you'll know what a difficult time it was, and finding the blogging world and making friends with some of the lovely people behind my favourite posts played a huge part in helping me push on through the final stretch!
I wanted to share some really great prizes with you, so with that in mind, I have lined up a bundle of goodies that I myself just can't live without.  To be in with the chance of winning:

1) Small Yankee Candle Jar in Christmas Eve
2) Ren Invisible Pore Detox Mask
3) Bumble and Bumble Shine Finishing Spray (small)
4) Indulgent Fig & Orange Oil Moisturising Hand and Nail Cream
5) Seventeen Quicker Slicker Colour in 'Potion'
6) Bourjois Colour Boost in Red Sunrise

All you have to do is fill in the Rafflecopter form below. I've made a point of not including a ridiculous amount of different entry options, because frankly I find that quite annoying! However, there are a few things you can do to get yourself into the prize draw, and I wish all of you the best of luck! 

The competition closes at midnight on Christmas Eve, and for anyone who goes getting any funny ideas about cheating, don't do it - I will be checking each entry to make sure there hasn't been any foul play going on, and if it does turn out to be the case then you will, of course, be disqualified. Just saying.

*All prizes will be brand new and unopened.

Good luck!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Review: Balance Me Radiance Oil

Hello my lovelies, now this one has been a long time coming. I was actually very kindly sent the Balance Me Radiance Face Oil to try some while ago, but thanks to my skin embarking on an unexpected year of insanity around about the same time, it's taken until now for me to actually be able to give it a fair trial. Most of you will know that my skin has been breakout central since around January, but has miraculously cleared up since returning to the UK to leave me, much to my delight, (dare I say it!?) spot free.  Beforehand, I was never really sure what it was that was causing all those blemishes, and went down pretty much every route I could think of in a bid to clear them, none of which were fruitful. I would go through phases of trying out new products, only to then become convinced that they were adding fuel to the breakout fire, but in hindsight I can now see that it really was all hormonal, and all the products in the world couldn't have solved the problem. I will be doing an in-depth post on the issue in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for that if you are one of the lucky people to be in a similar boat. I'll be talking all about how I finally came to have clear skin, and giving you the facts on what did and didn't help.
Now, as I'm finally in a position to be able to objectively try out skincare again.... onwards and upwards.
I do love a good facial oil, but I do understand the scepticism still surrounding them to some degree, especially in those who are already contending with excess oil production. The theory is though, that by slathering on the right oils, in other words, those which prove really beneficial for the skin, sebum production will in turn be reduced. If you're already giving it what it needs in the form of nourishing, hydrating oils which won't clog the pores, then the skin has no need to keep churning out it's own sticky, problematic version.
The Balance Me Radiance Face Oil is made from 100% natural ingredients, including super-emollient goodies such as jojoba, sweet almond, rosehip and camellia. Roman chamomile, yarrow and benzoin nourish skin, replenishing its natural lustre and, smoothing the skin and revealing a smoother and more radiant complexion.
A couple of drops is all you need, and the oil can be applied in place of your night-time moisturiser or, for an extra boost, mixed in with it - recommended if you do suffer from dry or chapped skin in the winter. Personally, I find anything too rich tends to do my skin more harm than good, so I prefer to use it on its own. You may also pop some on in the morning, but I wouldn't hugely recommend it if you're going to be applying makeup, as it doesn't help your slap to stay put in the least. For me, a night-time treat 2-3 times a week is all my skin needs, and the oil is absorbed easily into the skin without leaving any greasy residue.
One of my favourite things about the oil is the delightfully herbal scent - it might not be for everyone, but personally I adore it.
I find this to be a really hydrating product, and a pleasure to use. Since my breakouts have taken their leave, I've been using this from time to time in the hope that it will help to clear up the pesky scars left behind, and thanks to the healing rosehip oil I am already starting to notice some improvements. If you do have blemishes then I wouldn't recommend using it every day, but certainly a couple of times a week should help to get things on the mend without overloading your skin.
All in all, a fabulous product from Balance Me. I'm ashamed to say that this was my very first, but I'm certainly looking forward to delving a little bit deeper into their range of skincare goodies in the future.

The Radiance Face Oil is available from the Balance Me website, priced at £30.00 for 30ml. 


Friday, November 8, 2013

John Lewis Blogger Secret Santa

Hello my lovelies, hope you've all had a fantastic week. I'm sure it hasn't escaped your notice, but Christmas is now slowly creeping up on us, and with the nights drawing in, the weather getting colder and the shops beginning to fill up with all manner of Christmas goodies, I for one am beginning to get a little bit excited.
So when I was contacted on behalf of John Lewis and invited to join in their Blogger Secret Santa, I absolutely jumped at the chance to get involved - what could be more exciting than surprising another lovely blogger with some gorgeous goodies, and receiving an exciting mystery gift to unwrap in return? I think it's a lovely idea, and a great way to get people into the Christmas spirit early on in the festive season.
So, how does it work? Well, within the next couple of days, I will be finding out which lucky lady (or man) I'm buying for, and will then be given forty-eight hours to select a gift for them from the John Lewis website. Obviously, this will involve much digging and researching on my part, as obviously I want to get it just right and surprise them with something that suits them down to a tee, whether it has been on their wish list for a long while, or is a brand new launch which might just blow them away. Either way, I've already been trawling the John Lewis website, and am going to be spoilt for choice with all the gorgeous options available!
 On the 25th November, the gift will be sent off to be popped down the mystery blogger's chimney, and another will be winging it's way to me!
Christmas has definitely come early, and I can't wait to share the results with you. 

Are you taking part in the John Lewis Blogger Secret Santa, or any other secret gift swap?


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Christmas Lust List

I'm back!!
I know it might have seemed as if I'd abandoned blogland there for a while, but actually it couldn't be further from the truth. It has been a busy (understatement of the year) few weeks for us, getting settled back into the UK, staying with family and finally moving into our own place, and once we did get here we still had to wait another month to get the internet installed! It was finally all sorted this weekend, and I couldn't be happier to be able to resurrect this little slice of the internet and get back into the swing of things!
With Christmas just around the corner, I thought it about time I rounded up all of the little goodies I've had my eye on throughout the year, but just haven't been able to pop into my shopping basket. Christmas is a great opportunity to try out the things you just can't justify buying for yourself - like, for example, expensive candles!! Now, don't get me wrong - it's not that I want other people to spend their money so that I don't have to. It's just that, traditionally I do find that family like to spoil each other at Christmas, and the best gifts are always the ones you've been lusting after for the greatest amount of time!
Diptyque, Hourglass and Jo Malone have long been  brands I have coveted, yet I've never been able to make anything mine - true, I probably could have, but truth be told, there are usually more important things to spend my money on than, say, household fragrances. As much as I'd love to pop a luxury candle on my mantlepiece, or add an expensive face powder to my makeup bag, sometimes I just can't bring myself to part with the cash.

What's on your lust list? Is there anything you've had your eye on all year that you're hoping to finally get your hands on?

It's good to be back!


Monday, September 23, 2013

Simple Skincare: Back to Basics for Blemish-Free Skin

Recently, the condition of my skin has been on the up, and while there are several factors I feel have contributed to this, skincare is right up there at the top of the list. As you'll probably know, I'm quite the skincare conoisseur, always adding to my collection, trying out new things and generally trying to do the best for my skin. I like to keep myself educated about what I should and shouldn't be using, and generally try to avoid brands, or at least products, which contain too many chemical nasties. But for months, my skin had been at its absolute worst, and it didn't seem to matter what I used on it - nothing was making a positive difference.
Until I decided to make quite a big change.
For a long time, I have found myself steering clear of gel cleansers, often without even giving them a chance. Usually, they contain sulphates, which create the foam so many people believe is necessary to get their skin clean. Actually, all they really tend to do is dry out the skin, stripping it of its natural oils. The result? Tight, uncomfortable skin, and over-active oil glands. The complete opposite of what you probably want.
The Origins Zero Oil Deep Pore Cleanser with Saw Palmetto and Mint is one of the few gel cleansers I've come across in which there isn't a sulphate in sight. Containing salicylic acid to stimulate exfoliation and unclog pores, and Aloe leaf juice to calm and soothe, this leaves my skin feeling clean, smooth, and best of all, oil free. I must admit, however, that it does leave my skin feeling ever-so-slightly tight after use, but it's nothing a bit of moisturiser doesn't sort out, and certainly doesn't seem to have had any detrimental effects on my skin - quite the opposite.
While Zero Oil makes the perfect morning cleanser for anyone with slightly oily skin, in the evenings I am usually in need of something a bit more heavy duty to get all of my makeup off as well as getting in there for a deep-down clean, and lately I've been turning to the Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel, which I picked up in duty-free on my way back to the UK last month. A gel in the tube, this becomes an oil when applied to the face, and emulsifies into a milk when water is added. The changing texture makes this the best of both worlds in all senses of the expression, leaving skin clean, soft and radiant. A definite winner in my book.
've really simplified down my skincare routine of late, and where before I was reaching for all manner of toners, serums, oils and masks, I'm now literally going straight from cleanser to moisturiser. Yes, I know, Caroline Hirons would give me a slap, but something I've really come to realise about my own skin is that less really is more. I wish I could keep on chopping and changing, trying out new products and using several in one go, but quite honestly, it has never done me any good, and my skin was always near-on
flawless until I started bombarding it with all those different ingredients. Funnily enough,  now that I am going straight for the moisturiser - namely Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief - my blemishes have become few and far between, and my whole complexion is generally looking miles better. I do think a lot of that is down to the moisturiser itself - a gel-cream that sinks into the skin immediately, without leaving any greasy residue. Normal creams are just too rich for my skin, and tend to do more harm than good, but this little beauty is giving my it all the nourishment and hydration it needs, no negative effects included.

Do you believe in simple skincare, or does layering up lots of goodies work better for you?


Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Weekly Selection

If you watched my recent Beauty Haul Video, you'll know that I've made more than just a couple of beauty purchases lately, and choosing my very favourites for this week was a tough call, but I've done my best and I'm thrilled to bits with all of these lovely products.
When roaming Boots the other day in search of a new foundation, the new Liz Earle stand caught my eye, and so excited was I that I almost did a little dance. For most of you, this is probably nothing new, but having been away for quite some time, I wasn't aware that the lovely Liz had now made it into stores. I couldn't not get my hands on the Limited Edition Grapefruit and Patchouli Cleanse and Polish, and I'm so glad I did pick it up, as when I popped in today there were no longer any in sight. It's been a while since C&P was last a part of my skincare routine, but only because, like a typical blogger, I got distracted by other things. This one smells amazing, and seeing how well it gets off all my makeup in one go has made me fall a little bit in love with it all over again.
Not one but two skincare products in this week's favourites, the second of which being the Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Search Relief. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with moisturisers, finding most of them too rich or heavy for my skin. They often seem to do more harm than good, leaving my complexion blemished and a little bit too greasy, so I was really excited to find that this little beaut does none of the above. It's a gel-cream, which sinks instantly into the skin, leaving it feeling smooth and hydrated, with no residue at all. I've just come to the end of the travel-size pot my mum kindly gave me, and I am without a doubt going to be buying the full-size. At £32, it's a bit of a kick in the wallet, but I see moisturiser as an absolute necessity. 
I mentioned the Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Liquid Makeup and Revlon Photoready Perfecting Primer earlier in the week, and they are still doing a sterling job, when used together, of smoothing out my complexion and hiding my blemishes. There is nothing not to love about either of these, and I am so glad to have found them.
Last but not least comes the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Crush, a gorgeous wine-coloured lip balm and stain in one. I'm sure that most of you are no stranger to these little beauts, and neither was I, having been a huge fan on the shades 'Rendezvous' and 'Honey' for some while now. When the weather took a turn for the worse earlier this week, I decided to embrace the dropping temperatures and grey skies and go for more of an autumnal lip, and after picking this up on a whim I am completely hooked.

Have you started changing your routine up for the colder months yet? What products have you been loving the most this week?


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ace of Base: A Skin - Saving Trio

I'm always on the hunt for that perfect makeup base. In the past, a flawless finish was easily achieved, as when you have good skin it doesn't take much - in that situation, the main concern is finding something that will last rather than smoothing or refining the skin. But what about when your skin isn't so good?
 Ever since I began having problems with breakouts and blemishes at the beginning of the year, I've been left feeling dismayed after each attempt at perfecting my complexion. If it wasn't poor coverage from my foundation, or a cakey finish, then it was my makeup sliding off my face by the time I got to work, leaving any little skin sins I'd been wanting to hide in full, unattractive view for all to see.
Fed up with feeling disappointed by all the different foundations I was trying out, I decided to go back to what I knew and visit the Clinique counter. For my first few years of makeup-wearing, I stuck religiously to their Superbalanced and Even Better formulations, both of which I loved and don't really know why I strayed from ( I do - it's one of the perils of being a beauty blogger). Having chatted with a friend who works on the No.7 counter in Boots about how I wanted a good-coverage foundation that wasn't matte (harder to fin than you might imagine), I was pointed in the direction of Clinique Repairwear, but when I visited the lovely lady on the brand's own counter, she suggested I first give their Anti-Blemish Solutions Liquid Makeup a try. She very kindly popped some on for me, and I was thrilled to see my blemishes all but disappear before my eyes. Not only that, but this foundation actually contains salicylic acid, which will treat those pesky spots while you wear it! I didn't nee much more convincing than that, but having tried various formulations from other brands in-store before and then been disappointed when I got them home, Clinique's money-back guarantee was the final push I needed. Apparently, if you get any of their products home and find that you're not satisfied, you can bring them back and get a full refund, which I think is absolutely fantastic considering I was sent on my way upon trying to exchange an unopened Bourjois foundation in Superdrug last week.
To go with my new foundation, I conceded that it was about time I bite the bullet and get myself a primer. I've always put it off, convinced that they were just an unnecessary gimmick to persuade us to part with yet more pennies, but as it happens, the Revlon Photoready Perfecting Primer is the perfect partner in crime. It does as it says on the tin - smooths and perfects the skin, creating a fantastic canvas on which to apply the rest of my makeup.
Last up, I decided to try out another product I've forever shunned: a face powder. Generally, I have to say, I'm not a fan, feeling that they tend to create a cakey, unnatural finish, but the Revlon Nearly Naked Pressed Powder has become my new best friend. Just a light dusting of this leaves my t-zone matte and free of any excess oil, without looking the least bit unnatural or dusty. In fact, having added this little compact to my repertoire, I'm now stunned that I have spent such a long time fearing a matte finish, as when done the right way it works really well and looks incredibly natural. I've always been a fan of a glowy, dewy finish, but I now realise that I can still achieve this with blushes and highlighters without forgoing a stable, long-lasting base.
I am pleased to bits with this trio - they have helped me to get where I have wanted to be for a really long time with my makeup base. Keep an eye out for full reviews, which will be coming up soon.

What are your skin saviours when it comes to a long-lasting makeup base?


Monday, September 9, 2013

Review: Elemental Herbology Bio-Cellular Super Cleanse

Surpise, surprise, it's another Elemental Herbology product. It must be pretty obvious by now just how impressed I am with the brand, so when I was very kindly sent the Bio-Cellular Super Cleanse* I was only too eager to incorporate it into my daily skincare routine and really put it to the test.
Described as a 'luxurious milk cleanser', this is actually quite thick and creamy in consistency, and with an impressive list of active ingredients it offers a number of skin benefits. Apple AHAs rich in malic acid exfoliate dead surface cells, resulting in an overall smoother and more refined complexion, with fine lines and wrinkles appearing diminished. Vitamin C and Rosehip help to minimise the appearance of pigmentation while nourishing and calming, while lipofructyl argan, camellia, ubuntu baobab and macadamia oil boost hydration, leaving skin soft and plumped.

I was particularly intrigued by the concept of using AHAs in cleanser form, being a big fan of exfoliating toners and treatments. Being able to get a whole range of benefits from minimal products is always the ideal for me, especially on those busy mornings where I just haven't got the time to sit down and layer on a plethora of different lotions and potions.

The cleanser works best when massaged into dry  (not wet) skin in small, circular motions, paying extra attention to any areas of congestion. I like to then remove it with a warm, damp flannel, particularly if I'm wearing makeup, as this really helps to rid the skin of any remaining debris, but I do usually still go in for a second cleanse afterwards, just to give my skin a really good deep-down clean. You could, of course, just rinse with warm water, but I really wouldn't advise it with a light product like this, as even after a double-cleanse done in this way, I still find that I pick up considerable traces of makeup on a cotton pad when applying my toner. (I know that in the past, a lot of people used to consider removal of this the main purpose of a toner, but nowadays they offer so many skincare benefits that any remaining dirt can be detrimental to any positive effects, and cleansers have improved to such a degree that they really should be doing all of that type of work themselves).

As with all of the Elemental Herbology products I've tried, this one has a lovely herbal scent, and I have really enjoyed using it. It leaves my skin feeling soft, smooth and hydrated, and I really like the idea that it might be doing something to keep the signs of ageing at bay. That said, any exfoliating effects are extremely subtle, and I have still been finding myself going in with my trusty Clarins Gentle Brightening Exfoliator Toner a few times a week.
In terms of makeup-removal, it does do the job, but I can't help but wonder whether using something like the brand's Purify and Soothe Cleansing Balm beforehand would lighten the load a bit and enable this cleanser to get on with what it does best, which is undoubtedly nourishing and protecting the skin.

Have you tried anything new from Elemental Herbology lately?


Friday, August 23, 2013

Review: Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Gel Mask

I'm a big fan of skin-resurfacing products, and since my first experience I've made sure to have a selection of them in my skincare repertoire at all times. Nothing keeps things feeling smooth or looking radiant quite like an AHA mask or exfoliating toner, and suffice to say I really would be lost without them.
At £48, the Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Gel Mask is hardly what I would call cheap, but with promises of smoother skin that's more even in tone, diminished fine lines and blemishes and reduced shine, I was willing to take a chance on it. Luckily for me though, I did manage to get it half price in a sale, which is always a huge help when trying out a pricey product for the first time. Once I know that I love something, and that it works well for me, I'm not so reluctant to part with my pennies, but until then......

I'm still not quite at the age where anti-ageing is my main concern, but I do believe that prevention is better than cure. As we age, cellular renewal gradually declines. The result? Dull and lifeless skin that's in dire need of an extra helping hand. The Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Gel Mask combines patented tri-enzyme technology with Amazonian acerola cherry, white truffle Poria Cocos, great burdock, erysimum and amino acids to give skin a boost and encourage the regeneration and retexturising process. This also seems promising for anyone with oily or blemish-prone skin, as with its ability to balance sebum levels without compromising the skin's pH it can leave skin comfortable without stripping it completely of the natural oils it needs.

I began by applying the mask to cleansed skin on a weekly basis, leaving it for eight to ten minutes before removing with a warm, damp muslin cloth. As the name would suggest, it's a gel-like consistency with a pleasant fruity scent. What's really unusual about this mask is that upon application, you'll experience a powerful tingling sensation. It doesn't burn or feel uncomfortable, so it's quite tolerable - if anything, it feels quite cooling, almost menthol. I would, however, advise you to proceed with caution if your skin is really sensitive, as I can imagine this might not be the most sensible choice. I have tried out many an AHA-containing product over the past year or so, and of all of them this one certainly feels like the strongest. Saying that, it definitely didn't irritate or burn my skin in any way.
The verdict? Actually, I'm sorry to say that I was somewhat underwhelmed. My skin didn't feel nearly as smooth or soft after use as I have experienced with, say, the Ren Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask or the Elemental Herbology Facial Glow Radiance Peel (review next week). I'm sure I remember reading somewhere that this mask does have something of a cumulative effect, in that the longer you have been using it on a weekly basis, the greater the difference you will notice, but for me I'm still waiting. My skin does feel comfortable and refreshed in the immediate aftermath, but the next day things are pretty much back to normal.
I have really enjoyed using some other products by Elemis, but sadly this particular one wasn't for me. Perhaps it would serve somebody with older skin a little bit better, but I'm glad I didn't pay the full price for it.

Have you tried any resurfacing treatments? 
What are your favourite Elemis skincare products?


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What I Wore

Top and Sunglasses, Zara  //  Playsuit, Topshop  //  Necklace, New Look  //  Sandals, Brazil

I'm not going to lie, this isn't what I wore today. As you may have heard me mention, I've had to plan a few of my recent posts a couple of weeks in advance, as I moved out of my house and have been staying with the hubby's family until we arrive back in the UK this weekend. I may or may not have internet, but at the time of writing this I didn't know either way, so this is something I wore out to do a casual bit of shopping a couple of weeks ago. I've actually had this monochrome gingham playsuit for a good few years now, but it was only when packing for the big move that I found it lurking at the bottom of an empty suitcase that had been stashed away in the store room for goodness knows how long. I tried it on and was thrilled to find that all was well, so I popped on a lightweight long-sleeved top from Zara underneath it, as it wasn't quite the weather for going it alone.
I'm sure it'll come as no surprise to see that I've finished the look with my trusty studded sandals - I still love these, and they go with absolutely everything. They're also incredibly comfy, which is a rarity when it comes to sandals. Speaking of favourites, I'm also wearing my much-loved statement necklace from New Look. I got it as part of my birthday present from my parents earlier this year, and have been mildly obsessed with it ever since.
Normally I'd be a bit more chatty about what I've been up to today, but since I don't have a crystal ball I will just have to guess. Today I am supposed to be in Rio de Janeiro, more than likely sunning it up on Copacabana before leaving for the flight home on Friday. I'll be sure to take lots of pictures along the way, so you can expect so see those some time next week when I am all settled back in the UK.
Between now and then, you should get a couple more posts that I've prepared in advance, and you should still be able to find me on Twitter and Instagram the whole way through - if you don't already follow me on those then just click on the icons over in my sidebar. There's also one for my Youtube channel, so do check that out if you fancy it.

Hope everyone is having a great week.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: Dove Nourishing Oil Care Express Treatment Conditioner

In the past, I'll admit to having been a bit of a snob when it comes to haircare. Bar Aussie, I have always assumed that the higher-end salon brands were where it was at if you really wanted to take care of your tresses, and a while back I stocked up on many a treatment to pamper my dry, damaged ends, post-ombre.
But truth be told, many of those were disappointments, and I was left feeling dismayed at having spent my hard-earned pennies on something that wasn't up to scratch. After that, I resolved to give the high-street brands I could find in the supermarket a fairer hearing, and one of the products that I have found along the way is the Dove Nourishing Oil Care Express Treatment Conditioner (mine is called the Daily Treatment Conditioner as I picked it up abroad).
With 3x the nourishing power of a standard conditioner, this offers the benefits of a richer treatment mask in the form of a practical daily conditioner. Salon-smooth locks in just one minute a day? Sounds pretty good, doesn't it. 
The weightless nutri-oils - a  revolutionary lightweight blend of argan, coconut and almond oils - soak rapidly into the hair, providing super-doses of vitamins E and F to leave locks soft, amooth, shiny and full of life.
I started using this straight after I re-ombred my hair at home, and was expecting my ends to be dry, brittle and frizzy, but after slapping this on and wrapping my hair in a towel for a good ten minutes (I know, it defeats the object of it being an 'express' treatment, but the longer the better when your hair has spent the last hour soaked in peroxide, in my eyes!) I was pleasantly surprised. My hair was soft and healthy-looking, which at this stage was more than I could have hoped for! I've continued to use this around three times a week (I tend to wash my hair every other day) and I'm really happy with the results. My locks are smooth, shiny and manageable - definitely worthy of a repurchase, and at just £1.69 in Boots, it won't break the bank either.
Are you a fan of Dove haircare? What are your favourite products?

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Weekly Selection

If you saw my review of the Dove Nourishing Oil Care Express Treatment Conditioner last week (mine was picked up abroad, hence the different name), then you'll already be aware of how much I've been enjoying this little gem recently. Light enough to use on a daily basis and yet as nourishing as a weekly mask, there's very little not to love about it, and the fact that it does the job in just one minute makes rushing out of the door in the mornings and having to skip breakfast that little bit less likely.
On a similar note, the Garnier Fructis Super 8 Oil (sadly not available in the UK) has been keeping the ends of my hair nourished, shiny and frizz-free. I usually pop some on when my hair is damp, as I find that it just drinks it up, without leaving any hint of an oily residue when dry. It also protects against heat of up to 230C, which helps to ease the guilt of constant straightening and/or curling!
Skincare-wise, this week I've rediscovered the Origins Make a Difference Skin Rejuvenating Treatment Lotion, which smells of oranges and leaves my skin feeling incredibly plump, soft and hydrated. I got this as part of a gift set at Christmas, and after I had finished up all of the other products I moved on to trying other things. Now that I've given it another try though, I've remembered what a godsend this is. If you sleep or work in a room with air conditioning, this really helps to replenish any lost moisture, and works equally well in both overly hot and cold weather conditions.
Makeup-wise, I've been trying out a new mascara, namely the Maybelline One by One. I like how it separates the lashes and puts paid to any nasty clumps, but I do think it's lacking slightly in the lengthening department. In all fairness, it doesn't claim to be anything special in that area, but I think I still prefer the L'oreal Volume Million Lashes mascara, which will be forever repurchased.
As I've been cracking out the red lipsticks again lately after shunning them for some time, I've been in need of something complementary for my cheeks, and the Mac Mineralize Skinfinish in Light Year has been just the job. It comes out a gorgeous but subtle shade of peachy-golden bronze, so it doesn't overpower or clash in the same way that a pink or coral would. It's such a shame that this was a limited edition product, as I think it's something every girl should have in her makeup collection.

That's it for this week. Have you tried any of these?
 What has been knocking your socks off beauty-wise of late?


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Holy Grail Beauty

It's not often that I will go so far as to declare a beauty product a 'Holy Grail' item, and in oder for me to do so it really does have to be something special. There are so many fantastic products out there, but often I am left with the feeling that there must be something better out there, even when it comes to the products that I love. Let's face it, there's not really such a thing as a miracle product. But upon thinking about my own beauty collection and which products I really, truly couldn't live without, I came up with these six little gems. If I love them that much, then it's only right that I should share them with you, so here goes.

Topping the list, it has to be the Elemental Herbology Eye Elixir Reparative Serum. Of all the products I own, this one has made the single most dramatic difference to both my appearance and to the way I feel about myself, and a good eye cream is most certainly not easy to find. Generally, they tend to be over-priced and promise the world, but when it comes to delivery there is usually a lot to be desired. This little beaut, however, does exactly what it claims to on the tin, reducing the appearance of dark circles and taking down puffiness like no other. The only area in which I haven't noticed as vast a difference is in the reduction of fine lines, but in my eyes (excuse the pun) there really isn't much that can be physically done about those once you've got them. I'd highly recommend this eye cream to anyone who struggles with any under-eye issues, and will continue to buy this again and again. Unfortunately it is rather pricey, but it lasts for months on end, and I'd rather pay out for one cream that actually works than five cheaper ones that don't change a jot. Full review here.
Next up is the MUA Pro Brow Kit, which at just £3.50 is an absolute bargain. Now, I know you're going to be annoyed with me for not showing you the inside, but trust me, you really wouldn't want to with the current state it's in. Let's just call it well-loved, and I'll refer you back to my full review here if you want to see it in all it's brand-new glory. The kit contains two brow shades (one lighter, one darker) and a contour which can be used beneath the browbone. There is also a rather handy pair of mini tweezers, as well as a flimsy slanted brush which I must admit, I never use. What I love about this product is that the darker brow shade is an exact match for my own, and once applied it stays put all day. I love how sculpted and groomed it leaves my brows looking, and how natural the finish is. I suppose the fact that I literally just use the one colour and the pair of tweezers is a bit of a shame, and perhaps doesn't say a lot for the product as a whole. But at a bargainous price, it gives me exactly what I want as does the job to perfection. It's rare that I will pick up the same product, day in, day out, but that's exactly what I do with this little kit, so for me it deserves HG status.
Two blushes I can always rely on to perk up my complexion no matter what are Nars Deep Throat (review here) and Mac Sheertone Shimmer Blush in Peachykeen. Deep Throat is a soft peachy pink which would flatter any skin tone, and Peachykeen (review here) is more of a dusky burnt peach. Both add a subtle, glowing sheen to the cheeks without making you look like a glitterball, and when I am feeling really tired and run down, or just generally having a bad face day, one of these two can always manage to sort things out and get me looking alive and awake again.
Last up, two skincare products. I reach for the Ren Clearcalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser every single morning, and it works wonders at keeping any excess oil at bay. Even better, it leaves kin feeling soft, smooth and comfortable - not dry or tight as you might expect. If you've got an oily t-zone or blemish-prone skin then this one is a must-have (full review here).  The Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner is another daily necessity for me, as containing AHAs, it gently exfoliates the skin, removing any pore-blocking debris which as a result, keeps blemishes and breakouts to a minimum. It's not a miracle worker, but then I don't think there is a product in this world that can curb hormonal breakouts completely (if there is then please do let me know!). It has, however, made a noticeable difference since I first began using it, and it leaves my skin feeling smooth and soft to boot.

Which products would you be willing to give the coveted Holy Grail Status?


Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: Elemental Herbology Facial Glow Radiance Peel

AHAs have become an essential part of my skincare routine over the past few months, whether it's daily exfoliating toners or weekly masks. My current favourite weapon against dull and lifeless skin is most definitely the Elemental Herbology Facial Glow Radiance Peel, which is infused with a tropical cocktail of vitamins, enzymes and skin-brightening botanicals to stimulate cell-renewal and even out the skin tone, leaving you radiant and glowing.
Apple serum, papaya, orange peel, tangerine and jojoba beads are responsible for sloughing away dead skin cells to pave the way for new epidermal growth, while vitamins A, C and E work alongside green tea and pomegranate to prevent free-radical damage. But it doesn't stop there. Manuka honey and water lily provide a powerful anti-inflamatory action to soothe and calm the skin.  Pomegranate, argan, macadamia and olive oil provide essential fatty acids to hydrate and nourish. And the multi-mineral complex of zinc, copper magnesium revitalise the skin, kick-starting cellular metabolism. So all in all, it's like a super-food for your skin - a power-smoothie, if you will!
I pop this on once or twice a week, smoothing it carefully over clean, dry skin and leaving to sit for a few minutes. The recommended time limit is four minutes, which originally led me to believe it was going to be really strong on the skin, but these days I can happily leave it for up to ten minutes if I'm a little bit busy and everything is fine (if your skin is sensitive then perhaps don't so this, though!). When the time is up, I remove the mask gently with a warm, damp muslin cloth - you could do so with water alone, but I find a cloth is really effective at getting rid of any stray jojoba beads, as well as giving skin that extra bit of exfoliation.
After use, my skin is soft, smooth and radiant. It really does leave it glowing with health, and is yet another product I would hate to be without. I'm now nearing the end of this tube, which I got as part of the Weekend Facial Set. If you are new to Elemental Herbology then I couldn't recommend this kit to you enough - for £30, you get a 30ml tube of each of their three star face masks - the Facial Detox Purifying Facial Mask, Biodynamic Facial Souffle and, of course, the Facial Glow Radiance Peel - all of which are absolutely fantastic.
The full size Facial Glow is available from Feel Unique, and is priced at £40.

What are your current favourite face masks? 
Are you a fan of AHA treatments?


Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Weekend Beauty Wishlist

Well, there's a surprise - as per usual, my beauty wish list is packed full of skincare and not a lot else. It's not that I don't like makeup - I really do. But the quest for normal skin has got the better of me, and I just can't rest until I get it back! It's so ironic that back before I got into blogging, and (brace yourselves) would often go to sleep with a face full of makeup after a night out, relying on face wipes far too heavily the rest of the time, I had absolutely perfect skin with rarely a spot in sight. And yet now that I take care of it meticulously and have a healthier lifestyle in general, it basically hates me, and I hate it.
Anyway, enough of my moaning - we've been there, done that enough times already. But today I thought I'd put together a little list of the products that have been playing on my mind of late, one or two (!?) of which I'm hoping to pick up on my way through duty free. You may remember me doing a specifically duty free wish list a couple of weeks back, but times are a-changing and so is my shopping list. Saying that, I'd still love to get my hands on the majority of products featured, so I'm not really that fickle. Just greedy, perhaps.

A lot of the products on my list this time are for Clarins, a brand which is really, really appealing to me at the moment. I have always liked them, and grew up sneaking bits of my mother's products here and there, but it's only since trying their Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner that I've really been bitten by the Clarins bug. 
I'm in need of a new cleanser, so first on my list is the Pure Melt Cleansing Gel with Marula oil., which turns into an oil and then a milk upon application, melting away every last hint of makeup while leaving skin nourished and hydrated. I've also got my eye on the Lotus Face Treatment Oil for oily/combination skin. I do have a bit of an uncooperative t-zone, so a soothing oil which also aims to balance the skin and tone the pores would definitely come in handy. I've heard a lot about the HydraQuench Cream-Gel for normal to combination skin, and I find it notoriously difficult to get my hands on a good moisturiser for any skin type other than normal to dry, so I'm really intrigued by this one. Last of all, I quite fancy trying the Instant Smooth Self Tanning to add a bit of colour to my face, and the One-Step Facial Cleanser with Orange Extract, which sounds handy for travel as well as delicious-smelling.
It isn't just Clarins that's been calling my name lately. I'm already a big fan of the Ren Clearcalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser, which does a fabulous job of keeping oil at bay in the mornings, but I feel that I need to add something more to my routine in the fight against blemishes. The Ren Clearcalm 3 Clarity Restoring Mask will fit nicely into my current routine, and hopefully will produce the desired results. I really trust in Ren skincare, as I have loved everything I've tried from them so far. If you haven't given them a go yet then I highly recommend starting with one of their masks. I'm also planning on testing out the Origins Make a Difference + Rejuvenating Treatment, which is supposed to be great for problem skin. I got a gift set from the Make a Difference range for Christmas, and was really impressed with the quality of the products and all that they did for my skin. Sadly though, this one wasn't included in the kit, and the ultra-rich moisturiser that was proved to be a bit oo heavy for my skin.
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronised Recovery Complex II is new on the block, and in a nutshell claims to make you look younger overnight. Well, who wouldn't want that? Sadly, I fear this might be a slight exaggeration, but with fine lines and crinkles already beginning to appear around my eyes I'm not really in a position to argue. Frankly I'll try anything.

What's on your beauty shopping list this week?


Friday, August 9, 2013

The Weekly Selection

There hasn't really been anything to write home about this week in terms of new loves - I did go out and buy a few new beauty bits a couple of days ago, but I haven't had the chance to try anything more than once or twice, which means that my most reached-for products of late have definitely been the known and loved.

One product which has stood out to me, however is definitely the Balance Me Radiance Face Oil*, which has been lurking at the back of my collection for some time now, just begging to be loved. When I first received it, my skin was an absolute nightmare, and I had really scaled back my routine to the absolute basics as I was so afraid of making it worse. However, now that things are on a bit more of an even keel, I've been really enjoying slapping on a light layer of this before I turn in for the night. It's the nicest smelling facial oil I've ever had the pleasure of using, and leaves my skin feeling plump and nourished come morning. It also gives me a bit of an extra glow, which is something I'm always in the market for.
Next up is my beloved Mac Lipstick in Vegas Volt. This was my first ever Mac purchase many moons ago, and the vibrant coral shade still wows me as much now as it did back then. I actually went through a phase where I no longer thought this suited me, but when I found it at the bottom of my makeup bag last week and slicked some on, it was love - again. It's one of your typically perfect summer shades, and the creamy Amplified finish is an added bonus.
I've been enjoying using the Dove Summer Glow in light - medium to keep my limbs looking naturally bronzed of late (I know it has a different name in the picture, but that's because it's a foreign version!). I don't often go for this type of product, as I've had plenty of sunshine at my disposal for quite some time now. However, you do start to take it for granted after a while and before you know it you're looking a bit pale again as you haven't been out in it for a week.
Last but not least, it's the Redken Extreme Anti-Snap Leave-In Treatment, which has been a godsend following the DIY re-ombre-ing of my hair earlier this week. I first had my hair done some time ago now, and some of you might remember that my locks were left in a very sorry state afterwards, with weeks of complaining and attempting to nurse them back to help in the aftermath. Over time, I'd trimmed and trimmed the ends to the point where there really wasn't much of the ombre effect left, so this time I decided to take matters into my own hands, and do it myself. I have to say, I'm really pleased with the results - more so than when I paid to have it done professionally. And this time, I am determined to do right by my locks and give them all the strength and nourishment they need from the off.

Which products have been floating your boat this week?


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What I Wore

Studded Lace Top, Topshop  //  Leather Look Shorts, River Island  //  Sunglasses, Zara  //  Ring and Bracelet, Primark  //  Bag and Sandals, Brazil
(Sorry - only the sunglasses are from this year as everything I own is packed away for the move apart from a limited selection!)

Oh hey, hope everyone is having a great week so far. It's been a bit of an eventful one for us, as we moved out of our house on Monday and in with the hubby's parents for the next few days. We're off to stay with his sister and her family this weekend, and then we'll be back here for a few days before we head back to the UK. It's funny, but I didn't feel sad at all when we left our house. Packing was a nightmare, which I suppose did detract from the whole thing - imagine trying to fit the whole of two peoples' lives from the last five years into three suitcases that do not exceed 23kg each!? Not an easy task, I can assure you. To be fair, the hubby was done in a matter of minutes - it was mine that took at least a week of umming and ahhing about which clothes I could part with, and what I could do with the countless books and bags I'd have to leave behind. In the end, the clothes went to a local orphanage, the books to the language school I used to work at, and the bags to a friend. To be honest it was kind of a relief to get rid of them, as I'm looking forward to starting again in a new place, free of junk and clutter. I say that now, but we all know I'll have it full to bursting again before soon.
We haven't got much planned for the next couple of days, as the in-laws are homebodies and like to stay in most of the time. We'll probably be visiting some other family members though (fun fact: the hubby's mother is one of eighteen brothers and sister, while his dad is one of twelve. Can you imagine how many cousins that means!? Not to mention how many years his poor grandmothers had to spend pregnant....), as most of them live in the same town. We're hoping to go to the beach on Saturday with the sister-in-law, her husband and children, so that should be nice - if there's one thing I will miss about this place then it's the sun, although I can assure you that when you live somewhere where it's pushing forty degrees the majority of the time, you do get quite sick of it, just as you do with constant rain and snow! The sun loses its novelty before long, and there actually comes a point where you wish for it to cloud over, just to get a break. If you're on holiday then it's great, but not so much if you have to work.
I'll probably miss my hammock too - I loved lying in it with a good book as the sun was beginning to go down at the weekends, as at that point it was fairly cool and breezy in the winter (hotter than a British summer).
More than anything though, I'm looking forward to getting back to living life in my own language! And being close to my family and friends again, of course, but that goes without saying.
I'll probably pop a slightly more reflective post on my time here up either just before I go or once I'm home, as I think it's something worth addressing. It's changed me in so many ways, and it's been a real learning curve in more ways than I could possibly explain.
For now I'll leave you with my moving day outfit - not very practical, but as I say, our life is now inside three suitcases so there wasn't much to do in the way of heavy lifting!

Hope everyone is having a great week so far.


Monday, August 5, 2013

New in Beauty Buys

It's been quite a while since I last treated myself to any beauty buys, which is saying a lot for me as I'm usually constantly picking things up here and there. I've been really good at saving my pennies lately, but inevitably there came a time that I was starting to run out of things and needed to restock, and that time was this weekend. We move out of our house today, but won't actually be returning to the UK for another two weeks, so that meant that this was my last chance to get my hands on the bits I needed before we head off to the middle of nowhere to stay with some of my husband's family until we leave.
Now before I start, let me just say that some of the products in the picture are going to have slightly different names to what I'm going to call them, and that is because I bought them in Brazil. Sometimes we get products here that are only available in the US, and sometimes the ones which are on sale in the UK have the American names. I'm going to be referring to them by their UK names so as to avoid confusion.

First off, I decided to treat myself to a new conditioner, in the form of the Dove Nourishing Oil Care Express Treatment Conditioner. I've just re-ombred my hair myself , so it goes without saying that the ends are in need of a bit of TLC. This one seems to be nice and luxurious, with 3x the conditioning power of a standard conditioner, but it can be used daily, getting to work in just minute, which I must say is rather handy.
Next up is the Vichy Normaderm Micellar Water for imperfection-prone skin, which I was prompted to buy after realising just how much cleanser I've been getting through of late. I usually rely on my Elemental Herbology Bio-Cellular Super Cleanse to both remove makeup and give my skin a deep-down clean, which inevitably requires a double cleanse, so I'm going to give this micellar a go and see if it helps me to economise.
I was in need of a new mascara, and having been disappointed by my recent purchase of Maybelline's The Falsies, I decided to give their One by One Mascara a go. I like the fact that this is meant to separate the lashes, leaving them clump free, as for me there is nothing worse that a lumpy, spidery look. However, I usually do prefer more lengthening formulations, so we shall have to see.
Unfortunately, the last four products don't seem to be available in the UK, so sorry for being a tease in that respect. I got two Garnier Fructis hair oils, one of which is designed to nourish the hair while the other is a heat protectant and is supposed to be a great styling tool for straightening hair, leaving it silky smooth ( Sleek and Shine Moroccan Sleek Oil Treatment, if you're in the U.S.). I also got two Maybelline Hydra Extreme Matte lipsticks in Red Revolution and Forever Red - a girl can never have too many red lipsticks, after all, and I have already purchased and loved several other shades from this range. They are really long-lasting, and not as drying as you might expect from a matte formulation.

And that is all that managed to creep into my shopping bag on this occasion. I'm looking forward to trying them all out this week, and will let you know my thoughts imminently!
Have you made any new beauty purchases recently?

Please leave a comment, I read every last word and love hearing your views! It really brightens up my day.

For all PR enquiries, please contact me at: