Thursday, February 28, 2013

I'm on Instagram - Are You?

Hello lovelies. I've been so addicted to Instagram lately, now that I'm following quite a lot of you, and have been really enjoying having a little nose at what you've all been getting up to. If anyone else is on Instagram, and I'm not following you, then please leave me your user name in the comments below - I'd love a browse through your pictures. You can also follow me - my user name is @melotw.

Have a lovely day.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

HD Brows Brow Beater

I'd never considered using a brow gel before, not really seeing that they would be of much use to me and my naturally quite full, dark brows. In fact, as I mentioned in a recent post, I had never really done anything to my eyebrows besides plucking, until the outer edges began to thin and I had to start filling them in.
When HD Brows Brow Beater popped through my door as part of a My Beautie competition win (big thanks to them) I was obviously more than happy to crack it open and see what it was all about - and I'm glad I did.
At an RRP of £14.95, Brow Beater is about the size of your average mascara tube, and contains a clear gel which is applied with the curved, bristled wand.
The first time I used this, I really had to rethink my opinion on products like these, as it left my brows looking so perfectly groomed and polished that I knew it would fast become a daily staple. It doesn't leave the brows feeling at all sticky or crispy, but it does keep them in place for the whole day. Along with my MUA Pro Brow kit, it's now an every day must and I hate going without it.
If you've never tried a spot of brow grooming before then I'd highly recommend that you do. Beautifully groomed brows can make all the difference to your face.

Have you tried anything from HD Brows before? 
What, if anything, does your daily brow routine involve?


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Beauty Haul

Woah there, that was a lot of beauty products.
Now, I haven't been out on one massive shopping spree and piled all of this lot into my basket all at once. That would just be ridiculous. Oh, no. This is basically everything that I have either bought or acquired within the past couple of months, whether through online shopping, late Christmas presents or competitions and giveaway wins. Actually, I say everything, but I can think of at least a few bits I forgot to pop in the photos, but never mind. The point is, I've been meaning to do a haul post for ages, and it's only now that I've been able to get everything together and go for it. The products are pretty much just a big jumble of goodies - I haven't separated them into groups depending on where they came from, because frankly, I can't quite remember. 

That being said, I must drop a thanks in here to the lovely Wengie of Raves 'nd Ramblings for the beautiful Nuxe travel set I won in her giveaway, and Suzy of Suzy Hearts Beauty for the goodies I got from hers, although saying that, I can see that most of it is not, in fact in the photo as they have already found their way into my daily routine and various handbags and makeup bags.
Big thanks also go to Gem of the wonderful Gem Seren blog for the lovely Secret Santa gifts she sent me, and to My Beautie and Baobella for their generous Christmas competition prizes (I seemed to be on a bit of a winning streak back in December!).

Now, I'm not going to go through each individual product and tell you my thoughts, because a) I will be writing full reviews on them all soon (in fact, I have already posted about a couple of these) and b) there are LOADS, and that would make this a ridiculously long post that no one would be able to finish reading.
So, without further ado, here's a big old list of everything that's in the photos, and consequently, my haul

For those of you who like to know what came from where, I have marked the products below accordingly, with 'c' for competition, 'g' for giveaway, 'cp' for Christmas present, and '£' if I bought it myself.

Elemis Skin Nourishing Milk Bath (c)
Nuxe Travel Set (g)
Laura Mercier SPF20 Tinted Moisturiser (shade 'Sand') (£)
Vivo Colour Block Palette (cp)
MUA Pro Brow Kit (£)
MUA Bronzed Perfection Bronzer (£)
MUA Cream Blush in Dolly (£)
Ren Keep Young and Beautiful SH2C Serum (£)
Antipodes Grapeseed Butter Cleanser (£)
L'oreal Volume Million Excess Mascara (g)
Along Came Betty Shea Body Butter (c)
Model's Own Winter Wonderland Nail Polish in Northern Lights (g)
Milani Mineral Blush in Sweet Rose (c/cp)
Milani Single Eyeshadow in Evening Sky (c/cp)
Milani Single Eyeshadow in Heavenly Pink (c/cp)
Eylure Katy Perry Lashes (c)
NailEase Nail Wraps (c)
Violent Lips Lip Tattoos (c)

The Milani products are marked with both 'c' and 'cp' because I'm actually not sure where I came from - my mother passed them onto me already unwrapped, and there was no note with them, so I'm not sure. If you are reading this and they were from you then thank you very much! :)

So there you go, I hope you liked having a nose, and if there is anything more you'd like to know about any of the products before I review them in full then ask away and I will be happy to tell you.

What's been in your beauty shopping bag lately?


Monday, February 25, 2013

Vivo 'Unprotected' Colour Block Eye Palette

Shades, from l-r: Escape, Forever, Flutter, Today
                          Wisp, Flow, Adore, Relax
                           Engage, Divine, Free, Awaken 

You may remember me mentioning, not long before Christmas, that it had been a while since I'd last been 'into' wearing eyeshadow, having reserved it solely for nights out for the past couple of years. I suppose it was down to my out-growing the bright colours I had once loved, and not knowing quite which way to go next. I'd never found neutrals all that appealing in the past, though I'd always been partial to a gold eye. The real problem, though, was that I'd never really bothered to learn how to apply eyeshadow well enough to fall in love with it, and there had come a point where I just thought it made me look worse as opposed to better.
Anyway, the point is that I had been seeing some beautiful looks created with neutrals in the preceding months, and as a result had decided to buy myself a neutrals palette and get practising.
As it happened, creating a pretty neutral eye was easier than expected, and I quickly fell in love with my MUA Undressed palette, making it (and a neutral eye) a staple in my day to day makeup routine, so imagine my excitement when I unwrapped this beautiful Vivo palette after Christmas, from my Secret Santa partner, Gem of Gem Seren (thanks Gem!)

The palette is comprised of twelve neutral shades, ranging from beiges and browns to smokey greys and golden bronzes, including three neutral matte shades (Escape, Flutter and Wisp). This already pleased me, as often it can be difficult to find palettes with a good mixture of both shimmers and matte shades, and the three provided here are so versatile that they are perfect for creating a huge number of looks, along with the remaining shimmer shades. Whether you are going for a natural day time eye or more of a glamorous night time look, you've got pretty much everything you need in this palette.
All the shades in the palette are quite highly pigmented (though the shimmers are more so than the mattes), meaning the colour pay off is pretty good. However, I have noticed that they don't blend as easily as the shades in my Undressed Palette, though they are all quite creamy and smooth in texture. In terms of fall-out, I really haven't noticed much, and there have been no issues with creasing or fading.

This palette retails at just £3.99, which I think is an absolute bargain, and is perfect for those of you who want to play around with some neutral shades without having to splash your cash on something like the Urban Decay Naked palette.

Have you tried anything from Vivo Cosmetics?
If so, what were your thoughts?
Let me know if you have any recommendations!


Sunday, February 24, 2013

What I Wore: Outfit and Nails

                    Denim and Lace Short, Ebay  -  Leather Look Shorts, River Island  -  Studded Sandals, bought in Brazil  -  Spike Necklace, Ebay  -  Ring, Primark

Since I very first began blogging, I've wanted to make outfit posts a part of it, but when you don't have a tripod or a willing photographer, it can prove a little bit difficult. However, now that we've got a better camera, the hubby is suddenly much more willing to get snap happy, so I'm 100% making the most of it and will hopefully now be doing these sorts of posts quite regularly! 
Now, I understand that the majority of you will think me insane for getting my pins out, but if you read regularly then you'll know that I'm abroad, hence this outfit, and the next few, being quite Summery. I'm hoping that with the warmer months on the way, this is ok with you - I definitely didn't feel like posting such outfits during the darkest depths of the British Winter, but as we're pushing March now, I think it's alright.

Yesterday was a pretty chilled out day. We went out for lunch, and I had grilled salmon and roasted veggies, which was delish, but later on in the day I started feeling a bit ropey, so we just came home and read our books, accompanied by copious amounts of tea and get-better smoothies. Our air conditioning is broken at the moment, which means we've been having to make do with the ceiling fan for the past couple of days. Luckily it hasn't been all that hot, but fans always seem to make me ill, and I wake up feeling all fluey and horrible.
I'm really glad I took photos of my nails with Model's Own Freak Out on them, as after just one use I knocked the bottle on the floor today and it smashed everywhere! I'm pretty gutted, as I was really loving this combo. Here, it's layered over a dusky indigo nail polish I picked up here in Brazil.

Hope everyone has had a lovely weekend and is making the most of the last of it.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Weekend Wishlist

This week, I've found myself in need of some nice new summery tops to pair with my huge catalogue of existing shorts. I tend to get bored of tops very quickly, to the point that when I get a couple of new ones I can't remember for the life of me what I actually used to wear before. Anyway, this week Topshop have got some lovely offerings in their new-in section, which remind me of summer festivals. Need I say more?
I also stumbled upon these gorgeous cream cutwork shoes from Miss Selfridge. Being something of a shortie, I'm always glad of a bit of extra height, so these will see me right through S/S 2013, day and night. To top off the new additions to my wardrobe (well...sort of) are some studded jewellery (you can never have too much) and the token Spring mint satchel. Mint is by far my favourite shade for the warmer months, so I can't wait to break it out again this year.
Beauty-wise, I seem to have been getting a bit out of depth. Champagne lips, lemonade pockets, as some might say. Basically,  everything I want costs a fortune. The main culprit is currently Elemental Herbology, a brand I have been eager to try for a while now. You may have noticed their Facial Detox mask on last week's wishlist, and this time it's the Eye Elixir and the Facial Glow Mask. I don't think I could bring myself to pay full price for them, as I am strongly of the believe that once you go even higher-end, you won't want to go back. It's a downward spiral, a dangerous game. Anyway, luckily for me, I was able to pick up the eye Elixir at little more than half the RRP, along with the Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Gel Mask, so those should at least feed my skincare craving for...a day?
Last but not least are some absolutely gorgeous, punchy shades of lipstick from the Mac Strength Collection (Party Parrot and Strong Woman), and Origins No More Puffery, because I woke up with THE puffiest eyes ever this morning, and that can't be happening again.

I hope you're all enjoying your weekend, and I'm extremely jealous of all you lovelies off to blogger meet-ups. I hope you all have a wonderful time, and for those of you with other plans, or staying at home, fingers crossed you have a relaxing time too.

What's on your wishlist this week?


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

MUA Bronzed Perfection Bronzer

In need of a new bronzer, I was reluctant to fork out for another expensive one, having only been disappointed with the quality in the past. Frankly, Bronzer is one product that I'm confident I can go low-end for and find a pretty good product, and when it ca to MUA Bronzed Perfection, I wasn't wrong.

On first impressions, this bronzer is already a winner, coming in an enormous plastic compact for just £3. I can honestly say that I won't need to think about finding another bronzer in a loooong time, as this will last me practically forever.
There was a slight blip when it came to opening the compact. I don't know whether I just ended up with a faulty one, but I have never found a product so difficult to pise open before - not ideal for a hurried morning makeup routine or freshly manicured nails.
This aside, I find the product to be the perfect bronzey shade, and while it suits my skin tone I have no doubt that it's a pretty universal shade. It's really soft in texture and blends like a dream, giving me the healthy glow I've been craving for some time. An added bonus, in my eyes, is that it doesn't contain any shimmer, as it's not my cup of tea and often it can be hard to track down a decent matte bronzer.
Once again, MUA has come up trumps here - this product is a complete bargain and easily matches up to some of the more expensive, high-end products.

Have you tried anything from MUA?
What's your favourite product?


Monday, February 18, 2013

Ren Keep Young and Beautiful SH2C Serum

As you have probably realised by now, I do love a skincare brand that uses lots of natural goodies in its ingredients, and avoids nasties such as parabens, sulfates and mineral oil (amongst other things). In fact, I have already bigged Ren up a fair bit on here in the past, being quite the fan of their delightful face masks (the infamous Glycolactic Radiance Peel being my favourite - not alone there). So, it'll come as no surprise to you at all that when I found myself in need of a new serum, Ren was my first port of call.

Yes, I know I'm only in my twenties, but having developed some rather alarming creases and crinkles below my eyes, it seemed only right that I start proviing my skin with the defence it needs against the dreaded ageing process. So, with this in mind, I chose the Keep Young and Beautiful SH2C Serum to come and join my skincare collection. After all, prevention is better than cure, as they say (but I was kind of hoping for both...)

According to Ren, the SH2C Serum is an advanced bio-active serum, formulated to keep skin looking smoother, firmer, younger and more radiant', and promises to reduce and prevent the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, leave skin looking plump, firm and lifted, correct skin tone and give a healthy, glowing radiance and - the big one - keep you looking younger for longer.
Bio-extracts include hexapeptides from yeast, to stimulate skin renewal, native peptides to smooth expression lines, glycosaminoglycans to provide lasting hydration and hyaluronic acid to increase moisture levels and plump the skin. Joining them is sirtuin, which increases the longevity of skin cells and promotes natural repair, and vitamin C to correct skin tone and brighten the complexion.

I was pretty impressed by these claims, especially as I've had such success with Ren products in the past. A serum which provides radiance as well as having anti-ageing properties is just fine by me. However, at £46 for just 30ml, this product had a lot to live up to.

On first impressions, the serum seemed to have the vague scent of tea, and it's thin and milky in consistency, spreading easily over the face and sinking in completely within a few seconds. My skin feels immediately plumper and firmer, and it's even gentle enough to use under my eyes, which is a huge bonus for me.
However, after the first couple of uses, I noticed the smell beginning to change somewhat, and noticed that it was leaving a rather unpleasant, fishy scent on my hands (niiiiiice!). The product itself doesn't smell like this, but I have begun to notice a rather soy sauce-like aroma upon application on a regular basis now, which frankly is a bit off-putting. The tea fragrance is still there too though, and it seems to veer between the two, which is all very odd.
I can't say I've noticed any smoothing of the lines under my eyes, but perhaps a month isn't long enough to see those kinds of results. I can say that the serum has definitely left my skin feeling plumped and  lifted after use, though I do feel that it could be more moisturising. Of course, I follow this with day and night creams, but I don't feel that the moisture stays locked in in the same way that it did with my previous serum. It has given my skin a nice glow, as Ren products tend to, but I can't really speak for the long-term effects and whether it really is keeping new wrinkles at bay! Only time will tell.

Would I repurchase?
Probably not. I've tried better serums, and for the price I'd expect a little bit more in terms of moisture and a nice scent. There  are lots more serums out there I'd like to try, and this one hasn't done enough to persuade me to stick with it. I hope I won't regret this in years to come!

Have you tried any of the Ren serums? If so, I'd love to know your thoughts.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

MUA Pro Brow Kit

I have always had naturally quite thick, dark brows, so for years I couldn't see the point in defining them any more than they already were. However, in the last couple of years, the outer parts have become quite sparse, so it became apparent that something needed to be done. For some time, I experimented with pencils and eyeshadows, but nothing gave me the natural look I wanted - until I found this little beaut.

The MUA Pro Brow Kit  (excuse me for not being able to restrain myself long enough to photograph it before use, but frankly I think a used product just shows that I really do like it anyway) consists of three different powders and a wax. The three powders can be mixed according to the colour of the individual's brows, but MUA also recommend that you use the lightest shade just beneath the brow for a bit of  a highlight. You can then use the wax to give your brows a bit of a groom and set them in place.
Personally, I tend to use the darkest shade to fill in the gaps in my brows, and have now taken to going over them for a bit of definition, as contrary to my earlier beliefs, it actually does make a huge difference, framing my face and leaving me feeling much more polished.
The kit also comes complete with a little angled brush and a miniature pair of tweezers to keep any stray hairs in check. For me, the brush isn't very helpful, as it's far too flimsy to get an accurate brow shape, so I have taken to using a different one from my own collection.
As far as the wax goes, it's fair to say I haven't given it much of a chance, as I received my kit in the post at the same time as my HD Brows Brow Beater gel, which is absolutely fantastic for grooming the brows and keeps them in place all day (review coming soon). I have tried the wax on one or two occasions, but between the two Brow Beater definitely wins.

All in all, a great little kit with everything you need to keep your brows looking their best (except maybe a decent brush). While I don't necessarily make use of all elements of the product, if I was going away for the weekend and packing light then this would more than do the job. The powders and highlighter have now become staples in my every day routine, giving me a groomed but natural look (no scouse-brows here, thank you very much) and I would hate to be without this kit.

At just £3.50, this is an absolute steal, so if you're looking for something to help you achieve beautiful brows then this is a really, really good place to start.

Do you groom your brows or leave them as they are?


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Weekend Wishlist

Oh, how surprising. I bet your jaw dropped open in shock when you saw that I've got some - gasp - face masks on this week's wish list. Yes, I admit it. I'm a bit of a face mask junkie, but it doesn't stop there, as you have probably realised - it stretches across the whole skincare spectrum.

The reason I'm featuring quite so many this week is because my birthday is just around the corner, and I'm trying to decide which of these goodies would benefit me the best - and simultaneously fulfill my skincare craving. I've already decided on the Antipodes Aura Manuka Mask, which I've had my sights set on for ages, so I decided against boring you with the inclusion of that one once again.
So, the nominations are: Caudalie Vinoperfect Enzymatic Peel Mask, Ren Invisible Pores Detox Mask (which I am pretty set on), Decleor Life Radiance Flash Radiance Mask and Elemis Fruit Active Rejuvenating Mask. You might notice that the list includes quite a few nods to radiance and fruit enzymes, and that's because I'm on the hunt for something to contend with the fantastic Ren Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask - my tube has sadly come to an end, and the blogger in me insisting that I try something new.
A couple of other skincare items tickling my fancy are the Burt's Bees Radiance Serum and the Ren Radiance Perfection Serum - again, my current choice is running low, so I'm trying to think ahead and decide what should be next on my list.
Have you tried any of the face masks? I'd love to hear your thoughts if you have.

So, skincare aside, I popped over onto the Dolly Bow Bow site and was pleasantly surprised by the new selection of gorgeous, vintage-inspired homeware available. They've also got some lovely jewellery in at the moment, the best of the bunch - in my eyes - being this beauty of an arrow necklace.
I was also on the hunt for some Spring attire this week, but found the new-in sections relatively uninspiring. I did, however, stumble upon this absolutely gorgeous embellished tee from Miss Selfridge, and my first visit to the Oh My Love website came up trumps with this mint green lace skater dress.

What's on your wish list this week?


Friday, February 15, 2013

Montagne Jeunesse Glacial Clay Spa Mask

Years back, when I was a teenager (don't I feel old!), there was little I loved more than kicking back at a sleepover with the girls, my face plastered in a deliciously fruity-smelling Montagne Jeunesse face mask and a couple of slices of cucumber on my eyes.
Fast forward a few years, and I haven't tried one of these sachets of goodness in years, so imagine my joy when I found this Glacial Clay Spa Mask in a giveaway prize parcel from the lovely Suzy.

The Glacial Clay Spa mask is a rather unbecoming cloth mask with holes for all your vital facial features (eyes, nose and mouth), and boasts the benefits of real clay, arctic cloudberry and red grape. It's quite easy to get your hands covered in clay dust when pressing this onto your face, so you will definitely need to give them a quick rinse afterwards. The mask is ready to use, and simply has to be pressed onto the skin and left to dry for ten minutes. Personally, I found this something of a challenge, as due to my weirdly small face it seemed to be a little bit on the large side. But, after some experimentation, the mask was in place and I was ready to relax.
Now, you might expect this mask to have something of a fruity aroma, what with the berries and grapes, but it doesn't - nor does it smell like your average clay mask. In actual fact, I felt as  though I had spritzed my face with men's aftershave, which to be honest is not what I really want from a facemask, but hey - I don't judge on smell alone.
Luckily, the results were worth the wait, and the mask left my skin feeling soft, smooth and refreshed. It's not a miracle mask, and I probably wouldn't go for this particular variety again, just because I think that Montagne Jeunesse do some better smelling ones, but at the same time I wouldn't say no if I found myself with another sachet.
I do like that these masks come in sachets, as it's a great way to stock up on a few different varieties and try them all out. Most of the face masks I buy nowadays (mainly from Origins and Ren at the moment) are expensive and can only be bought in full-size tubes - great if you love it, but sometimes I want a bit of variety - isn't that the spice of life?

What is your favourite face mask? Any recommendations?


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Introducing Organised Chaos

Well hello. You might have been wondering why my posting schedule on here has been a bit up and down recently (although it's more likely that you haven't noticed at all, with all the other lovely blogs out there to keep you occupied). Well, there are two reasons for that, but before I tell you them I also want to say that as of tomorrow weekend, I intend to get back to posting as close to daily as possible. It's not because I feel I have to - it's because I want to, and because I miss it when I don't post!
So, what is it that's been keeping me busy of late? Well, for one thing, I've been trying to make the most of my last few days of freedom before work begins on Monday. And for another, I've been a busy little bee, working on my new project, which is a lifestyle blog called Organised Chaos. 

Organised Chaos is basically a fun blog for me, where I can talk about all the random things in life, whether they be funny stories, books I'm loving, vintage finds, baking or holidays. Sometimes, I just want to sit down and write about something that has happened to me that day, or an issue that's winding me up, or something that has inspired me, and though I could well do so on Mirror on the Wall, something excited me about the prospect of having a separate little haven to spill the beans on the other side of life, but that doesn't mean I don't want you lovelies to read it - far from it. So, the purpose of today's post is to give you a sneak peak and let you know that I have began publishing on Organised Chaos today. There are five posts already up, though obviously I have been compiling those over the past week or two and won't be posting so many at a time in future! I would really love it if you fancied popping over to have a bit of a look around. Please bear in mind that it's still in the early stages, so the blog itself is still 'under construction' to some degree. However, from now on I will be posting regularly.

I also want to let you know that the fact that I've now got two blogs won't affect this one in any way - this blog was my first, and I still love it just as much. I haven't fallen out of love with it at all and will be continuing to produce content on here, just as I always have.

Thank you for reading and I hope to see you over on Organised Chaos soon!


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Handbag Essentials

My handbag is constantly jam-packed with all manner of things, some of them necessary and some of them not so. While I do tend to carry a selection of makeup items on me, I'm not really the sort to be constantly touching up during the day, and what I have on me tends to vary as my tastes change. However, there are several items which you are guaranteed to find in the depths of my handbag at all times, so let's have a look and see what these life-savers are (excuse the slightly battered appearance of a couple of them - but it only serves to prove that they are well loved!).

Balmi Strawberry Lip Balm
Hands down the best lip balm I've ever tried, this one comes everywhere with me and gets lots of use. It smells just like those strawberries and cream boiled sweets, and is really moisturising, meaning my lips breathe a sigh of relief when they get their fix.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir
This one hardly needs any introduction, as it's reputation precedes it. I adore its refreshing herbal scent, and carry it round with me for a quick pick-me up during the day. Whether I'm feeling tired and lethargic or my skin is a bit parched, this is a saviour, and a much-needed weapon against the dehydrating effects of central heating and air conditioning.

Essie Smoothies Coconut and Pineapple Hand and Body Lotion
I've only recently got into caring for my hands, and now have an array of hand creams in my collection. Of the lot, this one has got to be the one I love the most, as with it's deliciously tropical scent I can almost close my eyes and picture myself on a paradise island.

Bach's Rescue Remedy
I used to suffer from quite bad anxiety, and while I would no longer consider myself a sufferer, I still like to keep this on me just in case. It does come in handy in those nerve-wracking situatuions, and I even find it helps to slow my heart-rate if I've accidentally had one coffee too many! This is something I'll always keep close at hand, as you never know when you might need it.

Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Leave-In Conditioner
I suffer from dry, dehydrated ends to my hair, so this is an absolute must and is spritzed through them at least a couple of times a day to prevent them from drying out. As an added bonus, this also smells like holidays...noticing a bit of a theme here, anyone?

Nuxe Heuile Prodigeuse Dry Oil
This little bottle of goodness is a multi-purpose marvel, and is great for combating dry skin and hair. I do sometimes use this on my face and legs at home, but in my handbag it's more handy for putting paid to frizz and fly-aways.

What are your handbag essentials?


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Weekend Wishlist

Crop Jumper, Topshop  -  Studded Clutch, Topshop  -  Honeysuckle and Jasmine Scented Candle, Busy Bee Candles  -  Rodial Bee Venom Eye, Feel Unique  -  Rimmel London Apocalips Lip Lacquer, Boots  - Pyramid Stud Earrings, Topshop  -  High-Waisted Embroidered Shorts, Miss Selfridge  -  Stone Stud Boots, Miss Selfridge  -  Lotus and Orange Blossom Bio-Affinity Toner, Pai  -   Striped Jeans, Topshop  -  Crop Jumper, Topshop

The shops are starting to fill up with gorgeous attire that hints at the up-coming Spring/Summer season, and I for one am thrilled. It's time to swap black boots for lighter tones such as stone and camel, and bare those legs in aztec-print shorts.
Of course, for me, there has already been quite a lot of leg-bearing over the past month or so, as it's extremely hot over here at the moment, but that only makes me all the more eager to get my hands on some of the lovely new pieces Topshop and Miss Selfridge have to offer.
Of course, in the UK you can never rely on the weather, so these gorgeous crop jumpers will come in extra-handy for throwing on with a pair of shorts when the evening chill sets in.
Moving onto beauty, I'm intrigued by the new Rodial Bee Venom Eye treatment.  I'm not going to moan about my eyes again, because you already know that this would be the sort of thing I'd be lusting after - and why. However, I'm sad to say that at £115 for 25ml, there is no way I will be welcoming this one through my letterbox any time soon (that's why this is a wish list!).
I'm nearing the end of my beloved Suti Organic Peppermint Water toner, and while I'd very happily stick with it, the blogger in me is craving something new to try. Being a big fan of the Pai Camellia and Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, their delightful-sounding Lotus and Orange Blossom Bio Affinity Toner would more than likely be just my cup of tea. However, once again it's the price that's putting me off, as never before have I forked out £30 for a toner and I'm not sure whether I want to start - it's a slippery slope...
I'm feeling the need to fill the house with spring-like scents at the moment, so this Honeysuckle and Jasmine Candle from Busy Bee Candles fits the bill just perfectly, and last but not least, I need to finally pop some Rimmel Apocalips into my shopping basket, as they look like real beauties and there are some lovely shades for warmer weather.

What's on your wishlist this week?


Friday, February 8, 2013

Making Your Mind Up

Sometimes, despite having given products a fair chance and taken my time forming an opinion about them, later on I change my mind.
I've always thought it odd how some products can work so well for some, and yet do nothing for others, and it's even more baffling to see a product that started off doing wonders for you slowly deteriorate in performance, or vice versa.
Recently, I have noticed this happening with more than just one product in my vast collection, so I thought I would share my more recent thoughts on those with you, and compare them with my initial opinion.

Origins Gin Zing Eye Cream
I'm not going to lie, I expected a lot from this cream (being the Origins lover that I am) - some might say too much. This has been put on a pedestal and raved about non-stop across the beauty bloggasphere, so imagine my surprise when I cracked open a pot and found it didn't make the slightest bit of difference to my puffy eyes and dark circles (original review can be found here: Origins Gin Zing ).
Now, fast forward a few months, and I'll admit that I should probably be eating one or two of those words. Before you get too excited, no - I still don't think it's a miracle product. However, having tried other eye creams as well as going without, I can now see exactly what this does do for me. I maintain the fact that it doesn't do a whole lot for puffiness, although it does help ever so slightly. But what this does do is brighten the under-eye area quite considerably, thus reducing the appearance of dark circles. So, if you are thinking of giving this product a chance, then do so on the understanding that this is not going to work miracles, but that it will help a bit. If you do that, then you won't be disappointed - and let's face it, there isn't a product out there that will dramatically improve your under-eye area (if you think there is then please do share!).

Redken All-Soft Shampoo
Quite the contrary when it comes to this one. I'll keep it short and sweet: I thought this was the best conditioner ever - in fact, it even featured in my Best of 2012 posts. Turns out, it's pretty average. In the beginning, when my hair was terribly dry and damaged, this made it silky soft and manageable again. But these days, I find myself stuck with dry ends regardless, and I no longer feel my hair relax when applying it in the shower, as I did those first few times. I have no idea why -perhaps it's done all it can for me and that's it's limit.
( Original review: Redken All-Soft Conditioner)

Garnier Intensive Seven-Day Body Lotion
Excuse the foreign version. 
if you read my original review of this, you'll know that I thought it was pretty fabulous. On the very first application, I was in awe of how soft and hydrated it left my skin feeling, and finally began to feel that body-moisturising was actually worth it. However, a couple of months down the line, I don't really find that it does much.

Now, I'm prepared to concede that perhaps the truth with these last two is possibly just that I've got used to their effects. Perhaps my hair is much silkier than it was before I began using Redken All Soft, and perhaps my skin is just as soft and smooth as it was in the beginning, but I now take it for granted and no longer realise it?

I'd be really interested to know if any of you have had any similar experiences with products you've tried, and what your theories are on the matter!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Day to Day Makeup

There are two reasons I usually avoid doing FOTDs. One is because I'm really not very photogenic, and so usually end up frustrated with the results, and the other is my horrific editing skills. You can absolutely guarantee that, if I do manage to get an ok photo, it's going to have a highly unsuitable background that I just can't bear to put on my blog. End result? This.
Can we just ignore the wonky edges and talk about what I've got on my face today?

IT Cosmetics Concealer in Shade 02 Neutral
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser in Sand
MUA Bronzed Perfection  Bronzer
MUA Cream Blush in Dolly
Mac MSF in Soft and Gentle
Vevo Colour Block Eye Palette (shades Flutter, Today and Divine)
L'oreal Volume Million Express Mascara
MUA Pro Brow Kit
HD Brows Brow Beater (eyebrow gel)
Revlon Lip Butter in Cherry Tart

Very much leaning towards the budget side of makeup looks, this is unusual for me, as I'm usually more of a high-end girl when it comes to bronzers and blushers. I'm happy to stick to high-street when it comes to mascaras and lippies, but having received a generous stack of parcels yesterday, courtesy of Mr Postman (all left over from Christmas, as I had to have them sent to me abroad), I was eager to crack open some of the goodies inside. This is my first foray into the world of Vevo, and I must say, so far I'm impressed. The palette contains a fantastic selection of neutrals, including several matte shades, and is right up my street now that I have got back into eyeshadow. As for the MUA Pro Brow kit and HD Brows Brow Beater - well, what life-savers. Though I usually fill in my brows with a powder, I had never really seen the point in an eyebrow gel, but as of today I am well and truly converted! I had no idea my brows could look so well-groomed.
On a slightly unrelated note, I would like to ask you all a little question. Now, this might just be me, but ever since I hit the wrong side of twenty-five, I have suddenly found myself plagued with the dreaded fine lines beneath the eyes. Yes, I know I always harp on about circles, bags and whatnot, but this time we are on relatively new ground. So, what I would like to know is whether any of you have tried any eye products that you feel have really made a difference to fine lines? If so, what was it?

Hope everyone is having a great week.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bright Eyes: My Eye Care Essentials

For the past six months or so, I have been plagued by tired, puffy eyes and stubborn dark circles (not to mention the appearance of my first fine lines), and finding the cure has become my main goal in life....ok, not really, but it's certainly had me on the hunt for something that could help, and so far, it's been quite a disappointment. As it turns out, there's no such thing as a miracle cure, but along the way, I have stumbled upon a handful of products that, when used together, have helped to improve the appearance in some way. Due to this, they have now become daily staples in my routine, and so I thought it was about time I shared them with you. Please do be warned that none of these are going to magic the problem away, but I like to think that they at least have something to offer in the fight against tired eyes and/or fine lines. Either way, these are the products I'm currently including in my routine.

Of all the eye products I've tried, these have got to be my favourite, and they really do make an impact when it comes to puffiness. You simply lie back, pop these self-adhering slices over the eyes (making sure to press them into the contour) and relax for ten minutes. Upon removal, all puffiness has shrunk to an absolute minimum, and while I wouldn't say these are going to banish dark circles, one out of two isn't bad. Full review here.

Origins Gin Zing Eye Cream
You remember my review on this a while back, in which I stated that, despite my love for Origins as a brand, this had failed to impress. However, while I still stand by the fact that this doesn't diminish dark circles or puffiness in my case, I have since discovered that it does make the under-eye area appear quite a bit brighter - something which I wasn't able to notice until I stopped using it for a time and then decided to give it a second chance. Original review here.

Caudalie Pulpe Vitaminee Eye and Lip Cream
This is my weapon against anti-ageing, and is a recent addition to my eye routine. Now, I have to hold my hands up and say that I have no idea if this works, as is often the case with anti-ageing products. No matter what anyone says, I am severely doubtful that any product has the power to magic away any current lines under the eyes, but I do like to think that including it in my bedtime routine might slow down the ageing process somewhat. If you would really like to know if this does the job, then ask me again in ten years.

With the lotions and potions out of the way, the next three are some cosmetics I use daily in order to help disguise any signs of tiredness or ageing.

Rimmel ScandalEyes Waterproof Kohl Liner in Nude
An absolute gem, this liner works wonders when run along the waterline, making eyes appear much brighter and perkier. I wish I'd tried something like this sooner, as it really does make a difference and now comes everywhere with me in my makeup bag.

Benefit Erase Paste
I use shade no.2 of this salmony-toned concealer, and think it does a reasonably good job at covering up dark circles. I say reasonably, because I have never, ever tried a concealer that has managed to impress, and this one is the best of the bunch. It does tend to crease a bit though, and I've noticed it sinks into any fine lines. The search continues.

L'oreal Volume Million Lashes Mascara
Nothing perks up peepers like a fantastic mascara, and this one is my absolute HG. Since stumbling upon it last year, I haven't even been tempted to look elsewhere, as this gives my lashes all the length and volume they could hope for. Result? Wide-awake eyes.
Full review here.

Have you tried any of these products?
What are your eye care essentials?
If you have any recommendations then I would absolutely LOVE to hear them.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

January Favourites

It's that time of the month again. No, no that one - it's time to share with you the products that have well and truly kept my boat afloat throughout the month of January.
This month was a bit of a toughie, and I did struggle narrowing it down to just seven products. There were some fantastic offerings that  I began trialling more towards the end of the month, so you can expect to see those popping up in the February edition, should they continue to impress.
So, with that out of the way, let's get on with the matter at hand.

Origins Make a Difference Cleansing Milk and Rejuvenating Serum
I received the Origins Make a Difference 'Moisture Makers' gift set for Christmas (review here) and of the four products I received, these were my favourites (although I do really like all of them - just didn't want to go Origins crazy in this post!) Both smell absolutely fantastic, like fresh oranges, and a re an absolute pleasure to use. The cleanser is a milk, so I prefer to use it in the mornings, as it's a little bit light for getting off all my makeup in the evenings. It does do the trick, but requires a double cleanse in that situation, so as this was only a 50ml bottle I chose to conserve it. My skin feels lovely and soft after use, and the serum (which I cleverly forgot to include in the photograph) leaves it plump and hydrated. This is the first time I've regularly used a serum in my skincare routine, and I will undoubtedly continue to do so, as I've really noticed the difference it's made to the condition of my skin.

Laura Mercier SPF20 Tinted Moisturiser
I'd had my eye on this for an age, and after falling back in love with tinted moisturisers since using the Caudalie Teint Divin, I decided to bite the bullet. I use the shade 'Sand', which is a perfect match for my skin tone, and thanks to the SPF it saw me right through my seaside break. This is great for when your skin is looking pretty good on it's own, but it really does make a difference when it comes to evening out skin tone. A lovely every-day product.

Balmi Strawberry Lip Balm
Another item from Suzy's giveaway, and something I'd been intrigued by for a while. There was a huge craze for EOS and Balmi going on early last year, but while I liked the sound of them, I was feeling a bit fed up of lip balms that promise the earth and yet do nothing. However, this one is a real treat - it smells exactly like strawberries-and-cream sweets, and moisturises my lips a lot better than anything else I've tried, actually sinking in rather than just leaving a barrier.

MUA Undressed Palette
I'd been wanting to get back into wearing eyeshadow, having gone without for the past couple of years (apart from nights out). I think this was down to my favouring brighter colours in my younger years, and never really bothering to learn how to apply it properly, essentially meaning I grew tired of it. But having tried this palette, neutral eyeshadows have become a definite staple in my daily routine, particularly the matte shades. These are really highly pigmented and are a pleasure to use.

Origins Intensive Overnight Drink-Up Mask
Yes, I know I said I didn't want to go too Origins mad in this post, but I did get a fair few of their products for Christmas, so it's only logic that they'd appear in my January favourites. This is a product which, despite my being quite the Origins fan, I had never got round to picking up, so I was glad to receive it as a free gift with my Moisture Makers set. This mask smells absolutely divine (think passion fruit) and leaves my skin feeling beautifully soft come morning time. Expect a full review coming soon.

Model's Own Winter Wonderland Nail Polish in Northern Lights
Just look at it. What an absolute beaut.
This reminds me of snowflakes and raindrops, and looks beautiful layered up over an array of different shades. I'm yet to find the perfect pairing, so watch this space for a NOTD once I do.

That's it for January - I hope you saw something you liked. If you have tried any of the products mentioned then please do let me know your thoughts on them, as I'd love to know if they have impressed you as much as they have me.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Life in Pictures

It's been an absolute age since I did one of these sorts of posts. I used to really enjoy doing them every Sunday, but there came a time when I felt that my life was just too boring, and I would increasingly find myself with a lack of photos at the end of the week. So, these days, I'm just going to do them as and when - if I have found the week particularly snap-worthy, whether that be down to holidays, nights out, delicious food or new purchases, then I will most certainly be sharing. But if, on the other hand, I can sense a snooze-fest coming on then I'll give it a miss.
This week has passed in a bit of a blur, and when I try and think back to what has happened, I genuinely can't remember! It was bound to be a bit dull in comparison to the week before, when I was busy sunning myself on the beach (in fact, I only returned at the beginning of this week), but one of the highlights was definitely a visit from Mr Postman. He very kindly brought me (well....I did buy them) N-W by Zadie Smith, a book I have fancied getting my teeth into for a while now, so I've spent my free time lazing about in my hammock and getting lost in it. So far, I'm really enjoying it, and am hoping to write up a review of it on here once I have finished, so watch this space for that one. Postman Pat also delivered my new Antipodes Grapeseed Butter Cleanser, which has actually been shut away in one of my drawers for the time being, as I'm so enjoying using my Tropic Organic Hot Bamboo Smoothing Cleanser. Thorough evidence, if ever you needed it, as I have had my eye on the Antipodes one for an absolute age!
Other than that, I've been spending some time with the in-laws and getting started on the mountain of things that need to be done by the middle of this year (more on that later) and deciding what we are going to be doing when we move back to my home town in the Summer.
I'm very much looking forward to having a bit of a #bbloggers natter later, as I'm feeling a bit out of the loop, having missed out on the last few chats due to being otherwise engaged.
I hope everyone has had a great week and an even better weekend!


Friday, February 1, 2013

Tropic Pure Plant Skincare: Organic Hot Bamboo Smoothing Cleanser

Unless you've been living under a rock, there's no way you haven't heard me talk about my love for organic and natural skincare, so it'll come as no surprise to hear how delighted I was to be given the opportunity to try the Tropic Organic Hot Bamboo Smoothing Cleanser*.

Tropic Pure Plant Skincare is the brainchild of Apprentice 2011 contestant, Susan Ma, who despite not winning, managed to impress business tycoon Lord Alan Sugar - so much so, that he went on to invest in Tropic and is now a 50/50 partner.

Tropic products are derived from 100% pure plant extracts, with their three main principles being to create pure, honest and effective skincare.

The Smoothing Cleanser is priced at £15.00 for 125ml, and comes complete with a 100% organic bamboo face cloth.
The product itself is a thick cream cleanser, which instantly appealed to me, as not only do I love hot cloth cleansers, but I feel that creams do a far better job at removing every last scrap of makeup than anything else I've tried.
With extracts of green tea (packed with anti-oxidants) and Eucalyptus to clarify and brighten the complexion,  the cleanser boasts yet more goodies, such as jojoba, avocado and vitamin E, all of which are super-hydrating and nourishing and aim to leave the skin plump and soft.

To use on my 'normal' skin, I apply two pumps to a dry face and neck, and massage in for about a minute or so, really giving it the chance to dissolve any debris and impurities. I then soak the bamboo cloth provided in hot water, and gently polish away the product, taking all the unwanted dirt with it.
If I have a full face of makeup on before use, I tend to massage a pump or so in before hand, rinsing with warm water, as suggested by Tropic. However, if I'm just wearing tinted moisturiser and light eye makeup then I don't find this to be a necessary step, as the cleanser is really thorough and removes every last trace of grime!

The product smells wonderfully herbal, but it's not a strong or over-powering scent. If anything, it adds to the sense of cleanliness, and is really rather pleasant, the dominant note I can pick out being that of eucalyptus.

I can honestly say that I have absolutely loved using this cleanser, and will continue to use it on a daily basis, as it has left my skin feeling so incredibly soft, smooth, hydrated and plump (yes, I'm a beauty blogger, so I will undoubtedly try other cleansers if they tickle my fancy, but this is one to always keep on hand). When I started using it, I had been a bit erratic with my skincare for the past few days, and it was showing, with blemishes and redness blighting my appearance. However, after just a couple of uses, this had already made a huge impact on my skin, and while I was a little bit sceptical as to whether that would continue, it really has done, leaving it soft, smooth and blemish free. This only serves to re-enforce my believe that my skin responds better to organic and natural ingredients, and I have definitely got my eye on some of the other products in the Tropic range.
Whether you are new to cream cleansers or a die-hard fan of the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish and fancy an organic alternative, this one is for you, and it comes highly recommended from me.

Where to find Tropic:

Have you tried anything from Tropic Pure Plant Skincare? If so, what did you think?

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

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