Thursday, 15 March 2018

Current Favourites

Not going to lie - I missed February's favourites. It's too early for March's so I'm calling this.. current favourites!

There are three items from Mac, and the reason for this is two of the items were in a recent Beauty Box I ordered from Mac, which was jam packed with all sorts of fab bits from all the different Estee Lauder brands. I didn't post about the box because as soon as I received it, it had sold out but if you see one again, it's such a good buy.
So from the house of Mac, my current favourites are:

Mac Falsh Lashes Extreme Black Mascara
This full size mascara came in the beauty box and what I really like about it is that it doesn't smudge off. I had been using a Laura Geller mini mascara on my bottom lashes because of the small brush but man alive did it smudge. And I only realised after I had got home from an important meeting, where I met several people and talked to at length, with my smudged under eyes! I also really like the brush of this Mac mascara, which helps to lengthen lashes.

Mac Prep + Prime Natural Radiance Illuminating Base
I actually bought the full size of this yellow based primer a few years ago and I really liked it but for some reason moved on to various other primers. And then I had my primer sabbatical, where I just didn't feel that applying that extra layer was adding any value. But I recently noticed that the pores and shine on my nose, chin and forehead were really showing up and through my foundation, so getting this mini in the beauty box was great timing. It gives a lovely bright, smooth base and I honestly feel my make up on top looks so much better. It doesn't stop my shine but it certainly reduces it and blurs my massive pores.

Mac Cream Colour Base in Hush
There are lots of things I will always recommend from Mac, items I will never ever be without and this cream highlighter is in my top two! (Number one will be in my upcoming Empties post).
If you want to add a subtle yet effective and beautiful highlight without looking like a beaming, shining lighthouse - this is it. The cream is so easy to apply, I use two fingers to pop on to the top of my cheeks and then just pat to blend in. I cannot recommend this enough. It is glorious.
Nude by Nature Natural Glow Loose Bronzer
I have featured this before, it came in my ASOS Beauty Advent calendar and I might have featured it in a recent favourites before. But it deserves another shout out. I almost can't wait to use this mini pot up so I can buy the full size. This is a foolproof bronzer which contours at the same time. The shade of the bronzer gives warmth but at the same time the deep shadow a true contour should give you. I love this.
Cadbury Mini Daim Eggs
I love this time of the year - easter eggs everywhere. Of course I love me a bag of Mini Eggs but these chocolate Daim eggs are beyond yummy, moreish, delicious. I've eaten three just typing this.
Victoria's Secret Pink Body Mist
I'm not overly in to perfume but it's nice to smell nice. This body mist may be aimed at the teens but I really like the fresh apple and lily scent which is light, clean and fresh. The plastic bottle is a great size to chuck in your bag as well.

M&S Relax Sleep Mist
This little bottle of lavendar, mint and sandalwood was in a Christmas gift set so I'm not sure if M&S do it normally. I started using this when I had the flu at Christmas to try and help me sleep. It did and so I've continued to spritz this on to my pillows just before bed every night. To be fair I've never struggled with sleep but this is such a nice and relaxing scent that freshens your bed linen, I'll definitely be getting another sleep mist when this runs out.

Tiger Balm
I've got a poorly left foot from the hiking training I've been doing (and probably the cheap boots I'm currently wearing!). I am addressing this but in the meantime the Mother ship (my Mum) forced me to take one of her pots of Tiger Balm to rub on to the top of my foot. I mocked her, I humoured her by taking it. But it really works. I suppose it's just like rubbing an ibuprofen gel on but I just like the retro thai labelling and it's helping my foot so much, so the Mother ship might just be right! 

The Greatest Showman
I went and saw this film on Mother's Day and I am well aware I am probably one of the last people to see it. Oh my god, this film, is the most amazing, heart fulfilling thing I have ever seen. Of course I've downloaded the soundtrack and I cannot wait for the film to come out on DVD. If you haven't seen it and you're feeling a bit meh about life - go and see this film!



Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Less than ordinary?

The launch of skincare range The Ordinary in 2016 was met by such anticipation and excitment and very, very long waiting lists. I for one loved the super affordable price points and access to high end, results driven skincare ingredients.

Using serums, acids and oils from the range made me feel like a skincare expert and scientist all in one. Indeed it was The Ordinary that introduced me to facial acids and Retinoid, both of which are very much a staple part of my skincare routine and I will often be heard banging on about the importance of Hyaluronic and Glycolic acid to help with ensuring your skin is in its very best condition.

If you love your skincare and have been using and following the story of The Ordinary from Deciem, you may have read some very concerning stories about the founder, Brandon Truaxe in the last couple of weeks. It seems that Truaxe has fallen out and dismissed some of his senior management staff, with no real explanation and there have also been some strange ramblings by Brandon on Instagram - he has recently taken over control of the account. I have seen comments that people are concerned about his mental wellbeing. 

To be honest I don't take much notice of gossip/Twitter or the occasional bitching that seems to go about in the blogging community. However, when I received a general email yesterday from Victoria Health saying they were no longer stocking any Deciem products, so not just The Ordinary but all the other brands under the Deciem umbrella, I knew something was really up.

Victoria Health is a brilliant website, with really good customer service and speedy delivery and from the very beginning they have championed and flown the flag for The Ordinary, so for them to put this email out shows that there is something more going on here.

I have read comments ( that the Deciem founder has been accused of bullying staff, belittling them and disregarding female staff. All this is really bad and for a main supplier like Victoria Health to stop stocking their products, there must have been a significant reason why?

As well as Victoria Health, social media and many influencers were (I believe) the main reason for the huge and very quick rise to fame for The Ordinary. We were all singing its praises and because the products were so cheap, who really cared if they worked or not? But I have to say a lot of the products I've tried, and there has been a lot, have been nice and pleasant to use. Did they make a difference to my skin? Definitely some did (notably the AHA Peeling solution and Rose Hip Seed Oil).

Would I continue to use The Ordinary?
Well this is difficult because for me, even if they made the most amazing skincare product, if it is true and the founder bullies and mistreats staff, then NO I will not continue to support a brand that appears to have got completely above its station/too big for its boots and is basically acting like a downright knob.

If Brandon Truaxe is under extreme stress and pressure and in the middle of a very public breakdown, then someone please intervene and get that man some trained help and support. 

Influencers put The Ordinary where it is today and whilst I don't for one second call myself and my little blog influential, I am a customer and we have power in our purses!


Wednesday, 28 February 2018

New in my beauty bag

It's been a while and I'm sorry for that. I've been cheating on my blog with a new love.. hiking. It's taken over my every waking thought, budget and energy. But as the "beast from the east" storms in, it has meant I can get back to telling you about some of the beauty bits I've discovered recently.
NYX Cosmic Metals eye shadow palette - Boots £8.00

This cute affordable powder palette was too eye catching to walk past. All the shades have a metallic sheen through them which when applied in layers gives a rich foiled look. The powders are pigmented and one layer will give a subtle sheen to the eye lid. All the colour shades are versatile and very wearable.
Swatches of the top row:
Swatches of the bottom row:

Living Nature Firming Flax Serum* - £33 for 13ml
This lovely oil free serum, which you use in the morning and evening before your moisturiser, contains harakeke (a New Zealand flax plant and hero ingredient), rosehip oil and manuka honey and helps to hydrate and smooth and soften fine lines.
Formulated to maximise the healing and renewal process of our skin whilst we sleep, including increased synthesis of Hyaluronic Acid.  Produced naturally by skin and providing it with firmness and protection against moisture loss, Hyaluronic Acid production slows as we age, leaving skin thinner and more prone to damage.  The beauty of Firming Flax Serum is that it promotes the production of Hyaluronic Acid, resulting in improved cell hydration and skin repair, especially the damage caused by free radicals, moisture loss and UV rays. 
Kiko Lip me lots PH lip enhancer - £3.40
I bought this lipstick by mistake and had meant to pick up a glittery lipgloss but nevertheless I like this and had been meaning to try one of these PH lipsticks. This reacts with the PH of your lips when applied and will change to a colour personalised just for you. 
On me this comes out as a nudey pink.
The texture glides on and feels comfortable on the lips, almost like a lip balm.
Primark Nude eye creams - £2.00

I read British Beauty Blogger's review on these and grabbed these two when I was in store. The pot on the left is a matte cream in the shade Viva Las Vegas. It does go a slightly purple tone on my eyelids which isn't offensive and I know that's my eye lids but I wish it wouldn't. The texture is really nice and does smooth out the lids, so would be great used as a base/eye primer. The review I read was right in that the pot is a bit annoying because the neck is too long and so you can't easily dip your finger in but I just use a brush.
The pot on the right is a metallic cream in Enchanted. This is a very subtle cream coloured shade which when layered up has a nice daytime sparkle. And the price of these are insane. You just can't not.



Wednesday, 21 February 2018

I have this thing for lighting..

I've always liked an unusual or quirky light fitting. You would never catch my home with a bare bulb and no shade fitting. Even the day after a move! A naked bulb to me or indeed an ugly lamp shade surrounding it, is just so sad. Why would you neglect your lighting? It can brighten and lift a room, add a level of coziness that no candle can and most importantly give you lighting in all the right areas.

You can have table lamps next to the seat you use for reading. You can have lighting directed at a lovely picture or piece of artwork or even a lamp on a timer for security and so you don't come home to a dark home.

I do sometimes feel that ceiling lights can often be forgotten about. Switching on the "big light" for me is a rare occasion, unless I'm looking for something or need to figure out how to operate the DVD player but my eyes often drift up to the ceiling light and I want to like what I look up to.

I've taken a few pics of my ceiling light fittings and because they are all quite old now, I've tried to find some similar versions that are available now.
I do feel that you can be more adventurous with the decor and lighting in a downstairs loo. This colourful chandelier was given to me by my brother in law. I've always loved chandeliers and this jewel coloured version really brightens up what is a small and dark room (although it's my favourite room!). Bear in mind I am 5ft 4, so I can happily walk under this without getting my hair caught but anyone taller would. have a very similar one for £40.99
I never owned one of those round paper lantern shades but I do like the concept of paper shades. And whilst this isn't paper, it's plastic, it does give off that origami vibe. I can't remember where I bought this but there are similar out there. 
 This is the shade with the light on. 
This is another plastic origami style light.
BHS are still going online and their lighting selection is stunning. This shade is £28.00.
And this very simple but cute paper shade was from Dunelm (few years ago though).
This cut out shade from Dunelm is £15.00.
In my kitchen I didn't want the standard strip of spotlights, and due to non height restrictions I have this huge shade with chandelier arms inside. It does need replacing after a tall person walked in to it and knocked the fitting off the ceiling but it's had a good run.

Over my small dining table I do have a standard shade but with a pattern on the inside which creates a really nice look when the light is on.

A fairly similar one also from Dunelm £12.00
And in the living room, as I tend to be sat down a lot, I recently bought these gold coloured lined shades from Asda. The black shade with the gold inner gives a dramatic feel to the room and I like seeing the coloured lining rather than just the back of a shade.
This stunning lamp from Graham & Green is an eye watering £289.00 but it's a definite statement light. The rest of their lighting range is really quirky and eye catching.
I hope my lights have given you a bit of inspo. Lamp shades shouldn't be overlooked, look up and like what you see.



Wednesday, 14 February 2018

I tried a Full Face of Make up for less than £12

I have often found that some bargain, cheaper than chips, make up products can be better in lasting power, coverage, pigmentation and of course value than similar items that you can easily pay ten times the price for. Case in point is Collection Lasting Perfection concealer that I always feature in my empties. £3.99 for the best concealer I have used for concealing spots and redness. It's creamy, long lasting texture, which doesn't sit in fine lines is a dream.

Natural Collection  is a really affordable range from Boots that I have often walked past but never bought anything from because, to be honest, I thought the shades and range was a bit meh. But during a recent lunchtime mooch I splashed out just shy of £12 to get a full face of make up, to see how the products faired under my critical eye.
Tinted Moisturiser - £2.99
The range does include a foundation but I opted for a tinted moisturiser because I didn't have my glasses with me and so couldn't really pick the right foundation shade. I also thought a tinted moisturiser would be a good option for saturday morning walks when I wouldn't normally wear any make up. Just to take the edge off.

This has no coverage at all, as is the case for tinted moisturisers, yet does give a very, very subtle blurred effect. I like the cream, it sinks in quickly and leaves no trace. This would be great for holidays when you've got a bit of tan on your face.
Powder Blush in Rose Blush - £1.99
This is the wrong shade for me, I should have gone for the more bronzy/peach shade but as a blush it's fab. Pretty ok pigmentation, lasts all day and looks nice on the cheeks. This shade has the merest hint of glitter which lifts the shade when applied and is a real dupe for Nars Orgasm blush. I'll definitely get a more suitable shade and a bronzer as well.
Sheer natural lipstick in Power Pink - £2.49
Another duff shade for me. I hate to say this but the shades I picked up in the blush and this lipstick are too young for me. It's because in my head I am still 26!
But again a really nice not so sheer lipstick which has camomile in to sooth and protect lips. It's hydrating and feels comfortable on the lips. This is an easy to wear daytime lippy.
Eyeshadow in Copper Blush - £1.99
Similar size to the recent single Bobbi Brown eyeshadow I bought for £19 (!!). A nice, easy to blend, good pay off powder shadow. More applications of this really brings out the copper, foil like look. It's lovely.
Length Mascara - £2.49
This is the wettest mascara I've ever used, for the first few uses. Although that said it doesn't smudge everywhere. It's now started to dry out a little but there is still a lot of product on the wand, which you have to take off on the side of the tube. All that said it's an alright mascara, even better than just alright. I've used worse for much more. It does lengthen and separate lashes. I like volume so only for that reason, I wouldn't re-purchase this one but the range does do a volume specific mascara, so I'll definitely try that.

Apart from my own user error of not picking shades that suit me, I'm really quite pleased with the quality of the items I've tried and will definitely be trying more. And there's a lot more in the range, so maybe take a look next time you are in Boots. 



Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Is Glossier make up just for Millennials?

First things first - what is a millennial? It's someone who was born between the early 1980's to early 2000's. I'm from generation X, the generation before these blush pink wearing, staying in, healthy eating bright young things.

Glossier started shipping to the UK last year and launched to great excitement and expectation as here was a make up and skin care range that was affordable, with really cool packaging that promised you a no make up make up, fresh and glowy look. Surely what we are all aiming for?

Well no actually. Being of generation X, gone are the days when I feel comfortable going bare faced. I need make up for my face but more importantly for my confidence and because I love the ritual of applying make up.

Glossier's website has photos of young models with the freshest, clearest, glowing skin. And that's what you're buying in to surely?

But for those of us who either need or like wearing foundation with actual coverage, to brighten dull and tired skin and add a base that lets you face whatever the day throws at you.. Glossier is not the one.

It is a lovely line and looks so pretty on your dressing table but for me, it's not got the X factor I'm looking for. Who I do think it would be perfect for are teens plus who want the confidence that make up brings but without caking it on. Glossier's Skin Tint is just that and would suit young, taut, line free skin just to add a very subtle hint of dewy coverage. And that's the thing at 40+, I do not want dewiness. I don't want to look sweaty or shiny, I want a matt coverage to detract and take attention away from my lines and wrinkles, open pores and uneven skin tone.

One of Glossier's best sellers - Cloud Paint, which is a liquid gel type blush colour clung horribly in the open pores on my cheeks. The colour is so pigmented, I'll give it that, but the texture does nothing for my skin and sits in all the worst places and looks like I've applied it with a spatula. With no blending in.
Another product I tried is the Stretch Concealer. This is a nice texture and applied with your finger does blend it well under the eyes but at best it lifts the darker under eye area slightly but has no real coverage. By the end of the day, all of the concealer has disappeared and I am shocked to see a dark eyed ghost looking back at me from the mirror!

I received a sample of the Milky Jelly Cleanser. This does not remove make up effectively at all. And I've seen more and more reviews referring to this as a lovely morning cleanser. And it is a really nice texture but for a morning cleanse only. Maybe it's because Glossier users wear such minimal make up they don't need a really hard working cleanser?

I definitely fell for the Glossier hype and that's ok because I don't feel any make up range is age relevant but this is a range definitely for people with either near perfect skin that needs minimal coverage or if you are happy to just wear a dot of blusher and slick of lip gloss. That's not me.

What I do absolutely love from Glossier is the Boy Brow pomade. This coloured brow mascara has a perfectly sized tiny brush, is a great shade and most importantly has real holding power for unruly brow hairs but with absolutely no stickiness or crustiness. I am just about to order my second tube.
Like all make up ranges, there's some things I love and others I'm not fussed about and whilst I do love Boy Brow, my older generation X skin just needs more.


Wednesday, 31 January 2018

January 2018 Favourites

Sweet heaven above, thank my giddy Aunt January is over. The month that felt like two, the month of fifty shades of grey skies, enough rain to grow webbed feet and the wind.. oh the wind.
Anyway people, we made it. We can look forward to lighter mornings and evenings, spring bulbs and day light!

Favourite things from the last 84 days of January have been:

Nude by Nature Natural Glow Loose Bronzer
I did feature this loose powder bronzer in one of my beauty advent posts and I haven't put it down since. It's almost replaced my Benefit Hoola. This powder is the perfect shade which I have been using as a contour and in these pasty faced times, it has added the definition shadow I need to not only bring some warmth to my face but a hint of cheekbone. £18.00 for 10g pot from Debenhams.

Bobbi Brown Eye Shadow in Toast
I can't remember where I heard what a versatile perfect shade Toast was from Bobbi Brown, so when I popped in to a store in the new Oxford Westgate Shopping Mall, I threw caution to the wind and blew £19.00 on this one, single, lone, solitary eye shadow. However, it is a great colour that I have been wearing often as either a single sweep wash of colour just to cover veiny eye lids and awaken my eyes or layered up for a more intense mid brown.

John Frieda Original 6 Effects Serum
I raved about my first discovery of the John Frieda Frizz Ease shampoo and conditioner in a recent favourites and how they had really transformed my hair to be practically frizz free and certainly 100 times less static. This serum, which you add to washed wet hair, goes further to ease the frizz, heat protect, smooth and hydrates. And it really does all of these things. My hair feel silky smooth and I've only used it a handful of times. £6.99 from Boots (or on a 3 for 2).

Phil Smith CocoLicious Hairspray
I picked this up in Sainsbury's because it was on offer for a few pounds (can't remember the exact amount). I only use a squirt of hairspray to control flyaway hairs so I've never spent much on it. I lucked out with this one though as it smells so fresh and coconut-y, it does give a firm hold and no stickiness or crusty residue. I'd be happy to pay twice the amount I did for this.

Monica Vinader Signature Ring
As a January cheer up treat to myself I ordered this simple 18ct gold ring from Monica Vinader. Here are better pictures from their website. 

I love the design of this ring and it's so comfortable to wear. There's not one piece of Monica Vinader jewellery that I wouldn't love to own, so if you've not heard of them before, do take a look at their website. My ring arrived quickly and beautifully packaged.  I also ordered another ring and sent that back and got a refund really quickly. 

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