Thursday, 31 March 2011

Review: Simple Eye Make-up Corrector Pen

When it comes to mascara and liquid eyeliner, I am prone to making a hideous mess. I have to have cotton buds with makeup remover on standby to mop up any random black marks under my waterline or to tidy up the flicks on my cats eyes...

Therefore, when I saw that Simple had launched an eye make-up corrector pen, I was intrigued to know if it would be the answer to all these problems.   

Currently £4.99 at Boots
Here is what Simple says:

"It's time to wave goodbye to make up mishaps and make room for a new handbag essential… introducing the new Simple Kind To Eyes Eye Make-Up Corrector Pen. Its ingenious pen-like design dispenses the award-winning Simple eye make up remover, so you can precisely and easily wipe away those day-to-day make up mistakes like smudges, flaking, streaks and even waterproof mascara, while leaving the rest of your make up untouched. Even better, it contains Pro-Vitamin B5, and with no perfume and no colour, it's suitable for the delicate skin around your eyes, perfect even for sensitive skin"
Sorry for the baaaad photo
Simple has given it all the hype and it sounds great, but does it actually work? I was pretty strict in my testing...
My everyday liquid liner...

Line on the left....GONE!
So, yes, the pen worked. The fine tip allowed for precision and later on, when I tested it under my eyes in what I suppose you'd call it's proper usage, it tidied my smudges up rather well. The downside? As you'd expect, the nib stained almost immediately. 
Simple recommends that you clean it after each use - I thought this kind of defeated the whole purpose of having it really but there you are. I wiped it on a tissue and then a face wipe. Although it didn't return the nib to pristine whiteness, it worked adequately and was clean enough to use again.

In summary: Unlike cotton buds and a bottle of makeup remover, you can carry this pen around with you for emergency quick fixes. The fact that it is not expensive is also a bonus. However, cleaning the nib after each use is a bit of a faff and I can imagine the pen drying out fairly quickly. 

This isn't going to become a staple product for me. I think the shelf life of it will be too short and as sad as I am to say it, I think my pen might be dirty, dried up and dead in the not too distant future.

The Make-up Corrector Pen is retailing at £4.99 and is exclusive to Boots, but only until April 19th when it is launched nationwide.

Have you tried the Corrector pen yet? Let me know what you think...

Ciao for now x

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

My Mum has had her fair share of flowers and chocolates over the years, so with Mothering Sunday next week, I thought it was about time I ventured into pastures new. 

Below I give you my top finds.

I have had this set myself and I absolutely adored it. Each of the five little bottles contain a different infusion for use in the bath - wood, fire, earth, metal and water - and you can choose them dependant on your mood. For example:

  • Wood - to regenerate and invigorate

  • Fire   - to promote vitality, energy and clarity

  • Earth - to restore equilibrium, calm and centre the mind

  • Water - to unravel stress and tension

  • Metal - to purify and eliminate toxins

  • These are made from 100% natural oils so are free of mineral oils, synthetic fragrance, colours, sulphates and paraben preservatives. What a treat! I think I will be getting these for myself as well as, my good ole' Ma!

    This is a really lovely scent. Space NK describes it perfectly:
     "An alluring combination of Italian bergamot and crushed violet petals, Florence is like a romantic European garden. Even dreamier: blue iris and bottom notes of blonde wood add a sophisticated and feminine flair that's reminiscent of old-world Paris." 
        Some would say ridiculously expensive, others would say it's as good as going to the salon. Whatever your opinion, Serge Normant's Meta Morphosis Hair Repair Treatment is certainly cutting edge. The
        product contains a unique blend of exotic organic and natural ingredients that have been put together by Serge and a team of luxury skin care scientists who have spent time to get the same intensity and richness in hair care as they do with skin.
        " At the core of each product is the bio-tech power of Keravis, a vegetable-derived hair strengthening complex proven to dramatically improve the condition of even the most damaged hair. The science behind Keravis works on two molecular levels; smaller molecules penetrate and moisturise the cortex while larger molecules reinforce the hair shaft."
        This palette is so pretty in the flesh - I want one! There are two eye shadows in Soft Pearl and Golden Brown, along with a Deep Emerald liner and soft pink blush. Very wearable and great for spring. There's no doubt that this is an expensive present, but the quality of the pigments are unquestionably high. 

        Space NK are selling this special Mother's Day gift set from Kiehls which contains:
        1. Crème de Corps 250ml
        2. Lip Balm #1
        3. Soy milk and Honey Body Polish 200ml
        All the classics in one set, what's not to love?

        Hope you all have a good Mother's Day :)

        Ciao for now x

        Tuesday, 22 March 2011

        L'Oreal Sublime Mousse Product Review

        I absolutely hate having to dye my hair out of a bottle. Accidental drips on the carpet, mess left in the sink, numerous towels ruined and not to mention the hours I've spent scrubbing at my hairline trying to remove dye that has gone over the edge (Is it true that milk works the best?!) 

        In fact, one of the last times I used a bottle dye, my little dog Sprout stood in a splodge that I had split and proceeded to trot around the house giving everywhere a little bit of 'darkest brown.' Permanently. 

        Here is the little scamp!
        Yes, with all that to deal with, I much prefer the salon option. Sit back, relax - magazine and a peppermint tea.  

        But wait. Money. Damn - there is always a catch. 

        So, bearing in mind a salon visit was out of the question, I was really intrigued to see L'Oreal's new Sublime Mousse pop onto the market not too long ago. Could it make my bottle experience any better?
         At £6.99 from Superdrug it is priced with its competitors. As I like my hair super dark, I have chosen shade 30 - Pure Darkest Brown.

        Inside the box:
        • Liquid-to-Mousse Colourant
        • Liquid-to-Mousse Developer
        • Detached foaming pump
        • Conditioning Balm
        • Pair of Gloves
        • Instructions 
        The Application: All seems fairly straight forward when setting things up - there is the usual ' put a towel over your shoulders and mix the colourant with the developer. No shaking is required though - you actually have to rotate the bottle gently. Once you do this, the product will dispense like a foam and you are ready to roll! 

        Here is one of the first benefits of Sublime Mousse. No sectioning the hair. Just pump out two-three balls of foam into your hand and then put them straight onto your hair. It really is that easy - keep doing the same thing, massaging your scalp as you go. The lather gets thicker and I can immediately see why L'Oreal have been able to liken it to shampooing. And another benefit, no dripping (yippee!)

        Even chanced it in a white dressing gown!

        I use most of the product (there is a little left in the bottle but I am told to expect that) and wait the 30 minutes until my hair is ready to be rinsed. It was great not to have to faff around timing 10 minutes then a further 5 etc. All very simple.  

        (If you are new to home colouring or would like to see L'Oreal's take on how to apply the Sublime Mousse click HERE.)

        Rinsing and the Final Result:

        After the 30 minutes - which, unlike previous times, I left the bathroom and was able to relax - I rinsed my hair until the water ran clear. I knew what was to come next and I approached with caution. I intensely dislike the conditioners that come with hair dyes. Not because of their conditioning qualities but because of their most dreadful smells. I wondered if this, being a new product, might be any different. Alas, it was vile. I did say to myself that I would try to use it for the sake of the review, but I'm sorry, I just couldn't. Instead, I used my favourite Kerastase conditioning mask.

        Colour Results:


        Err...Yup my hair REALLY needs a cut...
        My conclusion then. Well, very positive on the whole. No tedious sectioning and parting of the hair needed so it scores highly on ease of use. Call me a cynic, but the foam wasn't just a gimmick as I had initially envisaged. Another plus point, which I haven't yet mentioned, is that there is no nasty ammonia smell like the majority of hair dyes seem to have. I also like the colour - it is generally what I'd expect and I'm happy with it. Would I buy this again? Yes I think I would. 

        Now, considering I have saved so much money by not going to the salon, I think I deserve a new dress right? I've been so good!

        Hope you've enjoyed this post. If you have, come and follow me! (Button on the right somewhere)

        Ciao for now x

        Sunday, 20 March 2011

        Outfit of the Day

        Just a quick post to show you my outfit of the day.

        Cheesy grin!
        I had a lot to do today and needed to be up and out really early (7am!) I was helping to officiate at a competition and wanted to concoct an outfit to reflect a certain degree of chic formality. The day also involved handing out tickets, tidying up and generally being on my feet all day. There was definitely no room for heels in this look. Here is what I ended up with.
        • Dress: Traid charity shop in Westbourne Grove (£4!)   

        I then added a cable knit cardigan for warmth...

        I chose to wear three of my favourite vintage silver bangles  - one of my many weaknesses!

        Let me know what you think of this outfit and whether of not you'd like a makeup tutorial on this look.

        Ciao for now x

        Friday, 18 March 2011

        Nail Polish Frenzy

        In the past week or so, I've bought eight new nail varnishes. Eek! But sometimes necessity is necessity.

        I couldn't have put it better myself.
        I'm not snobbish when it comes to my nail varnishes. I can splurge on a pricey Deborah Lippmann or I can be just as happy with a drugstore brand such as Barry M. It's all in the formula for me - not in the name.
        My little haul...
        I've been pretty impressed with most of the ones above. Perhaps with the exception of one. I've done a bit of a review on each - take a look and see what you think.

        Hand one!

        From left to right:
        • Deborah Lippman - Call Me Irresponsible £14 
        This polish is described as a "Vivacious Violet Creme." It is an interesting one this, as when I saw the bottle I thought my dreams had come true. I am completely besotted with the colour purple and am always on the look out for the perfect shade. One mid-tone, one dark and a lilac.(*see bottom of post for further details). I really thought this was going to be a contender and I have to say that I am a little disappointed. It seems that what looks like a purple with  blue undertones in the bottle actually doesn't come out like that at all. In fact, it seems to have an almost reddish hue about it. Also, it is extremely sheer. The picture above shows three coats and you can still see my nail through it in certain areas. I wish it looked like it does in the bottle! Having said all of that, I suspect that to gain a more opaque coverage a fourth coat is required and a pretty colour will be achieved. It might not hit my top purples list, but I will be wearing it and there isn't a disaster!
        •  OPI - Ink £10.50
        I don't think you can go wrong with OPI's Ink and I have no idea why it is not in my collection already. It is a glorious, shimmery goddess with blues, purples and an iridescent pink sparkle to finish. I wouldn't say there is glitter in this polish, more of a dense metallic shimmer in an opaque coloured base. Formula wise this is great. It is thin, smooth and drys in around five minutes. With a decent topcoat I managed to go completely chip-free for four days.
        I don't have many China Glaze polishes as they aren't that easy to find in the UK. I managed to track this one down in Sally's and was pretty chuffed as I've been looking for a metallic-with-a-hint-of-purple for a while now. I know this particular polish has been around for sometime and picked up some bad reviews along the way. The main complaint is that it is streaky, but I can't say I found that myself. It went on smoothly and the colour was opaque from the first coat. 

        What a joy to behold! Cheap, cheerful and really easy to apply. The brushes on Rimmel polishes are fantastic and I've yet to find a brand that makes one comparable.'Strawberry Fizz' came out last summer in a collection of scented polishes. I think it was an interesting, if a slightly strange novelty but I can't say that I will be going around smelling my fingers. But for anyone who is interested - yes, my nails do smell of strawberries and it is indeed quite pleasant! 

        Hand Two - Apologies for the darkness!
          From Left to right

        I am really impressed with this one. A simple no shimmer, no glitter sophisticated grey. This is the kind of product that does what it says on the tin. You really can get away with one coat if you are in a hurry and it does indeed dry in 60 seconds (I timed it). Like 'Strawberry Fizz' from the Fruity Scents range it goes on very smoothly and quickly, probably down to the wonderful 'Xpress' brush. There are loads of nice shades in this range, I've already got several in my collection. Pompous and Purple Reign being two of my favourites.

        Rimmel's great application brush...
        •   Deborah Lippmann -Today was a fairytale £18
        Today was a fairytale- is a “Virgin Diamond Powder-infused silvery-blue starlight shade with brilliant silver sequins.” I saw this with 10% off in House of Fraser and kept picking it up and putting it back down. Surely I couldn't buy something so, so blingy?! With hexagonal and square glittery bits in three different sizes it really reminds me of something I would have just adored as a child. In the end I couldn't resist and I am glad I didn't. 
        A little close up for you...
        Initially, I was worried that the glitter chunks would be sparse and they wouldn't spread evenly. My concerns were soon put to rest as with each stroke of the brush the sparkles just kept on coming! In the picture I am wearing two coats and I didn't feel like it was too sheer. In fact I was seriously impressed. 

        • Barry M - Strawberry Ice Cream £2.99
        Really disappointed with this one. Had high hopes as I usually love Barry M polishes. Some of my all time favourites are from that range (Berry Ice Cream to name one). I don't know whether it just didn't suit my skin tone or whether it was the formulation too. I have come to the conclusion that it is probably both. The consistency is pretty terrible - really thin and watery. It needs about four coats to look anywhere near decent and is streaky. I'm not sure I will be reaching for it anytime soon.

        This is meant to be a shimmery colour, but even with my eyes squinting in the direct sunlight I still can't see it. So I am calling it a creme. But that, in my opinion, is no bad thing. It is a very pretty light grey that applies like a dream.

        * I mentioned at the beginning of the this post that I have a slight, hmm, shall we say, a positive inclination towards purple shades.

        Here are some of them. Operation 'Perfect Purple' is still very much under way. Please feel free to give suggestions (high end or budget!). 

        I really hope you've enjoyed this post. Let me know what you think and please sign up to follow me if you like what you're reading. 

        Ciao for now x

        P.s Since I completed this blog post two further nail varnishes have been purchased. Arggh!!!

        Monday, 14 March 2011

        A very quick post to show my outfit of the day. Just something simple and easy to wear to the office.
        This is a no smoking doorway
        This morning was the typical Monday morning rush and I struggled to get out the house on time. One arm was trying to straighten my hair, whilst the other was trying to feed the dog. The consequence of such a hectic start to the day meant that apart from some hoop earings and a couple of staple rings, I am devoid of all jewellery. I literally ran out of time. It's funny how naked I felt! 

        Anyway, as simple as 1,2,3.

        Sorry - I know this picture is a bit woah! in your face!

        Makeup wise, really simple. Wanted a very subtle daytime look - sorry I didn't take a picture with my eyes'h!
        • Primer: MAC Prep & Prime
        • Foundation: MAC Pro Longwear SPF 10 (shade NW10)
        • Powder: MAC Mineralize Skin Finish (medium)
        • Bronzer: NARS Laguna
        • Eye brow pencil: MAC's (stud)
        • Eyebrow set: Boots No.7
        • Blusher: Benefit's Bella Bamba
        • Eye Primer: Urban Decay Primer Potion
        • Eye Shadow: Benefit's Creaseless Cream (Skinny jeans)
        • Highlighter: Sleek Shadow Palette
        • Eye Liner: Collection 2000 Extreme 24 Hour Felt tip Liner (Black)
        • Mascara: MAC Falsh Lashes
        • Lips: NARS lipgloss (Nana)
        Let me know if you'd like to see make-up tutorials on here... 

        Ciao for now x

        Sunday, 13 March 2011

        Three Uber Healthy Snacklets

        This morning I had a very tasty juice from Planet Organic in Westbourne Grove; Apple, celery, lemon & cucumber.

        Super refreshing and I knew that all those vitamins and minerals would be doing me no end of good. All the ingredients of this juice (which I am sure you can whizz up at home) offer some interesting health benefits - 
        • Cucumber juice contains silicon and sulfur which makes it super helpful in promoting hair growth.
        • Celery can help to eliminate toxins from the body and is a natural diuretic.
        • Apple juice is an all around star - full of vitamin C & A, as well as anti-oxidants.
        Anyway, enough rambling and onto the main point of this blog post. It is true to say that I am very conscious of all the skincare products that I use. I look at all the ingredients, choose products that where possible do not use PEGS, parabens or other 'nasties.'  

        The truth is though, to get your skin in peak condition what you put into your body counts just as much as what you put onto it. Therefore, here are three of my current favourite healthy foods. Mega yum (and they seriously are...)

        1. Rude Health 'the ultimate' Muesli 

        This particular muesli created quite a bit of hype some 24 months ago - It seemed to be in every magazine and newspaper as the 'thing' to be eating. All health conscious celebrities were ditching their egg-white omelets in favour of this concoction which contains everything from the fashionable goji berry to protein rich quinoa flakes. As it proudly states on the box, this organic, wheat-free muesli has no less than 23 ingredients so it doesn't come cheap - each 500g box is around £5.49. 

        Thinking about it though, I would think nothing of spending that amount on a new beauty product. I reckon if I read what this muesli could offer on the packaging of a new cream I would jump at the chance to try it. I wonder if it might look something like this:
        • Helps skin look youthful (Vitamin E in nuts & seeds)
        • Promotes strong hair and nails (trace mineral silica via oats)
        • Protects skin against damaging ultraviolet radiation (sunflower seeds)
        • Anti-oxidant rich cranberries 
        • Sun damage protection (betacarotene in goji berries)
        • Immune-boosting blueberries 
        Oh, one last thing on Rude Health's Ultimate Muesli -did I mention that it just tastes so good? I like to have mine with natural yogurt and fresh fruit.
        Just a little snacklet after a workout...
        2. M&S Orange and Carrot Juice

        Fresh from the Fridge...

        This is a new juice from good old Marks and Spencer. Two of your 'five a day' in a handy sized bottle. Tangy and refreshing, simple ingredients with nothing extra added. What more can I say? 

        3. BEAR Granola Nibbles 

        Ingredients: whole grain oats & maize
        baked apples pieces (9%)
        apple, grape and carob extract
        absolutely nothing else.
        Sometimes when I hear the word 'granola' I think of heavily laden sugary cereals - yes super tasty - but not all that good for you. Well bring on BEAR! I discovered these little beauties pretty much as soon as they came onto the UK market and I absolutely love them. Firstly, let me explain. These 30g bags of pure pleasure are not marketed as cereal. They aren't specifically meant to be eaten for breakfast (although I'm sure you could and I do sometimes when I am in a mad rush and need to sling something in my bag).They're meant as an uber healthy snack and come in three flavours; Apple crumble (huge thumbs up), tropical crunch and cocoa cherry pie. 

        It's kind of like you're being a bit naughty eating these crunchy clusters but really there's nothing to fear! BEAR's nibbles are made from 100% whole grains (oats and maize) and fruit (i.e. baked apple pieces in the apple crumble flavour). Only 98 calories a bag and one of your 'three a day' - win, win, win. They are extra yummy sprinkled on yoghurt with banana or icecream for an extra special treat.

        I hope you've enjoyed this post - feel free to comment below :)

        Thursday, 10 March 2011

        NARS Laguna from a Bronzer VIRGIN!

        I have to admit that I am a bronzer virgin. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I am scared of the stuff. I've always been very pale (see below!) and I wasn't sure how these products could possibly work on my skin other than to make me look as though I'd been tangoed or that my head didn't match the rest of my body. No, I was convinced from very early on that I was a blusher girl - an 'english rose' sort. One that flushed naturally with a lovely pink on the apples of my cheeks.

        Okay, okay this is a terrible picture I do admit...but you get the point right?

        I did my make-up artistry training and used a variety of bronzers on my clients.  I could see their benefits but was still skeptical as to the outcome they'd have on me. It was only after a bout of illness that I noticed my usual paleness has gone into ghostliness. A friend was on hand with Benefit's Hoola and I was shocked that what seemed to look like mud in the box came out rather nicely on my face. I bought some almost immediately and I've been using it ever since. It's completely matt and what I particularly appreciate about this product is that I can also use it for contouring.That discovery was about two years ago now.

        Yes, it's looking a little worse for wear now...
         Two boxes of Hoola on, I've decided that it is time for change. Spring has sprung and as I currently have an obsession with NARS I decided that a great place to start would be the well established, well loved NARS Bronzer powder in Laguna.

        Can I really be a bronzed goddess? Erm, well for £24 I definitely hope so... So my first impressions? 
        Despite the satin finish I do not have a glittery face, in fact, my complexion has been warmed up - 'naturally.' Surprisingly, Laguna seems to be less pigmented than Hoola so perhaps more suited to my pale skin. I've applied this product all over my face with a big fluffy brush (I use Sigma ones) and just my cheeks - both look fantastic.

        Top: Hoola. Bottom: Laguna.
         Am I bronzer convert? Well, I don't think I am one of these people who will have many different shades or brands. Having said that, I can now see why it is important to have a decent one in your make-up collection. 

        What do you guys reckon?

        Ciao for now x

        Wednesday, 9 March 2011

        The Cleanest Face of them all?!

        I am a big advocate of having a clean face. After all, there is little point investing hard earned cash into a decent moisturiser/primer or foundation if you don't have the basics in peak condition.

        I was discussing this with my friend whilst chilling on the sofa the other day. We were both enjoying a leisurely Sunday evening in our PJ's with Ben & Jerry for company when the topic turned to our cleansing routine. My friend admitted, rather coyly, that she used soap and water. It was the 'clean scent' that allured her to it - and the fact that she didn't know what else to buy.

        There are just so many different kinds; gels, oils, creams, foams - the list is endless. I get asked a lot what types of cleansers are good - whether you have to buy an expensive one to get the best results etc. Personally, I have three staple cleansers all from the same brand - Caudalie. I bloody love the stuff. Here is what they are and why I like them...

        1. Caudalie Fleur de Vigne Instant Foaming Cleanser

        - I use this in the shower. It has a pump action (of which I only need one) which creates a soft and silky foam that I put onto wet skin. I massage it in and then rinse off with either a little round face sponge or a muslin cloth. The fragrance of this product is very mild and, well, I hardly notice it (a good thing in my opinion!) Doesn't leave skin feeling tight but very refreshed and clear. Main Ingredients: Extracts of grape for a glowing complexion, astringent sage, soothing camomile. 

        - I use this cleanser when I am not going in the shower and I don't want to get my hair wet! It is a creamy, milky cleanser that is suitable for most skin types. In fact, it is so gentle, you can even use it around your eye area. No water is necessary with this product - just a pump onto a cotton wool pad and off you go with gentle circular movements. I tend to have two cotton pads on the go at once to make sure I get my face super clean! Main ingredients: grape-seed polyphenols (OPC)cornflower water oat milk sweet almond and jojoba oils, shea butter coriander, sweet lime, lemon, guaiac wood, sweet orange, vetiver, sandalwood and hybrid lavender. 

        - This is the cleanser I use for total ease. It's what I throw in my bag when I'm going to the gym, I'm travelling or I get home at stupid o'clock, have a full face of makeup on and quite frankly I just want to drop into my bed and die. The thing I love about this product is that it is formuated with micellar water. Basically, what that does is act as a dirt magnet. This special water will attach itself to ALL of the dirt on the skin and wash it away simply and gently. Again, no water (i.e. from the sink required) just some cotton wool pads. Remember that since the procduct attaches itself to the dirt on your face and washes itself onto the pad, you don't have to irriate your skin by rubbing at it like a mad woman.Main ingredients: Extracts of grape for a glowing complexion, moisturising plant glycerine, soothing alpha bisobolol (camomile extracts) toning mint, caraway, galbanum. 

        All in all, I have found that all the above cleansers remove my make-up, remove dirt, cleanse the skin and leave it feeling soft and supple. There seems to be a Caudalie cleanser for everyone whether you like to use a lotion, a foam cleanser or a something a bit different with the water. I like the idea that the brand is pretty wholesome. Their products are based on grape extracts, which are powerful antioxidants.They have a committment to use the most natural ingredients and there range is free from toxins such as parabens and petrochemicals.

        Okay, so I feel like this has been one hell of a ramble. Hope I haven't bored you all to death. To make it clear - I am in no way affilated with Caudalie - just really impressed with there stuff. I've been using it about 18 months now. Let me know your opinions on it. 

        Ciao for now :)