Friday, 31 May 2013

Spring Empties

I thought I would save up my empties for the whole season rather than month by month, so here is the Spring Edition!

 (Also, we have just finished doing up the garden so cue many garden shots!)


Pantene Protect & Volume Shampoo for Coloured Hair  £4.69 for 500ml
Pantene Protect & Smooth Conditioner for Coloured Hair  £4.69 for 400ml
I have been a big fan of Pantene for years and years now.  Whenever I try a different shampoo or conditioner I regret it as nothing I have ever used even comes close!  It cleans my hair well and leaves it smooth and tangle free.
Repurchase?  Already have

Dove Hair Therapy Express Treatment Conditioner  £3.39 for 180ml
I got sent this to try out as part of a Buzz Agent campaign.  It was ok but was nowhere near as good as Pantene.  I needed to use loads to get it to work and even then my hair was tangled after use. 
Repurchase?  No

James Brown Intensive Moisture Mask  £8.16 for 150ml (3 JB products for £12 at Boots)
This is a great mask that makes my hair super soft and shiny after use.
Repurchase?  Already have

Paul Mitchell Clarifying Shampoo  £4.10 for 100ml
I bought this at the hairdresser ages ago and it is meant to be used every now and again to 'spring clean' your hair.  It was fine as a shampoo but I didn't notice any difference to normal.  At £4.10 for a tiny 100ml bottle this is not worth the money.
Repurchase?  No

Awapuhi Wild Ginger Styling Treatment Oil   £24.99 for 100ml (I had 25ml but can't find it anywhere online)
This was another hairdresser purchase but this time, I love it.  This smells so good, like ginger beer but not overpowering or too sweet.  As I have oily hair, I was nervous about using an oil but this doesn't weigh my hair down or make it greasy.  It makes my hair so smooth - I have really missed it since it ran out but I am waiting to finish off a few bits before I get a new one.  A little goes a long way so it lasts ages too. 
Repurchase?  Definitely

L'Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil  £9.99 for 100ml
I love getting samples like this in magazines - with a shampoo sample, you barely get enough to try it once but this lasted for at least 5 uses.  It is a really nice hair oil but I prefer the Awapuhi.
Repurchase?  No


S&G Clean on Me Shower Gel  £5.50 for 500ml (currently 3 for 2 at Boots)
This stuff is amazing - it is creamy, foams beautifully and smells really nice.  I started my 2nd bottle at the start of April, it is used by me and my BF every day and is still well over half full.
Repurchase? Already have

S&G Calm One Calm All  £5.50 for 500ml (currently 3 for 2 at Boots)
Again, a lovely bathing product with the signature Soap and Glory fragrance.  Very creamy with lots of bubbles.
Repurchase?  Probably after I have used up some others

Dead Sea Spa Magik Salt Brushing Sachet  £1.80 for 50g
I got this in a blog sale and enjoyed using it but I have since made something really similar using ingredients I have at home.
Repurchase? No

Cowshed Extra Firming Body Butter  £28 for 200ml
This was a magazine freebie and it got used up pretty quickly.  It is packed full of great ingredients such as coconut oil, ylang ylang, rose hip oil, seaweed extract - the list goes on!  I found the smell to be really strong to the point of overpowering.  Also, I couldn't tell in the few uses I got from the sample whether or not it would actually do the job of toning. 
Repurchase?  No but my friend loved it and has repurchased!

You have maybe noticed a theme, in that my current favourite all-rounder brand is Soap & Glory. 
I love the wide range of products that they have which all have great ingredients and really work to target certain areas or issues.  I received a couple of great gift sets for Christmas and the rest I tend to pick up during 3 for 2 or similar offers at Boots. 

Clearasil All in One Wash and Mask  £5.39 for 150ml
In the last month or so I have tried to move away from spot-targeting products so I am veering away from brands like Clearasil at the moment.  This wash and mask was ok but I prefer the Clean and Clear scrubs/masks that do a similar job.  I found it hard to rinse off.
Repurchase?  No

Garnier Moisture Match for Combination to Oily Skin Sample Sachet  £5.99 for 50ml
I really didn't like this.  It left a film on my skin that flaked off when I applied foundation over the top.  On the plus side, it does smell like holidays.
Repurchase?  No

Soap and Glory The Greatest Scrub of All  £9 for 125ml
As an in-shower, regular facial scrub, this does the job.  It has fine grains that don't irritate and I used it every other day to brighten and refresh my skin.  The twist-off cap is annoying though; it would be better with a flip-top.  I am currently using Origins scrub which is much more intense I wouldn't be able to use it that often and I am yet to decide which level of exfoliation I prefer.
Repurchase?  Maybe, but not at this time

Soap and Glory The Fab Pore Facial Peel  £8 for 50ml
This is a fab product and this was my 2nd tub.  It can be used as a quick 5 minute mask (ideal for using in the shower whilst conditioner is on) or a 15 minute deep detox.  My skin always feels soft and glowing after using this and I will be buying another one quick!
Repurchase?  Yes

Sanctuary Pore Refining Toner  £9 for 150ml
I used this as a refreshing spritz post-cleansing though it can be used on a cotton pad.  I don't know how much it refined my pores but it felt nice and smells like roses, so I'm not complaining
Repurchase?  Maybe, I have the Caudalie beauty elixir to use first so let's see which one wins out!


I have bought quite a lot of new make up this season so I have not really finished anything!

Clarins BB Cream Sample  £22.50 for 45ml
This BB cream is absolutely gorgeous.  It goes on smoothly and gives a beautiful flawless finish which I don't usually get from BB creams.  The SPF25, anti-oxidants and anti-fatigue benefits make this even more perfect. 
Repurchase?  Yes, when I have saved up/used up other foundations

Have you tried any of these products?
What products have you finished during Spring?

Blog Sale Love (NOT A BLOG SALE!)

I just wanted to do a quick post to share my love of blog sales!  Over the past few months I have gone a bit wild whenever I see those magic words pop up on Twitter.  I just can't help myself when I see fantastic selections up for grabs.

What I love most of all about blog sales is that you can get hold of so many different brands, many that are new to me, at bargain costs.  It is often possible to find limited edition or sold out products too.  As well as this, it has been nice meeting new bloggers and discovering their blogs through sales.

Here is what I have snapped up in recent months in various blog sales:

My current favourites from my collective haul are:  Too Faced Natural Eye Palette, Estee Lauder illuminating gelee in Topaz Chameleon, NARS cream blush in Cactus Flower, Diptyque Do Son and Chanel Poudre & Eye Quad.

Gosh, it makes me think I need to start a spending ban looking at it all in one go - but think of all the money I have saved!

My advice is, if you like something on a blog sale, go for it.  I have never received anything that arrived damaged, fake or not as described.  And some lovely bloggers even add extras in the package which is such a nice surpriseAlso, it's a cut-throat world out there - if you don't grab it, someone else will!

Thanks to:

Jane at Northern Beauty Blogs

Sarah at Beauty Super Girl

Elysa at Makeup by Elysa

Jemma at Bamboozle Beauty

Isolde Beauty

Louise at Confetti Letters

Angelica at One Little Vice

Catrine at Unnaked Nails

Jude at Love, Lust and Fairy Dust

Sarah at Flowers at Dawn

Anna at On the Dressing Table

What bargains have you picked up at a blog sale? 
Do you have a blog sale on now?

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

REVIEW - Selfridge's Summer Beauty Box

I was soo excited when the Selfridge's Summer Beauty Box arrived on my doorstep only 2 days after I ordered it! 

Inside the iconic yellow packaging is an array of delightful products in little bottles and tubes that are the perfect size for popping in your luggage.  I haven't tried any of these beauties before so this box is a great way to discover some new brands at £25 for £70 worth of goodies.

Inside the box is: Aqua Splash Tangle Teezer, Jane Tran hair clips, Caudalie Beauty Elixir, Models Own Neon Pink Nail Varnish, Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray, Erborian BB Cream, Lancaster Tan Maximizer, St Tropez Instant Glow Face Lotion and Molton Brown Blissful Templetree Shower Gel.



This BB Cream from Erborian is lovely and creamy.  It is a little too dark for me at the moment but I think it will be the perfect colour in the Summer.  It has an SPF 25 and claims to give you 'baby-skin'.  You can use this as a light-coverage foundation or as a primer. 

I have heard great things about this Surf Spray and I can't wait to try it out!  I will post a review when I have tried it but it needs to be used on wet hair so I haven't had a go yet.

This is a moisturising after sun that, when used for at least 4 days, prolongs the length of your natural suntan by reducing peeling and stimulating melanin. 

These hair clips are not my usual style but I think they will look great with Surf Sprayed hair.

I think I am probably the last blogger out there to get a Tangle Teezer!  I am putting this straight in the shower to use with conditioner/hair masks.

I have used St Tropez fake tan before and love the golden, even colour that it gives.  This instant tan formula produces a similar shade on the skin and is handy for giving a colour boost that can wash off easily.  Make sure you rub it in quick though - I had a darker patch where I had left the blob whilst I took the photo!

This is the product that I was most excited to try.  It is jam-packed with fabulous natural ingredients including grape, orange blossom, rose, organic balm mint and rosemary and it smells beautiful.  It can be used as a make up base, skin reviver or after-shave and claims to be an exceptional anti-dullness complexion treatment. 

I was quite dubious when I saw this bottle - hot pink is not my usual colour.  However, I loved it when I put it on.  It is such a thick formulation and the colour is so bright and vibrant that you can't help but smile.  It takes me back to my raving days!

Have you got your mitts on the Summer Beauty Box yet?
Which of the products is your favourite?

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Saturday Scents 3 - Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess

I bought this perfume as another blog sale purchase from the lovely Jude at Love, Lust and Fairy Dust (I think I've just about cleaned her out!!).  I was so excited about this as I have seen some rave blog reviews - I also got a bit over-excited about the glimpse of sun we had over Bank Holiday and thought it was the perfect time to invest a gorgeous summer fragrance - oh well, at least it puts me in the mood for sun even if there isn't any!

I assumed that this perfume would be tropical, coconutty maybe and fruity.  However, you need to think Mediterranean sun rather than Caribbean when placing this scent.  Though light, it is musky and woody.  It has notes of blossom, lavender and nectar and a myriad of citrus elements including blood orange, petitgrain and bergamot.

As an Eau Fraiche Skinscent, the fragrance is light but it lasts longer than I expected - by the end of a day at work, it is still just detectable.  I would reapply though if I wanted it to be stronger throughout the day and certainly if I wanted it to last for the evening.  Spritzing it onto clothes helps the lasting power. 

I think this perfume is lovely for Summer days and evenings out and I will be enjoying this throughout the season.  I don't love it though and I haven't yet had any comments or compliments when wearing it, like I have with Jo Loves or Diptyque and I can't see myself rushing out to buy another bottle. 


Have you tried Bronze Goddess?
What do you think?

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Sugar Lip Scrub and Salt Hand Scrub

 Last month, I had a lovely pamper day with my best friends for my birthday.  I invested in a basket full of products for us to use and we had great fun trying them all out!

The basket of goodies

I wanted to add a lip scrub to the basket and looked at the Lush ones.  However, when I saw the price tag and looked at the ingredients, I thought hang on a second... I have very similar ingredients at home so I could make something virtually identical without spending anything!  Since writing this blog post I have also seen lots of others on some lovely blogs - please share your links if you have had a go at some DIY products too!

The ingredients (minus sugar - I've now run out!)

Sugar Lip Scrub

Salt Hand Scrub

I decided to have a go at making a lip scrub and a hand scrub and the results were great!  The sugar was the perfect texture for lips (and face) as it was not too harsh, whereas the salt gave a more vigorous effect for the hands.  It works well on the upper arms too.  When you rinse off the scrub with warm water, the oil stays on the skin and can be rubbed in which feels gorgeous! 


You will need:
a ramekin of coconut oil
a dash of lemon oil
a dash of lime oil
granulated sugar

  • First, soften the coconut oil in the microwave - don't let it get too hot or it will melt the sugar.
  • Mix in a few drops of the lemon and lime oils.  If you don't have these, you could substitute them with a grating of zest or a few drops of an essential oil - Tea Tree if you get sore lips or lavender before bed.
  • Spoon in the sugar and mix - I did this by feel until it was thick and grainy.

You will need:
a ramekin of coconut oil
a dash of orange oil
coarse sea salt
  • Soften the coconut oil in the ramekin.
  • Add the orange oil.  Again, if you don't have this then substitute it for grated zest or an oil of your choice - floral scents would work nicely.
  • Add the sea salt and mix until it is thick and grainy.

The scrubs can be left to solidify and kept at room temperature, just soften them for a few seconds in the microwave before use. 

Have you tried any DIY beauty products?
I would love to know if you give these a whirl!


Would You Rather? Beauty Edition

I saw this fab TAG on Kayleigh's gorgeous blog Couture Girl.  I love having a go at tags and seeing other lovely bloggers' versions.    

If you've never heard of 'would you rather' before, its very self explanatory. A set of questions asking if you'd rather do this or that and often you'd rather not do either which makes it all the more fun.

Would you rather lose all of your mascaras, eyeliners, lipsticks, and lip glosses or lose all of your palettes and eyeshadows?
This is an easy answer - mascara is my number 1 must-have product.  I could even get rid of eyeliners,  lipsticks and lip glosses too before I would say good bye to mascara!  I do love a good eyeshadow palette, especially the original Naked palette and Chanel's Les 4 Ombres in Regard Perle but I would have to sacrifice them if it was a toss-up between them and mascara.


Would you rather chop off all your hair or never be able to cut it again?
Definitely never cut it again.  There is no way I could do a Jessie J and actually pull off a buzz cut!

Would you rather have a coral cheek or a pink cheek?

Hmm, I think I prefer pink.  I like Mac's Fleur Power for a fresh pink hue.

If you had £1000 to spend, Would you rather buy clothes or makeup?
Ooh this is a toughie - and I've now spend a long time daydreaming about which purchases I would make!  I am usually more happy to spend ££ on make up (and skin care) at the moment as I am holding off on buying clothes until I have reached my SW goal.  In fact, I find buying clothes a bit depressing :( .  Saying that, what better motivator would there be than having £1000 to spend upon reaching that goal?!

Would you rather apply lipstick as eyeliner, or eyeliner as lipstick?
Oh my goodness, I made this mistake once when I was younger.  I was heading out for a big night out (at Jaspers if any of you know Grantham!) in a taxi and was doing my make up on the way.  I applied my lip liner quite thickly.  Upon getting out of the (dark) taxi and entering the (brightly lit) foyer, everyone noticed my mistake!  Although I don't think that was quite as bad as my friend once applying a thick layer of lipgloss only to realise that it was mascara, eww!

Would you rather only shop at MAC or Sephora?
I would love to experience shopping in Sephora and on my trip to the States in the Summer, I'm sure I will spend many an hour there.  If it was a choice between Boots and MAC, I would go for Boots.  Although I do love MAC, I enjoy the choice (and Boots points) that you get in the drugstore. 

Would you rather only use one eyeshadow colour or one lip colour for the rest of your life?
For me, this would have to be one lip colour and I would go for an easy to wear nude.  In fact, I would probably be happy with just wearing Korres' Jasmine lip butter! 

Would you rather wear winter clothes in summer or summer clothes in winter?
I am more happy covering up and could think of nothing worse than wearing a flimsy dress in the drizzly, miserable, long British Winter! 

Would you rather dark nails or bright nails all year round?Hmm, I tend to prefer a neutral nail colour but I do like a deep burgundy and I have a nice dark grey too so I think I would go for the dark option if I had to choose!

Would you rather give up your favourite lip product or your favourite eye product?
As I have mentioned before, I cannot cope without mascara.  Benefit They're Real is my current fave.
Would you rather only be able to wear your hair in a pony tail or a messy bun?
A pony tail is ok but I think a messy bun suits me more.  I often twist my hair into a simple bun for work (keeps it out of the way of children's hair and the risk of nits) and I like putting it up into a large bun with a doughnut for an evening do. 

Would your rather never being able to paint your nails again or never use lipgloss?
I would never paint my nails again.  I like a good lip gloss such as Philosophy's Divine Colour in Lilac Rose.  I do agree with Kayleigh though, sandals with bare toenails is a bit eww!

Would you rather shave your eyebrows and have none at all? or sharpie them in everyday?
I have a friend who has very pale (non existent!) eyebrows and it just looks normal on her.  I don't think I could pull it off though.  I think I might have to go for the Scouse brow sharpie option.

Would you rather live without makeup or nail polish?
Well I hardly ever bother to do my nails so I would quite happily live without nail polish.  I find it so frustrating to make the effort to paint my nails for it just to chip off the next day.  I don't think, apart from when I've had a gel manicure, that I have used a nail polish that has lasted more than a day.  Any tips would be gratefully received!

I have really enjoyed reading the different versions of these that have popped up today and I hope you like my answers!
If you have done this TAG, please leave your link below!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Saturday Scents 2 - Diptyque Do Son


I am an absolute sucker for a good blog sale.  I discovered Anna's lovely blog - On the Dressing Table and simply couldn't resist this beauty from Diptyque.  It was a total risk as I had never smelt it before - in fact, I had never experienced any Diptyque product despite having candle jar envy for many years!  So, on seeing the beautiful bottle in the sale, I hastily read some reviews online.  It sounded like my cup of tea so I took the plunge. 

I just love seeing SOLD appear next to my goodies!

Well, I am so glad I went for this impromptu purchase.  The perfume is beautiful and very 'me'.  I really don't like strong, overpowering scents (I recently tried Thierry Mugler's Alien sample from Elle magazine which is exactly the kind of fragrance that I dislike).  I tend to go for floral or fruity scents that are more natural, airy and gentle - think Jo Malone and Jo Loves. 

Do Son to me, is tropical flowers after a rain storm; heady and floral without being overpowering.  I love how it lingers gently all day and is still detectable by night fall.  It is the perfect Spring/Summer fragrance and I can imagine wearing this on warm days in the sun and long balmy evenings.

I adore the poetic descriptions from Diptyque:
Relief from the sweltering climate, a pagoda on the shores of Ha Long Bay, where trade winds tenderly caress the flowers. A name that sings, undulating like waves upon a beach. Do Son is an eau de toilette rich with contrast, exuding the fresh, intoxicating sensuality of tuberose.

Beautiful description, beautiful fragrance. 

What is your favourite Diptyque scent?
Are you as obsessed with blog sales as me?!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013


If you read my last blog post you will know about my new-found love for Jo Loves perfume. 

My favourite was A SHOT OF THAI LIME OVER MANGO and it was so delicious that it has inspired me to design a cupcake in its honour!  To me, the essence of this scent is the zesty, exotic fruitiness underpinned by fragrant herbs.  And of course, the iconic red box is important too!

The sponge is flavoured with lime - I used lime juice, lime oil and lime zest to emulate the sharp citrus notes in the perfume.  This was then enriched with a lime syrup drizzled over the top. 
I filled the cupcake with a homemade compote of mango and it was here that I echoed the herbs and spices in the fragrance by adding mint, thyme and black pepper.   
A further lime kick came in the frosting (lime buttercream).  Finally, the cupcake was topped with fresh mango pulp and another drizzle of the syrup.
And what other colour could the cupcake case be than red?!





Saturday, 4 May 2013

Saturday Scents 1 - Jo Loves

At the moment, I am a bit obsessed with perfume.  I have recently found a few gorgeous examples and I have decided to start posting a regular fragrance post - Saturday Scents. 

I am going to start with a company that is a new discovery for me.  I have long been a massive fan of Jo Malone as a brand.  The light, natural fragrances that they are famous for are the perfect fit for me and I have a wish list from them as long as my arm.  So imagine my delight when I heard that THE Jo Malone herself had started a new venture on her own after she sold her original company to Estee Lauder

Enter Jo Loves - a brand started in November 2011 with iconic red packaging, simple yet striking bottles and fragrances which capture "the things in Jo's life that inspire her, from ingredients and people to moments in time".

I was lucky enough to receive some samples in the post and I literally squealed with delight when the cute little red boxes dropped through the letterbox.  In my package were ORANGE TULLE, GREEN ORANGE AND CORIANDER, MANGO NECTAR and A SHOT OF THAI LIME OVER MANGO

ORANGE TULLE was the first one I tried.  Orange Blossom from Jo Malone is one of my all-time favourite perfumes and I was expecting something similar.  This however, is much more complex.  There is a hint of orange blossom but it is mixed with mint, mandarin and musk notes.  It reminds me a bit of orange sherbet.  And who doesn't like that?!

GREEN ORANGE AND CORIANDER is my least favourite of the samples I received.  This is not because I disliked it - I enjoyed the depth and herbiness from the black pepper and coriander seed + leaf mixed with the bitter fruit of the green orange - but it was just too masculine for me.  I love the effect of this combined with Orange Tulle though.  It smells like a spa day!

MANGO NECTAR is the signature scent from the Mango Collection.  It is sweet and fruity - truly reminiscent of freshly cut mangoes.  Delicious!

My absolute favourite of the bunch, and the one I am going to purchase a full-size bottle of this week, is A SHOT OF THAI LIME OVER MANGO.  This scent literally made my mouth water when I first sprayed it.  It is zingy, fresh and fruity without being sickly.  As it softens, interesting herb notes come through and the result is a complex, interesting and exciting fragrance that I feel seems slightly different each time I smell it.  Throughout the day, the scent mellows and leaves a subtle hint of summer on the skin.  Simply gorgeous. 

To sum up, I could not put it better than the company itself:
"Jo Loves is all about the things that make my heart beat". 
I cannot wait to get my full-size purchase and I am dying to try their other offerings!
Have you tried Jo Loves?
What is your favourite of their fragrances?