Saturday, 31 May 2014

May on my mind


This May has been a great month for living in the UK; we've had fabulous warm, sunny days that could easily fool you into thinking it's August already, and we've had two long weekends to enjoy because of the bank holidays - I could get used to this. Everyone in favor of this continuing every month that's left of the year raise their hands... Although summer doesn't officially start for another few weeks I'm already in the summer mindset and everything from my overall pace to clothes and makeup is more relaxed and zen. Maybe that's why we didn't have anything specific planned for the bank holiday weekends but we still managed to fill the time. For a long time I had wanted to go to Arundel (how elvish!), which is a very pretty, quaint medieval town with lots of great restaurants and boutiques to see the amazing castle, so we spent a gorgeous summer day there and although I also really wanted to visit the cathedral, we decided to stay in the beautiful gardens chilling out with a nice picnic, that the cheeky pheasants did their very best to steal. It was so lovely to take some time and just hangout in the sunshine since I often get caught up in things and forget to take a bit of a break from it all. This month I definitely needed to take a pause since May has been a fairly busy month with lots of things going on, and I've also had to spend a lot of time working out and studying, which you may have seen if you follow me on Instagram, and some days it's been a challenge to get my brain back into study mode and to retain other information than just which nail polish shade I must remember to buy next week... All jokes aside learning new things is always great, even if it is learning to take it easy! Hope you've all had a wonderful month, and don't forget to check in again tomorrow for a fun and very appropriate TAG to nail the start of June.

Friday, 30 May 2014

May favorites

Yesterday I did a post about Unfavorites, which if you consider the amount of products that I try every year since I'm a beauty junkie were surprisingly few, but today as it's the end of the month we move to the other end of the scale - it's time for favorites, what I have loved the most in May so it's kind of ironic that my first product this month is something I bought specifically for Christmas.

You may remember that I went a little bit OTT with the amazing Christmas collection from Lush so it probably isn't a surprise that I'm still working my way through what I got in that massive Lush haul. The Ponche Shower Gel (£8.95) was part of the limited Christmas edition range, but personally I thought it worked better in Spring time since it's a fresh zesty and invigorating blend of juicy citrus fruits, tropical sweetness, warm spicy cinnamon and tequila - what an amazing cocktail. Even though I LOVE the Lush shower gels I often find that they are a bit harsh on the skin, e.g. Snow Fairy that makes my skin feel a bit stripped of moisture, but Ponche is lovely and creamy and gives a wonderful deep cleanse without leaving the skin dehydrated. As the sun has had its hat on, I've spent a lot more time outdoors and have managed to get some color, most of it quite unintentionally and some days my skin has even felt just a tiny bit tight. That's when it's nice have a cooling shower and then to apply some Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration After Sun (£13). The consistency is lovely, light and silky with a texture somewhere in between a lotion and a gel, which absorbs instantly into the skin, feeling incredibly soothing and restoring. It has a delicious sweet fruit salad scent of coconut and papaya and its yummy enough to eat. It's not exactly the most affordable after sun you can get since you only get 180 ml and during the summer I go through buckets of this, but the silky cooling sensation and the fabulous tropical scent are worth every penny!

A lot of people talk about several products as their skin saviours, but if I really had to, I think I could even narrow mine down to just one item: Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask (£22). I've mentioned this amazing mask previously - it's an all year round multi purpose product that I wouldn't dream of ever being without and as my skin is getting more exposure to the sun, this little beauty will be invaluable. It's famous for its lovely whipped creamy consistency and fresh orange peel scent and it does wonders for skin that needs a little bit of TLC. One application of this in the evening, and you'll wake up in the morning to soft, supple and hydrated skin. I use this mask a few times a week over night, but when my skin feels as if it needs something a little extra I'll even use it as an intense pre-makeup treatment for wonderful smooth skin for a deeply moisturising sensation that lasts all day.
Earlier this month I did a post on my latest scent obsession, Aerin's Lilac Path EdP (£85) - you can read the review here, and I'm not even sure that obsession comes close to describing how much I love this EdP. It's a graceful, delicate and airy soft floral scent mixing lilac, orange flower, jasmine and tiny bit of amber. It may sound like a heavy flowery granny scent, but there is nothing old fashioned or sickly sweet about this refined, harmonious, chic fragrance - it's a perfect Spring scent that captures sunny blue skies, delicate flowers in bloom, and playing garden games in balmy summer evenings. I'm so besotted and impressed with this exquisite scent that I've already added it to my birthday wishlist... for October... well, Him Indoors might need plenty of notice and this way I can gently remind him a good few times before then.

As I've mentioned before I've tried a lot of lip glosses this year, but the one I keep wearing and putting in my handbag is the gorgeous YSL Gloss Volupte (£21) and specifically the shade 04 Golden, a true rose pink with a subtle blue undertone and incredible high gloss finish. This is one of those gloss turn stain products that has amazing pigmentation and long wear. It has a smooth and light non sticky formula that adds a lot of hydration, giving a lovely plumping effect and after the initial glossiness has settled into a stain, the finish will easily last for at least 5 hrs even after eating and drinking. I'm so impressed with this pleasant formula that feels so comfortable to wear and compared to some of the other lip gloss launches this year from e.g. Dior, this is still the one to beat for me.

Something that I'm never without is lip balm, and if that should ever happen I'll go straight into the nearest Boots or pharmacy and get another one right away, but for some reason I have really struggled lately to find a great lip balm. Many of them give a little but of hydration and gloss, but it disappears quite quickly and often leave my lips feeling quite dry afterwards, but the last product among these May favorites is a lip balm that I actually quite like - the Soap & Glory A Great Kisser Lip Balm (£5) in Juicy Peach. It's made from mango butter, apricot butter, lingonberry oil and pomegranate extract to add moisture, protection from the weather and to prevent loss of hydration. It comes in a little pot that reminds me of vaseline and the consistency isn't too dissimilar, although A Great Kisser isn't as waxy and oily as vaseline. It does contain mineral oil, so if you're concerned about using products that has this as an ingredient, you might want to avoid this one. The lip balm is scented with a peach scent, that is a tiny bit synthetic, but still pleasant and it gives a lovely shine at the same time as it looks after your lips. Soap & Glory also offers the Great Kisser in Chocolate Cherry and Vanilla Bean and they both sound so tempting, I might just get them as well.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Disappointed in...

We're coming up to the end of the month, and at this point I usually do a post about the products I have loved and used the most - the monthly favorites, and I will do a favorites post this month too, but first I thought I would do something I have never done before, a post about products that have been a disappointment to me. If I were to put together all the new products that I've bought and tested over a year, I know that there would be a small mountain of them; some are fantastic, others are good, others are bland and forgettable, and I probably wouldn't buy them again simply because I can't remember them and then we have the last group of products - that ones I would downright avoid. The products today are examples from this last group but but before we start I want to emphasize that this is based on my personal experience of these specific products and although they may have been a disappointment to me for reasons that I'll explain, they might work very well for others. I also want to say that I have tried several other products from all of these brands which I have truly loved, so this is not a critique against the brands mentioned, only of these specific items.

At the beginning of the year I decided that it was time that I swap my trusted eye brow pencil for something else since there are so many other interesting eye brow products on the high street, and so I've started to experiment with a few other types - unfortunately with very little success so far. That's why I've got two eye brow products in this line up starting with a product that I got very recently - the Avon Anew Transforming Brow Filler (£6). For some reason this product isn't listed on line which is why I haven't got a link to it, although you can find it in the latest Avon Book. It's a twist up eye brow filler pen with a comb tip, which is intended to help define and set the shape of the brows, as well as add a hint of color and I tried it in Light Brown. Maybe there was something wrong with the product I got, but it took A LOT of twisting to get any product to come out of the tip, and when it finally did it had a gloopy gel like consistency and the little color it had was very blotchy and unevenly distributed throughout the formula - frankly it looks awful when you test it on your hand, you can photos here on my Instagram. If you're brave enough to apply the gooey looking gel, it feels quite wet on the brows and although the comb tip does do a little shaping, I didn't get any color from it at all. Perhaps the color was too light for me, but this brow filler did absolutely nothing except make my eye brows wet and that together with the strange, unappealing consistency makes it a product that I won't buy Anew.

The second brow product is Maybelline's Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara (£4.99), which I have done a separate review of previously which you can find here. It comes in a mascara format, so you apply it to your brows using a wand which has a ball shaped brush with long stiff combs at the tip of it, see photo here on my Instagram. My biggest challenge with this product is the dry formula, which makes it difficult to get an even amount of product on the brush, which then of course means that you also get an uneven application with the color clumping in some places. I've found that I always need to use either an additional brow brush or q-tip to even out the color, which is tricky without messing up the brows, and I usually end up with a very bushy and exaggerated brow look - not at all something I'm going for. Since the formula is already dry but it also sets very quickly on the brows, you need to work fast when you even out the color because once it's set, it's there for the duration of the day, which I guess is a plus when it comes to long wear. The fact that I need to use additional tools to get this brow mascara to work at all, but still without achieving the look I actually want, means that it's too much effort especially when I can get a nice arched brow using a pencil in a fragment of the time it takes me to fiddle with Brow Drama - Sorry Maybelline, but for me this product is too much drama and not enough brow sculpting!
I'm a bit sad to have to include a MUA Lipstick (£1) in this gang of disappointing five partly because MUA is one of my favorite basic budget brands and they have a lot of great products, but also because this particular shade - 16 Nectar is absolutely gorgeous, just the perfect peachy summery shade, which you can see here on my Instagram. So why have I included it then you ask?, well it's because it's one of these formulas that has a split personality. When you apply it from the bullet the lipstick shows its positive side; it's very soft and creamy and the pigmentation seems good, although the formula is a bit "thin", so you have to apply the lippy fairly thickly for an even coverage on your lips. After that it starts to set really quickly, and that's when the Mr Hyde side of this lipstick shows its face by drying along the lip contours and where your lips meet. That horrible dried contour then stays put even after eating and drinking, while the rest of the lip color disappears - it's not a good look and one of my pet peeves when it comes to makeup. So despite being a stunning golden peach color, for this particular lipstick MUA stands for Must Unfortunately be Avoided. 

One of the most hyped products to reach the UK last year was Maybelline's Baby Lips Balm (£2.99) a must try product for any lip balm addict, and I since I'm a fan of everything cherry I was very excited to get my paws on a Cherry Me. The claim was that this cute and colorful lip balm would give 8 hrs of hydration and nourishment, quite something for a lip balm priced lower than most drinks in Starbucks. The lip balm does give a faint cherry red color with a little bit of shine which isn't long lasting but nice enough, although at the time I was distinctly underwhelmed by the lacking sense of hydration (you can see my original review here), and didn't feel like it did anything at all to nourish my lips. Since then I did continue to use it for a while over winter to finish it up more than anything, but as the weather got colder not only did the lip balm not add any hydration or nourishment - it was as if it actually dried out my lips even more and made them hyper sensitive, so eventually I had to stop using it and instead move on to old Burt's Bees to restore my lips. I've never reacted like that with any other type of lip product, but it's safe to say that I definitely don't cherish Cherry Me, and next time I'll opt for a Starbucks instead. 

To balance things out and to show that it's not just a selection of budget friendly products that have proven to be a let down I'll finish with a premium brand product, Dior's Blush Trianon Edition (£30.50 reviewed here) in the color 916 Pink Réverie. It all started so well with its gorgeous packaging and cute embossed bow pattern, and even though the muted pink shade with strong blue undertones was definitely outside my comfort zone, and not at all the kind of color I would normally go for it did look promising in the pan. The texture of the blush is lovely and light, but it's let down by the complete lack of pigmentation and it doesn't matter how much I apply of it, on me the color simply will simply not build up at all. At first I gave it the benefit of the doubt and thought that perhaps it was simply that the color wasn't suitable for my skin tone, but after having gone from office pale to a slightly more healthy looking golden color, there should at least in theory be a bigger and more noticeable contrast, so the blush should appear more but unfortunately Pink Réverie still doesn't show up my skin, as you can see here on my Instagram. Out of all the products today, this was probably the biggest disappointment for several reasons - first of all it's not exactly a budget product and secondly it's Dior, an iconic brand which I don't think it's unreasonable that you have high expectations from. I guess it just goes to show that quality has nothing to do with hype, clever marketing, glossy packaging and you can get great products as well as duds in any price range. With this little collection of unfavorites out of the way, don't forget to check in tomorrow to see the actual monthly favorites for May. 

Monday, 26 May 2014

Manic.Monday: Summertime is Sugartime

Summertime and the living is easy, but deciding on which nail polish to wear isn't when there are so many gorgeous shades to choose from, which is why I'm showing you two today. I've mentioned before that every time I go to visit my parents I pick up a good amount of products that I can only get over there and the brand I buy most of is IsaDora, which is a Swedish brand with a wonderful range of products in the same price range as Maybelline. I am especially fond of the Isadora nail polishes so when I saw the Sugar Nails range I just had to have a few, since I didn't have any of these before.... yeah - right... As you may know from some of my previous posts about nails I have a thing for different textured nail polishes, there's nothing that I won't try but the sugared Pixie dust look has got to be my absolute favorite! The IsaDora Sugar Nails range (£6.20) contains 11 different colors ranging from the lovely bright and sunny to the soft, pastel sherbet look, and the shades I picked up  are of the latter kind; 133 Macaron, a beautiful creamy and light mint shade and 132 Peach Nectar, a delicate, feminine and golden peach shade - both perfect for summer.
The formula is a tiny bit thicker than ordinary nail polishes because of the particles in it, but it's in no way thick or gloopy and it's still very easy to apply and with the average width brush you quickly get an even finish. The idea behind this type of textured polish is that by applying several coats of it, you build up a crystallized, sugared effect that combines a matte finish with a gorgeous shimmer, caused by the gritty surface for a look which I like to call "concrete glam". If you were to only apply one or even two coats of this you would be disappointed in the look since it's not enough to create a thoroughly opaque look that also brings out the shimmer. This polish needs at least three coats and in the photo, you can see a close up here on my Instagram, I've actually applied four coats. I can hear what you're thinking: "It'll take forever to create the right look" - actually no, the formula is very quick drying and it shouldn't take you longer than 5 mins to do both hands, but please note that it probably takes another 15 mins for the look to continue develop after it's dried. You're probably also thinking: "It'll be a nightmare to remove" - well again I would have to say no, since you'll have a fairly thick coat on your nails, although you don't feel that when you wear it, so you can easily peel it all off in one big flake, without having to use acetone and mild (or not...) force.

Textured nails like this tend to last about 4 days on me before I have to retouch it, however since the coat is a bit thicker than with ordinary nail polishes, it can be sensitive to chipping if you're not careful. I should also say that with this type of polish you should not apply a top coat, since it settles in the grittiness of the surface and instead of highlighting the shimmer it makes the finish look gloopy and strangely plasticky. I know that textured nails aren't for everyone, but I love the look - it's unusual but will still work for any occasion, eye catching and I always get lots of questions about what nail polish I'm wearing, so add a sugary twist to your outfit and make this summertime sugartime.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

MANGAnificent lashes?

I've mentioned this before, but I am in fact the most fickle person in the world when it comes to mascara. Not only am I fickle, I am DEMANDING and I'm not ashamed to say that I want it all. I am lucky enough to have long lashes, but I want to emphasize them by adding volume, perhaps some extra length and that amazing butterfly winged look. On the surface that doesn't seem like a lot to ask for, but in reality I usually I end up disappointed, so could the promises of L'Oréal's Miss Manga Mascara (£8.99) deliver on all these points? Well, let's wait and see shall we... The mascara comes in a cute black and pink glossy packaging, and although it isn't nearly glossy enough to completely sell it to me, it does look promising. There are three different shades available - Black, Violet and Turquoise and although I am a bit of a fan of wearing different coloured mascaras, especially on the tip of the lashes since it creates a really interesting effect, on this occasion I chose to go with safe ol' black. The formula contains enlarging collagen spheres that promises to amplify and really show off your lashes, adding volumes of volume with extreme hold to both your upper and lower lashes that is supposed to last all day. That may very well be, but the formula is very wet and quite thin and after having used it for almost three months, there's still no sign of it drying up the way that most mascaras do.
It comes with a long cone shaped brush and because the wand has a little joint in it, it's very bendy and you can in fact flex the brush in any direction you want, which should make it easy to reach and get good coverage of even the shortest of lashes however for me the brush isn't stiff enough to achieve a flared butterfly effect of the lashes and the consistency of the formula makes an even coverage difficult. Since it's so thin, one coat of mascara won't give you either the volume or length that it promises, but if you keep applying the mascara you will build some length and volume too, although in my opinion it doesn't come anywhere near what you get with L'Oréal's False Lash Flutter Mascara (£10.99) or L'Oréal's False Lash Telescopic Mascara (£10.99). I would definitely recommend that you let each coat dry properly before you apply the next, since the wetness of the formula will make the lashes clog together, which can be fun for that stylistic quirkiness of a manga look for a party, but perhaps not for work. The mascara does wear well throughout the day and although it's not specifically water resistant or smudge proof, I haven't noticed any fall out and it even lasts well at the gym but at the same time it's very easy to remove using just a normal eye makeup remover or a decent micellar water. 

I am definitely a lash girl, so I don't shy away from an exaggerated lash look - on the contrary I consciously seek it, but the Clockwork Orange spider lashes isn't for me and compared to the other amazing mascara options from L'Oréal that I've mentioned, this falls short in all areas because of the thin formula and the brush. My lashes might look MANGAnificent, but I would much prefer them to be just plain magnificent.

Friday, 23 May 2014

This summer I shoes flats!

I love shoes - I mean, seriously who doesn't?! Even Him Indoors has a collection that takes more space than mine, and it's not because he's got bigger feet...! When it comes to shoes I am definitely a high heel girl and the higher the heel, the more of an amazon I feel and I since I'm only 5'4 tall, I need all the heel help I can get. But in the summer, something strange happens and I'm not quite sure if it's because of the heat, or the different style of clothes I choose to wear, but I swap my towering heels for flats. Ballet pumps, gladiators, peep toes, espadrilles - almost any style will do but if they happen to have some sort of embellishment to satisfy the magpie in me, then even better. This year we're very lucky to see an amazing selection of flats on the high street in varying styles, colors and prices and here's a few of my favorites at the moment that shoes (see what I did there...) that you can find flats for any occasion or outfit - be it casual, elegant, beach, city chic or vintage at an affordable price.
From left to right:
River Island Diamante Embellished Sandals in coral (£40) // H&M Ballet Pumps in navy blue stripes and whites (£7.99) // Dune Steve Madden Ceaserr SM Dark Gladiators in dark brown (£65) // Kurt Geiger Miss KG Debbie Embellished Sandals (£49) in tan // Topshop Koala Espadrille Shoes (£45) in True Leopard // New Look Chunky Gold Chain Sandals (£22.99) in white // Dorothy Perkins Bling Toe Post Foot Bed (£25) in black // H&M Ballet Peep Toe Pumps (£9.99) in red // Dune Ladies Jaffy Metal T-bar Sandal (£65) in mint

Even though I'm sure I'll pick up a few more flats before this summer is over, I know I have already found my absolute favourites - you can have a look at them here on my Instagram, for me it just doesn't get much better than these! To all of a sudden being 5-6 inches shorter does have it's disadvantages that takes a little bit of getting used to, but with so many lovely flats to shoes from I don't really care that I now barely reach the pedals when I drive my car, that I need to ask for help in Waitrose to reach the top shelf or that Him Indoors keeps calling me Shorty - at least I'm a shorty in fabulous shoes!

Before I finish today, I'm very happy to announce the winner of the £30 ASOS voucher giveaway to celebrate that I've reached more than 2000 followers on Bloglovin'. Thank you SO SO much to everyone who entered and for all your lovely congratulation messages, but since there could be only one winner the lucky person this time around is Laura Ngiam. Congratulations and have lots of fun spending it at amazing ASOS!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

May empties

We all have our little "rules" for when it's ok to buy and use new products and although those rules may not make sense to everyone, the main thing is that they make sense to ourselves. Some people are really disciplined and don't buy anything until they've finished up something else, so the net amount of products really remains the same. I can't claim to be that good; I have a huge stash of things that I can't wait to use, and my excuse is that I don't want to risk running out of something - well, there's no chance that will EVER happen... At any given point I probably have 5-6 hair care items on the go, 6-7 skin care products and as for makeup - well let's just skip that part, BUT I am very good at keeping this modest (hrmmm...) level of products, and I don't open anything new, until I've finished something else. So this month is a great month for me because I have emptied 9 different products,  just imagine how many new ones I can finally start to use, happy happy joy joy!

You'll know by now that I usually have at least one dry shampoo in every monthly empties, so let's just get this month's product out of the way straight away. Although I am a big fan of Batiste I do like to try other brands as well every now and then and the Dove Style + Care Dry Shampoo (£4.59) is a good alternative to Batiste. It has the same oil controlling qualities, it adds a nice texture for a tousled look and it has a lovely light and fruity scent, but the biggest difference is that the formula is less powdery so there's less of the white fall out when you massage it in the roots and brush it out. If you're tempted to try a dry shampoo but concerned about the powder, then this might be ideal for you. When it comes to body butters there are not many brands that can compete with The Body Shop and as you probably know they have a wonderful range of sweet, savoury and fresh scents to choose between. One of my favourites is The Body Shop Body Butter in Chocomania (£5), a deliciously indulgent, yummy and authentic chocolate scent which is pure bliss! The consistency is not quite as rich and buttery as a lot of the other body butters but it's still creamy and makes the skin feel very nourished and pampered, so if you're a chocoholic, then treat yourself to this little guilt free pot of cocoa heaven. As much as I like a luxurious shower gel, a shower gel is after all only a shower gel and you really don't need to spend a fortune to get a great gentle, moisturising and gorgeous smelling product, which Radox Berry Burst Shower Cream (£1.99) certainly proves. It has a lovely smooth and creamy consistency that cleanses without stripping your skin of moisture and it smells amazing of warm sun kissed summer berries - budget buys just don't get any better than this.
If you read my post about Herbal Essences Moroccan My Shine Nourishing products, you'll know that my faith in Herbal Essences is slowly being restored and it's thanks primarily to the absolutely amazing Bee Strong range that uses honey and apricot as its main ingredients, both well known for their moisturising properties. I've used the Herbal Essences Bee Strong Mask (£4.79) regularly every week and it's really helped to keep my hair silky soft, smooth and detangled and although it could be my imagination, it also feels as if I have fewer split ends after using this for a good few months. I love the heavy rich golden consistency and the light tropical scent and would highly recommend it if you're looking for a great hair masque on the high street. You may have noticed that for the past few months I've had a fragrance included in every Empties post since I've really focused on finishing up a lot of those bottles with just a tiny little bit left in them, and this month I have a scent that isn't very well known, but that definitely deserves mentioning. If like me you love to flick through glossy fashion magazines, you'll know that DSQUARED2 is famous for its whimsical outfits combining glam rock chic with lumberjack, but what you might not know is that the fashion house also has an interesting range of perfumes. The DSQUARED2 Potion for Women EdP (£36), like the other Potions from DSQUARED2 (available both for men and women) is inspired by alchemy and days gone by when perfumes were blended and created with a specific purpose in mind, and this modern version of a love potion is a very feminine mix of traditional seductive scents like vanilla, rose, jasmine, amber, patchouli and musk. It's a sensual floral fragrance with a slightly green and fresh undertone of blackberries and a nod towards the oriental with the amber. It's a very distinct fragrance and what I call a Boudoir scent with its unmistakeable powdery vanilla notes, in the same vein of Jean Paul Gaultier's Classique. For me this EdP is at its best on cooler days since the ingredients are quite pronounced and on a warm day, they're just a bit too much for me - but if you love warm, feminine vanilla based scents, then this is the one to try!

One of my staple items is the cult classic, Caudalie's Beauty Elixir (£10.95). Not only do I love the aromatic and calming herbal scent of rosemary and mint, but the fine mist is a wonderful and easy way to refresh your skin throughout the day in any climate to add some moisture on the go. I have gone through more bottles of this than I can count, and I always make sure that I have one with me in my handbag when I'm out and about. It's a luxurious little treat that will make you feel special, and your skin will thank you for it, so if you haven't already tried it - add it to the top of your shopping list for next month. I am a firm believer in the benefits of using a serum as part of your skin care routine, and you can find one of the best ranges of serums from the lovely high end French skin care brand Gatineau which offers products for all skin types and needs, in combination with effective anti-ageing ingredients. One of the best serums for my dehydrated skin is the incredibly refreshing Gatineau Aquamemory Moisture Replenish Concentrate (£48.50), which is a lovely Tiffany blue serum with a fresh marine scent in an almost gel like consistency that absorbs instantly into the skin. You only need the tiniest drop under your moisturiser for an immediate intense hydration boost, making your skin feel plump and smooth. The technology behind it is intended to not only add hydration but to help the skin retain just the right level of hydration for your specific skin needs as well. Even though I mainly use the concentrate as a serum, I also sometimes use it as an intense masque, applying quite a few pumps of it on my face, and then letting it absorb naturally over night and in the morning the skin feels perfectly restored and revitalised and I will definitely reinvest in this amazing product again very soon.

Another product that has a firm place on my bathroom shelf is the gorgeous Lush Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter (£6.50) which I have mentioned several times before so I apologise for repeating myself. This wonderful rich whipped butter is amazing for nourishing your hands and nails, and the zesty sweet lemon scent is so enjoyable that I just can't stop smelling my hands when I've massaged it in. I have used this daily for well over a year and have noticed a big difference on my nails and cuticles; they are stronger and healthier and my nails even seem to grow quicker, although that could also be because of the Sally Hansen Miracle Nail Growth that I use. or maybe these two products just form a nail dream team. Last in this fairly long line of empties is the Seventeen Falsifeye Mascara (6.49) which is a brand I hadn't tried before. I am a very fussy mascara wearer and Falsifeye promised a lot - volume as well as long flared lashes, my absolute favourite look so I was cautiously optimistic when I bought this. Unfortunately this mascara and I never really got on; first of all the wand is absolutely massive so it's quite chunky and with the squared shape it's also a bit uncomfortable to hold in your hand, secondly the brush is probably the thickest brush I've ever seen and because it's also so stiff it's very difficult to reach all the lashes for an even coverage without a lot of smudging, in addition the consistency was very wet and unusually so even towards the end of its life, and last but not least while the mascara might give length to the lashes the volume was definitely missing. As you can tell there were a lot of things that didn't work out, and even though I am open to take a risk with unknown products, in this case it didn't pan out and I definitely wouldn't repurchase it.

So nine items in total in May's empties - not bad if I may say so myself, and since I have actually been really good and not bought very much, you could probably say that I'm on plus this month, although I'm not placing any bets on that it will last into June...

Monday, 19 May 2014

Manic.Monday: It's Mojito time!

Summer doesn't officially start until June 21, but since we've had around mid 20's degrees Celsius for the past 5 days or so, I'm going to stick my neck out (literally to catch some rays) and say that it's here and it couldn't have come quickly enough as far as I'm concerned! The rising temperature seems to transform everyone, I e.g. have shed my leather leggings in favor of lighter clothes and it might even be something floral (!), I've swapped my beloved high heels for casual, comfy sandals and when it comes to makeup all of a sudden I find myself wearing amazing rainbow colors that I wouldn't look twice at any other time of year. A perfect example of such a color is today's find from my nail polish stash - Ciatés Mojito (£9); a fabulous daring and intense fruity color that always puts me in a vacation mood. It mixes shades of zesty lime with refreshing and icy cool mint and it's sweet and punchy at the same time - just like the drink!
Like most of Ciatés formulas Mojito is lovely and light without being too runny which makes it easy to work with and it's also quick drying. It has wonderful strong pigmentation and although the color is soft and looks a bit sheer, one coat is enough for a great even coverage even though I personally still prefer to use two coats to ensure that the finish has a certain depth, and is as opaque as possible. I really enjoy wearing Ciaté polishes and the only thing that I would change about them is the brush; I've mentioned before that it's of fairly average width and possibly even a tiny bit more narrow than average, however it is of good quality and doesn't leave any pesky hairs behind that ruin the finish, and together with the consistency of the formula and the super pigmentation you get a streak free even finish with no effort at all. This color really should be finished off with a high shine top coat for a really glossy, brilliant look that positively beams in the sun light. On me this delicious tropical color lasts about 3-4 days before it starts to chip, and it's also very easy to remove using acetone free dip and twist removers. Have a look at my Instagram for a swatch and to see a look I created using this lovely cocktail green together with another one of my favorite polishes this year, Nails Inc's Daisy Lane Floral (£12). I love this glorious happy, sunny color and although Mojitos aren't exactly my favorite summer drink since they are too strong for me, I take every opportunity to wear it on my nails and for me every warm summer day is definitely Mojito time!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

The InstaWeek that was #3

Strictly speaking this little summary of photos I've shared on my Instagram, will definitely cover a bit more than a week, but you're going to have to allow me a little bit of artistic license on this one. When I started doing these posts a while back I had every intention of doing them weekly, however I also know that they're not for everyone - but when I got some really lovely feedback and comments asking that I do them more often I decided that I'm going to do a few every month, since I think it's a nice way to share some more personal things about what's going on in my life, I quite like to read these posts myself, and some of you seem to like them so I really hope that this will be a good compromise.The InstaWeek that was:
Him Indoors has finally come home from one of his trips bearing gifts - ok, I forgive you for being away so often... // Enjoying an amazing sunny day at Hinton Ampner in beautiful Hampshire, a gorgeous mansion and park to visit // A little break from some of my intense studying and as we all know latte's do wonderful things for your anatomy and for your focus (and if noone sees you there are no calories) // The amazing box of goodies that I got from my beautiful friend Shubha from Blue Velvet Addict - thank you so much my sweet! // Cat - The Queen of Everything, thinking I'm unworthy to even take her photo // In honor of the Eurovision song contest I made a Swedish delicacy: Smörgåstårta, which is a layered sandwich cake with whatever fillings you prefer and this particular one has chilli tuna, egg mayo and prawns topped with smoked salmon, caviar, cucumber and lemon... yum yum, I don't need to eat for a month now! // Care package with Scandinavian food goodies, courtesy of Scandinavian Kitchen in London // Who doesn't love Crab Cakes? //Kicking off the BBQ season

Highlights this week:
- Gorgeous warm sunny days reminding me of the wonderful small things in life
- First BBQ of the year
   - Getting more than 2000 followers on Bloglovin' - absolutely incredible and thank you so VERY much for all the fantastic support and as a thank you I've got an international giveaway of £30 gift vouchers from ASOS. running until May 20, so don't forget to enter!

Enjoy what's left of the weekend, and don't forget to check in tomorrow for something new from my extensive nail polish collection! Xx

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Hooked on Clinique's CC Cream

When it comes to certain beauty products I never seize to be amazed at how I somehow always seem to be able to make room for just one more... and then just another one... which means that I have far too many nail polishes, lipsticks, eye shadows, eye pencils and perfumes. At the same time there are other beauty products that I only buy very rarely and foundation is one them. It's not that I don't like or use foundations - on the contrary, for me it's one of the products that I'm more than willing to splurge on since just like skin care it truly is the canvas for everything else that you're creating, and if you don't get that right, then it doesn't matter what else you add to that. The only thing that will prompt me to buy a new foundation is that I have either finished the one I already had, or my skin has changed color tone enough that I definitely need a new product. Since we've been lucky enough to have gloriously sunny weather in the UK, I'm gradually replacing my pale blue office tan with a slightly more golden and healthy looking hue so when I was exploring the Clinique counter at Boots, that I also shared with you in my post about Clicking with Clinique, it was definitely time for something new. After a bit of testing I brought with me home something completely new for me - Clinique's Moisture Surge CC Cream Colour Corrector (£28) in the shade Medium.
A CC Cream is supposed to be primarily a color correcting cream that evens out your skin tone taking care of concerns like red or sallow skin, dullness or any scars you might have and from a formula point of view, they fall somewhere in between foundations, moisturisers and serums, and most of them have intense moisturising properties. This particular Clinique CC cream is suitable for all skin types and you can wear it on its own, over a moisturizer or under your foundation as a primer, but I prefer to use use this on top of my daily moisturizer instead of a foundation. The CC cream comes in a slim, flat and elegant looking plastic tube which is very practical since it doesn't take much space in your makeup bag, and there's no risk of it breaking and causing a mess on your bathroom floor. As with all products from Clinique the CC cream is 100% fragrance free which always is a concern for me since I am a very fragrance focused person and a lot of the time fragrance free products just don't appeal to me, but by nature it still has a clean and neutral "scent" that is very inoffensive and it doesn't last on your skin. The consistency is lovely, light and silky and it blends beautifully with your skin adding extra hydration and making your complexion feel very soft and cared for, especially since it also has a built in SPF 30. Since I was told a while back that foundations oxidise and change the color if you apply them using your fingers I'm trying to be good, using my amazing Moxi foundation brush and it's really easy to get an even polished finish with the CC cream, but I have to say that it's equally straight forward to get at least very similar results using your fingers. The CC cream gives sheer to moderate coverage but enough opacity to cover the odd blemish scar, and although it feels almost matte on the skin without any oiliness or tackiness at all when you apply it, it still adds a lovely natural looking radiance. It wears incredibly well throughout the day and on me the finish lasts for at least seven hours, but at the same time it's easy to remove using either a micellar solution or a normal cleanser. I am so impressed by this product and because of the light texture and the great wear I think it'll work brilliantly for the coming warm summer days. I never caught the BB cream bug, but this CC cream has got me well and truly hooked and I can't recommend it enough.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

2000 follower giveaway

It feels as if it was only yesterday that I started this blog, but as we all know time flies when you're having fun and it's actually just over 10 months ago. Blogging has been an amazing adventure; I've learned so much in a short amount of time, got to know some wonderful supportive people and had the privilege of seeing the blog grow little by little thanks to all of you. You have helped me to reach another incredible milestone - 2000 followers on Bloglovin', which means.... drumroll: GIVEAWAY TIME! The giveaway is open internationally, and this time the prize is a £30 gift voucher from ASOS who as we all know has a fantastic selection of clothes, jewellery, shoes, bags and of course beauty products and so much more, in short ASOS is a treasure trove to explore. All you need to do to Open Sesame is to enter the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway is open until May 20, and the winner will be contacted via e-mail shortly thereafter as well as announced in the post on May 23. Although the words feel completely inadequate, all I can say from the bottom of my heart is THANK YOU SO MUCH for your support and encouragement!!! As you know all feedback and comments are very important to me and since I really want to make sure that the posts are relevant to you, I'd be very interested in hearing if there's a particular type of post or content that you would like me to do more/less of etc, so please let me know your thoughts in the comments section. Best of luck to everyone who enters and I'll be back with another post tomorrow! Xx

Monday, 12 May 2014

Manic.Monday: Ciaté Cuticle Tattoo's

Greetings everyone and welcome to a new week and as usual on a Monday I'm here to bring you something from the world of nail polishes. If you've read my blog before you'll know that I'm not one to shy away from trying out any nails trends, regardless of how whacky or strange they might seem, but I'm also the first to admit that willingness to experiment does not always equal success. Today's look is not so much about the nail polish itself, as the accompanying cuticle tattoo which is something I wanted to try as soon as I saw the promotional photos of it, and the look just reiterates to me how forward thinking Ciaté is when it comes to nails. Every photo that I've seen of cuticle tattoos is in combination with a very pale and neutral color, letting the tattoo doing the talking so to speak. I can understand that and personally I think that you either have to go pale or full on with vibrant colors - there just doesn't seem to be room for anything in between.

Not feeling quite brave enough to go full out (believe it or not) I chose to go with a pale neutral shade with Ciaté's Cookies and Cream (£9) a beautiful neutral and sophisticated light ecru shade that will make even the shortest of nails look groomed and elegant. It has the usual lovely Ciaté formula which is just the right consistency, not being too thick or thin and even though the brush is of very average width its easy to work with to get a streak free opaque finish, despite being a lighter shade. It's quick drying and wears very well - on my nails I would say that it lasts for about 4 days before I need to retouch the finish and it's a shade that I think would work well with most skin tones.
Let's move on to what actually makes this look - the Ciaté ASOS Exclusive Cuticle Tattoo's (£10). You'll get a set with five different designs and stencils - one set for for your left hand and one for your right hand, and even if you choose to only go for an accent nail, you'll have enough tattoos for at least 30 wears - talk about value for money! Once you've decided on which design you want; a diamond shape, an arrow, a bow, three stars or a floral chain,  you cut out each tattoo for each finger with a pair of scissors and I would recommend that you apply one tattoo at a time. At the back of each sheet you'll see a shape outlined that you need to follow with your scissors and once you've cut that out, you're ready to go once you've removed the clear plastic backing. Place the shape with the outline facing upwards which is also slightly sticky as close to the cuticle as you can get, press down and then use either a cotton pad soaked in water across the back, or just some drops of water to transfer the stencil onto the skin. Once you've added water, the transfer starts very quickly and it's easy to remove the back before the transfer is complete, so take care to make sure that you get the entire design transferred onto your finger before you slide the backing paper away.
The process itself of transferring the tattoo onto the skin is very straight forward and you can't really go wrong, however the trickiest bit is placing the tattoo close enough to your cuticles that it looks nice once you've rubbed the stencil with water. I must admit that I thought that I placed the stencil very close to the cuticle, but in my opinion I probably could have gone even closer and I think that these are things that you'll learn only through trial and error. I have to say that I'm slightly disappointed in the clarity of the outline of the tattoo, if you've seen photos of the cute bow, it looks very clear and precise, although at least with the stars that I chose they are much more faint and not at all what I had pictured, but that could be down to the design. More important is the wear of it; it took me about 10 mins to read and follow the directions properly, being careful with how I traced the outline and then transferring it onto my accent fingers (each ringer finger), however I am VERY disappointed in the wear. It only lasted me a few hrs on one hand before I had washed it away through daily wear and tear and you probably could remove it unintentionally even sooner if you happen to scrub that area just a little bit more than through a normal hand wash e.g. when you apply a hand cream. Considering how long it took me to do just two fingers, I don't think that I would go all out and do one tattoo on each finger and personally I'm not sure that the look is worth it since it's a lot of fiddling for a few hrs of flawless wear, but I guess that if you're expectations are low and all you're looking for is a night out look, then you might be happy with it. What do you think - would you give this a go?

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Life in letters TAG

TAGs can be a fun way to share a bit more about yourself and today I thought I would do the Life in letters TAG, which isn't the easiest TAG In the world to do since you go through the alphabet and give a fact about yourself that starts with each letter. It was quite a long time ago now that I was tagged by the lovely Jen from A little bit of Jen to do this, and it's been sitting in my draft for a little while since I only do one TAG a month - but better late than never and I hope you enjoy it!
A - I love ANIMALS to the point that I wouldn't even kill a mosquito, which is rather stupid of me especially since I'm allergic to mosquito bites and mozzies seem to love me.
B - I've been BLOGGING since July 2013 and have been amazed at the level of support and encouragement that I have received. Blogging is definitely a commitment that requires focus, thought and effort and getting lovely feedback and interacting with everyone in blogiverse, makes it all worth it!
C - My favorite tipple is CHAMPAGNE, and we usually end the week with a bottle or so. It's really tough having to do this weekly chore, but someone has to do it... 
D - I love to DANCE, especially salsa and tango 
E - I have always been very interested in ancient EGYPT so it was a dream come true when I got a chance to visit and see all the famous sights along the Nile and the Pyramides.
F - I have a very curious FELINE, or rather she has me... She's been my constant companion for 16 years and filled every single day with lots of fun and laughter - she's a senior, but you wouldn't know it to look at her. 
G - I'm a massive fan of GREY'S ANATOMY and have recently started to watch the series all the way from the beginning again. I just can't get enough of McDreamy, not to mention McSteamy...
H - I'm a neat and tidy person, but when it comes to all things beauty, actually change that to girly (clothes, makeup, shoes, bags, jewellery) I am a complete HOARDER, e.g. I think I could wear a different statement necklace every single day for the next 3 months. I should really speak to someone about that...
I - Even though I try to eat clean and healthy most of the time ICE CREAM is my biggest weakness and I've never really understood the concept of scoops... why? Just give me the whole tub!
J - My favorite food is JAPANESE and if I'm ever lucky enough to be able to visit Japan I have a feeling I'll spend a lot of my time there eating...
K - Since I love to read and always have a few books on the go, my KINDLE always comes with me wherever I go and since I got it, my bags are considerably lighter since I don't have to lug around stacks of books anymore.
L - I start every day with a cup of hot LEMON WATER and cayenne. It's brilliant for kick starting your metabolism, it detoxes and brightens your skin - not bad for such a humble drink! 
M - I'm ridiculously fond of animated films like MADAGASCAR and Ice Age and probably laugh more and louder than any of the kids in the cinema.
N - I am a NAIL POLISHAHOLIC. How can you tell, you ask? - well I own 284 nail polishes... say no more... (yes I did count them).
O - I've mentioned before that I'm a bit of a magpie and in addition to being attracted to anything sparkly I've genuinely always been fascinated by gems and stones, these little masterpieces of nature. My favorite gemstone is the precious OPAL, because of its incredible explosion of color and light.
P - I am a die hard fan of PILATES which I've been practising for as long as I can remember and I swear by it as a way to stay lean, strong and healthy.
Q - I love QUINOA, it's an amazingly useful protein rich grain that you can use for both sweet and savoury dishes.
R - My absolute favorite perfume ever (and that says a lot considering I'm a perfume collector) is REFLECTION from the Omani perfumier Amouage, and it's probably extra special to me since I associate it with my honeymoon - you can read a review of it in the Silver edition. 
S - As many of you may know I am SWEDISH but work brought me to the UK after I'd been traveling around a bit.
T - I love to TRAVEL and explore new places but I am a terrible traveller; I get car sick, sea sick and am to put it mildly a VERY nervous flyer. Bring on teleportation is what I say!
 U - I spent quite a lot of very happy years at UNIVERSITY, I absolutely LOVE learning new things and if it wasn't for that small thing called paying your bills, I would probably still be studying something obscure in a corner of a dusty faculty library somewhere.
V - Most of my life I've been a VEGETARIAN and although it's a personal choice that I wouldn't impose on anyone, I think I'm healthier for it. 
W - If I could have any job in the world, I would want to be a WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER
X - My favorite holiday of the year is X-mas, there's just nothing like it.
Y - In addition to doing pilates I also do YOGA. I find that it's a great combination and where Pilates adds a lot of strength, the yoga helps to stretch the muscles afterwards.
Z - One of the best experiences in my life was when I got to be a ZOO KEEPER for the day a few years ago working with tigers, leopards and lions. It was an incredible day being that close to these amazing animals that I'll never forget and a massive thank you to Him Indoors for arranging it.

Wow, certainly not the easiest TAG in the world to do, but I hope that you've learned a little bit more about me, and as I'm sure you've guessed I now need your help to keep this going. Everyone is welcome to join in, but I also specifically TAG the following and I hope you can join in:

Shubha from Blue Velvet Addict 
Siobhán from Make Up For Dolls 
May from La Vie en May 
Victoria from Florence and Mary 
Laura from Maquillage Magic

Have a great Sunday everyone and I'll see you tomorrow with a Manic.Monday post! Xx

Saturday, 10 May 2014

I won a prize in the Fanny Crown Blogger Contest!

Good morning all, I hope you're enjoying the weekend! You may remember that I did a designer inspired post in April (Don't be distressed, be a Damsel in Dress with Fanny Crown) as a competition entry with Fanny Crown in which I picked one of their amazing dresses and then created a mood board around it.
 
I got some wonderful feedback and comments from all of you about my Dolce & Gabbana inspired article and I'm very happy and honoured to announce that Fanny Crown awarded me one of the 3 Bronze prizes amongst the April winners for my entry.
Thank you so SO much to Fanny Crown and everyone for all your support, and if you feel inspired to join in the competition that runs on a monthly basis, here's a reminder of the rules, so join in and have fun creating your dream outfit!

Friday, 9 May 2014

Clicking with Clinique

One of the first premium brands I ever used when my passion for beauty things started many moons ago was Clinique, more specifically their 3-step skin care system and their mascaras. Unfortunately the skin care products didn't seem to do anything for my skin at the time, and I soon found other mascara favorites so except for fragrances it's been a loooong time since I bought anything from Clinique - that is at least up until a few weeks ago. This season Clinique has launched some beautiful makeup which is why I found myself a sunny morning at the Clinique counter in Boots planning on treating myself to one of their gorgeous Cheek Pop Blushes, but you know what they say about best laid plans so instead I ended up trying (and buying... how did THAT happen?!) a few other products and here's a sneak peak at what I bought - more detailed reviews will follow.

I was never really interested in BB Creams but I'm much more curious about CCs and DDs - feel as if I'm talking about bra sizes here.., so when the extremely helpful assistant suggested that I try the Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream Colour Corrector (£28) I jumped at the chance. The CC cream is intended to increase radiance while it also adds intense hydration, the color correction evens out your skin tone and it has a built in SPF30, which is always an extra bonus. The cream feels very light on the skin and so far I'm very impressed with the color it gives and the wear.
Another product I had wanted to try ever since it was released is the Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara (£12) and since at the moment I have quite a few volumising mascaras with monster brushes that work fine for the upper lashes but almost always make a mess when I apply on the bottom lashes I have a great excuse for getting it. I haven't tried the mascara yet but I'm very excited to see if it lives up to its excellent reputation. I quite unexpectedly ended up with a couple of chubby sticks as well; to all beauty junkies joy there are so many lovely lip crayons in all price ranges and colors available on the high street to choose from, and I have tried quite a lot of them but never the original Clinique Chubby Stick Lip Balm (£17) which of course is a gap in my chubby stick knowledge that I had to fix, so when I saw the beautiful shade Mighty Mimosa I just had to get it even though it is a bit more expensive than other great lip crayons. The formula seems lovely and nourishing and the color Mighty Mimosa is a beautiful sheer light peachy pink, just perfect for a natural summer look (a color swatch is available here on my Instagram). It's not just pretty colors that are sure to draw me in, anything that's slightly unusual automatically catches my eyes which is what happened with the Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes (£17) in Whopping Willow. I've tried this formula before and know that it's easy to work with and wears very well throughout the day, but even if I hadn't tried it before I would have bought it anyway because of the unusual color. Whopping Willow is a light golden straw green (have a look at a swatch on my Instagram) and since I've got a bit of a tan at the moment it is perfect for highlighting my eyes. I didn't get the Cheek Pop Blush that I originally was after, but instead I've rediscovered Clinique and since we've definitely clicked there will be many other opportunities to get that!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Celebrate spring with Aerin's Lilac Path EdP

You don't have to be a beauty junkie to have heard of Estée Lauder - one of the most well known, iconic and successful brands in the beauty industry, and without a doubt one of my favorite brands (you can see a post about my Fave 5 Estée Lauder products here). But it's not the only brand created by a member of the famous Lauder family, we also have Aerin - a wonderful stylish and elegant lifestyle brand created by Aerin Lauder (Estée Lauder's grand daughter) offering beauty products as well as home decor and fashion accessories. The beauty range consists of makeup and fragrances, characterized by beautiful packaging and soft timeless shades for a feminine, romantic and effortless look. Today I'll focus on one of the products from the fragrance collection which has five different scents, all based on classical florals but with an added contemporary twist; Gardenia Rattan, Amber Musk, Lilac Path, Ikat Jasmine and Evening Rose. Although they all smell amazing, I had already decided that I wanted Aerin Lilac Path EdP (£85) even before I'd tested it, since lilac is one of my most loved flowers EVER and it's surprisingly difficult to find good lilac based fragrances. All I needed to do was to make sure that it did in fact smell as fantastic as I had imagined, and the long and the short of it is that it most certainly did. 
If we start with the packaging, all the boxes have a lovely abstract floral pattern and a color that is associated with the floral base of the scent which in this case with Lilac Path, is a pretty lavender lilac and inside the box is one of the most beautiful perfume bottles I've ever owned - cut glass with an imitation of a rose quartz as a stop, it's simple, chic and it oozes refinement. You can really tell from the design and print that Aerin has made its mark when it comes to decor and soft furnishings. The scent is a fresh, soft, crisp and pure combination of beautiful spring florals. When you first spray it on you're wrapped in delicate lilacs that give way to seductive jasmine for depth and creamy summery orange flower. Despite being so rich in very distinct floral scents, the fragrance is very graceful, airy and mild, like spring in a bottle and there's no sickly sweetness or heaviness to it at all. As an Eau de Parfum, it's not as diluted with alcohol as e.g. colognes and Eau de Toilettes which means that not only is the scent more pure and prominent, but it also lasts longer and I'd say that one spray lasts for about five hours. As I love lilacs I have been searching for a good lilac fragrance for years, and as I mentioned at the start: they're not easy to find, but Lilac Path isn't a good lilac fragrance - it is absolutely MAGNIFICENT; it gives an exquisite, polished and classy impression and wearing it makes me feel like a queen. If you're looking for a fragrance that is out of the ordinary then something from the Aerin fragrance collection is a real treat that you won't forget. Aerin isn't as widely available as Estée Lauder products, but in the UK you can find Aerin in Selfridges, Harrods, selected John Lewis stores (not available online) and from Estée Lauder.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Manic.Monday: Scentillating nail polishes from Revlon

I don't know why, but when it comes to nail polishes Revlon usually doesn't seem to have a lot that catches my eye - with the exception of Moon Candy, but as soon as I saw the news that they were going to launch a scented range I was literally counting the days to the release date and even signed up to get first dibs on them in Boots. Finally the release day arrived and I quickly bought a few bottles of Revlon's Perfumerie Scented Nail Enamel (£6.49) but with 20 shades to choose between ranging from soft pastels, vibrant shades and darker sophisticated colors it certainly wasn't easy to choose. I have to confess that it's the first time that I've not only let my eyes guide me when I decide on a nail polish shade, but also my nose and after much testing and so much sniffing that I was almost light headed, I decided on Autumn Spice, Wintermint and Fresh Linen. Most of the time a nail polish bottle is just a nail polish bottle, some are more fancy than others but ultimately there's not too much you can say about it, but with the Revlon Perfumerie range I really like how they've made them just a little bit different by having a rounded top, which reminds me of apothecary bottles or old fashioned perfume bottles, it's a very nice attention to detail.
The formula has a nice and easy to work with consistency, and although the brush isn't particularly wide you'll get an even streak free finish with minimum effort, at least with the darker colors although I did have to be a little bit more careful with Fresh Linen, but that's not unusual for lighter shades in general I find. Revlon does recommend that you apply the polish in two coats, and out of the shades that I tried it's really only Autumn Spice that you can get away with wearing only one coat since the pigmentation is that strong, although for maximum impact of both color and scent you definitely need at least two coats with the others. In the photo I've actually used three coat and as you can see the look is lovely and opaque even with the lightest shade, and as the polish is fairly quick drying, I would definitely recommend that you apply more rather than fewer coats. I haven't actually worn these with a top coat, since I wasn't sure what that would do with the scent, but without a top coat and with three coats the colors lasts about 3 days on me before they start to chip, which I think is a pretty average length of wear. The formula contains essential oils that develop throughout the coats and which will come into their own once they have dried, and that scent is quite noticeable for the first day or so and then it gradually fades.
I wouldn't necessarily have bought these three shades if the polish hadn't been scented but I was so intrigued by the whole concept that I wanted to try a little bit of every scent type; Autumn Spice is a sophisticated warm maroon color with a subtle bronze sparkle and with a wonderful and comforting warm cinnamon pumpkin spiced scent. Then we have Wintermint which is a lovely cool pale sea foam green color with light blue glitter which reminds me a lot of Deborah Lippman's Mermaid's Dream. It has an incredible fresh and soft mint scent that smells quite strong, but in a good way. Last but not least we have Fresh Linen which is a nude pale wheat color with a slight pearlescent shimmer and it has a clean, fresh and ever so slightly soapy scent. Out of the shades I tried my favorites is definitely Wintermint, and when I've worn it I feel like a school girl because I can't stop sniffing my nails throughout the day. The Revlon Perfumerie range is a fun concept and I really hope that Revlon plan on introducing more shades and scents, but until then head down to Boots and make use of their 3 for 2 offer, and get yourself some yummy nail polish!

Friday, 2 May 2014

Herbal Essences Moroccan My Shine Nourishing Products - Yes, yes, yes or No, no, no?

Have you ever really wanted to like a product, but it just doesn't work for you? That's sums up how I used to feel about Herbal Essences hair care - great prices, wonderful scents but they dried out my hair completely, turning it into an unruly coarse ball of knots. Remembering these painful previous experiences of Herbal Essences, it was with a lot of apprehension that I decided to try the Bee Strong range last year, BUT but I was completely bowled over by these products (you can read my review here) and how soft and silky they made my hair. With this new experience fresh in mind I decided to be a bit brave and to also try the latest product range - the Herbal Essences Moroccan My Shine Nourishing Shampoo (£3.79) & Conditioner (£3.79). The range targets damaged and dull hair and contains the well known argan oil - the amazing miracle oil for hair and nails, which is rich in vitamin e and carotenes and therefore perfect for strengthening the hair and improving thickness and shine.
All shampoos that I've tried have had that typical gel like syrupy consistency that we all know, however this shampoo is very different since it has a much thicker, milkier and creamier consistency, almost like a conditioner and the first time I tried this shampoo I even had to double check that I wasn't trying to wash my hair with the conditioner! Despite this creamy consistency the Moroccan My Shine Shampoo develops a generous lather, which is something I really need from a shampoo and it cleans the hair gently without making it feel stripped of moisture. Personally I try not to wash my hair too often, but the shampoo is gentle enough that you could use it daily if you want. If the shampoo was thicker than I had expected, then on the other hand the conditioner isn't quite as rich and thick as many others I've tried and the consistency feels a little light for my liking, although it does make the hair feel very silky, sleek and conditioned - even to the point that I don't need to use a detangling spray when combing through my hair.

Now, I really enjoy argan oil not only in beauty products but I use it in cooking as well and I absolutely love the taste and the scent of it, so I was very surprised and a little bit disappointed that none of the products have that gorgeous and distinct roasted nutty scent at all, but if you don't like the scent of nuts you'll be very happy to know that both the shampoo and conditioner smell like a summer orchard, filled with sun kissed apples and pears. All in all, I'm almost as impressed by the Moroccan My Shine products as I was with the Bee Strong range - my hair feels nourished, soft and well behaved, although after 3 weeks of using it I can't say that I've noticed any improvement on the thickness of my hair (at least not yet), but with the generous amount of product that you get, these products are great value for money and I would recommend that you take advantage of the current Boots offer of 2 Herbal Essences products for £4 . For me the Moroccan My Shine Nourishing products are a definite Yes, yes... YES!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

April on my mind

April was a month of indulgence in so many ways. First of all we've been spoiled silly in the south of England with beautiful sunny and warm days made for lounging on the grass or having a picnic and I don't think that the long awaited bikini days are far away now. I also might have done some accidental shopping, oops... like some new clothes for the season and since I've attended a few beauty sessions with Dior, Clinique and Estée Lauder I also picked up a few odds and sods that I'll show you very soon. I can't remember when I last had this many treats of amazing food and cake, but I completely refuse to feel guilty about it and instead I'll quote Marie Antoinette: "Let them (me) eat cake!". Then of course we had Easter, which for me always signifies the beginning of something new and this year I was so looking forward to Easter since it's the first proper break we've had since Christmas and for one could certainly feel it. While we were away in Suffolk we definitely indulged in all of the above, but in in double dose and getting away for a few days was a well needed break to recharge the batteries. For me April was also a month of appreciating the small things in life like spending time with friends, seeing new places and snuggling up on the sofa with Him Indoors and Cat watching a great film. Maybe it doesn't sound like much but I've enjoyed every second of it and have tried to bottle up this calmness and harmony since I have a lot on for the next few months, and I have a feeling the tempo will be anything but slow and I'll definitely need to tap into some of the the energy I've got stored up now, so come on May - I'm ready for you!