Monday, 29 April 2013

Review: Kerastase | Elixir Ultime |

On my most recent visit to the hairdressers Matt treated me to this hair oil (thank you!) I wanted to test out a new brand of oil as I wasn't completely in love with the Macadamia version and am keen to find one that suits my hair type.

There are 4 versions and upon consultation with my hairdresser we purchased the pink one, which features an added ingredient of imperial tea and is best suited for colour treated hair. I love the pink shiny packaging that includes a lockable pump, however I was disappointed it was made out of plastic rather than glass as for me it is quite pricey and I would have preferred it to feel more luxurious for the money. 

It has quite a strong scent which I really like - quite perfumed and flowery that lasts until the next wash. According to the hairdresser it smells like Marc Jacobs Lola fragrance but I can't vouch for that as I haven't smelt it. One pump is enough for me and I smooth it from the top of my ears through to the lengths of my hair. Oils have a variety of uses: pre-shampoo treatments, after washing and as a finishing touch after styling to name a few. My favourite for this oil is after washing on towel dried hair to keep my hair smooth, soft and smelling lovely (although I don't use it if I've used a hair mask). It works great whether you want to blow dry and style your hair or if you prefer to air dry your hair which I normally do. 

This oil has really shone for me and is definitely worth the price tag. I notice a real difference when I use this and find it nourishing without weighing down my hair. I've been using it for a few months now and it is only showing signs of use so should hopefully last me a very long time. I would really like to compare it to the mythic oil by L'Oreal too to see if the high street version matches up to it.

Do you have any favourite hair oils to recommend? xxx
Wednesday, 24 April 2013

NOTD: Pastel Sparkles

Barry M 'Berry Ice cream' // Model's Own 'Blizzard'

This is a quick NOTD post which is perfect for Spring time. I've already done a post on this lovely pastel lilac, which is such a pretty colour on its own. However, sometimes I think it can get a bit boring and as I love a bit of sparkle I thought I would pair it with 'Blizzard' from Model's Own. I got this for Christmas from Matt along with the rest of the Wonderland collection and it is definitely my favourite. It has filled a glitter shaped whole in my stash as I don't have any glitter polishes like this. I can't wait to do a full post on it but as a quick over view it is jam packed with glitter and would suit just about any colour you pair it with. A winning combination in my eyes - its a shame the photo doesn't do it justice!

What are your Spring nail polish picks? xxx
Sunday, 21 April 2013

Review: Bourjois | Healthy Mix Foundation |

9.99 // 30ml // Shade 52 (Vanilla)

My box of bases has been steadily growing as I like to have one for every occasion (nights out, sunny days, bad skin days, oily days, dehydrated days....etc etc!) and this foundation is one that I had my eye on for a long time. There are two types of this foundation - this is not the serum version but the original one as based on the reviews I read it was more suitable for my skin type (oily/combo)

Most of the reviews I have seen of this are very complimentary so I had high hopes. Although I think it has been rebranded and packaged since I bought it, it still features a see through body which I really like so you can see how much you've got left, has a decent pump and is lightweight for travel. I have the shade 52 (second lightest) which is too dark for me but a good match for a tan and is ok as long as I buff it in fully and blend. As you can see I've used it quite a lot before writing up this post as for a long time I was really on the fence about it.

On first application it is fantastic. It buffs in flawlessly to your skin (I use the RT buffing brush or fingers) with a very natural coverage which is buildable to medium and blurs pores and imperfections wonderfully. The foundation delivers a satin finish which I love as its not too dewy or flat looking. This is great for perking up your skin and definitely delivers radiance and hydration so no need to add liquid highlighter in with it like I normally do. On first impressions I thought this was HG ground!

But unfortunately things go down hill from there. After around 4 hours my skin is very greasy - and not just in the t zone which I'm used to. I also found it oxidises really badly which is terrible for oily girls like myself as it makes the foundation go quite orange and patchy - so in reference to its 16 hour claim it falls dramatically short! 

It is such a shame and I have really tried to persevere with it as on first application it is wonderful! I think it is better suited to dry/normal skin and is great for photos or a short amount of time. However, for long busy days which I normally have it falls short.

 Have you tried this foundation? What is your HG base? xxx
Thursday, 18 April 2013

Grandad's 80th birthday

cutest picture ever!
Last weekend, we had a rare family gathering to celebrate my granddad turning the grand old age of 80! Even though my sister and I and our respective partners were the youngest by a quite a few decades, it was so much fun and great to see relatives that I haven't seen in years.
My grandparents were so cute and put on the nicest spread of finger food from Waitrose including fresh dressed crab and prawns, tortillas, chicken wings, cold meats and more, followed by mini cakes and pastries, profiteroles, fruit salad and my grandma's homemade boozy trifle. There was plenty of alcohol flowing too which I think the younger ones of the group enjoyed the most.
They had even thought up some party games which allowed everyone to mingle, relax and have a good laugh. There was guess how many coins are in the jar and how much they totalled up to - which I won! (a box of chocolates in case you are wondering) and guess how much the weight of the cake is and a small quiz to end. It was something everyone could get involved with and was just so cute and thoughtful! Lastly there was a free raffle where everyone got a prize including mantlepiece clocks from John Lewis (Matt got this and loved it!), aftershave kits, scented candles, bottles of wine and more. There had been so much thought put into the day and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and laughed lots. To top of the day, my great uncle had written two poems about my granddad which were so lovely and speeches were delivered that made my grandma cry!
It was a wonderful day and I'm so pleased I could celebrate with everyone. We had another birthday party in the evening for Matt's friend in Tooting which was great fun too, but was quite different to my granddads as it was a house party and then onto a club called Infernos (although I don't think anyone made it to the club in the end!) Two birthday parties in one day knackered us out but they are one of my favourite things! What have you been up to recently? xxx

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

London: A Brief Guide

Since Matt has moved to London he has been super keen on exploring the city and all the cool things it has to offer. Considering I have lived less than an hour away from central my whole life, the novelty of London had worn off but I'm glad Matt has enabled me to get more excited about how much the city has to offer. From the tourist traps to the secluded spots only a few know about there is a lot to discover. Here are a few things I love to do in London and others that I am planning on doing!

There are so many places to eat in London it can seem a bit overwhelming. From fine dining to a quick burger there are loads of amazing places to choose! For the more upmarket, I really enjoyed eating at the Savoy (see that post here) and really want to go to Benihanas which is a lovely tepenyaki place. One of my favourite places to eat is in Soho - there seems to be a whole road dedicated to amazing restaurants. Byron Burger was amazing and deserves all the hype it gets, and I also want to try Wahaca and Burger and Lobster. Other places to tick off are Sketch and Meat Liquor among many others!

For evenings out I really like Mayfair with clubs such as Mahiki and Funky Buddha being quite popular although it is more on the expensive side. Matt and I also visited the Icebar there which was something different and memorable. Shoreditch is also a really nice area to have drinks too. Going to the theatre is one of my favourite things and I have seen some amazing shows, most recently the Phantom of the Opera for my birthday. Some interesting shows on at the moment include Wicked (I've wanted to see this for ages!), Viva Forever and the Book of Mormon. Music gigs across London, comedy clubs and shows such as Cirque du Soleil London are also widespread so its best to search into the kind of thing you are looking to do.

Classic Tourist Spots
When I was little my grandma and granddad would look after me in the school holidays and take my sister and I up to London to visit all the top tourist spots, which I really loved. Museums were one of my favourite as I liked to sketch the artefacts (I was such a cool kid) - to name a few are the Natural History Museum, the British Museum (see a post here), the Science Museum whcich I've visited on countless school trips and the V & A which I really want to go to! Art gallerys such as Tate Modern are great even if it isn't necesarily your thing. The Tower of London and Madame Tussauds are great for kids, and you can finish off your day by relaxing with a picnic in Hyde Park. The Shard has recently opened up its doors for tourists to visit and take in the fantastic views of London, which I know Matt really wants to do!

Vivanna wrote an amazing post on the hotspots for beauty shopping here, including Liberty and Zest. Oxford Street is notorious for great shopping but it can be a bit busy for me so I quite like Covent Garden and Carnaby Street. Malls such as Westfield and Brent Cross are also good if you want to spend the whole day shopping. Harrods, Hamleys and Selfridges are a must just to have a look around and to get some Macarons from Laduree and a salt beef sandwich from Selfridges! Camden is a great place to look around as there are many food stalls and alternative shops.

Obviously there is so much more, but this is some of the best I can think of! Visit the Londoner if you want some more inspiration as Rosie is always finding the coolest spots to visit xxx

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Friday, 12 April 2013

Review: Lush | Popcorn Lip Scrub |

Lush products are a big hit in the bloggersphere and their lip scrubs are no exception. I've always thought they were a bit of a waste of money as for such a small pot I think the price is really high when you can essentially make something like this yourself quite easily. However, my lips were needing a bit of TLC and I fancied a treat so decided to pick this up on my most recent trip to Lush and I'm super glad I did.

There are three different flavours to choose from: bubblegum, mint chocolate chip and popcorn. I picked the latter as the other two seemed really sweet and I could see myself getting sick of the scent and taste after a while. Popcorn is a lovely combination of salty and sweet which tastes and smells delicious. 

The list of ingredients is small with no added nasties but all the right ingredients for soft and smooth lips. Caster sugar, sea salt and polenta aid the scrubbing, while jojoba oil and coconut oil help to nourish. The only disappointment is that there is meant to be popping candy included but I haven't experienced this :( 

I use this every morning before my make up, followed up by a lipbalm to prep lips for lipstick later on. This is even more important for me as I love bright colours and since using this scrub, lip products have applied smoother and more evenly. Having used this every day for a few weeks now you can see I have barely scratched the surface so even though it is pricey at least it will last me a long time. The size of the pot makes it easy for travel, with a secure twist lid. 

I have seen a definite improvement and therefore a lip scrub is going to be a staple in my every day routine. I've also been using it on Matt occasionally and he likes it too (shh don't tell him I told you!) Have you tried any lip scrubs? xxx

Monday, 8 April 2013

My Current Skincare Regime

At the moment I'm trailing some new products to mix in with old staples, trying to find the best routine for me. My skin has been a bit up and down recently - blemish prone, scaring and oily some days and really dehydrated the next, it doesn't really know what its supposed to be doing. I'm putting it down to stress and the weather, but while I'm trying to figure it out I've been switching up my skincare to remedy the problems and also try to make my diet more healthy (essays are healthy eating's worst enemy!)

My morning routine is pretty simple. I start by washing my face with Simple's moisturising face wash, which I've had for a while and am trying to use up, followed by Elemis Balancing Lavender Toner that I got for Christmas. It smells lovely but doesn't match up to my favourite Boot's Botanics and I don't think its done much to balance out my skin so far. A full review will be up soon though once I've trailed it a bit further. Then a nice layer of much hyped up La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo to tackle the blemishes is applied as a day serum/moisturiser, followed by a little Neal's Yard Frankincense Hydrating Cream if my skin is feeling really dehydrated. Finally a blob of Clarin's Eye Contour Gel for dark circles and prep the area for make up applied with my ring finger.

The evenings are a bit more complicated but my favourite time for skincare. The majority of my make up is removed with a micellar water and cotton pads, at the moment I'm using one by La Roche Posay. Then the Balancing Lime Blossom Cleanser which came with the matching toner is used to thoroughly cleanse all traces of make up and dirt in conjunction with my new No 7 Cleansing Brush, my first foray into facial brushes. There will be a full review of this at a later date but at the moment my impressions of it are good. After using the aforementioned toner, I mix a few drops of Clarins Lotus Oil in with the Neal's Yard moisturiser for extra hydration. I am in love with this oil and cannot wait to give it a full review! Finally, any blemishes are zapped with Origins Super Spot Remover.

What are your skincare staples? xxx

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Added Extras #2

While in the midst of a ridiculous amount of work at the end of last term, I was constantly dreaming of a relaxing pamper night at home, with full use of a selection of face masks, Lush products and a big bath. So that is exactly what I did when I got home for Easter. Pamper nights are a great excuse to rotate the products you have and rediscover old loves as well as experiment with new ones.

I always start by cleansing my face properly and then pop on a face mask. The first one I chose was a deep cleansing sample I got from Clarins (a brand which I am having a total love affair with at the moment) which cleanses deep down and refines pores. Although I need to use it more than once to get its full effect, from first use I was pleased with the silky formula and the pink clay helped to draw out impurities without being drying whatsoever. While the facemask was on I crumbled a bit of a Lush bubble bar 'French Kiss' which I got in a gift set for valentines day, that creates lovely lavender scented bubbles, perfect for relaxing.

While in the bath, I like a good scrub and the zingy scent of the Sugar Crush body scrub is sweet and uplifting. I prefer my scrubs to be a bit harsher than this, such as Flake Away, but I will definitley be looking into other products in the Sugar Crush range. The second Lush product is Twilight shower gel, which is again lavender scented with notes of malt to encourage relaxation and sleep.

Once out the bath, a good slathering of the Daily Smooth body butter from Soap and Glory is needed, which is more thick and nourishing than a regular moisturiser but thin enough to squeeze out a tube and sink in quicker than a standard body butter. After washing off the Clarins mask and toning, I popped on Origins Drink Up Intensive, an over night moisture mask to hydrate and nourish my skin. To top it all off, a few coats of Look Beauty's Nail pop in 'Dazzle'.

Have you used any of these products? What are your favourite pampering products? xxx

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