Wednesday, 30 July 2014

This Month's Cosmopolitan Magazine - New CID i-Crayon Lip and Cheek Tint in Plum Cordial

I've left this review quite late because I've been umm'ing and ahh'ing about whether I like this product or not. However I wanted to get the review up with at least some time left so that you might be able to pick up this with your Cosmo magazine this month if you want it.

I'm not really a fan of New CID Cosmetics but I know a few people who are. I haven't tried much from them. In fact I think I've only tried one product from them, a lipgloss, but I wasn't too keen on it. Since then I've not really leaned towards buying their products, but was open-minded to try something else from the brand - especially since it was free.

This product is both a lip and cheek tint, but I certainly wouldn't pop it on the cheeks myself. I think it would be a little too waxy and therefore clog my pores. However as a lip product it works quite nicely, leaning more towards a lipstick than a balm or gloss.

As you can see it gives good colour and a neat application is pretty easy to achieve due to it being a pencil application.

The only reason why I couldn't make my mind up about it was because it's more drying than a lot of the other chubby sticks I've tried recently. I can see why this is, due to it being marketed as a cheek product as well. But I can't help but find myself wishing it had more hydration and was solely a lip product.

It can feel quite drying on the lips, especially if it's a cooler day or windy. Having said that, that's its only flaw.

Honestly, I'm not so bowled by this product that I would personally go and purchase another shade. I prefer lip products with a little more balm to them. On the other hand, I can see why this would work well for many girls who want something easy to throw in their handbag and use on the go.

New CID i-Crayon Lip and Cheek Tint in Plum Cordial  - £17.20 for 3 shades including Plum Cordial from QVC

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Let's Bake - Mint and Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream!

So after doing the Sunkissed Summer Tag and revealing that my ideal ice cream would be Mint and Chocolate Brownie flavoured I thought that I'd go on a mission to try and make some myself. Unfortunately I do not own a snazzy ice cream maker. If you do I can imagine this would be a lot simpler to make, but it took me quite a few hours. I'd definitely save this one for a relaxed Sunday when you don't have much on.

Above are all the ingredients you need (pretty much.. I forgot to photograph the brownie). I used a recipe from BBC Good Food for the ice cream and then altered it a little to make the flavour I wanted. Basically I swopped the chocolate chips for chocolate brownie and voila!

You can check out the full list of ingredients here.

Ok, so I won't lie to you, this brownie came out of a packet. This recipe was already going to take ages and to be honest, no one does brownie like Betty Crocker, so I let her help me out a little. I definitely advise cooking the brownie before starting the ice cream as you need to give it time to bake, cool, and freeze in the freezer. Simply chop it up once it's cooled down and pop it on a tray in the freezer for about an hour. This will stop it breaking up when you mix it into the ice cream later. The brownie may feel hard when it comes out of the freezer but will soon soften up as it comes back to room temperature.

To start making the ice cream, simply grab a vanilla pod and score it in half like my lovely assistant/best mate is doing here.

Then you need to scrape out all of the seeds...

...before popping the cream, milk, vanilla pod, and seeds in a medium sized pan. Simples!

Now, simply heat the mixture until it's nearly at boiling point. Stir occasionally to prevent it from getting a skin. However if it get's a little one don't worry too much as you'll be sieving it soon.

Next add your mint leaves and stalks. Leave to simmer with the lid on for around 15 minutes.

I would personally swop this step next time and add something along the lines of peppermint extract instead. I found the mint flavour this created to be a bit unfamiliar and a bit too fresh - almost like toothpaste. It was still nice but not quite what I aimed for. However, if you want to do it this way that is fine.

If you have used the mint leaves, now is the time to sieve the mixture and really work the leaves to get as much flavour out as possible. Then put this bowl to the side. It will probably get a skin again but don't panic.

In a separate bowl, add your egg yokes and sugar. This needs to be whisked until it looks a little something like this..

Tada! It should look creamy and white. This took around 5 minutes with an electric whisk.

Now go back to your sieved milk/cream/vanilla/mint mixture from before and pop it back in the pan to warm up a little.

Once it's almost boiling again, pour half into the eggs and sugar mixture and whisk. After this is combined, pour in the rest and whisk that in too. I did this with the electric whisk again but would recommend hand whisking it as the electric whisk made the mixture quite frothy.

When everything is combined as one, whack it back in the pan again and warm through.

Stir occasionally..

..then sieve.

Apparently this is when I forgot to take photos. So what happens after this is to let it cool in the bowl, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin. Once fully chilled, pour into a tub and pop it in the freezer for around 2 hours. Next, take it out, whisk it up a bit before adding in your brownie. Return to the freezer until fully set.

Here we have it. Mint Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream. You could add green food dye to make it the traditional green that you often associate with mint ice cream but I just left it how it was. It tastes amazing and the brownie is super chewy and gorgeous! Perfect for this time of year when it's hot and you want something yummy to eat. A lot of effort but definitely worth the wait.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Birchbox Review - Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream

This eye cream came at just the right time for me. I recently used up my Clarins Eye Wrinkle Smoothing Cream and since I wasn't overly bowled over by it in the end and had no money to buy another option I resorted to my Soap and Glory Puffy Eye Attack which I got at Christmas. I've been really enjoying using that but it was nice to get an alternative in my Birchbox this month - something new to try.

I've received a few Balance Me products before but only ever tried one which was a lip salve and I didn't get on with it. Therefore I wasn't necessarily holding the highest hopes for this brand new release. However this product just goes to show that you can't discount a brand from one bad experience. I've been using this eye cream for around 2 weeks now and think it's really amazing.

The Wonder Eye Cream aims to revitalise weary eyes, smooth away dark shadows and reduce the visible appearance of lines. Well I say yes please to all of that. Plus its 99% natural which is always a bonus in general, but especially when the product is for use close to the eye area where skin is incredibly delicate and sensitive.

The lotion-like texture means that it's really easy to tap into the skin. When used on a regular basis I've noticed a visible difference in lines around my eye area. They generally look reduced and the skin looks a lot smoother. I don't really suffer with dark shadows so I can't say how well this works, but I definitely agree that it brightens the eye area and sits extremely well under makeup. If anything it makes concealer under the eye look even more flawless due to the hydration this cream gives.

Over all I think it's just what I needed right now and I'm certainly tempted by the full sized version.

Have you tried this new product from Balance Me? What's your favourite Balance Me product? Let me know in the comments below.

Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream - £20 from Birchbox

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Yankee Candle - Summer Scoop!

I came home from work the other day to find this lovely gift from my parents. They know I absolutely love Yankee Candles and this scent is perfect for summer.

Generally I associate candles more with winter as they make a room cosy, spicy and warm. However I've been really getting into the lighter, fruity scents this year and Summer Scoop has to be up there with the best of them.

Not only is it a lovely pretty pink, but it smells beautifully of summer berries, with the perfect ratio of sweet and sour. The Yankee website describes this candle as evoking 'delicious memories of creamy, homemade strawberry ice cream on a hot summer's day' with '110 to 150 hours of burning time'. I can't say I ever made strawberry ice cream at home myself, but if it tastes as good as this candle smells I just might have to start.

Clinton's are having a big sale on Yankee Candles at the moment with up to 25% off, so I definitely recommend picking this candle up now whilst it's on offer if you're interested in it. This large jar with discount came down to the price of a medium jar - such a bargain.

What's your favourite Yankee Candle? Let me know in the comments below.

Yankee Candle in Summer Scoop - £14.99 from Clintons

Monday, 21 July 2014

This Month's Elle Magazine - Malin+Goetz Lip Moisturizer


I love me some lip balm. Oh my word I must be the lip balm queen because I have one in just about every coat pocket and every handbag I own, whether I'm using it right now or not. After all you never know when you're going to want to switch up your accessories and who wants to be left in the lurch with chapped lips? Not me, that's who.

Therefore it was only natural that the first product I tried from the Malin + Goetz set free with Elle Magazine this month was their Lip Moisturizer. With special fatty acids, this hydrating gel aims to nourish upon impact and leave you with restored and replenished lips.

The first thing I noticed about this was how thick the gel was. Even applying a little can feel quite substantial on the lips. Personally I recommend applying a decent amount to start off with as when it wears off it becomes very tacky and sticky - quite unpleasant.

It's extremely glossy and can be worn on its own or over lippie. I can imagine it working well over a drying lipstick as it does tend to keep your pout in tiptop-hydrated shape for a long period of time. As I say, the only downfall is the tacky sticky lips towards the end. Therefore it probably works best as a moisturising gloss that you need to top up every 4-5 hours.

On that basis I don't necessarily rate this as one of my favourite moisturizers. I much prefer a balm consistency that provides long term hydration without the fuss. 

Malin+Goetz Lip Moisturizer - £10 from SpaceNK

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Birchbox Review - Laqa & Co Lip Lube in Menatour

As soon as I saw this shade in my box this month I had some serious reservations. This did not look like a colour I could pull off in the slightest! However I was reassured by the product info telling me that this was sheer. Suddenly I thought that maybe this would be one of those lip products that was surprisingly wearable - not giving off too much colour. But let me just say this - whoever said this product was sheer had no concept of the word.

This little lip balm/gloss/stick/whatever you want to call it, seriously packs a punch! The pigmentation is really impressive, which given a more subtle shade I might have really appreciated. It feels beautiful on the lips though and applies like a dream. 

I could feel something minty about this product from the moment I tested it. After looking it up I was reassured that I wasn't going crazy as this lippie contains Mint and Shea Butter to give refreshing, moisturising finish. And I'm happy to say that this product kept to it's promise and didn't dry my pout at all. The hydration qualities stood there ground so I was very impressed.

But as impressive as all that is, this is actually one of those products where the colour wears off when the moisture does. I was speaking about this in my post the other day about the Clinique Chubby Stick. I really appreciate it when the colour stays put after the gloss is gone but this colour does disappear after eating or drinking, which definitely means reapplication is a must. It's not really a subtle look when this shade of purple has rubbed off the inner part of your lips and you're left with a pinkish purple line around the edge. Not a look anyone could work I feel.

Over all I'm really happy with the formulation and application. The packaging is lovely and I like that it's a twist up pencil so you don't need a sharpener. Given a different shade I might wear it on a more regular basis but I think this one is definitely going to be saved for fancy dress or days when I'm feeling a little more daring.

Laqa & Co Lip Lube in Menatour - Coming soon to the Birchbox Store

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Birchbox Review - Whish Three Whishes Body Butter in Lavender

I love me some body butter but this one certainly didn't call out to me from the packaging. At first glance I was actually really shocked that the design was so plain. It was only when I went to turn the tube around that I realised there was more too it and was actually excited to try it.

I had never heard of Whish as a company before receiving this body butter in my Birchbox this month. But body products are my thing at the moment, so it's no surprise that this is the first product I'm testing from the box. It's really easy to distinguish between a good body butter and a bad one. If I'm not still reaping the benefits two or three days after the products been applied I probably won't be interested in it again. After all I've tried the likes of Naobay's Body Radiance Lotion and Laura Mercier's Ambre Vanille Body Souffle (ironically both introduced to me by Birchbox) so I feel like I have a good knowledge of what's hot and what's not.

What's interesting about this little butter is that it not only aims to moisturise but firm and purify at the same time. The Three Whishes Body Butter contains 3 organic ingredients; Shea Butter, Raspberry Butter and Aloe, which create the moisturising properties of the product. They are then followed up by Organic Seaweed Extract to firm and Organic Rice Bran Oil to purify. Knowing that the main products put into this butter are good for you really leaves your mind to rest that what you're applying to your skin is actually going to be beneficial and good for you.

The scent I was given was Lavender which initially I thought I wouldn't like. Lavender actually gives me a terrible headache but the fragrance of this is so delicate I can barely sense the Lavender in all honesty. Needless to say this butter comes in a variety of other appealing scents including Pomegranate, Coconut and Blueberry. Yum!

On application I would certainly say this is more of a cream formulation than a butter. To me a butter is something hard that gets warmed up and melts with the heat of your skin. However this comes in a squeezey tube so was obviously never going to be that texture. I like it though as it seems to thicken on the skin. It's not terribly hard to work in but once it's absorbed you know that you're going to get the moisture of a butter rather than a lotion.

I literally had the smoothest legs known to man after using this. It felt heavenly. My skin felt so supple and really soft - an instantly addictive feeling. Initially I didn't see any firming properties but after a day or two I really felt like I could see the difference in my skin. It generally looked a lot firmer and more even. With regards to purity I'm honestly not too sure. I can't say I've noticed or felt a difference but I've only used this product for a week. Perhaps that might be something I would notice more over time.

But in general I'm actually really impressed with this product. I definitely feel like the packaging could do with a little work as it doesn't really stand out to me, and had I seen it on a shelf I probably would have walked past it and missed out completely on its awesomeness. Other than that I really couldn't recommend it enough. So if you received this in your box this July too, get on a try it! You won't regret it.

Whish Three Whishes Body Butter in Lavender - £14.50 from Birchbox

Sunkissed Summer Tag!

Fancy doing the Sunkissed Summer Tag yourself? Questions are below :)

The Questions:
1. What is your go-to product for a sun kissed summer glow? (bronzer, self tanner, etc.)
2. What book would you recommend for a summer read?
3. What's your signature summer scent this year?
4. The sun is shining and it's time to get outside! What's your favorite thing to do?
5. You're on the boardwalk and your stomach is grumbling. What's your go-to summer beach food?
6. Sunscreen is always important, but it's a MUST in summer! What's your favorite? (Face, body, or both)
7. After a day in the summer sun and heat, what do you do to cool off?
8. How do you wear your hair in the summer? (down, ponytail, ombre, dip dye, etc.)
9. Must-have nail polish for summer 2014?
10. Sometimes it just feels good to chill out and watch Netflix. What shows/movies do you recommend for summer?
11. Do you wear liquid foundation, BB cream, or tinted moisturizer in the summer?
12. It's super bright outside! Do you reach for sunglasses or a hat?
13. What is your summer jam this year?
14. Do you have a summer bucket list? If so, share some things on the list.
15. Bikini, tankini, or one piece? Show us your fave bathing suit this year!
16. Summer means heat... and sweat! What's your favorite sweat proof product this year? (Skincare, makeup, anything!)
17. Summer wouldn't be complete without a scoop (or two) of ice cream! If you could create your own ice cream flavor, what would it be?

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

This Month's Glamour Magazine - Clinique Chubby Stick in Woppin' Watermelon

Being such a huge fan of Bourjois' Color Boost Glossy Finish Lipsticks and Soap and Glory's Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Sticks, you would have thought I'd have tried one of the products that started off the craze wouldn't you? Clinique's Chubby Sticks were one of the first glossy balms to hit the scene and have since been incredibly successful, but it has taken me until now, receiving a sample free in my Glamour magazine this month, to try one!

I was fighting with myself about the two shades available. This pink shade in Woppin' Watermelon was actually my second choice over the slightly redder shade, but knowing I have an awful lot of red lipsticks and balms at home I went for this pink as a bit of a change. It so happens that I'm really glad I did, as this pink turned out to be a 'my-lips-but-better' shade and I couldn't be happier.

At first I thought the formulation was going to be really sheer. I swatched the product on my hand and there didn't seem to be much colour pay off. But as I built it layer upon layer a more opaque shade came through which I really adore. To me, Woppin' Watermelon has a subtle pink-purple hue coming through in the background, although you would never look at it on the lips and say it was anything other than a subtle pop of pink.

The first application looked quite matte which came as quite a surprise. However I think that the product just needed warming up a bit as all the applications since then have definitely been on the glossier side. Having said that, this most certainly isn't as glossy as the Bourjois and Soap and Glory products mentioned above. It's slightly more balmy which stands it apart from other products I have and that's something I admire.

It wears quite nicely. Although my hair does stick to it a little when the wind blows, it's not so irritating that I couldn't live with it. After all, it looks so pretty that it would take a lot to put me off it. As with all glosses it comes off and needs reapplying throughout the day. However the colour pigment seems to be left behind for a little while after the shine has gone. Sometimes as soon as the product is wiped off your lips through eating or drinking the complete look has disappeared, but the lingering colour from this balm takes you through to your next application.

I definitely rate these Chubby Sticks and can't wait to take this little one on holiday with me later this year. It's the kind of product that's perfect for parched lips and comfortable enough to wear without worrying about smudges or reapplication.

Clinique Chubby Stick in Woppin' Watermelon - £17 from Clinique

New in @ Boots!

Today I thought I would start a new series on my blog. It really is what it says on the tin - What's new in at Boots! I often wander around Boots in my lunch hour and plan what I'm going to spend my money on next pay day. There's nothing quite like noticing a new product on a launch stand. It gets me so excited as I'm sure all you fellow bloggers and beauty lovers can understand. So why not write a post about everything I find? I love discovering new products through blogs and being kept up to date with new launches is always a huge bonus.

Today I found 3 new products which I'd really love to try and a cute offer from Bourjois.

Lee Stafford is a gorgeous haircare brand. I absolutely love their Original Dry Shampoo. It's become a holy grail product for me, beating the likes of Batiste which is a huge statement. Their new range of products called uBunTu Oils has really intrigued me. The vitamin enriched range has 4 key ingredients that are sourced using fair trade. Baobab Oil is anti-oxidising and intensely nourishing. Mafura Oil has amazing repairing properties. Marula Oil is great for healing fine/damaged hair. Mongongo Oil protects against colour fading. I'm really most interested by their hair butter, heat protection spray and blow dry cream.

Dove were the next brand I noticed releasing an enticing new product. Their Purely Pampering Nourishing Body Oils come in two scents -  Pistachio and Magnolia, and Shea Butter and Warm Vanilla (featured above). These little wonders aim to hydrate your skin without leaving any greasy residue - perfect for the summer months when your skin is feeling a little parched from the mid-day sun. I've got my eye on the Shea Butter version for sure.

I am possibly L'Oreal Mascara's biggest fan. I think I have tried all there is to try when it comes to this brand, apart from their brand new release which is next on my wish list. Volume Million Lashes So Couture is an extension to their wonderful Volume Million Lashes line. Enriched with liquid silk, it coats every lash for lash by lash definition. Say bye-bye to stiff lashes and hello to no clumps, refined volume.

Finally Bourjois are giving away free sunglasses with their 3 for 2 promotion at Boots. They look really stylish and sleek with a slight cat-eye design. I can imagine them looking flattering on a lot of people. Certainly a worthwhile thing to put in your handbag for sunny days outside.

Have you seen anything new at Boots recently that you would love to try? Let me know in the comments below :)

Monday, 14 July 2014

Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque

It has taken me a ridiculous amount of time to test this product out. So much so that I was worried it might have gone bad. But luckily it hasn't and I've been able to test it out for the last couple of weeks and have really enjoyed using it.

I bought this Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask from Bed Bath and Beyond when I was in America last summer on holiday. I'd heard so much hype about it on Youtube that I was thrilled when I spotted it in store and bought it almost instantly.

This mask aims to help dry up acne pimples, rinse away blackheads and shrink pores. I suffer with all of those so this product sounded perfect for me. Having said that, I do suffer with very sensitive skin and have become increasingly dubious about putting any new products on my face. Hence why it has taken me so long to actually get around to testing this product out.

I've only used it on cystic acne so far as I haven't really had any surface breakouts (touch wood) and as I said previously, am dubious about using the product a lot when I don't know how my skin will react. However, I'm happy to say that my skin seems to really like this mask. It generally feels quite cooling to put on and has a lovely spearmint scent which is quite fresh. Once applied, it takes 15 minutes to work its magic and dry before you can wipe it off with a warm face cloth.

Using this once every evening on troublesome spots and areas of skin has proven really beneficial. Although it does not clear up the cystic acne by itself, it certainly helps to shrink it in size which is certainly not something to be sniffed at.

Over all I'm really happy with how this product is working for me so far and will certainly be testing it out further in the future. It could definitely be worth checking out if you've got sensitive skin and are looking for a gentle mask to help you with troublesome breakouts. After all, it seems to be working wonders for me.

Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask - £4.20 from Amazon

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Jelly Launch!

On Thursday last week I was invited to the launch of Indeed Labs' new product. Being a massive fan of the brand, I was incredibly excited to be introduced to the new addition to the family.

Hydraluron has changed my life in so many ways this year. The serum has helped to boost moisture levels in my skin on a daily basis, whilst the sheet mask gives me that extra lift once a week to really plump out my skin and make it look at it's best. Now the brand is introducing their first moisturiser, and what a great product it is set to be.

Without getting too scientific here, there are 5 key ingredients that make Hydraluron's Moisture Jelly so unique and effective.

PatcH2O provides a molecular mesh on the skin to prevent water evaporation.
Fucogel furthers that by creating a film on the surface of the skin to prevent moisture leaving the skin. As with all Hydraluron products, there's a high level of Hyaluronic Acid which holds up to 1,000 times it's weight in water and leaves your skin feeling plump, soft and hydrated.
Next is Vivillume which boosts your skin luminosity.
Finally Hydrolite 5 helps makes the other 4 ingredients more effective.

All of that leaves us with this beautifully packaged product of promise. I seriously can not wait to add this to my skincare routine and watch the difference it makes to my skin. Launched in time for the holidays, I can imagine this being the perfect pick me up after a long-haul flight or a lounging session in the sun.

Hydraluron Moisture Jelly - £16.66 1/3 off at Boots 

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

iDream App

Today's post is a bit random, but I thought I would share with you an app that I use quite regularly on my iPhone called iDream. This app is perfect if you're interested in decoding your dreams, keeping a note of them and generally unlocking what is going on in your mind whilst you sleep.

I know people can be skeptical about whether dreams mean anything or whether they are just a way for the mind to organise information in your subconscious whilst you sleep. But personally I believe that if you remember a dream, it has some relevance to your every day life. When I use this app it generally confirms that.

It is simple to use. You pick a theme that was prominent in your dream, whether that be an object or a person or a feeling, and search for it in the dream dictionary. There you will be given an extensive explanation of what dreaming about that person, object or feeling could mean.

In addition, there's a section of the app called the dream journal where you can make note of what you dreamt about and so can check if there are any correlations over a period of time.

I find this so interesting and creepily accurate sometimes. It might be a load of baloney but I still find it enjoyable to try and decode what my brain is doing whilst I'm sleeping and perhaps letting that help me with what I need to work on, improve or look out for in everyday life. 

You could look at the dream dictionary as a personalised horoscope in a way, using your own thoughts to predict what is happening in your life right now.

Either way, whether you believe in it or not, it's definitely fun - and it doesn't cost a penny. iDream is the best free dream dictionary app I've come across. So if you're curious about testing it out or want to make note of your dreams in a serious light, it won't cost you a penny.
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