Thursday, 18 December 2014

Selfridges Enchanted Spells Beauty Advent Calendar - Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Mascara

If you've been following my Instagram this month then you will know all about the Selfridges Enchanted Spells Beauty Advent Calendar that I have been opening each day so far. It's been jam-packed full of lots of beauty treats for me to get myself immersed in and some of them have been huge favourites already. This Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Mascara is definitely one of them.

I know I've raved recently about how there really isn't a need for spending loads of money on high end mascara when high street is just as good. But there's something about this product that really makes my lashes stand out. One guy friend of mine actually asked if I'd bought a new mascara because my lashes looked nice. If that doesn't tell you that this mascara is amazing, I don't know what will.

I think the combination of a perfectly curved wand which grabs every lash from root to tip, and the thickening yet lengthening qualities of the formula make this mascara a winning combination. However, one thing I have noticed is that it's perhaps not the easiest product to continuously work with when it comes to coats. Don't get me wrong - I think this product looks incredible with just one coat. But when I have gone back in a few times to separate the lashes from minor clumping, this has become a little tricky. On the other hand this hasn't really been an issue as the product pretty much nails the perfect look first time every time.

Plus, there's something about the formula which helps to hold a curl. My lashes look long and fluttering for the whole day which is something I absolutely love and always look for in a star mascara.

If I was pushed to find this product's weakness, I would have to note that I've seen minor flaking after a long day wearing Hypnôse Drama. But in reality, it's nothing I would write home about.

Over all I'm in love with this product. While I still stand by the fact that you can get perfectly good  mascaras on the high street, if you were to treat yourself, this would be the one to go for.

Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Mascara - £22 from Selfridges

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Rituals Brilliant Bliss Indian Rose and Shikakai Nourishing Ultra-Shine Shampoo


I was gifted this shampoo in a Rituals set for my birthday around a week ago. I've always been a massive fan of Rituals ever since I tried their Yogi Flow Foaming Shower Gel and fell in love years ago. So my friend was completely spot on when she picked this set out for me. I've loved everything so far. 

Recently my hair has really been in need of some TLC. It's been looking a little worn out and lifeless. However when I used the Birchbox Beauty Protector Protect and Treat Treatment Mask a little while ago, my locks perked up no end. A similar sort of thing has happened with this shampoo. Suddenly my hair felt full of life again and had its bounce back. Rituals certainly weren't lying when they said it makes hair ultra shiny either. The feel and look of my locks was improved so much that after one use I started to contemplate buying the full-sized product.

A little goes a long way with this product, as the shampoo really does lather up well. It feels really luxurious to use which gives it that added spa-like quality that I always feel I get from any Rituals product. It smells really similar to the Yogi Flow Shower Gel mentioned previously. However when you leave the bathroom, there isn't really a lingering scent left like you get with the body care products. The only result given is hair that feels light as a feather, squeaky clean and looking healthy - which I'm more than satisfied with.

Over all I'm excited to try the other products included in set which consist of a body cream and bath salts. If they're anything as good as these two products have been, I can imagine that Rituals will appear on many wish lists to come.

Rituals Brilliant Bliss Indian Rose and Shikakai Nourishing Ultra-Shine Shampoo - £9.50 from Amazon

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Elizabeth Arden Double Density Maximum Volume Mascara

I feel like it has been forever since I have tried a new mascara. There was a huge surge of new products around the beginning of Autumn time and then the makeup scene teetered off ready for the gift sets at Christmas.

However I got the chance to try this Elizabeth Arden mascara which has been on the market for a while now. It's always interesting to see how high end compares to high street. Normally I'm a loyal high street girl and a L'Oreal lover at that when it comes to mascara, but having never tried EA before, I believed mascara was as good of a place as any to start.. (apart from their  best selling Eight Hour Cream I suppose.. Nice to think outside the box though).

This mascara has a 'lash-enhancing formula which dramatically thickens lashes as it separates and defines'. All of this sang to me. The thicker and fuller the lashes, the better. It further claims to be easy to remove and last all day with a smudge-proof finish. Some of this I couldn't agree with more but other statements depend on personal choice.

With regards to the packaging, everything is lovely. It's quite simple and plain but has a classically chic edge. I like the gold-door detailing on the top of the cap which is signature to EA and the fine gold writing on the tube gives the product an elegant touch. The wand itself was pretty standard which meant that over all it was easy to use and was perfect for a fuss free makeup routine in the morning. Separating the lashes couldn't have been more hassle-free. A quick wiggle of the wand at the base of the lashes was all that was required.

But unfortunately I didn't find this mascara to be terribly thickening. There certainly was a little bit of volume added but it was all very natural looking. I wouldn't say that this product gave the bold and dramatic look that I was certainly looking and hoping for. The formulation seemed rather thin and in relation my lashes looked quite thin as well.

I can't say that the product helped to hold a curl in my lashes either. Within an hour they were definitely starting to droop. This was a shame as I had hoped that with such a light consistency, the lashes might have been able to hold a curl for longer.

Having said all this, the claims that this mascara is smudge proof and easy to remove are completely true. I never had any issues with flaking at all and when it came to removal, no scrubbing was needed. A small amount of my Taaj cleanser worked wonders without any effort whatsoever.

Over all I am again not convinced by high end mascaras. Trust me girls - save your money and buy high street. If you want to splurge, skincare is definitely the way to go.

Elizabeth Arden Double Density Maximum Volume Mascara* - £7.99 from Direct Cosmetics

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Birchbox Review - Beauty Protector Protect and Treat Treatment Mask

Beauty Protector is fast becoming a favourite discovery of mine through the Birchbox beauty subscription service. I've had 3 or 4 product from them now and tend to love every single one for similar reasons. The products smell great, they make my hair feel nice and ultimately look nice at the end of washing or styling. This little wonder is no exception. Designed by professional hair stylists, this masks is a marvel for my locks and ends.

The treatment mask came in two small shot-like pots - a single use in each one. Once I opened the lid I saw a pink paste. It was quite thick and creamy which I often look for in nourishing masks. Plus there was a lot of product to go around. Since I have reasonably thick hair, I wanted a product that would cover every inch and not leave my locks asking for more. Made with a mixture of Argan Oil, Honey, Amber and Crushed Pearls amongst other ingredients, it sings with positivity and is cruelty free.

I smothered the treatment onto the lengths and ends of my hair generously after shampooing and left it on for around 10 minutes. The mask recommended 20 minutes but realistically who has time for that? I'm certainly not going to stand around in the shower for that long, waiting for the mask to do it's magic. And frankly it worked perfectly well in the time I had.

When I washed it out I was feeling a bit dubious. The mask seemed to cling to my hair and make it feel quite thick. I felt like there was just no budging it so I ended up using a 10 pence-piece of my normal conditioner to rinse out the remaining product. This didn't really make too much of a difference so in the end I decided to just go with the flow.

Well, I'm happy I did, because my hair hasn't felt this healthy in months! All of the life and volume has come back into it. It's feeling thick and full again. The shine is fabulous and my hair feels silky smooth. I can't really sense much of a scent from the mask anymore which is unusual as Beauty Protector products tend to leave back a strong candy essence behind. But I'm not disheartened by that. The effects of the mask itself are enough of a reward.

Over all I'm absolutely smitten with this mask and will certainly be adding it to my haircare routine whenever my locks need a little pick-me-up.

Beauty Protector Protect and Treat Treatment Mask - £16 from Birchbox

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

NOTD - Nicole by OPI in The Gold Shoulder

Apologies for the picture quality here. I had one of those moments where I remembered I'd taken a picture of the polish and then moved on to other things, then came back and remembered the picture wasn't that great. In the meantime I'd painted my nails a different shade and had no time to go back and repaint them, so unfortunately this is what I'm stuck with. Hopefully it gives you a good enough idea of what the polish looks like on. It definitely gets across one of my key points about this colour - that it's more silver than gold.

In the bottle before I first painted it, it looked a mixture of the two. There was definitely a strong silver element about it. However this was broken up by the gold and bronze shimmer running through it. It genuinely looked like a perfect combination of the two and perfect for Christmas - it's all about the metallics and reds.

Other than the fact that it turned out to be slightly more silver, I did really enjoy wearing it. As you will know by my post earlier this week on Girl Talk, Nicole by OPI polishes have a fantastic formula, as you would expect from any OPI polish. It's hard wearing and doesn't chip so long as you apply two-three coats and apply a topcoat to lock everything in.

Overall, another great polish and another great price. Definitely recommend you checking these out.

The Gold Shoulder by Nicole by OPI* - £1.99 from Direct Cosmetics

Monday, 1 December 2014

Book Worm #22 - Blog Tour - Breaking Love by MJ Summers

If you were reading my blog about a week a go you will know all about MJ Summers. Her first novel in the Full Hearts series, Break in Two had me absolutely hooked and enraptured by her characters. Breaking Love is the second in that series and while the main characters are a spin off smaller characters from the first book, this novel has been no let down. 

At first I will certainly admit that it was a little hard to get into. I was craving more Claire and Cole from the first book and wasn't really in love with Luc, the main character in Breaking Love. But as the story progressed on, MJ Summers worked her magic yet again and left me hanging on for the third book which is being released April next year.

For now though, let me tell you some more about Luc.

Luc Chavellier is a rich business man who owns many clubs around the world. He's a typical ladies man and loves his lifestyle. At 41, he has no plans of ever settling down as he feels that isn't for him.

Megan is a single mum, living in Colorado, raising a little 6 year old called Elliot. She's band herself from ever falling in love again after her pro-baseballer ex-husband got hurt in an accident and became addicted to his pain medication.

But when Megan's friend Harper invites her on a business trip to Paris, Megan finally gets a taste of what it's like to have a man in her life again, as Luc wines and dines her in a night of passion. Little did Luc know that Megan would awaken feelings in him that were long dormant. Does Luc now want to change everything for this woman and live a life he's always avoided?

As I say, the beginning of the book took some getting into. Up until the point that Megan and Luc got serious, I didn't think this book could rival the first in this series. But after that I really started to get into it. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that Luc started to become a more loveable and relatable character, which made me more drawn to their story - hopeless romantic I know.

The relationship Megan has with her Mum Helen is one that I really liked as well. MJ introduced some really good humour here which made me laugh on quite a few occassions. I love that there still seems to be progression in her writing. Some novels I find really easy to read where others can be a hard slog but both of the Full Hearts series so far have been effortless. The description is really detailed and I can always imagine exactly what's happening in my mind. I reckon these books could definitely make really lovely films. It's been a while since a good romance has come out so we're definitely due one.

Over all I really couldn't recommend this series enough and can't wait for the next release next year.
If you've read any of MJ Summer's books, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Breaking Love by MJ Summers* - £8.99 for Papberback and £2.99 for Kindle from Amazon
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