Find out the best discoveries of this month and perhaps win some yourself in this month's favourites :)
Friday, 28 February 2014
Thursday, 27 February 2014
Wednesday, 26 February 2014
These nail tattoos have been one of the many items which have gone missing at the bottom of my 'to-test' bag of products. I found them amongst a million sachet samples from magazines and various other bits and pieces. Immediately the bows sprung out to me. They called to me and said 'Helena, do a french manicure and put my bow as the accent nail', so this is exactly what I did.
I haven't given myself a french manicure in so long that the tips were near on impossible to do. However I struggled through and the outcome was made so much better as soon as I applied the bow.
By the name Nail Tattoo, I figured that these would apply like a fake tattoo, with a little bit of water to the back of the paper and hey presto. But no, they are actually a lot more like stickers. In fact, they are stickers! You simply peel them off the backing and place them onto the desired area of your nail. I find this easiest to do with a pair of tweezers.
When I found out they were stickers my heart did plummet a bit as I figured they would create a chunky layer on top of the nail that would curl up at the sides and never really lay flat. But the result was the complete opposite. Once applied, they adhered to the nail like magic and almost looked and felt painted on! I was so impressed. With one top coat to seal everything up, I was good to go.
I'm really happy with these. They are such a fun and cute way to spice up your day to day manicure, without having to spend the earth with regards to time or money. They're 3 for 2 at Boots at the moment too so well worth a look if you're interested in nail art of any kind.
Nail Art Nail Tattoos - £5.99 from Boots
Tuesday, 25 February 2014
I'm so excited about writing this post, but a little disappointed in myself that it's taken me so long to find Kayleigh's blog. You're probably all following her already, but if you've been living under a rock like me and haven't given her reviews a read, you need to head to her blog right now. I've literally just lost the last hour browsing it and missed one of my favourite TV shows, Vampire Diaries, because of it. I think that says it all.
Whilst skimming the #bbloggers tag, looking for some new blogs to follow, I stumbled across a tweet by 'k_leexjx'. I followed the link which took me to the cute looking blog above. This initial look is a turning point for me. I don't know what it is but if a blog isn't easy on the eye I find it so hard to look through. I love clean layouts that are thought out and girlie. This was all of that and more. The design was stunning and the photography was even more beautiful. I got camera jealous the further I looked and more posts I admired. It makes me wish that there was one single place in my house with decent lighting so I could set up a beautiful background and create all of my photos there. Even then, they wouldn't be half as much eye-candy as hers are. Everything is just, well, perfect if I'm going to be honest.
By this point I had already clicked follow - not going to lie. I hadn't read a single word but I knew that this would be a place I would come to often. Since then I've pretty much gone through every post since November last year. So you could definitely say I had some spare time on my hands. Either way, the content is so easy to read and relate to. She generally updates her blog every 2-3 days but you can always tell that each post was really well thought out and a lot of effort has gone into it. You can expect plenty of monthly beauty box posts and product reviews, with some gorgeous monthly favourites thrown in for good measure. There are some lifestyle posts jammed in there as well - as if you thought things couldn't get better. I particularly liked her recent post about Printic, a company that prints your Instagram pictures as polaroids. I've wanted to cover a wall in photos like that for a long time so that post might be the little push I need to do something about it.
Over all I think Couture Girl is just an amazing blog and Kayleigh (who looks a lot like Megan from Meganheartsmakeup on Youtube - at least I think so) has done an incredible job. I can't wait to keep going back to her site and drooling over all the gorgeous content. I hope you will do the same.
Monday, 24 February 2014
My Aromatherapy Associates Revive Body Gel came in a Birchbox quite a few months back now. Since then I've been using it on and off. I go through spells of applying it religiously and then just forgetting to bother. When I remember again, I get into the mood to test it for a review. But a few days later you can guarantee I've forgotten all about it.
Now I'm nearing the end of this sample, I figured it was the right time to write this review. Even though I'm not really too sure what to say about it! Sounds ominous, I know.
As you can see from the description on the tube, this body gel aims to eliminate toxins, even-out skin tone and texture, while maintaing healthy circulation. Now honestly, I don't even know how a product can help with circulation, nor do I have the foggiest idea if it's true or not. Eliminating toxins sounds fabulous but I certainly didn't feel any difference using this. Even skin tone is hard to measure for me. The only place I feel my uneven skin tone shows is on my face. But I've already got the Estee Lauder Even Skintone Illuminator Serum on the job for that one. Having said all this, I read that the Revive Body Gel can be good with cellulite when it comes to it's toning claims. Therefore I figured I would use this just like I used the Anatomy Nutrients Body Oil, in the hope that it would disguise those awkward areas at the top back of my legs.
It was pleasant enough to use. The translucent gel absorbed quickly into the skin and didn't leave any greasy or sticky residue.
But similarly to the oil, I really don't see that much difference. If I was going to push myself I'd say that it made the areas marginally less noticeable, but honestly I wouldn't it come across as me recommending this product to solve your cellulite issues, if you have any. It's really not going too. I don't think any product will. However I believe the claim that there are products out there to help, I just don't see that much of a change with this.
I know how well respected Aromatherapy Associates products are, so I really wanted this to be a miracle product for me. But unfortunately it just didn't make my heart sing.
Aromatherapy Revive Body Gel - £31 from Birchbox
Sunday, 23 February 2014
I'm selling a few beauty items because they're sitting around and not getting used. I'd much rather they go to someone who will get better use out of them. Everything is £1.50 or under. I only ask that once I've shipped the items to you, that you pay whatever the shipping was on top. I hope this works for everyone and you find something you might be interested in. Just pop a comment with the product you would like at the end of this post along with your email address.
This sale is only open to UK residents due to postal restrictions.
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil NEW - £1.50 (sold)
Ren Invisible Pores Detox Mask USED 3/4 TIMES - £1.50 (sold)
Etat Pur Radiant Complexion Care NEW - £1.50 (sold)
Elemis Skin Clear Mattifying Moisturiser NEW - 50p (sold)
Dead Sea Spa Magik Gentle Cleansing Facial Wash NEW - 50p
Dr Brant Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant NEW - 50p (sold)
Balance Me Cleanse and Sooth Face Balm NEW - 50p (sold)
Mario Badescu Seaweed Cleansing Soap NEW - 50p (sold)
The Body Shop Amazonian Wild Lily Body Lotion USED 3/4 TIMES - £1
Roger and Gallet Perfumed Body Cream with Golden Shimmer USED 2/3 TIMES - £1
Korres Guava Shower Gel NEW - £1 (sold)
Marc Jacobs Dot Shower Gel and Body Lotion NEW - £1 for both together
Blend Collective Hand Cream HALF LEFT - 50p
Dead Sea Spa Magik Silk Smooth Body Lotion NEW - 50p
Beauticology Cherry Candy Cane Body Butter USED 2/3 TIMES - 50p
Beauticology Pink Peppermint Body Butter USED 2/3 TIMES - 50p
Along Came Betty Shimmering Body Lotion NEW - 50p
Along Came Betty Bath Salts NEW - 50p
ST Tropez Wash Off Face and Body Lotion Light/Medium NEW - 50p (sold)
Xen-Tan Sparkle Luminous Gold Gel Self Tan NEW - 50p
Beauticology Pink Peppermint Body Butter USED ONCE - 50p
Gilchrist and Soames Shower Gel NEW - 50p
Noble Isle Bath and Shower Gel NEW - 50p
Lee Stafford Poker Straight Conditioner NEW - £1.50 (sold)
Lee Stafford Poker Straight Shampoo NEW - £1.50 (sold)
Philip Kingsley Elasticizer NEW - 50p (sold)
Dr Jart+ Premium BB Beauty Balm USED 4/5 TIMES - £1 (sold)
HD Brows Blusher 2 USED 3/4 TIMES - £1.50 (sold)
Rimmel Blush in Summer Fever USED 3/4 TIMES - 50p
Maybelline Brow Drama in Dark Brown USED 3/4 TIMES - 50p
Eyeko Skinny Mini Liquid Eyeliner in Black NEW - 50p (sold)
No17 Mirror Shine Lipstick in Beehive NEW - 50p
NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Knight NEW - 50p
Yves Rocher Double-ended Eyeliner NEW - 50p
Lila'lli Eyeliner in Bravo NEW - 50p
Model Co Black Eyeliner NEW - 50p
Ciate Caviar Manicure in Mother of Pearl USED 3/4 TIMES - £1.50
Nail Rock Velvet Nail Manicure in Navy USED ONCE - £1
Barry M Limited Edition XMAS 2012 Nail Paint in 247 USED ONCE - 50p
Ciate Caviar Pearls in Prom Queen USED ONCE - 50p
Saturday, 22 February 2014
Friday, 21 February 2014
Check out what I've been using up over the last couple of months, and my final thoughts after finishing the products :)
Thursday, 20 February 2014
Wednesday, 19 February 2014
As you saw yesterday, I have been testing out some new Laura Geller products I was lent by my mum. My first review was on the Luscious Lips Liquid Lipstick in Cherry Almond which was quite nice but nothing to write home about. Next on my trial list was this gorgeous baked blush in Apple Custard. Frankly I find the names to be very confusing as they never really resemble what the shade actually is. Pushing that confusion aside, I've actually been really enjoying this product - a lot more than I expected.
On a quick side note, I find the packaging to be quite ugly, bulky and a little unnecessary. I definitely feel like this could be improved as if I spotted this on the shelf in a store I certainly wouldn't be inclined to take a look at it. Apart from that, the product inside is lovely.
Apple custard is a marble of pink and bronze. When swirled together it creates a beautiful shimmering pink which is incredibly flattering. On the cheeks, it definitely gives you a bronzed look with that pinch of pink coming through to give you the blushing finish.
I can never get a good picture of me wearing the blush as it simply doesn't seem to show up in the photos. However you can see from above that the colour is really beautiful. Although it looks a lot like a highlighter when swatched, the warmer bronze tone comes through when blended into and up the apples of your cheeks. The product is milled so finely that it's a dream to work with and looks incredibly flawless on the skin with minimal effort. The long wearing baked pigments mean that your colour lasts throughout the day without the need for touch ups.
I would definitely recommend these baked blushes to blush enthusiasts like myself. This is the type of product that I would invest in and spend the time searching for as I find that the product itself is such good quality and gives an amazing finish. As far as I can tell, these baked swirl blushes are new to Laura Geller's line and there are only two shades available at the moment. The other version, Berry Creme, looks like a lovely pop of colour for that summer time look, but I think I prefer this shade out of the two.
Laura Geller Baked Brûlée Blush in Apple Custard - $15 from Amazon
Tuesday, 18 February 2014
One of my mum's favourite makeup brands is Laura Geller. Personally I've not tested too many of her products. The ones I have done have been ok, but nothing I would rate as favourites. The Bronze and Brighten Kit I tried was quite nice, but the gel liner I got in my Birchbox a long while ago now was a pretty epic fail if I do say so myself. However I'll try pretty much any product once, so when my mum ordered a gift pack full of Geller products and gave me, the beauty enthusiast, a chance to test everything whilst it was brand new I jumped at the chance.
The first product I reached for was this lovely liquid lipstick. I've been all about the lip paints since those gorgeous Rimmel Appocalips Lip Lacquers came out. Granted, this isn't a patch on those, but the whole concept is similar.
This product is more of a cream than a gloss. It is applied using a doe-foot applicator which I find to be the easiest way to apply product. I'm definitely not a lip brush sort of girl.
The colour, Cherry Almond, ended up being quite a lot more brown/beige than expected. I figured it would be a nude pink but it does come slightly different on the lips.
The colour is quite flattering on my skin tone but I would still prefer something a little less brown. Putting the colour issue to one side, the cream texture is quite lovely. It applies evenly and is reasonably opaque. It makes your lips look smoother and more perfected from what I have experienced. It's not too drying either. Granted, as the product wears off your lips do dry a bit but it's nothing extensive or uncomfortable. What I did like was that the colour was left behind, though the cream aspect had worn off. This meant that I still looked put together until my next application.
Over all it was a nice enough product. I'm still not so taken by this liquid lipstick that I would actively go and buy another myself. I feel like there are products on the high street that suit me nicely and are easier to get hold of. Having said all this, I would recommend it to anyone who's already looking to try this product. It's my personal favourite of Laura's so far, but that's on personal preference of that type of product I look for. I've got a blush and some eyeshadow to test out next so we shall see how they go.
Laura Geller Luscious Lips Liquid Lipstick in Cherry Almond - $11 from Amazon
Monday, 17 February 2014
As soon as I saw this polish in my Birchbox this month, I knew there was only one type of review I could do - a comparison of the Leighton Denny Instant Abstract Nail Polish to one of my favourite nail art polishes by L'oreal, called Confettis. They both look extremely similar, though the LD version has got longer pieces of glitter in that remind me of those pesky needles that fall off the Christmas tree. God only knows why.
Confettis gives you more of a polka dot look which is cleaner and more defined. This LD version, as suggested in the name, is a lot more abstract and messy. This polish seems to be heavy on the black glitter too whereas the Confettis version by L'oreal seemed to have a more balanced ratio of black and white.
As with all nail polishes with chunky glitter, tapping the brush onto the nail rather than brushing it on as you would with a normal colour leads to better results. However I was surprised that the density of glitter in this LD polish wasn't as expected. It looks jam-packed in the bottle but the brush it didn't pick up very much. I ended up having to do three coats of the glitter to get the desired effect.
Over all I really like the look it creates. It gives the nail something different. I'm definitely more likely to plump for this type of nail art if I want to spice my talons up a bit, rather than reaching for the velvet manicure set I featured a few days ago. Having said that, I would recommend L'Oreal's Confettis polish over this one any day as it's far cheaper, easier to get hold of and perhaps edges this one on it's looks too. What do you think??
Sunday, 16 February 2014
Hello unconventional OOTD photo.
Due to unexpected blinding sunshine, all my photos from my actual 'ootd shoot' look, well, god awful actually.
However... I did manage to snap a little shot of my possible fashion faux pas whilst waiting for my mum to finish shopping.
Thoughts on the 'faux pas-ness' in the comments please :)
River Island Jacket - £80 - From this haul
Marks and Spencer Scarf - £19.50 - From this haul
Abercrombie and Fitch Leggings - $40.60 - From this haul
Socks from the unknown..
Marks and Spencer Boots - £39.50 - As seen in my previous OOTD
Zara Mini City Bag - £29.99 - Buy one here
Saturday, 15 February 2014
January's Birchbox wasn't anything very special. Most of the products were double-ups of ones I had been given previously. I think there was a mistake at HQ. Either way, I pushed that box to one side and didn't really pay it too much attention. But when cleaning my room, I came across it again and figured I would have another look inside. That is when I discovered this Anatomy Nutrients Body Oil, one of the few products in the box I'd never had before.
After reading up about it, I found out that it's 100% natural, non-animal tested, allergen-free and vegan. It aims to hydrate the skin, relax muscles, stimulate skin cells and reduce the look of cellulite. Personally I din't really know how I was going to measure the skin cell stimulation but I figured the other factors could be tested. I have a few trouble areas when it comes to cellulite, as I'm sure every girl over 20 can relate to. The top back of the leg can be a devil. Therefore I decided to test it there and pretty much everywhere else to see how the product lived up to it's claims.
As I expected, the oil was very greasy. In fact I could still feel the residue on my skin 24 hours after applying it. This is something I hate about using body oils. Yes, the product made me skin feel soft and gorgeous but I can't stand the oily it leaves me with. As for treating cellulite, I think we shall give that one a miss. I see no difference whatsoever. Maybe after prolonged use there might be some change, but from using the sample, I can't report any results.
I do like the fact that my skin felt beautiful after the oil had sunk in but I can't be bothered with the faff of waiting for it to absorb. Therefore I doubt I'll be purchasing this product in full size.
Did you get this in your Birchbox? What's your opinion?
Anatomy Nutrients Body Oil - £9.50 from Birchbox
Friday, 14 February 2014
I'm so excited about testing out my new PMD system*! It think this is the perfect time to give it a go, as it will be spring time soon (just not soon enough!) and I really want to look fresh-faced and bright for the new season.
Check out the video below where I explain exactly what a PMD system does, how it works, and what I plan to do in this series.
Please leave any questions or comments below and I'll be sure to include the answers in my next PMD video.
I hope you're all well and speak to you tomorrow :)
Thursday, 13 February 2014
Wednesday, 12 February 2014
I received this product in one of my Birchboxes a few months ago but have only just got around to testing it out. My phase with novelty manicures had worn off after I tested the Caviar Manicure Set I bought. I realised it wasn't something I would wear every day and therefore the attraction wore off. However my intrigue grew recently so I gave it a go and the results were surprising.
The Nail Rock Velvet Manicure is very simple to achieve. You are given two products in your pack: one nail polish (navy in this circumstance) and a pot of velvet fluff to match.
All I did to achieve the desired effect was to paint my nails with the blue nail polish first. Once that has dried I applied a second coat. Whilst that was drying, I dipped my nail into the velvet fluff so that I got even coverage. I tended to press the fluff down onto the nail at this point but you need to be very careful as the nail underneath is still drying. After a minute or so I brushed off the excess fluff and then left my nail for 15-20 minutes to dry completely before the manicure was finished.
To me this doesn't look so much like velvet. I feel like I've just covered my nails in fluff and now they feel a little furry. What I do like is how dark my nails look and the fact that they look quite matte. This creates a very elegant finish.
The nails are a lot more long-wearing that I had expected. I thought that the fluff would drop off like crazy, especially whilst I was washing my hands, but there was simply no issue. To give this manicure a real test for this review I did everything from scratching them to trying to pull off the fluff but it stayed looking immaculate which I was really impressed with. If there was any wearing at all, it was along the edge of the nail which is where you'd expect your nail polish to wear anyway.
When it came to removing the velvet, there were no issues. It came off like a dream which, I couldn't quite believe. I used Acetone-free nail polish remover and it literally wiped off like any other nail polish would. It didn't leave my nails stained either so I considered it to be a real success.
In conclusion it was nice to try something different. Just like the Caviar Manicure, I wouldn't create this look all the time because it's more of an one off trial in my eyes. However the look of the nails was quite nice and the process was easy enough, so I would certainly recommend this set to others if you want to give this look a go yourself.
Nail Rock Velvet Manicure - £6.99 from Birchbox
Tuesday, 11 February 2014
Monday, 10 February 2014
Sunday, 9 February 2014
Saturday, 8 February 2014
Left to Right/Top to Bottom
Company Magazine - March Issue
Nail Polish / Bag / Face Mask
Instyle Magazine - March Issue
Top / Shirt / Skirt / Bag / Top & Shorts
Glamour Magazine (Left) - March Issue
Cosmopolitan Magazine (Right) - March Issue
Marie Claire - March Issue
Friday, 7 February 2014
I'm not sure I understand the full scale of what I've let myself in for with this one. Oh boy! Finishing 20 products is definitely going to be a challenge, but I'm up for it.
Want to see what I've chosen to use up? Check out each item below :)
Thursday, 6 February 2014
Wednesday, 5 February 2014
Today's review is the final in my series of the 3 Mother Pucker Gloss Sticks I received at Christmas. First I had Nudist which is still the most stunning nude lip gloss I own. The shade compliments me perfectly without washing me out and gives me that fresh-faced look. Then I had Plum Jam which was a redder version. This was quite lovely as it gave me a little bit more pout without being too pigmented. Both of the shades I've tried so far have been quite sheer, but I've never been more thankful of that fact until I discovered this shade.
As you can see, it definitely looks like it's got a certain fluorescence to it! As soon as I saw the shade I pretty much figured that it wasn't going to be my type of colour. It's basically traffic-cone orange! Well, maybe not quite, but it definitely doesn't look like something I would lean towards buying in a shop. I even swatched it on my hand before applying it for the first time, just to get an idea of how shocking it would actually look. This was when I was reminded that these products are actually quite sheer and I'd probably get away with it. It still looked like quite a bright pink, but when mixed with my natural lip colour I figured it would be ok.
And it definitely was! Having said that, I would certainly say the gloss was slightly brighter than this picture demonstrates. However, I would completely agree with the way this picture gives evidence that this is actually a very wearable colour which you shouldn't be scared to purchase in store yourself. It gives you a pinch more pigmentation for those spring and summer days when you're looking for something extra special, without requiring effort or worry of it smudging all over your face. It's effortless and genuinely lovely.
The quality of the product is just as good as the other two i've tested. It still smells like vanilla, feels smooth as butter and doesn't dry out your pout or make it sticky in any way.
I genuinely recommend that each and every one of you try a couple of these Gloss Sticks as I guarantee you're going to like them. They're epic in every way!
Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick in Fuchsia-ristic - £8 from Boots
Tuesday, 4 February 2014
The Creme Egg Brownie recipe has certainly been doing its rounds on Facebook. My newsfeed has been bombarded with the same recipe from a blog called Scarletscorchdroppers - countless images of stodgy brownies with perfect creme eggs cut up inside. I'll have you know right now that this is my idea of heaven. So I decided to hunt down these Mini Cadbury Creme Eggs and have a go at the recipe myself. Being a bit of a brownie connoisseur, I find it hard to believe that anything will beat the Chocolate Raspberry Brownies I discovered a few months back. However I am willing to give each recipe its due and give it a go.
Above are all the ingredients you need to make this recipe. You can find out all the measurements here if you wish to give this a go yourself! But please read to the end of this blog if you do as I make a shocking discovery...
After I measured out all the ingredients, it was on to the heat.
You simply pop the chocolate and butter into a pan for the first step. Melt it together on a low heat and be sure to stir constantly to stop the chocolate from burning!
Once it's melted, it should look something like this.
Next you add two eggs and the vanilla extract to the mixture before beating it in. Top tip here would be to make sure the chocolate-butter concoction has completely cooled before adding anything else or you'll end up with a scrambled egg mess. Icky!
Once the egg and vanilla has been combined, beat in the sugar.
Then you can proceed to sift in the flour and cocoa powder to thicken things up. By this point it looks seriously gloopy. I call this stage, heart attack.
Second to last, you need to pop the mixture into a greased tin. As I mentioned before, I'm a bit of a brownie addict so I have a specific brownie tray for this, but you can use any tin you have!
And last but not least, stud your brownies with a Creme Egg. I think it says in the recipe to cut them in half but I was greedy and put a whole one in each.
Proceed to the oven at 180c fan for 25-30 mins. This is the part where my mouth starts to water and I become glued to the oven door!
Et voila.. Brownies are done! But this is where it all goes wrong.... dun, dunnn DUNNNN!
There's no goo left in my eggs! I cut every single one open and they were all empty! It was like the goo had evaporated in the oven or cooked into the brownie. I just don't get it. Therefore I leave you with a picture of brownies looking lovely and misleading!
I don't get this as the image on the recipe website leads me to believe the brownies will be epic. Perhaps if I did this recipe again I would let the brownies cook for 20 mins and then pop the eggs into the mixture for the last 5-10 minutes so that they don't completely evaporate. Either way I thought it would be useful to share with you the humiliating disappointment of my baking experience so that if you give these a go yourself, you don't end up with the same issue :( Needless to say the chocolate brownies still tasted pretty good, so over all it was a happy tum situation.
Let me know if you've made these and how you got around the disappearing-goo situation below :)