Friday, 3 October 2014


I'm a sucker for a beauty box. I'm not a sucker for subscription services however - I feel like it's far too easy to sign up and then forget about it, adding to the stack of costs we part with on a monthly basis. I find the subscription boxes tend to be a bit lacking in their contents too, and they keep you interested by throwing in one really good product every couple of months. Sneaky. For this reason I prefer to satisfy my beauty box craving with those more of the Latest In Beauty and Memebox ilk - one off purchases, generally offering a much higher quality of contents, and often only a few pounds more than the subscription services. But now there's a new box on the block..

This is actually the second month that the Look Fantastic box has been available, but the September edition sold out in the blink of an eye. It contained some amazing products however (including Kerastase, St Tropez and Caudile), which prompted me to preorder this months. At last, October has arrived and the box is in my hands. So what lurks inside?

Wowsers trousers. That's my kinda beauty box. 

  • L'OREAL PROFESSIONAL SERIE EXPERT PRO KERATIN REFILL SHAMPOO AND MASQUE. Phew, these names keep getting longer and longer. This was the first thing that caught my eye as I instantly recognised the packaging. The Serie Expert range is a very highly rated collection of salon quality hair products, offering a vast range for various hair woes. Funnily enough I actually purchased the Vitamino Color Masque from the range yesterday, though have yet to use it. The Pro Keratin products are right down my street though, being aimed towards weak and damaged hair. They contain keratin (duh), which is the protein building block of hair and provides strength and elasticity, and also contain ceramides (branded as 'Incell'), the lipids which hold the scales of the hair cuticle in place - sometimes called hair glue or hair cement. These products are therefore brilliant for repairing the damage that heat styling, colouring and even the environment can inflict on hair. Basically, I'm pretty jazzed to try these out!

  • KMS FREESHAPE QUICK BLOW DRY SPRAY. One for those of you more blessed in the hair department, this spray claims to cut drying time by up to 50%, while also providing heat protection and light conditioning for soft, smooth and hopefully dry hair. My hair isn't too much bother to dry anyway, but I'm definitely interested to see if it lives up to its claims as it strikes me as quite a unique product in the hair care market.

  • GATINEAU COLLAGENE EXPERT ULTIMATE SMOOTHING CREAM. This is probably the least interesting product for me, but only because I'm very particular about my facial moisturisers. It's primarily intended for skin showing signs of ageing, and contains collagen, hyaluronic acid, elastin and a variety of vitamins and minerals to give plump, moisturised skin with less visible wrinkles (apparently). It doesn't strike me as particularly ground breaking product but has a hefty £60 price tag. Its consistency is gel-like and therefore too lightweight for my liking anyway, and also has a complete lack of any smell whatsoever? Bizarre. 

  • BALANCE ME FACIAL EXPRESSION FILLER. I sometimes wonder if Balance Me actually make any profit - I'm forever seeing their products being given away in beauty boxes and on magazines. Another one primarily for signs of ageing skin, this is to be be applied to expression lines on the forehead, mouth and eyes. While I'm thankfully still wrinkle free, I'll probably try this round my eyes as it also contains the moisture retaining ingredient hyaluronic acid. It has a strong scent however - as lovely and relaxing as it is, some skin types might not tolerate this well.

  • KORRES CITRUS SHOWER GEL. I get through shower gels like nobodies business, so these will always get used. It's a fantastically refreshing scent which will definitely help to get you going in the mornings, but would I ever pay £8 for the full size? Nah. Get real, it's a shower gel. Plus I'm totally hooked on the Right Guard Shower + Oils at the minute - by far my favourite shower gel of ALL TIME. Moisturising, gorgeous but not overpowering scent, and can usually be picked up for 99p. BRILL.

  • THIS WORKS SLEEP PLUS PILLOW SPRAY. This has come at just the right time for me - I've been having some rather uncharacteristic difficulty sleeping lately (usually I'm asleep in seconds and will proceed to sleep in a log-like fashion for the following 8+ hours). The smell is gorgeous - like most of these sort of products it's predominantly lavender, which is a favourite of mine. I'm not entirely sure of the difference between this and their Deep Sleep Pillow Spray though, with the product descriptions not giving much away. The price difference is big though - £25 for 75mL of Sleep Plus, versus £16 for the same amount of Deep Sleep. I probably wouldn't be willing to part with so much money for what is actually a very basic product, but that's why these boxes are great!
I'm really pleased with the selection in this months box, and while there's a couple of products that I probably won't use, the variety of quality brands, the size of the samples and the good mix of hair/skin/misc products is what sells it for me. I'm definitely looking forward to next months.. and feeling quietly glad I cancelled my Birchbox sub!

The Look Fantastic beauty box retails for £15 with free delivery! The box is currently out of stock (no surprise!), but will be available again (phew).

Peace, pals!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014


I don't often find hair products that really do it for me. I read the bold claims on the packaging, throw my money at someone, and then.. disappointment. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind spending out a little for something which really works, but finding that something is often easier said than done.

This stuff though. THIS STUFF.

I've had my eye on these Revlon Nutri Color Cremes for some time - starting way back when I had postbox red hair circa 2011. They were considerably more difficult to come by at the time, and therefore more expensive to boot. They stayed out of the reach of my measly student budget, and my hair was sad. On my recent return to the gingery side, it turned out I had forgotten just how much the colour fades, despite me only washing my hair every 4/5 days with sulphate free shampoo and cold water. So much suffering, such little gain. Turns out these little beauties are much easier to get hold of now, so I parted with my ~£11 and waited eagerly.

So what even are they? A colour depositing conditioner designed to work in just 3 minutes, basically. Apply 8-10 pumps of product evenly through the hair, et voilà! Not just for the redheaded amongst us, these are available in 15 shades (though some appear easier to come by than others).

They're designed to maintain colour after dyeing, which in turn means less frequent dyeing and therefore less damage. This is fantastic particularly for difficult to maintain colours, but of course anything which makes your hair super soft AND reduces the need for colour maintenance is a blessing for all those who dabble in hair dye. You can apply it with each wash in place of your usual conditioner, or as often as you feel the colour needs a little refreshing, and like dyes you can mix shades to get the colour you're looking for.

I only got hold of this product about 3-4 weeks after colouring my hair. By this point the colour had lightened up a fair bit and was looking uneven, but no way was I going to recolour so soon! The results are therefore probably different to if I had started using it immediately after colouring, but are brilliant nonetheless.

deep and brooding

The above pictures were taken today, which was the second time of using the nutri colour creme (having also used it on my previous wash 5 days ago). I originally dyed my hair 5 weeks ago (you can see my post showing the initial colour HERE), and while the colour is certainly lighter and more copper than it was, I'm really pleased with how much life this has given it! The colour is looking even and my hair is feeling healthy, plus it's saved me from having to recolour so soon.

I can't recommend these enough for anyone with coloured hair, but particularly for redheads. They vary in cost between about £10 and £15, so I would advise shopping around. I picked mine up off eBay, but they're also available through Beauty Bay, Fragrance Direct and most salon supplies retailers.

Peace, chums.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014


September has been a month of limited spending. Why? I got a new job, HOORAY! But it's taken two months for me to get a start date (thanks, bureaucracy), so I've been all about embracing old and long forgotten purchases, and steering well clear of Boots where at all possible. And god damn, I LOVE Boots.

But, I done good.

An effective, albeit sparse selection.
  • ROSE HIP OIL. I'm a big fan of pure oils when it comes to cleansing and moisturising, but I always tend to opt for coconut oil over anything else. However, as much as I (still) love it for cleansing, I feel like it hasn't really been packing the moisture that I need right now. I picked up some rosehip oil a while ago as it was supposedly good for eczema - SOLD. I promptly received the bottle and forgot about it for several months, but following a stress-induced bout of facial scab this month, I gave it a go with pleasant results. It's no miracle worker - I still rely on my usual prescribed creams to really bring my skin under control, but it provides lovely long lasting moisture which doesn't irritate, and unlike other oils I've tried (*cough*hemp oil*cough), it doesn't smell like rancid arse. It supposedly has great anti-ageing properties too.. thankfully not something I can confirm or deny though!

  • A-DERMA EXOMEGA EMOLLIENT BALM. Oat-based emollient balm. Saviour of all things dry and irritated. Fancy? Nah. Entirely practical? Very. This is a very rich balm which I use alongside my other eczema-centric products, though mostly for night time use only. I tend to favour very rich, heavy products at night to save my skin soaking up all the moisture within a few hours, and me then waking up with painfully dry skin. This is the unfortunate thing with eczema - because it impairs the barrier function of the skin, moisture is constantly lost (more so than normal anyway). If at home I'll usually moisturise 5 or 6 times through the day, but otherwise a rich, soothing balm of this sort at night really helps to lock in what moisture I can.

  • BURT'S BEES REVITALISING LIPBALM WITH BLUEBERRY& DARK CHOCOLATE. Long-ass name for a lipbalm. I am utterly in love with the Burt's Bees lip balms, and while the original is still my favourite (some hate it, but I love the pepperminty tingle), this and the mango are a close second. It's a lipbalm, so there's not an awful lot to say, but it achieves its moisturising purpose no trouble. I do quietly wish it was a little more blueberryish(?!) though..

  • CLARINS GENTLE EXFOLIATOR BRIGHTENING TONER.  A fairly gentle AHA based exfoliating toner, this is something I've recently come to love despite having used it for a couple of months. Smoother skin? Yep. More even skintone? Mmmmhmm. No dryness or stinging? You got it. Don't be fooled by the small bottle, as you'll only need a small amount for your face and neck. While it's not cheap at £25 a pop, it's definitely better value than it first appears when you see how far it goes. I absolutely love chemical exfoliants, and this is definitely my favourite, despite having been a long time lover of the Nip+Fab glycolic fix pads. They're both great, but I feel the results from the Clarins toner are more noticeable. Also I just BLOODY LOVE CLARINS. 

  • NATURAL COLLECTION MOISTURE SHINE LIPSTICK IN FIG LEAF. This isn't something I would have normally considered, and not for any lack of love towards Natural Collection. I'm a HUGE fan of their super cheap mascaras, but for some reason I just assumed their lipsticks would be a bit naff. NEVER ASSUME. I saw these featured on Miss Budget Beauty, and when I saw Fig Leaf I was all like..

To be honest, it's not a particularly exciting colour. BUT I'm all about nudes at the minute, having previously been all about purple lips at any given opportunity. However, this in particular ticks my requirements of a) CHEAP, and b) cooler toned. I love cool-toned looks and have a drawer full of lipsticks just not fit for that job.

While there's certainly a hint of pink there, this colour almost takes on a somewhat grey tone in person. And shit, if there's a colour I love, it's GREY. Which says a lot about me. Anyway, this little treat will set you back a measly £1.99, and yeah the packaging is cheap and the lipstick itself is kind of an odd shape, but can be just reiterate the fact that this is £1.99!?! Check out the whole range if you're passing though - their range of lip colours is much larger than I thought, and I'll definitely be trying a few more after this success!

That's this months more restrained selection of favourites. While living with no income isn't ideal, it's been good delve in to some older purchases and try some more budget-friendly beauty options. But man, I sure am hankering after a few MAC lipsticks right now..

Peace, chums!

Monday, 22 September 2014


Yeah yeah, it's that time of year. Four years ago I set off on my adventures to university. FOUR YEARS! I graduated last year, and still over a year later I find myself fondly reminiscing on an all too frequent basis. I can say with no caution that my time at uni was a resounding success - not to say there weren't some ups, some downs, and some wholly ludicrous mistakes on my part, but such is life's way. It's not always plain sailing though, nor is it always the right choice for people - but consider this my Buzzfeed-esque list of hopefully not all too patronising tips.

  • Be Prepared. It's a solid motto that's worked for the Scouts for over 100 years, and is perfectly applicable to university too. I'm not talking the "take cake for your new flatmates!" or "don't forget an extension lead!" kind of prepared - but on that note, do take a couple of extension leads. Useful as f*ck. But be prepared from the start - researching your course, your chosen unis, noting any UCAS deadlines, student finance deadlines, setting yourself up a student bank account. The boring stuff. Your first few weeks of uni will be much easier if you actually have that highly anticipated student loan sitting pretty in your bank account. 
  • Get a Job. Ok, this one is optional. But there aren't many courses which won't allow you the hours for a part time job - I only worked one 6 hour day a week, but that ~£40/week made a HUGE difference to my otherwise measly budget, allowing me a night out and a marginally better diet without any sense of guilt. See if your university has their own job centre, or ask if you can transfer your current job to a location near the university. 
  • Don't Fret Your Friendships. Will I like the people I live with? What about the people on my course? Classic frets of the fresher. Friendships come naturally and can't be forced, so don't shit bricks if your flat is full of dicks - I lived in the affectionately titled 'Shit Flat 10'. No, not wildly creative I suppose, but accurately descriptive nonetheless. I wound up with one very close friend in my flat, and one on my course. But there are plenty of other people I'm still very close to who I only met through others - so don't feel that your course and your flat are your only two sources of friendship. Moreover, I didn't truly get to know the people I consider my close friends now until late in to my second year. It's not that I didn't have friends through the first and early second years, but they're not the people who've made the biggest impact on my life. 
  • Listen to Your Gut. While you shouldn't necessarily let it hold you back, the gut it often right. I applied to university twice, and wound up retracting my first application just a couple of weeks before I due to leave home. I wasn't scared, but I didn't have the enthusiasm for the course I had applied for, and was entirely unprepared in every possible aspect. I applied again for a different course later in the month, and had myself a totally unplanned gap year. No, not a gap yah - zero travelling was done but a healthy lining to my bank account was earned, I had all my paperwork sorted in uncharacteristically good time, and I purchased myself more useless kitchen paraphernalia than you can shake a spatula at. By the time the next September rolled around, I was near bouncing off the walls with excitement. 
  • SAY YES! There's no time in life quite like university, so use it as an opportunity to say yes to new things - see a new band, go a new restaurant, visit a new country! Respect you bank balance and use your common sense, but you'll meet tonnes of new people with all manner of experiences to offer. At worst, you'll probably waste a small amount of your time and maybe a few quid, but I can bet that in the end you'll be glad you said yes.
  • DOWN IT FRESHER! Or don't. Yes, to this day I have not downed a dirty pint (nor a 'clean' one for that matter) because I literally do not possess the capacity to down drinks. This seems like a relatively minor point (pint?), but you will hear that statement more times than you care to remember. To expand, peer pressure can sometimes rear its ugly head in a massive way at university, so stick to your guns if you're not comfortable. Besides, downing pints definitely falls outside of my 'say yes' point; I can promise you that your university experience will not be damped by any lack of downing drinks. It'll probably be a little less vomit stained though.
  • Buy a Dressing Gown. Two words: FIRE. ALARMS. Not a myth, highly infuriating. At least you can stay cosy while you stand outside arms folded and frowny faced.
I suppose the gist here is not to feel under any pressure to meet the stereotype of a fresher. Embrace new opportunities, but don't feel like you have to persist with something which clearly isn't for you. Just be glad you tried. Don't try and change - spruce up the ol' wardrobe maybe, but you are who you are and there WILL be like-minded souls around, even if you don't find them immediately. Go in with an open mind and savour every minute, both the good and the bad. Your experiences at university will likely shape your as a person. But most of all, BLOODY ENJOY IT! There's nothing quite like it and hopefully it'll be an experience you look back fondly on for years to come.

Boring side note - the library is your friend. Get to know the library. Take a couple of hours out in the library. Find your favourite seat in the library (and the proceed to refuse to accept that you could possibly work ANYWHERE else, whatsoever). Semi-frequent interaction with the library will make your academic life so very much easier - just so long as you're not that guy who uses the time to indulge in the latest feature length film. Library space is precious; Don't be THAT GUY.

Back to beauty related antics next time, but for now - freshers, I hope you're loving EVERY GOD DAMN SECOND. I'm jealous. And I really miss my student loan.


Tuesday, 2 September 2014


August was pretty hot on the favourites front. A healthy combination of skincare, makeup and non-beauty purchases made for a lot of new loves, and a minor dent in my bank balance. But what's money for if not to be enjoyed, eh? (She says, frantically scraping funds for car insurance.. and an MOT.. yeah, cars are NOT on my August favourites, for sure).


MAC Mineralize Moisture Foundation has made a return in to my life after a rather lengthy absence. I start using this years ago when it was branded as the Mineralize Satinfinish foundation. It's been reformulated, and is now more moisturising but still with the same finish I always loved. As the previous name suggests, it's satin finish - definitely not one for matte lovers, and probably not ideal for the oily skinned amongst us. My sad dry face loves it though!
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium was something I'd had my eye on for a long time. It's widely raved about and reviewed, and in good reason. Lightweight and subtle when applied with a fluffy brush, this provides just enough setting power for my foundation, while not compromising the dewy finish. Best of all, a powder which doesn't emphasize dryness? HOLLA AT ME.

mmmm.. silky.

Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray an old favourite, but I'd put off purchasing this again for a while since I had a few cheaper options to try. They don't compare though - a quick spritz of this keeps my makeup on lockdown for the day.
Urban Decay Perversion Mascara I never purchase mid/high end mascaras. I feel like no amount of money does great benefit for my short, sparse lashes, but this came as a freebie with my previous purchase. I'm surprisingly sold on this though, it gives good separation and lengthening with no transfer or clumping in sight. Would I purchase the full size? Maybe, but I'm still pretty hooked on the £1.99 Natural Collection offering...

Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask I've been trying to reign in the skincare spending recently, but it was my birthday and ehhh.. gotta treat yoself. I purchased this with the intention of using it when my skin is extra dry and irritated, but is is INCREDIBLY highly fragranced. For that reason, I've kept it as a little biweekly moisture bolstering treat instead. It has a lovely thick consistency, and while I find the scent pleasantly relaxing it's certainly not suitable for irritated skin. Keep it as a treat, not a treatment.


I've been on the look out for a trinket jar of sorts for some time now - I tend to accumulate a lot of odds and sods with no discernible home. I found some incredibly similar to the one above in Laura Ashley, but didn't fancy the price tag - enter, Home Bargains! I picked this up for £2.99 and it's currently the perfect dumping ground for hair elastics and grips. 

I'm something of a lover of all things Swatch, and have 8 to my name at current. I didn't pick one up for a few years due to a bit of a lull in their designs - I like my watches ridiculous (no Marc Jacobs on these wrists), and their designs got a little boring for my tastes. Things have picked up though, and I got this eye wrecking number for my birthday. The model is Green Spell, and I'd definitely recommend checking out their current collections for something a little different (and usually quite affordable!).

And finally..
image -

Not my own picture - mine's currently in several pieces in the dishwasher. But say hello to the Breville Active Blend, my favourite piece of kitchen equipment EVER. An individual blender which blends IN the the bottle - just pop in your fruit and/or veg, screw the blade on to the top of the bottle, dock and go. It's quick, it's powerful, it's INCREDIBLY easy to clean, and it makes it even easier for me to satisfy my smoothie addiction. My favourite combo is spinach, mango, pineapple and banana blended with water - full of vitamin goodness, and blending with water saves on the fat from milk (but the banana and mango still provide a delicious creaminess). This is frequently on offer and can be picked up for as little as £20! 

Apologies for the lengthy post, but there's just been too much worth raving about in the past month! Time to reign in the spending though - car related expenses aside (and a rapidly approaching holiday!), I hate to say it but.. Christmas is coming! Definitely not excited on anything. Nope. Surely not..

Ciao for now chums!

Thursday, 28 August 2014


So my previous efforts to make a return to the auburn side were something of a flop (to put it gently). An inhaler, some antihistamines and a self imposed ban from box dyes later, I was left with a shade I struggle to describe - copper, but not, but kinda ginger, but also just like a really unhealthy shade of urine. Like, the kind that gets people hospitalised.

And so, FUCK YO BOX DYES I said, did a vast amount of Googling, and wound up purchasing a couple of tubes of L'Oreal Majirel hair colours and some 20vol cream peroxide. Good choice, me.

DISCLAIMER! These are professional products, and I am very much not a professional. If you give it a go and it all goes Pete Tong, I ain't hearing none of it. Soz.

In the end I settled for a combination of two shades to get the colour I was after - 7.44 (very close to what I'd used previously, but more intensely copper), and 6.46 (a darker copper with more red/mahogany tones). I opted for half of each, and hoped for the best. Tres scientifique.

The Majirel colours work like most standard box dyes in that you mix your colour with your developer, only allowing you the option of a) mixing colours,  and b) choosing your preferred strength of developer. As a guide, 10vol is fine for depositing colour only (so if you're going darker than your current colour), with 20, 30 and 40vol providing increasing power of 'lightening'. Going too many levels lighter than your natural colour tends to look a bit bizarre anyway (as well as being more damaging), so 20vol is often sufficient. I'd definitely recommend reading up about the numbering system for determining hair colours however - it'll make choosing your dyes considerably easier.

So, what do I need? Nothing particularly flashy. Here's my little set up;

A plastic tub (never metal! And your mum might not appreciate you using the china. If you don't still live with your parents though, GO MENTAL). A tint brush. Gloves (no shitty freebies here). Something to measure your peroxide in. TOWELS. GRIMEY OLD TOWELS. A source of entertainment while you paint your head (if in doubt, Archer).
Don't forget your colour(s) and peroxide - I grabbed both off of eBay (cheap, cheerful, trusted sellers, VERY quick delivery).

The colours in question. Each tube is 50g, and half of each for a 50g total was enough to cover my head. So if you're just using one colour, go ahead and use the whole tube. If you have long or thick hair, purchasing more than one might be pertinent. The ratio of colour:developer varies between brands, but for Majirel that ratio is 1:1.5 - so if you're using 50g, you'll need 75mL of developer.

Mix that baby up in your tub and get a somewhat concerning colour..

No, I didn't make a completely balls up of my colour choices. Once it makes its way on to your head you'll notice if goes orange fairly quickly. The left pictures shows the colour after first mixing the colour and the developer; the right shows the colour after 15 minutes. I have no idea why, but you're supposed to leave the mix to stand for a while before slapping it on. Like I said, definitely not a professional.

Beyond this point it's all just slapping some dye on and making a right mess of the white tiles. Apply the colour to the lengths first and roots later (the heat from your scalp will cause the colour at your roots to develop faster). The processing time for Majirel is 35 minutes, so keep an eye on the time, watch some daytime telly (#noshame) and then get rinsing. As usual, don't use shampoo. Rinse until the water runs clear (ideally with cold water if you can bear it), and then liberally condition. 


HOOOO-FUCKIN'-RAY! A non-disaster! This is definitely more the colour I wanted in the first place (maybe a little less red but this is a HUGE improvement), and I'm no longer embarrassed to leave the house. EXCELLENT. So how much does it cost? The initial investments are minor (assuming you have some old tupperware kicking around, all you need is a tint brush and some gloves), and the dye and developer are better value than you'd think. I paid £8.95 per tube of Majirel, and £3.75 for 250mL of developer. Considering I'll get two full applications out of the Majirel tubes, and three (and a bit) out of the developer, that puts my per application cost at £10.20. While it's slightly more expensive than most box dyes (though the Feria was definitely the worst £5.89 I've spent in a while), it's vastly cheaper than having it done professionally, with a full head colour often costing upwards of £40. So if you have a little faith in your ability with a tint brush, I'd certainly advocate giving it a go.

I also went a small step further.. given that my eyebrows are quite a dark, ashy brown, they look vastly out of place with my new colour. So what did I do? Slap some leftover dye on them, of course! This is almost definitely not recommended (probably), but I saw it on YouTube so WHATEVZ. You can see the result in the above pictures (filled in with UD Buck eyeshadow as well) - I left the colour on for about 7 minutes in total, checking the progress every 2 minutes or so. They're not an exact match for my hair - still a little darker, which is good since matchy matchy hair and eyebrows doesn't look quite right on most people.

I have every right to look worried - this could've gone so much worse.

Excuse the length post, but thankfully that marks the end of my two-part quest for ginger. To summarise:
  • fuck Feria
  • hooray for Majirel

Wednesday, 27 August 2014


Poor bloggy, you've been somewhat neglected lately. Life's been hectic, but it's paying off - I've gone and got myself a new job! Hopefully once I'm settled in a routine with that, blogging will make a return to the foreground of my life again. But for now: HAIR.

Hairdye and myself have a somewhat turbulent history. My first foray started during the school holidays, aged 13, armed with a box of purple dye. Surprisingly my mother didn't object, and even more surprisingly it looked good - or at least I thought it did, but regardless I still look back on it fondly. I moved on to some 'subtle' streaks - turquoise, and later blue, which again I loved. Late high school and early college saw a return to brown, and an ongoing journey in red hair started around age 17.

Oh, red hair.. you and me have had some times. Some ups, some downs. Red hair is tough, because while it's a hard colour to maintain anyway, finding the right shade is more difficult than you'd anticipate. The pinnacle of my red haired adventures came during university, first year, when I started sporting the most startling postbox red barnet known to man. See posey Facebook profile picture of times gone by:


Pictures don't do it justice, it was RED. I would never sport it again now, but it was obviously the look I was going for at the time and whatevz, I clearly loved it. Loved it so much that I kept dying it even though a concerningly large quantity of my hair dropped off my head. lolwhoops.

For that reason, the adventures stopped circa 2012, and since then I've been varying shades of light brown with distinctly ginger undertones. Following an extended period of my natural mousey brown and a really shitey "ombre" (never let your hairdresser charge you £50 for what is quite clearly a dip dye), red is making a return. Not so bright this time, but the more auburn end of matters. Hopefully, anyway - the start has been a rocky one. 

I opted for L'Oreal Feria in Mango Intense Copper (7.4) on the assumption that since my hair was darker in the roots and some of lengths, it wouldn't be quite as intensely copper as the box - because as anyone who's ever dabbled in hair dyes probably knows, the results are usually somewhat darker than the colour on the box.
Yeah, to my dismay (and horror, really), this dye lifts reeeeeally well. On the downside, while my hair is light the colour is dull, so the result is me looking pretty washed out and icky sicky.

WHAT HAVE I DONE. The horrors of this outcome are not damped by the fact that I'm desperately overdue for a haircut. Ick, ick and thrice.. ick.

So what about the dye itself? It's not my fave. I'd always recommend the John Frieda Precision Foam Colour dyes because I feel that they're hassle free with pretty true to colour results, but unfortunately their range is limited. This L'Oreal offering seemed very well reviewed, so a whimmy trip to Boots commenced, and 30 minutes later I was back home slapping dye on willy nilly.

Consistency - weird. Runny, but a slightly jelly like texture?
Colour - Purpleish when it's first applied. DON'T PANIC! This is no reflection on the final colour.
Extras - Good conditioner. Shit gloves. I always use a separate pair of latex gloves because those freebie ones are like trying to work with mini bin bags on your hands.
Smell - On this basis alone, regardless of your desired colour, I would NOT recommend this dye. I'm well accustomed to the smell of dyes - that delicious waft of ammonia - but this BURNS. My eyes burnt, my nostrils burnt. I persevered but after about 20 minutes I had a lot of tightness in my chest, so grabbed my inhaler, popped a Piriton and washed that shit off. I have an inhaler anyway for some mild hayfever related asthma, but this was considerably worse than anything I've previously experienced, and unlike anything I've felt from other hair dyes. It was a little scary to be honest - a tight chest, palpitations and general panic all in all amounted to a fairly unpleasant hair dying experience. Weirdly, I didn't experience any tingling in my scalp which I find pretty common with most dyes - it is feeling distinctly itchy today however.

So, an unpleasant colour and an uncomfortable experience. I'll be colouring over it soon (following a patch test of course!) with some better researched colour options, so an update will be due in the near future hopefully.


Thursday, 31 July 2014





I am a dry shampoo fanatic. I refuse to wash my hair more than twice a week (sorrynotsorry), and as such have quite the love affair with Batiste - tropical scent, preferably. Usually I have a stash of two big 400mL cans on standby, but I failed myself and my mother's tendency for keeping a spare of everything and ran out completely. I tend to pick the cans up when they're inevitably half price somewhere, but in my moment of need - nothing! And even this dry shampoo devotee isn't going to fork out £5 for a single can. But it's okay! Aussie's new 'Aussome Volume Miracle Dry Shampoo' was on offer. Aussie? Decent. Volume? Love it. Dry shampoo? DA BEST. Obviously I had no second thoughts about this purchase. But let's cut to chase here: IT'S GROSS. THE 'DRY SHAMPOO' ASPECT IS NON-EXISTENT. IT FEELS TACKY (AND I HATE IT). IT SMELLS LIKE BATHROOM CLEANER (THE CHEAP KIND). It has the consistency (do sprays have a consistency?!) of several dry texturising sprays, which rarely leave your hair feeling particularly pleasant - think icky, sticky matted mess. It just doesn't feel like a dry shampoo. It doesn't work like a dry shampoo. IT'S NOT A BLOODY DRY SHAMPOO. If they'd tried flogging it as a volumising/texturising spray sans the dry shampoo aspect I might have less issues, but when you wake up for work at 5am and just want to grab the dry shampoo, a hair band and get the heck on with it, THIS IS NOT CONDUCIVE. 

The most offensive part about this big ol' can of odorous shite is that it retails at £4.99 for 180mL! It's currently at an introductory price of £3.33 in Boots, but don't let that sway you because it's STILL HORRENDOUS. On the upside, Batiste (holy overlord of all things dry shampoo) is currently half price in Superdrug, so if you were thinking of giving the Aussie offering a go.. save your pennies, and your angst.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014


“Detox”. I’ve seen this word thrown round an awful lot recently, and it seems to be becoming harder to avoid wherever I go – blogs of all variety are advocating the detox. Lifestyle, skincare, food, there’s ALWAYS a place for a little bit of detox. I reached a point of frustration recently when reading about the benefits of lemon water, because sweet jesus, you try and find an article discussing it’s benefits without some variation of “it helps to flush out toxins” uttered at some point. Though, this can’t be a bad thing right? After all, if we’re to go by the Oxford Concise Medical Dictionary definition of toxin..

well I never.

“Toxin, n. A poison produced by a living organism, especially by a bacterium. In the body toxins act as antigens, and special antibodies (antitoxins) are formed to neutralize their effects.”

Gasp! POISON! But then, our bodies undergo detoxification every day without any further assistance. They’re very good at it in fact, with whole organs dedicated to the cause (liver, kidneys, colon. You may have heard of them). Sometimes these systems don’t quite work as intended, but modern medicine has very generously provided us with the means to overcome this is many situations – think antidotes to poisons, and dialysis for those whose kidneys fail. These are extremes of course, and day to day our bodies cope very well with detoxing, with most unnecessary by-products finding their way out by one means or another.

The things is, talking about detox in the sense of the day to day metabolism our bodies undergo is easy (though not necessarily simple), because it's all nice solid fact. As is the centrepiece of science - evidence! It's what separates the science and medicine we know from the pseudo and the alternative. Some clever sausages can map the processes going on in our bodies during metabolism, from start to finish, with all the intermediates and catalysts involved along the way. The thing is, this new slant on detox (think all things juice fasting, lemon juice, acai berry, footbaths etc) claims to do something that our bodies aren't managing by themselves - nobody quite knows what of course, but a cursory Google of 'why should I detox' suggests that I'm accumulating all sorts of nasties, such as CHEMICALS! POLLUTION! SHITTY FOOD! ARGH! Of course, all these things need 'flushing' and there's no way my body is capable of this alone. Ahem. 

The big thing that narks me about all this thought: What are these mystical toxins? Our bodies work in very specific processes, yet all this discussion is very vague. What are these chemicals that our bodies can't cope with alone? Why can't they? And how do these detox methods actually change that? There's not even an agreed definition for 'toxin' or 'detox' in the concept of alternative medicine, which would perhaps seem like a strong starting point. It's all very well telling me that lemon water will give my innards a magical boost, but until you can tell me what toxins it's shifting and how, forgive me for I may seem just the tiniest but sceptical.

And then to top it off, these toxins are apparently making me sick! How do we know it's the toxins if we can't even name them? The particularly sad part for me is that these toxins are often brandished as 'cancer causing' (because if you can claim they cause any disease, I supposed it'd be the one we're yet to pinpoint all the causes of). It's sad because it drums fear in to people, fear of something that may be unavoidable by sheer unfortunate genetics, or something which may simply never happen. People live in fear of cancer as it is, and I can't help but feel that there's no need to contribute to any more 'what ifs' with such little evidence behind them. There's plenty of valid cancer research constantly ongoing, and this is very much not it. People already buy in to incredibly expensive detox methods (the cost of a juice cleanse program can run in to hundreds), but this pushes in to the territory of preying on the vulnerable - because it's not just going to appeal to those in fear of developing cancer, but to those already affected by it. This is a whole other issue which extends waaaay beyond the world of detox, but nevertheless, is not something which needs to be contributed to any further.

However, the thing that bothers me the most about the concept of toxins and detox, is the complete and utter disregard for everything we understand about the human body. As soon as you start to study our biochemistry in any sort of depth, you quickly get an understanding of just how deep our knowledge runs, and how precisely we can study the reactions that keep us functioning every day, right down to the tiniest details. It's awe inspiring, and it makes you appreciate how finely tuned our bodies are to deal with the world around us. This understanding makes the concept of something like a detox seem a little bit insulting - hey, take this incredibly expensive supplement with no regulated strength, it'll do these wonderful things for you! Nothing specific.. and we can't tell you how it does it.. but yeah, it's pretty great. Convincing, huh?

Despite my general displeasure with the subject, a lot of detox ideas aren't going to do you any harm. Acai berries, juices (as part of a balanced diet), lemon water - these things are not harmful, and while their purported benefits might not hold much ground, there's no need to drop them if you feel they bring something to your diet - after all, you know your body best in terms of wellness. But never stop asking yourself how, what and why. Don't just accept things without questioning, even if there's truth in the matter. We never stop learning, and a thirst for knowledge drives us all, individually and collectively, in to a future of understanding.

So, what the f*ck are toxins?

And why should you care? Well, you probably needn't. Eat well. Exercise occasionally (often, if you're a better person than I). Enjoy yourself. Live happy. All things in moderation (including lemon water, cos that shit probably ain't good for yo teeth).

Tuesday, 22 July 2014


I like to go a bit cray cray with the eyeshadow. I love me a bright purple lipstick. I've spent many days and nights perfecting my brow game. But some times I just cannot be bothered, or it's just too hot, or I just feel like embracing my inner ~beach babe~ (cringe). Alongside an ever evolving skincare routine, I've been focusing on simple but fresh faced makeup recently, and I'm liking the results - its quicker in the mornings, there's less upkeep through the day, and my skins looking fairly on point (bar the persistent dryness around my mouth - WHY?!?!). Today I swapped out my usual brown liner for a jazzy turquoise number, and it's amazing how much a small change can perk up a look.

I've been wearing this look in slight variations for a while, and the power of a good fresh faced look is in the base. I have in my arsenal a few choice weapons:

  • Bourjois Healthy Mix. If you're feeling a little more confident with your skin you could opt for a BB cream or tinted moisturiser to keep it super fresh, but I find this Bourjois offering gives perfect light-medium coverage while maintaining that 'inner glow'. Another one I like for this look is MAC Face and Body, but guys, two words for you - BEAUTY. BLENDER. Nothing gets my foundation looking quite so skinlike, and can't reccomend it enough. Oh, and another couple of words: STEP AWAY FROM THE MATTE FINISHES. 
  • Sleek Face Form palette. Not just for this look.. for pretty much every look I ever create. A good matte bronzer (not orange! WOO), a powder highlight and a gorgeous pink/gold blush. I left the blush untouched for this look, with just a light sweep of bronzer on the cheekbones/jawline/temples, and highlight on the cheekbones, nose and upper lip. A gentle hand will suffice - let's not get all Kim K up in here.
  • Sleek Blush in Coral. As lovely as the Rose Gold blush from the Face Form palette is, it's just a little too much on the shimmery side of things for this look. Coral is a matte finish, barely there colour (though it can be built up), which adds a bit of dimension to the face - nothing about that uniform colour look that comes with using foundation really screams 'so natural! SO FRESH!'
That's the uber basics. In this look I also used Khiel's Micro Blur Skin Perfector to prime, and a touch of Laura Mercier Mineral Powder to set my unusually oily nose (I am typically drier than the Sahara. I have no idea what's happening) - the ultimate choice in setting powder here would probably something in the fashion of MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural or the Hourglass Ambient Light powders. Wow, such glow. 

The rest of this look is very simple - a touch of brown powder and Maybelline Brow Drama through the brows, GOSH Velvet Touch pencils in Rebellious Brown and I Sea You (obviously if you're going for a true 'no make-up make-up' vibe, perhaps omit the turquoise liner - though I thoroughly advocate it), Natural Collection LashLength mascara (still the best £1.99 of my life), and a very light slick of Rimmel Kate Moss Lasting Finish in 03. If you just can't find a good nude shade, a tinted moisturiser if just sufficient to bring it all together. Bonus - soft soft lips.

I suppose this is really too simple to be a tutorial, and is more just guidance. It's also a reminder that sometimes it's nice to just to step it back and let the small details do the talking, like that smallest sweep of coloured liner.  Plus it's nice to have a simple routine to fall back on that still promises good results - because not every day do I have the inclination to get my wings and brows perfectly even, or to keep reapplying that bold lip colour. And ultimately, I'm a lazy sod.. who likes to look nice. COMPROMISE!

Peace, beauties.

Monday, 21 July 2014


So it's not just nail polishes that have been on the bank balance offensive this week. After a mere post-work stroll in to House of Fraser to have a whiff of the new Marc Jacobs fragrance (Daisy Dream - lovely and fresh for summer, though I generally prefer my fragrances a tad sweeter), I noticed a whole new Kiehl's counter! Like your average high street sucker and skincare lover, I was drawn in by the gorgeous displays and colourful yet still somewhat clinical design. I think I'm convinced by things with a clinical appearance - probably why I love LRP and Boots so much. Absolute sucker. Also the dangers of working in a city centre.

Otherwise overlooked- Botanics Instant Moisture Mist. A super refreshing, lightly moisturising aerosol spray which has been something of a godsend on these muggy days. Currently £3.29.

Believe it or not (given the size of that carrier bag), I actually only left with a small tub of the Creamy Eye Treatment. Kiehl's products generally don't seem to be that well reviewed with the exception of a few products, including this little number. I generally avoid eye creams since they're often not a lot of product for an awful lot of money  (and sometimes even just repackaged moisturiser), but I've had my eye (heh) on this for a while. It's rich - very rich - which is just what my dry, dehydrated eyes are crying out for. It contains shea butter and avocado oil, and as you gently rub this in it turns from a thick, creamy texture to a light, almost watery one. Freakin' magic. A couple of nights worth of liberal use has sorted some minor flaking round my eyes right out, and I also tried it out on some persistent dryness at the corners of my mouth - low and behold, it's most definitely improving! You really need the smallest amount of this, so that in combination with it's versatile nature makes it well worth treating yourself in my opinion. For some comparison, I used Clinique's All About Eyes Rich for quite a long time, and this immediately blows that out of the water. Infact, it's like Clinique don't even know the meaning of the word 'rich'. SORT IT OUT.

A texture which screams PUT ME ON YOUR FACE!

At £20 it certainly isn't the cheapest eye cream I've tried, nor the most expensive - but it certainly has the most satisfying and nourishing texture, so I'm pretty sold. The staff at the Khiels counter were also incredibly polite and helpful, and you get 3 free samples with your purchase too. Even better, you get a choice! I opted for the Ultimate Strength Hand Salve (nice, but unfortunately not a patch on my ever loved LRP Cicaplast Mains), and the Micro-Blur Skin Perfector, since I seem to be making the rounds on primer samples at the moment, and had Creme de Corps thrown in as a bonus. I also picked up a sample of the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask from some very helpful staff in Boots, which I've used a couple of times and absolutely LOVE - so I'll most certainly be picking up a full size tube of that in that near future. 

I've got a couple of beauty boxes on their way to me, but I'll be reeling in the spending this week otherwise - or just a self imposed polish ban at least!

An unrelated side note - while in Boots (it's always in Boots, isn't it?!) I had a go with a sample of Elizabeth Arden's 8 Hour Skin Protectant cream, having heard all sorts of wonderful things about it. They only had a tube of the newer fragrance free version for testing, and holy hell guys.. it REEKS. I'm not a person who's particularly sensitive to smells, but yeah. That would not go near my face. Does anyone know if the original, fragranced version is more tolerable?

Ciao for now, chums.

Sunday, 20 July 2014


It's been a pretty heavy going week on the nail polish front. I've had a problem with polishes for quite some time now, but bar a few sporadic 3 for 2 Barry M purchases I'd managed to refrain for a while. But then I went in to TK Maxx (see my previous post r.e OPI's A Woman's Prague-ative).. and then I noticed Fragrance Direct had a bunch of new polishes in.. and THEN Boots only went and put a bunch of Models Own on clearance didn't they. Unfortunately the latter was at the expense of my local store removing their Models Own stand in it's entirety - I'm royally miffed since they did some gorgeous polishes unlike any from other drugstore brands. Alas.

The offending Fragrance Direct purchase. Essie Mind Your Mittens, For The Twill of It, Vested Interest and Power Clutch (£2.25 each). OPI I Brake For Manicures and Are We There Yet? (£3.99 each). Ciate Stricly Legal (£2.99). Orly Liquid Vinyl (£2.99).

I'm on a bit of a dark nail hype right now - can you tell? The purchase of Are We There Yet? therefore felt somewhat necessary to break up the doom and gloom, but they're all great polishes in terms of colour, and I've never had a problem with the consistency or finish of polishes from any of the 4 brands. I can't recommend Fragrance Direct enough - they do a huge variety of products but I've only ever bought polishes from there. The prices are great, products are fab and the delivery is fast. Get on it if you haven't already. So far I've only worn Essie's Vested Interest, which is a lovely grey/blue/teal mash up that appeals to all my needs in terms of dark, somewhat earthy colours. I had to include of close up of Ciate's Strictly Legal though - galaxy in a bottle, non?!

oooooh yeah

I picked up 3 Models Own polishes in Boots, at a purse friendly £2.50 each. A couple of these had been on my infinite polish wishlist for a while now - Southern Lights and Absinthe, with Bronze Rage being a whimmy purchase (cos boy do I love me a metallic finish). Forgive the bad lighting and poor angle, because nothing quite captures just how intensely glittery Southern Lights is. Also, the lid on Absinthe is velvet - I love nail polish, I love velvet, what's a girl to do.

You get the gist.

Now all I need to do is actually use them all. My poor nails.

Peace, lovers!

Thursday, 17 July 2014


Summer is the season of bronzed and beautiful skin.. unless you're me. Looking preeeetty nasty pale over here. But bronze is beautiful in other forms too - I've been loving the Rimmel shadowstick in Bad Girl Bronze recently, and the metallic browns and golds of the Urban Decay Naked palettes have been long time favourites. So why not bring this metallic lovin' to the nail game? Enter, OPI's A Woman's Prague-ative.

Ok, so it's probably more on the copper end of matters - though I feel it photographs more red than it appears in person. It's a truly beautiful shade, and while at first I thought it felt a little autumnal, it's got a very summery quality about too - sunsets reflecting on tropical seas, and all that. And when the sun hits it - oh my. That shimmer cray. I applied it over a coat of Orly's 'Country Club Khaki', and got an even finish in two coats (with a coat of Sally Hansens Insta-dri for good measure. MA FAVE).

 I love OPI polishes, but they don't make their way in to my collection too often since they tend to exceed my self imposed limit of £5 per polish. They do crop up for considerably more palatable prices than the £11.50 RRP though - this little beauty came from TKMaxx for £3.99! Bargains. My local TKMaxx has been stocking OPI sets for some time now, but has only recently started selling single polishes too. Tres excite. Another good source for OPI (amongst others, including Essie and Ciate) is Fragrance Direct. I've been a BIIIIIG FD fan for some time, but they're now sporting a revamped website and a tonne of new colours to boot - it's definitely worth an oogle if you're a bit of a polish glutton. In fact, I may have put in an order for another 8 new polishes recently.. so more polish posts on the horizon I guess! On a side note, how excellent are OPIs shade names? They never seem to run out of fresh ideas, and they always tie in so well with their collection.

What's your favourite OPI shade? I mean, it's not like my addiction needs facilitating any further.. but what's a few more bottles?!

Monday, 14 July 2014


First things first, HOW THE FLIP IS IT THE MIDDLE OF JULY. I'm having a very big struggle with the concept of time (and the apparent lack of it) right now, and as such it's been a very slack couple of weeks on the blogging front. Too much work, little play. Can't I just become a full time blogger already? No? Oh well, have a Birchbox review while I try and redeem myself.

After being reeled in by last months amazing Birchbox, it felt only fair to give it another go. I was never expecting it to be quite as grand as June's, and didn't have high hopes based on the reviews I'd already seen - but presume I should not, for I was pleasantly surprised. Let's 'av a run down.
  • Model's Own nail polish in Aqua Splash. I really rate the Model's Own polishes so I was very excited to spot this! This is a flakie-finish top coat, and while they can be a little difficult to work with this gives a beautiful finish (particularly over a dark base colour). I'd also recommend Indian Ocean (a duochrome finish lilac/blue top coat - gorgeous over light grey) and Juicy Jules (the glitteriest motherfucker you ever did see - royal pain in the arse to get off. So worth it). RRP £5
  • Laqa & Co Sheer Lip Lube pencil in Menatour. I was very pleased with this, since all the reviews I saw featured the peachy coral shade of this which is on offer - lovely colour, but coral is not a colour that flatters me. Sheer but somewhat buildable with a little hard work, this gives a wash of not quite pink, not quite purple colour. Would I pay the RRP? Probably not, but I prefer a bolder lip usually - and it's nice to try something you wouldn't usually buy otherwise. RRP £14
  • Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream. Eh. That's about all. Does anyone actually buy Balance Me products? They seem to constantly be dolled out as freebies with magazines - not complaining, I love me a freebie! But I struggle with eye creams and this is far too light for me - it's very refreshing, but I won't be using it long enough to comment on the brightening qualities. Probably a nice treat for tired eyes on a warm day if you're less freakishly dry than I. RRP £20
  • Benefit The Porefessional. I never would have thought to pick this up - as well rated as it seems to be, I just assumed it wouldn't suit my skin. But this is the joy of samples - it's great! Under my Bourjois Healthy Mix it gives a smooth, long lasting finish without drying out my skin in the process. Also very handy since I'd just run out of primer this week.. Birchbox is so on my wavelength. RRP £24.50
  • Whish Three Wishes Lavender Body Butter. Oh, more body creams. GOOD. But jkz, because I have samples coming out of my ears when it comes to body creams, and very rarely do they see light of day. I just don't get excited over them, plus.. it's an effort. Smells nice though - I'm a big fan of lavender and its relaxing qualities. The scent of this isn't over powering, but just enough to make me smile. RRP £14.50
  • Filosofille 4-sided nail buffer. Nothing exciting but these are super useful, and my current one is looking very tatty! Not ideal for shaping nails but useful for buffing them down and adding shine, these buffer blocks are a handy little tool to keep in the nail care arsenal.

All in all - DECENT. I think I'm getting the beauty box bug. I've been eyeing up the Latest in Beauty Glamour beauty edit box - almost £90 worth of products for £17? My bargain hunting senses are tingling.

Peace for now, beauty buffs.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014


sigh. I can restrain from spending on almost anything except skincare. Bags? whatevz. Shoes? Eh, I'll think about it. Clothes? nah, I'll probably only wear it once. But I just love new skincare products, particularly when they're from a brand I already know and love. In this blogs short life I've mentioned La Roche-Posay more times than I dare count, but seriously. It's in good reason. Targeted products for the majority of skincare concerns, no frills branding, and very respectable prices given the efficacy of their products. Some of their products are firm favourites, others have shown good results but been swapped out in the name of product comparison, but none of them have truly failed me yet. And with todays package from Escentual landing on my doorstep (thanks mr postman), my adoration has only grown.

Oooooh yeah, that packaging. Clinical minimalistic goodness. I'm slightly upset about ruining the two tone continuity with the Nuxe package, but it's only fair - it was a part of the haul after all.

Let's get the run down, L-R.
  • LRP Nutritic Intense Riche. This is my third repurchase of this product, because hot dayum it's AMAZING. It's intensive, soothing, comes in a glass jar (I'm all about those glass jars), and moisturises my skin to perfection overnight. Not too heavy on the skin but so luxurious and creamy when applied, this is the moisturiser my life lacked for so long, and the product that turned me in to a complete slave to LRP. RRP £16.50
  • LRP Physiological Cleansing Milk. I've previously mentioned the fact that I've been committed to Clarins' cleansing milk to normal/dry skin for approximately forever, but I'm nearing the end of a bottle and it's pretty pricey stuff for my budget. This LRP is a fantastic alternative - aimed at dry to very dry and sensitive skin types, it cleanses effortlessly, soothes and comforts the skin, and doesn't sting sensitive eyes. It's everything a cleanser should be, and wipes away the residue of my initial oil cleanse no probs. But, I ADORE the smell of the Clarins milk, so much so that it might be enough to lure me back. Soz, LRP. This stuff is on form and both are fantastic for dry/sensitive skin, but Clarins has my heart on this occasion. RRP £12
  • LRP Hydraphase Intense Riche. Purchased for use as a day time moisturiser underneath make up, this baby was a very solid purchase. I've previously tried the LRP Hydreane Rich and the Avene Hydrance Optimale - both lovely products, but I find the moisturising quality somewhat short lived, causing my make up to flake after a few hours wear. But even on the first application of the Hydraphase, it felt different - intense and nourishing like the Nuritic, but with a much lighter texture (and a handy pump!). The feeling is long lasting, and hasn't left my face feeling parched after a short while. This baby promises 24hr hydration (unlikely on my whacked out face, but we'll try), and contains hyuralonic acid fragments - great for dehydrated skin due to it's ability to hold mammoth amounts of water. HAPPY SKIN AHOY. RRP £16.50
  • LRP Lipikar Baume AP. I purchased this on something of a whim after reading a great review. The Lipikar range is designed with dry, very dry and eczema prone skin types in mind, so it already had my name written all over it. My eczema has decided to re-emerge recently (lolthanks), and while I already have an arsenal of products to keep it fairly under control, I'm always happy expand that. This is a 'lipid replenshing body balm', with anti-irritattion and anti-scratching benefits (itch scratch cycle and all that). Honestly? I'm underwhelmed, and it's the first time I can say that for an LRP product. It does feel incredibly moisturising, due to the shea butter and canola oil, and would be great just for dry skin - but anti-irritation and anti-scratch it is not, which is what I really needed from it. I still love ya LRP, but less of that please. RRP £12.50
  • LRP Lipikar Xerand hand repair cream. This was purchased out of interest after my success with the Cicaplast hand cream (which I discussed here), and it's another solid hand cream effort to blow your standard high street offerings out of the water, in my opinion. A more creamy/lotion type texture that the Cicaplast, the Lipikar hand cream is rapidly moisturising but with long lasting effect, and quick to absorb. It's far less rich than the Cicaplast Hands, so I'll probably opt for this as my day-to-day hand cream while my hands are a little calmer - the Cicaplast worked a treat to soothe my very dry, cracked, and infuriatingly itchy hands while they were flaring, so there's another definite repurchase for the future! The Lipikar Xerand would be fantastic for most people and as a means of maintaining silky soft hands, particularly given a) how cheap it is and b) how fast it absorbs, great for thoroughout the day application wherever you may be. RRP £5
  • Nuxe Rêve de Miel Lip Balm. I always thought nearly £10 seemed a little steep for a lip balm, so I took advantage of the 1/3 off promotion to see if this really lives up to the hype. It smells gorgeous, I love the glass jar (frosted for bonus points), it feels thick and nourishing without any stickiness, and 15g is a LOT of product for a lip balm - given that a 4.25g tube of Burts Bees lasts me an inifnite amount of time (definitely not because they get lost before I have a chance to finish them...), this pot ought to last for many moons to come. RRP £9.50
Phew, review DONE. I can't recommend LRP products enough - obviously I sway more to the dry/very dry and dehydrated side of things, but they have top quality and very highly rated products for oily, acne prone, redness prone and aging skin types also, so take a gander. Saying that.. I'm getting cold feet. I LOVE LRP, but I'm a total sucker for new skincare! After falling for the Vinoperfect Day Perfecting Fluid sample in this months Birchbox, I'm feeling a bit of a Caudalie thang coming on. Better get saving first..

Escentual's 1/3 off French Pharmacy promotion ends on 30th June, so get cracking for great products with a fair chunk of money off the RRP!

Friday, 20 June 2014


Yeah, so I signed up for the Beauty Blender. I know nothing's guaranteed in terms of which items you'll get, but given that I also found a £5 discount voucher bringing the whole box to £7.95 with P&P, it wasn't going to be the end of the world if I didn't open up that box and find that oh-so coveted pink sponge inside.


There she be, gently nestled in her den.

I've liked the concept of beauty boxes for some time, but they just always seemed so hit and miss that I didn't want to waste the little money to my name on something that could be full of junk. However, the products on offer this month were just too good to pass up, so I bit the beauty box bullet - good choice, me.

Obviously the Beauty Blender was the big item for this months Birchbox - with a full retail price of £26 (blender + cleaning soap), I dare say it's a downright (albeit not guaranteed) bargain. However, the blender is far from the only great item available this month. 

This box is strong, yo. The only item I'm not mad about is the Naobay body lotion - but it's not bad, just very nondescript. Like most body lotions to me, really. Plus it has a smell that screams medicinal-meets-spice rack to me, which isn't exactly my #1 choice of scents. That minor downer aside, LOOK AT THEM GOODIES
  • Caudalie Vinoperfect Day Perfecting Fluid. Admittedly, the name of this product alone gave me no freakin' clue as to what it actually was, but a little read up lead me to the assumption that it's along the same lines as the Clarins Flash Beauty Balm, which I LOVE. It claims to boost radiance, even out the complexion, reduce dark spots and offer hydration. It can also be used as a primer, or alone without makeup. So yes - Clarins FBB to a tee! I don't often go without foundation or a BB cream, but this did make my skin look fresh, even, and with a lovely sort of 'just cleansed' glow. I'm intrigued to try out its capabilities as a primer too, since I'm on the look out for a new one!
  • OPI Nail polish from the Brazil Collection. What can I say? FREE OPI! I'm a nail polish junkie and even though yellow wouldn't usually be my first choice, it's a great summer colour and it's nice to have something that isn't particularly similar to any other polishes I own. Plus the OPI minis are a brilliant size for travelling!
  • theBalm How 'Bout Them Apples? palette sample - shade 'Pie'. AHHHH MORE ADORABLE TINY GOODIES! Nothing puts me in full blown girl mode like a miniature cosmetic - and as a bonus to being adorable, it's actually a great product. I've been wanting to try a cream blush for a while but I find choosing blushes to be a strangely difficult affair, so having one chosen for me is a bonus in itself. Gloriously creamy and pigmented, a little of this goes a long way! This (and the full size palette) are suitable for use on cheeks and lips, though I've only tried it on the former so far. I'm in love though, and definitely considering picking up the full size version already!
  • Birchbox 'Brazil Inspired Keyring'. Yeah, not many ways to describe this, but I'm a sucker for a keyring and this baby's going straight on my keys.. when I find them. Currently missing for 12 hours. WHOOPS
This is a fantastic little kit and a total steal for the £7.95 I paid. I would've reeeeeeeeeeeally liked to give the Caudalie Divine Oil a go as well, but I'm chuffed with the alternatives at least. I was initially going to just get the one box but I think I'll hold out for next months to see how it compares - though it has a huge likelihood of being quite a disappointment compared to this I think!

Sign up for your Birchbox at, and don't forget - as with any online purchase, search around for discount codes and save them pennies (..for more goodies! or food, but whatever)!