October 30, 2013

October 2013 Favourites

October 2013 Favourites
October was a good month for me, not only was it my birthday month but I discovered a load of new beauty products that I have fallen in love with. The products featured this month are all new to my stash and are the ones that have stood out to me most throughout the month.

Now I have raved about these before (here) but the L'Oreal EverRiche Shampoo & Conditioner have been giving me silky smooth hair all month. They have that 'unable to stop touching my hair' effect which I love. Another product that I have already reviewed (here) and sang it's praises is the Bourjois Java Rice Powder, a brightening powder that has been giving my skin the perfected look that I have craved for so long. Something that every beauty lover has been instagramming the past few weeks is Essie's After School Boy Blazer and with good reason. A navy so dark it is pretty much black adorns nails perfectly for autumn. The final two products are both from NARS, and both presents from my boyfriend - heavy hints were given . Gaiety blush is one that I have been after for a while, being a pink kinda girl, for both lips and cheeks, this bright pink shade gives a gorgeous glow to my complexion. The Fairy's Kiss Palette is probably the perfect palette to see you through the autumn/winter months as it is filled with plumy shades to create every day and evening looks and I have been using this nearly everyday.

The leaves have started to fall, meaning all of my berry toned products are coming out, and my wishlist of berry toned products is ever growing... you can probably expect a haul sometime soon.

October 27, 2013

Slimming World: Information, Advice & My Journey

Since joining Slimming World a few months back I have has many people asking me to do a post telling you what it is like, how I'm finding it and mostly importantly... what I eat. Having recently reached my 2 stone weight loss I am feeling inspired and wanted to share this with you.

Why I Joined
I made the decision to join Slimming World to change my life. Which does sound a little bit dramatic but I found myself to be so unhappy with my weight and how I looked to the extent that I was only going to places if I absolutely had to (such as work/college) and would turn down family gatherings and social events because I felt too self conscious. I knew this needed to change, and with a encouragement from my boyfriend and family I went to my first Slimming World group, I also bought my mum along as well so we can help each other out as we go through our journey.

About Slimming World
The first thing you need to know about Slimming World is that it is not a diet, but a lifestyle change. They teach you to change how you are feeling about food and not to kick yourself if you slip up, or have a gain one week as it can be due to many other factors other than what you are eating such as water intake, monthly cycles or it could just be for no damn reason at all. Going to a group is a lot different to doing it by yourself at home. When I would diet at home, it would last about a week (if that) and I would be stuffing a chocolate bar down my throat but knowing that I am going somewhere to get weighed gives me motivation. Because let's face it... you don't want people knowing that you are not trying and just keep putting weight on. They will never announce your weight to the group but they say 'Emma has lost 'this many' pounds this week' and then you get a round of applause - which is nice! You also receive stickers and certificates for each mile stone, for example - 1/2 stone, 1 stone, 1 & 1/2 stone and so on. You also get a sticker for being Slimmer of the Week and Slimmer of the Month. This is probably my favourite bit as I love adding the stickers to my book.

The Food
This is probably the most important bit as no body likes to feel deprived of anything. Nothing is off limits... if you want a take away you can work it in, if you want a bit of chocolate you can work it in and if you want a huge blow out one night and want to eat every naughty thing under then sun then do it and get back on plan the next day. Simples. There are hundreds of recipes to try online, you can share them in group with other people, there are lots in the magazine and the hashtag 'slimmingworld' on Instagram gives me loads of inspiration. What you do have to watch and measure out is what you are cooking in such as oil, the fat that is in meat, diary such as milk and cheese and things like bread and cereal - however you are given a generous amount of each to use every day. Some of my favourite recipes are the curry sauces, homemade double stacked cheese burgers with chips and macaroni and cheese... just to name a few. If you would like to see recipes for these - let me know!

My Journey
In my first week on Slimming World I lost 5lbs which was a huge motivation to keep at it and with in 5 weeks I had lost 1 stone. In just 18 weeks I have lost 2 stone and that is with having about 3 weeks off plan for various things like holiday and birthdays and having a couple of weeks where I gained. I also had a quick measure the other night to find that I have lost 15 inches all over since losing my first stone (I forgot to measure myself at the very beginning). Although I still have a way to go as yet I am looking forward in seeing the changes in myself, not just physically but also mentally. I have so far been losing weight with out any exercise but once I achieve my 3 stone weight loss I will be looking into starting an exercise regime.

I am so happy that I took the step to join Slimming World and I am more than happy with the changes that I am seeing in myself! If you want to know anything else, or see any recipes just let me know!

October 23, 2013

Revlon Grow Luscious Plumping & Lash Potion Mascara

Revlon Grow Luscious Plumping & Lash Potion Mascara
Revlon Grow Luscious Plumping & Lash Potion Mascara
When it comes to mascara I have always been a loyal Falsies by Maybelline kind of girl, but after testing out two of Revlon's offerings I cannot remember the last time I used something else for my lashes. Being a lover of lashings of mascara, my day time lashes are just as dramatic as my evening ones and these mascaras bring it when it comes to volume. 

Revlon Grow Luscious Plumping Mascara is a twist on the original version, it still has the conditioning properties but this time it gives your lashes a little more oomph. The tapered wand is what makes this product special, it helps to ensure that each lash is well and truly coated - even those little ones in the corner of your eye. The result? Super long and full lashes. Not overly full so that they are clumping together but a little more drama than your usual mascara. 

Revlon Lash Potion Mascara is more about the volume. Having a smaller, but wider, wand helps to pack the product on to your lashes giving the voluminous effect. Perfect to accompany a smokey eye, this mascara will give you big fluttery lashes for any occasion. 

Now, I did pick up these mascaras for the promise of making my lashes stronger and longer and although I can't say they increased the length of my lashes, I did have some sparse areas that are now full and even which I put down to using these products. 

P.S - both of these are in 'blackest black' because, you know, black just isn't good enough...

October 21, 2013

Pepta-Bright Serum

Pepta-Bright Serum
If you were to ask me what makes the most difference to my skin, serums would win - hands down. Yes, you need to cleanse, tone and moisturizer day and night but to see a big difference in your skin I find that a serum can make the world of difference. However, rewind a few months back I had never thought about serums being included in a morning routine, but then I discovered Pepta-Bright...

Now this is not strictly a serum, it is a cream-serum but it does the same job. I'm a girl with a naturally rosy-red flush to my cheeks, and my skin tends to lack on the luminous front. So when I saw that Pepta-Bright helped in evening skin tone whilst reducing hyperpigmentation and restored radiance into the skin, I was all over it. You are directed to use this AM and PM but I use this solely in the morning, after my eye cream but before my moisturizer to help even out any redness to create an even base for my makeup.

I noticed a slight difference in my skin immediately after the first use but it wasn't until after a few days of continuous use that I had the 'wow' moment that really made me fall in love with this product. My skin tone was undoubtedly more more even and the redness wasn't such an issue, but the main difference was how much more glowing and brighter my skin looked. Which was something I hadn't had before. Not only that but Pepta-Bright makes my skin feel super soft, making my makeup appear a little nicer. I have normal/oily skin, but this would work perfectly for dryer skin types as well as it helps to stimulate cell turnover while hydrating the skin and the same time.

I am now a full-fledged member of the Serum-Lovers Club and have a nice little collection growing with in my skincare stash... any that you think I need to add?

October 20, 2013

Chanel Le Blush Creme De Chanel

Chanel Le Blush Creme De Chanel
Chanel Le Blush Creme De Chanel
Once hearing about the Chanel Cream Blushes and seeing many, many reviews and swatches of them online I was just waiting for the day that would finally be released in the UK. It took me about two weeks to decided on the shades that I wanted and about five minuets for me to click purchase. Although the hype around these blushes has decreased since the launch date several weeks back, I feel that they are still a note worthy product that deserves a place in every girls makeup collection.

Pictured above are Affinite which is a bright, hot fuchsia shade, and Inspiration which is not just a pretty name but also a beautiful muted pink shade. Out of the two Affinite is a much bolder choice, but not so much that it is hard to wear. Once blended out, which I like to do using the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, Affinite becomes a great pop of colour to adorn a simple makeup look. Inspiration is much easier to wear and works well with any makeup look to add a simple flush of colour to your cheeks, it also accompanies pale skin perfectly.

The texture of the Chanel Cream Blushes is what really makes them stand apart from all of the others. In the pan these are most definitely of the cream variety, they are not too creamy and not too dry, making them easy to work with. However these dry to a velvet finish, which is not only bang on trend for this season but it also gives a youthful glow to your cheeks with out being too dewy. I like to apply the product with my fingers, placing it just wear I want it to be and then blend it out with a brush, you could also do this with your fingers if you so wish.

What do you think about the Chanel Le Blush Creme De Chanel? Does one (or three) have a place in your makeup collection?

October 18, 2013

Bourjois Java Rice Powder

Bourjois Java Rice Powder
Over the summer months, having a glowing complexion was my main aim but even now the colder weather is upon us and I find my self opting for a more full coverage look I still want a bit of  radiance to my skin. I am a powder girl, but the ones I reach for are usually to give my foundation a more matte finish in order to reduce shine so stepping into the world of illuminating powders was a big one for me...

The Bourjois Java Rice Powder caught my attention after seeing it popping up here and there and with promises of radiance boosting properties it was quickly in my hand on the way to the tills. I think there should be a little mention of how cute this packaging is... the vintage design combined with the pale green packaging makes for a very pretty product. But it is what's on the inside that really makes the product shine, quite literally if you go a little over the top when applying this! In the pot the product appears a soft pink shade however once applied it becomes translucent meaning it is a great universal product for people with different skin tones.

You can definitely notice the shimmer running through the loose powder but I can assure you that it is not like applying glitter all over your face, the shimmer gives it it's radiance properties and works well at brightening your over all complexion. As for setting my makeup? The Java Rice Powder ticks this box as well. No need for a mid-day top up as it keeps oil at bay and makes sure your makeup stays put. My favourite thing about this powder is the 'blurring' effect that it has. Once applied, I immediately noticed how much more smooth and perfected my skin looks, it gives your makeup an almost air-bushed look to it. I like to apply this last thing using the Real Techniques Contour Brush so I have more control over exactly where I place it.

I cannot get enough of the Bourjois Java Rice Powder, it has even become my favourite step in my makeup routine and that is quite a big statement to make...

October 16, 2013

Empties #2

Empties #2
After my last empties post I expected it to take a while before having another one to share with you, but within about three weeks my 'empties bag' nearly brimming to the top so when it got to the point of it over flowing... I thought I should show you what I have used up.

Two products that I use up on a monthly basis are the Batiste Dry Shampoo and the Batiste XXL Volume Dry Shampoo. I use this on rotation depending on what look I want to achieve and what I am doing that day, these will forever been repurchased and I always have some stashed away for when I run out. Another product for my hair that I have finished is the Herbal Essences Bee Strong Strengthening Cream. I always spritz this throughout my hair before blow drying as it leaves my hair feeling incredibly soft and smooth, again I had a back up in product stash for when I ran out. Soap & Glory's Heel Genius is quite isn't exactly a glamorous product but it is an essential in my collection and I quickly repurchased this. If you want super soft feel, rub this is and pop on some socks over night!

The five remaining products are all skincare ones because I bought them all at the same time, which seemed like a good idea at the time however my collection quickly decreased over the space of a week or two. First up is the REN ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser which may be a mouthful to say but it will work wonders if you have got oily/blemish prone skin. Another cleanser that I love is the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, a favourite in the beauty community and with good reason. If you are looking for a great all round cleanser to clean your skin and remove makeup then this one is for you! Once my skin changed from oily to normal I swapped my toner for a balancing one in the form of Origins United State Balancing Toner. This has already been repurchased and is sitting happily in my collection. Another pick from Origins is the GinZing Moisturizer which has been a favourite of mine for months now, this makes for the perfect early morning pick me up as it is hydrating and filled with a citrus scent. Finally... the Indeed Labs Eysilix. This does the job that and eye cream is supposed to do and keeps my eye area hydrated, however it doesn't wow me so if you have any recommendations I would love to hear them!

I have just restocked my skin care stash so I'm hoping that it will be a little while until I have this many empties again...

October 13, 2013

Recent Skincare Additions

Recent Skincare Additions
After stepping up my game on the skincare front last year, my skin has gone from an oily mess to somewhat of a manageable state, however I seemed to have developed a skincare addiction. Anyone else suffer with this? Thought so. I'm always on the lookout for the next best thing to add to my collection...

It was a sad day when I released that my beloved Bioderma just wasn't cutting it anymore. So I picked up the Clarins Instant Eye Make-Up Remover to help remove the lashings of mascara that I apply everyday. I had a little bit of birthday money left over so quickly added the Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask to my basket. I have been after this mask for a while after reading so many great reviews, so my expectations are for high for it's trial this evening. The Origins Mega-Bright Serum has been on my wishlist for as long as I can remember, so I was over the moon to receive it as a present from my boyfriend. I have tried a few samples of this over the past few months and I have loved the results every time. Hydraluron is a cult favourite in the beauty world and almost impossible to get hold of, especially if there is an offer on... but, I did it! My skin gets a little dry in the colder weather so I am hoping this will give my skin a little shot of hydration. Being a girl with large pores I like to do anything I can to minimize the look of them. The Clarins Pore Minimizing Serum has been in the back of my mind for a while now and looks just like the sort of thing I need to help disguise my pores.

Three serums, a face mask and a new eye makeup remover should keep my going for a while, unless you have any recommendations for me...

October 11, 2013

Maybelline Baby Lips

Mayeblline Baby Lips
I think it is safe to say that every beauty blogger and their mother now own a Maybelline Baby Lips or two... I know my mum picked some up. The super cute design and playful colours of the packaging is what most us attracts to them but for us UK people, the fact that they were finally launching these in our favourite drugstores sent everyone a little bit crazy. As I didn't want to feel left out, I made sure to place my order. Plus they were on 3 for 2 so it would have been rude not to, right?

Pink Punch, Hydrate and Cherry Me were my shades of choice. Pink Punch comes off as quite a stand-out baby pink shade, this is a little too bright for my liking but if you dab it on with your fingers and do a little blending it becomes more muted and easy to wear. Hydrate is clear, but nourishing and a great base to lipsticks that dry out your lips as it is not at all sticky, nor does it apply thickly. Cherry Me is my favourite out of the bunch and quickly worked it's way into my handbag for everday use. This is a gorgeous fuchsia, plum shade that adds a great pop of colour and can be built up for a bolder lip.

As far as lip balms go, the Maybelline Baby Lips won't do anything revolutionary for you but they will brighten up your makeup stash and they are a great way of just quickly applying a slight lip colour. If you're in the market for a Baby Lips, go for Cherry Me... it is a great shade for autumn.

October 09, 2013

L'Oreal EverRiche Shampoo & Conditioner

L'Oreal EverRiche Shampoo & Conditioner
I am a little bit of a hair care addict, I will hold my hands up and admit that. Usually I lean towards higher end, salon brands such as Redken or Tigi with the exception of the Herbal Essences Bee Strong range. But after reading rave review upon rave review of these L'Oreal products I went on a mini hunt and finally managed to get my hands on them.

Aimed at 'very dry rebellious hair' I knew that these were the ones for me. Although my hair isn't too bad, I am a keen heat user when it comes to my hair and an avid dyer meaning that I am always looking for something to make my hair feel silky smooth and keep it in tip top condition. The main attraction to these products is the 'no sulphates' aspect, which although it is what cleans your hair it is an element that damages your hair which is why it is so important to always condition your hair.

To use I apply the L'Oreal EverRiche Shampoo, massage it in and rinse out. Apply the L'Oreal EverRiche Conditioner, massage it in again but then I like to leave it on for 3-5 minuets before rinsing out. I follow this up with my post hair wash routine (read here) and my hair is left feeling incredibly silky, nourished and smooth. More so than when I have used some other, more expensive products.

If you're a lover of silky hair (who isn't?) then I would recommend picking these up... if you can find them . If these don't sound up your street, try one of the other versions more suited to your hair type... you won't be disappointed.

October 07, 2013

A Weekend Away...

A Weekend Away...
A Weekend Away...
As a part of my present for my birthday, which is today, my boyfriend whisked me away to a barn in the Suffolk countryside for a quite weekend away from everyday life. No internet or phones were allowed, and I even went so low maintenance that I didn't bring any makeup with me and just the skin care essentials (four products in total). 

We stayed at the Woodfarm Barns, the Stour Barn to be exact, and it was every bit as perfect as we had expected it to be. The barn had been kept very traditional with big wooden beams, very shabby chic esk furniture and a wood burner to keep warm. The barn had a private garden in which was a small, hand made table decorated with hanging baskets of colourful flowers, along with some chairs and both a patio and grassed area. There was also a communal area just outside the door step which featured two water features and a decked area for anyone to use. 'The Shed' which was there for any vistors to use contained bikes, DVDs and books to borrow free of charge whilst on your stay. Being in the middle of the country side there was vast amounts of land and roads which were perfect for taking our dog Bella on a walk.

Whilst we there we visited the near by town of Debenham, which had a lake and some fields to walk Bella in and we picked up a home-made jar of jam, because you cannot beat home-made jam. We didn't venture out too much as we wanted to spend as much time in the barn as possible and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. So we spent most of our time snuggled up on the sofa watching Breaking Bad while the birds chirped away in the background. Oh, and enjoying a huge fry up! My idea of the perfect weekend. 

After a lovely weekend away I am looking forward to my favourite meal this evening, my mum's home-made lasagne and lots of birthday cake. Also well done to my boyfriend for planning this weekend away all by himself!

October 06, 2013

Life Lately #4

Life Lately #4
1. Enjoying having curly hair | 2. Finally completing my MAC palette - see post here | 3. My ever growing skin care stash | 4. Reaching my stone and a half award from Slimming World | 5. Merryteaser - probably the nicest tasting thing, ever! | 6. The first autumnal manicure | 7. My sample basket which needs to be used up | 8. One of my casts just being cute | 9. Getting my hands on the L'Oreal EverRiche range | 10. Making my own blog planner | 11. Doing bloggy things | 12. Loving the Maybelline Baby Lips | 13. Getting a Canon 600D for my birthday | 14. Cute fairy lights | 15. Hitting pan on NARS Laguna | 16. Spot which one is my doggy.

Current favourite product: my MAC eye shadow palette (see post/swatches here). I have been using this day-in, day-out for weeks now and I just can't get enough of it. I feel like I have got the perfect selection of shades, even if I do say so myself!

Most lusted after product: the Origins Mega-Bright Serum makes for the perfect serum in my eyes as it is brightening and makes your skin incredibly soft. I have tried a couple samples of this product but a full-sized bottle is definitely on the horizon.

October 02, 2013

Bad Skin Saviours

Bad Skin Saviours
My skin has been up to no good lately. Yes, this is mostly my fault as I was slacking on the skincare routine for quite a few weeks and I ended up only doing the bare minimum to remove my makeup. As expected my skin was looking dull, I had a few breakouts (which is very rare for me) and my makeup wasn't apply as it should either. Anyway, I stepped up my skin care game, my skin is back to how it was before and I have a few products to credit for the transformation.

Firstly is the REN ClearCalm3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser. I noticed a huge difference in my skin when I stopped using this - my skin become a lot oilier and much less manageable. So when I finally got around to repurchasing this my skin lapped it up. I use this every morning and thankfully I can go the whole day with out powdering over my skin face. The Origins Out of Trouble Mask was another product I stopped using and after seeing such amazing results from it at the beginning I knew that it would work wonders for my again. I have been using this three times a week/every other evening and my break outs have been banished from my skin. I will definitely be keeping this up to keep any blemishes at bay, you can see my full review here.

On to the brightening... the REN Resurfacing AHA Concentrate is the product that the majority of the credit goes to. Again, I have been using this every other evening (the opposite ones to when I use the Out of Trouble mask) and most of the time when using this I have been leaving my routine at this step so it can work it's magic. This has helped to make my skin appear much brighter and has given it a much nicer feel making my makeup apply more evenly in the morning. Another brightening product I have been loving is the Indeed Labs Pepta-Bright serum, which I have been applying in the mornings only. Not only has this smoothed out my skin to give a better base for my makeup but I have also noticed a more even skin tone and the redness in my cheeks reduced.

I am very happy to have my some-what nice skin back in action and to be clear of any breakouts, all of which I owe to these for products. If you can relate to any of these skin woes, I would really recommend checking these out to help combat the problem. Next up for my skin? Some doses of hydration...