Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Beauty Products Elle Woods Would Love

*this post contains press sample and affiliate links

I'm first to admit that photography isn't my strongest skill as a blogger but sometimes an array of products arrive through the door that lend themselves well to the perfect image and I'm quite pleased with the result as I think Legally Blonde's Elle Woods would love seeing so much pink.

Starting with my favourite product of the bunch Embryolisse Complexion Correcting Skincare CC Cream.  Embryolisse call this a 'universal complexion perfector' with SPF 20 which will 'preserve a radiant youthfulness' and 'correct imperfections' and when they're being particularly confident with their claims it's a 'complete skincare treatment'.

To tackle a gripe first of course this is once again not a universal product, especially if like me you're using as a light base even with it's 'self-adjusting pigments'. In fact I'd be cautious if you were using otherwise as on my first uses I was concerned it was a little too orange (it wasn't my blending skills were lacking!).

Since I have been using thoroughly and as a base product I've fallen in love with it's silky and velvety finish and how radiant it leaves my skin (paired with Milani Prime Protect Face Primer it's a winning combination) and you can offer your opinion from the photo of me below. It's perfect for the Summer season.

Hyaluronic Acid helps to plump the skin aiding the blurring of my wrinkles it's a thicker consistency than I expected whilst offering ingredients which protect against ageing. Of course as a base it evens the skin tone and really does give the 'your skin but better' appearance and in fact, when not wearing I do find an improvement in my skins appearance so it is working in both areas of my daily regime.

It's pricey and matches the cost of some high end foundations at £29.99 but if you're looking for multi-use products and need to save costs on moisturisers and make up then it might be somewhere for you to look; especially as it's available 3 for 2 on skincare at Boots currently.

Benefit The Porefessional is my favourite primer and one I've repurchased many times and the bar I set all others to so I was excited when a new version was released Benefit The POREfessional Pearl Primer. Sadly I have been disappointed and thankful I picked up the small travel size to test out. Benefit claim to provide a 'lit-from-within' look on my skin I find it just a little bit subtle for me and as for my pores yes they're smoothed but I don't feel as much as the original. Of course it could be familiarity but it will be perfect for casual make up looks or indeed when I need a little help the morning after the night before.

I was worried I am so late talking about the L'Occitane and Rifle Paper Collection that I'd have to add the disclaimer of here they are but they're sold out. The good news is that's not the case and thankfully it's only limited edition packaging rather then products themselves.

I've long been a fan of L'Occitane hand creams so to see such a beautiful collaboration with Rifle Papers delightful artwork it was a match made in heaven. I was lucky enough to receive two versions of the hand cream, both with shea butter the orignal and the rose scent.

That pictured above is the Rose Shea Butter Hand Cream and whilst aesthetically pleasing with I really do not like a rose scent and found this very overpowering. Of course if you want to smell like you literally have a bouquet of flowers in your hands this is perfect for you and indeed the friend I was able to pass it onto.

The Original Shea Butter Hand Cream on the other hand is bliss. This tube sits aside my sofa at home and whilst it's not necessary to keep reapplying because it keeps hands so soft for such a length of time its a pleasure to repeat the process.

The original shea butter hand cream is not a light cream but nor is it too heavy. Thick enough for even the current climate as we switch between trying to turn our heating off but still finding a chill in the air of an evening.

Hands are not left feeling greasy after use and there is barely a scent so it doesn't interfere with other fragrance I might be wearing.

Hand cream and lip balms are the product I use most often as even when I can't be bothered to apply make up or even a skincare regime I can't bear dry hands or lips. Lypsyl kindly sent me a couple of lip balms from their range of newly reformulated products and such is my regular usage they've ended up in the empties pile already albeit unfortunately because they both suffered from the warm weather and snapped before I'd reached the bottom.

Each stick contains ingredients to hydrate and smooth lips and you can pick your choice from flavours such as Mint or Cucumber or my favourite Cherry.

Another product that's made it's way into the empties pile is Hempz Pomegranate Body Wash thanks in part to coming along on my recent trip to Las Vegas. Hempz is a US brand easily found on the shelves at Ulta. It's a little more difficult for us in the UK to track down but they have now launched online in the UK.

This is not your cheapest body wash at £16.99 for 250ml and it's neither the most luxurious but I cannot deny the scent is something amazing and all ingredients are vegan friendly including, with a nod to their name, 100% hemp seed oil.

Hemp seed oil is rich in numerous vitamins, all essential in maintaining healthy and (cough) younger looking skin and hair. I can't say whether my body wash is aiding youthful skin and I'm afraid my grey's still need regular touch ups but skin is certainly not striped and is left feeling nourished which is something necessary for someone like me who is lax with applying body lotions.

As for the scent I'm calling this my Summer version of Jo Malone's Pomegranate Noir. It's not as dark and more fruity but I love it. And a look through the Hempz website will show you an array of products in the scent ranges. And as I experienced with the Hempz body lotion their products feel like they last a lifetime as a little goes a long way.

How do you feel about pink packaging? Is it cliched or do you want to see more of it?

Monday, May 14, 2018

High Street Beauty | B. Make Up Review

B. Make Up Review

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

B. is a vegan make up brand which if you're a regular in the aisles of Superdrug, where it is available exclusively, will no doubt be familiar with and one I've had an opportunity to explore over the past year.

It's brands such as B. why many moons ago I started covering more beauty posts as I wanted to explore and learn more about beauty brands on the high street. Whilst it's wonderful to visit a high end beauty counter and treat oneself to a Chanel lipstick or Dior blush sometimes you're stomping along your local high street in need of a pick me up and want to treat yourself to a little something and B. is a brand worth looking at.

B. Make Up Review Cruelty Free

Having been sent some products from the extensive and affordable range I've discovered some favourites, one you may remember from Part 1 of my 2017 Favourites, the B. Pro Contour Stick in Universal Shade. I used this often last Summer under my Bare Minerals Powder Foundation but it works on top of liquid foundations just as well. Cream stick products can run from too greasy or stiff but the B. Pro Contour Stick sits nicely in the middle to work wonders without fear of slipping off your face.

Its size works wonders for any attempts at contouring the nose and is sufficient for my amateur contouring to accentuate my cheekbones. The Universal shade name is obviously a misnomer as it clearly will not be suitable for all but it works well for my skintone.

I don't really bother with the highlight shade, if I'm free with time I will have a swipe but it's the contour shade I favour and suspect once that has run out I'll move onto a new one rather than wait to finish the lighter shade.

Vegan make up

My much talked about declutter is happening now to all my lipsticks as I face facts and that is 99% of the time I am wearing a red lip. I have my favourites so why other lesser products or indeed shades sit in my make up collection is anyones guess and unfortunately the shades of the B. lip products I received are those I would not wear. I had a little swatch and play of them hoping that the B. Matte Lipstick in the shade Snatched might sway me or be my 'perfect nude' but atlas it was far too pale for me. Likewise the B. Velvet Matte Liquid Lipstick in the shade Ravenous is a dark shade which I'd like to think I would dabble with in cooler months or should the occasion arise but I know I would just reach for the safer option of Milani Plum Rose.

B. Make Up at Superdrugs

Next up is the B.Duo Liner and B. Lip and Cheek Tint in the shade Crimson Caress, products which were both success but not for me. I've long given up on attempting winged eyeliner, between hooded eyes and a desire for the extra 5 mins in bed that it's a wonder I get any make up on my face before I walk out the door I passed this over to my sister-in-law who is a fan of that look and she loved the product so much she has subsequently replaced it since the one I gave her dried out.

The lip and cheek tint is a lovely product and definitely one for those who want a multi-use product so ideal for anyone travelling on a budget airline this Summer. The shade Crimson Caress is not as scary as it looks on the pain and whilst a little stiff in formula it blends out quickly and easily. This now hides in my locker at work as a quick fix if I have an impromptu night out and need some colour in my cheeks. As a lip product it is indeed only a tint and as already mentioned I'm a fan of the red lip but this gives a nice little something to the lips and I especially enjoyed it when I had used an oil or balm on my lips.

Have you got any favourites from the brand or recommendations for me as B. is currently available at Superdrug Buy 1 Get 2nd 1/2 price on selected products until 22nd May so it's a good time to buy.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

All Natural Bath Time with Isla Apothecary

Isla Apothecary All Natural Bath

*this post contains press samples. all views are my own

When I was contacted by Isla Apothecary I was immediately fascinated to hear that the whole range is handmade by it's founder Kate Protopapas in her London studio. At a time when as much as the consumer is more keen to learn and buy more plant-based and natural products I welcomed an opportunity to test for myself a product that isn't just using a clever choice of words in their marketing campaigns but indeed stands by their commitment to use 'natural, ethically-sourced, and where possible organic ingredients'.

Their philosophy begins with their product packaging which to my mind balance a vintage apothecary vibe versus the modern day love of rose gold and makes them perfectly instagramable. Beyond aesthetics products are housed in jars and bottles which can be reused and recycled and there are is no excessive packaging such as a box in a box.

The products I received were the Himalayan Salt Soak and Blood Orange and Vanilla Scrub products that clearly draw on Isla Apothecary's desire to deliver an aromatherapy experience as soon as you open the jars and smell the scent.

Starting with the Himalayan Salt Soak which does come in at a somewhat pricey £21 designed to create an 'aromatic bathing ritual' and 'coax radiance from the outside and cleanse from within'. It seems everyone is sharing stories of late about epsom salts and their restorative properties.

Isla Apothecary Himalayan Salt Soak contains Patchouli Oil which as well encouraging cell grown is well suited to 'mature skin' which sounded fantastic (read wanting to believe I'd step out of the body of a Victoria Secrets model). Unfortunately Patchouli is a scent I do not enjoy and and Isla Apothecary haven't convinced me otherwise. Not have the benefits of 'improved circulation, balanced body pH' as such convinced me that I enjoy bath salts of any kind. For me I found that the salts sat at the bottom of the bath and whilst not enough to be too unpleasant I would be aware they were there so this product was a thumbs down only due to my personal preferences.

The Blood Orange and Vanilla Sugar Scrub I loved and referring back to my earlier comments this is 100% Natural and 99% Organic. Without stating the obvious the blood orange scent is strongly evident and as a big fan of citrus scents it was a major tick from me.

Organic raw cane sugar is used to create this product and it feels luxuriously homemade in comparison to the body scrub I am familiar with. At bath time I scoop a handful and buff at my skin and despite it's raw qualities the additions of Shea butter and oils such as Coconut, Peach and Vitamin E condition skin whilst providing a barrier against water loss and avoid the exfoliation process feeling unpleasant.

It is a gloriously luxurious product and one I've certainly enjoyed using but at £13 I'm not certain I would hit 'buy now' to replace but were I to come across it in person I would definitely consider picking it up again.

If you're looking for products which really do tick the 'all natural' box and indeed are a fan of a luxury bathing experience Isla Apothecary is certainly a brand to look into. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018


*this post contains affiliate links and/or press samples

If we can all just overlook my New Year 'announcements' about my posting schedule and indeed the lack of any posts since that very announcement and instead dive into Part 2 of my yearly favourites. Yes it may be woefully overdue but it is (April!) favourites time.

Once again my review of 2017 favourites features items that were very much staples throughout the year. Everyone approaches their yearly favourites different whether only speaking of new releases from that year or items that featured in monthly favourites. For my review I like to reference the products that were picked up repeatedly, not just over one or two months but over the course of that year.

All that said my first two favourites were a 2017 release, They're Real Double The Lip from Benefit*. A quirky innovative product that features a teardrop shaped bullet in two complimenting shades. The darker tip provides your liner and the fuller end fills in your lip. Admittedly I haven't paid much attention to the application process and it's been the shades Revved Up Red and Nude Scandal that I've enjoyed. Revved Up Red is the perfect everyday red shade, not too bright but enough pigment to have my favoured red lip in evidence. The 'USP' of this release was it's method of tilting the lip bullet to apply your lip liner and then using the fuller part to fill the lip. For me I tend to just apply in one go and find it works well enough although as wear has applied the teardrop shaped has rounded so even if I were to use the application method (and indeed my application is reason enough for the shape to change) it wouldn't quite work. And more sadly as I reached for Revved Up Red last week the bullet, which is thinner than your regular lipstick actually snapped leaving me devastated. Now I'm slightly torn with whether to replace or rely on the other 3973729576 red lipsticks I own!

Another favourite which is reached for when the Autumn season arrives but is still being reached for as recently as last week is Milani Color Statement Lipstick in Plum Rose. This Milani lipstick feels oddly nostalgic in so much as it feels like the traditional lipsticks I knew and loved in my younger years. The packaging isn't anything special and the lipstick formula is rich and creamy. Not matte, not a liquid lipstick just a good old lipstick. The shade Plum Rose is described as a rich mauve but on the pink end of the scale. You're wearing lipstick but its an obvious subtle shade which I find more wearable than a nude.

When I did want a nude it was Burts Bees Lip Shimmer in Peony I'd reach for. I think I saw this on Alessandra Steinherr and was instantly taken with it as if I'm wearing a nude lip I like a pink tone. On that note Mac Syrup has been another and longterm favourite and recently repurchased. Both shades are easy wearable Pinks. The cliched 'your lips but better'  and really I'm inclined to abandon any other nude shades and stick with these. Burts Bees as the name suggests has a shimmer whereas Mac Syrup whilst a lustre is more subtle. Both these shades compliment the rare occasions I wear a heavier eye look or more likely the days I wanted to wear lipstick but didn't want the full impact of a red or similar.

Milani Plum Rose Lipstick Review UK

The final in the lip pick for 2017 is a strange one because its a favourite on one hand and troublesome on the other. To explain the Clarins Lip Comfort Oil hit the beauty scene and everyone was in raptures and I was somewhat bemused at 'how good could it really be'. I then received a sample and first couple of uses I felt that it was nice but still didn't join the bandwagon. As I'm in the continued state of wanting to use what I have before I'm able to purchase others I had this sitting atop my dressing table and would apply as part of my morning and evening skincare regimes and watched my lips transform from a dry mess that I finally saw what everyone was raving about.

So impressed was I that I decided to purchase in it's full size, picking Red Berry to add a tint to my lips and I once again swayed from loving and hating the product in equal measure. I certainly found Red Berry stickier than the one I'd previously used and in part due to my lip colour found it didn't so much as add any colour apart from some pooling around my lip line. I also wasn't a fan of the large sized applicator, prefer a more traditional size, the larger seeming to make far too much mess and cause wastage. I still found the quality of the product itself and the benefits to my lips outweighed any of my gripes and I would buy again, just perhaps in the traditional 'shade'.

Perhaps my stand out product of 2017 and even into 2018 has been Milani's Luminiso Blush. A cult blogger favourite that I've myself mentioned many times on these pages it's a fail safe blush which accompanies any make up look. On appearance it's a peach shade but leans enough to the pink to make it a colour I enjoy to wear. There is a shimmer but not sparkle that suit my mature skin and it's pigmented enough to make a statement without being overbearing. On my trip to the US last year I picked up a replacement as unfortunately the product outlasted the packaging and it was making transporting it cumbersome and I didn't want to find myself in a situation where it became damaged and I was left without.

Milani Luminoso Blush Review

Finally it's my mascara favourite, all from L'Oreal who have become, if not always been my go to brand for mascara and last years picks were; Volume Million So Couture, False Lash Sculpt and Lash Paradise. Volume Million and False Lash Sculpt were a duo I enjoyed together, the former a fave alone for simple looks. The favourite for long volumised lashes was Lash Paradise and I agree with all the rave reviews but for the fact on me it does have some fall out but there are few mascaras that I don't suffer that fate with.

Sorry this post took so long for me to hit publish on and indeed I do hope I can pick up with some more regularly blogging in coming weeks - I've missed it.

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