Wednesday, 30 July 2014

July Collective Empties ft Rimmel, Molton Brown, L'occitane, Soap and Glory, Bioderma and Arbonne

Huge collective empties post alert! I much prefer collecting my empties to posting just a few things every month, and it seems I've been busy using up some serious product lately.

I'm not sure how long it's been, but over the last few months I've used up lots of haircare, make up, perfume and other bits and pieces. Here it is:

BODYCARE


Pear Berry Tini Moisturiser - I bought this from a local beauty salon and I cannot get enough of how good this smells! It's quite difficult to get hold of and I think it's specially formulated for use after sunbeds. To me though, it smells like a tropical fruit cocktail has just been made every time you use this and it's in a huge bottle with a handy pump dispenser. This has lasted me well over a year and as much as I love it, I think it's time to try something new!

Roger & Gallet Bois D'Orange Bath and Shower Gel - This little tube of shower gel actually came from a hotel, and again, I love it because it smells divine! It's a real luxury product and I'm currently using the matching body lotion. I'd be tempted to buy the full sized version of this if I find it out and about.

Le Labo Rose 31 Shower Gel - Another hotel sample!

Molton Brown Patchouli & Saffron Body Wash - A free gift with purchase, I love the sheer luxury of using a Molton Brown shower gel. It feels so decadent and there's so many fragrances to try out.

L'Occitane Hand Cream - Shea, Amande and Cherry Blossom - Small in size, these 10ml trial sized hand creams are my little lifesaver. I get through these at an alarming rate, but they do a great job.


FACE CLEANSERS

Soap & Glory Off Your Face - I know that nothing replaces the benefits of a thorough cleansing routine, but there are some days when you need a quick fix. These do a good job of removing all traces of make up, but I am going to make an effort to cleanse properly!

Arbonne FC5 Hydrating Cleanser + Freshener - I went all out a while ago and ordered a full regime from Arbonne and I got on really well with it. This is great for freshening up skin and hydrating, but I'm looking for more high impact products.

Rimmel Gentle Eye Make Up Remover - My all time favourite eye make up remover, this is gentle, non oily and doesn't sting. I love it but I was tempted by a Nivea version that was on offer this month.

Bioderma Solution Micellaire - I don't need to go into too much detail here as you all know about Bioderma. A crystal clear cleanser that doesn't need to be washed off, this draws make up out from the pores and onto the surface, so it can be wiped of effortlessly.  This is a beauty cupboard staple.

Clarisonic Refreshing Gel Cleanser - I really enjoyed using this with my Claisonic for the squaky clean feeling it gave my skin, but I've decided to go easy on the Clarisonic as I'm not sure if it's helping my skin or not. A great product nonetheless.


FACE CREAMS

Arbonne FC5 Moisturising Night Cream - Another item from my Arbonne haul, this is a really rich night cream that keeps skin looking fresh.

Lancome Genifique Youth Activating Cream - I'm currently using the face and eye serums from this range and loving them! I would like to repurchase this and use the whole set but I've got so many creams to get through first!

Lancome Genifique Yeux - I swear this has an effect on the skin around the eyes, lifting and firming skin and making you look awake. Love it so much I bought the full sized version when the trial sized version ran out.

L'Occitane Precious Cream - I've heard a lot about this range and couldn't wait to try it out! However, for my skin type I just didn't feel it was hard working enough to create radiance and make me feel wow.

REN Vita Mineral Radiant Day Cream - Such a small sample it's impossible to tell how effective it is, but I did enjoy using this and it is very rich for a day cream.

Sisley Intensive Night Cream - I adore this product! Again, such a small tube it's hard to tell but this was insanely rich and luxurious. The full sized version is however £200....

Sisley Creamy Mask with Tropical Resins - Will someone just get me a whole Sisley routine please?! You need to try out Sisley if you haven't done so already, I can't believe how rich all the products are!


HAIRCARE

L'Oreal Ever Riche Conditioner - A great, rich, sulphite free conditoner - simple.

Insette Hairspray - Grabs hold of flyaways and sets hair when I've got an updo in place (in my case, this is pretty much just used for when I've got a pony tail in!)

Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment - I'm pretty low maintenance when it comes to hair, but I'm really getting into natural oils and treatments. I've already asked for the full size of this for my birthday.


MAKE UP AND PERFUME

Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation in 200 Soft Beige - What I wear for a dewy look on really good skin days or my days off. Already repurchased.

NYC Cheek Glow in Sutton Place Peach - A bargain product that holds it's own against other luxury blushers. Again, I've already repurchased this.

ELF Gel Eyeliner Pot - An absolute steal but this has finally given up the ghost and dried out before I got to finish it.

Per Una Fragrance - I should get this on repeat purchase I get through so much of it. Has real staying power unlike a lot of perfumes that fade fast.

This Works Deep Sleep Roll On - Not technically a fragrance but something I love the smell of. This really helps me at night to get into a routine and think about nodding off.

ELF Luscious Liquid Lipstick - I've had this for ages but it's again, a great quality product as a great price.



TEETH

Sensodyne Complete - Poor sensitive teeth! I use a number of different ones for sensitivity but these seem to do a good job.

Oral B 3D White and White Glo - Can you tell I'm trying to whiten my teeth? I'd say these were both as effective as one another but nothing compares to a professional treatment.

That's it! Have you used up a lot of products lately? Tag your empties post below and I'd love to read them!




Thursday, 17 July 2014

Elemis Debenhams Beauty Night

What happens when you put together a group of Birmingham-based beauty bloggers, a full kit of Elemis products and a team of Elemis experts? 

This was the scene last week when Retail Birmingham and Elemis Birmingham hosted a blogger evening to give us a real Elemis experience.

Elemis experts in action!

Turning up in a full face of make up, we swiftly took it all off again to go through a fully guided Elemis facial. Going through many stages and many products, we were given a choice of products to use at every point to suit our skin types. I've honestly never tried so many products from one brand, from the cleanser and toner to face mask, exfoliator, moisturiser, serum and more.

It was a great experience and felt just like a girly sleepover, but with two experts on hand to guide us through the products and application techniques. We also had to wear white headbands and bibs so you can imagine how hilarious we looked! The shoppers in Debenhams must have had a giggle when they saw us!

Elemis products against the Birmingham skyline

Some of the products I tried were the Pro Collagen Cleansing Balm, Rehydrating Ginseng Toner, Gentle Rose Exfoliator, Pro Intense Eye and Lip Contour Cream and Absolute Eye Serum, all of which left my skin feeling AMAZING and I couldn't stop touching it after I left (naughty I know!)

Fabulous Birmingham Beauty bloggers including Chloe from Gastronomic Gorman, Natasha from Nutella Tasha, Natalie from Beauty Baking and Babbling, Charlotte from A Much Prettier Puzzle and Vanessa from The Other VW as well as the very glam Kim from Retail Birmingham

I also managed to get a snap of us all together, and guess what, it's a no make up group shot! Can you believe a bunch of beauty bloggers agreed to this? It must have been the fabulous products though as I think everyone looks glowing!

Thank you so much to the team at Elemis Debenhams Birmingham and Kim Stephens for organising the event. 

Sunday, 13 July 2014

L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil: Product Review

L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil available here 

I received this shower gel as a gift from my friends at work and boy do they know me well! I love L'Occitane and I was recommended this product by a former L'Occitane employee, so I had high hopes.

Well she seriously undersold this product to me! At first, I was unsure whether I really needed a shower oil as I usually use a shower gel. However, as soon as I used it I realised that I had been mising out.

The Hype

L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil is described as follows: "This shower oil, when in contact with water, transforms into a lavish, softening foam--original and unique in texture--that leaves a satin-like softness all over the body. Enriched with almond oil, it respects the hydrolipidic film and leaves a subtle and mouth-watering scent of fresh almond, for a delightful skin!"

The Product
Using just the tiniest amount of product, I applied this in the shower and watched as it magically turned into a creamy, rich, in-shower cleanser. With the same gorgeous scent as the rest of the Almande/Almond collection, this smells amazing.

What's even better is that the scent lasts all day even after you've showered, leaving a subtle, lingering sugared almond scent behind. My skin was so smooth that I could get away with not moisturising afterwards, although I did out of habit, and my skin stayed soft and smooth all day.

The Verdict

L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil retails at £17.50 for 250ml. Compared to an average shower gel, that is quite a bit more, but I have to say I think it's worth it. Provided you like the scent, although it is available in a few other scents too, this is a great luxury shower product. Personally, I love the smell of sweet almonds, and I love the way that this lathers, leaves skin scented and genuinely soft and conditioned. A treat, but it's worth it.

Would you be tempted to buy something like this?

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Hotel Chocolat - Summer Collection Review

Who can resist chocolate? Not me! When the lovely team at Hotel Chocolat asked me to review their Summer Collection, I had to say say.

A few days later this enormous box arrived; here's what was inside.

Fabulous Hotel Chocolat packaging*

A great gift or indulgence for yourself, there's a whole host of lighter chocolates on offer at Hotel Chocolat this summer, from fruit flavours to cocktail style treats.

The Summer Fusions Sleekster is the star of the Summer Collection, with 28 chocolates in one huge box! Presented in a beautiful long box with a pastel sunrise design, there's everything from fruity chocolates to pralines and caramel, so a real mix of flavours to suit everyone. I shared these out to gauge a few reactions and they were quickly snapped up.


Hotel Chocolat Summer Fusions Sleekster available here

Here's what's inside: Blackcurrant Bombe, Burnt Caramel, Choc Fudge Sundae, Frappucino, Key Lime Pie, Kiwi Smoothie, Lavender Caramel, Peach and Hazlenut Gratin, Peanut and Banana, Pineapple and Coconut, Strawberry Cheesecake, Summer Cooler and Summer Pudding.

I loved the caramels in particular whilst the Kiwi and Pineapple flaours were very refreshing and zingy.

Life is like a box of chocolates (it had to be done)

I also tried out the Caipirinha Pocket Selection and the Mojito Pocket Selection, each containing 8 chocolates; tee totallers need not apply!

Hotel Chocolat Mojito Cocktails available here

Hotel Chocolat Caipirinha Cocktails available here

Have you tried out the Summer Collection yet? What's your favourite? 



Friday, 4 July 2014

NOTD: Revlon Colorstay Longwear Nail Enamel in Sandy Nude

Running into Poundland for some essentials the other day, I also grabbed a bottle of this Revlon Nail Enamel.

Retailing at £7.99 in Boots, the price is unbelievably good for such a well known brand.

Revlon Colorstay Sandy Nude available here

Sandy Nude is a pale, peach toned nude from Revlon's Colorstay range:

"Colorstay nail color formula is fortified with unique ingredients that provide high impact color and gel-like shine in fashion forward range of shades and finishes. This technology is based on a unique combination of resin and high molecular weight polymers designed to provide flexible, shatterproof color with excellent color retention and gloss."

It also promises "Gel-Like shine and up to 11 days of shatterproof color when worn with Colorstay™ base & top coats."

Applying two coats over my OPI Natural Nail Base Coat, I found the consisntency to be too watery, making it difficult to get a neat finish and leaving polish pooling around the edges of my nails. Because it was so thin, it was also difficult to get an opaque finish and I ran out of time after the second coat, even though there were still areas that needed covering.


I did like the glossy finish however and it does seem to last quite a while. After 6 days wear it is peeling at the base and there are a few chips on the surface from knocks, but at least 3 nails look pretty perfect! 

Overall, I really disliked the consistency, which coupled with the wide brush (which would be gret otherwise) made a professional finish impossible. I do love the pale nude colour though which is perfect for lighter skin tones as a go to nude. 

Have you guys ever used this nail polish? Do you think it may have been an older bottle?

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Penny Blacks relaunch at The Mailbox Birmingham

Just before I headed off on my summer holidays, I dropped into the launch of the newly refurbished Penny Blacks in The Mailbox.

Baileys cocktails in mini milk bottles

In homage to The Mailbox's history as a Royal Mail sorting office, the interior of Penny Blacks features quirky slogans and images that touch on the history of the building. Coupled with retro cool neon signs, comfortable booths and rustic wooden details, the revamp has definitely given the bar and restaurant a new edge.

Sliders for days...

As well as the interior, we were lucky enough to be able to sample the fabulous food and drink on offer too. Every new dish that came out was met with gasps and awe; little did we know that the new food and cocktail menu was so retro and fun!

Bubblegum cocktails with popping candy

Here's a few quick snaps from my phone; I can never remember to take my camera out with me!

Picnic jug cocktails

We were lucky enough to enjoy treats such as loaded potato skins, 3 foot long stone baked pizzas, an assortment of sliders such as Chipotle Pulled Pork and Goats Cheese and Red Onion as well as cocktails such as Bubblegum cocktails and a picnic jug!

Loaded potato skins

Perfect Friday night food right? I'll see you there!


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Murad Travel Kits: Balance and Protect Review

At this time of year, naturally our thoughts turn to holidays. Since I've already been on mine, I was thinking about sharing some outfits, tips and advice with you before you jet off.

First off, let's talk about skincare. If you're anything like me, my make up, hair products and toiletries end up taking up half of my suitcase. 

Murad have just released three cabin sized skincare kits that are perfect for packing. Available in Smooth and Soften, Youthful You and Balance and Protect, I was lucky enough to receive the latter for review.

Murad Balance and Protect Travel Kit available here 

The Balance and Protect kit contains 5 individually wrapped Clarifying Wipes, Oil Control Mattifier SPF15 10ml (even more essential when you're in hot climates) and Skin Perfecting Primer 5ml.

Enough for a 5 day break, the size is just fantastic and at £10, it's a great way to trial the products too.

So how did I get on with these?

First of all, the clarifying wipes are really good at removing all your make up and leaving skin refreshed. Although I'd usually cleanse using micellar water and a wash off cleanser, I always seem to end up with a wet washbag as something always leaks! Wipes are most definitely the most convenient way to cleanse whilst travelling and the individually wrapped wipes make them even more perfect for the job. They do smell a little medicinal and don;t get them in your eyes, but otherwise, these are fab!

Next up, the Oil Control Mattifier. Again, this is a great size and super moisturising lotion that was easy and to use. It did a great job of moisturising my skin and left it feeling soft and comfortable. As an oil control product, I noticed less sebum on my nose and chin too.


Finally, the Skin Perfecting Primer. A skin coloured primer, this "can be used under or in place of foundation". Sadly for me, it wasn't enough coverage for even a good skin day so I used it under a medium coverage foundation and concentrated the application on my nose and chin. After a full days work, I can find my make up slipping in these areas but with the primer, this was noticeably reduced.
During the five day trial I didn;t have any new blemishes and afterwards I still had some primer left.

This is a great kit for any overnight or travel bag. The clear bag is perfect to reuse once your products have been used up too. I love being able to try samples before I commit to a full sized product and these are great for anyone wanting to sample Murad products too; I'm already eyeing up my next kit.

The kits are exclusive to Marks and Spencer.