Saturday, 30 June 2012

Rescue Mission & Como Shambhala Invigorate: Luxury Summer Shower & Bath

Lulu Time Bomb Rescue Mission

I’m always drawn towards fresh, citrusy scented shower products in the Summer and while I wouldn’t normally have many baths when it’s hot, Time Bomb Rescue Mission has converted me. Plus it hasn’t exactly been that hot in this corner of the world, yet.

Rescue Mission Miracle Mineral Bath is packed with ingredients to restore and revitalise, a refreshing change from the usual soothing, send us to sleep offerings.

For me, the goodness within is great, but only if the scent follows through, and this really does.  The best comparison I can make is with the aroma that wafts from freshly chopped herbs, when you can practically taste the goodness and instinctively just want to inhale it.

Lulu Time Bomb Rescue Mission

“It positively  explodes  with restorative goodness  – MagnaEase™
contains eight essential oils (yes, eight!) and  no less than five
soothing herbs  blended with magnesium salts to both soothe the
poor beleaguered body, kissing better aches and pains and gently
massaging the mind to state of restored alertness!”

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Of course, all of this comes at a price, rrp £24 for 500ml at Lulu’s Place.  This is a premium product and not one which I’d use every day of the week, but it would make a lovely gift and is most definitely a treat to use.  I’ve used it in the shower too - if you try this, just be careful as the consistency is quite thin and at this price, you won’t want to be washing it down the drain!

I’m in love with the little jute bag it comes in - isn’t it cute? 

 

Invigorate Shower Gel

Invigorate Shower Gel

Invigorate Showergel is part of a product range by COMO Shambhala, a healthy living concept built on the principles of using essential oils from plants, flowers and fruits for their beneficial therapeutic properties.

‘Invigorate’ holds no surprises. Aromatherapy grade pure essential oils of eucalyptus, geranium, lavender and peppermint provide an instant boost to the system and feel like massaging a gorgeous wake up call into the skin. If you’re anything like me, this is exactly what you need at the start of the day…  I am not a morning person, so every little helps! 

This lathers well, though not too much and isn’t at all drying; if you want to feel truly pampered, you can combine it with a delicious sounding body scrub and body oil. Again, this falls into luxury category at £24.50 for 300ml from Urban Retreat at Harrods.

What kind of scents are you drawn to in Summer?

samples

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Leighton Denny Coral Reef NOTD

Leighton Denny Coral Reef swatch

I haven’t posted many nail pics lately as my nails have been a bit poorly, so I cute them all really short to give them a chance to grow back stronger.  This is the Leighton Denny polish in Coral Reef that I got free with the Harpers Bazaar July magazine (blogged about it last week here) - I had so many compliments on my nails today!

Leighton Denny Coral Reef swatch (4)

This is the first chance I’ve had to paint all my nails with it properly and I just love the results. To be honest I found the consistency of the polish quite difficult to work with as it’s a bit gloopy - I sometimes wonder if freebies are the same quality as regular products?  I haven’t tried Leighton Denny before but so many people sing its praises.  It wasn’t a big deal and Seche Vite top coat + a new discovery, a layer of CND Dry & Shine, gave a mega glossy finish that reminded me of the (one!) time I had gel nails done.  I’ll do a separate post on the different topcoats I use - it’s one I’ve been planning for a long time.

Leighton Denny Coral Reef swatch (3)

This is a vivid, red based coral. I wore it with my much loved Clinique Runway Coral lipstick {review} and they worked well together even though this has more red tones than the lipstick.  Combined with my Benefit Hervana Blush {review}, these three products helped me look alive today despite a (rare!) 6.30am start at work.

Leighton Denny Coral Reef swatch (2)

In a natural light Coral Reef could be mistaken for an orange-toned red, but in the sunlight it gleams with the most subtle whisper of gold & pink shimmer - barely visible, but it’s there.

I saw some of these with Harpers Bazaar in my local Sainsbury’s this evening, so you have a day or two to snap one up before the August issues hit the shelves.  The alternative colours are hot pink and a gorgeous mushroom taupe cream. It took me all my willpower not to pop them both in my trolley!

I must do a post comparing my different coral polishes… I seem to have accumulated quite a few!

Have you tried any Leighton Denny shades?

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate & Skin Repair Moisturiser: Dry/Sensitive

Liz Earle Skin Concentrate (2)

Superskin Concentrate

This multi award winning product is designed to work its wonders at night while we sleep.  As the name suggests, it contains a highly concentrated blend of 100% pure plant oils including: hazelnut, lavender, neroli, avocado, argan, rosehip, chamomile and vitamin E. 

This little lot provide a list of skin benefits as long as your arm - and a drop or two can improve every skin type - from softening dry/mature to balancing combination/oily.

Liz Earle Skin Concentrate (3)

I had originally intended to include this in my Sleep Secrets post, but felt it deserved a post of its own.

“After cleansing, massage with Superskin Concentrate to help clear toxins, reduce puffiness, boost circulation, encourage cell renewal and aid lymphatic drainage.”

Liz Earle Skin Concentrate (4)

Although I have dry skin, one drop of this was enough to leave my skin feeling moisturised and nourished.  If you feel it’s necessary, you can add moisturiser on top.  As you can imagine with all those plant extracts, the fragrance is incredible and very soothing.  I loved using this and do think it brought an extra clarity and softness to my skin. 

 

Skin Repair Moisturiser: Dry/Sensitive

Liz Earle Skin Repair dry

I’m very fussy when it comes to moisturisers. It takes a lot to impress me and I was a little nervous about trying a sample of this after a less than perfect experience with Liz Earle’s Cleanse & Polish.  I needn’t have worried… it turned out to be one of the rare few that just feels amazing from the moment you apply it to your skin.  Any of you with dry skin will understand the feeling when your face breathes a sigh of relief and feels complete comfort.

Liz Earle Skin Repair

You can see how rich it is in the pot - a little goes a loooong way - and this 50ml pot would have lasted me for a long time if my husband hadn’t taken such a liking to it half way through!  His skin had reacted badly to another product and he obviously thought I was mug enough not to notice the large ungainly dents his fingers left in the jar.  It soothed his skin and quickly restored it back to normal, so I (rather reluctantly) moved it to his end of the bathroom shelf. 

Liz Earle Skin Repair (2)

While both of these products are lovely, surprisingly this one was my favourite and I think it’s incredible value for such a high quality product.  I might even treat Mr to another jar! ;)

Liz Earle Skin Repair ingredients

Superskin Concentrate costs £19.75 for a 10ml roller ball or £40.25 for a 28ml bottle LINK

Skin Repair Moisturiser costs £18.75 for 50ml LINK

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

ModiFace to launch New Virtual Nail Salon

Modiface purple  

Modiface, creator of mobile beauty and fashion apps, will launch a new Virtual Nail Salon next week.  In a nutshell, this allows you to upload a picture of your nails and virtually decorate them, with visuals including nail polish colours, freehand designs, nail art and bling.  The idea is that you get to choose what suits you best without the expense and effort of physically painting your nails. 

You download the app, then either take/upload a pic of your own nails or choose a set similar to your own from a ready made selection.  Next is the fun bit - choosing colours and designs of your choice and applying them to individual or all nails.  I downloaded it and had a bit of a play - with mixed results!

Modiface cute nails

For my first attempt I used my own nails, which looks rather surreal as you can see! You can adjust the shape to fit your nailbed, but it’s very fiddly - I really did spend time trying & it still looks odd.  Clearly, I used a freehand tool to do this design!

blue nails

I got the hang of things a bit better the second time - choosing a set of ready made nails for a gradient, ombre effect in blue, green & yellow with freehand lilac half moons.  You can adjust details like the amount of shine and curvature of the nail - you can see the difference this makes in making my second attempt look much more realistic than the first.

After saving the final design to your camera phone, you’re free to create other options. For each completed design, the screen flashes up the brand and shade names, so that you can then go and purchase the real thing if you choose. 

I don’t honestly think I’d use this to select nail colours, especially as colour and brand choice is limited, but some people may find it useful and for a big kid like me, it was definitely fun to play with!  Personally I tend to pour through reams of swatches on other beauty blogs and Google images before purchasing new shades.

A similar app already exists - this is a new, updated version. If you’re interested, you can find out more here.

How about you? Would you shop via a Virtual Nail Salon like ModiFace ?

 

 

Monday, 25 June 2012

Cleanser: How do you remove yours? ~ Washi Cloths

Washi Wash Cloths

I’ve blogged before about the importance of cleansing, a part of my skincare routine I hadn’t paid enough attention to in the past.   My latest discovery is that it’s not just about which cleanser you use, but how you remove it. 

It makes sense really… imagine a toddler’s face covered with pasta sauce. Which will remove it more thoroughly:

  1. wiping it with a dry tissue or cotton pad
  2. a damp, freshly wrung out warm cloth/flannel

It’s a no brainer, right?  A warm, damp cloth will remove most if not all of the dirt, whereas a tissue is going to leave some residue behind. Yet so many of us opt for number 1.

I’m not a fan of water on my face, but since using this method I’ve noticed an improvement in the condition of my skin because my makeup is being removed thoroughly.  Sometimes we really do need to go back to basics: remove all makeup, clean makeup brushes, don’t touch our faces with anything less than scrupulous hands.  All obvious, I know, but sometimes the reasons our skin plays up can be more simple than we think.

All of this leads on to my latest discovery: Washi cloths.  I spotted @farrah_gray and @britbeautyblog discussing these beauties on twitter, clicked the link and couldn’t resist!

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I bought the pack of seven, pictured at the top.

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They look pretty much like an ordinary flannel (or facecloth as we always called them in our house), but they’re quite thin, loosely woven, have smooth seamed edges and are very soft.  They’re just bigger than my hand, which is good - it really bugs me when I have too much flannel for my face (yes really!).

I find them gently exfoliating, without any need for hard rubbing - they do all the work for you. The thin texture makes them easy to wring out, so they don’t harbour the makeup or dirt.

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It was a lovely surprise to receive a complimentary hot cloth with my order (though I can’t tell the difference between this and the washcloths)

I also ordered this cute little set of Washi Spirals, or cotton buds to you and I.

Washi Spirals

They’re basically cotton buds with the ends twisted into a tight spiral, which makes them perfect for makeup touch-ups. 

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I find it impossible to apply mascara without getting some just above the base of them on my lid.  Is this strange - is it my lashes?  Anyway, these mean that I can remove it without getting little wisps of fluff stuck in my lashes.

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So my new cleansing routine goes like this:

1. Remove eye makeup with Vichy waterproof eye makeup remover on cotton pads.  This product is fabulous - works on waterproof mascara and the heaviest eye makeup. It is slightly oily but doesn’t irritate my very sensitive eyes.

2. If I’m wearing heavy makeup, remove excess with micellar water (review coming up)

3. Remove cleanser with my Washi cloth.

Prices

Bargain alert: Before I was lured by the Washi pretties, I had planned to buy this set of 10 from Ikea for £2.99 - or pick some up in Primark. You don’t need to spend a lot on something to remove your makeup and thin, cheaper flannels are likely to be more effective than thick fluffy ones!

Oh and a quick word on muslin cloths - I’m not a fan. Am sure they do the job perfectly fine, but I find them too thin and fiddly to work with. 

So how do you remover your cleanser?

Friday, 22 June 2012

Dirty Works Body Wash, Face Mask & Manicure set

Dirty Works Body Wash & Face Mask

If like me, you’ve wandered past these cute, kitsch body products while doing your weekly shop and not yet tried them out, I suggest you stop for a closer look next time.

Coconut Caress Body Wash is the newest product in the line, containing coconut oil to get you in the mood for Summer whatever the weather.  It has a lovely creamy texture that lathers well and a perfectly balanced coconut fragrance - ie strong enough to be coconuty yet not sickly sweet. A matching scrub and body butter are also available for those who like to be completely cocooned in coconut.

Belle of the Ball Face Mask deep cleanses and draws out impurities as it dries on your skin. It only takes a few minutes to set and is rather satisfying to use… it’s a while since I’ve used this kind of formula and I’ve really been enjoying it over the past few weeks. I splash it off with warm water and then remove any excess with a warm flannel - it’s even easier if you do this in the shower.  I don’t have a lot of time for extra pampering, so if I can get it quickly and at a reasonable price, it’s a winner!

“Contains Blueberry, skin clearing Willow Bark and detoxifying Green Clay and Kaolin to help draw impurities from your skin leaving it fresh and glowing.”

I imagine this would work even better for normal to oily skins.  Although it hasn’t irritated my dry skin, I’d recommend using only once a week or applying only to the T-zone only for dry skins.

 

Manicure Products

Dirty Works Manicure

I think these super cute mani products would make a lovely little gift… printed nail files, straight nail scissors (fine on fingers, not quite strong enough for toes) and cuticle clippers, which I don’t use for cuticles, but are brilliant for rag nails or little bits of pre-pedi tough skin. The blades are super sharp and really fine and pointy, so they let you get into teeny corners - love these!

They all come individually packaged in cute presentation packs and are very reasonably priced.

Prices

  • Body Wash £2.99
  • Face Mask £4.99
  • Straight Scissors £3.99
  • Printed Emery Boards (set of 3) £2.49
  • Cuticle Trimmers £6.99

The full range is available at Sainsbury’s instore or online {LINK} or you can browse dirtyworks.com

samples

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Inglot Belfast - now open!

Inglot Belfast

Inglot is one of the many makeup brands I’ve discovered through the infectious enthusiasm of fellow beauty bloggers.  Today I had the chance to try it in person as it opened its first Belfast store, opposite Hotel Chocolat as you approach Victoria Square.  My first impressions were complete overwhelment (new word) at a. the amount of colour and b. the number of products. It was way beyond what I expected - and on closer inspection it delivered on quality too. Above are a few snaps I took of some of the gorgeous, barely touched displays (LOVE being the first to try a tester!).

The event was also a lovely chance to meet two other local bloggers, Dawn of Inanityandthegirl and Bex of Bexsfashiontips who are part of FABB, a new-ish N.Ireland Fashion & Beauty Bloggers network set up by the very lovely expert in fashion, beauty & all things girly, Katrina Doran of Sugahfix.  I will devote a full blog post to telling you more about FABB very soon (shame on me that I haven’t already!).

Back to Inglot… the store was buzzing, yet the staff were warm, inviting and clearly already knew their stuff.  Within minutes my hands & arms were a swatchathon of rainbow colours.  The blushers were particularly exciting to me - powder, cream, liquid, shimmer, matte - there was such a huge choice of textures and shades.

One of the best things about Inglot is the Freedom System - simple build your own palettes, available in various sizes to suit different products. Highly magnetic, you just pop in the shades of choice and the opaque glass lid attaches to the top with the four little magnets on the corners. 

Here are a couple I put together instore - a 3 piece and 5 piece eyeshadow palette.

IMG_2779 IMG_2781

Let’s have a closer look at some of the products…

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These pretties were in my goody bag (thanks Inglot!). Not sure where I’d use Body Pigment Powder, but this violet-toned ocean blue is stunning on eyes and works beautifully with the mermaidesque aqua eyeshadow. (they don’t seem to have names, just numbers, so I’m making up my own!).

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Love these shades together.

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Could that iridescent blue BE any more gorgeous?

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Love the cute test-tube style packaging for the lipgloss.

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Swatched: Sleeks Lipgloss #60, Body Pigment Powder # 199, Shine Eye Shadow #32 (heavy & light swatch). The colours have more iridescence & wow factor in real life; this grey day did not do them justice.

IMG_2789

I’ll see you again very soon Inglot!

If you’re an Inglot fan, please tell me your favourites in the comment box below - enable me!!

Nic xx

 

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Leighton Denny Coral Nailpolish ~ July Harpers Bazaar

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Just a quick post to say that if you haven’t picked up July Harper’s Bazaar with free Leighton Denny polish, then I highly recommend it!  You can choose from fuchsia, a lovely nude beige or the coral that I went for, though could happily have bought all three if the mag wasn’t £4.20!

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A quick shot of what it looks like on - really rich & quite different from my gazillion other corals!

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It’s taken me a while to track down, but is definitely worth keeping an eye out for.  I saw it today in both M&S and Eason's.  I’ll update this (hopefully tomorrow) with a proper swatch pic, but I wanted to give you a heads up while it’s still available!

Thank you & goodnight!

Nic xx

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Summer Hair Heroes ~ Summer Ready #1

This is the first in my Summer Ready series, which is all about using this ‘patch’ of less than perfect weather to get our skin, hair and bodies looking and feeling their best for when the wonderful weather arrives!



Hair needs a little extra tlc in Summer, especially if you’re holidaying somewhere really hot as heat and UV rays leave can leave it feeling parched - and fade both natural and artificial colour.  Chlorine & sea water might make your locks look cute & surfy (if you’re lucky) but they’ll also dry it out - and again, won’t do your colour any favours.

My biggest hair enemy, humidity, will play havoc with carefully coiffed styling as you dine al fresco.  When we were in Singapore at Christmas my husband charmingly informed me that my hair was getting bigger as the evening went on (& not in a good way!).

So don’t wait until the damage is done - start nourishing your hair now and take steps to protect it throughout the summer.  Here are a few products I’ve been using lately…

Colour Protection

BC Bonacure Color Freeze Shampoo & Colored Ends

BC Bonacure Color Freeze - Although I only have a few surface highlights, I like to use colour guard products on & off all year around.  They don’t strip your hair colour like others can and actually guard it, helping it stay true and last a little longer.  I’ve raved about BC Bonacure by Schwarzkopf Professional before - I’ve used various formulas from this range since I started colouring my hair around 8 years ago and been very impressed with most of them.

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Color Freeze Shampoo is sulphate-free, which I try to stick to as much as possible; less chemicals mean the product is gentle on both hair and scalp.  This shampoo literally helps freeze the colour pigments in place and restores elasticity.  It smells gorgeously fresh and the 250ml bottle is long lasting as only a little is need. It’s a bit large to chuck in a suitcase so I’d probably dispense some or buy travel sized products for holidays.

Color Freeze Coloured Ends isn’t a conditioner, but a leave in treatment that mends split ends (binding them temporarily) and adds shine.

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Click to enlarge if you’d like to read the ingredients list.



Deep Conditioning

Lulu & Boo Shea Butter & Jojoba

Lulu & Boo Organics ~ Shea Butter & Jojoba Deep Hair Treatment
(phew!) is the ultimate natural deep conditioner, especially if your hair is dry, coarse, frizzy or coloured. *ticks all 4 boxes*

It comes in a cute little opaque glass jar, containing lots of 98% organic goodies: Shea Butter, Coconut, Castor, Olive and Jojoba Oils for silky softness & Geranium, Lavender and Cedarwood Essential Oils to heal and soothe the hair. Ahhhh….

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The texture isn’t like anything I’ve used before, which is why I’ve tried to describe it with pictures… it looks and feels like a bouncy mousse in the jar, comes out like a fluffy butter on your finger, then melts into an oil as you warm it on your palms.  Unsurprisingly with all those gorgeous ingredients it smells quite heavenly, if you like natural zingy herbal scents, which I do.

I’d use two blobs the size that’s on my finger for my whole hair - and I have a lot of hair - so although there’s only 50ml of product I think it would last most people quite a while.  Leave it on for 20 mins before shampooing out (or overnight if you can bear it - just pop a towel over your pillow).  It makes my hair extra soft & shiny - I’ll continue to use it once a week throughout the Summer.


UV Guard

IMG_0361 IMG_0367

BC Bonacure Sun Protect - yep, more Bonacure… this is one to take with you on holidays (decant definitely required).  The Shampoo gently cleanses hair of chlorine and salt, while working against free radicals with anti oxidants and protecting with an additional UV filter.  This would also be a good one if you swim regularly.

The Sun Protect Spray Conditioner is the real star of the show here.  Sprayed onto towel dried hair it detangles, adds elasticity and moisture, guards against humidity and offers UV protection.  Personally I still need a regular conditioner before this to avoid the Worzel Gummidge look, but this is a great final step for me and can be topped up between washes.

So your colour has been protected, your hair is deep conditioned, you’re guarded against UV, next up… two finishing treatments.

Nourishing Finishing Treatments


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Nourishing oils are huge at the moment - Argan, Moroccan, Macadamia - you name it. I haven’t tried any of those (yet!) but I’m absolutely loving this one…

L’Oreal Mythic Oil came highly recommended from numerous other bloggers, (inc Stina of Chic Beauty Blog & Holly of Yummy Mummy Beauty Blog) - for which I’m so thankful as this has been my favourite hair product since I picked it up a couple of months ago. 

Enriched with avocado and grape seed oils, just a few drops of this product warmed in my palms and run through my hair with fingers after washing is enough to defrizz and add shine. It’s as simple as that - no fancy stuff - it just works.  Also good to define ends and add gloss to dry hair.

034 036

The pump bottle is handy; a spray would = perfection!  Mainly because I am lazy and can’t be bothered to wash my hands after using it, but come to think of it, it’s probably doing them some good too.

Last but certainly not least, it’s time to get Naked…

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Naked Style Extra Shiny Finishing Serum is another great finishing treatment designed for use on dry hair.  Silicone-free, this moisturises and adds instant shine without build up & is great for taming frizzies and flyaways.  If I’ve used the Mythic Oil, I wouldn’t usually need this as well, but we all have days when we need a little extra help and this is a lovely easy and economical way to get it!

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The cute, chubby little plastic bottle is very lightweight and again comes with a handy pump mechanism.


Prices & Links (incase you’re wondering - I provide links & best prices I can find for your convenience only; none are associates)
BC Bonacure Color Freeze Shampoo £6.36 here (Beauty Bay has 20% off all Bonacure - happy days!)
BC Bonacure Color Freeze Coloured Ends £7.96 here
Lulu & Boo Organics ~ Shea & Jojoba Deep Hair Treatment £10.95 here
BC Bonacure Sun Protect £7.40 here
BC Bonacure Sun Protect Spray Conditioner £8.75 here
L’Oreal Mythic Oil £13.55 here
Naked Extra Shiny Finishing Serum £4.99 here

I really hope this has been helpful - if you have any questions or any tips you’d like to add, please leave a comment below…




some products were samples provided for review
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