Thursday, 30 January 2014

Review: Molton Brown Pink Pepperpod Body Wash and Lotion


When the weather is as totally miserable and grey as this, there's nothing like a hot shower and some beautiful products for perking me up. Luckily, I have just the thing.

I mentioned in my favourites post a few days ago, that I received a gorgeous Molton Brown set from by boyfriend this Christmas. It was a great present, as I am a big fan of the brand, and I hadn't tried any of the items in the set before. Double winner!

As I seem to have enough body wash and lotion to last me until I am fifty (not that I am complaining), I only got around to trying these two pretty little bottles this week. I am so glad I did, as they are just what I needed. This spicy scent can warm up the greyest of days, with notes of pink pepperpods (from the Gulf of Guinea, apparently) and fiery ginger creating a grown-up and luxurious scent. Molton Brown describe it as 'sultry, humid and spicy', and I think those words do it justice. I love that the scent is totally at odds with the colour scheme of the packaging, as the scent is really not your typical sweet and fluffy floral. 

I am absolutely loving using these two at the minute, and I can't believe I haven't tried them before. I can even see a repurchase happening, which isn't that common for me when it comes to body wash. Molton Brown also make a candle in this scent, which I have my eye on, and I can imagine the scrub is really invigorating.

Have any of you tried these products? Are there any other products in the Molton Brown range that I need to get my hands on?

The Pink Pepperpod range is available from £18 on the Molton Brown website.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

January Favourites


After putting the products for this, my first monthly favourites post, together, I was quite pleased to see what an affordable little collection they were. It makes me feel like I have been quite frugal this month. It's a total illusion, but one I am happy with. Without further ado, I present the products both old and new that I have been using and loving this month.

Rituals Fortune Scrub 
I got this absolutely ages ago as a magazine freebie. In fact, I only bought the magazine in question because I wanted to try this out, but then I forgot about it. This was the perfect time to rediscover it, as the fresh and zingy scent is absolutely perfect for brightening up cold and gloomy January. It's a fairly gentle scrub, so I've been using it pretty much constantly this month. 
£10 from Rituals

Essie The Twill of It 
This little gem was a Christmas present from my sister, and is quite different to the nail varnishes I usually gravitate towards. It was however, love at first swatch, and this has been on my nails all month, which is quite unlike me. It's a lovely metallic grey colour, with reflective shimmers of green and purple. Magical.
£10.95 on lookfantastic.com

Maybelline Baby Lips Cherry Me
I know that everyone is sick of hearing about Baby Lips now, but what can I say? I've worn this loads throughout January, I love the sheer wash of colour, it's helped my poor lips deal with the cold and the heating, and it's handy for work. Sorrynotsorry. 
£2.99 from Boots

Diptyque Ofresia Eau de Toilette
One of my Space NK sale buys, this was definitely purchased on a whim. Luckily, I totally love it. According to Diptyque the fragrance is inspired by a Normandy garden in springtime, glittering with morning dew. Or as I would put it, it smells like flowers. A lovely bunch of fresh spring flowers, reminding me that brighter, prettier days are only a month or two away.
£27 at Space NK

Molton Brown Desert Bloom Intense Hand Rescue
Another Christmas gift, this time in a set from my boyfriend. This is the least budget-friendly item on my favourites list, but I totally love it. The smell is a gorgeously soft floriental, and it's full of shea butter, so very hydrating (and in this cold weather, it needs to be). It just melts into my skin and disappears, leaving no stickiness at all, and to top it all off, the packaging is, like all Molton Brown packaging, simple and perfect. It's amazing!
£21 from Molton Brown

Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Pink Gold
Another super-popular Maybelline offering! I'm loving rose gold these days, and have been getting plenty of use out of this brilliantly wearable, easily applied shade. 
£4.99 from Boots

Have you tried any of my January favourites? 




Monday, 27 January 2014

Review: Macadamia Deep Repair Masque


Currently on a mission that I have eloquently entitled Operation-Mermaid-Beach-Wedding-Hair, I have become pretty aware of the necessity to step up my hair game. I have already found my Holy Grail hair oil (Moroccan, of course), but I think I am pretty slack in most other hair care departments. Must try harder. Seeing as this hyped-up product comes in a single-use sample size for a few pounds, it seemed like a clever idea to try it out before I actually invested in the full-sized product. This is, by the way, my version of being good with money.

I had seen pictures of the product before, but I was still fairly disappointed with the packaging when it arrived. It's the colours; the green is really bright and a bit garish, and I don't know how I feel about it combined with brown. The sachet is nice and big though, just the right amount for my long thick hair. The back of the sachet informs me that the masque is full of Omega 3, 5 and 7, and will enable the user to "love who you are, stand in your truth, and indulge in the luxury of being yourself", which is, y'know, a nice thought I guess.

The product smells about as luxurious as it looks (not very), as it has what I would call a typical shampoo smell. Sort of fresh and clean, but nothing exciting. Exciting smells are not what I'm here for though, and after seven minutes on my hair I let the results do the talking. My hair definitely feels much softer and healthier than it has done in a good while, and my ends, which are in need of a good trim at the moment, look much better. I haven't noticed any increase in shine so far, but as the product is intended to be used twice per week, perhaps the results would get even better over time. 

Overall, although I still don't think it looks or smells like a luxury product, and I still don't know how it feels to stand in one's own truth, I do have lovely soft hair now. Furthermore, and most importantly, I'm buying the full-sized product. And that's all that really counts, isn't it?

Do you love Macadamia Natural Oil products? What products do you recommend to help me get the mermaid locks of my dreams?

Available from £2.70 at BeautyBay.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Product Review: Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation


I may be late to the party with this much-hyped product, but I have had a valid excuse for forgoing this, and indeed all drugstore foundations: I am not white. And if you aren't white, finding a decent match in Boots or Superdrug pretty much isn't going to happen, and consequently I've never had a foundation that wasn't high end (oh Bobbi Brown, how you understand my needs!). 

So why do I have this? Well, after reading all the hype, I kept checking shops to find a predictably-abysmal shade range available (3 light-coloured shades in store, 6 on the website for Boots), and resigned myself to the fact that this foundation would never be mine. However, a recent fragrancedirect trawl brought to my attention a shade I had never seen in Boots or on the Rimmel website - 402 Bronze. This sounded a little more promising, and as it was only £3.99 it went straight into my basket, as I told myself that if it was too light I could pass it on to my little sister. Fortunately, the match is pretty good. Not Bobbi or Nars accurate, but passable, though as soon as the sun comes out and I get a little darker, it will be too light I think. 

After a very long introduction (sorry, I just feel strongly about this ongoing frustration!), let's get to the verdict on my first ever drugstore foundation...I like it! The packaging is nicer than any other drugstore foundation I have seen; I like that the bottle is glass, and the pump is great, depositing just the right amount. I'm not sure about the bright orange lid though, it's a bit garish for me. It's a nicely blendable formula, and coverage-wise, I'd call this medium, but only just; it's certainly more about evening out and brightening up the skin than covering up problems. Basically, I need to use more of this than of my favourite high-end foundations to get a medium-coverage look. As for the much-discussed shimmer, I honestly cannot notice this on my face, it just looks nice and bright. 

Although I don't see this foundation replacing my old favourites, I think I will get some use out of it. There are days when all I am doing is popping to the Co-Op, or going on a dog walk, which seem a waste of expensive foundation, but I just can't face the day with a naked face. I think I'll feel much better about using a product that I paid just £4 for on those days. I don't know why the Rimmel website doesn't list this shade. Possibly they scrapped it early on, or renamed it. Under this name or another, I certainly have never seen it in any of the three branches of Boots I frequent. 





What do you think of this foundation? Do you struggle to find a colour match in drugstores?

Shade 402- Bronze is available for £3.99 at fragrancedirect.co.uk

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Haul: 7 Items for £7


This month I've been trying (and, let's face it, failing) to curb my spending, as we're saving for our wedding. Having seen so many great Poundland hauls, I thought a little trip there might satisfy my urge to shop without requiring me to cut the guest list. After a good rummage, I managed to find a few bits to keep me entertained for one afternoon, at least.

Nivea Lip Care Soft Rose
I get terribly dry lips, so having lip balm stashed everywhere (handbags, car, desk, bedside draw) is essential for me. I'd actually never tried one of these lip balms, which surprised me. It feels nice, and certainly does the job, but it doesn't provide much colour. For a pound however, it's pretty great, and I have put it in my coat pocket for outdoor dry-lip emergencies.

Revlon Chroma Chameleon (shade not stated)
These are £6.49 in Boots, so I was pretty pleased with this bargain. It's a lot greener on the nails than it looks in the bottle, and although it took three coats to become opaque, I didn't really mind; it's very thin and applies easily. 

Revlon Eyeshadows 
Having never tried a Revlon eyeshadow, I was quite excited to try out two of their formulas, Satin (in Nude Slip and Shimmering Sienna) and Perle (in Sunlit Sparkle). They feel lovely and soft, however I found that with the exception of Shimmering Sienna, they were not very pigmented and quite dusty. Shimmering Sienna is the darkest one pictured, and I actually really like it. It doesn't last all day, which is a shame, so I plan on trying it with a primer next time.

NYC Liquid Eyeliner
This is a basic black liner, with a perfectly fine brush applicator. It does not stay put for very long at all though, which is a big no-no for me. 

Rimmel Spark It Up Gleaming Eye Darkening Liner
I picked this up in the shade 300 Ultraviolet, as I have heard that purple is a great colour to bring out brown eyes, and it isn't a colour I wear much at the minute. The liner isn't glittery as I had expected from the packaging, but I prefer it this way, as I can wear it for work. It isn't a bright purple at all, so it's a nicely subtle way to mix things up a bit. 

Overall, I like four out of the seven items I bought, so I only wasted £3 and have been able to experiment with brands and colours I don't usually wear. I will definitely go back to Poundland again, as I found the whole thing quite fun (I think I just got a buzz out of buying seven things at once, I am such a shopaholic/loser).

What's the best beauty product you've ever found in Poundland?

Monday, 20 January 2014

Recently Repurchased


I love trying new things, and am always looking forward to the next exciting beauty discovery. Therefore, it's usually a pretty big compliment to a product if I decide to repurchase it when I run out. Here's a little run down of things I have liked enough to repurchase so far this month.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Beauty Bargain: Guerlain Terracotta Tan-enhancing Bronzer Terra Nerolia

Admittedly, many people would not consider a high-end bronzer to be a bargain. However, when I was browsing the beauty counters at John Lewis last weekend, I spotted this not-so-little beauty, at half price.



Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Product Review: Timothy Han Candle



I know I'm not alone in my absolute love for candles. From super-luxe Dyptique, to available-everywhere Yankee, I can't get enough of them. I love to scent my home, and just feel cosier and more relaxed with a candle flickering away somewhere. I certainly never see a candle as a boring gift, or a safe-option - quite the contrary, as scent preferences are so personal.

I received this candle, by Timothy Han (a brand I had not heard of before), as a gift about a year ago, and since then have burned it quite a bit. Despite this, as you can see from my less-than-beautiful photos, it's still going strong. According to the website the candle should have 50 hours of burn time, and I think that is accurate. 







Aside from the lovely packaging (the simple, yet beautiful,  teal glass jar looks elegant on my shelf), the first thing that really struck me about this candle was the name of the scent. Tobacco and Jasmine. I admit that at first, I was put off by the idea of this; after all, who actually wants their home to smell of smoke? However, one sniff and I was converted. It really doesn't smell anything like tobacco in the sense of smoking; indeed the top notes are Sicilian lemon and bergamot, which when combined with a heart of spicy star anise, cardamom and black pepper, create a sort of refreshing warmth. The floral notes of the jasmine are subtle, but definitely there. According to the website, the 'Tobacco' in the title refers more to the inspiration for the scent (which was originally developed for Barneys New York), a beautiful woman wearing perfume and smoking, in a chic Parisian cafĂ©. It's certainly a very grown-up scent.

Timothy Han is a brand which takes pride in creating candles made as naturally as possible, using only 100% natural soy wax and botanical fragrances. As unlike most candles, they are not made from paraffin, and they contain no artificial fragrances, the end result is a cleaner burning candle. I never knew that most candles emitted potentially harmful toxins, and I have to admit, this news is unlikely to make me part with my old favourites. I do like the idea of a natural product though, and the company claims this aspect of their product maximises the throw of the scent. I'm not going to argue with that, the throw is pretty amazing, without being overpowering. It sort of creeps up on you, and before I know it, I can smell it from a room away. My only criticism would be that, natural wax or not, there is some tunnelling going on, which is not something I would expect to see when paying a premium price for a candle.

Have you tried any of Timothy Han's candles? Would you ever consider using a candle with 'Tobacco' in its title? 

Available from Timothy Han's website here, £38.


Sunday, 12 January 2014

Beauty Bargain: Molton Brown at TK Maxx

I am a big fan of TK Maxx. I know it can feel a bit like a jumble sale in there (and to be honest, I rarely brave the clothes rails), but for accessories, homeware (and if you want outlet home accessories and furniture, the sister store Homesense is a must) and beauty products, it is pretty fantastic. 

Whilst browsing my nearest branch a few days ago, I was quite excited to find a shelf dedicated to Molton Brown.




They mostly had hand wash and lotions, but there were a few other bits too, like body lotions etc. I'm trying to hold back a bit this month, so just grabbed two items for £5.99 each - the Fine Liquid Hand Wash in Thai Vert, and the Soothing Hand Lotion in Pettigree Dew. These both retail at £16. 

Thai Vert has a bright, fresh scent, that's perfectly unisex (handy, as these are for my downstairs bathroom). Pettigree Dew is a much softer floral, is lovely and moisturising, without taking an age to sink in, or leaving hands greasy. I also love the colourful, flowery packaging. I have always loved the overall look of Molton Brown products, and think they are a great way to glam up the bathroom - I find guests usually appreciate them!



As far as I can tell, the majority of the products  I saw in TK Maxx are still being sold by Molton Brown at their full prices, but have new names for 2014. For example, my Thai Vert hand wash is now called Lime and Patchouli. Oddly enough, for a product previously called 'Thai',  the Molton Brown website's description of the scent repeatedly refers to Mexican influences. Pettigree Dew however, still has the same name, so I don't know why it has ended up in TK Maxx.

What's the best beauty bargain you have ever stumbled upon in TK Maxx?

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Review: Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser

So, after going a little bit tinted-balm crazy over Maybelline's Baby Lips last year, I knew I was going to have to try this out when it finally came to the UK. There aren't many good lower-end/drugstore primers (that I have found, anyway), so I was rather excited to give this a whirl. Having used it all week, I am happy to say that it is just what I was hoping for. I know there's a million reviews of this doing the rounds, but I also know that I love hearing a wide range of views on products, so I thought one more little blog post wouldn't hurt. 


The packaging is cute, and although the bottle is smaller than I imagined (22ml), I have found that a little goes a long way and I expect this tube to last a while. The formula itself is a clear, silica-based gel, which is easily smoothed over the skin. 

 I don't really have a big problem with overly-visible pores, but the little ones on my nose definitely seem to just get blurred out when I apply a little of this, and my skin looks matte and smooth. It provides a lovely canvas for my foundation (side note: this can apparently be used as a stand alone product, but I don't tend to go foundation-free when I wear make up), although I can't say I have noticed it lasting any longer than usual. 

Overall, it may not be the best primer I have ever used, but for the price (£7.99 at Boots), I think it's a real little gem. After all, we all love a your-skin-but-better bargain.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Elemis Skincare

During the Summer I was lucky enough to receive an hour-long Elemis facial at a spa, and I have to say, it was absolutely amazing. I was so relaxed I very nearly fell asleep, and afterwards my skin was looking pretty good. The best bit though, was that it just kept looking and feeling better and better over the next 24 hours, and by the next day I was positively glowing. I popped back down to the spa to ask them which product was responsible, and was directed towards the infamous Papaya Enzyme Peel. 

Over the following months, I built up a little collection of Elemis treats, and these are my favourites.



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