Sunday, 30 March 2014

A Few Beauty Buys ...!


So over the last month or so I've been picking up a few bits and bobs, here and there ... as you do ...

Actually the first two products aren't 'buys' as such but thought I'd add them in as recent acquisitions!
Pixi Lash Line Ink in Black Silk - I won this in a Twitter comp a while ago - have swatched but not had a proper go yet - to be rectified shortly!
Bobbi Brown Blush in Tawny - a belated Christmas pressie from my brother (chosen by myself of course!) - my first Bobbi Brown product - thanks bro!

Picked up the following items when Boots had their recent 3 for 2 offer on a couple of weeks ago ...
Avene Hydrance Optimale Light Hydrating Cream - couldn't get hold of my usual Vichy Aqualia Thermal Light so thought I'd give this a go and first impressions are favourable!
Nails Inc Kensington Caviar Top and Base Coat Duo - my current Sally Hansen Instadri has gone rather gloopy so thought I'd give this duo a bash.
Max Factor CC in Tanned - this is one of those products that you grab in a rush - when you're faffing around in Boots - trying to choose the third item in a 3 for 2 offer - and running out of time! I wanted a CC - actually the Bourjois CC but couldn't get hold of a suitable colour so ended up with this one - I think it's going to be too light for me having now tried it although it's the darkest of shades available!

Soap & Glory Endless Glove 2in1 Moisture Mask & Hand Cream - I had a Boots voucher to get £3 worth of points on a S&G purchase - my hands need all the moisture they can get at the moment and you can never have too many hand creams right?
Dove Refresh and Care Dry Shampoo - on offer with a third off in Sainsburys - I can't live without dry shampoo (or rather my hair can't) so thought I'd give this a whirl as a change from my usual brands.

And last but not least I took advantage of the current offer of a No7 Pink Blossom Box with 2 No7 products...
No7 Instant Radiance Foundation in Warm Beige - I was recently colour matched and given a sample of this and a couple of other foundations to try by the nice No7 lady - Instant Radiance won the vote and I used my £3 off voucher!
No7 Natural Blush Tint Powder in Coral Flush -  actually wanted the No7 Brush Cleaner as my 2nd product but it was sold out and I was running out of time (again) in my lunch break.  I have an ongoing blusher addiction so this seemed like an obvious choice!
Inside the 'Blossom Box' were sample sizes of No7 Exceptional Definition Mascara, High Shine Lip Crayon, Skin Illuminator and Stay Perfect Eye Shadow - I've not tried any of this lot so all welcome!

So that's that for a while - I definitely need to start 'shopping my stash'! I've had to physically restrain myself from going for the current Bourjois offer in Boots of spend £12 on Bourjois and get a free blush or eyeshadow  - I need  help ... help me please ...!

What have you been tempted by recently?

Jen x

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

MUA Cream Blusher in Scrummy - Review


Believe it or not I don't own many cream blushers (masses of powder blushers mind but not many creams!). This is my MUA Blush Perfection Cream Blusher in Scrummy - it's one I've been enjoying for a good few months now...

A picture of MUA Cream Blusher in Scrummy
A picture of MUA Cream Blusher in Scrummy

I went for Scrummy because it looked like a really wearable shade - not too light, not too dark etc.  For me it works best over a BB or light foundation and I don't try to mattify as it gives a natural, dewy flush which is what I'm after with a cream blush so I don't see the point!  I just pat a little over the old apples with my fingers (I like using fingers with cream blush) but you could blend with a brush if that's your thang.   It's quick and easy to use so ideal if you just want to add a bit of colour and not faff around too much or look too made-up but you can build it up for a more intense flush.  I don't find it drying, nor is it greasy or slippery and it lasts really well - for a good few hours, if not longer, just over a BB.  You don't need to use much as it's quite well pigmented so it's easy to build up a little pop - I envisage Scrummy will be a great Summertime staple and ideal for holiday!

Swatched above and blended below - in shade on the left and full sun on the right...

A picture of MUA Cream Blusher in Scrummy

I've only gone for a 'little pop' on the kite here - (every time I tried to type 'pop' it came out 'poop' - what is wrong with me!) ...

A picture of MUA Cream Blusher in Scrummy

MUA Cream Blushers are a mere £2.00 so if you get on with them you can't go wrong.  I'm definitely after another shade - it's just that every time I visit Superdrug they're pretty much sold out!

Have you tried any of the MUA Blushes? What's your favourite cream blush?

Jen x

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Roast Beef and Potato Pepper Fry...!


Thought I'd take a trip down the 'foodie' route again with an Anglo-Indian favourite ... Pepper Fry!  I remember various forms of mince, chicken and beef pepper fry from my childhood days - if we were feeling under the weather or full of cold etc a plate of pepper fry and rice would sort us out!  My mum, nana and grandpa were all a dab hand at 'throwing' it together using leftover or fresh meat - let's hope I can continue with tradition ...!

I used leftover roast beef and potatoes - enough for two servings here ...

Prepare the following ... 1 large onion, a couple cloves chopped garlic, chopped ginger to taste (I used 1 large tsp of 'Lazy Ginger' on this occasion), 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp pepper (or to taste) - I used garlic grain pepper cos I love it! (You could also add a chopped chilli into the mix if you wanted to pep it up a bit!)

Fry the onion, garlic, ginger and turmeric in a little oil for a few minutes to soften... (the method is similar to my lamb fry -  here) ...

Add the beef, roast potatoes and pepper and fry for a further 5ish minutes ...

A picture of Beef Pepper Fry

Add hot water from the kettle to just about cover the medley (I also chucked in some chopped coriander too as I'm obsessed with the stuff! ), cover and bring to the boil ...

A picture of Beef Pepper Fry

Simmer for 25 minutes or so until the meat is thoroughly heated and you're left with a pepper fry (think I'll add more water next time as I like loads of gravy!) ...

A picture of Beef Pepper Fry

Serve with rice and yogurt if you like and maybe a bit of bombay mix on the side?

A picture of Beef Pepper Fry

You can't beat a good old Pepper Fry!  It's simple but tasty and a really quick and easy way to use up leftovers!

What's your favourite way to use up roast beef?

Jen x

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

NOTD - Deborah Lippmann - Spring Buds ...!


This is the second of the polishes recently sent to me from Lookfantastic ... Spring Buds by celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann ... here it is mingling with some Spring blossom ...!

A picture of Deborah Lippmann - Spring Buds
A picture of Deborah Lippmann - Spring Buds
A picture of Deborah Lippmann - Spring Buds

I should point out that tiny droplets of rain may be evident in the above pic - it was one of those silly weather days and I was desperately trying to get this snapped before the heavens opened!  Anyway ... this is one of the polishes available from the Deborah Lippmann 'Spring Reveries' Collection - six of the softest 'very springlike' pastel shades which are easy on the eye - both in the lovely Art Deco type bottle and out of it!  'Spring Buds' is a creamy, pistachio green colour - a fresh and clean and glossy look which is ideal for this time of year!  The consistency was actually a lot thinner than I was expecting with quite a small brush but once you get used to this it's easy enough for a novice like myself to apply.  You do need two decent (or three not so decent I imagine) coats - I've used two in the above pic.  Wear wise (you know what I'm going to say here I bet!) it lasted just short of two days with topcoat but it did wear pretty evenly on the ends which may make it easier to touch up?

You can see the Deborah Lippmann range available from Lookfantastic here - between £16/£18 a bottle it's a bit on the pricey side  - although there are some gorgeous colours and finishes - see what you think!

Have you tried any of the Deborah Lippman polishes?

Jen x

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Birthday Wishlist!


Bit of a hint in the post title there ... yes my birthday is on the horizon - not so exciting an event when you're getting on! Still - always room for some sort of wishlist whatever your age eh?  I've never done a 'wishlist' post since I started blogging but I've recently discovered Polyvore - it's a bit addictive - like Pringles - once you pop you can't stop and all ... I've definitely popped ...!

Birthday Wishlist!

Quick blurb on the products then kicking off with the Philip Kingsley Exfoliating Scalp Mask, must try this -after all good hair begins with a good scalp right? Had to restrain myself on the make-up front (obviously) or there would have been tenfold blushers on here, but how cute is the Cargo blush - there are several different 'beach based 'options and who knows I may even try a couple! Been wanting a pair of Dr M's for ages and I reckon I can get away with these ... probably not the ideal footwear to wear for the school run though unless I give myself ample time to do the laces up!  I only possess one MAC lippie (in Chilli which I still have to review) - I think it's time for another, preferably bright and matte - hence Lady Danger. Can't wait to shed my duffle coat and get Spring started, love this teal blazer!  Also need a new handbag - something like this would be ideal, roomy enough for my kitchen sink! Last but not least, I tried a sample of the Liz Earle Botanical Essence No15 and I was addicted - gorgeous!

So that's the list -will keep you posted if I end up with any of this lovely lot!

What's on your current wishlist?

Jen x

Friday, 14 March 2014

Cruising with Shabba and Maxi...!


Recently Trevor (of the Nelson variety - Collection 2) has been accompanying me on many a car journey - some proper corkers on this 2nd compilation!

The other morning myself and Trevor were on our way into work when Shabba (Ranks) and Maxi (Priest) started doing their 'thing' during 'Housecall' (I felt that this should have read 'thang' but thought some may think it was a mere spelling mistake!).  The sun was shining and I had to resist the temptation to wind my window down and stick my elbow out in 'cruising' position (you know the one!) - thought maybe a gal of my age - dressed for the office - may look rather weird in this stance ...!  Anyway ... this ol'tune just brought a smile to my face and chilled me out - even the usual endless string of drivers who seemingly dilly-dally around in no particular rush to get anywhere fast, didn't phase me ... this is good ...!

Shabba Ranks feat. Maxi Priest - Housecall

See what I mean - don't you want to just do that Reggae hip-swaying thing? Even though for the most part I'm struggling to understand what our Shabba is saying - it's just sun and chill music and I need this in my life ...!

What's your 'sun and chill' tune? Can you understand our Shabba?

Jen x

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

L'Oreal Paris Everstrong Shampoo, Conditioner and Intense Nourishing Mask - Review


Try saying this lot in one breath then ... 'L'Oreal Paris Hair Expertise Everstrong No Sulphates Reinforcing System' ... actually - breathe here ... 'Shampoo, Conditioner and Nourishing Intense Mask' ... mouthful or what?

If you read my blog you'll be aware of my haircare junkie tendencies and my recent efforts to sort my barnet out.  I picked this lot up before Christmas when Boots had one of their 3 for 2 offers on.  The EverStrong range seemed a good option as my 'fragile, brittle hair' had been doing my head in and I wanted to try a 'No Sulphate' range ...

You may have seen my review on L'Oreal Elvive Triple Resist (here) which I do think helped with the overall state my hair and scalp.  I wanted to give the Everstrong range a go as it was targeting the same concerns but from the 'No Sulphate' corner and so used this shampoo, conditioner and mask for a solid month recently.

Once you've saturated your barnet the shampoo foams really well considering it is sulphate free and gives you that squeaky clean feeling.  The conditioner is effective but light enough to not weigh my hair down.  The mask is creamier in texture - I used this approx once/twice a week and left it on for the standard 3-5 minutes - as on the can (sometimes longer).  The combination of these three products leaves my hair soft, shiny and manageable with noticeable bounce - this is one of the things that first struck me actually - the bounce!  The rosemary and mint give the shampoo and conditioner a fresh and clean fragrance that lingers (the mask has more of a buttery smell to it). You know when your hair gets swished around in the day (mine only swishes a little but still!) and you get a waft of a nice smell - that's the one!

If you like going down the 'no sulphate' route then this lot may be worth a try - certainly with this particular 'reinforcing' range my  hair feels stronger and healthier, with no build-up, no itchy flaky scalp and as with the Elvive Triple Resist - not so much hair going down the plughole! The more hair I can keep attached to my head the better all round!

I have so many haircare products to use up (if I ever achieve this I'll have a party - seriously I have a problem!) and I am notorious for chopping and changing my shampoo/conditioners - I think your hair does benefit from a bit of a change (probably not as frequently as I have been known to in the past!). However, I can see me keeping the L'Oreal Everstrong range as a permanent fixture in the (heaving) bathroom cabinet! I recently tried yet another range and then went back to the Everstrong for a bit of extra nourishment.  It seems like the perfect product for me to dip into every now and again to give my hair a proper 'sulphate-free' spring clean whilst maintaining condition and strength.

Do you chop and change your haircare? Have you tried any products from the L'Oreal Paris Hair Expertise range?

Jen x

Sunday, 9 March 2014

February Empties ... !


February Empties here (which you probably gleaned from the post title) - a bit late but hey-ho ...!

Soap & Glory Hand Food - I usually have several hand creams on the go - in situ in different rooms - reminds me to stick some on from time to time (this one was tucked away in the living room!).  I do like a bit of S&G 'Hand Food' (who doesn't?), was part of a kit with the hand wash (you know the one!)  Lovely hand cream, hydrates, soothes and smells great!

Tesco Smoothing Body Lotion -  can't do without some sort of body lotion/butter after a shower/bath. I've repurchased this one with Aloe Vera (and the Cocoa Butter version) many times over. They are so easy and quick to apply, absorb in an instant and are super cheap - great for everyday use and/or when you're in a rush to get your clobber on and get out the door/on the settee!

Coco Chanel Parfum - you just cannot beat a bit of Chanel! This is one of my favourite fragrances - the hubby bought it for my birthday a few years ago and I've only used it for very special occasions. Only the dregs are left now (that's a hint if he happens to read this!) - not chucking the bottle though - it's a lovely keepsake!

Gatineau Floracil Eye Make-Up Remover - I've used this 200 ml supersize for the last 4(ish) months and it's another product I should have done a full review on! It's gentle and non-oily, soothing and non-drying but effective at removing heavy eye make-up. Can also be used as a cooling eye-compress to revive tired eyes. A great product - I'm already on my second supersize!

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Light - at last something I have done a full review on - here! Yep a great product for hydration and its been ideal for layering with my Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate during the colder months. I should have really included this in last months empties but it was hiding at the back of the drawer - am well into my second pot and will repurchase (although Boots don't seem to be stocking it at the moment which is rather worrying!).

Le Petit Marseillais Peach and Nectarine Shower Gel - brought this back from last year's holiday in France (actually my daughter brought it back and I pinched it!). Gorgeous uplifting scent, reminds me of ripe fruit, summer sun and holiday - hoping to grab some more when we next pop across the water!

Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic - another 'Instant Boost' emptied out! Needs no introduction and still one of my favourites. Already got my next one open and in use!

Do you use any of these products? What have you managed to empty out recently?

Jen x

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

NOTD - Nailtiques Protein Nail Lacquer in Maui...


I was recently sent a couple of nail polishes to try from Lookfantastic ... here's the first NOTD - step up the Nailtiques Nail Lacquer with Protein in Maui...!

A picture of Nailtiques Nail Lacquer with Protein in Maui
A picture of Nailtiques Nail Lacquer with Protein in Maui
A picture of Nailtiques Nail Lacquer with Protein in Maui

A little info directly from the Lookfantastic website ...
"Nailtiques have revolutionised natural nail care by pioneering a nail colour which strengthens nails. Nailtiques Nail Lacquer With Protein in Maui is a sizzling hot coral pink shade enriched with the award-winning benefits of the Nailtiques protein blend." source
I have only used the nail polish itself and - as I understand - it works in conjunction with the Nailtiques protein treatments, I therefore can't speak for it's strengthening properties. I have to say though - what a gorgeous pop of colour!  It's been grand to wear a 'sizzling hot coral' for a change - so vibrant and cheerful on a grey day (and we all know we've not seen the back of grey days yet!).  It has a good glossy finish - the above pic. was taken without any topcoat (on one of the aforementioned grey days!).  Easy to apply - with a decent brush and drying time was pretty standard.  It was opaque (enough for me anyway) in two coats - if you're a bit more particular about your level of 'opaqueness' you could easily apply a third coat.  Wear wise it lasted my usual 2 days once I had applied my topcoat.

You can see the full range of  Nailtiques Nail Lacquers (including current offers) over at Lookfantastic here.  I like the fact that they're based on well known 'worldwide' locations and I'm liking the look of 'Rio' myself!

Have you used any products from the Nailtiques range? Which 'worldwide location' would you choose?

Jen x

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Boost My Radiance ...!!


I am not a fan of Winter - and that's putting it mildly! Why we can't just hibernate like animals is beyond me - or at least half hibernate!  Despite using some lovely products, I need a helping hand at this time of year to help with rubbish skin days, we're talking lackslustre, dull, grey, yellow etc. Here's where this little lot comes in ...!

A picture of Radiance Boosters

Vichy Idealia BB Cream - if you read my waffle you'll know I'm a big fan of this BB. It's perfect for 'not so much make-up' days and helps me to look more human - if you know what I mean! Full review here

Gatineau Radiance Enhancing Gommage - a non-granular, enzyme based exfoliant to brighten and smooth.  Great to use on a morning/pre night out to pep things up or before applying a favourite facial mask for a bit of a pamper. Full review here.

Elemis Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm - this was a magazine freebie. It can be used as a primer, light moisturiser or flash balm.  It didn't work for me as a primer, my make up slid off my face after a couple of hours - shame - but it's lovely as a morning moisturiser - hydrating and brightening or for applying sparingly to your kite for a bit of radiance.

Gatineau Active Eclat Flash Radiance - I should have done a full review on this little beauty - love it. A lightweight serum which can be applied over moisturiser, mixed with foundation or patted gently over make-up. It's wakes your face up and gives you a glow. For me, personally. this has the edge over the Elemis Flash Balm (sorry Elemis!) and I use it every time I have a dull day (or a hangover!).

Liz Earle Brightening Treatment Mask - I've used this mask for years, it's so quick and easy. Just apply after a morning cleanse, leave on for 30 seconds - 2 minutes and rinse off.  It gives a healthy 'just been for a brisk walk' glow - a great quick fix and it smells good too!

Bare Minerals Clear Radiance - this was part of a QVC kit some time ago. Bare Minerals have various versions of 'Radiance' - this one is a soft flesh tone which can be used to highlight or give a subtle glow over the cheekbones. I like to sweep a small amount over a matte blusher to add a bit of luminosity now and again.

Bare Radiance in the pot below ...

A picture of Bare Minerals Clear Radiance

and then swatched ...

A picture of Bare Minerals Clear Radiance

So that's my current arsenal for adding a bit of radiance - always good to have a trick or two up your sleeve and the more the better don't you think?

What are your favourite brightening/radiance enhancing products?

Jen x

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