Thursday, 26 February 2015

Lush Easter 2015

Yesterday morning I headed to Lush Meadowhall for the #LushBloggerBreakfast to have a sneak peak of the 2015 Easter range. When we arrived we were greeted with a choice of tea, coffee and orange juice, as well as some croissants, chocolate brioche and fruit and a display of products including some old favourites and some new additions. 

Lush Meadowhall Bloggers Breakfast

Lush Bunch of carrots bubble bar and Hoppity Poppity

Lush Immaculate Eggception pink & yellow
Lush Fluffy egg

Lush Bunch of carrots

Let's start off with the Bunch of carrots bubble bar. This comes as a bunch of three carrots that contain buchu oil, lemon oil and bergamot oil. This is a reusable one so the idea is you swirl the carrots around in the water as you're running a bath and then leave them somewhere to dry ready to use next time. The two jugs were used to show that these produce an impressive amount of bubbles that feel very soft and silky. This may not be the prettiest of Lush's bubble bar products but I think it's quite quirky and is obviously Easter bunny appropriate.  If you wanted to give somebody a slightly more unusual Easter present you could give them a chocolate bunny with a bunch of carrots (just make sure they realise the carrots aren't actually edible!).

Lush Easter Immaculate Eggception bath bomb

The bath bombs include Golden egg (not shown), Fluffy egg (the candy pink ones), Immaculate Eggception (the pink and yellow ones) and Hoppity Poppity (the bunny heads). I didn't get a good picture of Golden egg but I believe this is one Lush have released before. It's a small golden coloured egg covered in lots of glitter and containing Fair trade Colombian cocoa butter, olive oil and sweet wild orange oil. This one takes a long time to dissolve and leaves you with glittery yellow/gold water.

I'm pretty sure that I've used Fluffy egg before so I think this one has also been released before. Snow fairy fans will be pleased to know this one smells like Snow fairy, so you can get your Christmas candy fix for Easter. Although I believe a few permanent products do at least smell similar to Snow fairy if not the same?

Immaculate Eggception is a large bomb that is designed to be cracked open. Once in two halves (fingers crossed it doesn't crumble too much) you'll find a very cute little chick inside the egg and these pieces can then be used for three baths. I wouldn't advise chucking the whole thing in if you have the pink version of this one as we discovered the pink and yellow turns the water a rather unattractive muddy brown colour! This one includes grapefruit oil, lemon oil and fair trade vanilla absolute.

I don't recognise Hoppity Poppity (what a cute name) so this might be a new one but I could be wrong about that. This contains violet leaf absolute, lime oil and popping candy to make your bath a little more fun. This one might be good for children as the popping candy will amuse them but I'd say it's perfect for big kids too.

Lush Easter soaps Somewhere over the rainbow and Carrot

The soaps in the Easter collection are Somewhere over the rainbow, which contains mandarin, neroli and carnation, and Carrot containing buchu oil, carrot oil and Fair trade organic cocoa butter. Is it just me or does the Carrot look a little like a giant orange slug eating some grass? We didn't get to see it because it needed to be kept in one piece but running through the middle of the soap is the shape of a rabbit. Somewhere over the rainbow is HUGE, I don't think I've ever seen a complete Lush soap that size before, and obviously the colour(s) of the bit you get will depend on where it's cut from.

Lush Pot o' Gold shower jelly

The sparkly gold flubber looking type thing is actually a shower jelly. I've tried a sample of a shower jelly before and they're quite strange to use. It's the sort of product you really have to try and get a good grip on (which is difficult because it's jelly!) or it will end up going astray. This one is Pot o' Gold, which contains fresh pineapple juice, Fair trade vanilla absolute and myrrh resinoid. This one smells like toffee, which is a scent I love, so I'm thinking about getting some of this.

Finally Lush have several different Easter gift sets (I think there was around eight of them) but I'm afraid I can't remember the names of all of them (you can see some of the names above) and I'm not sure what's in each one. I think my favourite in terms of packaging is probably the carrot as it's just so quirky but the bunny one is also quite unusual. If you want to buy somebody something a little different for Easter, or just don't want to buy chocolate, one of these gift sets would be perfect.

Lush very kindly gave me a Fluffy egg*, Immaculate Eggception* and Hoppity Poppity* to take away with me to try so reviews of each of these will pop up as I use them. I'm afraid I don't have any prices but the Easter range will arrive in store and online this Friday (27th February).

Will you be treating yourself to anything from the Easter range?
*PR sample

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal mask

In January an email popped into my inbox from Birchbox asking if I would like to try out the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal mask*. REN are a brand that I'm aware of but I've never actually tried one of their products before. I've recently plucked up the courage to start moving away from manual exfoliation products and more towards acid exfolation, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to try out one such product.

REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal mask

REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal mask

REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal mask
When this arrived I opened up the parcel, started to read the box and my heart sank. 'Suitable for all skin types, except sensitive' - damn it! The rest of my face is not too bad but the tops of my cheeks can be very sensitive and reactive. Clay masks can often burn me there and even a hydrating sheet mask that I tried left me with a slightly red face for a couple of days. So I really wasn't sure if I would be able to use this at all.

As the name suggests this mask is designed to help renew your complexion. It should help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, combat congestion, blackheads and blemishes and make skin look brighter, healthier and more radiant. It contains natural fruit acids from passion fruit, lemon, grape and pineapple and also something called papin from papaya. It also doesn't contain anything that some people aren't keen on being in their skincare such as parabens, mineral oil and silicones.

The packaging of this is quite unusual. Although it comes in a standard pump dispense bottle I believe the actual product in the bottle is in some kind of bag. I guess as you dispense the product it sucks the bag up and I would imagine this means you can get almost all of the product out of the bottle. There is also a strip of plastic with a little cap on the end attached to the pump that you can use to cover the hole the product is dispensed from when not in use. I'm not sure of the purpose for this, as the product is too thick to leak, but this might be to help keep the product fresh.

The mask has a thick and sticky consistency. It has a reasonably strong smell to it which I find reminds me of marmalade. I guess it also kind of looks like marmalade! You apply a thick layer to your whole face, avoiding the eye area, and after 10 minutes you remove it using the muslin cloth provided. This doesn't dry, it remains sticky, so you do need to use the cloth to remove this properly. 

I took it slowly and carefully and started out with a patch test behind my ear. When this was clear after 24 hours I decided to try the mask on the most 'hardy' area of my face, which is my forehead. Again nothing happened so after a week had passed (as you're only supposed to use this weekly) I cautiously applied this to my whole face. I stayed in the bathroom for the first couple of minutes (as this is how quickly I usually react) so I could quickly wash this off if I needed to, but I'm pleased to report I didn't have any problems at all. In fact I didn't even notice any tingling, which the packaging says you will probably experience.

I've used this a couple of times now and I find that it's not a product that gives an instant result, my skin will look a little more radiant and clearer either the following day or possibly the day after that. I'm guessing here (I'm no skincare expert) but for me at least I think it may work by 'loosening' the top layer of dead skin cells that I then shed after using the mask. It didn't make me go 'Wow, my skin looks amazing!' but I did notice that it helped with the appearance of blackheads and blemishes and made my skin look a little more glowing than it usually does. I can't comment on lines and wrinkles as I don't currently have any.

Although this didn't personally blow me away this is one of REN's best selling products so it obviously works well for some people. I'm wondering if maybe the lack of a tingling sensation means this one just doesn't really work for me? The REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal mask is £32 and is available from the Birchbox E-shop.

Are you a fan of REN products?

*PR sample


Thursday, 19 February 2015

The repurchases

As a blogger and general lover of all things beauty, even if I like a product (possibly even if I really like a product) the chances are when it runs out I'll buy a different product because I want to try it out. I want to know if a different product is as good as everyone says it is, if it might be my holly grail product or maybe I'm just curious because it's new so I want to see what it's like. So if I do repurchase a product then usually it means it's something special. 

Several products that I really didn't want to be without all recently ran out around the same time (isn't that always the way!) so I thought I'd do a repurchases post to show you what they are.

Lush Tea tree water, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ and Soap & Glory Supercat

Lush Tea tree water, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ and Soap & Glory Supercat
Lush Tea tree water, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ and Soap & Glory Supercat

Lush Tea tree water, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ and Soap & Glory Supercat
You may have heard me mention before that I'm really not that good at applying eye liner. I love the look of black liquid liner, but for many years I didn't even attempt it as I knew from doing my makeup for shows when I was younger that eye liner really wasn't my strong point. That was until I tried the Soap & Glory Supercat eye liner pen. If anybody asks for eye liner recommendations or comments that they struggle to apply eye liner I always recommend this as it's just so easy to use. Thanks to this I'm now confident enough to attempt liquid liner application and actually go out in public with it. What makes it even better is that it's only £6 and doesn't start to dry out within a couple of weeks/months.

The other two products I've included I actually like to use together and they make a pretty amazing combo. Despite the dry skin on the rest of my face my chin is often oily and blemish prone, especially around crazy hormone time. I also have old, pretty set in there acne scaring. I like to use La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ to help treat minor breakouts and help minimise/improve scaring and Lush Tea tree water for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties to try and stop breakouts spreading/getting worse. Using these together I find that I suffer with a lot less breakouts and if I do get one it's usually not as bad or clears up more quickly.

It's not actually pictured here, as I haven't actually repurchased it yet, but when I need to (which I don't think will be long) I will be buying another Collection Lasting perfection concealer. This stuff is great. Reasonably priced (I believe just under a fiver), easy to blend, high coverage and a little goes a long way. The only downside is it can be a little difficult to get hold of, especially if you need the pale shade, but I'll keep an eye on my local Wilkos and as soon as I spot a pale I'll be running to the till.

What are your guaranteed repurchases?

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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

A Models Own sale haul

I've bought a few nail varnishes from Models Own's various collections but in general most of them haven't really appealed to me. There hasn't been anything wrong with any of them, they just haven't really been to my taste. The Velvet Goth range was one that really didn't appeal to me as I didn't like the effect it provided and knew I wouldn't be able to use the velvet covered lids *shudders*. When I saw the first promo images of the new Chrome collection it really caught my attention with its very pretty bottles. When Models Own launched their half price sale in January they included a limited number of the new Chrome varnishes before they had officially been released. I ummed and ahhed for a while before deciding to see if any of the Chrome varnishes were left a few days after the sale launched and as there were I decided to try some. 

Models Own sale haul - Chromes and Buff pink

Models Own sale haul - Chromes and Buff pink

Models Own sale haul - Chromes and Buff pink
Models Own sale haul - Chromes and Buff pink
As you can see I didn't just order some of the Chrome varnishes I also added Buff Pink from the standard range to my order. I wanted a new barely there pink shade, the sort you would use for a French manicure, as my existing ones were past their best. I had a hard time trying to decide which Chrome shades I wanted to try but ended up settling on Chrome Cerise, Chrome Mauve, Chrome Rose and Chrome Green.

Just look at these bottles in all their prettiness! They're very sleek and shiny and will satisfy any magpie tendencies you may have. I even love the bottom of the bottles, something about the coloured base and the dots going around the edge makes me keep picking them up to look at their bottoms *blushes*

As you might be aware chrome nail varnishes are notoriously difficult to apply because you usually end up with very obvious brush strokes in the finish, but I actually didn't find these too bad at all. If you look closely yes you can see some brush strokes, but from a distance they're really not too bad. 

Models Own suggest not using a base coat or a top with these and although I didn't try them with a base coat I would agree with avoiding a top coat. The photo above is without a top coat and when I did add one to see what happened it appeared to emphasise any brush strokes or faults in the nail. Models Own also suggest buffing your nails before application to try and get rid of any ridges or imperfections but if you have nails like me you won't be able to get rid of them all. You can see my ridges and the strange 'dents' I get in my nails but I don't think it looks bad. 

I thought I would prefer the lighter shades, but then ended up ordering three of the brighter shades (go figure!) and actually I really like Cerise and Mauve. Rose was the shade I most wanted to try but I'm actually slightly disappointed with it. Only because I think I was expecting it to be slightly more pink, but it's still a lovely colour.

I'm really pleased I did decide to buy a few. I like the chrome look and I'm happy with my colour choices. You can get these from the Models Own website and Models Own bottle shops. You can also get them in Superdrug but I'm not sure if Models Own is still available in Boots as the display has been removed from my local store and they're no longer available online.

Have you tried any of the new Chrome nail varnishes?

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Nail art - Gatsby inspired

Although I wasn't particularly a fan of the film (I didn't have time to watch it all and never actually bothered watching the end) I am a fan of 20's inspired fashion. Back when I first started working as a Supporting Artist a few years ago I worked on a music video for Yolanda be Cool (of We no speak Americano fame) that unfortunately did nowhere near as well as their first (and only) hit, but I loved filming it. Although I didn't love the fine I got for accidentally driving in the congestion zone without realising! The video had a 20's theme and was filmed in the amazing Rivoli ballroom in London, which you've probably seen used for at least one video/TV show etc without realising (S Club 7's Don't stop moving video?). I wore a purple flapper style dress, long black beads, long black gloves, a black feather boa and my Latin American or character (dancing) shoes, I can't remember which ones the stylist told me to wear in the end. If you'd like to see the video you can find it here.

I've spotted a few Gatsby style nail looks on Pinterest so decided to have a go myself and see what I could create. I didn't have time to do anything too fancy so tried to keep it simple (although to be honest my designs are always quite simple!).

Nail art - Gatsby inspired

Nail art - Gatsby inspired

Nail art - Gatsby inspired
I realised I haven't actually used Models Own Diamond Luxe in Oval Plum yet so thought I'd give it a try as the base for this design to make the lines. I used stripping tape to create the design, which is actually really hard to try and do precisely when you can only use one hand because you're applying it to the other! I then painted over the whole thing with Nails Inc Alexa Silk before removing the stripping tape straight away. I then finished this off with a Soigne Gel top coat (not pictured) that I'll be reviewing very soon. 

What do you think of Gatsby inspired nails? Are you a fan of 20's inspired fashion? 

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