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Lipstick Queen Endless Summer lipstick in Perfect wave

This gorgeous looking lipstick I actually got my hands on last year when I won one of London Beauty Queen's Twitter giveaways.  I received a bundle of some amazing products and this lipstick was one of them.  By the time I got round to thinking about reviewing it I realised it was a bit late in the year for this kind of lipstick so I popped it away planning to pull it out again this spring. 


The packaging is definitely very pretty and quite unusual in terms of colour scheme with the casing of the lipstick being a kind of burnt orange/coppery colour with Barbie pink writing.  It also has a slightly rubberised kind of feel to it and in general feels very good quality with a sturdy wind-up, although the lid doesn't feel that secure as it doesn't click back into place.   The outer packaging screams summer and is the sort of packaging that I find incredibly difficult to throw away *stands up* my name is Becky, and I'm a pretty packaging-aholic! 

Unfortunately this doesn't have a very pleasant smell to it.  It's not particularly strong, but is that strange kind of plasticky smell that some lipsticks do have, which surprised me a little as this isn't a cheap lipstick.  It also has quite an unpleasant taste to it, I try not to eat my lipsticks, but I do tend to lick my lips quite a lot!

Although in the bullet this looks like a scarily bright almost fluorescent pink it's actually a sheer lipstick and so isn't a full on block of bright colour.  It is still a bright pink but is a thin sheer colour with a shine to it that doesn't show well in the swatch above.  It's a very pretty colour, especially for the spring, but I can't help thinking it doesn't really suit me once applied.

As a sheer lipstick it also doesn't last very long, maybe a couple of hours at the very most (I would say it's more likely less then that) although this is quite an easy one to apply and could be reapplied without a mirror. 

Although this is a very pretty lipstick I have to say I'm disappointed when I take into account the smell/taste, not very secure lid and how long it lasts, although that's unsurprising for a sheer lipstick.  As I said the colour also isn't great on me but that's personal preference/skin tone and obviously it would look amazing on some people. Although I'm disappointed with this particular lipstick I would definitely consider trying a non-sheer one as long as I could have a sniff beforehand to double check that it didn't have the same smell. 

As I said these lipsticks aren't cheap and the Endless Summer range (which consists of three shades) are available at £18 each.  I'm not sure how widely available these are but you can find them over at Space NK

Have you tried a Lipstick Queen lipstick?

 
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The blemish busting power duo - Effaclar Duo [+] & Tea Tree water

Firstly apologies for how scratched up my bottle of Tea Tree water is.  I chuck this in my wash bag when I go to stay with my boyfriend and the label suffers for it.  I know most people probably don't care but I'm a bit of a perfectionist so it being so scratched up is driving me mad, but I didn't want to go and buy another one just to have a perfect bottle for the picture!  


I've previously written about how amazing La Roche-Posay's Effaclar Duo [+] is (you can find that post here) but now I'm using this in conjunction with Lush's Tea Tree water I think I may have found the perfect blemish busting power duo.  These two together are like Batman and Robin, Mulder and Scully, Danger Mouse and Penfold, Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl, Iron Man and his ego, yeah you get the idea!

Tea Tree water is a toner that can be used after cleansing before applying any serums/oils/moisturisers or can be sprayed onto the face at any time to keep skin refreshed.  This is antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial so can help keep away the bacteria that can cause spots.  This is why it's great to use with Effaclar Duo [+].  As the name suggests it contains Tea Tree water but also contains Grapefruit and Juniperberry water.  I do find that this one smells a little clinical, a bit like a hospital, but I can overlook that for what it does for my skin.  I won't go into detail about Effaclar Duo [+] as you can read my previous post.    

Most of the time my skin is clear and under control as I've been on the pill for many years for this purpose, but obviously when it gets to that hormonal time of the month, or if I'm particularly stressed, then I might suffer from a breakout.  Since I've started using Effaclar Duo [+] breakouts have become rare and when I do get one it recovers much more quickly than before I started using this.  However since starting to use Tea Tree water breakouts pretty much appear to have become a thing of the past.  I have had one cystic type spot pop up in the same place it usually does, but whereas it would usually take maybe a week or so for the spot to subside and then many more weeks for the scaring to clear up, this pretty much completely disappeared within around three days.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that's nothing short of a miracle!  I also had a couple of little white head spots pop up and what would normally happen is these would spread and I'd have to try and get them under control.  But these didn't spread or get worse and disappeared within a couple of days.

So if you suffer with blemish prone skin I would definitely recommend getting both of these products into your routine.  Tea Tree water is £3.95 for 100g or £7.50 for 250g and is available from Lush and Effaclar Duo [+] is £15.50 and is available from Boots.

Do you use either of these products? 

 
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Soap & Glory Make Yourself Youthful sunshield superfluid

If you read my SunSense post back in March (post here) you'll know that this year I'm on a mission to find a sun protection cream that I'm happy to wear under makeup.  Although I would be happy to use one of the SunSense products that I tried out under makeup the only issue with this was that it took a little while to sink in.  So it wasn't ideal for if you're in a bit of a hurry or want extra time in bed in the morning so have less time to apply your makeup.

After spotting a couple of posts about it I decided to try out Soap & Glory's Make Yourself Youthful sunshield superfluid SPF 50+ (wow, what a mouthful!).  At the time I decided to buy this it had £5 off at Boots but the day I actually bought it the offer had finished the day before, boo!  Luckily though I did have a Boots voucher for 300 extra Advantage card points on any Soap & Glory skincare purchase, so that softened the blow a little.  Boots have obviously noticed what a Soap & Glory fan I'm becoming as I currently have three different extra points coupons for the brand (which have all actually expired since I wrote this post)!

I know that Soap & Glory have recently redesigned the packaging on their facial skincare range so it's not as quirky as the packaging on their bath and body and makeup ranges, but I have to say I'm a little disappointed with the packaging on this product.  The outer packaging is fine, I like the simple clean look with the slightly reflective silver, but the actual bottle is very dull with quite cheap looking white plastic and slightly muted looking grey writing.  But packaging aside, it's what's inside that counts.

This contains SPR 50+ with both UVA and UVB protection.  It's anti-aging and for all skin types.  It contains Vitamin C and E and what Soap & Glory have called Suntrigger smartspheres and Instamatte oil control, don't you just love the kind of scientific sounding names they come up with!  If you want to know exactly what any of these mean they do explain what they are over on their website.

As you can probably see this is quite a tiddly little bottle and it does contain just 30ml of product.  However, unlike most sun protection products you aren't supposed to use a lot of this.  This does confuse me slightly because as I just said with most sun protection products you are supposed to slap a load on and if you use less then directed then you may have a lower level of protection.  But I trust Soap & Glory and the directions say to apply a light layer.

This has a thin consistency and does look like it's slightly tinted but it doesn't provide any level of coverage.  I like that the bottle has such a small precise nozzle which is definitely needed to try and keep control over how much of the thin fluid is dispensed.  The bottle should be shaken before application and a light layer massaged over the top of serum and/or moisturiser on the face and neck (and the backs of your hands too if you wish).  It does say this should be reapplied every 1-2 hours or after sweating, swimming or sunbathing, but obviously you wouldn't be able to do this over makeup.

This does absorb very quickly and doesn't leave any kind of oily feeling (or white cast) behind so once applied you can pretty much go straight on to applying your makeup, although it's probably best to give it a couple of minutes to settle.  Once you've got makeup over the top of this I don't find that it affects it in anyway.  I have dry skin but my chin does become oily once makeup has been applied over it and I didn't find that it made my chin anymore oily than normal.

At £15 I don't think that's too bad a price, it is only small but you only have to use a small amount.  This is perfect to apply under makeup so I think I've found my daily facial sun protection.

Do you use facial sun protection?

 
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Lush May Day bath bomb - Save the badgers

I admit I don't know an awful lot about it but I am aware that the government want to cull badgers because they believe the little fella's are passing TB onto cattle.  Obviously a lot of people are against killing the badgers and Lush are doing their bit by selling the May Day bath bomb throughout May.  All proceeds from the sales of this bath bomb (minus VAT) will go towards anti badger cull projects in the UK.


Just look at this little fella, isn't he cute!  I meant to try and get a picture of all of them together sat in the bucket in store but I completely forgot as I was too busy chatting to the guy on the till about them.  This little cutie contains antiseptic and uplifting Rosewood oil, cleansing and brightening Fennel oil and uplifting and cleansing Bergamot oil.  Apparently different people can smell different things in this one (I think the guy on the till said he could smell an aniseed type smell) but to me it has a citrus kind of sherbet smell (probably because it also contains Citric acid).

If you're unfamiliar with bath bombs all you do is drop this in your bath and it powers its way round fizzing away until it's completely dissolved.  As this one is white it doesn't really change the colour of the water at all although there is a brief black flash as the eyes and nose dissolve (that sounds a bit grim doesn't it!).  Once dissolved there's only a very slight scent that comes from the water, it's not one that fills your whole bathroom with scent.  Although this is not particularly impressive in terms of bath colour or scent the best part was how amazing my skin felt afterwards.  I'm currently suffering with excessively dry flaky skin on my back that in patches is turning to eczema , but when I got out of the bath even my back felt soft, smooth and moisturised.   

As a final little touch when the bomb has dissolved completely a little message appears in your bath.  The  May Day bath bomb is £2.95 and is available online and in store, but be quick as it's only available during May. 

Will you be grabbing a bath badger?

 
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Lady of the rings

I kind of wanted to call this post Lord of the rings, but having never read the books or seen the films and having no interest in them anyway it didn't seem like such a good name.  Then I realised as I'm not a bloke and can't be a lord I could change it to lady.  Anyway...

I wouldn't normally wear all of these together at the same time, this look is just for display purposes!  I also don't wear the Square solitaire ring as a midi ring but it wouldn't go any further down my finger and I didn't want to put both of the big rings on my ring finger. 

I've been lusting after several rings from Dixi so when they offered 50% off certain items for hitting a follower milestone I took the opportunity to grab the Silver wishbone midi ring (£8).  I was a little concerned it might not fit very well as a midi ring on me as I apparently have unusually skinny fingers, but it fits perfectly either quite close to the knuckle on my ring finger or higher up on my index finger.  This is available in silver plated, rose gold plated or sterling silver (£14).

Both of the Lola and Grace rings I actually won (I'm a very lucky girl!).  When Lola and Grace first launched they had a competition on Facebook that included something similar to a slot machine that you could play on so many times a day and I won several items including the Square solitaire ring (£29.90).  The red stone I have is not available anymore but there are nine colours to chose from.

The Mini loop ring (£29.90) I won in a competition on Twitter.  To enter you had to link an item you'd like to win and so many people were picked to win their chosen item.  Although I do like this ring I find it a little too wide as in I can't put my fingers together with it on.  You get used to it after a while but if you have a boyfriend like me who likes to squeeze my fingers together every so often when he's holding my hand then it can be a little painful.  This is also available in nine colours, including my blue turquoise shade.     

 
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Revlon Colorburst matte balm in Unapologetic

At the beginning of March I posted about the Revlon Colorburst matte balm in Standout (post here) and in that post I said I was definitely considering getting one of the brighter more spring/summer shades available in the range.  Well I did just that!


I won't say too much about this here as you can check my review of the range in general in my previous post, but after checking out some online swatches I thought I'd probably go for Unapologetic.  When I got to Boots there was actually a tester available for this (which appears to be quite unusual for Boots and new/hyped products at the moment) and after a quick swatch in store I decided this was the one I wanted to go for.  

As you may know by now I'm a bright lip fan and this definitely ticks the box for a bright summery shade that I'd describe as a pinky coral.  Like Standout I don't find this at all drying considering it's a matte formula and I'm looking forward to wearing this when the British sun next makes its elusive appearance.

What are your favourite shades in the matte balm range?

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Sally Hansen Insta-Dri chip-resistant top coat

As you may be aware I love painting my nails but I really can't be faffed having to wait around forever for nail varnish to dry.  If I'm doing some nail art I often use a top coat to set my base colour before going on to decorate it and this means I need the top coat to dry as quickly as possible so I can move on to the next part. 

I'm a big fan of Seche Vite Dry fast top coat, but I'm certainly not a fan of it going off half way through, especially when it's not particularly cheap.  Back in January I blogged about Ciate's Speed coat thinking I'd found an answer to my being able to get to the bottom of the bottle shaped prayers.  Maybe a quarter of the way through Speed coat I noticed that it was starting to get stringy and then one day while I was battling a cobweb effect of stringy top coat all over the place (seriously, it was everywhere!) I discovered it had gone the same way as Seche Vite and was far too thick and gloopy to use anymore.  So in the bin it went (along with my my bottle of Seche Vite that I had for some reason been keeping hold of, maybe in the hope the top coat saving fairies would visit and rescue me!).  I was really disappointed with Speed coat as it's even more expensive than Seche Vite and it was only one of the mini bottles that I had, so a full sized bottle may not even last down to half way.

I appealed on Twitter for suggestions for a good quick drying top coat and was directed towards Sally Hansen's Insta-Dri (which I've just realised I've been spelling wrong, well actually spelling correctly but not the way Sally Hansen are spelling it!).  A quick check on the Boots website (when it decided to work) revealed that this was only £5.99 (bargain!) so when I placed an online order I popped this in my basket to make up a 3 for 2 order.


As I have only used this a couple of times I currently have no idea whether this will go off half way through like Seche Vite and Speed coat, but as this is around £3/£4 cheaper than the others (depending where you purchase from) I won't mind so much if it does happen.

Overlooking whether or not I'll be able to get through the whole bottle, so far this is exactly what I want.  Within a couple of minutes my nails are dry (it's probably actually even quicker than this) and not just 'touch' dry they are actually quite tough.  I'm usually still reasonably cautious of them as they can still dent if you hit them on something, and I would leave them for a little longer if I'm going to be applying anything over the top for nail art, but in general I can get on with whatever I need to do.  

I would say be careful how much you have on the brush as if you've not taken enough off using the edge of the bottle it can flood your nail and then might dry a little bubbly.  A thin coat is definitely best and obviously will dry quicker than a thicker coat.

It's leaves an amazing glossy finish and does appear to keep chips away on my 'chip within 24 hours' nails.  I can't comment on how long your manicure might last using this as I tend to change my nail varnish every few days anyway (read - I've started picking it off within a few days!) but I would say if you're looking for something chip resistant this would be a good place to look.

This is definitely my new favourite top coat and once I have got to half way through I'll update you on whether the dreaded stringiness and gloop has made an appearance. 

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri chip-resistant top coat is available for £5.99 from Boots

 
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Meadowhall ladies night - 29th May 2014



This is just a quick post to let you know that on the 29th May between 6pm and 9pm Meadowhall in Sheffield is having a ladies night.  Myself and some of the other Meadowhall blogging ambassadors will be there as well as Fearne McCann from TOWIE (who is launching her own fashion range) and Capital FM's JoJo.  There'll be discounts, master classes, pampering freebies and giveaways, including a Cinderella style 'If the shoe fits' giveaway and even the chance to win any shopping you do on the night.

All you have to do is register on Meadowhall's Facebook page (here) to get your pass out voucher which you'll need to show to redeem any discounts.

Will I see you there?

 
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Battle of the tints - Benefit Benetint & MeMeMe Cherub's Blush

Despite having three cheek and lip tints in my stash I've never actually used one and the reason for that is that I'm scared of trying them out!  Since writing this post I've discovered that I actually have another one, but I'll address that one in another post.  Why have I got three (now four!) when I've never actually used one before?  Well, one was a present from my boyfriend (Benetint), one came in a Glossybox and one was part of a giveaway prize, so I haven't actually bought any myself.  It's easy to see that Cherub's Blush is intended as a dupe of Benetint and as I have one of each (and a spare!) I thought I might as well put them to the test and declared battle of the tints.







Cost

Benefit Benetint £24.50
MeMeMe Cherub's Blush £5.50 

At £24.50 Benetint is almost four and a half times more expensive than Cherub's Blush, wow! 

Packaging

For your £24.50 for Benetint you do get an attractive sturdy box (which is actually quite understated for Benefit) that also includes a cute little booklet that shows you how to use the product (I'm not sure the box and booklet are worth all the extra money though!).  Once you get into the box the packaging of Benetint is very similar to that of Cherub's Blush.  Both come in little glass bottles with screw off lids and come with similar size and shape brushes used to apply the product.  

Amount of product

Benetint contains 12.5ml of product and Cherub's Blush contains just slightly less at 12ml.  For Benetint you're paying £1.96 per ml and Cherub's blush 45p.   

Colour

In the bottle both tints looks a very similar colour, a deep red shade like the vinegar you get in a jar of beetroot!  But when applied they're actually quite different colours.  Benetint gives a rosy flush which looks very natural whereas Cherub's Blush provides a more purple looking tint.  I can't help thinking Cherub's Blush looks slightly more 'I've just been punched' rather than 'I'm naturally glowing'!  My boyfriend has just taken a look at my swatches and commented that Cherub's Blush looks like a bruise.  But how this looks on different people may depend on their skin tone.

Scent 

I find these both actually have quite a similar strong scent to them that I don't personally mind but some people might not like, especially if they have skin that is sensitive to fragranced products.  I can't actually make out what the scent is, maybe like marzipan?   

Application

When I applied Cherub's Blush to my arm for the swatch above I applied three strokes of product, popped the lid back in the bottle and when I went to start blending I found it had already pretty much dried and was difficult to blend out.  If you look at the bottom right of the swatch you can just about still see two of the swipes on my arm.  I didn't even screw the lid back onto the bottle (which was a little risky in my parents all white bathroom) I just moved my hand over to the bottle, placed the lid back on top of the bottle and moved my hand back to my arm.  So you really don't get very long to blend this out before it dries down.  Even though when I applied this to my cheeks I held the bottle up close to my face so my hand didn't have far to go to deposit the applicator, the same still happened to an extent.  This meant where I applied the first swipe (on the apples of my cheeks) it was quite hard to blend out and I think I may have ended up with a slight blob of colour on each cheek (this is why I'm scared of cheek tints!).

When it comes to Benetint you have a lot longer to blend this out, in fact it took quite a while for this to dry on the swatch on my arm.  As I was blending it some of the dark liquid stayed on top of my skin for a good few seconds before it disappeared in. 

I was quite surprised to find that although it was easy to get the colour to show on my arm it was difficult to get it to show on my face.  Obviously I went in with a very light hand to begin with and used less than I'd used on my arm (as I didn't want to end up looking like a clown) and with both Benetint and Cherub's Blush I found the colour kind of disappeared.  So I went in with another light application and built up a very subtle level of colour.

On the lips

Having tried out both of these on my lips I have to say I wouldn't use either as a lip product.  My lips are obviously a lot darker than the skin on the rest of my face and I found that both tint's completely disappeared when applied to my lips, so it appears pointless for me to use it there.  Maybe I'd need to layer it up a lot, but this would use a lot of product for a very subtle effect and to be honest I'd much rather slap a bright lipstick on.

On the cheeks

As I thought I would I found Benetint a much nicer colour to wear on your cheeks as it looks more natural than Cherub's Blush, much more like a natural flush of colourAlthough Chreub's Blush doesn't look bad (it didn't quite look like I'd been slapped) it didn't look quite as natural.

Although I didn't apply a lot of either product (remember I was trying to avoid the whole clown look) I found that both lasted well, which I would expect from a tint.  I think out of the two Benetint probably lasted slightly longer, I could still see a slight flush to my cheeks when I came to remove my makeup.  

The winner

Although Benetint is over four times the price of Cherub's Blush I have to say I think it is actually worth it.  Benetint offers a much more natural colour that is easier to apply.  You need to use less product with Benetint than with Cherub's Blush (you can see how much further Benetint went on my swatch) and you use so little a 12.5ml bottle will last you ages, so although it's pretty expensive I think cost per use and the amount of time this will last will balance this out.  Also I don't think I'll be using Cherub's Blush in the future, but now I've given Benetint a try I think I will actually start to use this as a cheek product.  I therefore declare Benetint the winner *fanfare*.



To celebrate Benetint's victory here a little fact for you (you may well know this already, but a lot of people don't). Benetint was created in 1977 and was originally called Rose Tint.  It was created for an exotic dancer who wanted something to make her nipples more rosy!

Do you use tint's and which is your favourite?

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Nail art - Butterfly wings

A few days ago I spotted a butterfly nail art design over on Madison's blog Fundamentally Flawless.  As a lover of anything butterfly based I wanted to give it a try so I grabbed my Sharpie and got to work.




For Madinson's look she used an amazing gradient base colour and a nail art brush to create the black lines. I already had Revlon's Parfumerie Ginger Melon on my nails so I just used that as a base.  I've only attempted a gradient nail once so far and it was a bit of a disaster to be honest but I want to give it another try as it's such a pretty look.  For my lines I used a black Sharpie and just drew them on and also coloured in the tips.  On the pictures you can see this as the black part looks a little patchy but you can't see this at all on my nails.  It would probably be better to actually paint the tips with black nail varnish but as I only had the Sharpie to hand I just used that.  I then took some white nail varnish and a very small sized dotting tool and placed three dots on the black part on the tip of each nail.  I then just sealed it all off with a quick drying top coat.

These do look a little bit rough on the pictures but on my nails they look amazing, if I do say so myself! These probably look best in the last picture which I've taken from Instagram.  As butterflies come in various different colours you could have some fun creating different coloured bases for this look.  Unfortunately Ginger Melon isn't showing true to colour on my pictures, it looks kind of orangey here but it's actually more pinky/red than this and a little darker. 

What do you think of Butterfly wing nails? 

 
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