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Kiss True Volume Ritzy false lashes (and my attempt at applying them)

False lashes are something that I've always wanted to be able to wear but I've never been able to apply them at all. Liquid liner was something I was always completely useless at as well but as I have now mastered that I've been thinking that I might just be able to get the hang of applying false lashes too. So when I received an email about the Kiss True Volume lashes I thought lets give them a try. I received the Kiss True Volume lashes in Ritzy*.

Kiss True Volume Ritzy false lashes

I was surprised to discover that these are made from 100% human hair and I'm not quite sure how I feel about this. I thought they'd be synthetic hair and to be honest they don't really feel like natural hair. These feature a tapered, rather than blunt, tips to look more natural and are supposed to be lightweight, softer and more pliable then synthetic lashes. As I said I've haven't tried applying false lashes for years so I have nothing to compare them against to confirm if this is the case or not. Ritzy appear to be the most dramatic ones out of the three types available (with the others being Posh and Chic) probably most suited for going out in the evening.

To start with I carefully removed them from the packaging and checked the length of them against my eyes. As far as I can see I don't think I need to trim them to fit my eyes but I may be wrong as I'm certainly no expert. Are you supposed to try and pull off any glue stuck to the lashes from being stuck in the packaging? I tried but it didn't appear to be coming off easily so I just left it! I applied some glue along the band, I have no idea exactly how much you're supposed to use so I just guessed, and waited a while until it had turned a little clearer. I started with my right eye as that's always the eye I start with and I really did surprise myself by applying the first one almost perfectly! I got it perfect in the middle and managed to get the outer corner in place too but the inner corner was sticking up a little where I think I didn't position it in time. Exactly the same thing them happened with the other eye, the middle and outer corner I got into place but the inner corner was poking up a little. I'm assuming I wasn't quite quick enough before the glue dried fully.

I really did surprise myself by apparently applying them almost correctly first time. I thought I might have to practice a few times before I got the hang of it, although I obviously do need to practice getting the inner corner in place. When they were in place I have to say I could really feel (and see) them but I'm assuming this might be because I'm really not used to wearing them. The longer I wore them I did get more used to them but I could still feel that I was wearing them. I'd say these ones would definitely be better for going out as they looked quite dramatic, but again I'm not used to wearing them so I'm not used to the look of them. When I went to remove them maybe three hours later the inner corners had lifted a little but I would say that was due to me not applying them properly and maybe not quite using enough glue. They peeled off easily and appear to have maintained their shape well.

Overall I impressed myself by managing to apply them and I was impressed with the lashes themselves. As I've said I'm certainly no expert when it comes to false lashes but I liked them. I don't think false lashes are something I'll start wearing every day, especially as I don't even wear makeup every day, but I'll definitely consider using them if I'm going somewhere or even on set if the role calls for a more made up look.

What lashes would you recommend I try?

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Eye of Horus Liquid Define eye liner in Babylon brown
Max Factor False Lash Effect Velvet Volume mascara
Glo & Ray Sky Breaker long lasting eye liners & La Amo Creamy matte lip colour

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Product empties March 2016

I can't believe I actually have another empties post ready already. I don't usually do them because I rarely seem to use anything up and I haven't got space to be storing a load of empty packaging to save enough up for a post. I did an empties post in January and I've apparently used up enough to justify another post now, so here we are!

Product empties March 2016

The Body Shop Chocomania Eau de Toilette £8 I have a few of The Body Shop's little perfumes and although they all smell amazing they differ quite vastly in how long they last. This is one of the better ones and I love it. It's not a traditional chocolate scent but more along the lines of an almost slightly nutty cocoa scent. This is pretty much all I've used recently and as soon as it ran out I planned to repurchase. Unfortunately though it appears The Body Shop have stopped their Chocomania range, so it looks like I'm out of luck unless any pop up in a sale.
Repurchase? Definitely, but as I said it's no longer available *insert sad face*

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose dry oil sample size I'm not sure where this came from but it's been floating around for a while so I thought I should probably use it up. I do really like this but having to try and tip a small amount out of the bottle is not the easiest thing to try and do. I've only personally used this on my body but as it is multi-purpose you can also use this on your hair and face.
Repurchase? I would, but only if the full size actually has some kind of dispenser on it.

Lush Pot o' Gold Shower Jelly £3.75 This is currently available in the Lush kitchen in a larger size for £7.95 but I bought this from last years Easter collection. I love the toffee scent, that was the main reason why I bought it, but I find the shower jellies a little too difficult to use. They're so difficult to try and keep hold of so you spend a lot of time chasing them around the shower or trying to fish them out of the bath. After a while they also start to break up into pieces, which I guess means you can then use the smaller pieces, but I just ended up losing a load down the drain. It's a fun product but a little too much hassle.
Repurchase? No I wouldn't buy a shower jelly again

Aussie Color Mate conditioner £4.19 I had one of the other Aussie ranges, I can't remember which one now, and I really liked it. So when I dyed my hair red and wanted to try and keep the colour in I decided to go for the colour range. I then decided to go SLS free and so couldn't use the shampoo any more but when I was using both the shampoo and conditioner I wasn't really impressed with either. They just didn't seem to be as good as the other range I used.
Repurchase? Maybe because it's cheap/if it was on offer but I wouldn't bother with the colour one again.

The Body Shop Smoky Poppy shower gel* £4 This was a limited range so I'm not sure it's available any more. It takes quite a lot for a shower gel to impress me because I'm not that fussed by them, I'll usually just use pretty much anything as long as it gets me clean and doesn't irritate or strip my skin. This was nice enough, although a little unusual as it was a kind of petrol blue colour, but it didn't really excite me at all.
Repurchase? It's no longer available but possibly if it was.

The Body Shop Glazed Apple hand cream £4 I didn't even notice almost half of my empties were from The Body Shop! I love the Glazed Apple hand cream so I've got no idea why I only bought one this year, maybe because money was quite tight at the time. As much as I love this I've found that the scent has disappeared a little in this one, so maybe it was a good job I didn't buy a shed load of them. I didn't find that with the one I had last year though.
Repurchase? Definitely if they bring them back next Christmas.

Elemis Spa @ home pro-radiance hand and nail cream £25 I think this was part of a giveaway prize I won from the lovely Kat from Tales of a Pale Face. There's not an awful lot to say about this hand cream really. It's a nice one but I'm not sure there's anything pro-radiance about it really and it can take a little while to absorb so I reserve it for just before bed. This isn't one I would consider buying in the future because it's £25, which I think is pretty expensive, especially when I love The Body Shop's hand creams for just £4.
Repurchase? As above.

What have you used up recently?

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Lush Golden Egg Easter bath bomb melt

When I attended a Lush event earlier this month Golden Egg was one of the products that was demonstrated to me and despite usually avoiding over glittery products as much as possible I knew I had to try this one out myself.

Lush Golden Egg Easter bath melt and bomb

I believe Golden Egg is quite an unusual product because it's actually a bath melt with a bath bomb hiding in the middle. Lush call it a bath bomb melt but as the bath bomb is only a small part of it I prefer to call it a melt. Although this does look like an incredibly glittery product this only actually has a thin layer of glitter on the outside. In fact if you look at them closely in store they do look a little 'bald' in places because the more they are handled and picked up the more glitter transfers to peoples' fingers and away from the product. There is also some glitter all the way through as this melts but there's much less than appears from the outside. In terms of what's inside this one (apart from glitter) there is SLS but there's also Fair Trade Columbian cocoa butter (which is higher up the list of ingredients than SLS), sweet wild orange oil, bergamot oil, Fair Trade olive oil and almond oil. 

One of the reasons why I wanted this was because as far as I'm aware this is one of the longest lasting bath products you can get your hands on at Lush. I timed this from dropping it into my bath until the last little bits disappeared and it was around 16 minutes. Considering most of their bath bombs last a couple of minutes, maybe five minutes at the most, I think this is amazing. I decided to go for the ultimate Easter weekend treat bath and first popped in my last ring from my Five Gold Rings bubble bar from Christmas and then popped this in. At first I was a little disappointed as Golden Egg didn't appear to be doing an awful lot, but it just takes a little while to get warmed up.

As soon as you drop this in it throws off all the glitter on the outside and gets to work melting away. To begin with the melting is minimal but after a few minutes you start to get quite a lot of white froth with patches of yellow in it. It also produces the most amazing little patches of yellow tinged bubbles that look like honeycomb. The picture above isn't the best but I wanted to show you the bubbles. I took a magazine to the bath with me to read but while this was doing it's thing I was kind of transfixed by it and watched it until the last few bits disappeared. It also released it's gorgeous toffee scent but I did keep it up towards my face so I could smell this. 

The one that was demonstrated in store visibly changed once it got to the bath bomb part right in the centre and started to fizz rather than melt but mine didn't make this change so I'm not sure if my bath bomb part was missing. I really didn't mind though because I enjoyed the product anyway without that part. This is quite an oily one so you will need to rinse your bath down afterwards (also for all the glitter sat on the bottom of the bath) and you can really feel the oil on your skin when you get out of the bath. So it's a great one for a skin conditioning bath if you have dry skin.

This might not be available any more as it is an Easter limited edition but I'm pretty sure this was a returning product this year and hopefully it will return again next year. At £3.95 it is a little expensive for just one bath, but I would say it's totally worth it. 

Did you try anything from the Lush Easter range?

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Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing collection review

Back in January I was sent the Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing collection* to try out. I posted about the collection at the end of January because I thought it wouldn't be available for much longer, but you can actually still find this on the Debenhams website if you want to get hold of the complete set. The set is a real bargain so if you like the sound of any of these products I'd recommend grabbing it.

Today I'm back with a review of each of the products included in the collection. Details of each product can be found in my original post here

Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing collection
Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing facial wash

Although I have used a few acid products here and there I'm still quite new to them, so I was a little nervous about starting a routine featuring several resurfacing products. Since trying these products I've started using a few different acid products regularly and my skin is probably looking better than ever. I originally started using the Dynamic Resurfacing facial wash when my skin was recovering from the reaction I suffered earlier this year. My skin had become so dry and very flaky and this helped to bring my skin back to normal once the reaction had settled down. This can be used twice a day and to begin with I did try using it both in the morning and evening but I reduced this down to just the evening as I think twice a day was too much for my skin. I currently use this once a week or every few days like I would a manual exfoliator. This is just like a standard cleanser, there's no tingling feeling when using this. I apply a few pumps to dry skin and massage in before adding some water to emulsify and then rinsing away. This doesn't dry out my skin at all and helps to get rid of any flaky areas I might have. I do like this product but I'm not sure I'd pay just under £30 for it. 

Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing gel mask

The product I was most cautious about trying turned out to be my favourite product included in the collection. The information on the website warns that you will experience a powerful tingling sensation when using the Dynamic Resurfacing gel mask and that rang alarm bells in my head. In the past products that are supposed to come with a 'tingle' have felt more like they're burning a few layers of skin off my face. So to begin with I approached this cautiously with a patch test on my cheek, which is the most sensitive area of my face and therefore the area most likely to react to a product. When all went well with the patch test I applied the product to my whole face and stayed close to the sink for a couple of minutes in case I needed to wash it off quickly.

The first time I used this I didn't experience any tingling at all while the mask was on, but as soon as I washed it off I then got the tingling. Although I wouldn't quite describe it as tingling myself, more like a very fresh feeling, like I'd applied a really menthol or minty based product to my skin. This lasted for quite a while but was far from unpleasant. I've now used this mask a few times and sometimes I experience this while the mask is on and sometimes after I've washed it off. I have no idea why!

The reason I like this product so much is because as soon as you wash it off you see instant, impressive results. My skin looks fresh and glowing and the pores over and around my nose are visibly tightened. This is the sort of product you want to use before going out somewhere or if you skin is looking dull and really needs perking up. I also have a sample of the Elemis Papaya Enzyme peel that I believe came with a magazine at the end of last year and that one is just as impressive as this one. I would love to purchase this or the papaya mask in full size but they are a little pricey at £49.50 and £32 respectively, so they might be a little out of my price range.

Elemis Hydra-Boost day cream
Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing night cream

My second favourite product in the collection is the Hydra-Boost day cream. This is the only product in the collection that isn't resurfacing. I would imagine this is because resurfacing products increase your skins sensitivity to the sun and you should be wearing good sun protection while using them and for seven days after discontinuing use. So it's probably not ideal to apply a resurfacing product at the beginning of the day. The day cream comes in a squeezable tube and is quite a light cream, edging towards a gel-cream type consistency. This melts into the skin very quickly leaving no trace behind and leaves a lovely smooth base ready for make-up application. I really like how my skin feels after applying this. If my skin is a little dry and flaky this copes with it easily and keeps my skin hydrated through the day. 

The Dynamic Resurfacing night cream comes in a pot rather than a tube but is similar to the day cream, maybe just a little thicker. The night cream is a good one, it absorbs well and deals with my dry skin, but I do personally prefer the day cream over this one.

Overall I'm really impressed with the product in this collection and my first experience of Elemis products. The only thing that would put me off purchasing some of these products is that their prices are a little on the high-end side and so a little expensive for me.

What Elemis products would you recommend?

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Delicate jewellery from

When it comes to jewellery I'm not a fan of large statement items, I much prefer delicate, dainty pieces and silver, white gold or platinum definitely suits me better than gold or rose gold. I love wearing jewellery but more recently I haven't worn much because I'm either at home or packing up the stuff I want to take with me to go and stay at my boyfriends. So when I received an email from asking if I'd like to collaborate with them I thought it was a good opportunity to try and reignite my love of jewellery again.

The packaging on the products when they arrived was very pretty, featuring brown paper wrapping, string and a teeny tiny little red peg fastening the string. I was far too eager to see what was inside to wait to get my camera out to take a picture, but you can find a picture on my Instagram here

Even though I haven't worn much jewellery for a while the pieces that I do still tend to wear when I remember are rings and earrings. The first little box I opened contained the Emerald Andralok stud earrings* (£7.50). These are sterling silver and contain a tiny little 3mm emerald coloured crystal. These are available in an impressive 17 different colours, including standard gemstone colours and some slightly more unusual ones. As well as the tiny delicate little stones the thing that attracted me to these earrings is that instead of a separate butterfly fastening the back of the earring flips down to secure the earring in your ear. This is a little tricky to do at first because the earrings are so dainty, but you soon get used to it. Emerald Andralok stud earrings Small Seashell stud earrings and Cute Seashell pendent

The Small Seashell stud earrings* (£6) are much larger then the emerald studs but are still small and delicate and fit on my earlobe without going over the edge. These are also sterling silver but come with the traditional butterfly fastening. The butterflies fit very securely onto the stems of the earrings so I have no concerns that they might come off if I catch them slightly. The stems are quite long and I thought they might be too long to sleep comfortably with them in but I haven't noticed them at all. I've been wearing these with the shell pointing downwards (like the shell on the necklace) because the stem is at the bottom of the shell so I can see them gradually working their way round to point downwards anyway. 

I'd spotted the seashell earrings on the website but had no idea there was a matching necklace, so I was pleasantly surprised to find the Cute Seashell pendant* (£6 - £10.20) accompanying the earrings. The chain on this one is a little longer than I would usually wear (16" - 22" lengths are available) but I'm very pleased with the delicate chain and I'm enjoying wearing a necklace again. Heart & Arrow adjustable midi ring & Stacking ring with single twist Heart & Arrow adjustable midi ring & Stacking ring with single twist

Rings are the item of jewellery I wear most regularly. I have a white gold diamond ring that my parents bought me many years ago that I wear every day and then I have several silver rings that I wear when I remember to put them on. I do like adding new silver rings to my collection though. The first ring I found in my parcel was the Heart & Arrow adjustable midi ring* (£8). Like the other items here this is sterling silver and if you've not come across midi rings before this is designed to be worn on the top part of your finger, between the knuckle and your nail. The design of this ones mean you gently squeeze the sides together or pull them apart slightly further to re-adjust the size of the ring to the finger you want to wear it on. I do have to be careful when wearing midi rings as they can obviously come off more easily than standard rings because they are not past the knuckle, but I love how they look. 

Finally I found the Stacking ring with single twist* (£5). This is sterling silver and just 1mm thick, making it a very delicate ring that can easily be stacked with other rings on the same finger. In fact I found that this fits perfectly with my diamond ring as the band curves off above and below the diamond and so slots in the twist. I love that Jewellerybox offer a wide range of sizes starting from a tiny size I and going up to U. My fingers are quite slim and if I buy rings from high street jewellers my size often has to be ordered because they don't keep it in stock. I believe I have this in a size L and it's still a little too big for my ring finger, but I'm used to that. 

I'm delighted with all of the pieces I received from and I know I'll be getting a lot of wear out of each of them.

Which is your favourite piece of jewellery that I've featured here?

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Pixi Glow Tonic & Nourishing Cleansing balm

I've been curious to try out Pixi's Glow Tonic for a while now, but until recently it was quite difficult to get hold of. At one point I believe trying to get your hands on a bottle outside of London involved calling the London store and placing an order over the phone. Although it is now much easier to get your hands on you'll often find it out of stock. Pixi is now stocked in M&S stores and I've been keeping an eye on the Pixi stand, but as of yet I've not seen a bottle of Glow Tonic sitting on the shelf. Even the tester I did find on one occasion was completely empty. So when I received an email from HQ Hair asking if I'd like to try out Glow Tonic* and also the Nourishing Cleansing balm*, I gratefully accepted.

Pixi Glow Tonic & Nourishing Cleansing balm
Pixi Glow Tonic & Nourishing Cleansing balm

In the past I've always preferred cleansing oils over balms, but after trying a small sample of the Trilogy Make-up Be Gone cleansing balm I've started to come round to balm cleansers. The Pixi Nourishing Cleansing balm contains sweat almond oil, cocoa seed butter, shea butter and vitamin E and this comes in the form of a solid balm in a tub. The balm is pretty neutral in colour, hence why there's no picture to show you this because there wasn't really anything for my camera to focus on. 

You only need to use a small amount, probably smaller than you think you need to use, and this melts down beautifully to a thick oil. To begin with you can be left with a few little lumps when you melt this between your fingers but these melt down once you start massaging this into your skin. This does remove make-up well, including mascara, but I'm personally not keen on using cleansing balms to remove my eye makeup because I find it difficult to fully remove balm from around my eyes. My favourite way to use this is to apply it to my bare, dry skin and spend a good few minutes massaging it in. I find this really relaxing and a good way to try and wind down at the end of the day. One of the reasons why I've not been keen on using balm cleansers in the past is because I find them quite difficult to remove but when using the Trilogy cleansing balm I found a method of removal that works well for me. I wet my fingers and keep massaging and keep adding more water and massaging until I feel the texture of the balm change. This makes the balm break down or emulsify and it then becomes looser/thinner and this is then much easier to wipe away with a muslin cloth or flannel. Once removed my skin feels gorgeous; soft and moisturised and I then usually don't need to use as much serum/oil/moisturiser afterwards. A big thumbs up from me.

Pixi Glow Tonic & Nourishing Cleansing balm

I've never really been one for toners in the past. The only one I've used religiously and repurchased several times is Lush's Tea tree toner water as I think this works really well preventing and helping to treat breakouts. Glow Tonic is an acid cleanser containing 5% glycolic acid plus aloe vera, ginseng and witch hazel, but no alcohol. As it is an acid toner you do need to make sure you wear sun protection while using this and for a week after discontinuing use as this can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. This is intended for use on normal to dry, dull skin and it exfoliates, tones, firms and tightens the skin. This has a light herbal type scent that reminds me a little of Caudalie's Beauty Elixir, but whereas I hate the smell of the Beauty Elixir I really quite like the smell of Glow Tonic. To use you just pop some Glow Tonic on a cotton pad and sweep it over your face (and your neck and décolletage if you wish). I was a little nervous trying this at first, as I am with all acid based products as I do have sensitive, reactive skin, but I haven't had a problem at all. I love the way this makes my skin feel and look. It sweeps away any flaky patches I have and although I don't have the largest pores I have noticed that these have tightened up recently on and around my nose. This might not be entirely down to Glow Tonic, as I have started using several different acid products recently, but Glow Tonic has definitely contributed to this. Again I have also been trying out a few acne/scaring targeting skincare products recently, but Glow Tonic has definitely also contributed to how good my scaring currently looks. Which is even more impressive after quite a nasty hormonal breakout a couple of weeks ago. My skin has also had a bit of a glow since using these products and that's quite rare for my skin. I definitely agree with the hype surrounding this product and I would definitely purchase both this and the cleansing balm. 

Pixi Glow Tonic and the Nourishing Cleansing balm are both £18 each and can be purchased on the HQ Hair website. HQ Hair do offer free standard delivery on all orders (which will arrive in 2-3 working days) and who doesn't love free delivery?!

Have you tried Glow Tonic or the Nourishing Cleansing balm?

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Lush Mother's day Ladybird bubble bar

I know Mother's day has come and gone now but I believe this product may possibly be available for as long as the Easter range is in store. If not there may be a few left in store if you want to grab one and failing that hopefully it will return next year. 

Lush Mother's day Ladybird bubble bar
Lush Mother's day Ladybird bubble bar

I was lucky enough to get to take a Ladybird bubble bar* away with me when I attended the Lush Spring event at Lush Sheffield a week ago. I personally think this is one of the cuter products from the Easter range, although her eyes are a little bulgy. Some of the other other products and gift sets I actually find a bit creepy, especially Humpty Dumpty (the bath bomb and gift set). Ingredients wise there's not an awful lot in this one. After sodium bicarbonate and cream of tartar the third ingredient is SLS, so if you prefer to avoid sulphates then this one isn't for you. There is some geranium oil in there for toning and balancing and peppermint oil for cooling and invigorating. I did find that this one pepped me up a bit, so maybe not one to use just before going to bed. 

It's about a medium sized bubble bar so you could crumble the whole lot in for an impressive mass of bubbles but I chopped off her bottom, which was probably less than a third of the bar, popped it in a colander and held it under the water to dissolve (the best way to use a bubble bar) and I got a reasonable amount of bubbles. There was some scent as the bar dissolved and it gave the water a lightish red colour.  

To be honest there's not a lot more to say about Ladybird as she's a fairly standard bubble bar. She's £3.95 but for that I think you could get three baths if you wanted to which works out about £1.30 a bath, so she can be very good value. 

Have you tried any of Lush's Mother's day products?

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Spring bright nail shades

Spring is definitely on the way and I'm now thinking about packing away my dark sultry nail shades as the only thing I'm craving is brighter than bright shades on my fingertips. I've pulled out some of my favourite nail varnishes and shades that I'm itching to start wearing. 

Spring bright nail shades
Revlon Parfumerie nail varnishes

Although scented nail varnishes are a bit gimmicky I loved Revlon's Parfumerie range. The bottles are gorgeous and although the brush is a little on the thin side the formula is great so they're really easy to apply. The two shades that caught my eye the most were Ginger Melon and African Tea Rose, so I made sure to add both of them to my collection. Ginger Melon is a slightly orange coral shade and African Tea Rose is a fuchsia with a very very fine blue/pink shimmer that if I remember correctly doesn't show up well on the nails. I also have a shimmery blue shade but I find this one to be super sheer on the nails. These are £6.49 each but having just checked the Boots website I discovered both of these shades (and several others) were discontinued in August 2014. I didn't realise I'd had these that long!

Illamasqua nail varnishes
Soigne nail varnishes

Illamasqua's nail varnishes are some of my favourites as they're so easy to apply and last really well on my nails. Their brushes are thicker than the ones on the Parfumerie nail varnishes but are still a little on the thin side. The fantastic formula makes them easy to apply though. Left to right we have Obsess (a purple pink), Collide (bright pink) and Harem (a cool lilac pink). These are a little pricey at £14.50 each (but they're worth it!) but you regularly find them in TK Maxx at the moment, usually for around £4. I think this is because they're currently clearing out their stock as there's only around half the shades they used to have on the Illamasqua website. I just hope they're planning to launch more. These also come right down in price when Illamasqua have a sale, so that's the perfect time to grab a few shades.

Soigné is quite a recent discovery for me but I love their nail varnishes and my mum is also a big fan. Soigné nail varnish contain up to 85% plant sourced natural ingredients and are five free. These come with quite a wide brush and as with the other brands I've mentioned so far they have a lovely formula making them very easy to apply. These can be a little thin but they dry quickly so it's not a problem to build up a few thin layers. Left to right these are Pamplemousse (a bright orange based red) and Kyoho (a dark lavender). These ones are £11 each (but again they're worth it) but Soigné often do sales where you can pick up shades for half price. In fact they just launched a sale yesterday, so get yourself over to the website if you fancy picking up a few shades.

Models Own nail varnish
piCture pOlish nail varnish

Next up we have the most budget option from my picks which is Models Own. Models Own nail varnishes used to be £5 each but I believe last year, maybe even the year before, they lowered their price to £4.99. I can't actually check this because the website currently has a holding page waiting for a new website. I'm not always a fan of Models Own's collections but the Neon one did catch my eye and I picked up Bubblegum, which is a really bright pink. This one has a fairly standard sized brush but I can't really remember what the formula is like. It can't be bad though as I've worn it several times.

Finally there's piCture pOlish, which I'd wanted to try for ages and finally picked up a couple of shades last year. Of the two shades I bought I went for dark winter shade and then the summery Tingle, which is a minty green shade, greener than it has come out in my pictures. These ones come with quite a wide brush and are easy to apply. They range from £9.50 to £11.50 depending on the type (cream, shimmer, limited edition) and are a little hard to get hold of in the UK but there are a couple of official UK retailers listed on their website

What shades will you be going for in Spring?

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Lush spring 2016 (Mother's day & Easter)

On Thursday I headed up to Lush Sheffield to take a look at this years Mothers day and Easter products.

Lush Spring 2016
Lush Spring 2016
Lush Spring 2016

The lovely Lush ladies had set up four different activities for us to work our way round including a look at this years Mothers day and Easter products, make your own Comforter/Butterball, a skincare consultation and a shower cocktail. I started off by hearing about this years spring products. 

This years Mothers day products include:

Soaps - Flutterby & Sunrise
Shower gels - Yummy mummy
Bath bombs - Rose bombshell
Bubble bars - Flowering tea & Ladybird 
Knot wraps - Pretty as a picture & Bright bouquet 
Gift sets - Mum, Thanks mum, Happy mother's day, Just for mum, Ladybird & Love you mum
There are also some products available from the Lush kitchen

and Easter:

Soaps - Somewhere over the rainbow
Shower jellies - Bouncy bunny
Bath bombs - Humpty dumpty, Fluffy egg, Which came first? & Golden egg (bath bomb melt)
Bubble bars - Bunch of carrots & Ultraviolet
Knot wraps - Easter pals
Gift sets - Good egg, Bouncy bunny, Carrot, Funky bunny & Rainbow
There will probably be some Lush kitchen Easter products closer to the time

Although it's Mother's day today I believe at least some, if not all of the Mother's day products are actually staying on with the Easter products until they're no longer available. So there's still plenty of time to grab some if you want to try them yourself. If you're interested in any of the gift sets it's probably best if you pop in store and take a look as there's so many of them and I'm not sure what's in each one. 

A couple of the bath bombs were demonstrated for us. Rose bombshell starts off fizzing away with a candy pink colour but as it gets to the middle it then starts to release a dark red colour and some rose petals that then float on the water. Golden egg isn't the sort of product I usually go for due to all the glitter but I was actually really impressed by this one. Although this is completely covered by gold glitter this is only actually a thin layer that it releases into the water instantly when dropped into the bath. This starts off as a melt which means it melts really slowly before it then gets to the bomb in the centre when it then fizzes away. Although it's quite an expensive bomb at £3.95 for a single use this keeps going for probably about 10 minutes, so is one of, if not their longest lasting bath product. 

Which came first was available last year but was called Immaculate Eggception. They only have the pink ones at the moment but the yellow ones are on the way. You crack this open to find a chick inside so you can get three baths out of this one. Humpty Dumpty works in the same way but you'll find a fried egg inside. I got to take a Humpty Dumpty away with me but unfortunately there was something wrong with mine. He was really difficult to crack (I had to result to smacking him on the floor) and my egg inside wasn't separate but had merged with the rest of the bath bomb. 

Bunch of Carrots is back again but this year you get an orange, pink and purple carrot rather than three orange ones. Each carrot will give you a corresponding coloured bath, so you can either use them individually or try them altogether to see what colour you get. Both this and Flowering tea are reusable but when you get to the end of Flowering tea you're rewarded with flower petals hidden inside the 'tea bag'.

Lush Spring 2016
Lush Spring 2016
Lush Spring 2016
Lush Spring 2016

Shower cocktails

I didn't actually experience the shower cocktail myself but I did watch somebody else's go. This involved using a 'cocktail' of products you might use in the shower and just after. The one I watched involved starting with Yuzu and Cocoa shower cream (which I really need to get my hands on because it smells amazing), followed by Rub Rub Rub the solid body scrub (I love that that rhymes!) and finally King of skin solid body butter, which you'd apply after getting out of the shower. 

Lush Spring 2016

Make your own Comforter/Butterball 

I've actually make my own Comforter bubble bar before but made another one at this event. The stuff you make it with is so satisfyingly squidgy and of course it smells absolutely amazing. This time I was shown a different way to make it. Last time involved making two balls and rolling them together on a board with your hands into like a cone shape and then flattening it. This time we made the two parts into sausage shapes and then twisted them together. I haven't looked at mine yet as it's still hardening (at the time I wrote this) but I think it's far from perfect! I probably should have made a Butterball bath bomb as I'm really missing the Christmas limited edition Butter Bear and this is the same product, just not bear shaped.

Skin consultation

This involved having a chat about what Lush skincare products I've used before and which ones I like and trying out some ones that I haven't tried. As usual this involved the careful checking of ingredients to double check that none of the products used on me contained lavender. Some full of Grace was applied to the backs of my hands (which is a solid cleanser I do own) and then a different face mask was applied to each hand. One was Ayesha and I thought the other one was Love Lettuce, although I'm not sure now because looking at the ingredients Love Lettuce contains lavender. I've not tried a Lush moisturiser before so this was followed with trying a bit of Celestial on the back of one hand. 

Thank you to Lush for inviting me along to take a look at their spring releases and thank you to the Lush Sheffield ladies for making it a lovely evening.

Have you treated yourself to any Lush spring products?

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My experience of cervical screening

I was originally preparing this post for cervical cancer prevention week, which I've missed by miles, but to be honest awareness of diseases like this and the steps you need to take to try and prevent or detect them shouldn't be restricted to a special week or month in the year.

Back in 2008 former Big Brother contestant Jade Goody was diagnosed with cervical cancer at just 27 years old and sadly on Mothers day in 2009 she passed away. After this we saw what has been called the 'Jade Goody effect' where the rates of women attending their smear tests shot up. Since then the number of people having their smear test has fallen each year. 

I haven't had cervical cancer myself and luckily I don't believe any of my friends or family have had it either, but I wanted to talk about my experience of smear tests to try and encourage anybody who hasn't had their test to have one. I've had three smear tests so far and I believe this year will see the arrival of my next letter as I hit 34. My very first smear test wasn't pleasant, but I want to show that I didn't let it put me off attending future tests.

Image from Pixabay

When I made the call to my doctors to book in for my first smear test I was nervous and even more nervous when it came to heading to the surgery to attend my test. I hadn't been able to get an appointment with the nurse for the time I wanted so I agreed for a doctor to do my test instead. Unfortunately with the doctor in question this was a mistake. As I'm sure you're aware a smear test involves the nurse or doctor inserting an instrument called a speculum, which can be either plastic or metal, into the vagina to hold it open and then using a brush to collect a sample of cells. As I was very nervous and so probably tense this meant the doctor had trouble inserting the speculum and she chose to deal with this by telling me 'Well you need to relax' while repeatedly trying to insert it. She eventually managed it and took the sample, but she did made me bleed. Although some bleeding is perfectly normal after your smear test. She handed me a very old fashion looking sanitary pad that was about an inch thick to pop in my underwear and off I went feeling a little sore. It was quite traumatic for my first experience and if I remember correctly when I got back to my car I burst into tears. However, I personally did not like my doctor anyway and I would often joke with my family (who also saw her as a doctor) that she might not actually be qualified because she never seemed to know what she was doing. 

Three years later my next letter popped through the door and despite my bad experience from my first test I told myself it was something I had to do and so booked my appointment. This one came and went without a problem, in fact I can't even remember having it. 

When it came to my third smear test, although there was a slight issue, the way it was dealt with by the nurse meant it was far from an unpleasant experience. When I entered the room there was two nurses and I was told one was training and was asked if it was okay if she did my test, which I agreed to. After trying to insert the speculum, which wasn't uncomfortable at all, the nurse doing my test spoke to the experienced nurse and she then explained to me that she was having a problem inserting it because my cervix is apparently tilted, making it slightly more difficult. This actually doesn't surprise me at all as I suffer from Scoliosis (side to side curvature of the spine) and Kyphosis (front to back curvature) and various parts of my body are wonky. The experienced nurse took over and asked me to lift my pelvis up, make two fists with my hands and pop them under my lower back/bottom. This would then tilt my cervix to make it straighter for them. She then carried on and completed my test with no problem. Although my test didn't run smoothly the only discomfort I felt was from trying to tilt my pelvis up with my fists under my bottom and it was far from a negative experience. 

I have three pieces of advice when it comes to your smear tests. The first is obviously to make sure you make and attend your appointments. The second would be to try and make sure you see a nurse rather than a doctor. A nurse probably spends quite a lot of their time conducting smear tests whereas a doctor might rarely do them. My final piece of advice would be to wear a skirt. If you wear trousers/jeans etc you will need to remove them and your underwear and this will leave you naked from the waste down. If you wear a skirt you just slip off your underwear but you're still covered until you lie on the bed when you'll then need to pull your skirt up, so you'll feel a lot less exposed. 

Yes a smear test can be a potentially unpleasant experience, but the vast majority of the time it's not and that couple of minutes of possible discomfort could help prevent you having to fight a battle with that awful C word and possibly the loss of your life.

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