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Ready for recycling #1 - Part 1

I realised I haven't done an empties post for a while now (September was the last one) and I appear to have used up quite a bit so I thought it was time to do another. I don't know whether moving into my own home has changed how I use products in some way but I appear to be using up more than I did at home. 

As there's quite a lot I have decided to split it into two posts as I don't want you to get too bored! So this one will focus on make-up, hand creams and hair and the next post will be on skincare and body. I've also gone for a slight change of name for this type of post just because I fancied a bit of a change as it's a new year. 

Ready for recycling #1
Ready for recycling #1

The Body Shop Spiced Apple & Frosted Berries hand creams £4 each (post) As you may know The Body Shop's little hand creams are probably my favourite and every year I make sure I pick up at least a couple of their festive scents. This year I was really disappointed to see that Glazed Apple hadn't returned, but had been replaced with Spiced Apple. So I picked up one Spiced Apple and one Frosted Berries. I wanted to like Spiced Apple as much as glazed, especially as it smells like apple pie (thanks to the spice - cinnamon) but once applied I found it changed to a floral type scent I really didn't like.
Repurchase? The Body Shop hand creams, yes. Frosted Berries, yes (if it returns), Spiced Apple, no.

Soap & Glory Hand Food with Sugar Crush scent £2.50 I am a fan of Hand Food and picked this up as a freebie courtesy of 02 Priority (if you're on 02 made sure you download and check this app regularly, a free Cafe Nero every Tuesday, yes please!). I've only used the standard Hand Food previously but personally think this is even better as they've added the sweet and fruity (lime and vanilla) Sugar Crush scent to it. 
Repurchase? Yes.

Ready for recycling #1

Benefit They're Real mascara £19.50 They're Real is probably my favourite mascara and my boyfriend is aware of this, so he bought me this for my birthday last year (June). I think there is a little bit still left in this but towards the end of the year I thought it was probably time to get rid as the shelf life of a mascara is three to six months. I do really enjoy using this but it really is quite expensive for a mascara so its not something I usually buy for myself.
Repurchase? No.

Bourjois Radiance Reveal concealer £7.99 (post) I've recently posted about this product and how at first I really didn't like it and put it away in a drawer. However when I did decide to give it a second chance I loved it. I find this really good for covering and brightening redness and scaring and although I would say it's very good for dark circles as well, like most products it does struggle with mine. 
Repurchase? I already have!

NARS Radiant Creamy concealer £22.50 (post) I do really like this product and find it quite similar to the Bourjois concealer I've just mentioned above, but it's over £20, £22.50 to be precise, and that's quite expensive and not something I can really afford. If I was a lot better off I might consider it, but to be honest I might as well go for the Bourjois one and treat myself to something else as well with the £15 difference.
Repurchase? No.

theBalm How 'bout them apples cheek & lip stain* £29.50 for the full palette The only theBalm products I've tried are these little samples you get from subscription boxes, with this one coming from Birchbox. This is a sample of one shade from a palette of six. I'm not really a fan of the packaging design or the topless cowboys that feature inside, but I did really like using this as a cheek stain. There is a little bit left in there but it's looking a little worse for wear so it's time to get rid.
Repurchase? It's something I would consider in the future.

Ready for recycling #1

Shea Moisture Fruit Infused Coconut Water Weightless shampoo* £9.99 Shampoo is something I find really difficult to review because unless it completely blows me away with how amazing it is I just don't know what to say 'Er, yes, this shampoo, cleans my hair'. In fact it's easier for me to be negative because it actually gives me something to talk about! So I'm not sure what else to say about this one apart from that I liked it and there isn't anything bad to talk about.
Repurchase? Probably not as it's a little pricey for a 'not blowing me away' shampoo. 

Parlor by Jeff Chastain Detangling leave-in conditioner* £17 full size I really shouldn't leave it too long before doing empties posts, or should at least make some notes, as I can't actually remember exactly what I thought about this one! Although like shampoos I often find it hard to review heat protection spray type products, which this is as well, because unless I hear my hair frazzling while I use heat I don't really know if it's doing anything. For the price though let's say this isn't one I'll be purchasing. 
Repurchase? No.

Have you used up many products recently?

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Thoughts I have while clothes shopping

Walking in the store

Oh my god it's about 100° in here, it's 2° outside. I can feel sweat running off me already?

Why is the shop assistant watching me? Have I accidentally shoplifted something? I can't have I've just walked in! She thinks I'm not good enough/too old/not rich enough to shop here.


Will you please get out of my bloody way, I'm sure you're doing this on purpose!

Ooh that's nice *checks price tag* OMFG. Can I get away without paying my rent this month?

That's a 10?! I don't think I can get one thigh in that. Surely they mean age 10?

You'd have to pay me to wear that. I must be getting old.

Why are there different types of clothing on the same rail and why is the one I want to look at right at the back??

Why is every single thing I like not in stock in my size?

Why do I not like a single thing in here? I must be getting old.

In the changing room

There's no assistant. Do I wait? Do I go in?

Nooo the curtain doesn't close properly. Someone might see me *experiences horror*

There's a hanger in here, are they going to think I've nicked something.

I wonder if they employed someone specially to create lighting that makes me look like Jabber the Hut.

These jeans aren't going past my knees let alone my hips.

Shit, I'm stuck!

Shit, I think I've ripped it!

Have I just got deodorant/make-up on that top? I'm the person I complain about!

How long have I been in here now? Are they going to start wondering what I'm doing!

Do I really look like that?! Someone pass me a doughnut. 

I've come in with six things, I can't hand them all back!. Which one shall I pretend I'm going to buy?

There's still no assistant. Do I put these on the rail or will they think I've nicked stuff? Shall I go and casually hang them all back where I found them?


Do I really need this let alone want it?

The assistant still thinks I'm not good enough to shop in here.

Crap! 'Yes I'll need to buy a bag please'.

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Brand focus - Kiehl's

Kiehl's is a brand that of course I had heard of, but until quite recently I hadn't tried any of their products. I haven't tried many of their products as of yet, but as I do have four products to talk about here I thought I'd make this a brand focus post. I have two further products that I haven't tried yet, the Ultra Facial Moisturizer and Rare Earth Pore Minimizing lotion, so I may follow up with a post on those two in the future. While I'm mentioning it can anybody tell me what sort of product the pore minimizer actually is? Is it one of those that's an extra step kind of thing but not specifically a serum, moisturiser etc?

Brand focus - Kiehl's
Brand focus - Kiehl's

I'll start off with the product I bought myself, although I did buy this using the £500 House of Fraser gift card I won as part as the BAFTA competition back in 2015. I occasionally have a problem with the skin on my eye lids drying out completely and then flaking off, it's far from attractive. This once occurred as a result of a reaction to a product, but sometimes they just dry out all on their own. I'm never quite sure what to use on them when it happens because of the skin on your eye lids being so thin and so close to my eyes. On one occasion I was attending an event at Selfridges in Birmingham courtesy of the lovely Rose (the Selfridges beauty personal shopper) and when I told a Kiehl's representative I was currently suffering with flaky eye lid and unsure what to use she suggested the Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with avocado

This is enriched with avocado oil to gently moisturise the delicate eye area and most importantly the formula doesn't migrate into the eye, so it's perfectly safe to use actually on your eye lids if needed. The lady gently tapped a small amount onto my eye lids and even just with that one application they felt much better afterwards. 

I had this on my wish list for a while after that event and as I said when I decided to place a beauty order on my House of Fraser gift card I decided it was time to purchase this. This starts off as a reasonably rich cream but as you apply it you feel it break down and become almost water like. This is great for if my skin is really dry, but when my skin is more normal I do find this too rich for me. When I used it regularly I found I was starting to get little spots under my eyes, so I think my skin was a little overwhelmed by it. 

This one is quite expensive at £20 for 14ml and £33.50 for 28ml. As an eye cream I would say it does last well, but it does also only last 6 months before you are supposed to dispose of it, so a bit of swings and roundabouts there. Let's ignore the fact I've already had mine far longer than I should have...

Brand focus - Kiehl's

Next up I have the MTV Staying Alive Ultra Facial Cream*. This is a limited edition version of their Ultra Facial Cream and for each one sold Kiehl's donate £10 to the MTV Staying Alive foundation, which supports three projects around the world that help to empower young women. Kiehl's did send me this product, but by posting a picture of it on Instagram Kiehl's donated £10 on my behalf, as if I had bought the product. This is from 2016, but this was the second year Kiehl's had joined forces with a celebrity to front the product/campaign and design the lid of the limited edition pot. 2016 was with British singer/songwriter Laura Mvula and 2015 was with I believe Tiny Tempah. 

The cream itself is designed to be lightweight and easily absorbed but does contain ingredients with scientific sounding names designed to protect skin from harsh weather conditions. This can be used in the morning but it's one I prefer to use at night and one that I would probably also use in winter rather than the summer. Although I haven't tried the Ultra Facial Moisturizer yet I believe that one might be the lighter (and for me summer) version of the cream. The Ultra Facial Cream has surprised me as although my skin does have problems absorbing any product sometimes let alone excess product this is one where I can apply a little too much and I usually find that there is minimal product left on my skin, if any. It's a pretty amazing product!

Although this particular one is still on the website it is showing as sold out and as it's limited edition I doubt it will return until this years new limited edition is released. However you can buy the standard Ultra Facial Cream for £24 for 50ml and £43.50 for 125ml. 

Brand focus - Kiehl's
Brand focus - Kiehl's

The next two products were sent to me as part of an 'Introduction to Kiehl's' sample along with the two products I've yet to try. Starting with the Kiehl's Lip Balm #1*, I noticed there's a recent bad review of this on the Kiehl's website, but I believe that might be because the reviewer has misunderstood what this product is for. It's not a day-to-day product for slightly dry lips or for prepping them for lipstick application. The main ingredient is petrolatum, or petroleum jelly (like vaseline), so its a barrier to keep the elements away from chapped or cracked lips to help them heal. It's the sort of product I use on my nose when I've got a cold and my nose is raw from wiping/blowing and any other cream just stings and doesn't do much. In winter my lips can become really dry and difficult to deal with, but they haven't this year. I have suffered with some dryness around my lip line and this has been good for that. This is £9.50 for 15ml.

Finally, probably my favourite product is the Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate*. I received a sample of their Midnight Recovery Concentrate and was excited to use it, but then discovered it does have lavender in so I couldn't try it. Instead I turned my lusting to the Daily Reviving Concentrate (after double checking the ingredients) so I was over the moon when I received it to try. 

I do use oils at night, although I tend to prefer serums as they're easier for my skin to absorb, but I'd never considered using one in the morning in case my skin didn't absorb it well and I spent the daily oily. That really isn't a problem with this product. This is designed to strengthen skins defences against daily aggressors to keep it radiant looking all day. It contains ginger root, sunflower and tamanu oils to help skin feel fresh and looking energised. It may look yellow but it's only actually the bottle that is tinted, the oil itself is pretty much completely clear. I'm not a fan of yellow as a colour but there's something about the yellow bottle that really attracts me to using the product, it's kind of sunny and inviting!

One of the best things about this is the scent, which to me is almost chocolate orange like. It may be an oil but it's light and easily absorbed and perfect for using in the morning. It leaves my dry skin feeling hydrated and looking good. I love it! This one is £37 for 30ml and £49 for 50ml. All of these products (apart from the MTV Staying Alive Ultra Facial Cream) can be found on the Kiehl's website.

Are you a Kiehl's fan? What products would you recommend?

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*PR sample    

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Trying the trend - Primark PS...Pro make-up brush

If you're a fan of beauty and Instagram then you can't have failed to notice that there's a new type of make-up brush in town. I don't know where they've come from and I don't even know if there is actually a name for this type of brush (Oval brushes?), but they've definitely become quite popular. I've not seen anything like them before and was curious as to how they apply your make-up and if they're any good. I certainly didn't want to pay a lot of money for one though as I believe with one brand you can pay something like £60 for just one brush. But when I was having a bit of a Primark haul I spotted them within their PS...Pro range so I picked one up for just £3.

PS...Pro blending make-up brush

This is one of their blending brushes (although are all of these types of brushes meant for blending products?) and there was another one with a slightly larger head for £1 more along with various different sizes. It features a simple black plastic handle with PS...Pro printed on it (which has already rubbed off after 2/3 uses) and what I assume must be synthetic, fawn coloured bristles. As with all of these brushes the bristles are quite densely packed.

PS...Pro blending make-up brush
PS...Pro blending make-up brush

As I expected this really does take some getting used as you're going from holding a brush horizontally to your face to vertically and it does feel kind of awkward. I keep finding I lose momentum and kind of forgot what to do with my hand to get it to work. I also keep knocking into my nose or kind of falling off the edge of my face. I've only used it a few times and I'm still finding it awkward. 

It feels nice to use and although I suspect you are only supposed to use a light hand I do find myself pressing down and I'm not entirely convinced that the head won't eventually snap off at some point as I can feel it bending. I have spotted a picture on Twitter of somebodies brush, not necessarily from this range though, that had snapped. I think these also might be ones that you have to wash quite often (I know you really should be doing that anyway) as the dense head does seem to hold on to some product in some places and look a bit clogged up. I haven't washed this one as of yet so I'm not sure how they wash, but if it's been a while since the last wash I think it might require a good clean out.

In terms of how it applied my foundation, yes I was happy. It didn't apply as flawlessly as you'd get with bouncing a sponge, but was just as good as my standard buffing brush of choice. I can't see me changing over to using this one regularly though as it's no better than my brush of choice and as I said feels more awkward to use.

Have you given one of these brushes a try?

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Embryolisse Lotion Micellaire & Radiant eye cream

These are some of several products that are a little overdue for review. Do you ever pick up a product and think 'oh actually I need to review this' and then you check to see how long it is since you received it and it's a hell of a lot longer than you realised. Then came Christmas and New Year and then recovering from the start of a new year and so yes this one is a little overdue!

Embryolisse are a brand that I've only personally heard of because of the rise in popularity of French Pharmacy products over here in the UK. To begin with samples started appearing in beauty subscription boxes such as Birchbox and Glossybox and now you can find the likes of Bioderma and La Roche-Posay on the shelves of your local Boots. Although I have been a subscriber to both Glossybox and Birchbox on and off (and currently receive PR Birchboxes) Embryolisse is a brand I hadn't actually received any samples of. So when I was contacted to ask if I'd like to try a couple of their products I agreed.

I was sent the Embryolisse Lotion Micellaire* and Radiant eye cream*. I'm sure you're all aware of micellar waters by now but if not this is a cleansing water containing something called micelles, which attract dirt and oil which are then lifted away from the skin. This particular one contains cornflower, chamomile and witch-hazel water combined with glycerin to soften and smooth the skin. This is a very gentle cleanser that can be used on the lips and eyes and is claimed that this removes even waterproof products.

A few years ago I took part in a micellar water testing blind trial for the website Escentual and I discovered that some micellar waters can upset my sensitive, reactive skin. One I even had to stop using because it made my face too sore. However, I haven't had any problem with the Embryolisse Lotion Micellaire and have enjoyed using it. It does remove make-up easily and does work well on stubborn products, although I don't actually use anything waterproof. It does leave my skin slightly tacky after use, which I find with most micellars, but it doesn't leave my skin sore or dehydrated. It does contain fragrance though, so this is worth noting if you are sensitive to such products.

The Radiant eye cream comes in stick form, similar to The Body Shop's Eyes cube, which is the product I was using just before this one. I found this one to be much softer than the Eye's cube though, meaning it glides very easily along the eye area. However the downside of this was revealed when I wound the product up to see how much was left and discovered I'd nearly used the whole thing in a very short period of time. Also as I found with the Eyes cube when you use a product like this you do have to be careful that when you get to the end of the product you don't catch the plastic on your skin. I didn't particularly notice any improvement to my dark circles, but then I never do, but it was a nicely moisturising product that feels cooling and is a pleasure to use. I think it just runs out too quickly.

The Embryolisse Lotion Micellaire is £17.99 for 250ml and the Radiant eye cream £20.50 and can be purchased through the official Embryolisse website or from your local Boots.

Have you tried any products from Embryolisse?

Some similar products
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo (+) Unifiant
The Body Shop Vitamin E Essence lotion
The Body Shop Tea Tree 3-in-1 Wash.Scrub.Mask

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Birchbox January 2017 - Sprinkle happiness

So it's now a brand new year and time for the first Birchbox of 2017. In my last Birchbox post I said that expectations were high for a December/Christmas box, but I'm not sure exactly what my expectations are or were for the first box of the year. Whatever expectations I may have had I'm not particularly excited by this months box.

Birchbox January 2017 - Sprinkle happiness
Birchbox January 2017 - Sprinkle happiness

It was only when I spotted a picture of someone else's box that I realised that my drawer is technically the wrong way round and that it should say 'sprinkle happiness' on the front of the drawer in a hand writing style font. As you can see we are back to a drawer style box again this month, but unfortunately the colour scheme doesn't do it for me as I'm not particularly a fan of yellow. I can see that they might have been going for bright and cheerful though as January is possibly the most depressing month of their entire year.

Birchbox January 2017 - Sprinkle happiness

My initial feeling was also disappointment when I first opened the drawer and there definitely wasn't an 'ooohhhh' reaction to any of the products. Let's start with a couple of products that did possibly have 'ooohhh' potential.

I am a big fan of Nails Inc, but as soon as I saw the shade I knew it probably wasn't one I was going to get a lot (if any) use out of. Looking closer it's not quite as bad as I thought (it's a pale taupe shade), but it's still not quite a winner for me. Also I am wondering how old this might be. Nails Inc changed their bottles a while ago now and while some sets do still have minis in the round bottles they do now do minis in square bottles, so it could be quite an old one. Also on either side of the lid there's a partial fingerprint in nail varnish (CSI Little Blog here!) so I'm not entirely convinced this hasn't been opened at some point.

I have spotted that some people got full size Soigné nail varnishes in their boxes, so I do feel a little short changed. Soigné nail varnishes are amazing, they're one of my favourite brands, and are worth £11 each, which baby Nails Inc ones definitely are not.

Another product with potential was the Lord & Berry Conceal-it crayon concealer. As you may well be aware I'm a big Lord & Berry fan, but straight away I can see this is going to be too dark for my pale skin. I would personally say it's always better to put a paler shade in a box because if it's too light for your skin tone it can be used for brightening, but darker will always just be too dark. Although it's not the hardest crayon product I've swatched it's also far from soft, so it's not the sort of product I would use, especially around the eyes.

Birchbox January 2017 - Sprinkle happiness

Actually thinking about it the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Or Multi-purpose dry oil shimmer is a bit of an ooohhh product because it's just so pretty. It's bronze and shimmery, what more could you want! Plus I do also really like Nuxe's dry oils. The issue for me is the shimmer. I'm not a huge fan of glitter/shimmer products because the blimmin stuff just gets everywhere, and I'm pretty sure the inside of my lungs are still coated in it from the amount of glitter spray in the air from years of dance shows. I think this might have been better suited just before Christmas (for the Christmas parties) or approaching spring/summer for making your legs look gorgeous once you get them out.

The next product is a Whish shave cream. I might be in the majority here but the only thing I wet shave is under my arms, which this might actually be perfect for as there's not very much in the tube. I don't shave my legs or bikini area because I suffer from awful shaving rash, so I use an electric shaver and don't really have much use for shaving cream. Even when I do shave under my arms I only use whatever shower gel I'm using at the time.

Birchbox January 2017 - Sprinkle happiness

Finally I received a Merci Handy hand cream. I have previously received one of their anti-bacterial hand gels which does live in my handbag ready for when I need it. I don't know much about the brand at all though and have no idea what their hand creams are like. I haven't tried this or even smelt it because it's sealed, which is good, but does mean I don't want to open it until I'm ready because that will start the use by clock ticking. Packaging wise it's compact enough to pop in your handbag for on the go and is a pretty sturdy tube that I don't think would bust open if knocked about. 

In general this one just doesn't really float my boat, but different people want different things and one persons 'meh' box might be somebody else's idea of heaven. If you do want to sign up to receive the January box you can do so here.

What do you think of the January Birchbox?

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Finding the perfect basic tee

I love a simple, basic T shirt, but the problem is finding the perfect one. I moved house six months ago and when I moved I had a bit of a clear out as there's no point packing up things that it's time to get rid of. I threw a few of my basic tees out because they were past their best and somewhere along the line another one has gone missing, so I really needed to replace them. 

I asked my parents for some money for Christmas so I could go on a shopping spree to buy myself a few new bits, but the one thing I was actually dreading was tracking down the perfect basic tee. It's sounds a little over dramatic, but it's one item of clothing I really want to be perfect. It needs to be comfortable, a good fit and preferably made of cotton with some elastane so it maintains its shape. I hate anything too short (I'm tall), polyester and that just generally doesn't fit well, particularly that digs in under the arms.

I thought I'd have to hunt high and low and that I might not find anything the first time due to not being able to shop for very long anymore because of my spine. But I was really surprised, and so happy, to find the absolute perfect basic tee in the first shop I walked into. Primark. 

Finding the perfect basic tee

Primark's basic tee's really are perfect. They're a really good fit, really comfy, good fabric and there's a good range of colours too. I only went for one vest type because it's not really the right time of year but I really liked the colour. I then went for short sleeved in black, white, dark grey, maroon and black and white striped and in long sleeved I went for black and white and dark blue and white striped. I'm a 10/12, probably a little closer to 12 just after Christmas, and I went for a 12 because I'm not sure about their sizing and they're perfect.

Finding the perfect basic tee

Price wise, of course they're reasonable because this is Primark. I believe they're priced between £2.50 and £4 and I found two or three of the ones I bought came up cheaper than the price tag said when I got to the till. 

I don't know how long these will last because I've only just bought them and have only worn a couple of them once so far. But for that price to be honest I wouldn't mind replacing them yearly. For £20-£30 I can have a full compliment of basic tees from vests to long sleeved, plain and striped. 

This ended up rather a long post when it was just about a T shirt (or seven!), but I am so pleased I have found the one!

Where you do you get your perfect tees from?

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New make-up products and tools from The Body Shop

As much as I love The Body Shop's skincare products I've never really dabbled much in their make-up products and tools. I do have an eye shadow brush, but as I don't really use eye shadow as standard when applying my make-up it's not something I use regularly. 

The Body Shop have recently released both new make-up products and make-up tools and I've been trying a few out.

New make-up products and tools from The Body Shop

The first products I tried out were a couple of lip products; a Matte lipstick* and Matte Lip liquid*. The new lipstick is 100% vegetarian, containing Community Trade Brazil nut oil and beeswax (so they're not Vegan) and is available in seven shades including reds, pinks, a nude and a plum. This is a matte lipstick and is a little on the dry side for me when it comes to application but it does become a little softer as you apply it from the warmth of your lips. Although it is a little dry to apply I actually find it very comfortable to wear and in general I can't feel it on my lips. As a matte lipstick it lasts pretty well and wears evenly. The shade I have is called Rio Fuchsia and is a pretty standard fuchsia pink. A nice little lipstick for £8.

New make-up products and tools from The Body Shop
New make-up products and tools from The Body Shop
New make-up products and tools from The Body Shop

The new liquid lipsticks are also 100% vegetarian (but again not vegan due to beeswax) and are available in 12 shades with a pretty good range between nude and a very dark looking plum. As soon as I opened mine it immediately made me think of the NYX Soft Matte lips creams and I personally think they are very similar products both in terms of the packaging and the formula of the product itself. It has a soft almost mousse like formula that glides on easily, but like the NYX ones I find it can apply a little sheer and slightly patchy in places, so it's best to go in with a couple layers to build it up. It does last well but again like the Soft Matte lip creams it's not one that sticks around until you remove it so you might want to top up after a few hours, especially after eating/drinking. The shade I have is Paris Peony and it's almost like the liquid version of Rio Fuchsia, maybe a little pinker. These are £6 so also around the same price as the NYX Soft Matte lip creams.

New make-up products and tools from The Body Shop

The new make-up brushes from The Body Shop are gorgeous. When most brands are heading more and more towards rose gold or the most unicorn/mermaid style colour scheme they can manage The Body Shop have bucked the trend and gone for a more classic and sophisticated look. All of their new brushes are 100% cruelty-free (and vegan) with synthetic bristles and sustainable sourced wooden handles. The bristles are charcoal coated (I'm not sure what the significance of this is) and are super soft. I love the colour of the bristles as well, which remind me of British Blue cats (they're cruelty free and vegan though so no kitties were harmed in the making of these brushes). 

The brushes I have are the Contouring brush* and the Slanted blusher brush*. Contouring is something I don't do, for one because there's huge potential for ending up looking like an idiot and two because I'm not sure it's something I would particularly benefit from with my long, thin face. So I did have to go out and buy a product to try contouring with. From what I've just said I'm sure you've been able to work out that I am far from an expert in contouring, but I did enjoy using this brush. Being a long. thin brush it's the perfect shape for tucking in under your cheekbones and it blends well, but I can't really say much more than that.

The blusher brush is a lot smaller than I'm used to using (the Real Techniques blush brush) and also a different shape, so it took a little getting used to. The slanted head fits along the cheekbone and the smaller size allows for precision application. I'm not sure I'm the best at reviewing make-up brushes because I'm not sure what else to say, but I like them both. The Contour brush is £14 and the Slanted blusher brush £12. I'd like to see them both about £2 cheaper, but that's not a bad price.

Have you tried any make-up from The Body Shop?

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*PR sample. Post contains affiliate links 

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My top Bourjois products

Bourjois are a brand that I can find a little bit hit and miss. A few years back I had one of their little round pot blushers and although I loved the rose scent and the dinky size I couldn't get any colour payoff from it. More recently I bought one of their foundations, I'm not sure which one it was now, but it just didn't do it for me. Despite that there are a few Bourjois products that are amongst some of my favourite products to use. I've far from tried all or even a large number of their products, but these are my current top three products from Bourjois. 

My top Bourjois products

Before I continue I'm going to talk about my experience of ordering these products from Superdrug. I've checked in several Boots and Superdrug stores and the lightest shade of the Radiance Reveal concealer never appears to be in stock. So I thought I'd order online as that would also guarantee that I'd get sealed products as I'm fed up of getting home and realising something I've just bought has already been opened. Superdrug had a 3 for 2 offer on Bourjois but the concealer was out of stock online as well. So I waited, hoping it would come into stock before the offer finished, which it did.

I went and collected my order from store and opened it once I got home. As soon as I took the lipstick out of the package I knew it had been opened because the label that seals the product was broken and was actually in two parts on different sides of the product. I opened it and discovered there was also a load of product around the opening, suggesting to me that the applicator might have been pulled out and replaced several times. I'm far from happy I've been sent an opened, if not actually used product and I'm certainly not going to use it. I'm just waiting to hear back from Superdrug now.

My top Bourjois products

Bourjois Radiance Reveal concealer

So the most illusive product here is the Radiance Reveal concealer. Why are the palest shades of concealer always out of stock in store? Maybe this suggests you should offer up more stock and maybe even make some paler shades too, hey brands?!

I originally bought this along with the foundation I mentioned above and I really didn't like it and threw it aside in a drawer. I later pulled it out again to give it a second chance and for some reason that time I absolutely loved it! I really don't know what changed, but it's now my current favourite concealer. I find it a good all-rounder, so it works well at covering redness, scaring and dark circles, even my dark circles. Nothing covers my dark circles completely, but it does a good job. As the name suggests it doesn't provide a flat finish but adds some radiance. In terms of foundation I much prefer a matte finish over dewy, but I like that this lifts my complexion slightly and helps hide what I want it to hide. 

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet liquid lipstick 

Let's gloss over the whole open product thing and concentrate on the actual product. I believe the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet's were my first introduction to liquid lipstick and I love them. The follow up Rouge Edition products (Aqua Laque and Souffle de Velvet) didn't do it for me at all but the velvet's are one of my favourite lip products. 

They're easy to apply with the doe foot applicator and once they've dried down, that's it, they're staying in place until you remove them at the end of the day. They do wear slightly, but not enough to justify needing to top them up. In fact they're quite difficult to remove, sometimes even using an oil cleanser. I attended an event wearing one of these and went to remove it so I could have some lipstick applied, but the remover I was given just wouldn't get it off. In the end she applied a similar shade over the top. I find them quite comfortable to wear, but I would recommend making sure your lips are in good shape before applying them to ensure they are comfortable.

My existing shades are Personne ne Rouge!, Frambourjoise and Olé Flamingo!, which are all very visible shades, so I decided I wanted a more nude/pink shade. I settled on So Hap'pink, but I haven't had a chance to try it out yet because I'm not using the product I've been sent.

My top Bourjois products

Bourjois Liner Feutre

This product has recently broken my heart! This is one of my favourite liquid eye liners because it's so easy to use and I loved the shade Noir Violine, which was a dark purple shade. I was desperate for a reasonably priced dark purple liner, so I was over the moon when I found this one. My current one is coming to an end and when I went to try and repurchase I discovered it has apparently been discontinued. I love the liner so much I still wanted to repurchase but didn't really want black as I have several black ones already. So I went for Noir Mocha, which is a kind of chocolate brown shade. Again I haven't actually tried this yet but I already know I'm going to love it, even if the shade is not quite what I wanted.

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How to master applying liquid liner

There are some make-up techniques that I'm really not that bothered about trying to master, like contouring for example, but one thing I have always wanted to be able to apply properly was liquid liner. I've always liked the black liner and red lipstick look, but its only once I got into my 30s that I actually started wearing red lipstick and managed to finally master liquid liner application.  

Technically I should have been wearing eye liner for years as it was part of the make-up 'uniform' required for my dancing shows, along with blue eye shadow and red lipstick. But I was always absolutely shocking at applying eye liner. Of course I would try to apply it in one long line (I'll go into why this isn't a good idea below) and it would look like a kid had taken a felt tip and tried to draw around my eye. 

It's taken me an awful long time to get to a position where I feel I'm reasonably competent at applying liquid liner (and am happy to go out in public) so I thought I'd share some of my tips in case it's something you might also be trying to master.

How to master applying liquid liner

Start with the correct tool

There are a few different ways you can apply liquid liner including using a pen and a dip pot with a brush using either liquid or gel (which I'm kind of counting as a type of liquid). If you're a beginner I would say by far the best type to use would be a felt tip style pen with a simple pointed rigid nib. You can get some different shaped nibs, but I would say they're better for people who are more experienced. My recommendations would be Soap & Glory's Supercat liner (the original one not the newer fat one, although I think you can also get a slimmer one now too) and Bourjois' Liner Feutre. I really liked Liner Feutre in the shade Noir Violine (a deep purple shade) and was just about to replace it but it appears they've discontinued that particular shade. You might also want to start off with a shade that isn't black, a brown or something similar, as black can be quite harsh and is more unforgiving.

Get a good position

Its always recommended that you rest you elbow on a surface to give you a stable hand for applying eye liner, but when I lived at home this wasn't usually possible because I didn't have a dressing table and applied my make-up in front of the bathroom mirror. However I find it works just as well if you rest your hand against your cheek. I still usually do this now even though I do have a dressing table to rest my elbow on. Resting your hand on your cheek gives you enough stability in your hand for more precise application.

How to master applying liquid liner

Tips for application

I'd recommend not going straight in for the Amy Winehouse look but starting off simple. Start by practising a thin line as close to the lash line as you can get it, stopping once you get to the outer corner of your eye. If you have naturally blonde hair like me then it's likely you might also have blonde lashes, at least at the base, and unfortunately this can often make it look like there's a gap between my lash line and my liner. So getting your line as close to the base of your lashes as possible helps. Once you've mastered a thin line you can move on to building this up to a thicker line and trying out wings/cat flicks. Following the lash line you have a guide but once it gets to flicks you're free handing and it's not easy to get them matching on both eyes (I still rarely manage to get them matching exactly). When building up your line you also want to keep it thin towards the inner corner of your eye and get thicker towards the outer corner. 

Also I wouldn't attempt to do it in one complete line until you're much closer to expert level as it's very difficult to get a perfect smooth line in one go. It's much better to use short strokes, moving along the eye building up a line. I also wouldn't bother trying to get the line right into the inner corner of your eye. I start where my lashes start and taper the beginning of the line down to meet the end of my lash line.


This might sound a little obvious but you need to practice. Don't give it a stab just before you're going out as if you make a mess of it you'll need to try and correct it which is far from easy and it can end up quite stressful. Practice at home when you're not going anywhere so you can whip it off straight away if it doesn't go to plan.

What make-up techniques have you had to practice to master?

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My top posts of 2016

When we hit the new year I like to take a look at the previous years posts and see which ones were the most popular. This lets me know the sort of thing my readers like to see and helps me decide what direction I might want to take with my posts going into the new year. As I'm looking anyway I thought I might as well let you know my top 10 most popular posts of 2016.

The Body Shop Fresh Nude cushion foundation

The Body Shop Fresh Nude cushion foundation (here)

Max Factor Marilyn Monroe lipstick collection (here)

Red hair colour refreshers

The red hair colour refreshers - Schwarzkopf & Maria Nila (here)

Elemis Dynamic resurfacing collection (here)

The Body Shop Tea Tree 3-in-1 Wash.Scrub.Mask (here)

L'Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Clay pre-shampoo treatment masque

L'Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Clay pre-shampoo treatment masque (here)

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo (+) Unifiant (here)

Avene Clearance Expert Emulsion & comparison to Effaclar Duo (+) (here)

Pixi Glow Tonic & Nourishing Cleansing balm
 Pixi Glow Tonic & Nourishing Cleansing balm (here)

The Body Shop Honey Bronze Drops of Sun holiday glow creator (here)

Leave me links to one of your popular posts from 2016.

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2016 was the year that...

Trollied series 6

...I finally moved out after starting to think about it about 6 years ago and then being made redundant.

... and following on from the one above, I moved to Cheltenham.

...I more than trebled my Instagram following and have just managed to break through 1k followers (despite the ridiculous new algorithm).

...I received a new research grant from the Swedish Society for Psychical Research (SPR) so I can continue the research I did for my PhD.

...I had my first car accident (I've been driving for about 15 years). I was hit by an Eddie Stobbart lorry. There was no damage to me or my boyfriend just a little bit to my car that was mostly cosmetic but had to be fixed because it clipped my wheel.

...I stopped looking at the stats for my blog (unless I need to). They make me feel like I'm not good enough, like nobody reads my blog (which maybe they don't) so I stopped looking at them and just concentrated on enjoying blogging.

...I started dancing again (briefly) after a six year break. I've had to stop again because it's not really something I can afford right now, but I've missed it and will hopefully start again soon. I danced for about 20 years.

...I returned to Sky 1 comedy Trollied in a regular role as a Valco staff member and had my first walk-on role. I also worked on the Christmas episode this year.

...I had to put my life on hold for four weeks to make 12 muppet type puppets for a game my boyfriend was running at a convention in Bournemouth in November. They were a huge hit and I've had three orders for me to make puppets or people.

..I gave up on being a redhead after about 6 months.

The things I was hoping would happen in 2016

...I haven't got a publishing deal for the results of my PhD research yet.

...I did move out!

...I didn't get a role in the new Guardians of the Galaxy film (but I can't wait to see it) and I didn't get a role in Sherlock and the series starting tonight (Jan 1st) is the last series.

A few things I'm hoping will happen in 2017

...I will get the publishing deal for the results of my PhD research.

...I will start my own business, but I'm not telling you in what.

...That Supporting Artist work will pick up again as the last couple of years have been pretty dire!

How was 2016 for you? Happy New Year!

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2015 was the year that...

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