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Sunday, 12 October 2014

Faith in Nature Pomegranate & Rooibos Shampoo and Conditioner


When I was asked recently if I wanted to try out a shampoo from Faith in Nature I jumped in the chance- I'm very cautious of highstreet shampoos because of allergies, but I can't tell you how bored I'd become of baby shampoo! It does the job, smells nice and is easily available, but after about a year of use it has become seriously dull!

I chose the Pomegranate & Rooibos Shampoo (£5.50 for 400ml), and Faith in Nature were also kind enough to send me the matching conditioner. These products are vegan and cruelty free, don't contain artificial colours, fragrances, parabens or SLES, and in each of the list of ingredients there are only two (Sodium benzoate and Potassium sorbate) that aren't either vegetable derived, organic or from essential oils.

I find the scents quite unusual- quite herbal and earthy but they seem to change each time I open the bottle. Sometimes I can smell orange peel, sometimes cut grass and even a few times I've smelled Christmas trees as I massaged the shampoo into my hair. I can't remember the last time I actually ate a pomegranate, but that's definitely in there too! 
I like the smell a lot but if I'd sniffed them in a shop I might have gone for something just a little more sweet and fruity, even though it doesn't really last on the hair.

The shampoo lathers up well which I really like in a hair product, and it makes my hair feel super clean and light after use. I chose one of the range that was 'for all hair types', but other Faith in Nature shampoo scents like Rosemary are designed for normal to dry hair. 
Over the past few months I've cut down hair washing from 7 days a week to 4 or 5 days a week (a big deal for me and it took a while!) but the cleaning and de-greasing power of the Pomegranate and Rooibos means that 2 day hair is easy and even 3 day hair is possible for my oily noggin. It also detangles really well which makes life easier as my hair is so prone to knotting.

The Pomegranate & Rooibos Conditioner (£5.50 for 400ml) is light in texture and coats the ends of my hair easily. It also helps to detangle not just while in use but also afterwards so I can get a brush through my hair even after it's been dried. I've been using this a few times a week for about 3 weeks and although it hasn't made a difference in the way my hair feels, it does look shiny all down the lengths and ends. 

Faith in Nature also make a wide range of other scents of shampoo and conditioner such as Chocolate, Hemp & Meadowfoam, Pineapple & Lime and Seaweed & Citrus, which all sound delicious, as well as skin care, baby products and soaps. 
You don't have to be into natural or organic products to give this shampoo and conditioner a go, but the Pomegranate & Rooibos would be great choice if you have oily and easily tangled hair like mine.



Thursday, 25 September 2014

TheBalm Mary Loumanizer + September Birchbox + Discount Code!


TheBalm Mary-Lou Manizer
I've wanted to try the TheBalm Mary-Lou Manizer since seeing Shannon Harris rave about it quite a while ago. The packaging is really fun and has a 50s style illustration on the outer box and compact showing poor Mary-Lou's mugshot after being arrested for being too pretty and too popular, which definitely makes it stand out among other products. 

Inside, the silver compact is a large mirror and 8.5g of silky slightly textured highlighter. The shade is a very peachy golden colour and, although much less yellow than other golden highlighters, it makes the rest of my highlighter collection look frosty silver or very pink. 
The powder is very fine and blends out into a lighter but very flattering colour that sits really well on my skintone. Only a small amount of the fine shimmer is needed on the face as too much can look a little too glossy, so with my heavy-handedness I use a stippling brush (my favourite for highlighters is from MUA) to create a perfectly blended sheen. You can see the powder in action in the photos above of me and my sister!

As the Mary-Lou Manizer can also be used as an eyeshadow, it can be packed onto the lid to create quite a strong colour that is definitely 'there', and I've been loving it patted onto the centre of the lid over other colours to create some lightness and dimension. It also makes a really gorgeous inner corner highlight that puts most of my other eyeshadows to shame!

TheBalm Mary Lou-Manizer can be purchased from the Birchbox website for £15.


September 'Happy Days' Birchbox
I like the brown Birchbox boxes but this lively green and pink affair would be really nice to use as storage or to make into something (I've seen ideas floating around Pinterest). The theme of this box is Happy Days and the card insert describes 5 'happy day hacks' which I think is sweet. The box also came with a Birchbox Happy Days Photo Clip (£10 for a set of 5) in a bright green colour which is currently sitting out of reach of my cats who like to play with (read: destroy) little pretty things when they get their paws/teeth on them!

Urban Fruit Magnificent Mango 100g (£13.20 for a pack of 6)
I was really hungry when I found this box behind my plant pot (thanks postman) so I ripped into this packet straight away. Then threw the empty packet in the bin because I forgot I'm a blogger and immaculate photos must be taken! While the packet is sitting in a landfill site I'm reminiscing about those big dried chunks of mango. I love dried fruit and they were soo good, especially as I'm not really allowed mango on the low FODMAP diet (boo!). 

Benefit It's Potent! Eye Cream Mini (full size £25.50)
I've tried this eye cream in the past and liked it but it started to break me out around my eyes. I already have a couple of milia that look annoyingly like sleepy dust under concealer so I think I might pass on trying this one again. However this is generous sample for eye cream and the little pot is so cute!

Premae Mild Dermabrasion Face & Body Scrub Mini (full size £25)
This dermabrasion scrub is meant to be used for the face and body, but I think I'd stick to the body with this one. This is natural, vegan and allergy-friendly so doesn't have much scent about it which I actually quite like for shower products. It doesn't feel overly grainy but which is probably why it's called a mild scrub but it's good for removing those final bits of patchy fake tan.

Agave Healing Oil Treatment Mini (£16 for 60ml) 
There are two things I know about agave- you make tequila from it, and bats use the crops to navigate in the night. Hair oil however has nothing to do with tequila or bats and instead it aims to smooth and restore hair through hydrating agave plant sugars. The oil is apparently based on a centuries old mixtec indian recipe! I thought this would smell a quiteearthy but actually it's quite fragrant and smells a bit like melon sweets, it's also not a pure oil like I was expecting but contains silicones along with fragrance and other ingredients. So far this has made my locks feel nice and smooth, plus made my hair dry quicker than normal as silicone based products tend to do. 

ModelCo PowerLash Black Mascara Mini (full size £24)
I'm a big mascara lover but this brush really scares me! It's very loaded up with product and I'm not sure how it will look on my lashes as they're easily weighed down. I haven't had the courage to try this yet but I will do soon. I'm a fan of bristle brushes but I like dry formulas so I think this mascara would be good for shorter lashes.

Jane Iredale Just Kissed Lip Plumper in Rio Mini (full size £22)
When I opened the tube the first thing I thought was chocolate- this really is quite a melted chocolate colour with just a hint of red. On its own, the shade washes me out a bit and makes me look like nothing but dark lips, eyeliner and eyebrows. But with a lighter colour layered on top, it's transformed into a more wearable shade- think Rimmel 101, Mac Snob or even Sleek Minx Pout Polish to knock the brown down a little.
I've worn this a couple of times and the formula is smooth, creamy and has a satin finish. I didn't see any noticeable size difference in my lips but it does have that mild minty feeling similar to old school plumping glosses.

Birchbox have been kind enough to provide a discount code which will give £5 off your first box- use code BBX5PEARL until 6th October to take advantage of this great offer!


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

September Pink Parcel Box

That time of the month isn't usually something I tend to look forward to (ironic, as from about age 11 I couldn't wait for it to start!), but I was genuinely excited while waiting for my first Pink Parcel* box to arrive.

This subscription service provides a selection of women's products tailored to you, plus some special goodies and beauty treats to make you feel a bit better during that miserable time. And the best part is that the box's arrival is synched with your cycle so you always have something to look forward to while Aunt Flo is on her way! The Pink Parcel is £9.95 per month, and the first box is currently just £5.95.

The wide box grey and light pink was waiting for me behind a plant pot (thanks postman) and I was intrigued to see what I'd find inside. The first thing I came across was a little black cloth bag marked 'for now' containing four multicoloured and compact tampons to slip in my bag in preparation for 'the arrival'. I'm not sure if this is included in all boxes or only the first box of the subscription, but I really like the idea and it definitely beats having having random tampons floating about in the bottom of my bag!
The next part of the parcel was a stack of two flat grey boxes marked with 'for later'. These contained more tampons of varying absorbencies and each box contains 25 tampons in all. The ones I received are Kotex U, which are new to UK and feature a pretty snazzily designed applicator, along with cheerfully coloured outer packaging which is small and discreet.

On the Pink Parcel subscription page you can not only choose between different brands- Tampax, Kotex and Lil-Lets (non applicator), but you can also choose between individual or multi absorbencies so the box is suited to your own flow type. You also don't have to purchase an ongoing subscription- instead you can decide on a one-off box or you could even send one to a friend as a little surprise.
On to the final part of the parcel that I know you're probably most excited about- the 'for you' box! Marked with 'a little something to cheer you up', this is the box that I'd leave to delve into when I was groaning, hugging a cushion and wishing a slow death to any many or beast that happened to annoy me even a little bit.
Inside I found three full sized beauty products, a little bar of vegan chocolate, a lovely caffeine free fruit tea bag and a little voucher for a free glass of bubbly at Cafe Rouge! Seeing this on a grey September afternoon definitely did cheer me up! 

A little run down of the September products:

Witch Anti-Blemish Redness Relief Moisturiser 30ml (£6.99)
I was very surprised on trying this moisturiser to find out that it's green! I use a few Witch products regularly but I haven't come across this one before, and it's designed to fight blemishes with antibacterial and astringent Witch Hazel while balancing redness with its green tint. Only a small amount of the cream is needed (otherwise you do tend to look a little green skinned and ill) but it sinks in very easily and provides a small amount of evening of the skintone. My skin really likes witch hazel and I don't need a thick moisturiser as it's also oily, so this product has now found its way into my daily routine and I will report back soon.

Garnier 5 Sec Perfect Blur Primer 30ml (£12.99)
This is a much hyped product that claims to smooth and perfect in only 5 seconds, blurring wrinkles, shine and pores to create a smooth and diffused base. I was really excited to try this prime, and it's very silky on the skin. It really does provide a blurring effect, but I think I used the wrong amount as when I tried this on my nose my makeup had disappeared after just a few hours. I've only given it a go once so this primer will be put to the test, as lord knows my face needs some blurring!

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Colour Maximum Volume Mascara 10.25ml (£21)
This mascara comes in a long heavy tube which definitely makes it feel high end and I was pleased to see a bristle brush instead of a fancy shaped rubber one. This gives really natural length and definition to the lashes and is easily layered (although doesn't give that much volume on its own) and it stays put really well without much flaking. This is also very easily removed with just plain water, which makes a nice change to the effort of having to remove waterproof formulas, but also means that wearing it on rainy winter days will be a no-no!

Doisy & Dam Maca, Vanilla and Cacao Nibs Organic 74% Dark Chocolate 40g (£2)
I haven't come across this brand before but if its chocolate and dairy free too then it will be in my mouth pronto! In all honestly the paper wrapper is empty in the above photo as I scoffed this right away, whoops! It was really nice though- soft, sweet not bitter, and had little crunchy bits in which was a nice surprise, will definitely be purchasing!

Teapigs Super Fruit Tea Bag (£3.99 for 15)
I don't drink normal tea so a warm cup of something herby or fuity before bed is where it's at. I find a lot of fruit teas can be a bit weak but this one is lovely and fruity, and I really want to get a box as an alternative to sugar filled berry squash.

I'm sure you can tell I'm really pleased and impressed with this month's box- it contains products that I'm guaranteed to use, along with full size samples from some well known beauty brands and a couple of extra treats too. I think the presentation is very classy but has a good mix of fun without feeling like it's aimed at teenagers.

Pink Parcel have plans to include sanitary towels as well as tampons in the near future, and my only complaint would be that they don't have a 100% cotton option as I know quite a few people who won't use anything else.
If you're into subscription boxes, want to try something new, or just need a bit of cheering up each month then I would definitely suggest taking a look at Pink Parcel!







Sunday, 31 August 2014

Disappointing Products

Generally if I don't like a product I can make it work for me by using it in another way, but occasionally I buy or receive something that really doesn't live up to my expectations or to its claims. I've been compiling this list for a little while which is why a few of the products have gone to different homes already, but each of the products below just really haven't been my cup of tea. [Apologies again for the slightly below par photos- I'm in between selling my old camera and buying a new one, so I'm still using my phone for a bit]

I was really excited to see this Micellar Water on offer at Superdrug, as I thought it was the highstreet cleansing water everyone was talking about. But as I quickly found out, the one with the good reviews is actually the Loreal version! 
This Garnier version is not for me at all- it does a pretty bad job of removing foundation and concealer, leaving me either tugging at my skin or using about 5 cotton pads and even then I can't remove everything. For eye shadow it's not bad but it's useless for waterproof mascara (I never wear non waterproof) and it's like trying to rub it off using actual water. I've lost countless eyelashes (and my patience) trying to get everything off my face using this, but as it's a huge bottle I just want to finish it, so I've been using it liberally on my face and I'm back to Simple wipes just for eyes. I can't comment on how it performs with normal mascara, but if you use a long wearing foundation and waterproof eye makeup I would stay away.

This is OK as a volumising product but it's not my first choice for dirty or greasy hair. It's quite wet when first sprayed out of the can and when I rub it in it feels a bit sticky. This dry shampoo doesn't have that very powdery grey look that others do, and it gives my hair some shine without really weighing it down, but the shine of greasy hair is usually what I want to remove when using a dry shampoo! 
I've been using it on clean hair to get a bit of volume without the matte look, but for dirty hair its a thumbs down from me.

Lumie Bodyclock Starter 30 (£59.95) (not pictured as I sold it on, £60 ain't cheap for an alarm clock you don't like!)
I bought this in the winter as I've noticed over the past few years I tend to feel particularly down from about October until the weather starts warming up again. Add to that dark mornings and an inability to get out of the bed at the best of times and you've got trouble on your hands! This clock houses a daylight SAD bulb and has a sunset and sunlight alarm which is designed to wake you up by mimicking natural light and make you a bit more cheery.
I found the clock quite difficult to set, the buttons are very loud and the actual face that shows the time kept me awake it was so bright (thankfully that was dimmable). You can use the light as a 'normal' daylight lamp during the day and it does give off a nice bright glow, but the light slowly fades and then suddenly turns itself off every 30 minutes or so. The biggest problem for me was that it made no difference to the time or mood in which I got out of bed. Sometimes it was pretty annoying to be woken up with a bright light, other times I slept through it completely!
I read a lot of good reviews before buying, but if I was to buy another product this autumn/winter it would be a simple light box as I think that would be easier, more useful and probably cheaper too.

Can we take a second to talk about the name of this eyeliner- chopsticks? What have they got to do with my eyes? Anyway, I thought this would be similar to a dark grey kajal eyeliner, but the pigmentation is quite poor and its difficult to get a precise looking line with the chunky tip. I use this if I'm in a mega hurry- I apply it messily then rub it in to give a little bit of definition, but I was hoping for something much darker and less glossy.

I have to admit I have only used this once as I was so disappointed with the results I didn't want to try again. This tan is designed to last up to two weeks- you apply two coats with a shower in between and watch in amazement as your tan fades evenly over the next 14 days. 
Well, the first coat went fine, the second coat was also fine after showering until I woke up the next day with marks everywhere! I had rings round my ankles where my socks had been, white streaks down my arms and an actual white hand print on my leg where someone had squeezed my knee! I was pretty unimpressed and I scrubbed it off that evening, so it's been sitting in my cupboard ever since. 
If you've tried this and had good results then let me know because I've heard good reviews and I don't know what I could have done wrong!

I've been looking around for a light colour that will stay in my waterline but that isn't shimmery, and when I came across the affordable Barry M waterproof white eyeliner I thought it would be perfect. I like the design of the bottle- there's a brush in the lid which you upturn and clip in to give a long brush handle, and the pot of liner unscrews from the bottom. 
The product, however, is very dry and appears quite lumpy, almost moussey. That makes it very difficult to get a nice smooth line, and the lumps are very apparent in the waterline unless you apply it very thickly which obviously doesn't look right as its an unnatural bright white. It does seem last to last reasonably well in the eye but that's only when you've spent ages applying, wiping off and reapplying in order to get something that looks kind of ok. This product definitely need to be creamier as even on the back of my hand it looks like I've drawn a line in waxy art pastel.

This is a decent sized tube of clear mascara, but unfortunately it's a very wet product and doesn't have much hold. I have quite unruly brows and this made them feel a bit sticky until it dried but didn't do a good job of holding them in place. W7 have some great products that I've written about in the past, but unfortunately this isn't one of them.

As I've said in previous posts I love the 1 Hour Tan and I love the dark version even more, but this product didn't live up to my expectations. It's designed as a tan that you can wear on a night out, then wash off in the morning leaving more of a 'day time' colour. 
I found the guide colour (the 'night' colour) really dark, much darker than I would wear outside as I'd be worried about accidental runs or smears, and I didn't think it was a very natural shade on me. On washing off, I thought I'd be left with a colour similar to the 1 Hour Tan, but the shade was so light in comparison to the guide colour that it looked like it hadn't done anything at all. 
The formula is very nice- silky, moisturising and non streaky, and I'm sure it works well for people who like wash off tan, but I was expecting to get a darker end colour after spending the time on a full body application.

This might be great for people with ageing undereyes or wrinkles, but for me it makes the skin around my eyes feel uncomfortably tight. Whether I use it during the day or at night, I'm not keen on the taught feeling it gives and I feel like I want to plump and soften my eye area, not try to shrink it.

Finally, this setting/face powder from Revlon- after swatching the three available shades in my local Boots I settled on Fair which, after double checking swatches online, I believe is the lightest shade. As I wear fake tan I'm not super pale, but I've found this powder so dark that after using it all over one day, I came home and was horrified to see how orange my face looked! The Fair shade is darker than my other setting powders in the pan so I don't know if it's that along with an oxidisation problem, but I'm really not sure how they can call this the lightest shade.
I bought this after seeing Mikhila from Miss Budget Beauty talk about it, and she also frequently mentions that she's quite pale, so maybe they have reformulated or mine just has the wrong label? If you also have this powder please let me know as it's such a nice formula but mine is orange!

What disappointing products have you tried recently?


Thursday, 28 August 2014

Going To a Wedding? Stay Fashionable Without Spending A Lot!

Are you attending a wedding? How exciting! A wedding is a beautiful occasion where two people celebrate finding the love of their life and want to share that time with friends and family. As a wedding guest or even part of the wedding entourage, it can be a little scary to know what’s appropriate. It can be even more difficult if you are working with a small budget. 
You will be surprised that some people would go as far as applying for wedding loans just so they have enough spending money for the upcoming occasion. This way, they are confident that they are appropriately dressed and fashionable. The good news is, you can still be fashionable without breaking the bank or applying for unnecessary loans. Here’s how:

1. The outfit
It’s important to know how “dressy” you should be when attending the wedding. For sure, most couples would stipulate the expected attire somewhere on the invitation. If not, it is perfectly appropriate to call and ask the wedding hosts. If you already have something in your closet, then don’t feel the need to go buy anything special. If not, see if you might be the same size as a fashion forward friend and borrow something. 
Last, you might be able to find something perfect at a thrift store or a recycled clothing store that specializes in name brands. You can find great ideas here. Remember, for the most part the other guests will be looking at the bridal party, so don’t worry too much!

2. The gift
We live in an age where everyone already has everything they need, so you have to resist the urge to go big. Buying something meaningful or making something personal will mean a lot more than a new food processor. 
If your budget is on the smaller side, you might opt for a handmade gift. Use your talents and create a one-of-a-kind item for the happy couple. If you aren't artistic, then you could do something personal and put together a recipe book of favourite dishes from the couple’s friends and family. These gifts don’t have to be expensive to be beautiful and cherished. Looking for great gift ideas? Check this out.

3. Skip the gift
No, you shouldn't skip the gift completely. That’s rude. But let’s say you are an amazing baker or you can arrange flowers, or you have a DJ equipment, or you are a great photographer, you can offer to provide any of these services to the couple for free for their wedding. You may even offer to stay and clean up the venue, so the couple can get their deposit back. 
These are gifts that won’t cost you anything, but will help save the couple or the parents’ money. These will definitely be appreciated.

4. Accommodation
If you are travelling for the wedding, and you don’t have much to spend on a place to stay, reach out to the bride or members of the bridal party to see if anyone might be willing to share a hotel room with you.
 Also, you might be able to ask if any local friends or family of the bride might be willing to let you stay in a guest room. Everyone will be appreciative of your desire to attend and should be willing to help.

With these tips shared, you need not apply for wedding loans just so to be fashionable or cool. You can be both without the need to break the bank. Always remember, for the soon-to-be-wed couple, your friendship, sincerity and presence during their most important day is more than enough.






This is a guest post