Sunday, 24 May 2015

Wishlist | Etsy Homewares

There's something about the warmer, brighter days that makes me want to have a good ol' clear-out and fill my life with pretty, practical things; my plans for today involve a lovely spring-clean of my room! Since moving back in with my parents last year, I've been very limited on space - I don't really have a level surface in my room that doesn't have something on it, so I definitely don't have room for any of these beautiful bits & pieces I've spotted on Etsy, but a girl can look, hey?! I hadn't realised I had quite such a thing for geometric items...
Etsy Homewares Wishlist
I really, really want a terrarium - there's just something so beautiful about them, I'd love a little display of three or four of them with different succulents in. The geometric design on these handmade cream & sugar jars is just beautiful and I love the colours, too. Owls are another of my 'things', I love the colour of this little guy and he'd be useful to have around too! What's not to love about a stripey llama?! I can't actually think of anything, this is also available as a downloadable pattern or a cross-stitch kit to make your own, I'm pretty tempted by that... I love the idea of prints that group together like this octopus, I'm not sure what sort of room he'd fit with but he's lovely nonetheless. More geometry - these hexagonal shelves are awesome and would be perfect for displaying little trinkets - like, say, terrariums... I love the black & white contrast of the birch pillow, this would look lovely on just about any sofa. Finally, the marbled concrete planters are super pretty, I'd easily fill them with little cacti. Maybe they could join my terrariums!?
Do you shop on Etsy much? I can easily lose hours browsing and favourite-ing away... I'd love if you could share any of your favourite sellers! Which of my picks is your favourite?


Friday, 22 May 2015

Five Things To Know Before You Epilate

With summer fast approaching (in theory, at least), a lot of women are starting to think about hair removal - bare legs and bikini season mean many of us want to be silky-smooth in preparation. I've always been a razor girl - there's not much easier than a quick shave in the shower to leave your legs smooth and hair-free, but there are, of course, other options. Back when I was at Uni, I bought an epilator (off eBay for about £20 - unused, don't worry!), and had used it the grand total of about twice in three years until recently... I'm intending this to be the year when I start getting my money's worth from it! They're not exactly complicated devices, but nonetheless I thought I'd share some tips for beginners, in case you're thinking of giving epilation a go!
Five Things To Know Before You Epilate Epilation Tips Epilator
1. It hurts.
I'm not going to lie - it does hurt. I find it hurts way less than waxing, though, so if you've ever waxed your legs, it probably won't be as bad as that. The best way I've found of dealing with the pain is to focus on watching the smooth areas grow, and kind of distancing myself from how it feels. The most painful areas, for me, are the backs of my calves and behind my knees. If you really struggle with pain, you could take some ibuprofen half an hour before you start, and remember that pain thresholds are lower just around your period, so try to avoid that time of the month!
2. It will take longer than you think.
Shaving your legs in five minutes is one thing. There is no way you're going to epilate them in that length of time! Especially the first few times, allow way more time than you think you'll need - to do both of my legs has been taking me around an hour and a half, though I'm hoping I'll get a bit quicker with practice. It's also worth bearing in mind that whilst it will take a couple of weeks for the hairs you remove to grow back, not all your hairs grow at the same time, so you're likely to end up a little prickly within a few days as new hairs grow in. I try to resist going over these with the epilator again, so that I can get them ALL next time and hopefully the results will last longer!
3. It's not a last-minute job.
Don't think you can epilate as part of your getting-ready-to-go-out routine; you probably could, but you'll be left with little red dots all over your skin where the hairs have been removed, for about 24 hours afterwards. If I was going out on Friday night, I'd aim to epilate on the Wednesday night or Thursday morning to give my skin enough time to settle down afterwards.
4. Skip the moisturiser.
It might seem obvious, but skip the moisturiser before you epilate - you'll struggle to get hold of all the little tiny hairs if they're nicely coated in body lotion! I'd also be very careful what you put on immediately afterwards; my skin is quite dry but I tend to wait 12 hours or so before applying any moisturiser, just to avoid irritating my skin. If you want to moisturise straight away, try to avoid any scented products and just use a plain, gentle body lotion or butter. Similarly, I find I need to be gentle when washing my skin in the shower for a day or so afterwards, as it can really sting!
5. Circle.
The best technique I've found is running my epilator in small circles over my skin; I tend to start on my shins, as that's the area that hurts the least, and I can build myself up to the more painful areas! Circling seems to be the best way of grabbing all the little hairs that grow in funny directions, whereas simply running the epilator up and down seems to miss quite a few.
And those are my five top tips of things you might not know about epilating! Have you ever used an epilator? Do you have any other words of wisdom to share? What's your preferred hair-removal method?


Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Review | Dr. Jart+ Pore Refine Tight Effect Toner

I received this full-sized bottle of Dr Jart+ Pore Refine Tight Effect Toner in a Birchbox some time last year, but as I already had two toners in use, I decided to save it until I'd finished a bottle; I started using this mid-April so have been using it around a month now, so it's time to share my thoughts! Described as an "Oil control toner with sebum-absorbing powder", this sounded perfect for my skin, which is prone to extreme oiliness!
Dr Jart Pore Refine Toner Review
Dr Jart Pore Refine Toner
The pale-blue bottle with white lid is fitted with a pump which is a nice touch and makes for really easy use; I simply add 3-4 pumps to a cotton pad before wiping over cleansed skin each morning, as per the instructions. It feels nice and refreshing on the skin and leaves a matte effect without causing any dryness or irritation that I've noticed; I don't think there are any lasting mattifying effects after using it, as my skin still becomes shiny through my make-up after a couple of hours, but it's nice to have a matte base to start with! I've not noticed any effects on the dilated pores around my nose, either, so that's kind of the two main claims of this toner not being lived up to...
Dr Jart Tight Effect Toner
Dr Jart Toner Review Pore Refine Tight Effect
I have to admit, I'm a bit concerned about the ingredients of the Pore Refine Tight Effect Toner; it claims to be an alcohol-free toner, and yet the second ingredient listed on the BeautyBay site is Alcohol Denat... The actual bottle doesn't display the ingredients and it didn't come with any other packaging, so I have to assume the BeautyBay ones are correct - and as Alcohol Denat is one of the most drying forms of alcohol, I don't really want it in my skincare! For that reason, I don't see myself repurchasing once I've finished this bottle.
Dr Jart Pore Refine Tight Effect Toner Review
Dr Jart+ Pore Refine Tight Effect Toner is priced at £15.95 for 140ml and is available from BeautyBay here! Have you tried this toner, or any other Dr Jart+ products? What's your favourite toner?


Monday, 18 May 2015

Get Lippy | Lip-Care Must-Haves

The lips are some of the thinnest skin on the body, which means they are particularly prone to feeling the effects of the elements; sun, wind, air conditioning and central heating all take their toll, and can leave your lips feeling dry, cracked and sore. Taking good care of your lips needn't take much effort, but I find it can make a massive difference - after all, who doesn't want soft, smooth lips!?
#bbloggers Lip Care Must Haves - Lush, Dr Lipp, Burt's Bees, Malin & Goetz
Lipcare Must-Haves - Burt's Bees, Malin & Goetz, Dr Lipp, Lush
As a teenager, I was probably one of Vaseline's best customers, going through tin after little blue tin of the stuff - I loved it! Having weaned myself off it, however, I realise that it never really did anything for my lips; petroleum jelly will only trap in what moisture is already there, it doesn't add anything to the skin, so if your lips are already dry, you're wasting your time. Since then, I've been trying to use more natural lip-balms to add moisture rather than just create a barrier over my lips, which is where Burt's Bees balms come in. There's a massive range of scents available; I'm currently using the Coconut & Pear one (£3.69 here), which has a gorgeous flavour, and uses sunflower & coconut oils and beeswax to add hydration to the lips. A couple of times a week, I like to give my lips a little scrub to just remove any dead skin cells and soften them up nicely; I really love Lush's lip scrubs, I've had this Santa's Lip Scrub for a little while now and whilst it's only available around Christmas time, the Bubblegum, Popcorn and Mint scrubs are available year-round (£5.50 each here) - I adore the Bubblegum!! I just scoop a little out of the jar with my finger, massage it onto my lips for thirty seconds, and then lick off the excess before applying my lip balm. I try to use a more intensive lip balm at night to really get to work on my lips while I sleep; two of my favourites are Dr Lipp's Original Nipple Balm For Lips (£12 here) and Malin & Goëtz Lip Moisturizer (£10 here), both of which are a bit heavy for daytime use, but work beautifully as an intensive overnight treatment.
So, there you have my lip-care must-haves! Do you use any of these products? What are the essentials for you in taking good care of your lips? Do you have any recommendations for me?


Saturday, 16 May 2015

Jewellery | Born Pretty Bracelet*

I'm a real jewellery lover, I don't wear it as often as I'd like as I can't wear it at work, but I'm always keen to add pretty pieces to my collection for my days off! I was recently sent this lovely bracelet* from Born Pretty and I can't wait to wear it all summer to brighten up my outfits and add a little something - I'm horrendous for breaking and/or losing jewellery so I don't have many expensive pieces, but little things like this can still add a lovely touch, in my opinion!
Born Pretty Layered Effect Charm Bracelet
Born Pretty Charm Bracelet
I really like the colours and the multi-strand effect which gives the impression of layered bracelets, without the effort of finding five or six pieces which go well together! I love the little charms, too, I think they're super cute and work well with the blue and white colours. The bracelet fastens with a simple lobster clasp on an extendable chain, so it should fit the majority of people, though I have to admit it's maybe slightly too big for me! 
Born Pretty Bracelet
If you like the look of this bracelet it's available here priced at £1.96; remember you can get 10% off anything on Born Pretty using my discount code 'JESSMK10'!
For the price I think this is a really lovely piece and perfect for wearing day-to-day in the summer months! What sort of jewellery do you like to wear? Do you buy budget pieces like this, or prefer to save up and invest in something a little higher-end - or a mixture of the two!?

[*Product provided for consideration. Prices correct at time of writing but may fluctuate due to exchange rates.]

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Six Mini Reviews #13 | Balance Me, Aussie, GLAMGLOW & more

Yet again, I've been working hard to clear out some of my stash of samples; I'm actually making quite a considerable dent in them now which is nice, although I still have plenty to go at! Have a read and see what I've thought of these six beauty samples I've tried recently...
Six Mini Beauty Reviews 13
Six Mini Reviews 13 #bbloggers
Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle Leave-In Conditioner | A Birchbox sample which I've really enjoyed using, this leave-in conditioner smells absolutely gorgeous and left my hair feeling really soft and silky, without being greasy or sticky at all. I really liked the spray-bottle which made it super-easy to use - simply spray and brush through. This claims to give a whole host of benefits from heat and UV protection through to locking in colour and adding shine. At £14 for 236ml, this is something I'd consider buying in full-size, although I have no need for any more hair products currently... I'd like to try other products from the range as well.
GLAMGLOW Youth-Mud Tinglexfoliate Treatment | I have tried this mask before and absolutely loved it, and this sample sachet was no different; it felt amazing on my skin, making it really tingle over the ten minutes or so I left it to work. You can feel the mask tightening as it dries, and when you come to remove it you get a lovely exfoliation as well. My skin was left feeling smoother, and looking clearer and brighter! This would be a winner for me apart from the price; at £49.99 for 50g, it's definitely at the higher end of the spectrum and way outside my current budget.
Kiehl's Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque | I loved this! It felt a little sticky on the skin upon application and I did wake up with pillow fluff stuck to my face, but my skin was so soft, smooth and hydrated that I really can't complain!! At £28 for 125ml this is far from cheap but a little goes a long way (two uses from a 3.5ml sample sachet!) so I think it'd be a worthwhile investment, and it's definitely one I'll consider in the future.
Balance Me Cleanse & Smooth Face Balm | This was a freebie with a magazine as I recall, quite a few months ago now. I'd heard so many good things about it that I was pretty excited to try it, and ended up being quite disappointed at first as I found it really greasy in texture; whilst it was lovely to massage into my face, I never felt clean after removing it with my hot flannel or muslin cloth. I double-cleanse anyway but I'd prefer to use this as my second cleanse following a micellar water or similar, so although I do use a toner after cleansing, I'd like my skin to feel clean after cleansing, rather than like there's a greasy residue left behind... It did grow on me with use, though not enough for me to spend £20 on the 125ml full-sized tube.
Garnier Body Oil Beauty Oil-Infused Restoring Lotion | A fancy name for what is essentially a body lotion... This sachet contained just about enough for both legs after my shower, and whilst they did feel soft and smooth immediately, it didn't last - for me, products containing Mineral Oil really just dry my skin out further. I know they work well for lots of people but this isn't for me! At £6.99 for 400ml this is great value for money, if it works for you.
Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Shine Deep Treatment | I used to love Aussie hair products as a teenager, I remember them smelling amazing and leaving my hair feeling really nice and soft; unfortunately, their shampoos (and the new line of body washes!) all contain SLS, so I've had to stop using them. I'm not sure where this sample sachet of 3 Minute Miracle came from but I'd not tried the Shine version before - it smells just like I remember and left my hair feeling soft and silky, which was lovely! I don't think I'd purchase the full-size due to the silicons it contains, as they tend to break me out, but it was really nice to try again. This is £4.99 for a 250ml bottle so a really affordable option, as long as you don't mind the silicons!
So that's six more samples cleared out of my stash! I'm quite proud of the way I'm powering through these now, although I seem to replace them as fast as I can use them... Have you tried any of these products? What's the best sample you've used lately?


Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Review | Dr. Organic Pomegranate Body Wash

Ever on the look-out for SLS-free products, I picked up Dr Organic's Pomegranate Body Wash on some kind of offer in Holland & Barrett's, quite a while back now - it's been sat in my basket of toiletries for a couple of months, patiently awaiting its turn... Now I've been using it for a few weeks, it seems like a good time to share my thoughts!
Dr Organic Pomegranate Body Wash Review
According to the back of the bottle, this is what we can expect: "Organic bioactive Pomegranate is the very latest advance in cell rejuvenating and hydrating ingredients. The antioxidant properties found in this amazing 'superfruit' protect the skin from harmful free radicals. This bioactive organic Pomegranate body wash is a fresh, purifying and cell-regenerating cleanser. Formulated to enhance the skin's intercellular hydration, it protects and improves the skin's natural appearance, leaving it feeling soft, beautifully clean and bursting with life."
Dr Organic Pomegranate Body Wash Blurb
Presented in a pale-pink plastic squeezy bottle with flip-cap, the body wash is easy to open with wet hands and I haven't yet managed to drop it on my foot in the shower, which is always a painful experience. The body wash itself is not pink, but clear and colourless - not that it really matters, but I can't help feeling a little let down! The first thing I noticed upon squeezing a blob into my hand is that the scent is really not what I expected - there's maybe a hint of something fruity which could be pomegranate, but the overriding scent is rose. Now I've had a good look through the ingredients and there's not a mention of rose, but Parfum is one of the ingredients; I find this disappointing, for a brand which sells itself on being natural and free from harsh ingredients, I'd much prefer a natural scent or, hey, no scent at all!
Dr Organic Pomegranate Body Wash
That aside, the body wash lathers well, leaves my skin feeling clean and soft without being stripped or dry after use - so, for me, it works well. If you're sensitive to parfum, though, you may wish to look elsewhere! Dr Organic Pomegranate Body Wash is available from Holland & Barrett's priced at £5.49 for 250ml, currently on a brand-wide Buy One, Get One Half Price offer. It's worth noting that the ingredients list on the website differs from the one on my bottle - whether they've changed the ingredients, I don't know, but it's something to bear in mind! Have you tried any Dr Organic products? Would you be disappointed to find that a product like this is artificially scented?


Sunday, 10 May 2015

Wishlist | April Showers Bring May Flowers

We're well into the month of May now and, as the old saying goes, "April showers bring May flowers" - we certainly had our share of April showers here in the UK, so it seems only fair that we have extra May flowers as well! Here are some of my top picks of the floral goodies which are around in the shops at the moment:
April Showers Bring May Flowers
Blue Hydrangea Silk Top, £99, Hobbs
White Floral Print Bikini Top, £15, & Bottoms, £12, River Island
Woven Printed Shorts, £8, Matalan
Floral Nail Wraps, £4, Paperchase
Tropical Floral Silk Scarf, £12, Accessorize
Blue Tropical Print Skater Skirt, £12.99, New Look
Latin Spirit Dress, £59.95, Joe Browns
I don't know that I'd ever wear the gorgeous Hydrangea top from Hobbs but the print is truly beautiful and once I'd seen it, I couldn't leave it out of this list! I'm hoping to have cause to buy a new bikini or two this summer (in other words, I'd like a holiday please!) and this River Island one is lovely - simple but still pretty, it'd look fab with a tan... I love Matalan for affordable additions to my summer wardrobe, and these printed shorts would be perfect with a plain white vest top and flip-flops. I've never quite got the hang of nail wraps but at £4 for 24, these pretty ones from Paperchase might be worth a try! Cooler evenings mean that a scarf will always come in handy just to keep the chill off - this silk Accessorize number is just beautiful, with its delicate floral print. The bright blue of this New Look skirt just screams summer to me, and I always find skater-style dresses and skirts very flattering. Finally, the Latin Spirit dress from Joe Browns; again, I'm not sure when I'd wear it, but I think it's just stunning, the flower stem detailing is so unusual and the adjustable hem is a lovely touch.
Are you a fan of floral prints? Do you like any of these pieces? What's your favourite way to wear floral prints? I'd love to know!!


Friday, 8 May 2015

Review | Born Pretty Store Crystal Bright Eyeshadow Pencil*

Born Pretty Store recently very kindly sent me some products to trial and review; one of these was their Crystal Bright Eyeshadow Pencil* in shade #19. This is actually described as a 2-in-1 lipstick and eyeshadow pencil, but I don't think this particular shade lends itself to being worn on the lips... Crayon-style products have been a big hit over the past couple of years because of their quick-and-easy application, and the Crystal Bright Eyeshadow Pencil fits right into that trend; a retractable crayon-style product which is ideal for travelling with, #19 is a deep smokey grey shade with a hint of gold shimmer; it goes on quite lightly at first but is easily built up for a more defined look.
Born Pretty Store Crystal Bright Eyeshadow Pencil 19
Born Pretty Crystal Bright Eyeshadow Crayon Review
The eyeshadow applies smoothly and evenly straight from the bullet; it's quite difficult to get a super-precise application due to the size of the crayon, so I wouldn't apply it like this if I were going to use it as a liner - a liner brush would work much better. The shadow blends out beautifully, however, to create a super-quick and easy smokey-eyed look; the angled brush from Born Pretty's 5-Piece Cosmetic Brush Set* is perfect for this, and allows me to create a dramatic smokey eye with minimal time and effort. In terms of lasting power, I've found this begins to crease on me around the six-hour mark, which isn't bad - especially for the price!! It's easy enough to blend out the creases a little with a fingertip, so for me it's not an issue at all as it can be fixed on-the-go with minimal effort.
Born Pretty Crystal Bright Eyeshadow 19 Swatch
Born Pretty Crystal Bright Eyeshadow
Born Pretty Crystal Bright Eyeshadow Pencils are priced at 65p each, available here in a choice of twenty shades, from white, golds and bronzes through to more out-there greens and purples, so there should be something for everyone! If you're looking for a super-affordable and versatile eye and/or lip product these would be a great place to start. Remember you can save 10% off anything on Born Pretty using my code 'JESSMK31' at checkout!
Overall, this is a super-quick and handy way to create a smokey eye in seconds, and I'd definitely consider buying some more of these in a few different shades - I'd like to see how well they blend together as well! Have you tried Born Pretty's Crystal Bright Eyeshadow Pencils? Do you have any tips for a quick smokey eye?
[*Product provided for consideration.]

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

NOTD | Purple Holo

It's been quite some time since I've shared a NOTD post on Just Jess - sadly, I can't wear nail polish at work, so I just don't get the opportunity to paint my nails as often as I used to! It does make it quite a treat when I have a couple of days off, though, to sit down and choose a polish... I'd like to apologise for this post as no matter how much you might like the look of my nail polish, you can't have it - this is an un-named polish from UK indie polish brand Tara's Talons, I bought this from Tara a couple of months back when she was having a clear-out and I think there were only two bottles available; I hope you'll agree that it's super pretty, though, and you can check out the polishes you can buy from Tara on her Etsy shop here - it's actually closed at the moment for re-stocking but do keep an eye on it for re-opening soon!
NOTD Tara's Talons 2
NOTD Tara's Talons 1
This is a lovely bright mid-purple shade with holo glitter, which builds to full opacity in 2-3 coats and gives a slightly rough, textured finish; you can obviously smooth this out with a top coat to your preference! I added a coat of OPI Nail Envy for a glossy finish. This polish really comes into its own in the sun, when the light catches the little particles of holo glitter and they shine all different colours.
NOTD Tara's Talons 3
NOTD Tara's Talons 4
What do you think of this polish? Do you own any Tara's Talons polishes, or any other indie polishes? What's your favourite nail polish brand?