Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Lambrini Strawberry*

I was recently sent a bottle of Lambrini Strawberry to try out in order to share my thoughts with you all; I feel I should preface all I am about to say with a confession. I don't like wine. I never have and I doubt that I ever will; it just tastes sour to me and seems like a dreadful waste of perfectly good grape juice. Give me rum any day! There are, however, occasions when it would be nice to appear sophisticated and grown-up and have a glass of wine with a meal or at a wedding, without pulling what I like to refer to as the "wine face" after every mouthful. I know Lambrini is not generally seen as a classy drink, but once it's in a wine glass, who's gonna know!? Lambrini Strawberry is described as, "A slightly sparkling flavoured fruit wine."
Lambrini Strawberry Review
As a consequence of not liking wine, I don't actually own any wine glasses. I therefore ended up drinking this from a regular glass, which didn't look half as sophisticated and grown-up, so I didn't take any photos. For me, this is possibly the answer to my wine conundrum; it looks like rosé in the glass, but tastes like those posh flavoured ciders you can get. It's slightly sparkly and sweet, didn't cause any wine face, and is remarkably easy to drink. It's only 5% ABV so a couple of glasses doesn't equate to much more than one unit - bonus! Obviously as with all alcoholic beverages you should drink responsibly and only if you're of legal drinking age in your country of residence... Lambrini Strawberry has an RRP of £3.20 for a 75cl bottle and I can see it being the perfect accompaniment to summer barbecues, picnics on the beach, and evenings in beer gardens. Do you like wine? What's your drink of choice? Have you tried Lambrini Strawberry?

PS, I'm giving away a Mystery Box of Beauty Goodies to celebrate 500 Bloglovin' Followers, you can enter here!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Skincare Wishlist: Cleansers

I admit to being a little bit of a skincare obsessive; there is little I love more than buying and trying new skincare products! One of my favourite parts of my skincare routine is taking my make-up off at the end of the day - I love the feeling of fresh, clean skin. Whilst I'm pretty happy with my current cleansers, I'm always looking for new products to try, so here are a few cleansers I'm liking the sound of at the moment...
Skincare Wishlist: Cleansers
(Clockwise from top right:)
Origins GinZing Refreshing Scrub Cleanser, £18.50
Superfacialist Neroli Daily Brightening Cleanser, £7.99
Lush Dark Angels Cleanser, £6.40
REN Rosa Centifolia No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm, £30
Origins Clean Energy Gentle Cleansing Oil, £22.50
Sanctuary Polishing Hot Cloth Cleanser, £7
I'm a massive lover of Origins skincare and have wanted to try the GinZing cleanser/scrub since it was released; I love a good scrub so this sounds right up my street. I've really enjoyed the Superfacialist products I've tried and this Neroli brightening cleanser sounds really lovely, dull skin is a problem for me so I'd like to see how well this worked! The Dark Angels cleanser from Lush seems to get mixed reviews but as my skin is super oily, I'd like to at least give it a try. I love cleansing balms and oils, so both the REN Rosa Centifolia cleansing balm and the Origins cleansing oil sound really lovely to me, there's something about an oil cleanser that feels so nourishing on the skin! Hot cloth cleansers are another love of mine and I'm really keen to try some Sanctuary skincare, hence my inclusion of this little number (which is an absolute bargain!). I've heard nothing but good things about Superfacialist's Tea Flower range, the cleanser sounds like a joy to use! Finally, I'm loving my Camomile Cleansing Oil from The Body Shop, but the Cleansing Butter equivalent has also caught my eye, and again I've heard a lot of good things about it.
Have you tried any of these cleansers? Do you have any of these on your wishlist? What's your favourite cleanser?

PS, Don't forget to enter my 500 Bloglovin' Followers Giveaway for a Mystery Box of Beauty Goodies!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Recipe: Chocolate Banana Loaf

Recipe Chocolate Banana Bread
Most people, so I am told, are in the habit of adapting recipes to make them healthier. Incidentally, I have discovered another way in which I am not most people; I thought about making a Banana Loaf, and then I thought, "Nah, too healthy. Needs chocolate." And thus, I adapted my recipe to include chocolate. No regrets, it's really good! Chocolate and banana are an excellent combination. Should you be interested in making a perfectly good Banana Loaf a little less healthy-sounding, read on to find out what I did!
Chocolate Banana Loaf Recipe
Start by greasing a 1lb-loaf tin and dusting with flour and pre-heating the oven to 170°C. In an electric mixer, combine two eggs and 280g Soft light brown sugar, beating well until light and fluffy. Meanwhile, mash two medium bananas, then stir them into the egg and sugar mixture. Combine 240g Plain flour, 5tbsp Cocoa powder, 1tsp Baking powder, 1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda, 1tsp Ground ginger and 1tsp Ground Cinnamon. Melt 140g Butter in a microwaveable bowl in 30-second bursts.
Chocolate Banana Bread Recipe
Add the flour etc. to the banana mixture and beat until incorporated. Pour in the melted butter and stir in well. You could, at this point, add chocolate chips - I did intend to but somehow forgot! I'd use around 100g and stir to disperse evenly, or you could sprinkle them on the top once in the tin. Pour the batter into your prepared loaf tin and bake at 170°C for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for ten minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe Chocolate Banana Loaf
This is, for me, just the right amount of chocolatey, with the banana flavour still detectable underneath and a lovely ginger kick to it. I'd love to hear if you give this a go! Are you in the habit of adapting recipes to suit your needs and tastes? Some people seem to get it naturally, whilst others insist upon following a recipe to the letter; an ex-housemate of mine was in the latter party and used to get incredibly anxious when I'd switch things around, and then confused when it still worked! What's the best recipe substitution or adaptation you've tried? Do you like chocolate and banana together?

PS, Remember you can still enter my 500 Bloglovin' Follower Giveaway for a Mystery Box of Beauty Goodies!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Review: The Body Shop Seaweed Clarifying Night Treatment

I picked up The Body Shop's Seaweed Clarifying Night Treatment a few months back, in my search for a night cream which will moisturise my oily-but-dehydrated skin without feeling greasy or heavy, and help to control my excess oil situation. I'd tried a sample of the Mattifying Day Cream from the same range, but hadn't really read or heard anything about the Clarifying Night Treatment, so I was keen to see how it would fare. Read on to see what I think after using this nightly for the last two months.
The Body Shop Seaweed Clarifying Night Treatment Review
"Balances excess oil as it moisturises. Provides moisture where needed while you sleep. Leaves skin hydrated, soft, fresh and balanced. Oil-free. With bladderwrack seaweed. Smooth onto face and neck using an upward, circular motion. The bladderwrack seaweed we use grows wild in clean waters off the south-west coast of Ireland."
The packaging is great as far as I'm concerned; a plastic bottle which is perfect for travelling with and comes equipped with a pump for easy, hygienic access to the product. I find that one pump is the perfect amount for my whole face; the gel spreads nicely, feels lovely and light on the skin, and is absorbed quickly without feeling sticky or greasy in the slightest. The gel has a very light scent to it which is completely inoffensive and impossible to detect once it's on your face - so far, so good! The next morning, my skin doesn't feel dry or tight as it sometimes can of a morning, and I also find my forehead isn't quite its usual oil slick. Don't get me wrong, there is still a definite shine to my skin, but it's nowhere near the usual degree. For me, that pretty much makes this product a winner; however, looking on The Body Shop's website, a lot of the reviews suggest that this hasn't worked at all for a lot of people, with many reviews claiming their skin was left feeling dry and yet still just as oily. This hasn't been my experience (indeed, I've had the total opposite experience!) but it's something to bear in mind if you're considering buying this product. As always, skincare is very personal and even within similar skin-types, what works for one person isn't guaranteed to work for the next!
The Body Shop Clarifying Seaweed Night Treatment
The Body Shop's Seaweed Clarifying Night Treatment is priced at £12 for 30ml of product which is pretty reasonably as far as moisturisers go! In two months I've used around half the bottle, using one pump most nights, so it lasts fairly well. This is definitely one I'd recommend for those of you who, like me, often find they wake in the morning with a face resembling an oil slick; this moisturises the skin and works well to keep excess oil under control. Have you tried anything from The Body Shop's Seaweed range? What's your favourite night-time moisturiser?

PS, Don't forget to enter my 500 Bloglovin' Followers Giveaway to be in with a chance of winning an amazing Mystery Box of Beauty Goodies!

Saturday, 26 July 2014


This is a post I've been meaning to write for a while now but never seem to have got round to; it's been moved from list to list of posts to write & photos to take, but I've finally decided enough is enough, so here you can have a little peek at what I keep on my bedside table - if that's the sort of thing that interests you! I have to admit it's not normally this tidy - I did have to put away four nail polishes and wipe up several mug rings before I took this photo...
Bedside Table
The little purple lamp is from Wilkinson's and was about £4, I got it about three years ago I think! I always have hand cream and lip balm by my bed so that hopefully I remember to apply them before going to sleep; currently, we're looking at Neal's Yard Geranium & Orange Hand Cream, and The Body Shop's Shea Lip Butter. I also have a sample of Badger Cuticle Balm which I sometimes remember to use and sometimes don't. I really like this, though, and am thinking I'll buy a full-size at some point! I also keep a little stack of reading material next to my bed; at the moment, we have this month's InStyle magazine, along with my Kindle and two books I purchased recently - Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe and Never Saw It Coming by Linwood Barclay. I used to be really bad for getting into bed and playing on my phone for an hour, but recently I'm making more of an effort to read instead, which is really nice. Finally, we have my little Pied à Terre candle* which I posted about here, which is lovely to light for an hour or so while I relax with a book of an evening. What do you keep next to your bed at night? Anything you think is missing from my bedside table?

PS, Don't forget to enter my 500 Bloglovin' Follower Giveaway to be in with a chance to win a fab Mystery Box of Beauty Goodies!!

Friday, 25 July 2014

Introducing: Shona Elizabeth

My Featured Blogger for this month, July, is the lovely Shona from Shona Elizabeth, whose button you may have noticed (and hopefully clicked!) up at the top of my right-hand sidebar over the last few weeks. Shona blogs mainly about beauty, with a little bit of fashion & lifestyle thrown in now and again.  Here is what Shona has to say about blogging:
"I love blogging because it gives me a chance to get away for a bit, it allows me to express my love for all things beauty with people who want to listen. Being able to talk to the blogging community is amazing and has gained me some friends that, even though I haven't met, will always be up for a chat or be there for me when I'm feeling a little down. I also love finding loads of new products through other blogs and supporting other bloggers throughout their blogging journey. I love blogging as a hobby and I am so happy I started."
On that note, here are some recent posts from Shona which I've enjoyed!
Makeup Revolution Haul
Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water Review
Barry M Papaya NOTD
Barry M 'Papaya' NOTD
Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub
Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub
How lovely are Shona's nails!? I do hope you'll pop on over to her blog to say hello, let her know I sent you! If you're interested in being a Featured Blogger on Just Jess, you can find more details here.


PS, Remember to enter my 500 Follower Giveaway to be in with a chance of winning a Mystery Box of Beauty Goodies!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

NOTD: 'Elderberry' // Matte

You may have seen recently that I shared a few new Barry M polishes I picked up, one of which was 'Elderberry' from the Gelly Hi-Shine range, one of my most-purchased nail polish ranges. I also picked up Barry M's new Matte Top Coat as I'd read good things about it and I do love the look of matte nails! I decided to see how well the two would combine; starting with a base coat of OPI's Nail Envy, I applied two coats of 'Elderberry', which went on beautifully and was fully opaque within the two coats. I then added one coat of the Matte Top Coat which again applied really nicely and had the added bonus of drying pretty quickly.
NOTD Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Elderberry + Matte Top Coat
Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Elderberry Matte Top Coat
Barry M 'Elderberry' is priced at £3.99 for 10ml of product in Boots or Superdrug, with the Matte Top Coat being £2.99 for 10ml. I really like this unusual dusky blue-grey shade which is unlike anything else I own (a rare polish indeed!) and can't quite decide whether I like it better glossy or matte! What do you think? What's your favourite polish from the Gelly Hi-Shine range? Are there any polishes you'd like to see matte?

PS, Don't forget to enter my 500 Bloglovin' Followers Giveaway!!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Review: Revlon ColorStay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin

Asking for recommendations for foundations which are good on oily skin and come in fair shades, Revlon's ColorStay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin was a suggestion which popped up fairly frequently, and upon checking it out in Superdrug I found that not only was there a 'Buy One, Get One Half Price' offer on Revlon products, but the shade 110 'Ivory' looked like a pretty dead match for my skintone. Needless to say, I picked a bottle up, and I've now been wearing it for a few weeks and am ready to share my thoughts (I also picked up the ColorBurst Matte Balm in 'Elusive').
Revlon ColorStay Foundation CombinationOily Skin Review
Revlon says, "Wears for up to 24 hours; flawless look, lightweight feel", which sounds pretty good to me; I don't think anyone actually wears their foundation for 24 hours (do they!?) but that suggests it should bear up pretty well to a full day's wear. I tend to favour a medium-full coverage from my base, but don't like my face to feel like I'm wearing a mask, so the flawless lightweight formula sounds pretty perfect as well! First of all, I was pretty disappointed to see that the bottle isn't fitted with a pump; that's a real problem for me as I really like the convenience of a pump as opposed to having to bash the bottle onto the back of my hand, which is both painful and messy, and makes it difficult to get all the foundation out of the bottle. If budget brands can include a pump with a £4 foundation, why can't Revlon manage it with a £12 one? This would have to be a bloomin' good foundation for me to consider repurchasing based on the lack of pump alone, it really lets the product down for me.
Revlon Colorstay Foundation FOTD
That aside, 'Ivory' is pretty much the perfect shade for my super-pale skin, which is nice. I tend to apply over a primer, my preference being either The Body Shop's Tea Tree Pore Minimiser or Pop Beauty's Face Magnet. I've found that the foundation seems to dry very quickly, so applying with my beloved Real Techniques Expert Face Brush was pretty unsuccessful; I just ended up with a patchy finish and brushstrokes everywhere which isn't a good look! Applied with either my fingers or a damp make-up sponge, however, this goes on pretty nicely, giving a medium coverage which is buildable where necessary. As you'd maybe expect from a foundation for oily skins, this does really cling to any dry patches and looks awful, so make sure you've exfoliated and moisturised well before applying! I always set my foundation with a powder to reduce transfer and help it last longer; it's not really necessary with this foundation as it sets so quickly to a smooth, matte finish, but I've been doing it anyway out of habit. My face doesn't stay matte all day, not by any stretch of the imagination, but the combination of a good primer, this foundation, and plenty of powder, seems to keep my make-up in place and I can keep on top of the shine with more powder every few hours. It's definitely one of the better foundations I've tried in terms of staying put on my oily skin and still feeling fresh at the end of a shift at work, but I don't think I'd consider it a "holy grail" product for me.
Revlon Colorstay Foundation
[Products used: Pop! Beauty Face Magnet Primer; Revlon ColorStay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin in 110 'Ivory'; Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in 'Fair'; Collection Loose Powder in 'Translucent'; Natural Collection Powder Blush in 'Sugar Plum'; Elizabeth Arden Highlighter in 'Rose Illumination'; MUA Pro Brow Kit; MUA Dusk to Dawn Palette; Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara in 'Black-Brown'; ELF Matte Lip Color in 'Tea Rose']
Overall, Revlon's ColorStay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin gives a good colour match and  lasts well on my very oily skin; despite the lack of pump, I'll probably repurchase this once I'm done with this bottle. It's a little more than I'm happy paying for a drugstore foundation, particularly considering the pump situation, but it's often included in 3 for 2 offers and similar, so choosing your time to purchase wisely can save you a few pounds. Revlon ColorStay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin is priced at £12.49 for 30ml and available from Boots & Superdrug, amongst other stores. Have you tried this foundation? What's the best foundation you've tried for oily skin? Any recommendations for me on keeping shine at bay?

PS, Remember to enter my 500 Followers Giveaway to be in with a chance of winning a mystery box of beauty goodies!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Review: Skinetica Anti-Blemish Super Toner*

Recently, I was asked if I'd like to try Skinetica*, an Anti-Blemish Super Toner aimed at those with blemish-prone skin. My skin has been something of a nightmare over the past couple of months, having breakout after breakout for no readily apparent reason, so I was quick to say yes please! Skinetica claim their product, "Uses the very latest in molecular science to produce a new and revolutionary product which combines 3 functions in one: Anti-blemish skincare treatment; Super toner; Base to make-up foundation. Suitable for all skin types, including sensitive, and all ethnicities." I've been using it now for around a month; I was sent a 15ml sample bottle as well as the full-sized 70ml bottle which is in the new-style packaging. I have to say I much prefer the classy new blue and silver packaging to the old white bottles with green & blue print, which to me look a little too much like an acne range for teenagers... The new blue bottle looks much nicer and less obtrusive on my bathroom shelf.
Following the instructions, I've been applying my Skinetica morning and evening, after cleansing and before moisturising, using a cotton pad to sweep the clear, colourless liquid generously over my face and neck. Even after cleansing twice of an evening, I find that more often than not a little bit more make-up comes off on my cotton pad, which is depressing considering I thought my skin was clean! However, it should also mean that the Skinetica will make a difference, right!? Within the first week or so of using it, I found that my skin all but cleared up completely; going from literally around forty blemishes on my chin, cheeks and forehead to only a handful. I was mightily impressed. However, since then, my skin has gone downhill a little again; I've had new spots spring up in the same places and I can't honestly say I've noticed them going away any more quickly than before I was using Skinetica. I'm a bit bemused by this to be honest, as I had high hopes for Skinetica and at first it seemed like the product was going to live up to them, only to end up almost back where I started. I was a little concerned that the alcohol in the ingredients list would dry out or irritate my skin but thankfully this doesn't seem to have been the case. I'm not entirely convinced by the claim that Skinetica makes a good make-up base, either; I haven't found that my make-up "locks onto" my skin as their website suggested it might, and I certainly haven't found it stops my make-up melting in the heat - as always, I rely on a primer and liberal helpings of powder to avoid this curse of the oily-skinned!
Skinetica Review
Using Skinetica has highlighted for me the importance of using a toner and this is definitely a step I'll be adding into my routine on a more permanent basis to ensure all traces of make-up are removed each evening. I'm planning to stick with Skinetica for another month or two and see if my skin settles down. If so, I'd definitely repurchase as after the first week of use my skin looked bloomin' amazing! If I can get that back, I'll be thrilled, and if not, I'll try a different toner. Skinetica can be ordered directly from the Skinetica website, with prices starting at £9.99 for a 70ml bottle and getting cheaper the more bottles you order. Have you tried Skinetica? Did you find it effective right away? Are there any other toners you'd recommend for oily, blemish-prone skin?

*This product was provided in return for an honest review; as always, all thoughts & opinions are 100% my own.
PS, Remember to enter my 500 Follower Giveaway to be in with a chance of winning a Mystery Box of Beauty Goodies!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Review: Neal's Yard Geranium & Orange Hand Cream

You may have seen in my post about this month's magazine freebies that I picked up a tube of Neal's Yard Geranium & Orange Hand Cream with the August issue of InStyle; I thought I'd pop up a quick review in time for you to hopefully track one down yourself if you like the sound of it!
Neal';s Yard Geranium & Orange Hand Cream
[Ingredients: Aqua, Glycerin, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol,
Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Cera Alba (Beeswax),
Cetearyl Glucoside, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Citrus Sinensis Peel Oil Expressed,
Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Levulinic Acid, Sodium Levulinate,
Tocopherol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Potassium Sorbate,
Xanthan Gum, Citral, Citronellol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.]
Presented in a pretty lavender and navy plastic tube with screw cap for easy dispensation, the packaging states the following: "Moisturises and softens with the uplifting sunny scent of rose geranium and vibrant sweet orange essential oil." ...Sounds pretty nice to me! The tube came foil-sealed for hygiene purposes, which I always appreciate, and once the foil is removed it's easy to squeeze the cream out into your hand. I suffer quite badly with dry hands due to a combination of eczema and having to wash my hands a lot at work; even so, I find that large-pea-sized amount of the thick, white cream is plenty to moisturise both hands, leaving them feeling soft and hydrated but not greasy. It spreads easily and absorbs quickly - I can still feel the cream on my hands but it's in no way sticky or unpleasant; it just feels like it's protecting my skin. The scent is, as expected with Neal's Yard products, gorgeous; quite a strong one which lingers on the skin, with the obvious scent being the orange, and the rose geranium being a more subtle, background scent. Personally I really like the scent but if you don't, I feel like it would be a deal-breaker just because it's strong and does linger after application.
Neal's Yard Geranium & Orange Hand Cream Review
All in all, I really like this hand cream and feel like even at full price, it's a pretty good buy due to its kind ingredients list and the fact that a little goes a long way. Neal's Yard Geranium & Orange Hand Cream is available with the August issue of InStyle {UK edition} at £3.90, or you can order from Neal's Yard, at £10 for the 50ml tube. Did you pick up the Neal's Yard Hand Cream with InStyle? Will you be trying to track it down before the end of the month? What's your favourite Neal's Yard product?

PS, Remember to enter my 500 Follower Giveaway to be in with a chance of winning a Mystery Box of Beauty Goodies!