I've been lucky enough to win a few super lovely prizes from blog giveaways in the past few months, and thought it was about time I shared them to say a big THANK YOU to the bloggers who've been so generous! Just to reiterate, I'm not in any way trying to brag by sharing these, I just like to read similar posts on other blogs and think it's nice to say thank you to people who are kind enough to hold giveaways and send such amazing prizes.
Aqeela from Diary of a Makeup Geek gave away a MAC lipstick, 'Mystical', from the Alluring Aquatic collection to celebrate her second blog birthday. I haven't worn this yet but I'm in love with the packaging!
Amiiee from It's Amiieeism gave away a whole selection of American beauty goodies from her trip to the States, along with a little bundle of fab samples to add to my collection. There's such a lovely mix of brands here, including products from Milani, Wet N Wild, Physician's Formula & EOS.
Laura from A Scottish Lass held a giveaway for Too Faced's Chocolate Bar Palette, which arrived this morning; I've not had chance to try it out yet but it smells amazing!!
Finally, I've also won a bottle of Marc Jacobs' Daisy Dream perfume from Jen at Beauty Junkie London; I'd been saving up for a new perfume so this came at the perfect time and I've been really enjoying wearing it.
On a giveaway-related note, I'm happy to announce that the winner of my 500 Bloglovin' Followers Giveaway was the lovely Sophia, congratulations to her! Have you won any giveaways recently?
I popped into Tesco to buy milk on my way home from work last night and somehow ended up with this month's copy of Marie Claire, which I justified on the grounds it comes with a travel-sized bottle of Ghost Eclipse perfume... Which is basically all I had to say in this post - if you like Ghost, go spend £3.90 on Marie Claire (with Jessica Alba on the cover) and get a 3ml roller ball perfume!
The only other freebie I've spotted so far this month is an unbranded eyeliner with Company which I'm not that excited about to be honest! Have you seen anything decent? Will you be picking up Marie Claire? Do you buy magazines purely for the freebies like I have been known to do, on occasion?
Today I'm sharing my answers to The British Tag which was created by Sammi; I've not actually been tagged to do this but I saw Essiebutton's video and thought it was such a fun tag. Also her video is hilarious so if you haven't seen it and you get chance, definitely give it a watch here.
How many cups of tea do you have per day? How many sugars?
It varies, but I do drink quite a lot of tea. I'd say maybe five or six cups per day, and I have a pretty big mug! I like my tea well-brewed and sometimes I have a sugar - usually my first cup of tea of the day has a sugar in. I'm on my second cup of the day so far and it's just after 10.30am.
Favourite part of a Sunday roast?
Roast parsnips, without a doubt. Can I also be really cheesy and say I love the whole process of making the Sunday roast, and of course the time spent with loved ones? Oh and gravy. I love gravy. What is your favourite dunking biscuit?
This is a tough question but I'm going to say Ginger Crunch, though there is definitely an art to dunking the Ginger Crunch, you have to get the timing perfect! My favourite non-dunking biscuit would definitely be the Bourbon. What's your favourite quintessentially British pastime?
I love walking my dog. I know that's not exclusively a British thing to do, but when done in the Lancashire countryside I'm going to say it counts and that's that! What's your favourite word?
I looove words, this is such a hard question. I really like how 'inconsequential' sounds. I tend to like words for how they sound rather than whether I'll actually use them. 'Furthermore' is another favourite, but that has a family history ever since my brother's teacher gave them a list of words when he was about seven - they had to include at least one word from the list in each piece of written homework, but I think he lost the list and the only one he could remember was 'furthermore'. So in it went. In every piece of work he ever handed in. And now it's a running joke; no essay, job application or letter can be considered complete until it contains 'furthermore'. What's your favourite Cockney rhyming slang?
I don't know any Cockney rhyming slang apart from apples and pears (stairs), which is a direct consequence of growing up in the NORTH. I can tell you about Lancashire dialect if that's your thing, though? Also my Dad has a whole host of words that I grew up using, and every so often I'll use one in general conversation and no-one has a clue what it means, and it turns out it's not a real word. 'Clarty', for example, which refers to a particular consistency of mud... I thought clarty was a real word! What are your favourite British sweets?
Firstly, I have to say that I would choose chocolate over sweets almost every time. On the occasion that I fancy sweets, though, it's gotta be Jelly Babies, or Dolly Mixtures. What would your pub be called?
This is an interesting one and it took some thinking about! In the end I am going to say The Painted Pigeon because it sounds nice and a little bit quirky, and I can't think of anything better. Also I could have seasonal changes to my pub sign. The pigeon could wear Halloween face paint, or Christmas face paint, or be otherwise painted to suit the time of year. Number One British person?
This is a horrible question. I feel like if I'm allowed all four members of McFly, that will be my answer, but that's probably cheating and I probably need to commit to a number one, like the question asks. In which case... I don't know! I really don't know. I might have to come back to this one. Essie mentioned David Attenborough and Dave Lamb, the commentator off Come Dine With Me, who I have to say are both honourable mentions for sure! Favourite shop/restaurant?
My favourite shop would probably be either H&M or Boots. I do, however, have a lot of love for stationery shops, and those shops selling a bizarre assortment of bits and bobs, and I really love health food shops, and B&Q. I could spend hours in B&Q. I don't think I really have a favourite restaurant - I'm not picky, as long as there's food I'm probably happy! What British song pops into your head?
Anything by McFly, of course! I think this is my favourite, at the moment. Also I love how young they all look! I can't believe this was almost seven years ago.
Marmite - Love it or hate it?
Here is where I am a little contentious - I am indifferent to Marmite, which makes people distrust me. I wouldn't say I love it and it's not something I'd choose, but I could eat it if I was given it.
OH OH OH BILL NIGHY. Is he British!? Google says he is, so can be my Number One British Person purely for his role as Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean. Boom! Ahem. Anyway, now I've calmed down over Bill Nighy, I'd like to tag anyone reading this to answer the questions - I know that's a cop-out and I'm not sorry. Do you enjoy reading tag posts? What's your favourite tag? Let me know if there are any you think I should do!
One of the products I ordered recently from ELF when there was a 51% off code was their Studio Matte Lip Color in the shade 'Tea Rose'. I've been wearing this shade a lot lately as it's a really pretty flattering everyday kind of shade which takes minimal preparation of the lips and wears well. "This convenient jumbo sized lip pencil creates exact color application. The pigment-rich color glides on effortlessly and provides long-lasting matte color. The enriched Vitamin A, C & E formula moisturises and hydrates lips for all-day comfort. Directions: Apply to lips and blend in color. Re-apply as often as desired."
The Matte Lip Color comes in cardboard outer packaging with the shade name in a swatch indicating the colour; in this case, 'Tea Rose' which is a dusky blue-toned pink. The product itself is housed in a matte black plastic crayon with a click-on cap, which feels really secure. The base of the crayon twists to release more product, and the colour of the base corresponds with the shade, which would make it easier to pick out a specific shade if you had a few of these. The crayon is slimmer than many other lip crayons, which I like as it makes for an easier and more accurate application.
The crayon can drag slightly on the lips but the colour transfers nicely and evenly, leaving a semi-matte finish which lasts 2-3 hours on my lips, even when eating and drinking. The colour seems to fade pretty evenly and doesn't leave behind a stain, making it ideal if you know you're not going to have chance to top up. I really like the shade, which looks natural on my skintone, with the blue undertones making my teeth look whiter. Overall, I'm really impressed with ELF's Studio Matte Lip Color and would be happy to order another shade or two to add to my collection!
ELF's Studio Matte Lip Colors are available in six shades, priced at £3.95 for 1.8g of product. I really like the shade I have and find it easy to apply, comfortable to wear, and long-wearing. I'd definitely recommend picking up 'Tea Rose' or any of the other shades that catch your eye! Have you tried ELF's Studio Matte Lip Colors? Which shade do you most like the look of?
PS, Don't forget to enter my 500 Bloglovin' Followers Giveaway if you like the look of 'Tea Rose' - it may or may not feature in my mystery box of beauty goodies!
I ordered The Body Shop's Almond Nail & Cuticle Oil when it was on a half-price offer as I'd been wanting to try it and you know me - I can't resist an offer! I already knew I loved the scent of the Almond range and I was looking for a cuticle product for daytime use - I thought the handy pen style and application brush would be ideal for this.
Presented in a beige pen with a click-off lid, you twist the base of the pen to dispense product which is then applied to the nail and cuticle area using the built-in brush. I find this ideal for applying throughout the day as the fact that the product is applied via the brush, means I don't end up with sticky fingers from rubbing it in. The brush feels soft and doesn't irritate my skin, as well as making the oil really easy to apply accurately and spread around the desired area. The oil does feel slightly sticky to the touch, but is absorbed within a few minutes of application, leaving the nail and cuticle area feeling moisturised and smelling like marzipan - yum! The end of the cap also features a cuticle pusher, which I don't use, but it definitely could be handy to have it included.
Overall, I'd definitely recommend this for an easy-to-use, on-the-go product for moisturising dry cuticles; it smells lovely, is easy to apply without getting your fingers sticky, and soaks in pretty quickly to hydrate the skin. Almond Nail & Cuticle Oil is priced at £7.50 for 1.8ml, although The Body Shop run offers pretty frequently so you should be able to get it cheaper than that! What, if anything, do you use on your cuticles? What's your favourite range at The Body Shop?
At an age when fashion counts for a lot, keeping girls warm as well as trendy can be a difficult feat – especially when they get to an age where they want to do all of their shopping themselves (or at least have a say in what you buy). But, even with teenagers, you'll probably still want to have a say in what they wear. You're likely to see plenty of girls hanging out with their friends not wearing jackets – you will probably have been one of those girls, once – but if you stock your kids' wardrobes with trendy jumpers, cardigans and jackets, they'll happily cover up and stay warm on cold days, without the need for nagging from mum! So, what should you buy to keep them warm this autumn? At Home
When you're lounging about at home, it doesn't really matter what you wear - after all, nobody is going to see you! However, young girls may think differently, especially if they're a lover of fashion. Whether they're heading out to see their friends or they're relaxing at home, something to keep them warm will be crucial (plus, it'll help to keep your bills low if they layer up rather than turning up the thermostat!).
Take a look at the jumpers range at George at ASDA; jumpers and cardigans are a great addition to any girl's wardrobe, come rain or shine!
The back to school preparations will soon be setting in and while you may be able to get a few weeks wear out of their summer dresses, they will also need some new autumn-friendly uniform. A school jumper or cardigan, or two, are recommended, as is a coat or jacket that they can wear on cold days. Make sure that you add their name to every item that they take to school, so that you don't have to rummage through the lost property every time they mislay something. Out and About
Add a jacket to their jumpers for when they're out and about. Whether it's a cute little biker, bomber or blazer or something more padded will depend on just how cold it is. A winter coat, as well as a jacket or two, would be ideal additions to any girl's wardrobe. As the winter sets in, the need for a hat, scarf and gloves will become apparent, too! At Night
It's been beautifully warm lately, and the nights have been incredibly humid. The need to stay warm during the dark hours hasn't been high on the agenda, but it soon will be. As the autumn approaches, the need for nightwear will become apparent. Whether it's a onesie, some funky pyjamas or a nightie, something to sleep in will be essential. A dressing gown is also handy to have, particularly on chilly nights. And some slippers! Don't forget the slippers!
We've enjoyed a heatwave lately, and while the majority of us will be more than happy for this to continue, we're also realistic. The weather will soon change and the cold front will set in – when it does, make sure the girls in your life are ready for it with plenty of warm clothes that they'll be happy to wear this autumn.
How will you be keeping your kids warm this Autumn? I know I never used to wear a coat or jacket for school, were you the same?
I've been absent for a couple of days from the blog due to spending last weekend on the fells in the Lake District volunteering at Total Warrior again - you can see my post from last year if you'd like to hear more about that, it was basically more of the same except more rain, and I ended up getting put on the back of a quad bike and sent back to the Event Village on the Sunday because I'd turned blue from the cold... Anyway, I'm back now with another installment in my battle against the mountain of samples I have accumulated. Here are another six I've put to the test!
Skinetica Anti-Blemish Super Toner* I've actually reviewed this product in full here, but this is a sample-sized bottle and I've finished it, so I'm including it, damn it! As I said in my review, I loved this at first; it was really effective and after the first week my skin looked super-clear. Then things went downhill a little and I ended up pretty much back where I started. Since then, things have improved a little and my skin is currently quite clear *furiously touches wood* so I think I will buy another bottle and see how I get on; prices start at £9.99 for a 70ml bottle, and go down the more bottles you purchase. Manuka Doctor ApiNourish Rejuvenating Face Mask This free 7ml sample sachet actually provided me with three full applications so I've got a really good idea for how much I like this mask - and I do like it! It feels really refreshing on the skin, soaks in well to almost completely disappear, and once the last traces are removed, leaves my face feeling soft, smooth and hydrated. I was a bit dubious about trying this as I've never been stung by a bee but both my Dad and brother are pretty allergic to them, but I didn't have any adverse reaction to the bee venom! At £49 for 50ml, this is certainly a high-end purchase, but one I would like to treat myself to somewhere down the line. Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum I've had samples of this perfume before and absolutely adore it, it's gorgeous. This tiny sample actually lasted quite a few wears because it's a strong scent, so a couple of spritzes is all you need! The full-sized bottle is out of my budget at the moment, really, at £49.50 for the smaller 30ml, but I would like to invest at some point in the future. Badger Cuticle Care Balm This sample lasted longer than it strictly should have due to me being terrible at remembering to use cuticle balm, but when I did remember to apply it, this was lovely; thick and nourishing with a lovely gingery scent. It's quite an oily product so it's one I chose to use at bedtime rather than through the day, but it did work well to hydrate the cuticle area for me. This is something I can see myself buying again and the £4.99 price tag for a 21g tin is pretty reasonable! Merumaya Melting Cleansing BalmThis little sample sachet appeared in the post a few days ago and I'm not really sure where it came from because I don't remember requesting it..!? Either way, I really like cleansing balms and this was a lovely one, which felt super luxurious on the skin, melted my make-up away beautifully and smelt gorgeous to boot. The 2ml sample was plenty for one generous application, and could easily have done two. The full-sized tube is £14.50 for 100ml which is a fairly reasonable price for such a lovely product, in my opinion, and this is definitely one I can see myself repurchasing. Merumaya Iconic Youth Serum I received this with the cleansing balm and again, it's really rather nice. I got three uses from it which was not bad going for a ml sample! The serum had quite a strong scent to it which was nevertheless quite pleasant, and felt rich on the skin. I did find it left my skin feeling a little tacky as it's quite a heavy texture for a serum, but then my skin is very oily, so for drier or more mature skintypes this might be a plus! The full size is £34.50 for 30ml which isn't badly priced as serums go and this is one I may consider in the future.
Do you keep hold of samples? Have you tried any of these products? What's the best product you've ever had a sample of?
I recently popped back to Wilkinson's to have another look at the Essence stand and ended up picking up their 'All About Nude' eyeshadow palette, which is described as, "Six eyeshadow colours harmonising with each other, long-lasting, silky and smooth texture with different effects ranging from matte to shimmer to metallic."
The packaging is neat and compact, it feels sturdy in the hand and is something I'd be confident travelling with as it won't spring open easily in your bag and I think it could withstand a knock or two. The clear plastic makes it easy to see the six shades contained within, which are as follows; a shimmery white/cream, a pale matte pink, a shimmery taupe, a shimmery rose, a matte gunmetal and a metallic aubergine which shows up as more of a red-toned brown. The only thing missing that I'd really like to see included is a mirror for application on the go, but I can live without that. There's no brush or sponge applicator included but I'm not concerned about that - does anyone ever use those!?
All six shades feel soft and smooth to apply, and all have a really decent amount of pigmentation; the only one which might be considered to let the side down is the matte pink, but even that is pretty good. For the look below, I used the shimmery taupe all over the lid, with the shimmery rose on the inner third and the matte gunmetal on the outer third, and the shimmery white/cream on the brow bone. This is a lovely daytime look but you could easily take it through to evening by adding in a little more of the darker shades for a smokey eye. I experience a little bit of fallout but nothing major and certainly not enough to put me off the shadows. Even without primer, these went on smoothly and lasted well without creasing; around 8 hours even on my oily lids.
Essence's 'All About Nude' eyeshadow palette is priced at £3.50 for 8.5g of products, and is available from Wilkinson's, where it's currently included in their 3 for 2 offer across all make-up! Have you tried any Essence products? Do you like the look of 'All About Nude'? Are you a nudes or brights kinda person?
I recently picked up 'Mediterranean' from Barry M's Aquarium Collection, which consisted of six nail polishes - four multichromes and two glitter toppers. 'Mediterranean' is a pinky-gold-bronze multichrome polish which shifts in colour dependent upon the light. I applied two coats over a base of OPI's Nail Envy; I haven't used any top coat in these photos to show how the polish dries to a super-shiny finish even without top coat. Application was pretty easy, with the first coat being quite sheer but the second bringing it up to opacity, with a lovely smooth finish and quick drying time. I only wore this for a day but didn't experience any chipping whatsoever.
I love the scales on the gold lid! 'Mediterranean' is a lovely summery shade which I've also got on my toes at the moment, it'd be beautiful with a tan and because it's multichrome, it really does come to life in the sunshine! Did you pick up any polishes from the Aquarium Collection? What do you think of 'Mediterranean'? Do you like multichrome polishes or do you tend to favour block colours? Polishes in the Aquarium Collection are priced at £3.99 each and are available from Boots & Superdrug.
Having tried (and adored), Úna Brennan's Vitamin C+ Brighten Skin Renew Cleansing Oil, I was keen to delve a little deeper into the world of cleansing oils and try something new; that something came in the form of The Body Shop's Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil, about which I have read rave review upon rave review, leading me to have pretty high hopes for this little bottle. On top of that, its name is a little bit less of a mouthful than the Úna Brennan offering, and I really like the flowers on the bottle!
"Cleansing oil. Effortlessly lifts away impurities and even removes waterproof make-up. Shake before use. massage into dry skin, add water to emulsify and rinse. Suitable for sensitive skin."
My first impressions are pretty good, purely on the basis of the fact that the bottle features a pump. This may seem obvious but it was a feature that was lacking on my Úna Brennan Oil and made for a fairly messy experience and a fair bit of product wastage; with the Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil, however, I can quickly and easily press the pump twice and have the perfect amount of oil to cleanse my whole face. I like to massage my two pumps onto a dry face with my hands, taking a minute or two to work it in well, before steaming for a few seconds with a flannel or muslin cloth wrung out in hot water, and polishing off. I generally use this as a first cleanse in the evening, following with a gel or cream cleanser to ensure my skin is completely clean before I move onto the next phase of my skincare routine.
Parfum, Linalool, Tocopherol, Limonene, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Citric Acid.]
The scent of this oil is absolutely beautiful, a really light and fresh floral scent which I really enjoy of an evening; it's perfect for helping me to relax at the end of the day. The oil feels gorgeous on the skin - it really lives up to its name as it is incredibly silky, as well as doing a good job of lifting away make-up, dirt and oil from the skin. Upon adding a few drops of water, the oil emulsifies, making it easy to remove with a flannel or cloth, with no oil residue or filmy feeling left behind on the skin.
Priced at £10 for 200ml of product, The Body Shop's Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil is at the higher end of affordable as far as cleansers go for me; it's one I'll consider repurchasing in the future, although as always I'm keen to try new products are there are couple more cleansing oils I'd like to try before deciding which is best suited to my needs. I would happily recommend this to anyone looking for a light oil to remove make-up; this lifts grime away from the skin efficiently and doesn't leave a clingy film afterwards. Have you tried The Body Shop's Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil? What's your preferred type of cleanser? Do you have a favourite cleansing oil?