NOTD: Girls With Attitude Nail Transfers - Oh So Hollywood

Posted on: Thursday, 30 August 2012

Today's NOTD comes in the form of these delightfully tacky nail wraps from Girls With Attitude*. Simple adhesive transfers that you can wear over a bare nail or any sort of polish, these were super simple to apply and the only real effort was cutting them down to size and folding them under the nail to get them looking polished. I used Essie Tour de Finance as my base hot pink colour, applied the stickers and then sealed with a clear top coat. These lasted absolutely ages, and by the time I got round to taking them off they looked just as fresh as they had when I had put them on. 

I'm normally quite vanilla with my nail choices, preferring a clean manicure day to day, but this was a fun alternative and, whilst not the classiest looking nails, I couldn't stop looking at them! Girls With Attitude Nail Transfers come in a number of different styles and can be bought here for £3.50 which I think is a fantastic price for really high-quality transfers.

What do you think of these nails? Would it be something you'd consider, or is it just too trashy?!

Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic & Skin Repair Moisturiser

Posted on: Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Today I thought I'd post about the lesser known counterparts of Liz Earle's Cleanse & Polish, an all-encompassing cleanser that every man and his dog seems to own and love. Every month, Liz Earle run a "Skincare Essentials" promotion that includes a Cleanse & Polish (plus muslin cloths), the Instant Boost Skin Tonic, the Skin Repair Moisturiser (you can select the one designed to suit your skin type) and generally an added extra. This month the bonus item is the Sheer Skin Tint, which I'll post about soon, after I've had a bit more time to get to grips with it (at the moment I'm a bit underwhelmed).

Liz Earle says:
This heavenly floral-scented, non-drying toner refreshes, soothes and brightens your skin. Gentle and alcohol-free, it also adds a fine layer of moisture.  
Pour onto a cotton wool pad and sweep over face and neck after using Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser.
Naturally active ingredients include organic aloe vera to revitalise and soften and calendula, chamomile, cucumber and natural source vitamin E to soothe and refresh the skin. 
I've been really enjoying using this toner, and I have to admit, it's the first time I've really ever included toning in my skincare routine. I feel like my eyes have been opened! Not only has this helped soothe my redness, but I genuinely can't believe how much extra foundationy muck comes off my face onto the cotton pad even after cleansing & polishing to within an inch of my life in the shower. This smells really fresh, a mixture of herbal and floral, and I really feel like it "wakes up" my skin as well as providing the perfect base for moisturiser. At £12.50 it's not cheap, but nor is it bank-breakingly expensive, and if you use it sparingly enough it should last a while. Mine seems to be depleting at the same rate as the Cleanse & Polish, which is handy. Full marks from me for this and I imagine it's a product I will repurchase again and again.

Liz Earle says:
"This perfectly balanced moisturiser softens, smoothes and conditions skin for a naturally healthy-looking glow.
Rich in natural actives, including borage oil (a rich source of the essential fatty acid GLA) and natural antioxidants beta-carotene and vitamin E to replace lost moisture and help protect against dryness. 
Massage into face and neck, morning and night, after Instant Boost Skin Tonic. 
Naturally active ingredients include borage and avocado oils to moisturise and smooth."
The third and final member of the 'skincare essentials' from Liz Earle is the Skin Repair Moisturiser, which is available in different formulations to suit every skin type. I personally chose the 'dry/sensitive' version because not only is my skin on the dry side, I also suffer from a lot of redness around my nose and cheeks, so quite often I opt for products suitable for sensitive skin to avoid inflaming the redness any further. This moisturiser smells much like the toner, very fresh and lightly scented with floral and herbal notes. £18.75 is nearing the top end of what I would pay for a moisturiser, but as part of the skincare essentials you get all 3 products (cleanse and polish, toner, moisturiser) for £41 plus the free gift, so I didn't feel too guilty parting with my hard-earned cash. 

This moisturiser is really lovely and has definitely kept my redness at bay whilst hydrating my skin to perfection. I actually look forward to putting this on in the evening because it sinks in so smoothly, doesn't leave a greasy residue, and I know when I wake up I won't find any nasty pre-breakout lumps and bumps or a delightfully red complexion. 

I'm really chuffed with both of these products and will definitely be repurchasing them when they run out. Liz Earle recommends that you only use a blueberry-sized amount of moisturiser to cover your whole face so I imagine this moisturiser will last a long while (at least until it is out of date). The Instant Boost Skin Tonic has proved to be an invaluable part of my skincare routine and has taught me the benefits of properly toning your skin after cleansing.

Have you branched out beyond the classic Cleanse and Polish and tried these other skincare essentials from Liz Earle?

The August Essentials deal, comprising of a Cleanse & Polish (plus 2 muslin cloths), Instant Boost Skin Tonic, Skin Repair Moisturiser & free Sheer Skin Tint can be bought here and runs until the 5th of September.

PS: Whilst I'm on the subject, Liz Earle is offering free delivery on all orders from today until Friday August 31st. So if you were thinking it was time to stock up on your favourites, or to make your first Liz Earle purchase, now would be a good time to do so!

Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub Review

Posted on: Sunday, 26 August 2012

Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub, £5.95 for 25g

Whilst shopping in town yesterday, I couldn't resist a quick look around Lush, and quickly found myself drawn to their lip scrubs. Generally speaking, my lips are quite unproblematic and don't often get dry, but in the more humid summer months they've been feeling quite tight. Day to day I'm using NUXE Rêve de Miel to keep them hydrated, but I felt like I should be including them in my skincare routine and begin exfoliating them.

These lip scrubs from Lush come in 3 flavours, one which smells like chocolate, one a hybrid of mint and white chocolate, and this one which is bubblegum flavoured. All are edible, which means after scrubbing you can lick off the residue and lord have mercy, this tastes amazing!

After wetting my lips with warm water, I scrubbed a small amount into my lips for about 40 seconds, then rinsed off with warm water. The results were fantastic and my lips are still feeling smooth 48 hours later.

Have you tried any of the Lush lip scrubs?

MAC Heavenly Creatures Collection: Venus Lipstick

Posted on: Saturday, 25 August 2012

MAC 'Venus' Lipstick from the Limited Edition Heavenly Creatures Collection, £14 online and in store

MAC's Heavenly Creatures Collection was released in June and has been one of my all-time favourite releases. I first picked up the Mineralize Skinfinish in Light Year, and then couldn't resist ordering both the Solar Ray blush (blog post to follow) and this lipstick, Venus. Described as a "sheer yellow pink with pearl", this has quickly become one of my favourite MAC lipsticks, and I own a fair few!

The yellow undertones aren't great for making my teeth look white - in fact, slightly the opposite - but I just think this is such a beautiful, soft hot pink. It's a Lustre formula, so the application is smooth and the lips are left with a pretty sheen, but wear time isn't great. 

What do you think of Venus? Did you pick up any of the Heavenly Creatures lipsticks? 

PS I'm using a massively HD camera so apologies for every minute detail of my face being picked up...eurgh!

JolieBox August 2012

Some of you will have read my last post, which was pretty much me letting off beauty-box induced steam after a couple of months of some serious disappointments. Whilst I stand by the fact that JolieBox's excuse for this month's late delivery (see this post if you don't know) was pretty shoddy, I have to say this is probably the best beauty box I've received. I am so pleased with everything that's in it. As some of you will know, this is another limited edition box in terms of the actual box itself, and there were 5 different colour schemes for this month.

Image Source
As you can see I got the pink box, which is probably the least summery of the lot, but still very pretty. I'd probably have chosen the middle box myself, but hey ho! These boxes were designed by Timai Hua, whose website is here, and are officially titled the "Super JolieBox".

Here's what was inside my box...

Please excuse my disgustingly chipped nails. Had this on all week and couldn't resist picking it off at work today!

 So Susan Cosmetics Lip Cushion, RRP £6 from here
JolieBox says: "A sheer gloss to tint and moisturise chapped lips"

This is my favourite product from the whole box, and probably one of my favourite inclusions in a beauty box ever. The only thing I can compare the smell of this to is Calpol. And Calpol still ranks as one of my favourite tastes and smells of all time, despite the fact I am now 20 and I'm pretty sure the last time I had Calpol I was about seven. Pleased to say that the love affair still continues, the fire reignited after smelling this beautiful little lip balm. It feels very moisturising, it's not sticky, and it has finely milled glitter particles with sheer coverage so it's very wearable for daytime. I already want to buy more of these, but can't find anywhere to do so online, so now I'm worried to use it because if I can't buy another one, I can no longer inhale the beautiful Calpol scent! The cherry on top for me was this beautiful butterfly design on the pretty and definitely going on my desk!

Update: One of my lovely readers, Linsay from Pandora's Beauty Basket, has let me know that So Susan is owned by Jelly Pong Pong (a product of theirs was in the July GlossyBox), so you can buy all their products from their website. Sadly they are all sold out at the moment, but if you're interested then keep your eyes peeled for when they are back in stock!

 So Susan Cosmetics Wide Awake Face Palette, RRP £15 from here
JolieBox says: "A palette of skin-enhancing colour tools to give you a summer glow"

Another nice inclusion, and something I will definitely use. Little brow brush feels good quality and I think putting a pair of tweezers in gives it quite a luxury feel. The only odd thing about this is the colours in the eyebrow sculptor - I shit you not, that bottom one is like an olive green. And I'm pretty sure the only people I've ever seen pull off green eyebrows are oompa loompas, and they aren't that high on my list of style icons. A nice palette and something I will get good use out of (bar the green eyebrows).

 Phil Smith Be Gorgeous Dry Clean Revitalising Dry Shampoo, RRP £2.99
JolieBox says: "This dry shampoo blitzes oily roots and leaves hair feeling fresh and clean"

Not the most luxurious of beauty box items but again something I will use. It's a perfect handbag size, which is a bonus for me because I only have one of those jumbo-sized Batiste ones at the minute.

 Dr Bronner's Pure-Castile Soap 'Pillows', full size RRP around £7
JolieBox says: "These magic all-in-one soaps loved by the A-list cleans and revives from head to toe"

I think these are SO cute to look at and again, perfect handbag inclusions. The samples I got were (L-R in photo) Unscented Baby Mild, Citrus Orange and Peppermint. Even though they look a bit like those squeezy juice drinks you see kids with I think the packaging is adorable and these are really well reviewed so I look forward to giving them a go.

JolieBox/Cut By Fred Leather Hair Styling Lace
JolieBox says "A leather lace to create endless updo's'

JolieBox have promised to feature tutorials on how to use this on their YouTube channel, and until then I'm pretty stumped. I like this colour, though - I've seen variations in other boxes, so I'm looking forward to learning how to use this and then giving it a go!

What did you think of the August JolieBox?

Beauty Boxes: Why Can't They Get It Right?

Posted on: Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Today's post is a bit of a rant about the one thing that seems to oversaturate the beauty blogging world—beauty boxes. The concept behind them, for those that don't know, is that you pay a fixed rate—normally around the £10-12 mark—and receive between four and six beauty products, mostly in the form of samples, to test and try each month. It works on a subscription basis, a clever marketing ploy that means you cannot know in advance what products you are to get, and also makes you hesitant to unsubscribe for fear that the next box might not be one you want to miss. So, the money is debited from your account towards the beginning of each month and the boxes are generally delivered between the 15th and the 20th. That is problem number one.

I've only been subscribed since June. Seeing the established beauty bloggers posting about their limited edition JolieBoxes convinced me it was time to subscribe—the box looked great, I was working full-time so had the money to spend, and who can resist a limited edition box? So I parted with my cash and began my subscription with JolieBox. Fast forward to July 6th, the money having been debited four weeks previously, and finally my JolieBox arrives. My dispatch e-mail had come about two weeks previously, and that was the last I'd heard from the Customer Services team. They failed to keep their customers informed about why their boxes were nowhere to be seen. Their Facebook page erupted with complaints—and of course a few catfights—and eventually the information was prised from the realms of JolieBox HQ that something had gone drastically wrong with UKMail, their courier service, which resulted in everyone's box having to be relabelled twice. Whilst Facebook had its share of naysayers insisting that those complaining were caught up in 'first world problems' and insinuating that us evidently spoilt brats should have more important life matters to be dealing with, both of which have some resonance in hindsight, it was—pure and simple—some seriously shoddy customer service and it stank of a business going bad. Whilst I very much enjoyed the contents of my June JolieBox once it had arrived, my experience was somewhat soured by the lengthy wait and the fact that JolieBox had debited nearly £26 from my bank account with nothing more than a copied and pasted mumbling some 150 comments down on a Facebook post.

JolieBox's July offering came with some haste, as I would have expected, with an “apology” in the way of an added bonus item (read: leftover stock from past boxes). I got a 15ml tube of moisturiser, others got RMK primer. Nuff said. The rest of the box was decent and felt fairly “deluxe”, which is one of JolieBox's selling points, so I assumed that all was well and JolieBox had corrected the error of their ways as experienced during June JolieBoxgate.

Alas, on 3rd August I received the following e-mail.
Dear Joliesta,A number of you have mentioned that you will be on your summer holidays over August when our boxes are usually dispatched.
So to make sure your box arrives safe and sound, we have decided to slightly push the dispatch date to around the 20-24th of August.
As you are probably aware, we upgraded our delivery service in July so that our boxes are now fully trackable with a 1-3 day delivery service.
Enjoy your summer!Your JolieTeam

Well, I must have missed the memo about every single one of JolieBox's paying customers jetting off on holiday at the same time. This feels like the kind of excuse I made up in the ten-minute panic prior to a lesson I'd not done my homework for, aged 14. Seriously JolieBox? Imagine if Vogue magazine sent out a message to their readers: “Sorry guys, not publishing the magazine at the usual time this month because err...a lot of you said you were going on holiday, so we thought we'd just sack off the rest of our customers and wait until you all got back.” It just doesn't work like that. Firstly—if I was to be away during the scheduled time JolieBoxes are delivered (does that even exist? Isn't it 'when we feel like it'?), my first thought wouldn't be, shit, better fire off an e-mail to JolieBox and see if they can reschedule the entire nation's delivery date whilst I'm sunning myself in Benidorm. It would probably be something along the lines of 'hi mum, reckon you could nip to the delivery office and get my parcel when it comes?'. Anyway, it's now the 22nd, and JolieBox are—according to their Facebook page—not dispatching until Friday 24th. So that's the last possible date of the window of time they gave us in their e-mail. No surprise, really.

Now on to the Godfather of all beauty boxes, GlossyBox. In their defence, their delivery has been spot on since I've been subscribed to them. But I found their August box a major disaster. Cheap, nasty and readily available products, a trio which beauty boxes claim to avoid entirely. You are supposed to be able to try and test things that you can't pick up at Boots, let alone at a market stall on some Spanish side street for a euro. I shan't blab on about it any longer, as I have already had my August GlossyBox rant, and I don't want to sound like my life is spent crying tears of anger and disappointment into empty beauty boxes!

Moreso with GlossyBox than JolieBox, there is often quite a substantial difference between what members receive. For example, July's offering saw some customers receiving a NUXE Huile Prodigieuse oil, a much-lusted after product in the beauty world, and some an HD Brows palette. I received neither. It's discrepancies like this that get some customer's backs up, and rightfully so.

Having read this article at work this morning (and before coffee - always a bad time to cross me), Iwas left seething and quite honestly feeling completely disenchanted by beauty boxes. Kate Cornell, the CEO of GlossyBox, has said that in October the company will launch a 'premium box'. Sounds nice? Well, sorry, unless you're an “exclusive” customer, then hands off pal.

A premium box is on the way in October with high end brands, available only to an exclusive set of customers. The price point will be higher and it will operate like more of a club.”

Oh how I loathe the beauty industry sometimes. I (perhaps wrongfully) am assuming that these 'exclusive customers' will be established beauty bloggers, because I can't for the life of me work out how GlossyBox would manage to filter out us regular Joe's from behind their swanky computer screens, removing us quickly from the list of chosen beauty messiahs far more deserving than us mere paupers. What would their list of criteria be, anyway? All I can say is what a way to alienate your clientele. GlossyBox, you can stick your premium boxes where the sun doesn't shine, I don't want to be a part of your “club”. The fact that I do not boast sky high stats and blog followers in the thousands means much less to me than this shallow, superficial business proposition which quite frankly, and much like your August offering, is a load of shit.

Rant over!

NUXE Rêve de Miel Lip Balm - Review

Posted on: Friday, 17 August 2012

This is another of the much-hyped lip balms doing the rounds on the beauty blog circuit, and so when the company I work for began stocking NUXE a few weeks ago, I knew I was going to have to buy it and give it a go. I've mentioned before that I'm big on looking after my lips, as they—along with your hands and your neck—are one of the first things to start on the steady decline of ageing. I also think that many of us have the part of our face that we most like to emphasise when wearing make-up, and for me, it is my lips (curse my small eyes and ski slope nose). And there is nothing worse than putting on lipstick only to see it sinking in to the hard, dry creases of chapped lips. I've used MAC's lip conditioner for a while (and they have a Viva Glam version too so no guilt on spending), and thought it was excellent, but the NUXE Reve de Miel seemed to be getting so much attention that I couldn't resist.

My verdict? Well, it's good. Is it worth the hype? No, probably not. This is a very rich balm – it's like a very thick, slightly dry cream, with a honey scent. So it sticks around a while, and this I suppose gives the impression that it's super moisturising. On some people it probably is, but to me it feels like it's sitting on the surface, not really absorbing, and not doing much difference to my lips. It's not sticky or uncomfortable or overpoweringly scented—other common lip balm qualms—but I'm just not sure it's the wonder product it's made out to be. Would I keep using it? Yes I would, but only as a stop gap kind of lip balm when my lips are in decent condition. I like it because NUXE are pharmaceutical company, not a cosmetic company, and their products are sourced from natural oils and plants so I know I'm not putting any nasty chemicals on my lips, and it does feel like a luxury product. The pot is pretty and a nice handbag accessory.

So the bottom line of my review is that this is a good lip balm—I don't personally think it's a great lip balm, but it's something I would continue to use, and would repurchase unless something better came along. It retails for £9.50 which is on the steep side—but you get a decent amount of product from high quality ingredients, so I wouldn't argue the price.

What do you think of Reve de Miel? Is it worth the hype? Would it be something you would want to try? 
Get 15% off your first order + free delivery with code NUXEDISC.

NOTD: OPI 'Thanks A WindMillion'

Posted on: Wednesday, 15 August 2012

This is another absolute gem of a nail polish from the OPI Spring/Summer 2012 Holland Collection.

This is described by OPI as a "breezy sea green", and I actually think it's one of my favourite nail polishes ever. If I had to describe the colour I'd say it's a muted rich green, bordering on a pastel shade but slightly too dark to qualify. Green is my favourite colour but I've never found a nail polish in the shade that's been an all round winner and one that's suitable for almost any environment—work, night out, you name it.

The formula is to die for. Opaque in 2 coats but perfect with 3, it is smooth and durable—I'm on Day 3 and no signs of chipping, fading or dulling. It's a beautiful colour and I'm so glad I bit the bullet and bought it! From the Holland Collection I picked up Pedal Faster Suzi, I Don't Give A Rotterdam! and this one, and this one is hands down my favourite.

What do you think of it? Have you got any of the OPI Holland polishes?

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