Sunday 30 June 2013

Make-up event with Louise Dartford

For the past week one of my favourite stores Content has been hosting a summer wellbeing festival (the last event will be on the 6th of July). I wish I could pull up a tent and attend every single one of the events.

Makeup event with Louise Dartford was something I wanted to do for a long time now but I wasn't able to attend in the past. First of all she is such a talented make-up artist and the fact that she is trying to use as much "clean" make-up as possible deserves some brownie points in my book.
She is absolutely lovely in person, and I had a lot of fun talking about different looks and products (I did not want to miss an opportunity to pick a brain of someone who has used pretty much every natural make-up brand there is).

It was pretty much a one to one mini makeover/match up session. I brought in some of the dirty makeup I still have (you would have seen it in my how I organise my make-up post ) to try and find some of the colours that I have been struggling with. This was also an opportunity to try some of the products that I had my eye on like RMS Karma, Ilia Arabian Knights and W3LL people bronzers.

There was quiet a bit of experimentation going on with mixing cream blush and lipsticks to achieve a specific blush colour. I also got great tips on how to use some of the products that I already have at home but have been struggling with.

At the end I spent almost 2 hours with Louise (probably because I was a bit of a pain and wanted to see pretty much everything in the store, it is just pretty far to travel and I don't often make it to that part of London). It has been a long time since anyone else did my make-up for me, and I really enjoyed it, in the end Louise wrote down all the products that she used and the method that she used to apply them on a make-up chart for me to take away.

As part of this event I also got some rather generous trial sizes of Aurelia skincare (miracle cleanser, cell revitalise night moisturiser, revitalise & glow serum, cell repair night oil). It has been all the rage and I am really pleased to get my hands on them.

Here is the final look.

Since I was in the store I got a few things: cotton pads, Hayfever tea for my hubby and w3ll people eyeshadow for myself.

The downside of the event is that now I have lots of new products that I will be adding to my wish list (Arabian Knights is on the top of it, I also can't wait for the new ilia lipglosses to arrive).

Thursday 27 June 2013

Ilia beauty mascara in Macao review

When I read the description of Ilia mascara in Macao I was very intrigued. My expectations were really high, and I am afraid that my imagination ran away with me (I was imagining long gold/copper lashes that you could see in a latest 3D movie).

Back to reality I have found this mascara to have positive and negative qualities.

1. It holds the curl really well and gives that wide awake look to the eyes (even when I am falling asleep)
2. The brush is one of the best brushes I have used, it holds just the right amount of mascara, and when applied lashes are nicely separated, without the clumps.
3. When you catch a bit of sunlight on your lashes the effect is pretty spectacular, it really creates a soft focus around the eyes (no gold magic I'm afraid but it adds a little sparkle to your gaze)

1. Doesn't work with dark shadows or dark eyeliners (the copper colour looks too subtle in comparison and eyelashes get a bit lost)
2. Contains phenoxyethanol.

I did put it through the paces and find that it performs really well in the warmer weather (well 25C that was the hottest that we had this year so far), there was no melting and no flaking.

My eyes can get pretty sensitive with mascaras and this one did not cause any irritation or itchiness. I tried combining it with a darker mascara from a different brand but it didn't work, I think you might need them both to be ilia (or similar formulae) for that to work.

Overall I find Macao shade of mascara to be best for daytime or candlelight dinners, used on its own with no extra eye makeup.

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Brand focus: BM beauty

I think I have been rather vocal about how much I don't like loose powder. Mainly for one reason: I am messy, and it seems every makeup application ends up with my husband having to hoover me and my surroundings (I always accidently shake a pot without the lid on it, so powder ends up all over the clothes/carpet/bed).

For this reason I do not buy a lot of products that are loose powder, but I can not deny that some of them are very good. Most (if not all) of my mineral powder makeup is from BM beauty. I find them to be very affordable and good quality. I thought I would concentrate on eyeshadow in this post, but will give a quick overview of other products that I have from them.

One of the co-founders is a former Pussy cat doll, the range is cruelty free and has no bismuth.

Lip glosses. I have tried three colours from the range: cherry bomb, nude and indian summer and like them all. They are fairly sheer (cherry bomb is pretty much see through, the other two have more pigment) and not sticky, just nice daytime glosses or great to use if you are playing up your eyes.

Mineral foundation. This was the first mineral foundation that did not make my skin itch like crazy. After playing around with the samples I settled on the honey mist version, which matches my skin tone perfectly in the summer.

Mineral Concealer. Not sure if this product is strictly necessary but I have it in a slightly paler shade so I mix it with foundation in the winter to have a good match and I also go over blemishes with it. Both products work well together.

Eyeshadow. I purchased a shade called wolf howl (what a great name) which is a midnight purple that has a pearly shimmer effect. I also have samples of her majesty which is a sparkly pink, dusty road a sparkly bronze nude, marble sparkle a shimmery white (you get 3 free samples with every order over £40 that are very generous in size).

 They are very sparkly but not in a great chunks of glitter sort of way, last all day and do not irritate my eyes. Colours are very versatile, you can let them be very subtle or build them up for a more intense colour.

Now I am not the biggest fan of pink eyeshadow, but I really like how it looks together with the white and the blue/purple.

Step 1: apply marble sparkle all over the lid and in the inner corner.

Step 2: apply her majesty from the middle of the lid to the outer corner in a slightly slanted way.

Step 3: apply midnight howl into the upper lash line

Step 4: apply  midnight howl into the lower lash line starting from outer corner up to the middle, then apply marble sparkle  along the bottom line starting from the inner corner up until it meets the darker colour.

 I like to pair it up with a nude lip, used bm beauty lip gloss here, howevert it was over a pink stain so it doesn't look as nude as it normally does.

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Souk souk June box

My second souk souk  box arrived yesterday and this time I am not familiar with any of the products.

what is in the box:

Faith in nature shower gel & bath foam. Not one for the purists as it does contain some ingredients that people try to avoid but it is biodegradable and has no artificial colour or fragrance. The scent I got (which was a luck of the draw) is grapefruit and orange. Smells divine just like a real grapefruit. I do love a bubble bath so looking forward to see if the scent will linger when used this way. It is a 100ml bottle.

Eve of St Agnes refining bamboo exfoliating polish. Essential oils used in this sound wonderful sweet orange, green mandarin and sandalwood. Smells very fresh and green. And what's more it doesn't contain any ingredients I personally avoid so will be giving this a try very soon. 15ml glass jar.

Eve of St Agnes hydtrating facial silk. When I saw that it contains blood orange I thought it would smell amazing, it smells .......well like a cream (it is pleasant but nothing out of the ordinary). It seems to be suitable for all skin types apart from oily but I will give it a try once it is colder (because that is when my skin is more normal). Since it stays fresh for up to 6 months after opening I have plenty of time (really should not have opened it before I was ready to use it, oh well).

Barefaced natural mineral eyeshadow in graphite. Loose shadow in a very dark grey colour. I like to use these sort of colours as eyeliner so it is a welcome edition to my kit.

Moa the Green balm. This is the only product that I have heard of before and wanted to try but never got round to it. Predominant scent is tea tree. It is a multi tasking balm for everything, bruises, dry skin, insect bites, eye makeup removal ( I will not be trying that....tea tree near my thank you).

I love the cover photo on the little green magazine.

As a side note the moa green balm got lost in all the paper straw and I thought mine was missing, took me a good few minutes to fish it out (I guess because it is so small), glad I didn't contact anyone or I would've felt rather embarrassed.

Thursday 13 June 2013

Lina Hanson Global face serum review

I sort of got this oil by accident. I originally purchased a different oil, but it turned out that I couldn't use it because of one of the ingredients, and this was what I exchanged it for (I have wanted to try it for a long time anyway). It was one of the products that I allowed myself in my spring/summer yearly splurge (you can see my initial thoughts here).

Did I need another face oil? Well I think I needed this one.

Lina Hanson Global face serum.

 I am normally pretty quick to figure out if I like a product or not, and then it is just a waiting game of whether or not my skin likes it.

I have used this for slightly more than a month now and have not had any reactions to the product. This is slightly heavier oil than one of my favourites Stark but I would say it is sort for nourishing and more silky, it absorbs rather well.

The smell is very different to other products I have used, despite having mandarin and ylang ylang I can't really sense those essential oils. It is a light flowery, slightly sweet scent that for some reason I associate with marula (but don't quote me on it as I don't know what marula smells like, in fact if you have ever used moringa body butter by Body Shop this is what this smell reminds me of).

I have to say that even though I found this scent pleasant I couldn't really decide if I liked it at first, however it grew on me, and now I really look forward to the aromatherapeutic effect of this oil every morning (it just puts a smile on my face when I use it).

How I use it. After playing around with different types of applications I came to conclusion that I prefer it for morning use. I let my toner sink in, rub half a pump between my palms and then gently press it in all over my face, followed by another half a pump for my neck and decollete. I find it to be one of a very few products that I can actually use on my d├ęcolletage, as this area seems to be even more sensitive than my face.

My skin looks very calm almost minutes after use, and feels very supple. It is an all skin types product, so if you have drier skin you will need a little more product than I do. It works really well under makeup. I have been using it about 3-4 times a week, and even though it has been a little warmer, my skin doesn't mind it (I had to stop using some other products as they are too heavy now).

Every time I use this serum I feel like my skin is getting a treat (like I am in a luxurious spa), a truly spoil yourself product. It comes in a dark glass bottle with a pump that is easy to control, there is a little half-cap on the pump to prevent it from being pressed accidentally).

It has all these different oils that are beauty secrets from different countries, all of them sound wonderful and there is a description of each one on Lina Hansons website. I really like that it has pumpkin seed oil, as I am a little obsessed with it.

There is a second product in the line, the body serum, that just got released this month, but is not available in UK yet. I am hoping to get my hands on it in the near future.

The Skincare tag

After reading a post by Sugarpuffish I decided to take part in this tag.

Describe your skincare routine in 5 words.
Cleanse, tone, face oil (or spf in the summer), mask.

What's your skin type.
Oily in the warmer season (spring/summer possibly autumn), more normal in the winter.

What's your favourite skincare product?
Hm depends on the day of the week! ( I'm joking but it really is hard to choose one as I can be fickle). I will go down the simple (slightly boring) route, I love my fancy oil blends but the things that I keep buying over and over again are rose water and coconut oil (pukka rose water is my absolute favourite and I am liking the Esssense of Eden coconut oil at the moment).

Top blemish zapper?
It is a toss up between balance me congested skin serum and The Organic Pharmacy blemish gel. I also have this DIY recipe which works great: 1/4 cup warm water, 1 teaspoon soda, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, mix it all up dampen a face cloth in this concoction gently wipe your face and then wash off (use this a face wash right before bed) skin will be clearer in a few days (works well for those break outs that don't want to go away).

Face wipes yay or nay?
Generally no, only maybe for travelling. But if you have to have some, get something like the ones by Simply gentle that are 100% cotton.

Toner yay or nay?
Yes! If you have oily skin you can skip moisturiser some times and go straight to SPF but toner is a must! At the moment I am a little obsessed with S.W. Basics toner but I also have to have rose water in the house all the time. Plus in the mornings (if you are not breaking out) you don't really need to wash your face just use some toner and proceed with your beauty routine.

High end skin care or high end makeup?
I do like to have a bit of both, however when it comes to skincare simple is best for me. I also know a fair amount of DIY recipes so I could easily get by without high end skin care ( I just prefer to have a few luxurious feeling products). Makeup is a different story, there is no way I could come up with something like Ilia in my kitchen. So if I have to choose it would be high end makeup.

What's the most unusual product you've tried.
 That would be either Tata Harper mask that feels like jelly, or May Lindstrom Clean dirt that looks like clay powder, smells like Christmas and turns into a foamy mousse when you add water.

You're in a French pharmacy and can only pick one item - what is it?
I am obsessed with Honore des Pres fragrances but I don't think pharmacies stock those, so it would have to be Lovea Monoi oil, absolutely love the smell.

Tell us your top skincare tip:
Ok a little more DIY. If you have problems with blackheads or visible pores, take a tomato cut of the top part with the stalk (so it forms a little pad and you can hold the stalk while using it, you only want the fleshy part of the tomato not seeds). If you want an extra deep clean add a little fine sea salt to the tomato pad and gently rub over the problem areas, let the juice stay on for a minute or two then rinse with warm water. Afterwards follow with a gentle toner and maybe aloe vera if you need some moisture ( do not use heavy moisturiser). Do it before bed up to two times a week. If your skin is sensitive use yellow tomatoes instead of red.

I am also tagging everyone who reads this :) Please let me know if you decided to take part xx.

Monday 10 June 2013

No more dirty looks quarterly box

No more dirty looks is one of the best, most comprehensive books available on greening up your beauty routine. Clever ladies behind it also have a blog under the same name, that is full of information ( I absolutely love reading all the morning routines that people send in).

Since last year ( or maybe the year before) they have teamed up with quarterly co to create these little beauty boxes. I tried signing up a couple of times in the past but always seemed to be missing the deadline, and eventually forgot to try again. Well I was finally successful ( it seemed a lot easier to sign up this time, so maybe they changed the process?!)

This is box number 7 but it is a first one for me.

I feel like this box is a hint to do a manicure ( I have been neglecting my nails). After reading the included letter I discovered that the nail colour was a luck of the draw. The one I received is "too red" but it could have been any one of the four shades chosen by the ladies ( coral, punch, pink were the other options). I am actually pleased with the red (it is a lovely bright shade that matches the ilia wild child lipstick perfectly). RGB is not a brand that I have seen in UK, really curious to try it and it is five-free!

Polish remover pads from priti NYC. I have a nail polish remover from this brand and it is the best one that I have ever used, I was planning to get these at some point ( the price has been putting me of so far £12.30 for 10 wipes) so it will be great to try these.

And the last thing is this very summery looking Czech glass nail file. I do have one already but this one is a slightly different shape and smaller than mine, it will be great for travel ( am I the only person that breaks their nails every time I go on holiday?).

I am very pleased with the box and very surprised how quickly it has arrived ( only a few days behind the others in America). It is $40 including shipping to UK, so it is more expensive than the monthly boxes available here. But I did some maths and the value is more than what I payed and as it is quarterly ( every three months) and comes from from the lovely No More Dirty Looks ladies I think it is totally worth it ( plus you get a chance to try products that are not sold in UK sometimes).

You can see what all the previous boxes had inside on the quarterly website, but they all seem to be very well thought through and it is just like opening a present from someone (well if you gave someone money to buy you a present that is).

Saturday 8 June 2013

My birthday day so far

Yes it is that time of year again, my birthday! Having a pretty low key day today and we sort of had to come back home so I could change, because, being true to myself, I spilt carrot juice all over my top during lunch. I decided to take this opportunity to do a short post.

In the morning my hubby took me to the bunny park, the weather is absolutely lovely today and it was wonderful to see all the animals.

For lunch we went to the 1907 restaurant at Brooklands Hotel. It is such a wonderful place, they have seasonal menus and the food is always delicious.

As usual there was a complementary bread basket with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping.

I had fish cake and poached egg as a starter.

 It is a lobster, salmon, smoked haddock and crayfish cake with a fennel and caper salad. Delicious as expected. Dressing, salad, poached egg, and the cake all complemented each other perfectly.


Pasta and truffles for the main. With wild mushrooms, creme fraiche and spinach, fresh parpadelle and fresh truffles. The words can not describe how good it was.

The pasta looked hand made and was cooked to perfection, and the sauce was absolutely divine. My husband made some comments about the faces I was pulling after each mouthful. As usual my tiny stomach wouldn't allow me to finish the whole dish, but I pushed it as far as I could, I honestly did not want to leave anything behind.

The presents that I got so far.

An art set and a balance me skin-quenching body collection. I also got some wonderful drawing pencils from my parents, and an exercise strap from my hubby (is he trying to hint at something?).

Well I am off to bask in the sun, hope everyone is having an awesome day!

Friday 7 June 2013

Balance me congested skin serum review

Balance me is a UK brand that has had a line of natural body products for a few years now but they only introduced skincare range last year. I absolutely love their shower gels and hand creams and of course wanted to see if the skincare would be as good.

Balance me congested skin serum.

Thankfully my skin has been pretty good this past year, so I have not had much cause to use spot treatments.

In fact I have bought balance me congested skin serum last year and it sat in my skincare basket unopened until may. It seems that whenever I get ill my routine goes out of the window, the most I do is wipe my face with some rosewater. What I am trying to say is that spots are pretty much guaranteed when I'm sick and this May was no exception.

This is where this little miracle bottle comes in. When I reached the point that I cared about looking in the mirror ( not completely back to normal but well enough to venture outside) I started using it.

Serum is a light gel slightly yellow in colour and has a fresh lemony scent. Lemon can be photosensitising so if you are using this in the morning make sure to follow with a sunscreen.

Like other spot treatments, you apply it directly to the area that troubles you, however this serum is totally non drying so feel free to spread it around ( if you have a few spots grouped together, or you break out in the same area all the time, because it can be used as a preventative treatment ). It comes in a pump bottle, so if you only have one or two spots I would suggest pressing very lightly as a full pump dispenses a lot of product (in the picture this is about half a pump).

How effective is it? On the smaller surface blemishes (be they red spots or whiteheads) this is very effective. After one application in the morning they were significantly less noticeable, and after the second application in the evening completely gone. I also had one of those painful jawline spots and it was less effective with that. It seemed that it brought the spot out to the surface fairly quickly, within a day, but than it took about 3 more days to clear.

All in all I am very pleased with how well this works. I am one of those people that if I leave a spot and don't use anything on it, it might take a few weeks for it to go completely away. And this serum did a great a job, especially with smaller blemishes, and true to description without drying out of the skin, if anything, it seemed to calm the redness down. A good emergency product to have around.

INGREDIENTS: Aqua, Oryza sativa (rice) bran oil, Glycerin, Moringa oliefera (moringa) oil, Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf extract***, Iris florentina (iris) root extract, Papaver rhoeas (corn poppy) flower extract, Abies picea (spruce knot) extract, Anthemis nobilis (Roman chamomile)*, Lavandula angustifolia (lavender)*, Litsea cubeba (litsea may chang)*, Citrus limonum (lemon)*, Kunzea ericoides (kanuka)*, Eucalyptus globulus (eucalyptus)*, Syzygium aromaticum (clove bud)*, Chondrus crispus (carrageenan) seaweed gum, Sclerotium gum, Sorbitan laurate, Polyglyceryl-4 laurate, Dilauryl citrate, Benzyl alcohol, Dehydroacetic acid, Citric acid, Limonene**, Linalool**, Geraniol**, Citral**, Citronellol**, Eugenol** *natural pure essential oil **naturally occurring in essential oils ***certified organic ingredient

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Foot care

Feet are probably the most neglected part of our bodies. Most of the time no one cares about them until they are going to put on a pair of sandals. If you think about how much we put our feet through during the course of the day, they have to support the weight of our hole bodies, frequently in high heels or otherwise uncomfortable shoes, surely they deserve some pampering just as much as our faces?

I frequently spend the whole day standing up so by the time I get home if I am honest all I want to do is collapse on the sofa and eat something unhealthy. Instead I make myself follow a simple routine. If my feet are hurting I give it half an hour to let the heat of the day escape them (they seem to get painfully hot after a long day) then I wash them with water that is slightly on the cool side but still of a pleasant temperature. After I pat them dry, I will use one of the two products while giving my feet a massage.

Barefoot botanicals S.O.S. foot balm. This is a lovely foot cream that has a slightly lemony scent. It is very moisturising yet not heavy ( I really do not like extremely heavy foot creams, have you tried going to the toilet after applying one of those? not fun). When you first apply it feels cooling on the skin and feels like my feet are "breathing".

The massage helps with circulation and it releases the tension of the day. I do this even if it feels like my feet are too painful to touch, it is just the only thing that insures that I will not have any discomfort the next day (nothing worse than having feet that hurt from the day before, when you have to spend yet another day standing). One other reason that I like this foot cream is that it contains neem which is antibacterial. In the summer, when your feet tend to sweat more, they become more susceptible to getting rashes and so on, and neem helps to minimise that. I think it might be discontinued but there still are a few places that stock it.

Badger foot balm. My first ever foot cream had a peppermint scent and ever since then I have had a soft spot for peppermint foot care. This balm includes eucalyptus and peppermint and feels very refreshing when applied to your feet.

I mostly tend to use it when travelling because the little tin is just convenient and doesn't leak. I do really like this balm, it absorbs well and leaves a slight tingling sensation (lovely for tired feet), but if  my feet are very sore I prefer to use a cream as there is less rubbing involved. This balm is one of the few staple products that I tend to buy as soon as I run out.

I'm not going to pretend that I do this routine every single day, sometimes I forget, but I do it most days and always after a day standing up. I also like to use a salt scrub every few weeks. Skin on the feet is just like elsewhere on the body, it needs to be moisturised and looked after. You could use a body cream, I like these specific products because they offer benefits that body products don't (antibacterial essential oils) and also I am not a minimalist person I like to have different bottles for different things instead of one that does everything.

Saturday 1 June 2013

Disapointment of the month

Most of the products that I have purchased this year I have really liked. I think it is mainly because I have been so careful with reading the ingredients and getting samples for the things that I wasn't sure about. However there was one rash decision that I made in April and that was  Tammy Fender Antioxidant Creme.

I wanted to try it for so long and even attempted to get it last year, but the UK retailer was no longer sold it. When Cult Beauty started stocking Tammy Fender, I knew it was only a matter of time before I would get it. I tried waiting for my Balance Me cream to run out firs,t but in the end I was just too impatient.

So I got it and even though I know not to expect miracles from a product I was still expecting something different, and in fact it was not better than my balance me moisturiser. It was ok. You don't need a lot of product and it is fairly light and smells like neroli, but than so does balance me. My t-zone would not stay matt all day when using this cream and if I use it more then 3 times in a row, my skin starts to get sensitive.

I think I wanted to like it more than I did, however I was prepared to give it a little more time before my final verdict. But then yesterday morning I saw a crack in the lid of the pot. I never dropped the pot and nothing fell on it, it's just a fairly flimsy plastic lid that I guess cracked from over tightening. Not being funny but I am not exactly the Hulk, so I do not think I should monitor how strongly I tighten the lid of a face cream just so it won't crack!

This is an expensive, luxury  product in my eyes yet I don't feel like I am treating my self to something special when using it. I will not be getting it again and I wish I spent my money on a spa treatment or something instead of this.