Tuesday, 30 June 2009

In and Out - June

Yikes...it's so hot here in Surrey, my brain has been well and truly fried...so much so I almost forgot it was June In/Out time!! Shocker!


Blogger Friends ~ This is going to be a massive cheese fest for you all, but I'm being totally honest. I've been going through some tough times of late, and the amount of support I have received from people I've met through blogging has been ridiculous...in a good way! I think I've had more support from all of you than my 'real life' friends, and I just want to say thank you really! It's nice to know people care, want to try and help, and that there are such nice people in the world!

MAC Well Dressed Blusher ~ I don't know if I could ever find a more flattering blusher than this...for me anyway! It's the perfect shade of pink, not something I would normally think I can pull off, but it looks so natural and pretty, I can't get enough of it! I had a simple make up day today...just some No7 Tinted Moisturiser, Rimmel Translucent Powder, Well Dressed for the face, L'Oreal Telescopic on the lashes :) Using Well Dressed makes me feel and look better, in my opinion!

Nail Polish ~ The feet are officially out! They are far from being in good condition, but what the hell...my toenails look nice! I love painting my toenails in pretty colours in the summer, I probably change the colour every week! Does anyone else find nail polish lasts longer on the toes than fingers...odd! Now I have grown my nails (I'll do a NOTD - Nail of the Day to prove it) I'm obsessed with buffing, filing and making sure they look nice...which includes painting them in every shade imaginable! It's nice to have nice nails again!

Hair Growth ~ Whatever it is that is making my hair grow, please don't stop! It's probably just the sunshine, because I've not used any hair growth products, but it seems to be growing really fast! I had it cut quite short a few months ago (I think...could be longer!), but I prefer it longer, and I think Colin does too! Just keep growing please hair :) All other hair on my body can stop though...I feel like a shaving demon!

Pimms ~ Best beverage invented? I think so :) Enough said!


Haters ~ I'm SO not feeling the hate going around at the moment people! Spread love, not hate...jeez! I haven't been a victim of hater comments...yet (totally jinxed that now!), but it makes me sad to think some of my favourite people are getting negative, mean and just downright rude comments...if you don't like it, you know where you can stick it!!!

Perspiration ~ OK, OK...I know, when it's cold we moan, when it's hot we moan...we're British, it's what we do! I'm liking that it's gorgeous and sunny right now, but humidity is something I just detest...sadly it kind of comes with the territory :( I hate that I only need to see the sun out of the corner of my eye and I start sweating out of every pore...or perspiring (more ladylike word!), sorry to be so graphic! It's gross and I WISH I could prevent it...I have no 'cool down' setting on my internal thermostat obviously!

Colour fading ~ Of the hair variety! As you can tell from my recent John Frieda review post I am struggling to keep my brunette hair the same shade for long. I know it's partly because I wash my hair too often, but old habits die hard and I'm not gunna stop...I don't like it being dirty! However, surely permanent dye should stay on your hair?! I never seemed to have a problem with fading when I was blonde and had highlights all the time...I'd end up with slightly less obvious regrowth before root touch ups, which made it look darker, but not fading!

Spots ~ Yuk. Gross. Eeew. Please leave me alone you horrible spots :( I am fortunate enough to have never suffered with acne, but I am prone to the occasional blemish. However, the frequency of those occasional blemishes had sky rocketed recently...I don't know if it's stress, hormones, the heat, products or what, but I want out! I keep breaking out on my chin, chest and shoulders...I think it must be something to do with the heat, well the shoulders bit is anyway, I had this after Grenada last summer :(

There are a fair few personal outs too, but I won't bore you with the details...this blog is my 'happy place' :)

x x x

Monday, 29 June 2009

A Review: John Frieda Luminous Colour Glaze

John Frieda Luminous Colour Glaze
Brilliant Brunette Shine Booster

My brunette locks seem to fade faster than the evening sun, which obviously disturbs me somewhat. Making the leap from blonde to brunette, I thought perhaps I would have less visits to the money drainer *hairdresser*, or not as it would appear now! There is one upside, I'm much happier to use DIY colouring kits on brunette hair, I NEVER would on blonde, for fear of turning some horrendous colour, with brown I kind of feel you can't go too far wrong! However, in a bid to reduce the amount of times I colour my hair, I thought I would try this product, from John Frieda (chocolate to espresso shade), recommended to me by my friend Abby. There is also a colour glaze for blondes and redheads, and a plain shine glaze.

What Do I Think?
The packaging states "Inspired by salon glazes, Luminous Colour Glaze is an easy-to-use gel-creme formula that boosts shine and adds a hint of glossy colour right in the shower in just three minutes". I wasn't sure what to expect from this product to be honest, it seemed a bit too good to be true that it might help reduce the amount of colouring needed for my hair, but if it did it would surely be a blessing right now, what with all this sun! I have to point out that in my opinion John Frieda products get 10/10 for packaging, their is always so much info crammed into such a small space, and this product is no exception. I like to know in depth what a product is supposed to do, it allows me to test it fully. This product claims that after the 1st wash hair will immediately be "visibly shiny" with a "satiny, luxurious texture", after 3-5 uses hair will have "increased shine", a "touch of glossy colour" and retain the "satiny, luxurious texture". After 6-8 uses hair should have a "multi-dimensional shine", "increased richness of colour" and again that "satiny, luxurious texture". The idea is to use this every time you shampoo and condition your hair, leave it on for at least three minutes, rinse and then hey presto, you have wonderful, shiny hair! That part is definitely true, my hair has never been so soft and shiny, and it smells gorgeous too! As for adding colour I honestly can't see a difference, but my hair does feel like it's in better condition. It does say that colour intensifies over time, so perhaps I have particularly stubborn hair?! Either way, I do really like this and would use it over and over just for the shine effect and the smell...superficial...me...much?!
This product contains dye, which WILL stain your hands if you don't wash it off!

How Much Will It Cost?
Prices seem to vary from shop to shop, however you should expect to pay approx £6.

Where Is It Available?
John Frieda is available worldwide I believe...in the UK you can find it in Boots, Superdrug, most Supermarkets and other stores. Tesco currently have money off John Frieda products!

Would I Recommend It?
As much as I do like this product, I personally have not noticed an improvement in the colour of my hair, however this could be perhaps because I started using it when my hair had already faded. I love the outcome in terms of shine and scent, so I will be repurchasing, and will try again once my hair is darker. It's also ammonia and peroxide free, so not at all bad for your locks! I'd recommend you give it a go though!

Star Rating:

Monday, 22 June 2009

A Review: The Body Shop Body Butters

Assorted 'Flavours'

I'm going to make an assumption that most readers of my blog will be aware of The Body Shop, and consequently one of the types of products they are so well renowned for: Body Butters. I am conscious that there are quite a few reviews of various Body Shop products floating around the blog sphere at the moment, hence my decision to focus on the Body Butter group as a whole...why focus on just one when there is such an extensive range?! From a quick (and possibly inaccurate, so don't quote me!) count on the website, there are 21 different 'flavours/scents' available (currently on UK site).

What Do I Think?
If you are looking for an intensely moisturising, nourishing and fabulously scented body product then these Body Butters could well be your answer! There is an unrivalled selection...you can pick from classics like Shea or Cocoa Butter, to something more sweet like Satsuma or Mango...if that doesn't float your scent boat how about Wild Cherry or Brazil Nut?! What I am trying to say is there is pretty much something for everyone! One thing I do notice about the Body Butters is that the consistencies vary considerably...for example: one of my particular favourites, Cocoa Butter, is very, very thick, and takes quite a long time to massage into the skin. I wouldn't say it leaves a greasy residue, but it takes a while to sink in, so you may be better off applying this overnight (it's fab for dry patches and feet!). The Mango Body Butter on the other hand is not as thick, I would say it's more creamy and sinks into the skin instantly (so you don't have to wait hours before you can put your clothes on without sticking!), and the scent is so fresh too! I would advise you check out the Testers in store, or if you buy online read the descriptions and reviews to get a picture of what the Body Butter will do for your skin. Some may be better for drier skins, some for oily...etc etc! Based on their moisturising properties, these Body Butters really are second to none...regardless of the consistency they offer instant AND long lasting hydration for you skin, the scent lingers (not overpoweringly) for a good few hours, and your skin will be baby soft (especially if you apply at night!). I really do love how the Body Butters make my skin feel, and they last for ages too!

Where Are They Available?
The Body Shop...available nationwide, in store and online. Check them out :)

How Much Will They Cost?
You can either purchase a travel size (good for testing them out!) 50ml pot, which is £4.85, or a full sized 200ml pot which is £12.20.

Would I Recommend Them?
I think given that pretty much all of the Body Butters have a 100% recommendation rating on the UK site is a good indication that I am not alone in my thoughts about these products! I would recommend them, although my only word of warning would be to consider your skin type and pick carefully...as I explained, the results may vary. All in all though, I would definitely recommend The Body Shop Body Butters...even if you don't like them, you will smell good enough to eat!

Star Rating:

P.S. The Body Shop currently has a sale of up to 50% online and in-store, so if you haven't tried any of their products, now is as good a time as any :)

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Confessions of an exfoliator...

Given that my addiction is now out in the open, I figured it would be a good idea to share with you some of my most coveted exfoliators. I have been through my fair share, and I think I'm pretty well versed in exfoliating properties! As you can see I have listed (from memory) what products I've used over the years, the ones in pink are recommended, the ones in black not so much!

Facial Exfoliators:
St Ives Apricot Scrub
The Sanctuary Spa Radiant Skin Exfoliator
Soap & Glory Scrub Your Nose In It
Biore Pore Unclogging Scrub
Simple Oil Balancing Exfoliating Wash
No7 Radiance Revealed Exfoliator
Botanics Purifying Face Scrub
Neutrogena Visibly Clear Blackhead Clearing Scrub
Lush Ocean Salt Scrub (this is like putting shards of glass on your face, NOT good)

Body Exfoliators:

The Sanctuary Kuan Jin Oyster & Pearl Scrub
Lush Porridge Exfoliating Soap
The Sanctuary Moisturising Butter Scrub
Soap & Glory Scrub Of Your Life
The Sanctuary Kyphi Nourishing Hot Sugar Scrub (sachet)
No7 Cleansing Body Polish
Virgin Vie Salt Scrub
Natural Collection Vanilla Body Scrub
Soap & Glory Flake Away Body Scrub
The Body Shop Exfoliating Gloves

I think there is likely to be a LOT more, but I don't have the best memory in the world ;)

The lovely Gemma at Beauty Counter Direct sent me a new exfoliator to try after reading my 'addiction' post, how sweet :) Review coming up...

x x x

Friday, 12 June 2009

Hello, my name is Laura...

...and I am an exfoliating addict.

Welcome to Exfoliating Addicts Anonymous...this is a safe haven where anyone who suspects they may have an overwhelming addiction to exfoliating can come...I won't judge.

My addiction was brought to my attention by my dear boyfriend...he took me to one side and gently broke it to me that I actually enjoy taking off layers of my own skin...excessively. I guess my addiction is obvious to those around me...for example, at a recent BBQ I co-hosted in my back garden, one of my guests asked to be excused to use the restroom. On their return they asked "Laura, why is there a lump of corned beef on the side of your bath???"...I responded with a puzzled expression and nervous laughter. I hurriedly made my way to the restroom to investigate the said offending object on the side of my bath...to my horror, I realised the guest was referring to a chunk of Porridge Soap, manufactured (in the UK!) by Lush. Perhaps to the untrained eye, soap can indeed look like corned beef (which I always thought was pink and stodgy, in a can, consumed in air raid shelters or times of extreme starvation??? Not in fact of creamy white consistency with oats in...I digress!), and I can understand the concern this may have caused my guests.

I think it is therefore appropriate that I declare, once and for all, that I, Laura, am indeed addicted to exfoliating. Body. Face. Feet. Hand. Nose. Lips. Belly Button...you name it, if it's on my body, it's been exfoliated!

I am by no means ridiculing or demeaning genuine addictions and the help groups for them, I am merely poking fun at myself. Please take it for what it is.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

The trials and tribulations of a jobseeker...

...that's right folks, I am officially unemployed now! Let's hope it's not for too long, but in the current economic climate, who knows! Although, according to an article I read in the paper today, the recession ended 2 months ago...frankly, it's not from where I'm sitting! Times are hard for everyone, and even if you're lucky enough to not be affected, I bet you know someone who has been...

There are literally hundreds and thousands of people who, as a side effect of the economic downturn, have been forced into unemployment, and whilst it's almost comforting to know it's not just you in that position, it by no means makes it any easier. In fact, it only serves to make job hunting even tougher, with more applicants vying for every available job, and the more decent jobs are few and far between (in my area at least).

I was informed in February that I would be getting made redundant in June, which seems like I would have had plenty of time to find something suitable, right?! Wrong...I have literally applied for hundreds of jobs (gosh, I wish I was exaggerating) in that time, and I still am...I'm not applying for things I'm not well qualified for, so it has been extremely frustrating to get rejection after rejection. The most annoying aspect of the rejections is usually the reason...not "sorry you did not get this job based on your lack of experience/skills etc" but "this vacancy has already been filled" or "we are no longer recruiting for this role"...WELL WHY HAS THE ADVERT JUST THIS SECOND BEEN LISTED ON THE FRICKING WEBSITE THEN?! One of the, supposedly, easiest ways to search for a job is to use online agencies, including some of the well publicised sites like Reed, Monster and Jobsite...well I'm not worried about telling you these websites, every single one I am registered with, are guilty of the same thing...listing jobs that are not available...why, to pull in punters! It disgusts me, and has wasted so much of my time...

I'm a pretty positive person, but this whole situation has really been stressing me out...the consequences of my not finding a job don't just impact me, but Colin too because of the house we rent together...if I don't contribute to the rent and bills, we simply couldn't afford to live here. Even though I try and shrug off the rejections and the ongoing crappy situation, it's showing...I keep breaking out in spots, my scalp is dry and flakey and I've been very irritable :( I can just about handle my emotions on the inside, but when they start showing on the outside with yukky side effects like spots, it makes me sad :(

In my opinion, this downturn, as the politicians love to refer to it as, isn't necessarily all bad...I think some positives will come out of it, and hopefully it will start to revolutionise the way this country is run, the way we spend and invest our hard earned cash and our general attitude. It's made me think more about saving money, and spending it on things I really want...like make up ;) Somethings will never change!

I'm awaiting feedback from a few interviews, so fingers crossed I find something...but how much longer do I have to wait, given the struggle I've had already?! I'm being by no means fussy...it's a catch 22 situation: get a job to pay the bills, end up hating it and being unhappy, OR wait without being able to pay bills until 'dream' job turns up...realistically it HAS to be the former, the latter will end me up in debt :(

I guess I wanted to write this post as a shout out to everyone in my situation...there IS a light at the end of the tunnel, and we will find good jobs eventually...but it's certainly a minefield, and I can't wait to start seeing that light...

x x x

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Beauty Confessions ♥

It's confessions time ladies (and gents!)...I TAG anyone who fancies recreating this post on their blog (yes, yes, I'm a tag-a-holic!), but I am going to name drop a few bloggers:
Stef (The Lip Print)
Kelly (Happy1234)
Arlene (dressjunkie)
Marie (The obsessions of a shopaholic)
Amber (Life As We Know It)
Alexis (Faffaholic)

What's your favourite make up look?
At the moment I'm trying to perfect a sexy, smokey eye complete with winged eyeliner (when I perfect it, you will the first people to see!), because I think it's a look that compliments everyone. However, I love anything bright and fun, as long as there is plenty of mascara and eyeliner involved, hehe!

Do you have a beauty vice?
Junk food! I'm not tooooo bad, but I do love crisps and chocolate, which are notoriously bad for your skin, so I would say that's my beauty vice!

What part of your body do you love?
I think I would have to say my lips or my eyes, I probably couldn't choose! I get the most compliments on my eyes and lips (probably because when I'm out I'm always applying lipgloss and pouting!). In fact, when I was out over the weekend a guy, clearly with an ulterior motive, said to me "I know this will sound corny, but you have such sexy eyes"...to which I replied "Yes that was terribly corny...my boyfriend loves my sexy eyes!"...he skulked off to find another victim!

Who is your beauty icon?
This is a tough one...I'm a little bit in love with 50's beauty icons, namely Audrey and Marilyn. I'm not sure if I would class her as my icon above all others, but I find Nicola Roberts very inspiring, for truly accepting and embracing who she is, even though it breaks the mould of what the media consider 'normal'...her attitude is refreshing in a sea of clones! Cheryl Cole does always look flawless, but she is FAR too skinny at the moment, so Katy Perry who embraces her curves and individuality is more 'iconic' I think!

What beauty product makes you feel instantly sexy?
I don't think I could attribute just one beauty product to feeling sexy, but if I had to focus on one specific area it would be my eyes. I think accentuating my eyes with long, luscious lashes and dark eyeliner makes me look and feel sexier. Adding a sheen of lipgloss always makes my lips look fuller and plumper too, which makes me feel sexier :)

How do you look after your skin?
I always try to remove my make up before bed...even if I've stumbled in drunk! I cleanse, tone and moisturise at night, but if that all seems too much I'll at least swipe a make up wipe over my face before falling into bed! I try and stick to my skin care routine without deviating from products too much, and I find that gives me the best results...sometimes I just can't prevent Mother Nature stepping in just before her monthly 'gift', as she has currently, and I have a yucky breakout on my chin :( The best thing for spots - Sudocrem :)

What is your signature scent?
I don't tend to stick to just one fragrance, I like to mix things up a bit! One of all time favourite perfumes is Agent Provocateur, and it's probably the scent that gets me the most compliments when wearing it. I'm always drawn to more musky scents, and anything remotely resembling vanilla! If I accidentally leave the house without wearing perfume I feel naked.

What are your haircare secrets?
I don't think my haircare is very secret! I have a love/loathe relationship with my hair, which verges on the loathe side more often than not! I wash my hair everyday because it gets greasy annoyingly quickly, and if I'm not rushing out of the door immediately I let it dry naturally to avoid using heat on it too much. My hair has natural waves in it, which I can never make look nice, they just look frizzy and wayward. Normally though, on a day-to-day basis I wash, dry, straighten and spritz a bit of hairspray of styling gel over it and dash out of the house!

How do you pamper yourself?
I really appreciate my 'me' time, and can be quite a solitary creature at times! Pure pampering would be a spa day, but that's an expense I can't stretch to at the moment, sadly. I run myself a nice hot bath, with extra bubbles, slap on a face mask and a deep conditioning hair treatment, grab a book or a magazine and soak myself in the tub for a while! The only bad thing about baths is wrinkly fingers and toes, so once they kick in I vacate! Even something as simple as curling up with a chick flick or a good book counts as pampering to me, and I think it's essential to make sure I get my 'me' time!

What is your beauty pet peeve?
Clumpy mascara...eew! I only ever use one coat of mascara, anything else clumps beyond imaginable belief, and I can't stand that look! I also can't stand tidelines...blend people!!!

What would your desert island must haves be?
Mascara, lipgloss and SPF :) As long as I have those 3 things (beauty wise) I'd be sorted! Oh how vain!

Finally, do you have a beauty philosophy?
If you feel beautiful, you will look beautiful. Beauty is not only skin deep, to me, true beauty comes from within.