Tuesday, 27 October 2009

A Review: MAC Cleanse Off Oil

MAC Cleanse Off Oil
Oil Based Make Up Remover

I have been reading about the wonders of using an oil cleanser to remove make up, and after reading Laura's review on the MAC Cleanse Off Oil I decided I wanted to give it a try. I've heard wonderful things about the infamous Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil, but with an RRP close to £50, I went for something a little more within my price range! I must say a HUGE thank you to Laura, who actually went out of her way to buy this for me because it had sold out online and I live about an hours drive away from a MAC counter!

What Do I Think?
I must admit that as someone who has very oily skin, the prospect of adding MORE oil in the form of a cleanser was slightly worrying. However, I really cannot enthuse about this product enough because it really is, in short, amazing! I use 4 pumps of this on dry skin at the end of the day, and it removes 100% of my make up, even waterproof mascara and gel eyeliners with no need for rubbing. It makes cleansing the easiest task of the day, and I actually ENJOY taking my make up off! After rinsing with water, there is no residue of the oil and my skin feels soft and clean. The MAC website describes the Cleanse Off Oil as;

"An industry-strength oil-based makeup remover that's gentle on the skin. Botanically formulated with oils of olive fruit, evening primrose and jojoba seed and absolutely 100 per cent mineral-oil free. Massages onto the skin to loosen all makeup, including waterproof mascara. Emulsifies into a lotion-type liquid with water: rinses off easily, no tissues required – and no residue! Protects with vitamin E. Skin softening and conditioning. Good for all skin types."

MAC, I wholeheartedly agree! My cleansing regime has been revolutionised, and I am very happy about it! Wipe on, wipe off springs to mind ;)

Where Is It Available?
MAC products are available online, instore and pretty much nationwide.

How Much Will It Cost?
The Cleanse Off Oil retails for £15 for 150ml of product, which I think is WELL worth it!

Would I Recommend It?
Without a doubt, YES! I really, really, really recommend using an oil cleanser to remove your make up, it is just SO effortless and feels really good on your skin. I like the MAC version even more because it is free from mineral oil. Try it, you won't be disappointed...if you are, I'll eat my hat!

Star Rating:
5/5

Sunday, 11 October 2009

NOTD: Rose Truffle

OK, so as you might have guessed I don't keep my nails the same colour for too long! I painted them with Gosh Wild Lilac only last night, and picked it off today *cue sheepish grin*.

After a nice big roast with the family, my sister and I decided to paint our nails with one of her unused No7 Stay Perfect polishes. It's a gorgeous red/pink shade, called Rose Truffle, with a very slight shimmer to it.


It literally took us about half an hour to take decent photo's, we put a LOT of effort into finding a good spot in the house! The flash glares a little and the colour isn't entirely true to life, but you get the idea!

I do really like the No7 Stay Perfect formulations, they glide onto the nails really well, and dry super fast (which is a bonus for me because I am VERY impatient!).

I always try and pick up a new shade when Boots do their £5 No7/Ruby & Millie vouchers, which I believe they are giving out again at the moment FYI ;)


A Review: MAC 'Well Dressed' Blusher

MAC Well Dressed
Powder Blusher

What Do I Think?
Well Dressed is probably one of MAC's most popular blushes, and rightly so. It's pretty infamous, and for good reason! This blusher is the PERFECT pink, which will easily suit a whole range of skin tones. Some pink blushes can look too much on my pale skin, but Well Dressed looks effortlessly polished and is never over the top. You can easily build up the colour, so if you want a light wash of colour use a light handed application. I suffer from very greasy skin and some blushes just slide off of my skin. Well Dressed stays on my skin really well, and it's not too glittery either (which is a complete no no in my book!) so it doesn't add unecessary shine! It goes really well with any eye and lip colours, especially if you apply it in a really understated way. I would highly recommend that you try Well Dressed (or at least try and find a dupe for it if you don't want to pay the higher end price) because it really is such a wonderful colour. Me love :)

How Much Will It Cost?
£16.00, which may seem a little pricey, but I can guarantee you that I will buy this over, and over, and over, and over, and over again...get the idea?!

Where Is It Available?
This blush is part of the main collection, so is available from freestanding MAC stores, MAC counters and MAC online.

Would I Recommend It?
Without a doubt, yes :) This is my ULTIMATE favourite blusher. I love it, so much so I have to physically force myself to use the other blushes in my collection!

Star Rating:
5/5

***My sister Lucy writes a pukka blog, I'd love it if you could take the time to check it out and become a follower if you like what you see. Click >>>HERE<<< to go to her blog, thank you***

Saturday, 10 October 2009

NOTD: Wild Lilac

I was in the mood for purple today, and decided to go for one of my very favourite nail polishes: Gosh, Wild Lilac.

It's such a gorgeous colour, a bit more 'cool' than just a pretty pastel, but ultimately still wearable. I think it's the perfect transitional colour in moving from spring/summers brights to autumn/winters darker shades. I love to wear such gorgeous colours on my nails, it instantly perks me up and I can't help but smile.

This shade is a pretty good dupe for OPI's 'Done Out in Deco' too, for those bargain hunters out there!


P.S. I've got a new obsession: Tumblr! Check out mine HERE :)

P.P.S. Danyl to win X Factor :)

Thursday, 8 October 2009

We are beautiful...


Beauty. Tricky subject, no? There are many clichés when attempting to capture the essence of beauty. One of my personal favourites, and I'm pretty sure this rings true to the majority of people, is that beauty, truly is, in the eye of the beholder. We all see things differently. We all perceive what we see in many ways. We all experience these things differently. There is no wrong or right when it comes down to our interpretation of the world we live in and the things that we see, and that I suppose is the very beauty of it.

Beauty is something we all encounter every single day, and it isn't necessarily something we see; we can feel it, hear it, read it, smell it, even taste it. All of the senses engage to create something, that to that individual, is beauty. Beauty can never be predetermined. How can something be described as beautiful, when to one person it may be the epitome of vulgarity? There isn't an answer to this question, except that it is somewhat thought provoking, and really meant in a more rhetorical sense.

To me, this 'beauty' community is a reflection of the wider populations; full of very different people, with very different opinions, philosophies and aesthetics. So often I think we find ourselves getting so caught up in this notion of beauty, that for one reason or another seems to dominate everything that we do, whether we are conscious of it or not. We often realise we've become preoccupied to the point of 'all or nothing', when really we should just slow down and enjoy 'beauty' for what it really is...anything we want it to be.

However, all of this makes me realise that beauty IS in the eye of the beholder, and fixating on something unobtainable simply won't do. Beauty is not something determined by the pages of a glossy magazine, or by models on a catwalk. Beauty is not something controlled by the opinions of those around us. We are ALL beautiful, the world IS a beautiful place (sometimes you just need to look deep enough), and we need to celebrate that fact.

Be who you are. Love who you are. Stay true to yourself.
Be beautiful YOUR way.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Hand & Nail Care


I've had a few comments recently about my nails, so I thought I'd share with you what I do to care for them. I'm pretty low maintenance (in my opinion) when it comes to products that I use on a regular basis, and I pretty often forget to use things. One thing I never forget is hand cream...I suffer from pretty dry hands, and I can't bear that tight feeling when my hands are crying out for moisture. My absolute favourite hand cream at the moment is from The Body Shop; the Almond Daily Hand and Nail Cream.


This has the most delicious scent, it's so soft, sweet yet clean and fresh. There is no hint of stickiness, and it sinks in to the skin almost instantly. It is such a pleasure to use, and I could easily lick it right back off! It makes my hands SO luxuriously soft and silky, and I adore it :)

I try to use this at least 3/4 times a day, but in the rare event that I don't have it on me, I'll turn to the Dove Pro Age Hand Cream, or L'Occitane's Shea Butter Hand Cream (you can get a sample of this with InStyle magazine this month!).

Moisturising your hands regularly is absolutely essential to maintaining well conditioned hands and nails, and remember to massage some into your cuticles too! Another superb product for keeping your cuticles in tip top condition is The Body Shop Almond Nail and Cuticle Treatment.
This comes complete with a hoof stick on one end, used for pushing back your cuticles, and a brush applicator on the other end, for applying just the right amount of almond oil onto your cuticles. Massage some of the oil into your cuticles, make sure they are softened and then use the hoof stick to get rid of any dead, straggly bits of unwanted cuticle (sounds so glamorous right?!). Make sure you do this at least twice and week, and you will see a dramatic improvement in the strength of your nails.

Of course, hand cream and cuticle oil alone wont give you super strong nails, so to try and keep my nails from flaking and splitting (it does happen, but not as often as it used to, thanks to my hand care routine), I use Sally Hansen Miracle Cure (which claims to give you 50% stronger nails in 3 days - I don't necessarily agree with that, but it DOES work!) under my nails every time I give myself a manicure.


I used to go through a vicious cycle of biting my nails, then getting acrylics to cover up the short, raggedy excuses on the ends of my fingers. It would prove too expensive to keep getting acrylics put on, plus the condition of my nails underneath was getting worse and worse, weakened by the constant filing down. I finally put a stop to this negative (not to mention costly) cycle, and have been determinedly growing my OWN nails ever since. I really urge anyone thinking about getting acrylics to think again...sure, they look nice and a LOT of people have them, but your nails will pay for it in more ways than one.

So, that's it! That is how I manage to keep my nails in as best a condition as I can. I hope this proved useful to someone at least :)

A Review: Soft Hands, Kind Heart


The Body Shop 'Soft Hands, Kind Hearts'
Hand Cream

What Do I Think?
I will be totally honest here, and say that I really can't stand this hand cream as an actual product. I fully support the cause, and urge you to purchase it for that very reason (or simply make a donation to ECPAT, a campaign to help prevention of child trafficking in the UK). I have seen a lot of positive reviews of this hand cream, but there is one huge aspect of it that just literally turns my stomach...the scent. I can't describe what it is very accurately, but it really, really makes me feel ill. The Body Shop website describe the scent as "a sparkling green fragrance with fresh citrus aspects in the top, leading to an elegant floral heart on a warm amber background", however I really don't think it is reminiscent of any of those! I don't think it does a particularly good job of moisturising or nourishing the hands either, especially not when in comparison to other hand creams by The Body Shop. Remember, this is just my own opinion, and you may love it, but for me, I simply can't continue to use it. Having said all of that, it goes without saying that ECPAT is a truly worthwhile cause, and they are "actively working to stop the trafficking and sexual exploitation of children and young people in the UK and around the world". Well done to The Body Shop for raising awareness of a very worrying issue.

Where Is It Available?
As per normal, all products from The Body Shop are available in store nationwide, and you can also buy online.

How Much Will It Cost?
This hand cream retails for £5.00, with £3.45 of the proceeds being donated to ECPAT.

Would I Recommend It?
From an ethical, charitable perspective, of course I would recommend this product. I wholeheartedly support the fabulous work that The Body Shop do in promoting very worthwhile and important causes. As an actual product, aside from the cause it represents, I would have to say I personally wouldn't recommend this hand cream, the smell simply repulses me :(

Star Rating:
3/5

Sunday, 4 October 2009

In & Out: August/September

Forgive me for I have sinned! I've been so busy with life and all that jazz that two whole months have literally flown by, without my even noticing that I hadn't done my Ins & Outs :(

So, in an attempt to try and bring you up to speed with the life, loves and laughs of Laura's life, here are my combined Ins & Outs for August and September!

IN:

Pay days ~ I've been in my job for over two months now, and I am honestly loving it. I love the people I work with and for, have been working my butt off, and receiving a lot of praise and positive recognition for it too. I was out of work for two months previous, and it seems really odd to think it's the same amount of time! I'm really trying to turn over a new leaf financially, and have already seen BIG improvements in the way I deal with my money. I'm still spending, but saving too, and hopefully making more intelligent choices. I've had two pay days since I started now, and I love that buzz of having money again! This job was a fresh start for me in more ways than one, and I'm really happy where I am right now, I'm putting a lot of effort into making sure I do everything in my power to make this job last. My heart goes out to everyone that is still out of work, stay strong.

Illamasqua Furore Pigment ~ an honourable mention HAD to go to this fantastic product. I have to admit that in the months directly after purchasing this Illamasqua pigment, I didn't get a huge amount of use out of it. However, after doing my friend Nicole's make up one night in September, we discovered that pairing MAC's Satin Taupe eyeshadow with Furore pigment created a gorgeous, totally unique colour. I adore Satin Taupe, and it's a very wearable shadow on it's own, but I just can't get enough of it with Furore, I urge you all to check it out! [Read my review of it here.]

MAC eyeshadow ~ I'd be hard pressed to find someone who, once they have tried them, wouldn't love MAC eyeshadows. I even got my Mum hooked on Satin Taupe, and she's not a huge make up wearer! In fact, Satin Taupe is the shade I get the most comments and compliments on when wearing it, whether alone on a 'lazy eye make up' day, or combined with other shadows. I currently own the following MAC eyeshadows: Satin Taupe, Greensmoke, Wintersky, Twinks, Black Tied, Brule, Silver Ring, Trax, Beautymarked, Sable, Vex, Steamy, Shroom and Wedge (that was off the top of my head, think that's correct!), and there isn't one shadow there that I don't adore. The quality, pigmentation and sheer choice is well worth the money, and I will continue to repurchase my favourites and try out many new ones!

My sister ~ My sister (Lucy) and I seem to grow closer by the minute! There is 5 years difference between us, so when we were younger we had our fair share of squabbles and falling outs, but our bond has always been strong, and she truly is my best friend :) Lucy recently turned 18, and being the brilliant big sister I am, I organised a surprise party for her, hosted at my house, with all of her closest friends! It was a COMPLETE surprise, she had NO idea, and loved it, so all the stress I went through was 100% worth it! She was well and truly spoilt and everyone put a lot of effort in, but she deserved every last iota of it, and I'm over the moon she had such a great birthday...now for the clubbing Lucy :)

X Factor ~ OK, OK, I know it's cheesy, but you ALL know I love Cheryl, therefore I love X Factor, it's what weekends were made for! I only tuned in to watch it last year because she was the new judge, and now I'm hooked on the show! I won't spoil it for anyone who didn't see tonights show yet, but the final 12 have been picked, and apart from a couple of shocking choices, they may well be the best bunch yet (in my opinion!), with Simon and Cheryl having the strongest categories by far! Gosh, I'm such a geek! X Factor also means I can start getting excited about Christmas, because it'll see us through the run up :) I'm such a kid at Christmas, it's my favourite time of year, and I just love the magic of it!

New laptop ~ My beloved laptop died a death earlier this month :( It's barely surviving, and makes some horrendous noises, and has some very irritating and frankly scary 'quirks', and it got to the point where I turned it on one night and literally thought it was going to explode :( So, armed with Colin and his 'technical' knowledge, I marched out to purchase a new laptop! I'm really happy with my new one, although I've yet to name her, any ideas? As sad as it sounds, my laptop is my lifeline in many ways, I use it to communicate with people I don't get a chance to see very often, keep up to date with what is going on in the world, and indulge in my hobbies and enjoyable pastimes. My last laptop saw me through Uni and so much more, so she did well! RIP Pinky!

OUT:

Being ill ~ I'm 'just' about recovering from being unwell, boo, hiss! I don't think I had the dreaded swine flu, but I did have a really nasty cold, that well and truly knocked me for six :( I was sent home from work, and told to stay away until I was better, which really frustrated me, but I felt disgusting. Unfortunately, my immune system never seems to be that good at this time of year, so although I dread to think it, it's probably the start of my winter colds, which lets be honest, I could do without, couldn't we all!

Negativity ~ I'm going to keep my opinions on this short and sweet, I don't like to get involved with things that don't involve me. Having said that, there may be some of you who notice I deleted my Twitter account, and been somewhat removed from the whole beauty blogging community. Now I am a very personable person, I get on with near enough everyone, and I always see the good in people before I notice the not-so-good, but there are times when I really feel let down. There has been a lot of noticeable negativity in the community of late, and whilst I am sensibly choosing to stay well clear of it, it upsets me that something which should be harmless fun, an online extension of a hobby, can turn nasty and negative, and become the subject of much criticism and bitching. There has been some very questionable behaviour by bloggers and PR companies alike, and it gives us all a bad name, which I think a lot of people do not appreciate. So, if you want a blogger that will never judge, hate or discriminate, please keep reading :)

Bad skin ~ My skin is driving me up the wall. It sounds awfully vain, but it actually makes me want to cry :( I'm still using my Liz Earle, but I don't know if I can see enough of a difference to say it's a miraculous revolution, but I will definitely persevere, and I'm going to be paying more attention to my nutrition and fluid intake. I just don't know what else I can try, and it makes me really sad :(


Sorry that I forgot to do these monthly, I'll do my best to get back on track from now on! I've been very busy both in my work life and private life, so the Internet took a back seat! I'll be adding lots of goodies to SwapsiesUK in the next week or so too, so keep your eyes peeled!



NOTD: Superficial

Anyone who keeps an eye on my 'wishlist' will be aware that I've been lusting after the Ciate Paint Pot in Superficial for sooooo long now!

Well...I finally got my little mitts on it, and I am really impressed! The photo doesn't do it enough justice, it's such a unique colour, so intense, and really great for fingers or toes :)

I'm really enamoured with the Ciate Paint Pots, I think they have a fantastic range of colours, some of which I have never seen before, and their quality in unrivalled in my opinion.

If you haven't tried them, what are you waiting for?!


Thursday, 1 October 2009

NOTD: Apples & Custard


[Modelled on my sister Lucy]

Avid readers of my blog will know that I'm a big fan of the Ciate Paint Pots, so it'll come as no surprise that when Ciate contacted me about the launch of their new 'Green With Envy' shades, I was eager to try some!

I picked Apples and Custard, which is a gorgeous soft, pale minty green colour (which in all honesty looks nothing like Apples OR Custard, but ssh!). This colour is pretty reminiscent of Barry M Mint Green, which I do own, and which received lots of hype for being a dupe for MAC's Peppermint Pappi.

Greens are pretty 'in' this a/w season, if you're interested in following the key trends, and I think this colour is really wearable, and quite subtle too. I have to be careful with paler, pastel shades like this, because of my fair skin, they can sometimes make me look washed out, and at worst unwell, however I do really love this colour! Bonus!

Stay tuned for more Ciate goodness!

*FYI Ciate Paint Pots retail for £9.00 in the UK*