Thursday, 30 August 2012

August Favourites {2012}

Yet another month has quickly sailed past, and once again I gather up my monthly favourites into a bag and arrange a still life on the coffee table - after removing the toy cars and plastic dinosaurs first, of course.

Sadly, I've no time for all of the usual pomp and ceremony, so without further ado, here are my August favourites...


Hydraluron - Indeed Labs
This purchase was entirely the fault of Caroline Hirons - although in this case, blame isn't necessarily a negative thing! She blogged about it. She said we needed it. I bought it. As per usual, I will be doing a more in depth review of this as soon as I can, but so far, so good. Definitely a worthy investment.

Mandara Spa Island Paradise Intensive Body Scrub*
You all know by now that I'm an exfoliating addict - I know, I know, I sound like a broken record. This offering from Mandara Spa is a delightfully scrubby scrub, my favourite kind in fact, and has a gorgeous fresh and zesty fruit scent to it, making it particularly well suited to those mornings when you're feeling a little s l o w {that's every morning then}.


As soon as I opened this mascara, I have to admit my hopes were not high. The brush is nothing special, the formulation looked dry and clumpy, and the packaging somewhat cheap and uninviting. However, first impressions aside, I am actually enjoying using this mascara - it takes a little work to ensure there are no obvious clumps {unless that's the look you're going for}, and the formula is a lot drier than I tend to prefer, but this holds an impressive curl all day long without smudging or flaking, something that I was definitely not expecting. 

Finding out that my local Waitrose stocks Korres products was a potentially expensive discovery. Whilst buying a salad and some fruit for lunch one day, one of the infamous Korres Lip Butters just 'fell' into my basket. The Jasmine scent is incredibly delicious, and I'm in love with the gorgeous pale pink sheen this leaves on my lips. It's nourishing as well as being pretty, and although I'm not a huge fan of the packaging, I really love this product. I'm very tempted to try other 'flavours' now, but will wait until I've use this up first... probably!

Essie Nail Lacquer in Turquoise & Caicos and In Stitches
I'm slowly acquiring a new love for Essie polishes, and after blogging about and obsessively wearing the gorgeous Turquoise & Caicos last week, I promptly applied a shade passed on to me by Lydia, called In Stitches. I'd describe it as a dark dusky pink, and it applied nicely in 2 coats. The diffusion line with the bigger brush and improved formulation is definitely preferable to the older versions though.

I picked this up when my tub of Carmex ran out a couple of months ago, and promptly lost it in the depths of my handbag. I recently rediscovered it with glee, and have been enjoying using it ever since. It's essentially just Carmex, in stick form, with a tint - in this case a bright bubblegum pink - that leaves a non-sticky, moisturising sheer colour on the lips. The colour lasts longer than the 'shine', and I find this to be fairly good at keeping my lips well hydrated for at least a couple of hours after initial application.

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat
I've wanted a decent top coat for years now, and simply never got around to investing in one - despite the significant amount of times per week that I re-paint my nails. Upon Lydia's trustworthy recommendation, I purchased the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri top coat - a quick drying polish that also increases the longevity for the majority of my nail polishes worn underneath. I won't be without this now.


Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman - Buffing Brush and Contour Brush
If you love beauty, you'll probably have heard of the Pixiwoo sisters, Sam and Nic. Their YouTube videos are incredible, and having met both of them previously I can confirm they are just as nice off screen as they appear on screen - something that clearly transmits well to their huge amount of 'followers'. Their down to earth, fun but professional approach to make up and its artistry has earned them much deserved success, and Sam recently launched her own collection of make up brushes - Real Techniques. My local Boots store stocks them, and I'd had my eye on the Buffing Brush for ages - it looked like the ideal brush for applying a light coverage, well blended foundation - and it is! Available as part of the 'Core Collection' set, it also comes with 3 other brushes, including the Contour Brush, which I have thoroughly enjoyed using for a more precise application of blusher. I can't say enough good things about these brushes, and I will definitely be saving up for some more!

Tangle Teezer - Original Black
Another product passed on to me by Lydia was the Tangle Teezer, a hair brush I have wanted to try for years. I'm sure she won't mind my saying that Lydia has thick hair, and found that this simply didn't brush through her tangles adequately. In comparison, I have fairly thin hair, just a lot of it, and have found that this de-tangles my hair gently and effectively, and seems to be much kinder to my hair than my other brushes. I've really enjoyed using this, and it's now a firm favourite - different strokes for different folks, aye {please excuse the pun, I couldn't help it}. 


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I know no one likes being told what to do, however... Buy this book. Stop what you're doing, right now, and buy this book. It's such an incredibly well written, emotive and powerful read and I utterly love it. I first heard about this book in a Gemsmaquillage video, and finally bought it online earlier this month from Amazon {with a handy gift voucher}. John Green possesses an enviable talent for writing, and despite being a male author, this book is narrated from the perspective of a female teenage cancer sufferer. It is not 'just' a book about cancer, or 'just' a teenage romance novel, or even 'just' another best selling book. It is so much more - I urge you to read it and fall in love with it yourself.

Disclaimer: Products denoted with a * were provided for review consideration purposes. I am not affiliated with any of the brands, people or companies mentioned. All words, opinions and photographs are 100% my own. Some links may be affiliated. 
NB: Please ignore my horrible scratched coffee table - toy cars + 2 year old boy = goodbye nice furniture!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

NOTD: Essie {x2}

{Essie Carry On - Natural light, no flash}

{Essie Angora Cardi - Natural light, no flash}

{Natural light, no flash}

This past weekend saw me visiting the sunny shores of Portsmouth, and one of my dearest friends Lydia. Readers of Lydia's blog will know that without any shadow of a doubt, she is a nail polish addict. When faced with Lydia's impressively sized collection of an array of beautiful nail polishes, I'm afraid to say I got a little overwhelmed and didn't know where to start. I am, at best, habitually indecisive, and when faced with so much choice, it took me longer than it should have to narrow down my selection.

In the end, I opted for two shades that complimented each other rather well thanks to their purple tones. The lighter of the two shades, a dusky mauve/pink, is Angora Cardi by Essie - a shade I simply must have. It is such a unique colour, at least I'd never seen anything quite like it before, and in my opinion is a professional, wearable and 'for all seasons' shade. The darker colour is Carry On, also by Essie, and although not unlike polishes I already own, I was drawn to it's sophisticated deep purple hue. I used three coats of each shade, to reach total opacity, although a lighter application would most likely have only necessitated two. I finished with a coat of Sally Hansen's InstaDry {more on that beauty to follow!}, for glossy nails that were chip free for at least two days - pretty good going for me.

I'm quite taken with Essie nail polishes, despite their inconsistent and sometimes dubious reviews. I'd like to extend a big thank you to Lydia for letting me loose in her collection, and for a lovely weekend ♥

Monday, 20 August 2012

NOTD: Essie Turks & Caicos

{Essie Turks & Caicos, natural direct sunlight, no flash}

{Essie Turks & Caicos, natural daylight, no flash}
For anyone lusting over the {sadly} discontinued Chanel Nouvelle Vague polish that I featured last week, fear not - dupes do exist. There is no such thing as an exact dupe, however, something that comes close, for a fraction of the price, is never a bad thing.

This gorgeous turquoise polish from Essie, named Turks & Caicos, is a pretty similar dupe - although the blue and green tones are slightly more intense, and there is not even a hint of sparkle. This polish has a gorgeous creamy consistency and finish, and although it took 3 coats to reach full opacity, the longevity is seriously impressive, and I just can't stop looking at my nails, glinting in the sunshine like the beautiful clear ocean waters the shade is named after. 
{My bottle is from the Essie diffusion line, with the larger brush and reformulated polish.}

The infamous Essie Mint Candy Apple, although similar to both Nouvelle Vague and Turks & Caicos, is paler and less intense, and upon comparison is my least favourite of the three. As you can see if you look at my previous NOTD's for these shades, all three colours are a variation along the same theme, with subtle nuances, all equally beautiful in their own right.

Essie polishes can now be found in selected Boots and Superdrug stores, for £7.99, making them more accessible and also slightly dangerous for the polish fiends among us!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

NOTD: Chanel Nouvelle Vague

{Chanel Nouvelle Vague - Natural light, no flash}

Although I've often lusted over the decadently delicious and tantalising nail polish {and make up} at Chanel counters, I'd never actually tried one until last weekend - when Lydia allowed me to introduce my nails to the divine beauty that is Chanel Nouvelle Vague. This polish was released with Chanel's Summer Collection in 2010*.

This colour is so stunning, and in direct sunlight, the tiniest and most delicate of shimmers can be detected, sparkling away smugly in all their Chanel glory. This is more than just a 'turquoise' nail polish, and not just because of the designer name I hasten to add. It's a really stunning shade, with more depth than first meets the eye. I would describe this a creamy pale, blue toned turquoise, with a subtle silver pearl shimmer.

As an avid champion of the accent nail {it allows me to indulge my incurable indecisive nature}, I chose to pair this with a glitter polish from CND - another brand I had heard many good things about, but had yet to try. The blue toned sparkle is more subtle than most of the rather more obnoxious glitters I own, and lent itself perfectly to this more sophisticated summer manicure.

I'm desperate to get my mitts {excuse the pun} on some Chanel nail polishes now - although I've heard mixed reviews with regard to their longevity, and have obvious reservations based on their high end price - I was suitably impressed and can't help but want more.

*I've just looked on eBay to see if this polish was available to purchase, and people are selling it for silly money - I'm talking £80+. What the...?!

Monday, 6 August 2012

A Review: Clynol Repair

Clynol Repair
Recovery, Revive, Remedy & Caress*

What Do I Think?
For the last 2-3 months, every time I have used these products I have mentally tried to compose something constructive to say about them. It's not that I dislike them, or even have a particular problem with them, I just don't love them. I'm not overly impressed or dissatisfied, although admittedly hair products are not things I tend to get excited about in general. I am a big fan of Clynol products, my favourite shampoo {that I have just repurchased, and sold my Mum on too!} is their Colour & Care Reflex Silver Shampoo, however, this range just doesn't wow me in the way I anticipated it too. The 'repair' concept is right up my street, all of the products contain keratin, an ingredient renowned for it's restorative purposes for dry and damaged hair. Out of the four products, my favourite is probably the Recovery Repair Conditioner, it smells amazing and although it doesn't feel very substantial when you apply it, it leaves my ends tangle free, soft and healthy. In conjunction with the conditioner, is the Revive Repair Shampoo, and although this lathers nicely and leaves my hair feeling clean, it doesn't add any extra shine or bounce, and my hair feels no healthier from this than any other bog standard shampoo. The Remedy Leave-In Instant Keratin Filler is a treatment to be sprayed onto damp hair, concentrated specifically on the most damaged areas {the ends, for me}, then styled as usual. I can't stay I detected any noticeable difference, aside from leaving a nice scent, although it did help to detangle my hair when styling. The Caress Sealed Ends product is again something that I expected to really like, and perhaps I'm making unfair comparisons between this and my hair oils, but it just doesn't perform well enough, or noticeably enough, to warrant a rave review. I will use these products up, there is no reason for mindless waste, I just won't be 100% satisfied. I would just like to mention the packaging of Clynol products, as an aside. Good packaging never goes unnoticed with me, and I'm a fan of the clean, simple design, the products dispense just the right amount really easily, with no unnecessary mess.

Where Are They Available?
Clynol products are available from selected salons, and online at

How Much Do They Cost?
Shampoo: £7.95 for 300ml; Conditioner: £8.95 for 250ml; Leave-In: £8.95 for 250ml; Sealed Ends: £8.95 for 75ml.

Would I Recommend Them?
No. I like the Repair range, and I like Clynol, however, I need to LOVE hair products in order to re-purchase them, and especially as the prices are more mid-high end, I wouldn't want to buy these again.

Star Rating:

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any brands/companies mentioned. All words, opinions and photographs are 100% my own. Some links may be affiliated. Products denoted with a * were provided for review consideration purposes.