31 May 2013

REN hydra-calm global protection day cream review


In my continued search for the perfect day cream I've been trying out the *Hydra-calm global protection day cream from REN's sensitive skin range.

I struggle a lot when it comes to day creams - most of the ones that give the sort of anti-ageing and skin evening and refining properties I'm after are just too rich for my skins oily patches, and most end up being relegated to night-time use only for that reason.  This one from REN is refreshingly light, and is absorbed almost instantly, so first impressions were good.

Hydra-calm is designed to balance the skin and reduce any inflammation - it contains arctic blackcurrant seed and arctic seabuckthorn berry oil which contain Omega 3 and 7 for inflammation, Bisabolol to soothe and reduce redness, and also a 'Global protection complex' with anti-oxidants to help protect against UV damage.

I'd certainly agree that this moisturiser offers those calming benefits - my skin can get quite red in patches and can be prone to being quite sensitive, so that's a real bonus for me.  I love that it's quite light and sinks in fast but doesn't leave the drier areas of my face feeling parched - my skin feels comfortable and supple after using this, and ready for the next steps in my routine.  

So is this my perfect day cream?  I'm not sure, I think I'll need to use it to the end of the tube to be sure.  Also I'd prefer if it also contained more anti-ageing benefits, but if it did it'd probably be too rich for my skin... aaargh.  

Talking of REN I've also recently added the glycolactic renewal mask back into my routine for a once a week fix and my skin seems to be thanking me.  I reviewed that one here.  Next on my list from REN is the Invisible pores detox mask - it sounds like a winner.


Have you tried any moisturisers from REN?  What's your favourite day cream?

29 May 2013

New Steve Madden Dyvine heels

Ahhh there's nothing like a new pair of shoes to put a smile on my face.  Especially when I find the perfect pair I've been hunting for.  I somehow decided that my Spring wardrobe needed some tan leather chunky high heels with a peep-toe and a t-bar strap - I'd not really seen these shoes anywhere, I just sort of thought of them.  The problem I had of course, was finding somewhere which sold the shoes I'd made up in my head!

I started to try all of the obvious places online like asos, topshop and aldo and I found a few shoes which were nice, but they weren't quite right - some were the right shoe but not in tan, some were the style I wanted but without a peep toe, and quite a few of the nearly-shoes had a wedge and I really wasn't looking for a wedge this time, I wanted a chunky high heel.

My boyfriend laughed at me for trying to find a shoe that might not exist, so that spurred me on even more so that I could prove him wrong!  The answer was to try a comparison site which would search all of the online stores for me - I went onto uniprice and using keywords like t-bar, leather, tan etc I managed to track down exactly the shoes I was looking for and they turned out to be these beauties from Steve Madden.


I bought the Steve Madden Dyvine heels from dune - they're sold out in a few sizes on there now, but you can also find them at Selfridges and House of Fraser.

I love most of Steve Madden's designs, but I didn't think if looking at that designer when I was searching for my perfect t-bar peep-toes so I'm really glad I found these in the end.  They're pretty much exactly what I wanted - the only difference is that I hadn't planned on getting shoes quite this high, but I'm only just over five feet tall so it doesn't really matter!

This is the second pair of Steve Madden shoes I've bought - neither pair are all that comfy to walk in, but they look amazing and make me feel fabulous, which is the real point of shoes surely... :) 

28 May 2013

nakd raw fruit and nut bars


Have you ever tried anything from *nakd before?  I was recently sent a selection of their natural goodies to try out.  The protein bars are all made from raw fruit and nuts mashed together without any nasties - they're 100% natural so certainly good for anyone trying to do the 'eat clean' thing.

The texture of the bars is a bit unusual at first, and I also found it crazy to think that there's only fruit and nuts in what I was eating.  I didn't like all of the bars I tried - cocoa orange and banana bread were my favourites - my boyfriend liked berry delight and apple pie.  He also loved the cherry flavour raisins - they're seriously infused with flavour!

My supply of these is nearly gone as I had them in a bowl in my living room and every time someone comes round another dissappears!  My friend came round the other day to get me to help her to look at laser hair removal costs, she's always struggled with keeping the fuzzies away and has finally decided to go for it and get it professionally done.  She scoffed all of the crazy cola raisins while she was here - she loved them so we had to have a look and see which supermarket sells them so she could stock up - luckily they sell them on Ocado.  You can also get all of the products direct from naturalbalancefoods.co.uk

neom luxury organics limited edition enchantment home candle


All Neom candles are beautiful, but the latest offering - the enchantment candle - is on another level entirely.  I have to admit, embarrassing as it is, that I'm just as in love with the box as I am with the candle!  This is a box which I'll find a use for somewhere around the house - no throwing it away.

Breaking the usual trend the *enchantment candle is in white glass and comes with a richly coloured wooden lid.  I'm really liking this new design, and it's complimented beautifully by the outer packaging too.  I try not to say this too often, as I could say it about most pretty things I feature, but this really would make a perfect gift - I'd certainly be delighted to get this candle as a present.

The enchantment scent is one that I think is perfect for burning on long summer nights.  The fragrance is a combination of bluebell, sweet guaicwood and rose - it smells gorgeous and a lot like lilies to my unrefined candle sniffing nose.  This has to be my favourite Neom candle so far, it's such a beaut.

Which is your favourite Neom scent?

27 May 2013

kiko fierce spirit summer collection review and swatches


KIKO have brought out a limited edition summer collection called fierce spirit - it's inspired by warm atmospheres, earth and fire.  Everything looks so warm and vibrant - it's the perfect collection to set off a tan, even if it's a fake one...


The *sun bronzing blush has a mix of three colours which you can use mixed together or separately.  The darkest is a matte terracotta type colour, then there's a warm coral and a shimmery pink.  Swirled together you get a lovely glowy coral rose colour.  I'm in love with the design of the compact on this one too.


*Glo touch is a duo product for both lips and cheeks.  I have the rather fabulously named bitter margarita - it's a bright pinky coral and you can use this for a subtle hint of colour or you can really build it up as I've done in this swatch.

The *colour shock long lasting eyeshadows gave me a bit of the fear when I opened the lids as they look so strong, but swatched they're gorgeous.  Both have a beautiful iridescence to them when they catch the light.  You can't see it as well with decisive stone, but it has hints of bluey-purple shining through the deep grey when the light hits - it's a lovely mysterious sort of shade - perfect for smokey eyes on summer nights.

Both shades applied really easily - they're a very creamy formula and they're highly pigmented so a little goes a long way.


I also tried the *sun pearl nail lacquers in two shades I'd probably never have picked for myself but I'm glad to have them in my collection now because they scream summer.  You literally need to put sunglasses on to look at amable chartreuse.  Both have subtle shimmery glitter running through which catches the light and adds to the whole glistening summer vibe of the collection.  These polishes were really opaque in two coats and very glossy too.  For some reason they make me think of being on a cruise ship - no idea why!


Lastly is this *sunproof BB cream which has a super creamy texture and high coverage for a BB cream but it still feels light on the skin.  It also has spf 30.  I have the shade medium which is a bit too dark for my face right now, but once I'm (fake) tanned I think it'll be just right.

There are lots of other products and shades in the fierce spirit collection - you can see them all here - KIKO cosmetics fierce spirit.

What do you think of the fierce spirit collection?  Sun bronzing blush and glo touch are my favourites.  

26 May 2013

MAC baking beauties collection - raspberry swirl cremesheen lipstick


I didn't mean to buy anything else from the MAC baking beauties collection after I got the buttercream pearlmatte face powder I blogged about here.  But, after having an idle little swatch of the lipsticks in an airport I decided I needed to buy raspberry swirl.  

Raspberry swirl is a cool but bright pink - to me it's like a Barbie bubblegum pink.  Not so flattering in terms of showing up stained teeth, but a gorgeous shade all the same.  I'm whitening my teeth at the moment anyway, so I figured this would look even better after I've done that.  

It's a cremesheen, which is my favourite MAC formula because it's quite creamy and applies really evenly and gives full coverage.  

Were you tempted by the Baking Beauties collection?

25 May 2013

Popbands in new summer colours


You might remember a while back when I reviewed popbands for the first time in this post.  Since then some new summer colours have been launched and I got to play with two brightly coloured multi-packs.


Popbands are dubbed the 'no rip, no slip hair band' because they're so much kinder to your hair than your normal skinny elastic hair bands which can often tangle and pull out bits of hair as well as feeling either too tight or too loose in you hair and leaving a dent to show where they've been.  Popbands solve all of these issues and they do it with style.


This is the *peace multipack from the new Summer range.  You get 5 popbands in the pack in bright summer colours and the design is almost a subtle tie-dye effect as the colours  fade in a random pattern.  


The other popbands I tried out are from the *glo multipack which contains 5 hot neon popbands.  I love the bright pink and yellow.


Because I didn't explain what popbands are quite clearly enough last time I blogged about them I thought I'd try to demo a little better!  Although there's a knotted end on each band you don't need to do any tying or untying - it's a really stretchy band of fabric which you can use to tie your hair up in a pony tail or in a big messy bun on the top of your head - which is what I do every evening.  


They're also the perfect size for keeping on your wrist when you're not wearing your hair up but might feel the need later on if your hair is making you hot or getting in the way.

You can see the whole popbands range here - thepopband.com - or if you're looking for the summer colours you'll find them here.  The multipacks of 5 cost £6 each.

24 May 2013

Rio professional teeth whitening kit


I think I've probably mentioned on the blog before that I'm keen to get my teeth whitened.  I've looked into laser teeth-whitening a few times but to be really honest I'm a little bit afraid of it and I'm not entirely sure why!  I plucked up the courage once and booked in and then on the day I was due to go I came down with a sickness bug - I think I was relieved to have a good excuse to chicken out!  I haven't gotten around to manning up and re-booking yet, and perhaps I won't need to as Rio have sent me a teeth whitening kit I can use myself for some less scary at home teeth whitening instead.

Rio have a huge range of professional beauty solutions covering dental hygiene, electrolysis, eyebrow threading, nail art and loads more.  I've tried their roller waxer before and was very impressed with it, so I'm quite confident about trying out the teeth whitener.  I'm also thinking about trying their 14 day UV polish kit which is like a gel top and base coat you can use with normal nail polish colours to make a mani it last for two weeks - my nails usually chip in two days so that would be amazing!    

So anyway, I thought I'd introduce the teeth whitening kit to you now and share my first impressions, and then I'll do another post after I've been using it and hopefully I'll have some impressive before and after shots of my pearly whites.

I've tried teeth whitening strips before - the stronger ones you get from the US - but I didn't get on very well with them.  I didn't like the feel of the strips on my teeth and (sorry if this is too much information!) I felt like my mouth was filling with saliva and I just couldn't stand keeping them on for very long.  Teeth whitening toothpastes only ever brighten slightly or whiten by a single shade, so I'm really hoping this kit will be the answer for me.

*Rio's professional teeth whitening system costs £79.99 and it really does look rather clinical and very professional to me.  It comes with mouthpieces which you mould to the shape of your own mouth (by popping them in hot water) for a neat fit, the whitening gels and then the machine which delivers the blue-light technology to do the whitening magic.  You only need to use it for 20 minutes at a time - so that sounds much more appealing to me than the strips I'd tried before which you were supposed to keep in all night.

I'm not sure how many times I'll need to use the kit to get the level of bright whiteness I'm after (not quite Simon Cowell gnashers but close!) so I'll give it a go and then report back with some comparisons to see how much whiter my teeth are.

If you've got any teeth whitening tips for me, please leave them in the comments - I'd love to know if you've tried something like this too and how you got on.  

23 May 2013

How I store my perfumes / my perfume collection


I like having plenty of choice when it comes to perfume and have loads of bottles on the go at once, but storing them can become a bit of a problem.  Most of the perfumes I like come in really pretty bottles, so it's a shame to store them away when they could look so good displayed nicely.  I wanted to come up with a way to keep the bottles tidy at the same time as being a bit of a feature.  

What I came up with in the end was quick and easy to put together, so I thought I'd share it with you.  All you need is a wire fruit or cake stand with a few tiers like this one from Homebase and something to line it with so that the bottles don't fall over - I used this drawer liner material from Ikea.


The drawer liner comes on a roll so I rolled it out and roughly measured the base of each tier and drew a circle to cut around.  I then cut a slit half way across from an outer edge to the centre of the circle to fit them around the base of each tier.  No need to do this for the top tier on my stand as the central support only goes through tier two and three.  

Without the liner I found that most of my perfumes wouldn't stay upright in the stand and the wire base of the tiers wasn't sturdy enough for them.  The drawer liner provides a more even surface and some grip against the glass bottles.  

I also used to use a cake stand like this to store and display my lush bath bombs and bubble bars but I found they didn't last so well being out in the air and direct sunlight - they keep much better now that I store them in a big tin.

So that's literally it - all that was left do was to fill the stand with my prettiest perfumes and admire my new storage solution / pretty display.


It seems as good a time as any to have a little walk through some of my current scents - first of all here we have all of my Marc Jacobs perfumes.  As you can see I have a fair few - I always seem to like the fragrances Marc Jacobs brings out - the bottles are gorgeous and the scents are lovely too - they're usually really girlie and I've loved all of the ones I've tried.  I'm really looking forward to adding the newest one - honey - to my collection.  


The original Daisy is probably my favourite as I think I'm on my third or fourth bottle now.  Daisy eau so fresh (sunshine edition with the brightly coloured flowers) is my current favourite as it's the newest addition to my collection.  It's not actually on my perfume stand as I've been keeping it on my dressing table and obsessing over how pretty it is for the last few weeks or so!  Dot has a lovely fresh fragrance and such a fabulous bottle design, as does Lola, although that's probably my least favourite of the bunch.  Kumquat is one of the tropical splash perfumes which I bought on a whim when I was delayed at an airport - the bottle doesn't stand out next to its more extravagant cousins but I love the fragrances and keep meaning to buy the others from the same range - they're quite reasonably priced too.

And these are some of my other favourites from a variety of different brands.


L'Occitane's Pivoine delicate was one of my firm favourites this time last year and I still love this gorgeous floral scent - I blogged about it here.  Nina by Nina Ricci is a fragrance I've repurchased a couple of times - it's quite reasonable and makes a great every day perfume.  In total contrast is Dior's J'adore which is probably the most expensive perfume I own - it's the one I think of as my signature fragrance and I've got through countless bottles of this - I always ask for one at Christmas to keep my supplies going!  I've been wearing this perfume on and off for about 7 years or so - it's a go to fragrance for me for any special or important occasion - it somehow makes me feel more ladylike and sophisticated when I wear it.  Lastly I have two fairly new perfumes.  Vera Wang princess, which I mainly bought because I liked the bottle - I saw it in a gift set at half price to I bought it without trying it - luckily I liked the sweet and fruity scent.  Victoria's Secret Angel has a lovely show-stopping bottle too, although I made sure I liked the fragrance before I bought this one in duty free on my way home from Canada.  I have the matching body spray to this too and like to layer them up to make the fragrance last longer.  

How do you store your perfume?  What's your favourite?

21 May 2013

My Barry M gelly polish collection


I've found myself getting more and more colours from the Barry M gelly polish collection since the sun has started to shine.  I really love the thick and glossy formula of these polishes and I think they're pretty amazing for their £3.99 price tag.  As I've bought a few new colours recently I thought I'd show you all of the gelly polishes I own.


I was about to say which of these is my favourite but I really can't choose.  Pomegranate and Watermelon and more winter colours, so they're not coming out to play much at the moment - the polish I've worn the most out of all of these is Lychee - it's the perfect classic nude.  I'm loving all of the brights and have been having fun wearing them all at once like in this.  I was wearing papaya just the other day, which is much more coral than orange when it's on, and I currently have grapefruit on my toes.  

I'm a little bit crazy for these polishes at the moment and as some more summer colours have just been launched I can;t see my obsession ending any time soon!  

You can pick up the Barry M gelly polishes for £3.99 from Boots and Superdrug where they're currently on 3 for 2.  

Can you pick a favourite?