Sunday, 29 May 2011

Sample Sunday - The Body Shop Coconut Body Scrub

I know I've not been great at keeping up with my Sample Sunday Posts, but my sample stash is once again getting out of control.  I had a bit of a tidy up yesterday and all my samples don't fit into my sample box.  So I'm restarting this feature in the hope to get them under control and maybe find some hidden gems.

I've been getting my legs and underarms waxed this year, and have been loving the smoothness of it.  However, the worst thing about waxing, apart from the hairy weeks you have, are the ingrown hairs.  This has meant I've been devoting quite a lot of time to body scrubs, something that I'm usually too lazy to do.  I found this sample of Coconut Body Scrub from The Body Shop in my stash, and having been impressed with their Papya and Shea Butter scrubs, I thought I'd give it a go.

My first thoughts were that the smell of coconut was a bit strong for me.  Although I love the smell of Pina Coladas, I wasn't initially that impressed with the smell of the scrub.  However, writing this some time after using the scrub, the scent has lingered to a pleasant, tropical aroma and I actually really like it.  I suppose it depends if you like coconut or not.

As for the scrub, I looked at the first swatch dubiously, as the large black grains in the mix looked sparse and like they wouldn't get a good scrub on.  However, I was wrong about this.  The actual scrub itself has fine and densely packed scrub particles that gave just the right amount of scrubbiness.  In fact, I ended up loving this scrub. I used it on dry skin before I got into the shower and my skin feels so smooth and soft now.  I have to say that this is up there as one of the best scrubs I've ever used.  It makes your skin soft and best of all, there's no oily residue (although as I've blogged before, I was partially converted by the Body Shop's Shea Butter Scrub which did leave a residue).

I used up the whole sachet in one application, and there was only just enough to do my whole body.  However, I find with scrubs, you don't need repeated applications to see if they work or not.  They either do or they don't.  So, this works for me, and this is something that I would repurchase.  In fact, I liked it so much, that I will repurchase it next time I'm at the Body Shop.

Have you tried this yet?  What do you think of Body Shop scrubs?  I've been impressed with all the ones I've tried so far.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

My Problem Areas - Part 2: My Feet

In the second of the series looking at my problem areas, I'm going to talk about one of the less glamourous areas of my body - my feet.  I'm not going to include any photos of my feet, so you can breath a sigh of relief!

I have absolutely terrible feet.  I get hard skin on my heels that I can just about deal with using a foot file, but really horrible thick callouses on the pads of both my feet that I have never been able to get rid of, and which have become painful over the last couple of years.  This makes wearing heels painful (although I do persist) and makes the callouses even worse.  It also isn't pretty when I get my feet out. No matter what I do, I can't get rid of them.  You name it, I've tried it, using corn plaster after corn plaster, salicylic acid creams, scrubs, various different foot files, gel socks, Flexitol cream... basically the works, apart from those scarey looking tools with blades.  I've even tried "diy surgery" which basically involves cutting off the hard skin with nail scissors - really, don't try this, it doesn't work, it just makes it worse.

Whenever I've been for a pedicure, the therapist hasn't ever made a dent on my calloused feet, despite everytime hoping they would have some miracle.  However, the one thing I've never tried, and probably the most sensible thing, is to go to a Chiropodist.  Durh!

I've literally spent hundreds of pounds, if not thousands over the years.  If I'd been to a chiropodist earlier, I could've saved myself an absolute fortune.  I trotted (or hobbled on my poorly feet) down to my nearest chiropodist yesterday morning, and for the very reasonable sum of £29, she almost transformed my feet.  Using two blades, she removed all the dead skin on my callouses, relieving all the pain in my right foot.  She informed me, however, that the very large callous I have in the centre of the pad of my left foot is, infact, a corn.  She removed as much of this as she could, but said that I would have to look at other options to get rid of it completely.  There wasn't enough time to discuss this at the appointment, but I will definitely look into this in the future.  She also made a padded support to ease the pressure on this corn and showed me how to make one for myself.  This was much appreciated as I had a long drive and was going to be shopping after my appointment, two things that can be really paintful.

Interestingly, I don't find running painful, but walking and driving is a different matter. I'm sure that running is making my feet worse though, so now I'm doing more of it, I intend to look after my feet properly with regular foot care appointments with the chiropodist.  I'm also going to make a big effort to maintain my feet in a good state so hopefully I won't need to go to often.  If you are suffering from foot problems, even if they're relatively minor, I'd say to get yourself down to a Chiropodist pronto and prevent them getting worse.  Of course they are available on the NHS as well, if you're prepared for a bit of a wait.

What do you do to keep your feet in tip top condition?

Friday, 27 May 2011

Monaco Baby, Yeah! Monaco Grand Prix Fashions

This weekend is the pinacle of the Formula 1 racing calender with the Monaco Grand Prix taking place around the streets of Monte Carlo. Yeah, it's Monaco, Baby!  It's my favourite race of the year and it's such a glamorous occasion - all the celebrities come out to play.

Something you may not know about me is that I'm obsessed with Formula 1.  I love it all, I can't get enough!  I even queued up in Cribbs Causeway car park for FOUR HOURS one November morning to meet Jenson Button for 2 seconds whilst he signed a book for me...sigh.  But it's not all about the hot men.  I'm equally as interested in tyre wear, pit stop strategy and the DRS Zone.  Yes, I'm that obsessive

I thought I'd collect together some classic Monaco Grand Prix images during the years, as well as fashions from previous year's Grand Prix - it's the most stylish event of the Formula 1 season.

Grace Kelly - Princess Grace is the quintessential Monaco Style Icon

The Swimming Pool Complex - Look at those yachts

Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren Mercedes

Image from the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix

Image from the 1973 Monaco Grand Prix

Pharrell Williams, J-Lo and Marc Anthony - J-Lo is rocking a flower print with gravity defying boobs

The lovely Jenson Button with his stunning girlfriend, Jessica Michibata in a lavender body-con dress

Jude Law and Lewis Hamilton - who's hotter?

Nicole Scherzinger in electric purple - continuing the gravity defying boobs theme

Kelly Brook - Looking Beautiful in Navy Blue

Liz Hurley - Queen of the gravity defying boobs in light blue 

All images are from Google Images

One of my ambitions is to go to the Monaco Grand Prix - I must start saving as I'm going to do it luxury all the way.

In the words of Jenson Button after winning this fantastic race in 2009, "Monaco baby, yeah!"  Are you looking forward to the glitz and glamour?

Thanks for reading! xx

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Mimosa - Summer 2011 - NOTD

Well, this colour really didn't appeal to me, until I saw it in the flesh and it screamed "BUY ME" at me.  I think I need to get over my Chanel addiction, as it's hurting my wallet A Lot.  Anyway, I was sold, so this little beauty came home with me.

I actually think that I can get away with yellow nail polish - I didn't think I could, but it looks OK and not too sallow.  I think it will look better on my toes, but you really don't want to see them!  The sales assistant asked me if I was going to wear it on my toes, so I think this is how it is designed to be worn, or maybe how most non-beauty blogger will wear it.  She clearly wasn't aware that most of us bloggers think nothing of wearing outlandish nail polish and changing colours several times a week.

Evidence of some bubbling - apologies for my cuticles

This took 3 coats to give me the finish I liked.  Like all my other Chanel polishes, the application is pretty sucky, with the polish being too thick and gloopy, prone to bubbling, spreading onto the cuticles and taking ages to dry.  I finishes painting my nails 2 hours before I went to bed.  I thought they were dry... but I woke up in the morning with duvet prints on my nails - great.  I put on another top coat to disguise this, but I'm not happy with the finish - particularly on my little finger.  I also managed to get red fibres from my throw stuck onto the final top coat, so apologies for this.

Some sparkle...

Enlarge for a hint of sparkle - and terrible cuticles

The shade looks really bright in some lights, and more lemony in others.  It's certainly unusual, but I have seen a lot of yellow polishes around (indeed I own one by Avon that I've not tried yet), so you should be able to find a closeish dupe to this if you don't want to fork out nearly £17 for this.  The trademark hidden shimmer, which I always think veers towards red sparkle, is of course present in this polish. I can see it quite clearly in artificial light and very bright sunlight, but not in normal daytime conditions - you would probably be able to see it on the beach.  I've tried to take a photo showing it in the bottle and you might just be able to see it on my nails.

So all in all, another unusual colour from Chanel that will have us all wearing yellow on our fingers this summer.  I'm not sure if it's special enough for the pricetag, but I do quite like it - even my Mum said I had "trendy nails".  She of the 45 year old makeup that is...

Thanks for reading! xx

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Problem Areas – Part 1: My Knees

This is the first in a series of posts designed to focus on areas of my body that are less that beauty-licious.  We all have areas of our body that we’re not happy with; sometimes we can do something about them and sometimes not. I’m going to be looking at sorting out my problem areas and blogging about my experiences and what does and doesn’t work.

I’ll start off with my knees.  Now, I do like my knees and I think my legs are my best feature.  Despite this, the photos here are hideously unflattering, they don’t do them justice.  My knees are one of my problem areas, suffering from discolouration and leathery skin on two spots, both underneath my knees.  I also have a scar on my right knee from when I fell off my bike as a little girl, but there's nothing I can do about that!

My problem knees are a recent phenomenon, stemming from an incident a couple of years ago when I, ahem, FELL OVER IN A PUB BEER GARDEN.  Now, are you thinking that I’m a lush who can’t hold her drink?  Well, I swear, I’m not!  I had only had 2 pints of shandy (honest) and it was the end of the night and we were waiting in the darkened garden for a taxi to pick us up.  It was raining, and I was wearing the flimsiest pair of ballet slippers imaginable.  So, when the taxi arrived, and I started to walk towards it, me slipping on an uneven tarmac ramp was almost inevitable!  Both my legs buckled under me, ripping holes in both my jeans (hello Bros fans) and one of my ballet shoes.  I was quite badly grazed on my foot, hands and both my knees and one of my hands, as well as my hand.  Whilst all my cuts and grazes healed up, as well as my bruised pride, both my knees have been scarred with discoloured, leathery skin.

I’ve been religiously scrubbing and semi-religiously moisturising my knees for the past two years, but this hasn’t improved the scarring.  I don’t want to have blotchy, patching knees at my sister’s wedding in August, so I’m resorting to trying out Bio-oil.  I’ve not used it before, but it is apparently a wonder-product, so I’m excited to try it out.  I’m going to be massaging it onto my knees twice a day between now and August, as well as continuing with body scrubs daily.  The bottle says it needs 3 months to work, so that should be enough time to sort out my knees by the end of August.  I will update later in the year how this is working.  If you have any suggestion that might also help, please let me know!

Thanks for reading! xx

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Nars Carthage Pure Matte Lipstick - Summer 2011 Collection in Carthage

I think it was a mistake to buy Nars Deep Throat blush a couple of weeks ago.  It was my first Nars purchase, and now I’m well and truly hooked on the brand.  I saw online some swatches of the Pure Matte Lipstick in Carthage from the Nars Summer 2011 Collection and immediately decided that it had to be mine.  I needed an excuse to go to Space NK anyway to pick up my Birthday N-Dulge treat, but Nars is always a good excuse. I nearly came away with a host of eyeshadows as well, but I managed to resist

Natural Light

Artificial Light

Carthage is an almost scarily bright pink, blue toned, matte lipstick, and it’s way out of my comfort zone.  I have nothing like it in my collection.  I wore it with simple eyes and a black top, so I didn’t look like a clown or drag queen.  On my skin, it swatches very true to the tube, and is pretty bright and scary.  It’s definitely not a lippy for wearing to work (unless you work in the fashion industry) or to a wedding.  However, as a statement lipstick, I do really like it.  I tend to go for heavy eyes and muted lips, so it makes a bit of a change for me.

I applied it first by outlining with a lip brush, something that I almost never do, and went over it directly from the tube.  I like the smallness of the lipstick as it’s easier to apply with precision, but it still looks slightly wonky on my (admittedly slightly wonky) lips. 

Natural Light

Artificial Light

I had expected the lipstick, which promises to last for ages, to be drying on my lips, particularly given its matte formula.  I did find it slightly drying, but nothing that couldn’t be cured with a swipe of lipbalm prior to application.  It did last a good long time on me.  It survived several drinks, a 3 course meal and several more drinks, with most of the lipstick still on when I came to remove it at the end of the day.  I’m impressed with this staying power, as I have never had a lipstick last even through a cup of coffee.  I feel the purchase of some more wearable colours coming on...

For £18.50, it’s a pricey purchase, and I think I should’ve bought a colour that I would get more wear from.  However, I’m impressed with the quality and staying power and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it if you’re after a bright colour with an on-trend matte finish.

NOTD - Deborah Lippmann Marquee Moon

I couldn't resist popping Marquee Moon by Deborah Lippmann into my online basket when I was putting in a little online order at House of Fraser a couple of weeks ago.  I already have Across the Universe and I love it - it's such a special nail polish.  I was hoping that Marquee Moon, with it muted silver colour and large silver foil particles, would be equally as special.  It's also named after one of my favourite songs.

Whereas Across the Universe was a gel formula, with a sheer base colour, Marquee Moon is more of a creamy formula and is a lot less sheer.  The result was a lot less muted than Across the Universe, without the depth and build-up of different layers of polish.  In fact, I felt that after 3 layers, I was pretty much done.  Application was OK, but I found that the distribution of the foil particles was sparse and I didn't get the effect I was looking for.  I think the foils were slightly too big to apply easily, annd it was hard to get them off the brush onto the nail.  I also managed to smudge a nail and apologies for the dreadful state of my cuticles!

However, although it didn't give the effect I was after, I do quite like it, as well as the randomness of the foil distribution.  Whether it is worth the £14 price tag, I doubt, as it is not as special as I had hoped.  However, it is a very pretty and pretty unique polish and I don't regret buying it.

Have you tried any of Deborah Lippmann's polishes?

Monday, 23 May 2011

Vintage and Chanel Birthday Goodies and FOTD

I just thought I'd post about a few things I got for my birthday today, as I'm thrilled with them!

Kicking off the French theme, the first is a piece of 1920s antique jewellery that my friend found for me in an antique market in France.  She knows me so well, as I absolutely love it!  It's a very long beaded piece, with knots in it and tassels.  It's basically a cross between a long necklace and a scarf - I love necklaces and scarves, so it's perfect for me!  It's so beautiful! Scroll down for a picture of me wearing it

Secondly I got some Chanel makeup from my boyfriend ooh la la!  Naturally, I sent him the website links and even told him that Boots would deliver it to our neighbourhood shop!  I asked him for Chanel Les 4 Ombres Eyeshadow in Murano and Le Vernis Nail Colour in Black Pearl.  Here are the pictures and swatches...

I must apologise for my FOTD post - I don't look at my best and my hair decided to go 'rock-chick'!

Here's the makeup I used:

Mac Studio Fix Concealer
Lancome Teinte Miracle Foundation
Bare Escentuals Mineral Veil
Nars Blusher in Deep Throat
Chanel Les 4 Ombres Eyeshadow in Murano - pink all over the lid, the darker silver at the outer corners and the crease, the darkish green in the outer v and the pale blueish green as a highlight.
Mac Smoulder
Lancome Hypnose Mascara
Nars Carthage Matte Lipstick, mostly wiped off with lipbalm applied on top

I picked up the pink swirly top from Next last week for £18.  I really love all the prints that are around at the moment! It works well with my antique French scarf/necklace non?

I can't wait to play around more with this palette and the nail polish!

Thanks for reading!  xx

Age Ain't Nothing But a Number???

Today's my birthday and I'm now the ripe old age of 32.  I was chatting with quite a few 'older' beauty bloggers (that is to say 30 plus) on Twitter on Friday night and I started thinking about the benefits and disadvantages of blogging when you're older rather than younger.

A few people said that if they had started blogging when they were 19 or 20 they would have been doing face of the day posts every day.  I'm sure that I would've been doing that, as well as outfit of the day posts, with my skinny late teens/early twenties figure.  The lines and wrinkles which are slowly being to appear were the least of my worries, then, and I had not a grey hair in sight!  I could also fit into clothes much better than I do now, even though I'm now about the same weight I was then, it's distributed differently now.  So, I'm sure there are loads of benefits from being a younger beauty blogger; not least the clear skin, bright eyes and the ability to be able to fit into figure hugging outfits!

However, on reflection, for me personally I'm happy that I didn't start blogging until I was older for a number of reasons.

1. I had absolutely no style when I was younger.  I liked fashion and clothes, but I had no idea on how to style outfits or put things together.  Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn't, more often than not, it didn't!  I'm embarrassed enough at some of my sartorial statements making the odd appearance on Facebook, so I'd rather not have them for all the world to see on a personal blog!  Although I still get it wrong occasionally, I'm much more confident in my personal style and tastes now, and make a lot less bad fashion decisions!

2. I had no money when I was younger.  This would've been quite a hindrance to beauty blogging, as every six months or so, I'd have a new item to blog about!  It wouldn't make for great reading...  I remember when I was a young teenager actually saving up my pocket money for several weeks to buy some clear mascara from Collection 2000!  I think it cost about £2!  I did always work part time when I was an older teenager and at uni, but I still couldn't afford many goodies.  I once bought some Clinique cream when I was at uni, and I treated it like gold dust - I think this was my only high end purchase until I was about 30.  Not that I earn mega bucks now, but I do have the disposable income to treat myself to posh makeup and beauty products from time to time, as well as being able to buy cheaper brands, and I like that very much.  I think if I'd started blogging earlier, I would've been tempted to buy products that I couldn't afford and that could have been a financial nightmare!

3. GHDs hadn't been invented.  There was a dim and distant day, back before 2002, when I did not own a pair of GHDs and had to struggle with my hair myself.  My hair is thick, wavy with a tendency towards frizz.  I can blow dry it straight and sleek if I like - however, this takes about 45 minutes to do, and I simply never had the time or could be bothered to do it properly.  My hair was awful back then, usually a horrendous, frizzy mess - not a good look for blogging purposes.  GHDs have given me back my hair, and they are my absolute top beauty product ever!

4. Technology wouldn't allow me to blog.  Well back in 1997 when I left home, I had a clunking old pc that took up half my uni desk.  It didn't have internet, although you could get online in the computer labs at uni. I didn't even get my first mobile until 1998, and I was an early adopter, being the first of my friends to get a mobile.  I remember making a catalogue of my jewellery by taking photographs, getting the film developed, and scanning in the photos.  I didn't get a digital camera until 2002 and that would never take good close ups.  Until I got a decent camera a couple of years ago, I'd use a scanner for taking pictures of jewellery for ebay etc.  I certainly couldn't have taken good face of the days unless I'd scanned my face - have you ever tried that with a photocopier - not a good look!

5. I know myself a lot better now and I'm much more confident.  I'm naturally a shy person, but I'm much more confident in my opinions and what I like now than I was ten years ago.  I'm not sure if I would've had such an interesting blog back then, as I'd keep my opinions to myself!  Actually, I'm a late starter in my career and I prefer that as well, much like blogging, I'm far more confident in myself than I was as a 20 year old.  I'm also more confident in my writing style, as I write stuff all day at work.

So there you go, this is why I like the fact I'm a slightly older blogger!  I'm not saying it's wrong to be a younger blogger at all, and I love reading blogs by people of all ages.  It's just that for me, I do actually like being in my 30s and I'm happy that I didn't start this blog ten years ago.  It's just a shame that I have to deal with wrinkles and grey hair at the same time...

Thanks for reading! xx

Thursday, 19 May 2011

A Lovely Parcel from Glossybox

Today I've had a long, hard day - I got up at 6 to catch the 7.30 train to London to exhibit at a trade fair.  I was on my feet in heels all day, and I'm really tired. So it was a lovely surprise to come home to my first Glossybox, which I ordered a few weeks ago.  Look how pretty and beautifully packaged it was.

So did it live up to the hype?  What was the brand beginning with N with the most famous product beginning with O?  Was it Nars? Well, yes it was!

The products look fab.  There's a handy sheet explaining what all the products are, including a full sized Nars Orgasm Illuminator, All for Eve Eve Red Lipstick, Bionova Lab Bioactive Cleanser, Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Rapid Repair Spray and COMO Shambhala Invigorate Body Lotion.  

Here is a swatch of the Nars Orgasm Illuminator and the Eve Red Lipstick

For £10, I think this is a brilliant was to test out new products and find interesting niche brands.  I'm sure that the first box will be the best, but I'm looking forward to seeing future boxes as well.  I must say that the box it comes in is rather pretty too.  I'll be saving them up for using to wrap Christmas pressies and presents for my sister's wedding later in the summer.

Have you ordered a Glossybox?  Are you tempted?

Thanks for reading! xx


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