Sunday, 4 October 2015

Pure Super Active Eye Serum - Review


'Pure' is not a brand I'd heard a lot about - until I was just browsing along on the M&S website (as you do!) when they had one of their 20% off beauty promotions back in April.  I spotted the range - here, read a few reviews, and ended up with a couple of products in the bag just out of curiosity ... also as you do! 

A picture of the Pure Super Active Eye Serum

A picture of the Pure Super Active Eye Serum

M&S describe the Pure Super Active Eye Serum as 'a potent blend of naturally active ingredients rich in omega 3 and omega 7', free from silicones, mineral oil and parabens and suitable for all skin types - it's meant to gently soothe, condition, smooth and help improve the appearance of the skin around the eye area.  It sounds impressive - especially for the price of £10/15ml  which is a fraction of the price of some of the eye products I've used over the years - this is such an unassuming little bottle that I really wasn't sure what to expect!

Fist up the smell ... I can't really detect any particular scent even though it contains 100% essential oil fragrances - must just be my nose!  The consistency is not thick or overly creamy but has a lotion like texture so it's easy to apply around the eyes and is absorbed in no time at all! You only need a small blob and this is very easily dispensed with the pump action (hooray for good pump action!).  As to the performance ... at my age there is always going to be 'fine line activity' going on - if you get my drift - however ... the surrounding eye area definitely seems smoothed, hydrated and much less crepey.  I also realised a couple of months ago that the lines across the top of my brow bone had reduced - I know this because I used to sometimes have to apply a serum before 'doing my brows' at times - the lines were pretty deep and brow products would 'sit' in them if I didn't iron them out first!  All of a sudden they're practically gone and the Super Active Eye Serum is the only product I've been using without fail around the orbital bone every night (apart from the two weeks on holiday) so I am presuming it's done it's job ... and pretty well too!

All in all I've been really impressed with this little product.  Such simple packaging but very effective , does what is says on the can and extremely affordable - especially when there is a 20% off promotion on - I'll definitely be repurchasing.  I do have another eye product, previously purchased at more than double the cost of the Pure Eye Serum to use next - be interesting to see how it compares!

Have you tried out any skincare products from the Pure range? Which is your favourite?

Jen x

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

SBC 5 Piece Shower & Gel Collection - Review


SBC (Simply Beautiful Collection) is a British company who have actually been around for 25 years, creating products for salons and therapists using many natural and botanical ingredients.  Their range of prescriptive gels, moisturisers, serums, polishes, cleansers and bath and body essentials which they describe as 'fuss-free, practical, effective, affordable pampering' are available on their website here or on QVC here.  Being a bit of a QVC addict ... as you may know ... I couldn't resist ordering the SBC  5 Piece Shower and Gel Collection when it was on offer a while ago ... I think it was around £38 and on easy pay so each of these whopping 500ml sizes worked out at around £8! 

A picture of the SBC 5 Piece Shower and Gel Collection

Collagen Skincare Gel - I think we're all aware of the benefits of a good shot of collagen -  we all want a piece of it don't we ... especially when we get a bit long in the tooth!   This water-based gel contains marine collagen and is a great product to add into a regime, to address dry or de-hydrated skin (face or body) and help with the look for fine lines and wrinkles as a 'quick-fix'.  It  leaves  the surface of the skin plumped, hydrated and silky and sinks in so easily with no greasy or  tight feeling. It has no particular scent that I can detect but just smells 'clean and fresh' if that makes sense!   I've mainly applied to my neck/decolletage area (either on it's own or layered over the top of another neck cream) and also on the tramlines on my forehead.  It can also be used as an  overnight face mask or plumping hand treatment and also on the lines around ones eyes or as an under make-up primer - I'll definitely be giving these a go and will report back!  A bit of a multi-tasker then and this large size is so cost effective - I love that you can use a pump here and a pump there without having to save it for a treat!

Propolis Bath and Shower Gel and Skincare Gel - I've known for a while that Propolis is said to deliver a variety of health and skincare benefits but reading about it has honestly fascinated me.  A complex extract created by bees, used to seal the hive and help keep the inside environment free from bacteria and disease etc, it's been used way back by ancient civilisations for it's medicinal properties and is today acknowledged as naturally anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal. I use the Propolis bath and shower gel for a super-gentle cleanse when my skin is feeling a bit stressed, dried out and irritated or on the verge of an eczema flare up.  The skincare gel can be used as a serum for problematic skin - apparently you're meant to use a fine layer on the appropriate area and smooth on rather than rub in - you can then follow with a body lotion if desired.  I've used the gel on patches of eczema on my arms, on dry cracked areas on my feet, after shaving underarms - as this area can get a bit sensitive and on my young daughter's t-zone to help clear up hormonal blemishes - rather than turning to a harsh spot treatment which may only dry her skin out.  It soothes and calms the skin and just seems to be a great all rounder for all the family with a subtle scent of honey.

Arnica Shower Creme and Skincare Gel - Arnica appears to be another 'oldie but goodie' - a traditional herbal remedy used to help relieve aches and pains, muscular tension and as a treatment for bruising and swelling. This is the duo I reach for after a session at the gym or a hefty body pump class when things tend to ache and groan - it's not meant as a cure but to help relieve tension and tightness. The shower creme has a pleasant, warming aroma to it and soothes my tired old body!  I try to massage the gel into any knotty and tense areas, seems to be my shoulders, biceps and quads after a class but I've also used it on my lower back if that's been aching a bit!   I have a feeling the Arnica duo will really come into it's own during the colder Winter months when my muscles seem to seize and tighten up all the more.

I love this kind of skincare - yes it's very nice to have a fancy bit of pretty packaging but for me it's what's inside that counts and I would rather pay for an effective product in a simple package rather than the other way around! The skincare gels can all be layered or mixed with other products either within or outside of the SBC range (I've layered a different body lotion over both the Propolis and Arnica gels) so you can really tailor the whole she-bang to meet your needs! I almost daren't look too closely at all the different formulas available on QVC (never mind the actual SBC website!) there are so many and being me I'll want to try them all!

Have you tried out any products from SBC? Which one would you be tempted to go for?

Jen x

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Skincare Routine - AM


It's been a while since I 'did' my skincare routine so without further ado here's the morning bunch I've been using over the last few months  ...

The products go from right to left ... because I didn't think and just photographed them that way ...!

Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash - reviewed here. An old favourite that I've been using on and off for a few years now. Described as being suitable for normal/combination skin - I tend to turn to it in Summer as it's so refreshing and is ideal for a morning wash but doesn't dry my skin out.  I took a travel size on holiday this year and it was perfect for both myself and my daughter!

Alpha H Balancing Cleanser - another one I've used before and I've alternated it with the Balance Me Face Wash over the last few months.  This supersize came with a TSV from QVC so was excellent value for money - it gives a good cleanse and can be used am or pm but I've mainly been using it in the morning.   This particular tube is coming to an end now but it's one I'd definitely go for again as it's not thick or heavy but is more like a lotion in texture, it just slips over the skin as you massage in - I love the fact that it contains aloe vera and we all know how good for skin that is!

Alpha H Absolute Eye Complex - I reviewed this a good couple of years ago and always try to get hold of it in a kit or when it's on offer. I don't use it every morning but alternate with the Idealia Eyes below - it's great for pepping up extra-tired eyes as it feels so cooling and revitalising.  It contains ingredients to temporarily lift and tighten, detoxify and gently resurface and you can apply all over the eye area, top and bottom lid right up to the lash line.

Vichy Idealia Eyes - this was reviewed fairly recently here. Great product for helping with dark circles and dullness and certainly brightens up the eye area on a morning. I especially reach for it when I have my contacts in and my eyes are exposed in all their 'non-glory' to the whole world! We don't want to scare anyone do we!

Liz Earle Instant Boots Skin Tonic- needs no introduction or explanation even! One of my all time favourite toners for refreshing and moisturising that's actually nearly finished.  I do dip into other brands but I'm sure this will be a constant repurchase on and off for years to come!

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant - I received this sample in a beauty box ages ago. I only use it every few days (as I use other types of exfoliants at different stages in the week) but I love it as it's so gentle and just gives a little bit of a polish without scratching or irritating the skin.

Nuxe Nuxellence Jeunesse Youth and Radiance Revealing Fluid - this was included in a Nuxe travel kit a while ago and I didn't really know what to expect - after all I'm slightly addicted to my Vichy Aqualia Thermal below!  It can be used am and/or pm but I stick to the morning as I'm addicted to facial oils of a night-time! It has a light but velvety texture, glides on and sinks in easily and does seem to deliver as my skin seems smoothed and brightened - I'm impressed. I tend to save it for when my skin is feeling a bit lacklustre and dull and then use for a few days on the go. It's a bit expensive at £47/50ml so I'll wait until there is a decent offer on to repurchase the full size. I'd be interested to see how it compares to the Vichy Idealia Life Serum which I've yet to try - so that could be a little experiment in the making!

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum - I really don't feel the need to harp on about this one - I've done so many times before and reviewed it what seems like a lifetime ago - it's such a great product for a hit of cooling hydration over the summer months!  I've repurchased many times and already have another put away for a rainy day or should I say rainy summertime!

Olay Essentials Complete Care SPF30 Day Lotion - this was an impulse buy a few months ago - I don't always use a separate SPF (as I can't stand too many 'layers of stuff' on my face at times) so  this seemed like a good all rounder.  Have to say I'm really surprised - it's a good consistency, goes on and absorbs easily and keeps my skin feeling comfortable all day and doesn't break me out - of course I am using a couple of good serum based products up above and that obviously makes a difference!   I'm really not into spending a fortune on face cream and this does the job perfectly and was a complete bargain as it was something like under a fiver on offer. I have a feeling it may no longer be available now as I can't find it online but I have another stashed away for now!

So that's been my morning skincare routine over the Summer months. Have you used any of these products ...which is your favourite? 

Jen x

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The Wedding Outfit Dilemma ... Part 2!


So ... if you read my original Wedding Outfit post here you'll know I was after something special to wear for my brother's nuptials! We returned from holiday and I went into 'panic dress buying mode' as I had a week to sort everything out before the big day.  That was over two weeks ago and if you follow me on Instagram you'll know which dress I opted for anyway! But ... since I'd photographed the dresses (in haste and on my phone - hey ho!) I thought I'd follow up ... I've not added individual links to each dress as they are all on my Pinterest page here ...

The first three are from the House of  Fraser and were all reduced in the sale ... there seems to be a 'cap sleeve' theme going on ...!

Cap sleeved with lace overlay and gathered skirt ... Mum liked this one ... it has a bit of a 'Prom' look to it and I thought the lace was really pretty but I knew straight away it was too flouncy and full in the skirt for me ... it would have suited my young daughter much better! You can tell I'm uncomfortable if you look at the stiffness of my right arm there!

Described as 'Cascading Floral' - (Mum didn't like this one anyway!) I quite fancied the idea of something floral and fitted.  It did feel lovely and comfortable on but ... a) it was the most expensive - reduced from £159 to £70 or something? I've never spent that amount on a dress so it would have had to have been absolutely perfect and b) the cap sleeves bothered me - they made me feel like an extra aboard the Starship Enterprise in a Star Trek spectacular!

More cap sleeves - this time with lace shoulders and a sweetheart neckline ... I had a real soft spot for this one and my mum liked it (she said it reminded her of the dresses she used to wear during the fifties in India!). It came a close second - felt really pretty and dainty on but due to the rigid waistband I couldn't take a deep breath in the size 8 and the 10 was a little too big, plus the large and very obvious silver zip on the back bothered me - don't ask why it just did!

This red lace 'Anita and Green' number from New Look turned out to be the one! I loved everything about it ... the colour, the lace, the fact that the sleeves were longer, it wasn't too fitted or too flouncy too baggy, long or short - you know when something just 'feels right'?  The pics don't do it justice ... plus it was reduced in the sale and was an absolute bargain , as were the shoes I also 'stumbled' up in the New Look sale!

A close up of the lace detail below ... and an 'outfit selfie' from the wedding day (you can't walk past a large full length hotel mirror without doing so can you?!). I treated myself to a new Benefit Roller Lash mascara for the big day as I knew it would do a good mascara job in a jiffy and be easy to touch up with no clumps and ol' faithful Kate Moss Matte 110 came up trumps (once again) and matched the dress perfectly - love that lippie!

So ... after the initial panic it all ended well ... it was a fantastic day, the bride looked radiant and I was so proud of my bro (head over to my Instagram to catch a pic of the bride and groom!), all the family had a brilliant time ... an all round winner!

We actually have another wedding to attend in September (one of the hubby's friends this time) ... they're like buses ... they all come at once ... so I've decided to wear my dress again - can't wait!   Have you attended any weddings lately - did you have an outfit dilemma?

Jen x

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Summer Holiday 2015 Favourites ...!


Can I really be writing about this Summer's Holiday favourites already?  Doesn't seem like two minutes since I was rushing around like an idiot trying to get the packing done (getting all stressed out as I do every year!).  And then we were there ... South of France, gorgeous villa,  fantastic weather (30+ degrees most days!), good food and company - what more could you want?  And then we were back ... and it all seems like a distant memory ... so here are few bits that I snapped whilst we were on holiday that stood out for me  ...

Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue - I knew this would be ideal for holiday and I was right! I only used a small amount to add a smidge of cover and it did a brilliant job of keeping in with the 'no make-up look' - will definitely repurchase for use again next summer. Full review here.

Vichy Ideal Soleil Mattifying Face Dry Touch SPF 30  -  I'll try and sneak a full review of this on here before  the Summer ends (which basically means sooner rather than later!) it did a good job  of helping me avoid that overly greasy feeling!

Mally Under Eye Brightener - this isn't only a summer staple - it's an all-year-round staple to help combat dark circles and under eye shadows! Reviewed here this particular pot was coming to an end so I just shoved it in my make-up bag as I didn't have a travel size to take. I've since reordered a kit with both the same size pot (which honestly seems to go on for a couple of years!) and a handy travel size which will be saved for next year's holiday!

Bourjois Cream Blush in Sweet Cherry and 1 Seconde Volume in Ultra Black - a couple of winners here from Bourjois! I reviewed Sweet Cherry last year here - it's a lovely natural looking everyday blush perfect for holiday. I'm about to write up my review of 1 Seconde Volume up but I think it will be a good one - say no more!

Philip Kingley Elasticizer and Daily Damage Defence and Color Wow One Minute Transformation Styling Cream - moving onto hair products!  I've used Elasticizer for years, this travel size came with a recent Elasticizer kit from QVC and is so convenient to use on holiday, just stick it on late afternoon, sit out in the sun to catch those last rays and then just wash out when you go in to shower - easy and effective!  The Daily Damage Defence is brilliant for reviving frizz prone hair, leaving it soft without any crispiness. Similarly the Color Wow Styling Cream smooths hair with a tiny bit of texture, yet doesn't weigh hair down or leave it sticky or greasy and you only need a small amount! I left my hair to dry naturally after mostly every wash on this year's holiday and these two styling products really helped to control the inevitable frizzies and stop me looking like an extra from the Hair Bear Bunch!

Batiste Blush Dry Shampoo - I picked up this travel size on a last minute shopping trip before we went.  It does leave a bit of white cast on darker hair if you spray too close but nothing that can't be 'rubbed out' once massaged in and helps to refresh and give hair a decent amount of volume at the roots. I'd buy again to take away!

Large sun-hat and and equally large box of French Rose - a couple of obvious favourites for a hot holiday ... I don't think I need explain why!

One more favourite ... (sigh!) ... the view from our balcony ... (further sighs!) ... lovely isn't it! 

What have been your holiday favourites this year?

Jen x

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