Tuesday 30 April 2013

Revlon 'Just Bitten Kissable' Balm Stain in Honey - Review


I bought this Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain (that's a mouthful alright!) in Honey ages ago - just as I'd started the Spend Ban - used  my Boots points! Think it was on offer at £5.99 rather than the usual price of £7.99.  I know everyone is probably familiar with the Balm Stains already so it's just a quickie (she says!)...

'Honey' is a soft dusky pink in it's 'crayon-like' form and feels like a standard waxy (not wet) balm once applied with a slight sheen and a subtle minty taste . It's sort of half-way - I guess - between a standard tinted lip-balm and a full on lippie.  It can be used to add a soft wash of colour or intensified to a deeper 'rosy' pink by adding more of the product but it doesn't seem (in this shade anyway) to stick to any dry areas. Either way the colour seems to deepen once on the lips and keeps 'em moisturised. It lasts pretty well - even after a good old cup of tea - however after tea and toast - tea and biscuits etc or even an apple/banana - that's me trying for a healthy snack!, I've needed to apply a touch of regular lip balm.  The 'stain' really does it's job though and sticks around for ages - a good few hours  - and then fades evenly.
I've found 'Honey' to be a really wearable 'everyday'' shade -  it's easy to apply, feels comfortable on, is very well pigmented (in my humble opinion) and adds long-lasting colour  - ideal for those days when you just want to add a bit of something but not have it 'in yer face'!

I seem to be pulling a dopey/pained face in this pic - (whichever way you look at it)... maybe I was dreaming of a far-away island in the sun (with internet access of course!) or maybe I was just dying for the loo and needed to get the darn photo taken first!

Have you tried out any Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains - which is your favourite shade?

Jen x

Sunday 28 April 2013

Mally Beauty on QVC Beauty Day!!


Just to let you  know that it's QVC Beauty Day - all day! Exciting! Apparently it's the 'Biggest Beauty Day of 2013'. Everything on air is in 4 easy pay instalments plus web-only offers ... what's not to love?

Check out the superb 'Today's Special Value' (TSV) from Mally Beauty ...
"Mally Beauty is a collection of high-performance products that encompass simple techniques from celebrity make-up artist Mally Roncal. From gorgeous daytime simplicity to red-carpet-ready glamour, Mally has the answer with proven products that last all day."

The 7 piece kit is amazing value - contains Mally's Poreless Primer, Under Eye Brightener, New Instant Impact Mascara in Black, High Shine Liquid Lipstick in 'Delish', Evercolor Starlight Eyeliner in 'Black Violet', Evercolor Shadow Stick in 'Antique Taupe', Brow Fix plus silver shoulder bag ... all this lot for £43.96 (plus p+p) in easy pay instalments! For more information about each product full details directly from QVC are here!  If you haven't seen Mally on QVC you can check her out on one of today's shows - she's brilliant - always brings a smile to my face!

Looks like Beauty Day also includes shows from Liz Earle, Leighton Denny, L'Occitane, Decleor and more!  I've already ordered the Mally TSV and can see that I'll be tuning in - on and off - all day at this rate - dangerous! Don't forget that the TSV is on offer for today only (if it lasts that is!) and with the QVC '30 day money back guarantee' you can't go wrong in my book!

Will you be tuning into QVC to check out today's offers?

Jen x

Wednesday 24 April 2013

'London Baby!' & Daniel Sandler Make-Up Masterclass!


About this London thing then...I'd booked myself a rare treat of attending Daniel Sandler's Make-Up Masterclass, run by The Simon Seminars at the London College of Fashion near Oxford Circus - Saturday 13th April. We decided to take the kids down for a whirlwind trip - and whirlwind it was ...!

Left crack of dawn Friday morning - (I didn't sleep much the night before - always worry that I'll not hear the alarm and we'll miss our chosen method of transport!).  Turns out I wasn't the only one who didn't get her full quota of sleep ... my little girl started to write her diary page whilst on the train and this was the result (with her permission to publish the pic of course!) which had us in stitches ...

That afternoon we somehow managed to visit three museums one after the other (not at all tiring but when in Rome etc) and then met up with my brother Mike (who had the night off gigs!) for the rest of the evening and some dinner.

Amidst all the madness I'd not had time to paint my nails before travelling down but brought my polish with me so - the middle of the night saw me crouched on the bathroom floor against the bath with my new Barry M Gelly - trying to do a fairly neat paint job in the most awkward of positions! I couldn't sleep as the heating thingy in the room was so bloomin' loud and the bed was one of those squishy ones that rustle every time you move! Off I went back to bed with my newly painted nails and the resolve to wear my specs the next morning to try to conceal my inevitable bags and dark circles from no sleep!

I was actually the first to arrive at the venue (friends of mine will be reeling in total disbelief!). We watched Mr Sandler create various make-up looks designed for 'real women'. Part 1 of the demo was aimed at  natural 'daytime' make-up to help us look 'younger and healthier'. First up was a soft smokey 'everyday' eye look using an eye pencil - building up the look gradually. Next was a subtle contoured eye using a shimmer eyeshadow (yes - older girls can wear shimmer too according to Mr Sandler - we just have to be careful where we apply!) - in this case it was restricted to the lash line and just below the brow bone - with a taupe shadow applied in the socket.

A couple of pics from the session - on the left is the lovely Gina Potter having her soft daytime smokey eye  done. Gina is a 'Kicker of Bowel Cancer's Butt' - and played a pivotal role in the organisation of the event. Inspirational or what!  On the right is Daniel's friend and QVC model Isabella having her shimmer/taupe eye shadow blended - I have my eye on that palette in Mr Sandler's hand!

We then had a short break during which I got to say hello to Mr Sandler (complete with a hug!) and then proceeded to the second half of the session which had more of an 'evening-time' air about it to help us look  'sensational but not over-made up'. First up was a lesson in contouring where the message was to (within reason) apply as much product as you want as long as you 'blend, blend, blend!' - this was then teamed with a bright pink lip. Finally Gina's 'daytime' look was 'smoked up'  - which included adding eye-shadow (keeping the darkest colour to the outer corner of the eye) and grey eye-liner.

It was fascinating to watch and Mr Sandler made it look so easy! We all received a lovely goody bag ... here's mine...!

Daniel Sandler Long Lasting Waterproof Eyeliner in Grey Velvet
Daniel Sandler Eye Delight in Peach
Daniel Sandler Concealer Brush
Urban Retreat 'The Hydration Mist'
Urban Retreat 'Shaving Gel for Girls'

So - cheers to Mr Sandler, Gina and of course Mr Simon Seminar (Mr Simon Vallance!) It was a lovely event (despite the fact that I had one of the worst bad hair days in my huge history of 'bad hair days' and poor Mr Sandler must have thought he was talking to a scarecrow - but hey - we live and learn and that's another blog post in the making!).  I've taken loads of tips away with me (few of which I've actually had time to put into practise yet mind!) Sorry Daniel - I'll let you know how I get on with that purple eye-shadow suggestion at some stage!  There are more pics from the event - taken by Gina's hubby - over on The Simon Seminars website - here! Feel free to have a browse!

Right - apologies that I've waffled on even more than normal but honestly I could go on all night - but of course I won't - really going now! See ya!

Jen x

Sunday 21 April 2013

1st Blog Birthday Giveaway!!


I've been waffling on within this little space of the net for a year now and can hardly believe how time has flown!  My first 'proper post' published on Sunday 22nd April last year - so to celebrate Beauty and the Biryani's first birthday and to say thanks to you lot for supporting me I'm holding a Birthday Giveaway...!!

These are three of my favourite Liz Earle products which I've either reviewed or included in 'Favourites' posts.  With us (seemingly) coming out of what seems like the longest winter ever, I'll be reaching for each of these to (hopefully) help achieve brighter, smoother, hydrated skin.  You have the chance to win all three ...

  • Liz Earle Brightening Treatment Mask
  • Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator
  • Liz Earle Intensive Nourishing Treatment Mask

To enter please fill in the Rafflecopter form below.  Please also leave a blog post comment with your email address - so I can get in touch if you win!  The Giveaway will run for approx. four weeks and is open internationally.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* Please obtain permission/consent from an adult if you are under 18.*
* As with all new products please be aware of possible allergic reaction and remember to test the product suitably first.*

Good luck!

Jen x

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Oh Haul - It's Been A Long Time!


Apologies for sparseness of posts over the last few days - kids were on holiday, I was in London with the family over the weekend  - then kids were back to school yesterday so things were slightly manic! My youngest brother even commented to me on Skype the other night (from France) that I hadn't posted since last Thursday - so ... he does have a sneaky look at my blog now and again ...!

I had popped (just typed 'pooped' then but corrected myself  luckily!) into Boots on a couple of occasions since my Spend Ban recently ended and come out empty handed - I thought there must be something wrong with me! Also as you may know I hadn't really spent any of my recent birthday money! Anyway - I got to do some shopping with my daughter last week and took full advantage of the Boots 3 for 2 offers which are on at the moment. I'm not going to waffle on about each product as I'll probably do separate reviews ...

Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Nail Paints in Grapefruit and Watermelon/Maybelline Forever Strong in Hot Salsa  or is it Rose Salsa - says both on the bottle!

Bourjois Little Round Pot Blusher in 'Rose The'/ Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer in Medium and Dark 

Lee Stafford Flat Iron Protection Shine Mist/Tresemme Texture Style Backcomb Dust/John Frieda Luxurious Volume Dry Shampoo

Our local Sainsburys also had their 25% off TU clothing and footwear earlier in the Easter hols ...

... I grabbed these sandals - hoping for the promise of summer (no way can I show you my feet in them at the moment though - some major renovation work needed in that area!). The pumps will be great with my skinny jeans and also for work. Bargains!

And last but not at all least ... my Mum gave this to me the other Sunday - she said it was a belated Easter present as she didn't get me an egg and would be ideal for my impending trip to London. She's an absolute star - don't you think?

Gatineau 16 Piece Little Luxuries Collection ...

Gatineau is a French Premium Salon Brand available from QVC - so far I'm really impressed with everything I've tried from this range so looking forward to dipping into this lot! The cute pink 'carry case' is jam packed with lovely products and as you can see there's a really good selection.  Thanks again Mum! xx

So - that's me done on 'hauls' for a while - looks like I've spent a lot I know but for the amount of products I've managed to get don't really think I've done bad - plus I know for a fact what I've spent on all this lot is far less than some of my young friends at work would spend on one night out!

Have you taken advantage of any current offers? Have you hauled?

Jen x

Thursday 11 April 2013

March Favourites, Empties and Misses!


It's that time again ... got me some favourites, got me some empties and unfortunately a couple of  'hit and misses' ...

Bare Minerals Warmth - you can't tell from the pic but this is my tiny pot of Bare Minerals Warmth and it's practically empty (have a larger one waiting in the wings though!). Love this and really need to get a full review sorted - it adds colour to my face without any 'orange factor' going on!

The Body Shop Moringa Body Mist - I can't stop spraying this - addicted is the word. I'm useless at describing fragrance but this a heady - intoxicating in a good way - floral scent which lingers and I've used it copiously over the past few weeks when it's been so cold and miserable to cheer myself up! If anyone remembers the old 'Impulse' ads where the bloke passes out at the girls doorway - then I'm that girl ...!

Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator and Intensive Nourishing Treatment Mask - a couple of old favourites - the Exfoliator I use twice a week and  is super-gentle but effective in bidding goodbye to those dead skin cells - helps brighten and smooth. The Mask is a night-time treat and for plumping and soothing de-hydrated, grey tired skin - just did a full review here.

Alpha H Absolute Eye Complex - one of my go-to eye products in the morning - really wakes up the eye area - finished it earlier this month and luckily had another to open - full review here.

L'Oreal Elvive Full Restore 5 60 Second Saviour - coming to the end of this tube - it didn't transform my hair in 60 seconds, but did an 'ok' job after having been left on for 10/15 mins or so. I wasn't wowed by it though and think it's been replaced by a different masque in the L'Oreal range anyway.

Tresemme 24 Hour Sky High Plumping Powder - finished this little bottle (been re-purchasing this for quite a while) - can't seem to do without plumping powders these days for extra lift and oomph. I know some people hate the feel of this type of product in their hair but it doesn't bother me. I've just bought a new version from Tresemme try.

L'Occitane Limited Edition Ylang Ylang Hand Cream - a pressie from my mum almost finished - have had it in my handbag to use on the go and it's lasted ages as it's very concentrated - smells wonderful like all other L'Occitane products I've tried.

Maybelline The Falsies Volum' Express Mascara - unfortunately a 'miss' for me - I know this is loved by many but it just didn't do anything for me certainly no volume, just a bit of definition - and I couldn't get on with the 'spoon brush' - just felt too flimsy for me to work with. Never mind.

Soap and Glory Peaches and Clean Deep Cleansing Milk - another 'miss' - shame - I've heard many good things about this product. I actually bought and first used it last year when my skin was really playing up - hoping it would help but I just didn't see any noticeable improvement - I put it away and forgot about it until recently when I ran out of Elemis Cleansing Gel. Thought I'd try and use it up as my morning face wash but again - I just didn't get it, no brighter complexion or improvement in pore appearance etc - I like the smell of the peaches but maybe it's better for a younger/oilier skin?

Couldn't let this month's faves go by without this lot ...

Mum cooked Easter Sunday dinner, Anglo-Indian style, with hot mince curry and rice with dhal and fried meatballs and potatoes - oh and some poppadoms! Very tasty it was too and exceedingly stuffed we all were afterwards! Centre pic is of Mum's Easter cake - not a traditional simnel but the inside was choc and vanilla rainbow cake with stacks of choc fudge icing on the top and vanilla buttercream round the sides. It's mums birthday soon and I'll have to attempt to make a cake for her but as you can see there's going to be a fair bit of pressure involved ...!

So that's this month's little lot - what did you stuff your face with over Easter?

Jen x

Monday 8 April 2013

Liz Earle Intensive Nourishing Treatment Mask - Review


The Liz Earle Intensive Nourishing Treatment Mask is one of several of her products I've used on and off for years now.  Needless to say with the recent, never-ending cold snap, constant central heating and lack of exercise (pulled a stomach muscle so my usual gym routine was disrupted - which means bad circulation/non-glowy skin and lethargy in my book!)  etc etc my skin has been feeling and looking like it was at the end of it's tether.

Directly from the Liz Earle Website ...
"...this creamy mask hydrates and soothes parched, stressed and sensitive skin. It contains West African shea and borage seed oil to enhance the skin’s natural barrier and comfrey to calm, while the uplifting fragrance of rose-scented geranium helps refresh your senses."
Tired, stressed and dry skin - all sounds so familiar to me of late.  I've used the Intensive Nourishing Treatment Mask as per the instructions on the back of the tube - my skin is left hydrated, plumped and just seems to breath a sigh of relief - if you know what I mean. It sorts out the dry, flaky bits but doesn't upset my oily t-zone. It's thick and creamy but non-greasy and doesn't sit on the skin as such but seems to slowly penetrate - hence I've used it as an overnight facial mask (which is obviously so easy) and by morning my skin has drunk it all in! It's also ridiculously soothing as an overnight hand mask (you can always add a bit of the Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate for an extra boost) - it works on many levels so a real multi-tasker in my book and something to try out if your skin is parched and grey.

The Liz Earle Intensive Nourishing Treatment Mask is priced at around £14/50ml tube and available from Liz's own website here and also from QVC, John Lewis or Boots.

Is your skin at the end of it's tether? What products have you been using to sort it out?

Jen x

Friday 5 April 2013

Marlena Shaw - California Soul!


Is it Friday? This week's been all over the place - combination of bank holidays, clocks changing, kids off school, getting up later and feeling worse for it - when I did go into work I didn't know what day it was!  I have next week off with the kids so trying to think of things to keep them busy and stave off the ultimate scraps that will no doubt arise once they get bored ... bless em!

Anyway - last week running up to the Easter weekend my brother Mike aka Gourmet Gorman had a string of gigs with the brilliant Marlena Shaw at Ronnie Scott's in London so here we have ...

Marlena Shaw - California Soul ...

Written by Ashford and Simpson and covered by Marlena in 1969 ... it's one of my favourite tracks ... apologies if you don't like cats but this video contains none other than Garfield himself grooving on down to the music part way through!

Ok - so this tune has such a summertime vibe going on  - warm sunshiney days and sand and sea. It's totally funky - laid back, chilled out but still groovy while it rolls along ... I have this on my IPod to 'cool down' to after a gym session and have to stop myself dancing 'Soul Train' style on the treadmill every time it comes on - I mean what would people think - do I care - one day I'll do it!

Wish I could have gone down to see them at Ronnie's - would have been fab... here's a pic of Marlena and Mike with the band backstage (not forgetting the all-important Mini-Eggs mind!).

Have a groovy weekend everyone! 

Jen x

Wednesday 3 April 2013

NOTD - Nails Inc - Basil Street


The last couple of weeks before Easter were particularly hectic and I was too busy in the day and too tired at night to indulge in any nail painting activities...!  Anyway - things slowed down over the Easter weekend and I just fancied a bit of Nails Inc Basil Street ...

I've had this polish for ages - think it was a Glamour freebie (good old Glamour freebies!) many moons ago...

I know my cuticles need attention but just ignore 'em for now!

So this is a polish for those 'subtle nail' days I guess when you don't want your nails 'in your face' but just want to dress them up a little!  It's a neutral which goes with anything really - a soft nude/fleshy/beigey colour  with no grey undertones - described on the Nails Inc website as 'a chic pale toffee shade' (much better than my description!).  It actually matches my skin tone so from a distance it blends in!  As with all Nails Inc polishes I've tried it goes on fine - I only have two coats on here - could maybe have done with three to be totally opaque but didn't have time.  Lasts a good couple of days with topcoat and even when it chips a little you can't really tell that much - shouldn't admit to leaving my chipped nail polish on should I - ah well...!

I know spring/summer will hopefully be here shortly and the brights will be out in full force but we all feel like a nude now and again don't we? I really fancy this little lot - the Nails Inc Happy Nude Year Collection -  contains Bruton Street - Porchester Square - Holland Park Avenue - Convent Garden Ballet, unfortunately it's only available on waitlist at the moment - (probably as it's £22.75 + p&p which I think is pretty good value) so will have to keep an eye on it!

If you were in a 'nude mood' which polish would you be reaching for?

Jen x

Monday 1 April 2013

Birthday Bits And An Excuse Of A Clothes Haul!


It was my birthday the other week - the hubby took me out 'shopping' and for lunch which was great - not so great that he managed to buy some clobber and I bought absolutely nowt! It's always the case isn't it - you have your birthday dosh on you and can't find anything that takes your fancy ...

Anyway just a couple of bits I'd picked up previously ...

All from H&M ...

Tomato red dress - actually got this ages ago in the sale but forgot to post about it so better late than never! No idea when I'll wear it but I like the colour and if we ever get some warm weather I'll dig it out and may even do an OOTD to give you all a good laugh!
Crimson and blue check shirt - now and again I get a yen for a good old check shirt but do wonder about releasing my inner hill-billy ... let's face it I'm no Daisy Duke!
Black loose knit jumper - it's black, basic and loose knit ...what else is there to say - apart from I'll probably just chuck this on with my coloured jeans!

Moving on - a few birthday pressies from the hubby and kids ...

I love the Mandara Spa range - these were all on half price offer recently at Sainsbury's and I hinted to my little girl that now would be a good time to get her Dad to buy these for my birthday (as I was still under spend ban at the time) - she took the hint and the rest is history!

I usually have 'birthday money' to spend from my parents but my lovely mum - bless her - always manages to pick up a few 'surprises' for me to open - even at my age ...!

L'Occitane Pivoine Flora Eau de Toilette - gorgeous little bottle of fresh summer fragrance - peonies to be exact - lovely!
Gatineau Paris Radiance Enhancing Gommage - I've been wanting to try this for ages - can't wait to use it to try to rid my skin of the 'greyness' all this bad weather has brought about!
Gatineau Paris Defi-Lift Revolumising Lip Care - this is one of my absolutes favourites when it comes to lip care. I use at night as a lip treatment - love it - full review here.
Silver Diamonique scroll ring - I love silver and white gold - particularly band-style rings. Mum's such a sweetie - thanks mum! xx Close up below!

Mum used to make and ice all our birthday cakes when we were little and she's still at it as you can see - tasted fantastic!

Needless to say the cake - large though it was didn't last too long!

I'm planning a couple of serious shopping trips over the Easter hols with my girl so hopefully may have a  proper haul to show you soon!

Jen x

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