Sunday 22 November 2015

Pure Super Grape OvernightTreatment Oil - Review


There is something about the Pure Skincare range from Marks & Spencer that's really 'grabbing me' at the moment and the whole 'Grape Seed Extract thing' fascinates me for it's skincare benefits so I was intrigued to try out the Super Grape Overnight Treatment Oil. Aside from the fact that 'Super Grape' sounds like a Marvel comic character - the range contains a 'defend and restore' complex which has been proven to provide up to 90% protection against free radicals - the complex contains echinacea, peptides and resveratrol ... I had no idea what resveratrol is so here's what M&S have to say about it ...
"After years of collaborative research with scientists from a leading british university, we discovered that via a unique extraction process we could extract resveratrol from crushed pulp left over from the production of our own M&S wine"
The anti-ageing Super Grape Treatment Oil is said to smooth, hydrate and protect, promote younger looking skin and a radiant complexion ... well I may not understand the whole 'crushed pulp extraction thingy' but all those benefits sound pretty impressive to me!

A picture of the Pure Super Grape OvernightTreatment Oil
A picture of the Pure Super Grape OvernightTreatment Oil

I use a couple of generous drops most nights (as I'm already a  twice weekly 'Liquid Golder') after toning and under my moisturiser over face, neck and decolletage.  The oil is a little cloudy and bitty in appearance - just give it a good shake and it's easy enough to dispense with the dropper, it's also handy to give the bottle a bit of a wipe after using as it tends to seep down onto your surface otherwise.  It has a light, fruity fragrance and a soothing feel to it but is not heavy or syrupy,  it absorbs easily and my skin seems to drink it in.  The following morning my kite  looks surprisingly smoothed, bright, dewy and plumped ... exactly how you want to start off the day don't you think - a good all round dose of nourishment!
So yes  -  another winner from the Pure range - the Super Grape Overnight Treatment  Oil    is a surprisingly  effective product for the price of £16/28ml and and an absolute bargain when M&S  have one of  their 20% off  deals on (this little bottle will have lasted me about 3 months when  I've finished it)  actually - there is 3 for 2 available on Pure  Skincare at the moment so it may be a   good time for me to stock up!                                

Which is your favourite facial oil? Are you tempted by the Pure Super Grape Overnight Treatment Oil?

Jen x

Sunday 8 November 2015

SBC Cotton Body Oil - Review


I think I'm turning into a bit of an 'oil' freak ... love it for face, hair, body and nails!  I'm already a fan of quite a few products from SBC (Simply Beautiful Collection) as you may have read in my blog post here - so when they very kindly offered to send me a bottle of their new Cotton Body Oil to try out - I jumped at the chance! Just to set the record straight here's a little information about the new line directly from their own press release ...
"SBC’s NEW Cotton Line provides gentle restorative care for those who  have allergy prone skin, and who are prone to reactions, particularly suited to skin conditions such as sensitive, reactive, delicate." 
A picture of the SBC Cotton Body Oil

A picture of the SBC Cotton Body Oil

The  Cotton Oil  is said to provide  'Natural care for delicate skin' and includes  a  simple  cocktail  of Cotton Seed Oil, Wheat Germ Oil,  Vitamin E, Whey Protein and Oat Kernel which,  all put  together are said to help lock in moisture and form a protective barrier,  condition,  smooth, tone, firm, nourish and  repair  (I don't  know about you  but  all that  lot sounds like a  dream come true  to me!).    It is dermatologically tested,  uses 100% natural allergen free  fragrance  and is suitable  for all the  family including babies. 

You can use in several different ways, added to your bath or whilst in the shower (although remember to clean up afterwards as slipping and sliding around is not good!). It can also be applied to damp skin and then patted dry or massaged in gently after drying off.  For myself I prefer the latter two options, I like the way it slips over the skin and have made sure to use over my sensitive eczema prone areas on my arms, which can sometimes react to products .  It leaves skin feeling like satin with a lovely silky sheen, smoothed and moisturised with no itch, sting or irritation. I have also taken to massaging from my decollete area up onto my neck and am amazed that some of the crepiness definitely seems to have abated in that area - I keep having to check my neck out in the mirror just to make sure!  It has a very delicate scent, reminds me of comforting 'baby-soft' fresh linen smell, just enough so you can get a whiff of the aroma on your skin but not so strong that it will interfere with a perfume of similar notes - to my large but inexperienced nose it seems to blend very well with my Philosophy Amazing Grace!

The Cotton Body Oil comes in at £20.50 from QVC for a big 250 ml bottle here. You don't need a lot so this size should last ages. All in all I consider this another winner from SBC, they seem to have a knack for creating simple formulations using natural ingredients, that deliver great results and I'd be happy to repurchase - in fact I think it will probably become one of those products that will be a staple in my body care regime whether or not it is feeling sensitive!

Are you an 'oil fan'? Have you tried the SBC Cotton Body Oil

Jen x

Sunday 1 November 2015

A Long Overdue Haul ...!


Well it's been a while ... ended up having a bit of an impromptu blogging break (as you do) ... either didn't have the time and when I did the old 'mojo' had wandered off! Anyway here we are back with a haul type thing ...obviously all this lot was not bought in one fell swoop but rather more of  an ongoing, slow burning affair over the last couple of months ...

The only body care item is the Garnier Body Oil Infused Nourishing Scrub, I'm trying to run down my stash (heard that before haven't we?) but it was on offer in Sainsburys, although I've not even cracked it open yet so can't pass any judgement!

Skincare wise,  Marks & Spencers had one of their 20% off beauty events a few weeks ago so I ended up  with the Pure Beauty Gentle Refreshing Face Wash - it's been pinched by my young daughter who's using morning and night and says she likes it as it 'feels gentle'. The Pure Beauty Moisture Plus Miracle Balm is for me - it can be used as a cleanser, face mask or skin salve so I'm intrigued! And ... the 20% off event coincided with the launch of Pixi Beauty within M&S so I ended up with the iconic Pixi Glow Tonic - which I've wanted to try for ages! Oh and not forgetting the random Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water in the background there, which was cheap as chips in Boots so I grabbed it as my current Nuxe Micellar is coming to an end.

Nails then ... I felt like they deserved a little TLC as the old things have been cracking and splitting and so enter the OPI Nail Envy - which I've started using on and off and seems to be working so that's a winner then!  Also actually did need a new top and base coat so decided, again, to give OPI a go - the one I had, a top and base in one (I won't mention the brand!), was simply not cutting it on either front and my nails had become badly stained - looked like I'd dipped them in a bowl of turmeric - nice!  Lastly - the mini bottle of Jessica Polish is from the Autumn in New York collection  - this colour is NY State of Mind - love it!

Make-up wise it's definitely been a 'lip thing' recently ... apart from the little Collection Nude Palette there, which was at a stupid price of £2.50 or similiar in Superdrug!  The L'Oreal Color Riche in Eva's Pure Red, I grabbed back in August (see told you this haul went back a while!) when my brother was about to get married just as a back-up red lippie mind!  Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Beau Brun was more of a recent 'addition' (see what I did there?) as I thought it was a good Autumnal shade and then there's a little treat in the form of a MAC Lipliner (my first) in Chicory, which I'm intending using as an all over lip colour.  Lastly, a few nude lippies - my excuse is as follows, I've lost my favourite Naked Beige lippie from Soap & Glory - no idea where it is and every time I pop into Boots to repurchase it's never in stock, really hope it's not discontinued as it's the perfect mix of pink/brown and the exact tone I need for my skin! Anyway ... Maybelline had 3 for 2 on, I was in a hurry, did a quick swatch and bobs your uncle! Turns out the two at the back (one is Nude Embrace and the other Tantalizing Taupe) are a little pale and will have to be mixed with other lippies - hate it when that happens!  The Colour Drama Lipstick Pencil in Nude Perfection however, is actually ok - I had read that this particular colour is a bit of a dupe for MAC's Velvet Teddy so it'll do me for now!

And lastly ... Feel Unique had up to a third off specialist skincare (think this is still on actually here) so I grabbed a couple of essentials from the La Roche Posay Lipikar range - so good for those dry, sore, eczema prone days! I also thought this a good opportunity to try the Bioderma Micelle Solution for dehydrated skin and then noticed the huge pot of  Bare Minerals Original Foundation in my exact shade of Medium Tan (plus brush) was at the silly price of £11. The tiny sample of Marc Jacobs Decadence is complimentary!

So that's it ... as I said this lot has evolved over a decent length of time ... I think it's safe to say that it will be a while before I post another haul - definitely time to shop one's stash!

Have you used any of these products? What have you hauled on recently?

Jen x

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

Sunday 9 August 2015

The Wedding Outfit Dilemma ... Part 1!


It's been a mad few weeks that's for sure (as you may have gathered by the sparse blog posts!) ... overtime, end of term for the kids, then holiday preparations were underway, had a brilliant time with the family in the South of France,  and now my brother and his lovely fiancee are shortly to be married ... so the madness continues! Good madness of course!

So ... wedding outfit ... I'm not a regular 'dress wearer' as you may know ... I tend to try to toughen things up with boots etc to play down the ladylike vibe (looks great on others but not so much on me!) but you can't really do that for your brother's wedding can you? Well ... I could but don't think my mum would be very impressed! And herein lies the dilemma ... an age appropriate dress in the correct colour that doesn't cost the earth ... with the right neckline, not too short, long, clingy, baggy or fussy ... don't want much do I?  Here are a few that have caught my eye from House of  Fraser, Debenhams and New Look - all images and links etc are from Pinterest here ...

Not sure whether to go for something floaty ...

or lace and floaty ... this one may be a bit too short actually ...

Or fitted lace ...

or something in between ...

I think this is probably my favourite, a bit more sophisticated but I love the style and colour ...

... and for some reason, although I'm not a flowery girl, this one from Ted Baker is calling to me ...

So what do you think - opinions please? Would you go floaty, lacy or fitted? I've ordered a few dresses so will showcase once I've had a trying on session!  I'm not even thinking about bag or shoes yet, that's another kettle of fish!

Jen x

Friday 31 July 2015

Hauling in July ... !


It feels like forever since I did a haul post so this is a big one ... although all this lot wasn't just bought in one go but rather in dribs and drabs over the last month-ish ...!

Starting off with hair ... yes well ... now that I've had my hair cut into a short bob I've decided I want to grow it into more of a 'lob' (my daughter says this is all I ever do ... cut it off then try to grow it ... grow it then cut it off again and so on and so forth!). Anyway, I've invested in a couple of appliances for starters ...

A picture of the July Haul

I needed a new hairdryer after my old one packed in ... ummed and ahhed for ages and in the end decided to go for a professional brand (more on that later) so went for the Diva Professional Veloce 3800 Pro from Amazon. And also the Babyliss Dual Big Hair Rotating Hot Air Styler which, in contrast, was an impulse buy after I saw the demo on QVC and decided it was the styling tool for me - so far so good!

A few clothing buys ...

A picture of the July Haul

This lot was bought fairly recently ... the softest off-white top ever from The White Stuff, navy linen blend dress from Gap, long sleeve basic t-shirt and another 'fluffy thing' from Next (have one in grey and how I love it for softness and warmth during the colder months!) all in the sales! The only non sale item was my new leather bag - a bargain from TK Maxx - I'm in love and can't stop gazing at it - I've never had a 'handbag fetish' but this could be the start of a bad habit!

A picture of the July Haul

Flowery print gypsy top (not sure it's me as I don't usually do the flower or the gypsy thing but my mum likes it!) and khaki utility skirt from the New Look sale.  Also got hold of a pair of thin khaki trousers from New Look (only £9!) and was unsure whether to keep or not as I'm rarely out of my jeans but the opinion was an outright 'keeper' when I asked for opinions over on Instagram!

Next up a few beauty buys ... some essential and some treats ...!

A picture of the July Haul

The essentials ... (in my book anyway!) were the Vichy Ideal Soleil Mattifying Face Dry Touch SPF 30 as I fancied something non-shiny on my kite this holiday and  Bourjois Bronzing Primer - it's meant to be a dupe for the Chanel Bronze Universel, which I have loved in past years so we'll see how it compares!
The treats ... Original Source Coconut and Shea Butter Shower Cream and Mandara Spa Shea & Coconut Body Butter on offer in Sainsburys and Rimmel Wake Me-Up Concealer (although this could be deemed as essential as I should never be without an under-eye concealer!), Rimmel 1000 Kisses Lipliner in Spice and Natural Collection Eye Liner in grey.

A couple of footwear items ...

A picture of the July Haul

Can't stretch to Birkenstocks this year so these will do me nicely from Primark at only £4! And finally  ... my JuJu Reilly sandals - a bargain in the Office sale at a tenner - they are so comfy - I could shop for hours in them (but I won't!) ... I want another pair!

So that's me done for a while, must try to be good now although my brother's wedding is coming up next month so that could be a problem!  What have you bought in July?

Jen x

Friday 24 July 2015

Nuxe Creme Prodigieuse DD Creme - Review


After a fair amount of dithering around on my part (what's new) I eventually got hold of the Nuxe Creme Prodigieuse DD  Creme from M&S back in April ... there was an offer on ... it was an excellent deal ... a no brainer ... you can read about it here if you feel the need! Nuxe is not a brand I would normally look to for this type of product but I'm so glad I did! Think it was SPF30 that first attracted my attention, it's meant to moisturise for up to 8 hours, beautifies (good grief I need some of that!) and protect the skin from daily assaults such as oxidative stress, pollution, UVA/UVB".  So all in all a pretty good dose of 'Daily Defense' for the old hide wouldn't you say?

A picture of the Nuxe Creme Prodigieuse DD Creme
A picture of the Nuxe Creme Prodigieuse DD Creme

Nuxe say the DD can be used either instead of or after moisturiser.  I apply over moisturiser as it has a tendency to sit in the pores on my chops if not ... and believe me I do not want an additional emphasis on my chops at my time of life!  The texture is surprisingly creamy and thicker than I expected and because of this I find it's much easier to buff in with my flat kabuki brush rather than fingers. The coverage can be built up and to my mind has more of a 'light foundation' rather than 'tinted moisturiser' look, although it doesn't have a heavy feel to it once on. It evens out skintone and lightly masks imperfections (of which I have many!) but with a natural, dewy finish rather than flat matte vibe.  It does seem to keep the moisture levels up - I haven't noticed any tightness or dryness as the day goes on and fades away evenly without any patchiness.  I should point out that T Zones will want to shine through but it's nothing that a bit of powder (or mineral veil in my case) can't fix but I do tend to save the Nuxe DD for non work days as I'm lazy/can't be nipping to the loo or sitting at my desk sorting out my shiny bits once I'm at work!  

The Nuxe DD is available in three shades - light, medium and dark.  I have the medium, it's quite rich in colour when swatched but once blended in it marries in well with my own light olive skintone and although you can't tell from the pics below (it was a dull grey day and I don't think my camera white balance settings were correct) it does warm up and give the complexion a bit of a 'glow' once on ... do not ask me why I look happier in the 'before' pic rather than the 'after' ... should be the other way around! 

A picture of the Nuxe Creme Prodigieuse DD Creme

So ... all in all I think this is a winner and a product I'd definitely like to repurchase - it's like skincare and make-up rolled into one. I think it's ideal for a bit of cover in summer when you want more than a tinted moisturiser and will be great in winter to protect, hydrate and give skin a bit of oomph once the winter pallor sets it (yep that won't be long will it!).  It doesn't break the bank at £21/30ml but I've noticed Nuxe have 30% off selected products on their own website here - which brings it down to a very tidy £14.70. I'm having to restrain myself as you can imagine! 

Have you tried the Nuxe Creme Prodigieuse DD Creme? Are you tempted by a bit of 'Daily Defense'? 

Jen x

Sunday 12 July 2015

June Empties ...


So ... June has come and gone ... it was a really busy month with my girl's birthday and my boy's confirmation at church as well as bashing my nose in at the gym ...  as you do! A few empties here then ...

A picture of June Empties

Gatineau Melatogenine Refreshing Cream Cleanser - love this cleanser, it's a bit of a multi-tasker which you can read about in my full review here.  The super-size tube lasts for ages and I've already repurchased!  

Dove Youthful Vitality Thickening Essence and Charles Worthington Strength and Repair Pro-Heat Milk - these two were included in my 2014 favourites. I do dip in and out of other 'thickening products' but seem to come back to the Dove Thickening Essence - this is my third bottle! Also just cracked open my third of the Charles Worthington Pro-Heat Milk - I tried to manage without it for a couple of weeks but my hair had other ideas so I caved in and got myself another - full review here.

John Frieda Full Repair Hydrate and Rescue Shampoo and Deep Conditioner - another couple of my hair stash used - only another 100 or so to go now (joking!).  I quite like this range - it does leave hair smoother, maybe causes a little build up though so I have to switch my products around. Annoyingly ... I'm still left with a bit of the standard Hydrate and Rescue Conditioner (does everyone have this problem?) so will have to use with another shampoo - no shortage there! I'm not even thinking about repurchasing  as I have so many other products to use up and am completely ignoring the fact that there is also a Strengthen and Restore category from this same range over on the Boots website!

E45 Repair and Protect Overnight Hand Cream - my stash of hand creams is similar  to my haircare products - ok maybe not quite as bad but it's a healthy stash!  This is a really good one for sore hands - applied before bed it's not too thick, thin or sticky. It moisturises well, is non- stingy (so important!) and leaves hands soothed and soft!

M&S Formula Sensitive Eye Make-Up Remover - I picked this up in desperation when I had run out of my usual Gatineau Floracil and didn't expect much but it's a really good little product - does a great job of eye-make-up removal and is a decent price at £3.50/100ml, I've since got hold of some more Floracil but I'll definitely use this one again.  Apologies for being a 'doubting Thomas' M&S!

Sainsburys Coconut Body Wash - cheap and cheerful - sometimes on offer at £0.75, smells fine and gets the job done- what more is there to say!

Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil - I'm gutted that this has come to an end after many months - I do love my facial oils! Will definitely repurchase - you can read my full review here.  

Seventeen Lip Crayon - this was part of a Christmas kit and I love it - or rather loved it! It's balmy and moisturising with a hint of nude colour but not stickiness - one you can apply without a mirror and it's been a staple in my handbag for months. As a result I've lost the lid and now the shade name has worn off and I can't seem to get a similar one from Boots so I've blown it really!

Benefit Rollerlash and Maybelline Lash Sensational - I've been impressed with the both of these ... reviewed here and here. I could kick myself for not picking up an extra sample size of Rollerlash when it was a magazine freebie,  it's so easy and effective - I may have to break my 'expensive mascara code' and treat myself to the full size! Maybelline Lash Sensational is also a good one that has been compared to Roller Lash - it takes a bit more work as it can clump and as the tube has been coming to an end it's got even clumpier so it's time to move on!

So ... those are June's empties ... I don't even want to think about July's because then we'll be coming to the end of Summer ... nooooo!  Have you used any of these products? What have you used up last month? 

Jen x

Sunday 5 July 2015

Vichy Idealia Eyes - Review


I've been using the Vichy Idealia Eyes for a few months now ... it's meant to help with the look of fatigue around the eye area, smooth the look of fine lines and aid with hydration ... it is formulated with a brightening complex, caffeine , Vitamin B3 and Vichy Thermal Spa Water is paraben free, non comedogenic and hypoallergenic ...sounds good yes?

A picture of the Vichy Idealia Eyes
A picture of the Vichy Idealia Eyes
A picture of the Vichy Idealia Eyes

You're meant to squeeze a little onto the duck-billed silicone applicator thingy (middle pic) and dot around/spread around the orbital bone - I then find it easiest to smooth in with fingers.  It's the palest salmony pink in colour with a pearlescent look to it, creamy in texture and blends in really easily.   I've been wearing my contact lenses every day recently since bashing my nose in at the gym (still hurts my nose to wear specs!) and have found the Vichy Idealia Eyes a godsend when my peepers are bared in all their ageing glory to the world!  It adds a brightness and luminosity around the eyes, does a good job with hydration (although if you are extra dry you may need to top up with a specific hydration product) and takes the edge off and blurs the look of dark circles and wrinkles.  It's not enough (for myself) to use on it's own and banish my dark circles, I still have to use a colour corrector/concealer but it definitely helps make the most out of a bad situation. Have to say though it can be quite addictive and you have to remember not to overdo it and pile too much on or it'll end up looking shimmery and just emphasise puffiness and fine lines - I speak from experience!

It comes in at £23/15ml which I find pretty reasonable - it's a great all rounder but I only use in the morning as I don't see the point in wasting all that pearlescent goodness just before going to bed! I bought mine when Escentual had one of their 'third off French Skincare' brands and have since repurchased another to put away! 

Have you tried out the Vichy Idealia Eyes? What's your favourite eye-cream of the moment?

Jen x

Saturday 27 June 2015

Bouffe Dry Spray for Bigger, Thicker-Looking Hair - Review


Anyone who a) knows me b) reads my blog c) follows me on Twitter/Instagram will know that my hair is super-fine, flat and getting thinner and greyer by the minute!  Needless to say I was over the moon when Bouffe very kindly offered to send me a can of their Dry Spray 'for bigger, thicker-looking hair' to try out!

A picture of the Bouffe Dry Spray for Bigger, Thicker-Looking Hair

A picture of the Bouffe Dry Spray for Bigger, Thicker-Looking Hair

I was sent the  Bouffe Dry Spray in Dark Brown ... it is available in several other options - light blonde, dark blonde, light brown, black, silver and 'all colours'.  It contains a bespoke formula which is meant to thicken and bulk up the hair as well as giving root lift and disguising grey bits. Sprayed onto my hand above - it's grabbed and fattened up the hairs which are usually barely visible  to the naked eye ... it follows then that it should work the same way on my barnet?

I've learnt by trial and error to follow the exact instructions ... spray onto the appropriate sections (I concentrate around the root area) from about 15 cm (roughly a hand-span) and leave for a couple of minutes to dry (it's important to let it go from wet to dry) then smoosh in with your fingers. I don't use it instead of washing my hair as you would certain dry shampoos, this is more of a texturising, plumping spray.   It's really really  concentrated and pigmented and so you only need a few shorts bursts, you will feel like there is product in your hair and let's face it you will end up with it on your fingers (just don't forget to give your hands a little rinse!) - I'm used to both of these scenarios and neither bother me!  Basically it does what it claims on the can ... it gives the impression of a plumper head of hair ... adds body and gives volume and lift to the root area which lasts all day.  It covers the never ending greys and disguises the thinning bits and ever widening partings around my crown.  It's brilliant for creating texture and grip for updoes and bulking up my barnet if I want to wear it down.  Honestly I'm impressed ... it just makes my hair bigger - bigger is better and I'll definitely be repurchasing!

You can check out the full range of colour options over on the Bouffe website here and buy for £5.99/200ml (which I think is really reasonable) from Boots here.  

Have you tried out the Bouffe Dry Spray yet? Which is your favourite product for bigger, thicker hair?

Jen x

Sunday 21 June 2015

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet - Don't Pink Of It!


I recently treated myself to a couple of Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet lipsticks and this is the first ... Don't Pink Of  It ...!

A picture of the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Don't Pink Of It!

A picture of the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Don't Pink Of It!

A picture of the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Don't Pink Of It!

A liquid lipstick with loads of pigment, it's creamy when wet with a slight 'cooling' sensation and glides on before drying to it's matte finish - the doe foot applicator makes it super-easy to paint on 'la bouche'.  It's  meant to last for 24 hours on but nope - not on me anyway - maybe a couple of hours (less if I've eaten anything) but it fades fairly evenly  leaving a decent stain on the lips which sticks around for a while, although it does have a tendency to sit in any dryer bits if I've not kept up with a lip scrub/exfoliator. I also need to top up with lip balm at this stage as there's no hydration once it's worn away and it can feel rather drying being a matte and all!  When I swatched in store at Boots it did appear a warmer and deeper shade (as in the above  pic) but once on it takes on more of a powder pink hue and for this reason I only apply lightly as it does intensify with each additional coat and too much pale pink seems a bit odd on my type of kite!  

A picture of the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Don't Pink Of It!

Now I've sussed how to make it work for me I'm actually really liking my  Don't Pink Of It! as a lip stain - it's  different to anything I've used before and a good one for those 'not so much make-up days' - paired with a bit of balm it's a  fresh and pretty Summertime shade for the old lips ...  it is still Summertime isn't it? 

Have you any of the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet lippies? How do you wear it and which is your favourite?

Jen x

Sunday 14 June 2015

Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil - Review

A picture of the Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil

A picture of the Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil

Rosehip Oil is said to be beneficial for a number of skin conditions including dermatitis and eczema as well as helping with scarring, stretch marks and fighting off fine lines and wrinkles (yes please!).   I bought the Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil last year from Boots - it normally comes in at £16.50/20ml but was on offer so ended up costing around £13?  I finally cracked it open about 3 months ago and have been using mostly every night since then.

I apply the Trilogy Rosehip Oil (when I'm not 'Liquid Golding'!) after my evening cleanse under moisturiser - I only need a drop or two for my face, it doesn't really smell of anything in particular to me but feels soothing and hydrating and I've been using far less moisturiser over the top. I've also started to apply a few drops over the neck/decolletage every night before bed (why I didn't do this ages ago is beyond me!). It leaves skin looking  plumped, rested and balanced the following morning, any red pimply bits seem to have diminished and there have been no breakouts or extra oiliness over my t -zone area. I have quite deep expression lines on my forehead and am also blessed with necklace lines and have really noticed a smoothing and 'de-creasing' (literally less actual 'creases'!) effect on these two areas - so big thumbs up on the wrinkle front!

What can I say?  It would appear that I'm ever so slightly obsessed with the whole 'oil thing' and I find it impressive that a relatively simple product could be so effective. I don't know why really because these natural remedies have been around for years and years haven't they?  So ... yes the Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil is a hit - I'm starting to get to the end of the bottle now and I do have other oils to use but this will remain a firm favourite and one I'll definitely repurchase!

Have you tried the Trilogy Rosehip Oil?  Which facial oil are you loving?

Jen x

Friday 12 June 2015

May Empties ...


I'm cheating a little with the title as these are really April and May empties! I didn't get round to last month's empties post so thought I'd lump them all together.  There are therefore quite a few here - there would have been even more but the hubby ended up throwing some - despite several reminders that I wanted them for this post ... men!

Superdrug Cocoa Brownie Dry Shampoo for Brunettes - I've gotten through quite a few of these cans in my time. You can read about it here as Part of my Dry Shampooing post. I'll definitely repurchase.

Dermalogica Microfoliant - needs no introduction does it? I'm sure it's loved by many as a super gentle but effective facial exfoliator.  This travel size has lasted ages and luckily I have one more from an old beauty box to use. Even though I'm a fan I'm not sure I could repurchase at the full price of £41.75/75ml.  Any dupes out there please feel free to share!

Nuxe Micellar Cleansing Water and Reve de Miel Handcream - I've recently started to use a micellar every evening to remove my make-up before going onto a deeper cleanse.  The Nuxe micellar is really gentle and non-drying so I've used these two up (in the interest of shopping my stash and all!) and I'm now the proud owner of a full size and another mini for holiday. The handcream is lovely with a gentle honey scent, nourishing, non stingy and absorbs in no time on my hands. I have another travel size to use ready for holiday!

Clarins BB Skin Perfecting Cream - I didn't want to like this as I already have  a tonne of BBs and CCs and a DD to use up! Unfortunately, it has a dewy finish with light to medium cover and quite a rich tone to it (considering it's the shade Medium) so gives a bit of a 'summer bronzed' look - which all adds up to the fact that it would be great for this time of year and I want a full size but will resist for the moment.  Maybe next summer! (Patting myself on the back here!).

Soap & Glory Endless Glove 2 in 1 Moisture Mask and Hand Cream - I love this -it feels like a real treat for your hands with a non-greasy, silky texture, leaves them feeling conditioned and smelling like tropical holidays - what's not to love! Slather a decent amount on before bedtime and wake up with soft hands - I've already repurchased!

L'Occitane Lip Balm, Cherry and Lavender Shower Gels and Sweet Almond Liquid Soap -  a few L'Occitane goodies here - all presents from my mum at some stage! I did like the lip balm - it's more of a waxy crayon type, feels very nourishing, a good one to use under a matte lippie. Unfortunately there wasn't much at all in this tube so I used it up faster than I'd have liked! The shower gels (my daughter mostly used the cherry flavour) and handwash all smell wonderful and are gentle on your skin as you would expect.  If I spy any offers on QVC I'd love to repurchase!

Original Source Lavender and Tea Tree Shower Gel - as you can see I have a thing for lavender! Love the clean scent of this, a little seems to go a long way and the bathroom smells amazing after I've used it! I tend to pick up Original Source products when they're on offer and will definitely repurchase this one!

Mandara Spa Tropical Blooms Bath Milk and Shower Gel  -  I think this is my favourite scent from this range. As the name suggests it smells of flowers, and lots of  them in full bloom! It's a really 'happy' scent and one I'll continue to indulge in - especially when on offer!

Phew! That'll teach me to do two months in one go - felt like a proper marathon! Have you used any of these products?

Jen x

Friday 5 June 2015

Can you ... Jack Your Body?


I wasn't planning on writing a musical post today but ended up listening to Jack Your Body last night on my IPod whilst on the treadmill and it brought back such memories - my mind tends to wander on the treadmill whilst I'm hiking uphill!

I was actually 'jacking my body', if you can call it that, back in 1986 when this tune was first released!   It was the start of nightclubbing for me and it coincided with the onset of  the House Music era in our clubs.  I distinctly remember my friend and I trying out the new style of dance after watching a video on TOTP and then putting it into practise at Romeo and Juliets every Thursday night (dance and soul night!). Just to clarify, Romeo and Juliets consisted of two separate rooms.  Romeos was blue, fairly well lit with a square dance floor like a boxing ring and focused mainly on pop music.   Juliets was deep purple with a curvy dance floor, it was a lot darker and moodier in here and this was where the latest dance music happened!  This was 'our room' and we were always one of the first on the dance floor showing off our latest shapes ... sounds so corny but it was bloomin' fantastic! If you get chance have a listen/refresh your memory but turn it up so you get the full effect of the bass and hi-hat doing their signature 'House Music' thing!!

Steve Silk Hurley ... Jack Your Body ...!

Ok  ... the dance ...  hips tilt one way, arms tilt the other at waist height or sometimes in the air if you're really feeling it.  I recall a lot of walking around the dance floor during this move (think groovy penguin - it honestly looks a lot better than it sounds!).  Just to put everyone's mind at rest ... I still have the knack (relief!) ... I know this because I have just performed 'the moves' up and down the length of the hallway to Jack Your Body ... my husband is feigning interest as I try to explain the technique to him but is wrapped up in the Yorkshire v Lancashire cricket match on TV so you get the picture! 

Jack Your Body is one of the tracks on my Pete Tong CD which is regularly played in the car ... sometimes on school runs in the morning.  I think my daughter will be fairly interested in the whole dance music thing as she grows up ... but try explaining to your grumpy teenage son (who clearly did not get to bed early enough,despite endless reminders) that you used to 'jack your body' in 1986 and see what the reaction (if any) is!

Do you remember Jacking Your Body and more importantly can you still do it? Which was your favourite dance move back in the day? And which was your favourite night-club?

Jen x

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