Monday, 30 June 2014

Ginvera Green Tea Nude Cover BB Cream SPF 30

Ginvera Green Tea Nude Cover BB Cream SPF 30* - £17.95

The blemish balm craze is still going strong & the latest one I've been trying out is the Ginvera Green Tea Nude Cover BB Cream. As with the Singaporean brand's Green Tea Marvel Gel there's a lot of love for this product within the beauty community. BB Creams offer lightweight coverage with added skincare benefits. This Ginvera one is infused with hyaluronic acid to deeply hydrate the skin. The inclusion of green tea, allantoin, ginseng & angelica helps to encourage cell renewal, prevent the formation of dark spots, nourish & revitalise the skin. The antioxidants in this BB Cream help to prevent fine lines as well as concealing existing ones. It also boasts SPF 30/PA++ so this cream works brilliantly as a Summertime base product.

The Nude Cover BB Cream looks really lovely on the skin. Most of the BB Creams I've tried ended up making me look greasy as hell so the velvety matte finish was a pleasant surprise. It gives the appearance of naturally flawless skin. It balances my skin well as it reduces the amount of oil in my T-Zone & doesn't cling to any dry patches. Even though it feels really light on the skin, the coverage is excellent. It conceals imperfections, enlarged pores & pigmentation. Pretty much all of my freckles & post-blemish scarring get covered up. The only place I feel like I need concealer with this is underneath my eyes. I'm not fond of having to touch up my makeup throughout the day so longevity is important to me when choosing a base product. The staying power of this cream is incredible, this stuff lasts all day long. My face looks as fresh at 8pm as it did at 8am. This one product covers, hydrates, protects & repairs. Basically it's a helluva BB Cream.

My one issue with this product is the colour. BB Creams are supposed to adjust to your skin tone so that many people can use the same product. I'm paler than most though so it's rare that 'one colour fits all' products ever work for me. Before applying it I was quite scared it would turn me into an Oompa Loompa but the colour match isn't that bad. Despite looking incredibly dark on my hand, it actually blends into my face quite well. However it does still look ever so slightly too peachy for me. I'm wearing a low cut dress here so the difference between my face & neck is rather noticeable. Ginvera suggest applying it with your fingers but I like to apply it with a buffing brush as I need to blend it pretty far down my neck to make the colour work for me. I think I can just about get away with it in the Summer but otherwise the colour isn't quite light enough. I would say that it'd probably work for the majority of people - just steer clear if you're super pale or super dark. I really love the formula & the way it looks on my skin though. If only there was slightly fairer version I'd happily wear this every single day.

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Thursday, 26 June 2014

Flamingo Candles Peach Splash

Flamingo Candles Peach Splash Classic Square Jar Candle* - £12

In general I tend to think of candles as more of an Autumn/Winter thing. However when companies like Flamingo Candles bring out gorgeous arrays of Summery scents there's no reason why you can't burn some all year round. I've waxed lyrical (ho ho!) about their candles several times before. Their range of fragrances is amazing & each scent completely fills the room. Plus their square jar packaging looks so unique & those acrylic flamingos that adorn each candle are too darn cute. I used to be really into collecting Yankee Candles until the paraffin wax starting giving me headaches. I've since replaced all of them with Flamingo Candles as they are made using EcoSoya soy wax. Many consider soy wax to be one of the hardest waxes to attain a good scent throw from but Flamingo Candles have no problems in that area. They also feature a natural cotton wick which provides you with a cleaner, longer & non-toxic burn. Each of these classic square jar candles offers up to 50 hours of burn time. As you can see I've amassed quite the collection. They look so pretty on my mantlepiece & they last for absolutely ages.

For Spring/Summer 2014 Flamingo Candles brought out five fresh new fragrances. The collection encapsulates all the scents that we associate with the current season. The candles available in this range are Orange, Mandarin & Basil, Green Tea & Lemon, Pomegranate & White Fig, Cucumber & Melon and Peach Splash which is the one I that have here. The scent of this candle is described as a 'complex & full modern accord with notes of green leaf and sweet peach next to violet, rose, lily, jasmine, amber & warming patchouli'. It's a very fresh & floral scent experience which is perfect for perking up your house during the Summer. I was expecting it to be a bit peachier to be honest. In the jar it smells very fruity but when it's burning I can mainly detect notes of lily & jasmine. I really enjoy the light & uplifting aroma it offers. Whenever I burn it I end up craving some peach green tea, delish! I just adore this Summery candle. Flamingo Candles are such good quality yet incredibly purse friendly, I can't recommend them enough. Are you a fan of Flamingo Candles?

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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Illamasqua Gleam In Aurora

Illamasqua Gleam in Aurora - £18

There was a point in time when I was completely obsessed with buying as many different highlighters as I could possibly find. I think it's because the foundation I was using, Estee Lauder Double Wear, has such a matte finish. I was desperate for radiant glowy looking skin and didn't realise that all I had to do was switch my base product. That being said I still can't resist the extra oomph that a good highlighter can add to your face. They just make my cheeks look so much prettier & I don't think I've ever left highlighter out of my daily makeup routine in the past few years. In my search for the perfect highlighter I bought this creamy offering from Illamasqua. I'm generally more into powder highlighters but when this product first came out the campaign photos were so breathtakingly beautiful. The dewy looking cheeks of every model in those pictures were something I still coveted even though I had more than enough highlighting products already. I simply had to have it.

Creamy highlighters were nothing new to me, having used MAC's Cream Colour Base in Pearl for several years but Gleam is so much better than that. The consistency is incredibly creamy & it blends like a dream. I like that I can build it up without the texture looking weird. You can use it as subtly or as dramatically as you desire. The pearlescent finish & that luminous quality it gives to your skin are to die for. For a cream product the staying power is really impressive. With the MAC CCB I always had to apply a powder highlighter on top to make it last all day but this stuff is good enough on it's own. I like to use a ton of highlighter because I basically want my skin to glow like crazy. I pop some on my cheekbones, underneath my brow bone, down my nose & on my cupid's bow. I just use my finger tips to dab it into place & blend - there's no real need for brushes here. The soft champagne shimmer illuminates my complexion giving it an instant lift. It really looks lovely on the skin. Highlighter placement is important because you only want to look shiny in certain places. Cream products can tend to make you look a little oily if you're not careful but Gleam in Aurora always looks stunning, never greasy.

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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Claudia Louch Chamomile Facial Wash

Claudia Louch Chamomile Facial Wash* - £37.40

One of the keys to a good skincare routine is knowing when to use your products. You have to listen to your skin & learn what will be most beneficial for it each day. A lot of it is intuitive but once you get the balance down of what to use and when, it becomes easier to keep your skin looking good at all times. I use a lot of chemical exfoliants & retinoids which if used excessively can be slightly harsh on the skin. The Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash is still my number one cleanser but as it contains lactic acid I sometimes feel like my skin needs a break from all the AHAs. When I'm not using the Elemis cleanser I tend to go for something mild that won't irritate my skin. A recent addition to my skincare lineup is this Chamomile Facial Wash from holistic skin specialist Claudia Louch. I adore her Mango Face Cream so I was rather keen to try out something else from her botanical skincare range.

The Chamomile Facial Wash is an incredibly gentle gel based cleanser. A lot of people tend to favour oils & balms these days but I'm still massively into gel cleansers. They always make my skin feel really refreshed so I especially like using them in the morning. With more natural formulas like this one, gel cleansers don't necessarily strip the skin. This facial wash is 94% natural and nicely balanced so it mildly cleanses, nourishes & hydrates the skin. Chamomile is well known for it's natural anti-inflammatory properties that make it ideal for calming the skin. The cleanser also contains natural active ingredients of red clover, elderflower extracts & white willow bark extract to gently clean and comfort your skin without harsh chemicals. This lovely combination of soothing natural ingredients really helps to calm everything down. It's a great choice for when your skin is feeling a bit worn out or over sensitised. Plus it's suitable for all skin types.

Most gel cleansers are applied to wet skin but this one can be massaged into dry skin much like a balm cleanser. It froths up slightly as you apply it but seeing as it doesn't contain any nasty ingredients such as SLS it doesn't become foamy. The texture is quite thick for a gel so it feels really luxurious as you massage it in. The scent is gorgeous, with notes of chamomile & elderflower. I normally use this product in the morning or as my second cleanse at night after removing my makeup with the Una Brennan Vitamin C Cleansing Oil. After washing it off I love how bright & fresh it makes my skin feel. The light formula cleanses without leaving my face feeling dry or taut. All of those wonderful ingredients help to soothe any irritation, soften my skin & reduce redness. It's a beautiful cleanser & I really love using it. As with the Claudia Louch Hydrating Mango Face Cream, it is pretty expensive. You do get a huge 240ml tube though & you only need a tiny blob of the gel each time so this product is gonna last for absolutely ages. I kinda wish it had that same sleek black packaging as the moisturiser instead of a plastic tube but otherwise I really can't fault this superb skin soothing cleanser.

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Monday, 23 June 2014

Gotta Be Fresh

Dress - Red Label* / Jacket - Primark / Sandals - eBay / Bracelet - Black Tied / Rings - ASOS & Regal Rose

Although I'm normally quite happy to stick with my mainly monochrome wardrobe, I can't resist a super bright dress like this one. Neon clothes probably don't look as good on me as they would on someone with tanned skin but I like to rock them anyway. I was sent this amazing lime green skater dress by Red Label. It only costs £15 but it's such good quality and that colour is a real stunner. This dress is really comfy and absolutely perfect for Summer. It's great to wear during the day or on a night out. The neck trim is detachable but I kept it on as I think it makes for a gorgeous faux necklace. Sometimes I wish I had a proper leather jacket but I'm pretty glad I have my cheapy Primark one at the moment. It's light enough for this weather & makes all my girly dresses look a little more badass. Still loving my gladiator sandals from eBay! They're all I've worn lately as they pretty much go with everything.

I wore this outfit when I went out for a meal with my friend last week. I always look forward to finding out which street food carts are setting up shop in the Trinity Leeds Kitchen each month & I really wanted to go to Tacochu. They sell taco rice which fuses together two of my favourite cuisines - Japanese & Mexican. It was so delicious! My roots look really bad here but I've had my hair done since then and it's a lot shorter & pinker toned now. These pictures are making me wish I hadn't cut it but my ends were getting far too ratty. I miss having proper pink hair though so I might get a bit dye happy very soon!

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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Laura Mercier Mineral Powder SPF 15

Laura Mercier Mineral Powder SPF 15 - £31

Way back when I first began wearing foundation on a daily basis I started off with mineral powders. I think they're a great way to get started as they're so easy to apply and don't feel as heavy on the skin as some liquid foundations. You can easily get away with wearing them at school too. The first mineral powder I tried was the Lily Lolo Mineral Foundation. I mainly bought it because it was pretty cheap & I couldn't afford Bare Minerals at the time. Those constant infomercials eventually got the better of me & I splashed out on some Bare Minerals foundation & concealer. Although I did like both the Lily Lolo & Bare Minerals products I just wasn't entirely satisfied with them. Even with copious amounts of buffing they still looked like a powder on my skin & I prefer a bit of a dewy finish. So I moved onto liquid foundations and hadn't really looked back until I heard about the Laura Mercier Mineral Powder. I believe it was Estée who I first saw using this powder & it looked so gorgeous on her skin. A powder that looks as good as a liquid? Yes please!

What I really like about the Laura Mercier Mineral Powder is that it blends in incredibly well & kinda melts into your skin. It feels like a powder to cream formula. It looks so fresh & radiant, nothing at all like a powder. That beautiful luminous finish is due to the inclusion of pure pearl powder. This not only makes your skin look amazing but it helps to promote healthy skin & fight the ageing process as well. I use the shade Soft Porcelain. It's the lightest one available & is fairly yellow toned. I love how pale it is, the colour is a great match for me. The mineral powder is water-resistant, oil-free & features SPF 15. I normally apply it with the Real Techniques Retractable Kabuki Brush as it's really soft & dense, perfect for buffing in powder foundations. The coverage is medium but buildable. You only need a tiny amount, yet it manages to cover up any redness in my face & the majority of my freckles. I find that if I go overboard with the powder it does get a bit cakey around my forehead but otherwise the finish is very natural & skin-like. The staying power is decent although it doesn't really control oil production. It begins to break down on my T-Zone after about six hours but I think that's pretty good going for a powder.

In my opinion this is a great product to touch up with throughout the day. There is a pressed version available which would be better for travelling with but it lacks the pearl powder & therefore that covetable luminous glow. Sure, carrying a pot of foundation & a kabuki brush around with you is a huge faff but hear me out. I suffer from horrendous hayfever which means that I end up blowing my nose about 100 times a day during the Summer. If I wear a liquid foundation all of the makeup on my nose comes off on my tissue. Not only does this look stupid but my nose becomes more vulnerable to the sun as I've rubbed off my foundation & any sun protection. As this powder contains SPF 15 it protects my nose & blends back in seamlessly with the rest of my makeup. It works well as a finishing powder too for touching up your regular makeup before a night out. This has to be the most finely milled mineral powder I've come across. It feels so lightweight on the skin but manages to make everything look flawless. Although it's expensive you definitely get what you pay for, both in terms of quality & quantity. The Laura Mercier Mineral Powder is easily one of my favourite Summer foundations.

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Tuesday, 17 June 2014

New Nails: Essie Nudes

Essie Spin The Bottle* / Essie Topless & Barefoot*

When it comes to choosing a new nail polish I'm normally all over the neons, pastels & glitters. I like my nails to make a statement. For some reason I've been craving classy nude shades lately. Sometimes a bit of minimalism can do you good. My Essie obsession is still in full force so I added a couple of newbies to my collection. If you're after a nude polish there's no better brand than Essie. They have so many different shades to suit every skintone. I decided to get Spin The Bottle from the Hide & Go Chic Spring 2014 collection and Topless & Barefoot from the A French Affair Spring 2011 collection. I was kindly sent these by As well as Essie they also stock a huge range of polishes from brands such as Barry M, China Glaze, Tanya Burr & Sally Hansen. They even have the infamous After School Boy Blazer just incase you're still searching for that perfect navy blue. Plus they offer free first class delivery in the UK on every order. The Essie polishes on their site come with the traditional brush rather than the wider one from the Essie diffusion line but that doesn't stop them from being just as awesome.

Although the two shades have a very similar appearance (especially in the bottle) they're actually quite different. Over the years I've heard so much about Topless & Barefoot from other bloggers. It's often raved about as the perfect nude polish. It's a soft & pretty beige pink. It might be slightly too pale for my skintone but I still think it's gorgeous nonetheless. In contrast I've noticed that many people were disappointed with the Spring 2014 collection & said that Spin The Bottle was sheer and streaky. I've got to disagree with them. Just like Topless & Barefoot it was perfectly opaque in two coats. Both of these are a welcome respite from the plethora of sheer nudes that plague nail polish stands. Spin The Bottle is an absolutely beautiful milky peach polish & I love how it looks on me. I know some people aren't fans of the 'mannequin hands' look but I really like how this shade blends in with my skin colour. It's slightly peachier and darker than Topless & Barefoot so I was surprised to find that I prefer this one. It's just so darn flattering. There's nothing quite so effortlessly chic as a nude nail polish & I'm utterly smitten with both of these shades. What's your favourite nude polish?

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Friday, 13 June 2014

SkinChemists Rapid Facial

SkinChemists Rapid Facial* - £117 (Special Offer - £19.99)

SkinChemists are well known for their use of weird & innovative ingredients in their skincare. They create products that feature snake venom, bee venom & wild caviar which are must-haves for many celebrities. I'm not quite brave enough to smother my face in viper venom just yet but I have been testing a few of their products made with more familiar ingredients. There's nothing my skin loves more than a hardcore glycolic acid treatment & this face mask really delivers. Rapid Facial is a thick and creamy mask inspired by microdermabrasion. It aims to boost the clarity & luminosity of the skin whilst hydrating & softening it at the same time. It can also help to fade age spots, irregular pigmentation & acne scarring.

The mask uses glycolic acid to chemically exfoliate the skin and stimulate skin renewal. I always apply my face masks with a flat foundation brush so I don't waste any product. You're supposed to leave it on until the peel can be removed by gently rubbing the skin which in my experience takes about 15-20 minutes. It also contains a few grainy bits so whilst you rub the exfoliating action of the mask increases. I really like products that utilise both chemical & manual exfoliation as you get the best of both worlds. It does feel rather tingly on the skin & this is coming from someone who uses acid exfoliating treatments on a daily basis. It doesn't burn but it might be a bit too strong for someone with sensitive skin. Despite the intense tingling sensation it doesn't irritate my skin or cause any redness. When you've rubbed it all over then you just need to wash it off & prepare to be amazed.

The results are nothing short of phenomenal. My skin has never looked smoother or more refined. The pores around my nose are practically invisible. I get quite a bit of congestion on my chin & forehead. After using this stuff both areas are left as smooth as a baby's bottom. There's not one single blackhead or clogged pore in sight. It gives such a beautiful radiant look to my skin. I can't emphasise enough how soft & smooth & clear it makes my entire face. It works wonderfully as both an exfoliating & brightening treatment. Rapid Facial definitely lives up to it's name as this mask pretty much makes my skin look as good as it does after an expert facial. I simply can't get enough of it!

Here's the catch: this mask costs £117! Don't get me wrong, this is an amazing face mask but I honestly can't say that I would spend that much money on one single skincare product. Plus there are quite a few other masks out there featuring glycolic acid that cost a lot less. All of the SkinChemists products have an astronomical price tag but they often have their items on special offer. You can currently buy this mask for just £19.99 which to me is around what it should really cost in the first place. Grab a bargain while you can because this mask is a real good'un!

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Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Ginvera Green Tea Exfoliating Marvel Gel

Ginvera Green Tea Exfoliating Marvel Gel* - £19.95

Here's a product that I've wanted to try for a long long time. The Ginvera Marvel Gel has been a cult skin treatment throughout Asia for the past two decades. More recently it has become very popular in the UK as well. To say that this light green gel is different to your average exfoliator would be quite the understatement. It doesn't contain any abrasive grains or beads so this gentle product is suitable for those with even the most sensitive skin. The ingredient list is impressive with a whole host of natural goodness for your skin including green tea, ginseng, soybean extract, aloe vera & royal jelly. The gel works by targeting the upper layer of skin. It dissolves and removes dead skin cells, revealing brighter & smoother skin underneath. It deeply cleanses your pores & is especially effective on blackheads.

To apply it you simply dot the gel around your face & rub it in for about a minute. It has a light green tea scent which is very pleasant. The gel feels cool & fresh on the skin and doesn't sting. As you rub, the product starts to ball up. The bits left on your face are actually your dead skin cells trapped within the gel. Apologies for the super gross close up pic but I think it's interesting to see the product in action. It kinda reminds me of those peel off gel face masks but this is way more effective. I always notice the greatest amount of those flakey bits around my T-Zone which is where I'm prone to getting blemishes. I tried rubbing it on my hand & I couldn't get it to ball up in the same way so I think it really does work to unclog your pores. Then you just wash it all off with your normal cleanser & carry on with the rest of your skincare routine. Even though I've become accustomed to using acid exfoliants this stuff still has an effect on my skin. It makes everything feel really smooth & my pores look more refined. It really is a lovely exfoliator that isn't harsh or drying on the skin at all.

Skin whitening products are very popular in Asia. As well as treating blemishes this stuff claims to lighten freckles & reduce scarring. From the above picture you can probably tell that I'm pretty darn freckly but unfortunately I haven't noticed much difference to them. If anything they look worse because they always come out during the Summer. The gel does help to brighten the overall appearance of my skin though & the tone looks more even. I'm not sure that I would replace my current exfoliators with this product as I am rather fond of my acids & the intense deep clean they provide for my skin. I would say that this gel would be absolutely perfect for anyone with skin that is too sensitive or dry for either physical or chemical exfoliants. If you're reluctant to use acids in the Summer due to increased sun sensitivity then this would be a great alternative at this time of year. The gel formula is so gentle on the skin but it really does a number on your pores. The Ginvera Marvel Gel is a truly unique product and I'd highly recommend giving it a go if you're prone to blackheads.

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Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Summer Stylin'

Jumpsuit - George* / Denim Jacket - George* / Sandals - eBay / Necklaces - Kukee & Urban Outfitters

During the Summer I get stuck in a cycle of pretty dresses & denim shorts. In an effort to shake up my Summer wardrobe I decided to take part in George at Asda's Summer style challenge. I chose a couple of pieces from their new collection & threw an outfit together. I love wearing short playsuits but I'd never actually tried a full jumpsuit before. I'm only 5'4" so most jumpsuits are far too long for me. This one is the perfect length & it is so incredibly comfortable. I feel as if I'm just wearing my pyjamas! I wear a lot of monochrome clothing so this pattern fits in quite well with my normal style. The material is thin & loose so it's perfect for hot days like today. I never thought I'd be able to pull off a jumpsuit but this one might have convinced me otherwise.

My wardrobe has been lacking a decent denim jacket and this one fills that gap nicely. It's very lightweight, soft & stretchy. I think it's a great colour too. I hardly ever wear jackets in the Summer but denim ones are light enough to slip over a dress without making you too hot. I sometimes get a bit self-conscious of showing my arms so a denim jacket is a good investment if you've got bingo wings like me. I'm obsessed with my new chunky gladiator sandals & thought they would go well with the jumpsuit. Loads of shops who stock wholesale clothes such as Ark, Boohoo & Lavish Alice have these exact ones on their website but as usual you can find some of their items cheaper on eBay. I love how they look with my neon pink pedicure. These are actually pretty comfortable too, chunky heels are always so much easier to walk in. As the jumpsuit has quite a busy pattern I decided to wear minimal accessories. I simply finished off the outfit with a couple of silver cross necklaces. I'm so ready for Summery weather & fashion, if only the random deluges would stop now!

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Friday, 6 June 2014

Nivea Cellular Anti-Age Skincare Range

Recently I've been testing out the new Nivea Cellular Anti-Age skincare range. The Cellular Anti-Age range is intended for those with mature skin as the products claim to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, firm the skin & aid skin renewal. All of the products in this range contain a unique combination of anti-ageing ingredients including magnolia extract, hyaluronic acid & creatine. For me Nivea are one of those failsafe brands. There's a reason why millions of women rely on their products. The Cellular Anti-Age range feels like a step up for them as the products are slightly more luxurious. I'm not hugely into drugstore skincare products as they often don't agree with my skin but the ingredients in these ones sounded just as good as some high end stuff. Ever since Hydraluron launched I've actively looked for moisturisers that contain hyaluronic acid. Not only does it increase your skin's moisture levels & plump up the skin, it helps to keep blemishes at bay as well. Obviously I'm still fairly young but fine lines are starting to creep up on me & prevention is always better than cure. I've noticed some other pleasant effects on my skin from using these products so it's well worth taking a look at them regardless of your age.

For me the surprise item of the range was the Nivea Cellular Anti-Age Eye Cream*. In general I tend to prefer eye gels as they feel much lighter & more refreshing on the skin. I didn't really expect much from this product but it is a truly lovely eye cream. You only need a tiny pinhead sized amount so this tube is gonna last for ages. The cream manages to feel lightweight & deeply hydrating at the same time so it's perfect for the delicate skin around your eyes. It has an instantaneous effect on my undereye area. My dark circles are immediately lightened. Any fine lines get plumped up and smoothed out. My eyes look brighter & healthier even without concealer. It's a really great base for your concealer too & helps to stop it from creasing as much.

My favourite out of the four products has to be the Nivea Cellular Anti-Age Concentrated Skin-Refining Serum*. This serum feels incredibly hydrating! I sometimes feel like I don't even need to use a moisturiser afterwards. The texture is very silky which is probably due to cyclomethicone being the second ingredient on the list. I did worry that this serum would break me out as I sometimes react to excess silicone but my skin has actually been loving this stuff. This product is an intensive concentrated treatment so I've found that it has really helped to accelerate the skin rejuvenating process. I tend not to get full on blemishes anymore, just loads of congestion especially on my forehead. Ever since I started using this serum my forehead has been looking really smooth & clear. The fine lines in that area have been lessened also. It's such a great treatment that would be perfect for anyone prone to dehydration or congestion. If you buy one product from the Cellular Anti-Age range, this should be it.

A Nivea day cream was one of the first moisturisers I ever bought so it's interesting to see how they've improved over the years. I absolutely love the buttery soft texture of the Nivea Cellular Anti-Age Day Cream SPF 15*. Both the day & night creams have that good old Nivea scent which is lovely & doesn't irritate my skin. I feel like this cream might be slightly too rich for my skin type though. It's really hydrating but it takes a long time to sink in & can sometimes feel a bit tacky. When it does finally sink in it does make my skin feel really silky & soft. It gives the skin a nice velvety appearance. As someone with combination skin though I need something a bit lighter during the day. I do like that it contains SPF 15 as sun protection is pretty much the only thing that can stop the signs of ageing. Anti-ageing products can reduce the effects but again prevention is better than cure.

I'm really enjoying using the Nivea Cellular Anti-Age Night Cream*. This has that same buttery texture as the day cream but it's just a little bit thicker & balmier. It simply melts into the skin & feels so lovely to apply. It actually reminds me of the Origins High Potency Night-A-Mins moisturiser which is my favourite night cream ever. The main difference is that this has that traditional Nivea scent instead of a citrus one. Both creams boast skin renewal properties & I have to say that both of them deliver. When I wake up after using the Nivea night cream my skin feels amazing. It's so much softer, smoother & plumped up. My skin tone looks even & there's no dryness or tight feeling at all. Everything feels noticeably firmer too. This is a great night cream & is another one of those products that I think a lot of people would get along with.

Overall I think this is a really strong range of products from Nivea. Even though they are intended for more mature ladies, anyone with dry or dehydrated skin would greatly benefit from using these products. Each product normally costs £14.99 but at this moment in time they're only £9.99 in Boots! This range has totally exceeded all of my expectations. It just goes to show that as long as you know which ingredients to look out for, your skincare routine needn't cost the earth. Are you a fan of Nivea products?

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Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Zing Anything Vodka Zinger Alcohol Infusing Bottle + Giveaway!

Zing Anything Vodka Zinger* - £24.99

Just incase my blog name didn't give it away, I am partial to the odd shot of vodka now & then! I really enjoy mixology & inventing my own cocktails. If you've ever looked through a cocktail recipe book then you'd know that there's so many drinks that require flavoured alcohol. I'd love to buy every flavour of Smirnoff or Absolut available but that would get pretty expensive! That's where Zing Anything's amazing Vodka Zinger comes in. This is an alcohol infusing bottle which allows you to easily create almost any flavoured alcohol that you can imagine. I've always loved the flavoured vodka shots from Revolution so I was really excited to get the chance to try making my own.

The bottle is basically a stainless steel tube with a lid and a bottom-mounted grinder. This cup at the bottom holds the ingredients allowing the pure extracted flavours to travel through a fine-combed mesh screen and infuse the alcohol. Infusing vodka is a great way to enjoy a drink without the excess sugars, artificial sweeteners or mixers that lead to hangovers. You can use the bottle to infuse various spirits but vodka has such a clean taste that it really takes on the flavours of your ingredients. If you're on a health kick you don't need to completely cut out booze, just go for healthier options like this instead. When I worked in Spain we were obsessed with this orange flavoured brandy called Ponche Caballero so I definitely want to try making my own version of that. You can even use carbonated beverages in the infuser bottle such as beer or cider. I love the innovative flavours that Kopparberg use in their ciders so I'd love to invent some of my own. First of all though I wanted to try making my own flavoured vodka as that is the main intended use of this bottle.

Zing Anything give you some great examples of recipes in the instruction leaflet. You can use things like lemons, peaches, cherries, watermelon, cucumber, cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, honey & mint. The possibilities are endless! I love sweet tasting cocktails so I decided to make some strawberry & pineapple infused vodka. I just chopped up a few pieces of fresh fruit, placed them into the cup at the bottom and then pushed on the lid with the grinder blades. This squashes the fruit down so that the juices can be released into your beverage. The juicier the fruit, the tastier your drink will be. Then you simply screw the cup back onto the bottom of the Vodka Zinger bottle.

The final step is to pour in your alcohol. I was feeling a bit fancy so I went for Grey Goose vodka. You can fill it with any volume of liquid as long as you stop just shy of the top. I filled it about halfway as I wasn't planning on drinking a ton of vodka. As we're using fresh fruit rather than artificial flavours you have to use up your beverage within a week so I'd suggest only making as much as you need. This made about ten single shots. You need to leave some room at the top to help with shaking. To start off the infusion process you need to reseal the cap and vigorously shake your Vodka Zinger bottle. Then you just allow it to steep. The longer the beverage steeps, the stronger the flavour. You could do it for just 20 minutes if you like but I wanted my vodka to be really flavourful so I popped the bottle in the fridge for a whole day. Give it another shake before serving to further improve the taste. When you infuse a clear liquid like vodka it takes on some of the colouring of your fruit so my drink has a pretty pink tone to it. The pineapple added a hint of sweetness but the strawberry flavour dominated. It was really delicious & would go well with just some tonic water or lemonade. I was surprised by how well it works & how incredibly easy it is to use. I can't wait to get making some more yummy concoctions!

Fancy making your very own flavoured alcohol? I've teamed up with the guys over at Zing Anything UK to offer my blog readers the chance to win a Vodka Zinger bottle. This giveaway is open to UK residents only. The prize is being provided by Zing Anything UK & will be sent to the winner by them. The winner will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter. Entrants under 18 must ask parental permission before entering. Please drink alcohol responsibly! To enter just use the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

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