Wednesday 28 November 2012


Skinetica Anti-Blemish Skincare Treatment*

When I have a good skincare routine in place I tend not to get too many spots anymore. However it all went to pot recently when I was poorly and it was a struggle to get dressed let alone look after my skin properly. This resulted in the appearance of several unsightly blemishes all at once, not good! It was however the perfect time for me to put a new anti-blemish treatment to the test. Skinetica is a clear liquid that claims to banish spots within 3 days of use.

You apply the product almost like a toner. First of all you just wash your face with your normal cleanser. Then you soak a cotton pad with Skinetica and apply it to any affected areas. It will even work on blackheads so sweep it over your nose & chin too. The most important part of application is to make sure it has air dried properly but that only takes a couple of seconds. Then you can apply any serum, moisturiser, primer & makeup on top. Make sure you repeat the process at night because Skinetica works best with two applications per day.

I wasn't too sure if it would do anything at all considering it seems more like a toner rather than a traditional spot treatment but it actually did get rid of any active breakouts I had within a few of days. Any pain & redness in them had disappeared after the first day and the affected area had completely cleared after the third. I'm really impressed by how quickly it works & how easy it is to integrate into your normal skincare/makeup routine. The only problem I had with it was that it made my skin feel quite dry & tight but that soon went away with a good dose of moisturiser. Theres only 4 ingredients in it so that might be due to the alcohol & fragrance it contains. It does smell really nice but I prefer to use unperfumed products on my face. Its nothing like the dryness you get from most anti-blemish products, especially ones containing harsh chemicals like benzoyl peroxide. Other than that initial dryness, Skinetica is actually really kind to skin.

I have to admit I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to skincare. After years of trying drugstore products by the likes of Clearasil, Clean & Clear, Witch & Neutrogena with little success, I generally believe that the more you pay for skincare the more it'll do for your skin. But every now and then there comes a real gem that doesn't cost the earth. One bottle of Skinetica retails at just 9.99 including UK postage. You can even request a free sample bottle from the Skinetica website so theres no excuse not to try out this brilliant blemish buster.

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch Primer

Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch Primer

Primers are something I consider to be an essential step in makeup application. Anything that can help my makeup to look better & last longer is welcome in my collection. After reading several glowing reviews on this Clarins product I decided it was something I needed to try out for myself & I certainly wasn't disappointed with the results! I've written in depth before about some of my favourite primers but this is now the one that I find myself reaching for on a daily basis.

Instant Smooth is a pink silicone based primer that helps to give the illusion of flawless base. Don't worry, it becomes clear once applied on your skin! Theres a primer out there for everyone depending on your personal skin & makeup concerns. This product is a brilliant one to try if large pores are a problem for you. It fills in fine lines & pores with such ease. I tried it on the back of my hand when I was in Boots and was amazed at how it made even the tiny hair follicle pores disappear instantly. Naturally it works even better on your face! It comes with a tiny spatula so you can scoop out the product but I find that using my fingers works better or I end up with too much product on my face. One of the best things about this primer is how little of it you need for a flawless finish. It makes my pores look airbrushed without makeup & it feels wonderful on the skin, like velvet. Its so light and my makeup glides over this product. It makes my foundation last a lot longer, especially in the t-zone area which is where my combination skin is oiliest. I like to use it under my eyes too which helps to stop my concealer from creasing. Its also lovely to use over drier areas. The skin around my nose gets a bit dry & flakey when I have a cold but Instant Smooth really helps to minimise this. Its the perfect primer for anyone with combination skin. My skin type is slightly blemish prone & whereas other silicone based primers have broken me out in the past, this one has only helped the appearance of my skin.

The other primers I would consider to give a similar finish to this one are my other two favourites - Benefit's The Porefessional and Philosophy's The Present. However in my opinion Clarins Instant Smooth is actually better than the both of them. The Porefessional feels a touch greasier on my skin and isn't very cost effective. The Present is probably equal to Instant Smooth in terms of how it makes my skin look & feel and the effect it has on my makeup. However The Present is quite a thick primer and you have to wait for it to settle on your skin for a minute before applying your makeup. With Instant Smooth the results are, well, instant. You only need to use a tiny amount and you can get on with applying your makeup right away. I highly recommend getting this primer because it will last you such a long time & will make your foundation look truly flawless.

Monday 26 November 2012

Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural Lift & Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm

Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural Lift & Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm

When it comes to cleansers I've always been an advocate of the gel variety. I find that gel cleansers have always left my face feeling freshest and looking brightest. However during the Winter months I feel the need to use something a bit thicker & more moisturising on the skin. I've totally fallen out of love with Liz Earle's Hot Cloth Cleanser & I ran out of my Botanics cleansing balm which has now been reformulated anyway. Thats why Emma Hardie's cult Moringa Cleansing Balm has found its way into my skincare routine and I really don't know how I went without this product for so long! I first tried this product a month ago when I was lucky enough to be sent a sample pot by What's In My Handbag. I received a tiny 15ml pot and one of Emma Hardie's Dual Action Professional Cleansing Cloths. Since then I've purchased the full size tub despite the £27 price tag because I really do love it that much.

The cleansing balm itself is such a wonderful formula & an absolute pleasure to use. It feels so luxurious & smells divine. Its thick enough to add moisture to your skin yet light enough to clean your whole face with the tiniest blob. To use this product you just scoop a small amount out of the tub, add a few drops of warm water to the palm of your hand and mix together before massaging it all over your face in circular motions. The full sized tub comes with a leaflet showing you how to do some of Emma Hardie's signature facial massage techniques. I've found that these really help to relax your facial muscles & stimulate the skin. You can even leave it on for 10 minutes as a hydrating mask to let your skin really benefit from all those lovely natural ingredients.

To remove the balm you just massage it off using a cloth soaked in hot water. The Emma Hardie cloth I received with my What's In My Handbag sample is double sided. One side is like a traditional muslin cloth which you can use to gently exfoliate any dry or congested areas and the other side is made of soft micro fibre which is more suitable for delicate & sensitive areas. Although the cloth is nice, its definitely not a necessity. I find that my old Liz Earle muslin cloths & even bog standard Primark face cloths work just as well with this cleanser. The Emma Hardie cloths aren't even included with the full size cleansing balm so honestly I wouldn't bother with them.

The one qualm I have with this product is the packaging. The tub looks very posh & grown up but I'd prefer it if it was in a tube just for convenience & to make it more sanitary. Otherwise this cleanser is such a dreamy product. I've never tried anything that manages to remove even the most heavy duty makeup with such ease. It even gets rid of every last trace of mascara & liquid eye liner without irritating my eyes whatsoever. I used to have to clean off my eye makeup with Bioderma before using my Botanics cleansing balm but its no trouble at all for this Emma Hardie cleanser. It leaves my skin feeling super soft & perfectly cleansed, not dry or tight at all. It also helps to minimise pores. This product is suitable for all skin types but would work especially well on anyone with dry or sensitive skin. I used to hate taking my makeup off because it was so much effort but I really enjoy using this cleansing balm and it does make such a difference to my skin. Is anyone else an Emma Hardie convert?

Sunday 25 November 2012

Coconut Ice

Today I've got something a bit different for you guys. I love cooking and I've wanted to post some of my favourite recipes on here for ages now. I've been a bit poorly lately with the worst cold ever and nothing would shift it. This meant that we've been stuck inside for the past couple of weeks, only braving the cold for quick Sainsburys trips. Yesterday cabin fever truly began to set in and whenever it does, we end up baking. I decided to go for something simple, quick and sickly sweet - coconut ice. I remember making this a lot when I was a child so that shows just how easy it is to do. I was shocked when my friend told me he had never had coconut ice before (deprived child!) so I figured I would share the recipe with all of you. Theres only a few ingredients involved and it takes no time at all so this is the perfect thing to make if your sweet tooth requires instant satisfaction. It also makes for a great homemade gift.

200g Carnation Condensed Milk
225g Icing sugar, sieved
175g Desiccated coconut
Pink/red food colouring

1) Mix together the condensed milk and icing sugar. Then stir in the coconut. The mixture should be very stiff, just keep stirring until it all comes together.

2) At this point you can add the food colouring. Traditional coconut ice is half pink & half white. You can either make it all pink like I have done or you can divide the mixture in half & add food colouring to one half. Keep mixing until you have an even colour.

3) Line a square tin with greaseproof paper. Then pour the mixture into the tin and form into an even layer. If you're making the two-tone version layer the white coconut ice first and then press both layers firmly together.

4) Leave for 2-3 hours until firm and cut into squares. A helpful tip is to heat up a sharp knife with hot water first to get the edges looking clean. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container and use within 3 weeks (if you manage not to eat it all by the end of the day!).

Its so easy to make & requires literally no cooking skills whatsoever! Best of all, its pure sugary perfection. Let me know if any of you decide to make this or if you'd like to see more recipe posts on my blog!

Friday 9 November 2012

Monster Hospital

Shirt - Topshop / Skirt - Topshop / Belt - Urban Outfitters / Necklace - Topshop / Rings - Galibardy + Me & Zena

This is what I wore yesterday to run some errands. Sorting out adult stuff is horrendously boring. I was even on hold to NPower for 2 hours before they hung up on me. It was such a FML moment. Hopefully most of that stuff is sorted now because this has been such a boring week. Looking forward to doing some more exciting things next week. Leeds Christkindelmarkt starts tonight so I can't wait to go. They do this amazing Bavarian dumpling filled with plum jam and smothered in vanilla custard that I gorge on every year. Totally wish I had one right now!

My shirt, skirt and belt are all recent acquisitions. This shirt is amazing because it just goes with everything. My favourite part of my outfit is the cross belt from Urban Outfitters. I want to wear it every day! I really love the Model's Own Mirrorball collection. Here I'm wearing Disco Inferno on top of Stargazer 504 which is a lovely peachy nude. I never used to like glittery nail polishes but I'm definitely feeling the need to pick up the Wonderland collection too!

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Givenchy Noir Couture Mascara

Givenchy Noir Couture Mascara in Black Satin*

I've happily been using Lancome's Hypnose Doll Eyes mascara for the past year but I'm always looking for new ones to try out. A couple of years ago I was obsessed with Givenchy's Phenomen'eyes mascara but it took a while to apply and the product would never set on my lashes leaving me with panda eyes. Not a good look. When I heard that Givenchy had come out with a new mascara that majorly improves on the Phenomen'eyes formula I decided to give it a whirl.

Noir Couture is a 4-in-1 mascara that supposedly makes your lashes look longer, thicker and more curvaceous. It also contains Givenchy’s exclusive Lash Booster Expert Complex that strengthens your lashes and helps them grow over time. The Phenomen'eyes wand was one singular spikey sphere whereas the Noir Couture one is 'tri-spherical'. It reminds me of the Rimmel Sexy Curves wand but with fibre bristles instead of rubber. The wand is brilliantly designed. It makes application so simple. My main problem with applying mascara is that I blob it so I always end up having to clean up with a cotton bud afterwards. This is no longer a problem with this mascara, it coats every lash with no mess. It goes on my lashes and stays on my lashes. Its hard to make it clumpy even after a couple of coats which could be a good or bad thing depending on how you like your mascara. I love that it doesn't flake or smudge at all either.

However I do think that the 4-in-1 claim could be misleading. I've been using this product for the past three of weeks and while I haven't noticed my lashes growing at all, they do seem a bit stronger and shinier. If you really want longer lashes then you're better off going for Talika Lipocils or RapidLash. This mascara definitely makes my lashes look really long and it holds a curl really well. I feel like its lacking in the volumising department though. Personally I like thick clumpy spider lashes so to get my desired effect I feel the need to layer it with another mascara. But if you want a mascara that can give you lots and lots of length then this is a smashing one to try.

Shop Givenchy at Harrods

Sunday 4 November 2012

Apply Some Pressure

Dress - New Look / Shoes - All Saints / Bracelet - Ginger Pickle* / Rings - ASOS & Regal Rose

If there was ever an outfit that could represent me as a person, this would be it. Not sure why, its just a feeling I get when I wear this dress haha. I bought it from New Look a couple of years ago and its still one of my faves because it looks good during the day as well as at night. Plus it has pockets! Any dress with pockets immediately gets a thumbs up from me. My lipstick is one of the Topshop pencils in Powder Room. Really love this colour! These are my go-to dancing shoes. I bought them from All Saints a few years ago hence their battered appearance. They cost about £70 and I adore them so I'm still reluctant to get rid of them even though they've seen better days. I absolutely love my new arrow bracelet from Ginger Pickle. Its so dainty and cute! Jade makes some beautiful pieces with the sweetest packaging ever so definitely check out her shop if you haven't already.

This is what I wore last night when we went to see the bonfire & watch some fireworks. Well, this is what I wore under a hoodie, a coat, a scarf, a hat and some gloves. Its so cold out there! Last night was a bit of fail because while we were walking towards the display Chloe kept saying how much she loved fireworks, then as soon as we got there lots of crying ensued with shouts of 'I don't like fireworks, they're too loud!'. Oops, hopefully she'll enjoy it more next year!

Saturday 3 November 2012

October Favourites

Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray
I'd wanted to try one of Urban Decay's setting sprays for ages and I finally decided to pick this up last month. You simply apply your makeup as usual and then spray this all over your face about four times. It really does help to keep your makeup in place for longer and leaves your face looking fresher. It also stops your skin from looking powdery. Its a godsend on nights out! It was manufactured by Skindinavia who make setting sprays that many professional makeup artists use on photo shoots and wedding days. The formula is pretty much the same as their original sprays so this is definitely something to check out if your makeup doesn't last quite as long as you'd like or you need to look perfect all day long.

Origins Clear Improvement Mask
One of my favourite things in life is trying out new face masks. Nothing makes me feel more pampered and relaxed at home. This is a bit more than your average clay mask. It contains active charcoal which really draws out the impurities from deep inside your skin. Origins recommend using this after exfoliating and steaming your face. It looks quite scary when it dries, like a matte black foundation. I feel like it really makes a difference to the amount of blackheads on my nose and dramatically reduces any painful spots. I used it again last night when I had a couple of painful red spots under the skin between my eyebrows and on my chin. They've completely stopped hurting and cleared up. It wasn't as effective on the non-painful spots but this is a good one for eliminating all the gunk thats trapped under your skin.

Caudalie Divine Oil
This multi-purpose beauty oil is nothing short of a miracle worker. You can use this literally anywhere. Personally I like to put one spray in my hair every morning to give it a quick shine boost. Its also helped to get rid of the eczema I sometimes get on my leg. Its perfect to rub on your body after a shower as its a dry oil so you don't end up feeling greasy at all. The spray top makes it easy to apply it to all those hard to reach areas. Its fab on dry areas like elbows & knees. Plus it smells... divine!

As a devotee of the Caroline Hirons school of skincare I had to pick up this serum. I really like how it makes my skin feel. Hydraluron is essentially pure Hyaluronic Acid. This ingredient is capable of absorbing up to 1000 times its weight in water. This means that when you apply moisturiser on top of it, the acid keeps the moisture there resulting in soft supple skin. You have to use it alongside your normal moisturiser because its meant for below-surface hydration. If you use it alone it just makes your face feel really tight. Its pretty pricey and despite the big box, you only get this tiny tube. Although you only need a tiny blob for your whole face I feel like the tube is rapidly emptying already. I definitely feel like this is doing more for my skin than some of the other serums I've tried though so this could become an expensive new habit!

Origins Make A Difference Plus+ Rejuvenating Treatment
I'd heard so many good things about the original Make A Difference Rejuvenating Treatment but by the time I managed to pick up a jar Origins had changed the formula. I was bit wary of trying it out incase it wasn't as good as I'd heard the previous version was but its a really lovely product. It adds a great deal of moisture to my skin which is definitely getting dried out by a combo of central heating and icy winds. The one thing I don't like about it is that I always have to wash my hands after applying it because I hate how sticky it makes them feel. However my face feels nicely hydrated and very smooth. It sits really nicely under my makeup and feels almost like a primer. I prefer to use it at night though because it does lack SPF. This product preceded by a blob of Hydraluron is a brilliant combo for keeping dry and dehydrated Winter skin at bay.

Thursday 1 November 2012

Scented With Wonder

Wonder Disney Store Fragrance Mist / Wonder Disney Store Linen Spray

At 24 years old it might seem odd to some people but I still love Disney as much as I did when I was a little girl. My daughter is currently obsessed with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Disney Store shopping trips have become a regular occurrence for us. I first noticed these sprays when I became enamored with a huge Minnie Mouse cuddly toy in the Disney Store. It smelled divine! I actually struggled to stop sniffing it which probably made me look like a massive weirdo. Turns out it was 'Scented With Wonder'. They do loads of different toys in the Scented With Wonder range now. This one of Thumper is particularly adorable. The scent itself was inspired by everyone's favourite orphaned deer, Bambi. Its a sickly sweet combo of lemon sugar, apple blossoms and marshmallow clouds.

From the variety of Wonder products available I decided to pick up the perfume & the linen spray. The perfume costs £14 for 50ml and the linen spray costs £8 for 125ml. They both smell exactly the same, I just bought both versions incase the linen spray wasn't safe to spray directly onto skin. The perfume doesn't actually last very long on me but considering the low price I wouldn't really expect it to last all day. The scent is so delicious that I'm happy to keep topping it up. My daughter loves the smell too and is forever bringing the bottle over to me to spray onto her wrists. Its a good play perfume for kids because you don't have to worry about it being wasted on them. Even though the linen spray is the cheaper product, you get more in the bottle and the scent really lasts. I like spraying it around my bedroom, on my bedsheets and inside my wardrobe & chest of drawers. I can still normally smell it for about 3 days afterwards. It makes my room smell just like a sweet shop! Its a really nice scent for children's bedrooms too. Its a sweet but warm scent that I find really comforting. Definitely give these a whiff if you go past a Disney Store. They'd make perfect stocking fillers for young girls too.