Monday, 20 October 2014

Huge Boots Haul!


Boots staff double discount happened, and this isn't even all of it! I've removed some presents and doubles from the photo, and I forgot to include the No7 mirror and foundations (which I paid pennies for thanks to clearance and vouchers). In my defence, a number of items above are Christmas presents for various people. I'm just going to talk through a handful of things because we'll be here for a long time else!

I'm not one for false lashes, but I had a few styes and started pulling mine out (I know), so needed something to fill the gaps while they grow back! The individual lashes have been great, and while they don't last for days and days, they look natural. I remove them every night like I do with any cosmetic. This would be time consuming if I applied a full set every morning, but I only apply a couple. The Naturalites (10) also look promising!

I well and truly stocked up on the Tresemme Platinum Strength shampoo and conditioner because they ended up being just £1.87 a bottle. It's definitely a range I'd recommend trying!

Original Source have brought out some body moisturisers, and I couldn't resist buying the peach and apricot lotion. It smells like a peach and apricot yoghurt! There's also a watermelon one, which I wouldn't mind smelling at some point.

29, 34, and 35 were on clearance in my store, so I ended up paying just 39p and 87p for them! Another exciting lip product purchase is L'Oreal's Colour Riche Exclusive Red Lipstick in Julianne. It's beautiful!

The Babyliss straighteners and Soap & Glory gift sets are for my mum for Christmas. She's only ever had mine and my sister's old straighteners, and her favourite colour is purple, so I thought the Elegance Pro would be perfect. She's not familiar with Soap & Glory, but after telling her a bit about the products and showing her reviews/swatches, she's excited to start using them!

Other points to mention: I'm excited to use the No7 makeup products (7 and 25-28) because they all have great reviews, I love the Laura Ashley kitchen accessories, and I don't know why I included the anti-blister stick and spray plaster. It must have been a long day!

Have you splurged recently?

Friday, 3 October 2014

Graduation Dresses

I'm graduating this month! Finally. Other universities had their ceremonies months ago. So, weeks had gone by, thousands upon thousands of dresses were looked at, and I didn't like any. Then I stumbled upon House of Fraser and Zalando, and they both had dresses from the brand Closet. I'd never heard of this brand before, but liked it straight away. The dresses were closer to what I had in mind than any others. They were just the right amount of formal, and the shapes and cuts were simple yet flattering. 

I ordered the two above within five minutes of each other, and I'm keeping both! The first one, with the little heart print, was from House of Fraser here, and the second one was from Zalando here. I wasn't planning on going with navy (they look black in the photo, but they're definitely navy), but that must be what I gravitate towards. Both feel like great quality (I ordered another from Miss Guided, but it felt and looked cheap) and both have pockets! I love that they have pockets. They don't look like much on the hangers, but they really are beautiful. I think I'm probably going to go with the laced bottom one for this occasion, though. It doesn't look as nice as the heart print one on the hanger, but it fits perfectly. The shape is just what I wanted.

I just need to find shoes and a necklace now. I'm thinking these should have a pop of colour. I've seen some dark red, perfect-for-autumn heels, which I think would go beautifully with the navy. My dad thinks I'll look like Dorothy, but is there really anything wrong with that?! I'm not talking about a bright red anyway, so I don't think I will.

What accessories would you choose?

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Maybelline Colour Elixirs and No7 BB Lips Beauty Balms

Maybelline Colour Elixir in Mandarin Rapture, Maybelline Colour Elixir in Alluring Coral, No7 BB Lips Beauty Balm in Geranium, and No7 BB Lips Beauty Balm in Blush Coral

The Maybelline Colour Elixirs and No7 BB Lips Beauty Balms are similar products, in the sense that they're both a liquid balm with a decent amount of colour payoff and a high shine finish, so I thought I'd group them together in one post. I also thought that this would make up for the lack of lip swatches. I just couldn't get the photos right! Speaking of which, the photos above look fine on my screen, but not so fine on my dad's, so sorry if they're not looking great on yours!

The Maybelline Colour Elixirs (£6.99) were not something I intended to buy. I hadn't looked at many reviews online, and the packaging didn't appeal to me. Then I swatched them and realised how balmy and similar they were to the NYX Butter Glosses. I bought Mandarin Rapture first because my store had a very small selection and I didn't realise there was a coral. Then I ordered Alluring Coral a few days later. I definitely prefer the latter. I prefer the colour, it's more opaque and even, and it has no shimmer. Mandarin Rapture's shimmer is very fine, mind you, and you can't detect it on your lips, but I'd prefer there to be none. I feel like they're more pigmented than your standard gloss, they're moisturising, and they last a few hours. Alluring Coral also stains my lips slightly. The scent is a mix of perfume and fruitiness, but it's not offensive. I can see myself buying more of these in the future.

I don't like the name of the No7 BB Lips Beauty Balms (£9), because they've simply jumped on a bb everything trend, but the actual product is impressive. They're like the Elixirs, but they're thicker and more balmy. They also have SPF15, which is an added bonus. Geranium is my favourite because it's more pigmented, but Blush Coral is perfect for those more natural days. I'm not sure how well it'd show up on those with more pigmented lips, though, so keep that in mind. They're more expensive than other high street lip products, but No7 always have an offer on. Buy one get one half price, £5/£3 off voucher, free gift (sometimes you can combine two of these deals at once, too).

Are you a fan of these balmy hybrids?

Monday, 22 September 2014

Empties #08

As I'm writing this, I already have three products for my next Empties. I could include them here, but that would mean taking the photo again!

I don't like to include every shampoo and conditioner I go through in these posts because it gets incredibly tedious. However, this one's worth mentioning. I even dedicated an entire post to it here! It's the Tresemme Platinum Strength Shampoo. I was skeptical at first, but it really did make my hair feel softer, stronger, and overall healthier. I've already bought more, and would definitely recommend giving it a go.

The Nivea Waterlily and Oil Shower Gel was something I bought ages ago because it was on offer, but only started using it recently. I usually prefer fruity shower gels which pack a punch, but enjoyed using this delicate number. I didn't notice my skin feeling any more moisturised, though. It's nice, but nothing special, so I probably won't repurchase.

I can no longer see The Body Shop's Vineyard Peach Body Mist (review here) on their site, and I'm kicking myself for not stocking up. It smells like a fresh, juicy peach, and it's amazing.

I also finished up another bottle of Superdrug's Colour Effects Conditioning Colour in True Chestnut (review here). I think I've mentioned one of these in nearly every Empties, and I'm starting to sound like a broken record! Just read my review or previous posts to find out why I like them.

I liked the Revlon PhotoReady Perfecting Primer (review here). It left my skin looking and feeling smooth, mattified it slightly, and made my makeup look better. I just wish the packaging was different because I had to pry the lid off and whack the bottle on my palm to get the last little bit out (which was actually more than a little bit).

The Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner in Intense Black and Colour Tattoo Gel-Cream Eyeshadow in On & On Bronze are not empty, but they are drying up (after having them for years, may I add). Both are creamy, intensely pigmented, and last all day. They've become part of my daily routine, and I've already repurchased both.

Have you tried any of these products?

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Some of My Favourite Books

I could never have predicted that these books would become some of my favourites, and that's one of the reasons why I think I love them. They're a breath of fresh air.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova 
When Alice finds herself in the rapidly downward spiral of Alzheimer's Disease she is just fifty years old. A university professor, wife, and mother of three, she still has so much more to do - books to write, places to see, grandchildren to meet. But when she can't remember how to make her famous Christmas pudding, when she gets lost in her own back yard, when she fails to recognise her actress daughter after a superb performance, she comes up with a desperate plan. But can she see it through? Should she see it through? Losing her yesterdays, living for each day, her short-term memory is hanging on by a couple of frayed threads. But she is still Alice.

I remember buying this simply based on the reviews, but couldn't see myself loving it. How could I relate to the main character when we're so different? Well, I loved it. Reading the progression the disease has on someone, seeing them slip away, and the effects it has on those closest to them really makes an impact. There's a part near the beginning where Alice is eating an ice cream, and she doesn't want the day to come when see can't even remember how to prevent it dripping down her hand. Towards the end of the book, she's eating an ice cream with it dripping down her hand, and it's a sad moment. I'd wholeheartedly recommend giving this book a read.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett 
Enter a vanished and unjust world: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children, but aren't trusted not to steal the silver . . . There's Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own son's tragic death; Minny, whose cooking is nearly as sassy as her tongue; and white Miss Skeeter, home from College, who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared. Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. No one would believe they'd be friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely upon one another. Each is in a search of a truth. And together they have an extraordinary story to tell...

I read this ages ago, so I can't remember all the details, but I know I loved it. This was another book that I thought wouldn't be for me, and I actually disliked the first however many pages. I ended up loving it, though, and it's one of those books which opens your eyes and makes you think about the wider issues in this world. I don't agree with the hype surrounding a lot of things, but I can see why this book is loved by many.

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes 
France, 1916. Sophie Lefevre must keep her family safe whilst her adored husband Edouard fights at the front. When she is ordered to serve the German officers who descend on her hotel each evening, her home becomes riven by fierce tensions. And from the moment the new Kommandant sets eyes on Sophie's portrait - painted by Edouard - a dangerous obsession is born, which will lead Sophie to make a dark and terrible decision. Almost a century later, and Sophie's portrait hangs in the home of Liv Halston, a wedding gift from her young husband before he died. A chance encounter reveals the painting's true worth, and its troubled history. A history that is about to resurface and turn Liv's life upside down all over again . . . In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for what they love most - whatever the cost.
A book following the history of a painting? Not for me, I said. Again, I was wrong. I couldn't get into it at first, but soon couldn't put it down. I didn't realise how caught up I was in the past until it flicked to the present and I just had to know what happened. Slow at first, but I'm glad I persevered. 

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes 
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop, and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now, and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.
This is another book which really makes you think, and I love it for that. It's so much more than your typical romance. It looks at serious issues, and shows you that some things are not black and white. The ending reinforces this, and left my emotions torn for the characters. Definitely give this a read, if you haven't already.

Belle by Lesley Pearce 
She witnessed a murder - and now her life is in danger . . . Fifteen year-old Belle, though raised in a London brothel, is an innocent. But when she witnesses one of the girls brutally strangled by a client, she is cast into a cruel, heartless world. Snatched from the streets and sold into prostitution, she is made a courtesan in New Orleans. At the mercy of desperate men who crave her beauty and will do anything to keep her, Belle's dreams of home, family, and freedom appear futile. Are Belle's courage and spirit strong enough to help her escape? And what will await her at the end of the long, dangerous journey home?
I bought this from a charity shop because the blurb instantly intrigued me. It's a large book, but so eventful that it didn't drag. The topic is one that grips you, that's for sure. There were a couple things that could have been improved upon, though. The main character was a little too naive at times, especially towards the end of the book when you think she'd learnt her lesson. The ending was also left a little too neat for my liking. It's still a book I'd recommend, though. I haven't read the books following this one yet because I read some major spoilers, but they're on my list of ones to get around to.

I haven't featured any dystopian books in this post because my favourites are parts of series. I feel like it's difficult to capture a dystopian society in one book. Some of my favourites include the Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver, the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth, the Maze Runner series by James Dashner, and of course The Hunger Games books by Suzanne Collins.
Please leave your book recommendations below!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Bedside Beauty

I've unintentionally accumulated a small gathering of products beside my bed, and thought I'd talk a little about them today.

Just before bed, I'll sometimes want to moisturise areas such as my elbows, knees, and feet. My body butter of choice at the moment is Soap & Glory's Sugar Crush Body Buttercream (review here), but I'm also a fan of The Body Shop's Raspberry and Vineyard Peach varieties. They all smell incredible, aren't too greasy, and provide my skin with a lot of moisture, leaving it soft and subtle.

I've also been moisturising my hands before bed because they've been needing more TLC since starting work. I'm absolutely loving the Figs & Rouge Hand Cream in Cherry Blossom (review here). It isn't greasy in the slightest, but still leaves your hands feeling hydrated. It also smells amazing!

For facial moisturisers, I have the Organic Surge Blissful Daily Moisturiser (thoughts here) and the Balance Me Moisture Rich Face Cream. I used, loved, and finished my pot of Organic Surge Super Intensive Daily Moisturiser, so am now making my way through the Blissful Daily version. It's obviously not as moisturising, but still sinks in well and leaves my skin feeling soft. The Balance Me one is a generous sample I received in a magazine the other month, and I'm still making my mind up about it. It isn't greasy, and leaves my skin adequately moisturised, but it's heavily fragranced. If you don't like strong rose scents, you'll struggle to use this.

For lips, I have the Blistex Intensive Moisturiser and Nivea Soft Rose Lip Balm. The Blistex Intensive Moisturiser is amazing, and leaves my lips feeling softer than any other product. More often than not, though, I find myself gravitating towards the Nivea Soft Rose Lip Balm because my lips don't need the Blistex one every night. The Nivea one is just like your standard tube of lip balm, but it's one I use a lot.

For blemishes, I use the Nelsons Pure & Clear Blemish Gel. It seems to do the job better than others I've tried, and that includes Lush's Grease Lightning.

Then I just have some products that I haven't been using that often, but are there just in case. I'm still deciding whether The Body Shop's Vitamin E Moisture Serum gives my skin any extra moisture. I'm honestly not sure. Then there's the Superdrug Vitamin E Skin Oil, which I'll use if my skin is feeling particularly dry (which is not that often).

Have you tried any of these? What products do you use in the evenings/just before bed?

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