Saturday, November 30, 2013

What Laura Wants - Revisited in Time for Christmas

You're sick of hearing this I am sure, but with Christmas around the corner I thought it might be fun to revisit What Laura Wants.  While most of the items this week are notably beauty related, there are some other things on my hit list which I've got my beady little eye on.

First of all is the The Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home which can be picked up for only £5 from Amazon.  I loved their previous cookbook and found their recipes to be pretty much fool-proof. As such, I am naturally hoping that this offering is much the same. With recipes such as custard cream cupcakes, black bottom pie and raspberry and jelly rolls this sounds as if it'll be a treat to play with and resulting in an expanding waist line.

Next, these Satin Revere Pyjamas by Rosie for Autograph at £35 from M&S look absolutely gorgeous. Whilst satin might not be the best idea for colder climes, I love how luxurious these feel certainly more expensive than they are. They come pre-boxed and would be a treat to open on Christmas day. I have to be honest and say I love nothing more than coming home from work and diving into some clean PJ's and these would make a welcome addition to my mismatched collection.

Now as I am sure you know, I have become incredibly fond of a certain cream cleanser over the past month or so. However, I have been hearing rave reviews about the Pai Camellia & Rose Cleanser which is £25 from BeingContent. This is an organic cleanser which removes impurities and make-up, whilst being 100% natural.  It has a rather large celebrity fan base (including Natalie Portman) and many swear by it's ability to calm their skin when things are getting stressful.

Right, it should be known I have fine hair and a lot of it.  My hair has a tendency to fall flat and even after an age of trying to curl it, it will often revert to it's naturally floppy state only a few minutes later. Some bloggers have recommended trying products from the Bumble & Bumble range to help give my hair some much needed OOOOMPH. You can imagine my joy when I spotted the Tousled Two-Step which can be purchased for £27 from Space NK.  It includes a thickening hair spray and a texturising cream to give your hair that undone look thus making it a great introduction to the range.

Finally, I should point out that I am actually about to polish off a bottle of this stuff.  The Lancome Eau Micellaire Douceur can be picked up for £22.50 from Boots and it's a multi-function treat which has lasted me for months!  I use this remove all of my make-up in the evening (although waterproof make-up will need something tougher). Or if I'm feeling super lazy it works as a cleanser/toner for those nights when you can't be bothered to do a full cleanse.  I only do this if I've not left the house all day or I'm about to sling on a face mask.  Anywho, the points is that as I'm running out and I'd be grateful for a little replenishment if anyone is feeling a wee bit generous.

What are you hoping Santa will bring you this year?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tuesday Tasties No.9

So another week has gone by, it's hard to believe that I've been at this for over 2-months now and I'm going from strength to strength.

Anyways, I should stop rambling and get on with it!  This recipe is quick and easy to do making it another dish which is ideal to do mid-week if you've got a heck of a lot on your plate.

Cajun Chicken with Sweetcorn and Radish Salsa

Like I say, this is quick and easy with a couple of cheats thrown in for good measure.  When it comes to harissa, it's all about personal preference.  I like mine with a bit of a kick and I've found the Tesco paste to be the perfect balance for me, Barts also do a good one with a little heat and good spice flavour.  I'm just putting it out there in case you'd like a little hint about where to go.  This serves 4, you'll need:
  • 4 chicken breasts, you can use these with either skin on or skin off, I tend to go for whatever is cheapest.
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Harissa Paste
  • 200g of quinoa (or bulgur wheat if like me, you didn't quite have enough quinoa *FAIL*)
  • Olive oil
  • 250ml of chicken stock, I find this adds more flavour to the quinoa, if you prefer you can just use water
  • Lemon juice
  • A small can of sweetcorn, drained
  • 2 radishes, sliced
  • One small red onion
  • One spring onion
  • Some coriander
  • Juice of one lime
So first things first, pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees.

Season your chicken breasts, then rub the harissa paste all over them.  I quite like to pop some incisions in the top and rub the paste right in there.  Once this is done, they go in the oven for 20 minutes or until they're cooked through.  No pinks juices please guys, I don't want you getting ill!
While your chicken is in the oven, it's time to cook the quinoa.  I tend to toast mine off in a little oil first then add the stock, some salt and pepper and a little olive oil.  I then turn off the heat, stick the lid on and leave it to absorb all of the stock, the same applies with bulgur wheat.  If you need to, you can always put the heat on low until everything is absorbed.
Next, it's time to make the salsa.  Mix the sweetcorn, onions, radish, spring onion, some chopped coriander, olive oil and lime juice together.  Bish Bash Bosh, the salsa is done.  See, I told you it was easy.
Now it's time to plate this dish!

Quinoa/bulgur wheat on the bottom, beautifully cooked chicken goes on top, stick some salsa on the side and then it's time to scoff.
Hope you enjoy this one, it's a simple dish that ticks all of the right boxes, veggies, carbs and a generous dose of protein.  Yummy!

This was adapted from a recipe in James Duigans Clean & Lean Cookbook.

Monday, November 25, 2013

REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask - Review

Yes, I am super obsessed with my acid based skin care.  If you're not invested yet, you really should be as it's much better at exfoliating and smoothing your skin than those products full of chunky and abrasive particles.

Today, I'm writing about the Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask from REN which exfoliates the skin and helps to improve overall skin tone.  It even claims to help with the appearance of fine lines although I can't really comment on this front as I'm only 26 and I'm only really seeing lines around the eyes; this being the one area where you shouldn't take this mask!
For those who are fairly new to skin care, exfoliating is a vital step in your weekly routine. The emphasis being on weekly here; if you exfoliate every day you could damage your skin.  Exfoliation helps to remove the dead skin cells on your face revealing brighter and more radiant skin which is hiding underneath.  In addition, if your skin is looking quite congested, exfoliation and the use of masks will help to combat this problem so it's worth investing a little.

The idea here is you pop the mask onto cleansed skin and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing off with the enclosed cloth (handy eh?).  If you're new to acid based skin care, you might not be able to leave this on the skin for 10 minutes initially, but your skin will eventually build up a tolerance and you can increase the time it spends on your skin a little each time.
So, what did I think?

Well first of all, one pump of the orange goo is more than enough to do the entire face. As you can see it has quite a thick consistency but I can assure you it's nice and easy to move around as I am demonstrating below. It actually goes onto the skin clear.
The smell is amazing!  You really get a whiff of the papaya and citrus fruits; it smells a little like a fruity cocktail. There was a slight tingle, but I do use other masks which contain varying amount of acids around once a week so I imagine my skin is kind of used to it by now.
After the allotted 10 minutes I removed the mask with warm water and the enclosed cloth. I then toned, applied an eye cream and moisturised as normal and my skin felt lovely and soft and seemed to have a bit of a glow.  My skin was a tiny bit red post removal, so I know it was working away.

Overall this was a pleasant mask to use, it didn't agitate my skin to much either so I wouldn't hesitate to use this mid-week either.

Have you used the Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask before?  How do you like to use it?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

November Birchbox Review

As I am now back in the office (sort of) I was actually around to pick up my Birchbox when it arrived!  Cue the monthly discussion with fellow beauty addict Di about the contents of our respective boxes and what we're looking forward to trying most.
Moving on, the theme for this months box is Icons, as such, the little cards have a few words of wisdom from iconic women such as Diana Ross, Madonna and Anna Wintour as well as a fun card for you to complete with details of your icons. 
So, I'm sure what you all really want to know is what did I actually receive this month?  Well, as I am sure you can see from my picture above, this month is a really mixed bag of goodies ranging from herbal tea to a multi-tasking highlighting pencil.
  • Three sachets of Pukka Tea In three cinnamon, gorgeous earl grey and elderberry & echinacea all of which are organic.  Being a herbal tea fiend, these are right up my street.  I have seem them on the shelves in Waitrose a couple of times, but being a thrifty soul I like to wait for them to go on offer before indulging.  I'll look forward to trying these while I'm working from home as a nice alternative to tea or coffee.
  • English Laundry Signature for Her - 2ml This is an eau de parfum so there's no scrimping on quality here.  This is a delicate fragrance with notes of quince, jasmine and musk.  I've sprayed some on my wrists this morning and it's incredibly sweet, reminding me a little of Miss Dior or something by Marc Jacobs.
  • Laura Mercier Long Lash Mascara - 0.2oz I couldn't see any indication of the equivalent in mls but I think you can tell it's a travel size.  This promises to be smudge free which is always a plus, nothing is worse than peeking in the mirror mid-afternoon and seeing black flecks over your face! This mascara helps to lengthen your lashes to give you a more wide eyed look. I love a good mascara so I can't wait to give this a go.
  • Weleda Replenishing Oat Shampoo -18ml This is a gentle formulation made with organic jojoba oil to help smooth your hair and reduce the chances of breakages making it ideal for the colder months. I'll be honest and admit I was a little disappointed with the size of this sample as I have very long hair so I'm not sure I will get many uses from such a diddy size. I'm looking forward to using it none the less.
  • Birchbox Pencil Sharpener Does what it says on the tin, it has two slots for both smaller and larger pencils.  As I didn't have one, I'm grateful to finally be able to pop one in my make-up bag.
  • Chella Ivory Lace Highlighter - 1.4g This helps to brighten and give added glow in numerous way. Birchbox have posted a video which shows 10 different ways to use this pencil which include highlighting your brow bone and using on the inner corners of your eye to make you seem more awake. I've had my eye on something similar by Benefit so this is a good opportunity to try this sort of product out to see if it works for me.
  • Matriskin Collagen Serum MP - 7.5ml Formulated with hyaluronic acid and numerous peptides to plump, regenerate and restructure your skin. I'm a big fan of acid based skincare at the moment (check out my post on this!) and given the hydrating benefits which come with using hyaluronic acid this is again, another ideal product to use during the winter when your skin has a tendency to become dehydrated.  I'll be using this in the evenings so I can (hopefully) wake up with glowing skin.
Overall a very mixed bag this month with some ideal winter goodies, some beauty staples and within your cards, some helpful beauty gift ideas.  Gentleman, take note!

Did you receive this months Birchbox?  What are you looking forward to using?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tuesday Tasties No.8

Good morrow my lovelies.  Another week is upon us and with it is the realisation that Christmas is only around the corner.  I won't annoy you all by pointing out that I've almost finished my festive present shopping, but instead that I've barely started to obtain all the festive tasty treats I want lining my cupboards before the big day hits.

Smoked Haddock Chowder

Anywho, I'll get on with things shall I?  Please don't let the name of the dish put you off cooking it.  The flavours are actually incredibly mellow; a lovely creamy base is complimented by the sweetness of the corn, the saltiness of the bacon and the subtle smoky flavour of the fish.  You'll need:
  • 2 smoked fish fillets, I used Basa
  • 550 ml semi-skimmed milk, you can use whole if you'd like
  • One small can of sweetcorn, drained
  • 100g bacon lardons
  • 1 leek (albeit I used two super small ones)
  • One sweet potato, diced - I noticed as I started I didn't have any so I grabbed some casserole vegetables out of the freezer, I love a bit of improv in the kitchen
  • 250ml of chicken or vegetable stock
First of all, pop the milk and the fish in a large saucepan and simmer gently for around 5 minutes.
Once this is done, take out the fish, and add the milk and half of the sweetcorn into a blender and give it a good old blitz.  Once this is done flake your fish (it should have cooled a wee bit by this point) and discard the skin if there is any!
Give your pan a quick wipe over and then add the bacon lardons and cook until they're starting to brown, then add the chopped leeks.  You won't need to add any extra oil as the fat from the bacon is enough.
Once you've reached this stage, add your sweet potato (or casserole vegetables if like me you're rubbish and you've forgotten to get some tatties in).  Add your stock on top of this and simmer for around 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened.
Now it's time for the final stages!  Add the milk/sweetcorn mixture and your flaked fish back to the pan along with the leftover sweetcorn and heat through gently.
Give everything a quick stir and then dish up.  SORTED.
This is a wonderfully comforting dish, trust me when I say the smoked fish is a very subtle flavour. This makes enough for 4 so I made a full batch and I've popped some in a lunch box to take in to work tomorrow with a slice of bread to mop up the sauce.

This recipe has been slightly adapted from a recipe I read in Waitrose Kitchen.  Honestly, that magazine is fab for cooking inspiration and budget meal ideas.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Budget Beauty Buys That I Love!

So, recently I was requested to do a post on budget beauty buys and the above is what I've come up with. I think this post is well timed given that Christmas is only round the corner and most of us are busy spending our hard earned pennies on others leaving little left to primp and preen ourselves.

All of these are under £10 and have quite a cult following so rest assured that despite the fact they may not be from a premium brand, they all pack a punch and do exactly what they say on the tin. These can all be picked up from Boots or Superdrug. Lets get started shall we?

First up is the Bourjois Little Round Pot Blusher in Rose D'Or which can be picked up for only £7.99. Each comes with it's own blusher brush and lasts an age. The Rose D'Or is my favourite giving a subtle hint of colour. It has a wonderful velvety soft texture and goes on incredibly easy so those of you who aren't skilled in applying blusher don't need to worry about vaguely resembling a china doll when you're finished.  

Next, Maybelline Baby Lips shown in Pink Punch and a snip at only £2.99. This is essentially a lip balm which is available in a wide range of flavours and indeed shades (albeit just a slight pop of colour). It promises to provide up to 8 hours of hydration, making it a must for your hand bag as the temperatures drop.  This has only recently launched in the UK but I know several people who used to bring this back from the States in bulk, it's that good!

No budget beauty post would be complete without a mascara and this one is epic. When funds are tight I always turn to the Max Factor Masterpiece Mascara which gives your lashes amazing definition and a slight lift as well. This doesn't clump, doesn't streak and it doesn't damage your bank balance at only £9.99. No wonder it's now in the InStyle Hall of Fame for the Best Inexpensive Mascara, having won the category over 3 times in a row.

When it comes to eyes, I'm all about looking natural. It shouldn't be much of a surprise I've picked the Maybelline Color Tattoo 24Hr Eyeshadow in eternal pink. These have a lovely texture and can be applied with your finger tips if you're in a rush. They're heavily pigmented and are long lasting (as you'd expect given the name!) making them great for all of the upcoming festive parties which look set to keep us wiggling around until the early hours of the morning. At only £4.99 you can afford to pick up a few colours and maybe even try out a new look?

Finally, this has to be one of my favourite finds of the year; I have already amassed quite a collection of polishes from this range. Of course, I'm talking about the Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure which comes in a massive variety of colours. What I love the most is that all of the colours contain a top coat, base coat, nail strengthener, growth treatment and of course the colour itself. This means that when I'm tight on time I can literally slick 2/3 coats of this on my nails and I'm done. I've found the polish to be fairly quick to dry and it has a really professional looking finish. I'll be honest and admit I was concerned about not popping on a base coat, especially for darker colours, but it's removed easily with no staining. In addition, the colour is long lasting giving me around 5-days of wear before starting to chip (I'm very heavy handed). These are only £6.99 each which is brilliant value for money. The colour above is called Coat of Arms.
What are your essential budget beauty buys?  If you enjoyed this post, let me know and I can share with you some more goodies!!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Japonesque Luminous Foundation - Review

Regular readers may recall that last week I was invited to go back to the newly launched Japonesque Concession in John Lewis to get a little more familiar with their cosmetics line.

As I had a prior engagement on Thursday evening which would involve copious amounts of non-alcoholic beverages *COUGH* and a very late night (gone 1am), I thought this could be a great opportunity to not only try out a new look, but also to test the staying power of the line.  

I have to say that my make-over was wonderful. I swooned over more of the collection and walked away with even more goodies which leads me on to the purpose of this review.  The Japonesque Luminous Foundation, which has to be one of the best I've ever tried!  
I shall elaborate, firstly it should be noted I hate looking cakey which is why I tend to stick to tinted moisturisers. I love a natural finish and most of the foundations I've tried feel heavy or just don't quite match my skin leaving me with a lovely Simpons-esque yellow tinge.  I'm quite pale in all honesty so trying a new foundation is often a daunting experience and normally results in the product being binned as I'm never going to use it again.

The next morning I gave this a go on my own; this means no special tools or fancy store lighting to lure me in, and I was still just as impressed, if not more so the next day. I reckon the colour match is spot on and it blends really well with my own natural colouring.  
So, first things first. The product itself comes with a pump applicator which is always a plus as it means minimal waste.
The product is quite light in texture as well which made it really easy to blend.  I just popped one and a half pumps on the back of my hand (more than enough for the entire face plus a wee bit to spare) and applied with a foundation brush.  I found the formula to be so light that I took it right under the eye and onto the eye lid.
I would say the coverage of this is light to medium and can certainly be built upon if you prefer something that's a little fuller.  This does leave a dewy glowing finish so if you prefer a more matte look, you may need to finish this off with some powder.  

As I've said the texture is incredibly light and I didn't feel as though I was wearing any make-up at all, in fact on the face I felt as though I was wearing a tinted moisturiser as per normal which is great.  Even Ad commented that it didn't look like I was smothered in make-up and my skin looked very natural which is saying something. 

Over the course of the day I didn't feel the need to reapply the product as it seemed to have stayed put and at the end of the day, my skin didn't feel tight or dry.  

To give you an idea I've done some before and after shots. I've not applied any other make-up apart from the Luminous Foundation so there's no concealer covering any marks or dark circles!  I think that my skin just  looks as though it's been airbrushed and the foundation is barely noticeable which is certainly up my street.

I reckon that the Japonesque Luminous Foundation ('JLF') is incredibly similar to the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation (I'd even go so far as to say this is a dupe!). The main difference between the two is that the JLF has a slightly thicker consistency. In terms of coverage and staying power, I reckon these two are pretty evenly matched so if you're an Armani fan looking for a more reasonable alternative then I'd definitely recommend giving Japonesque a go!

I cannot even begin to convey how impressed I am. Whilst applying it in the bedroom I just kept remarking on how quickly this blended in, becoming almost invisible in the process. This is certainly going to be a new staple in my collection.

If you're interested in picking some up for yourself the range is available in 10 shades, each priced at £24 and is currently only available from John Lewis directly (I've popped a link for you HERE). I was colour matched as Shade 03, so if you're paler than me you may just be in luck! 

Have you discovered any new make-up products lately that you can't stop raving about?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesday Tasties No.7

Good evening my loyal blog readers, in my bid to find healthy(ish) recipes whilst I remain unable to exercise, I stumbled across this old favourite which is quite nice to munch as a wee snack.  Well, unless you plan on smooching anyone shortly after who may not have had the pleasure of munching this with you.

Smoked Mackerel Pate and Oatcakes 

The big plus of this dish is that it's super cheap to prepare and at the same time, it's incredibly filling.To make this you'll need:
  • 150g smoked mackerel, skinned and flaked
  • 200g quark (or soft cheese if you're struggling to find this)
  • 1 tbsp of horseradish
  • 6 mini gherkins, chopped
  • A little dill
  • Some oatcakes
  • Fresh watercress
Now this is a piece of cake to put together!  Simply pop the mackerel, quark, horseradish and mini gherkins into a blender and give it a bit of a blitz (not to much or it'll be mush).

Then it's time to plate up, the beauty of this is that it can be served immediately!  I served mine in a little glass dish with the oatcakes and salad on the side, adding a little dill to the pate at the end.  
Quick, cheap, easy and effective for when you need something in a hurry!

Inspired by a recipe from the Waitrose Love Life Magazine.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Rodial Stem Cell Super-Food Cleanser - Review

I'm having a bit of a cleansing addiction at the moment. I have several currently on the go at once, but I felt like I needed something a bit more akin to my old favourite Liz Earle to help nourish my skin a little more.

This is where my enormous 200ml tub of Rodial Stem Cell Super Food Cleanser comes in.
I purchased this little beauty from QVC as it was under £23 which is a massive saving on the usual high street retail price of £30 (with the added bonus of being able to send it back to QVC if it didn't agree with my skin!).

The cleanser certainly seems to work in a similar manner to the Cleanse & Polish from Liz Earle, effectively melting away dirt, grime and in my case, a full days worth of make-up with little more than a quick swipe of the muslin cloth which is included in the box.
The consistency and the amount of product you're required to use is also similar, however where the two seem to differ is both the science behind the product and the scent.

You may have noted this is a stem cell cleanser with the Alp Rose being used to boost your skins vitality and aid with regeneration.  As I am sure you can guess, the predominant smell when using this product is of roses but this isn't harsh enough to put me off using it.

In addition, not only is this packed with anti-oxidants, but Rose Hip Seed Oil, Coconut Oil and Cocoa Butter help melt away dirt and grime whilst at the same time, providing your skin with a lovely nourishing treat.  

You can use this in several ways:
  1. Massage a small dollop all over your face (I did use this over my eyes to remove my mascara and there was no irritation; this obviously doesn't automatically mean your skin will be the same so please be careful!) and rinse off with warm water in the shower.
  2. As above, but rub off with either the enclosed muslin cloth or alternatively a flannel, the plus here being your skin is getting some light exfoliation.
  3. Pop a little on a dry muslin cloth and massage into dry skin for more of an exfoliating treat, then rinse off.
I've used it in all of the above ways and I am loving how soft this leaves my skin feeling.  I've taken to using this three to four times a week in the evenings and really working it into my skin, especially around any dry areas, leaving it for 30 seconds to sink in before rinsing off and toning etc. as normal.  I am already seeing a difference in my skins clarity and it's staying nice and supple despite the chillier climate.

If my review above isn't enough to convince you, then just look around Google for a while as I'm yet to read a bad review.  Given the price point, I am seriously contemplating replacing my Liz Earle cleanser for good. The 200ml pot means this will certainly be floating around my bathroom for a good few months before it needs replacing.

Do you use different cleansers during the colder months to help keep your skin healthy and hydrated?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tuesday Tasties No.6

Wow, the temperature dropped quickly eh?

Aside from investing in a new longer length coat, digging out the body butter and slathering on some nourishing conditioner to cope with the cooler climes, I've also started bringing out the big guns and cooking large batches of soup (enough for dinner and lunch the next day as I'm thrifty that way).

Butternut Squash & Ginger Soup
This soup was just what the Dr ordered this evening when I got home. Quick and easy to do, (especially if you cheat like me and buy some pre-prepared butternut squash) this is also easy to adjust to your own tastes. Ad likes to add cumin and chilli flakes for a bit of a kick, but you could also add some mirin or honey for a sweeter hit.

You'll need:
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of minced ginger
  • Lots of coriander
  • 500g of butternut squash (or as close as you can get), peeled and chopped
  • 1 litre of stock, I've used chicken, beef and vegetable and all work pretty well
  • Sesame seeds
First, heat your oil in pan and add the carrot, celery, onions and cook until slightly softened. Then add in the garlic, a handful of the coriander and the ginger.
Cook this for 10 minutes before adding your squash, if you've NOT CHEATED like me and bought pre-prepared stuff then cook for a further 5-10 minutes until it's beginning to soften. Then add your stock.
Season to taste before simmering this for 20 minutes until the squash is completely cooked through.

Once the squash is cooked, proceed to pop your soup into a blender. If like me, your blender isn't quite big enough to fit everything in, then add all of the solid stuff and a few ladles of the stock to help it blitz.
Put the mixture back into the pan to combine any left over stock.
This point is a good opportunity to adjust the seasoning to suit your own tastes. Once it's ready, it's time to serve up, I did ours with some sesame seeds (to compliment the sesame oil) and another handful of chopped coriander.
Hope you have fun!  Let me know how you get on with this Winter Warmer!!!

This recipe has been slightly adapted from something similar from James Duigans Clean & Lean Cookbook.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Japonesque - Velvet Touch Shadow - Review

Japonesque are renowned in the industry for their beauty tools including an enormous array of brushes, lashes and make-up palettes, all of which are aimed at beauty professionals.  

You can imagine my delight when I spotted their new cosmetics range which has launched exclusively in John Lewis!  It's formed mainly of beautiful shadows, foundation, lip colours and some gorgeous blushers, these being the key essentials in any make-up kit.  

The chap on the counter was keen to show me a few bits and pieces (after all, the cosmetics range only launched a few weeks ago!) and you can tell from the off that the colours are incredibly pigmented.  The lip gloss was a lot thicker than what I would normally go for, but the intensity of the colour was akin to what you'd expect from your favourite lipstick.  He let me know they were doing some make-up classes soon where customers can learn a few tips and tricks.  Naturally my name and number were swiftly left behind the counter for a call back.

In a desperate attempt to avoid spending a fortune, I set myself the task of ONLY PURCHASING a couple of bits that I actually need, namely some more eye shadow (as my collection extends to about 4 colours) and a concealer brush, well any brushes if I'm honest as I am genuinely lacking in this department. 
I picked up the Pro-Concealer Brush in 310 (£11) which is great to use with cream based concealers however, always being one for multi-tasking items, this brush can also be used for highlighting more delicate areas with greater precision.  The bristles are synthetic but are really easy to clean and the bristles do seem to ping back into place without too much coercion.

I'm a natural shadow kind of girl, as such I'm not really that brave when it comes to using vibrant colours on my face. If I'm honest, I wouldn't really have a clue where to start here so if anyone has some hints and tips then I'd be grateful.  Japonesque do have a great range of vividly coloured shadows if that's more your cup of tea.

Anywho, back to my review. I decided to go for a duo of colour snapping up the Velvet Touch Eye Shadow in 07 (£18).  I really think the price point is incredibly good given the standard of the products; some other high end lines cost considerably more and don't achieve the results I've seen with the Japonesque colours.
The eye shadows do come in singular shades as well as quads and all the colours are highly pigmented with mirrors built into the top of the palette which is ideal if you're applying your make-up on the go.
As you can see the colours are both really vivid and they did feel lovely and soft when applied to my eye lids.
Don't be scared about the density of the colour, as you can see they are really buildable so if you prefer a more sheer look then this can easily be achieved.  In addition, the colour is very long lasting. It took a little bit more effort than usual to remove the swatches off both my fingers and my arm.
Something else that I noted about the shadows was that they don't flake everywhere when you apply or remove from the palette. I had taken a good swipe out of this and you can see that there aren't lots of little flecks all over the place, granted there are a couple but this is nothing compared to what I get from others in my collection.
Finally, what really struck me about the cosmetics range was the gorgeous packaging. I loved it so much that I thought I'd show you another picture as the above really doesn't do it justice.  All of the lids of the products are slightly different so no two are the same.  

Have you used Japonesque Cosmetics?  What did you think?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

REN Micro Polish Cleanser - Review

A good skincare habit to get into is exfoliating your face at least once to twice a week: this is something I have done since I was about 12 and will no doubt continue to do for the foreseeable future.

I've used a little of everything over the last 14 years, my first ever experience being with the St. Ives Apricot Scrub.  Since my younger years, what I look for in an exfoliating scrub has certainly changed. Gone is the requirement for something abrasive which undoubtedly leaves my skin red and blotchy. Now I want something that will slough away dead skin, leave my skin looking brighter and if possible, leave my skin with that lovely freshly cleansed feeling.

On my search for something new, I visited Space NK for the first time, this in itself is pretty shameful, the store itself is a treasure trove of beauty goodies and the girls are incredibly helpful but that's another story.  

I'm currently going through a bit of an acid-based skincare phase. If you're not sure why, then check out my blog post about them HERE. As such, the ladies recommended the REN Micro Polish Cleanser which is formulated with Glycolic Acid which decongests the skin and helps to renew the skin's surface.  In addition it has Amber Microbeads to help gently remove dead skin cells.
Another perk is that REN do not put any parabens into their products and they're also free from any chemical nasties.
As I've said above, I purchased mine from Space NK (£20 for 30ml) which I found to be quite reasonable.  I did get a lot of good sized samples to take home and try as well; I'm new to REN skincare so the opportunity to delve a little more into the range was a cheeky bonus of buying from here.
So what did I think?

Well the cleanser itself smelt wonderful, you get a hit of papaya and a slight hint of pineapple as you're squeezing the product out of tube. The texture was creamy and you can feel the exfoliating beads going to work as you massage the product into your face. You get a slight tingle from the Glycolic Acid and as such, be sure to rinse this off within a couple of minutes of application, especially if you're not used to using products with active ingredients.

My skin was left feeling fresh, lovely and smooth and it did have a nice glow. I completed my routine as usual with one slight change; I toned, used a serum and then used a moisturiser with an SPF in. You can use your normal moisturiser if you like (especially if you're only floating around the house) but I like to make sure my skin is protected after using acid based products.

The only down side (if you can call it that) is that I did find it quite difficult to squeeze the product out of the tube, it was really quite an effort but I believe this is something which a lot of people have had an issue with. If you can see past this, then this could be quite a good introduction to the REN Skincare line, I'm certainly intrigued and hope to try out some more bits and pieces soon.

What exfoliating products do you use?
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