Budget Beauty: What's New At Superdrug (Cruelty-Free Everyday Products)

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Budget Beauty: What's New At Superdrug (Cruelty-Free Everyday Products)
Heading to Superdrug over the Bank Holiday weekend to stock up on some beauty bits? Here are a couple of their latest own-brand and exclusive products to add to your shopping basket - all of which are budget friendly and cruelty-free!
Solait Holiday Sun Protection Pack
 Solait Family Holiday Sun Protection Pack* (£13.99, link)

Superdrug have brought back their hugely popular Solait Family Holiday Sun Protection Pack again this year, which contains everything that you need to keep the whole family protected during their summer holiday. Inside the pack, you get four full-size products; Solait SPF 15 Moisturising Sun Lotion, Solait SPF 30 Moisturising Sun Lotion, Kids SPF 50 Moisturising Sun Lotion and Solait Moisturising After Sun Lotion. Each of the sun lotions provides advanced protection against both UVA and UVB rays, are dermatologically approved and water resistant, plus the whole Solait range, like all of Superdrug's own brand ranges, are certified cruelty-free. You can even re-use the clear PVC bag that the pack comes in as a beach bag too - how handy is that?!    
 Superdrug Build Me Up Tan Gradual Body Lotion in Medium/Dark
 Superdrug Build Me Up Tan Gradual Body Lotion in Medium/Dark* (250ml, £4.99, link)

Getting a tan from a bottle is, of course, the safest and healthiest way to get a holiday glow, but if you're not keen on using fake tan, or are worried about going too dark or orange, try a gradual body lotion instead. These have a very small amount of tanning agent in them, but they feel like a regular body moisturiser and you apply them as such so they're super easy to work with. They won't make you look like you've come back from the Bahamas, but they will slowly let you build up a very subtle and natural looking 'hint' of a tan, so they're a great product to try if you're nervous about fake tanning or have very pale skin. Give the Superdrug Build Me Up Tan Gradual Body Lotion a go, which is available in Light/Medium or Medium/Dark for less than a fiver, and it gives a lovely light glow to the skin with daily use.
 Superdrug Five Blade Ladies Disposable Razors
 Superdrug Five Blade Ladies Disposable Razors* (3 pack, £4.29, link)

I have tried a lot of different brands of razors over the years, and I've discovered two main things. The first thing is that drugstore own brands are generally as good as, if not better, than more expensive 'big' brands like Gilette, and secondly, if you want a really close, flawless shave, you need more blades in your razors. I tend to buy four or five blade razors, and these five blade ones from Superdrug's own brand are brilliant!   
Studio London Mascara Wands
Studio London Mascara Wands* (pack of 12, £3.99, link)

If you love experimenting with different mascaras, but you're on a budget, these new mascara wands from Studio London are a genius idea. They launched last month and I've been having a really fun time playing with them! In the pack, you get 12 mascara wands (three of each design) and each colour denotes a different mascara finish. For example, you can use the Orange thick wand for increasing the volume of your lashes, the Pink skinny wand for lengthening them, the Yellow dense wand for adding lots of drama (ideal for a night out), and the Purple ball wand for when you want more definition and detail. My personal faves are the Yellow and Purple wands, and you can use them with any of your mascaras. A great way to experiment with some new looks without breaking the bank!

Have you spotted any new and exciting products at Superdrug lately?

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Decluttering My Handbag: Minimalist Beauty Essentials

Friday, 28 April 2017

Decluttering My Handbag: Minimalist Beauty Essentials
I used to be one of those women who carried everything in their handbag, especially when it came to beauty stuff. In fact, some of my most popular blog posts from a few years ago were 'What's In My Bag' features, and I love seeing the contents of other bloggers handbags (I don't know why, but I know I'm definitely not alone!). 

These days though, I'm much more of a minimalist and I've really scaled back on the number of beauty products that I keep in my handbag, carrying only what I'd consider being the 'bare essentials'. Why? Well, I've realised that a lot of the beauty stuff that I used to haul around in my bag simply wasn't getting used and that I honestly didn't need to have 12 different lip products rolling around at the bottom of it all amongst the receipts and pen lids.  

It was time for a declutter! Below is what I now keep in my bag (beauty-wise at least...!):-
Botanicals Organic Sanitiser
 Handbag Beauty Essential No 1: The Hand Sanitiser

Hand sanitiser is a big essential for most people, and I'm really happy that I've found a natural one that I like, as I'm not much of a fan of the artificially perfumed ones. The Botanicals Organic Sanitiser* (50ml, £5.95, link) is 100% natural and contains essential oils of Lavender and Tea Tree to provide anti-bacterial protection without the need for petrochemicals. The alcohol in this formula is derived from Sugar Beet as well, and I don't find that it dries out my hands like some mainstream brands do. To use it, I just spray it all over my hands and rub them together  - it dries quickly and smells so lovely and fresh! You can also use this to refresh your feet, and it's available in a larger size bottle if you're carrying it around for the whole family to use on the go.
Tisserand Aromatherapy Rollerball in Happy
 Handbag Beauty Essential No. 2: The Aromatherapy Rollerball

As many of my regular readers will know, I'm very much into aromatherapy and mindfulness, so I like to carry a handy aromatherapy rollerball in my bag to help me feel calm when I'm feeling anxious or stressed, or to keep me feeling energised during a long day. Tisserand Aromatherapy Rollerball in Happy* (10ml, £5.95, link) mainly does the latter, but I do feel it helps to relax me as well which is a nice added bonus! It features a blend of Lemon Tea Tree, Bergamot and Nutmeg essential oils to balance, uplift and comfort, and it works very well for me.
Our Tiny Bees Lip Balm
 Handbag Beauty Essential No. 3: The Lipbalm

When I was decluttering my handbag, I was shocked to find that I had six lip balms in there. SIX! Nobody needs six lip balms in their bag! Even more annoying was the fact that most of these lip balms had expired, bar this one which I remember buying last year. I binned all of the others and now I can get to work using this one up as it's already half done. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this Our Tiny Bees Lip Balm (13g, £4.95, link) before, but it's basically just a really great simple lip balm that's made up of three ingredients; Honey, Beeswax and Almond Oil - that's it. I've actually gone through a tin of it in the past which goes to show how much I love it! 
Joan Collins Summer Kiss Compact Duo
Handbag Beauty Essential No. 4: The 2-in-1 Makeup Compact

Makeup is something that I've had to be very ruthless with as I used to have a lot of makeup products in my bag. I used to pack at least three lipsticks, a foundation, a concealer or two, a powder, a mascara, an eyeliner, a couple of lip liners and glosses, and I even had a set of false eyelashes in there (you know, 'just in case'!). Evidently, I soon realised that I was hardly using any of this as I very rarely touched up my makeup during the day. When I did, I pretty much only ever used a lipstick and a powder blush or bronzer as this often started to fade first as the day went on.

So I cleared out everything, and now I'm sticking with a simple 2-in-1 makeup compact. I have a few of these from various brands, but I'm currently enjoying using this one from Joan Collins which is her Summer Kiss Compact Duo* (£30, link). The gold packaging is beautiful with a sturdy magnetic closure, and inside the compact is a flattering, neutral toned bronzing powder with SPF 15, a mirror, a mini brush, and a full-size lipstick. I have the lipstick in the shade Suzy Starr which is a gorgeous coral pink that's perfect for Spring & Summer, and that's it - all the makeup that I need in my bag!

What are your Handbag Beauty Essentials?

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Travel Size Beauty: This Works 24hr Skin Solutions Kit review

Monday, 24 April 2017

This Works 24hr Skin Solutions Kit review
Travelling can take its toll on your skin, but this new kit from This Works is here to provide a helping hand for your next trip away. 

This Works are widely revered for their innovative skincare, especially when it comes to creating formulas that are targeted at common skin problems like battling the first signs of ageing or helping to brighten up a dull complexion (one of my favourite products from them that I use regularly is their Energy Bank Skin Glow which does just that!). I also have a lot of respect for their company ethos based on wellbeing and using clean, natural based ingredients where possible, as none of their formulas contain parabens, sulphates, GMOs, or phthalates. 

It's no surprise then to see This Works launch a new kit like this which focuses on 'skincare that works with your body clock', and it makes a fantastic introduction to the brand for anyone who is interested in trying out some of their bestselling products.
This Works 24hr Skin Solutions Kit review
What's inside?
Inside the This Works 24hr Skin Solutions Kit, you'll find five travel-sized products:-

  • This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray (5ml) - A good skin day starts with a good night's sleep and I've mentioned this Deep Sleep gem a couple of times in the past. It's composed of an award-winning natural aromatherapeutic superblend of Lavender, Vetiver and Camomile, and to use it, all you need to do is spritz it onto your pillow before you go to bed. I always recommend it to anyone who struggles to get to sleep like I do as it works a treat!
  • This Works In Transit Skin Defence (20ml) - For daytime use, this protective moisturiser is enriched with hardworking botanicals to help protect your skin against the elements all day long. It's also formulated with broad spectrum SPF 30 to further protect against harmful UVA and UVB rays.  
  • This Works Light Time Skin Plumper (3ml) - I was surprised to see this packaged in a sachet as you can get multiple uses out of this sample, so I'd suggest decanting it into a mini plastic container before you go on holiday. This is a wonderful brightening serum that you can use both day and night, that helps to rehydrate the skin and plump out any fine lines and wrinkles.
  • This Works Light Time Cleanse & Glow (20ml) - Described as a one-minute miracle wash and moisture boost', this cleansing balm contains Vitamin C that's activated when you add water to it, giving you a noticeably brighter and more refreshed look after just one use. I really like using this at night after I've taken off my makeup!
  • This Works No Wrinkles Midnight Moisture (15ml) - Lastly, there's a sample pot of the bestselling No Wrinkles Midnight Moisture which completes the skincare set. This night time moisturiser is packed full of Hyaluronic Acid, Shea Butter, Jojoba and Evening Primrose Oil to deeply nourish and hydrate the skin overnight, leaving you with soft, smoothed out skin come the morning.

This Works 24hr Skin Solutions Kit* retails for £24 and is available from various stockists including direct from thisworks.com

Are you a fan of This Works? Do you use any of their products?

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Foodie Friday: How To Make A Thai Red Curry From Scratch (Vegan recipe)

Friday, 21 April 2017

How To Make A Thai Red Curry From Scratch (Vegan Recipe)
Thai Red Curry is one of my favourite meals to order as a weekend takeaway, but it's also incredibly easy to whip up a healthier homemade (and much cheaper!) version, with the right key ingredients. 

When I was in the my first year of Uni living in halls, the girl who lived across from me had recently come back from a gap year around South-East Asia, and she made an awesome Thai Red Curry from scratch for one of our society meetings that everyone loved. Since then, I've subtly tweaked her recipe to make it suitable for vegetarians and vegans, as most traditional Thai Red curries contain some element of fish sauce, so I've simply removed this. I've also used less sugar and swapped white refined sugar for coconut sugar instead to make it healthier. 

Making a Thai Red Curry (or any curry for that matter) is much easier than you might think, and once you've made one from scratch, you'll never want to make one from a packet or a jar mix ever again! This Thai Red Curry tastes so fresh and vibrant, and makes a wonderfully warming meal to enjoy for lunch or dinner.

The first thing to do is to the make the paste, and the recipe below serves between 3-4 people, depending on how hungry everyone is!
How To Make A Thai Red Curry From Scratch (Vegan Recipe)
Ingredients for Thai Red Curry Paste:-
  • 1 stalk of Fresh Lemongrass (pick it up from an Asian supermarket if you have one close by - they're so much cheaper than regular supermarkets!)
  • Red Chillies
  • 1 small thumb-sized chunk of Fresh Ginger
  • 3 or 4 cloves of Garlic depending on your personal tastes
  • 2 tbsp of Tomato Puree
  • 1 tsp of Coconut Sugar
  • 1tsp of Ground Cumin
  • 4 tbsp of Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp of Fresh Lime Juice
  • Pinch of White Ground Pepper
  • 2tbsp Coconut Milk (regular variety if you're making the curry straight away, or thick if you want to store the paste for later use)

Method for Thai Red Curry Paste:-
  1. Roughly chop up the Lemongrass, Red Chillies, Ginger and Garlic and add these to a Food Processor or Blender. Add in the rest of the ingredients and blend until it's a paste consistency. And that's it!
Storage for Thai Red Curry Paste:-
You can store the paste in an airtight jar in the fridge for a week or freeze it in a zip locked freezer bag for up to a month. If freezing, ensure that it's fully defrosted before using.

To Make a Thai Red Curry:-
Once you've made the paste, you can then make the actual Thai Red Curry whenever you fancy. 
  1. In a large saucepan over a medium heat, add your paste to a whole tin of Coconut Milk and stir until everything is combined.
  2. Add whatever ingredients you like into the curry - protein like Tofu is great or a meat-free substitute like Quorn Chicken Pieces works really well too. I also like to add a mix of vegetables, for example Red and Green Peppers, Onion, Cauliflower, Spinach, Tomatoes, Sugar Snap Peas and Courgettes. If you like your curry especially hot, you can of course add some more Red Chillies if you want! 
  3.  For extra flavour, throw in a Cinnamon Stick.
  4. Cook everything over a simmering heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve with Basmati or Wholegrain Rice, and enjoy!
Have you made Thai Red Curry before?

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Easy Spring Makeup: Ciate Dewy Stix Luminous Highlighting Balm & Precious Metal Eyeshadows - Review & Swatches

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Ciate Dewy Stix Luminous Highlighting Balm & Precious Metal Eyeshadows - Review & Swatches
For me, Spring Makeup is all about achieving that coveted 'glow' - the one which instantly perks up a dull, Winter worn complexion. And for eyes, you can't beat a good old dose of shimmer to brighten up those peepers! Step forward these three Spring ready, high-end makeup treats from Ciate.
Ciate Dewy Stix Luminous Highlighting Balm - Review & Swatches
Ciate Dewy Stix Luminous Highlighting Balm* (5g, £22, link)

Ciate's newest product launch is this rather nifty Dewy Stix which comes packaged in a cute twist-up tube adorned with stars. Dewy Stix is a clever highlighting balm that gives you an instant sheer, wet-look glow without any glitter or shimmer (see a swatch further down), so if you love more subtle, 'no makeup makeup' looks, this is the highlighter for you.

It glides on super smoothly thanks to the soft balm texture that's infused with Hyaluronic Acid and Murumuru Butter, but it doesn't feel sticky or tacky. In fact, it doesn't really feel like you're wearing anything at all when you've got it on. As the balm technically has no 'colour' (it goes on clear - imagine Vaseline but without the heavy or greasy feeling), it's suitable for all skin tones and looks universally flattering on everyone which is pretty cool!

Where to use it: I've been swiping it onto the tops of my cheekbones, underneath the brow bones, on the cupid's bow and down the nose, plus you can use it on the collarbone and the tops of the shoulders for a subtle but sexy sheen. So easy and foolproof!
Ciate Precious Metal Eyeshadows - Review & Swatches
Ciate Precious Metal Eyeshadows in Lincoln Road & Washington Ave* (£18 each, link)

If you're looking for some new eyeshadow shades for your Spring makeup bag and fancy treating yourself in the process, look no further than Ciate's gorgeous Precious Metal Eyeshadows. I'm a sucker for some good quality metallic shimmer and these are just beautiful!

Each Precious Metal Eyeshadow comes complete with a mini eyeshadow brush and a pot of eyeshadow primer that twists off at the top to reveal the loose eyeshadow pigment at the bottom. The primer itself is pretty good, but you do have to warm it up with your fingertips before applying it (if you live in a hotter country, this probably wouldn't be an issue) to get it to go on smoothly as it's quite hard and solid in texture otherwise. It provides some good grip for the loose pigment to adhere to and helps the eyeshadow to stay put for most of the day.

The two shades of Precious Metal Eyeshadow that I've been trying are called Lincoln Road (a stunning warm bronze with a rosy pink undertone) and Washington Ave (a pale golden shimmer). The shadows are buildable and can be used both wet and dry, with a wet application offering a much more intense and shiny foil-like finish. As with all loose eyeshadow pigments, you don't need a lot of product to get the look that you're after so these pots will last you a very long time, and are really cool staples to have in your makeup collection.
Ciate Dewy Stix Luminous Highlighting Balm & Precious Metal Eyeshadows - Review & Swatches
Swatches! Ciate Dewy Stix Luminous Highlighting Balm & Precious Metal Eyeshadows in Lincoln Road and Washington Ave.

Are you a fan of Ciate makeup?

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Haircare Review: Tints Of Nature Hydrate range + Rep-Hair Supplements

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Tints Of Nature Hydrate range + Rep-Hair Supplements
The latest haircare range that I've been trialling recently comes from Tints Of Nature, a homegrown, eco-friendly, British brand who offer fantastic SLS-free formulas.

Tints of Nature are perhaps best known for their natural based hair dyes (I personally love their Semi-Permanent Hair Colours that I've reviewed in the past here), yet I've somehow managed to overlook their actual haircare range until now. Admittedly, their range is quite limited in terms of the product choice available, however, what they do sell is pretty damn good and I'd much rather shop from a smaller but effective range, than a massive one full of disappointing formulas!

As my hair is naturally dry, I decided to test out Tints Of Nature's Hydrate Shampoo, alongside the matching Conditioner and Treatment. I've also been trialling their popular Rep-Hair Supplements which I've mentioned towards the end of this post.
Tints Of Nature Hydrate range review
 Tints Of Nature Hydrate Shampoo & Conditioner* (250ml & 200ml, £6.98 each, link)

The Hydrate range has been specially formulated to 'nourish, plump and moisturise' your hair, whilst locking in colour and protecting against colour fade for those who dye their hair. If you regularly dye your hair, you may already know that ingredients such as SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulphate) and Sodium Chloride (Salt) are terrible for stripping away colour and leaving hair feeling dry. This Hydrate range from Tints Of Nature doesn't contain either of those and instead uses a special complex of natural and certified organic ingredients to keep hair looking and feeling its best. 

The hydrating formula contains the likes of Coconut, Aloe, Comfrey, Camomile, Wheat Proteins and Vitamin B5, which deeply nourish and strengthen dry or damaged hair. Both the shampoo and the conditioner won awards last year in the Natural Health International Beauty Awards so I was excited to try them.

I found that both of these worked really well for my hair and they smell good too - kinda fruity and fresh! The shampoo was easy to apply and rinse out, without leaving my hair feeling 'squeaky', and the conditioner is lovely and light to use for every day as it doesn't weigh down my fine hair. After using these two together, my hair was left feeling silky soft, bouncy, looking shinier and much healthier, and I also noticed that my often naturally frizzy hair had calmed down significantly - win win!
Tints Of Nature Hydrate range review
 Tints Of Nature Hydrate Treatment* (140ml, £8.98, link)

For an extra conditioning helping hand, Tints Of Nature's Hydrate Treatment is another award-winning product that delivers some impressive results. Like the matching shampoo and conditioner above, the Hydrate Treatment is also free from sulphates and parabens, and is colour safe for dyed hair. It uses key ingredients such as Sweet Almond Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Aloe, Camomile, Comfrey, Wheat Proteins and Vitamin B5 to give even the driest or most damaged hair, a serious shot of hydration.

To use it, I applied 4-8 pumps as instructed to clean, towel-dried hair, combed it through and left it on for around 15 minutes. You can use less or more depending on how long or thick your hair is - I used around 6 pumps for my long, fine hair. After 15 minutes, I rinsed it out and left my hair to dry naturally to properly see the benefits. My hair was noticeably softer and totally swish-worthy with lots of glossy shine. It was also a lot more manageable and sleeker than usual which I loved. I think this would be a great treatment to use once a week to keep your hair in tip-top condition.
Tints Of Nature Rep-Hair Supplements review
Tints Of Nature Rep-Hair Hair and Nail Supplements* (60 capsules, £13.99, link)

Whilst topical products are all well and good for keeping your hair clean and soft, if you want to maintain healthy and strong hair, a specialist supplement may well help as a way to ensure that you're getting all the correct essential nutrients that your hair needs. 

Tints Of Nature's Rep-Hair Supplements are free from Gluten, Yeast, Sugar, Lactose and they're suitable for both vegetarians and vegans. They contain a range of naturally derived ingredients such as Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12, Biotin and Pantothenic Acid, which all help to maintain healthy hair and nails. Each bottle contains 60 capsules (you only need one a day), and I found them easy to swallow with a glass of water in the morning.

Did I see any difference in my hair and nails? To be honest, it's hard to say. I took them every day for 60 days and I think that my nails, in particular, have been feeling stronger but I'm not entirely sure if I've seen any change in my hair. As with all supplements, I think they're more useful to take on a longer-term basis, so if you've tried these yourself, let me know as I'd love to hear what you think!

To check out the full range from Tints Of Nature, visit their website: tintsofnature.com

Do you use natural SLS-free haircare products?

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