January Books List

Thursday 31 January 2013

(1)  The Submission by Amy Waldman
The Submission is set two years after 9/11 where a panel of judges (including one widowed by the tragedy) are about to choose a winner to construct a memorial for those who died.  All of the submissions are anonymous, and the winner's name is soon revealed to be that of an American Muslim.  Thus ensues lots of political and moral debating from both sides of the spectrum with everyone and their Gran wanting to comment on the decision.  It's an interesting concept which brings to light all manner of issues (ranging from racism, religious rights, freedom of speech etc) to the surface and forces the reader to have a good old think about where they would stand and how they would conduct themselves in this situation.  Only downside to this book is that I did feel like the characters could have been fleshed out a lot more so that the reader could perhaps relate to them, rather than their painfully apparent stereotypes.  [3/5]

(2)  The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I enjoyed The Night Circus so much.  It's beautifully written and sucks you in from the very first page.  It's centered around two young magicians, Ceila and Marco, who are forced into a deadly challenge, of which an elaborate travelling circus is the venue for their duel.  From the wonderful descriptions of the circus, to all of the characters who become involved in their battle, it's just one of those brilliant books where you can completely lose yourself in the story.  I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to enjoy a magical fantasy read.  [5/5]

(3)  Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
This is probably one of the most gory and violent books I've ever had the pleasure of reading.  It's absolutely crazy and utterly terrifying!  If you haven't seen the film, the basis of it is set in a future dystopia where a 'program' exists for school students of a certain age to participate in a brutal fight to the death scenario, of which there can only be one winner.  Not one to pick up if you feel queasy reading about the many creative ways you can kill someone.  [5/5]

(4)  Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides
Middlesex is a difficult book to easily summarise but it deals with incest, love, gender identity and family relationships in a way in which I felt like I was getting an educational lesson from just reading the first 100 or so pages.  At times the subject matter was so alien to me that I lost track of what was going on and had to re-read some parts, so it took me longer than I expected to finish it.  The prose is mostly undeniably beautiful, if sometimes a little erratic and strange, but fits well with the storyline. Overall I'm glad I read it, but it's not something I would choose to read again.  [3/5] 

(5)  The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
A light, easy going read that follows the author on her personal 'happiness project' with month by month chapters, as she takes a year to discover what really makes her happy in life.  She experiments with a few new age and ancient philosophies which was interesting, but most of what she discovered is basic common sense e.g spending more time with family and friends etc.  Still, it was nice to pick up and read in parts throughout the month.  [3/5]

(6)  Brave New World by Aldous Huxley 
I loved this.  Right from the start you're plunged straight into this future world of embryos being conditioned to fit into certain castes and quickly discover the absence of love, families and parents; instead the state has control over, well everything, including birth.  I especially enjoyed the clever philosophy, memorable (now cult) quotes, and unsubtle politics throughout.  In some ways I'm glad that I waited so long to read this classic, because I can see where so many science fiction films and books have been directly influenced by Huxley's imagining of a future world.  But in reality, I probably should have read it a long time ago.  [5/5]

 What books have you been reading this month?

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Review: Daniel Sandler Invisible Radiance Foundation & Concealer in Beige

Wednesday 30 January 2013

 Daniel Sandler Invisible Radiance Foundation & Concealer in Beige* (30g/3g, £25.19, link)

Ever since falling in love with Daniel Sandler's Watercolour Blushers, I've had my eye on a few of his other products (as well as the rest of the shade range of those blushers!).  I've recently been trying out his Invisible Radiance Foundation & Concealer, a product which has been on my wishlist for a very long time since I saw the Pixiwoo girls recommend it. 

Daniel Sandler's Invisible Radiance Foundation & Concealer comes in a chunky but ultra 2 in 1 compact which is packaged in a high quality plastic that almost looks like glass and metal.  The concealer is situated on top and it has a little mirror inside the lid.  Turn the whole compact in the middle and there you find the liquid foundation...

...with a strange little spatula!  For some reason I was expecting to see a mini pump of some sort, so when I saw this tiny little flexible spoon, I was rather intrigued by it at first.  However, after using it a few times, the novelty soon wore off for me as I find it a bit fiddly and time-consuming to use, but I guess it's good for hygiene reasons or something?

The concealer and foundation are matched perfectly to one specific shade, so you just choose whichever foundation colour looks best for your skintone.  I can say that Beige was a good choice for my light olive complexion.   It's a tiny bit dark for me right now as we're in winter, but as soon as Spring starts up, this will match me perfectly.

Creamy and blends easily under the eyes and over any blemishes.  Coverage wise it's light and will sheer out the more you blend it.  If you do use it under the eyes, you may want to use it with another concealer or corrector as well if you have very dark circles like I do, as this alone doesn't completely cover them up.  So personally I find it better for concealing small blemishes with a little powder over the top to set it, and it lasted a few hours before I needed to reapply.

Blends beautifully into the skin and looks flawless when used with my Real Techniques Buffing Brush, but good results can be achieved with just using your fingers too.  There's not much of a noticeable scent either which I like.  It has a decent light-medium coverage range and feels light as a feather on the skin.  Gives a fresh and dewy finish which I usually steer clear of given that I have oily/combination skin, but I just powdered my t-zone down and was good to go!  If you do have just oily skin though, give this a miss, as it's much better suited for those with drier skintypes as it's very hydrating.  This lasted on me without a primer, for around 7-8 hours before it started to fade.

Whilst this isn't my HG foundation, I do like it a lot, and was surprised by how well the concealer and foundation shade matched.  It's a handy compact to have in your make-up bag, but I do wish the concealer gave better coverage.

Available from Hairtrade.com

Have you tried Daniel Sandler's Invisible Radiance Foundation & Concealer?   
Do you like 2 in 1 products like this?

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January Empties / Products I've Used Up

Tuesday 29 January 2013

January has felt like a long, long month, and I'm not surprised that there are quite a lot of products that I've managed to finish up given that I'm on a Spending Ban.  So without further ado, here are my recent empties:-

Boots Acetone Free Nail Polish Remover
A staple of mine, I always use this one because its cheap and does the job.  Repurchase?  Yes, I already have another in my stash.

I Love...Vanilla & Ice Cream Exfoliating Shower Smoothie
Bought this on a whim ages ago because it was only £1 and it smells just like vanilla ice cream.  It's absolutely rubbish as an exfoliator but was OK as a general shower gel.  Repurchase?  No, the scent got to be too sickly even for someone me!

The Body Shop Coconut Shower Cream
As you can see from the old-style packaging, I've had this for absolutely ages in my bathroom because I have so many shower products to use up.  It has a lovely coconut scent and I always enjoy using it.  Repurchase?  Am sure I will in the future.

Burt's Bees Extra Energizing Citrus & Ginger Root Hand Soap
A nice liquid hand soap with an unusual scent, but one that I grew to like over the last few months that I used it.  Repurchase?  Maybe if I saw it on offer again.

JASON Hydrating Hemp Hand & Body Lotion* - (featured in my 7 Winter Skin Saviours here)
Great body lotion for dry skin, feels light and soaks into the skin straight away with no greasiness.  Repurchase?  Yes, definitely will after my ban.

Korres Wild Rose 24 Hour Moisturiser
This was a really good sample for me to use up when it was freezing cold recently.  Has a pleasant delicate rose scent and kept my face hydrated all day.  Repurchase?  I would only use this in the dead of winter as it would be too heavy for my oily/combo skintype, so I'd probably just pick up another sample tube and use it when it was needed.

REN Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask
I've rarely seen a bad review of this now cult face mask on the blogosphere and like the majority, I like it too.  It smells fruity and feels like non-sticky marmalade, but it always makes my face feel soft and look fresh when I use it.  Repurchase?  I'm not sure I love it enough to splurge on a full size, but I certainly would use up another sample of it.

L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream - (featured in my 7 Winter Skin Saviours here)
Best hand cream ever, I'm rarely ten feet away from one of those beauties!  Repurchase?  Yes, already have a couple of handbag sizes in my stash.

Liz Earle Eyebright Soothing Eye Lotion* - (featured in my Hayfever Beauty Essentials here)
This is brilliant for using on a cotton pad over your closed eyes in the morning to de-puff and refresh them.  Also a must-have in S/S when hayfever season starts up.  Repurchase?  Yes, already have a travel size of it from my Liz Earle Advent Calendar.

Essential Care Organic Lip Silk Lip Balm*
Loved using this, it's one of the best organic lip balms I've ever used, so much so that I've added it to my Holy Grail list!  Repurchase?  Definitely.

Etat Pur Salicylic Acid 300mg - (reviewed here)
I was surprised by how long this little bottle has lasted me, I must have been using it for at least 4 or 5 months.  Works really well at reducing blemishes and was gentle/non-irritating to use.  Repurchase?  Will do in the future.

Have you used up any products this month?  
Feel free to link to your empties posts below!

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Weekend Pampering: The Luxury NEOM Bath

Sunday 27 January 2013

There are few things that are more comforting than a long soak in a hot bath, especially when it's cold outside.  After a tiresome, busy week of mainly battling with heavy snowfalls (and the inevitable travel delays that always accompany them in this country) and work deadlines, a good bath was definitely what I needed to indulge in today.  To make the experience as luxurious and relaxing as possible, I decided to use these three NEOM products. 

Before I ran my bath, I lit one of the NEOM travel candles which I bought as part of a gift set in the xmas sales.  I picked out Tranquility which is a delicate modern English Lavender, Jasmine and Sweet Basil blend and the same scent as their Pillow Spray which I always enjoy using before bed. 

When the bath was full, I poured in a NEOM Bath Oil in Real Luxury which is one of my favourite NEOM scents (though I'm likely to say that about all of their scents, everything I've tried so far has smelt nothing short of incredible!) and has two of the same components of the Tranquility scent (Lavender and Jasmine) plus Brazilian Rosewood which smells amazing.  

After my decadent bath, I applied NEOM's Body Lotion in Real Luxury to layer the scent, whilst also making my skin feel soft and smooth.  It's safe to say that I'm feeling pretty relaxed and pampered right now.

Have you treated yourself to some pampering this weekend?

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Beauty Blogger Tag - You're It / Get To Know Me

Saturday 26 January 2013

I was recently tagged by the lovely Sasha who writes Ramblings of a Beauty Bird to answer the following questions.  Thought it would be fun to do!

1. What beauty resolutions have you set yourself for 2013?
Mine are to mainly drink lots of water everyday (beauty starts within after all!), experiment with different make-up looks and venture out of my rut a bit (began to start this with a gorgeous terre d'Oc lipstick) and to try out a new hairstyle and possibly a new colour.  We'll see!

2. If you could click your fingers and make one beauty product appear to be yours, what would it be?
Ooo this is hard!  I'd probably say a Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush at the mo!

3. Tell me one of your favourite makeup tips.
Use a light nude pink eyeliner pencil in the inner corner of your eyes to make yourself look more awake.  It really does work!

4. If you could raid anyone's makeup bag, famous or not, whose would it be?
I'd love to raid Eva Green's make-up bag.  She always looks amazing and her smokey eye looks are incredible.

5. What's your current favourite skincare brand?
It's a toss up between Liz Earle and Laidbare, really can't decide!

6. Why did you decide to start blogging?
I started blogging for the same reasons I still blog now.  It's just a fun little hobby for me to indulge in pretty things and chat about beauty with others.  I also like the reviewing/recommending/ranting side of it because it gives anyone the option of writing what they think about a product on a public forum.  I think its important that consumers  can search online and read loads of honest opinions, instead of just being influenced by the mainstream brands who can afford to advertise on TV and in magazines etc.

7. Who is your celebrity style crush?
Leighton Meester, I like that she's young and not afraid to experiment with different looks.

8. If you could eat just one food forever, what would it be?
I'd probably pick pizza, one loaded with mixed peppers, chili, mushrooms, and goat's cheese, mmmmmmmmm.

9. What is your dream job?
My dream job would be something that involved travelling abroad to remote areas of the world and animals.  Conservation work in a rainforest sounds wonderful.

10.  What is your favourite film?
This is the hardest question, I'm such a film fanatic that it's impossible to pick one favourite. My top five in no particular order would be Into The Wild, Fight Club, The Virgin Suicides, Ghost World and Lost In Translation.

11. Tell me one random fact about you - it can be anything!
I have dyed my hair red, pink, purple, blue and green in the past when I was a teenager.  For the blue and green, I only dip dyed the ends, but the others were all other.

I'd like to tag any bloggers who fancy giving this a go!  
Leave your links below if you do it :)

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Review: terre d'Oc Natural Lipstick in Cerise 202

Friday 25 January 2013

 terre d'Oc Natural Lipstick in Cerise 202* (4g, £16.95, link)

One of my beauty resolutions this year is to shake things up a bit make-up wise, and that includes straying out of my neutral lipped comfort zone and experimenting with some other shades.  To ease myself in, I opted to try out one of terre d'Oc's Natural Lipsticks in Cerise

The first thing I'm sure you noticed with this lipstick is its size, or lack thereof.  This thing is tiny, but is actually the same full sized 4g as most traditional lipsticks, just minus the excess packaging.  This compact 'eco stick' is most welcome in my already over-flowing make-up bag - I think it's genius!

Cerise is a 'morrocan inspired cherry red', which looks intimidatingly dark in the bullet, but transfers much lighter and brighter on the lips.  The formula contains fair trade argan oil and organic natural waxes so it feels very moisturising and comfortable on.  I didn't experience any dryness at all and it reminds me a lot of MAC's Cremesheen lippies.  Given that this is a natural and organic lipstick, I wasn't expecting the pigmentation to be this good and I was also surprised by the wear time which lasted around 4 hours before I needed to reapply.  

It's a few pounds pricier than say MAC lipsticks, but if you're after a new lippie that's packed full of natural, sustainable and organic ingredients, then it's really quite reasonably priced when you think about it!

Have you tried any terre d'Oc lipsticks?

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Tried & Tested: OPI Natural Nail Base Coat & Top Coat

Wednesday 23 January 2013

OPI Natural Nail Base Coat & Top Coat Duo (2 x 15ml, £11, link)

I received this OPI duo for xmas and have been testing them out over the last few weeks.  As much as I love OPI's nail colours, I haven't experimented much with their manicure range (though I can say that their Nail Envy is pretty damn good!).  

I'm impressed with OPI's Natural Nail Base Coat because it simply does everything I want a base coat to do.  The formula is thin, dries quickly, doesn't have an offensive too-chemically smell, and it just makes a good, smooth base for your nail polish.  I've worn it under a few dark reds and blacks, and haven't had any major issues with staining either.  I wouldn't go as far as saying it's the holy grail of base coats yet, but it's certainly one I'd recommend trying out.

OPI's Top Coat on the other hand was rather disappointing.  It takes forever to dry and then proceeds to smudge badly if it isn't completely dry.  Plus it didn't help to prolong the wear of my nail polish either.  Skip it and buy Seche Vite instead.

Have you tried either of these?

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Winter Lips Saviour: Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips review

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips* (15ml, £11.50, link)

If you've been following my blog for a while, you'll probably already know that I'm somewhat obsessed with lip balms.  And if a lip balm also doubles up (or triples up) as a brilliant multi-purpose product, I'm instantly happier than a mucky pig! 

When this tube of Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips arrived through my letterbox recently, I couldn't wait to give it a whirl.  As the name suggests, it was originally invented for nursing mothers with sore nipples, but its popularity soon grew as a cult multi-purpose product.  It can be used on any dry skin areas so it's ideal for cuticles, elbows, heels etc, and is also great for taming flyaway hair, smoothing fine lines under the eyes, and helping to heal minor burns and cuts.  My favourite way to use Dr Lipp is simply on the lips, and I've been reaching for it everyday since the snow started to fall.  I only need to use a tiny amount and my lips look glossy and feel soft and moisturised for a couple of hours.  I also like that it doesn't have any taste or scent to it, so it's nice to use under lipsticks.

Dr. Lipp is made from 100% pure medical grade lanolin** which is the same ingredient that's used in Lanolips 101 Ointment (which I also love).  Are there any differences between the two?  Well, I'd say that the main difference is that Lanolips is a slightly thicker formula and that Dr. Lipp delivers more of a glossy shine to the lips, so I prefer Lanolips as an all round multi-purpose product and Dr. Lipp as mainly a lip balm.  Other than that, they're pretty much the same IMO.

**For those who don't know, lanolin is a grease that's secreted by sheep and extracted from their wool.  It's used by sheep as a natural 'weatherproofer' to protect against the elements, which is why it's so commonly used in lip products etc.  Whilst I personally don't have any problems with using products that contain lanolin, I wanted to note that it can cause allergic reactions in some people (e.g if you're allergic to wool, you'll likely be allergic to lanolin too).  Sugarpuffish has an interesting post about it here if you'd like to find out more.

What are your winter lips saviours?
Do you use or avoid lanolin?

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Weekend Pampering: The New Year Detox

Sunday 20 January 2013

I treated myself to some lazy Sunday pampering earlier today, and as I always enjoy reading everyone's elses pampering posts, I thought I'd hop on the old bandwagon and do one myself.  I decided to go with a 'New Year detox' theme as my body has certainly not been my temple since the festive season ended, so it was in dire need of some TLC!

I started with a long hot bath and used a sample of Seagreens The Mineral Bath* which is basically like a giant teabag filled with 100% seaweed.  It's a completely new concept to me as I've only ever used bath oils or bombs before, so I was intrigued to give it a go.  Seaweed has many natural detoxing properties and is meant to do all sorts of things like promote good circulation and rehydrate the skin etc.  I can't really say I noticed much of a difference in those areas from just one bath, but I can say it felt very relaxing to use.  However, I wasn't that keen on the scent of the seaweed so I added a few drops of Geranium and Lavender Essential Oils to my bath to make it more pleasant.

When I got out, I treated my skin to Tisserand's Detox Massage Body Oil which took away any last traces of the seaweed scent and made my skin feel wonderfully soft.  Lastly, I did a quick 10 minute facial with Laidbare's For Richer For Porer Facial Masque* to draw out any impurities whilst also delivering a good exfoliation.  My face and body then said thank you!

Have you treated yourself to some pampering this weekend?

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Budget Beauty: Laidbare For Richer For Porer Facial Masque review

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Laidbare For Richer For Porer Facial Masque* (50ml, £6.99, link)

I've added a new face mask to my skincare routine recently which is from Laidbare.  Their For Richer For Porer Facial Masque promises to reduce the size of pores and uses a number to natural ingredients to achieve this and other skincare benefits.  It has Kaolin Clay in it to draw out any impurities and toxins, Japanese Seaweed Extract to further detoxify and smooth the skin, Rose Water to soothe any irritation, Liquorice to help minimise any inflamtion and Shea Butter to hydrate and condition the skin.  Sounds pretty good doesn't it?

Needless to say, I've quickly grown attached to using this as my weekly skincare treatment mask.  It doesn't deliver instant results, but over a couple of uses, I've started to see the size of my pores reduce slightly and hope that with regular use, they'll reduce even more.  It's also a quick 10 minute job and has these big exfoliating pieces in the creamy formula which give a really good scrub.  I wouldn't recommend it for sensitive skin, as I think these bits might be too harsh, but it's well worth checking out if you have non-sensitive oily/combination skin that's prone to being troublesome.  Not bad for £6.99!

Laidbare products are free from synthetic fragrances and colours, as well as chemical ingredients such as sulfates, parabens and phthalates.

What are your favourite face masks?

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Reviews: Tisserand Awakening Shower & Bath Wash, Anti-Blemish Stick and Detox Body Massage Oil

Tuesday 15 January 2013

For xmas, my lovely friend Jenna gave me a box full of beauty products that she'd specially chosen for me (we decided to make up our own beauty boxes to give to each other based around a theme that we had picked out - mine was all things natural and organic), and the first three items I've been trying out from the box were from Tisserand. 

The Awakening Shower & Bath Wash has been such a pleasure to use first thing in the morning.  The scent is absolutely gorgeous and it features a whole host of essential oils like lemon, grapefruit, rosemary, bergamot, ginger etc, to really refresh and revive your senses.  Although it says it can be used in the bath as well, I think I'll be keeping mine just for those early morning showers when I need an extra helping hand to wake up!

Having recently finished up my bottle of Etat Pur Salicylic Acid that I've been using on any blemishes for the last couple of months, I decided to give this Anti-Blemish Stick a go.  It's basically a blended formula of tea tree oil, and so far it's helped to reduce one annoying blemish that was on my chin and refusing to budge.  It has a sponge doe-foot applicator but I use a cotton swab with it instead as that seems much more hygenic.

Lastly, I have been loving using the Detox Massage Body Oil to treat my skin with after a bath or shower.  I use it on those 'problem' areas (you all know the ones!) to help smooth things out and it leaves my skin smelling herbally fresh and feeling silky soft.

Tisserand products are based on ethical aromatherapy principles and are made with 100% pure essentials oils and organic, wild crafted or ethically harvested ingredients.  Tisserand products are also Vegan Society certified and free from synthetic fragrances and parabens.

Do you use anything from Tisserand?

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Worth the Hype: L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil review

Thursday 10 January 2013

My love affair with L'Occitane's Almond Shower Oil began about two years ago when a friend bought me a travel sized bath and shower set from the French brand.  I was so excited to try it out because it was popping up everywhere across the blogosphere, and you know me, I love blog hype!
Oddly enough however, it wasn't love at first usage.  To begin with, I was really disappointed that it smells more floral than of actual almonds.  Don't get me wrong, there's a sure hint of almondness in there, but the clean floral top notes are certainly more dominant, so if you can, try to have a sniff of it instore to see if you like it because the whole range is like that.  Secondly, I always use my shower products with one of those shower puffs, but using this with one of those just didn't do anything and it seemed to disappear far too quickly.

Then I read a couple of reviews and changed the way that I used it.  Eureka!  I instantly fell in love!  Instead of a shower puff, I now just use it with my hands and it creates a delicate lather when it mixes with water.  It feels so luxurious and gets you really nice and clean, whilst also being gentle on the skin and feeling rather moisturising too!  I also love using it for shaving my legs (hello softest legs ever!) and it works equally as well with a body brush on dry skin for an exfoliating session.

It is on the pricey side, but well worth the splurge if you fancy treating yourself, or have a birthday coming up.  I think it would make a lovely Valentine's gift too (hint hint to all the other halves reading this...!).

Have you tried L'Occitane's Almond Shower Oil?
Are you a fan? 

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New Love: Korres Lip Butter in Jasmine

Tuesday 8 January 2013

 Korres Lip Butter in Jasmine (6g, £6 each, link

It was really only a matter of time before Jasmine joined my little Korres Lip Butter collection.  I cheekily emailed my mum this guest post that Jayne did for me with a huge arrow pointing at it (subtle eh?), and hey presto, on xmas day I unwrapped this pale pink lidded pot of lip butter goodness!

Jasmine is a lovely simple lip butter that's moisturising and one that adds a healthy sheen to the lips.  As I have relatively pigmented lips already, this doesn't show up with any colour on me, but if you're lips aren't, you'll be treated to a delicate wash of nude.  But the best part about Jasmine?  When I opened it I expected something akin to a floral scent (all of the other Korres Lip Butters I have kinda smell like their namesakes), but instead, I was greeted with the most delicious sugary sweet honey/toffee flavour.  No wonder I can't stop applying it!

Do you love Korres Lip Butters as much as I do?

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DIY Beauty: How to Recycle / Re-use your old Mascara Wands / Brushes

Sunday 6 January 2013

I've been having a clear out of my make-up this weekend in preparation for my new Muji make-up storage drawers which are due to arrive next week.  Whilst some things have gone straight into the bin (erm sweaty lipsticks and dried out eyeshadows from my teenage years anyone?  Honestly, I had a bit of a Chelsea Wears moment when I was throwing stuff out!), I decided to keep a few old mascaras to one side in order to re-use their wands.  

If you fancy doing the same, here are some pointers to start you off:- 
  1. Pick out which old mascara wands you want to re-use.  Not all of them will be suitable, but it depends what you want to use them for.  The ones I find the most useful are the traditional bristle tree shaped ones.
  2. Take off any excess mascara with some kitchen paper or an old cloth.  This will make the cleaning process much easier.
  3. Put the mascara wands into an old mug/glass full of hot water and leave them soak for 10 minutes or so, and then rinse under a tap.
  4. If needed, use a little of your waterproof eye-make-up remover to take off any stubborn mascara that may be still left.
  5. Allow to dry and you're ready to re-use them!

5 easy ways to re-use your old mascara wands:-
  1. Have a mascara that you love the formula of but hate the brush?  Simply discard the rubbish brush and use with one that you do like, or experiment to create different looks with different brushes and mascaras.
  2. Use one as an eyebrow comb when applying eyebrow pencils or powders or helps to just tidy them up if they're a bit unruly.
  3. Use one to coat eyelashes with castor oil to help them grow.
  4. Comb through lashes after applying mascara to separate and remove clumps.
  5. Around the house, you can use them to clean hard to reach and fiddly areas like taps, in between bathroom tiles and that bit in the windowsill that always gets grubby quickly!

Do you re-use your old mascara wands / brushes?  
If you have a tip to share, feel free to pop it in the comments below!

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Winter Skin Saviour: Selexir Peace Balm review

Saturday 5 January 2013

  Selexir Peace Balm* (75ml, £99, link)

I was recently introduced to The Urban Retreat Beautique, a high-end online shop which specialises in stocking the world's most coveted luxury beauty brands.  One of their latest additions to an already impressive list of brands, is the swiss born Selexir, and their Peace Balm Instant Serenity Treatment. 

Selexir's Peace Balm is one of those wonderful multi-purpose products that I love using in winter on my dry skin.  It's a super thick salve that has been formulated with 21 highly concentrated natural ingredients and it has a very subtle herbal scent reminiscent of these key natural ingredients (this scent, though already subtle at first, completely disappears once its absorbed into the skin).  Peace Balm can be used on the most extremely dry and irritated skin to soothe, hydrate, firm and renew it back to its former glory and it reminds me a lot of Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream (minus the scent of course!) and Weleda's Skin Food, but much richer in formula and texture.

As I've been plagued by a few eczema flare ups recently, I have found this to work an absolute treat in calming everything down, especially when it comes to reducing that incessant need to itch!  I also like that it absorbs into the skin quickly and doesn't feel like it's just sitting on top like some other balms and salves do.

The 75ml sample tube that I was sent retails for £99 making this an incredibly luxe product, but it also comes in a 30ml size for £39.  Expensive, but I gotta say it just works wonders.  Luckily, a tiny amount of this goes a very long way!

Selexir's Peace Balm is dermatologically tested and free from paraffin, parabens, petroleum and silicones.
Have you visited The Urban Retreat Beautique?

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