Thursday, 31 December 2009

In with the old, out with the new...

...Wait, that ain't right?

I have just had a small mental realisation. 2009 has been quite a year. I don't normally go for the whole 'looking back at the year that was' - but when I thought about it, it really has been quite the year.

I suppose I should have known I was in for a rollarcoaster at the start. I made the decision to get high on NYE, not because I wanted too (call in peer pressue, I call it being a stupid fuckwit), which resulted in a massive panic attack and staying in my room all night feeling like the world was going to cave in on me. Welcome to 2009.

I lived in a house that began to fall apart at the seams. Now this isn't the place to discuss what happened, but it wasn't fun. My uni work suffered, my relationship suffered and looking back I never knew how unhappy I was. I became a bitch, I nagged, I shopped to make myself feel better. I lost control.

Just past the halfway point of the year I moved into a new student house, got a job over summer and was truly independent from home. It felt good. I started this blog, was invited to amazing events in London, meeting some incredible people along the way.

Then in September I started back at uni again. Final year. It was hard, not necessarily the workload but I had the third year blues, I couldn't, and still can't, wait for it to be over. University is great, but I need a new challenge now.

As we raced towards and entered winter I went through a break up, I left my partner after many years. It was horrific. It had to happen, and I do not regret the decision, but it doesn't change the fact that it was the lonliest and hardest times of my life, I was so upset I was physically sick. So lost and confused I was calling samaritans at all hours of the night and I didn't sleep for weeks. But then I started, day by day, to feel better. I had some awful family news, but it kind of put things in perspective. I was able to look at myself and say 'You know what Cat, you are ok.'

And now we reach the end of the year and I was 21. Originally I planned to celebrate with massive parties. But when it came to it, after everything that happened, I couldn't face that. So I just celebrated it with the people who I call friends, and you know what? It was amazing.

Christmas came, and went. My family came up, and we toasted my uncle, who passed away just before xmas after a cancer battle. Being at home, with my family and friends was wonderful (and still is - I'm not back in manchester just yet!) everyday I honestly believe I become stronger, learn a little more about me and feel happier.

So here we are at new years. I shall not be welcoming the year like I did last year. I am spending the evening my good friends, in the place I love. 2010 will have it's up's and downs. Every year does. But I know that whatever happens only I have the power to influence it. I didn't think I would be able to say this at the start of last year, but I am ok. It has taken a long time to get here, but t feels wonderful.

I don't have any new years resolutions as such. Well apart from that old trying to fit into my 'skinny' pair of jeans....

But I do know I am going to have to make some major decisions his year, I graduate, and whilst I know where I want to be in 5 years time, I don't know how I'm going to get there. This year will really be the final year of education, the start of the rest of my adult life. So I guess I've got to make the most of it.

If you read this far well done, you can be safe ion the knowledge that I am cringing at the fact of putting this all down for the world to see.

Happy NYE and all the best for 2010


Saturday, 26 December 2009

A small online sales guide.

Happy Christmas one and all! I don't know about you but I'm feeling fat, hungover and generaly shattered. What better time to go sales shopping, eh!

I adore sale shopping. However I also adore my bed. I live half an hour's drive away from any decent shops, and cannot be bothered with the early start, parking and being punched in the ribs repeatedly as I battle my way through topshop. So I stick to online shopping, yes it takes a little longer to get here this time of year, but who doesn't love getting packages in the mail?

So here's my little guide to the online sales so far...

The best:

Harvey nicks.

Fancy a little Marc jacobs reduced? I know I did...
The postage isn't all that cheap but they have some amazing bargains. You're credit card won't be the same again after visiting the handbag store...

River Island

I love how everything is ordered by price, I think their website is a dream to use and they seem to have plenty of items left in stock.

Kurt Geiger.

A lot of items have 50% off, and for the longevity and quality of KG shoes I don't think you can go wrong. I purchased these beauties:

RRP £160, reduced to £99 then a further 10% off when you get to the til. Fabbity fab. I have needed some knee length boots, and thought these were just lurvely. Of course it's always risky buying shoes offline fit wise, but free returns are offered.

And now the rest...


Not amazing. Quite a lot sold out and personally have not been fussed by much of their designs this season. However if you are a student you do get an extra 10% off if you have your NUS number handy. I got a nice little pair of lace up flats.


I love ASOS, but sometimes I feel overloaded when on their site. I was looking at tops in the sale, hit the view all button and then saw that there were 1000 tops in the sale! 1000! I do not have the patience to flick through that many. However they do offer free next day delivery on orders over £100, and let's face it,  it isn'texactly hard to spend that much

Oh, FYI, they do have some good illamasqua sale offers...I'm just saying!

Urban outfitters.

A few good deals, but I'm kinda getting bored with their designs. I don't think I'm hip enough for them anymore. Plus each model they use looks about 14 years old and can't weight more than about 7 stone. Taking a leaf out of American Apparel's book I see...

So what's your tips and tricks when it comes to sales shopping? Do you battle it out on the shop floor or do you stick to your sofa? And what bargains, if any have you found?

Hoe you all had a lovely Christmas


Friday, 11 September 2009

Honest review: Body shop.

Blogger events held by PR companies remind me of men. They take you out for the day, buy you a drink, get you something to eat and give you some presents at the end of it all in the hope that you will put out for them. Now whilst I love free things (who doesn't?!) I always feel obligued to be super nice to a company, but I have decided not to be a PR company's whore and give my honest opinion about products I am sent to review, so here is my open and honest opinion of the body shop products that I have been asked to try out. Enjoy :-)

I wanted to talk about this in one giant post because I imagine most of you are fed up with the whole 'ooo it was so amazing, look at all the free stuff I got!' posts. Because it is a kick in the teeth. It's shit when you don't get invited to something, it turns blogging competitive and into a popularity contest. Just remember that these events aren't about blogging, they are about cheap PR and promotion. I can understand why cosmetic's companies do it, heck I would do it if I were them! But whether it is worthwhile business wise I'm not sure.

Anyway: The body shop.

The body shop had a couple of things to promote; firstly their new make up collection, secondly their soft hands kind hearts hand cream and finally a new perfume called love etc.

So let's start with the make up. The main reason we were there was so they could promote their new 'autumn trend' (hmm, original name) make up range. In this range are some pearlesant shadows, blushes and eyeliners, as well as a whole load of lippies. My initial thoughts of the make up were not inspired. The eyeliners everyone had been complaining about after picking up the free ones in a magazine (can't for the life of me remember which one) and the two shadows and two blushes didn't exactly blow me away.

So let's have a look at some product swatches.

*Blush trios in warm dusk and cool sunset

*Eyeshadow trios in sundown glow and moonlight lustre. My look with moonlight lustre below (how awful do my eyebrows look? It's no wonder I got dumped, those things are a crime against beauty.)

Yes they are sparkly, but nothing amazing. To be honest I have never been overly impressed with the body shop's make up range. I love their brushes, but everything I have ever purchased I have soon forgotten about. Of course when make up artist Chase Aston did a demo of the make it it looked amazing (of course) but just because Kate Moss looks great in a mini dress doesn't mean I will.

I applied the blue eyeshadow trio using my fingers (as chase did) over my lid in above pic. As you can you can create an entire look with the 1 product, darker colour on the outer corner, going lighter on the inside. In fact the formulation of the shadows and blushes are nice, creamy, pigmented and there is very little fallout of 'chalkiness'. I have to admit that I have used the sundown glow trip a lot lately, I just use my fingers to apply it to my lid for work and top it off with some winged eyeliner (I can't leave without some liner, love it).

But of course the ultimate question is would I buy these myself? The answer is no. Yes they are nice shadows, and if they were part of a drugstore brand collection for around £5 I would probably be interested, but as it stands they are way overpriced at £9.50 each (the blush's are £12.50). Part of the problem is the packaging. It's clearly cheap plastic and feels flimsy. If I am paying nearly £10 for a shadow I want something with a bit of glamour and luxury, quite frankly I think TBS are missing a trick here.

Another new range we got to see were the lippes. The colourglide collection is designed to be moisture rich and provide lasting colour. Now out of all the make up products I think these are certainly worth a look at. There's a whole range of colours and the price isn't too scary (£8 each, but have just been on the website and they are on sale for £6 right now). These do what they say on the tin, they are very glossy and glide on easily. However, I'm not so sure about the 'rich' part - the formulation is very sheer so pigmentation is not strong at all.

This is number 58, a really rich deep red with a hint of purple. As you can see the amount of pigmentation lost in the swatch is immense, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, for those looking to try darker colours but a bit scared of going the whole hog this is a nice in between colour.

Finally (yeah I'm nearly done)

We were given some hand cream and perfume to try out.

The body shop soft hands kind heart hand cream has had a lot of press lately, even Ashton Kutcher was tweeting about it. Now for every sale a donation is made to ECPAC which raises money to stop sex trafficking of children and young adults. Pretty darn good cause. However I'm not letting that interfere with my view of the product. I am a totally cynical about beauty campaigns and charity and would rather give my money direct to a charity than have 90% of money made go to the company itself, but I guess that buying these products is a lesser of two evils in some way. I am in some way annoyed at the body shop - with loreal more precisely - since it was taken over the campaigning history and focus Anita Roddick brought to the company is not there any more and I can't help but feel this is all a bit of a marketing ploy (gah, when is anything not).

Anyway, the hand cream itself. Well it isn't anything special. It has a nice fresh non-perfumed fragrance and isn't too greasy so is absorbed into the skin easily. It won't change your life, but it will stop you having dry hands.

Ok, last product (gold star if you made it this far) is the love etc perfume. This retails for a very reasonable £16 for a 50ml bottle of eau de parfum (not toilette) and the scent is lush. It's floral, with a hint of citrus and I was bloody impressed. Apparently it was mixed by world famous perfumers yet whether TBS brought the formula from someone or had it made themselves I'm not sure. Either way, go try this stuff - I reckon you will love it.

So have you tried/been sent any of these products to try? What do you think of them, are they good, bad and how much do you reckon getting the product for free interferes with your review?

Final note:

Sorry I have been away, been busy with life lately (not always for good reason) but I have just had something leave my life which means I will have a lot more time and energy to blog. Fantastic :-)

FYI: I shall be reviewing the illamasqua dystopia collection soon (just as soon as I can get my hands on the products).

Thursday, 27 August 2009

How I lost 2 stone quickly

And put it all back on again.

I wanted to write this post because I am becoming really concerned about young people and bloggers using unheathy methods to diet and loose weight. I have struggled with my weight for many years and want to share my story, what I have learnt and how it has affected me.

I was a very active healthy child with a normal weight, however during puberty at around the 13-15 mark I put on a bit of weight - about 1-2 stone in total. I felt heavy, tired and my parents often commented that perhaps I should loose a little for health purposes and also because it was costing them a fortune re-stocking the fridge! I used to hate my parents commenting on my weight, I'd get so angry, stop eating then feel awful and turn to food for comfort. It was a dangerous cycle. A few months later and I was stuck in a rut. Then I spied one of my mums books in the cupboard, it was Gillian Mckeith's 'You are what you eat' book, and I read it from cover to cover. That book and her story inspired me and from that day I decided I had to do something about my weight, and went about changing my lifestyle. I starting eating loads of fruit and veg, plus porridge, brown rice and oily fish etc. My diet was great and I looked and felt AMAZING! I had never had so much energy and weight was quickly coming off at a healthy 2 lb's a week.

As the weight came off it drove me to diet further, I didn't have a goal, I just wanted to be 'skinny', and so I started to restrict my diet and calorie count. I started halving my portions, then skipping meals. In the end I was eating about 500 calories a day. I would have a muller light or fruit for breakfast, 2 ricecakes for lunch and s small carb free meal for tea. I would make excuses so I didn't have to go for family meals, and if I went out for meals with friends would complain I didn't feel well or had eaten earlier to excuse my tiny portions. I was starting to look very skinny, my friends told me I was silly and should eat more - but I used to maintain I ate plenty (out of their sight, of course).

Added to that I exercised. I used to get up at 6am and do a fitness DVD for about 30-40 mins. I would also do the gym 4 times a week and go for walks every chance I got. I would aim to exercise for an hour every day. I'm not sure what weight I got down to, but I remember trying on a pair of trousers in river island and a size 8 was far too big. I was overjoyed.

Then I started being a teenager. I started going to a lot more nights out with friends. Then I had my first 'serious' relationship, which meant I had to eat with his family and in front of him or else he would get worried. So my weight began to creep up, I had spent so long practically starving myself I couldn't keep it up anymore, and you know what, food was great!

So, as the story goes, I put all the weight (and more) back no. I lost little bits at a time (through my usually method of starvation and exercise) but each time I would put it back on again, plus a little bit more. I have tried all sorts of diets in the time between then, and of course they have all been successful in getting me to loose weight, but not in keeping it off.

The sad fact is yo-yo dieting doesn't work. We all know this, yet we still do it. However I want to make you aware of the psychological, emotional and health consequences od such activity.

I now have a warped relationship with food. I don't know when I'm full, I don't know what 'normal' diet is and I go from binge eating to starving myself on a regular basis. Food turned into my comfort, and I used it to mask a whole load of psychological feelings, which now bring themselves forth whenever food is around. Added to that the health risks, god knows what I have done to my heart, bones and risk of disease in later life.

So please, to anyone considering a 'quick fix' or stupid fad diet STOP. The only way to loose weight and keep it off is to change your lifestyle, not for a month, not for 2 weeks, but for LIFE. I have made a lot of stupid choices and they will cost me greatly, I just really hope that others can learn from my mistakes and not go through the pain of them.

As for me, well I still hope one day I can get to my ideal size. I think one day I will, but it's going to be a long, slow and hard process.

Thank you for reading. Please leave some comments, tell me about your weight loss journey. Do you agree or disagree with what I'm saying. Share your thoughts, I dare you.

Much love

Monday, 24 August 2009

R.I.P bobbi.

Me and bobbi met in Selfridges about 3 months ago. Hidden between the tinted moisturizers and dazzling shimmer bricks we found each other and needless to say it was love at first swatch. It was meant to be; bobbi's yellow tones balanced out the red in my skin, whilst his oil free formulation didn't slip off my greasy t-zone.

Of course things wern't always easy; his price tag meant my bank balance took a hammering and my rosacea was diffcult for him to cover. Then we faced a tough hurdle when I was unfaithful, being seduced by revlon coloustay. However the fling was brief; revlon was far too heavy and spf 6 wasn't enough to cover my delicate skin. I went back to bobbi. I sometimes wondered about straying again, but why ruin a good thing?

In the end we had a good time together. Bobbi never broke me out, never made me orange and lasted most of the day. However today he finally gave in, there is nothing left to pump. I have considered scraping out whats left on the inside edges, but I think thats pure desperation. It's time to let go, time to say goodbye and lay bobbi to rest.

So RIP bobbi skin foundation SPF 15. Thank you for all the good skin days you gave me.

So now I am stuck. Do I repurachse or try something new? My heart is telling me to stick to what I know and stay with my trusted bobbi brown, but my head tells me to test the water, there are plenty more fish in the sea after all.

So this is where I throw the question out to you all, what do you recommend as a foundation? What to you love and what do you hate, what makes your skin sikly smooth and dewy, and what makes you break out and look as orange as an umpa lumpa? Powder, foundation or tinted moisturizer let me know.

P.S Loved meeting the beautiful girlies at TBS. And if I met you and have yet to check out your blog then link me up (or link me if you didn't go, I love finding a gem of a blog to read!)

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Guess what I've forgotten.

I am back home in beautiful Shropshire for the weekend to see friends and family. I had to drive up from work yesterday so only had half an hour on Friday morning to pack my stuff up, and originally I thought I had done pretty well packing wise (I mean I knew I had brought way too much, but that's better than too little). However, when it came to make up application today I realized I have managed to leave a vital piece of kit.

Can you work out what it is?

Brushes. I managed to leave all but one of my brushes at home. I have blush, MAC palettes, primers, lippies - everything else and more. But no brushes. Luckily I managed to bring my MAC 182 kabuki so can still manage some blush but eye make up has to be what I can apply with my fingers, today I have just swept some MAC melon pigment over my lid and added loads of mascara. I can't even do any winged eyeliner courtesy of illamasqua's sealing gel and MAC carbon. The worst part of it is I wanted to do something special with my illamasqua contest prizes as I'm off out tonight, but that looks like it will have to be delayed. Gutted.

On a lighter note I found this necklace in my room earlier

It's adorable! I can't remember where I brought it but it's one of these necklaces that goes missing for months on end and then randomly turns up out of the blue. Let's hope I don't lose it again.

So how's everyone's weekend going? Is everyone who is attending the b/s event excited? I can't wait!


Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Product rant and rave.


Naked rescue intense care shampoo and conditioner.

They say: 'Naked rescue uses naturally derived vitamin and plant extracts to give damaged hair that special swish factor*. We don't use harsh ingredients, just gentle plant based cleansing ingredients'

I say: Whilst going natural seems to be all the fashion right now (i.e bubblegarms fantastic natural skincare tips) it doesn't equate to much in this product. This stuff is very much just a shampoo. Yes it cleans my hair but it has done nothing to repair damage or soften. Luckily I got this stuff for buy 1 get one free at boots but at around £4.50 a pop I would never buy again. Final thoughts? Nice smell, great philosophy but no noticeable results and awful packaging.


Tresemme colour thrive brunette

They say: 'With cinnamon and cocoa bean extracts, removes adding mineral deposits to restore vibrancy and radiant shine. Your hair will stay vibrant and shiny wash and wash, so you can relax until your next colour appointment'

I say: I used this when I went to my boyfriends and somehow it has ended up on my bathroom shelf ever since! I have always trusted tresemme as a brand and whilst the marketing or packaging for these products may not be top notch they do deliver. This leaves my hair super shiny, conditioned and strong. As for colour, well the red in my hair has faded a lot, which I knew was going to happen, and I am thankful for, but the brown looks great. I'm not sure how much that is due to shampoo but I guess time will tell. Final thoughts? Inexpensive and worth every penny.

So have you used any of these products? If so what did you think of them?

Finally I am getting my hair cut tomorrow, I'm doing a lollipop (i.e having my hair cut to grow it as Laura has done). I'm going to a new hairdressers so hopefully all will turn out well! Eeee!

Monday, 10 August 2009

Monday Poll

I love reading these and so thought it time to do one myself!

Mood: Uneasy. Had a little bit of a breakdown earlier due to Halifax being cocks and general things getting on top of me. Thankfully I have an amazing boyfriend who ran to my rescue and have me lots of hugs!

First words out of my mouth this morning: I stubbed my toe on the coffee table, I don't think I should repeat the word here :-P

What I'm looking forward to this week: Going home on the weekend and seeing my friends and family.

One things I'd like to improve about myself: Being more organised. I have such a bad habit of putting things off and they all end up snowballing and getting on top of me, like this evening. Everything just collapsed in on itself. I need to do things as soon as they crop up, rather than leaving them to stew.

On my makeup list: Couple of the shadows from the love that look collection and lily lolo mineral foundation. I usually have a wish list as long as my arm, but I'm pretty happy with my collection right now.

What I ate: Fruit and toast for brekkie, yogurt with nuts, seeds and dried fruit for lunch, chickpea curry in pitta for tea (Can you tell I'm trying to be healthy!)

Cheeks: Illamasqua bronzer duo, I have the glint/writhe duo and I used the lighter colour which is utterly beautiful.

Lips: Body shop lip butter.

Outfit: Grey top and cari, red skirt tights and heels.

Fragrance: Vera wang - princess.

Weekly goals: Try and continue the healthy eating and staying organised.

What's on top of your Monday poll?


Sunday, 9 August 2009

Garnier - the final round.

I have been using the garnier pure active range for over a week now and so it's time for the final review - with the obligatory before and after photo's of course.

So let's start off with last weeks before photo...

As you can see there are one or two spots, I actually managed to take a rather flattering photo, my skin certainly didn't look quite as good in true light!

48 hours later...

Ewww greasy. Apart from that there is a noticeable difference in spot size - however that one on my top lip looks like it's going to burst.

Finally the finished product (and a different pose!)

Now this was taken this evening and I'm not wearing a scrap of make up to cover any nasties - this is my bare naked skin. Not bad eh? I'm seeing a spot reduction - although I am biased. What do you think, can you see a noticeable difference?

So lets get onto the final review.

Did my spots clear?

Well, clearly my spots have dramatically reduced in size and redness. After I posted the 48 hour piccy (where the red spot looks bloody massive) I washed my face and the head of that spot fell off - it had dried out and just flaked off my skin! After that my skin cleared up completely and I was spot free. However this didn't last long and towards the end of the week a couple of new spots did appear.

Any side effects?

Unfortunately yes - and I always thought this was going to be the case. This range is not designed with sensitive skin in mind and coupled with the high percentage of acid I was expecting it to dry out my skin - and no surprise, it did. Like most medicated spot treatments the head of the spot flakes away, which whilst does reduce the redness of the spot this dry skin is incredibly annoying and it feels rather as though this only tackles the outer layer of spots, rather than getting to the cause of them, which may be why I continued to get spots during the trial.


I have always maintained that I will repurchase the moisturizer and I am still planning on doing so, the same goes for the spot stick. The wash I am unsure about, I love how it doesn't make my skin tight and removes every scrap of makeup, but I fear my skin is too dry for this product - I think I may use it once in a while, but every day is too much for my dry sensitive skin!

Final thoughts.

The Garnier pure active range is perfect for those of you with young, oily spot prone skin. If you use medicated skin ranges then this is probably the best you can find on the market due to the 2% purifying salicylic acid which is going to kill off any nasty spots. However the question remains in my mind as to whether the 'acid attack' method is the best way to treat troublesome skin, however the results speak for themselves and I can't deny this stuff has cleared my skin - thereby proving this stuff does exactly what it says on the tin :-)

Phew, so that's the review over. I did have a play with my illamasqua products this weekend but didn't end up having the time to take some photos or so anything interesting with them - so I'm going to have to keep you all on tenderhooks as to when a look will be posted!

Much love

Thursday, 6 August 2009

My li-lash experience.

This is a long overdue post of my review of li-lash. I've probably been using this product for about 10 weeks now, although in the last month or so I have been only using it sparingly (twice a week or so) this isn't out of choice, but mainly laziness and losing the darn tube! This review will be broken up into question style sections and I have also included a little mascara review at the end - that is if you can make it that far!

So why did you purchase li-lash over other products?

I purchases li-lash as I was unhappy with my natural lashes- I had just tried falsies and not only did they destroy the condition of my natural lashes but they also made my own lashes feel tiny in comparison.

I looked at a range of products, high and low end, however it was watching lollipop26's video on eyelash growth products that made me choose to buy li-lash. Not only this but all reviews I could find raved about this product - so I went along to e-bay and splashed out £80 on li-lash (the seller I used was called vibranthealthnow and I highly recommend her).

So, lets start out with the before photo, unfortunately it is utter crap as at this point in time I couldn't find the focus button on my camera (technology and myself aren't friends). But trust me, my lashes were short:

Did you have any side effects?

The most commonly asked question I received when using this product was regarding any nasty side effects. Inside the box you get a length warning list, which isn't springing considering the ingredients; prostaglandin is one of the active ingredients which is used to treat optical nerve damage and can cause sight damage and eye colour change, it also contains an unpleasant preservative called methylchloroisothiazalinone which is highly irritant in large qualities.

So, did I have any side effects? Well, somewhat - and mainly in the 1st couple of weeks. When I first starting using the product I noticed that my eyes were watering more than usual and when I went outside they would become sore. I think this was partly my skin getting used to the product and also pollen and dust becoming trapped on the wet product which may have caused some irritation. This lasted for a out 2 weeks and to be honest really wasn't anything much of a problem - I would have stopped using it if it had been.

Other than this I had not had any reactions - my eye colour has not changed and I don't have a mark or any discoloration on my upper lashline, which is wear the product is applied. One thing I would say is that I would recommend using this product at night, simply because when the product is on the upper eyelid it can discolour (usually darken) any any eyeshadow you place on top of it. If you pop some eye liner on then this won't be noticeable - but if you have just applied in the morning and then try to apply shadow you will see a noticeable line of discolouration.

When did you start seeing results?

It takes a while to see any real change in your lashes, I would say you don't start to see change in length or condition for about 3 weeks. At this point you may notice a little bit of length but I found more that the condition had improved rather than having gained a terrific amount of length. To add to this I also noticed I was growing new lashes on the corners of my eyes.

But the real results aren't going to be seen for about 6-10 weeks of use and in between this time can be rather frustrating as it seems lashes get to a 'sticking' point where they don't grow at all then suddenly BOOM - you have massive lashes!

After this you can start using the product less, which is what I did, but as mentioned previously this is mainly because I kept losing/forgetting about applying it. Would I say I have seen more growth in my lashes since this time? Hmm, not much, but they are now at a lenght which I'm happy with - much more and they will be totally out of control! I sometimes have to separate my outer lashes as they become entangled which can make applying mascara a bit of a pain.

Are you happy with the result?

Yes. You don't notice the length so much when I'm not wearing mascara because my lashes are very light, but when I wear mascara they look amazing - I love when I am getting my make up done at a counter and the MA stops to say 'Wow - your lashes are HUGE.'. I find that the length really frames my eyes and just gives them that extra 'wow-factor'. Although you have to remember that longer eyelashes aren't going to dramatically change your look, and it's vitally important to remember that this isn't going to make your more confident, but it will add a little more drama to the eyes.

And here is the final result:

* NB: Yes I know my skin is bad, please don't remind me. This was taken with 1 coat of maybelline colossal volume express, mine review of at the end of the post.

Would you re-purchase?

Undecided. This is a very expensive product, however it does last. I think I still have another 3 months of product left so I don't need to think about re-purchasing for a while, but I know that there are some new products coming onto the eyelash growth market, namely the lancome oscillation powerbooster and I have heard rumours of a product that boots is launching in the near future (if anyone has any info on this let me know). However if future reviews for these turn out to be pants (and to be honest I don't hold out much hope) and the formulation of li-lash remains the same then I think yes, I would repurchase.

NB: This product is not tested on animals :-)

And finally....

Just wanted to give a quick mention of a mascara that I have been using for the last week, maybelline colossal volume is one we were given to try at the maybelline event (we got a whole bunch of maybelline mascaras to try) and I decided to give this one a go as my benefit badgal is running low - and I have to say, I am very impressed.

As you can see the brush distributes the product evenly and there is plenty of product to coat your lashes with 1 coat. This is great for volume - although it does make the ends of your lashes rather 'stubby' as the formulation is very think, however this is a very minor complaint - seeing as it doesn't clump or create 'spider' lashes there isn't too much to complain about! I highly recommend this mascara for anyone looking for lash volume at a reasonable price.

So, that's my mammoth post over - please post any questions in the comments, and congratulations if you have reached this far!


Monday, 3 August 2009

Garnier skincare - Before and after.

Firstly I'm sure you will all be glad to know that I am feeling a lot better and can finally get back to some good honest blogging. Now if you follow me on twitter you may know the other day I had a break out of spots, this was not unsurprising considering how ill/sweaty I got - I'm sure my body was more concerned in fighting the flu rather than spots. However this gave me a great opportunity to try out the Garnier pure active range and get some before and after photos to show you how my skin is doing since using the products.

So here is my skin as of 48 hours ago:

As you can see I struggle with spots around my mouth and on my chin. These spots tend to begin under the skin, working their way to the top where they become red and sore.

Now I used all 5 products in the garnier pure active range in this little experiment so will take a moment and go through each product individually before showing you the results. The garnier pure active range is a little difference to other medicated skin ranges because it contains 2% of salicylic acid - the highest amount out of any brand. This acid is supposed to not only fight spots but remove red marks and scars which often are more noticeable than the spots themselves. This brand is also a relitively low priced, ranging at between £4-7 for each product, and avaliable at most chemists/supermarkets. I would say this product is ideal for anyone with acne and oily prone skin - the acid itself is a very drying ingredient and so with that in mind be careful when trying out this range, maybe starting with 1 product and if it suits your skin adding to the range (which btw, is what I have done as I was a bit worried about it drying my skin out to a crisp - which luckily it hasn't).

1. Garnier blackhead scrub.

When we were at the Garnier event we were advised that this product is designed to be used weekly, rather than daily, as a skin treatment to deep cleanse and exfoliate so I started off with this the other night and I have to say it works well as an exfoliator - the beads gently remove impurities and my skin felt very fresh after use. However I wouldn't use this more than once a week personally as I fear it would be too harsh on my skin. As for blackhead clearing, well I wouldn't say it has made a huge difference yet- but it's not too bad of a result for 48 hours!

2. Deep pore wash.

Garnier claims this gentle wash will refresh the skin whilst preventing spots and fading marks. After using this morning and evening I can say that it is indeed very refreshing (wakes you up in the morning!). It lathers into a foam and removes any make up. I thought this stuff was going to be like most medicated spot washes and leave me with dry, tight skin. However I was pleasantly surprised to find this stuff didn't dry out my skin and it was left feeling smooth. When we were at the talk Garnier told us about how they like to use the natural power of plants in their products to enhance their products and this wash contains extract of blueberry (or so the website says) and I think those natural ingredients do make a difference setting Garnier apart from other medicated washes on the market.

3. Toner
I have to be honest, I didn't like this product. Firstly I am sceptical about the idea of toners, I can't help but feel they are an unnecessary product in the skincare industry and this has confirmed my view. I use this after the face wash and don't think it makes and difference to my skin apart from making it smell of alcohol. This is claimed to mattify the skin but I didn't find it did this either, and to be honest the wash removes enough oil to not need any further mattifier. Sorry Garnier but this stuff isn't for me.

4. Moisturiser.
This stuff is great. I was initially sceptical about this moisturizer; no SPF, contains salicylic acid and has a lightly alcohol based scent. However it is wonderfully soothing on the skin and is completely mattifying. I love to use this at night - when I wake up my skin isn't covered in all and I am less likely to have a spot lurking. I am nearly out of this and do plan on re-purchasing when I run out. The only thing I would say is if using this as your daily moisturizer make sure you team it with a primer or foundation with SPF. Also I would not recommend this to people with very dry skin - this is certainly designed for oily skin and that's where it works best.

5. Spot stick.

Now a lot of people were worried about contamination with this product, that bacteria may get back into the stick from the roll on. Now whilst a small amount of bacteria may get in the acid in this product will kill anything it comes into contact with. Plus I think the steel ball roll on design is a lot more hygienic than the sponge or fabric applicator that most on the spot treatments are designed with. Anyway, moving on, what do I think of this product? I love it. It's got a great design, you get plenty of product for your money and makes for perfect application whenever you need. I take this to work and will happily use this in the office because firstly it doesn't have a strong scent when used (don't you hate it when you have a tea tree or witch hazel roll on stick that stinks the room out when you are using it!?) and it dries clear almost instantly. Love, love love!

Ok, so that's the range, now the important bit - does it actually work? Lets take a look at the after photo:

This was taken after I had come in from work so hence the oily skin and no make up! So can we see a remarkable difference? Erm, no. The spot above my lip is still there and has got a little bigger, however the 2 little ones about it have disappeared. Also the spot on the lower left side has decreased in size a redness a lot. So, the result may not be amazing but there is a positive difference - which I am feeling very happy about. I am going to continue using the Garnier range and will post an updated photo of the results towards the end of the week.

Now, don't forget I have only been using these products for 48 hours, so considering this fact I feel that they have worked extremely well - I am particularly impressed about how well they reduce the redness of my spots. The conker above my lip would be as red as an over-ripe tomato left it its own devices, but whilst it has increased in size the colour makes it a little less noticeable. Lets see if we can get rid of it by the end of the week!

So has anyone else tried this range - if so what do you think of it? Let me know, would love to get your thoughts on it.


Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Hair inspiration.

Here it is, the hair I want. Not just the hair; the dress, the body, the make up - the lot! No but seriously I love Nicola's hair, thick, layered and healthy. I got fed up of my short hair a while ago and have been trying to grow it out, which hasn't been going so well.

It's now stuck at an awkward stage whereby the style has grown out into a mish-mash and the over dying has dried my hair out, which means I have to try and use as little heat as possible. All this equates to a total nightmare of dry, unmanageable hair.

I'm not doing a face shot because I have no make up on and no-one wants to see my ugly mug without bucket loads of slap :-)

This was taken after my bath this eveningand a quick blow dry. As you can see the ends are very split and I as I have naturally wavy/frizzy hair I can't style it very well with my dryer. And no leaving it to dry naturally does not work - it turns wild.

So the plan of action to sort out this mess is as follows: hair masks, healthy eating and as little heat as possible! I have so far tried 2 hair masks on consecutive nights, the first being an egg and olive oil and the second being honey and olive oil. Tonight I use used the bog standard shampoo and conditioner (boots botanicals range) and I noticed that my hair didn't feel as soft as usual so I think I will stick to the daily masks until the condition improves. As for the lenght I think that is just something that is going to take patience. I am hoping by the end of summer I will have gained a couple of extra inches, enough to make a decent style possible anyway. I did try Lee Stafford's hair growth treatment a while ago, which I really liked but now can't find ANYWHERE. Gutted. Also I plan to keep a bottle of aussie leave in conditoner on hand to spritz during the day as I'm finding the air conditioning at work is really drying.

So what's your hair inspiration? And what are your hair secrets - send them all my way as am dying (that pun just doesn't work does it?) to know! Do you have any hair mask recipes, or brands you reccomend?

P.S Thank you to all my followers - I have now hit the 100 mark! Wow. Seriously, you guys rock :-)


Monday, 6 July 2009

MAC price increase.

I have been away from the blogsphere lately as you all know (and I promise to stop going on about it sometime.) And was shocked when I was on twitter and Oliviacosmetics mentioned a MAC price increase, could this be? Well apparently so.

So eye shadows are now £11 up from £9.79, lipstick £12 from £11.26, powder blush £16.00 from £14.68 to name a few. I don't have a full price list I am just going on my old orders compared to the new prices. I understand that the prices increase yearly, but considering the quality hasn't changed neither have the collections been wonderfully intriguing it seems slightly unjustified.

I have been out of love with MAC for a while. I haven't brought anything from them for a month and am not even tempted to go to a counter. I don't really know what point I'm trying to make here, I suppose I'm saying that MAC has gone a bit poo lately. With brands such as illasmaqua shining through as a brand with true individuality, and lower end brands such as BarryM and sleek providing excellent quality products at affordable prices I feel that MAC no longer suits my needs. There may be a couple of key products I may buy, the brushes and primers are HG for me, but overall I find them overpriced and frankly a little boring.

So what does everyone else think of this price rise, do you think it is justified or not? Are they going to change your spending habits?

Night night,


P.S my life has been taken over by a mouth watering website lately, check it out (SPOLIER: if you are dieting then don't click the link)

Friday, 26 June 2009

Well, what a lovely day that was.

In fact I've had more than one lovely day. On Wednesday I spent the day at Chester Zoo with my b/f and housemates, yesterday I attended the Garnier event in London, and today I had a job interview - and got the job! Fab!

These lovely days and the fact I am moving house next week may explain why I have been a bit slow on the blogging front lately (for which I do apologise). However I plan to make up for this over the weekend and by also telling you all about the wonderful Garnier event that I attended yesterday. Now I am aware you are probably a bit sick to death of hearing about this event, but it really was a fantastic day and I wanted to share my experience with you. Warning: This may be a bit of a ramble style post!

So when I first arrived at London I met up with Rebecca -panda does make up, Jen -Mizz worthy and Janaka - JJ26. I was extremely nervous about meeting them as I was pretty sure no-one would know who I was, but luckily everyone was absolutely lovely and made me feel at ease. Thank you so much guys! A big thank you to Rebecca, you made the day so much easier and it was wonderful to finally meet you - oh and cheers for showing me how to use my oyster card :-P

So next we moved on to the make-up mecca that is Selfridges, where I got my first look at illamasqua; true to form it didn't disappoint. The MA's were very helpful and the products speak for themselves - I ended up getting 2 blushers (Lover and Lies - thank you Jen for helping me pick them!). Other than that nothing stood out for me make up wise, so we left and managed to navigate ourselves to the Loreal headquarters where the event was being held.

The building itself is beautiful; modern interior with plenty of 'power dressed' women running around looking busy yet immaculately presented. We had security badges with our names on given out to us and were taken upstairs where a beautiful spread of drink, food and sweets were laid out for us.

After after a spot to eat (the buffet was amazing, I could have scoffed the whole thing) we sat down and were given a talk about Garnier and all the ranges they produce - I never knew there were so many! The presenter was lovely and whilst there were a few buzz words being thrown about the talk itself was very enjoyable and it was interesting to hear about Garnier's ethos and environmental commitments - of which there were many you'll be happy to know :-)

Finally we got onto what the event was a bout, the launch of a new range of skincare called 'pure active'. This is a medicated skincare range with a stonking 2% of salicylic acid - the highest amount any consumer brand has (this acid is basically the stuff that stops spots appearing). The marketing behind this stuff is that results should be seen from day 1.

The range itself.

From left to right we have the scrub - which we were advised was to be used as a weekly deep cleanse, a moisturizer, daily wash, roll on spot stick and then a toner.

I can't remember the prices of these products, I think they ranged from around £5-8 which I think is reasonable for these sort of products. Also these products are also aimed at reduced red marks that spots can leave on the skin, which is pretty impressive - can't wait to see if it actually works!

Now I do have sensitive, dry skin so am not sure if I am going to be able to use all these products, however my boyfriend says he will happily try them out (he is such a girl) so will keep you updated on how they are working for him. However since I got home I have been using the roll on spot stick and moisturizer, the spot stick I absolutely LOVE - this thing is going to be as big as the caffeine eye roll on in my opinion and I have already noticed the spots on my chin have reduced in size and redness since using it. Also I was pleasantly surprised as to how nice the moisturizer felt, it was slightly tingly and very refreshing on the skin but doesn't contain an SPF so will probably apply a thin layer of this before my SPF.

So what do you guys think, do you like the sound and look of the range? Does it appeal to you, if so why, if not why not? I'd love to hear your opinions :-)

After the talk was finished we got to look at the products (not just this range but all ranges from garnier - hair care, ambre solaire, anti-aging stuff - you name it, they had it!) This event was originally billed as a Garnier and Maybelline event, however there wasn't enough time for the maybelli e event but we did get some maybelline products in the goodie bags which was fab - it would have been too much to look at maybelline products as well.

Speaking of the goodies...

Major haulage. A right pain to take on the train, but worth it! We got some great stuff - and if you think this haul is big you should have seen some of the others! I got loads of the suncare range, because I love this range. I was also really excited to try the after sun with a hint of tanner. We also got 3 mascaras (lash stiletto, great lash and colossal volume express) in the maybelline stuff, and also the dream matte mousse - which I am very excited to try. I also picked up some anti-aging creams to give to my mum, which she is very pleased about, and some of the sensitive face products - wipes, cleansing milk and wash, which I am looking forward to trying.

So overall I had a fantastic day, the event was very well organised and I felt really honoured to have been invited. It was wonderful meeting everyone - you were all so lovely and thank you to everyone for being so kind and making me feel welcome. You stars :-)

Friday, 19 June 2009

Amazing website find - 77 colour pallette for under £5!

I am very excited to share with you a website I found recently. Well, actually I spied it on the lovely wallowpea's blog so she takes the credit. The website in question is called and to quote it's front page offers "a wide range of branded cosmetics and fragrances such as skin care products, eyeliners, eye shadow and more at discounted prices".

Now I am a bit of a bargain hunter (well, when I start hitting my overdraft limit!) so have come across a few such websites, such as or - but have never been a fan of the former as the products are a bit rubbish, and the latter doesn't seem all that cheap to me. However beauty-spot fits nicely in the middle, it has a range of low to mid/borderline high range products and a couple of awesome finds, which I am going to share with you now.

Now the most amazing product on this site is (as mentioned in the blog title) a 77 colour palette by the brand w7 for under £5. Yep, kid you not. Apparently it's RRP price is £10, but beauty-spot sells it for £4.95. That's half the price of a MAC shadow and a fraction of the price of any similar coastal scents palettes.

Now whilst me blabbing on to you is all good and well, I think it's only fair I show you some photos, so let's start with this palette and I will move onto some other items I got.

Firstly the 77 palette. I have placed a MAC eyeshadow on the side (I think it's wedge) so you can get an idea of the size of each colour.

Photo without flash - colours are more vibrant in true light

With flash - a better representation of the colour.

Now I did think about doing swatches of this, but I have had a very long day (got up at 6am for work, got back at half 5 this evening) so am going to leave it. However if you really want to see the swatches then leave a note in the comments and I will try to sort that out. All I can say for pigmentation is that 75% of the colours are excellent, and then rest are ok - which for the price isn't bad. They are certainly all wearable, you will just have to work a little harder to get better payoff on some of the colours. It does come with two applicators, which I have thrown away because they are always utter poo.

Next we have another palette from the same w7 brand; this contains 10 colours and comes in at £3.95. There are three sets of these on beauty-spot, and I purchased the gold and brown set which has some lovely colours for blue eyes.

With flash

And swatches without flash...

The swatches don't do it justice I'm afraid.

Now this for me is the star palette, the colours are lovely and warm, all with a bit of sparkle and a good amount of pigmentation. I used this palette the other day and found that my shadow stayed on all day and applied well. Thumbs up from me! And at £3.95 you really can't go wrong.

Next we have a dazzle dust dupe for £1.95. Yep, less than £2. I told you this website was amazing :-)

SO there are called carnival dust and are again from w7.

Colours left to right (top row) Glam lime, Gold gold, Gold turquoise
(bottom row) Papaya, Glamour fudge, Glitter olive.

I have popped a dazzledust on the side and as you can see they are the same size. You do get a little more product in the dazzle dust, as BarryM fill them right to the top, but otherwise they are exactly the same. The w7 range is pretty limited colour wise - I think there are maybe 15 in total, but still, for £1-95 it's not too much of a big deal because other than that I don't think you can spot a difference in quality.

Finally these items were also purchased from beauty spot. We have a sally hanson cream eyeshadow palette, which is tiny (you can fit this palette in your hand) so I doubt it will get much use.

And finally we have a stila it lip gloss at £3.95 and a w7 glitter eyelinerat £1.95 . I did get another one of these in a jade colour, but I have misplaced it (which if you saw the state of my room you would understand why). Both of these are pretty decent products, the lip gloss does exactly what it says on the tin and the eye liner has very small finely filled glitter so is easily applied and lasts all day. If you find the collection 2000 glam crystals too heavy glitter wise this is certainly a better (and cheaper) option.

So what do we all think, yay or nay to I think yay, not only are these prices crazy, but you get a free gift with orders over £20 and free shipping with orders over £40. Unfortunately I think I now own everything worth owning on this site, but may check back for offers every now and again.

Finally I am still working on how to do this high/low end product challenge. I was thinking of posting a photo of each look I do and then get you to guess which is the high and which is the low end. Then at the end of the week tell you how much each look costs. Let me know if you like the sound of this and I will start on Monday :-)

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Style warriors! haul/swatch/EOTD

I know everyone has it and I know everyone has been blogging about it, but still, I want to share my style warriors haul with you! Now I had to order offline so I only actually saw the products in the flesh this morning, and I have to say I am extremely happy with my purchase.

So here's what arrived for me this morning...

NB - The brush in the 228 - really lovely brush for applying e/s to the lid.

I have to say I personally like the packaging, I don't think it is too tacky. I think the actual pots are beautifully deigned, the bronze packaging is lurvely.

Now for the products; I purchased a whopping 5 items from this collection. We have (left to right) bright future e/s, on a mission beauty powder blush, vibrant grape e/s, fierce and fabulous lipglass and brave new bronze lipstick.

NB - this was taken using flash, on a mission looks a lot darker in true light and the lipstick looks less pink and more bronze, however if you prefer a more pinky colour then try Hue lipstick by Mac.

You can imagine how happy I as when I opened these, the colours are beautiful! On that note it's swatch time...

(Left to right - Brave new bronze lipstick, fierce and fabulous lipglass
vibrant grape e/s, bright future e/s and on a mission beauty powder blush - you can see how dark it is here, eh)

So what's the verdict? Erm, thumbs up clearly! Brave new bronze is the most beautiful soft lipstick, perfect for daywear. The e/s are also great, I heard a few complaints saying that vibrant grape didn't have great colour payoff, and when I swatched it with my finger I thought that was going to be the case. But as soon as I picked it up with a brush it applied beautifully, and the colour payoff was astounding with no fallout. The same can also be said for bright future which is such a stunning colour. On a mission is also a lovely blush. I didn't expect it to be so dark (it looks pretty purple) but as long as I don't go mad with it it really suits my skin tone. Finally my stand out product for me is the lipglass. This is my first lipglass from MAC that I have owned and I am really impressed with it. The colour is amazing, so pigmented and rich. I don't normally go for dark or bright colour on the lips. but this has made me think otherwise. Top tip - try this lipglass with bright future on the eyelids, it makes a lovely combo.

Finally I had to have a play and create a look with my new colours. I did do a FOTD with on a mission and the lipglass but my skin is looking terrible tonight so didn't feel confident in showing it off - heat rash has mostly gone but my rosacea is playing up, so I have decided to show you my EOTD

Sorry I look so glum - not only is my skin giving my grief but I have a really badly knotted tense back (going to see the physio on Monday to get it sorted) so general activity, even taking photos, causes me great pain, hence the glum expression!

This was created by using bright future applied on the lid, with vanilla pigment in the inner corner of the eye and to highlight the browbone. Then I applied vibrant grape on the lower lashline and lined my upper eyelid with MAC fluidline in macroviolet, winging it out. Finally a coat of loreal telescopic mascara on the lashes - which I have fallen out of love with. I couldn't find my sexy curves so used this instead and found it clumpy and the wand useless when trying to add a bit of a curl to my lashes. What are your views on this mascara?

So I think that's about it. I often think I cram too much into a single post, as technically this could be made into three, but I like keeping it all together, what do you all think - yay or nay to the long posts? Also is there anything anything would like to see me do, reviews, more looks etc. Please let me know, as after all you are the ones that have to read my ramblings :-)

Big Love - and thank you to everyone who is following, it's in some ways a little daunting to think people actually read this!


Wednesday, 27 May 2009

GOSH - a dazzleglass rival?

Hello everyone! Sorry I have been away for so long, I don't have another exam for 2 weeks so can get some blogging done - finally! I have so much to show you guys but I'm going to start with a product I found in superdrug today. This thing got me so exciting (which probably means I need to get out more) because as the title suggests, it could well be a rival to MAC's beautiful dazzleglass collection. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you GOSH 'Light'n Shine' lip glaze...

Top we have #5 and bottom #3 - how beautiful does #5 look! Swatch's are further down in the post

Pretty as this stuff looks, theres another reason why I got so excited about it, as you may have already guessed from the image below....

Yes it's a gimmick, but I love it! The LED lights coupled with a cute mirror on the side provides perfect application when the lights are low. Now some of you may be aware of the MEMEME range who also have a lipgloss with exactly the same feature. I'm not sure if there are any high end brands that have this gimmick - I think there are 1 or 2 in the US but I have not seen any in the UK, if I am wrong could someone please correct me!

Top to bottom: GOSH, MEMEME and finally MAC dazzleglass

The GOSH lipgloss has the same style brush as the dazzleglass, whereas the MEMEME product (in the middle) has a sponge tip applicator, which I find harder to use and also means you have to pump the stuff like mad to get a decent amount of product. Now I'm not going to compare the MEMEME lipgloss to the dazzleglass because the formula is completely different; it's far stickier with a lot less glitter, which of course some of you may prefer. MEMEME is available is most larger superdrugs so do go check them out, they have some great high end dupes!

Anyway, on with the swatches. On the top row we have Rags to richers dazzlelgass (left) and GOSH #5 on the right, and bottom row we have (left to right) MAC Sugarrimmed, GOSH #3 and MAC Baby Sparks

I am totally in love with GOSH #5 (top right), in fact heres a (slightly blurry) picture of it on the lips...

Nice, huh? The purple glitter really stands out.

So being the dedicated beauty addict I am, I did a road test of each product this evening while I was watching the footie at the pub, for the first half of the match I tried the GOSH lipgloss and the second half I tried the MAC (I'm not into football, I went along with my housemates. Luckily testing out lipglosses was far more exciting than the footie :-) )

So back on topic, how did each product compare? Well the MAC is more pigmented, and there is more glitter in the GOSH lipgloss but unless you put both products on the lip at the same time (which I did - all in the name of research) you won't notice any difference in effect. Both make lips look plumper and the glitter reflects beautifully.

However the light and mirror did really come in useful when applying. Yes you do get some odd looks when you are applying a lipgloss with LED's in the lid (especially in a pub full of drunken Mancunians) but it saved me having to root around in my bag for my mirror and a decent lit area.

So check out this GOSH product. I am pretty impressed with a lot of their items; the lip jams and extreme art eye liner are fantastic. Plus it's 3 for 2 in superdrug right now so head a long and grab yourself a bargain. And if anyone else has tried this product then let me know, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Big Love