Saturday 31 March 2012

Neal's Yard Rehydrating Rose Moisturiser Review

A few weeks ago, I spent a good hour or two browsing, sniffing and testing out most of the items in the John Lewis beauty department. Amongst the many products that I  had on my wish list as a result, the Neal's Yard Orange Flower Toner and Rose & Mallow moisturiser were two of my most wanted. As I have never used any products by this brand before, it was great to receive a free 45ml tube of the Neal's Yard Rehydrating Rose Daily Moisture for face with the April issue of Marie Claire magazine. This sample is worth £12.00, so for the cost of a £3.70 magazine, it is quite the bargain.

Neal's Yard as a brand promote natural, organic beauty products that are free from animal testing. All of their products are scented using ingredients derived from plants, and don't contain any mineral oils (that block pores), silicone's (that create a silky film on the skin, also helping to block pores) or synthetic fragrances (which may trigger allergic responses). So far so good...

The Rehydrating Rose Daily Moisture is said to nurture and replenish Normal Skin, however my skin is Dry/Sensitive so maybe this was the reason why I just couldn't get on with this product.

I maybe old before my time, but I really love the scent of rose. However, the rose fragrance in this product is not the one that I know and love. My husband says that I have a nose for aromas like a bloodhound, and once dried on my face, this product had the distinct whiff of halitosis - I kid you not! Maybe this is caused by another of the natural ingredients contained in the product (i.e. Calendula, Star flower), or maybe its the fact that it just doesn't agree with the natural scent of my skin, but whatever the reason I just didn't like it.

Also, personally I wouldn't say that this is a great moisturiser. Its consistency is a little thicker than a lotion, which was easy to apply, but it left my skin feeling quite tight and also tacky to the touch. I understand that this is meant to be a good thing because it doesn't contain any synthetic ingredients that would make skin feel silky soft, but this factor in combination with the faint stink of halitosis made me so glad that I hadn't purchased the product at its full price. I also had red blotches on my face after applying this product, and these took around an hour to subside.

Blotchy face - please excuse my dry lips!!

So, sorry Neal's Yards, but unfortunately this is one of your products that just isn't for me :-(

Did you buy the April issue of Marie Claire? What are your thoughts on this product?

x X x

Sunday 25 March 2012

Battle of the Hot Cloth Cleansers: Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Vs No.7 Beautiful Skin

I am a big fan of the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, but recently in Boots I came across the new No.7 version which they have launched in their Beautiful Skin collection. I had my trusty No.7 £5 gift voucher, so decided to put it towards giving this alternative product a go.

Firstly, the two main differences I noticed are the size of product and also the packaging. The Liz Earle Cleanser has a much more polished look about it (excuse the pun), but in comparison to the No.7 Cleanser it has half the amount of product.

The Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Starter kit is £14.25 for 100ml and comes with two muslin cloths. The full price of the No.7 Hot Cloth cleanser is £10.00 for 200ml and comes with 1 muslin cloth.

On the surface, the choice between the two may seem like a no-brainer, but there are other aspects in comparing these products that may make you think differently.

I found that I needed to use a little more of the No.7 cleanser than the Liz Earle (one and a half times as much) as the consistency of the No.7 product is a little thinner and didn't feel as creamy on my skin. Also, I wasn't so impressed with the scent of the No.7 Cleanser, which has a nice subtle fragrance but a distinct after-smell that, though not unbearable, is still a bit iffy. In comparison, the Liz Earle cleanser has a gorgeous eucalyptus-based smell that simply oozes the feel of luxurious spa treatment.

No7 muslin cloth on the left, Liz Earle muslin cloth on the right

I also found that the muslin cloth that came with the No.7 cleanser was very cheap looking and rough in texture in comparison to the cloths provided in the Liz Earle starter kit. It reminded me of a large medical gauze swab, which isn't such a great thing! The muslin cloths that come in the Liz Earle kit are softer and made of a tighter weave fabric. They are also larger in size, and I like how you get two of them so that you have another to use when one is in the wash.

In regards to the cleansing effectiveness of the product, Liz Earle is AMAZING, but the No7 comes a VERY close second - although, I'm not sure how much of this is due to the actual product with No.7, as opposed to the roughness of the muslin cloth, which tends to stay rough (and maybe more abrasively exfoliating) even when wet. My skin was left feeling soft after using the No.7 cleanser, but I still felt the need to moisturise. In comparison, Liz Earle cleanser not only does an extremely great job of cleansing, but my skin always feels so amazing afterwards, so that when I am applying my moisturiser I feel that I am doing so out of habit rather than feeling that my skin really needs it. However, both products are really effective at completely removing make-up - especially mascara.

Overall, I think that No.7 have created an excellent alternative Hot Cloth Cleanser, and if you are lucky enough to purchase the product with the £5 No.7 voucher (bringing the cost down to a mere £5.00) it is a real bargain for your money. Liz Earle remains my top choice though, and I will definately opt for this one in the first instance.

I like to think of the two products like this: Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser is like Disneyland Florida, and No.7 Hot Cloth Cleanser is like Disneyland Paris... If you go to Disneyland Paris first, when you then go to Disneyland Florida you are even more impressed. However, if you go to Disneyland Florida first, and then you go to Disneyland Paris, you like it there but not as much!!

What are your thoughts? Have you tried any of these cleansers before?

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Rimmel Lycra Pro Nail Polish

Out of all the items in my make-up collection, nail polish most probably holds the majority share. I am constantly on the look out for new shades and for brands that offer good value for money. My husband bought me this particular polish a few months ago, as a treat when I was heavily pregnant with my daughter. However, one thing he didn't take into consideration was that not only could I not see my toes at the time, but I most definately couldn't reach them in order to paint them. So, off it went into the abyss that is my nail polish collection...

However, I was mooching through my nail polishes the other day when I re-discovered the product, and decided it was time to give it a whirl!!

Rimmel promote this product as being long lasting, chip resistant and anti fade colour.

The one thing I love about this nail polish is the wand - which also happens to be its major selling point. It is flatter and much wider in comparison to the wands of other brands I have used, making it super quick and easy to apply. One coat is great, but two is even better, and it dries quickly with a lovely shiny finish without the need of a topcoat.

It should also last for up to 10 days - I only painted my toenails and am now on day 8 with minor chipping to the tips only.

And the best thing? The price. A snip at only £4.59 a bottle :-)


Monday 19 March 2012

Clarins Hydraquench Face Cream Review- Dry Skin Needs This!!!

My sister first introduced me to the wonder that is Clarins Hydraquench Cream about a year ago, and I haven't looked back. It promises quick absorption, long-lasting hydration and unrivalled complexion radiance, and I would say that these are promises well kept!

The cream is lightly scented and of a good consistency - not too thick, but not runny like a lotion either, and a little goes a long way. It applies effortlessly and absorbs well into the skin, leaving it well moisturised without being sticky or greasy. I find its also a great base for make up, as foundation applies smoothly and blends well.

My skin is dry/sensitive and the dryness worsens significantly during the winter time, particularly to the areas around my nose and the corners of my mouth. However, this winter my skin didn't suffer any of its usual problems with dry patches, I just had healthy, smooth, moisturised skin throughout. I love this product so much that I am now on my third consecutive pot!!

Clarins Hydraquench Cream retails at £33.00 for 50ml and, when used twice daily, this product normally lasts me around two months. However, I think that it is worth every penny and really can't recommend it enough.

Monday 12 March 2012

Would you like to open my Harrods Edition Glossybox with me?

Hey everyone,

This morning I received my much-awaited Harrods Edition Glossybox. I have been a subscriber to Glossybox for almost a year now, and I have received some really great products, mixed with some that I have been rather disappointed with. But there has been so much hype across the internet gearing us up for the exciting arrival of the Harrods Edition Glossybox, that I thought I would share the opening of my box with you!!

We were promised big brands, and extra special products all wrapped up with the exquisite Harrods seal of approval. The box itself is glossy white instead of the usual matt pink (I say usual matt pink, but three of the last four boxes have all diverted from this). The Harrods logo is stamped with pride of place on the lid, and the inner packaging is sealed with a Harrods sticker and wrapped in the classic Harrods Green Ribbon which also has the logo printed on.

Now for the BIG Unveiling......

I thought that the easiest way to do this would be to review each product individually. The first product that I opened was the Erno Laszlo 'The Hollywood Collection' 5 piece cream gift set. The description of this product is that it is a Limited Edition Collection of custom blend skin formulations inspired by our most famous and iconic devotees: Marilyn Monroe, Katharine Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Greta Garbo and Ava Gardner.

This contains trial sizes of 5 different products: Morning Beauty Rescue, Refresh Moisture Infusion, Instant Eye Repair, Intensive Porcelain Veil and Velvet Night Cream. The amount of product in each sample is not specified, but I think the best way to describe their size would be to say that they are each like the trial samples of foundations etc. that you would receive in the pages of a magazine. I may be committing beauty reviewer suicide now, but I have to say that I had never heard of Erno Laszlo before. However, I LOVE skincare, and am really excited to try all of these products - especially the eye cream, as I am turning the BIG Three-OH in a few days time, so anything that helps to keep the nasty wrinkles at bay is warmly welcomed!!! I also searched the Harrods website to ascertain the cost of full size products, but Erno Laszlo was nowhere to be found!! I did however do a Google search of 'Erno Laszlo Harrods', and thanks to British Beauty Blogger, I am now aware that the Erno Laszlo Brand is having a big re-launch in the UK which is taking place in 27 days, 12 hrs and 18 mins (and counting...) at Harrods - so the inclusion of this product in the Glossybox obviously ties in nicely with this.

Next up, Ojon Damage Reverse Instant Restorative Hair Serum. As many of you will know, I suffered moderate hair loss following the birth of my baby, which has left my hair limp and thin. Not good :-( I also have really dry ends, which is the result of years of over-styling and highlights. The Ojon brand is again one that I haven't come across before, but with the promise of a 'weightless, highly concentrated serum that helps restore brilliant shine and softness to dull, damaged hair', this is another product that I am excited to try. The product received in the Glossybox is the full size as sold at Harrods, and retails online at £16 for the 25ml bottle. Smiley faces all 'round :-)

Another little skincare treat in my Glossybox is the Clarins Extra Firming Body Cream. This is a 30ml trial size, and I was so excited to receive this product as I absolutely love the Clarins range and use the Hydraquench Moisturiser everyday. The cream has a lovely subtle scent to it, and is great in consistency - not too thick, but not watery either. Perfect! The only issue that has confused me slightly is that the Clarins brand is also nowhere to be found on the website. I can sort of understand that the Erno Laszlo range is not available on there yet, but Clarins is a brand that has been well-established in the UK for years. Surely it would have been good practice to have all of the items that were sent out in the Glossyboxes freely available for purchase on the Harrods website, otherwise aren't Harrods just pushing us to purchase full size products elsewhere, thereby taking our custom away from themselves? Hmm... Bad advertising practice I think.

The next item I received was a 4ml sample of Fendi's Fan Di Fendi eau de toilette. It comes in the cutest little bottle, although unfortunately the scent is not to my liking. It is described as "A luminous floral fragrance, radiant with sunlight and leaving a lasting impression of a light Roman leather on the skin". I usually go for light, Fruity, Floral scents like Stella in Two or Gucci Flora. But this has the distinct aroma of Calvin Klein's CK One, which takes me back to my teens. I am sooo over that scent!!

And last but by no means least, the product I have seen so many raving about... Da da da... The mini Burberry lipstick. Oh Yes! This is a miniature Lip Cover in Rosewood No4. Described as a "soft satin lipstick that offers intense moisture and luminous long-lasting colour for fuller lips", it is a pretty rosy pink shade that has definate staying power and is really moisturising. However, I'm not sure that this particular shade is for me, as I tend to wear more subtle lip colours.

So that's it for my Harrods Edition Glossybox. Overall, I am very happy with the items that I received, and think that Glossybox in conjunction with Harrods have done a really good job - they have set themselves a high standard though, that hopefully they will be able to keep up!!!

What items did you receive in your Glossybox?

Sunday 11 March 2012

Catwel Vintage Fair ~ New House Hotel, Cardiff

The flyer advertising the Fair

Hey everyone! Today I went along to the Catwel Vintage Fair which was held at the New House Hotel in Cardiff. There were many stalls selling a wide variety of items, from authentic vintage furniture, tea sets, clothing and jewellery, to the kind of items that are of a vintage~style with a modern twist like bunting and cushions made from re-worked fabric. There was even the opportunity to have a vintage style make over, which unfortunately I didn't feel brave enough to partake in :-( But if this is something that you would be interested in, the book that the make-up artist was using as a reference was Style Me Vintage: Make Up: Easy Step-by-step Techniques for Creating Classic Looks by Katie Reynolds

I had my eye on a little vintage camera, but sadly I missed out. It was in my hands, and because I took too long to decide if I really needed it, it got snapped up by someone else the moment I placed it (albeit temporarily) back in its spot on the shelf. So, I have sorely learnt my lesson today, and my advice to anyone attending a fair like this in the future would be to buy the item that catches your eye while you have the chance!

I did pick up a little bargain, but it is not that exciting really. I purchased a vintage fabric bundle consisting of a large piece of white floral fabric, and two medium sized lace tablecloths for the bargain price of £5.00. These will form the basic covering of my craft stall in the upcoming weeks.

The only criticism I have about the fair was the sheer lack of space. A larger room was really needed as the stalls were quite close together and the room was absolutely packed with people, but maybe this is something that they will consider in the future as a result of how many people showed up today. And, normally I'm not one to be an absolute stickler for the rules, but Health & Safety would have had a field day with the amount of people struggling to balance their cups of boiling hot tea whilst battling through the crowd to the seating area outside. Point to note: The refreshment stand would have been better placed by the door!!!

But that aside,  all in all it was a really good Sunday afternoon out, made that much better because the sun has finally started to shine! :-)

Sunday 4 March 2012

The Social Network - A Film Review

Hey everyone! I am no film critic, but I feel that I have to share with you just how AMAZING I think this film is. I have recently joined LOVEFILM, and this was the second DVD that I have been sent as part of my monthly subscription. Normally, my attention span is not the greatest when settling down at home to watch a film, but right from the start this film had me hooked.

In short, The Social Network dramatises the creation of Facebook by the now-famous computer super-geek Mark Zuckerberg, and raises the question as to whether the concept of 'Facebook' as it is today it was even his idea in the first place. I wont go into much more detail, as I hate film spoilers, all that I can say is that this film is well worth a watch!! I am also aware that this film is has been out a while, but for those of you who, like me, are never the first to rush out to watch the latest film release, it comes highly recommended.

Now for the Official stats, it grabbed four major Golden Globes, and won three Oscar Academy Awards. And if this isn't enough to encourage you, fans of Justin Timberlake will be pleased to know that he makes a (somewhat half-dressed at times) appearance!