Saturday 30 June 2012

FYI - A Great Deal on Beauty!!

Hey peeps,

I have just been doing some late-night browsing and have come across a great deal that I thought you would all like to know about!! On the Origins website, you can get free standard delivery and some great free travel size samples with orders over £40.

I have just taken advantage of this offer and treated myself to some little purchases, and I am super happy with a sneaky little side-find that I came across whilst browsing their website...

For a long while now I have been wanting to try the Origins Vitazing Energy Boosting Moisturiser, but have always given it a miss when faced with the £26 price tag. However, under the gifts sale section on the homepage I discovered the 'Brightening Musts' Gift Set which contains a full size 50ml Vitazing Moisturiser, a 30ml Modern Friction dermabrasion and a 5ml GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream. This little set is worth £40.20 but is on sale for £26 - which is the cost of the Vitazing Moisturiser alone - What a Bargain!!

Brightening Musts

I also ordered one of the Gloomaway Grapefruit body wash/bubble bath to tip my order over the £40 total and qualify for free delivery. I absolutely cant wait for my order to arrive!!!

Will you be taking advantage of this offer too?


x X x

Friday 29 June 2012

Shopping my Stash... & June Empties

This month I have been without my beloved maternity pay :-( which means that I have had to tighten my belt somewhat and shop my stash for new beauty products to use up, rather than shop the shops.

This has been a learning curve for me, as I tend to get bored of products that come in large containers and take ages to use up. I am also a sucker for 3 for 2 offers etc. which leaves me with umpteen bottles of shower gel and body creams that just dont ever see the light of day if I am continuously on the hunt for new products.

I have quite a large clear stackable storage box in my wardrobe, which houses my array of beauty products, and when I first pulled everything out of there I was actually quite sickened by the amount of products that I have. I dont need to buy any more shower gel for the next year, nor body cream for the next millennium.

So, to cut a long story short, I will make a start on reviewing this months products that I have finally used up!!

Olay Refreshing Face Wash - I used to use this product all the time. I bought this particular bottle in a 3 for 2 offer in Boots, and I still have two more of these to use up. They cost around £3.00 for 150ml, and I forgot just how great this product is. It smells nice, lathers up really well, removes make up like a dream, and leaves my skin feeling soft. A good all rounder and well worth the money - if I didnt already have two more bottles to use up, I would definately re-purchase this product!!

Balance Me Rose Otto Body Wash - I had this product free in a goodie bag when I went to the Clothes Show Live back in December last year. Normally I love rose scented products, but this particular rose scent smells quite medicated - its a little bit TCP meets turkish delight!! The Balance Me brand is promoted as  "natural, high-performance, paraben and sulphate free, aromatherapy skincare products, made in the UK" and this particular product has won various beauty awards. However, despite containing "skin-quenching rose otto oil", I found it to be quite drying, and this coupled with the iffy smell made it really not worth the £12.25 price tag for me. I definately wont be buying this again.

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor - This was recommended to me by my hairdresser, and it was already half-used when I started to re-use it again (if you know what I mean). I could immediately see why I must have stopped using it in the first place. I have fine hair and usually wash my hair every other day, and on the day after washing my hair it normally just needs a little bit of a boost with some dry shampoo, but after using the 3 Minute Miracle I felt like it just needed re-washing completely. I found this to be quite a heavy conditioner that never fully rinses out of the hair, and it is not lightweight at all, but left my hair feeling bogged down with product and like it needed a really good going over with a deep cleansing shampoo. I did persevere with this product though as I dont like to be wasteful, but I am so glad to say that it is now finally gone as I will not be re-purchasing.

St Ives Invigorating Apricot Body Scrub- This is the old style packaging for this particular product as it now comes in a white tub. I LOVE this body scrub!! It smells great - Apricot with a little bit of what I think is eucalyptus - and has lots of tiny grains that are really exfoliating without being too harsh. It is a great product to use on your legs pre-shave and leaves skin feeling really smooth. I followed this with Palmers cocoa butter for super smooth legs. It normally retails for £5.49 at Boots, but they currently have a third off deal at the moment. Overall a BIG THUMBS UP!!

St Ives Invigorating Apricot Facial Scrub - This is a travel size tube of product, which was left-over from my recent trip to Paris. There are a few different St Ives Facial scrubs, but I find that this one is the best. Much like the St Ives Invigorating Body Scrub, there are lots of tiny grains that exfoliate the skin well. I would say that, personally, this scrub is too harsh for everyday use as I have quite sensitive skin on my face, but somedays you just feel like you want to give your face a good scrub (literally) and this product is just the ticket!! It exfoliates well, smells lovely, and leaves skin soft and awake. It retails at around £4.00, but quite often these are included in the Boots 3 for 2 offers (hence why I have another two bottles of this to use up also!!).

And finally....

Batiste Blush Dry Shampoo - Hmm. I was such a big fan of this product when it was first released in the UK, but after using it for a while I am no longer so WOW'ed by it. I cant make up my mind as to whether it worked better for me at first because my hair was highlighted, but right now as a brunette I find that it doesnt work so well. I feel as though, if I used the amount of product that I actually need to refresh my hair properly, I end up looking like I've lost a fight with a bottle of talcum powder. This is my zillionth can of Batiste, and I have tried many of the scents, but I have to say that now this little baby is done and dusted, I am on the hunt for an alternative product (I have my eye on the LUSH No Drought Dry Shampoo)

So thats it for now peeps. It has been such a great feeling to finally start making a dent in my stash!! A bit like Spring Cleaning :-)

Let me know what you think, and what products you've used up this month!!


x X x

Sunday 24 June 2012

Upcycling - When Old Becomes New

Hey Peeps,

Yesterday I spent the morning mooching around the local charity shops, and the afternoon crafting. This may seem like the least exciting way to spend your Saturday, but lately I have been wanting to jump on the Upcycling bandwagon.

My sister picked out a really retro 1970s (approx) duvet cover, which had a few variations in pattern, and because it had no matching pillow cases it was an absolute steal for a quid!!!

Once we got home (after a sneaky Chinese buffet lunch) we got to work unpicking at the seams of this amazing piece of fabric (which totalled around 4+ metres worth). There was no need to launder the fabric, as it had already been freshly laundered before it was put out for sale. We also discovered that the bed cover was originally from St Michael (or M&S as we more commonly know it). I am guessing this particular bed cover is from the 1970s - so an amazing amount of genuine vintage fabric in great condition for a minimal price.

Once we had unpicked all of the seams, we got to work cutting out various patterns, ironing, sewing etc. etc.

And these are just a few of the creations that we have made so far (we still have PLENTY of fabric left!!) - and they are all currently up for grabs in my Etsy Shop :-)

I hope you all enjoyed this little insight into my upcycling escapade and hopefully I will be able to put up some tutorials for you all very soon :-)

All comments gratefully received!!


x X x

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Royal Ascot Hats 2012 - The Good, The Bad and The Wierd

Royal Ascot has always been one of my favourite British events. Although I have never been to Ascot, I always keep an eye out every year for the latest millinery creations that both amaze and astound me. They make me wish that I too could create something as flamboyant! This year was no exception, and here are just a few of the ones that caught my eye

Amanda Holden looking stunning in a headpiece with a modern take on 1920s-style cloche

Katherine Jenkins looks stunning in a Phillip Treacy creation

A very pretty, elegant rose-adorned hat with tulle detail

This may not be suitable for everyday wear, but I can certainly appreciate the creativity!

Something a little bit different with a helping of good old Rockabilly~style

Hmm... This is the creation of hat maker Tracy Rose (who also happens to be the lady wearing the headpiece) - creative maybe, but that spare hand is a bit spooky for my liking!!

This one quite simply gets the thumbs down!!

Johnny Depp? Charlie & the Chocolate Factory Poster? No - just another mad hatter!!

An i-pad hat? Really?! Maybe its just a sign of the times

A Beautiful & Romantic Headpiece, but one thats really not wearable!!

Forget making a sausage dog out of a balloon - have a go at this next time!!

June Glossybox 2012 & Food for Thought

Hey guys,

This is a bit of a strange post, mainly because I made the BIG decision to unsubscribe from Glossybox last month.

You know that feeling you get, when you sit uneasy hoping that you have made the right decision about choosing not to do something, however there is a slight chance that you also may miss out on the next big thing? Well, this is the exact same feeling I have had ever since I made that big unsubscribing decision - would the next box contain a product to rival that initial NARS illuminator?

I used to be as excited as the next person each month when that little GB branded box was delivered to my door, but gradually for me the expectation and excitement of its arrival had turned to more of a feeling of dread. I became accustomed to receiving products that were just not up to scratch really, and it got to the point where I opened each of my boxes with my fingers-crossed (well, not actually with my fingers crossed, but you know what I mean!).

As I have stated before, GB promote their monthly box as containing 5 'luxury' products - the emphasis here really is on the word LUXURY, because for many of the items that I have personally received, this is not applicable.

"Subscribe to GLOSSYBOX now and receive 5 high-end luxury samples from exclusive brands"

I personally feel that brands such as Batiste, Collection 2000, First Aid Beauty (F.A.B.) etc. are not luxury brands, nor are they exclusive (they are widely available in drugstores), so the inclusion of these in the Glossybox is quite simply a farce. Having said this, the flip-side is that I have received some brands that I have been really happy with, however the actual product may not be suitable for my complexion, skin type etc. - which leads me to my next point....

For a while now, under the 'how it works' tab on the Glossybox website, subscribers have been invited to

"Fill in your Beautyprofile to help us select products to complement your personal beauty and styling requirements".

Now, while this concept is not what I would call rocket science, it is such a simple idea, that if it was actually utilised, the whole GB experience would be so much better.

"Our product selection is original and innovative".

But, quite simply, it is not a service which is yet applicable - so what, I ask, is the point? I completed my Beautyprofile a few months back in the hope that the products I received would then be a little more tailored, and yet I still ended up with products for curly hair (when mine is straight).

"Every month, you will receive your indulgently wrapped GLOSSYBOX filled with carefully selected beauty miniatures"

Onto packaging - this is where I think they have us. To put it simply, as my husband would say, you can't polish a turd! Yes, the packaging is amazing. Yes the boxes are girly and come in handy for storage. But are they just sugar-coating the products inside? Sometimes, I just used to feel that the packaging was more appealing than the products it contained.
So, what to do if you are unhappy with your GB? Well, most companies would answer their phones for starters, but when I moved house a while back, and my Glossybox was delivered to my old address - even though I had tried to change my delivery details through the website but it wouldn't let me - it took about 15 attempts to get an answer when I rang in desperation to try and amend this mishap. The outcome? I never received my box, Glossybox were of no use whatsoever and claimed that I could have easily changed my details online (I tried! The service on their website was unavailable!!), and so I ended up out of pocket. The attitude from the 'customer service representative' was more of 'tough luck' as opposed to even the slightest hint of sympathy/empathy/general human compassion. In hindsight, I should have cancelled my subscription there and then.

What about emails? Well, I haven't had the misfortune to use this facility, but my sister has. After several emails sent regarding a duplicate old box she had received rather than the new months box she was expecting after altering her subscription, it took good old pigeon post and a letter of utter disgust before she received a reply - in email format of all things!!! And though the GB man insisted they had no record of previous emails, he then contradicted himself by stating all the dates of emails they had previously received from her - so why hadn't they courteously replied to them? Hmm, you can bury your head in the sand GB, but your problems (i.e. unhappy customers) won't go away!!

Then there is the Glossybox UK Facebook page, where subscribers - old and new - (happy or not) can come together to discuss their feelings about each months box. Is it fair that some get a £20 product and others get samples they can pick up for free at a perfume counter? No. Has there been freedom of speech in this country since the 1950s? Yes. But GB seem intent on deleting comments that don't act in their favour, and keeping the ones that do. Sugarcoating. And damage limitation.

"Let us know what you think about the products you tested. We value your feedback"

This is a link to a review of the men's version of Glossybox written by Jo of 'Beauty and the Books' Blog, which is well worth reading. Even though her post is aimed at the oppostie sex, the less than adequate experience in regards to misleading advertising of products and poor customer service is just the same.

There must be thousands of comments on their UK Facebook page (or at least there were, until some were deleted) complaining about the unfairness of the item distribution, and the fact that many would prefer it if everyone received the same 5 products each month. But they just don't listen to their customers, nor do they ever attempt to reply to any comments on their page (it must be because they are too busy posting photo's of them posing with their GB Pink birthday balloons). Whatever the reason, it is clear to see that they do not value our feedback!!

Therefor, if you are so unhappy with your box that you want a refund, this is the advice that one unhappy customer has posted on the GB wall:

"If you were disappointed with your box, then I'm sure that you can return them within 7 days for full refund including original postage costs under the distance selling regulations. Also, they should be reported to the office of fair trading as their goods are not as described. Most of the items are available from Superdrug or Boots and would not be what most people consider to be 'high-end'. Also GB are pretentious by claiming their brushes are 'high-end', they most certainly are not".

And this is the nice little link to my next and final comment. THAT BRUSH. I hadn't even given the arrival of this months GB a second thought until I came across this picture on the Facebook GB Page:

Lisa Gray Swaps: Here's my five year old daughter using the brush to paint the bathroom floor of her dolls house. It isn't even very good for that :(

This made me chuckle, but just goes to prove how unhappy customers are if they are actually giving their 'luxury' beauty products to their child to play with!! I also have commented on GB's facebook page that they must be putting their efforts (and your subscription money) into developing their own products, rather than towards sourcing the so-called 'high-end' products that they promise.

I have to say peeps, that as I am sat here typing this blog post/rant I am happy and content in the knowledge that I unsubscribed last month, and I wonder Glossybox, will you be holding up your birthday balloon next year?

All comments gratefully received :-)

x X x

Friday 8 June 2012

Magazine Madness

I used to be a big reader of magazines, and spent a small fortune each month on them. Recently this addiction has worn off, but how could I not resist picking up some copies this month when the freebies are so amazing?! I'm sure you have read about these great offers on many other blog's, but I just thought that I would share what ones I picked up with you :-)

I bought six magazines altogether, totalling £20.40... eek!! But here is a breakdown of what came free with each one...

Easy Living ~ June 2012 Edition: This magazine was not only 80p cheaper than normal, but had a free 70ml sample of Rituals Body Scrub or Body Cream. I chose the one with the scrub, as I have far too many body creams and lotions already taking up space in my "to use" box. This freebie was the least value for money in comparison to all the others as both samples together are worth £10, so I paid £2.90 for a magazine that I have never bought before and had a free sample worth £5.00 (approx). However, I am excited to try this product as I had received a Rituals Shower Wash in a Glossybox a few months back, and have been wanting to try more Rituals products since then.

Harper's Bazaar ~ July 2012 Edition: This, again, is not a magazine that I have purchased before. It cost £4.20 and has the most beautiful full size Leighton Denny nail polish in 'Plush Pink' free with it that is worth £11.00. I also liked the coral nail polish, but decided that I have a similar coral polish already, so I just stuck to purchasing the one issue. I have been wanting to try a Leighton Denny nail polish for a long while now. I received one in a Glossybox a few months back, but it was in a silvery-blue, and I wasn't a huge fan of the colour so decided to sell not try... oops!

Red ~ July 2012 Edition: For £3.90 I had a free full-size black Jemma Kidd Make Up School mascara. You could also have had a black eyeliner, although I am not a huge fan of black eyeliner, so opted for the mascara instead. I am really excited to try this product, as I have never tried any products from the Jemma Kidd range before. It is also the I-Glamour mascara which promises added volume, definition and care for lashes, and retails at £15.00 - so this freebie is an absolute bargain!!

Marie Claire ~ July 2012 Edition: I went a little bit Marie Claire mad and bought two copies of this magazine for £3.70 per edition as they came with a free full-size Ciate Paint Pots nail polish worth £9.00 each - I would have purchased all three magazines if I could have found one with the nude pink shade. However, I am absolutely over-the-moon to have the Pastel Lilac (shade: Purple Sherbet) and Hot Pink (shade: Jelly Bean) colours in my possession. Queue more gorgeous summer nails... If the sun ever decides to come back out to play that is ;-)

And last but by no means least...

Glamour ~ July 2012 Edition: This little beauty was a snip at £2.00 per copy. I am a huge fan of Glamour magazine anyway, and also of Benefit make-up, so couldn't wait to get my mitts on this months issue. A choice between a BADgal Lash mascara mini, "that gal" primer, or "pore perfection" pore minimiser, a girl is spoiled for choice! I am not a big fan of the BADgal mascara, so decided to give that one a miss, and I already own "that gal" primer anyway (not that I could find any copies with this particular freebie), so I decided to give the "pore perfection" a whirl - a £10 sample for the price of a £2.00 magazine? Well, how could I say no :-)

So, for £20.40 I have not only a months supply of easy reading and eye candy, but £59 worth of beauty products too - I would say thats money well spent!!

> I just have to point out one HUGE annoyance I have when it comes to magazines dishing out these amazing freebies - why oh why to people have to spoil it for others by stealing the samples? Its pathetic and wrong, and really bugs me!! Grrrr....

Have you managed to get your hands on any of these great offers? Which ones did you choose?

x X x

Thursday 7 June 2012

Mmmm, cake... in a jar?!

* Random Post*

OK, so as consumers we have been overwhelmed in recent months with en-mass cupcakes, cookies & cake pops in grand supply. Everyone seems to be jumping on the cake-baking bandwagon, and as much as I love all of these sweet treats, they are starting to become more of an everyday thing rather than something special.

Queue this cute little idea by Betty Cakes... Cupcakes in a jar! How amazing!! And ever so cute :-)

Pretty on the eye & easily devoured - you just grab a fork & tuck right in. The downside? Missbettycakes is based in America and delivery is limited to the states for the time being.

I wonder how long it will take this little idea to take off in the UK?

What do you think girls?

x X x

Tuesday 5 June 2012

Ecopouf Cleansing Pad Review

Yes, you have read the title right - I am about to write a review about a shower puff!!! You may scoff, but this is not just any old shower puff, this is an amazing, super-duper, multi-purpose puff that I am simply amazed by.

Recently, I have had a break-out of back-ne. This maybe TMI for most of you, and trust me its not something I wish to shout about, but it is unfortunately a fact of my life at the moment as a result of swapping to a shower gel that my skin really didn't agree with :-(. I rarely get spots on my face, and even more rarely do I get spots on my back - Actually, before this past month I NEVER got spots on my back!

As a result of this break-out, and because all other attempts to rid my back of these unwanted little red lumps had failed miserably, I went on the hunt for a loofah as a last-ditched attempt. I came across this little beauty in Boots, and it caught my eye immediately as I have never seen anything like it before.

It is a new product by Ecotools, a company with a passion for beauty and the environment, priding themselves on getting gorgeous, going green, and giving back!

On one side the EcoPouf is a run-of-the-mill shower puff - which is made of 100% recycled plastic - and on the other side it is a natural loofah. Great for body cleansing! It also has a nifty little reversible elasticated hand strap for ease of use.

On first use I found that the loofah was too rough for my somewhat sensitive skin, but since then the loofah has softened and is now great for exfoliating. I should point out that I have to use a little more shower product (about 1/2 the amount more) than when just using a normal puff, but the effects of the EcoPouf more than make up for this and my back is now spot-free. No more back-ne = BIG THUMBS UP!!

This item retails at £4.99 in Boots. Money well spent I say!!

Have you tried any of the Ecotools bath products? What did you think?

x X x

Saturday 2 June 2012

Glitzy Pink Summer Nails

I love nothing more than painting my toe-nails during the Summer months so that they can be paraded around in a pretty pair of sparkly flip-flops. A side-line to this is that my favourite pair of sparkly rhinestone flip-flops have just retired as I lost the centre stone from one of them and now they are unwearable :-( On the plus side, I have a lovely Hubby who has promised me a new pair of pretties to wear! Yey!!

Anyhow, back to the nail-painting...

I recently purchased a new Nails Inc polish in Shade 180 Lancaster Gate. This is a really pretty pink duo chrome polish, which has subtle blue undertones in the bottle, but the massive disappointment is that it has a yucky matt finish. And when I say matt, I mean absolutely no shine whatsoever. Dull. Dull. Dull. To turn my frown upside down, after applying two coats of Lancaster Gate and allowing to dry, I topped this with my recently purchased glitter Revlon polish in shade 340 'Stunning' - this also needs at least two coats for ultimate sparkle, and even though this totals 4 coats, it is well worth the end result. It has lasted over a week with minor chipping, and gives the most pretty summer sparkle to my nails EVER!! I think this combination is by far my personal favourite ever :-)

What do you think? Have you tried either of these polishes?

x X x