Thursday, 26 June 2014

Glossybox - June box

Firstly I just want to apologise for being so slow in writing my posts recently. I am just crazy busy right now, working 2 jobs and going to the gym 5 times a week that sometimes it is just a struggle to get anything else done! So bare with me, it will get better I promise!

So anyway, this was the box that I received from Glossybox for June. I have been considering cancelling this subscription for a little while, especially as I had so much trouble with their customer service team last month. This box didn't really sway my thoughts to keep it.... It wasn't a bad box, just slightly disappointing product-wise.

From left to right there is a bottle of Roger & Gallet Fragrance, a So Susan Concealer Quad, Nail Girls 3 in 1 Nail Polish, Teeez Flat Brush and Novex Extra Deep Hair Care Cream (Brazilian Keratin). 

The thing that put me off this product is that the packaging just looked quite cheap and tacky so didn't leave me exactly excited to use the product inside. It's just too over the top with too much going on and looks a bit...pants. The consistency is quite good, although not as thick as I would have imagined. It's not heavily scented which is quite nice. I can't comment on how good it is though because I haven't actually used it yet...I just can't bring myself too as I would much rather use my Moroccan Oil hair mask. Sorry Novex!

This came at a good time because my base/top coat was starting to dry out a bit and so I was looking to get a new one so TA-DAH! It's a pretty good top coat, I noticed a slight difference in the length of time my nail polish lasted without chipping and it doesn't seem to have that horrible strong nail polish smell, which is a great bonus to me. I think it went some way to strengthen my nails but they weren't in a particularly bad condition to start with so can't really comment too much on that. Overall, I quite like it.

This brush was one of the redeeming features of this box. I loved even the packaging it came in, lush! And even better, the same design was on the brush handle, a very cool looking brush. It also worked really well (which is the important thing!). I use this brush for blending eye-shadow and it has been used a lot since I got it. I can't fault it and will definitely look at purchasing more brushes from their collection.

This just seemed a really random addition to this month's box. Yes it smells quite pleasant but it's not a fragrance you would really wear 'out and about', like a perfume. I just found it a bit odd, gave it to my niece to play with...

This concealer I just couldn't work with. It was literally rock solid in the compact and so much effort to pick up even the smallest amount of product that I just gave up using it after the first try. I may just be doing it wrong but I just don't think concealer should be that much effort and I've had many others that I have liked a lot more. From the swatches you can see that the range of shades is pretty good so there is something for most people. If you've had more luck with this product, please advise me!

So that sums up June's Glossybox. I was slightly disappointed with it as I was hoping for at least slightly more exciting products, especially after loving the Superdrug collaboration. This one felt like a bit of a comedown. But my niece loved having her own 'perfume' to play with so I guess that's one thing!

Did any of you get a Glossybox in June? What were your opinions on this month's box? Any better than mine? All comments are very welcome :)

Friday, 20 June 2014

Birchbox - June

My Birch box was very early this month in my opinion, although it may have just seemed so because May's was so late! But it was a really great box this month, all products that I would use often.

The theme for this month's box was 'Global Strikers' and was made up of products from around the world that would be really good to add to your beauty routine.

First up is the beautyblender. When I saw that this was one of the items that may be in my box I was so excited and had all fingers and toes crossed that I would be one of the lucky people to receive this item. I had read so many great reviews and was desperate to try it out for myself. I tried using it the way that was suggested, running it under cold water and squeezing all the excess water from it and squeezing it between a towel just to dry it a little more. After many uses I came to the conclusion that I just can't along with this tool. I find it doesn't blend my foundation on my skin at all and leaves visible 'dabbing' marks on my skin, which I then have to brush over. Slightly disappointed but glad I hadn't spent full price on it!

This is actually a really thick face moisturiser, much thicker than any I have tried using before. It doesn't have any noticeable scent to it, which I quite like, and I was pleasantly surprised by how easily it applied to the skin and was absorbed given it's consistency. I wouldn't say it has greatly improved my skin but it is quite nice to use all the same and feels quite indulgent.

I wasn't too bothered by this product when I first saw it but I have very quickly become a fan. It has a subtle smell to it, I want to say ginger? But it's not overpowering at all and I quite like it. It's quite creamy and absorbs into the skin very easily. I have noticed a bit of an improvement in the skin on my legs already. Definitely worth looking in to to purchase.

This was another item I was crossing my fingers for! This is one of the shades from the newly released Brazil collection and I'm so glad I got this one (the yellow would just look hideous on me!). It's an OPI polish so you probably are already aware that these are very good quality. The shade is gorgeous too, with a nice hint of shimmer. Perfect for the summer, I think this will be being well used!

As you can see from the above swatch, this lipstick wasn't as big on pigment as I would have liked. The shade in the tube looks great (I was really pleased to get such a nice shade) but it does not translate to the lips at all. OK, it gives a nice subtle shimmer and is quite moisturising but I just prefer a bit of colour on my lips as I was not blessed with overly pigmented ones :( a great lippy for those who have though.

So overall I was really pleased with this month's box. There were some great products included, some that I had been wanting to try and some new discoveries. Very happy subscriber!

Do you subscribe to Birchbox? Did you get similar products this month? What were your favourites?

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Body Image - Are the stereotypes outdated?

This is quite an irritation of mine and a point that is quite important to me.

When I say body image, I mean more along the lines of modifications such as piercings and tattoos and the social stereotypes that go with them. I am a strong believer in people having the right to do what they want with their bodies, be that cover every inch of their bodies in ink and metal or keep it exactly as the day you were born - that's your choice. Sadly it seems a lot of people disagree with this and there are a lot of judgements surrounding these areas, regardless of the fact that piercings and tattoos are becoming more and more popular. There are stigmas attached that just seem impossible to shake despite the fact that in a lot of cases (that I've experienced) they are just not true.

I personally like tattoos, not such a great fan of piercings but I have a couple of them too. I am not covered by any standard but I do have 6 quite large tattoos and have my lip, auricle and ears pierced. Now some people will initially read that and make some probably not flattering assessments of me, that's human nature. But I love every single one of my tattoos, they are beautifully done and worth every penny to me. My piercings are also rather subtle, in my opinion. I have a lot of friends though that have loads of tattoos/piercings and those who have none. My best friend doesn't even have her earlobes pierced. Some people would say that was weird.

So, the prejudice against such modifications. When I booked to have my tattoo on my spine I had originally wanted to have it continue up my neck and around behind my ear but the tattooist strongly advised against going any higher than my neckline. Why? Because it may affect my future job prospects as I was studying Law at university at the time. I therefore had to adapt my original design, but is it fair that a person would be judged on that basis? Am I the only person that thinks a person should be judged on their abilities, qualifications and personality and not physical appearance (I know people with weight issues have been judged negatively in job interviews solely on that basis also, is that fair?!) I have also had to take piercings out for job interviews, even my current boss was less than pleased the first time I wore my lip piercing at work, despite having been perfectly happy with my ability to perform my job beforehand, but is fine with it now and it has in no way hindered my work.

I also know many professionals that have (beautiful) tattoos - in places that can be covered. My mum is a primary school teacher, and a pretty damn good one if I say so myself, and has 3 different tattoos that she keeps covered at work, would it make a difference to her capabilities if she didn't hide them? And my dad is a lead nurse on an Intensive Care ward and has many large tattoos over his entire body that he keeps covered also, and yet he is very well respected by other people within the hospital and has worked his way up through promotions very quickly due to his work ethic.

I think the problem is that the stigma attached to such body modifications is that those with them are 'rebellious...criminals...bad news...intimidating...offensive...thugs' but in many cases this just isn't the truth. OK, admittedly in some cases they are correct assumptions but there are many that differ from that opinion. Many are beautiful pieces of artwork that have genuine, deep meaning to that person, and who is anyone to judge that? They are all a means of self-expression and those that judge harshly most likely don't understand the desire to express this on your body.

What are your opinions on body art? Have you got personal experiences with the stereotypes surrounding it? Or maybe you have a conflicting opinion to me? Either way, I would love to hear all your views on this point :)

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Why I Would Never Do Juice+...or other meal replacement diets

Now, my problem is not with Juice+ individually. I would just like to make a point that I don't hate Juice+ (or other meal replacement diets such as Slimfast and Special K) or think they are really bad, I just don't think they are right for me and would not try them myself. I know many people that have done these diets and had great results, I even have a family member who is a rep for Juice+, and good on them. But I have been advised by personal trainers and gym instructors as well, as to the pitfalls of these 'rapid results' diets which have helped me develop this opinion, and so this is it.

These diets are based around the principle that you replace 1 or 2 of your meals daily with a shake/juice that is promoted by the brand. This means that instead of having 3 regular meals a day you only have 1 (or 2 depending on which diet you are doing). You then are usually allowed to snack on fruit/veg throughout the rest of the day so you don't get hungry (which also goes to help your metabolism keep ticking over at a constant, as if you starve yourself of regular food your metabolism has a coping mechanism of slowing right down to compensate).

My issue with this concept is that it is a quick fix solution and a weight loss that is difficult to maintain once your goal weight has been reached and you come off of the diet. Through the entire period of your diet you have not been teaching yourself any healthy eating habits or anything that you can take forward with you after the diet, which suggests that once completed you would very easily slip back in to old habits and put that weight back on. Also, your body gets used to surviving on these meal replacements and so when you go back to eating 'normally' your metabolism has changed and your body can start to 'hoard' normal foods as it is not sure when they will be taken away and replaced with shakes again, in the same way that you would hoard limited edition make-up releases!

Therefore I find diets such as those provided by Slimming World (which I have done myself) and Weight Watchers are much more beneficial for losing weight and keeping the weight off. Yes it is a much slower process than the meal replacement diets but it is one where you learn eating habits that you can carry through once you have reached your goal weight and you get to meet and discuss your weight loss with other people going through it in your local area at the same time.

These diets teach you about portion control and cooking healthy meals that are low in calories and fat and giving more consideration to what you are eating on a daily basis. Some of the meals can be a bit hit and miss in regards to flavours (Slimming World Carbonara, I'm looking at you!) but I have found many recipes that I have really loved and still eat a lot of now.

I just think that the methods of weight loss offered by Slimming World and the like are much safer on your body. Plus all good things are worth working hard at and shouldn't just come easy, am I right?

What are your experiences with these rapid diets? Have you been put off by the same advice that I have received in the past? Would be lovely to hear of your stories and I respond to all comments :)

Weight Loss Challenge - update #5

Start weight = 10stone 5lbs
Target weight = 9stone
Current weight = 10stone

Oh dear....

Those of you who follow me on Twitter may know what went wrong here... I was doing really well during the week, actually losing about a pound by Thursday but then I spent the weekend with my nan and having a BBQ. What you should know about my nan is that she is a feeder and hard to say no to!

So it was all going really well, I was on track for another loss and then I went up to visit my nan on Saturday. She had made a great big roast dinner (big is an understatement) for lunch, full of yorkshire puds and roast potatoes followed by a summer fruit pudding. I couldn't exactly say no to my poor old nan that had spent ages cooking it all, could I? You're right, I probably could have... Then I was a bit better for dinner, she always does a buffet style dinner where she just chucks a load of meat, cheese, salad, bread etc on the table and lets everyone help themselves so I stuck to mainly salad and chicken but had a small amount of bread also.

Then we had to come back Sunday because one of her radiators was leaking and Ryan (my boyfriend) is a plumber. So again she had made a lovely lunch of chicken and veg in a really thick gravy with potatoes and bread followed with an apple crumble and cream, uh-oh! And once done there we had to go back for a Father's Day meal with Ryan's family which consisted of burgers and sausages from the BBQ and flavoured rice and other nibbles. Too. Much. Food.

So in reality I managed to put on roughly 3lbs in 3 days, which sounds pretty bad to me? It probably isn't too bad but when trying to lose weight it's not really ideal. I had spent the whole day Saturday (when not eating) helping nan with her garden, cutting hedges back and planting and running wheelbarrows of compost around and so that had probably made me not put on quite as much weight as I should have.

So a bit of a fail this week which I'll have to sort out over the next week. I shall be really good! I'm hoping to get back down to at least 9stone 12lbs again by next Monday so that I'm back on track. As always, I'll keep you updated!

How are your weight loss challenges going? I love to hear all your progress as it helps keep me motivated for my own :)

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Brilliant colours - Maybelline Color Tattoo 24HR

I have never been so impressed with an eye product as I was using these Maybelline Color Tattoo cream shadows! I know this is a strong claim to make, but I have used many different eyeliners and eye shadows and this is by far one of my favourites when it comes to application and colour. Here are those that I purchased:

Clockwise from top left we have: 05-Eternal Gold, 55-Immortal Charcoal, 70-Metallic Pomegranate, and 20-Turquoise Forever.

At the time of buying these they were actually on 3 for 2 in Boots so I had bought 3 (the blue, pomegranate and a purple shade) and had loved them so much that I had gone back and bought another 3! (Eternal Gold, Gold (which is a brighter gold) and charcoal). Sadly I had left the gold and purple shade at a friends and so I couldn't include them in the photos but they are gorgeous shades also. So I think I pretty much have every shade that's available in my local Boots!

As you can see from the swatches, these are heavily pigmented, shimmery shades. They show up so clearly and look absolutely lush on the eye. Most importantly though is how durable they are. I apply these in the morning before work and they are still in tact and perfect (no smudging!) when I get home, and that's after cycling there and back.

I personally wear these as eyeliners rather than full eyeshadows as I like just that small hit of colour. I use the Real Techniques Silicone Liner Brush to apply as it is easier than a bristles brush for me because of the consistency. It is so quick and easy to do, just swipe it on and off you go! They are so smooth to put on.

Have you tried any of these colour tattoos? What are your favourite shades? Are you also loving the brighter shades now that the sun is finally shining?

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

One of my cheapest but best hauls yet! - Makeup Revolution

This has got to be the cheapest yet one of the best hauls I've ever done! I had been seeing so many bloggers raving about the quality of the new Makeup Revolution brand for the crazily low price and I finally gave in last week and ordered some of their products. Those that I were really interested in were the eyeshadow palettes as I had heard of them being compared to Urban Decay and other great brands, so I got 4 of their palettes and then 4 of their single eyeshadow compacts. All this for just £20! True bargain!! And because my order was for over £10, delivery was free.

Firstly, the eyeshadow singles. From left to right - In The Deep (a navy shimmer), Acid! (a bright, matte yellow), Temptress (a dark green shimmer), Pink is It! (a bright matte pink).

As you can see from the swatches the blue, green and pink shadows have great pigmentation and show up beautifully on the skin. Sadly the yellow wasn't as pigmented (although it does appear less visible in the picture than it does in person) but could be good for if you are aiming for very subtle colour. I find mattes are often hit and miss when it comes to pigmentation though, they just don't show up as brilliantly as shimmer. For just £1 each though I don't think you could go wrong. I chose these colours more to experiment with coloured eyeliner on the top lid (especially those brights, I think they'll look fantastic!) so I shall do a post in the near future of this look done with them.

The first of the palettes is this amazing brights palette - Redemption Palette Matte Brights. This just instantly caught my eye and I new I had to have it. Again, this one was more for experimenting with coloured eyeliner looks as I don't think I'm confident enough to wear these brights over the entire lid. The orange, both pinks, peach, both greens and dark blue are pigmented and look great on the skin. Sadly the others were not so much. Each palette is only £4 though so I don't see it as a great loss for those 7 shades that are brilliant, over half the palette.

This palette is my absolute favourite and is often stated to be a dupe for one of the Urban Decay palettes - Redemption Palette Iconic 3. The shades are a beautiful array of nudes and can be used together to create really nice smokey eye looks, which I have already used this for twice since it arrived. The shimmers are brilliant pigment and of really great quality, the 3 matte's not as much but are still pretty good for matte shadows (some of the best mattes I've seen).

Redemption Palette Essential Day to Night - I loved the shades in this palette and the fact that the colours are all so versatile. They are all shimmer shadows (ranging in level of shimmer) and are all gorgeously pigmented. I will definitely be using this a lot for nights out as the shades compliment each other perfectly.

Redemption palette hot smoked - Again, I just loved the colours in this palette. It is made up of 5 matte shadows and the rest are shimmer. The shimmers are well pigmented and so are the darker mattes, the lighter ones are just about pigmented enough to be visible on the skin as well.

And that's all of my haul! It was a bit hit and miss in places but I think for the price I paid it is really good, definitely worth getting, especially if you are on a budget. I'd probably steer clear of the matte singles (mainly the lighter shades) as the colour pay off isn't brilliant but I would seriously recommend the palettes, especially the Redemption Palette Iconic 3 as it is by far my favourite. I will be heading back to order some of their lipsticks and blushers soon!

Have you tried anything from Makeup Revolution? What are your favourites, any recommendations? All comments are very welcome :)

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Weight Loss Challenge - update #4

Start weight = 10stone 5lbs
Target weight = 9stone
Current weight = 9stone 12lbs

So it was another slightly disappointing week, but there was still a loss so I'm looking at it in the way that I am making progress, it is just slowly but surely!

If I'm completely honest, I didn't stick to my exercise routine very well last week. I ate absolutely perfectly, having a lot of salads etc for lunch because the weather was so nice (am I the only person that doesn't like anything to heavy when the weather is nice?) so diet-wise I was pretty good. My gym buddy was away on holiday last week though and without her there to grab a token for the class and set up for me I can't make it from work to the gym in time to do body pump so I had to miss them classes. I should have gone into the actual gym and done my own workout instead but I think I really struggle for the motivation for the gym when I'm on my own. Saying that though, I did get up and go to my morning spin classes on my own ok.

I  think what I have learnt from this week is the importance of incorporating both healthy eating and exercise when it comes to weight loss. Especially if you want faster results. But I'm plodding on with it all the same, even if it takes me another 12 weeks to reach target! Which I hope it doesn't as I have booked flights for just over 7 weeks time to go see my friends in Lanzarote, focus Jen!

How have you been getting on this last week? Anyone else trying to get in shape for the summer? With the weather being so nice right now it is a great inspiration!

All comments are very welcome and I aim to reply to every one :)

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Empties of the Month - May

I can't believe the amount of empties I amassed in May, I usually struggle to finish anything! I have a habit of starting using one item, then get distracted by another and never actually finishing any. Most of these are small samples rather than full sized products so that may be why I got through them so quickly. So first up, hair:

The only hair product I finished this month was the VO5 Ultimate Hold Hairspray. I have short hair and I have to have it perfectly in place and well held, much more than when my hair was longer. Because of this, and the weather being so bad recently I had got this hairspray in the hope that it would live up to it's claims and hold my hair all day. Sadly it didn't quite manage this. It provided a medium hold to the hair, nothing like what I have with my current hairspray (one from got2b, their products are all incredible!) but it was a nice texture in my hair and the scent was quite pleasant so wasn't bad. Probably won't be in a rush to repurchase though.


First up is Radox Nourish Shower Gel -I love Radox shower gels, they always foam up brilliantly and there is such a large choice of fragrances to choose from that you really can't go wrong. To be honest, I get through a lot of these. I've just had another one run out this morning!

Dermalogica Exfoliating Body Scrub - This was a pretty good scrub. If like me you prefer your body scrubs to be a bit tougher then this is the one for you. It's beads are relatively small but nice and scratchy and the lotion is really thick and creamy. I apply this (mainly to my legs and arms) with exfoliating mitts and find that it really keeps my legs soft and fresh. Will definitely be repurchasing as I'm slightly disappointed it has run out :(

Femfresh - I didn't know if this was a bit TMI but I think that's a bit of a silly taboo really. I only wash my 'sensitive area' with specially formulated soaps such as this one (although Boots and Superdrug have own brand ones that are quite nice as well) as normal body washes can be harsh on sensitive skin. Poor sensitive skin... This one wasn't the nicest one from their range so I probably won't buy it again, they have a cranberry one which smells a lot nicer and is a more creamy consistency rather than a gel.

Gilchrist and Soames Shower Gel - I had thought I would love this, being an expensive 'posh' shower gel but actually I wasn't blown away. I found the scent slightly masculine for me and found the bottle really annoying (the hole to pour it from was huge and so I kept accidentally pouring far more than is necessary, I'm not a fan of wastage!). I much prefer Radox or Nivea offerings.

And finally, face:

Palladio Rice Papers - These were brilliant, as in really brilliant. As you may know by now, I have a really oily complexion and have to touch up my make-up a lot during the day. These instantly took the shine off my face without the need for loads of powder or affecting my make-up. Such  an effortless solution. I have found some at Boots though that are significantly cheaper so I'm going to try them to see if they are as good quality before I consider repurchasing.

Urban Veda Radiance Exfoliating Facial Polish - This was a lovely face scrub. It was nice and gentle on my face (I don't like them too 'scrubby' then) and it smelt amazing. Would definitely repurchase a full sized version of this. I've found many other facial exfoliators are too harsh on my face but this one was just right for me.

Dr Brandt Pores No More - This may surprise some people as I know it received some really great reviews, but I really didn't think much of this product at all. I found it had a really weird fine, grainy texture when applying to the skin and it didn't make any difference to my pores at all. Fair enough, when first applied it looked like it had made a difference but after about an hour those differences had gone. I found a seaweed pore refiner from The Body Shop which is much better, and smells a lot better actually! Sorry Dr Brandt...

Yin Yang Skin Cleanser - I wasn't overly impressed by this either. I found I had to use a lot (or what I thought was a lot) to remove my make-up and that it also left a residue on my skin. OK I double cleanse so that does get washed off but I have plenty of other cleansers that don't leave a residue and are actually a lot better at removing all my make-up.

Unica Radiance Plus Moisturiser - This I loved. It had a gorgeous cinnamon infused scent and it actually lasted ages for the tiny pot that it is. It applied so smoothly to my skin and felt so soft and nourishing. Plus it is all natural products. I recommend everyone to try this, immediately! :)

And that concludes my May Empties. It was a mixed one this time, some I loved and recommended to everyone I knew, some I just wasn't a fan. Have you tried any of these products? What were your views on them, differ from mine at all? All comments are very welcome, as always.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Weight Loss Challenge - update #3

Start weight = 10stone 5lbs
Target weight = 9stone
Current weight = 9stone 13lbs

 I have had literally no weight loss this week, I genuinely can't work out why though as I really stuck to my exercise routine and ate healthily. I did have a BBQ and drinks with friends on Saturday night though and did have a few drinks so maybe alcohol is really as bad for weight loss as they say...damn! I was good foodwise though, sticking mainly to chicken at the BBQ and not having any bread because it just makes me bloat and feel a bit meh anyway these days.

The rest of the week I was doing relatively well though. I had to miss Thursday's body pump class as I had an appointment to get my hair done but I attended all the others, even Friday's when I really had to drag myself from my bed in the morning! I ate really healthily, sticking mainly to peanut butter wraps for my lunch (sounds rank but is lush) and no sweets/crisps etc. I was most likely on course to lose weight before the alcohol at the weekend dashed that idea! What makes it worse though is the fact that I felt so rubbish all of Sunday because of the hangover, really made me wonder if drinking is actually worth it. Especially as one of my friends that was there was ill and went to sleep at ten and woke up the next morning feeling fab whilst I felt like death.

So I'm pretty disappointed in myself this week, I could have done a lot better and it was so unnecessary really. But I have learnt my lesson and hopefully next weekend I will manage to stick to my guns and be good. I am currently no longer on target for what I set myself which really annoys me after my brilliant first week and so I'm going full guns blazing this week! Wish me luck...