Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Quick & Easy Olive Oil Face Mask

Do you ever get those days where you've hardly had any sleep, you're stressed and in a rush but your skin feels sore, dry and tight? This is how I felt yesterday and this face mask was the perfect solution.

This is so simple. If I can do it, there's no doubt that you can too. If you suffer from dry skin, this is a really simple and fast nourishing face mask.

I tried this yesterday morning and it made my skin feel considerably softer afterwards. Give it a try and see if it works for you!

You will need:
  • Olive oil
  • A clean face cloth
  • Water, obviously...
  1. Rub a few drops of the olive oil into your palms,
  2. Massage over your face - Concentrating on the driest parts of skin,
  3. Leave for 5 to 10 minutes,
  4. Gently wash off with warm water,
  5. Moisturise as normal!
And you're done!
(Yes, it does temporarily involve smearing oil over your face, but it's totally worth it...)

Thanks for reading! 

Monday, 28 July 2014

The Ark Open Day!

Yesterday, I had the wonderful pleasure of attending The Ark open day in Ashbourne, Derbyshire. If you're not familiar with it, which I assume you're not because it's a hidden gem, The Ark or Ashbourne Animal Welfare is a cat and dog rehoming centre.

I've been to their open days on quite a few occasions, despite already having a dog, who'd probably not tolerate living with another dog or cat. (He does love cats, it's just that they really don't love him... He's as mad as a hatter, you see).
This is just a lame excuse to show you a picture of my dog.

They've got an array of cats and dogs that are just waiting for a good home. Seriously. If you're relatively local and you want a pet, you've got room and you're responsible enough to look after them properly, pop along and see if there's anyone who you just fall head over heels in love with.

I would quite happily take all the dogs and cats home with me. I really would, but I can't...

...Because of this guy... (That's his cake-envy face, by the way...)

If you're not after a furry friend, they've got gorgeous jewellery on sale and cakes and pretty much else your heart could desire. Sometimes they even have kittens to ogle. Some of the animals come from bad backgrounds and have incredibly sad stories to tell, so that's why it's so important that they eventually end up in a loving home.

Yesterday, they even had a pair of camels. Although I seriously doubt that they'd let you take them home with you...?

Their next open day is on 7th September from 11-4. If you want to find out a little more, go to their website:

Why have I written this blog post? In all honesty, because they're a local charity who need supporting and if I can't take all the cuddly pets home with me, I might as well spread the word and help to find someone who can!

Thanks for reading!
(Yes, this was mainly just a big excuse to show you pictures of my dog...)

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Benefit They're Real Mascara - Review

Okay, so I would normally be incredibly reluctant to spend nearly £20 on mascara. I'd heard great things about this one, however... and I happened to be shopping with my Grandma...

She and I are TERRIBLE influences on each other and if there's no-one else there to stop us encouraging each other to spend, we'll both end up with empty purses at the end of the day. Grandma spends her money on cagoules and other bits and bobs, whereas I spend all my money on makeup, clothes, books and a pile of other stuff I don't really need...

It's really hard to get mascara to balance like this, you know?

So I was in Debenhams with Grandma and she egged me on. Honest.

I spent £19.50 on this mascara. I might be in the minority here, but I tried Bad Gal lash about five years ago and wasn't that impressed. Bad Gal smudged under my eyes. It also seemed a bit too natural and subtle for my taste. I was a BIG fan of the spidery-lash-look... So it did make me more reluctant to try another Benefit mascara.

Benefit They're Real! 

I have extremely picky criteria when it comes to mascara. Seriously:
  1.  They need to be easy to wash off; so they don't aggravate my eczema,
  2. They need to be relatively cheap; so I don't bankrupt myself,
  3. They need to not smudge under my eyes. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. I must have droopy eyelashes or something, because loads of mascaras do this to me, even if I use eyelash curlers...
  4. They need to make my eyelashes look extravagant; because I'm a diva...?
  5. They need to stay on all day without flaking off and leaving tiny black bits all over my cheeks.
So, as you can see, I don't ask for much.

I'll be honest. I do like this mascara. I like it, but I'm not sure if it's something I'd buy repeatedly. Why? Because it smudges. It's expensive. And it's an absolute NIGHTMARE to wash off. 

I cannot stress how much of an ordeal it is to try and wash this mascara off at the end of the day. I've used face wipes, face wash, micellar water and eye makeup remover and none of them are particularly adept at removing this beast alone. I have heard that Benefit are releasing an eye makeup remover to compliment this mascara and the eyeliner that goes with it, because it's just utterly stubborn when you're trying to remove it. It takes several minutes of gently teasing the product off with myriad removal products to get it off completely, which is not great if you're in a rush.

That could be classed as a good thing, couldn't it? That it's got super staying power. However, I'm a bit weird and I have eczema on my eyelids, so scrubbing repeatedly with different products to get this mascara off is something I'd prefer to avoid totally.

One aspect of this mascara that I adore is the brush. It's made of plastic and it has what I can only describe as a ball of 'spikes' on the end, which makes it wonderfully easy to apply the product to your outer lashes. It really does make them look like false lashes, without making them look tacky. 

The Brush: Which I'm tempted to wash and re-use in the future

It's relatively easy to build a couple of layers up without looking too spidery. Although it can look spidery if you apply several layers... Don't say I didn't warn you.

I understand the hype about it because it's Benefit and everybody knows that they're a good brand. They've a fantastic reputation and that's because of the high quality of their products. I much prefer this to Bad Gal but it's still not my favourite, mainly because of the difficulty in washing it off.

I would recommend this to people who can set aside a good few mins to remove their makeup and the end of day and also to those who want a dramatic effect on their lashes.

So, to round up...


  • Dramatic effect,
  • Long-lasting,
  • Brilliant brush,
  • Benefit's a brand with a great reputation.
  • Expensive,
  • Smudging under eyes (for me anyway...),
  • Quite hard to remove,
  • Results in spidery lashes if you apply too much.

Have you tried this mascara? Did you like it? Let me know below!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Spotty Summer Scrapping Schedule

I like alliteration, alright?

I've had such a problem with bad skin just recently. Stress and tiredness, amongst other things, are conspiring against me and making my skin incredibly blemish-prone. I've had to get the big guns out. (...Not a euphemism...)

What do I swear by? I'll tell you...

On a budget? This is perfect for you then! This tea tree oil costs just £1. One. Pound. Everyone...

This is from Wilkos. Or to give the shop its proper name 'Wilkinson'. If you're not familiar with it, it's a UK high street DIY/Stationery/Bit of everything store. They have their own range of budget skincare products and I've been buying this product for quite a while. I know that there are other 'higher quality' tea tree oils on the market, but this is cheap, it's easily available, it lasts quite a long time and it does the job! What more can you ask for?

It's a rollerball applicator which makes it quick and easy to apply and the 'bottle' that it comes in is made of glass.
Rollerball applicator
The packaging is relatively basic, but for the price this sells for, is it really too bad to have to compromise on the aesthetics of a product?

Fancy splashing out just a little?  Okay, so this is the product for you.

FREEDERM. Yes. I love this. It sets you back from around £5 to £10, depending on which size tube you buy. So, it's quite expensive, but this lasts a while (depending on how spotty you actually are) and it seems to really speed up the process of blasting* those pesky zits.

(*'Blasting's' probably not a very good word to use there. There's no blasting involved, per se. It's more just application and then the inflammation slowly dies down...)

The Fast Track product claims to help get rid of redness and inflammation within just four hours. It's good. I'm not sure whether four hours is accurate for me; but it certainly really speeds up that process. The normal product doesn't boast about the time scale of zapping zits, but they both seem to work really quickly for me.
Regular Freederm on the left, with Fast Track Freederm on the right. Oh, and my sunnies...

It's worth noting that this doesn't make my spots sting either. With having relatively sensitive skin anyway, I'd honestly rather opt for a gel that doesn't make zits tingle and feel sore. It doesn't really dry my skin out either, which is a HUGE BONUS.

(I'm not that keen on the word 'splurge'. It sounds rude to me... But I'll go with it anyway.)

It's got instructions and everything!
This is expensive stuff. I'm warning you now. I'm talking £15.50 here for a 40ml tube of Effaclar Duo. It does seem to be helping my skin at the moment though.*

It's La Roche Posay, a brand which I have briefly mentioned before, when I talked about the Thermal Spring Water spray. It's a French product that I bought from Boots a couple of weeks ago after my friend recently recommended it to me. The scent of this product is a bit... weird at first. It's incredibly hard to describe though, so I'm not going to...

*I've been using it for around three weeks now and I have actually had a really bad breakout since. There have been days where this appears to have really helped reduce those spots quickly and effectively, but other days where it doesn't seem to have made much of a difference. I'll have to get back to you on whether this is as AMAZING as everyone makes it out to be.

It's basically a 'moisturiser', I think. You can apply it on its own or combine it with your usual moisturiser... I have found that it's often surprisingly nourishing on its own.

As you'll see in the caption in the first pic of this product, the Effaclar Duo comes complete with instructions. It's just that my instructions were only in French or German... Neither of which I speak too well, so I had to Google how to use it instead...

Have you tried any of these products? If so, what do you reckon? 

*Shameless plug alert* If you liked this post, why not subscribe?

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Accessorize Haul

Accessorize have got a big sale going on right now! Here are a selection of little bits and bobs I picked up a couple of weeks ago:

Set of three rings:
N.B. I don't normally opt for the 'three rings chav-esque look'...
As you can see, the three rings are a horseshoe, a love heart and a flower. They're all gold in colour and the flower has cream detailing to the petals. I bought these rings in Medium and they seem to fit perfectly. The pack of three was half price and only cost £4. So even if you didn't like one or even two of these rings, you could afford to buy the pack just for the ring you desire and pass the others on to other people.

Star ring:
This is the only silver coloured item of jewellery that I bought. Accessorize at Intu Derby didn't really have a lot of silver things on offer; this being one of the few silver items included that I could actually find.
Excuse the bad nail varnish job...

Elephant Necklace:
I really love this. It's probably not what I'd usually opt for, but I felt the urge to buy this. It cost £3.50 instead of its usual price of £7. It's quite small and understated, but I feel that this item will go with loads of things.

Gold Butterfly Necklace:
This is really pretty. It's quite dainty and understated, but not enough to completely fade away into the background.

I'm not really into gold coloured jewellery because I don't feel it matches my skin tone that well, so I tend to stick to silver tones instead. However, these bargains meant that I couldn't miss out on cheap, but pretty, jewellery - Just for the sake of them being the 'wrong' colour. This particular item cost £3, which I think you'll agree is a bargain!

Thanks for reading!

Free Lip Balm!! With Red Magazine

August's issue of Red Magazine contains a free expensive-looking lip balm! If you hadn't already cottoned on to that from the title of this post...

The balm in question is Rodial's Glam Balm, which is apparently worth £19. (Everybody say 'Ooooh'...) The magazine does cost £4, so it's quite pricey. Either that, or I'm just a massive cheapskate...

This issue of the magazine also features Fearne Cotton on the front cover with her legs ever so slightly akimbo, but don't worry, you can't see anything rude. There's also an interview with Fearne, if you're a fan of hers.

My glasses aren't a freebie. Sorry 'bout that...
I'm pretty sure that this is the first time that I've bought Red, I always assumed that it was for the more 'mature' ladies... So I stuck to the ill-fated Sugar Magazine instead when I was younger and then moved onto Glamour, Company etc. I was wrong to assume that because, although it doesn't seem like it would necessarily cater for teenagers and younger women, I really enjoyed the content of the mag.

Back to the freebie... Rodial's lip balm claims to plump as well as hydrate and it contains stem cells, apparently... (Hopefully not straight from someone's embryo...?) It also boasts having 3D filling spheres and rose wax, which sounds comparatively less interesting. It all sounds VERY complicated and scientific though, so it must be good, eh?

I must admit I've not really had that much of a chance to try the lip balm out, so I don't feel very well placed to write a comprehensive review of it. What I can tell you is:
  • It feels really quite rich,
  • It seems to last quite a long while without reapplication,
  • It feels expensive,
  • The packaging's a really lovely purple colour,
  • It's quite a 'sticky' lip balm,
  • SPF 15,
  • Loads of 'Sciencey'-terminology. So it instantly sounds impressive? (I'm sorry, but I'm currently reading Bad Science by Ben Goldacre and it's making me really quite skeptical...)
I must admit that I've never heard of the brand Rodial before, but having done a bit of research I discovered that they're a premium (read: expensive) skincare brand. Apparently they have a huge celebrity fanbase as they offer myriad less-invasive alternatives to cosmetic surgery.

My verdict? I really like the lip balm, but I don't think that I would pay £19 for any product like that, regardless of how much money I'd got in the bank.
(Told you I was a cheapskate...)

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

June Favourites!

So, June's now ended and it's time for me to take you through some of my favourites of the month!

PG Tips Green Tea - Mandarin Orange Flavour

Firstly, I'm going to start off with a bit of an unorthodox choice here. It's not a cosmetic product; it's tea! This is a new tea from PG Tips that I've only seen in the shops recently. I stumbled across this in Sainsbury's a couple of weeks ago. You get 20 bags for around £1.20, which is quite good value. Mine are nearly all gone now, because I really like this tea! It's a pyramid bag and it comes complete with the monkey on the label... If a picture of a cartoon monkey doesn't tempt you to buy tea, I don't know what will.

I'm not going to preach to you about the potential health benefits of drinking green tea, but I will tell you that it's supposed to be really good for your skin.

If you're not really a fan of drinking tea, you can boil green tea, let the bag cool and smear it over your face (yes, really... LET IT COOL FIRST THOUGH) to make a face mask. It seems to make my skin feel softer after leaving it for around 10 mins. (Yes, I really have smeared a teabag all over my face a couple of times in the vain hope of getting softer skin...)

Barry M Lipstick

I really like this lipstick. I don't wear it too regularly, but I tend to find if I'm feeling a bit down one day, applying a little lipstick cheers me up a bit.

My favourite is Barry M Lipstick in 53 Coral. The colour is beautiful; it isn't too obvious, but not subtle enough to be completely unnoticeable either. For some reason, in these pictures that I've taken it seems to look quite a bit darker than it actually is; it's a bit paler 'in real life'.

It seems to last for a long time without an additional product like Lipcote over the top and the finish is quite a matte one, rather than a glossy or shimmery effect.

53 - Coral - (Complete with Pale Arm)
I always ensure that I wear a good lip balm underneath, otherwise my lips tend to dry out. It's not exactly the most moisturising of lipsticks.

TRESemmé Argan Oil Salon Sleek Straightening Spray

I bought this a few months ago in Boots when they had a 2 for £7 deal on Tresemme products. This product is normally around £5. I often use their shampoos and conditioners, so I thought I'd try out a couple of their styling products to compliment these. I really like this; it genuinely makes my hair look straighter. My hair always flicks out at the ends, then starts to go wavy and this product stops that. Yes, it's quite expensive, but it's lasted me months, with sporadic use.

The bottle has a spray dispenser and contains 250ml. It has the usual TRESemmé scent to it, which is quite hard to describe... Just generic shampoo-y smell?

I would definitely recommend this product to anyone who has quite a lot of trouble ensuring that their hair is kink-free.

Superdrug Naturally Radiant Hot Cloth Cleanser

This is definitely a firm favourite of mine. I started buying this last summer and I'm still hooked. It's £5.99, but is frequently on sale for £2.99. Inside the box is a tube of face cleanser and underneath that is a folded muslin cloth.

The Cleanser Comes Complete with a Muslin Cloth

Using this improves the appearance and feel of my skin and I think that it is a serious competitor for its more expensive counterparts (which I'm too much of a cheapskate to buy).

The scent of this face wash is really subtle, it's nice, but not overbearing; which I believe makes it suitable for even sensitive skin.

This product claims to 'Awaken skin's natural glow' and that it also 'cleanses and gently exfoliates'. It certainly lives up to what it claims, in my opinion. My skin also feels much softer and noticeably smoother after I've used this.

Real Techniques Make Up Sponge

Excuse the chipped nail varnish...

Surely you've heard of this? I stumbled across this on YouTube; but I was initially reluctant to spend £5.99 on a sponge.

I've had mine for months and it's still in good condition. I wash it out every week or so and it's as good as new. It does take a while to dry though; so sometimes I have to get my hairdryer out to speed things up a bit!

I wasn't really a fan of applying make-up with a sponge before I discovered this. Now I think I've been converted! I know they always say that sponges waste make-up, but I honestly think that the finish the this sponge offers is worth a bit of 'wastage'.

It just makes foundation sit on my skin more effectively. It ensures that you're not going to end up looking cakey and that you end up with a more natural finish.

The foundation that I've been using recently is Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation and I can honestly say that this sponge makes this foundation look a whole lot better on my skin than it does when applied with fingers or even a brush. It stops it from looking overly shiny and seems to really work it into my skin to make sure it stays on for longer.

The sponge has three different 'sides'. A rounded body for using on your cheeks, chin and forehead. A slanted edge for using around your nose and eyes. And a pointed edge for covering blemishes with. To begin with, it can be a bit of a juggling act; but it's something you easily get used to.

I would honestly recommend this to anyone and everyone. It's a must-have.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Rimmel BB Cream - Review

I'm going to have to admit that this review is going to be brutally honest. I'm not going to hold back from telling you what I really think about this product...

...I bought this a few months ago, but I've only used it a handful of times. I have to say that I'm not actually that impressed.

It's the first BB Cream that I bought and consequently, the last. I think I'd rather stick to tinted moisturiser or foundation.

BB Creams seem to promise a hell of a lot. This one claims to be a '9-in-1 Skin Perfecting Super Makeup'. For me, it was a glorified tinted moisturiser/watered-down foundation. It claims to: 'Prime, Moisturise, Minimise Pores, Conceal, Cover, Smooth, Mattyify, Brighten and Help Protect'. That's a lot to boast, Rimmel...

For me, it tends to look shiny on the oiler parts of my face. Having combination skin makes it difficult to find products which suit my skin perfectly, this isn't one of them. The product also seems to cling to dryer patches of my skin, so I had to put a small amount of moisturiser on beforehand; which only made the oilier bits look even worse. I couldn't really win.

I bought this product in Very Light. That's because, as I've previously mentioned, I am ridiculously pale. It seems to match my skin's tone perfectly to begin with, but then slowly oxidises; therefore getting darker. I was actually out of the house when I noticed my face beginning to turn orange, which was quite embarrassing, as you can imagine.

I didn't expect a complete miracle. It's only £6.99, so it was never going to solve all my problems.

Rimmel say that this product is specifically aimed at people who don't wear foundation and I do so maybe I don't like it because I'm so used to having more coverage. I knew that this wasn't going to be as good at covering flaws as foundation, but I don't feel that it suits my skin at all.

One really good thing about this BB Cream is that it's SPF 25; which is great for the summer and ensuring that your face is protected from UV rays.

Rimmel's BB Cream in 'Very Light'

I do find that I tend to have bigger pores around my nose. This BB cream claims to reduce the appearance of pores, but failed to do that for me. If anything, it accentuated their appearance on my skin, and I was consistently checking in the mirror to ensure that they didn't look too bad.

Rimmel also offer a Matte version of their BB cream, which I'm yet to try. However, seeing as their Stay Matte foundation dried my skin out, I'd be reluctant to try this product, despite having a sample of it.

I did pop a bit of Rimmel's Stay Matte translucent powder on oilier areas of my skin after applying this BB Cream, but those areas did still look quite shiny.

I am really sad that my skin doesn't really get along with this product, because I haven't really seen any other BB Creams that cater for skin as pale as mine.

As I mentioned, I have to use moisturiser underneath this to prevent it from really drying my skin out. I did wear this product for a few hours yesterday and found that my skin felt quite dry and a little sore in places after washing this off.

I wish that I liked this product, I really do. It's a shame, but I'll be sticking to ELF's Tinted Moisturiser (as featured in my May Favourites post) if I'm looking for a lighter base.

  • Cheap
  • Good range of shades,
  • High street product - easily available,
  • Skincare qualities.
  • Prone to causing shine (especially in oilier areas of skin),
  • Oxidises,
  • Potentially clings to dry patches,
  • Probable drying effect on already dry skin.
Thanks for reading!
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