Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask is one of those products that is often raved about in the beauty world, so naturally I've been wanting to try it out for a while. A few weeks ago I accidentally popped into House of Fraser on my way home (it's down the road from where I live, which is a serious threat to my purse!), and found myself perusing the Origins counter. After browsing for a couple of minutes and having a quick chat with the lady there, I decided that I finally had to try this mask. Generally, I have pretty standard combination skin - slightly oily t-zone and occasional dry patches, however lately my skin has been looking abnormally dry in places, and in desperate need of a little tlc. I bought this mask in the hope that it would inject a bit of moisture back into my sorry looking skin. 

This mask works by "deeply quenching compromised moisture reserves and building a reservoir for tomorrow" - or, in simpler terms, it replaces the moisture that your skin has lost throughout the day and seals it in. I've been using this mask once or twice a week, or when my skin is feeling especially dry. After finishing my usual evening skincare routine, I massage a small amount of the mask into my skin. Although at first it can feel slightly sticky, by the morning it has completely sunk in - leaving my skin bright, plump-looking and hydrated, with a lovely natural glow. Plus, it smells incredible - a gorgeous fresh, fruity scent thanks to apricot kernel oil, mango butter and avocado oil. I can honestly say that my skin has looked and felt so much better since using this mask. My foundation sits on much easier, and my skin looks brighter and much more hydrated. This mask costs £20 for a generous 100ml - and since a little really goes a long way with this mask and it only needs to be used once or twice a week, the tube should last quite a while, making this pretty good value for money. This really is a product that does what it says on the tin (erm... tube) - it's a high quality cream that literally transforms my skin overnight and gives it the hydrating boost that it needs from time to time. Most definitely a very welcome addition to my night time routine.

REN Moroccan Rose Otto Body Cream

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

REN are renowned for their great skincare. I've used some of their face products before but hadn't yet delved into their body care range until I acquired this sample size of their Moroccan Rose Otto Body Cream recently. The cream is designed to leave skin "optimally hydrated, silky soft and lightly fragranced with roses". I'm completely infatuated with rose at the moment, so I've been using this a lot lately and I've quite liked the results. The cream itself is really lightweight with a gorgeous texture - it absorbs into the skin almost immediately leaving it noticeably softer, and without any oily residue. However, the downside to this is that you find yourself needing a fair amount to cover your entire body, and at £26 a bottle (for 200ml - pictured is 50ml) it's not really a product you want to be frivolous with. For me, this product's redeeming feature is the scent - it's simple and classic, with a real luxury feeling to it - I've loved using this cream on relaxing pampering evenings as it feels like a bit of a treat to use. I do wish that it was either a little richer in consistency or a little cheaper, as while I find it effective, I feel that it's just not effective enough to justify the price, which is a shame. My search for the perfect rose body cream continues! 

Latest In Beauty CEW 2013 Beauty Awards Finalists' Box

Sunday, May 26, 2013

When it comes to beauty boxes, I think that Latest In Beauty have got it spot on. With a choice of several different boxes on their website in different price ranges, you can see exactly what's in the box before handing over your money. Although I do like the more traditional monthly beauty boxes, committing to boxes every month works out pretty pricy, and the feeling of disappointment when a box doesn't quite seem worth your money is really disheartening. I was already a fan of Latest In Beauty after receiving their beauty advent calendar last Christmas (which was completely wonderful, by the way!), so when I spied this, frankly amazing, box on their website, temptation took over. At under a tenner (plus p&p) it's incredible value for money. The collection is inspired by the Cosmetic Executive Women UK Beauty Awards - known as "the Oscars of the beauty industry" - and every item included is a finalist in it's category, so it's no surprise that there's some fabulous products in there.

Here's what I got and my first impressions of the products:

Dr Organic Virgin Coconut Oil Moisture Melt Body Oil (Best New Bath and Body Product)
This is a full sized product which has a real quality feel to it, mostly due to the luxurious glass bottle it comes in. Dr Organic is a natural brand and this body oil contains all bioactive, natural and organic ingredients - along with the coconut oil, there's mango butter, orange fruit extract, lemon peel oil and vitamin E (among others), so it's good for you and, as you can imagine, smells lovely. Like pure coconut oil, this is solid at room temperature and the bottle needs to be submerged in warm water until it becomes a liquid. Then, it can be used not only as a body oil, but as a nourishing hair treatment or on your nails during a manicure. I'm so excited to start using this!

Melvita Rose Floral Water (The Eco Beauty Award)
I've wanted to try some products from Melvita for a while so I'm excited about this. I really love the packaging - it has a real old-school, retro charm to it. The product itself is a face mist, something which I am totally obsessed with at the moment. It hydrates and refreshes, and is said to help reduce any fine lines or wrinkles. It also smells like rose (one of my all-time favourite scents), which pretty much has me sold instantly.

Balance Me Intensive Wrinkle Repair Cream (Best British Brand)
I already own some Balance Me products and really like the brand, but I've never tried their Wrinkle Repair Cream, largely due to the fact that I don't have wrinkles. Still, it can't be a bad thing to start prevention early! This cream is very rich and is therefore aimed at mature and very dry skin, so I'll be saving it for dry periods and using it sparingly, or using it as an intensive night cream. 

Nails Inc Nail Varnish in Notting Hill Gate (Best British Brand)
I love Nails Inc polishes and this colour is really gorgeous - a bright pink which is advertised as a neon but is definitely not too intense or in-your-face. The shade probably isn't something I would have picked for myself (I tend to stay away from bright colours), but now that I own it I can see myself wearing it a lot through summer.

Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream (Best Classic Beauty Product)
Again, I already have some Elemis products so this was nice to see. This is also an anti-aging moisturiser, but claims to improve firmness, suppleness and elasticity of the skin, which I can get behind! The Marine Cream is a bit of a cult product, so I'm looking forward to trying it out.

Weleda Sea Buckthorn Replenishing Body Lotion (Best New Certified Organic Skincare)
I'm testing the notorious Skin Food by Weleda at the moment and enjoying it, but on first impressions I actually think I prefer this. This body lotion is thinner in consistency which I find allows it to spread and sink in much more easily and quickly. I've found it to be really moisturising without being at all heavy or greasy - it just melts into the skin leaving it beautifully soft and supple. It has a strong orange scent which lingers for a while. I like it, but if you're not a fan of strong scents or scents that don't fade away quickly, you probably won't be a fan.

Essential Care Mineral Mascara (The Eco Beauty Award)
I've never tried anything from Essential Care before, and this mascara sounds good - it's 100% natural and is said to condition and care for your eyelashes. However, I am slightly dubious simply because I have a rocky relationship with mascaras - I have light, thin lashes that need a high impact mascara, and I'm worried that this won't give me the definition I want. It might surprise me though! If not then it'll probably be saved for those very natural, "I'm wearing no makeup" days.

Elie Saab Le Parfum Eau De Toilette (Best New Women's Fragrance)
Despite arriving in a little box, this is just a standard sample vial of perfume. However, it smells lovely - a fruity, floral smell with orange blossom and a slight hint of rose and honey. Definitely one to go on the wishlist.

Montblanc Legend Eau De Toilette (Best New Men's Fragrance)
As this is a men's fragrance, I gave it to my boyfriend who said, and I quote, "it's alright, yeah." He then asked me to buy him it for our anniversary. So there you go, I think he likes it!

There's not a single product in the box that I dislike and won't get use out of, which is incredible. There's a lovely mix of products from skincare to makeup and perfume, and there's some really impressive and respected brands included. I already have my eye on the full sized versions of some of the products (Elie Saab Perfume and Weleda Body Lotion, I'm looking at you!) and will thoroughly enjoy using the rest of them. I'm really pleased to receive a sample box that actually inspires me to buy the product, something that I feel often lacks in other beauty boxes. I have unfortunately recently cancelled my monthly beauty box subscriptions, mainly due to the cost of them, so I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye on the Latest in Beauty website for their future collections in order to get the occasional sample box fix - if their future boxes are anything near the level of this one then I can't wait!

MAC Fix+

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Okay, I admit, this was a completely impulsive purchase. I spied it behind the counter when I was buying a lipstick from MAC (Lady Danger - review coming soon!) and since I've been curious about it for a while I decided on a whim to buy it and try it out. MAC tout this "an aqua-spritz of vitamin and minerals, infused with a calm-the-skin blend of green tea, chamomile, cucumber, topped off with the fresh, natural, energizing scent of Sugi." They claim that it adds radiance to the skin and finishes your makeup. I find this especially helpful after I've used a powder - a quick spray of this and my face looks dewy rather than cakey or dry. I've also been spraying this into my palm and using it to dampen makeup brushes before use. It helps my foundation go on smoother and increases the pigment of eyeshadow. The scent is one of my favourite things about this product - it's lovely and fresh, and really perks me up on early mornings. Fix+ can also be used as a general refresher throughout the day, but as I already have water sprays for that purpose and this costs quite a pricey £13.50 a bottle, I save it for makeup purposes. Despite the price, I find this product really effective and have used it every day since I bought it, which I think is a pretty good indicator of how much I love it. I can't really imagine doing my makeup without it now!

Maybelline Colour Tattoo 24hr Eyeshadow

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Since getting my hands on the Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette last year, I can probably count the times I've strayed from it on one hand. That is, until I bought this - Maybelline's Colour Tattoo 24hr Eyeshadow. This nifty little pot of eyeshadow is a cream formula, meaning that application can be as easy as simply dipping your fingers in and smoothing over your eyelid, although you can obviously use a brush if you'd prefer. I love this for lazy days when the thought of using two or three different shadows just seems a little too much. The shade that I have, On And On Bronze, is almost multi-tonal. It's a medium bronze colour, but when it hits the light in a certain way it has a lovely golden shimmer to it, making it look like you've made a little effort contouring and blending several shades - ideal for any low maintenance girls out there! The texture of the eyeshadow is silky smooth, creamy and blends in effortlessly, and the pigmentation is amazing - one swipe is all you need for bold, opaque colour. I can't attest to Maybelline's claims of 24 hours of staying power, as I never keep my makeup on for that long (who does?!), but it lasts me from morning to evening which is more than good enough. I've been reaching for this a lot since I bought it, and already have my eye on a few of the other shades, namely Permanent Taupe, Pink Gold and Timeless Black (which I think would make a fabulous gel eyeliner). This eyeshadow gets a massive thumbs up from me, and at £4.99 for such a high quality product, it's an absolute bargain. 

Pug Life #2: Puppy Edition

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

When it comes to Hugo, I'm a bit like one of those embarrassing parents who obsessively look through baby photos while sobbing that "they grow up so fast!" I love looking at photos from when we first brought him home with us, almost two years ago now. From the second he slid through our front door (he didn't get on very well with wooden floors in those early days...!) he was a big part of the family. He was, and still is, bossy and a bit of an attention seeker, with a rather naughty streak - yet somehow manages to be one of the most charming, charismatic and loving dogs I've ever met. Hugo is around eight or nine weeks old in these pictures, and was a lot tinier in real life than he looks here. Hope you enjoy the photos!

Lush Eau Roma Water Toner

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I've used Lush skincare on and off for the past couple of years, and am always really impressed with the quality of their products. Lately I've been reaching for one of their toners, the Eau Roma Water - a gentle, soothing spritz of lavender and rose water that hydrates and calms the skin. This really does just do what it says on the bottle - there's no fancy gimmicks or huge claims - it's just a nice, simple toner that I've really been enjoying using. I use this morning and evening, after cleansing, and it rehydrates my skin, helps reduce redness and evens out my skin tone. The one downside I've found to this is that the the spray can be quite powerful so when applying directly to my face, I have to hold the bottle at arms length to avoid soaking myself. I'd much prefer it to come out as a finer mist, although for the price, I don't really think that it's too much of a problem. I have the 100g bottle which was a bargain at £3.95, although Lush do also offer a bigger, 250g bottle for around the £7 mark. 

Instagram #5

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Throwback Thursday - Hugo at three months / Iced Lemonade from Cafe Nero / Good old fashioned mirror selfie / My beautiful man / My boyfriend in 2006, complete with silly hair and shovel / Sunny drives / Center Parcs bbq / Lobster at Alto / Photograph of my twin sister and I when we were cute / Irish coffee and mini chocolate fudge cake / Leggera pizza at Pizza Express / Macarons in bed. 


Saturday, May 18, 2013

"There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them." - Sylvia Plath.

I love a good bath. After moving away from home for university, I endured almost three years of living in places devoid of a bath, which was agony - have you ever tried to have a relaxing shower? Impossible! Since moving into a new place a year ago, the novelty of suddenly having a bath again still hasn't really worn off. One of my favourite things is relaxing in a gorgeous smelling bubble bath, armed with a stack of glossy magazines and perhaps a glass of wine or two. The other day after finishing a particularly gruelling university exam, I decided that I'd earned myself a bit of a pamper.

Firstly, I headed out to Lush and picked up two of my all-time favourite bath time treats - the Rose Queen bath bomb and Rose Jam bubble bar, both of which smell incredible. While I was there I also grabbed a pot of one of my favourite face masks, Catastrophe Cosmetic. Containing fresh blueberries, almond oil, rose and chamomile, it gives a really good deep cleanse and leaves my skin insanely clear. After running a hot bath and popping in the bath bomb and bubble bar, I was left with a glorious pink, rose scented bath, complete with bubbles and various floating flower petals. I applied my face mask, laid back and just relaxed, with several candles dotted around and the latest issue of Vogue. Heavenly! It's so therapeutic if you've had a difficult day, or even if you just fancy a relax, to take an hour out to just unwind, read and pamper yourself.

Are you a bath person? Any recommendations for bath products? I'd love to hear!

Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum

Friday, May 17, 2013

I first fell for the Caudalie Vinosource Serum serum after receiving it in a Glossybox about a year ago. I savoured the teeny sample, using it only on what I deemed to be 'special occasions' in order to make it last, then when it finally ran out I found myself in Space.NK the very next week buying the full sized version. It's that amazing!

This serum is incredibly light with quite a thin consistency, however I've found that one small pump is more than enough to sufficiently hydrate my combination skin. I smooth this onto my face after cleansing and before my moisturiser. It sinks in almost instantly, doesn't feel at all heavy or greasy, and leaves my skin feeling plump, soft and refreshed. I'm a sucker for a nice scented product and this doesn't disappoint - containing mandarin blossom, lemon leaf, cucumber water and fresh mint, it's light and uplifting, and doesn't linger on the skin (a must for face products, in my opinion). I've tried out a handful of other serums and found nothing close to the lovely boost of hydration and dewy feeling that this gives my skin... Honestly, it's love. 

Soap & Glory Heel Genius

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I've loved Soap & Glory since they first launched in 2006. I have strong memories of sneaking into the family bathroom, aged fifteen, and stealing my sisters Soap & Glory body scrub and body butter (sorry, Becca!) as I was so in love with the scent and quirky pink packaging of the products. Fast forward to 2013, and my feelings haven't really changed. I now have a myriad of Soap & Glory products, from the aforementioned body butter and scrub, to items from their skincare and makeup range, and I love them all. My current love is Heel Genius, their "amazing foot cream", which is billed as an overnight foot cream that promises to leave your feet soft and smooth. Foot cream isn't something that I've ever really bothered with, but since buying this cream I've been slathering my feet in it almost nightly and I've definitely seen results. Containing a load of lovely ingredients, such as glycerin, macadamia oil, menthol and fruit acid smoothers, Heel Genius is incredibly moisturising, absorbs quickly, and leaves my feet soft and silky. Certainly something to add to the repurchase list.

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Sheer Tint Lip Protectant

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Despite looking very much like a lipstick, the Elizabeth Arden Sheer Tint Lip Protectant definitely lives up to its name - it's a very sheer tinted balm. At first I was a tad disappointed by the (lack of) colour pay-off, but since then this product hasn't really left my handbag, which speaks for itself! This is absolutely perfect for those days when you want a natural looking pout without looking too "made up". I chose the colour Blush, which applies as a sheer rosy pink shade. As well as being a pretty wash of colour, it contains all of the moisturising and protective properties of the Eight Hour Cream, so it's good for your lips too! The only downside, I think, is that it's slightly overpriced given that it's just a tinted lip balm. I bought this as part of a promotion in order to get a free gift so I'm telling myself that it doesn't really count(!), but at £20 a go I'm not really sure that I could justify buying any more, no matter how much I love them. Which is quite a lot! I'm going to keep my eye out for something similar at a slightly cheaper price, but I'll most definitely be enjoying the luxury of the Elizabeth Arden in the meantime. 

Pug Life #1

Monday, May 13, 2013

Hugo, my little fawn pug, is probably my favourite thing in the entire world. We have been part of each others lives for almost two years now, and, at the risk of sounding completely ridiculous, I genuinely see him like a best friend. He's always there when I need cheering up: he offers unlimited cuddles, listens to me rant to myself (often whilst head-tilting manically) and has a certain talent for managing to be completely hilarious without even really doing anything. Since he's so damn gorgeous, I tend to snap a lot of photographs of him, and they end up getting lost and forgotten about in a sea of photos on my Macbook. So, in a bid to make the most of my almost obsessive pug photography, I've determined that Hugo is probably worthy of his own regular post on my blog, in which I will update you guys with a handful of recent photos of his day-to-day life. This first, short instalment features several standard (read: gormless) Hugo expressions, and a look at him playing with one of his new favourite toys: the one-eared (Hugo quickly decided that one ear would suit him better...) elephant! 

Let me know what you think! Shall I continue with these Hugo posts? 

Anatomicals You Need A Blooming Shower

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Honestly, I've never really "got" shower gels. I just cannot for the life of me understand why people splurge on expensive, luxury ones. Perhaps I've just not met the one yet, but I see them as more of a relatively boring essential, like toothpaste or deodorant. I have two very simple prerequisites for shower gel: 
1. It has to smell good.
2. It has to be inexpensive.    

I received this Anatomicals shower gel in a Glossybox back in February, and it somehow ended up thrown in a drawer and forgotten about for a couple of months. Recently, when I was doing a spot of tidying up, I stumbled across it and decided to finally put it into use. And I really like it. It hasn't quite turned me into a shower gel enthusiast, but it smells like rose and costs £5 for a huge 300ml bottle, so I'm sold! I'd happily repurchase this.

L'Occitane Cherry Blossom Roll-On Eau De Toilette

Sunday, May 05, 2013

This scent is one of L'Occitane's best sellers and it's easy to see why. Cherry Blossom is a light, delicate, feminine scent that evokes feelings of the first days of Spring - think blue skies, meadows and fresh cherry blossom trees. It contains top notes of cherry, freesia and blackcurrant which settle into a subtle powdery, musky scent due to the base notes of amber and musk. Rather than being overly floral, there are faint but noticeable green notes which help keep this perfume clean and fresh. This is definitely not a complex scent. It's simple, soft, pretty, sweet without being cloying, and will appeal to anyone who likes their scents fresh and girly.

I picked up the roll-on version of this scent. I really love roll-on perfumes and wish they were more readily available in the UK - they're absolutely ideal for keeping in your handbag for touch-ups throughout the day and are a cheaper option for when you're not sure if you want to invest in a full bottle of perfume. L'Occitane also do this perfume in bottle form, as well as a shower gel, hand cream, body lotion, solid perfume and candle; so if you like this scent they have all your bases covered! The only downside to this perfume is that the lasting power isn't fantastic, although the rollerball packaging makes touch-ups so effortless that I don't find this a huge concern. All in all, I really like this fragrance: it's absolutely perfect for those carefree spring and summer days when you don't want to make a huge impact with your perfume, but still want to smell clean, pretty and fresh. 

Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray

Saturday, May 04, 2013

"Sexy, salty, sun-dried, windswept styles - whenever, wherever."

I'm no stranger to the world of salt sprays. I covet the effortless, undone look when it comes to hair and salt sprays are perfect for adding a bit of volume and achieving a just-rolled-out-of-bed but still stylish look. As someone with fine hair with a tendency to lie a little flat, I've tried my fair share of salt sprays and while I've enjoyed using them, I've never quite found that “holy grail” product. Enter the Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray. This cult product has been on my wish list for a long time after seeing it raved about by celebrities and bloggers alike, so a couple of weeks ago I took the plunge and bought it during a little spree in Boots. It was a long time coming!

After years of blow-drying and straightening my hair almost every day, lately I've been on a mission to try to give my hair a bit of a well deserved break. One of the simplest ways I've found to use this is to spray onto damp, freshly washed hair, then put your hair up in a messy bun and allow it to dry naturally – tousled, beachy hair with no heat damage and pretty much no effort! I get the best results, though, when I blow-dry my hair until it's around 75% dry, spritz it with surf spray and then scrunch as it dries. I really love this spray, and would one hundred percent recommend it if you want something to give your hair bit more texture. Although, if you have very dry or damaged hair then I'd perhaps give it a miss, as the salt content means it can be a little drying.

A 125ml bottle of this stuff will set you back around £20. While it's definitely not the cheapest product of this type on the market, I'm totally confident in saying that it's the best I've used. You can also pick up a 50ml version for under £10 if you're not ready to commit to forking out for the full size, or if you want a travel friendly option. Bumble and Bumble also offer free delivery and free samples of their products if you spend over £25 on their website, which I've spent a great deal of time on recently eyeing up the rest of their products... I am definitely a Bumble and Bumble convert!

Instagram #4

Friday, May 03, 2013

Pretty view on the drive away from my home town / Raspberry vodka / Hugo enjoying the beach / Retro American style diner / Blogging in bed / Best hangover cure - burger and a pint / New shoes / Eggs benedict for brunch with the boyfriend / Throwback Thursday - on the teacups at Disney World, Florida / Hugo falling asleep on my leg / Root beer float / Shrimp, tomato and avocado quesadilla. 

Boots Botanics Rosewater Toning Spritz

Thursday, May 02, 2013

I bought my first bottle of this last summer. It was right in the middle of my Caudalie Beauty Elixir obsession and I wanted a cheaper alternative that I could be spritz happy with without having to worry about the repurchase cost. This caught my eye when I was browsing the shelves at Boots and seemed like the perfect option, and for change for a fiver it made my purse happy too! I'm currently on my third bottle of this, and while I wouldn't hail it as a Caudalie dupe myself, it's lovely in its own right.

The purpose of this spray is to cleanse impurities and freshen the skin. It has a light, delicate rose scent, which I personally don't find hugely overpowering although I am a bit of a rose fanatic. The smell does disappear quickly if you're not a fan. Rose is known for soothing and calming the skin, and this toner only has four other simple ingredients which is reassuring. It is also completely organic and free from any parabens.

My favourite way to use this is as a refreshing facial spritz. The directions say to spray directly onto your face and remove any excess with cotton wool, but I prefer to skip the cotton wool and leave it to sink into my skin. It's perfect for spritzing onto your face in the mornings to perk yourself up, and as a revitalising boost for your skin throughout the day in the hot summer months. I really do love this stuff. In fact, I already have another bottle lined up for when I run out!

Home Sweet Home, Manchester.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

I found these photos hiding amongst the hoards of beauty products and pug snaps on my camera, and decided that they were worthy of their own post as Home Sweet Home is one of my favourite cafes in Manchester. Nestled away in the Northern Quarter, it's a cosy little "gourmet bake house & coffee bar" that specialises in home comfort foods - think cakes, freshly baked cookies, milkshakes, pulled pork sandwiches and mac n cheese. Mismatched furniture, friendly staff and generous portion sizes make for a comfortable, homely environment, and the food is great. I particularly recommend the chilli dog, snickers waffles, doughnut butter pudding (all pictured) and home fries. Not all at once, although it is very tempting.

To top it all off, they're open late and serve alcohol - including a good selection of beers and cocktails. What more could you want? If you're ever in Manchester or if you live nearby, I highly recommend you pop in and sample some of the lovely food and deserts. I'll probably see you in there! Edge Street, Northern Quarter,
Manchester, M4 1HW
And Katie © // QUINN CREATIVEs