Thursday, 20 August 2015

Soap & Glory Ultimelt

Soap & Glory Ultimelt Hot Cloth Cleanser £10 - Back before I plucked up the courage to re-order my Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish I trawled the aisles of boots looking for another Hot Cloth Cleanser as I really love the way that they make my skin feel so when I saw this offering my little beauty ears pricked up straight away. I recognised it from my friend Laura's blog when she said she'd repurchased it for the umpteenth time because she was so in love with it so I grabbed it straight away. At £10 it's only actually £4 than the Liz Earle offering and I don't actually think it's as good nor as convenient due to it being in a tube as opposed to a pump but for a high street offering it's very, very good. 
It leaves my skin feel purified and smooth and is perfect for taking the day off after wearing a full face for the duration. I don't actually ever take my makeup off with such a cleanser, I prefer a Micellar Water and then go over my skin again with a more luxurious offering such as this one. I've still got a fair amount of this left and it will come out to play again once my Liz Earle has run out, I think I'll keep it for interim periods as I don't have a Liz Earle counter near me so only ever order it if I'm already paying for shipping from John lewis anyway, it makes the £4 more like £7 and bearing in mind that if Soap & Glory aren't on some kind of promotion then you don't have to wait long for the next one to come around! They've currently got buy one, get one half price so you could pick up an extra treat for yourself too! 
This review is short and sweet, it does the job it says it will and cleanses my skin beautifully but isn't quite up to par with the Liz Earle for various reasons. For £10 it's a good price for a hot cloth cleanser, I couldn't actually find one for any cheaper (let me know if you know of any, I'm always wanting to try more out!) and given the never ending offers on it always works out well for your purse strings. It's a very good infill product to have if you want to maintain a quality skincare routine but are waiting to repurchase the more expensive versions. 

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Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Clarins Autumn 2015 Collection

Clarins Autumn 2015 Collection* from £17 -  First up, sorry for the insanely grainy photos here, I'm not sure what's happened or how but I've now fully indulged in each part of this collection so I feel like I'm be breaking blogger code if I retook them of used products! Secondly, hurrah for getting this post up ever so slightly quicker than their Summer one, I adore Clarins to death, they are my all time favourite brand and every time that shiny new email pops in my inbox telling me about their latest releases, I let out a tiny inward squeal! Okay, now onto what you'd all been waiting for, telling you about the actual products! As always I'll just do a brief overview here and then review it individually later on when I've had more time to use them. First up is my most used product of them all, the Eyebrow Pencil, in the shade "Light Brown" I was slightly worried that, as ever, it would be too red toned for me however it is lovely and cool. If I have time then I like to pair it with my Stila Stay All Day Eyebrow Pen as they make the perfect pair but for everyday I just wear this on it's own. It lasts all day and doesn't budge which I was worried it might being a pencil, and it's actually really long, meaning I'll get loads of use out of it! 
Next up were two more of the gorgeous and trusty Ombre Matte Eyeshadows, I think that I have 7 in total now and they are by far my most loved and used eyeshadows, they're creamy, bendable and they just last and last. I don't like overdone eye makeup and they create the softest of looks. I Got 07 Black and 08 Heather, the black will mainly be used as a smokey eyeliner and for my more dramatic of looks but I'll admit, when I saw on the packaging that I'd got a purple eyeshadow I thought it would be going straight to my Mum who insists on wearing lilac all day err-day. But when I opened it, I instantly wanted to take back all of my negative thoughts. I've actually been wearing this so much! It's a soft and subtle "heather" colour that actually mixes things up and adds a hint of colour to my normally neutral eyes. I am sold. 
I also got the beauty Tawny Rose Rouge Eclat lipstick, another product that I was unsure of when I first opened it but have actually been loving since. It's a sophisticated nude colour that adds a touch of colour without being too much. I love nude lipsticks as I find I'm more comfortable going for a dramatic eye and a subtle lip and this allows me too perfectly. Having a bit of a baby face I always find that I look a lot younger than I am and this makes me look ever so slightly more mature. Lastly is the eyeliner, oh faithful Clarins eyeliners. The Crayon Kohl Pencil from Clarins is one of the best I've ever owned, I usually shy away from Kohl Pencil's as they drop under my eye and make me look like a panda, however this is smudgable without over smudging and even comes with a miniature brush to create a lovely blended and smokey look. The fact that it comes with a pencil sharpener only seals the deal for me, I always begrudge buying them for some reason and you can never have too many! 

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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Benefit Cheeky Sweet Spot | Review

Benefit Cheeky Sweet Spot £29.50 - Hello and welcome to my being the latest to any party that anyone has ever been, I think I've practically missed it altogether but I love this little beauty so much that I could not share it with you guys... I was super lucky (some of the the) to work in the cosmetics department of a department store over last Christmas, although the job itself was rather pants, the fact that I got to sniff around their Christmas gift sets before anyone else made it a lot more bearable. Other than two gift sets from Stila, the counter that I was working on, this is the only other thing that I liked enough to buy. I am useless when it comes to blusher, I never know which colour suits my skintone or the look that I'm currently wearing so I thought I'd go for broke and buy them all! This works out ridiculously economical, especially for someone like me who won't use any of them that regularly. I always shy away from buying blushers, especially the very pricey Benefit ones, due to the reasons that I just said, I don't know which colour to buy and I want to get the most from my money, but considering one Box O' Blush is £23 odd on it's own, being able to get all six and a helping of 'Watts Up!' seemed like an offer I could not refused. 
I'll admit that I don't use this every single day anymore like I didn't when I first got it, mainly down to time more than anything else and the fact that it's fairly big also makes it annoying to keep out on my dressing time but I do make a conscious effort to bring it out every time I push the boat out. Obviously hola is my most used one of the bunch as I'm very comfortable wearing bronzer and next up is probably Rockateur which I did have my eye on buying on it's own. Now that I've strangley become more pale during the summer (don't ask, I don't know and I'm not happy about it!) I think that Dandelion looks really pretty too. As I'm writing this now it's date night tonight and I'm already weighing up which one will get a look in. It's a lovely dilemma to have though...

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Saturday, 15 August 2015

Makeup Revolution Iconic Pro 1 Palette | Review

Makeup Revolution Iconic Pro 1 Palette £6.99 -  It's no secret, especially in the blogging world, that Makeup Revolution are taking the country (and now World I think!) by storm, with their good quality dupes for so many much loved high end brands and their commitment to ever bringing out new things for us to lust after. I'll admit it took me a little while to get into the hype of Makeup Revolution, at the time I was working for Stila and it actually annoyed me a little to see such an obvious "dupe" of one of our most iconic eyeshadow products (that's for another day). But once I was in, I was well and truly hooked. It's still a bit of a moral grey area for me as they are so blatantly copying other products but if it works for them and they're enabling people to experience the higher end innovations for a fraction of the price, then who am I to stop them!
The first thing that I tried from the brand was the Highlighter Palette which is something that I drag out on every special occasion possible and next up I was desperate to try an eyeshadow palette. This Iconic Pro 1 has been dubbed as a dupe for the Lorac Pro, one that I constantly lust after but will never be able to get my mitts on! The mixture of mattes and shimmers are perfect for someone like me who wants an understated look but every now and then feels brave enough to add a touch of shimmer to my lids. It's also completely cool toned, another thing right up my street, I'm really into a cool, chic look on my eyelids with a slick of eyeliner teamed with a bold lip at the moment. This palette gives me multiple choices of different looks that I can put together and I feel like I could mix and match till I'm blue in the face. 
At just £6.99 it's safe to say that I am absolutely chuffed to pieces with this palette, I often use the palest of colours to give myself a lift in the very corners of my eyes due to my being so darn tired all of the time and the darkest of colours can be used as a smokey eyeliner underneath the eye too. The fact that it comes with a brush means that it would be ideal as a starter palette for someone who wants to experiment slightly without breaking the bank. It's a fab idea also if you're toying with get the more expensive versions but want to know just how much you'll use them first. Almost a try before you buy, or buy the most expensive of things anyway! 

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Friday, 14 August 2015

Stila Eyes are the Window "Soul" Palette | Review

Stila Eyes are the Window Soul Palette £30 - When I first started working for Stila they only had their "In the..." palettes and although the quality was pretty outstanding, the only one that really spoke to me was the In the Light and when you work with something every day it can get a little tiresome, they then brought out 4 new palettes just before I left the company and I was lucky enough to get my hands on this beauty just in time! It has 12 gorgeous colours in a variety of matte and shimmer finishes and they're all super buttery and wonderful blendable. 
I'm not overly au fait with the other palettes in the range as again, this was kind of the only one that spoke to me as I tend to keep it fairly neutral on the eyes these days but there is a good mixture of different offerings to suit your preferences. I like the bronzes and rose golds in this palette as I can ramp up any of my existing eye looks without pushing the boat too far out of my comfort zone. They also come with little booklets that gives you a number of different looks already outlined for you which is really good if you get stuck in a rut like I do.
Stila are really trying to class things up with their new navy blue packaging as opposed to the cardboard that they used to use and I really think that it helps with their brand, I used to feel like for the price tag I superficially always expect really pretty packaging so their new navy extension pleases me greatly. The rose gold outer to this palette is just beautiful too, every bloggers dream surely?! It looks wonderful in my collection and for that reason alone I want to collect all four as if they're the pokemon of makeup!
In terms of staying power these aren't the best in the world but they definitely last all day when blended out, I find that the colour drops a little and doesn't stay quite as vibrant past around 6-8 hours. They do tend to cling to my crease a little bit but if they're blended out properly then they will easily last all night on an evening out. I tend to stick to the matte shades more than anything just down to personal preference however if it's date night or I'm feel extra special then I can easily throw in one of the buttery, shimmery colours to add a little something to my look and they all work so well to compliment each other that you can't really go wrong in creating a look out of this palette.
I'd really recommend this as a starter palette to someone like myself, who is ready to move away from completely neutral colours but isn't quite ready for an Illamasqua style just yet. It's a lovely balance of mattes, shimmers, cool and warm tones and the fact that it comes with a guide on different smokey eyes of different intensities means that you don't have to be an MUA to create a beautiful look to suit every occasion. At £30 they're definitely middle of the road price wise but I use mine quite regularly and am nowhere near touching pan on any of the shades so it should last a long time!

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Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Keeping Tip Top for Fitness!

It's no secret that I can be a bit of a gym bunny and I'm one of these who are all or nothing, there's no happy medium and I'm very much go hard or go home. That's all fine and dandy as long as you're recuperating enough between sessions and not overdoing it to the point that you physically damage yourself... I know all too well how painful it can be if you're really in the zone to work out and get fit and you ruin it all by pushing yourself too far and not warming down properly. Shin splits, pulled muscles and sprained ankles are all too familiar to me so now I make sure that I cool off and take care of my muscles in between workouts. One way to do that is to recognise as soon as your muscles are feeling a different kind of sore to the usual post-gym ache and act on it, I was really kindly sent these Nurofen Express Heat Patches* and let me tell you, they are a godsend. 
I worked my shoulders slightly too hard in a recent pump workout and even three days on I felt tense and sore so I popped one of these on and instantly I could feel it getting to work and easing my pain. They'd also be fab for that time of the month on an aching back or tummy! Too many people simply ignore their aches and paints and put it down to having a good work out so to me, it's imperative to notice the different between a muscle that's not been used in a while and a muscle that's been over used. These heat patches just give any joints and aches that little bit of extra TLC, especially to the harder to reach spots like that niggly part in your shoulder that I managed to pull!
A lot hot both is another fab way to get some R&R after a hard workout but if I'm honest my favourite thing to do is go for a walk, it keeps me motivated and allows me to cool down both physically and internally without locking up and not being able to get out of bed the next day! Of course I'm like any gym bunny and I love the next day ache but I feel like now I'm so much more in tune with my body and what feels normal and good as opposed to what needs a bit more help before I hit the gym again. Taking shortcuts is never good long term when it comes to fitness and a healthy and sustainable routine is what really makes things work and stay in place for a long time, so keep your body in tip top condition and you can't go far wrong! Feel a twinge that isn't quite right? Act on it fast and go easy on that area until it's 100% better, you'll only make things worse for yourself in the long run if you don't!

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Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Veet Easy Wax Electrical Roll-On Kit

Veet Easy Wax Electrical Roll-On Kit* £29.99 - Shaving my legs is one of the biggest chores that I have to do, I never have time and it grows back so quickly that I loathe doing it unless my legs have to be on display (I know, James is a lucky lucky boy!) so when I was very kindly offered the chance to try out the Veet Easy Wax Roll-On Kit I jumped at it and couldn't wait to give it a go. I've had various other body parts waxed in my time and it's never pleasant but I've never found it too unbearable so I was confident that I'd be able to do it on myself. I was slightly sceptical at how effective it'd be seens as I usually opted for salon-used brands when I'm waxing at home and I only ever do my eyebrows myself but I was very pleasantly surprised. I've used this bad boy twice now and the results are phenomenal, my legs don't feel as smooth as they do when I shave but they look just as hair-free, I think it's only the really fine ones that this struggles to pick up. 
I'm quite lucky that I am qualified in waxing so I could apply a few tricks of the trade to make this as pain-free as possible although as I said earlier, it's never going to be a fun experience. I pull backwards instead of up and never go over the same area twice. Another tip is to not try and go around corners with the wax, may sound strange but if you think of your knee area, don't try and go up and over your knee, break it into sections instead. I also exfoliate and moisturise well before to get ready of as much dead skin as possible. 
Unfortunately this post comes with a few cons too, for instance the kit only comes with 12 wax strips which for me was only enough to do both of my shins so I would definitely invest in some more, but  buy in bulk off of amazon as the Veet own brand ones are majorly overpriced for the quantity that you get. I also managed one and a half leg waxes which left me pretty annoyed. As I said I did both of my shins (I'm quite lucky in that I rarely have to shave, or wax, the tops of my legs) and then went to go again the night before my anniversary, only for the wax to run out after just doing one leg. Cue an unhappy and uneven Becka scrawling the internet to find that the refill is £10.50, for only two applications maximum I find that a little steep but after searching on trusty Amazon again I found it for cheaper, but it won't be here in time so I'm now stepping out for my anniversary dinner with one shaved leg and one waxed. It feels strange.
Overall, I'm glad I have the investment now and I will stock up on the cheaper (but still Veet branded) refills from Amazon and I 100% intend to make waxing my method of choice for hair removal on my legs, they also do a bikini and underarm version but I'm not sure I'm brave enough to tackle the more sensitive areas myself! At £30 for the kit and call it £3 per wax thereafter, you're still going to come out on top financially but I would definitely read some professional guidance on waxing your legs before you use it, the instructions are fairly basic and although you'll still get effective hair removal, little things can make it a lot less traumatising!

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Saturday, 8 August 2015

Clarins Aquatic Treasures Collection

Clarins Aquatic Treasures Collection* from £19 - I can't quite believe that I'm so late writing this that I've actually already photographed Clarins Autumn Collection and have it sat waiting to be reviewed, I'm not going to do individual in depth reviews on each of these products and they're all mentioned in my June Favourites Video from way back when, my most adored product of the lot is the Summer Bronzing Compact, I mean, just look how beautiful it is! I use it absolutely every single day and the fact that it contacts four different shades of bronze means that I can mix and match to suit my skin tone and how tanned I am, making it perfect to take on holiday with you! I'm also loving the ombre matte eyeshadow in Nude Beige as I can pair it up with any of the other Ombre Matte shadows from Clarins (or any other shadows for that matter) and add a touch of shimmer, James always comments on my eyes when I wear this. Maybe just because it's different from the norm but I like to think it's because it really does make my eyes pop. 
I'm suffering really badly with exhaustion at the moment and my eyes are 100% taking the brunt of it so having a slight shimmer on them really brightens them up and as always with Clarins it's super buttery and easy to blend, I have been known to pop this on last minute using just my ring finger and it looks just as lovely. The Instant Light Complexion Boosting Base (yay for long product names) is something that I'm struggling with as it's possibly a shade too dark for me but you can bog off if you think I'm giving it to one of my more tanned friends, no, this bad boy can sit and wait until I'm enough of a bronzed goddess to pull it off. On a couple of occasions I have mixed in in with a slightly lighter foundation in order to darken it up slightly and add a really radiant glow to my face and in that capacity it works beautifully. 
Overall this collection is as beautiful as ever from Clarins and I promise that their Autumn offering will be up in a much more timely manner very shortly! 

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Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The Grange Spa | A Slice of Heaven?

A few weekends ago I was made to feel like the luckiest girl in town and was invited to enjoy the serenity that is The Grange Spa. I'd driven past this place quite a few times as it's only a few miles away from where I use to live so I was familiar with it's setting and had heard wonderful things from various people but never did I think I'd ever get to spend a whole day there relaxing and being thoroughly pampered. I met with the owner, Matt a few weeks before I was booked in which actually put my mind totally at ease, I've never been to a spa before so to have a personal tour and be talked through everything was invaluable to me. I'll admit that in the days before going I was slightly anxious, I'm very body conscious at the moment and being that I was going on my own, I didn't know what to wear or take with me however as soon as I walked through into reception I was instantly tranquil and calm and ready to 100% enjoy my day. 
Again I was met by Matt who made sure that everything was OK before I had a chat with Holly who talked me through my treatments and laid out the different scents for me to chose from that would determine which style of Terrake Massage I was given. Unfortunately due to health reasons we then discussed that I couldn't have the massage and so I was offered a Jessica Manicure instead. Holly then showed me around and gave me another tour which meant that I could get snap happy and take all of my photos before switching off my phone and camera and indulging in nothing but a book and laying by the pool. 
When I first looked at my plan for the day I was slightly worried that I might be bored as I was there from 9.30am until 5.30pm with only two hours worth of treatments, but let me tell you, when I left at 5.30pm I honestly felt like I could have still stayed for a while longer. They have a gym for you to use at your leisure (not that I did admittedly), a study and a snug room where you can relax and read if you fancy a change of scenery from the pool. There is an outside area but it was a little blustery for my liking! Obviously there is also a pool, a very warm and serene pool. The whole building is lovely and warm that at times I genuinely felt like I was on holiday in warmer climates, even laid by the pool in just a bikini I was warm and bordering on hot (a.k.a the perfect temperate for me). 
More than just a pool, it has not one, not two, but three steam rooms that all offer different things, again for health reasons I couldn't really sit in these for too long but I spent around 10 minutes in each taking it all in. One has a strong aroma of eucalyptus that I quite frankly wish I could have in my house for when I have a bad break out, you can feel it tingling and working it's magic on detoxifying your skin. There is a rose room (pictured above) that is so calming, it only has a very soft and subtle smell so you can just sit back and relax and then there is a third steam room that is warm and apparently helps you with decongestion, I must remember to go back if I ever get a cold. All three are the perfect temperature (I often find steam rooms too stuffy and hot so can't breathe, but these were comfortable) and you can really feel the benefits of all of them, as soon as I'm able I want to go back to be able to really make the most of these. There is also an Ice Fountain that is said to stimulate your immune system however that wasn't for me, I hate the cold!
There's also the shower to end all showers, you genuinely feel as though you're standing underneath a waterfall and I'm so glad that no-one was in the pool area when I used it as I honestly giggled all of the way through it was that pleasant.
The lunch was spectacular too, all sourced from a local and popular farm shop I knew it would be good but my gosh it was delicious. I had a bacon quiche that I thought might be too light but on reflection, the last thing that you want on a day like this is to be sat by the pool with a food baby too stuffed to move. I did treat myself to a slice of Brownie Cheesecake but only managed half of it for that exact reason, and it was so rich. Seems as I was feeling like royalty for the day I also pushed the boat out and had a Hot Chocolate, don't tell me that I don't know how to live! 
Now on to the treatments, I honestly could have gone and just spent the day doing nothing (and I'm already seriously considering signing up to their loyalty scheme for that reason) however I had both a manicure and a facial. Obviously I've had many-a manicure in my time and being a professionally trained beautician I'm also super picky over who does my nails but I came away extremely happy, they used a new formula of the well-known Jessica Polish, Phenom. And it is phenom-inal! It dries in 10 minutes without the use of a lamp just like normal nail varnish however it's super strong and will last over twice as long as usual varnish. Testimony to this is that I packed all of the goody bags for the Notts Blogger Meet 15 the next day which meant tearing open many cardboard boxes and they were perfectly in tact at the end. You can however remove it with just normal nail varnish remover, meaning that you don't have to keep returning just to get it soaked off as you would a gel. 
The facial, oh the facial. For a beauty lover and blogger I'm ashamed to say that I have never, ever had a facial before and let me tell you now, my skincare routine is way under par compared to this. Matt if you're reading, could I possibly clone Holly and have her do my Cleanse, Tone & Moisturiser every day please? I'm telling you now, my routine has never felt the same since. She talked me through everything and explained exactly what would happen - extremely reassuring when someone's about to touch your face non-stop for the next hour - and then left me to get tucked under the towel. She cleansed my skin, toned, put on a face mask and then gave me a luxurious shoulder and scalp massage before removing the mask and applying a serum and then my moisturiser. I had to stop myself from touching my face constantly after as it felt beautifully smooth and looked positively glowing. I was slightly scared that it would make me instantly break out but I didn't one bit so maybe that's saying something for my home made facial routine? Maybe. 
Overall the day was hands down one of the best of my entire life, if I could do it again I think I'd swap the manicure for something that I couldn't physically do myself and would definitely make it so that I could enjoy a massage. I've also been recommended the scalp therapy too so I need to give that a go! Although I went on my own the staff were friendly enough that I didn't feel lonely and I managed to almost make a through an entire book, to demonstrate how much I needed this day, I haven't been able to finish that final chapter in the week that I've been back to reality. I cannot recommend The Grange Spa highly enough, whether you're from Lincolnshire or not it is so worth travelling for. I'm already making up so many excuses to go back and casually leaving their treatment menu around the house in the hope that James will pick it up and book me something, a girl can hope...

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