Thursday, 31 July 2014





I am a dry shampoo fanatic. I refuse to wash my hair more than twice a week (sorrynotsorry), and as such have quite the love affair with Batiste - tropical scent, preferably. Usually I have a stash of two big 400mL cans on standby, but I failed myself and my mother's tendency for keeping a spare of everything and ran out completely. I tend to pick the cans up when they're inevitably half price somewhere, but in my moment of need - nothing! And even this dry shampoo devotee isn't going to fork out £5 for a single can. But it's okay! Aussie's new 'Aussome Volume Miracle Dry Shampoo' was on offer. Aussie? Decent. Volume? Love it. Dry shampoo? DA BEST. Obviously I had no second thoughts about this purchase. But let's cut to chase here: IT'S GROSS. THE 'DRY SHAMPOO' ASPECT IS NON-EXISTENT. IT FEELS TACKY (AND I HATE IT). IT SMELLS LIKE BATHROOM CLEANER (THE CHEAP KIND). It has the consistency (do sprays have a consistency?!) of several dry texturising sprays, which rarely leave your hair feeling particularly pleasant - think icky, sticky matted mess. It just doesn't feel like a dry shampoo. It doesn't work like a dry shampoo. IT'S NOT A BLOODY DRY SHAMPOO. If they'd tried flogging it as a volumising/texturising spray sans the dry shampoo aspect I might have less issues, but when you wake up for work at 5am and just want to grab the dry shampoo, a hair band and get the heck on with it, THIS IS NOT CONDUCIVE. 

The most offensive part about this big ol' can of odorous shite is that it retails at £4.99 for 180mL! It's currently at an introductory price of £3.33 in Boots, but don't let that sway you because it's STILL HORRENDOUS. On the upside, Batiste (holy overlord of all things dry shampoo) is currently half price in Superdrug, so if you were thinking of giving the Aussie offering a go.. save your pennies, and your angst.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014


“Detox”. I’ve seen this word thrown round an awful lot recently, and it seems to be becoming harder to avoid wherever I go – blogs of all variety are advocating the detox. Lifestyle, skincare, food, there’s ALWAYS a place for a little bit of detox. I reached a point of frustration recently when reading about the benefits of lemon water, because sweet jesus, you try and find an article discussing it’s benefits without some variation of “it helps to flush out toxins” uttered at some point. Though, this can’t be a bad thing right? After all, if we’re to go by the Oxford Concise Medical Dictionary definition of toxin..

well I never.

“Toxin, n. A poison produced by a living organism, especially by a bacterium. In the body toxins act as antigens, and special antibodies (antitoxins) are formed to neutralize their effects.”

Gasp! POISON! But then, our bodies undergo detoxification every day without any further assistance. They’re very good at it in fact, with whole organs dedicated to the cause (liver, kidneys, colon. You may have heard of them). Sometimes these systems don’t quite work as intended, but modern medicine has very generously provided us with the means to overcome this is many situations – think antidotes to poisons, and dialysis for those whose kidneys fail. These are extremes of course, and day to day our bodies cope very well with detoxing, with most unnecessary by-products finding their way out by one means or another.

The things is, talking about detox in the sense of the day to day metabolism our bodies undergo is easy (though not necessarily simple), because it's all nice solid fact. As is the centrepiece of science - evidence! It's what separates the science and medicine we know from the pseudo and the alternative. Some clever sausages can map the processes going on in our bodies during metabolism, from start to finish, with all the intermediates and catalysts involved along the way. The thing is, this new slant on detox (think all things juice fasting, lemon juice, acai berry, footbaths etc) claims to do something that our bodies aren't managing by themselves - nobody quite knows what of course, but a cursory Google of 'why should I detox' suggests that I'm accumulating all sorts of nasties, such as CHEMICALS! POLLUTION! SHITTY FOOD! ARGH! Of course, all these things need 'flushing' and there's no way my body is capable of this alone. Ahem. 

The big thing that narks me about all this thought: What are these mystical toxins? Our bodies work in very specific processes, yet all this discussion is very vague. What are these chemicals that our bodies can't cope with alone? Why can't they? And how do these detox methods actually change that? There's not even an agreed definition for 'toxin' or 'detox' in the concept of alternative medicine, which would perhaps seem like a strong starting point. It's all very well telling me that lemon water will give my innards a magical boost, but until you can tell me what toxins it's shifting and how, forgive me for I may seem just the tiniest but sceptical.

And then to top it off, these toxins are apparently making me sick! How do we know it's the toxins if we can't even name them? The particularly sad part for me is that these toxins are often brandished as 'cancer causing' (because if you can claim they cause any disease, I supposed it'd be the one we're yet to pinpoint all the causes of). It's sad because it drums fear in to people, fear of something that may be unavoidable by sheer unfortunate genetics, or something which may simply never happen. People live in fear of cancer as it is, and I can't help but feel that there's no need to contribute to any more 'what ifs' with such little evidence behind them. There's plenty of valid cancer research constantly ongoing, and this is very much not it. People already buy in to incredibly expensive detox methods (the cost of a juice cleanse program can run in to hundreds), but this pushes in to the territory of preying on the vulnerable - because it's not just going to appeal to those in fear of developing cancer, but to those already affected by it. This is a whole other issue which extends waaaay beyond the world of detox, but nevertheless, is not something which needs to be contributed to any further.

However, the thing that bothers me the most about the concept of toxins and detox, is the complete and utter disregard for everything we understand about the human body. As soon as you start to study our biochemistry in any sort of depth, you quickly get an understanding of just how deep our knowledge runs, and how precisely we can study the reactions that keep us functioning every day, right down to the tiniest details. It's awe inspiring, and it makes you appreciate how finely tuned our bodies are to deal with the world around us. This understanding makes the concept of something like a detox seem a little bit insulting - hey, take this incredibly expensive supplement with no regulated strength, it'll do these wonderful things for you! Nothing specific.. and we can't tell you how it does it.. but yeah, it's pretty great. Convincing, huh?

Despite my general displeasure with the subject, a lot of detox ideas aren't going to do you any harm. Acai berries, juices (as part of a balanced diet), lemon water - these things are not harmful, and while their purported benefits might not hold much ground, there's no need to drop them if you feel they bring something to your diet - after all, you know your body best in terms of wellness. But never stop asking yourself how, what and why. Don't just accept things without questioning, even if there's truth in the matter. We never stop learning, and a thirst for knowledge drives us all, individually and collectively, in to a future of understanding.

So, what the f*ck are toxins?

And why should you care? Well, you probably needn't. Eat well. Exercise occasionally (often, if you're a better person than I). Enjoy yourself. Live happy. All things in moderation (including lemon water, cos that shit probably ain't good for yo teeth).

Tuesday, 22 July 2014


I like to go a bit cray cray with the eyeshadow. I love me a bright purple lipstick. I've spent many days and nights perfecting my brow game. But some times I just cannot be bothered, or it's just too hot, or I just feel like embracing my inner ~beach babe~ (cringe). Alongside an ever evolving skincare routine, I've been focusing on simple but fresh faced makeup recently, and I'm liking the results - its quicker in the mornings, there's less upkeep through the day, and my skins looking fairly on point (bar the persistent dryness around my mouth - WHY?!?!). Today I swapped out my usual brown liner for a jazzy turquoise number, and it's amazing how much a small change can perk up a look.

I've been wearing this look in slight variations for a while, and the power of a good fresh faced look is in the base. I have in my arsenal a few choice weapons:

  • Bourjois Healthy Mix. If you're feeling a little more confident with your skin you could opt for a BB cream or tinted moisturiser to keep it super fresh, but I find this Bourjois offering gives perfect light-medium coverage while maintaining that 'inner glow'. Another one I like for this look is MAC Face and Body, but guys, two words for you - BEAUTY. BLENDER. Nothing gets my foundation looking quite so skinlike, and can't reccomend it enough. Oh, and another couple of words: STEP AWAY FROM THE MATTE FINISHES. 
  • Sleek Face Form palette. Not just for this look.. for pretty much every look I ever create. A good matte bronzer (not orange! WOO), a powder highlight and a gorgeous pink/gold blush. I left the blush untouched for this look, with just a light sweep of bronzer on the cheekbones/jawline/temples, and highlight on the cheekbones, nose and upper lip. A gentle hand will suffice - let's not get all Kim K up in here.
  • Sleek Blush in Coral. As lovely as the Rose Gold blush from the Face Form palette is, it's just a little too much on the shimmery side of things for this look. Coral is a matte finish, barely there colour (though it can be built up), which adds a bit of dimension to the face - nothing about that uniform colour look that comes with using foundation really screams 'so natural! SO FRESH!'
That's the uber basics. In this look I also used Khiel's Micro Blur Skin Perfector to prime, and a touch of Laura Mercier Mineral Powder to set my unusually oily nose (I am typically drier than the Sahara. I have no idea what's happening) - the ultimate choice in setting powder here would probably something in the fashion of MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural or the Hourglass Ambient Light powders. Wow, such glow. 

The rest of this look is very simple - a touch of brown powder and Maybelline Brow Drama through the brows, GOSH Velvet Touch pencils in Rebellious Brown and I Sea You (obviously if you're going for a true 'no make-up make-up' vibe, perhaps omit the turquoise liner - though I thoroughly advocate it), Natural Collection LashLength mascara (still the best £1.99 of my life), and a very light slick of Rimmel Kate Moss Lasting Finish in 03. If you just can't find a good nude shade, a tinted moisturiser if just sufficient to bring it all together. Bonus - soft soft lips.

I suppose this is really too simple to be a tutorial, and is more just guidance. It's also a reminder that sometimes it's nice to just to step it back and let the small details do the talking, like that smallest sweep of coloured liner.  Plus it's nice to have a simple routine to fall back on that still promises good results - because not every day do I have the inclination to get my wings and brows perfectly even, or to keep reapplying that bold lip colour. And ultimately, I'm a lazy sod.. who likes to look nice. COMPROMISE!

Peace, beauties.

Monday, 21 July 2014


So it's not just nail polishes that have been on the bank balance offensive this week. After a mere post-work stroll in to House of Fraser to have a whiff of the new Marc Jacobs fragrance (Daisy Dream - lovely and fresh for summer, though I generally prefer my fragrances a tad sweeter), I noticed a whole new Kiehl's counter! Like your average high street sucker and skincare lover, I was drawn in by the gorgeous displays and colourful yet still somewhat clinical design. I think I'm convinced by things with a clinical appearance - probably why I love LRP and Boots so much. Absolute sucker. Also the dangers of working in a city centre.

Otherwise overlooked- Botanics Instant Moisture Mist. A super refreshing, lightly moisturising aerosol spray which has been something of a godsend on these muggy days. Currently £3.29.

Believe it or not (given the size of that carrier bag), I actually only left with a small tub of the Creamy Eye Treatment. Kiehl's products generally don't seem to be that well reviewed with the exception of a few products, including this little number. I generally avoid eye creams since they're often not a lot of product for an awful lot of money  (and sometimes even just repackaged moisturiser), but I've had my eye (heh) on this for a while. It's rich - very rich - which is just what my dry, dehydrated eyes are crying out for. It contains shea butter and avocado oil, and as you gently rub this in it turns from a thick, creamy texture to a light, almost watery one. Freakin' magic. A couple of nights worth of liberal use has sorted some minor flaking round my eyes right out, and I also tried it out on some persistent dryness at the corners of my mouth - low and behold, it's most definitely improving! You really need the smallest amount of this, so that in combination with it's versatile nature makes it well worth treating yourself in my opinion. For some comparison, I used Clinique's All About Eyes Rich for quite a long time, and this immediately blows that out of the water. Infact, it's like Clinique don't even know the meaning of the word 'rich'. SORT IT OUT.

A texture which screams PUT ME ON YOUR FACE!

At £20 it certainly isn't the cheapest eye cream I've tried, nor the most expensive - but it certainly has the most satisfying and nourishing texture, so I'm pretty sold. The staff at the Khiels counter were also incredibly polite and helpful, and you get 3 free samples with your purchase too. Even better, you get a choice! I opted for the Ultimate Strength Hand Salve (nice, but unfortunately not a patch on my ever loved LRP Cicaplast Mains), and the Micro-Blur Skin Perfector, since I seem to be making the rounds on primer samples at the moment, and had Creme de Corps thrown in as a bonus. I also picked up a sample of the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask from some very helpful staff in Boots, which I've used a couple of times and absolutely LOVE - so I'll most certainly be picking up a full size tube of that in that near future. 

I've got a couple of beauty boxes on their way to me, but I'll be reeling in the spending this week otherwise - or just a self imposed polish ban at least!

An unrelated side note - while in Boots (it's always in Boots, isn't it?!) I had a go with a sample of Elizabeth Arden's 8 Hour Skin Protectant cream, having heard all sorts of wonderful things about it. They only had a tube of the newer fragrance free version for testing, and holy hell guys.. it REEKS. I'm not a person who's particularly sensitive to smells, but yeah. That would not go near my face. Does anyone know if the original, fragranced version is more tolerable?

Ciao for now, chums.

Sunday, 20 July 2014


It's been a pretty heavy going week on the nail polish front. I've had a problem with polishes for quite some time now, but bar a few sporadic 3 for 2 Barry M purchases I'd managed to refrain for a while. But then I went in to TK Maxx (see my previous post r.e OPI's A Woman's Prague-ative).. and then I noticed Fragrance Direct had a bunch of new polishes in.. and THEN Boots only went and put a bunch of Models Own on clearance didn't they. Unfortunately the latter was at the expense of my local store removing their Models Own stand in it's entirety - I'm royally miffed since they did some gorgeous polishes unlike any from other drugstore brands. Alas.

The offending Fragrance Direct purchase. Essie Mind Your Mittens, For The Twill of It, Vested Interest and Power Clutch (£2.25 each). OPI I Brake For Manicures and Are We There Yet? (£3.99 each). Ciate Stricly Legal (£2.99). Orly Liquid Vinyl (£2.99).

I'm on a bit of a dark nail hype right now - can you tell? The purchase of Are We There Yet? therefore felt somewhat necessary to break up the doom and gloom, but they're all great polishes in terms of colour, and I've never had a problem with the consistency or finish of polishes from any of the 4 brands. I can't recommend Fragrance Direct enough - they do a huge variety of products but I've only ever bought polishes from there. The prices are great, products are fab and the delivery is fast. Get on it if you haven't already. So far I've only worn Essie's Vested Interest, which is a lovely grey/blue/teal mash up that appeals to all my needs in terms of dark, somewhat earthy colours. I had to include of close up of Ciate's Strictly Legal though - galaxy in a bottle, non?!

oooooh yeah

I picked up 3 Models Own polishes in Boots, at a purse friendly £2.50 each. A couple of these had been on my infinite polish wishlist for a while now - Southern Lights and Absinthe, with Bronze Rage being a whimmy purchase (cos boy do I love me a metallic finish). Forgive the bad lighting and poor angle, because nothing quite captures just how intensely glittery Southern Lights is. Also, the lid on Absinthe is velvet - I love nail polish, I love velvet, what's a girl to do.

You get the gist.

Now all I need to do is actually use them all. My poor nails.

Peace, lovers!

Thursday, 17 July 2014


Summer is the season of bronzed and beautiful skin.. unless you're me. Looking preeeetty nasty pale over here. But bronze is beautiful in other forms too - I've been loving the Rimmel shadowstick in Bad Girl Bronze recently, and the metallic browns and golds of the Urban Decay Naked palettes have been long time favourites. So why not bring this metallic lovin' to the nail game? Enter, OPI's A Woman's Prague-ative.

Ok, so it's probably more on the copper end of matters - though I feel it photographs more red than it appears in person. It's a truly beautiful shade, and while at first I thought it felt a little autumnal, it's got a very summery quality about too - sunsets reflecting on tropical seas, and all that. And when the sun hits it - oh my. That shimmer cray. I applied it over a coat of Orly's 'Country Club Khaki', and got an even finish in two coats (with a coat of Sally Hansens Insta-dri for good measure. MA FAVE).

 I love OPI polishes, but they don't make their way in to my collection too often since they tend to exceed my self imposed limit of £5 per polish. They do crop up for considerably more palatable prices than the £11.50 RRP though - this little beauty came from TKMaxx for £3.99! Bargains. My local TKMaxx has been stocking OPI sets for some time now, but has only recently started selling single polishes too. Tres excite. Another good source for OPI (amongst others, including Essie and Ciate) is Fragrance Direct. I've been a BIIIIIG FD fan for some time, but they're now sporting a revamped website and a tonne of new colours to boot - it's definitely worth an oogle if you're a bit of a polish glutton. In fact, I may have put in an order for another 8 new polishes recently.. so more polish posts on the horizon I guess! On a side note, how excellent are OPIs shade names? They never seem to run out of fresh ideas, and they always tie in so well with their collection.

What's your favourite OPI shade? I mean, it's not like my addiction needs facilitating any further.. but what's a few more bottles?!

Monday, 14 July 2014


First things first, HOW THE FLIP IS IT THE MIDDLE OF JULY. I'm having a very big struggle with the concept of time (and the apparent lack of it) right now, and as such it's been a very slack couple of weeks on the blogging front. Too much work, little play. Can't I just become a full time blogger already? No? Oh well, have a Birchbox review while I try and redeem myself.

After being reeled in by last months amazing Birchbox, it felt only fair to give it another go. I was never expecting it to be quite as grand as June's, and didn't have high hopes based on the reviews I'd already seen - but presume I should not, for I was pleasantly surprised. Let's 'av a run down.
  • Model's Own nail polish in Aqua Splash. I really rate the Model's Own polishes so I was very excited to spot this! This is a flakie-finish top coat, and while they can be a little difficult to work with this gives a beautiful finish (particularly over a dark base colour). I'd also recommend Indian Ocean (a duochrome finish lilac/blue top coat - gorgeous over light grey) and Juicy Jules (the glitteriest motherfucker you ever did see - royal pain in the arse to get off. So worth it). RRP £5
  • Laqa & Co Sheer Lip Lube pencil in Menatour. I was very pleased with this, since all the reviews I saw featured the peachy coral shade of this which is on offer - lovely colour, but coral is not a colour that flatters me. Sheer but somewhat buildable with a little hard work, this gives a wash of not quite pink, not quite purple colour. Would I pay the RRP? Probably not, but I prefer a bolder lip usually - and it's nice to try something you wouldn't usually buy otherwise. RRP £14
  • Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream. Eh. That's about all. Does anyone actually buy Balance Me products? They seem to constantly be dolled out as freebies with magazines - not complaining, I love me a freebie! But I struggle with eye creams and this is far too light for me - it's very refreshing, but I won't be using it long enough to comment on the brightening qualities. Probably a nice treat for tired eyes on a warm day if you're less freakishly dry than I. RRP £20
  • Benefit The Porefessional. I never would have thought to pick this up - as well rated as it seems to be, I just assumed it wouldn't suit my skin. But this is the joy of samples - it's great! Under my Bourjois Healthy Mix it gives a smooth, long lasting finish without drying out my skin in the process. Also very handy since I'd just run out of primer this week.. Birchbox is so on my wavelength. RRP £24.50
  • Whish Three Wishes Lavender Body Butter. Oh, more body creams. GOOD. But jkz, because I have samples coming out of my ears when it comes to body creams, and very rarely do they see light of day. I just don't get excited over them, plus.. it's an effort. Smells nice though - I'm a big fan of lavender and its relaxing qualities. The scent of this isn't over powering, but just enough to make me smile. RRP £14.50
  • Filosofille 4-sided nail buffer. Nothing exciting but these are super useful, and my current one is looking very tatty! Not ideal for shaping nails but useful for buffing them down and adding shine, these buffer blocks are a handy little tool to keep in the nail care arsenal.

All in all - DECENT. I think I'm getting the beauty box bug. I've been eyeing up the Latest in Beauty Glamour beauty edit box - almost £90 worth of products for £17? My bargain hunting senses are tingling.

Peace for now, beauty buffs.