Wednesday 30 January 2013

Monthly Favourites | January

|| Instagram: Hannahripley1
Hi everyone! Well, that's it.. January is over now. The bluest, dullest, skintest and most depressing month of the year is DONE! Woo - now we can all go back to being happy and get excited for spring and summer, roll on a bit of sunshine! I've managed to keep my 'January Blues' at bay this year and have felt extremely positive about life; I'm so content with everything right now and feel like I have nothing to moan about (this makes a huge change for me - I am #1 moaner!) so I hope that everyone else has coped with the dull and dark nights and cold, wet and windy weather too. Enough rambling, it's time for the first favourites post of 2013! Read on to see what I have been loving and why...

Soap & Glory - 'Smoothie Star' Body Milk
I've totally gone mad for Soap and Glory recently and could easily have dedicated this post entirely to their products! I've restrained myself and included just two for my favourites this month; the first being this body milk called Smoothie Star. I got this moisturiser as part of my Best of All gift set (Christmas present to myself) and didn't expect I'd be able to love a moisturiser as much as this. Point A: pump dispenser. Yes. Anything else is just too messy and this is just perfect to pump it into your hand then you're good to go, and you can easily go back for more and dispense as little or as much as you need at a time. Point B: the scent. Almond! This contains almond, cocoa, yoghurt, oat and honey but I find the only detectable scents really are the almond and cocoa, both beautiful. Point C: it is a 'milk'. Being a milk means that it is lightweight and absorbs into the skin really quickly so there's no hopping about with no clothes on waiting until you're not sticky any more. Point D: being lightweight doesn't compromise it's intensity and it is still deeply moisturising and nourishing. Point E: the most impressive thing for me was how long this really lasts on the skin, e.g. shower and apply at 7am.. same day get ready for bed at 10pm and can still feel in on the skin - in a good way of course! I cannot get enough of this and I'm sure I'll be buying more if this ever runs out (it's a very big bottle!).

Soap & Glory - 'Glad Hair Day' Intensive Conditioner
Yay for Soap and Glory! When I bought the Glad Hair Day Shampoo there was a 3 for 2 offer on S&G and as I was deliberating between the regular conditioner and the intensive conditioner I decided to opt for both. It turns out that the Intensive version works better for my hair type, but I think it would be too heavy to use each time I wash because it is reallllly intense, so I use it more like a weekly treatment instead and it works an absolute treat for me. Not only does it smell like heaven (heaven smells like raspberries, right?), a little goes a long way and this balm like conditioner leaves my dry, frizzy mess smoothed down, tamed and soft to the touch. At £5.50 this is one of the best value for money treatments (if that's how you want to use it) and one I will surely buy again!

Lush - 'Snow Fairy' Shower Gel
Snow Fairy. Arguably the most hyped up shower gel, ever. I was a first time user of Snow Fairy this Christmas and on first impressions I was far from impressed - the scent is understandably not to a lot of people's taste and I was convinced it was too sickly sweet for me and left it neglected for weeks. Recently, I gave it another chance and have decided now that I do in fact really like it! It is really strong smelling and although it doesn't linger for long on the skin it does last forever in the bathroom and smells very sweet and girly - it's candyfloss and bubblegum, I think. A little goes a long way with this, it lathers up well and what better way to perk up a morning shower than with bright pink shimmery bubbley shower gel that will give your nostrils a sweet treat. I am definitely a convert to this and next Christmas I'll be sure to buy a bigger bottle.

Clinique - Chubby Stick Intense in 'Plushest Punch'
Last week I did a review on this Chubby Stick Intense (link) and compared it to the regular Chubby Sticks and also to Revlon's Kissable Balm Stains, but this variant is the clear winner in my eyes, even if it does cost double what I would prefer to pay for a lip product. I adore the super bright, hot pink shade of this and how highly pigmented it is, with a super glossy finished combined with a moisturising balm and an amazing staying power all in a cute crayon form. There's no better combination!

The Body Shop - Almond Hand and Nail Cream
It was the falling in love with the scent of Smoothie Star that led me on to purchase this hand cream from The Body Shop in December; I couldn't get enough of the almond fragrance and needed more! I'll admit that my main reason for loving this is because of the smell... are you sensing a theme within this favourites post?! My nose has been leading the way in this one but of course a good hand cream is an absolute essential throughout the winter months and The Body Shop products are such high quality so this one was perfect. Ideal for popping into my bag for a top up throughout the day to keep hands soft and moisturised.
Paco Rabanne - Lady Million EDP
Ookaaaay, so sticking with the theme of things that smell gorgeous, I'm going to end this post my perfume of choice for this month. This was a Christmas present from my boyfriend and I sure almost everybody has smelt this before and knows just how beautiful it is - this is well known favourite of many. I'm no good at describing what a perfume smells like but this is simply gorgeous, and just look at it! I am so stingy with this though; I want it to last forever and ever!

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Review: VO5 Hot Oil Moisture Soak Elixir Treatment

Just a quick note that this has been re-packaged now, so if you're looking into buying this for yourself then this isn't what it will look like on the shelves. Here is a link to the Boots site to what it now is: link. This hair treatment is a firm favourite of Lily Melrose's (etcllymlrs) and it was her constant mentioning of it talked me into purchasing it for myself ...Sadly, I'm not as impressed with it as she is!

What this little tube of oil claims to do is "repair and hydrate dry or damaged hair. It reconstructs damaged hair in 1 minute with no preheating required". Okay, so let's start of firstly with "repair and hydrate dry or damaged hair"? So, my hair isn't all that damaged anymore after putting a lot of effort into sorting it out, but it is still a bit dry on the ends and I assume this is a problem for most people with long hair too, and I was hoping for at least a little bit of a hydration boost after using this but truth be told my hair felt drier after using this?! Yes, I'm not lying. It had the opposite effect. Next, "reconstructs damaged hair" ..hmm wouldn't say I noticed any reconstruction at all. You can tell from the pictures shown  that I've only used this twice so far and I'm not planning on using it again.. it's had it's chance and I don't want sticky, tangled straw hair again!  You may think I'm jumping to conclusions and haven't given this product a fair trial and that it needs to be used a few times before results are noticeable, but this does claim to do these things "in 1 minute" so correct me if I'm wrong in hoping for an almost instant improvement to my hair and being let down when the only thing I end up was dry and matted strands. Finally "no preheating required" - well this one's okay as it's hardly a claim, it's just letting you know that it's different from the original 'shots' of this that needed to be warmed in a cup of hot water before use, but with this one you just pop it on wet hair before shampooing and that's it, good to go. What I did like about this, however, was the 'guideline' markers on the tube (shown below) so that you know how much product you should be using on each application as it's helpful to have a rough idea.

So, am I being too harsh on this product? Should I give it another chance? Sorry to be a negative bum and being quite blunt in this review.. but it's the truth about my experiences with this and it just really did nothing for me at all. I think that people should be fully informed of both views on a product before splashing their cash! If you've tried this before then I would love to know your views on this too! 

Monday 28 January 2013

Review: Soap and Glory 'Peaches and Clean' 4-in-1 Cleanser

Today's post is about more from Soap&Glory! Gotta love the brand. I think their skin care is really great and I did a post the other day about my favourite facial exfoliator/mask from them too (link). This cleanser had been on my wishlist for a really long time so seeing that it was in the Best Of All set at Christmas time made it even more tempting to buy the gift set and get my hands on it. Alone, this bottle costs £7.00 for 200ml and it is available from Boots in store and online (link).
As the name would suggest, this cleanser smells quite heavily of peaches which might not be to everybody's preference in something that you rub all over your face for fear of break outs, but I love it as it smells so sweet and fruity but really refreshing too and I think that the 'I want to eat you' smell of it is one of my favourite things about this. Now onto the technical stuff.. Soap&Glory's formula includes: skin softening fruit acids (peach), quillaja bark as a natural soap, jojoba oil as an emmolient skin softener [definition of emollient: 'having the quality of softening or soothing the skin'], Detoxyboost™ technology that helps to purify and deep clean, as well as Poreshrink R2™ for a clearer, fresher, brighter complexion. Nowhere at all can I find out exactly and specifically what these 4-in-1 qualities claim to be, but I assuming that it is to: clean, soften, purify and brighten.
I find one pump enough to be enough for my whole face and it comes out as a creamy milk that feels really moisturising and soothing. I'm normally one for foaming cleansers but this one makes a nice change because it's really gentle on the skin as it doesn't aggriavate or irrate at all, it simply melts away any make-up or dirt on the face when massaged onto damp skin and leaves you with a little boost of radiance after rinsing away. It is advised not to get this in your eyes, and although it doesn't sting or irritate it definitely isn't that great at removing mascara etc, it just made a mess on my face! It's fantastic for every day use as it's really light on the skin and leaves it feeling baby soft but there's no residue left behind at all once it has been rinsed away. This feels like it gives the skin a really deep clean really quickly and easily, and although it might not be the best at unclogging pores, it does clean, brighten and soften the skin.
As if this needs any more praise at all, I feel like I need to add that for me a product comes as a whole and good packaging makes a difference (as superficial as that is) so I love how cute and girly this is, with an appropriate yet quirky name, and of course the pump dispenser is a winner because it avoids all mess and wastage too.
Have you tried this S&G cleanser before? Or any of their other skincare?


Saturday 26 January 2013

Models Own 'Freak Out' | Mirrorball Collection

Hellooo. I hope you're all having a good weekend so far, just a quick post today to show you my new Models Own nail varnish that I am loving at the moment. I'm mostly going to let the pictures do the talking for this one, but I'll just give you a tiny bit of information about it too..

This glitter top coat is from Models Own 'Mirrorball' collection that they released in the later half of 2012 and it was one that didn't really excite me or stand out to me at the time. I started to see a few swatches of the collection appear in recent weeks, (out of nowhere really because it has been a while since it's been released) and this one particular post by Chelsea (link!) tipped me over the edge into purchasing the blue bottle from the collection, called 'Freak Out'. There are 5 shades in total in the collection: Dancing Queen (green), Boogie Nights (purple), Inferno (yellow), Hot Stuff (pink), and Freak Out (this one, blue). They are all available to purchase online directly from Models Own, or at selected Boots stores too, but I purchased mine from Asos (link) because they offer 10% off for students and free delivery too, so mine cost me £4.50 instead of the usual £5.00

The colour that I used as my base is also from Models Own, called 'Feeling Blue' and is lovely and bright but not too 'in your face'. The glitter polish might not be to everybody's taste, and I'll admit that it looks a bit like a children's birthday party, but I think it's very fun and different from a standard glitter top coat. It contains a few different types of glitter particles and gives a very random effect on the nails. The particles do come out quite sparsely on the nails so it took a couple of coats to build it up to the effect that I have in the pictures, but that's a good thing that you can build it up to your own preferred intensity! 

I am loving this look on my nails at the moment ..What do you think of it?

Friday 25 January 2013

No7 Skin Care Treats Gift Set

Hi guys, today's post is about a little gift from myself, to myself. I purchased this gift set a couple of weeks ago in the Boots January Sale while it had 50% making it £8.00 instead of £16.00 - love a good little bargain. I thought that now would be a good time to talk about this seeing as though Boots are running a double No7 promotion at the moment with 3 for 2 across everything and money off vouchers too, so this could give you some ideas of what to spend you £5.00 off vouchers on if you're a little bit stuck!

The set contains a total of 7 items: 1x eye make-up remover, 1x hot cloth cleanser, 1x day cream, 1x night cream, 1x muslin cloth, and to top it all off 1x fluffy headband. When bought for £8 this set is such good value for money, making each of the items a little over £1 each and all of the products come in generous sizes too ranging from 25ml - 50ml. I'd never used any of these before, in fact I had never tried anything other than the make-up wipes from No7 as a brand before, so was very keen to give these a try, especially as the hot cloth cleanser receives a lot of praise. I knew that even if I didn't get along with one or two products in the set I definitely had a chance of liking at least one of them, and when you would pay at least £8.00 for a full sized bottle of one of these then it is definitely worth purchasing this set of travel size/mini versions.

This has really opened my eyes to how lovely some of the No7 skin care is and I definitely feel more confident about trying out some more things from their range! Specifically from the Beautiful Skin line I've got my eyes on the cleansing water, purifying mask, radiance exfoliator and the melting gel cleanser!

Onto what is in the 'skin care treats' set..

Beautiful Skin Hot Cloth Cleanser (50ml) and Muslin Cloth
I had really high hopes for this hot cloth cleanser because a lot of people do love it, and I have never used any kind of 'hot cloth' cleanser before ..and this one did not disappoint! To buy the full sized 200ml bottle of this it will cost you £9.95 (full price) and I am deeply considering making a purchase of this in the coming weeks. The cleanser itself is really rich and creamy and feels really moisturising and soothing on the skin - it is massaged around the face and melts away any make-up or everyday dirt that is on the skin and then muslin cloth is run under a hot tap and used to wipe the product away, exfoliating the skin as it cleans and clears. It leaves the skin looking radiant, and very 'polished' which is where I assume the famous Liz Earle variant gets it's name from.

Beautiful Skin Day Cream (25ml) and Night Cream (25ml)
I do really like both of these creams but I don't expect that either would be a repurchase simply because I already have so many lotions and potions lying around, and these didn't blow me away enough to justify buying full sized pots (both £13.50 each for 50ml) when I own so many already! I'm down to the last dregs in both of these tubes now and have found them both to be lovely to use with the day cream making a lovely lightweight base for make up and the night cream being a thicker and more intense nourishing cream that leaves you waking up with fresh and hydrated skin. I don't have a bad word to say about either of these, they just didn't stand out as anything extraordinary.

Beautiful Skin Eye Make-Up Remover (30ml) 
This costs £8.50 for a 100ml bottle and it won't be one that I'll be dashing off to buy again, even though it is really effective at removing eye make-up and I'm easily pleased by the way that it is separated within the bottle as two separate layers and needs to be shook to be activated, I am just not keen on the way that it is oil based and leaves the skin all around the eye with quite a heavy residue on them - it's an 'okay' product though.

A great idea for somebody who is maybe just getting into skin care, or someone who is new to the No7 brand and wants to try out a couple of new things, or even if you already love these products but want them in a miniature size so they're handy for travel! Unfortunately I cannot find this set anywhere on the Boots site anymore, but keep your eye out for it and if you're interested in skin care then I'd recommend grabbing one!

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Clinique Chubby Stick & Chubby Stick Intense

Clinique Chubby Stick and Chubby Stick Intense - RRP £16.00 (link)

A couple of days ago I posted a review on Revlon's Just Bitten Kissable Balm stains that can be found in this post here (link), and in this post I talked about how these balm stains were very similar to Clinique's Chubby Stick but I preferred Clinique's version despite the shocking price difference. These Chubby Sticks are expensive, but with a high price tag comes high quality and I feel like they are worth it. 

There are two varieties of the adorably named 'Chubby Sticks'; the original, and the 'Intense' version, and there is quite a big difference between the two. I received my original version (sample size, that's why it is smaller) as a 'gift with purchase' during Clinique's Bonus Time back in October and received the shade 'Mega Melon', a very natural and wearable shade. The colour pay off is extremely sheer and not very long lasting but it just adds a glossy wash of colour over the lips in a smoothing and nourishing form. These are in effect nothing more than a tinted lip balm in a cute, pencil form. 

The Intense version, however, was one that I knew I just had to have as soon as they were released, priced also at £16.00 but these are much more worth the high price tag. As the name suggests the colour of these is a lot more intense and they are very highly pigmented. The formula is the same and is moisturising and shiny but gives a very hibrant hit of colour that stains the lips and lasts for hours; much more impressive than the original version that does not last more than half an hour before needing to be topped up. It is the Chubby Stick Intenses that are comparable to Revlon's Balm Stains in both the packaging and the way that they are soft and smooth on the lips with a highly pigmented and long lasting stain left behind, the price tag is quite different however - £16.00 v £7.99 - eek!

It is of course all down to personal preference which one of these is for you though; if you're looking for an extremely sheer and not so long lasting colour in a moisturising balm form then the Chubby Stick is for you (£16.00), if you're looking for a brighter and bolder, longer lasting 'stain' in the same moisturising formula then the Chubby Stick Intense might be up your street (£16.00), and if you're on a budget and after a similar product but only slightly less luxurious and without the high end name plastered all over it then hop off down to Boots and pick up a Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain (£7.99) as these are currently on offer for just£5!

 What are your views on Chubby Sticks v Chubby Stick Intense v Revlon Balm Stains?

Monday 21 January 2013

Review: Revlon Kissable Balm Stain - 'Love Sick'

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain - RRP £7.99
*currently on offer at all Revlon retailers for just £5.00 

As usual I am one of the last people to the party and have well and truly taken my time with hopping onto the bandwagon with the hype for this product. I dismissed these Chubby Stick rip-offs (and the Chubby Sticks themselves) for a long time and expected them to be nothing more than an over-priced fad. After caving and splashing out a full £16.00 on a Chubby Stick Intense and LOVING it (review to come in a couple of days) I thought that I had better test out Revlon's apparent dupes for them before contemplating buying another, and what better time to try them out than when they have nearly £3 off! 

To cut straight to the chase, I'm on the fence. I don't dislike it by any means but I'm not falling over myself in love with it either. I love the colour and I love the formula too - 'balm stain' describes it to a T -  but I personally think the reason that I'm not crazy over it is because I tried the high end version first.. maybe it's just me but if you try 'the best' first then nothing else can ever live up it! These and the Chubby Sticks are so highly comparable (like I said, review to come), but my preference is with Clinique's original take!

I will of course still get regular use from this and more than likely buy another shade too because they're just so easy to use and have an adorable packaging. It's like a chunky little crayon that just effortlessly glides onto your lips lovely and smoothly, much like a balm, and with quite a sheer coverage that can be built up with a couple of layers and the colour, i.e. 'stain', fares well with the test of time and fades gradually over the hours. 

It doesn't look like much really, and they are not as pigmented as your regular lipsticks, but nor do they claim to be. Revlon describes these as 'a pampering balm with a flush of colour that lasts hour after hour' which is a very accurate description. The finish is quite glossy but it feels smooth and nourishing on the lips and with a couple of layers the colour payoff is very good and lasts for hours. Even after the initial glossiness and the balm-like qualities have worn away the colour still remains and it is super quick and easy to touch up throughout the day.

Not the clearest of pictures in the world, but you can hopefully tell that the shade I got was 'Lovesick', a very vibrant hot pink - my favourite lip colour. The colour range that Revlon offer for this is pretty damn good with 12 shades overall, ranging from your nudes (Honey), to your brights (this one, Lovesick) and all the way to your vampy darks (Crush) and I am quite eager to try out Rendezvous next, a coral-y orange colour. 

Although I've mentioned above that I prefer the Clinique Chubby Stick Intense to this, I would purchase another of these Revlon balm stains and try out some more shades, but would not buy another of the Chubby Sticks despite preferring them, and this is mainly due to the price difference. Clinique's version is 3 times the price (when Revlon is on offer), but is not 3 times the quality and that much of a difference between two very similar products seems unjustifiable to me!

Sunday 20 January 2013

Review: Soap and Glory 'Scrub Your Nose In It'

Hello lovely ladies. I've been barely blogging at all this month, definitely just not been 'feeling it' and I don't know what's wrong with me? Where's the passion gone?! Even though I have a list on my phone of at least 40 things that I want to talk about I've just struggled to find the motivation to get my camera out, take snaps of a product, upload them and then string a sentence together to rave about it - serious case of writers block! And also, Twitter's been bitchy on the whole #bbloggers front recently and I've just been put off so have taken a back seat with tweeting and 'promoting' myself on there - get rid of the negativity girls it's not good for anyone! 

After spotting today that somebody else I know has started up their own blog (her blog is - take a look and go follow it, I'm sure she's going to be absolutely amazing!), it gave me a little kick up the bum to get back into it so I'm coming to you today with a review of Soap and Glory's 'Scrub Your Nose In It'.

Scrub Your Nose It In is the first of Soap and Glory's skincare that I had tried and I love it. It is available in one size only; 125ml and costs £7.50 and can be found in Boots in store and online (link). This is a multi-use product and can be used as an exfoliating scrub and also as a deep pore cleansing mask too. I use this once a week and make use of both of it's functions when I use it - first I use it as an exfoliator predominately around my nose, a little bit across my cheeks and then my chin too, I give it a good scrub and then rise it away with warm water. Then, straight afterwards I apply a fresh dollop all over my face in quite a thin layer and leave this on for a couple of minutes for the clay mask action to take place and then rinse away, scrubbing gently as I rinse to reveal fresher and glowing looking skin.

This gives the skin a mild tingle and a cooling sensation when applied and smells very minty but does not irritate at all. The exfoliating grains within this scrub as so teeny tiny they are hardly visible and are so gentle on the skin, not rough or scratchy at all but can definitely be felt and give the skin a really good scrub, clearing out your clogged up pores. I love using this as my skin always looks just that little bit brighter and smoother after use as the dead skin cells have been buffed away (nice) and all that dirt deep down in your pores has been shifted away. It's a really simple and easy product to use with only a teeny tiny amount being needed each time as just a thin layer on the skin is necessary and £7.50 is a great price for a 2-in-1 product.

One last thing, I've had my blog completely redesigned over the past few days by Becky from Beauty Becky and I love it. I just wanted a change as I was bored of looking at the same set up for the past 6 months and wanted a new colour scheme and just a bit of a freshen up really. She was so helpful and so accommodating to all of my requests; she listened to exactly what I was after and made all of the tiny adjustments that I asked for without any hassle at all!
I recommend that you all follow the link above to Becky's blog, have a read, follow her too and if you're interested in a spruce up for your design then she's one to go for!

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Argan Oil Hair Trio | Lee Stafford Gift Set

Hi guys! This set is one that I received for Christmas from my mum which was very lovely of her as she knows how much I love my hair care, and Lee Stafford is a winning brand in my eyes. This set contains three full sized products from the Argan Oil from Morocco line by Lee Stafford, including the Nourishing Miracle Oil, the Miracle Heat Defence Spray, and the Deep Nourishing Treatment. I had seen this set before and it actually featured on one of my wishlists back in November so I know that it did cost £25.00 but in the post-Christmas sales it was reduced to £12.50!! £12.50 is more than just a bargain for this set because if each of the items were purchased individually they would be worth £40! Amazing! Unfortunately, this set no longer appears to be on Boots website so I imagine that it has sold out because of the amazing value.

Nourishing Miracle Oil
50ml £11.99 - link

I know it must seem like I say that I adore every single oil that I review and that all of them seem to be my favourite, but I really do mean it about this one! It's not my number one favourite, because that spot is still being held by the Babyliss Pro Argan Oil (my review - link), but this little one has snuggled its way into second place ahead of the L'Oreal Extraordinary Oil (my review - link). This is one of the few oils that I find I can use on dry hair without it overloading my hair and making it greasy. It's more along the lines of a serum really and I use it as a 'finishing product' to run through the ends to make them smooth, soft and shiny. It's lightweight but still deeply nourishing and doesn't leave any stickiness on the hair strands. I love it!

Miracle Heat Defence Spray
200ml £12.99 - link
I'll admit that I'm not really one for using much heat on my hair, but if I do then I always make sure that it's well protected to prevent any further damage to my already distressed locks. This product hasn't had a huge amount of use, and I don't find that heat defence products are ones that you can really tell whether they are working or not.. because how can I tell whether my hair has been protected from the heat by it? I don't know if it's just me that feels that, but anyway this smells really nice and it doesn't leave the hair sticky or weighed down with any product, and I love the sense of security when using this that my hair isn't going to be totally traumatised from having a pair of hot irons run all over it!

Deep Nourishing Treatment
200ml £14.99 - link
My favourite product from the set is this absolutely amazing, super softening hair mask! I've been a top fan and loyal repurchaser of Lee Stafford's hair growth treatment mask for it's conditioning properties (my review - link), but this mask just blows it out of the water in terms of intensity. After using this it felt like I had new hair all over again! I have a feeling that this could take a place as being one of my 'holy grail' hair saviour, despite it being steeply priced for a drugstore conditioning mask. I've been using this once a week since Christmas (so not a lot), but I've fallen in love and always look forward to using this because of the strands of silk that end up on top of my head after use (haha!). If you enjoy deep conditioning masks and have a bit of cash to splash then go out and get this! Definite stand out product from the set.

Overall, I am overjoyed that I received this set as a present and have loved using all of the products within it. They are all ones that I will be able to get regular use from (the heat defence the least, only because I don't use much heat), and the mask is one that I know I will repurchase on it's own!

Have you ever tried any of these from Lee Stafford's Argan Oil Range?
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