Tuesday 30 July 2013

A Little Essie Haul | Fragrance Direct

Nothing makes me happier than seeing that Fragrance Direct has replenished their stock of £1.99 Essie nail varnishes. Well, that's an exaggeration - of course there are a couple of things that make me happier than that, but moments such as this come up pretty high in my list. 

Fragrance Direct is a site that sells predominately fragrances, but also other cosmetic bits and pieces, for a discounted price but still at the same great quality available in store. My favourite finds on the site as Essie varnishes for a £6.00 saving at £1.99 each, and also OPI varnishes for an £8.00 saving of £3.99 each. The stock of the shades constantly chops and changes so I like to check back regularly to see if there's anything new in. The colours can range from the not so attractive khaki greens and muddy nudes, to the nicest of brights and pastels - from all seasons, such as Spring 2013 and Summer 2012. Here's my select little order from the choice of about 20 new shades on the site last week:

We're In It Together
Bikini So Teeny 
Avenue Maintain

We're In It Together | Bikini So Teeny | Avenue Maintain

They're all 13.5ml (full size) and have the newer, wider brushes. I've wanted Bikini So Teeny since last summer and it's nice to know that I got all 3 of these, plus delivery, for the same price that it would cost me to buy just one directly from Boots or Superdrug - brilliant. A heads up though: the swatches on the site aren't always a particularly accurate representation of the shades in the bottle, so I'd just give them a quick Google images search before popping them into your basket to make sure you don't get any nasty surprises if you're ordering a shade you're not sure on. 

You'll probably see Instagram snaps in the coming weeks of me trying out all of these shades! (Username: HannahRipley1).

Thanks for reading!

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Sunday 28 July 2013

Nails: Bright Yellow | Ciate 'Big Yellow Taxi' or Models Own 'Luis Lemon'

Hi! I thought I'd share with you all today two of my top picks for brightly coloured nails: Yellow. A bright yellow isn't the most usual colour to wear on the nails, and there are certain shades of yellow that can be hard to get right, for example, I really struggle to make pastel yellow work for me, but a super bright shade can really make a statement and light up a whole look. The two shades I've picked (Big Yellow Taxi from Ciate and Luis Lemon from Models Own) are very similar and in some lights it can be tricky to tell the difference between them, so I've provided quite a few pictures for you to get the general idea:

Hopefully you can see that Luis Lemon has a lot more of a neon and fluorescent vibe to it, whereas Big Yellow Taxi can simply be described as just bright. There isn't a trace of neon to be found in Big Yellow Taxi but it is still a stand out, perky colour. I personally prefer the Ciate polish, simply for the reason that it is slightly less neon, and therefore more wearable and arguably less garish. There is a time and place when you can pull off super fluorescent yellow finger nails and I'm not sure that day-to-day wear is it ..at least not for me anyway. For evenings out, festivals, holidays and other summer events, however, Models Own Luis Lemon would be my top pick. 

The price point of the two colours varies slightly, with Ciate polishes costing £9.00 /13.5ml (I have a mini pot here which is only 5ml), and Models Own polishes cost just £5.00 /14ml but the quality between the two is very comparable. As with most yellow polishes the consistency can be a little bit sheer and needs to be built up; so I used a nude colour for the base (Barry M Lychee) and then had to apply 3 coats of the colour on top of that to create the final look shown. 

Thanks for reading!
Do you have a preference between these two brights?

Ciate 'Big Yellow Taxi' £9.00 link | Models Own 'Luis Lemon' £5.00 link
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Saturday 27 July 2013

Beauty Haul: Recent Skincare Additions

Okay, okay, okay. I am now fully admitting that my skincare overload has reached the 'out of control' level and needs to be addressed. No. More. Skincare! I think it's the hot, sunny weather and make up free days that has spurred me into action to kick start a proper skin care routine and sort my face out. Well this isn't a routine, is it? This is just a huge pile of products that I don't know where to start with! There was no method to the madness: Melting cleansing gels, hot cloth cleansers, cleansing waters, and a make up remover. Spoilt for choice for face cleaners these days. I have included in this 'haul' products that I purchased myself, and also a couple that were generously sent to me - I felt that they deserved to be included as they are still additions to my skincare steps.

Liz Earle 'Cleanse and Polish' Starter Kit 
As this was my first purchase from Liz Earle ever - can you believe it? - and my first time trying out the ever so famous Cleanse and Polish hot cloth cleanser, I opted for the Starter Kit which contains a 100ml pump bottle of the cleanser and 2 muslin cloths. Needless to say, I love this cleanser. Probably one of the most famous cleansers ever? How has it taken me 20 years to get it into my life?! I'll be doing a full review in more detail of this soon. Plus, every order also comes with a complimentary travel size product too: 30ml Cleanse and Polish. Lovely!

Liz Earle 'EyeBright' Soothing Eye Lotion
With pollen counts being at an all time high in recent weeks, my hayfever and other assorted allergies have been causing me some issues - sneezing, sniffles and itchy, irritated eyes. In an attempt to tackle the irritation and puffiness with my eyes, especially first thing in the morning and right before bed, I ordered a small 50ml bottle of this soothing eye lotion from Liz Earle. Containing witch hazel and aloe vera this light lotion really helps to calm and refresh the eye area in a quick sweep with a soaked cotton pad, or a pair of cotton pads can be left sitting on the eyes for a longer period of time - the perfect accompaniment to a face mask for the ultimate chill out time.

Caudalie Cleansing Water
Bioderma's micelle water has been to my 'go to' make up remover for the best part of the year, and while I have absolutely no problems with it, I wanted to branch out and see what other options were available. Caudalie's cleansing water receives rave reviews and has been strongly recommended to me on multiple occasions by Kayleigh so I purchased a smaller, 100ml bottle for £7.20 while escentual.com had 20% off the whole site. They currently have 10% off, making this £8.10 at the moment. 

Vichy Normaderm Anti-Imperfection Hydrating Care
Vichy Normaderm Anti-Imperfection Care Night Cream
Escentual.com is one of my favourite places to shop for beauty products at the moment, particular French pharmacy skincare, and after trying a sample size of Vichy's Normaderm anti-imperfection hydrating care, I fell in love and opted to buy the full size along with the corresponding night cream. The products are similar to La Roche Posay's Effaclar range, in that they're moisturising creams that tackle imperfections and blemishes, helping to unclog the skin. However, the products from this Normaderm range are much more intensely moisturising and I have found them to be more effective at clearing my skin when breakouts occur. Full reviews to come!

A little bit of cheating, and definitely not bragging, but these next few products I didn't purchase myself; they were kindly sent to me for consideration to review. Needless to say, I am still going to be giving them a fair test and trial and incorporating them into my skincare routine for a couple of weeks, and then chances are you will see full reviews of some (or all) of these products coming very soon - so watch this space!

Clarins Liquid Bronze Self Tanning*
Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner*
Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel*
Elemis White Flowers Eye and Lip Make Up Remover*
Liquid Bronze is a popular cult product for the summer and often labelled as the best facial tanner around, I can't wait to try this out. The Gentle Exfoliator is said to be the toned down version of Alpha H's Liquid Gold as this also contains AHAs and gentle chemical exfoliants within the lotion to remove dead and dull skin cells and reveal a brighter complexion in the morning. I look forward to comparing this to Liquid Gold. I've recently talked about some beauty products from N Spa and expressed how much I love the Melting Gel Cleanser (it has earned a place in my upcoming July favourites!) so I can't wait to see how this Clarins version compares at 3 times the price of N Spa (lots of comparison is set to take place!).  

Have you ever tried any of the products listed?

* (c/o) Clarins and Elemis


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Tuesday 23 July 2013

Review: Denman D6 Be-Bop Shower Brush

Hey, we all love a little novelty in our lives - don't we? I knew from the moment I saw this D6 Shower Brush* from Denman, nicknamed the 'Be-Bop', that it would be something I'd love! It's as simple as it looks: a palm-held take on the traditional hairbrush to detangle wet or dry hair, in a similar fashion to the infamous Tangle Teezer. I love and adore my Tangle Teezer, but at £11 for some plastic bristles that aren't looking as though they'll last forever, it's not something I'm keen to repurchase. However, when these Denman detangling brushes are just £3.50 each, I'll take one in every colour!

There's no excess bulkiness and they have a very 'no frills' design. They fit snugly into the palm of the hand and are secured with the comfy plastic strap to hold the hand in place - no dropping this like I do with my Tangle Teezer! Anyone else find their Tangle Teezer quite difficult to hold comfortably? The soft flexible bristles on the Be-Bop glide through the hair without any tugging or pulling and effortlessly detangle the thickest of mops. They can also be used in the shower to distribute product such as conditioners and masks evenly through the hair, and offer a gentle scalp massage when used at the roots - which we all know helps to stimulate the blood flow and encourages hair growth.

This is a nifty little helper for my hair that brightens up my bathroom with it's vibrant orange colour and I have been reaching for this to detangle my wet hair every single time I wash it. I love it and would highly recommend it, especially for the price!

Available in a wide range of colours, these Be-Bop brushes are available from
www.denmanbrush.com for just £3.50 each.

* (c/o) Denman


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Monday 22 July 2013

Maybelline 'Baby Lips' Lip Balm

Okayyyy.. so just a quick one today as I wanted to address this whole Baby Lips scene and just throw my little bit of input into the pile of reviews for this practically famous lip balm. It's the one that everybody seems to want a piece of. 

This shade that I have here, Twinkle, is a limited edition one, but in general they're not readily available in the UK anyway - I bought mine from The Sunday Girl's blog sale to see what all the fuss was about. Although I do love the adorable packaging, the name is sweet as pie and I am a fan of the sugary strawberry scent of this one, I do think the hype and attention they're receiving is craaazay. I mean, there's a waiting list for them at Boots for when they come out in August?! It's a lip balm guys! They claim to offer 8 hours of moisture, and some are tinted and yeah they have nice flavours, but let's be honest with ourselves that it is just a bog standard balm! I will admit that it's the lip balm I've been reaching for most recently, but that's because of the novelty newness and the nice fruity scent that it has. It keeps the lips relatively moisturised and a tiny glossy sheen but it's not the best thing since sliced bread.

From what I've read, these are set to be £2.99 a piece when they hit the UK shelves in August, which of course isn't bank breaking so by all means pick yourself up a shade or two, because they are super cute.. but just don't expect it to change your life the way that people are going on about them. The tint that some of them have is barely visible and the temporary moisture boost isn't all that intense. 

Moans aside, I still can't help but say I'm a fan!
Isn't that weird?! 

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Sunday 21 July 2013

Outfit: Black and Mint

Ooh look at me trying my hand at another fashion style post (I know I need more practise - but I'm trying!). The last one that I did seemed to go down quite well so I plucked up the courage to do another one, this time featuring a gorgeous 'must have' accessory - I assure you that as soon as you see it, you will want it! The eye catching mint satchel bag that I'm sporting with this look is from La Moda, a site that creates amazingly designed and incredibly affordable handbags that are up to date with the current trends. Most of the bags are around the £20 mark so it's well worth having a browse of the site to see if there's any that you like. I've teamed it with minimal accessories and a very plain, all black outfit - because I'm boring like that. I much prefer completely fuss free and simply styled outfits, with something bright such as a bag, nails or lipstick to prevent it from looking dull. That's just how I roll.

Kourtney Satchel Bag* - La Moda
Crop Cami - Topshop
Jeans (Leigh) - Topshop
Shoes - New Look
Necklace - eBay (£1.45!)
If you love this bag as much as I do then visit www.lamodauk.com to see more (this style is the Kourtney satchel), and all of the other colours that it is available in too - there's a gorgeous yellow one that I also adore!

As an extra special treat
La Moda have kindly offered a 20% discount for the month of July to enter at the checkout.
Use the code FABB20.

* (c/o) La Moda
via Fabb Events Manchester

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Saturday 20 July 2013

Impulse Haul: Nails and Lips

My major downfall when it comes to shopping splurges is without a doubt nail varnishes and lipsticks. I already own way, way more than I could ever use up in my lifetime.. but for some reason these are the two areas that I'm constantly drawn to and always feel like I need more.

I made two swift and spontaneous online orders last week; the first from Fragrance Direct while I was hunting for bargain £1.99 Essie shades but only found one that looked wearable: Mojito Madness. While I was there I thought I might as well make the order worthwhile and throw a few more things into the online basket (as you do), so clicked my way over to the OPI section and ordered three shades for just £3.99 each: Ladies and Magenta-men (a shade that I mentioned I was lusting after in this OPI nails post I wrote here), Elephantastic Pink, and Kiss Me On My Tulips. No, you cannot have too many different shades of pink nail varnish, contrary to what any boyfriend may tell you. 

I then discovered that Bourjois' fairly recently released Rouge Edition lipsticks were available for a discounted price from the Bourjois store via Amazon and I purchased two shades for the slightly cheaper price of £5.99 each. If you like these lipsticks you can find the seller here, and I plan to do a full post on the shades that I have very shortly - so keep your eyes peeled! I also snapped up a Barry M lipstick in my favourite lip colour: bright fuschia - a shade you also cannot have too many of. This is called Punky Pink (145) and you can find it on Amazon here.

Phew! Stop me shopping - Please!
Look out for future posts coming soon on the Bourjois lipsticks and the OPI nail varnishes. The Barry M lipstick may also make it's way into a 'Girl About Town' dupes post that I am planning.

Thanks for reading!

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Friday 19 July 2013

N Spa Beauty and Bathing Rituals

Hey lovelies. If you're up for a little pampering this weekend then I have just the trick for you today! Earlier this month I was contacted by N Spa and asked if I was interested in trying out one of their 'Blogger Bags'* that they had available, containing 6 mini products: 3 from their Bathing Rituals range, and 3 from their Beauty Rituals range. Having tried a couple of N Spa bath and shower products in the past and thoroughly enjoying them, I couldn't pass up the generous opportunity to try out some more! All the products shown in photographs in this post are 'mini' versions of the products that you can buy in stores (also from Asda online too). 

N Spa products are stocked exclusively in Asda stores, and although my local Asda is pretty limited in it's beauty aisles (much to my disappointment), it does have a good selection of N Spa products that I frequently gaze at while accompanying my mum on the weekly food shop. Unfortunately, she is now wise to my *quick, slip some stuff in the trolley while she's not looking!* game (20 year olds can still play that - right?), and she now promptly removes any beauty goodies that have snuck into the shopping trolley - boo! I guess she is right though when she tells me that I already have an excessive amount of products... or is she? ;) Obviously I'm just going to have to get her to try out a selection of these products below to convince her of why our food shop needs to be accompanied by some N Spa pampering from now on!

N Spa stock super duper affordable products in three different ranges/categories: Bathing Rituals, Beauty Rituals and Hair Rituals. The products don't have a cheap feel to them at all and could be passed off as an almost high end brand because of the clean and professional packaging, and the fact that the product inside the bottles is actually very good! They've got quite a Boots No7 kind of feel to them, but I much prefer these to No7's skincare, and I think I may now even opt for these products over Soap and Glory bath time treats! 

Bathing Rituals
The bathing rituals consists of a three step 'cleanse, exfoliate, moisturise' routine and is made up of 8 products in total.

Step One (Cleanse): Jojoba and White Jasmine Moisturising Shower and Body Wash £2.45 / 225ml
Step Two (Exfoliate): Jojoba and White Jasmine Body Polish £2.95 / 225ml
Step Three (Moisturise): Jojoba and White Jasmine Body Lotion £3.95 / 250ml

The bathing rituals consists of a range of slightly different variants for each step, i.e. you could opt for a mousse or a milk instead of a wash, or a scrub instead of a polish, and a body butter instead of a lotion - so take your pick and mix and match what you want your routine to be made up of, but you can see that anybody can enjoy these products whatever your budget! All of the products are great quality and I particularly love how lightweight the lotion is and how quickly it sinks into the skin, but still leaves it feeling velvety soft and smooth.

Beauty Rituals
The beauty rituals consists of a four step 'cleanse, exfoliate, treat, moisturise' routine and is made up of 12 products in total.

Step One (Cleanse): Melting Cleansing Gel £6.00 / 250ml
Step Two (Exfoliate): Hot Cloth Polish £7.00 / 250ml
Step Three (Treat): Illuminating Beauty Serum £7.00 / 250ml

The beauty rituals isn't as clear cut as the bathing rituals and doesn't make the custom pick 'n' mix idea as simple, but it is still some pretty amazing skincare. I'll be honest and say that the illuminating serum is one that I haven't tried yet, but I've used both the melting cleansing gel and the hot cloth polish to remove make up and cleanse my face and found both of them fantastic! As I said above, I prefer these so much more to No7's skincare which also stocks a melting gel and a hot cloth cleanser. The melting cleansing gel is actually working it's way towards being a potential new favourite cleanser, and for the price I'm sure I'll be repurchasing the full size soon!

Hopefully next time you do a food shop in Asda you will detour to your beauty aisles and try out some N Spa products. I promise you that they're lovely and they're really affordable too. You'd be crazy not to try them!

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* (c/o) N Spa

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Wednesday 17 July 2013

ESPA Skincare: Haul & First Impressions

Armed with a £30 gift voucher*, I took to the ESPA website in the search for something nice to treat myself too. Not something that I needed, just something that I wanted - as you do when you have a gift voucher in hand! Something that I wouldn't usually buy myself, and something deemed a luxury. After a thorough browse of ESPA's extensive skincare range, I finally settled on a pair of products and chose my four free samples that are available with every order. ESPA is a fairly new brand to me, and these are the first products that I have tried from them so I thought that I would share with you what I chose and my first impressions of them:

Nourishing Cleansing Balm - 13g / £14.50
Essential Cleansing Mask - 55ml / £27.50

With the ever growing popularity of Emma Hardie's cleansing balm, I wanted in on the action of this particular style of cleanser and opted for the smaller of the two available sizes for ESPA's Nourishing Cleansing Balm. The small glass jar looks amazingly luxurious and I absolutely love the pattern on the lid! Unique, isn't it? This balm contains beeswax and just a small amount is massaged all over the skin, melting from the body heat on the skin, and it removes make up and other skin impurities before turning into a rich cream once mixed with water. It is so softening and relaxing on the skin and really helps it to feel fresh and purified. It also feels really supple and moisturised after using this, so if your skin is a little tight or dry here's a cleanser to try. I opted for the Essential Cleansing Mask in the only size available (55ml) and the product is a creamy soft clay that feels almost like an extremely rich moisturiser and this just completes the ultimate spa experience feeling - a generous layer is to be left on the skin for up to 20 minutes to help clear excess oils, impurities and congestion. It also contains antiseptic qualities to help heal and perfect any blemishes on the skin.

Pink Hair and Scalp Mud (15ml)
Refining Skin Polish (7ml)
Skin Radiance Mask (7ml)
Skin Radiance Moisturiser (7ml)

I thought it was a lovely touch that every order comes with four complimentary samples to trial, and in generous sizes too - all of the skincare comes in 7ml tubes, whilst the haircare was a larger 15ml tube. The Pink Hair and Scalp Mud is one that I opted for out of curiosity - it's not something I've seen before, but it's the only product from the bundle that I didn't feel extremely impressed by. The pink mud works on the scalp to nourish and soothe and stimulate hair growth as well as strengthening the hair. My hair didn't feel much different from using this, but then again I did only get two uses from it and it can be hard to tell from a sample that small. However, I have taken a particularly strong liking to the Skin Radiance Moisturiser recently and know I'll be buying the full size in the not too distant future. It's not just a fad tinted moisturiser to fake radiance, this actually treats the skin with Hawaiian algae to dissolve away dead skin cells and other ingredients to stimulate new skin cell renewal with extracts of mulberry and liquorice to brighten and even the skin tone. The Skin Radiance Mask contains very similar ingredients to the moisturiser and works in a very similar way; just it works in an intense 10 minute time period. The Refining Skin Polish (can you tell I'm on a radiance mission yet?) contains the finest grains of exfoliating magic that I have ever felt and really helps to buff away dead skin cells and clear out pores. It also contains shea butter to soften the skin.

The products are available from ESPA online with free delivery on orders over £40, and also in selected stores such as John Lewis and Liberty.

Thanks for reading!

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* £30 voucher c/o ESPA provided part-payment for these products.

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