16 Apr 2014

Maybelline Matte Maker Powder Review


I picked the new Maybelline Matte Maker Powder up on a whim when I needed a new face powder. It was only £4 and seemed to be a blatant copy of Rimmel's Stay Matte (which I like but don’t love) down to the lack of mirror and powder puff too. That is unfortunately where the comparisons end. 

I put it on first thing on a morning with my usual make up look, over my foundation. It applied well but the colour was a little too light. I cursed myself for not going darker but they had not had the good grace to provide testers so I could try the colour out on my hand (I looked at both Boots and Superdrug) I went for 20 Nude Beige which was second to lightest as I still have my winter skin tone.  This was not a good choice, it is still very light. The texture is not as smooth as my L'Oreal True Match but not terrible, it did however leave me looking decidedly powdered rather than just matte. Fast Forward one hour and low and behold my shine was back. I didn't even get back from the school run before this needed touching it.  It promises to keep you matte with it's special oil absorbing formula, I think they may need to work on this claim.

I am now deciding whether to return this. I have done that before with a mascara that did nothing that it promised on it's packaging and Boots were happy to exchange it for me. I feel like some beauty companies are happy to promise the world with no come uppance and sometimes a point needs to be made. According to your consumer rights if a product is not "fit for purpose" then you have every right to return it.  Now I guess you can say that with beauty products that they can't work for everyone, but I figure a mattifying powder that doesn't keep you Matte is a pretty basic fail.

What do you think? Have you ever returned anything that didn’t deliver on it’s promises?

14 Apr 2014

10 Random Facts About Me

I believe that every person has a story, and something worth sharing with the world. My life is a big string of contradictions, none of it makes sense in a linear way and seems like a load of random events just chucked together.  I have a ridiculous need for change in my life and so have had many homes (28 so far), jobs and relationships.  I have however been with my husband for 10 years now though, I figured we will just change together.

These are the things that tend to surprise people when they find them out about me.

1) I am a bit of a petrol head.

My dad used to do Rally Car Racing, Banger Racing and Grass Tracking when I was growing up, he also worked as a Mechanic.  I spent a staggering amount of time around cars when I was a child and this has obviously rubbed off on me.
Strangely though, I didn't pass my test till I was 27.   I lived in central London when I went to university and then in Canary Wharf when I got a job, so there was never a need for a car. When my first child was born, I refused to try and do the buggy/bus tango.  It took me 5 attempts to pass it, but only 10 lessons, I figured that driving lessons at £20 a go represented bad value in comparison to a test at £45 where there was a chance I could pass and be done with it all. I have been driving for 7 years now and still drive like a boy racer most of the time, I am always making resolutions to Slow Down but I enjoy it so much, and now I have a car that can keep up with me, the temptation is too hard to bear.  My car currently does 0-60 in 6.5 seconds.  zoooooom.

2) I lived in a caravan for 3 years whilst my parents built our house.

My parents had quite a few grand ideas when I was growing up, and life was never boring (nor stress-free) They decided to build the home of their dreams on a plot of land in a sleepy rural village. It ended up taking 3 years due to planning issues and so we lived in 2 static caravans (like the ones you get a holiday parks) joined together by a make-shift bridge.

Me and a pile of washing, check out those curtains!

My brother with the house completed

3) I have a randomly large IQ.

I was a bit "disruptive" in class when I was younger and the child psychologist gave my parents a diagnosis of superior intelligence.  Cue me appearing on Kilroy, joining Mensa, being in the paper and various other brainy activities to follow.  As a guide I test somewhere between 142 and 132 which is on the top bracket of most scales and in the top 1% of the population but I'm no Carol Vorderman or Stephen Hawking. Although I did well in life I don't think my high IQ is any where near as useful as people make it out to be.  It set me apart from my friends in school (which I rebelled against) and I now value common sense much more highly.  I make some outstandingly bad decisions at times and my IQ hasn't saved me from any of them. It is handy for sudoku and other pointless time wasting puzzles though.

Graduation Day at The Barbican in London - A long time coming due to some of my spectacularly bad decisions

4) I travelled around Southeast Asia on my own for 3 months.

I don't think this is a particularly strange thing to do, but some of my friends do.  I think they feel it is dangerous to travel alone, I just figure I would probably kill someone/anyone if I had to spend 3 months straight with them.  I loved this time, but it wasn't all beaches and cocktails as I was on a ridiculously tight budget.  I learnt a lot though and saw some amazing things.  I will be encouraging my children to do the same when they are old enough, I was 22.

Me with a group of friends I met on Bottle Beach in Koh Phangnan - Thailand (must stand up straight)

5) I am a Feminist

This has become a bit of a dirty word recently, implying that I don't shave and berate men.  This couldn't be less true for me, I write a beauty blog FFS.  I also LOVE men, most of my best friends from 18-30 were men, only recently have a begun to get on better with women.  I do however think the media portrays women terribly and we are under-respresented in every field in life.  I thinks the skills and talents that we have to offer are undervalued and mens preferences and skills are overplayed.

6)  I am ridiculously English

My Uncle researched my family tree a while back, so I dug in to his findings with relish expecting to find exciting and interesting foreign people in my past.  It turns out however to be much more mundane than that.  My ancestors come from the North of England all the way back to Tudor times. My Maiden name apparently means "from Statham" which is near Chester. Boring much!

7) I am a Stepmother

I became a step mum when I was 25 and it wasn't easy, as you can probably imagine.  I also had my first baby when I was 27, which is in no way young, but it definitely felt it at the time. Nearly 10 years on and it is better but will always be challenging.  It is ridiculously hard to balance bringing up a child between two homes.  My husband has always done his best to keep access to his daughter and so she has lived between us and her mother in at least a 50/50 split since birth.  She goes to school Monday to Friday from our house with our other children and I think we have done as best as we could at getting the balance right.  It is so hard as someone always feels left out, whether it her mother, father, herself, me, the grandparents, or our kids.  I am stepchild myself though so I think I am pretty realistic about what to expect.

I felt so young when I had my first child as my friends were still all partying.

The Kiddies, they're a bit older now

8) I am obsessed by food.

I don't think this is that rare, but still I am not one of those women, who say "I just forgot to eat."  I cook most things from scratch and love doing overly complicated Michelin star dishes from cookbooks.  My favourite chefs are Jamie Oliver, Ina Garten and Marcus Wareing.  I tried out for Masterchef, I got through to the last round before TV (which actually turned out to be  a good things as I hate seeing myself on video).
I am not really into sweets, I eat biscuits or chocolate with a cup of tea but I rarely order or make a dessert. I eat most things except, liquorice (blleeuugghhh) and slimy shell fish (whelks, cockles etc...) I am the proud owner of a fish kettle, potato ricer, mandolin and sausage maker.

Mmmmm Food!

9) I lost 5 stone once.

This follows on nicely from the previous post, my fascination with food obviously leads me to eat it, a lot.  This in turn leads me to put on weight.  When I was 21 I weighed 15st 7. I had only gotten large since going to university ( I was very active before this) and so found it very difficult. Over the course of 5 months I lost 5 stone.  I didn't do it the healthy way, I drank heaps of coffee, and only ate dinner every day, but it did work.  It changed everything for me.  I went from being a size 18 to a size 10 and I got a lot of male attention (mostly insincere) My weight loss taught me how much women are valued by their looks, it was a real eye opener I'm not sure whether I liked it or hated it, I'm still not.  I lost 3 stone again after the birth of my last child and I am now a size 14 and have been for 3 years. I find this weight relatively easy to maintain and also pretty easy to dress and still look nice as I am 5 foot 7, so quite tall.

The 2nd time I lost weight - I lost 3 stone
My current weight and size I weigh 12st7 and am a size 14

10) I used to own a nappy laundry

After having my first child I didn't want to go back to work in Banking so I set up an eco friendly business to bridge the gap in my earnings.  I lived in southwest London and there was no service providing real nappies so I set one up myself.  I can't say it was easy because it wasn't, owning your own business is as hard as everyone says it is, but it enabled me to see my children grow up. It is also not the most glamorous job washing nappies, I used to wash, dry and fold 2000 nappies every week. I sold it after the birth of my 3rd child as I knew I wouldn't have the time, and luckily I no longer needed the income.  I am pretty "green" in most things I do, though I couldn't give a toss about organic food or cosmetics, just money for old rope in my opinion. I do however recycle like mad, never waste things, have a hybrid car and try to buy only what I need.  I currently moderate our local freecycle group too so I still try to do my bit.

Well that was a lot of information.  Most of it more personal than I intended at the start of the post, it was supposed to be a light hearted look at the more bizarre aspects of my life but instead I think you actually got a post that most of my friends would say shows me quite accurately.


6 Apr 2014

March Favourites

Wow, that went quick!

Here's what I've been loving this month.


Eve Lom Cleansing Balm - £85!

About 10 years ago this was THE cult beaty product, but it seems to have fallen out of favour when Liz Earle created a cheaper version.  I can't believe I forgot how good this is.  Lovely texture for massaging and strangely comforting smell, I have broken out the muslins (of which there are many due to multiple kiddies) and my skin is much smoother because of this hideously over-priced cleansing balm. Here is a smaller one at Feel Unique, it has doubled in price since I last purchased it!

MUA Undress Me Too Palette - £4.00

No surprises here, see this post for me waxing lyrical. I find myself reaching for this at least every other day along with my trusty Revlon "attitude" quad.  I like the sheen that these shades give, they are suitable for everyday wear, my only bug bear is their staying power but this could be due to my skin.  To combat this I regularly apply over a base coat of Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Permanent Taupe.

La Roche Posay Cicaplast Hand Cream - £6.50

I have covered this in my Hand Cream Round Up post.  This has really helped with my super dry hands, I think mainly because I have forced it into my routine by applying it both morning and night after cleansing, so I don't forget it.

Phyto 7 cream "Or" Hydrating Day Cream - £13.50

I had my hair professionally highlighted this month (OMG! real hairdressers!) and so it is somewhat similar to straw so I cracked out the big guns, and tried this classic hair treat. So glad I did, my hair feels back to usual now (well at least while it's on it does.)  I love the gold packaging and you just need a pea sized amount on your hair after washing and before styling.  It doesn't weigh down fine hair and helps my hair look less frizzy at the ends. It is not super cheap but nor is it top end prices either.  I got it as part of a travel kit of Phyto products including a makeup bag for £12.99, which was a stellar deal but it is normally £13.50.  


Non beauty

Web- Caroline Hirons site

A reader recommended this site to me (thanks you Diane!) Such a lot of info, so few hours in the day. I like her no-nonsense attitude even if some of her points I disagree with, her skin does look though. I have been trying out her routine for about 2 weeks now, it's hard to say whether there have been any improvement. So far I have noticed softer skin, but also more oil.  I am going to stick with it for at least a month though so I can see how it fairs over a full cycle.  For newbies to her site I recommend starting with the cheat sheets.

TV - American Horror Story Series 3 - Coven

I loved the scone series of this too.  The acting is top notch, it looks beautiful and has great story lines.  I like how each series has the same actors, but as different characters and in a different setting. It raises a lot of questions about racism and women's appearances, so not just some Hollywood tripe.  It also stars Jessica Lange, Gibourey Sidibe and Kathy Bates!


Food - Granola and Yoghurt.  

I have had to stop eating this as it feels so healthy, but it isn't!  I get the creamy Greek Natural Yoghurt from Lidl (£1 for 4) the yoghurt is really creamy yet tart, perfection!  I also use Lidl's crunchy oat cereal with tropical fruit (it got a Grocers award for taste). I put it in a french glass yoghurt pot, and it looks so cute, this also stops me eating too much.  I could eat this for every breakfast and every snack, I must stop, not good for the waist or my teeth.


Well that's me for this month, It was really hard limiting my choices as I have tried lots of new things this month but I only wanted to cover those I could honestly hand on heart recommend.

3 Apr 2014

TAG: Spring Beauty 2014

The lovely Sarah over at Seriously Shallow tagged me for this Spring Beauty Post.  I had been suffering with Bloggers Block, so this was just the push I needed to write a post.

1. Do you change your makeup when Spring arrives? If so, how?

I love to get the chance to change my look, I move to more coral lips and cheeks, my favourites are Coralista from Benefit and Revlon lip butter in juicy papaya. There is great Coralista dupe from Beauty UK called Rustic Peach it is only £2.99. I love that it brings a lovely warmth to your skin, it does have gold flecks though so maybe not for everyone.

I often go for a more dewy foundation look (not the easiest to pull off on my already "dewy" skin.) I have just repurchased the Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation to aid me in my transition. I'm currently mixing shade 53 with my Revlon Colorstay in Nude to make the right shade. It's so much easier in winter as my skin stays pale for about 3 months straight, but in Spring, Summer and Autumn my skin changes every week!

2. What’s your favourite Spring fragrance?

Flower Bomb by Victor and Rolf (cheap here), so pretty and flowery.  It’s a really fresh, girly fragrance, I can’t say my Husband particularly likes it (even though he bought it for me!), but you can’t please everyone.


3. What’s going to be your favourite accessory this Spring?

This necklace from Dorothy Perkins, it goes with nearly everything in my wardrobe yet doesn’t look too over the top.  Did I mention it only cost £2 in the sale! 


I'm currently wanting to get this when I get "paid" next week.  I love the colour and it's not to big, lis at £12.50 it won't leave me skint.

5. What are your Top 3 favourite Spring nail polishes?

  • Berry M Gelly in Papaya, I have this on at the moment and it’s such a nice colour (it is actually better on tanned skin, but I’m living in hope.)
  • Essie - Mademoiselle - most boring choice ever but it’s a classic for a good reason.  Looks clean and fresh without making your skin and cuticles look dirty in comparison.
  • 2 True - Shade 3 - this is a cheap and it isn't amazing on it's own, but with a decent base, and Seche Vite on top, it's a great happify-me colour.


6. Do you prefer pumps or sandals in Spring?

Both, whichever go with the outfit, I actually wore sandals today as the thermometer hit 18, but I will wear a pump if that is what is called for. I am a bit if a fan of sparkly ballerina flats (grey goes with everything) or white plimsolls (Dunlop Green Flash are my plimsoll of choice as converse are only for those with small feet, plus I like the more skater look) in spring too. My most worn shoes has to be these black suede wedges, I get a lot of compliments on them (God knows why? they are just neutral shoes that go with everything)

7. What’s your favourite Spring Jacket?

I have actually just ordered this new one from La Redoute as again I am bored to death of my winter coats and they are just too bulky. It was only £38.50 and it's not too bad.  The waist is a little high for my liking, but it is great to fling on over a dresses or skinny jeans to smarten up the look without being overly warm. Most importantly it has no buttons (even writing the words makes me feel a bit sick!) I would talk about my hatred of all things not zips but I detest them so much, I'm afraid you will just have to take my crazy word for it)

8. What’s your favourite flower?

Lilies -  I adore them, and unlike many, I love the smell too.  I know they are meant to be funeral flowers but...I had hundreds at my wedding. I spent over £1000 (wholesale prices) at New Covent Garden Market on flowers and transported them all the way down to Cornwall where a family friend (who is a florist) and a large collection of my nearest and dearest arranged their hearts out for 2 days so I could have the flowers I wanted.  So very grateful to them.  

I'm terrible at the re-tagging part of these TAG's..what happens if people don't want to do it???

Oh well, here we go.  I tag, Kerry Just Beauty and the lovely ladies at Agent Smyth.

31 Mar 2014

Hand Cream Round Up

I have kids, I have 3 kids, one is only 3; therefore I spend A LOT of time cleaning, so my hands are dreadful.  I know I should wear gloves while cleaning, but I should also not snack between meals, or drive above the speed limit, but I still do.

So... I am always on the lookout for any cream that stops my hands looking like a Somali riverbed in a drought.

I have tried many, many wonderful potions from hemp cream to Clarins.  Not many are really up to the job, but here is my humble opinion on all of the ones I have tried.


  • Flexitol Hand Balm £5.10- This contains Urea (which is the main chemical in urine. nice!) it is really good but smells dreadful, reminiscent of old ladies in a care home. 5/5 for efficacy, 1/5 for usability because of the pong.
  • E45 Cream £2.39 - Everyone with kids has some of these supposed wonder cream lurking around, I can't see it's appeal, maybe if you have super sensitive skin. 2/5
  • Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector £5.00 - This stuff is amazing, it is so good at repairing chapped hands that even my Dad uses it.  Again the smell isn't it's strong point, but at least it's better than Flexitol. 4/5
  • Body Shop Wild Rose Hand Cream £5.00 - Royally pants, this stuff has a pleasant old fashioned scent but it is so watery, it even slides off my hand whilst I am replacing the cap, and does nothing for your hands. 1/5 (just because it has SPF 15
  • Nivea Cream £1.49  the stuff in a blue tub - Again I really dislike this, it is in no way moisturising enough, I can not ever imagine putting this on my face! 0/5
  • Neutrogena norwegian formula, concentrated £3.68 - This is almost impossible to rub in, it takes some serious elbow grease, and on the subject of grease leaves an unpleasant film on your skin.  I does do what it says it does though so 3/5
  • Clarins Hand and Nail Cream £21.00 - I really like this, it smells great, moisturises well and has a lovely texture that sinks in fast.  The only downside is obviously it's price £21 seriously!!! 4/5
  • Soap and Glory Hand Food £5.00 - I have several bottles of this easy to apply, great smelling hand cream.  It sinks in quickly and does a good job but it doesn't last past the next hand wash and is more of a quick fix 3.5/5
  • Molton Brown Hand Lotion Naran Ji - £20 - I absolutely love the smell of this and it absorbs super quick but like the soap and glory it is more of a quick fix, the smell is divine though (and has been renamed Orange and Bergamot) 3/5 due to price
  • Derma Guard Skin Protector £5.99 - The main function of this is a barrier cream which means you apply it before doing tasks that would damage your hands (gardening washing up etc...) it works great at what it is designed for but only survives about 2 or 3 hand washes (which equates to about 30 mins for me) I always have it in though for when I am doing things that would really attack my hands. 4/5
  • Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream - £26 - this is too greasy for use on my hands as they remain slippy after application, but I love this for my cuticles, elbows, heels and lips, it reminds me of Kiehls lip balm. 3.5/5
  • Sanctuary Hand Cream - £3 - Again I love the smell, and always have this around as a nice pick me up in my handbag but it is quite a bog standard formula nothing special 3.5/5
  • La Roche Posay Cicaplast  -£6 - My new Hold Grail Hand Cream.  I apply this after cleansing my face both morning and night and the benefits last a good few hours.  It is easily absorbed has no smell and really sorts your hands out.  If it had a gorgeous smell it would get a 5/5 but for now a 4.5/5 will have to do

See, I told you I have tried a lot, I have had even more hand creams than buggies, and I have had 6 of them.

It may sound like I do nothing but wash my hands but I love to cook so I have to wash my hands all the time when doing that and with a dog, 3 kids, a large house and garden, I am kept pretty busy with housework.

I can only honestly recommend 2 of them for efficacy, the rest may smell nice, have cute packaging or feel nice to put on, but they are intended for people who work in offices not people who limescale remove showers and clean up after mini people.  If you have ever have the joy of washing and sterilizing bottles, only you can understand the utter ruin it can reek on your hands.

The conclusion has to be La Roche Posay Cicaplast or The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector.

Has anyone else tried as many hand creams and have some recommendations?

28 Mar 2014

Travel Beauty Kit

Yeah! nearly the weekend. I have a Christening to attend this weekend, which means travel and therefore travel beauty.

I have meant to do one of these posts in ages, but couldn't figure out how to get a photo of the copious amount of beauty paraphernalia I take, without it looking like clear-out day at the Cats Protection League Charity Shop.

Unfortunately I have not actually fixed the previous issue I was having and so you will be treated to me and my most cack-handed attempts at photographing my kit.

I spent a good hour fiddling around in my bedroom figuring out what to take (whilst watching Youtube videos) and I reckon this should cover most eventualities.

My new Travel Wash Bag is packed to overflowing with travel sized goodies, and rather than list them all out and bore you to tears, I will let you have a visual scrabble around and see what I have taken.  A lot of these things are my second best items or ones that are nearly finished, very few of them are must haves.


This photo is so poor, none of the labels are even facing up!  Obviously there are boring things like cotton pads and buds, earplugs, eye mask, shower cap (gotta love a bit of granny chic) deodorant, brush, razor, toothbrush etc...

I have stolen the MUA palette in Undress Me Too from my £30 Bargain Make Up look along with the foundation, powder and mascara.  This is because the products are really that good and I am enjoying using them so much that I refuse to leave them behind at the moment.  In addition I have taken;-

  • Urban Decay De-slick - I always take this when my makeup has to last, I don't know if it works but the placebo effect reassures me.  
  • Clinique Pore Minimiser - this is slightly tinted and siliconey, but it gives a smooth base for foundation application
  • Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blush in Flush - this is really long lasting and such a pretty colour 
  • Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Permanent Taupe - great base for my eye look and can be used on brows too
  • Benefit High Beam - got in a set, just the right size for a travelling highlighter
  • Revlon Lip Butter in Juicy Papaya - still obsessed, sorry

I only really need 5 brushes to achieve most looks (see this post for more info) so I just added on an eyebrow comb, black eyeliner and my new La-tweez tweezers.  The tweezers are seriously good for the £5 I paid in TK Maxx.  My last 2 pairs were Space NK  and Tweezerman (both £20 a go), but when one of my little darling lost them for me, I decided to give a cheaper pair a go.  These have lovely handles too, they came with a travel case and are great for detail work!

So there you have it.  I have also taken my ladybird paddle brush too but it doesn't fit in either of my cosmetics bags, so is just dumped un-ceremoniously in with my undies.

Feel free to sign up with Bloglovin above for more inane ramblings

25 Mar 2014

Most Effective & Cheapest Beauty Tip Ever

If there was only one tip I could pass on to every woman I know, it would be this.

Take the time to use all the items you already own.

It is so simple you can do it now.

Take the time to pamper yourself with the items already in your home. You will notice the difference immediately and what's better won't have spent anything at all.  Instead of searching for the latest "it" products, use what you have. Paint your nails, moisturise your hands before bed, use the divine smelling body lotions and take the time to style your hair.

As you can see from my previous de-cluttering post, I am more than guilty of not doing this, but it's easier to buy something new and believe you will use it, than to actually go find your unloved products and use them.

I guarantee you'll feel better and people will notice too.

That is it.

24 Mar 2014

Why I Love Retinol & Indeed Labs Retinol Reface Review

I'm sure I have mentioned it before but I love a good retinol cream.  I love how much difference it can make to sun-damaged skin.  What I love most though is that there is actual, real tangible scientific evidence that it works.  Most skin creams on the market are a jumbled up mess of misinformation and blatant lies. Retinol however works, like really works. It's a fact!

There are 2 types of what is commonly called Retinol.  True Retinol is actually called Retinoic Acid or Tretinoin (marketing as Retin A) and is an extremely potent acne and anti wrinkle treatment. It is  prescription only as it's so strong that it can cause extreme peeling and redness if applied without following carefully prescribed plans.

The retinol that we can buy over the counter is a derivative which converts to retinoid acid when in contact with enzymes in your skin.  These derivatives can also cause severe irritation and don't suit everyone, you usually have to build up your use of them so that you don't look like you have just gotten badly sunburnt. These commercial versions come in many forms such as; Retinol Palmitate, Retinol Retinyl Acetate, Retinyl Linoleate and Hydroxypinacolone Retinol.

Reasons to Love Retinol

  • Increased collagen production - which makes skin more plump and tight
  • Decreased Pore Size - makes skin look more flawless and stops as many nasties creeping into your pores and clogging them
  • Reduced Wrinkles - not just the appearance of wrinkles, the actual wrinkles themselves.
  • Prevents Future damage by upping the levels of protective substances in your skin
  • Improved Skin Tone - evened out dark patches
  • Decreased Oil Production - Yeah! for me, but if you have dry skin you will need a good moisturiser.

Words of Caution

You must wear a sunscreen when using retinol otherwise it negates all the good effects. I always apply it at night so it doesn't get any access to UV.  You must also keep it in it's original packaging as the ingredients degrade if exposed to light or air, so no small pots for travel.  Retinol is also not suitable for those with Rosacea or Eczema.

How Does it Work?

As we age or get sun damage, or skin cells stop functioning correctly which creates wrinkles or acne. Retinol works by "telling" your cells to behave in the correct way. Retinols aren't chemical exfoliators even though they may cause peeling, they change the entire way the skin functions. It usually takes about 12 weeks to see any noticeable differences in your skin.

Indeed Labs Retinol Reface Review


My usual potion of choice is ROC Retinol Correxion, but I dislike the price, it usually comes in about the £25 mark.  However the Indeed Labs version is currently on offer at Boots and costs just £13.33.  This is actually annoying for me as I bought mine a few weeks ago and it cost £20.

My first impression is that I really like the packing, it is a pump on a tube so it's nice and compact.  It is really important that any retinol cream is shielded and air cannot get too it or it looses it's potency, so no clear bottles or jars.  The pump dispenses what I consider to be the right amount in each press.

The Retinol Reface claims to have 3 sorts of Retinol, yet only lists 2 and then another "retinol like" ingredient. Looking through the ingredients I can find these two - Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate and good old Retinol.  These derivative versions convert to Retinoic Acid on the skin and then they can start work.

The texture is creamy, as it is silicone based (which I know will not suit everyone.) It is fragrance free, so no unnecessary ingredients added and does not feel too thick on.  The cream sinks in quickly and leaves a matte finish, though I wear this at night so this is not essential

So far I am presently surprised as to the results, I will have to wait about 20 years to really know if it's working, but it keeps my fine lines at bay for now and hasn't caused any breakouts.

I have tried all the following creams and my favourites are the first two.

  • Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti Wrinkle - great but only available in US, can be bought on eBay though
  • ROC Retinol Correxion Night Cream - great but expensive
  • ROC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream - too mild
  • Boots No7 Protect and Perfect - too mild

Does anyone else use retinol creams, and have an suggestions for well priced ones?

19 Mar 2014

Help! I've left my makeup bag at home. Full Make Up Kit for £30

We've all done it, arrived at our destination to find we have left our carefully packed makeup bag on the dressing table at home.  Obviously you still need to look good, you've gone away for a reason, usually a wedding or party so no makeup isn't an option.  But neither is blowing £150 + to completely replace your existing kit.

This is what I would choose if stuck between the prospect of no make up and still having some money to enjoy the weekend/holiday . It is also useful for those of you just starting out on the slippery slope of wearing makeup, or looking for a fresh look.

You don't have to spend a lot to get a great result as it matters more about choosing well and finding the right colours than it does spending lots.  


Foundation - I have to go with Rimmel Match Perfection £6.99 It is one of my top 3 budget foundations anyway.  It gives a luminous soft finish and has a good colour choice. I often grab one of these when my skin is between shades so I can warm up or cool down an existing foundation (blends great with Revlon Colorstay as it extends the time you have till it sets).  This is a good foundation for both dry and oily skin, though it definitely needs powdering on the t-zone as it has a dewy finish.

Powder - Another Rimmel choice, their Stay Matte Powder at £3.99.  This is a a standard beauty blogger pick.  I use it in the shade "transparent", which although slightly too pale on my skin, works as a highlighter too, as I only powder my t-zone.  Minus points for lack of powder puff, so I have to invest in a brush, but I can at least use said brush for blusher and highlighting too.

Concealer - Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer in medium - £4.19  this is actually very light (I dread to think how light their other colours must be) so better suited to under eyes than blemish hiding, but can do both if you have pale skin  - I use this for my everyday face it's so good, 

Eyeshadow - MUA - Undress Me Too - £4, This is a high street dupe of Naked 2 by Urban Decay (check out the name).  I choose this as it has a good mix of matte shadows for use on brows and for lining, and sparkly ones for highlighting.  I use shadow as eyeliner anyway as I find it lasts longer and blends better.  The quality of these shadows is amazing, they are really soft and there is very little fall-out from the powder onto your cheeks.


Mascara - MUA Extreme Curl Mascara £2- This is amazing, it is very similar to Maybelline Great Lash.  I imagine if you need a mascara for volume primarily, you probably won't get on with this, but I prefer a lengthening mascara so I am majorly impressed for £2.  The applicator is curved and quite dainty so good for the lower lashes. 

Blusher - MUA Blush in Bubblegum - £1 - I use one of these on most days, they are highly pigmented with really cute colours, they are a bit annoying in that they create quite a bit of dust when used, but so do Benefit ones and they are 20 times the price!  Go steady as this stuff is potent.

Lip Colour - Maybelline - Baby Lips in Cherry £2.99 -  This isn't just a lip balm it's a lip colour too, it is buildable so just add more for a darker colour.  I would have chosen a Revlon Lip Butter, but at £7 a go, it will have to be these, I find these similar to Kiehl's Lip Balm as they give great shine without any tackiness, but they suffer from seriously naff packaging.

Eyeliner - MUA Intense Colour Eyeliner in Jet Black £1 Another top quality product from this budget line.  I use this to line my waterline with, but you could skip this step if you want to save a £1 or spend more on a lipstick.  The one in the picture is actually a different liner as I have lost my MUA one (bloody kids!)

Brsuh Set - Ecotools Mini Essential Brush Set £5.99 - I have a couple of their full size brushes and the quality is really good for the price, the fibres are super soft and they are good at getting the right amount of movement (or lack of it) in a brush. This set contains -
  • Powder brush (used for powder and then blush, and you can even highlight with the eyeshadow too) 
  • Eyeshadow Brush - Ecotool's brushes apply colour and blend well too, you will need to wipe between colours though, obviously!
  • Angled Liner Brush - to apply eyeliner, choose a dark shade from the palette and tight line your lashes and blend out with the eyeshadow brush or you can use a drop of water to make a more liquid consistency if you prefer cats eyes.  You can also use this to fill your brows using a suitable colour from the eyeshadow palette.

Total £30.19 (damn 19p over)

I applied the whole look yesterday and this is how it turned out. Not too bad for £30 including brushes, plus you'd get a few new items to add to your kit.  The only thing I'm not very happy with is the brows, maybe I could use hairspray or something to fix them better and use more colour.

The best buy has to be MUA Undress Me Too palette, this is an absolutely great little palette, and ideal if you have Urban Decay Naked but still want to try Naked 2. 

13 Mar 2014

Before Pinterest and Blogging

What did we all do in the 90's when the internet was just something you used at school, and mobiles were pointless because no-one else had one?

We kept notebooks of style inspiration (I say we, but really only crazy people like me did).  I found these the other day whilst sorting out. The first 3 shots are from when I was 19 (so 1998) and the later ones from when I was 22 (around 2001)

It was funny looking back at my style 15 years ago, also at stars style back then.  I don't think mine has actually evolved all that much!

I even used to do my own note taking! I knew that my obsession with beauty products wasn't normal. Thank God beauty blogging was born!

I was a bit hippy/surfer girly when I was younger.

Love my use of good-old pen on paper here, need to keep this next to my dresser.