UK Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

November 30, 2012

REVIEW: Macadamia Healing Oil Spray

After introducing a new conditioner into my hair care regime and noticing the effects it had I thought that I'd treat my hair to an oil, replacing my usual cheap and cheerful leave-in conditioning spray. I hadn't tried any of the Macadamia range before trying this Healing Oil Spray so I didn't really know what to expect in the quality of the product or the effects that it would have on my hair. 

I've been seriously wowed by the instant and long lasting effects of this oil. It adds shine, softness and manageability to my hair (which in this season is a big ask). All you have to do is spray it quite sparingly on the ends and even more sparingly on the mid lengths of damp, towel dried hair before styling. I don't blow dry my hair so I don't know how it works with heat but when I let my hair dry by itself it just really helps to keep my hair sleek and under control. It's even had an effect on my split ends- I usually get quite a few between hair cuts but my hair has been in great condition lately and I put this down to adding this into my routine.

I know that the Macadamia range isn't all that cheap but I picked this up (along with the Macadamia leave-in cream) for just £19 from BuyaPowa so it is definitely worth keeping an eye out for offers like this. I've also seen a lot of Macadamia products in my local TK Maxx but even there this 125ml bottle was still quite costly at just over £20. I do, however, think that this is worth every penny as it leaves your hair amazingly soft, nourished and you don't need to use very much at all so even a 60ml bottle [£12.95 from FeelUnique] would last you a long time. I'm going to be trialling the Macadamia leave-in cream next and I have really high hopes for that too, it has the same scent as the oil which is a little odd but in a good,  sweet (nutty I suppose!) sort of way.

Do you use a hair oil? If so what do you use and how is it? I'm keen to try some of the Morrocon Oil range now to see how it stands up against this!


November 28, 2012

BEAUTY BARGAIN: Laidbare Butter Me Up Organic Shea Body Butter

Now this is a sticker that I like to see in TK Maxx! Especially on a 250ml tub of Shea Body Butter that hasn't been tested on animals, that's free of synthetic colours and fragrances and doesn't contain any parabens. The box was pretty battered but the tub inside was unopened so I whipped this off the shelf and have never looked back! (Again, I have to lay all the thanks for me even thinking of buying this on the lovely Evelyn from We Were Raised By Wolves as her positive review of the Laidbare cleanser inspired a whole array of Laidbare purchases on my part.)

This body butter is rich in Vitamin C and also contains Organic Shea Butter, Rosehip Oil and Avocado Oil. It is basically a pot packed full of ingredients which are all designed to intensely moisturise dry skin and as it isn't full of chemicals it is suitable for sensitive skin.

I've been using this for daily for just over a week now and I just love it. The scent of this is fantastically  but still naturally, sweet and fresh and reminds me of 'Fizzers' sweets that I used to eat when I was a child. This body butter is really thick but absorbs a LOT quicker than the Body Shop Body Butters that I've used previously which makes it a lot more convenient to use as I can put it on right before bed and even (albeit with a less liberal hand) in the morning without fearing that it's going to get on my bed or clothes. 

I'd gotten through about half a tub of this over the course of a week but I had been using this all over me at least once a day and sometimes twice (using a bit more in the mornings on my hands, arms and neck). It leaves your skin absolutely baby soft and the softness and moisturisation lasts very well, which is quite an achievement given how my skin has been reacting to the weather and central heating lately. Tragedy struck last night though when I was half way through applying this and I knocked the tub off my desk sending it spraying body butter all over my carpet :( I lost quite a lot of product which really annoyed me, but I guess this highlight's the major downside of buying products that come in tubs like this!

And here's a list of ingredients!

This body butter normally costs £11.99 online here and here. I think in comparison to the Body Shop Body Butters this is a lot better quality for a similar price and I personally find the scent of this beyond delectable- if I could smell like this everyday that would be more than okay by me! I would definitely repurchase this and if you see this in a discount store such as TK Maxx snap that baby up because I don't think you'll be disappointed- for me, at just £3, this was one of the best value purchases I've made in ages.

Do you have a favourite body butter? 



November 25, 2012

BEAUTY BARGAIN: Laidbare Spot the Difference

So, as you can see from my photo, I didn't pick this box up when it was in its best condition! I found this product (along with a few others from the same brand) in TK Maxx last week after reading a review by Evelyn, from We Were Raised By Wolves, of Laidbare's Two in One Cleanser and Toner. Her rave review of this product put me on the lookout for Laidbare products and did encourage me to give the brand a try. I have also bought the Cleanser that she reviewed which I'm sure I'll be writing about shortly, but today's review is of this amazing spot treatment cream.

The above photo is of one side of the box which lays out what the product claims to do and how! I liked that the spot fighting ingredients are all natural, that this product hasn't been tested on animals and that as it is free of synthetic fragrance and colour it is less likely to aggravate my sensitive skin. 

This range is specifically for oily/combination skin (ding! that's me!) and my skin has been heavily on the side of combination lately with dry cheeks and an overly oily t-zone. I don't usually get spots but I have been battling some just above my lip and on my chin lately, well, that was until I introduced this bad-boy into my skin care regime. You put it on any areas that you'd like to target after your usual cleansing routine and before you moisturise. I've been using this with a pretty heavy hand in the evenings and then using it a lot more subtly in the morning just to maximise on the effect.

After the first use my spots were noticeably less raised and less red- immediately easier to cover up with foundation and concealer if that had been my aim. Continued use did not continue the improvement at such a rapid rate but over a few days they have disappeared, which naturally I was still pleased with. The only downside is that this product does dry out the skin quite considerably so if you are aiming to cover up the areas you're using it on with make-up you have to be prepared to deal with the dry skin or else see flaky make-up.

List of ingredients- sorry it's a bit fuzzy!

I picked this up for £4 in TK Maxx but it is normally £6.99 online from a variety of websites such as or Even full price I would definitely repurchase this as I felt it did work (although not as quickly as some people might want) but I just love the ingredients and that despite the thickness of the cream it really does absorb well into the skin.

What's your go-to product for when you have a breakout?  And have any of you tried any Laidbare products, if so what did you think of them? 



November 23, 2012

REVIEW: L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil

Last week I attended the Marie Claire Event at my local L'Occitane Store in Leeds where I made sure to test it out this product (along with some of the other Almond products) as I've been keen to buy them for a while. Long story short, when this range was used on my skin the delicate scent and moisturisation was a combination that I just fell in love with. Since then I've been indulging my skin by using this oil daily in the shower and it is just gorgeous! On contact with warm water it transforms into what is described on the reverse of the bottle as a "delicate foam" that cleanses without drying the skin out. It also leaves a very light almond scent lingering on the skin that you can enhance by following up with the use of other almond products, such as the Almond Milk Concentrate

After daily use of this oil my dry 'Winter' skin has been transformed without even picking up a tub of moisturiser! In addition, as it states on the bottle, it really does make a superb shaving oil. I've used this a couple of times when I've shaved my legs and not only does it improve the smoothness of shaving but it also stops skin from feeling dry or tight afterwards. 

This is quite an expensive product but it does go very far as you don't need much of it to cover your entire body, and even less if you're going to use this just as a shaving oil. Now that I've started using this I'm absolutely hooked, I really can't stress how much I like this. I bought it as part of the Delightful Almond Collection (which cost me £48) and the main bonus of getting the Almond Shower Oil as part of this collection is that it comes in a 500ml pump bottle which is incredibly shower-friendly and makes it really easy not to waste product. You can buy this Shower Oil in a 250ml bottle for £16.50 but it doesn't come with a pump dispenser. I'm sure the 500ml bottle is available out of the Gift Set but it isn't currently on L'Occitane's website.

Have you tried any L'Occitane products that you've fallen in love with? Or do you know of a shower oil that you love as much as I love this one? 


November 21, 2012

Whiter teeth on a Student Budget: Pearl Drops, Arm and Hammer and Beverly Hills Formula

I’ve been using a trio of tooth whitening products for over a month now to see if it is possible for people on a student budget like me to get brighter, whiter teeth. I know a month may sound like a long time to those who want instant results, but a lot of the more affordable whitening options work gradually so these are the ones I’ve been trialling.

I've mentioned Pearl Drops Beauty Sleep before and I've actually been using it ever since I wrote that post. It is essentially a minty gel that you rub onto your teeth and gums right before you go to bed and you leave it on overnight for maximum effect. You can, however, just leave it on for half an hour if you’re not a fan of sleeping with it on. This product is great because it’s easy to use, it isn’t obnoxiously minty and it is very purse friendly costing £3.49 for 30 days worth of product. I’d highly recommend this product and I’ve actually bought another tube already as I've really enjoyed using and have definitely noticed the difference it has made to the appearance of my teeth.

The second product that I’ve added into my routine is Arm and Hammer’s Advance White Baking Soda Toothpaste Booster which is a bicarbonate of soda toothpaste ‘top up’. Celebrities such as Julia Roberts have said that their Hollywood white smiles are a result of using bicarbonate of soda on their teeth so this is a brilliant affordable way of using a celebrity trick for a purse friendly price. All you have to do is use your regular toothpaste and add a small blob of this on top of it before you brush your teeth. This way you get all the whitening effects but you can buy whatever toothpaste is on offer/any free tube you manage to pick up when you go home! This is incredibly mild tasting so it’s perfect for those of you out there who dislike strong minty tastes. Arm and Hammer's Advance White Baking Soda Toothpaste Booster costs £3.49 and is available in Superdrug or Boots and will last you quite a while (definitely longer than the other two products). 

Lastly, I’ve been using Beverly Hill’s Formula Total Breath Whitening Mouth Wash. This is my least favourite of the three products as it has an incredibly strong mouthwash taste which I’m not partial to. You only have to use this for a minute at a time so it doesn’t cost you much extra time but it is another very affordable addition to your daily routine that could help you whiten your teeth. This costs £3.49  from Superdrug and will last you a month  or so.

So together these three products would cost you a maximum of £10.47 (but keep an eye out for half price offers as these products are often reduced in price), and I can honestly say that after over four weeks of using all three together my teeth have whitened considerably and my smile looks a lot brighter because of it. My teeth were quite white before hand as well as I’m not a coffee, tea or red wine drinker so if you have stained teeth anyway I can imagine these products will make a great deal of difference.

Hope this is helpful for those of you who are considering picking up any gradual teeth whitening options! If you know of any other affordable tooth whitening gems then please do let me know about them in a comment :)



November 20, 2012

REVIEW: MUA Clear Mascara

I actually bought this mascara not to use on my eyelashes but to replace my current Brow taming gel as I'd read a couple of blog posts about people who'd tried this out.

However, to cut to the chase, if like me this is what you're after then don't buy this mascara! It's really heavy and gel like on eyebrows and just doesn't work at all how I would have liked it to. It doesn't help them keep their shape for very long at all and it is a lot mote gel-like and gloopy than other similar products I've tried have been. 

I also tried this on my lashes and it just didn't do very much. I remember using clear mascara as a teenager (as I wasn't meant to wear mascara to school so this was like 'invisible' make-up) and I think it was a Miss Sporty or Rimmel version and it was great. This clear mascara, however, doesn't add any length, volume OR curl, it just disappointed me all round. I think the brush is to blame here as it is really plastic-y and just doesn't catch all the lashes very well. 

I know that this mascara is only £1, from Superdrug stores or online on the MUA website, so I shouldn't expect too much from it but other £1 MUA products are great (like their lipsticks) so I was disappointed that this was as bad as it was. A cheap mistake of mine but not one that you need to make! 

Do you know any good quality clear mascaras I could try?



November 19, 2012

REVIEW: Lush's Snow Globe Soap

Snow Globe is one of Lush's Christmas soaps and this was another treat that my flatmate bought for me. I've seen it in store and by chance had taken a photo so I thought I'd include it so you know what to look out for because my particular block of soap isn't as exciting as the display looks!

Lush's Snow Globe Soap 100g, £2.95*

My block looks a lot duller in all the photos that I've taken of it than it does in real life. It is a lovely green-blue colour and has a very refreshing lemongrass scent which you just don't initially expect as the colour of it (for me anyway) is so strongly associated with mint. I really like it though, I think it smells really entrancing- you don't really want to stop sniffing it once you start. It's definitely a soap made for the morning as it is quite citrus-y and that 'zing' is lovely and invigorating. My only gripe with this particular soap is that it doesn't foam up as well as some of the other Lush Soaps I've tried and it isn't particularly moisturising. The moisturising aspect is more a personal problem that I have with it, as especially during this time of year I need any extra moisturisation I can get. 

Overall though, the quality of this soap is great and the scent is perfect for people who like lemongrass or citrus. I personally wouldn't repurchase this for myself but I would buy it as a gift for someone if I knew they liked this sort of scent as (despite its lack lustre appearance in my photo- sorry!) it's a lovely, bright (unisex) shade and for some of us *cough* me *cough* prettiness can make up for certain small flaws. 

Have you tried any of Lush's Christmas products? What are your favourites?



November 16, 2012

What I've been up to this week: Mystery Jets at the Cockpit in Leeds

I'm a massive fan of live music and I went to see Mystery Jets on Monday so I thought I'd take a couple of photos of how I did my make-up / hair etc. I had to go straight from Uni out so I opted for something that wouldn't look out of place during the day, a (very messy) side fishtail plait and quite simple make-up, mainly just liquid liner, lip stain and blusher.

I can only apologise for the awkward fingerprints on my mirror! I wasn't expecting to take any photos as this was a spur of the moment idea. I'm wearing a New Look skirt, it's quite long but I still like it, with a vest tucked in and a cardigan. It isn't that exciting but I could get away with wearing it to seminars and the library as well as when I went out afterwards. 5 points if you can spot the Primark starry pyjamas hiding in the background, haha. 

These are a couple of the photos I took of Mystery Jets playing. I went to see them in Cockpit which is one of my favourite venues in Leeds as it's quite small and intimate whilst still having a great sound system. The band was amazing live, I hadn't seen them before but I definitely will be again.

A but of a different sort of post from me but I thought I'd start doing the occasional post like this so you can all get to know me a little bit more. I'm only sorry about how short this has been! I'm having a nightmare of a time with my computer :'(  (hopefully it'll be fixed soon). Hope you've all had a fantastic week and do let me know if you have any exciting plans for the weekend- I love living vicariously, haha :)



November 15, 2012

REVIEW: Dove Hair Therapy Intensive Repair Express Treatment Conditioner

This conditioner has transformed the quality of my hair over the two weeks that I've been using it. It's a deep conditioner that you can use every day/ as often as you'd like on the ends and mid lengths of your hair. You rub it into your hair after you've shampooed and leave it on for a minute or so before washing it out. Replacing my usual conditioner for this has left me with softer, and considerably less frizzy hair. It is a rich formula but doesn't leave any build up and it hasn't affected the greasiness of my hair as I don't use it on my roots. However, one of the best things about this conditioner is that it is so affordable! I bought this when it was half price in Superdrug and I've since gone back to pick up another (albeit a slightly different version) bottle of this as I can't see anything being as lovely as this.

I'd strongly recommend you pick this up if the Winter weather is leaving you with lack lustre hair as I know that most hair (including my own) needs a little bit of extra love during the colder, windier months. They also have a version specifically for coloured hair so if you've dyed your hair and want colour protection as well as deep conditioning then that is the product for you (and it comes in a really cute white and pink bottle).

You can find this conditioner online here or in Superdrug and Boots stores for £3.35 (or £1.65 in Superdrug's current half price offer).

What is your favourite conditioner for curing dryness or taming frizz?



November 14, 2012

Marie Claire L'Occitane Event Leeds

Hello! So this is a different sort of post from me today. I went to the Marie Claire event at my local L'Occitane in Leeds yesterday and I took a few photos to show you the store, products and what I got up to. It was essentially a private buying experience, something I would highly recommend, that you booked in advance and then on the night got drinks, nibbles, a healthy 15% discount on all purchases and a goody bag. My lovely flatmate Josie came with me and as you can see above we both took advantage of the complimentary champagne!

The Leeds store is on the corner of the Victoria Quarter, a gorgeous shopping arcade off Briggate Street, (Leeds' main shopping street). The shop is much bigger than it looks as it has a basement which is where the event was held. As soon we came down the stairs we saw pink and headed towards it! Cue peony, rose and cherry blossom scents and Josie almost instantly found a product that she's fallen in love with- a limited edition glitter oil which she's holding in the photo above. It's supposed to sell out by Christmas so if you're a fan of delicate floral scents and glitter then I would definitely check it out as it is just gorgeous.

We also checked out all of the other Christmas Limited Edition products and they're all lovely! We smelt everything and nothing disappointed, the perfume rollers are particularly nice and the Magical Leaves limited edition hand cream has gone on my Christmas list. There's an offer on in-store and online where if you spent £35 then you could buy the Enchanting Winter Collection (in the middle of the above photo) for £14 (half its RRP). It is an amazing deal as you get a brilliant selection of products and a little bag that you can use as a make-up bag. Josie got one of these and in it you get hand cream, honey soap, shower gel, foaming bath, moisturiser, toner and eye cream. 

We also both took advantage of a hand massage treatment where we got to choose which products were used on our hands. I chose the almond products (as they're my absolute favourite) and these included the Almond Shower Oil, Almond Body Lotion and the Almond Milk Concentrate. 

The Almond Milk Concentrate is literally dream worthy, I couldn't resist any longer and I bought a gift set that included both the Milk Concentrate and the Shower Oil along with some other Almond goodies!

Also, in case you didn't know, L'Occitane do candles and they smell gorgeous. They had one burning in the treatment room where they do skin care and hand treatments during the week and it made the room smell amazing. I've added these as a 'must have' onto my Christmas list (along with a couple of the face creams). 

If you're looking for a present for  yourself or for anyone else this Christmas then I would strongly suggest checking out L'Occitane's products. They're amazing quality, their famous Shea Butter is fair trade and they do gift sets that feature some great offers. 

In the end I bought the Almond Gift Set for £48 which includes a massive 500ml Almond Shower Oil (drools in delight) along with 100ml of amazing Almond Milk Concentrate as well as the Almond Delicious Paste, Almond Hand Cream and two Almond Soaps. They do similar gift sets for lots of the other ranges and they're all great value for money. I also bought a solid Cherry Blossom perfume (which is gorgeous) and a small pot of 100% Shea Butter to use as a  multi-purpose balm.

Lastly, included in the ticket to the event was a lovely goody bag full of lots of gorgeous products including shower gel, body lotion, shower oil, moisturiser, soap, hand creams along with all the lovely samples I was very kindly given over the course of the evening. I'll be reviewing all of these products once I've had a chance to try them out properly.

All in all it was a lovely evening, everyone in the Leeds Victoria Quarter store is really friendly and helpful and the treatments they offer are fantastic. I'm very glad I booked this event after reading about it in Marie Claire and if you ever get the chance to go to one of these private buying events I would highly recommend it as it is a lovely, relaxed way to shop.  For the service, treatments and chance to talk to other L'Occitane lovers it was a great way to spend the evening and the champagne, nibbles and goodie bag were all lovely bonuses.  

Have you got your eye on any L'Occitane products at the moment? Or have any of you attended the Marie Claire event in any of the other L'Occitane stores?



November 13, 2012

REVIEW: Garnier Skin Naturals Simpy Essentials ultra-cleansing wipes

I've got some more lovely cleansing wipes to review today. It's always nice to know if spending a little bit more for 'branded' wipes like these ones is worth it, or whether we should just stick to whatever is cheapest. I do think that there's a noticeable difference between say Boots' own brand wipes and these. These are brilliant for cleansing and for removing most make-up, however, unlike the Nivea face wipes that I reviewed a couple of weeks ago these Garnier ones just don't remove water-proof mascara. 

I like these because they leave my skin feeling clean and aren't at all irritating, and my skin doesn't feel at all dry after using them. However, because of their inability to tackle waterproof mascara I don't think I'd repurchase them, but I do think that if you have sensitive skin and don't wear waterproof mascara then you'll probably like these. Garnier also do 'Soft Essentials' (with rose extracts) and 'Fresh Essentials' (using grape extracts) face wipes for those of you out there who don't suffer from sensitive skin, so if these don't appeal to you then maybe those will!

You can find these in Superdrug stores or online for £2.99.

Do you have a favourite product for removing make-up? I'm still on the hunt for mine!


November 12, 2012

REVIEW: Lush BB Seaweed Fresh Face Mask

I haven't tried any of Lush's face masks before so when my flatmate brought this home with him as a little present I was really happy. Seaweed is a great product to use at this time of the year as it is supposed to reduce redness in the skin and isn't too harsh a cleanser. Using this three times over a week it didn't aggravate my sensitive skin at all but left it soft, blemish free and (my cheeks) less pigmented. It was a perfect way to get my skin clearer, and just generally looking better, quickly.

As you can see it is very thick and applies quite lumpy and it makes you look hilariously silly with big bits of seaweed plastered to your face but it is totally worth it! I couldn't really place the smell, it isn't horrible but it isn't appetizing either. I slather this on to try and cover all my skin and wait for it to dry before washing it off with warm water. Using it quite thickly three times has still left me with enough in the tub for a use or two more which makes this face mask not bad value for money at all! 

I love this and it is definitely something that I'm going to repurchasing, I'm kicking myself that I hadn't tried any of these face masks sooner! They leave your skin feeling a lot better than most of the pre-packaged masks you get in tubes that aren't fresh. 

You can find BB Seaweed face mask online or in Lush stores for £5.95*.

What's Lush face masks have you tried? 



November 11, 2012

AWESOME FREEBIES #5: Glamour and Nails Inc polishes

This month's Glamour comes with one of four Nail's Inc polishes which have an RRP of £11! As the magazine is only £2 I thought I'd pick up three of the four colours (the shade I skipped is called Elizabeth Street and is a very pale light pink). The Nails Inc polishes swatched below are St. James, Motcomb Street and Glamour Glitter.

St. James, Motcomb Street, Glamour Glitter- one layer

St. James, Motcomb Street, Glamour Glitter- two layers

St. James and Motcomb Street under two layers of Glamour Glitter

As you can see all three of these polishes really need two layers in order to look their best. It's also worth noting that Glamour Glitter can be worn as a top coat as the glitter particles are for some reason incredibly smooth on the nail, you can barely feel them! St. James with Glamour Glitter over it is going to be the nail look that I rock this Christmas and I'd definitely recommend getting at least one of these polishes as they're great quality and great colours! (It's also worth noting that inside Glamour this month are two samples, one of Rimmel's BB cream and the other of Nivea's new hydrating primer.)

Have you picked Glamour up this month? If you did what shade did you choose and  what do you think of it?



November 09, 2012

REVIEW: Sleek's Lipstick in Barely There

I mentioned in my review of Sleek's Pout Paints that one of my favourite lipsticks was a Sleek lipstick, well this is it! 

Sleek's Barely There is a gorgeous light pink shade with a hint of orange, I haven't come across anything that is quite like it, its a really gorgeous shade! It comes in a compact, matte black bullet which I really like the shape of, its just off 'round' being slightly oval. The whole feel of the lipstick is great quality. The lipstick is thick, it isn't drying and the colour is opaque so you don't really need to layer it. Sleek do a whole range of lipstick types and Barely There is a Sheen shade and it gives the lips a lovely shine without being overly glossy which makes it great for everyday wear. I tend to wear this a lot to university as it isn't too out there while it still leaves you looking 'done'.

one layer swatch

Pale girls this is definitely a shade to look out for! But if the colour isn't for you then I would recommend having a look at some of Sleek's other shades, they actually do a very dark berry colour that would be perfect or Winter. I'm going to add another lipstick of theirs to my collection very soon but I haven't decided on the colour yet, if you have any recommendations I'd love to hear them!

You can find Sleek lipsticks online on Sleek's website for £4.99 or in Superdrug stores. 

What's your favourite lipstick for everyday wear? 

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