Thursday, 23 April 2015

Bathroom Empties

This here shall be my very first empties post! Which seems crazy to me as they're one of my favourite posts to read from others. I feel that you get someones true opinion of a product, rather than their initial thoughts. What I don't understand is when bloggers review a skincare product after using it once or twice! I mean, HOW? Yeah, you might see an initial difference but is that where the magic ends? The true testimony of a product is whether it passes the repurchase test. Also, I struggle to finish products because as soon as I get something new I have to try it, which results in a million cleansers open at one time. So a couple of months ago I set myself a task that I thought would never be possible. USE SH*T BEFORE I BUY MORE SH*T. Well I've only gone and done it haven't I?! Look at all these empties. They kinda all happened at the same time as well. Typical that they run out when I need to pay for a flight to New York, luckily I've got a few more in my stash! So, what do we have here then?

Pretty much the best hair mask/conditioner I have ever used in my entire life!!! I had a brief stint as a hairdresser back in my youth so I have tried a LOT of hair products and this beats even the high-end brands hands down. So a fair few months ago I said to Sarah, 'why are you not bald?'. Her hair is white and has been for years, that takes a lot of colour treatment and strain on the hair to upkeep. So when she suggested the Bleach London Reincarnation Mask, it was in my shopping basket the very next day. I have been dying my hair since the age of 14 and having had highlights, ombre, black, bright red, purple and god knows what else over the years- my hair needed a little TLC. I now use this every time I wash my hair, which is usually about every 3 days, give or take a few last 5 day stretches every now and then. I know, absolute filth! This is a strictly mid-lengths to ends  kinda thing, you do not want this bad boy on your roots unless you have hair like an old man's foot. I whack it on for anywhere between 5 minutes to a couple of hours if I want a really deep conditioning. 
Tip: When doing a deep conditioning treatment, apply the conditioner and wrap your hair in cling film (yes, cling film). Then sit with it on for as long as you can! You might look like an absolute nutter, but the results are worth it. 

Repurchase? Absofrigginlutely.

Oh Origins, you are probably one of my favourite skincare brands. The Out Of Trouble Mask is designed absorb excess oil, get rid of dead skin cells, tackle pesky blemishes and clear pores. This is no groundbreaking mask, but it's nice, it does something. It leaves my skin feeling smooth, calmed and blemish size visibly reduced. 

Repurchase? Yes, but not in a hurry.

When the Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil launched a couple of years ago, it was raved about by everyone and I mean everyone! I can totally see why. It removes every scrap of makeup, including my 10 layers of mascara and thick slick of black liquid liner. It is so gentle, even on the eyes. No amount of rubbing the product in to breakdown the makeup seems to irritate my eyes or skin and my skin can be a little sensitive at times. I've found the most effective way to use this is to apply it to dry skin, massage in for a minute or two, add a little water, massage for another minute and then wipe away with a warm damp flannel or muslin cloth. Which leaves me with totally clean, smooth skin. 

Repurchase? Yep, already have.

Is there anything better than a Space NK gift with purchase goody bag? I think not. Especially the one I bagged while attending Anna & Lily's Beauty Chat Live back in February, it was actually incredible. One of my favourite discoveries from the stash was the Anthony Glycolic Facial Cleanser. This stuff is seriously good! It's designed to cleanse and buff away surface cells, which it actually does. This acid enriched cleanser leaves my skin feeling totally renewed and as fresh as a daisy. I've really noticed a difference in my skin since this ran out and not for the better, unfortunately. 

Repurchase? Definitely! Probably on a spendy Space NK trip. 

Another two cleansing oils? You can certainly tell what my favourite method of removing my makeup is. The Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Oil is a beautifully simple product. It does exactly what it says on the tin. Gentle, effective, but does exactly what the Body Shop one does. At more than half the price, I kinda favour the Body Shop. Still a nice product though. I received the Shu Uemura Anti/Oxi Cleansing Oil at a blogger event a few months back and I really enjoyed it! The smell is kinda off-putting, almost like cigarettes maybe? But the effects are worth the slightly weird scent. I know that my lovely friend Liz has a love affair with a Shu oil (not sure which one) and she has impeccable skin!

Clinique- Probably not. 
Shu- More than likely.

Being an avid Vivianna Does Makeup reader/viewer, I would've had to be blind to not have had the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel on my radar. I like this as a second cleanse of an evening, it removes any scrap of makeup left and gives the skin a really deep, effective cleanse. The pumpkin enzymes are said to deeply cleanse pores and removes dull skin cells. In my experience, it does just that. It leaves my skin noticeably clearer and brighter. 

Repurchase? This is my second bottle of the stuff, so it's already a firm favourite.

RMK is a brand that more people need to try! The skincare is absolutely stunning, not to even mention the makeup. The RMK Cleansing Balm is a beautifully  rose scented solid balm that turns to a silky luxurious oil when massaged into the skin. I love this as a makeup removed and as a second cleanse, it's a does all kind product. The tester I received is a pretty generous size, as you only need to use a tiny amount.

Repurchase? I'm already craving it back in my life.

I love a good bath. There are two kind people in this work. The kind that like a bubbly bath and the kind that like a bath oil. I definitely lean more towards the oil (occasionally dipping a toe into the bubbly world). I find them far more relaxing and really notice the benefits to my skin. A good quality oil will fill the whole room with a relaxing, luxurious scent and atmosphere while nourishing your skin. My absolute fave of late has been the Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath and Shower Oil. This is only the sample size that I got in a gift set at Christmas and this was by far my favourite scent of the lot.

Repurchase? Yes, when I've finished up a few more of the samplers. 

Finally we have yet another cleanser! Clarins is one of those brands that if all else fails, I can depend on. It has real standout products that frequently appear in my daily skincare routine and always will. The Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel is a similar texture to the Oskia, a gel that transforms to a bit of an oil on contact with the skin. Once you've massaged in the products, a little splash of water transforms the formula to a milk. So this goes from a gel to an oil, then to a milk? Yeah, you heard me right. It's a good'un! It's a good makeup remover, including heavy eye makeup and full coverage foundation. What more could you ask for? 

Repurchase? Yes, I think this is one that I'll always have in my stash. 

So that kind went from an Empties post to a skincare essentials. Hey ho! There probably won't be another one of these for a while, but let me know if you'd like to see it when it finally does come around.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Aimee Makes: American Pancakes

Ingredients- Makes 6 pancakes
225g self-raising flour
300ml milk
2 eggs
1 egg white (whipped)
30g melted butter and extra for frying
Half a tsp of salt
1tsp of sugar

1. Whisk together the eggs, milk and melted butter.

2. Then add the flour, salt and sugar. Whisk until you have a smooth batter.

3. Gently fold in the whipped egg white until just combined, you DO NOT want to over-stir. We want dem fluffy pancakes!

4. Add a knob of butter to a small frying pan on a medium heat. Once the butter is foaming, add a ladle of the batter. Then flip once bubbles appear on the surface, which usually takes about 1-2 minutes. The second side will need less time.

5. Get yourself a big old stack, add your favourite toppings and enjoy!

Monday, 20 April 2015

Aimee Makes: Nutella Stuffed French Toast with a Cherry Compote

On a recent trip to the Wilson household, I decided to whip up some breakfast for Vanessa and Sarah and something including Nutella was an obvious choice. I had a sous-chef in the form of my little white haired, cat t-shirt donned friend- it was eye-opening to say the least. She cracked an egg like nothing I've ever seen before and ran into Vanessa's bedroom with a bread knife. It was traumatic. That being said, the end product was worth it.

Ingredients- Serves 2

For the French Toast:
2 large eggs
60ml milk
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
4 slices of brioche
Butter for frying

For the Cherry Compote:
200g pitted cherries
60ml orange juice or port
2tbsp sugar
2tbsp cherry conserve

1. Add all of the ingredients for the compote to a saucepan on a hight heat and bring to the boil. Then leave to simmer on a low heat for approximately half an hour or until the mixture has reduced. 

2. Mix together the eggs, milk and vanilla in a wide shallow dish. Soak the slices of brioche in the eggy mixture on both sides and place in a large frying pan on a medium heat with the melted butter for 2-3 minutes either side.

3. Then my favourite part! Add a generous helping of Nutella to one slice to create the best sandwich ever made and spoon over the gloriously glossy and thick compote.

4. Enjoy and pretend that Nutella is fat free!

Lush Loving

Last week I was kindly invited to Lush Solihull's Beauty School Party Blogger Event. I went to another of their events last year, so knew that it was going to be a good night and this one was even better! We got a chance to get stuck in and help make our own products. The whole focus of the night was their beautiful skincare. I've tried a few things from the range, Ultrabland cleanser being one of my faves, but this event gave us the opportunity to explore more of what they have to offer. It was quite a small group which I liked, it meant that we had more space and got to interact with the whole group without shouting across the room. So what did we get up to?

We started the evening off by making the Angels On Bare Skin cleanser*, which is something that I've never tried before. It was nice to see how easily the products are made and how few ingredients they have in them. Some of the ingredients include almonds to gently exfoliate, lavender oil to calm and balance and Kaolin to cleanse and absorb excess oils. I've already tried it a couple of times and I'm actually really enjoying it. To be honest I'm slightly surprised as I'm usually a cleansing oil or balm kinda girl, but this is really nice and effective. 

We also got to help make some of Lush's infamous fresh face masks. I decided on the Cupcake mask*, purely for it's name obvs! Turns out I made the right choice as this mask is targeted at blemish prone skin, which I unfortunately have. Its contains Rhassoul mudd, which absorbs excess oils and draw out all of the dirt and impurities to provide a really deep cleanse. Other ingredients include fresh mint and cocoa butter to stimulate and moisturise the skin.

Sarah thinking she was 'cooking'.

Looking gorgeous Sam!

Next we learnt how to use the the Dream Steam tab*, which main purpose is to open pores, soothe the skin and allow all of the essential oils to absorb the skin. All whilst being ridiculously calming and spa-esque. We also had a hilarious time learning how to do a facial massage using the Full Of Grace serum bar*. Watching Sarah prod and poke Vanessa's face is one of the highlights of my life. 

To end the evening, we got to have a one to one skin consultation to determine our perfect Lush moisturiser. The lovely Kyle paired me up with the Imperialis*, as this is targeted at combination skin.

They also kindly popped into our goodie bags the 9 to 5 cleansing lotion* and the Tea Tree Water toner* . The 9 to 5 is so gentle yet effective, which makes it the perfect morning cleanser. I'm yet to try the Tea Tree Water, so I'll try to keep you posted.

*- All products were kindly gifted to me by Lush. All opinions are my own. 

Friday, 10 April 2015

Review: Sarah Chapman Intense Hydration Booster

Sarah Chapman is a brand that has been on my radar for a couple of years now thanks to the lovely Lily and Anna with all of their Space NK flaunting. So when I went to an evening of their Beauty Chat Love back in February, I decided to pick up another product from the range. I mean, how could I not? I had a £15 redeemable ticket and £10 worth of NDulge points. It would've been rude not to finally make the investment and pick up the Intense Hydration Booster. And it is an investment, at £58 a pop, this shiz ain't cheap!

Now, what do I actually think of it? This is a bit of a complicated one for me to write down to be perfectly honest and I'll try not to ramble too much because this product has got me feeling like a yoyo. Do I love it? Yes. Do I think it's necessary? Not particularly. 

I'd say unless you can afford to be extravagant with your purchases, don't worry about saving up for this one. Having said that, it does have some wonderful aspects (putting aside the hefty price tag). You only need to use a couple of drops so it will last a really long time, it adds an extra layer of hydration and it creates a nice base for your moisturiser. However, I truly think that you can get something just as good for maybe half the price. Sarah raves about the Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum, which I think is a similar kinda concept so I'm going to try that one next. I also really recommend the Origins Make A Difference Plus Rejuvenating Lotion, it adds that extra boost of hydration for just £20. It also smells amazing and at nearly a third of the price it's win-win. 

So overall it's a bit of a mixed review. I know that some people are going to be sitting there thinking 'YOU SPENT HOW MUCH???' and other people will be thinking 'DAMN GIRL, YOU CRAZY!! THIS SHIT IS AMAZING'. That's the thing about reviews, it's one persons opinion. I'm not going to say I love a product just because other people do. So yeah, it's nice, but not nice enough for me to whip out my bank card to repurchase the second that it runs out.

To end on a positive note, something that I do love from the brand is the Skinesis Overnight Facial. SO GOOD. 

Monday, 6 April 2015

What's On My Face: Spring Edition

Being a lover of dark shades and matte lips, this makes the transition from Winter to Spring a tad bittersweet for me. Yes, the weather is better (most of the time), but everyone expects you to suddenly wear pastels and wear floral crowns and that just ain't me! I live a pretty much monochrome life, my wardrobe consists of black, grey, white and a bit more black. However, feeling the pressure of the season change, I decided to inject a little more glow into my makeup than I usually do and I actually quite like it! The middle picture above shows the key products that I used to create this look. All equally gorgeous and work together beautifully.

I usually do my eyes first, but as I wasn't applying much powder eyeshadow, I started with my base. I put on a light layer of the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecter in the shade Opal. This really does create a lit from within kinda effect, no glitter in sight, just a natural looking sheen to the skin. On top of that I applied the Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder in the shade light 1 with my fingers to create a more natural finish. Every foundation claims to be buildable, but this one truly is and still manages to look like skin. To tackle those pesky under eye circles, I used the Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer in Fair Neutral. My brows are a bit overgrown at the moment so I just whacked on a bit of the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Dark Brunette.

Next, onto the eyes. The Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden is an absolute must, no matter what! To create a simple bronzey eye, I teamed up the Trish McEvoy 24 hour Eyeshadow and Liner in Topaz and the Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita palette. I popped the Trish McEvoy all over the lid and slightly blended up into the crease. Then lightly blended the Prime shade on the inner half of the lid and the Enhance shade on the outer half and also on the outer half of the lower lash line.  I do love a good inner corner highlight and my favourite product to do this with is the Mac pigment in Vanilla. This is also a great brow bone highlight! To add a bit of definition to the lash line, I smudged out a slick of the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on-eye pencil in Bourbon. Then of course applied a heck-load of L'Oreal Miss Manga Mascara on the top and bottom lashes. And thats the eyes done, so simple and so quick!

Now back to the skin. I used the Kiko Masterpiece Bronzer to give my skin a subtle bronze glow. I wouldn't recommend this product for anyone with darker skin, as it's quite sheer. Now to up the amp of the glow even further, I applied the Illamasqua Gleam in Aurora to the top of my cheekbones. Then I thought go hard or go home, right? So, I layered the Mac Vanilla pigment on top of the cream highlighter and let me tell you, these two work perfect together.

Finally, the gloss! Yes, you heard it right- GLOSS!! I've not bought into the whole Tanya Burr range, but the shade Chic is actually really nice. No glitter, no stickiness and actually has really good lasting power.

Am I converted? Maybe, but definitely not fully. I'll probably be back in my matte lipsticks tomorrow. A leopard never changes it's spots after all.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Mac Lipstick Collection: Updated

Who doesn't love a Mac lipstick? Along with their eyeshadows, they're renowned for them. From the colour range to the variety of finishes, they really do have something for everyone! I know that my collection is slightly excessive, but believe me, this is nothing compared to some people. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. Personally, I love matte, bold lips so my favourite finishes are Amplified and of course, Matte. Some of my absolute loves are Lady Danger, Heroine, All Fired Up,  Snob, actually I could go on and on, but I won't bore you. Now lets have a peek at some pretty lipsticks...

Top left- Tribalist, bottom- Salon Rouge- Both from the Heirloom Mix collection & right- Sin from the Rocky Horror Collection

(L-R) All Fired Up, Hang Up, Show Orchid, Hot Tahiti, Russian Red, Lady Danger, Kinky (LE), Smoked Purple, Heroine, Diva & Rebel

(L-R) Top row- Snob, speed Dial, Please Me, Vegas Volt, See Sheer, Plumful, Creme Cup, Fan Fare & Ravishing.
Bottom row- Crosswires, Mehr & Syrup

(L-R) Kinda Sexy, Patisserie, Hue, Blankety, Velvet Teddy & Honey-Love

As you'll be able to tell, I love a good matte! But for some bizarre reason not everyone does, so I've broke them down into the types of finishes. Hope this helps!

Kinda Sexy
Velvet Teddy
Salon Rouge
Russian Red
Lady Danger
Smoked Purple
Please Me

Retro Matte
All Fired Up

Show Orchid
Vegas Volt

Hang Up
Creme Cup
Fan Fare
Speed Dial

See Sheer

Hot Tahiti


I only picked up Velvet Teddy and Honey-Love yesterday, so I'm far too excited to try them, mainly because they were a bugger to get hold of! What are your favourite offerings from Mac? More importantly, which ones do I need to pick up next? Because let's face it, you can never really have enough *looks at self in mirror and hangs head in shame*. 

Quick shoutout to Sarah who put blood, sweat and tears into finding Sin for me, best Christmas present ever?? She loves me after all. 

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