Sunday, 22 June 2014

Recent Purchases: YSL Rouge Volupte Shine Lipsticks plus Free Gift With Purchase

When an email dropped into my inbox from YSL offering a free gift with purchase (GWP) I resisted for a whole week before going on their website and placing an order!

I decided to order 2 Rouge Volupte Shine lipsticks because I absolutely love the formula and the packaging is fantastic. Yes, they are expensive but so worth it. I do think the colour swatches on the YSL site are dreadful so I did a fair bit of research on various blogs before I decided upon no 7 Rose Infinite and no 17 Rose In Tension priced at £25 each. I shall do swatches in another post because I want to get this post up quickly because I'm not sure when the free gift offer ends.

Now if you have never shopped at YSL before, you receive 2 free samples with every order. You cannot choose these samples but you can see what you will receive because they add them to your basket. Although only 2 samples were shown in my basket, I actually received 3 samples. The samples I received were: 1.5ml Eau de Parfum of  Manifesto, 1.5ml Eau de Toilette of L'Homme and a 2ml mini Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils (Luxurious Mascara for a False Lash Effect), all pictured below.

The email I received from YSL said that if I spent £45 or more and quoted JUNETREAT in the promotional code box then I would receive a 5 piece deluxe makeup gift set worth £50.

The items are received were: another L'Homme sample, another Mascara Volume Effet but on a card this time, 3ml Forever Youth Liberator Eye Creme, 0.8g Waterproof Eye Pencil in black and a mini Rouge Pur Couture lipstick in shade no 9 Rose Stiletto.

I've never tried a YSL mascara or eyeliner so I can't wait to give them a try. I've also never tried the Rouge Pur Couture formula lipstick so I am eager to try that too. I am really pleased with my free GWP. I am not sure how long the offer is on for so if you are interested I wouldn't hang around because it is probably just whilst stocks last.

Since my order I have received another email offer from them. Argh!  This is for a free summer make up gift set with a £40 spend. 
The code required is SUMMERTREAT 
Now I don't know if this new code means the one I used is no longer valid, which would be a shame because I feel the JUNETREAT is a better gift. The Summer gift does not have a lipstick and has a make up bag instead and still has the mascara but alas no eyeliner.

There was also a code in my parcel for £10 off any L'Homme fragrance, code LK24Z4, but again no expiry date. I wish they'd state expiry dates!

Have you tried YSL make up? What are your recommendations?
Thanks for reading.
Enjoy the rest of your day.
Take care,
CJ xx

**purchased with my own money

Friday, 20 June 2014

Recent purchases: Sandals - Birkenstocks & Next

Well now the summer is supposedly here in the UK I thought it was about time I bought some new sandals. Now I am unlike most women because I hate shoe shopping! I have small feet (size 3.5) but they are extra wide. Shops seem to equate small sized feet with delicate, petite feet, not the fat feet that I have!

I have been wearing Birkenstocks for years, way before they became fashionable. I bought my first pair in a sale many moons ago for the princely sum of £16. They were the Arizona style but a floral print. I wasn't keen on the floral print but for that price I wanted to see if the comfort claims were true. I used to refer to them as my "granny" sandals! If you've never worn Birkies before then the first time you try them they are so uncomfortable. I felt like I had 2 planks of wood strapped to my feet! Anyway, after a week of wearing them round the house they were so comfortable by the end of the week. When we went to Disneyworld in Florida 4 years ago, my Birkies  were my footwear of choice. Hours of walking around theme parks in sweltering heat and not a single blister and they didn't even rub.  Since my first pair, I have bought several pairs of Birkenstocks but the Arizona style, although not the most glamorous of their styles, have always been the most comfortable to wear.
My old pair are still in regular use but are looking battered and bruised so I decided to go for some black Arizona's because they'd be the most versatile. I also decided to get a leather pair because I knew I'd get lots of wear out of them. I purchased these from Amazon for around £43. If you've never bought Birkenstocks before then I'd recommend trying on in a shop first because they can come up quite large. One thing about my new pair that has concerned me is the branding. All my previous pairs have had the name emboss stamped on the side, whereas on this pair it is just printed on top. I was concerned they were fakes but I bought them direct from Amazon rather than a seller, so surely they must be genuine? The box looks authentic. Does anyone have a new pair and could tell me if theirs are printed too. Pics below:
New Birkies - printed branding.
Old Birkies - embossed branding.

Everything else is fine, it is just this branding that is niggling me. Silly, I know!

The other pair of sandals I bought were from Next and they were in the sale at £14. They aren't particularly exciting, just a wedge sandal. I cannot wear heels so this is a good compromise to get a bit of height. 

I wish I could wear sexy high heels and I have tried but I end up with blisters and I find them so uncomfortable. Don't misunderstand me, I wore my fair share of heels in my teens and twenties but now I'm over 40 I rarely wear them. I only own one pair now and I last wore them to a wedding a year ago and yes I ended up with blisters! I also have to be careful when I buy sandals because I cannot go for anything with an ankle strap. Why? I have the dreaded "cankles"! I hate them. I also hate the person who invented the word cankles! Dreadful word! Anyway, I'm waffling as usual, so suffice to say, although the Next sandals aren't going to win any style awards, they will give me a bit of height without drawing attention to my legs!

So are you a heels or a flats kind of girl?
If you have discovered heels that are comfortable please comment below and covert me!

Thanks for reading.
Enjoy the rest of your day.
Take care,
CJ xx

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Happy Father's Day!

Today it is Father's Day here in the UK so I decided to dedicate this blog post to my wonderful Dad, Richard. The photo above is not the best pic of him but it was only taken last Sunday so is the most recent. Ideally I would have loved to have put up a photo of him as a young man with me as a baby but all those pictures are on slides and I have not had the chance to convert them to a photo file in time for this post. Perhaps if I find time this week I will add one to this post.

I am a true "Daddy's Girl" and I love my Dad so much. Today will be the first time in many years that we have been able to see each other on Father's Day. He used to live 3 and a half hours car journey away so, because his birthday is at the end of June, we used to time our visit to celebrate that instead. This year is different, though. Sadly towards the end of 2012, my step-mum died, so Dad decided to move nearer to me. Obviously selling houses takes time, but in July 2013 he finally moved down to be near me and my little family. In fact he moved into the same road as me, almost opposite! It has been lovely to see him every day, although it is tiring for me at times because I do all his cleaning, laundry, etc and sometimes running 2 households does get me down. He is not in the best of health these days and I am well aware of his mortality which is hard but if I can make the last chapter of his life a happy one then it is a job I undertake gladly.

My Dad is one in a million. He brought my brother and I up alone when my mum left. I was 8 years old and my brother 10. It's not that common now, but single dads in the 1970's was unheard of! It can't have been easy, holding down a full time job as well as looking after 2 children, he had no family support, but he did it. 
My brother and I turned out okay so he didn't do so badly! He always made sure I knew how much he loved me. As children we didn't fully appreciate what he did for us, but now, as an adult I do. Now the roles are reversed and I look after him. Yes he can be a grumpy, old man at times but I adore him.

Happy Father's Day Dad, I love you more than words can ever say. Thank you for everything you have done for me and the love you have given me.

To all the dads out there, have a wonderful Father's Day. 
To all those who no longer have their Dads, I hope today isn't too hard for you. Hugs.

Thanks for reading.
Take care,
CJ xx

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Empties: Items I've Used Up in May 2014

Well this is my first ever "empties" post and I do apologise that it is a tad late for May but I didn't want to wait to include them with June empties at the end of this month because there are quite a few.

Let's start with face skincare items:

There are actually 3 cleansers this month. I always have at least 2 cleansers on the go and these 3 all decided to finish this month, but no worries because I've lots more in my stash...

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm 125ml (RRP £21)
Would I repurchase? Yes - and I already have!
This balm is quite thick and is great for my evening first cleanse because it removes all my make up with ease. It is unscented so great for those with sensitive skin. I previously used Emma Hardie Moringa Balm and I loved the EH fragrance lots so was disappointed that the Clinique balm was unscented, but then I had a VERY bad reaction to Emma Hardie which I think must be down to the essential oils so I have had to be very careful ever since. 

Merumaya Melting Cleansing Balm 100ml (RRP £14.50)
Would I repurchase? Yes - once I've worked through my stash!
For my review of this product, click here.

Alpha-H Balancing Cleanser with Aloe Vera 200ml (RRP £23)
Would I repurchase? Yes - and I already have.
I tend to use this cleanser when I have breakouts because this seems to do a great job at calming them and clearing them. For me it is a "no nonsense" cleanser and isn't as luxurious to use as some of my other cleansers but it does a great job when my skin needs that extra help at certain times of the month.

Boots Essentials Fragrance Free Cleasing Wipes 25 wipes (RRP £1.50)
Would I repurchase? No.
I don't tend to buy or use wipes but I inherited my late step-mothers beauty stash. She died 20 months ago and I am still working my way through her stash of beauty products. It is taking time because I have a fair stash of my own too! Nothing wrong with these wipes, I just don't tend to use them but I have been using these to remove my make up and then doing a double cleanse.

Merumaya Iconic Youth Serum 15ml (RRP £20)
Would I repurchase? No.
See my review for this product here.

Next up are my body product empties:

Nivea Happy Time Shower Cream 250ml (RRP £1.99)
Would I repurchase? Yes - once I've used up my stash.
Love, love, love this! It is an orange blossom fragrance and I love using this for my morning shower. It lathers well, is very creamy and is often on offer at half price so for 99p what's to dislike?! I want to buy this again but I am being good and working my way through the rest of my shower gels first but I do miss this.

Ted Baker Butterfly Wings set (RRP £10)
Would I repurchase? Maybe.
I received this little set for a birthday present last year. It contains a body spray, body wash, body scrub and body lotion. I do like the scent. It is quite a sweet scent which I am a fan of. Individually the products aren't fantastic, i.e the scrub doesn't do a lot, body wash doesn't lather as much as I'd like but, as I said, I DO like the fragrance. I wouldn't go out of my way to repurchase but, if it was in the Boots sale, then I would perhaps be tempted for the scent alone.

Molton Brown Oatmeal & Milk Exfoliating Bar
Would I repurchase? No.
This was another birthday present and it came in a box of 4 bars. I cannot find this on the MB website so perhaps it has been discontinued? I was totally underwhelmed by this. It didn't exfoliate at all and was more like a normal bar of soap with a few bits of oatmeal in. Unimpressed!

FoM Body Contouring Serum sample size
Would I repurchase? No.
I bought this sample from Latest In Beauty so that I could give it a try. To be honest I don't think any creams/serums etc can get rid of cellulite but I thought I would give it a go. It is called a serum but I felt it was more of a runny oil. I didn't like it because you had to apply to wet skin and I had to remember to do this as soon as I got out of the shower which more often than not I had towelled off before I thought about it. Too much faff!

Philosophy Pure Grace Body Lotion 8 fl.oz (RRP £15)
Would I repurchase? Yes - I already have a spare in my stash!
I love the smell of Pure Grace. To me it smells so clean, like freshly laundered washing. Mmmmm. The lotion absorbs well and my only gripe is that the container it comes in is not very flexible which made getting out the last of the lotion very hard. I think perhaps once I have used the one in my stash I would think twice to a repurchase due to the price. I do think it is expensive for a body lotion and if I could source a cheaper alternative with the same scent then I would. Does anyone know of a Pure Grace dupe please? Doesn't have to be body lotion, any dupe be it perfume, shower gel would be most welcome! Thanks.

Sure Women Crystal Clear Aqua Anti Perspirant 250ml (RRP £3.19)
Would I repurchase? Yes - already have, lots my stash!
This is my deodorant of choice. To be honest I do prefer a solid stick deodorant because I feel they are more effective, but they tend to mess up the underarms of any tops I wear so I have switched to spray deodorants now. Has anyone found a stick deodorant that doesn't leave any residue?

Ysatis Eau de Toilette 100ml (RRP £47.50)
Would I repurchase? Perhaps.
I have had this perfume for many years and I believe the packaging has changed now. This was my perfume of choice back in the late 1980's, early 1990's. It has lots of memories attached to it, so in a way I was sad to see it go. It was the perfume I wore when I met my husband and I wore it on our wedding day too. That said, there are many other perfumes I prefer these days. This is a heavier perfume than I tend to wear now. Perhaps one day I will revisit it for nostalgic reasons but for now I prefer a lighter, sweeter fragrance.

Leighton Denny Best Defence Hand Cream 30ml (RRP £5.50)
Would I repurchase? No.
My review for this product is here.

Finally, my hair product empties:

Batiste Dry Shampoo in Diva 150ml (RRP £2.99)
Would I repurchase? No.
I have had this so long I don't think they even do this fragrance anymore! I don't tend to use dry shampoo but I won this in a giveaway ages ago so thought it was about time I used it! I know a lot of people swear by Batiste, but I am not a lover of dry shampoo because I find they all leave a white caste/residue on my hair and I'm afraid this was no exception. If anyone could recommend a dry shampoo that doesn't do this (I have ginger hair) then please comment below. Thanks.

Head & Shoulders Shampoo in Cool Menthol 500ml (RRP £4.99)
Would I repurchase? Yes - I already have.
I suffer from psoriasis on my scalp and I have tried lots of shampoos, both prescription and over the counter but this seems to be the best at easing my itchy scalp. I've not found anything that clears it up completely but this helps the irritation. I actually find the Cool Menthol variety better for this than their Itchy Scalp one. I haven't been able to find the Cool Menthol in the shops but I have purchased one called Menthol Fresh which has the same packaging so fingers crossed it has just been renamed. I might have to drop them an email to check...

Dove Damage Therapy Intensive Repair 200ml (RRP £2.69)
Would I repurchase? Maybe.
This conditioner didn't wow me but I didn't hate it either. It did what it needed to do - conditioned my hair without weighing it down. I would perhaps repurchase this if it was on offer but I am still on the hunt for my Holy Grail conditioner.

Well sorry for the long post. I didn't realise I had so many empties in May.
If you are still here, thanks for reading.
Enjoy the rest of your day.
Take care,
CJ xx

Monday, 9 June 2014

Magazine Freebies! June 2014 (Part 2)

I have already blogged about the magazine freebies for June but, since writing I have discovered some more, so here is Part 2.

First up (Thanks to a lovely reader, Lovesandloathes, for the heads up on this one!) is Instyle magazine, out now. It is priced at £3.90 and the July issue comes with a 30ml REN Rosa Centifolia Hot Cloth Cleanser with a luxury cotton cloth. This is the only freebie I have gone for this month.

Whilst shopping today, I saw the July issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. Priced at £3.70, it comes with a free pair of sunglasses and a packet of strawberry Mentos! There are 3 styles of sunglasses to choose from.

Finally is Harpers Bazaar magazine. The July issue, out now, priced at £4.20 has a free Leighton Denny nail polish. The polish is worth £11 and there are 6 colours to choose from.

It certainly seems to be the month for free nail polish!
I've not managed to track down Tatler so have yet to see what their sunglasses are like.

My post regarding this months magazine freebies Part 1 is here.
Please comment below if there are any others that I have missed out on.

Thanks for reading.
Take care,
CJ xx

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Review: Merumaya Skincare - Melting Cleansing Balm, Iconic Youth Serum & Youth Preservation Moisturiser

Several months ago I saw a skincare range on QVC that I had not heard of before and before I knew it the Merumaya 3 Piece Discovery Collection was in my basket.
I wanted to give the products a good try before posting my review and now I have used them up I thought it was about time I posted my thoughts.

Merumaya is the brainchild of Maleka Dattu and her products are paraben free and are not tested in animals. I love the fact that she used the first 2 letters of her parents names, her sister and daughter and herself to name her range. If you want to read more about the ethos behind her brand, then details are on her website here. 

The set I purchased contained; Melting Cleansing Balm 100ml, Iconic Youth Serum 15ml and Youth Preservation Moisturiser SPF15 15ml.

First up is the Melting Cleansing Balm (£14.50). I found this balm quite strongly scented. I am useless as describing scents (sorry!) but I felt it was quite floral. I didn't love the fragrance but then again I didn't hate it either. It comes in a tube which is much more hygienic than a tub. Here it is applied to my hand:

I applied this neat to my face and worked it in to give a thorough cleansing. Then once I had done that I applied a little water to my hands and used this to wet the balm.
This turned the balm to more of a cleansing milk, see below.

I then used a warm damp flannel to remove the balm. I really did enjoy using this balm. It left my skin feeling clean and not at all tight. I love the fact than it is both a balm AND a milk. I used this for my second cleanse and for my morning cleanse. I did not try it for my first cleanse so I do not know how good it is for removing full make up but I am sure it would cope well, although perhaps you may need a bit more help removing waterproof mascara. 
For me, this is the hero product of the 3 items I have tried. I think it would be ideal for travel because it would avoid the need for packing 2 cleansers because this can be both a "light" and more "heavy duty" cleanser. I really do like this balm and, once I have worked my way through my cleanser stash, then this will definitely be going on my shortlist for repurchase. If you do purchase this, please ensure you cut open the tube once it's finished because I found a good 2 weeks worth clinging to the sides. Waste not, want not!

Next up I tried Merumaya Iconic Youth Serum (£20).  Unfortunately I don't have a photo swatch of the product to show you. Apologies. From their website it says this serum is "an exclusive complex of 10 active ingredients at full concentration makes this uniquely formulated serum an essential part of every skincare routine. Skin appears youthfully vibrant and radiant."
It has a pump dispenser and I used this morning and evening and it did feel nice on the skin. Unfortunately, for me, I didn't see any difference to my skin so I won't be repurchasing.

Finally, I tried the Youth Preservation Moisturiser (£17.50). This also came in a pump dispenser. I found the cream quite thick but that is probably due to the SPF15 that it contains. I always find SPFs a tad too heavy on my skin. See swatch below:

I found it took a bit of working into my skin but it did keep it moisturised all day. I am not really a fan of SPF in moisturiser so for that that alone I will not be repurchasing. I have yet to find any moisturiser that contains SPF that I love. I did have a teeny "niggle" with the packaging of both the moisturiser and the serum. The labels on both cover the bottle right the way round at the bottom of the bottle so that you have no idea that the product is about to run out until it has! I'd much prefer to see how much product is left BEFORE it is too late. As I said, it is just a small niggle and it wasn't a major problem for me because I always have other serums and moisturisers in stock but if you don't stock pile then you could have an "oh no!" moment when you realise you've run out!

Overall, I do like this brand. As I said, for me the stand out product is definitely the Melting Cleansing Balm. I would also happily use the serum and moisturiser again if it came as part of a set (hint, hint QVC, TSV please!) but I probably wouldn't seek those out individually. 
I am also interested in trying the Pure Radiance face mask once I have depleted my stash a tad...

If you are interested in trying Merumaya for yourself, it is available from QVC or directly from the Merumaya website. 

Have you tried this range? Which were your stand out products? Are there any you would recommend? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for reading.
Enjoy the rest of your day.
Take care,
CJ xx

**purchased with my own money

Thursday, 5 June 2014

You Beauty Discovery Box - June 2014

I've just taken delivery of this months You Beauty Discovery box.
The theme for June is "Beauty Heroes".

None of the skin care or hair care products tempted this month but that was because my eyes were drawn to the L'Oreal Infallible 24H Lip Colour. 
There were 2 colours to choose from: 110 Timeless Rose and 121 Flawless Fuschia. I've not tried this formula before so in the end I went for both colours! 
I shall do a swatch and review for them in due course.
These lip colours retail for £9.99 each so to get both in a £6.95 beauty box is fantastic value.

The box also contained 2 extra treats: a Dead Sea Mud Spa mask from Montagne Jeunesse and an Expandable Face Cloth in the shape of a heart. It looks sweet so will be a shame to "expand" it!

Do you subscribe to this box? What did you choose this month? Full details for this box are here. This is the only monthly box I subscribe to because I think it is great value for money and I do like to be able to choose items for myself.

Thanks for reading.
Have a great day.
Take care,
CJ xx

*purchased with my own money

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Magazine Freebies! June 2014 (Part 1)

Just a quick "heads up" about some magazine freebies that are out this month.

First up is Red priced at £4. The July issue, out now, has a free gift of Mavala nail polish. It is available in 4 colours and worth £4.75.
UPDATE: I managed to find 2 of the colours - 
Wakiki Orange 
If I discover the other 2 colours I will update again!

Next is Marie Claire priced at £3.90. The July issue is out on 5th June and comes with a free gift of a Ciate mini caviar manicure kit worth £10 (pic above).
There are 6 sets to choose from:
Peach Fizz
Party Punch
Starry Night
Purple Rain
Fairy Dust
Sunset Shimmer

Then there's Glamour magazine, July issue out on the 5th June has a free gift of an Eyeko Skinny Liquid eye liner, worth £12, in navy blue or black.

Finally, a non-beauty related freebie. I have heard that Tatler magazine has free sunglasses. I've not seen it myself, so I have no further details of which issue or brand, etc but shall update if I find out.

I don't think I will be going for any of these this month because I rarely paint my nails and I don't use liquid liner. How about you?
Have you found any freebies this month?

Thanks for reading.
Enjoy the rest of your day.
Take care,
CJ xx