Thursday, 21 August 2014

You Beauty Discovery Box - August 2014

Firstly, apologies for this very late post. I received my You Beauty Discovery Box at the beginning of the month but, what with it being the school holidays, I just haven't had time to get this list written until now!

The theme for August is Summer Essentials.

There were several items I wanted this month. I almost chose the Louise Galvin Treatment Masque but it didn't state which hair type it was for so I didn't risk it. The Eucerin MattifyinFace Fluid also looked good but because I'm not going on holiday I decided against it.

The first item I chose was JustBe Hydrated Hydrating Serum 10ml RRP £11.65. 

This serum should be applied twice daily onto cleansed skin and is supposed to provide skin with an instant feeling of firmness and improved elasticity. At my age, if it works, then it's a thumbs up from me! I've never used this brand before so I am looking forward to trying this out.

The second item I chose was Gazelli Skincare Triple Youth with White Oil Duo each 5ml total RRP £16.
Again, not a brand I have encountered before. The serum is to be used twice a day and the moisturiser over the top of the serum. Again they are supposedly anti-ageing products. Yay!

The box also contained 4 extra items: 

Jimmy Choo Eau De Parfum 2ml sample
Jimmy Choo Man Eau De Toilette 2ml sample
FaceD 3-Luronics face cream serum
4 way nail buffer.

The products I chose had a value of £27.65 and that's not including the 4 extras listed above. I think that is great value from a box that costs just £6.95 delivered to your door!

What did you choose this month? 

Thanks for reading.

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

**purchased with my own money

Friday, 15 August 2014

Recipe Challenge: Custard Cream Biscuits

Seeing as the new series of The Great British Bake Off started last week, I decided that for this weeks recipe challenge I would do some baking. A few weeks ago one of the bloggers I regularly read made some Custard Creams, from "Feast" by Nigella Lawson, so I decided to give them a go because I had never made them before.

If you have a food processor, then they are so quick and easy to make. Basically you put all the ingredients - flour, custard powder, sugar, butter and shortening - into a food processor and whizz until it resembles breadcrumbs. Then you add the egg and milk until it combines to a dough. Pop the dough into the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up and then roll out. Cut out into whichever shape you choose and pop onto a baking sheet.

Then prick out a pretty pattern on each biscuit if you wish and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

While they are cooking you can whizz up the custard cream icing, again in the food processor. Just pop in the icing sugar, custard powder, butter and boiled water and within a minute you have a lovely custard cream filling.

Once the biscuits are cooled, sandwich 2 biscuits together with the filling mixture and voila - yummy homemade custard creams!

Nigella makes her biscuits in a heart shape and says this recipe makes 15 biscuits. I used a fluted circular cutter and made 34 biscuits from mine! Obviously mine are smaller but psychologically I think eating 2 small biscuits is better than 1 large one because it feels more of a treat!

I don't have Nigella's book but I found the recipe on the lovely blog The Amber Spyglass and you can find the full recipe, including ingredients list here. 

Would I bake these again? Yes, yes, yes!
My family gave these a 3.5 out of 4 thumbs up. I loved the biscuits texture, much more "melt in the mouth" than shop bought ones. They were a real winner and I have already made 2 more batches. They are simple to make and delicious. I have since passed on this recipe to 2 friends who have also loved them.

I am really enjoying doing this recipe challenge because we are trying something new each week. What have you baked this week?

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

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Quick Heads Up! Alpha-H TSV on QVC UK Tuesday 19th August

Today I received a postcard through the post from QVC with details of their Alpha-H TSV which launches this Tuesday 19th August at midnight.

The TSV is called the Alpha-H 3 Piece Fresh Skin Anti-Ageing Essentials Collection. 

It contains the following products:

Protection Plus Daily SPF 50+ 50ml, a 3 in 1 moisturiser, sunshield and make up primer which helps diminish the appearance of wrinkles.
Liquid Gold 100ml, a powerful treatment which works to revitalise tired and ageing skin while you sleep.
Micro Cleanse 100ml, an invigorating exfoliant which helps banish signs of fatigue with cooling cucumber and refreshing mint.

Their postcard doesn't state the TSV price but I'm thinking around the £30 plus P&P (but don't quote me on that!).

Will you be buying it? I'm undecided at present. I do use Liquid Gold and I do like the sound of the other 2 products but I still have lots of skincare in my stash already... No doubt I shall watch the programme and be convinced that I NEED it all!

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

Monday, 11 August 2014

Empties: Items I've Used Up in July 2014

First up is make up. I rarely have any make up empties because a) it lasts for ages and b) I have so much make up, I am always chopping and changing so never finish anything!

Laura Geller Balance N Brighten Foundation in shade Porcelain (RRP £28)
Would I repurchase? Yes, I have lots in my stash already!
This is my go to foundation and has been for several years. It is so easy to use because it is a baked powder formula and seems to last for ages. I keep thinking about changing to a liquid foundation because I feel it may be better for my fine lines but I really don't like the feel of liquid foundation on my skin. Perhaps I just haven't found the right one for me so, for now, this is my Holy Grail.

Elf Wet Gloss Lash & Brow Clear Mascara (RRP £1.95)
Would I repurchase? Perhaps.
I wasn't that bothered about the mascara side but perhaps that would be ideal for younger girls who aren't able to wear mascara to school. The brow side was fine and I did use it to set my brows. It didn't "wow" me but it did an okay job and at under £2 I can't complain. My only reason for perhaps not repurchasing is because I can only order online and unless I place a large order I would have to pay postage which bumps up the price.

Next up are my skin care empties.

Omorovicza Refining Facial Polisher (RRP £65 for 100ml)
Would I repurchase? No.
Since I've been using an exfoliant toner, I no longer use facial scrubs but I received this little sample so I gave it a try. It smelled lovely. It reminded me of Radox bath salts or Badedas bubble bath, a nice clean, fresh smell. It's green in colour which is a tad worrying when it is applied but it left my skin feeling clean and refreshed. The reason for not repurchasing is not down to the product, but down to the price!!! If I am going to spend £65 on a skin care item, it would be a moisturiser, serum or eye cream but not a scrub.

Pixi Skintreats Glow Tonic (RRP £16)
Would I repurchase? Yes and already have.
I have been using this for over a year now and it really seems to help keep my skin bright and I rarely exfoliate with scrubs since using this. My "Holy Grail" that I don't want to be without. The packaging has now changed and the new bottle doesn't have a pump. Luckily I still have one with a pump which I shall probably decant into because I do find it better.

Balance Me Balancing Face Moisturiser (RRP £24 for 50ml)
Would I repurchase? No.
Nothing wrong with the product, just not rich enough for my skin. I think it's probably better suited to an oily skin rather than my normal to combination skin. Did stop the shine on my forehead though. I just need more moisture on my cheeks.

Archeia Rose Rejuvenating Cream (RRP £47.99)
Would I repurchase? No.
I decided to choose a little 5ml sample of this in my You Beauty Discovery box last month. The main reason being was, because it is so expensive, I wanted to know why! Well this pot lasted just 1 week - 10 days and it didn't wow me at all. On the plus side, the rose scent wasn't string and overpowering, it was quite subtle. However at almost £50 for a 15ml pot. (I think that's the size - their site doesn't say!?), it would have to work miracles for me to repurchase.

Onto hair products:

Herbal Essences Bee Strong Strengthening Shampoo & Conditioner (RRP £3.99 for 400ml)
Would I repurchase? Yes, already have bought the conditioner and will buy the shampoo once my stash is depleted!
I believe I got these samples sachets inside a magazine. I was very impressed with them. They smell lovely and the conditioner left my hair soft and shiny. A winner from me!

Avon Advanced Techniques Celloshine Treatment 
Would I repurchase? Discontinued
I wouldn't repurchase even if I could! It said it was a hair treatment but did no more than a normal conditioner and not even a good one at that!

Finally, my bodycare empties:

Original Source Vanilla Milk & Raspberry Shower Cream (RRP £2.30)
Would I repurchase? No.
I usually love Original Source shower gels but not this one. It's fine if you like smelling of a raspberry milkshake, but I favour a slightly more sophisticated smell! I guess the clue was in the name of it. I love the smell of vanilla and I like the smell of raspberry, but together in a shower gel was not for me.

Champneys Spa Indulgence Distant Shores Body Scrub (RRP £10 for 200g)
Would I repurchase? No.
I did quite the scent of this but I felt I needed to use a lot in order to get a decent scrub. Therefore it is not very economical so for that reason I wouldn't repurchase.

Dove Visible Effects Body Lotion
Would I repurchase? Discontinued??
I did like this lotion. It was a free sample I received a whole ago and I felt it moisturised well and smelt nice too. Unfortunately I cannot find it for sale anywhere so perhaps it has been discontinued.

Ellie Saab Le Parfum L'Eau Couture (RRP £31 for 30ml)
Would I repurchase? Perhaps.
This was a nice enough perfume, not my usual scent. I wouldn't go out of my way to purchase it, but if I had it bought for me, then I would happily wear it.

So out of my 12 product empties this month, I had 3 Hits, 5 Misses, 2 Maybes and 2 discontinued. Hmmm, not a very good hit rate there, but then aren't we always on the search for our "Holy Grail" perfect product?

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

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Recipe Challenge: Hit 'N' Run Traybaked Chicken

The recipe I chose for Week 2 of my recipe challenge was from Save With Jamie by Jamie Oliver. The recipe I chose was Hit 'N' Run Traybaked Chicken.

It is a very quick and easy recipe. You basically cut all the vegetables into large wedges, add unpeeled garlic cloves, sprinkle over the herbs and spices, drizzle with oil and balsamic vinegar, toss and ensure the chicken thighs are placed on top for roasting. Cooks in about an hour, and baste occasionally.

Here is Jamie's photo:

And here is my version:

Would I cook it again? Unlikely. We have given this 2 out of 4 "thumbs up".
All four of us gave this a neutral halfway thumb! (Each recipe scores 1 point for a thumbs up, 0.5 for a halfway and 0 for a thumbs down!). None of us hated it but nobody loved it either. If I had this served to me, I would eat it, but I wouldn't go out of my way to cook it again because, in my opinion, there are much nicer recipes out there. Sorry Jamie!

We served this with crusty Tiger bread which was the best bit! Sadly not homemade!

I won't post the recipe here for copyright reasons, but you can find it on Page 100 of the Save With Jamie recipe book or online here.

Have you cooked anything new this week? Although this recipe wasn't a hit with my family, I am enjoying trying something new. What to cook next week...?

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

Friday, 8 August 2014

Magazine Freebies! August 2014 (Part 2)

Just a very quick post because, since posting my first August 2014 magazine freebie blog post earlier this week, I have found another freebie that you may be interested in!

This free gift is with Company magazine, priced at £2.60, and is out now. The free gift is a Company Thick & Thin Felt Eyeliner. It looked like it was in black. I didn't go for this freebie because I rarely use eyeliner. I couldn't see a value stated on the front of the magazine. 

I did buy Marie Claire magazine with the free Ghost Eclipse Fragrance. It is 3ml and comes in a cute rollerball. Details and a pic are on my earlier post here! I'm also still undecided about getting the REN free gift with Instyle.

It appears the freebies are a bit thinner in the ground this month, unless I have missed any.

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

Monday, 4 August 2014

Magazine Freebies! August 2014 (Part 1)

Yes, it's that time again - magazine freebies!
So far I've only managed to find 2 freebies, but I shall post if I discover any more.

First up is the September issue of Instyle magazine, out now and priced at £3.90.
This comes with a little REN kit worth £12.
The kit comprises of:
Evercalm Day Cream 10ml
Vita Minerals Active 7 Eye Gel 3ml
Evercalm Cleansing Milk 10ml 

UPDATE: I have been told some people cannot find Instyle with the free REN gift but all those who did get one saw them in Tesco. I am wondering if this freebie is exclusive to Tesco so please bear this in mind if you want it and have troubling finding it. Thanks. 

I saw this magazine and the freebie when I was grocery shopping this morning and I "ummed and ahhed" and decided not to get it until I checked my stash. I've still not checked my stash yet, but I really wish I had bought it now!

The other freebie this month is with Marie Claire magazine, out on the 7th August. This magazine is also £3.90 and comes with a handbag sized Ghost fragrance. I have no idea of the exact size, but I think I shall be purchasing this.
UPDATE: I've have now bought this magazine so I can confirm that it is 3ml and comes in a cute rollerball - see pic below.

Sorry that I've not managed to find any more freebies just yet but fingers crossed there will be some more.
2ND UPDATE: I have since found another freebie! Details on my Part 2 blog post here!

Have you found any others? Please let me know.

Thanks for reading.
Take care,
CJ xx