27 March 2013

Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine in 'Grapefruit'

I know these nail varnishes have been doing quite the rounds in the blogging world recently, but I've actually had mine since October last year. I picked one up a couple of days before I went away to Egypt for a holiday, and I wanted a nice bright polish to get me in the holiday mood. There weren't many shades to choose from at the time, and I know they've expanded their colour collection more recently. 


The shade I picked up is 'Grapefruit' - a gorgeous, almost neon pink. As the name suggests it does leave an incredible shine on the nails. The pictures in this post show only one coat of colour and no top coat (hadn't got that far!). As you can see the opacity of these polishes (well, the one I've tried anyway) is pretty impressive so if you were in a rush and only had 10 minutes to paint your nails, these would be a good choice because you could do one quick coat and you're out the door. The texture is more 'gloopy' than other polishes, obviously because they're going for the gel-nail finish, but they are touch-dry relatively quickly so it's not an issue. I will emphasise the 'touch-dry' point, as I find that they do take a bit longer to be completely dry and if you were to accidentally bang your nail or scratch it too soon, they would definitely be left with a mark.

I think I will be picking up some more shades for Spring, as I really like the finish they give to the nails and with a base and top coat I get a good four days wear out of them. For £3.99 you can't go wrong and I definitely recommend them. 

Sophie

Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Varnishes are £3.99 at Boots

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25 March 2013

Empties #1


Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish - A beauty staple and long-time favourite of mine. I first started using this about four years ago when I was getting more into skincare at uni. You will all have heard reviews about it before and it is worth the hype. A gentle, but very effective cleanser. I tend to use it as the first step in my evening skincare routine to get the majority of my make-up off (including eye make-up), before going on to cleanse again with something else. I got this one for Christmas and it has just run out, so it's long lasting too.

V05 Give Me Texture - Since I had my haircut into what pretty much resembles a bob, I've wanted to make sure my hair has some texture and body to it. This does both very well. Almost like a dry shampoo but without the faff of white hair, it smells really nice and definitely does what it says on the tin. Sprayed into the roots it gives lift and an almost matte finish to the hair. Will definitely repurchase and try other things from the range.

OPI Nail Envy - Another beauty world favourite. This actually ran out a couple of months ago but for some reason it has stuck around in my collection. I did enjoy using this but to be honest, I didn't get the amazing results that I've heard other people have. The main issue I have with my nails isn't so much strength, it's more peeling and the fact they never get past a certain length. I think it helped with the peeling to a certain extent but didn't really help my nails to grow much longer. I am still considering a repurchase to give it another go, but at £18 a bottle (although I actually got this one off eBay for less than that) I'm not rushing out to buy it.

John Frieda Luxurious Volume Blow Dry Lotion - I used to use this product when I was in secondary school (which was about 6 or 7 years ago - oh god) and discovered it again (not the exact same bottle, just FYI) earlier this year. Again, I wanted something to give some volume and lift to my relatively fine hair, and I have to say I love this product. It really does give amazing volume after I spray it into the roots of towel dried hair. I don't find it sticky or crispy, in fact I can't feel it in my hair at all and it makes my hair feel bouncy and light. I'm actually really sad this has finished and as soon as I get the chance I will be picking another one up.

Soap and Glory Righteous Butter - I seem to have used up a lot of 'cult' beauty products in this post! This was a travel size of the famous S&G butter that I picked up a while ago. I have to agree with the hype that surrounds this product - it really is a great body butter. Smells delicious and doesn't leave a sticky feeling on the skin, which I hate! I can't use the Body Shop body butters because I cannot stand being able to feel moisturisers on my skin, but this one sinks in really quickly but feels moisturising enough. I have a thousand and one other body moisturisers to use up, so won't be re-buying this just yet, but I will in the future.

Sleek Luminous Pressed Powder - Technically I didn't finish this - I dropped it on the floor and it smashed so I had to throw the contents away! There wasn't much left so I wasn't too bothered! I really like this powder. It has very fine golden shimmers running through it which give a really gorgeous healthy glow to the skin. I have combination/oily skin and I personally love a good bit of glow, so I don't mind the shimmers at all. They aren't too obvious or glittery so if you're worried about that then, well, don't be! One of the main reasons I love it is because it never looks powdery, I haven't found that it cakes at all and I find it quite long lasting. I won't be repurchasing at the moment because, surprise surprise, I have others to use up first, but I would consider it in the future.

Give me your thoughts on any of these products and let me know if you've got an empties post to share!

Sophie

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24 March 2013

Showdown: Rimmel Lash Accelerator - Old Vs. New

This is a review and comparison of the original Lash Accelerator Mascara vs. the new Lash Accelerator Endless mascara. I've been a fan of the original for a few years now and was interested to see how the newer version would compare (please excuse the packaging of my original, I've had it for longer than I probably should have). 

L-R: Original, New

I was expecting some similarities seeing as they are the same range, however, they are very different. For starters, the older version has a bristle brush and the new one has a plastic wand, which in my opinion makes a big difference to any mascara application. I don't have a preference as to wands in general, I like both plastic and bristle, but I was surprised that the two would be different for these mascaras. I love the shape of the original wand and think it works well being a bristle brush. The wand on the new one has very small plastic 'bristles'. 

The new Lash Accelerator Endless gives good definition, and can be built up to give a good amount of volume. The formula isn't too wet, even when new, which helps to be able to build it up. I find that about two coats is enough to get a good amount of lashes going on and have found it to be pretty long lasting too. The wand is much more flexible than the original, but I don't really know what difference that makes! Both mascaras are relatively easy to remove, with not too much scrubbing of the eye area involved.

In terms of helping lashes to grow, I always felt like the older version really did make a difference to my lashes and helped them grow a bit thicker. I've probably not had the new version quite long enough to be able to say for sure whether this will be the case for this one too, but I'll keep you posted. Plus, it all helps doesn't it?

Overall, I like both. If I had to choose I think I would stick with the original, mainly because I prefer the shape of the wand and the general application of it. But both are good and do what they say on the tin, so if you are on the hunt to try a new mascara, or happen to see either of them on offer, I would definitely recommend them. 

Sophie 

Both the Original and New versions are £7.99 from Boots, and are on 3-for-2 at the moment. 

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22 March 2013

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate: Initial Thoughts

This was another purchase from when I was down in Egham recently. I went over to Windsor for a little day trip because I had been reliably informed the shopping there was very good. 

As soon as I go off the train I spotted the Kiehl's store and was lured in with the thought of the Midnight Recovery Concentrate firmly in the forefront of my mind. Skip forward to chatting with the saleswoman (mostly in an attempt to gain reassurance for what I already knew I was going to buy) and BAM, there goes £36 out of my account. To be fair, I have heard great things about this product and don't often (ahem) treat myself to skincare, so I feel that it was perfectly justified.


Using only a few drops a night of this paraben free, 99.8% natural blend of essential oils, this promises to restore skin's moisture levels ensuring radiant, supple skin by morning. The 'elixir' (as they call it on their website) sinks in to the skin much quicker than I thought it would, and doesn't leave an oily residue, which I initially thought it would. Once applied it almost instantly makes the skin feel softer and I have found the scent to be extremely relaxing - so perfect for using before bed. 

This is only a first impressions post, as I haven't had it for long, but so far so good. My skin feels extremely soft after using this and I am enjoying the luxury of applying it by gently pressing into the skin at night. I'll keep you posted on my thoughts once I've been using it for a bit longer, but if you're desperate to know more there are loads of reviews out there in the blogosphere to help. 

Have any of you tried this? I'd love to know what you thought about it.

Sophie

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate is £36, available from here

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21 March 2013

Laura Mercier Shimmer Neutrals Eye Trio Palette

This was a bit of an impulse purchase whilst I was down in Egham recently visiting my BF. I was browsing t'interwebs, as you do, and came across this Shimmering Neutrals Eye Trio for the bargain price of £20 from House of Fraser. It's in the sale because it's not current season, but the colours you get in it are, as the name would suggest, neutral and therefore wearable all year round. 

I did have my eye on the Free Spirit baked eye-shadow palette from the Arabesque collection, and after visiting the Laura Mercier counter down in Windsor my desire for it deepened. However, as is always the case I knew I shouldn't really have been spending money on more make-up, so I managed to drag myself away with my card unharmed. But, alas, I could not resist the temptation of a good bargain later that evening. You only live once! Can't take it with you and all that!

L-R: Warm Sands, Sundown, Ground Espresso
Warm Sands
Sundown
Ground Espresso

The three shades that you get in this customizable palette are 'Warm Sands', 'Sundown' and 'Ground Espresso' tightline cake eyeliner. As you can probably guess from the names, this is a very warm toned palette which I like. The shadows are very soft, but not the most pigmented shadows I've ever used. Still very usable and wearable though. The star of the palette for me is probably the tight-line cake eyeliner, I've not used one of these before but I am a big fan of a gel eyeliner so was interested to see how this would compare. To use, you have to wet whichever brush you're using and this "activates" it. It's very easy to use and I love the dark brown colour which helps to bring out the blue in my eyes. 

Overall, a very nice palette and very useful as I can buy more individual eyeshadows, blushes or eyeliners to swap in when I feel like it. Well worth the £20. 

Sophie

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19 March 2013

REN Combination Skin Kit

I bought this little trial/travel sized trio of products on a recent shopping trip, one because I always like trying out new skincare and two because I've never actually tried anything from REN before. 

In the kit is the Mayblossom T-zone Control Cleansing Gel, the Invisible Pores Detox Mask (which was the main reason I picked the kit up) and the T-zone Balancing Day Fluid. This range is targeted at combination to oily skin, so perfect for me. 


T-zone Control Cleansing Gel - It's good, but not amazing. It's a very runny, clear gel that doesn't lather up much at all. I can't use it with my Clarisonic because there's not enough slip to it, but it's a nice refreshing cleanser to use in the morning. I've used it on days when I've had quite a lot of make-up on, and it definitely needed a second go (I normally double cleanse anyway, but I didn't find this effective enough). Not one I'll be repurchasing I don't think. 

Invisible Pores Detox Mask - A clay based mask which is meant to draw out impurities. This is a good mask which leaves my skin feeling very soft and like it has definitely had a good clean. It's one of those masks where you can actually see everything that's been drawn out of your skin at the end of the 10-15 minutes, which I always think must be a good sign. It doesn't tingle at all on my skin and it goes pretty hard after you've worn it for a while - which I quite like! The instructions say to gently rub it off, without water, once it's hardened to mildly exfoliate. I don't think this step is that necessary but it all helps, right? I would consider purchasing the full size of this, but I think you could get a cheaper one that does similar things (for example this Good Things one that I reviewed a while back). 

T-zone Balancing Day Fluid - This turned out to be the star product of all three, in my opinion. As I do have quite oily skin, I can't really stand being able to feel moisturisers once I've applied them, and this one sinks in beautifully and yet manages to feel really very moisturising. A little bit goes a long way as well, somehow even the smallest amount manages to spread out over a big area (which is good when you'd be paying around £26 for the full size), and it makes a really nice base for make up. Would definitely think about repurchasing this once my Clarins Daily Energizer runs out (one of my holy grail products).


I'm looking into trying out the much-talked-about Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask next, have any of you tried it and would you recommend it for oily/combination skin? 

Sophie

REN Combination Skin Kit is £12 from John Lewis

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18 March 2013

Maria Francesca Pepe Jewellery

How much do you love these earrings? I was given them as a leaving present when I left my internship not long ago and I absolutely love them (thanks Natasha!). I had to pop on-line and have a look at other items from the collection because I had a good feeling that I was going to like what was one offer...and I wasn't wrong. 

The brand is MFP Jewellery and the brand creator/designer is Maria Francesca Pepe. The items are a bit more on the pricey side (by this, I mean compared to Topshop etc!) but from what I can tell from the website they have a real luxe, designer feel to them and some of the jewellery on there is seriously lust-worthy. The earrings I was given are the Spike Hoops with Swarovski crystals in gold from the SS13 collection. They also do them in rose gold (which are calling my name VERY loudly) and rhodium. They are just perfect. About the size of a 5 pence piece, including the spikes, they're dainty enough to wear everyday but give a bit of an edge to an outfit. I'm not one who would wear full on spikes and crosses and all that (or hoops for that matter), but something like this is perfect for a subtle, but stylish, nod towards the current trends. 

I'm not the biggest accessoriser (?) in the world but I do always like to have a nice pair of earrings and a couple of ring. I've been wearing these every day since I was very kindly given them and I am in love with them. 

Definitely one to check out. 

Sophie

Visit the website here. You won't regret it!

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16 March 2013

This will make you happy.

It's a post about chocolate, so how could it not! This recipe for soft double chocolate cookies is from a Weight Watchers magazine (so they're healthy, right?) that my Mum gets each month. I thought these looked so tasty I had to give them a go. They were really easy to make and very delicious.


Ingredients
125g low fat spread
75g light brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
110g plain flour
20g cocoa (not drinking chocolate - it won't be chocolatey enough)
1/2 tsp baking powder
30g milk chocolate, chopped into chunks
10g amaretti biscuits, crushed for topping


Method
Beat together sugar and butter until smooth. Add egg yolk and vanilla -whisk until combined.

Add flour, cocoa and baking powder and mix to smooth dough. Refrigerate for half an hour.

Heat oven to 200*C (180*C fan). Add dollops of mixture to lined baking sheet (the recipe says makes 15, but I made 12 because that's how many I could fit on, I just made them slightly bigger).

Sprinkle with crushed amaretti biscuits. Cook for 8-10 minutes.

They'll still feel soft when you take them out, that's normal, they will firm up a bit as they cool.

Let cool on a rack. Dig in!


Sophie

15 March 2013

Essie 'Buy Me A Cameo'

This was one of those times when you go out shopping for something specific and no where has it in stock, but you just have to buy something to fill that all-consuming desire to spend money (in this instance it was Essie's 'Penny Talk' nail polish that I was on the hunt for - I think I was a bit late on the bandwagon, hence no luck). Instead I went on a frenzied mission to find the nearest thing to it, of which there were a few, including Rimmel's 'Posh Trash' (too bronze) and one of the L'Oreal Color Riche polishes (could have been number 8 or 'Boudoir Rose', but I really wanted it to be Essie - such a brand snob somtimes!). So, in the end I went for this one, Essie's 'Buy Me a Cameo'...


From the looks of things it is pretty close, but with a bit more of a light peach tone, as opposed to full on rose gold that I wanted. I am considering hunting on line for a bottle of Penny Talk, or maybe trying out Orly's 'Rage' as I've heard it's a close call between them. Still, I do really like the one I went for and have really been getting into metallic polishes recently, which makes quite a departure for me because I'm normally one that only wears cream formulas.


Are you a fan of Essie (I'm pretty sure everyone and their dog is!)? Any colours you highly recommend from them?

Sophie

p.s. Don't forget you can follow me on Bloglovin' to keep up with the latest posts

Buy Me a Cameo is £7.99 from Superdrug

14 March 2013

You're well Lush.

I'm going to get straight to the point and not lead you on - I'm a bit of a newbie when it comes to Lush. To be honest with you I never really got what it was about and I think that was because the first product I ever tried from there was Snow Fairy shower gel, which didn't wow me in the slightest. I have, however, always been intrigued and over the past couple of months I've been gently easing myself more into the brand. So far, so good. Here I have just a couple of my most recent purchases from there. 


Creamy Candy Bubble Bar - which, coincidentally smells like Snow Fairy, what a small world.This is a
very delightful addition to bath time. It has chunks of cocoa butter (if I remember what 
the shop assistant was telling me correctly?) which makes it super moisturising and creates a good
amount of bubbles. I am tending to go for the bubble-makers (new phrase) because I don't think a
bath is a bath without them. Mine had a huge chunk of body butter in the centre which was fun and left
my skin feeling very soft. This is a nice one to try if you too are new to Lush, because apparently
this is Lush's signature scent (who knew). 


Rose Jam Bubbleroon - Apparently if the WI were to 
make a bath bomb, this is what it would be ;)! Entirely appropriate as this bath-time treat is 
rose-scented loveliness. If you are a fan of rose you'll love this, if not you'll hate it. 'Nuff said. 

I also want to give an honourable mention to the Love Lettuce Fresh Face Mask, which I used about a month ago (before I got back into blogging, hence no picture). I was recommended this by another shop assistant after asking her which might be suitable for my oily-combination skin, and I did really like it. Not so much so that I rushed out to buy another one, but it was pleasant and I would repurchase it as a bit of a treat in the future. 

Do any of you have any Lush recommendations for a newbie like myself? I'm enjoying browsing all the different things they've got at the moment and am welcoming any and all suggestions!

Sophie

Creamy Candy retails for £2.50 and Rose Jam retails for £3.50

12 March 2013

bareMinerals SS13 Remix Collection: 'The Wild Thing' Eye Palette

Good afternoon! 

Long-time no see and all that! I do hope everyone out there is well. I can't 
believe how long it has been since I last blogged but I'm not going to bore the 
socks off you with reasons (mostly I've just been a bit busy and not focused enough) 
but I'm here today with a new post which I hope you'll like. I'm going to have some 
more time on my hands now so things over here on Duck and Egg should be 
getting a bit more lively!


Today I've got a review of the new(ish) eyeshadow palette from the
 bareMinerals SS13 collection 'Remix'. This palette is called 'The Wild Thing' and 
has four shades:
L-R: Controversy, Elitist, Icon, Sensational

- 'Sensational' - a very light blue/green shimmer (all the shades have some 
shimmer in) and makes a really pretty inner corner highlight (and something a bit 
more exciting than a simple vanilla highlight). 
- 'Icon' - lime green shade with small gold glitter particles that
 looks terrifying in the pan but can look good if used in the right way and, I 
have found, really makes blue eyes pop. 
- 'Elitist' - a satiny finish mid tone brown than can easily be used on its own for a 
quick subtle smokey eye look.
- 'Controversy' - A deep electric navy blue which could be used in a multitude of 
ways - a twist on a smoky eye, a gorgeous liner or blended into the crease. 

The formula of these shadows is really nice. The dark navy needs layering to get 
a really good colour pay off as it can come off slightly chalky, but nothing to 
worry too much about. The others are all incredibly creamy and long lasting, 
and all of course have the skin-loving minerals in them to keep your lids looking 
smoother and younger for longer. Apologies for the shockingly bad picture of it on 
my eye, this was taken today after about six hours wear, and the lighting isn't brilliant. 
I was hoping to get a good picture this morning when I applied it but, well that just 
didn't happen! I used Icon all over the lid, Elitist blended into the crease and 
Controversy underneath the lash line for some smokiness. Overall, I really like this 
palette for a little injection of something a bit different to all the neutrals in my collection, 
and I have found it much more wearable than it might first appear.

p.s. If you do pop by a bareMinerals counter whilst the Remix collection is still available, I would 
urge you to take a look at the 'Secret Radiance'. It's an unbelievably gorgeous highlight/all over 
face colour that I am dying to get my hands on and gives you the most amazing subtle bronze glow. 

Sophie

'The Wild Thing' Palette retails for £29