Sunday, 23 November 2014

Introducing Sample Sundays

I thought I was being all original thinking up 'Sample Sundays', but it seems that there are quite a few others that have previously introduced this series to their blog. *weeps*. Anyhoo, I think I can speak for quite a few of us when I say that it is very easy to let samples build up into a rising, daunting pile - and so I have challenged myself to try out either one or two samples a week, so that I can start to downsize my collection a little. Besides it would be silly to waste them and I always find it interesting and fun to mix things up a bit! You never know what gems you might come across...

Clarins Instant Eye Make-up Remover
I absolutely love this stuff. The majority of the solution itself was clear, with a layer of blue oil at the bottom which you proceed to shake and mix together before use. You don't need a lot at all for the make-up remover to start breaking down and washing away even the most stubborn of mascaras (Benefit 'They're Real!', I'm looking at you). I honestly couldn't fault anything about this sample and I was all ready to buy the full sized version until I heard quite a few people preaching about The Body Shop's 'Camomile Waterproof Eye and Lip Make up Remover', stating that it is a pretty good dupe for less than half the price. I love a lot of The Body Shop's products, and in all honesty if something does practically the same thing at a much lower cost, I'm definitely going to go for the cheaper option!! So next time I nip into The Body Shop I'm going to ask for a sample to compare for myself. Having said that, if Clarins has a sale any time soon I might just treat myself to this one because it really was such a pleasure to use. To tugging, no pulling, just melting away that make up with zero fuss. 

Origins GinZing Energy-boosting Moisturiser
I have to say, this is quite a giving sample as I've got a lot of uses out of it already and still have about half of it to go! I think that this came as part of a set when I bought my 'High-Potency Night-A-Mins: Mineral-enriched renewal cream' so I'm guessing that it's a little larger than a typical sample size. Admittedly, I haven't been using this every day as I've rather enjoyed using it purely on those stay-at-home days, where my skin is just looking and feeling a bit dull. This moisturiser is amazing at perking up the skin, injecting (for want of a better word) brightness and plumpness to my face almost instantly which is a major bonus if you're like me and hate feeling groggy and tired. As a moisturiser though, it doesn't do much for me and I find that by mid-afternoon my dehydrated cheeks are left feeling a little parched and in need of another little boost. This is why I haven't used this on my skin when I've left the house with a full face of make-up on because I didn't fancy the prospect of having to deal with my foundation drying out, and, from what I can tell, this product doesn't possess any SPF which for me is always a big no no, even when it comes to the winter months. Whilst my foundation does possess SPF 15, I always like to wear an SPF 30 underneath just to be safe that my skin is truly protected. It's such a shame really because I do love the feeling that this moisturiser gave my skin, especially the middle, more oilier parts of my combination skin. If I do purchase the full size of this product, I think that I will keep it for use on those round-the-house, no make up days because I really have enjoyed using this lighter, more energising moisturiser rather than my typical, thicker SPF 30 that isn't really needed when you're having an indoor day!

I hope you enjoyed these sort of 'mini reviews' and if you've tried these products about before I'd love to hear how you got on with them in the comments!
See you next week,
Hannah x


Saturday, 22 November 2014

Josie Maran Argan Colour Sticks

When it comes to blush, I've always been a powder girl myself - baked or pressed, but mostly pressed. I'd never fancied trying out a cream blush before because I just found the idea too messy to approach during my morning rush, so when I saw these 'Colour Sticks' I thought, brilliant, something easy to use and that's great for when you're on the go yet something a little different to try out! I suppose its similar to applying a lipstick really, you simply twist up the stick, apply, blend, and then throw it back into your bag.

Living in England, it's been pretty cold recently, well, very cold actually, and so these Colour Sticks from Josie Maran have become a lot more solid now that the temperature began to drop. I've found that this makes the blush a lot more difficult to apply as it can tug on the face slightly, consequently leaving a big plodge where you first start the swipe. Consequently I've been left hastily trying to spread the colour up my cheekbone, attempting to blend it out before it dries. I found this to be a lot more hassle than simply swishing a brush across my face like usual, but, I persevered in the hope that I'd just become more accustomed to doing it each morning. On those morning where it is a little cold, I've now got into the habit of blasting my hair dryer at the stick for just a few second to soften the product up a bit. I find this makes it a lot easier to apply and gives you a lot more time to blend it to the intensity that you like, which is nice because I've only really been liking a 'natural flush' as of late.

Now. I never really thought that I would talk about the smell of a blush, however the scent of these really shocked me and still do each morning. Similar to my beloved Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream, the Josie Maran Argan Colour Sticks possess a medical scent which is just, bewildering. It's a very strong, harsh scent, especially considering it's purpose it to be applied near the nose and eyes. Personally, I quite like a medicinal scent, but even I find this one a little difficult to stomach first thing in the morning at times - so if you're not one for that kind of smell, I'd definitely avoid these!

The full sized version I have is called 'Glow', and the miniature is called 'Love'. I sometimes find it quite difficult to get a very pinky blush to suit my skin tone so admittedly I have been reaching more for 'Love', which whilst pink, holds a richer, truffle-brown undertone and so I find it gives me a much more natural, warming finish. Due to the shimmery nature of 'Glow', I've stuck to using this one at night time and it really does give you a beautiful glow - and, I have to stress, these things really do. not. budge. as the day and/or night goes on. Sometimes I find that a light sweep of powder across the cheeks can wear away as the day progresses, but these maintain the intensity that you set out for when you first apply in the morning which is great because it makes your blush hassle free throughout the day. Which is also a shame really, because as I said before when I first saw them I assumed that they'd be a new, nifty handbag essential of mine but alas! The more efficient and long lasting they are, the better for someone like me who doesn't like to reapply make-up throughout the day I guess!

('Glow' [left] & 'Love' [right] blended out)

Finally, what I also love about these bad boys is that (as you can probably tell from their name), they're infused with argan oil, and so are rich in Vitamin E and essential fatty acids that help to prevent dehydration on the cheeks - something which I think a lot of us combo-skins suffer from! I do believe that these can be used on the lips also, but I am definitely going to continue using them purely as a blush as I can't even fathom how that strong smell might taste!

All in all, I think that the Josie Maran Argan Colour Sticks were quite interesting to try out and I'm pleased I learned how to use them more effectively as to give a sheerer, more natural result. Nonetheless, I do think that I will continue to reach for my powder, especially on those days where I don't necessarily need my make-up to last all day because its just what I'm used to and I enjoy applying powders a lot more! Although, if I know I'm going to get a bit hot or flustered I will absolutely grab one of the Colour Sticks because you can really rely on them to stay on your face all day and not budge! Thus, I'd particularly recommend these to anyone that might suffer dehydrated skin on their cheeks, or to those of you that find your blush tends to wear or melt away easily as the day goes on.

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend!
Hannah x


Friday, 21 November 2014

Introducing Floral Fridays

It's no secret that I absolutely love fresh flowers around the house. I think they brighten up even the darkest of corners superbly and my obsession seems to have rubbed off on my family too which is lovely because we all have different preferences; so the different arrangements keep the atmosphere interesting, bright, and Spring-like yet still cosy which is very much needed now that the winter months have arrived! I thought that I would start a little 'Floral Friday' series because I really enjoy photographing flowers and thought it would be fun to share with you the arrangement that has graced my presence in any coming week! Besides, who doesn't like some colourful, floral filled photos? :P

Wishing you a fun and relaxing weekend,
Hannah x


Saturday, 15 November 2014

Book Wish List

I don't know what it is about walking into a book shop that is so inviting to me. For some reason ordering books online just doesn't do it for me and well, if there's something on Amazon that is less than half the price of what it is in a shop, I will purchase it that way as the money saved can go towards another book that I am lusting after (and lets face it, I'm not made out of money!). More recently though, I've found that bookshop retailers, particularly Waterstones, are standing pretty competitively with their online rivals and without a doubt, if the price is within my budget, I'd much rather go in store and experience the lost joy of purchasing a book in the flesh as I always fear that one day that privilege will be stripped away from us if we don't. I have gone a bit mad this year and bought a hell of a lot more books than I think I have ever purchased, and I will be honest, I haven't even gotten through half of them yet so I shouldn't reaaaally be thinking about buying some new ones, but I definitely know that they will all be read eventually, especially when I have more leisure time to delve into those beasts that are too scarily thick during a time where my uni work is proving so demanding! I don't drink, smoke, eat out at restaurants all the time or go to the cinema - so for me, buying a book is a little treat to myself... as well as buying make-up and flowers of course :P.

Right now, I think the top three on my wish list would have to be:

'Let It Snow' by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle. I absolutely love John Green's style of writing and so I know that I'll always enjoy anything that he writes, regardless of the storyline, but then again, he does come up with some bloody good story lines! I've never read anything by the other two authors before, despite them being pretty well known (from what I can tell), so I think that a three way split book is the perfect way to inject a bit more John Green into my life whilst also checking out some new authors! Plus, Christmas is soon approaching and I thought that a book with the word 'snow' on the cover is probably going to help me get into the festive mood ready for December!

'The Night Circus' by Erin Morgenstern. Once again I've never read anything by Erin Morgenstern, yet I have heard a painful amount of fabulous reviews about this book so I figured it only wise to give it a try. The description of the book doesn't really give much away apart from suggesting that it will be a very mysterious, interesting read so I'm looking forward to learning more about the 'Night Circus' and how, why and who for it appears.

'Eleanor & Park' by Rainbow Rowell. Nope, I've never read anything by Rainbow Rowell either although I have heard a lot of people talking about how much they liked this book after having purchased it as part of Carrie Fletcher's Booktober session. It has been criticised though for not really holding much substance and some have said that the characters are little "dull", which is odd because other reviews praise how interesting the characters are. I'm not 100% sure about this one but it seems to me like its a pretty easy and straight forward read which is pretty handy for someone like me who likes a light read during my morning and evening train journeys!

What books are currently on your wish list?


Friday, 7 November 2014

Mamma Mia!

Now. If there's one thing I love, its a good musical. I absolutely adore everything about the theatre and for some reason hadn't been in quite a while! It was my mums birthday last month and she's always been a crazed Mamma Mia fan and eager to see the musical, so, in track with our usual birthday traditions, my dad bought us all tickets to go and see it as her main birthday present and I have to say, it was one of the best things I've ever seen. No it wasn't any Billy Elliot, and the seating was so steep and cramped that I got vertigo if I stood up for too long, but the performers really were simply amazing. The storyline was quite similar to that covered in the film, but they warped it in a way as to add in more well loved ABBA songs which kept the show interesting, lively and it was so lovely to see everyone in the audience with a smile beaming across their face. All I can say is that, if you like ABBA, you'll LOVE this musical. Its been quite a few days now since I went to see it and I still have those tunes running through my head, breaking out into a bit of a boogie when brushing my teeth in the morning to cooking dinner at night and it really did give me, my family and by the looks of it everyone else who saw it the feel good factor and I would 100% recommend it to anyone. I already want to go and see it again but there are a few on my list still that I haven't ticked off yet so I'm going to prioritise them first (Les Misérables yes please) and then perhaps go back to Novello Theatre at some point in the future to enjoy the show again. Even the costumes and lighting sequences were enjoyable. I loved everything about it. Definitely a good'un.

Have you seen Mamma Mia in the West End? What did you think of it?
Hannah x


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Autumn Candles

Firstly, yes that is a trumpet. Secondly, I know there are four pictures rather than three, but I just thought the flame on the second was too sick not to include. Thirdly, it was very hard to choose three candles, however, these are the three that I've found myself reaching for the most now that the colder weather is upon us. Admittedly, I'm not made of money so I don't have a billion candles and so I only buy the ones that I truly love, which means that I have used these throughout the year even during the hot summer, but well, I suppose they're 'meant' to be burned during this time of year so I thought I'd give my favourite three warming scents a shout!

Black Cherry, Christmas Eve & Fruit Fusion by Yankee Candle. 

I have to say these are the most long lasting candles I have ever used. I feel as though I light them all the time but I'm not even past half way through them! 

Black Cherry is a personal favourite of mine, possessing a sweet, yet warm, deep cherry scent. This for me is the ultimate cosy scent and it really does fill up a room in no time at all so you never need to leave it lit for long.

Christmas Eve, whilst obviously a winter scent is the spiciest scent out of the three. Cinnamon, cranberry and other notes of loveliness and all things Christmasy that my nose is unable to pin point. All I know is that this is as spiced as I can go, I am definitely one for a sweet fruit scent so this isn't usually one that I would opt for but I have definitely grown to love it and will be repurchasing another at some point this holiday!

Lastly is Fruit Fusion - the perfect candle for any fruit scent lover. This doesn't have that fake orange sweetie smell that some candles do - this rather, possesses a very fresh, zesty scent that really does revitalise you after a long day/afternoon in the cold.

All three I consider to be the perfect trio and individual saints at helping me relax, unwind and are a joy to sit beside whilst snuggled up reading a book during these cold evenings. 

What are your favourite autumn candles?
Hannah x
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