Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Greek Cosmetics

Whilst travelling around, some people like to explore the culture, learn the language and get emersed with the country they are in. I like to do all these things, but as a beauty enthusiast, I also like to dabble with the cosmetics that are used in that place. If you think about it, there are so many different wives tales, ingrediants and methods that are used all over the world, and I just think there is something really interesting about seeing where we differ.

For example, I saw a lot of Olive Oil being used in Greek cosmetics, which isn't something you see much over here in the UK.

Whilst walking along down the main street in Iposos, Corfu, my eyes lit up as I saw the words 'Natural and Organic Cosmetics' and I absolutely knew I would have to go in at some point during my trip, especially as I do love my natural products. On my last day, I eventually went in and spent a long time absorbing all the new and exciting brands I'd never heard of before. I took ages deliberating over what products to go for. Should I splurge and go for a new serum? Or should I get a gift set so I have lots of stuff to try? I was tempted with a facial soap but I still have a bit of an irk about using soap on my face. In the end, I decided that I really needed a new foaming cleanser, and that I couldn't go wrong with a face mask. I didn't purchase my Korres shower gel until later so I'll talk more about that in a bit.


The foaming cleanser and face mask were from a range called Aromaesti. I was instantly drawn to it because of its beautiful packaging, as it looked sophisticated and luxurious. It was only a small range with lots of face creams, serums and moisturisers, but they all sounded absolutely delectable!

Aromaesti Cleansing Foam


This face wash is really nice to use in the morning or as a second cleanser. It doesn't remove makeup but it has a really refreshing feel and smell. The scent is almost bitter and a bit sweet at once, but it is a really clean smell. This leaves my skin feeling hydrated and soft, and is a really nice addition to my cleansing routine.

Aromaesti face mask


Getting it out of the tube was real hard work! The second ingredient I noticed on the back in the mask was talc, which is an unusual ingredient for a natural product, and also probably contributed to the thickness.  The consistency was like a thick white clay which surprised me as it said it would be a moisturising 'film' so I expected something like my clear aromatherapy Associates hydrating mask. Once I squeezed enough into the palm of my hand, it spread onto my face like a lightweight moose which was strange. The smell was really sweet which I believe is the Argan oil. 


Once on, the 'clay' semi hardened on my face it washed of leaving my skin feeling soft, however I think the talc ingredient dried my skin out a little, as I did need a moisturiser after using it. As it is a hydrating mask this isn't an ideal result. For all the effort it took to get it out of the tube, I probably wouldn't use this product much again, but it was nice to try!

Korres Mango Shower Gel


There's not a lot you can say about a shower gel but this one smells SO amazing! Korres is a more international brand so I didn't buy as much from Korres as it is easily accesible I bought this in the duty free on the way home, for the bargain price of  4 euros. There was a large selection of products, but I kind of regret not getting more skincare. We are actually getting Korres in where I work but I have recently been informed it is only the bathing bits so I missed out slightly there! I am certainly going to look into getting my hands on some though as the brand is exactly the sort of thing I like! It is a natural brand, and from a sales persons point of view, having the list of what the product does, and doesn't contain is really useful. It is also a really good price point for a natural brand too. In England this shower gel retails at £8.00 and the matching body creams are £10.00.


The smell of this is so lovely and for a natural shower gel, the smell actually stays on your skin for a while. Next I want to try the matching body creams, particularly in the scent Bergamot Pear or Santorini, They're very holiday smells and I love them. 


Excuse the facebook screen shot, but this is one of the products that popped up on my news feed that I am desperate to try. A pomegranate toner sounds so hydrating and tasty!

Overall, two out of three products got my thumbs up. Would you try any of these products? And have you ever tried any products from abroad, I would love to know!



Thursday, 11 September 2014

Holiday Essentials 2014

So as you probably know by now, I just got back from a Summer holiday in Corfu, and I took along lots of cosmetics I haven't taken on holiday before, so I thought I would give you a little insight to my holiday routine!
(I realise now I write this, that photographing the products in the order of which they should be used would have been heaps easier but alas, we will have to make do!) 

Skin

When on holiday a lot of things tend to go slack, such as eating well, trying not to drink every day of the week, exercising less and not doing the usual makeup routine. One thing I do not let slack though, is my skin care routine. I do NOT want to look like a shrivelled raisin at the age of 30, so I took along all my usual skin care basics, just slightly more tailor made to the sun.



  • Neal's Yard Facial Wipes - I don't usually use face wipes as they're packed with alcohol and dry the skin, but these Neal's Yard wipes are 100% natural and organic, and are made with rose water which is perfect for skin that's been in the sun. It is very soothing and sweeps away all traces of makeup, plus they're travel size friendly. Apologies for not having my own picture I threw away mine when it was finished!
  • Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Correcting Serum - Usually at home I use the S.O.S hydrating serum from Caudalie, but the Vinoperfect serum adds radiance to the skin, as well as evening out skin tone and helping you tan more evenly. I applied this under my moisturiser every day.
  • Caudalie Cleansing Milk - I used this little travel sized remover at the end of the day to remove all the grime from my face. I found it didn't remove my makeup very well with the Greek water (sounds ridiculous but it removes makeup fine at home!) but it was still nice to wash my face with, as it is lightweight and sweet smelling.
  • Caudalie VinoSource Moisturising Sorbet - I love the name of this product! This was the moisturiser I used for the day on top of the serum, so my skin felt hydrated for the imminent drying affects of the sun. This is so lightweight so went on lovely under my sun cream.
  • Caudalie Grape Water This fantastic little multi tasker is a great toner, skin soother, and general face cooler-downer. I had this next to me at night to spray over myself when the heat got to much.

Hair

I would never wash my hair everyday under usual circumstances, but on holiday it is a necessity! These are the products that kept my mane in tact.


  • Aveda Smooth Infusions Conditioner - (This is exactly why I should have pictured the products in the right order!) This Aveda conditioner is a perfect little burst of moisture for the hair after a day of scorching it. This was a perfect travel sized and went on perfectly after my
  • Aveda Sun Care Shampoo - I had never used a specific shampoo for sun and sea removal, but I am really glad I did. This made my hair feel normal again after a day of drying salt and chlorine. I would highly recommend a shampoo like this, especially if your a swimmer and need this kind of shampoo regularly.
  • Number 4 Comb Prep and Prepare- This is the hair product I got in my Birchbox which I recieved the other day. I won't say all the same things again, but this was really good at detangling my hair before I used my Tangle Teezer on it, and it has UV protection in it which meant my hair was prepped for the next day of sun exposure.
  • Aveda Smooth Infusion Perfectly Straight - I didn't use this product every night as I didn't want to waste it, but I have reviewed this product before which you can read here. This just took the edge off my naturally curly wavy hair so I could wear it down on some evenings without looking like a total nutter.

Makeup

Finally, my makeup routine is somewhat shortened, as it seems silly to cake on the foundation when its hot and sticky, and also not to take advantage of the sun tanning and clearing your complexion naturally anyway. I never wear makeup in the day on holiday, and I will only wear a minimal amount in the evening.


  • Ren Satin Perfection BB Cream -  I used this as a moisturiser and face base in the evening. I used this as it still has an SPF 15 for when the sun is still out in the early evening. This cleverly adapts to your natural colour so will look right throughout the whole holiday, and is like a lightweight version of foundation.
  • Eyeko Eyeliner Pen - I really love an eyeliner pen and will use this on its own in the evening for a easy to do makeup look. The pen means it easy to use and requires minimal effort.
  • Clinique High Impact Mascara - This travel size is perfect for the makeup bag and lengthens and coats each lash making them natural but not too much.
  • Cream Eyeshadows - If I really want to make a special effort, I will use some cream eyeshadows to make more of a statement with my eyes. The balmy consistency means they're easy to go on and don't take up much room in your luggage with brushes etc. Here, I used my 'Wild About Beauty' colour from my birch box as a base, and then added my 'Maybelline Colour Tattoo' on top for a pop of shimmer.





What are your Summer Holiday essentials?



Tuesday, 9 September 2014

August Birchbox


This Birchbox has got to be one of my favourites, not so much because of products, but just because of the pure genius that went behind it. As you may know, I have just returned (well a week ago) from a holiday in Corfu. I took my little Birchbox with me and I have to say I used everything that was in it which is a first for me. 

What I liked about it was that every single detail was considered with the box. The sizes of the products were aeroplane safe, plus they came in the handy see through bag that made security easy. In the little pamphlet they have inside each month, there was a holiday checklist of things to pack which I found very helpful as I am rubbish at packing. Little things like this are what I think make Birchbox stand out from other subscription boxes. After this box, I think I would genuinely consider looking into a job at Birchbox somewhere just because I think they're such an innovative, creative company.

Cute and re-usable!

Anyway, lets get onto the actual goodies inside the holiday themed box.

Vasanti Face Exfoliator

This rejuvenator has not only got small beads to scrub with, it also has papaya enzymes that slough away at dead skin. The result? Massively improved brightened skin! I really liked this scrub as I could really feel it working on my face. It was quite abbrasive which I don't usually like on my skin as it used to be sensitive, so I'm quite careful with what I put on my skin. This scrub is gentle enough for me though, but I wouldn't recommend using it every day. It is a once a week kind of scrub and reminds me slightly of the Ren '1 Minute Facial' in terms of its soft scrub consistency. It had a very fruity holiday smell which I loved so this product was a winner for me.

Number 4 Leave in Conditioner


This is a product I used religiously every day on holiday. After a day of chlorine and salty sea water, my thick hair is an absolute nightmare. After washing my hair, I used this every night to help detangle my hair, but it also protects the hair for the next day as it has UV protection in it as well. I used a number of things in my hair this holiday which I will review in full later on, but I can certainly say that my hair was in the best condition it could have been in after all the abuse it got for a week. I have always been a bit dubious about leave in conditioners, as I don't want them to way down my already heavy hair, but as this is a spray on, its impossible to get too much on. My boyfriend also thinks it smells like Sailor Jerry's and coke so that is an added bonus for all us rum lovers out there.

Nude Omega Treatment Oil

I am a big lover of night oils since I started using my Caudalie detox night oil. I think they give the skin a good condition for the next day ahead, and this one was perfect for holiday. With all the Omegas that are packed in, it moisturises the skin and leaves it soothed, a perfect alternative to aftersun. This reminded me a lot of the Ren Omega 3 serum which I have yet to review. I think it smells of peaches although my sister thinks I smell like "a freshly sharpened pencil" when I put this on. Make of that what you will...

SuperGood CC Cream

This was the product I used least on my holiday, just because I am a bit of a pool lover so didn't want this to go to waste on my face in the morning, and the factor was a bit high for the evenings. That said, it gave a really nice look to my skin, and would be ideal for a wander around on a city break or something similar where you wouldn't be in and out of water as much. I tired it on my first day but it just felt a bit thick once I'd been in the pool so stuck to normal sun cream after that.

Wild About Beauty Creme Eyeshadow

This is a paraben free makeup range which always ticks the boxes with me. I also didn't realise until I got back off holiday that Loiuse Redknapp actually created the brand, so that was an interesting little surprise. The actual eyeshadow is a shade called 'Matilda', and is a beautiful shade for a sultry look in the evening, perfect with a bit of a tan. The consistency wasn't as thick as some other cream shadows I've used, and it didn't last as long as some either, but all in all I really like this shadow and have used it to created a number of day to night looks.

You can create a really pretty light shimmer or go for an intense colour which has a more brown finish to it.

The Proposal Chapter 1


This had to be the icing on the cake for me with this Birchbox. What a GREAT idea putting the first chapter of a book in! You could read the book wihout ruining too much for yourself an then if you liked it, buy the full book at the airport. I didn't buy the full book as I already had "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn packed in my bag, but I did read the chapter. Personally, romantic novels aren't really my kind of genre, but like I said, the idea was absolutely perfect!

Well Done Birchbox, this one really made me smile :)









Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Day 20: Tribal



Day 20. Tribal Nails. I love tribal nails but don't really do them enough which is something I want to change. I think they are fairly easy to do and you can create a different look every time. For these nails, I went on to Pinterest to get a colour scheme I liked and got them all ready. Unfortunately for me, all the nail art pens I wanted to use have dried up tips so I did all of this with the striper end which was really hard! Therefore, these have not come out as dainty or as neat as I wanted, but when pay day comes I will invest in some new pens and do some crazy amazing ones.

I used an pastel orange base then chose my green, pale pink and hot pink nail art pens for these patterns. I then used my black pen for outlining and detailing. My thumb nail is my favourite by far as it is the most dainty and the look I was trying to achieve. I didn't have a strict pattern at all I just made each nail up as I went along.


I promise I will do some better tribal nails soon!


Monday, 18 August 2014

Day 17: French Tip


Sorry I am a day late with this post!


For day 17 of the Calfiornails nail art challenge, the prompt was french tip. I thought I would take the time to actually do something a bit more traditional as I never do anything like that... NAAAAT it's the summer I can't be that boring. I did actually do a traditional french manicure but I only did the white to make my neon colours pop more.


For this manicure, I used 'Barry M' Lychee for the base colour, and then used my model's own neon colours for the bright tips. I saw this manicure on Pinterest ages ago and thought it was understatedly cool.




Manicures with an interesting twist like this are perfect for summer. Sorry it is a short post!


Friday, 15 August 2014

July Birchbox



This July Birchbox was a bit of a shocker to me. All the items that I thought I would like, I didn't, and the once I didn't think I would touch, have been the first things I look for when I need my cosmetics. So lets go ahead and see what happened.

Laqa & Co Lip Lube


I have been wanting to try purple lipstick for while now so this was the perfect colour for me to recieve in my Birchbox. This Lip Lube is a lovely purple which can be built up into a darker shade for more of a 'wow'. It's really moisturising and lasts for a while before re applying. Was really happy with this product. It even featured in my 'Favourite lipsticks at the moment' post I did the other day. 

Gilchrist & Soames Bath Gel



Gilchrist and Soames are a brand I have heard of before, and have recieved a few bits from Birchbox too. This kelp extract mineral bath sounded like the height of luxury so I was excited to try it. I thought it would be the sort of bath that would make you feel really good after, like you'd had a spa break or something. Truth of the matter is, it didn't really do anything to my bath. I ran it in the warm water where it frothed a bit, but when I got in, in just vanished and the didn't do anything else. It didn't really smell or do anything to my senses so essentially I felt like I was just sitting in warm water. Bit disappointing! 

Three Wishes Body Butter


This was one item I thought I would really hate. Lavender is really not a smell I can stand since working in natural beauty products, where pretty much everything is scented with it. I was a bit dubious about putting this on my skin but I am so glad I gave it a chance! This doesn't really smell like lavender at all, more like a powdery night time baby lotion that is so sweet and lovely. Even my boyfriend commented on the smell and how nice it was. It is a really calming smell so I like to put it on before bed. The added bonus of this product is that it is all naturally sourced so has no chemicals or parabens! I am actually considering purchasing this item as it is so lightweight and leaves the skin feeling so lovely, pretty good going for a product I thought I'd hate!

Weleda Shampoo


This was one of the brands I had heard of before, and it is a all natural hair care brand. I have tried a lot of natural haircare so understand that it isn't a conventional hair wash as there is no foam and you have to work a bit harder to get that 'froth'. Adding more water to natural shampoos helps them work so much better, but with this one no matter how much I added it just didn't work. I tried using it twice in one wash as that can often help but I just didn't get anything from it which was shame.

Balance Me Eye Cream


This was the product that Birchbox were really excited about putting into their boxes. For me, eye creams are the sort of this you can't really tell if they are good or bad. Obviously if it gives you a horrendous reaction and streaming eyes persist usage, but I think they are the sort of products you will only see the benefits of over time when you start to get a bit older and things like crows feet become a concern. Obviously the later in life your crows feet come then the better the eye cream you've been using, but who sticks to just the one?! I have never been a user of eye cream until recently, and as far as this one goes, it does feel nice. Personally I prefer more of a gel consistency as I feel creams are a bit more heavy duty for my age, but it did feel nice and hydrating, but tha'ts all I have to say on it really!  It has won the Red Green beauty award, and is called a wonder cream too. As a company, Balance Me are a natural brand, made by three British sisters whose brand has had involvement with Topshop. 

Vita Coco natural Coconut Water lemonade Flavour


I always love the extra little lifestyle items Birchbox put in their boxes, they are always really thought out and sometimes contain food and drinks such as this, which I love to stuff my face on. This month was a coconut water which I have always found to be pretty vile tasting. The original one with no added flavour at all has a pretty furry after taste I just can't get used too. Coconut water is really good for you, and more hydrating that actual water. When I first drank one I thought it would taste coconut-y and sweet but it really didn't. Safe to say I was a little dubious about having a sip of this, even though I knew it was going to be slightly lemon flavoured. I say slightly lemon flavoured but it is actually very strong. It tastes a bit like undiluted lemon squash, but you can still get a hint of the sweetness of the coconut. Believe it or not this is actually a good experience as for me, I really can't bear the taste of it in its original form, and this one is quite drinkable. As it is mega healthy and  I would probably try and drink it, and this one is certainly the best flavour I have had so far. contains no fat, so is perfect as a after dinner sweetener for before you go on holiday.



Thursday, 14 August 2014

Day 14: Pineapple nails


Hi Guys! It is that time again where I have decided to embark on a nail art challenge to spice up my nail art and make myself try stuff I've been meaning to do! I only saw this the other day so I am coming into it late, but some of the earlier prompts I do want to try so I will be catching up. I have also now booked a holiday at the end of the month too so some of the later ones may not be done on time either, but we will get to that palava when it comes to it!

ANYWAY I shall stop rambling and talk to you about today's prompts, Pineapples. Much like the melon nails I did the other day (which I am totally passing off as the 'Tropical' prompt), there are lots of different patterns out there in the nail art world, but I saw some cute little ones which I took a real liking too.


These didn't come out as well as I wanted them too, but I think you can tell that they're pineapples?! I used nail art brushes which I don't usually do and I must say I find them quite tricky. Nail art pens are good but limited in colours, so when I needed a dark brown for the details and outline, I had to use a brush as I don't think a brown nail art pen would sell all that well!

My other criticism of these nails is the base colour I used. I used a colour club polish which I got in my Birchbox (review coming soon) and I thought it had a deep Mediterranean feel to it, almost like a green sea colour. I do like the colour but I think it may have been a shade too dark for this design.


Anyway, I don't totally hate these nails, and smile when I look down at my fruity little fingers! Let me know what you think :)