essjay23x

A Sincere but Light-Hearted Mission To Make More of Myself!

Five little obsessions!

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Some of you may be used to my passing phases now. Sometimes I get all obsessed with some item or regime and then one morning, I wake up and it is all forgotten.

Remember, the Shred?!

Ouch!

However, when I’m indulging in the passing phases, they become the cornerstones of my beauty routines.

Here are five phases that I’m currently entertaining.

1/ Bitter Chocolate from Botanics

Over the last two or three months, I keep returning to this colour. Yes, the colour payoff (in the semi-permanent) does not last very long maybe only a couple of weeks but I do love the shade that emerges after the first shampoo. Dark hair may seem a little boring or blah but there is no doubt that the darker my hair is, the healthier and shinier it looks.

Sometimes my hair colour seems half-hearted and just a mish mash of lifeless browns. For once, my hair looks solid, shiny and polished. I initally took note of this colour after Carolyn Bax commented used a Boots Semi-Permanent Chocolate dye recently.

2/ The Teeth Whitening

It was back in the summer when I last became obsessed with my white pearlies. That was in the BlanX era. The BlanX product that I used did seem to work. However, the full white results do not seem quite so lasting so now I am using the Beverly Hills Toothpaste. Sarah has raved about one of their toothpastes before. I’m hoping my new habit will keep my teeth on the right side of white economically. I really do lay stock in the fact that Sarah believes in it and also that Watchdog have given it a thumbs up.

3/ RapidLash

For me, this year has been all about the lashes. Lash enhancers and mascara. I have just fallen for yet another mascara which I will tell you about soon but I have also started using another lash growth product. So far, I have used Lipocils, Ardell, the L’Oreal Lash serum and now I have started to use RapidLash. I must admit that I am using this very tentatively after reading an earlier post of Laura’s. However, there are so many positive reviews out there for this product and as I’m so desperate for Bambi lashes. I am now applying this little product each evening and keeping my fingers crossed that firstly, I do not lose my lashes altogether and secondly, that I infact gain more lusterous, fluttery lashes.

4/ The Probiotics

After reading in the amazing Beauty Bible, that an annual 90 day course of probiotics could be of benefit to troublesome skin. I have been glugging the old Actimels down. I’m not sure if they are helping but this habit is a lot cheaper then some of the other regimes and creams that I have tried this year and at the very worse, the daily dose is probably only of benefit to my general health.

5/ Manuka Honey

Some of you may have read my earlier post on the benefits of honey. Well, now I’m going further and trying Manuka Honey. I will do a post on this soon but apparently Manuka Honey has special antibacterial properties which can be of benefit to your well-being which of course, will be reflected in your appearence. This phase has struck at the right time as there are few things that can get me out of my warm bed in these cold, cold mornings like the promise of hot porridge and honey.

Do you have daily beauty habits? What are they?
X

Written by essjay23x

November 22, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Pink Shimmer!

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When I did my blush series, I concentrated on offerings from Mac and Benefit but today, I would like to consider a cheaper product from MeMeMe, Pink Shimmer, £6.99.

Technically, the Pink Shimmer palette is not a blush but a highlighting powder. It contains five different shades of pink which you are meant to run your make up brush over and swirl on to your face to highlight.

As you can see, the pallette can get a little messy!

Well to be honest, this little product remained more or less untouched in my draw for more then six months because yes, I had the mega hyped higher end products to show off but also because some of the colours in this palette scared me. A palette that supposedly delivers pink shimmer yet one of the five shades looks pretty much red to me and at least two more of the colours are heading that way. Another one is bright, bright pink. I was never going to use this as a highlighter. Aren’t highlighters supposed to be subtle?!

However for whatever reason, I picked this palette up the other day and took a swirl using the resulting shimmer (don’t worry, it is a slight shimmer that is delivered not a glittery mess) as a blush and wow, it worked. I have used this product in this way every day since, I don’t think I have even touched any of my other blushes for ten days plus.

This product does give a good colour payoff. It adds a subtle, healthy colour to my cheeks without been too much. It is hard to identify what the final colour is on the cheeks (possibly a very muted red) maybe because of the five different shades used to create it. I would say that it is darker then Benefit’s Dandelion .
Basically, the resulting flush seems to come close to my natural (red!) blush colour, it doesn’t look like make up at all when applied subtly. I would say two swipes or it can quickly, look clownish.
It actually says on the box ‘Pink Shimmer for a sassy cheeky look’. I wasn’t sure what sassy meant but to be honest, when I see this product on my cheeks I have to admit that MeMeMe may have hit the nail on the head. My cheeks look “sassy” and effortlessly healthy. I wouldn’t say that Pink Shimmer is particularly long lasting but I get through maybe four or five hours before I reach a mirror and think that a touch up is required. I have heard that these Shimmer Palettes are renowned dupes for the more expensive Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks (which I have yet to try). I have also heard that MeMeMe are renowned for delivering some good Benefit dupes. As I’m so impressed with the Pink Shimmer as a blush, I think I might be trying the real MeMeMe Blushes next, Blush Me. Ahem, Benefit Coralista, anyone?!

I have been using the ShimmerShimmer mostly in a very natural look with a bit of foundation, mascara – I have a new love:) – and Ambre Rose.

So low price and low maintenance. 
Got to love that!

What do you think of MeMeMe? Any more high street wonders, blush or otherwise, that I am missing out on?

X

Written by essjay23x

November 21, 2010 at 11:08 am

The Beauty Bible!

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The Beauty Bible!

Lately I have enjoyed wandering around the shops, perusing.

Utter bliss and the best form of exercise!

I was doing just this the other day, when it started to rain. I sought shelter in a local charity shop and well, by the time the rain stopped, I had secured quite possibly the bargain of the year!!!

Sure, it is an old edition. 1997, but, it has taught me and inspired me probably more then any other ‘beauty’ book ever.

The Beauty Bible is illustrated beautifully and covers everything from make up, skincare and haircare to reflexlogy, facial workouts(!) and cosmetic surgery.

I love the fact that this book does not focus or endorse just one beauty philosophy. It covers so many different beauty ideas and all the pros and cons. There are many insights from different ‘experts’ such as Liz Earle, Eva Lom, Bobbi Brown and Mary Greenwell.

The Beauty Bible also gives an insight in to the beauty habits of the celebs (interestingly many of those featured still, now a decade later, possess a name in lights), namechecking perfumes and lipsticks in connection with certain personalities.

There are also recommendations and reviews of different products. True, this feature may now be a little out of date. However, it may also bring to light a classic. A miracle product that I have missed along the way, that was lost under all the hype of the latest ‘magical’ or ‘amazing’ release.

Natural beauty is also not forgotten in these pages and there are suggestions for face masks, hair treatments and such like, using items from the kitchen.

To be honest, I have had this book a couple of weeks and have probably spent about 4-6 hours on it and I still feel like there is lots left to digest. I think no matter what I learn, there will be something new to swot up on here and I imagine that this fantastic book is a handy reference for anyone.

So far, I have learnt

* That an annual three month course of probiotics could be beneficial for my skin particularly in combination with Evening Primrose Oil. Actimel, here I come.

*Apparently Madonna likes XS from Paco Rabonne while Helen Christensen is more of an Opium lady.

*How to spend my day off indulging with my very own home spa treatments.

I absolutely love this book and still think, despite its age, that this book is worth the original £12.99 price. More then six times the £1.50, I paid for it in the lovely little charity shop.

I will certainly be looking out for the release of the Anti-Aging Beauty Bible next year to see if it lives up to the original.

Do you have a copy of The Beauty Bible? Do you think such books are good beauty investments?

X

Written by essjay23x

November 21, 2010 at 9:15 am

Skincare: The Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

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Skincare: The Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

Yes, another skincare product for my collection. I drafted this post last week, I have since started using the product and will update soon to let you know how I have been getting on.

I know some people were very interested in the Doctor Brand posts (especially on wordpress).
Here is another skincare product that I am impatient to try now that it is finally in my possession.

Have you ever met the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion before?

Apparently this Lotion is infamous in healing spots in a spot zapper kind of way.  The idea is that you apply the lotion to the existing spot (particularly whiteheads) before bed and then wash the product off the next morning to find that the spot has gone (yes, just like that) or at the very least shrunk. If it has only shrunk, you simply repeat the regime a couple more times and it is alleged that the spot will soon vanish.

Ooh, well time will tell but I can tell you now why I have high hopes for this product.

* It contains calamine lotion, widely used to treat other skin conditions.

* It claims to work quickly which is good because if there are any spots on your face then there is an increased risk of spots spreading through cross infection.

* It is supposed to be soothing so even if it does not zap the spot then maybe the spot will be less irritated, red and noticeable.

* It is simple and quick to use.

* It is meant to be suitable for any skin type

* Even though it is a ‘drying’ lotion, I think it may well be more moisturising then those horrible gels and sticky cream spot zappers that I have encountered before and this isn’t very scientific of me but the creamy pink potion just looks more skin friendly and gentle.

* Mario Badescu seems to have a huge following as a brand. Sophie has just posted a big thumbs up for one Mario Badescu scrub. Again not very scientific of me but tens of celebrities supposedly use their skincare products including Jennifer Aniston, Kate Moss and Eva Longoria. Oh yeah and let’s not forget, Will Ferrell!

* The Drying Lotion seems to be particularly infamous. HQ Hair has selected it as one of their featured products in some kind of X factor spin off on their site this christmas.

* Although the drying lotion can be used alongside other products from the Mario Badescu brand, I do not feel the pressure, that some other skincare brands make me feel, to buy a whole system with three or four products straight off.

* The Drying Lotion can be used on any whitehead or pimple spot (as long as it is visible and on the skin surface). So it could be used for the face, chest and back. It may well be a good product to have on stand by. I think I read somewhere that somebody said it is a good product for ‘first date’ prep.

*Mario Badescu claim that they do not and never have tested on animals.

Wow, there are quite a few positives there.  So let’s be fair and go for a bit of balance. To the negatives!

* The Drying Lotion is only meant to extingish spots that are actually already there. I haven’t seen any claims about it zapping lumps under the skin or that it should be used those times when you feel that there might be a spot coming.

* It is best to avoid shaking this product as much as possible, the pink lotion works (drys best, I guess) when it is seperated from the water. It actually seems so difficult to remember this when most other products have a ‘shake well’ direction.

* The Beauty Brains have studied this Drying Lotion and indeed, agree that the product really will dry out spots but it could also dry out your skin which could cause further irritation and spots. I read this after I had purchased the lotion and was a bit ‘oh dear’ but then I saw two or three comments to the Beauty Brains saying in effect that despite what the science says, this product really was/is a miracle worker in their personal experiences. One thing is clear, the people who love this product really do love it. There is such a lot of enthuasism out there!

* I had to fork out £14.50 for my little 1oz bottle from HQ Hair. That is right on the limit of what I would pay for such a product (I think but then again, never say never . . !). For that amount of money, I really do hope the bottle lasts and that there is some visible results when I use the product.

So wish me luck, I will try this and let you know how I get on.

X

Written by essjay23x

November 1, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Magik results!

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Magik results!

Hey, it seems that my recent ‘hauling’ did not end with fashion.

I have suddenly hunted down and stashed various goods in a final (some may say, desperate) frenzy as my mission grows ever closer to a year of age.

These include to name a few, a Kiehls eye cream; the Origins mushroom moisturiser; the Liz Earle cleanser; the Lush Mask of Magnamity and these little gems here.

Last night, I used a couple of these products. It was, in fact, a return to a couple of products that I raved about in one of my earliest posts, a shampoo and serum from Dead Sea SPA Magik.

The shampoo and conditioning products that I have mainly used for about the last eight weeks or so, have been the Rainforest shampoo and body butter from the Body Shop. Now although I have no complaints over the product and, indeed, am impressed that the products have lasted me so long. It seems my hair has now decided that it is stalemate time. For the last ten days or so, my hair has appeared increasingly blah. Lifeless and dull, I guess.

It may be that all it needed was a good clarifying shampoo but of course, since I’ve used these paraben free products such as Phyto and The Body Shop, I have suddenly become a bit too fearful of more “chemical” products. It is a silly psychological side effect but still I kept putting off finding a nice harsh shampoo because to me clarifying surely equals lots of scientific, tough, unforgiving ingredients to give the barnet a proper going over and clean the locks properly.

Giving the holy grail status that the Morrocan Oil Treatment has so deservedly earnt (in my opinion), I was very tempted to try the rest of their haircare range. With my main qualm being only the price.

So there I was in Holland and Barrett the other day, looking at face masks when the Dead Sea Spa Magik products caught my eye. I remember been so impressed last christmas with the products especially the serum that really you have to agree, I had nothing to lose by forking out just two pounds ninety five for a couple of sachets. One of the shampoo and one of the serum (they come together, the shampoo one is meant to be a freebie).

Now last time I remember my focus was on the magic serum (It really is called Hair Magic Serum and apparently it was voted best conditioner by Woman magazine) and the gloss and shine that this was to deliver. I also wanted the ‘thirst quenching’ ingredients that the products claim to contain. This time my hair is probably more hydrated maybe even slightly weighed down with conditioning products.

Therefore my focus was on the revitalising promise. I do remember the life that this brand gave my hair before and it just seems lately that my increasingly flat mop of hair, especially the roots, is crying out for some life and to be frank to, dance again.

Dead Sea Spa Magik claims this shampoo revitalises hair and wow, it really did. Again! My hair actually had proper volume (even after my normal mandatory application of moroccan oil) and looked a lot thicker after using these products. And in a strange but good way even though it looked like I had more hair (I love the way it bulked my layers out and made them look longer), my hair actually felt lighter and freer. It seemed easier to get the brush through and style.

And as if this was not good enough, it looked glossy. Yay. I think the serum may have had a hand in that.

I used the magic serum as a conditioner and massaged it right in to the scalp and down the length of the hair. I then left it about five minutes before rinsing out. Trust me, this stuff is magic and it probably would not be advisable to leave it in too much longer.

I shampooed generously twice and I still have maybe half the sachet of both the shampoo and serum left which I will be stowing away very safely.

I am really torn now between the moroccan oil haircare purchase plan or just buying the full size of these products. They really do seem to be that good.

Oh and yes, these Dead Sea products do claim to be made from the mud, salt and mineral extracts of the dead sea with some certified organic ingredients and no parabens.

So a volumiser, a clarifier and a moisturiser; these products could be billed magic and amazing. Maybe that is where my worry lies. In the long term, are such results too good to be true?! What do you think? Have you tried this brand? Do these products sound of interest to you? What haircare is making your hair sing and dance at the moment?

X

Written by essjay23x

October 28, 2010 at 2:24 pm

At last!

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So lately I have been very inspired by various blog posts and fashion tidbits to update my wardrobe.

There seems to be so many pretty things out there. I have all these ideas of all these things I want to buy (remember my style board) so lately I have spent most days off in one shopping centre or another on a mission to gather some treasures to form a wardrobe which I can be proud of.

Yay!

Except, normally I come home disheartened. You see, it all seems to go wrong once I hit the changing room and today seemed as if it would be no exception.

First of all, inspired by Zoella’s recent post, I hit Primark and actually I was surprised how tidy it was. Maybe early morning (not as early as Zoella’s though), mid week visits are the way to go. I actually found quite a few items to try, a couple of basic tee shirts in pink and grey with some feathery shoulder embellishments; a vest with sequins and the statue of liberty on the front and a gorgeous little black and white polka dotted coast but trying them on, each seemed too long or a little too clingy in certain places and baggy in others. I’m sure I must be such a strange shape. Nothing between a size 8 or 12 is ever one hundred percent too big or one hundred per cent too small. Just too big or small in this place or that and then the opposite in another. Argh. . !

Anyway despite the threat of rain, I bravely persevered and headed to TopShop. There, I fell in love with a white delicate cowl neck jumper but they only had a size 12 and the neck was just too big, it sort of fell past my stomach. I’m tempted to order online and try a smaller size but I can’t find it. Argh! However, such a delicate garment was unlikely to see Clumsy me through until Christmas. Still Boo!

I also tried the chain vest (as highlighted by Laura). I tried a black one and the mustard one but wasn’t sure how I would wear it. I tried on some leather effect leggings to do the rock thing. I was quite excited about this as my style is not normally so rock and roll but unfortunatly they were so, so long (I think it was these) and I took this disappointing length as an omen.

All in all, it looked liked my shopping mission was yet again destined to fail

Until. . . I casually popped in to my local department store who were having a twenty per cent off day and it was here in the Warehouse and Miss Selfridge concessions that I struck gold.

Oh yes, three cheers please!

Firstly, a basic black tee shirt from Warehouse with similar shoulder embellishments to those I tried earlier in Primark but this tee fitted so much better and was a smart and safe black so yes, purchase one was made. I have to say black tee shirts are my weakness, I just think they are such an investment and can be worn up or down. You can never have too many.

Then there was this gorgeous cream shirt with some ruffle detailing down the front. Again so wearable, my two favourite words!! I’m not brave enough to try that red, workman tarten shirt look that a lot of girls seem to be pulling off at the moment but I do tend to find that shirts and three quarter length cardigans are more flattering and swamp me less then most knitwear items I find.

And finally we have the ultimate buy of the day. I absolutely adore this brown frilly dress. It fits so well and really pulls and conceals in all of the right places. It makes me feel slender and very special. It has a very deep V neckline which could do the talking for more dressy occasions but the gorgeous number could also be layered for a more casual look.

The sleeves scared me at first as they looked huge on the hanger. Indeed, quite divaish but once I tried it on, I could see they hung in a way that actually worked and I was much more comfortable with these then I am when I’m wearing shoulder pads. I think that the length and the tapering of the sleaves helped tone down the drama to the right notch.

There is a beautiful tie at the back. I just think this dress represents the style of decades past well and is timeless. It is very girly but in a great shade of brown, soft and it is not skin tight or too much. It is also very verstatile. Normally as a short girl, I have to be very careful layering long tops or dresses over trousers etc and have to select a special pair but today in the changing room, this little number instantly looked at home over my very casual, worn Matalan jeans which I happened to be shopping in. A good omen surely!

Oh and I nearly forgot. I have also got myself a pair of the New Look wedges that have been mentioned by a couple of bloggers. For example here and here Many of you may remember the suede heels that I loved from Primark earlier this year. Well, these wedges are suede too and they are very, very high which is good ‘cos I need the extra height and I find the safest way to get such height is on the top of a wedge or platform heel so I’m hoping to get lots of wear from these.

So, there we go, a little fashion haul! At last!!

What do you think? Have you brought anything exciting lately?

X

Written by essjay23x

October 27, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Perfume of the moment!

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Now as you know, I do love to try a new scent and the latest addition to my fabulous collection is Lady Million.

Now the branding would suggest that this perfume is not very “me”!

Lady Million is a scent all about excess, gold and wealth. Even the actual perfume looks like liquid gold. It seems destined for those Femme Fatales who want and get everything.

Hmm, nice idea but realistically I’m probably a bit small town and goody two shoes for this scent and, despite the enticing bottle, I’m not sure if I would have tested this perfume amongst the tens in Boots et al. if it was not for the fact that I had heard/read such good things about Paco Rabanne’s latest release.

However like Muhsine, I absolutely love this perfume. I have worn it every day since purchase which is quite unusual for me. I have quite a few perfumes that I really like so tend to swap it up a little but no, since Lady Million came in to my world, my old friends, Gucci; Givenchy and Pricey (!) have not seen the light of day.

I love Lady Million. I find it hard to describe perfumes despite my passion for them but I would say that Lady Million seems to me to be what I originally imagined the classic Chanel fragrances to be (but never quite were).

Apparently Lady Million is quite heavy and yes, I agree it is, in regards to the initial spray where it all seems a bit busy, chaotic and excessive. However, the notes seem to settle within the first couple of minutes and within half an hour I become enveloped in this happy cloud of scent and I smell lovely.

Well, I think so!

Actually to be honest, I’m not sure what I smell like. I don’t think this scent is a floral but more of a woody concoction that makes me feel warm, safe, cosy and very happy. And it is in the evoking of all these good feelings that my inner femme fatale is in danger of been awakened. When I wear this perfume, I almost feel that I can do anything. This scent just makes me feel so happy and worthy and what is more, the confidence boost and scent lasts all day.

For me, the warmth of Lady Million just caps it and makes it an absolutely perfect scent for his time of year. For those of you who are a bit more scientific about your scent purchases, and better at deciphering this note and that, then apparently Lady Million has notes of Orange Blossom; Bigarade; Raspberry; Jasmine Sambac; Gardenia; Patchouli and Honey.

I know that the scent will probably smell very different to you (and that my description is more of an incoherent rave) but I really do like this perfume and I think with Christmas drawing ever closer, you may want to get a sample and see if it is worthy of a place on your list for Mr Claus!

Have you been seduced by Lady Million yet? What other fragrances are on your wishlist? I have to admit, that since my infatuation with Lady Million, the only other fragrance to really, really catch my curioisty is Gucci Guilty? Have you tried that one? Should I be making a formal request to Father Christmas for that one? I have yet to find a Gucci scent that I can’t “work” in one way or another!

X

Written by essjay23x

October 24, 2010 at 11:40 am