Review – E45.

14 Apr

As a Bzz Agent I was lucky enough to receive a Bzz Kit of E45 goodies and was so impressed I thought I would post a quick review.
E45 Nourish & Restore
They promise to “nourish and restore supple, softer and noticeably glowing skin in just 3 weeks”.
Quick Review: This does exactly what it says on the tin. It smoothes onto the skin leaving it feel remarkably soft and smooth. It feels reminiscent of Dr Jart’s Water Infused BB Cream in the sense that it makes my skin feel plumper in a strange way. This is predominantly for ageing skin so I will passing this over to my Mum who I know will love it.

RRP £5.49 at Boots.

E45 Moisturising Lotion 
They promise this “light unperfumed” formula will leave the skin “soft, supple and moisturised”.
Quick Review: The formula of this is a lot thinner than the Nourish and Restore formula. It’s very thin in fact which for me makes it a lot harder to work with for me when I’m trying to get into awkward places like my elbows. It does work a treat though and I give it 10/10 for moisturising capabilities.

RRP £5.50 at Boots.

So there you have it. E45 gets the heads up from me and it will be going straight into my skin regime. Hooray for great moisturisers! If you do fancy trying these they are currently on offer in Boots for around £3.67 each.

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My Weekly Buys #3

14 Apr

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I put myself on a spending ban this week but that had the complete reverse effect as you can see above. I am a nightmare but with my grown up wages coming in it is very hard not to buy everything. Some of you may know that I have been losing weight since Christmas (2 stone down, 1.5 to go) so this is really limiting my ability to buy clothes because I am constantly going down in size so I’m holding off on buying clothes unless it is essential. You will probably know when I get to my goal weight because that month is likely to have no beauty buys for the whole month because I will be running wild with my pay rise in all the clothes shops ever opened.

Anyway back to this weeks beauty buys. I have quite a variation this month and I have finally bought a lot of things I was lusting over last month.

My first beauty buys this month was Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara which I have to say I was quite disappointed by. I have read rave reviews on this product so I splashed out thinking it would be worth it but after a few applications it really didn’t give me the effect I wanted. My eyelashes are the part of my face I spend ages working on in the morning. I have short stubby and fairly light eyelashes so I do spend a while layering on the mascara to build up length and thickness. Don’t worry though I don’t ever look like a spider lady, I learnt to avoid that early on. I am going to keep persevering with this mascara in the hope it’s just me taking a while to get used to handling it the way it needs to be handled to get to the desired eyelash effect (if that makes any sense). It’s higher end buy but I do think it wasn’t worth the investment for me unfortunately.

My second beauty buy was Avene’s Eau Thermale Thermal Spring Water for sensitive skin and their Cleanance Emulsion Lotion for oily blemish prone skin. I love the lotion because it actually feels like it is doing something from the moment I put it on my skin. It has made my skin purge for the last few days but hopefully this week it will calm down. The spring water is great and really refreshing to use. I use this to finish off make-up removal and to refresh my skin during the day. I got the 150ml bottle but I am going to be getting a travel size version as well because this is great on the go.

After seeing Dainty Doll around on the blogging sphere I thought I’d give it a go and with Fragrance Direct having such low prices at the moment I thought I better get in there fast. I bought the concealer in 001, two blushes 001 and 003 as well as a lipstick in 001. They do all have names but not on the packaging so have a google if you want to find out. I love the concealer for covering up blemishes. It is a creamy sort of concealer and there is loads of it so it was such a good investment. I would recommend using it with a brush because otherwise it can be quite ‘cakey’ in consistency. Unfortunately 001 in the blush is way too light, it is like a lilacy pink if you can tell from the photo above and it doesn’t work as a highlighter which is what I had sort of intended to use it for. However, 003 is a brilliant contouring colour. Not too dark and sits on the skin really well giving a great finish to your look. The lipstick was a very bold red and is a good lipstick but not great for longerity.

I then had a massive Superdrug haul. From MUA I got the Artiste palette, a merged trio eyeshadow in Theatrics, another trio eyeshadow in Pink Sorbet as well as their new Power Pout in Runway. As you can see the palette in the photo above has a broad range of eyeshadows, two blushes in Pink Sparkle and Primrose as well as highlighting and contouring shades s well. The eyeshadows do look speckled but don’t come out as so so don’t be fooled. They are great colours and go on well  but they are not as good as the Undressed palettes so I don’t tend to use these too much but they are great for everyday wear. The blushes, highlighter and contour colour are the key features in this palette and work so well on my skin that I reach for these consistently. The trio eyeshadow is absolutely gorgeous as well and Theatrics has great metallic undertones which blend through the base colour of the eyeshadow. Runway Power Pout is a great coral colour that is very orange based so very bold for me but these last well and look great. I actually also got a clear mascara to set my eyebrows as well but that is boring so I won’t go into detail there.

From Revlon I finally purchased two lip butters in Strawberry Shortcake and Peach Parfait. They live up the hype they really do. Such good conditioning for the lips and I am pretty sure I have worn Peach Parfait every day since I bought it. I can’t wait to get it out of my handbag and apply it probably 3-4 times a day. You don’t need to but I do love reapplying this and I am the girl that doesn’t reapply anything. I also got Colorstay Ultimate Suede in Socialite which has great pigmentation but isn’t as creamy as a lip butter. I have been using this for my power pout for my serious days at work so it is slowly becoming a firm favourite of mine. They are all a darker pink peach tone because this is what I do lean towards. I try not to and add variety but it never happens for me.

I also hit up Rimmel. I got another Stay Matte in Peach Glow because for £3.99 this powder does no wrong in my eyes and I needed a repurchase after my other smashed after hitting pan. I also opted for Scandeleyes Eye Shadow Sticks in Bulletproof Beige and Bad Girl Bronze. I love these eye shadow sticks. They look really scary when you first ‘draw’ on your look but after a lot of work with my blending brush they contoured really well together and I was really pleased I bought them both. The beige acts as a perfect base or highlighter with the bronze as a contouring shade. Amazing stuff. I don’t like how you have to sharpen them (give me the mechanism in Clinique’s Chubby Sticks now please) and I find every time I close the lid, the lid somehow catches on the pencil and smudges all over the pencil. I have tried being really careful but this doesn’t seem to work!

I also jumped on two band wagons and got Barry M’s Gelly Shine nail varnish in Lychee and Benefit’s World Famous Neutrals in Most Glamorous Neutrals ever. Both as easy to use and give great high quality looks. I love the Benefit kit so much. It is so easy to use with great colours and you really can’t go wrong with this. The price tag of £24.50 is so worth it for what really is an all in one eye look kit. Get purchasing if you haven’t already. Love it!

Last but not least after living with my old house-mate Sophie (Link) I kind of fell in love with her brushes when she bought the Real Techniques Core Collection (I hope?). So I had a google and used Iherb to place an order. I got the Core Collection, Blush Brush, Powder Brush, and the Setting Brush. I also popped an ELF Lock and Seal into my basket too as I needed a new one. I do love these brushes and the Buffing Brush from the Core Collection has changed my beauty life forever. I love these brushes, they were a great investment for me as I am sure they will last a while and I got them for a bargain. For your first buy on Iherb you are offered $10 off a $40 shop. So I loaded my basket with brushes and $33 dollars later (£21!) I had all of the above. You do pay quite a bit for delivery (around 3 weeks) so in total I had paid £29. Which is really a bargain. Until you get it into the UK. So there is a high chance your package could be stopped at customs if you spend over $15. Which means you pay 20% import tax and £8 handling fee to the post office. Which is what happened to me adding a hefty £15 onto my purchase. I wasn’t too disappointed because for £45 I was still looking at a slight discount. Not as big as I thought though but still a discount is a discount right? So please be careful when purchasing from this site if you are not prepared to pay this amount to pick up your goods in the UK.

That is my beauty buys for this week. Next week is looking to be a good week too with Stila’s Convertible Colour Trio Palette in Cool on its way already.

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100 Book Challenge.

6 Apr
Since moving over from my old blog I noticed that my new book was so much less about books. When I thought about it even harder I realised in the last three months, since starting my new job, I had read only a handful of books. Disgusted at myself for not making enough time for myself to sit and read (whilst secretly loving the fact my new life in Bath was filling all my time) I rather drastically decided to take up the 100 books a year challenge.
It has been argued that reading that many books so quickly means you retain only 1-2% of what you have read. Some of you may think then that I should read 1-2 a year and just analyse the pages out of it. I do agree to an extent so I will be using my blog to review each book and hopefully I retain more than the average 1-2.
It is April so I thought I’d do a quick review of the books I have somehow managed to read this year.
1) Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd.
Quick review: 2/10.
Synopsis: Out of the blue Jeanie’s husband leaves her bed one night refusing to explain what has changed. Yet they continue on for ten years before Jeanie starts to learn that being over 60 doesn’t mean it’s too late to change your life.
Review: I don’t know what possessed me to buy this on my Kindle but with one-click ready and willing to help me to buy, I opted for a light read. Boy was I disappointed. This book is aiming for you to walk away and go “oh people over 60 can have a life of happiness and sex”. That is about the only newish take on the ever predictable love story. The thing was as well I forgot she was meant to be an older woman and I was unconvinced in her fear of her new lover being a potential love rat. Overall an okay chick lit for a light read but nothing to shout about.
2) The Song Of Achilles by Madeleine Miller.
Quick Review: 6/10.
Synopsis: A retelling of the Iliad and the events leading up to it through the eyes of Patroclus.
Review: I went on a bit of an impulse buy session for books based in Ancient Greek/ Rome. This tale definitely sparked that. This is a shocking retelling of the Iliad starting when Patroclus and Achilles are much younger. The bond they form becomes much much deeper and leads to Patroclus following Achilles to war where their love is tested. The portrayal of Thetis is by far the best thing about this book. Overpowering, cold and often vicious Thetis is a true portrayal of a goddess and a mother. The combination is lethal with the overpowering nature of Thetis creating turns in the protagonists life he can never expect. An amazing retelling but this does lean towards a mythological retelling opposed to the recent versions we have been shown in the media such as the movie Troy. An imaginative novel it is none the less.
3) The Forgotten Legion/ Road To Rome and The Silver Eagle by Ben Kane.
Quick Review: 6/10.
Synopsis: A gritty tale of Rome in all it’s grandeur and filth spanning from slaves to masters.
Review: If you love Spartacus and Rome then this is your reading equivalent. Telling the tale of two twins sold out of slavery by an abusive master, we see Romulus make his way to the Forgotten Legion after a brutal murder while his sister Fabiola sold into a brothel manages to gain the love of none other than Brutus who buys her freedom raising her from slave to mistress. What I loved about this book was that it in no way tried to glamorise Rome in it’s ancient form. This book has sex, violence and everything in between but there is also a sense of truth in the filth of the streets and true fear in day to day living. This is what makes these books different and I readily applaud this. However, it also takes massive historical events and trivialises them. Caesar for example is killed over an earlier rape and his paternity to key characters. As much as this brings elements of history and truth to the tale, for me it doesn’t 100% work unfortunately.
6) Emperor The Gates Of Rome by Conn Iggulden.
Quick Review: 5/10.
Synopsis: After a slave revolt Gaius Julius Ceasar makes his debut in Rome.
Review: I don’t know whether it was due to having read quite a few Rome themed novels at this point, but I was just at a loss for why none of these series has a different feeling to it. They are all the same, bringing a defined era to us by lining the pages with base sexual needs, and violence. I got bored of it and won’t be reading the rest of the series unfortunately.
7) Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier.
Quick Review: 10/10.
So that’s it guys it’s about to get nerdy up here in. If you are interested I will be doing full separate reviews for each book as I go along.
I am currently reading Moll Flanders  by Daniel Defoe.

Current Favourites #2

28 Apr

This month I had a lot of continued favourites (think Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation) so there aren’t too many products to talk about.

My first favourite is the Benefit World Famous Neutrals set in Most Glamorous Nudes Ever. It comes with two creaseless creams in Birthday Suit and My Two Cents which make this kit an instant hit with me because I love the creaseless creams. This is just such an easy kit to use and you can actually create a number of looks so it is worth the £24.50 they retail at. I really want Easiest Nudes Ever as well but I’ve got my heart set on a few Too Faced palettes and one of the two eyeshadow sets from the MAC summer collection so it’ll probably be a while before you see me with that.

For my eyes I also picked up some Rimmel Scandeleyes Eyeshadow Sticks in
Bad Girl Bronze and Bulletproof Beige which work well together for every day. They have great pigmentation and after a few gos look great.

My cheek product is Stila’s Convertible Colour Dual Lip and Cheek Cream Trio in Cool. This set has three shades: Lillium, Peony and a limited edition Cherry Blossom which you can only get in this palette. I think it retails at around £23-25 but I got it during their birthday celebration for £18. Such a good bargain. It’s great a set for the on the go and the colours are perfect for spring giving a dewy finish. If you’re not sure about a single shade from the brand this palette is definitely the way to go.

I indulged in my lips this month mostly. I got the Barry M Turn My Lips Pink which is a scary green colour reminiscent of The Wicked Witch of the West. On my lips it turns a gorgeous berry pink and flatters my skin tone beautifully.
I also grabbed some Revlon lip butters in Strawberry Shortcake and Peach Parfait. Peach Parfait has quickly become my daily colour at work. It just feels so amazing and finishes my look with a subtle sheer pop. I love it and it may be the first lipstick I finish in a while at the rate I’m going.
MUA’s Power Pouts also hit the shelves this month and I got Runway as well as Rendezvous. I wear Rendezvous a lot because it is a nude day look whereas Runway is basically an orange which I love but isn’t as wearable. For £3 you really can’t go wrong – this is why I love MUA for my everyday looks.
I forgot to photograph my Korres Lip Butter in Guava but I don’t need to say anything about it. It’s a dream lip conditioner and the sheer finish suits a heavy eye look.

Another MUA product was the Undress Your Skin Radiant Under Eye Concealer. I pop this under my eyes to finish my look rather than as a concealer. It highlights well for £3 so I am loving this.

Finally in beauty E.L.F’s Cream Eyeliner popped back up to the top of my list this month.

For skincare I am loving Avene’s thermal spring water to refresh and clean my skin. For hair care Dove’s Nourishing Oil Leaving-in Conditioning and Care Spray has been taming my frizzy mane this month.

My monthly reads included Brave New World which my favourite book of the month!

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – Review

27 Apr

Number nine on my 100 books in a year (a very slow 100 books in a year I might add) is the iconic Brave New World by Huxley.

I was shocked to have not read this before because dystopian/utopian literature is up there with post colonialism as the subject of my favourite reads and this book encompasses both. This book hits the nail on the head of what is a good read for me.

Written in 1931 this novel is the ying to 1984’s yang. One sees dystopia through oppression and a big brother like society. Whilst Huxley questions whether it is in fact letting us have everything we want and conditioning our behaviour that is the true dystopia we aren’t expecting.

I think what shocked me most on reading this was that I kept forgetting the year this book was written. It felt like he was talking about modern day society. Margaret Atwood wrote on this novel “Look in the mirror: do you see Lenina Crowne looking back at you, or do you see John the Savage?..We wish to be as the careless gods…and at the same time we want to be those anguished others because we believe that..immediate gratification will never be enough.” Essentially we see both main characters because we want to be both but the fact that we see these characters at all speaks volumes for Huxley’s amazing perception of the future, or our modern day.

Where post colonialism creeps into the novel however is not only in the theme of the savage needing to be tamed, a believed truth ripe in society at the time, but also within the bizarre way an Indian/ African tribe in America worships Jesus. Confused? I certainly was. I can only deduct that this is how Huxley aligns his readership (privileged white folks in Britain) to the savages allowing parallels of conscious to be formed.

Essentially that is what this novel is though. A questioning of conscience. Are we the savage or the civilised? Why do the civilised get to determine the savage? Why must the civilised change the savage? Whose is the most utopian life? Where are we as a consumer society headed?

I’ll leave you with my quick review and all those questions.

Quick Review: 10/10. A must read novel which made me read a book on the novel which is something I haven’t done since university.

Next up is Will Self by Sam Mills.

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Moll Flanders – Daniel Defoe: Review.

17 Apr

In my second year of university my core module inflicted a horrific novel on me called ‘Clarissa’ by Samuel Richardson. It is full of old century angst and crimes that have long since been passed off as nothing short of acceptable in today’s society. The longest book I have ever attempted to read this became a good door stop and a great weapon. It did not however enlighten my life because I read it a few centuries too late.

Fast forward two years and I find myself, after declaring to never read such a book of tiring female plight again, grasped in the hands of dear Moll Flanders.

Played by men when she is but an innocent Moll finds herself forced to do what must be done to survive. Cue prostitution and coercion. Followed by repentance and a sort of happy ending.

Would I read it again? Never.

It has just reaffirmed my love of dystopia post colonial literature, foreign literature, the romantic classics, American literature and modern literature. Give me Du Maurier now I say.

Quick Review: 6/10 and that’s only because it would have been profound in the eighteenth century.

Now reading Huxley ‘Brave New World‘.

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