London Blogger Mini-Meet

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Calling all London bloggers!

I'm a Scottish blogger who has never, ever visited London. However, I do have a trip planned at the beginning of April and I'd absolutely love to arrange a little gathering for all of us to have a few drinks and a blether. I'm calling this a 'mini-meet' because it's not going to be a big, hyped up, goodie bag filled proper 'event' as such, but more of a casual afternoon/evening to have a good time!

I'm totally open to location suggestions and what we can do, but initially I was thinking of a little shopping in the afternoon if anyone was interested (can you believe I have never visited a physical MAC counter...?!) and then moving on to some evening food and drinks - hello cocktails! I'd love to get some suggestions from you London folk. I'm relying on you guys, I have no knowledge of London so help a girl out. ;)

Provisional date is Friday 5th April, but if numbers suggest that another date would be more suitable then I'm sure the date can be modified! I know it's short notice, but like I said, this is just a nice casual meet-up!

What do you guys think? Comment on this post or tweet me and I'll update this post when we've got a more solid plan!

Rimmel Apocalips - Big Bang

Friday, 22 March 2013

 I'm positive that this product needs no introduction because unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past few months, I'm sure you will have heard all the hype and rave reviews surrounding the Rimmel Apocalips lip lacquers. They're marketed as a lipstick hybrid combining the rich colour of a lipstick with the high shine finish of a gloss. I'll be the first to admit, I wasn't enamoured by the product's claims to begin with. I've always been a matte lip girl, only recently delving into the wide variety of finishes available, so I was a little apprehensive. But I decided I had to see what all the fuss was about, and I was in the market for a red lipstick anyway - 2 birds, 1 stone and all that!

Firstly, the packaging is just nice. I won't say it's amazing or groundbreaking, but it's nice. With a colour as intense as Big Bang, I do find the applicator to be lacking slightly. I find it quite difficult to maintain a precise application with the applicator since the colour is so bold and the tiniest mistake definitely shows. The applicator is doefoot style, but it has a hole filled with lip colour. I'd definitely suggest using a lip brush to get a precise finish with this colour. On the subject of colour, this is a gorgeous shade! It's pretty much a true red and is super intensely pigmented. The only issue I have is that I do worry about it bleeding (if I invested in a lip liner, I'm sure I wouldn't have that problem) and smudging. I wouldn't dare wear this on a night out because I just know that I'd accidentally smear it across my chin. One thing I really dislike about the product is the smell/taste. This might be a personal thing, but as soon as I apply it to my lips, I feel as if I've just licked an envelope - not pleasant. I'm also really aware that I'm wearing this, which I'm not a fan of. That probably sounds daft, but I like to almost forget that I'm wearing something on my lips which is why I much prefer matte finishes or lip stains to lip glosses or high shine finishes.

Overall, I think this is a beautiful shade which you can't really go wrong with. But will I be going crazy and investing in the entire Apocalips line? No. I'm not sure I'm completely converted to a high-shine finish yet.

Have you tried the Apocalips? Do you think they live up to the hype?

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Purely Natural 0 Tolerance Cleanser

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

I received this cleanser a few weeks ago now, and I wasn't planning on reviewing it for at least 4-6 weeks to see how my skin got on with it. Unfortunately, I managed to use this a grand total of 2 times before I had to stop. Firstly, the brand and products sound right up my street - natural, handmade, preservative-free! I opened the tub and was instantly reminded of LUSH solid cleansers. It looks like a ball of cookie dough and you simply pinch a little bit of product off, mix with a little warm water until it forms a paste, and cleanse away. The packaging is awkward, I'm not sure if it's just me but the tub is slightly too large for my hands so using this in the shower proved to be a bit of a mission as I was concentrating on not dropping the tub!

I chose the 0 Tolerance cleanser because recently my skin has become increasingly more sensitive and I didn't want to risk irritation. I tried to use this as my morning cleanse, but as soon as I opened the tub, a pungent smell hit me straight away. I'll admit, I have a very sensitive nose when it comes to scents and I prefer things to smell neutral. I can't place fault with the cleanser because it's fragrance-free and whatever the smell is, comes from the ingredients. I did persevere and use the cleanser but I absolutely dreaded having to use it again purely because of the smell. I can't even describe it, it just wasn't pleasant and I couldn't bear to use it near my face any longer.

On the positive side, the 2 times I did use this cleanser, my skin was left soft, not feeling tight or dry, and clean. I can't comment on the long-term effects of the cleanser, but it didn't irritate my sensitive skin or dry it out. If your sense of smell is harder to offend than mine, then you might get along with this and I certainly won't be dismissing Purely Natural's other products as I do love their brand ethos and affordability.

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MyVitamins Supplements

Friday, 15 March 2013

I've never been one for taking a great interest in health and nutrition, I have to admit. But recently, I've been making some big changes in my life for the better. I quit smoking back in January after 6 years and it was almost too difficult at times, but I did it. And my body and health have definitely thanked me for it! Next up, I'm working on my diet, nutrition and fitness. I've started drinking more water, eating more fruit and veg and, probably the most significant for me, I've completely cut out microwave ready meals. They're full of crap, to be frank, and taking the extra 20 mins to cook something from scratch is so much more nutritious and filling!

Now, on to supplements. Like I said, I've never taken an interest in them before but I figured that now was as good a time as any to start. I always worry that I'm not getting all the nutrients I need through my diet, especially as I'm quite fussy with certain foods, so the idea of taking a food supplement really appealed to me. Well, the idea of it appealed to me. To be completely honest, I hate swallowing pills and I was dreading having to take so many of these at once. My experience in the past with swallowing larger pills has been that they half-dissolve in my mouth or get stuck in my throat, and I have a fleeting moment of panic that death is imminent. And although the size of these pills is daunting, they are actually surprisingly easy to swallow!

MyVitamins offer a wide variety of different supplements, including 'bundles' of supplements aimed to complement each other. I received the Ultimate Beauty Bundle. Included in this bundle is:

True Woman Hair Skin & Nails
This is a blend of different minerals, vitamins and other nutrients which aim to provide your body with the additional support and nutrients it needs, whilst helping to nourish hair, skin and nails. It contains over 100% of your Recommended Daily Allowance for many vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin D3, Vitamin E, Vitamin B1, Folic Acid, Pantothenic Acid, Iron and Zinc. For reference, this tablet is the one in the bottom right hand of the second picture.

Total Acai Berry
This is a high dose (3000mg) of the powerful antioxidant Acai Berry. It claims to help the body fight free radical attacks, which basically means that it helps to boost your immune system and improve general health. This tablet is the pink/purple one top right in the second picture.

Essential Vitamin C
This tablet contains 1000mg of Vitamin C, which is widely known for boosting the immune system and fighting off colds and infections. It is also suggested that regular intake of Vitamin C can result in improved cognitive ability and increased energy. This tablet is the white one at the top of the second picture.

Omega 3 Super
This is a capsule containing at least 530mg EPA, which is eicosapentaenoic acid (now you know why they abbreviate it!), a fatty acid which has been shown to provide positive effects on heart health and normal eye and brain function. This tablet is the large yellow capsule on the left in the second picture.

As you can see, there's a large variety of different vitamins, minerals and acids which all boast impressive health claims. But do they really work? It's hard to give this a definitive answer, if I'm honest. I've trialled them for over a month now, and I wasn't sure what kind of effect they had, if any. So I actually stopped taking them for a week, to see if I could monitor a difference that way. I'm happy to say that I did! When I stopped taking them, I felt sluggish and less 'alert' if that makes sense. It wasn't a massive difference, but I did notice it which tells me that these supplements had a positive effect in that sense. I haven't noticed a difference in my skin or hair - I still have blemishes, and my hair is still dry. What I will say is that I will continue to take supplements because even if there isn't a physical improvement, the health benefits of taking regular supplements are enough to sway my opinion in favour of them.

Do you take supplements? If so, what do you take and what do you think?

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Don't Panic!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

The recent announcement regarding the retirement of Google Reader seems to have sent the entire blogging community into a worried frenzy! Yes, it may be your favourite way to follow blogs and yes, it's a pain in the arse because you'll have to find your favourite blogs to follow via another platform, but really it's not the end of the world. GFC's axe date hasn't been announced yet, but no doubt it will be following suit.

I just wanted to write a quick wee post detailing other ways of how you can follow my blog, and the rest of your reading list with as little hassle as possible. My personal favourite is Bloglovin which allows you to follow all of your favourite blogs and read latest posts from the same place. You can follow me via Bloglovin here. Bloglovin also allows you to import your Google Reader list to Bloglovin, making the transition so much easier! There are also other platforms like Hello Cotton and She Said Beauty, which I've heard good things about but I don't personally use them myself. Another great way of keeping up to date with blogs and bloggers is via Twitter and Facebook. These are probably the most personal ways of following, and I literally just set up my Facebook page today - better late than never! You can follow me via Twitter here and via Facebook here. You can also subscribe to most blogs via email and get updates delivered straight to your inbox!

Basically guys, don't panic. The good news is that Google Reader isn't retiring until July 1st 2013, so we all have plenty of time to adjust!


A Skincare Haul

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Last week I may have taken full advantage of Boot's 3 for 2 across most skincare offer, and ordered these 3 bad boys to add to my ever-growing skincare collection. I've been after Hydraluron by Indeed Labs in particular ever since I saw it receive a rave review by skincare guru Caroline Hirons. Any product given the thumbs up by her is instantly added to my mental 'to-buy' list. I'm looking forward to seeing if this lives up to its cult status amongst beauty bloggers, I don't think I've read of anyone not liking this yet! No pressure then, Hydraluron.

I popped another product by Indeed Labs into my virtual trolley, one which I haven't heard quite as much praise about yet. As far as I know, Pepta-Bright is the newest addition to Indeed Labs' skincare line and is marketed as an intense brightening treatment. I'm pinning all my hopes on this fading scars on my chin area, and I noticed it's also recently received a mention from the Hirons - can only be a good thing!

I deliberated for a good half an hour trying to decide which 3rd item to choose, determined to get my money's worth! This always happens when I shop. For weeks, I see products and remind myself that I need them. And then when it comes to the actual shopping, my mind goes blank and I have no idea who I am never mind which face oil I saw last week and wanted to buy! I settled for Trilogy Organic Rosehip Oil as I don't actually own a full-sized facial oil and this one sounds perfect for my skin.

Have you tried any of these products or indulged in any cheeky wee purchases lately?

PS: You can find me on Bloglovin | Twitter | Baobella

Burberry Lip Cover

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Please excuse the dark circles and messy hair... Unfortunately, I have no excuse! I actually received this mini sized Burberry Lip Cover lipstick in a Glossybox months ago. I've long since unsubscribed but I thought I'd share this little gem of a lipstick with you. This is possibly the cutest little lip product I've ever seen, it's like a baby lipstick. The full size will undoubtedly be far less adorable, but I can safely say that the quality will be just as amazing. Rosewood No 04 is definitely not a shade I would normally go for. I tend to stick to my corals and pinks, rarely venturing to the dark side. It's probably more of an Autumn/Winter lip shade, for those of you who like to rotate your makeup with the seasons. Since this is a sheer cover lipstick, it's not as daunting to wear as I first expected. It seems to be a mauve red in the bullet, but translates on my lips as a brown-based red. I call this my 'grown-up' lipstick - the shade I wear when I want people to take me seriously.

Wear time isn't great, but that's to be expected with a sheer lipstick. It does fade evenly though and avoids the dreaded outer ring of lipstick on the lips. It feels hydrating and doesn't dry my lips out - always a positive. Burberry is a brand which I'd never have even considered for make-up before I was introduced to this lipstick, but I may just have to investigate because I'm thoroughly impressed with this little gem.

PS: You can find me on Bloglovin | Twitter | Baobella

Thursday Showcase: Frightened Rabbit

Thursday, 7 March 2013

I've been a Frabbit fan for a few years now, and I can safely say they are one of my favourite bands without question. Frightened Rabbit are a 5 piece indie rock band from the Scottish Borders who formed way back in 2003. Since then, they have released 4 studio albums and several EPs. Their album The Midnight Organ Fight is still a firm favourite of mine, released in 2007. Lead vocalist and lyricist Scott Hutchison has such a unique, captivating voice which seems to lend itself to any style of music they put their hand to. I find their older material to have a bit more of a 'folk-y' tone than their recent material, take Old Old Fashioned for example. I've included a couple of live Youtube videos because although I haven't seen them live (yet!), they seem to put on a pretty good show!

I often find myself pausing a track halfway through as the lyrics seem to catch me off guard, and I have to backtrack and listen to them again. And again. And again. Something about the way the songs are written just feels honest to me. It feels like someone is pouring their heart out to anyone listening, for example The Twist. I find myself relating to so many of their songs, and I have to admire their raw honesty with songs like Keep Yourself Warm. Frightened Rabbit actually have a new album out, Pedestrian Verse, and from what I've heard so far, it's definitely taken a different direction to their previous work. However different it is, I'm certain that Scott Hutchison's talent for song writing and his dreamy voice will keep me listening!

What do you think of Frightened Rabbit?

Illamasqua Skin Base

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

I cannot believe I have just put a picture of my naked, pre-foundation skin on the internet for anyone to see. I've always been self-conscious of my skin, it's never been perfect and I doubt it ever will be. For that reason, I'm always searching for the perfect base which makes me feel more confident about my skin. I think I've found a winner with Illamasqua Skin Base...

I bought this in a blog sale in shade 2.0, which is one shade down from pure white. It's slightly paler than what I'd usually go for, but once dressed up with blusher it's far less ghostly. I'd describe this foundation as medium to full coverage but I do find it a little hard to work with. It's very thick in consistency and I find I have to work it in to my skin quickly, which does take a little getting used to. It also has a tendency to cling to any dry patches which I often get around my nose, so a good exfoliation session and lots of moisturizing is necessary! But the positives really do outweigh the negatives for me. It looks natural, stays on all day and doesn't turn my face into an oil slick by lunch time.

You can see in the before/after image that I suffer from red areas and have lots of scarring on my chin, but Skin Base does an amazing job of evening everything out and providing a fresh, blank canvas for the rest of my make-up. I threw in a picture of my full face of make-up at the end to show you how it looks with everything else. This definitely isn't my base of choice on an everyday basis because I do find it a little too heavy for daytime, but I often use it alongside my current daytime base of choice (Dr Jart Water Fuse BB Cream) to give a little extra coverage where I need it - chin and cheeks! I've worn this on nights out and it hasn't budged, or given me the dreaded ghost-face in photos.

For reference, I have sensitive, combination skin which is prone to redness. My skin is generally dry in the morning, but gets oily throughout the day. I wouldn't recommend Skin Base to anyone who suffers from dry skin, but if you're after a natural looking, medium to full coverage foundation then this one's worth a try! The great thing about Illamasqua foundation is that the shade range is phenomenal - you're almost guaranteed to find your perfect match.

PS: Did you know you can follow me on Bloglovin? I've also just joined Baobella so feel free to link your profiles below so I can follow you!

February Empties

Saturday, 2 March 2013

This might be cheating a little bit, but some of these empties are from January - shhh! I'm completely crap at finishing products, I seem to get bored and use something else especially when it comes to haircare. So I'm quite proud at the amount of hair-related empties I got through this month!

I finished the whole Lee Stafford Hair Growth range - shampoo, conditioner, hair treatment/mask. I had my hair chopped in January and it's grown leaps and bounds since. I really want to attribute that to these products, but it's most likely the fact that I had all my dead, dry ends cut off. Nonetheless, these products made my hair feel healthy and happy. I'd repurchase if they were on offer.

I was in Manchester for a couple of days in January and I bought the travel size John Frieda Full Repair shampoo and conditioner to take with me. Nothing much to say, they're okay. I wouldn't repurchase as they seemed to weigh my hair down a little bit.

I also finally managed to finish LUSH Cynthia Sylvia Stout shampoo - its main ingredient is beer, need I say more? It was great for my frizz-prone hair, but it's quite pricey so I can't see myself repurchasing it. Not keen on the smell either, was paranoid I smelt like an alcoholic tramp.

However, one hair product which I will repurchase is LUSH Jasmine and Henna Fluff-Eaze which I wrote a full review on here. The smell definitely isn't my cup of tea (it stinks) but I can't deny that my hair absolutely loves this stuff.

I kinda cheated with this one, I have to admit. I bought LUSH Ocean Salt scrub like years ago, possibly around 4 years ago (WHAT?!). I found it last month, it still smelt/looked the same as the ones in store (I swear these expiry dates are a marketing ploy) so I used it. Then I remembered just why I've had it so long without using it. My face hates this stuff, it's far too abrasive for my sensitive skin. So I flushed the remains and kept the pot so I can get a free face mask soon... Sneaky.

I also used up a little sample of REN Mayblossom T-Zone Control Cleanser. Meh. Not much to say, it was slightly too drying for my temperamental skin so I won't be purchasing the full-size.

I'm gutted that I managed to finish the Boots Natural Collection Wild Strawberry body spray. It smells like the most synthetic strawberry smell going, but I really love it. I drench myself in what feels like a whole bottle everytime I leave the house, so I'm not surprised I've finished it!

And finally, I've gotten through another trusty Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer. Every blogger's tried and tested, and subsequently loved concealer it seems. I've already repurchased a back-up of this!

How many products have you managed to use up this month?

PS: Did you know you can follow me via Bloglovin? I'm also holding a massive blog sale where you can bag a beauty bargain!


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