Sunday, 30 July 2017

Rodial Glamolash XLL Mascara Review

Rodial Glamolash XXL Black Mascara was free with the August issue of Red Magazine! Rodial claim that this mascara is an intense black, long wearing formula that makes sure eyelashes are 'maximised from day to night' and gives them 'supercharged volume.' This mascara contains carnauba wax to bind the mascara to the lashes and prevent clumping. The beeswax helps to condition the lashes while soluble collagen makes them look shiny and thick. Due to the the beeswax this mascara isn't vegan.

Rodial Glamolash XXL mascara comes in a matte black thick tube which is different but a bit clunky, it doesn't exactly scream luxury to me as a £24 mascara should.

The  mascara has a natural cone shaped bristle brush. It definitely makes your eye lashes look longer and as you can see from the photos it makes eyelashes look thicker too. It gives volume although it does have a tendency to clump lashes together despite the carnauba wax. You may need to get rid of excess mascara on the brush or use a lash comb afterwards.  It's quite a wet formula and it's long wearing and doesn't flake. Although by the second coat it begins to look a bit spidery. The best way is to add another coat while it's still wet. One coat is good for a natural, daytime look and two coats is more dramatic for the evening.  It can hold a curl but it's not as good as Bourjois Glam mascara (my Holy Grail.) I can wear Rodial's Glamolash XXL mascara with my contacts without any problems. It does have a slight chemical scent which doesn't affect me and won't interfere when applying, it's just that mascaras don't usually smell of anything but I noticed this does. This mascara is also fairly easy to remove.

This mascara is great for giving longer looking and thicker eyelashes! However I do wish that the brush was better at separating the lashes so that they didn't clump together. My other reservation is the price. It is more expensive than mascaras from a lot of high end brands such as MAC, Too Faced, Laura Mercier and Benefit to name a few. (I know price is relative as I've just spotted Chantecaille mascara for £62!) However I can't see myself buying this in the future simply because I know that there are cheaper drugstore brands that give the same results for less money. But if you have the money and want to splash the cash then go for it!

Let me know which are your favourite mascaras.

Friday, 28 July 2017

W7 Cosmetics Chunky Lips in Spontaneous Review

W7 Cosmetics Chuncky lips
I picked this up in Poundworld and thought i'd give it ago. I think the appeal for lip crayons will never really die down simply because they're so easy to use, travel well, are fairly moisturising while being less intimidating for those getting into makeup or lipsticks.  There are 6 shades that are various shades of bright pink. I chose this one because it looked more coral than pink.

W7 describes this crayon as a "soft balm" that is" highly pigmented and creamy."  They claim your lips should feel moisturised but without a "heavy or sticky feeling." The nib is really soft and it just glides on the lips. It also feels fairly moisturising without being at all sticky. However it is not as moisturisng and soothing as Clinque's Chubby Sticks.  It doesn't really have a taste or smell which is good if you are sensitive to scent. It lasts for a good 5 hours without eating or drinking. It does transfer onto cups and glasses and you'll need to re apply after meals. It won't be perfect but it will generally survive a snack.

While some lip crayon balms are more balm than colour, this really packs a punch. The colour is a bright, coral-pink  neon! NEON!  I think you can only get away with neon lips in the summer or maybe at a festival but even so, it's a bit too garish for me. I couldn't get my camera to show a colour accurate swatch on the lips but you can see it here or from my iphone instagram shot here.   For a bright, pigmented, non sticky, lip crayon this does deliver especially for the price point. Personally the colour Spontaneous isn't really me. But If you love pink, or looking for a bright summer lips and are on a budget, then it may be worth checking out in your local Poundworld. or online at  W7 Cosmetics here  (£4.95)

W7 Cosmetics chunky lips in spontaneous review

Sunday, 23 July 2017

The Best Places To Buy Beauty Products Online

When I started to make this list I noticed a lot of websites were having a sale and so I decided to include this information and their sale codes. I'm not affiliated with any of these brands or websites and I don't earn anything if you click on any links. I just thought it would be a helpful list to put together. The link to each website is in the website name. Unless stated otherwise they all ship internationally. Just call me a beauty spender enabler!


Fragrance Direct
Sells much more than just perfumes, they also sell skincare and makeup as well. This was my go-to shop for nail polish as you could always find a bargain! It has smartened up recently as it now sells MAC and Nars alongside Technic, Rimmel and W7. They currently have an 80% off sale. If it's your first order you can get 5% off. Spend £20 for free UK Delivery with Code FREEDEL20. Accepts Paypal.

As well as getting a new outfit you can also buy makeup, hair and skincare at ASOS. If you use ASOS a lot then it may be worth signing up for premier delivery where you pay £9.95 for a year's unlimited next day delivery. Online are exclusive Benefit Cosmetics gift sets. To check out the ASOS Sale click here. The Anna Sui multi glitter would be perfect for festivals don't you think?! Student discount available.

I have a lot of love for Feel Unique! They seem to have the lowest prices. Feel Unique also offer a 'try me sample' if you buy a bottle of perfume. This means you can trial the scent first without having to open the bottle. If you don't like it you can return the full sized bottle for a refund. They also have a 'Pick and Mix' sample selection. You can chose 5 samples for free each month and just pay £3.95 P&P. They will then give you a voucher code for £3.95 to spend on their website so it's kinda like a free beauty box. If you spend £30 or more you can also chose 2 free samples with your order. Feel Unique's loyalty scheme called 'My Feelunique Platinum.' This includes 10% off your favourite products for LIFE! You also get 20% off on your birthday. They will also reward you with money off vouchers too. Feel unique Offers 10% off student discount with Unidays.  Accepts Paypal.

BEAUTY BAY has free worldwide shipping (brands include ThisWorks, Dr Lipp, Dr Brandt, Dr Sebagh, Jurlique, Yes to Carrots, Mario Badescu, Ahava, Aromatherapy Associates, St Tropez and more.)

Look Fantastic also offer free worldwide shipping. Brands include Caudalie, dermologica, Elemis, Molton Brown, Decleor, Jurlique, Balance me, Korres among other brands.


HQ Hair
HQ hair also sells makeup and I feel that they don't get as much love as other websites. They tend to get overlooked by beauty lovers which is a real shame as they do have some really great offers. I guess the upside is that you can always get your hands on a product as they don't sell out as quickly as ASOS and other online shops. Offers student discount with Unidays (15% off) Accepts Paypal.

QVC does have a bit of a cheesy, old fashioned and uncool reputation. However there are six good reasons to shop with them. Tarte Cosmetics are exclusive to QVC UK, short of buying a plane ticket or using ebay you can't get Tarte anywhere else! You can also pay in installments. They have a 30 Day Money back guarantee 'for every item, every time' I'm assuming this covers cosmetics (in the UK cosmetics are generally non-returnable.) They beat Marks and Spencer and Virgin to the 5th most trusted brand for their 24/7 customer care. You can also read product reviews posted by other customers. Finally there's a video showing you how to use the products. If you want a laugh then watch the infamous Apprentice scene where Simon has to sell on QVC! They also stock  Mally, Laura Geller, Gatineau, Erborian and Philip Kingsley. Click here for their sale. Ships to Europe & UK

Beauty Chamber 
Sells Morphe brushes, LA Girl, The Balm, Hylamide, The Ordinary. I've spotted the Real Techniques Bold Metal Collection is down to £28 (normally £48) here go, go, go!

The new in section is worth checking out especially because Selfridges seem to be ahead of the pack when it comes to releasing new beauty products. Also keep an eye out for their exclusive offers. They sell some Korean brands too such as Toly Moly, Too Cool For School, Missha, Dr Jart+, Skin79 and Oh K. Selfridges have their own range of products as well.


With Debenhams's Beauty Card for every £1 you spend you earn 3 points. Save up to 500 points and you have £5 to spend. You can spend it on fragrance, beauty (including electrical) and beauty services, like having your eyebrows threaded. The beauty card also gets you free standard delivery and a free Benefit brow wax on your birthday! Debenhams have recently added US Brands Kat Von D and Make Up For Ever and I can't wait to try some of their products! Free standard delivery on orders over £40.

Space NK
Space NK sells luxury skincare and makeup including By Terry, Sisley, Becca, Eve Lom, Jurlique, Kevyn Aucoin, Hourglass and Emma Hardie. Using their 'N.dulge' card for every £1 you spend you get 1 point. Reach 100 points you you will get £5 reward to spend. You will also receive a special birthday gift, advance access to sales and try new products to preview.  Free Standard delivery on orders over £40. I think shipping is UK only. There is also a USA site.

Using Boots's Advantage Card you get 4 points for every £1 you spend. 1 point = 1p.  There is also a free magazine, offers and exclusive events and double points events. You're not limited to buying just beauty products. Boots sells Liz Earle, NYX, Soap and Glory, Natural Collection, 17 and Boots No. 7. Spend £45 for free Delivery.

Although I have used Escentual before I didn't realise they have a loyalty points scheme. You get ' 2 pretty pennies' for every £1 you spend. You can then use these points to buy something from the site. Compared to Boots and Debenhams the points per pound is quite low but the upside is that you don't have to save points up to reach a certain threshold level in order to actually use the points. The 'free from' category on the sidebar makes it easy to buy skincare if you have an allergy or are avoiding ingredients like alcohol, without having to look up each product individually. Ships Worldwide at a reasonable price (£4.95- £7.95) Free UK Delivery over £30. Accepts Paypal.


Buttermilk is based in the UK and sells Korean and Japanese skincare. Brands include Missha, Wish Formula, Tony Moly, Etude house and Klaires.  At the moment they have lots of masks on sale here as well as Missha's magic cushion foundation. 10% off with Code NEW CUSTOMER. Free Delivery over £50 and some samples.


This is the like the greener version of ASOS with "clean beauty" organic skincare and makeup sold alongside clothes, bags, jewellery and stationary. The emphasis is on health and wellness as they also sell food, supplements and massage oils etc.  Brands include This Works, Jurlique, EOS, Burts Bees.  Free Delivery worldwide.

Love Lula 
Sells organic makeup, skincare and fragrance including  Zoya, Ecotools, Antipodes, Triology. If you're vegan Love Lula has your back with a good section of vegan products too. They offer free worldwide delivery on orders over £10 (the minimum spend is actually quite low.) They also have a loyalty reward scheme. For every £1 spent you will earn 1 point. Each point is worth 10p. If you spent £50 you would earn £5 in points. Love Lula has their own organic beauty box subscription service which you can read more here. If you spend over £10 you can choose five or more samples with your order. Samples are priced from 50p - £5.

Friday, 21 July 2017

12 Tips When Packing For A Holiday

Hey it's summer time! The British summer weather hasn't actually been too bad so far. But if you are jetting off to another part of the globe or having a staycation I hope the following tips will be useful to you!

1. Roll up your clothes instead of folding them. This will keep them crease free as well as saving space in your suitcase.

2. Use packing cubes to organise your luggage. These are fabric boxes that you can use to compartmentalise your luggage and allow you to fit more into your suitcase. Each one can act as a 'drawer' so you can keep underwear in one, shoes in another and a different bag for electrical items. You can separate clean and dirty clothes and wet from dry clothes. Organising your luggage this way makes it much easier to lay your hands on whatever you need without hunting through your entire suitcase. You can find a set of 4 for £5 at Ikea and some patterned ones on Amazon here (£8.99.) A stylish alternative are these designated labelled bags by Kate Spade. There's a 'To Wash' bag for dirty laundry and a 'To wear' bag which could hold a complete outfit or underwear. The bag labelled  'The perfect pair' holds shoes and the 'Bits and Bobs' bag could hold jewellery. (This tip is courtesy of Ellis Tuesday's Blog post here. )

3. Alternatively you can use zip loc bags or sandwich bags to divide up your luggage, this has the advantage of being transparent so you can see what's inside. You can also flatten them to get rid of excess air so they take up less space. You can group them by underwear- socks in one, pants in another, bag all your electric chargers together or use each one to store a baby's or toddler's outfit. I found these at Lakeland:  Lakeland Packmate 4 travel bag set for £9.99 and 24 freezer bags for £4.79. If you don't have any spare bags you can use a hotel shower cap over the heels/soles of shoes so that the rest of your luggage stays clean.

4. Pack your clothes inside out to avoid sunscreen stains.

5. Pack socks or sunscreen inside shoes to save space.

6. To prevent any messy leaks, bag each cosmetic bottle separately or place a square of cling film over the bottle opening but underneath the cap and tighten.

7. If you go away a lot it may be worth having a ready packed wash bag full of toiletries on standby so you can just grab it and chuck into your suitcase. Superdrug and Boots have a miniature toiletries section or you can fill it with samples from magazines and beauty subscription boxes.

8. If you're taking a plane then buying a transparent makeup bag and wash bag that meets security guidelines will make your life easier. BAA standards stipulate transparent bags must be resealable and can measure up to 20cm x 20cm max. This basic bag from Superdrug is cheap at £2.99 and fits the bill, alternatively this Ted Baker bag and this Marks and Spencers 3 bag set will do as well.

9. Put anything breakable such as perfume bottles, souvenirs etc. inside a sock to protect them.

10.  Make sure your bag stands out to make it quicker and easier to spot it on the luggage carousel. Customise it by tying a coloured ribbon, scarf, key ring or tape bright duct tape to the handles or zip ends You can also use duct tape to decorate your case with your initials, name or a create a nice pattern. You can buy bright luggage straps, add travel stickers or patches to sew or pin on to soft luggage. Another option would be buying a distinctive luggage tag in neon or in an animal shape. Or you can go wild with fabric paint or spray paint stencil designs on to hard shell luggage.

11. Alternatively invest in some pretty luggage. Make sure it's colourful or distinctively patterned. Look for one with four wheels if possible as they are much easier to move and travel with. TK Maxx and Debenhams have affordable brightly coloured and patterned luggage. Or you can treat yourself to branded luggage from Amara here. I love the Ted Baker ones. You can also choose a photo to personalise your case with the Personalised luggage website here.

12. Invest in lightweight luggage to get the most from baggage weight restrictions. 
Don't forget that the actual suitcase weight will contribute to how much you can take with you weight wise. Check the restrictions for each airline here. Tesco, Bags Etc and Matalan sell IT Luggage Worlds's Lightest Suitcases which are made with a fibre glass frame. They are available in small (37L capacity), medium (63L) and large (92L) with two and four wheels, ranging from £30-45.  Antler also stock some lightweight suitcase ranges.

Straw hat and pink suitcase photo credit: Kirsty Andrews #018/365 via photopin (license) Changes Made

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Benefit Cosmetics Ultra Plush Lip Glosses in Coralista and Hoola Review

The concept behind Benefit Cosmetics's Ultra Plush Lip Glosses are that they match Benefit Cosmetics's best selling box blushes and bronzer- clever right? 

Although these lip glosses look bright when you squeeze the tubes they are actually sheer lip glosses. When they are applied to the lips they look like clear lip glosses with a slight tint. Hoola looks like it will be as brown as Benefit's Hoola Bronzer in the tube but in fact is a soft nude shade with micro glitter. I don't mind this as nude is probably more flattering. Coralista looks like it's gonna pack a punch of bright coral but gives a peachy-orange natural looking tint to the lips. Unlike Hoola there isn't any glitter in Coralista. If you apply one layer of these lip glosses it will look like a clear gloss with a slight tint. But if you apply one thick layer it will look more opaque but it can look uneven and the pigment can start to bleed. It's best to apply these lip glosses in light layers for more coverage and colour.

The formula is not sticky and feels smooth on the lips. They have a fruity taste to them, Coralista tastes just like nectarines. They both smell fruity too but sightly plastic. They will transfer onto cups and glasses a little but most of the gloss will remain on your lips. The Hoola Ultra Plush lip gloss survives drinking and snacking and lasts around 2 hours. Coralista wears for around 1 and a half hours and while it lasts through drinking, fares less well when snacking. They don't last through a meal so you will have to reapply afterwards.

As I mentioned earlier the branding on the tubes matches Benefit Cosmetic's boxed blushes. The semi transparent tubes show you how much product you have and the slanted tip is more hygienic than using a doe foot applicator. However I think I'd prefer a doe foot applicator because it will give you more control over how much to apply to get an opaque colour. The lip glosses above are sample sized 6.5 ml, while the normal full size is 15 ml, more than double in size and sold for £15. The amount is fairly generous compared to MAC Cosmetics lip glosses, but MAC probably has more pigment in their glosses.

I think that Benefit's idea of producing a collection of lip glosses to match and complement their blushers is genius! However I think that the lip gloss formula should be improved so that they are much more pigmented on the lips as well as in the tube. What they are good for is when you want to top your lipstick with a layer of gloss. Overall I'm a bit disappointed about these lip glosses because you can get a clear lip gloss or a tinted one much cheaper.  I don't think the quality matches the high price tag.

Benefit Cosmetic Ultra Plush Lip Gloss is £15 available at Benefit Cosmetic UK website here.

If you have tried Benefit'S Ultra Plush Lip Glosses what did you think of them?

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Disappointing Beauty Products #8

The Body Shop Peach Body Butter. 
I love peach scented products and The Body Shop's body butters, so what can go wrong? Well at first this is a lovely peach scent and very earthy. It smells very natural and realistic but after 10 seconds it starts to smell rancid and very chemically. As far as moisturising goes it's actually fairly good but not as much as the mango one.

The Body Shop Shea Body Butter
I liked the smell of this in the shop but once I took it home to use it smelt like men's deodorant (think Lynx) and it's heavily perfumed. The texture is slightly heavier than The Body Shop Peach body butter and leaves skin tacky as it takes longer to sink in. I am going to pass this onto my mum who likes shea butter and hopefully she'll get more use out of this.

The Body Shop Pomegranate Lip Balm
I really don't like the smell or taste of this it's like artificial sweets and wax not pomegranate at all. It also makes my lips tingle a little bit which I didn't really like.  It does have a nice red tint though. 

Biorderma Sensibio Micellar Water Sample Size 
I wanted to love this so much as it's such a cult product and now it's in the UK, its affordable. I chose the Sensibio for sensitive skin but when I used it it felt like it was burning my skin. I must be allergic to one of the ingredients. 

Burt's Bees Beeswax and Banana Hand Cream
This smells like the fake banana antibiotics they give to children but much more pungent. The beeswax acts like a waterproof protective layer that locks the moisture in. However I couldn't use this because the smell was just too overpowering. However my mum didn't mind the smell and found this to be good for her skin, moisturising as well as locking in moisture. However even if you like bananas I'd still try and smell it first before buying it. Nonetheless this is a best selling product at Holland & Barrett and they literally keep the jars under lock and key! 

Downtown Calvin Klein Sample Sized
I was given a sample of this and I expected this to be like other Calvin Klein scents that are fresh and not very sweet, but this is actually too sweet and spicy for me. The violet leaf and gardenia give it a very strong, sweet floral scent. The opening notes are supposedly fruity, with lemon, pear and plum. However I can't smell the pear or plum and the lemon goes away within 3 seconds. The strong floral smell takes over both the top and middle notes. After that it turns a little spicy with the pink pepper, neuroli oil and incense, which I don't really appreciate but I guess it gives the perfume more depth. Then a strong woody scent takes over, I like a subtle woody smell but the combination of Texas cedar and vetiver is too much for me. This has been discontinued but they are still selling it on Fragrance Direct.   

Beauty Blender Liquid Cleanser Sample sized
I  finally caved in and bought a beauty blender and the beauty blender soap along with it, as I thought the two products would work well together. I had the choice of a liquid or soap bar, but the liquid soap had more positive reviews so I went with that. However it was the same or worse that using washing up liquid. The first time I used this was with Estee Lauder's Double Wear Light. I had a feeling that Double Wear would be trickier to remove with soap, water and washing up liquid but that's why I bought this. I tried different methods to try and get the beauty blender clean. At first I applied the soap to the stains and massaged it in. Then I soaked it in water with this soap for 10 minutes. The water changed colour a little but the sponge looked the same. Since I was about to go out of the house I left this to soak for 4 and a half hours. When I returned the beauty blender looked exactly the same and just as dirty. I also used this to clean my makeup brushes and it cleaned most of my brushes well (brushes that I had used for powder and gel eye liner) but I found it hard to wash my foundation brush. To be fair the foundation brush was covered in  EL Doublewear light and it was a dense brush. I'm really disappointed because this soap was made for beauty blenders and their original purpose is to use it with foundation. They should have tested the beauty blender soaps with long wearing foundations such as Estee Lauder foundation. I'm glad I got a sample size and didn't buy the full sized bottle. Apparently Dr Bronner's soap is much better so I'll be trying that. 

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think of them? What has been your latest most disappointing product? 

Friday, 14 July 2017

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Patina & Baca Review

Despite being such a cult favourite I was reluctant to go near Stila's Stay all Day Liquid Lipsticks for a long time. This was down to a bad experience with Stila's other lip products (namely Stila It Gloss Shimmer which was such a sickening sweet scent of vanilla it made me gag whenever I wore it) and the notorious reputation Patina had for being so drying according to reviews on Makeupalley.  

Well, the devil on my shoulder that pursued me down the beauty aisles of Marks and Spencer was right. I'm in love! This is in a completely different league and smells and tastes like buttercream or vanilla cupcakes. It actually can be kinda addictive. The formula surprised me as it's thinner than Jeffree Star's formula and dare I say it a little oily. It does take awhile to dry and on the lips it feels lightweight because the formula is thin. It is initially a little drying as most liquid to matte lipsticks can be, but after a while it settles down. I haven't had to exfoliate my lips to wear these. 

What most impressed me was that for the Patina shade there was practically zero transfer on cups and glasses and no transfer while eating a banana (a feat which hasn't happened to me before.) It is pretty much budge proof for 8 hours + even if you're drinking. However it will come off if you're eating a meal that contains oil e.g burgers etc. The shade does look darker on the lips when it's fully dried compared to when I swatched it on my hands. When wet it looks like nice mid pink Kylie Jenner look lipstick but dries down a pinky mauve. On my yellow toned olive skin this has a grey undertone. I'm glad I bought this as I don't have anything like this in my current collection. 

Bacca is in the new Stila Liquid lipstick packaging. It is a dark raspberry colour and it actually tastes like raspberries and buttercream. While Bacca is a matte vampy colour  it doesn't look too gothic. This liquid to matte lipstick is initially a little drying but then it calms down. The formula seems to be thinner than Patina and not at all oily. While it looks patchy in  the swatch it doesn't apply patchily at all. Bacca does transfer a little onto cups and glasses, though most of the lipstick stays on. However eating a meal is a lot trickier and I found that this lipstick can move over and away from the lip line and transfer, but generally it fades from the middle.  Dark colours require more maintenance but luckily this can be topped up (after a meal) and look fine and even. If you don't eat then this will look good even 6 hours after applying. 

Priced at £16 and available from the Stila website (UK) & Marks and Spencer 

Sunday, 9 July 2017

REN Skincare Review

The ethos behind REN is 'clean skincare' meaning that ingredients come from '100% plant and mineral derived actives and are free from skin unfriendly synthetic ingredients.' Every product has a logo on the back stating that the there are no parabens, sulphates, mineral oil, petroleum, synthetic fragrances, synthetic colours, T.EA, D.E.A, silicones and PEGs in their products. 

REN skincare is a company that is able to invest in the newest or hard sought ingredients and technology. However I think this is sort of their Achilles heel. They aim towards 'simple' and 'pure' skincare while throwing in random fruit and plant extracts and essential oils for the sake of fragrance, but which are likely to cause irritation, counteracting the other good ingredients in the formula. There is also some debate about whether the ingredients they purposely exclude such as mineral oil are actually that bad and REN have been accused of green washing.  I personally haven't experienced any bad reactions to REN's products. The packaging is kept simple and white- clean like their skincare and unisex. I have been trialing these travel sized products but the full sized versions come in tubes with a push up bag inside them. REN is also against animal testing.

REN Rosa Centifolia Hot Cloth Cleanser  Full Size 150ml  £16 for all skin types
The cleanser comes with a small wash cloth/ flannel measuring 8" x 8." I have been using this for over a month. REN claims that this cleanser will decongest and gently exfoliate the skin and remove all make-up. 'Skin will be refreshed, radiant and smoothed, without dryness or tightness.'  Both the rosa damascena and vitamin P soothe the skin. You are supposed to massage the cleanser onto dry skin and then use a hot cloth to remove it.  It does remove eye makeup but I think the Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk (below) cleans my face slightly better. My skin didn't feel dry or tight while using this. But apart from using a flannel it didn't exfoliate my skin much.

The Evercalm range is aimed at those with sensitive skin. These samples lasted just over 2 weeks

Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk  Full size 150ml £17
This cleanser 'gently removes dirt, pollution and make up, leaving skin purified, calm and soothed.' It also claims to minimise the feelings of sensitivity and combat premature ageing. Calendula and omega 3 and 7 reduce inflammation and soothe the skin. The fennel seed extract de-stresses the skin by neutralising harmful pollution particles while protecting against the oxidative damage that causes premature ageing.

Although REN describes this as a 'cleansing milk' the texture is thicker and creamy like a lotion rather than runny milk. The directions tells you to rub the cleanser between your hands and then massage the product onto the face and finally rinse off with water or remove with cotton wool. I preferred to rinse with water in case it left a film over the skin. I didn't really understand why they suggest you rub the product between your palms because it felt like the product disappeared between my hands and so I ended up using more.  The mandarin peel oil makes the cleanser smell fresh and citrusy and the extracts of chamomile, fennel and rosemary gives it essential oil scent. I mainly used this as an evening cleanser before bed. If I was wearing makeup I followed up with a micellar wet wipe afterwards, just in case I still had makeup or dirt on my face and the wipe often looked clean showing that all the dirt had been washed away. I didn't use this to remove my eye makeup because I'm a little wary of using products with essential oils on my eyes. Since this is only sample size I can't really make a comment on whether it has reduced my skin's irritation and sensitivity level in the long term.

Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream Full size 50ml  £29
This moisturiser aims to keep your skin 'optimally hydrated, calmed, soothed.' REN Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream shares many ingredients of the cleansing milk (and smells very similar) but with added Bisabolol to sooth and reduce redness. The 'Global protection complex'  is potent blend of bio extracts that fights free radicals and oxidants to protect the skin from UV damage and premature ageing.

This day cream not as rich as an intensive moisturiser but more hydrating than a light summer moisturiser, it's between the two and perfect for the transition of seasons. It is gentle and soothing and didn't sting my cheeks like some moisturisers can. I didn't see any difference in terms of redness on my cheeks but so far it hasn't caused any break outs. It's perfectly fine to apply makeup on top and you don't have to wait very long for it to sink in. Ren claim that over time this moisturiser will train your skin to be less sensitive but as this is only a sample size I can't comment as to whether it reduced my skin's sensitivity in the long run.

Evercalm Anti Redness Serum  Full Size 30ml £29  my sample lasted 1 week
This serum claims to improve sensitive skin, hyper pigmentation, redness and reduce signs of aging. Milk polypeptide and Prebiotic Oligosaccharides strengthen the skin barrier, protecting the skin against toxins and environmental aggressors. To target aging, Sirtuin activators promote the natural repair of skin cells and Antileukine helps to reduce damage caused by U.V. radiation. The tyrosinase Inhibitor reduces the appearance of hyper-pigmentation. It also contains super moisturising hydrauronic acid.

I have red patches around my nose and cheeks and after using this every morning for a week I found that my red patches were fading to pink and the red areas on my cheeks were significantly reduced! This is the first serum I've used and I did not expect it to make such a difference! Now I've finished the sample up my cheeks still look less red so it wasn't just a temporary thing. REN also claim that after 3 weeks your skin will be less sensitive. Since my sample only lasted a week I couldn't test this out, but my main concern were my red patches rather than calming the skin. I also don't have any lines on my face so I couldn't notice a difference there but I would advise against using it around the eyes because of the arnica flower extract. Due to the lactic acid and bitter orange extract in this serum that can make skin photosensitive and prone to pigmentation you should follow this up with sunscreen, even when it's not sunny. The only negative points are that it takes around 12-15 minutes to truly sink in which is annoying and I'm not keen on the smell.

The Vita Mineral Range concentrates on moisturising skin. 

REN Vita Mineral Daily Supplement Moisturising Cream (Day Cream) 
Full Size (50ml) £29 My sample lasted 1 week
REN Vita Mineral Daily Supplement Moisturising Cream seems to have the longest name ever!
However I can see why they called it that because of the vitamins, mineral ingredients and antioxidants that all aim to keep skin toned, radiant and youthful. Vitamin A boosts cell renewal and retains moisture. Vitamin P decongests and soothes the skin. Tocotrienols (a Vitamin E sub group), protects the skin against UV damage, preventing the skin from premature ageing and protecting against free radicals. Trace mineral elements Copper, Magnesium and Zinc boosts radiance and collagen.

Although it's not part of the Rosa Centrafolia line this smells fairly strongly of rose water, so if  you don't like rose scented cosmetics this is one to avoid!  It is lightweight with a mid level of moisture but it is more moisturising than the REN Evercalm Global Protection Day cream. It didn't sting my cheeks or break me out but it didn't really decongest my skin either. Regarding anti aging claims I can't really comment on this because this is only a sample size and I would need to test it for longer and I don't have any lines yet. However I think this would be good for fine lines caused by dehydrated skin. It does give a dewy finish to skin making it look healthy, fresh and glowing.It is moisturising enough to use after a bath and shower when your skin needs it the most.

Which products are worth purchasing?
Personally I would buy the Evercalm Cleansing Milk again and Evercalm anti redness serum in full size. I would also use the  REN Vita Mineral Daily Supplement Moisturising Cream. REN also have gift sets which are good value for money the REN Stop Being So Sensitive  Kit (£15) and the Evercalm Gift Set (£35.)

What arr your experiences with REN Skincare? Let me know if you have any favourites below.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Blogging Break & 8 TV shows I'm loving!

My long absence from this blog is due to a long bout of RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) which I suffer from occasionally. It restricts what I can do with my hands so I have become a bit of a Netflix addict instead! Here are four shows I'd recommend watching.

I loved Ingobernable, a thriller about Mexico's first lady and president, it reminded me a bit of the show '24' especially the last two episodes that had a countdown timer. Disillusioned with the lack of progress that her husband, President Diego promised Mexico, Emilia wants to divorce him. After a violent argument, Diego falls off the balcony and lands on top of a car. But an autopsy reveals that it was a bullet to the head that actually killed the President not the fall. Emilia is now on the run until she can prove that she didn't kill her husband and find the identity of the real murderer. It's a Spanish Netflix original drama (with English subtitles) starring Kate del Castillo and they've confirmed that there will be a second series, hurrah!

I also enjoyed watching Cable Girls/ Las Chicas del Cable. Set in my favourite era of the 1920's the show is about four women from different backgrounds- small town Marga, upper class Carlota, working mother Angeles and Alba who are all recently hired as operators for a Madrid Telecommunications company.  The show begins with Alba who is the main character. She and her friend Gimena dream of starting new lives in Argentina. They begin to steal from lavish parties to finance their new lives. But an argument with Gimena's lover Pedro ends up with both Gimena and Pedro being shot and killed with Pedro's gun. Alba is accused of double murder by the police, but a corrupt police man offers to let her go if she robs a safe at the Madrid telephone company. Using the alias 'Lidia' she flirts with a manager to get a job there. However she runs into trouble when she meets Francisco, the company director and son-in-law of the owner. Francisco feels there is something familiar about her.  The show is dubbed in American English.

Netflix also dropped season 5 of Orange is the New Black, a show based on Piper Kerman's real life experiences in Danbury women's minimum-security prison. Middle class, law abiding Piper has an adoring fiance called Larry, but her past finally catches up with her. Years ago she transported drug money for her ex-girlfriend  and suddenly finds herself sentenced for year and a half behind bars. Season 5 is a lot darker as it covers the prison riot. It was a good season both plot-wise and the acting, although Piper's character did annoy me sometimes.

Finally I loved watching the seventh and final season of Pretty Little Liars which is based on Sara Shepard's loonng series of books. It all began with Alison Dilaurentis, a mean high school girl who went missing. With Alison gone the friendship group consisting of Emily, Hanna, Aria and Spencer fell apart. Until they received anonymous bullying texts from a person called A who blackmailed each of them. The bullying from the many 'A's revealed across the seasons has only made the group stronger.  I've absolutely loved the show, the mysteries, romance and fashion. I'm so sad it's over!

Usually costume dramas air in the autumn in the UK, and I love watching them on a cosy night in with a hot chocolate, blanket and fluffy slippers. But the BBC have spoilt me with two dramas to watch through the summer. Versailles came back for a second series where we saw Louis XIV engaging in war with Portugal and plagued by suspicious poisonings in his court. The Versailles palace is definitely somewhere I'd like to visit someday - it looks incredibly beautiful! The show is also available on the BBC iplayer or itunes here.

Poldark is set in Cornwall in the late 18th century and revolves around the Poldark family. It is based on the novels written by Winston Graham. We follow the rifts that divide the two branches of families, their fortune in the mines and the hardships they each face. It begins with Ross Poldark returning from the American War of Independence to his Cornish copper mines. When he arrives home, he finds his father dead, his estate in ruins, and his old sweetheart Elizabeth engaged to his cousin Francis. He rescues a young woman, Demelza, from being beaten up and takes her on as a kitchen maid. She later becomes his wife. Ross attempts to help the village by gaining control of the mines sought after by his rival, the greedy and arrogant George Warleggan. While most people see Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) as the hot brooding topless heartthrob I actually prefer Doctor Dwight Eyns (Luke Norris.) Available on BBC1 Sunday 9pm or  Itunes here

I would definitely recommend watching Clique (available on BBC iplayer here) It tells the story of two childhood best friends- extrovert, impulsive, fun loving Georgia and quieter, slightly shyer Holly. They start Edinburgh University together and are studying business. Renowned lecturer Jude McDermid has founded the exclusive Solasta Women's Initiative, helping women in business. It's a competitive position and Georgia suddenly finds herself accepted into the group. Holly is left out and has FOMO issues. Holly is also haunted by disturbing scenes from her past. When Georgia suddenly behaves erratically, she is worried. Wanting to help her friend, Holly digs deeper and manages to infiltrate the group. At first she sees the glamourous parties attended by powerful and famous business men and women. But when she discovers a darker side she is determined to save Georgia by exposing it.

The Handmaids Tale Channel 4 / Hulu
This show is based on Margret Atwood's dystopian novel. The government of the United States of America has been overthrown and replaced by the totalitarian Republic of Gilead. To tackle low fertility rates handmaids are allocated to ruling elite couples who have trouble conceiving. The main character Offred is a handmaid to Commander 'Fred' and his wife Serena Joy. Every month Offred has to participate in a ritualised rape with the commander in order to conceive for the couple. The life of a handmaid is completely restricted, their movements are curtailed and freedom of speech gone, instead they are forced to stick to a set script of Christian phrases. Ominously Gilead’s secret police force 'The Eyes' are always watching everyone. In flashbacks we see June's (Offred's) previous life with her husband and child. We also get a glimpse of  the events that have led to the Gilead regime. Women's rights were gradually eroded due to temporary anti-terrorism laws that became permanent. Laws banned women from working and owning property or even a bank account. Atwood used examples of female oppression and totalitarian regimes past and present as her inspiration. These terrible events were not imagined but had happened in one society or another. Since I haven't read the book I'm curious to see what happens next even though it's a kinda bleak and a hard watch at times. The acting is superb though especially from  Elizabeth Moss who plays Offred. The Handmaid's Tale is available on Channel4 Sunday 9pm or Hulu.

Tell me what TV shows do you recommend watching? 

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