A blog for fashion, beauty, hair, cosmetics and lifestyle

30 Sep 2013

Review: Smooth Skin Extra by iPulse - Halfway In

The Smooth Skin Extra IPL hair removal machine by iPulse at Boots promises miracles - to dramatically reduce or stop body hair growth after 12 weekly applications. I was left a little cynical, and for the hefty price tag of £399.99 (although Boots are selling them for £299.99 at the moment), it felt like a huge investment and I hadn't seen enough results on the internet to work out if it was a wise investment or not, BUT my hatred towards my under-arm hair and the dark shadow that remains even after I've shaved kept me googling them. 

I was very kindly offered to try one about 6-8 weeks ago and was thrilled to get to try it. The product itself comes in a box to keep the equipment in with a large, printed cardboard sleeve over it. 

In the box you get, the IPL machine, instructions and iPulse activator gel

The machine is formed of a meter which tests your skintone to accurately deliver the correct level of light, and a handset which contains the IPL bulb. There is also a detachable mains source.  

Here's how my underarms look at the beginning (gross alert). This is the day after shaving and as you can see I have stubble and that pesky dark shadow that just doesn't go away. (the dark mark above is my birth mark)

To treat the area, you have to start by cleaning off deodorant and products and shaving the area. Then take out the skin tone meter, press it to your skin and press the button. You will get a rating from 1-5 (my skin is around a 1-2 depending on if I have a tan or not). You then drop this into the machine base unit which starts up the handset. Apply a thick layer of activator gel and you're ready to go. 

You work by pressing the handset onto the skin, waiting until contact is made and the white light in the handset comes on, look away and press the button. The sensation ranges from the feeling of an elastic band snap to a tingle and is getting less and less as I keep using the machine. I work in lines from top to bottom, ensuring I cover the whole area. 

Afterwards my under-arms looked like this:

They were quite pink and irritated for a few hours, although my skin seems to have gotten used to it in the proceeding sessions. Sometimes I find I get a few "spots" under my arms a couple of days after but they go away quickly and aren't painful.

After 4 weeks, you start to see a difference, and halfway through the sessions I'm seeing a huge difference.

This is again taken the day after shaving. As you can see the shadow has completely gone. There are a few hairs still trying to grow in the very middle but they are much slower and I only really have to shave them every three days.

Close up, you can see the skin is hair free! I'm really delighted and it made my most recent holiday much less stressful, I didn't have to worry about booking a wax or not raising my arms!

The only issue is, as the treatment area gets less and less of an issue, I'm forgetting to treat it as it doesn't bother me anymore! I've written them into my diary now to prompt me to continue with the final 6 and I'm expecting excellent results but I'll update you. I'm even considering doing my bikini line...

This is only a brief update review, but I'll let you know with an in-depth post when I've finished. 


28 Sep 2013

What's in my University Bag?

For most Universities, it's Fresher's Week this week or next week and for many first time students it can be a really stressful, exciting, overwhelming time! To take the stress out of it I thought I'd give you some pointers on what to take to Uni every day. I'm a bit of a been-there-done-that student, having done an undergraduate degree, a master's degree and starting a doctorate on Monday so I've learnt some skills on hauling your life around on a daily basis so here are my tips... 

First of all, invest in a lovely bag. I love my small handbag satchel, so for my birthday I requested a University satchel. This is The Leather Satchel Co 14 inch satchel in a classic Chestnut Brown. I also had some extras added like the briefcase handle, shoulder strap for heavy book days and the magnetic fasteners to make getting in and out a bit quicker. If you're quick, you can get something similar from ASOS with next day delivery ready for your first week! I have found this size is perfect for my Samsung Ultrabook to fit in too. 

Next, think about what you will need. Here are my essentials:

I've got a notepad from Paperchase - this one has pre-punched, tear out sheets to make note filing easier. It's definitely something that you should consider rather than a refill book of ruled sheets or a bound notebook.

I love a Filofax and here I have the A5 Filofax "The Original" in green. It's perfect for my studies as it has enough room to write notes on, and I've added the appointments diary so I can see what lectures/placements I'm on, which are highlighted so I can see the times (I always double book myself otherwise). I've also got the expenses sheets as I get mileage money on placement, note paper, addresses and a shopping list pad in the back as well as the sticky notes insert.

I've also got the basics - my Radley purse which has seen better days, my mobile with a "pugs and kisses" cover, Carmex lip balm, keys, pen, highlighter, and rail card (I'm going to be commuting by train so got to invest in a season ticket... the cost is terrifying!)

Finally I've got my Kindle for the commute in and out. I LOVE reading and fear I won't be able to read for pleasure in the next year but fingers crossed. I could also do in investing in some earphones so I can listen to my music on the move. 

So here it all is. Other things to consider are a water bottle, pass book for train/bus tickets and student ID, notebook for reflective diary on placement.

Do you have any tips for University bags or what to carry in? 

26 Sep 2013

Review: Carmex Tinted Moisture Plus Lipbalms

I'm a huge fan of Carmex lipbalms, I always have one in my handbag, one in my makeup bag and one in my car... I wish I was joking. When I was asked if I wanted to try out the new tinted Carmex lipbalms I was very excited. I've been looking for a sheer lipstick for a few weeks now, something to give a bit of colour but not too much as I'd like to look fairly natural (other than my huge liquid eyeliner obsession) for my new job. 

I was sent two colours, Sheer Pink and Sheer Berry

Sheer Pink is much less pale than the packet indicates! The colour in the tube is a vibrant Barbie pink. It is packaged in these more lipstick-like tubes to make it easier to apply and still has that lovely vanilla scent. 

The colour itself comes out the colour of the painted end of the tube - a pale Barbie pink. The coverage is really good, this is what I'd consider a normal application of lipbalm and it's given a really lovely colour. The formula is what I'd expect for Carmex - lasts a good few hours and leaves my lips super-soft and kissable which is necessary in this changeable weather. 

Sheer Berry is a much deeper colour, and the stain the the tube looks the same colour as the paint on the packaging. 

When applied, it gives a more sheer coverage than the pale pink I'd say, but it's a really flattering raspberry tone of pinky-red. I'm really a huge fan of this colour and it's become my new work lippie. Again the formula is what we all know and love from Carmex and lasts a while, but as it's a darker colour I noticed that whilst my lips still felt moisturised, the colour had gone a little patchy so checking a mirror is still important as with wearing any lipstick. 

Overall I'd say I'm really impressed and will be buying the Sheer Berry colour more often, although I'll be sticking to the clear stuff for the car in the future - don't want to get somewhere looking like Bridget Jones after her applying makeup in the taxi moment!


25 Sep 2013

Tesco Chino Challenge - vote for us!

A couple of weeks ago I told you about the Tesco Chino Challenge - where my boyfriend Sam and I were given the challenge of styling up a pair of wardrobe staples for men, the chino. The two outfits we picked are below but it remains a mystery as to which of us created which outfit, with the idea being that people vote on their favourite so we can find out who's the most stylish, boys or girls! 

Well now, you can go online and vote!

Head on over to F&F at Tesco and under "inspire me" is the competition. There are other couples who have also styled up outfits, but I'd love it if you'd vote for one of ours please?! We're the bottom couple. After the votes are revealed, we'll find out who's the most stylish gender!


24 Sep 2013

Review: Glo Minerals Lipstick in Cabaret

A few weeks ago I was offered to try out a product from a brand new to me - Glo Minerals, who although established in 2002, were not a mineral makeup company I had heard of. I was sent this lipstick in Cabaret to review.

First of all, the packaging is really slick and shiny and looks like a "standard" makeup rather than some of the other organic or mineral based products I've tried. 

The lipstick itself is a very deep shade of red, very vampy! It comes in a classic bullet with point to make it really easy to apply without a lip brush. As this brand excludes fragrances, it doesn't have a yummy smell like a MAC lippie may have, but it doesn't smell of anything that puts me off. The taste is mild and floral. 

Most importantly, it applies really well. It gives a really bold colour pay-off and performs like any other lipstick would. The lipstick formula is very hydrating and creamy, but doesn't bleed (in the picture below I'm wearing it without lip liner to show you the natural colour. As you can see it comes out brighter than the bullet looks but not too different. It's a lovely deep red, perfect for these Autumn evenings. Another bonus for those of us with sensitive skin is that we don't have to worry about allergies or spots around the mouth as it's all mineral based. 

The lipstick performed as expected over the evening, it didn't outlast dinner but it never promised to be one to hang around. Positively, it came off when rubbed and didn't stain my lips so I didn't look like a horror film waking up the next morning (no I didn't take off my makeup, naughty!)

Overall, for £15 it's not a cheap lipstick, but it does promise to perform like chemical-filled drugstore lipstick but without the nasties. In my experience, organic and mineral makeup can be a little lacking and I've been waiting for it to catch up, but if I wasn't told this was mineral makeup I would never have thought this any different to other lipsticks. If you're on the lookout for a great mineral makeup, this might be worth a go. 

From Glo Minerals 

17 Sep 2013

Sponsored Video: Just Cavalli

Alongside the release of the new fragrance, Just Cavalli for Him, Coty has released a game called "Just a bite" which they claim is addictive! It's available on iPhones and on Facebook. Promoting it are models Georgia May Jagger and Marlon Teixeira, the faces of Just Cavalli for him and her. The tag line is: 

Rising fashion model Georgia May Jagger has recently been spotted compulsively toting her smartphone. Managing a busy calendar ? Checking her emails ? Shopping online ? Guess again! It appears that the gorgeous British model suffers from a serious addiction to… video games! Or more specifically to the new and terribly addictive Just Cavalli Game.

The female fragrance is described as creamy, sexy and floral. Having notes of orangey neroli, a floral mix an a creamy wood scent, this perfume is described as fresh, intense and alluring - and is clearly aimed at a young market. On the other hand, the male fragrance is described as a fresh, leathery wood - with scents of pimento, smoky wood ad smooth leather (manly!) Again, it's marketed as young and seductive. Check out the Just Cavalli website for more information on the perfume, marketing campaign and to get some images (That Marlon is gorgeous!) 

Have you tried the perfume? What's it like?

Post sponsored by Just Cavalli

14 Sep 2013

Review: John Frieda Everlasting Blonde shampoo and conditioner

A couple of weeks ago I was sent the new John Frieda Everlasting Blonde shampoo and conditioner, promising longer-lasting, fresh looking blonde for up to 12 weeks after colouring if used three times a week. As any assisted blonde will know, after a few weeks my highlights start to look dull, mousey and blend in with my natural colour leaving me less and less blonde. This shampoo and conditioner promises to stop all that and help me in keeping my blonde hair

First of all, the shampoo is white which is unlike the other blonde shampoos in the range; they smell really lovely, floral/fruity and fresh, and lather up really well to give good coverage with little shampoo as I expect from John Frieda (I love their tone correcting purple shampoo and conditioner as well as the luxurious volume range). The product washes out easily, and the conditioner is nice and thick to coat all my hair but without leaving a greasy residue like others might. They leave my hair feeling really soft and not stripped in any way as I was slightly worried about. 

The result is my highlights are looking blonder, people are asking me if I've had my hair done (genuinely) and my hair is in really good, soft condition. As my hair is really long, I often struggle with tangles but the conditioner does a heroic job of sorting those out. The only issue is, as my highlights get blonder, my roots get more noticeable whereas the blonde was blending in with my more "honey" (mousey) hair before! I'm having my hair done this weekend so don't judge me. 

The shampoo and conditioner are £5.99 each so getting pricey, but the bottles are huge so will go a long way and often my local Asda or Boots have them on 2 for 1 or similar offers. I'm still a huge fan of the John Frieda range but I think my favourite products will remain the Tone Correcting shampoo and conditioner. 


13 Sep 2013

Autumn OOTD - Coccoon Cardigans

Autumn has hit us hard, my heating came on automatically yesterday morning, it's darker in the mornings, I'm cold and it's raining. Moan moan moan (I should use this as an excuse to buy the gorgeous coat I've been lusting after from ASOS). Anyway, as the weather is on the change I've been a bit stuck for comfy weekend clothes but this is what I wore the other day:

Vest - Mum's old one!
Jeans - Topshop Leigh
Umbrella - found in the back of boyfriend's mum's car
Cat - vintage 

I'm really loving this slouchy cocoon cardigan to wrap up in, the act of curling up in it really appeals to me (and I wore it to a meeting yesterday and found it very soothing!). This cardigan isn't cheap but bridges the gap between no-coat summer and coat-wearing winter in style. It's super heavy and thick and great for keeping me warm. 

My umbrella was a great find! It was moulding away at the back of my boyfriend's mum's old car and looking very sorry for itself. Turns out it's my boyfriend's very first girlfriend's old brolly so I adopted it, gave it a really good soak in bleach overnight and now it's perfect. I love the shape of it - reminds me of the Brighton pavillion! 

P.S. Do you like my new fringe? It's a bit rain-soaked here but I'm really enjoying channelling the Taylor Swift look! 


11 Sep 2013

F&F Couples Chino Challenge!

A couple of weeks ago F&F contacted me with a challenge - to get myself and my boyfriend Sam to style around a fashion classic, the chino. However who styled each look is a mystery and next week you will get a chance to vote for your favourite look! They kindly gave us up to £100 to spend on our style.  Here are our looks:

The Chinos we styled around

Look 1 - The jumper

Watch - Casio
Shoes - Primark

Look 2 - Men's cardigans

Cardigan - F&F twisted yarn cardigan £16
T-Shirt - F&F t-shirt £4
Watch and shoes as above

Which look do you prefer? Who do you think created each look? 

I think it might be tough to tell who's who - we both seem to have the same fashion sense!

Thank you to Sam for taking on this challenge! It was quite nerve-racking for him to become a model for a day! From 18th September there will be a vote for the favourite outfit, and the winning couple could win a  romantic weekend getaway which would be amazing as today is our "year from our first date" anniversary! 

So help us settle it, which is the most stylish gender? 


10 Sep 2013

Sponsored Video - Very's new Definitions Collection

Very Definitions is a new women's wear collection from Very, showing an everyday stylish look (perfect for those work to going out days) with the statement "Whatever you do, do it in style" and definitely reflects my feelings that whatever we do everyday, I try to get a little dressy for it. The outfits appear to be dressed up smartly, but then wouldn't look out of place for having a cocktail or dinner.

This video, which came out during X Factor on Saturday launches the collection

The collection looks like it's aimed towards people in their 20s-30s, slightly more stylish and dressy than what I wore in Uni and is quite different to the Fearne Cotton and Holly Willoughby collections seen recently. From the advert, I'm particularly interested in the black and white stripy dress and the red dress from the advert. I'm also liking this leather jacket

and these printed trousers

I'm looking forwards to seeing more from this, as I'm starting a new job I'm struggling with finding something to wear which is appropriate for a proper serious adult job, but also stylish enough that I don't feel frumpy. I've been shopping around at other shops and have seen a huge range of grey and black trousers, jumpers and skirts which are quite uninspiring. This collection is a bit different (and offers short/culotte type bottoms, very interesting)

To find out more you'll find Very.co.uk on both Facebook and Twitter. 

Sponsored by very.co.uk


4 Sep 2013

Another holiday blog post

I've been very lucky this year (and very broke) and managed to squeeze in a few holidays before the adventure of my new job starts later this month. This weekend, my boyfriend Sam and I went for a long weekend to Alora in the south of Spain (near Malaga) to see his Dad. Alora is a tiny village in the mountains north of Malaga and so the locals don't speak much English so I got to put my GCSE Spanish to practice (with lots of help from Sam's Dad who is fluent!)

On day 1, we spent the whole day by the pool before going out for dinner at a local restaurant. We also met Barney Jackson 

Barney Jackson - world's cutest dog. He was found at a few weeks old abandoned so Sam's dad rescued him. He's now almost 1 year old! The locals call him Coquito (unsure of the spelling) which is apparently slang for runt and also the name they give to the end of baguettes because apparently nobody wants that bit (although it is my favourite part...)

That night I wore: 

Skirt - Zara, Sandals - Accessorize, Top - New Look, Bag - Lulu Guinness from TK Maxx which I was sent to show you on my blog and was reduced to under £100

On day 2 we were dropped off at Torremolinos beach for the day. I went there once on my first without parents holiday when I was just 16 with my girlfriends. How times have changed!

I enjoyed a couple of cocktails on the beach, my favourite being a strawberry daiquiri and then headed back for some more sillyness in the pool (complete with spiderman lilo we bought on the way back, because we're 25 year old "adults" and stuff) 


That night we went out for more gin and tonics and dinner, and I braved up to wear my Zara pajama trousers!

Silk cami - Topshop, Trousers - Zara, Sandals - Accessorize, Necklace - Ted Baker

On the last day, we went up to the huge freshwater lakes and jumped off the cliffs into the lake (which was really high and terrifying and amazing). I closed my eyes and went for it, then in the water the adrenaline hit me and I couldn't move my legs to get out the lake... I felt very silly. Here's Sam and I looking bedraggled post-jump

We had a lovely relaxing break and now I need something new to look forwards to although that might be Christmas now!
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