Saturday, 19 October 2013

Brand Review: Jennifer Young Defiant Beauty

Disclaimer: I received these samples for free to review. This only affected my opinion in that I now have one about these products.

A bit about Jennifer Young ( to start off with. It's a company that does skincare, mostly for troubled skin. Their ranges are Unique Skincare, Eczema-Free Beauty, Remove & Improve, and Defiant Beauty. Unique Skincare is highly customisable made to order products - something I would definitely look into if you have reactions to most ingredients. Eczema-Free Beauty is pretty obvious. Remove & Improve is for teenaged or blemish-prone skin. Lastly, Defiant Beauty, the range I'll be reviewing today, is designed for those affected by cancer. All their ranges are based on natural and organic ingredients, and many of their products are available in convenient trial sizes that are excellent both for travel and for trying out the products.

I have the opportunity to review four of these excellent products - the Cleansing Balm, Itchy Skin Oil, Nail Oil, and Lip Balm.

First up, a cleansing balm. This is a lovely soft balm which glides on to the skin - important for a fragile skin! It is incredibly rich, with no discernible smell. I have been removing it with a muslin cloth, although the directions say to use cotton wool. I find it isn't great for clearing my pores, but my skin feels beautifully soft and not at all irritated after I use it, which is pretty unusual for me. I won't, however, use it as a mask treatment, although I'm sure it could be used that way - my skin doesn't like beeswax. That's my particular skin quirk, though, and most people wouldn't have a problem with it.

Ingredients: Mango Butter (Mangifera indica L), Butyrospermum parkii (Shea Butter), Prunus armeniaca (Apricot Kernel Oil), Calendula officinalis (Calendula oil), Cera flava (Beeswax), Tocopherol (Vitamin E).

I also tried the Itchy Skin Oil. I actually used this one on my scalp - I've been having serious issues with a dry, itchy scalp for months, and this is the first time I've found anything that calms it down even momentarily. And believe me, I've tried just about everything! (Tar, sulphur and coconut oil treatments stink a lot, fyi). It's a very light oil - it was immediately absorbed into my skin, and my hair didn't look at all greasy - and unlike coconut oil, I didn't have to shampoo numerous times to get it out. It has a very faint scent - I had to rub it on my nose to smell it - slightly sweet, slightly herbal. I'm going to keep applying it to the itchy patches for a week or so, and maybe, just maybe, banish my itches.

Ingredients: Apricot Kernel Oil (Prunus armenica), Sunflower Oil (Helianthus annus), Peach Kernel Oil (Prunus persica), Calendula oil (Calendula officinalis), Rosehip oil (Rosa rubginosa), Vitamin E (Tocopherol).

Next, the Nail Oil. I generally don't use products of this nature at all, although my weak, fragile, flaky, bendy nails tell me I probably ought to. I've been trialing this as part of my manicure regime. It doesn't have a smell, absorbs quickly, and a little goes a long way. It will probably take a month or more of regular use to see if it's actually having an effect on my nails, though - and the tiny little trial size will last me a lot longer than that, I suspect, so long as I don't knock it over when it's open.

Ingredients: Peach Kernel Oil (Prunus persica), Macademia Oil (Macademia integrifolia), Vitamin E (Tocopherol).

Last, the Lip Balm. It has a slight smell of ginger, which I quite enjoy as a change from the usual sickly sweet and overpowering smells/tastes of many lipbalms. It's effective in combating my chronically dry, chapped lips. The formula isn't so soft it squishes all over the place, and isn't so hard it's difficult to apply. It absorbs quickly, and plays nicely with lipstick. I will probably buy this product - once I run out of my first one!

Ingredients: Sweet Almond oil (Prunus amygdalus dulcis), Cocoa Butter (Theobroma Cacao), Beeswax (Cera flava), Ginger essential oil (Zingiber officinale), Blood orange essential oil (Citrus aurantium amara).

All in all, I think these are very high quality products, which I would unilaterally recommend to anyone with dry and sensitive skin. I am glad I got the chance to test them, and I intend to explore the range further soon.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Looking for a camera upgrade.

Most of the photos on this blog are taken with my trusty Logitech webcam, but the quality isn't so good, and I can't take it with me.

I'd like to do more on-the-go photography, and perhaps some video as well. My phone - although the camera is quite good - is not really good for this, because I need both hands free to use it. My DSLR is a bit heavy and fragile to lug around, even though I can use it single-handed. So I'm looking for a compact point-and-shoot. I don't know anything about what's available out there yet; once I figure out a shortlist, I'll go into a brick-and-mortar to see how they fit in my hands, but probably will end up buying on amazon (depending on prices, warranty, etc). I don't yet have a budget in mind. I'm looking for compactness, lightness, and ability to press the go button with the hand holding the camera (which would rule out a bunch of touchscreen models I've seen). I'd like to be able to flip out the viewscreen, but that's not vital. I would like wifi uploading. Lens systems aren't ruled out, although I already have Canon glass - adaptors for such would be a consideration (especially for holiday travel).

I haven't fully developed my ideas on this yet, obviously, so my requirements will probably evolve. Still - anyone got some recommendations, or definite anti-recommendations for me?

Friday, 2 August 2013

Simple Beauty Blogger Event

I was invited to attend the Simple Beauty Blogger Event yesterday. I almost didn't go because I was feeling tired and sad, and then when I finally got out of the house, the heel of my boot came off most of the way to the train station! UGH. So after hurrying home to change shoes, I once again set forth to do battle with the dragons of depression, tiredness, and general apathy by having a good time.

I had a lovely time!

It was at Kettners in Soho, which was quite a fancy establishment. The room decorations were lovely, with some of the products in various terranium-like things around the room.

There were marvelous mocktails with lots of fresh fruit and such, and I got to meet some of the experts behind the Simple brand. We also got some really generous goody bags, and I'm keen to try out some of the products. Others, of course, may have to find a new home. But would you just look at all of it! Reviews shall occur post haste.

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Later in the evening, there was the London Beauty Bloggers regular meetup, and I met some wonderful ladies there too. Cocktails and more goody bags! Wonderfulness abounds. I am super keen to try some of this stuff out too, and to go to more of these meetups and talk beauty, style, and life with these marvelous people. I'll post a full review of all the goodies (once I have tried them, of course).

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All in all, a thoroughly awesome and enjoyable evening. I'm looking forward to the next London Beauty Bloggers meetup, that's for sure.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Nail polish review: Butter London "Yummy Mummy"

I got this polish as part of a sample box from Latest In Beauty.

I'll say this up front: I would never have chosen this colour, because I loathe it. Brown and pinky brown and me do not go together. It's not a bad colour, it's just ... not me. At all.

That said ... the polish itself isn't bad. Butter London do 3-free polish (no formaldehyde, touluene, dpb). So that's good. It goes on easily enough, and I got opacity in two coats. The only reason it's a bit dodgy in the photos is because I used my hands before waiting for it to set. So my bad, really. No streaking, not too viscous, not too runny, although I prefer a stubbier brush than the one it has.

If it was only a green or purple or something, I'd love it, I think. As is, however, I'm glad I didn't pay full price.

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So, I've become a youtuber ...

.. and now I have a channel. It's here:

I've been blathering about bits and pieces; my update schedule is about as regular as my blog posts, so ... not very. If you'd like me to do something in particular, let me know and I'll do my best!

Not sure what else to say, really, so I'll leave it there today.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

EB Samples - Bright Spring Blues

Today is hot. As in, 27C in the shade hot. In a country that doesn't believe in aircon, windows that open all the way, fans, eaves, or any real form of ventilation or shade, this is actually very warm. I would really not want to take the Tube today, that's for sure.

This is, of course, a perfect day to wear a full face of makeup over sunscreen. 

Oh well, at least I was sensible enough to wear a sleeveless top - under the jacket I needed to keep the sun off. 

These colours aren't bad - maybe not my ideal blues, but not awful. I did notice that the pale colour (Party Animal) looked quite green on its own, which is odd, because it's a pale baby blue pigment - albeit quite a warm one. 

Eyes - 
Base: Party Animal
Midshade and lower lashline: Conscientious
Dark bits: Mediatrix
Lashes: Collection Colour Lash All Day Mascara in 5 Electric Blue
Eyebrows: Illamasqua Eyebrow cake in Stark

Lips: L'oreal 6hr Glam Shine in 110 Addictive Peach

Face - 
Sunscreen: SunSense Sport Milk SPF 50+
Primer: Illamasqua Hydra Veil
Foundation: Illamasqua Rich Liquid 105 & Nude by Nature Liquid Mineral Foundation in Fair

No blush, because I was flushed and sweaty enough from the weather!

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Monday, 3 June 2013

Nail Art: Marble swirl and Half-moon

I admit it - I got ambitious. I tried to do no-water marble swirling on my nails. The first attempt was a disaster. The second attempt was ... okay, I suppose. I used Illamasqua Hemlock for the base colour, and tried to use Illamasqua Geist and Max Factor Dazzling Blue for the swirls.

Marble swirl nail art - Max Factor Dazzling Blue, and Illamasqua Geist, under coat in Illamasqua Hemlock.

What went wrong? I think I may have used too much polish, and also the wrong swirling tool - I kept gouging a hole in the base layer. I maybe try this again, when I have time, patience, and steady hands available.

I still wasn't happy with it, though, so I took it off and tried to do a half-moon mani. It sort of worked. But there's room for improvement here too, that's for sure. The highlight colour is OPI Significant Other; a lovely warm light lilac with a green shimmer that I unfortunately couldn't capture well in the photo. The darker colour is Illamasqua Poke.

Half-moon mani in OPI Significant Other and Illamasqua Poke.

The technique needs work, but I love the colours on this. I'm such a sucker for purples.