Friday, 28 February 2014

Review: Liz Earle - Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser

The Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser has been somewhat of a holy grail product in the land of beauty. I really like to take care of my skin but I'm not one to splash out on expensive products just because of the label. However, I got my hands on this product via a giveaway so I was quite keen to try this out. 

I actually intended to review this midway through the year after I'd used it for a few months but I've decided to do a review now and you'll see why as you read on...

For those of you who don't already know, the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish is a rich concentrated cream designed to remove dirt and make-up from your face. You simply rub it all over your face, as you would with a moisturiser, and then polish it all off using a warm muslin cloth. You finish off by splashing cool water over your face. 

On paper, I thought that this was an excellent idea for using in the evening. I hate splashing loads of water onto my face over the sink because it just goes everywhere. I'd heard a lot about how Liz Earle is great for sensitive skin and how gentle it was, so I felt a little more at ease about trying this out. 

When I first used this, I loved how gentle the cream felt on my face. Even near my eyes, it didn't cause any irritation or stinging at all. The consistency is a bit like a moisturiser, except it doesn't absorb into your skin. Once I'd thoroughly massaged my face with the cream, I picked up the warm muslin cloth and started polishing the cream off. This is where I started to feel a little more apprehensive...

My skin is quite sensitive and I felt like the muslin cloth was a bit too harsh for me. I can understand how this actually works as an exfoliator too because boy did it take off some skin cells! 

After using this for a week, I started to get a few spots. I hardly EVER get spots anymore as I am so careful with my skin, so this was a bit of a nasty surprise. After a fortnight, I found that my skin was getting increasingly dry and that was the point when I knew I had to stop using it. I was getting red patches on my face and my skin just felt very uncomfortable. 

For me, I think that the downside of this product was the harshness of the muslin cloth, and also the fact that you don't thoroughly wash off the cream. Residue can easily cause bacteria to get trapped in your pores and cause a breakout. This, along with the fact that my face was raw from the cloth, was definitely not a great combination. 

Once I'd stopped using it for a few days, my skin cleared up and the dryness disappeared. 

I wanted to love this product so much as I love the concept but it just doesn't work for me. This just goes to show how different everyone's skin is. This product is raved about by a lot people including those with sensitive skin, but it was a bit too much for me.

What are your thoughts on this product?

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Iced Cookies

I was recently introduced to a baking brand called Sugar And Crumbs who sell a range of icing powder, cocoa powder, and sugar paste. They kindly sent me 3 of their products to test out.

All 3 products were sent to me in this delightful canvas bag which I will no doubt be using for carrying all the grocery shopping. Each product comes in a bag with a seal, perfect for keeping everything fresh. I received the Coffee Icing Sugar*, Salted Caramel Icing Sugar*, and Chocolate Cherry Cocoa Powder*. 

I normally make buttercream icing but I decided that it was time for a change. I've been baking so much recently that I just didn't want anything too rich in taste so I figured that water icing would be perfect, especially spread across a fresh batch of cookies!

These don't look like the most amazing cookies but they sure taste good! There are some really good cookie recipes on BBC Food or you can do a quick Google search. I usually tweak my recipes a bit as I find that most of them are too sugary.

For the water icing, it's just a case of adding tiny drops of water to the icing sugar until it reaches your desired consistency. If you haven't made water icing before, please bear in mind that a little water goes a very long way.

I no longer drink coffee for various reasons so it was nice to have some Coffee Icing*. It gives off a very natural coffee aroma and I'm confident that any coffee lovers will love this. I was surprised at how natural it tasted too, it was like I'd added actual coffee powder into my cookies. 

The Salted Caramel Icing Sugar* was the one that I wasn't too sure about when I first saw the packet. I love salted caramel cookies but I was worried that this would be too salty. When I tried a bit of the icing powder on it's own, I could taste the saltiness. Having turned it into water icing, it became a lot more subtle and just the way I like it. I absolutely love the taste of the salted caramel water icing and it's one that I'll definitely be incorporating into my future bakes. 

As for the Chocolate Cherry Cocoa Powder*, I haven't included this on here as I just didn't get on with the taste at all. I made some cupcakes with it but the taste was far too strong and distinct for my liking. Having said that, I'm not a fan of chocolate cake in general (I have a bit of a love hate relationship with chocolate) so don't let that put you off trying it. My cousin decided to do some baking with it and she really liked it so it's just personal preference really.

If you love baking (and love icing), there is so much to choose from at Sugar & Crumbs and I can't wait to try out some more flavours.

Do you have a favourite icing flavour?

Monday, 24 February 2014

Review: miamoo travel set

When it comes to beauty, there is nothing that I am more obsessed with than skincare. You can have all the make-up in the world, but it's all a bit tedious if you don't look after your skin. As my skin is quite sensitive, I have to be wary of what I put on it. The one category of skincare products that I can usually rely on to be gentle is baby products. 

miamoo was founded by Saira Khan, who some of you may know from the very first series of The Apprentice. I didn't watch it back then but I did watch Beat The Boss, a BBC show that Saira hosted not long after taking part in The Apprentice, so it comes as no surprise that her entrepreneurial spirit resulted in her very own skincare brand being born.  

The products on offer are high quality and kind to sensitive/dry skin and, although this is a baby skincare brand, Saira confesses that she actually uses the products on both herself and her children. Her passion to remind us all of the importance of good skincare is one that I can relate to myself. 

The team at miamoo kindly sent me the miamoo travel pack* to test out, containing travel sizes of all 6 of their products. With a handy clear waterproof pouch to store everything in, it's easy to just pop this into your luggage when you're heading off for a few days.

I quite like the miamoo logo, it's not too fussy and it does it's job. Some of my favourite skincare brands out there are the ones with simple packaging. I like to use a product if it's good and it can get a little disheartening if I start to feel like I'm paying more for the packaging than the product. The little sketchy cows on the packaging are quite cute and I like how there are different colours for each product.

It is recommended that you follow the 3-step routine when using these products.

Step 1-Cleanse

fresh locks shampoo - This is a 3-in-1 face/body/hair wash. It is infused with a variety of good ingredients including lavender, aloe vera, and roesemary and it definitely smells good in the shower. I'm used to using 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioners so it was a bit of a change to use a shampoo on its own but it was surprisingly moisturising and left my hair nice and soft. The smell lingers for a while after as well.

splashy wash - This is a 2-in-1 face/body product. This has a subtle citrus smell to it which I was really fond of. I love fruity smells so this was perfect and it definitely helped to wake me up in the morning. 

spritz and wipe - This spritz is filled with limewater and minerals to freshen, cleanse, moisturise and tone the skin. This is a nice refreshing product to use on the go when your skin needs a bit of a pick-me-up. I can't really smell much fruitiness to it but I kind of like the fact that it's almost scentless. I can't see myself using this as a cleanser but it's such a refreshing spritz to use when you've had a tired or stressful day. Definitely something to pop into my handbag! Scented spritzers normally make me feel a little queasy if I'm stressed out, so this one is much better. 

 Step 2 - Moisturise

huggy lotion - This is a 3-in-1 moisturiser for hands/body/face so it's a great all-rounder. Loaded with good stuff, it is a dream to apply. The texture is almost quite watery so it glides on effortlessly and sinks in almost immediately. This is the kind of lotion that I've been waiting for! If you have sensitive skin and you just want something gentle that works, this is your product. It's also an amazing hand cream and I'd choose this over any of my existing hand creams. I probably wouldn't use this as a body lotion as it costs £5 for a 125ml product, that's the size of my Simple Skincare moisturiser! It wouldn't last very long! Great if you're baby-sized though!

cheeky cream - Described as a "barrier cream", this is thicker than the Huggy Lotion and it's great for dry patches or for those who are prone to dry skin. I've been using this on the my elbows and the dry parts of my hands. Although it's a thicker cream, it's still quite light and absorbs very easily into the skin.

Step 3 - Massage

baba oil - This was the product that I was most intrigued about. I have gone through so many body oils and I think I've finally found the one! Containing ingredients such as sweet almond, lavender oils and Vitamin E, this is a truly nourishing and moisturising oil. It sinks in fast and leaves my skin soft to the touch. Most oils I've tried are often a little greasy but this one is just right.

Overall, I'm very impressed with miamoo as it's been so gentle on my skin! The fact that most of the products are very low on scent is a bonus for me as there are too many artificial smelling skincare products out there that make me feel slightly nauseous. 

If you're after gentle but effective skincare, check out miamoo
For 10% off, enter code Blog13 at checkout.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Review: tinyWishes Bracelet

Sometimes, life can be stressful and sometimes all we want is for a little magic dust to sprinkle on our lives. Whilst I can't guarantee magic, I love discovering companies which sell products focusing on being hopeful and making wishes.

tinyWishes is a jewellery company known for their wish bracelets. Make a wish, wear a wish. The concept around these is that you make a wish when you put your bracelet on then, in the future when the bracelet string breaks, your wish will come true. Whether that is true or not is debatable but I love the notion of it all the same and they very kindly sent me a small package. 

When I first opened up the cute package that I had been sent, I was a bit confused as to how I was supposed to wear these bracelets. They weren't really long enough to do a shoelace tie (not that it would have been easy with only one hand to spare) and I was worried about how I'd take it off if I tied a double knot. However, I soon realised that these are designed to be worn indefinitely. I've never kept a bracelet on 24/7 before so, at the moment, I've been tying loose double knots!

I absolutely love the little charm on my "Rawr Means I Love You In Dinosaur" Wish Bracelet*. It's little and bronzed and it comes with a sweet sentiment card, making it the perfect gift for someone close to your heart, regardless of gender. 

I instantly recognised the hematite on my Hematite Heart Bracelet*. I did a little research on hematite a while back and it's a stone known for its healing properties. This would also make an adorable gift for a loved one. 

What are your thoughts on wish bracelets?

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Review: Layla - Gel Effect Nail Polish in No. 4 Beige Evolution

There has been so much talk lately about matte nail polishes but my preference is still with glossy nails. I haven't tried a matte polish and I'm not too sure if I ever will as it just doesn't appeal to me. Today's polish is a very glossy one called Layla Gel Effect Nail Polish in No. 4 Beige Evolution* that The Hut kindly sent to me. 

The colour is a brownish grey, definitely not a shade that I would instantly reach for on the shelf but I think it looks surprisingly nice and it would be more suited to those with pale skin. The image of it on my nails doesn't really do it justice. Hardly any sunlight recently has meant I've been battling between using a camera flash or going for a minimal light photo. It also didn't help that my nails kept reflecting light, but more on that in a bit.

The formula is fairly smooth and it glides easily onto the nail but it's hard to get it to be streak-free. Luckily, it somehow dries fairly evenly and gives you a really nice finish. I wouldn't say that this gives a "gel effect" but it certainly gives a high shine look. I could actually see some of the colours from my room on my glossy nails.

Drying time is super quick which was a nice surprise as it meant I could just get on with what I had to do very soon after application. Even with one of my nails where I'd applied a really thick layer of polish as I kept making mistakes, it was completely dry after a minute or so.  

This is a very popular shade at The Hut and it's currently sold out but, in the meantime, there are others to choose from. I'm quite keen on trying out some of their other shades because, although I've personally come across smoother formulas, I'm loving the glossiness!

Have you tried any Layla nail polishes?

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Review: After Noah

Recently, I was introduced to a company called After Noah. They are an established store based in London, selling vintage and contemporary furniture, homeware, toys, and gifts. Admittedly, they might not be everyone's cup of tea but I absolutely love stores like this as it allows me to find cute and quirky items that may be harder to find on the high street. If you're really into vintage then this is the perfect store for you and you don't even need to go to London as they have an online store! I was sent a couple of items from After Noah and I highly recommend that you take a look at their website if you like what you see on this post. 

This Pocket Posh Easy Sudoku* is right up my street. I love Sudoku, it's such a relaxing activity and I just love anything that involves numbers. There are several Sudoku books that you can get from the newsagents and, although they still have the same old puzzles in them, they just don't look as appealing as this does. The cover is really pretty and it reminds me of those luxurious expensive notebooks that you can buy, not that I've ever splashed out on one of them myself, and Pocket Posh is such an apt name as well. The pages are very colourful and it makes it a lot more enjoyable to use.

I adore these super cute Alice In Wonderland Sticky Notes*. This little set comes with five sets of sticky notes including some very interesting "When You Were Down The Rabbit Hole..." sticky notes, designed to be used when you've just missed someone and you need to leave them a message. This will fit nicely into your handbag and it would make a cute gift for anyone who loves all things magical!

Glassware is such a beautiful way to decorate a room so I was pretty pleased to get my hands on this Glass Owl Tea Light Holder*. I don't actually use candles or anything of the sort but I figured that this would be a really elegant addition to my bedroom. I'm thinking of filling it up with precious stones or scented beads. Getting creative is where it's at......

Have you visited After Noah yet?
You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Valentine's Day Cupcakes

First of all, Happy Valentine's Day! What better time to bake something yummy than on the most romantic day of the year? I say that as though I actually need an excuse to bake.... I actually baked these earlier in the week so that I could get these baked and tasted in time for this post on Valentine's Day.

I was recently sent a lovely selection of cake decorating products from Bakers Toolkit. Some of you may recognise the very pretty branding/packaging as this is the business set up by Luisa Zissman, the runner up of The Apprentice in 2013. 

Bakers Toolkit stems from a love of baking and they specialise in professional baking and cake decorating products at affordable prices. There is a wide selection of products including food colouring, edible glitter, pearl beads, and ready-to-roll icing. 

I love cake decorating but I always end up buying the same old products from the supermarket because, let's face it, there isn't much choice. With Bakers Toolkit, you can pretty much get everything that you would need to make amazing looking cakes all in one place. The only thing that would top it all off for me is if they did flavourings as well. 

As I have quite a few products to get through, I'll be bringing you all a couple of Baker's Toolkit posts throughout the next few weeks. I've been doing a lot baking posts recently and I hope you all like these alongside my usual posts.

For today's bake, I used Edible Hearts*, Pink Sugar Sand*, Dark Purple Pearl Beads*, and Edible Lilac Cupcake Glitter* to decorate my cupcakes. I stuck to pinks and purples to make my cakes look more romantic. 

Et voila! A lovely batch of cupcakes! Okay, they don't look as romantic as I imagined they'd be but I'm still working on my decorating skills. It's amazing what some pretty cake decorations can do though. 

This was one of the more Valentine's looking cakes decorated with pink sugar sand and edible hearts. I love how princess-y this looks as well The sugar sand tasted incredible, it gave the buttercream icing a really crunchy texture. A little baking tip though, best to decorate as you ice. I made the mistake of taking ages to ice and by the time I added the sugar sand, the icing had already started to harden. The sugar hearts were a bit easier to just push onto the icing and they can definitely make any cake look instantly girly. 

The dark purple pearl beads really stood out and it's actually one of my favourite colours. I find that it's quite difficult to get hold of purple sugar beads on the high street.  

My favourite product so far is definitely the lilac edible glitter. I have never used edible glitter before but I love it already! It looks so pretty and magical. It takes a little while to get used to it, I think I put too much glitter in some places and not enough in others but hopefully I'll do a better job next time! It also adds a nice crunch to the icing, although not as much as the sugar sand does. Bakers Toolkit offers a vast selection of glitter colours and I'm determined to own them all at some stage! 

I'm really pleased with how these have turned out and I've already got a few ideas as to what I'm going to do for my next baking adventure!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, 10 February 2014

New Things #3

PocketBac Anti-Bacterial Hand Gels  - Yes, I'm one of those people who has to carry anti-bacterial hand gel wherever they go. It's not a bad thing though, there are so many situations where you can't easily get access to water and soap. For those of you who travel on the London Tube a lot, hand gels are a must! PocketBac do some great smelling ones.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser - I've seen a lot of people raving about this product but as I was quite happy with my skincare regime, I never considered buying it. However, I was lucky enough to win one in a blog giveaway a while back. I tested this out for a few weeks but I'm not using it anymore, more details will be revealed when my review goes up!

Frilly Socks - I've been lusting after these Topshop frilly socks for ages and ages! All my current socks were getting a bit old so it was the perfect excuse to get myself some new ones!

Sweet Treats - These aren't chocolates and I'm not entirely sure what you would categorise these into. They are yummy crispy wafer balls filled with coconut and almond filling, sprinkled with desiccated coconut. They taste incredible and I urge you all to try these! I found these in the supermarket but I have a feeling that they're usually easier to get hold of during the Christmas season.  

The Body Shop Products - I used to be the biggest fan of The Body Shop but I don't shop there too often nowadays. However, I'm really excited to try some of these products out which I didn't actually choose myself, makes it a bit more exciting!. The Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil is one that I've wanted to test out for a while now and I've started incorporating it into my morning routine. 

Balance Me Rose Otto Hand Cream - I won this in a Twitter giveaway the other week. I've never used anything from this brand before so I'm quite keen to give this a go, hopefully I'll like it!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Linderella's Lust List - Valentine's Day 2014

The 14th of February is just around the corner. Some people love it, some people hate it, some people could not care less. 

My view is that, if you're single, there is nothing wrong with treating yourself to a few cute goodies on Valentines Day. And if you're in a relationship, there is nothing wrong with dropping a few hints. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone else's Valentine's Day wish lists so do leave a link below if you've done one!

1. Collar Heart Jumper - I've been loving Oasis clothing lately because so many of them have cute collars. I love wearing collars. This one looks (kind of) romantic with all the hearts but it's not too OTT. I really like this creamy brown colour, it's subtle and easy to wear. 

2. Heart Cake Cases - I'm a keen baker so these would be great for making some romantic looking cupcakes.

3. Strawberry Gift Set - I love the smell of sweet strawberries and The Body Shop captures the smell perfectly. This is such an adorable gift set, the packaging is ultra pretty! I really want to try the EDT from this set. The rest is just a bonus.

4. Hearts Stanley Mug - I went through a phase at one point where I was obsessed with buying new plates, bowls, mugs etc. That phase is now long gone but I do like some new crockery every now and then. 

5. Tan Bear With Pink Ears - This is going to sound lame (because I'm not 12) but I absolutely adore this teddy bear!! The pink paws and pink ears are so cute!

6. Clinique Superbalm Moisturising Gloss - Everyone wants kissable lips on Valentine's Day. I love glossy lips and this product claims to moisturise as well! Bonus! I'm lusting after the Raspberry shade. 

7. Milly Scarf - It's no secret that I have a little obsession with scarves and when I came across this one, it was love at first sight. It's just so pretty! This one also happens to be called Raspberry as well! I definitely need to get this at some stage!

8. Lush Lots Of Love Gift Set - I've only ever bought one Lush product and that was Snow Fairy in November. This gift set looks lovely and I'd love to try out these products, especially the Prince Charming shower gel. The massage bar looks delightful too.

Are you lusting after any of these products?