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Wednesday, 30 April 2014

April Favourites



This month's favourites are a combination of new discoveries and golden oldies. The first product I've been loving is the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water which I spoke about in more detail a few days ago here. It's a brilliant makeup remover that removes even mascara in a single swipe, doesn't irritate the skin at all and just feels like water. I'm converted.


Next is the long since discontinued Sweet Lemon Shower Gel from The Body Shop (full review here) it has the most delicious, citrusy scent that has been extremely uplifting on these dull spring mornings. I really hope they bring this scent back!


Soap & Glory Hand Food is by far my favourite hand cream of all time, it's extremely moisturising yet non greasy and sinks into the skin straight away. It also smells really good, I stocked up this month while it was on 3 for 2, you can see my full review here.


I'm not usually one for primers but the Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch has surprised me, I seem to me using it more and more often. It feels velvety on the skin, makes sure that makeup lasts all day and keeps and oiliness at bay. Full review here.  


The concealer that I've been reaching for pretty much daily as of late is the Clinique Even Better Concealer in Honeycomb. It a shade lighter than my skin tone so I've been using it under the eyes to hide dark circles and brighten up my face. It's really high coverage but also really blendable. Full review here


I'm not an everyday eyeshadow wearer but the Avon SuperShock Vivid Liquid Eyeshadow is so easy to use! Mine's in the shade Chromed Cocoa. I just shake it, dab a bit onto my eyelid with the applicator and then blend it in with my finger. It sets and just doesn't budge. 


What products have you been loving this month?  

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Monday, 28 April 2014

New from Lee Stafford



I've been a huge fan of Lee Stafford products ever since my teens so when I was invited to have breakfast with the man himself and have a nose through his new launches I was more than just excited! He has an amazing range of haircare and styling products sold at Boots and has now decided to add to it with a range of hairbrushes and styling appliances. 




The Chopstick Styler has been designed to create tight corkscrew curls, weather you're creating the look from scratch or you're a curly haired girl looking to touch up frizzy bits it's supposed to create smooth curls. Being a curly haired gal myself I can't wait to give it a try! 





Other exciting styling tools include a handy, fold up, travel friendly hair dryer and the rather strangle looking Grooved Waving Wand. Designed to create a more uneven and therefore natural looking curl the wand is infused with Argan Oil to condition hair as it curls.









And it does exactly what it says on the tin, here's Lee showing me how to use it at the breakfast.




And here's the end result, which I absolutely love. I was swishing my hair around all day! The wand seemed really easy to use so I'm hoping I can now recreate the look at home myself. 





I also got my hands on the Big Fattest Silky Smoother with Extra Oomphness round brush designed for big and bouncy blow-dries. As this is the kind of brush I usually use to blow dry, I curious to see how this one compares. 




They've also brought out a few new products, the ones I'm most excited about are the Frizz Off Range, designed for - believe it or not - frizz prone hair. Its sulphate free which is meant to be good for extending the life of Brazilian blow-dries. My hair is really frizzy so I think I'll be a good person to really put them to the test!




As with all products I like to use them for a while and feel like I'm giving them a really good try before reviewing them. So keep your eyes peeled if you want to see individual, in depth reviews as and when I've tried them out. 

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Sunday, 27 April 2014

NOTD #24




This weeks NOTD is another one from the Barry M Gelly range, last week I was wearing the shade Blueberry which you can see here, but today I'm wearing Green Berry! These varnishes are such good value for money, although the brush isn't amazing the formula really is. It applies well, dries quickly, lasts well without chipping and is super glossy! Definitely a good place to look if you're looking to pick up a few new spring shades on the cheap. 
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Saturday, 26 April 2014

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water



I've never been particularly interested in makeup removers as I've always used a cleanser that removes makeup and I hardly ever wear waterproof mascara. However, since I started reading beauty blogs and writing my own I've been hearing about Micellar Waters constantly, everyone seems to use them! The most popular is of course Bioderma but as it's not particularly cheap or readily available in this county I never got round to trying it. 


When wandering around Boots recently I spotted the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water, an obvious Bioderma copy, even down to the bottle. As it was on offer for a mere £3.33 (regular price £4.99) I thought I'd give it a go, and I'm so glad I did, it really is amazing! It manages to remove an entire face  of makeup, including eyes, with just 2 cotton pads. No rubbing required, at all. I just soak 2 pads, hold one over each eye, press down for a few seconds and wipe away. I then turn the pads over to remove the rest of the makeup on my face. 


The bottle claims that it will last 200 uses, which I'm not entirely sure about, I'll have to get back to you on that on in one of my empties posts. I do however think it will last a really long time, I've been using mine for more than a month and as you can see from the picture I not that far through it!


Have you tried any Cleansing Waters?

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Friday, 25 April 2014

The Body Shop Sweet Lemon Range




Those of you who keep up with The Body Shop's Limited Edition ranges will know that this one's an oldie! I got it a while ago but because I have a tendency to hoard bath and body products I've only just got round to opening them. They're so lovely and smell so delicious that I just couldn't help reviewing them, they're no longer available but who knows, maybe The Body Shop will bring them back one day! 




The scent of this range really is delicious, like fresh, sweet lemonade. Very uplifting during a miserable spring! 


I never have much to say about shower gels, this one lathers well and gets the job done, what more do you need? The body butter on the other hand I could go on and on about, it doesn't have quite as strong a scent as the shower gel and scrub but what it lacks in that department it more than makes up for in formula. As with all of The Body Shop Body Butters it has a rich formula which sinks into the skin well, and leaves the skin feeling lastingly nourished and moisturised. 




The Body Scrub is by far the most delicious smelling one of the lot, I often find using scrubs a bit of a chore but this one is such a pleasure to use. I just rub it into damp skin using circular motions and rinse it off. It leaves skin feeling lovely and smooth and perfectly prepped to soak in lots of moisturiser. 


Which Limited Edition range do you wish The Body Shop would bring back? 


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Thursday, 24 April 2014

Spring Jumper Edit



I've always found British Springtime extremely frustrating, I love spring clothing but the weather is just so darn cold still. In recent years I've found that the perfect solution to this is pastel/bright jumpers. They liven up your wardrobe but still keep you warm. I usually just pair mine with skinnies and either boots or ballet flats, that way you're all covered up but don't look like you're still dressed for the dead of winter. 

















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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

RECIPE: Banana Loaf Cake



Firstly I'd like to point out that this cake isn't going to win any beauty contests so if it's a pretty cake you're after, this isn't really for you. It is however, absolutely delicious! I've made it quite a few times over the last few weeks and it has never lasted more than 24 hours so I thought it was about time I shared the recipe. It's really simple to make, even for a baking novice, and uses ingredients that you probably have lying around the kitchen anyway. 

Here's what you'll need:

115g Sugar
115g Butter
2 Eggs
115g Self Raising Flour
2 Bananas 
Dash of Cinnamon (optional)




Start by whisking or 'creaming' together your butter and sugar.




Add the eggs and whisk again.




Shift in your flour and fold it into the mixture.






In a separate bowl, or in my case mug, mash up your bananas. I find over ripe ones work best. 




Add your mashed bananas into the batter and mix it all in, at this point you can add a dash of cinnamon if you want to.




Grease your loaf tin and pout in the mixture.




Bake in the oven for 40 minutes at 180° and when it's done just flip it out and wait for it to cool!




This recipe makes quite a small loaf cake, mainly because if I made a big one we'd eat it all in one go! Of course you can double the size of the cake by just doubling the recipe but make sure you adjust the cooking time too.


If you do try out this recipe make sure you tweet me a picture @peonyandpeach I'd love to see how yours turned out! 








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Friday, 18 April 2014

REVIEW: Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch



I'm not one to be faffing about with primers on a daily basis but on days when I really need my makeup to last or for evenings out, I've been known to give them a try.  The one I've been reaching for the most as of late has been the Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch. The pale pink formula has a light and fluffy texture that applies clear. 




It smoothes out the skin and leaves it feeling nice and soft meaning foundation and concealer is so much easier to apply, it blends really quickly and easily. In terms of increasing makeup longevity it probably keeps your makeup looking fresh an extra couple of hours as well as keeping it shine free and keeping dry skin at bay. All in all a good product, I may have to try out a few more primers! 


Do you use a primer?

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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

NOTD #23



I've heard only good things about the Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paints (mine's in the shade blueberry) from other beauty bloggers so when I first tried them I already had high expectations.


The formula, except for needing 3 coats to look opaque, is pretty darn good. It applies well without streaking, has an incredible glossy shine and lasts a really long time without chipping. The brush was a little disappointing for me as it isn't the easiest to use. I prefer the shorter, flatter brushes as they make application foolproof. 


That said, for just £3.99 they are really good value and the formula massively outdoes some high end nail varnish brands so I'll definitely be picking up a few more shades from this range. They also often come on 3 for 2 at Boots so that's definitely worth looking out for. 




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Friday, 11 April 2014

REVIEW: Soap & Glory Hand Food



As you've probably guessed from the above image, I absolutely love Soap & Glory Hand Food Hand Cream. In fact it's my favourite all time hand cream by a long, long way. I first tried it a  while ago when it came it a christmas gift set and I've never looked back. It comes in 3 different sizes, a mini handbag sized tube(50ml), a medium tube(125ml) and a large pump top bottle(250ml). As it's currently on 3 for 2 and the big bottles are the best value, I decided to stock up! You don't need too much either so this stash will last me a long time!


So why do I love it so much? Well the main reason is that the formula is extremely rich and nourishing but still manages to sink into the skin really quickly without leaving any greasy residue. Usually I find with hand creams, it's one or the other. It contains some great ingredients like shea butter, macadamia oil, grape seed oil and sweet almond oil so it leaves hands feeling lastingly moisturised rather than just tiding you over till the next hand wash! 


As if that isn't enough it also has the loveliest scent, it's a slightly sweet and very delicate floral fragrance that's quite subtle. If the like the fragrance of some of their other products such as Flake Away Body Scrub, Clean On Me Shower Gel and The Righteous Butter Body Butter then you'll love this because it's the same scent!


What is you favourite hand cream? 

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Thursday, 10 April 2014

Spring Makeup Bag



When it comes to makeup, spring is definitely one of my favourite seasons, although I do feel a bit like I say that every season. The fresh dewy skin, which in my case is usually achieved with a combination of foundation, concealer and highlighter, the sheer washes of juicy colour on the lips and cheeks and barely there eyes seem to get me all excited, is it just me?




For the aforementioned barely there eyes I'll be reaching for Natural Collection Solo Eyeshadow in Barley and Nars Single eyeshadow in Night Star. The Natural Collection one is super pigmented and leaves a glistening champagne sheen on the lids, the Nars is a sheerer formula that contains specks of golden champagne glitter. They're both beautiful individually but layered together they are even more stunning!




For cheeks I be reaching for either Benefit Cha Cha Tint or Nars Multiple in Orgasm, depending on what I'm wearing on my lips. The iconic Nars wear with everything shade is a perfect peachy pink with a hint of gold shimmer that just seems to work on every skin tone. The Benefit on the other hand I reserve for when I'm wearing orange or a slick of clear balm on the lips. Don't let the orange shade scare you, it applies really sheer and blends into the skin amazingly well. 




For lips I have 3 options, all of which can pretty much be slicked on mirror free. The first is Bourjois Colour Boost Lip Crayon in Peach on the Beach, it sits it just the right spot between orange and pink and does something amazing for the complexion. The second is Dior Addict Lip Glow, a product I will buy again and again. It's a super moisturising lip balm that adapts to your lip most natural and flattering shade of pink, no makeup makeup at it's best. Lastly, for when I'm feeling a tad braver, it will be Revlon Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti, and orangey red shade that can applied sheer in one coat or built up to a full on statement lip.




What makeup products will you be reaching for this spring?


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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

REVIEW: Botanics Ionic Clay Mask



I feel like I've been raving non stop about the Boots Botanics skincare range as of late, but hear me out, I promise it's worth it! Their products are really well thought out and made with good ingredients so they're great value for money. Their Ionic Clay Mask is no exception, I've been using it for the last few weeks now and it's great for congested and clogged up skin that just feels like it needs a good clean. 


The consistency is a lot thinner than other clay masks I've tried, which means it dries a lot faster so there isn't so much waiting around. It rinses off really well without dragging or pulling the skin and leaves it feeling cleaner and fresher but not completely stripped and screaming out for  moisture. 


I've been using it anywhere between once a week, as a skin maintenance product, to every other day during times when my skin is oilier or more congested than usual. It's really great and speeding up the lifecycle of spots or just getting skin back to normal.


What are your favourite face masks?

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Monday, 7 April 2014

REVIEW: The Body Shop Extra Virgin Minerals Loose Powder Foundation




Last week I reviewed the Liquid Foundation from The Body Shop's Extra Virgin Minerals range (which you can read here), unfortunately I didn't get on too well with that one but the Loose Powder Foundation from the same range is a whole other story. 


I'm not usually one for powder foundations as I generally prefer a natural / dewy finish rather than a matte one. I must admit, when I bought this I actually didn't realise it was a powder foundation! I thought it was just a loose setting powder and that's what I've been using it as. 




I really like the texture of this powder as it's quite finely milled so doesn't leave the skin with a powdery, caked on look. It manages to get rid of unwanted shine, set concealer and still look natural. It also has an added SPF25 which is an extra bonus. Definitely worth a swatch if you're on the hunt for a loose powder. 

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Sunday, 6 April 2014

NOTD #22



On my nails today is Sephora's Color Hit Nail Lacquer in Sweet Candy, a pastel, bright, bubblegum pink which I'm still not 100% sure of. It's not the kind of colour I'd usually go for as I think it's a little bit barbieish but at the same time it seems to have grown on me!


As always with these polishes, both the formula and brush are brilliant and I think their idea of making small nail varnishes for cheaper prices is great because who ever gets through a whole nail varnish? The only time I ever do is if it's a real favourite.


What do you think of this colour?

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Saturday, 5 April 2014

REVIEW: Make Up For Ever Full Cover Extreme Camouflage Cream



Most people think of concealers as a bit of a boring makeup category, and I guess compared to lipsticks and eyeshades I can see why. Not me though, I always seem to be drawn to concealers when I'm browsing beauty counters. My quest for for 'the one' continues!


I've tested more than my fair share of concealers in my time and the Make Up For Ever Full Cover Extreme Camouflage Cream is definitely my favourite in the high coverage category. The thick formula is really densely pigmented and can cover absolutely anything, it also layers really well with out looking at all cakey so if need be, you can keep piling it on! Another great advantage is that it's waterproof, so perfect for hot sweaty summers, rainy weather or by the pool on holiday. 


As this is such a high coverage concealer, I tend to use it more for evenings out or for special occasions when I know pictures will probably be taken! For day to day I tend to prefer more medium coverage concealers like the Revlon Colourstay Concealer so I can allow my skin to 'breathe'. If I happen to be traveling and just want to take one with me I tend to go for this one and it's easy to thin out with some moisturiser into a lighter coverage concealer, a foundation or even a tinted moisturiser. There's nothing I love more than a versatile, multi use product. 


Make Up For Ever wasn't the easiest brand to get hold of over here in the UK but now that Sephora US ships to us you can just order it online.  


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Friday, 4 April 2014

Empties #7



Welcome to another Empties post where I talk about all the products I've used up, what I thought of them and whether or not I would repurchase them. 


First up is a trio from Boots Extracts, the Shower Gel, Sugar Scrub and Body Butter which I got together in a set in the Christmas sales. The Shower Gel is nothing fancy really, it does the job, but the Sugar Scrub (full review here) and Body Butter (full review here) are seriously amazing! The scrub really smoothes out the skin and leaves it feeling really silky and the body butter is really rich but sinks into the skin amazingly quickly. 

Repurchase? Shower Gel, Maybe. Sugar Scrub and Body Butter, Definitely!


Next, more body products, it's only when I do these empties posts that I realise how quickly I go through them! The Soap & Glory Smoothie Star is one that I unfortunately didn't like at all and found a bit of a chore to use up. I just didn't like the scent at all. On the other end of the scale was the Righteous Butter, also by Soap & Glory which I absolutely loved (full review here). It smells amazing and the rich formula really nourished my skin. 

Repurchase? Smoothie Star, No. Righteous Butter, Yes 


On to hair products, the Charles Worthington Salon at Home Moisture Seal Mineral Rescue Masque is one I just can't rave enough about. It featured in my recent favourites post and I also did a full review which you can see here. It's basically the best drugstore hair conditioner I've ever tried!

Repurchase? Already have


The Lee Stafford Dehumidifier is a product I've been using for such a long time but I'm starting to wonder if it's just out of habit or maybe not wanting to risk not using it! It's a spray that creates a moisture barrier on your hair to stop it frizzing up in damp or humid weather conditions. I may have to do a half hair test with this one!

Repurchase? Yes


I've been using chemical exfoliators on my face as of late instead of manual grainy scrubs and the results have been great. The La Roche-Posay Effaclar Micro Exfoliant Astringent Lotion (full review here) is one of those products. It has improved my skin texture a great deal. 

Repurchase? Maybe, there are a few others I'd like to try first.


Another product that I've absolutely loved is the Botanics Facial Oil (full review here) it's a great night time facial oil which contains some great ingredients. It's a great budget alternative to higher end versions and I find it's just as good! It's improved my skin texture and helped fade old blemish marks.

Repurchase? Definitely


Lastly, a lip balm from Avon in Orange Kiss, this balm smelt absolutely delicious! Especially to me as I have a bit of a weakness for orange/satsuma/mandarin scented products, but unfortunately that's where it ended. The balm didn't last very long at all on the lips and once it wore off it left them feeling drier than they were to start with. Such a shame!

Repurchase? No


What products have you used up recently?

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Thursday, 3 April 2014

REVIEW: Botanics All Bright Cleansing Toner



Ever since I ran out of my La Roche-Posay Effaclar Micro Exfoliant Astringent Toner (full review here) I've been using the Botanics All Bright Cleansing Toner. It's a lot cheaper and I've been pretty impressed with it. It's another one of those AHA toners that chemically exfoliates the skin without the need for grainy particles. Since using it I've given up scrubs altogether and find it still keeps my skin feeling smooth. I don't think it's quite as effective as the La Roche-Posay but it doesn't feel a lot gentler on the skin, none of that unpleasant stinging! I'd say it's a great option if you're looking for and AHA toner on the cheap!



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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

March (+February) Favourites



Last month I missed out on doing my favourites post so this month I thought I'd bung the two in together. That means these products have been extra loved as I had to do a bit of narrowing down in order to fit them into one post.


First up is the Charles Worthington Salon at Home Moisture Seal range, I picked up the Shampoo, Masque and Leave in Conditioner a while ago in Boots when they were on 3 for 2 and I've been seriously impressed. Being someone who usually uses high end hair products I usually find drugstore ones to be a bit thin end up using half the bottle  in one go, not with these. The shampoo(full review here) lathers up well and leaves hair feeling clean but not stripped of all moisture. The masque (full review here) has a really thick consistency, so a little goes a long way. I leave it in for about 10 mins and it leaves hair feeling super soft. The Leave in Conditioner (full review here) has a really light gel like texture that still manages to inject a good dose of hydration into the hair. It also makes an amazing detangler! 


For fragrance I've been spritzing on Avon Amour Eau de Parfum. It's a lovely light and delicate spring scent with white floral heart notes and citrus top notes. I've been using it so much lately that it's nearly all gone! 


I've recently incorporated La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ into my skincare routine and so far I'm amazed by the results! I've found it's really been helping to unclog pores and speed up the healing process on spots. I'll be doing a full, in-depth review once I've been using it a bit longer so look out for that if you're interested. 


I've also been using Boots Essentials Cucumber Eye Gel in the mornings, it's a very lightweight gel that moisturises the skin and feels nice and fresh. I sits really well under makeup too which is great. (full review here)


What products have you been loving this month?






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