Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Maggie Anne Nail Polishes And A Nails Of The Day - Maggie Anne - Carmella

I know blog posts have been a bit thin on the ground generally, recently but nails of the day posts in particular have been practically non existent - I'm not going to lie to you my nails at the moment are appalling their very, very short and they look dry and not very Instagram worthy. I'm dousing them in treatments and oils, and praying that some day soon I'll have nails that are worthy of all of the pretty polishes in my collection.  In the meantime though I've got a couple of nails of the day posts coming up for you that I managed to shoot pre dryness, and pre breakage, one is a reshot post featuring an amazing shade that if you're a real nail buff you'll probably have seen before, and in today's post I'm introducing you to a new (to me at least!) and exciting nail polish brand.

As obsessed as I am with the big nail polish brands I love discovering new brands, new formulations and new colours, and believe their are a lot of lesser known and cult brands out their that are doing amazing things when it comes to nail polish.

If you've ever watched any of the videos on my You Tube channel you will know that I'm partial to the odd unboxing video. Although I don't get anywhere near as many beauty subscription boxes as I used to, you can still regular Glossybox, and Pink Parcel unboxings. I know that these boxes have their critics and to some they don't always represent good value for money but personally I love them. Yes in some cases you are taking a bit of a risk but the amount of amazing products that I've discovered, for me makes it a risk worth taking.

Pink Parcel is definitely one of my favourites, it's basically a period subscription box, that contains sanitary products and some beauty and lifestyle products specially selected to make that time of the month just that little bit easier (You can find out more about Pink Parcel here). In a recent box I was really excited to receive a bottle of nail polish from a brand that was brand new to me, Maggie Anne (You can watch my unboxing video here).

Like a lot of brands in Pink Parcel Maggie Anne are a UK based company. They produce a wide range of ultra glossy, streak free, nail polishes in just about every colour that you can think of from basic reds, to blues and greens. They also produce a large range of specialist polishes including chromes, holographic sparkles (NEED!), and metallics, as well as nail accessories, top coats and polish removers.

As well as being a UK brand and having an amazing array of polishes,  Maggie Anne is also a vegan, cruelty free and toxin free nail brand. All of their polishes are free from the 6 chemicals that you will find in a lot of nail polishes on the high street, and as a result their polishes are ideal for people with sensitivities and allergies, and perfect for pregnant women and people undergoing cancer treatments, so if you've experienced nail polish allergies or irritations in the past this could be a brand to try.

Without The Flash

With The Flash

The polish that I received in my Pink Parcel, was a metallic shade called Carmella, now I can't currently find this on the official Maggie Anne site but if you like the look of it then you can still buy it on Nail Polish Direct.

Without The Flash

Packaged in a square bottle, that's very reminiscent of a certain brand that begins with the letter C, it has the same type of lid, the chunky, glossy black, square lid pulls off easily to reveal an easy to hold brush cap style lid, and a short but wide brush.

With The Flash

Carmella is decscribed as a "bronzed, gold shimmer" but for me it more of gold shimmer with a hint of metallic khaki, or golden olive. I've taken a few pictures in different lighting conditions, both with and without the flash to give you an idea of how it almost seems to morph between several shades. Without the flash it looks a little bit more green where as the flash almost seems to highlight the metallic, gold shimmer element. It's a very unusual shade and I'm not sure I've quite done it justice here.

The Maggie Anne polishes are described as having a gel like formulation and as a result I did find this polish to be quite thick, and a little slow to dry. I did find that this was one of those shades that needed pretty A1 application, some metallics and chromes have a way of highlighting every application error and this was one of them, so a steady hand was definitely needed. The first coat was quite sheer but two coats was enough on most nails for full coverage, smooth, glossy and sparkly nails.

With The Flash

I managed about 4 days wear without a top coat which is pretty decent for me and considering the slightly thicker nature of the polish.

Without The Flash

As I say I love being introduced to new brands and I can definitely see myself picking some more Maggie Anne polishes in the future, the Holographic Sparkles range in particular is calling my name. Maggie Anne Nail Polishes come in a 10ml bottle and have an RRP of around £10.50, and they are available from the Maggie Anne website, and from various retailers including Nail Polish Direct and Love Lula. Have you tried any of Maggie Anne's polishes before? Let me know below and let me know what you think about this shade x 

Monday, 5 March 2018

Trimming My Stash - February 2018 Edition - Empties And Mini Reviews

"March Comes In Like A Lion, And Goes Out Like A Lamb"

I must admit I love old saying and proverbs like this and if the last few days are anything to go by then hopefully things can only get better weather wise, from here on it. With Storm Emma and the Beast From The East the last few days in the UK have pretty much blurred into one, thanks to a windy and snowy viewpoint - I mean isn't it supposed to be Spring by now? Never mind we've officially said goodbye to February and since it was another pretty useless month for me I'm more then happy to turn over the page of the calendar and hopefully move on to brighter weather and better things.

Before that we need to take a quick look back into the depths of February and have a little peek at my February beauty empties.

Gatineau Floracil Gentle Eye Make Up Remover - 400ml
The Body Shop Frosted Cranberry Body Butter - 200ml
The Body Shop Spiced Apple Exfoliating Sugar Body Scrub - 300g
Philip Kingsley Elasticizer - Coconut Breeze - 40ml
Prada Candy Florale Eau De Toilette -50ml
Erno Laszlo Firm And Lift Firmarine Hydrogel Mask - 1 x Mask - 25g

Total - 6 Items 

Considering February is the shortest month of the year, I have to say that I am pretty pleased with myself for finishing 6 whole, beauty products. It goes without saying that I would liked to have finished a few more but since I managed to finish a nice combination of body, hair, and skin products I'm going to give myself a pat on the back. No make up again, unfortunately, so that's something that I need to work on, but I did manage to finish a bottle of perfume, for the first time in goodness knows how long, so I'm counting February as a win, at least when it comes to Trimming My Stash, anyways.

1. Gatineau Floracil Gentle Eye Make Up Remover - 400ml

Whilst I don't consider myself a typical Gatineau customer, (anti-ageing isn't my biggest skin concern) - I am slightly in love with two of their products, their tan accelerator and this eye make up remover. It isn't the most budget friendly product on the market but it works, it takes every scrap of eye make up off, it smells nice and it doesn't sting or irritate my increasingly sensitive eyes. I would buy this product again and again but and here is the big but, this particular formulation has been discontinued!

It always, always worries me when this happens, especially with eye make up remover, in fact I'm still bitter about the whole Boots Botanics revamp! but fingers crossed that one of the two new eye make up removers that Gatineau have introduced will work as well as this one did for me. It's a pricey gamble admittedly but thanks to a recent QVC UK TILI Box (you can watch my unboxing here) I do have a bottle of the new Floracil Plus Gentle Eye Make Up Remover to try so here's hoping that it does the business. My old, old fall back is Lancome Bi-Facil but I always on the look out for a more budget friendly option so if you can recommend an eye make up remover for sensitive eyes then let me know x

2. The Body Shop Frosted Cranberry Body Butter - 200ml

Like most bloggers I'm probably guilty of using the phrase "love" and "holy grail" way too often, but in this case it's justified. The Body Shop Body Butters really are one of my holy grail products for when my skin is at it's driest, I swear by them for saving sun ravaged skin in the summer and it goes without saying that a must have in the winter months.

I've bought so many over the years that I've lost count of all of the scents and the formulations that I've tried but I particularly love their festive and Christmas scents. Alas this one has been AWOL for the last few years now but it's one of my all time favourites. It's sweet, and fruity and at the same time slightly tart, and despite being a "festive" fragrance, I'm a fruity fan and it's definitely something that I would use all year round. I'm really hoping that The Body Shop will bring this fragrance back at some point but in the meantime I'm really enjoy their Frosted Berries scent.

3. The Body Shop Spiced Apple Exfoliating Sugar Body Scrub - 300g

Another festive product from The Body Shop, and another product that I'm going to use the word LOVE about! Again this scent wasn't brought back for Christmas 2017, but as always if I love a scent enough I'll stock up! I've loved both of festive apple scents that The Body Shop have released over the past few years but this one in particular just screams Christmas and baking! Spiced Apple reminds me of hot spiced apple juice (Costa Coffee Anyone?), apple pie and cinnamon rolls. It has a sweet yet tart apple scent, combined with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg and all of the spices that you would associate with Christmas. I love the scent and I love sugar based body scrubs so this one was always going to be a winner. It was nice and gritty, but it contained enough scented oils, to leave the skin both exfoliated, and moisturised, and did I mention that it smelled amazing? A winner and I'm sorry to see this one go.

4. Philip Kingsley Elasticizer - Coconut Breeze - 40ml

I've talked about this product a few times already both on the blog and on my You Tube channel, and I'm sorry but it's another product love in! I feel as though I need to keep talking about because it really has made such a difference to my hair, and it is without a doubt one of the best hair products that I've used. I know some people don't get the hype around this product but if your hair is crap, damaged, and dry then please try this product! Originally invented for the icon that is Audrey Hepburn, this pre-wash conditioner has made my hair feel like hair again, it's not only softer, and smoother, but it feels stronger and more resilient.

This is one of the limited edition scented versions and it's a product that I received in the Third Edition of the QVC UK TILI Box (see my unboxing here). Coconut Breeze is the perfect summer scent, I'm not always the biggest fan of coconut based scents but this wasn't just pure coconut, it was a warm summery mix of coconut, almond, vanilla and jasmine. You can still get your hands on this version in the larger size, but if this one isn't to your taste you can still get the original fragrance free Elasticizer, and both the Geranium and Neroli, and the Elderflower and Rhubarb fragranced varieties. Which ever scent you choose just try it! I honestly can't recommend this stuff highly enough x

5. Prada Candy Florale Eau De Toilette -50ml

It's that word again love, well after all February was the month of love so it makes sense I guess that I finished so many products that I really do love. I love perfume anyway and even if I'm having a drab t-shirt and leggings day, like today, then I'll still apply a few squirts of fragrance. I love to smell clean and fragrant, what can I say that's my thing and this is one of my favourite fragrances.

I have a lot of fragrances in my collection but this is one that I just keep coming back to, the original Prada Candy was just way too sweet for me, I like sweetness in a fragrance but I don't like anything too sickly, and Prada Candy Florale has a gorgeous floral note that just knocks the edge off the sweetness of the original.

I'm useless at describing scents but according to all of the descriptions ;) Candy Florale features top notes of limoncello, with the floral scent of peonies at its heart before damping down to a sweeter, warmer base of caramel, benzoin and musk.

Whatever, lol all I know is that I like it a lot! Thankfully I have another bottle and a roller ball in back up but it's a fragrance that I will continue to purchase and ask for.

6. Erno Laszlo Firm And Lift Firmarine Hydrogel Mask - 1 x Mask - 25g

Finally, another skincare product and this was another product that I acquired via the QVC UK TILI Box (Have a watch of my unboxing here), and this is another product with an Audrey Hepburn connection. Dr Erno Laszlo was a dermatologist and skincare specialist who could count both Ms Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe amongst his clients. Although he passed away in 1973 his high end skincare line and his philosophy still carries on to this day.

After recently trying and loving a hydrogel mask from another brand I couldn't resist giving this one a go after I rediscovered it whilst tidying out my skin care drawer and it was another winner. Basically hydrogel masks are like a pumped up sheet mask. In this case you got a two piece face fabric / paper type sheet mask which is covered with a thick gel like layer, which in this case is infused with essential oils and botanicals including argan oil, and grapefruit extract. Simply pop it onto your face and sit back and relax and let it do it's thing.

This mask is designed to help firm, tone and improve the appearance of fine line, and the elasticity of the skin, and for me it certainly did that. Where are the previous hydrogel mask that I used was all about moisture, this one definitely left my skin feeling cool and soothed but at the same time, tighter and more toned.

Masks like this are a real treat, they are easy to use, there is no mess and you can usually see a result of some sort in less than 30 minutes. I'm definitely going to look into trying some more hydrogel masks in the future, and whilst I did really like this one it is pretty price prohibitive at around £50 for four masks so I probably won't be repurchasing. If you want to treat yourself though you can find this Erno Laszlo at various retailers including lookfantastic, Sephora, Harvey Nichols, Beauty Expert and Harrods.

So they were my February empties x  If you have any questions on any of the products that I've mentioned or on anything else that troubles you then please leave me a comment below, and don't forget to leave me your eye make up remover recommendations x

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

The Beast From The East And Lypsyl Giveaway Winner Revealed*

Hey Guys x I hope you're all well, and that you're all keeping warm and cosy, and staying out of the wind and snow. The "beast from the east" has slammed into my little corner of Co Durham today with heavy snow falling for most of the day and freezing temperatures, and supposedly there is more to come!

I know we deal with bad weather incredibly badly in the UK compared to some countries but the snow and the cold can be deadly. I've tweeted a few links today from Centrepoint and Shelter on how to help homeless people in this weather so please take a look if you can but in the meantime take care of yourselves! Please, please don't go out if you don't need to, and if you do go out make sure to wrap up warm, and if you're taking the car make sure to take a shovel, some food and drink and a blanket in case you get stuck. it's better to be safe than sorry, so take notice of all of the local travel and weather reports and take care! 

On a slightly less serious note please don't forget to look after your skin in the bad weather, no matter how well you wrap up there will always be a bit of your skin exposed so make sure you use plenty of moisturiser, and don't forget the lip balm!

Speaking of lip balm (see what I did there ;) it's now time to announce the winner of my Valentines Day giveaway, and to find out which one of my lucky followers has won a Lypsyl Revitalising Cherry And Almond Lip Balm Stick*. Thanks to all of you for following and of course for entering unfortunately there can only be one winner, and the winner picked at random via Rafflecopter is.....

Margaret G.
Congratulations Margaret! I'll be sending you an email shortly to ask for your details. If you weren't lucky enough to win this time don't worry I have several more giveaways planned (cough, cough Tarte anyone ;) that you won't want to miss, so stay following, and keep your eyes peeled x

*Press Sample

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Soft And Kissable Valentines Day Lips With Lypsyl* And A Giveaway - CLOSED

Happy Valentines Day, I hope you've all being thoroughly spoilt by your OH but if you haven't don't fret I love you and I'm sure lots of other people do to, you're amazing and don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise x

If you're lucky enough today then you might be getting a few more kisses than normal, I love a nice kissing session! but sometimes those kisses aren't quite as nice as they should be. Apparently some of the biggest kissing passion killers are bad breath, stubble, and rough, and dry lips. Even if you aren't kissing that special someone today I'm sure that you want lovely, soft lips anyway. Dry, chapped and peeling lips don't look that nice and they can actually be really painful, a no no on Valentines Day or frankly any other day for that matter

Thankfully dry lips are not pretty easy to treat thanks to the copious amounts of lip scrubs, lip balms, lip butter and lip salves on the market. I can't really remember when I first started using lip balm but I think I probably started using it when I was at junior school, and whilst the dates are slightly hazy the brand certainly isn't. Like so many of my classmates, I had a little blue and white, tube of the original Lypsyl in my school bag.

Loyalty when it comes to beauty products as you know isn't my strong point, in fact I've lost count of how many lip balms, salves and butters that I've used over the years, but while lots of brands have came and gone Lypsyl, who were established way, way back in 1891! are still alive and kicking and bigger and better than ever before

I only ever remember their original balm from my childhood but they now offer a range of cute balms in mirrored compacts and a wide range of lip balms in the tradition stick format, using modern formulations and a wide range of good for you, nourishing ingredients

A couple of weeks ago now I was sent two of their newest and fruitiest introductions to try out - Uplifting Strawberry And Pomegranate, and Revitalising Cherry And Almond.

Both balms come in 4g pocket size, easy to twist up sticks and contain an SPF 15 to protect against UVA and UVB rays, they also contain Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, and Beeswax, as well as Aloe Vera to soothe and repair, Vitamin E to prevent the lips from drying out and Avocado Oil to moisturise and repair the skin. These lip balms are dermatologically tested and contain not artificial colours of preservatives.

The one I tried out was the Uplifting Strawberry and Pomegranate. The tube was sealed for hygiene purposes but just a little twist broke the seal, and the ivory coloured balm twisted up with ease.

These are un-tinted balms and the apply clear. This once felt nice and moisturising on the lips and it give them a nice sheen. It wasn't too thick, too white or too sticky and it after a short time it absorbed into the lips leaving them looking and feeling less rough and bitty, even after one use.

Given the name you would expect this one to be super fruity and it is. It has a nice fruity scent with just a hint of tartness and sparkle from the pomegranate. The scent isn't too sweet or sickly, and whilst the taste is pleasant, it isn't moreish enough to make you want to lick it off :)

I was also sent the Revitalising Cherry and Almond version which comes in the same style of packaging and contains the same treatment and nourishing ingredients, only with a cherry almond taste and scent. Now I can cope with a lot of scents and tastes but unfortunately cherry almond, bitter almond, marzipan, Dr Pepper and Cherry Coke are on my no no list. Apparently I ate too much marzipan as a child and it's destroyed me for life. Since I'm not going to get any use out of it then and seeing as it is Valentines Day though I thought that I'd give one of my UK followers a chance to try this one out. So all you need to do is read the terms and conditions and fill out the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win a brand new and sealed Lypsyl Revitalising Cherry And Almond Lip Balm Stick.

Terms, Rules And Conditions
This giveaway is open to UK residents only
If you are under 18 please get your parent or guardians permission before you enter as I will need your contact details if you're the lucky winner.
Entries will be picked at random using Rafflecopter
I reserve the right delete any entry that hasn't fulfilled the entry criteria or redraw the winner
The giveaway will end at midnight on 22nd February 2018
The winner will have 7 days to respond to my email, if no response is received in this time I will draw another winner
This prize was provided for review / promotional purposes by Lypsyl. I am responsible though for the giveaway, the prize, and contacting the winner and posting the prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lip balms cone in at all price points now from pocket money friendly quick fixes, to pots that cost more than your weekly shop but again this product from Lypsyl proves that you don't need to spend a fortune for a product that works. This balm from Lypsyl may come in at a purse friendly price point but it contains some great ingredients and it works. I've been using this product for a few weeks now and my lips definitely feel smoother, more nourished and less bitty. The SPF is also a nice addition come the warmer months or whether you're feeling brave and hurling yourself down a ski slope, then this is an easy to carry, pocket sized essential. Lypsyl Uplifting Strawberry And Pomegranate and Revitalising Cherry And Almond Lip Balm Sticks retail at around £1.50 to £1.89 each from all major chemists and supermarkets, and you can also stock up on the these two balms and all of Lypsyl's other products from their official UK website. Are you a lip balm devotee? Let me know in the comments below and don't forget to enter my giveaway x Good Luck x

*Press Samples

Monday, 12 February 2018

Happy 11th Birthday LouLouLand !

Well there were times over the last 12 months that I didn't think that I would make it this far but I have and today my blog is celebrating it's 11th birthday.

About this time every year I normally write a post sharing some of my wisdom about blogging and what I've learnt over the last however many years. I don't really want to repeat myself too much so all I can say is that most of what I've learnt in the past 10 or so years still applies.

Over the last 12 months or so I've struggled on so many levels, and it's probably pretty obvious to most of you that I've struggled when it comes to blogging as well.

A lot of that has been to do with personal things and health issues but at times I've really felt as though that my blog has ran it's course.

There is no doubt that blogging has become harder and harder as time has gone on, there are so many bloggers out there now that you sometimes feel as though your getting lost in a sea of people with way more talent, charisma and presence than you will ever have.

I've talked on several occasions about finding your own niche, about going your own way, and doing your own thing, and not comparing yourself to others but I'm not going to lie it's easier said than done at times.

If you're lacking in the old self belief and self confidence thing it really doesn't take a lot to make you question on whether it's all worth while and whether any one would really care if you just hit the delete button and moved on! Then though, I look back at everything that's happened to me because of blogging and then I think yeah, I may not have kazillions of followers and get sent on press trips to the Maldives ;) but I'm doing pretty well thank you very much! I've worked with some amazing brands, I've met some lovely people and I've had so many lovely messages and emails over the years from readers that just makes it all worth while.

I guess what I'm trying to say is never give up on anything, look at how far you've come, how hard you've worked and what you've achieved so far. Obviously we all want to be right up there and be the best that we can be, but beating ourselves up and thinking that we're a failure because of a few numbers on a screen or because you don't get a cute package through the post or invited to the event of your dreams, isn't the way to go and that's the one piece of advice that I would give anyone who wants to be a blogger - don't use things like that to value your own self worth!

Although I'm finding myself using it more and more, I'm not a huge fan of the term small blogger, or small You Tuber, believe me when I say that there are way more of those then they are of the big boys! There are so many amazing bloggers and content producers out there that don't have a ton of subscribers and followers, and whilst I hope upon hope that they do get the recognition they deserve at the same time I really hope that even if they don't, they don't give up and they keep doing what they love, after all that's what it's all about at the end of the day.

I originally set my blog up to explore things that I love including fashion, beauty, food and home style, and whilst at time I've fallen out with the whole blogging thing, and the politics and stresses behind it at times, I haven't fell out of love with why I started blogging and maybe that is what's kept me going for 11 years.

So you haven't got rid of me that easily! I'm still here and when I'm up to it I'm still going to be sharing my life and my loves with you, so thank you again and again for all of your support, and for all of  your lovely comments and messages over the years I really do appreciate it more than you will ever know x

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

PIXI + It's Judy Time Get The Look It's Eye Time Eyeshadow Palette Giveaway Winner Revealed

Just quick post for you today and it's the one that you've probably all been waiting for - Admittedly a little later than I'd intended but it's now time to announce the winner of my PIXI giveaway x 

I had over 500 entries for which I'm really grateful for so thank you for taking a few minutes out of your day to check out my blog and my other social media channels x I really enjoyed reading all of your comments and finding out all of the lovely things that you were lucky enough to receive over the holidays, and after having a read through  I couldn't resist adding a few things to my own wishlist ;)

As much as I'd love to give a prize to you all though I can't and there can only be one winner, and using Rafflecopter, the lucky winner who will receive a PIXI + It's Judy Time Get The Look It's Eye Time Eyeshadow Palette and a NEXT Cosmetic Bag is.....

Cheryl H.

Congratulations Cheryl, I will be in touch soon for your postal details. If you weren't lucky enough to win this time, don't worry there will be plenty more chances to win on LouLouLand in 2018. Thanks again to everyone who entered and thanks again for supporting my blog and my social media channels x

Monday, 5 February 2018

Trimming My Stash - January 2018 Edition - Empties, Mini Reviews And A Catch Up

So we're now into the second month of 2018 already and as the song goes "Thing Can Only Get Better". I've lost count of how many times I've quoted that damn song on my blog but please, please, please can something go right for me just once?

The virus from hell is still continuing to plague both myself and the mothership, and to say that I'm feeling pretty fragile, both mentally and physically is an understatement. I feeling as though it's 1 step forward and 2 steps back at the moment, I'm feeling weary and drained, and everything just seems to be getting on top of me again, and just when you think that things can't get any worse, a rogue MacBook update rendered my Mac unusable!

Thankfully the amazing guys and girls, at the Genius Bar, in the Intu Metrocentre Apple store managed to get my up and running again with a few hours, but I've spent the last few days, downloading things from the cloud, and reinstalling a few programmes, thankfully though bar a printer that doesn't seem to want to install, it's almost like nothing ever happened so after another unplanned hiatus I'm ready to embrace, my blog, and You Tube again, and I'm back with another Trimming My Stash post x

Femfresh Ultimate Care Pure And Fresh Gel Wash - 250ml
Vitamasques Hydro Face Mask 120 Hours Of Hydration - 25g - 1 x Hydrogel Mask
Primark PS Oil Balancing Facial Cleansing Wipes For Oily & Blemish Prone Skin - 25 x Wipes
The Body Shop Frosted Cranberry Shower Gel - 250ml
Total - 4 Items 

Obviously it wasn't my intention to post two Trimming My Stash posts in row but that's just the way that things have worked out. In an ideal world I would have started 2018 off with a bang and finished a ton of products in January but surprise, surprise it hasn't worked out like that. Still four items are better than none, and whilst they aren't the most exciting of items either, it's a solid start and I guess you know what I'm going to say next.. things can only get better from here on in x 

1. Femfresh Ultimate Care Pure And Fresh Gel Wash - 250ml*

I'm going to start off with a slightly controversial product, feminine wash! There are so many arguments surrounding this stuff that I really don't want to get it into now, or maybe ever! It's all down to personal choice but I can honestly say that it's something that I've never gone out and purchased myself but after receiving a package of products from Femfresh a little while ago now I decided to give this a go. I guess the argument is that highly perfumed products can cause a few issues downstairs, and since I was using a bottle of glitter filled Lush Snow Fairy at the time I decided that maybe I should use something else to wash my ahem..undercarriage. It had very little fragrance and it didn't feel drying or irritating, on my more delicate areas, and I guess it probably did them more good than a smattering of glitter and sparkles. I still have a few different varieties of Femfresh to try out, and whilst I firmly believe that I smell okay naturally I can definitely see myself using this product again in the future, particularly at certain times of the month. Femfresh Ultimate Care Pure And Fresh Gel Wash retails at around £3.29 for a 250ml bottle.

2. Vitamasques Hydro Face Mask 120 Hours Of Hydration - Rose Of Jericho - 25g - 1 x Hydrogel Mask

Like most people whenever I'm poorly or under the weather you can really see it in my skin. Over the last month or so I've noticed a real change in the texture and feel of my skin, and although it still looks shiny, at the same time it also feels quite tight and uncomfortable. Having quite oily skin I've always been quite scared of adding to much moisture to my skin, but since somebody once told me that oily skin can still by dehydrated I had a little look through my collapsed skin care drawer (long story basically it's too full!) and found a few hydration and moisture boosting products to try. Face masks are always an easy option and I think they are a great quick fix for a lot of skincare issues, and something that I've fallen in love with is the sheet mask. They are perfect for a pre party or a special occasion boost and in a lot of cases they can make your skin look smoother and brighter in a matter of minutes. I've tried a few sheet masks from Vitamasques but this one was something completely different to anything else that I'd tried before. Instead of the one piece, conventional liquid infused fabric or paper mask, this fibre mask came in two pieces for a better fit and featured a thick almost gel like layer of product. Containing Rose Of Jericho extract, this mask promises 120 hours worth of hydration, and whilst I'm can't be 100% certain that the effects lasted that long this wet, and cool feeling mask certainly left my skin feeling moist, and looking a bit more even in tone, and Mummy Lou even said that I looked a little bit more awake and refreshed. This mask was definitely what I needed last month and whilst £7.99 is a little bit pricey to some for just one mask, this one definitely did what it promised, and I'm definitely going to look into trying more hydrogel type masks in the future.

3. Primark PS Oil Balancing Facial Cleansing Wipes For Oily & Blemish Prone Skin - 25 x Wipes

I've used these for a couple of reasons over the last month, including cleaning swatches for some blog posts that I've got coming soon, and I've also been utilising the antibacterial properties of the tea tree oil and wiping bits and pieces down in an attempt to rid myself and my surroundings of this virus from hell! In fact the only place that I haven't used these wipes on in the last month is my face, my skins just been a little bit too dry and sensitive for these ones so I've been using a combination of AVON micellar waters and Primark's Micellar Water wipes for those lazy skincare days of which there have a been a lot lately. These wipes are still a staple in my beauty stash though and they are something that I will continue to purchase. 

4. The Body Shop Frosted Cranberry Shower Gel - 250ml

Finally a Christmas product and something that hasn't been around for the last year or so :( As you know I'm a huge fan of The Body Shop Christmas collections, and one of my favourite scents that they've ever done is Frosted Cranberry. Alas over the last few years it's been replaced by Frosted Berries which I do love but it isn't quite the same. I'm crap at describing scent but it this is the perfect combo of sweet and tart cranberries with just hint of spice. I have a couple of pieces left in this fragrance in my stash but like with all of their apple scents I'm hoping that The Body Shop bring this one back for Christmas 2018.

As I say not the best of starts to 2018, empties wise, but it's better than nothing and I'm already feeling positive about what I can achieve in 2018 and just how many products that I can finish! If you're a beauty obsessive like me are you doing something similar this year? or are you taking it further and cutting down your beauty spending? Let me know in the comments below x and I will see you tomorrow when I'll be revealing the winner of my PIXI giveaway x 

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Trimming My Stash December 2017 Edition Empties, Mini Reviews And A 2017 Round Up

So like so many things at the moment, this post is late, nearly a fortnight later than it should have been but as I said life got in the way and this virus just doesn't seem to want to shift. Never mind over the last couple of days I've started to get back into the social media thing again, I've filmed 5 You Tube videos, and I've been editing photos and doing lots of blog planning and research.

Some of the videos that I filmed were my What I Got For Christmas videos, I know they aren't to everyone's taste but a lot of people seem do seem to like them and do seem to share my nosey side. I've already upload the first video which is all about beauty (click here to watch it) and over the next couple of days I'll be uploading another two featuring fashion and accessories, and home and lifestyle.

Compared to previous years I didn't get a lot of beauty products this time round, and I'm fine with that. I didn't really ask for anything beauty related and unusually for me I didn't stock up on any of The Body Shop festive lines, and I didn't even get the 2017 Soap & Glory Star Gift. Putting it simply I'm finally realising that I really do have more than enough to be going on with, I have loads of shower gels, and body lotions, and skincare, make up and nail polishes, and quite frankly I don't really need any more.

Yes I did buy a few beauty bits in the sales but to be honest, I can't see myself splurging unnecessarily on beauty bits in the foreseeable future. I'm not saying I'm not going to buy anything beauty related but I'm certainly going to be a bit more selective in 2018 about what I do buy, and of course I'm going to concentrate on using up the products that I already own.

AVON Senses Romantic Kiss Magnolia And Jasmine Shower Gel - 250ml
Holler And Glow Purrfect Pedi Foot Peel Socks - 20ml x 1 Pair
Face Inc By Nails Inc Sparkle Like A Unicorn Illuminating Sheet Mask - 1 x Sheet Mask - 20ml
French Connection FCUK Signature Body Polish - 50ml
Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Geranium & Neroli - 150ml
Foltene Pharma Shampoo Thinning Hair For Men And Women - 200ml

Total - 6 Items

Which brings me on to the whole point of this post, December 2017's Trimming My Stash, it wasn't the best of months but I still managed to finish a respectable 6 items, including some skin, body and hair care items.

1. AVON Senses Romantic Kiss Magnolia And Jasmine Shower Gel - 250ml

First up a shower gel, and one from AVON's popular Senses range. I've used quite a few of these over the years, and they usually represent excellent value for money with prices often starting as low as 99p. Like a lot of AVON products though the range is constantly changing, and they are forever changing and discontinuing products. Unfortunately I can't find this one in the current senses line but it was a pleasant floral scent, with just a hint of heady jasmine. This was probably more of a summer scent but it certainly made a change from the fruity and foodie scents that you normally associate with the festive season.

2. Holler And Glow Purrfect Pedi Foot Peel Socks - 20ml x 1 Pair

You might have seen these socks in my recent Primark haul (Have a read here if you haven't seen it). It was Boxing Day and I was just starting to feel a little rough and drained and I felt like a pampering session was in order, so I stuck these socks on my feet and waited for the magic to happen! I'm slightly addicted to these foot peel things and I've used a quite a few different ones now, but these are the cutest I've used by far. In a fab teal blue animal print, you stick these socks on for an hour and so and then you rinse your feet and get rid of all of that peeling solution and then all you do is wait for a few weeks, and then all of the dead and dry skin starts to peel off your feet. Mine are currently still in the peeling stage but these socks definitely did what they promised and I'll definitely by picking some more up on my next visit to Primark. You can do the treatment every six weeks or so and I'm determined to keep on top on my hobbit like, dry feet in 2018.

3. Face Inc By Nails Inc Sparkle Like A Unicorn Illuminating Sheet Mask - 1 x Sheet Mask - 20ml

Another mask and this time one for the face. From the cutest foot mask, to one of the cutest face masks that I've ever used. This was something that I reviewed just before Christmas from the fabulous Nails Inc Sparkle Like A Unicorn Beauty Gift Set. You can read a full review of this mask and the set here x but this sheet mask was the perfect quick fix for when your skin was feeling a bit tired, a bit dull and a bit worse for wear. I think it is still available from various outlets on it own but if you can get the full Sparkle Like A Unicorn set then I would really recommend especially since it now seems to be on sale x

4. French Connection FCUK Signature Body Polish - 50ml

Ahhh, a blast from the past and a product from deep with my stash. A few years ago I couldn't get enough of the French Connection FCUK Signature scent, and thankfully before it disappeared completely I stocked up on as many kits as I could, and I was lucky enough to receive a couple of bits from a former blogger that I was extremely grateful for. I still have a few shower gels, body creams, and body sprays in my collection but I think that this was the last of the body scrubs, and as much I love the scent I won't miss this particular item too much. I love a nicely textured, scrubby scrub and this just wasn't it. It was a sort of liquidy cream, with the occasional nut based particle running through it. It was too runny and it wasn't abrasive enough for me.

5. Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Geranium & Neroli - 150ml

From a product that I didn't get on with to a product that I love beyond words. I'll hold my hands up, when I first used this product I didn't really get it but over the last 18 months or so it really has come into its own in LouLouLand. My hair to put it politely has been crap for the longest time, it has spells when it comes back to some realm of normality and then it just goes back to a weak, dropping out ball of frizz. No this stuff hasn't given me that fabulous waving in the wind on a Cornish cliff top, beautiful hair that I crave but it has given it some of it's umph back. When I use this product my hair becomes more manageable, it's calmer and it seems stronger and less fragile. My hair still isn't anywhere near what I want it to be but this product makes a noticeable difference to my hair every time I use it and I even managed to get it coloured at the salon recently and that's something I haven't dared to do from sometime. It's a work in progress, and whilst I'm going to keep trying new things, and concentrating on taking care of my hair from the inside, this product in all of it's various scents is now a staple in my bathroom.

6. Foltene Pharma Shampoo Thinning Hair For Men And Women - 200ml

Finally another hair product and this time one that is specifically designed for thinning hair. I'm not sure where I got this from, but the words hair loss, thinning hair and anti fall seem to draw me in a like a magnet at the moment. Designed to strengthen the hair and restore the natural balance of the scalp this shampoo had quite a distinct but not unpleasant aromatherapy type scent. Like most of these shampoos you wash your hair and then leave the products on your hair for a few minutes before rinsing. It was a nice shampoo but I didn't really notice a difference in the condition of my hair or my scalp and I definitely didn't notice a difference in the amount of hair that I was losing. I think that this product is designed to be used alongside the Foltene Hair And Scalp Treatment so maybe I would seen a bigger difference if I'd used the two products together - definitely something to try in the future I think but in the meantime I'm currently using the AVON Anti Fall range and I also have the Nanogen system to try.

Trimming My Stash - 2017 Totals 

January - 2 Items

February - 3 Items
March - 7 Items
April - 5 Items
May - 5 Items
June - 5 Items
July - 12 Items
August - 7 Items
September - 5 Items
October - 5 Items
November - 8 Items
December - 6 Items
Total - 70 Items

So in the final month of 2017 I managed to finish 6 beauty products, and when you add that to the rest of my monthly totals I managed to finish 70 beauty products in 2017. It sounds a lot on paper but in reality it was actually my worst year since I began this whole Trimming My Stash thing in 2013. Never the less I'm still pretty pleased with that total, imagine if you had to go out and buy 70 skin, hair, body and make up products, you'd need a quite a few shopping bags to carry it all home, so I need to put it into perspective and by positive about my achievement.

I still have a long way to go though and I still have drawers and storage boxes groaning under the weight of my beauty stash so in 2018 I'm going to keep on trying to use up the products that I already have and I'm going to try and be a little bit more selective about what I do buy, and with any luck I'm be able to equal, if not beat 2017's total!

Are you doing something similar in 2018? Do you have any tips on how to use things up or how to stay focused and only buy what you need? Let me know your thoughts in the comments and don't forget to let me know if you have any questions x

Thursday, 11 January 2018

A Very Late December 2017 Primark Haul - Clothes, Beauty, Disney And More

Okay it's catch up time, and it's haul time. I know from the feedback that I'm getting from your giveaway entries that you love a haul, and a lot of you love nothing more than a Primark haul so in the interests of giving you what you want that exactly what I've got for you today, a late and all be it quite small, Primark haul.

It seems like a lifetime ago since I was last in Primark, and in a lot of ways it was, this stupid virus seems to have sucked the life out of me, but thinking back to happier times, I did manage to go to Primark twice in December and whilst I didn't by a lot I did buy a few bits that you might still be able to get your hands on.

This blouse was actually new in, and even though we probably still have a few more months of winter left to go, there are Easter Eggs in the shops and Primark is full of spring and summer florals. Way back in September of 2016 I bought a long line sleeveless blouse from Primark (you can see it here) and I fell in love with the floral and bird design, and whilst the print on the blouse isn't identical it's pretty similar.

Featuring an oriental style floral, and crane print, this navy blue blouse is quite sheer, so I probably will need to wear a navy vest underneath it but again I love the print and given my love of shirts and florals it was a must have. It was only £7.

Next up a couple of staples, and over the last couple of months of so I've become slightly addicted to Primark's stripy t-shirts and when I was last in store I spotted some new colours. The first one is in the Long Sleeve Stretch Crew style and I got it in a white and blue marl for £4

and I also got one of the Short Sleeve Stretch Crew T's in a navy blue and white Breton style stripe for £3.

I've got quite a few of these t-shirts now and they've became a real wardrobe staple for me. They are nice and stretchy, and they are a good length and they are perfect for layering. I'm sure the price has gone up slightly but they are still great value for money.

Something else that was great value for money was this pair of boots. After I wore my previous pair of black chunky ankle boots out I was looking for a replacement, and these boots from the As Seen In Glamour range fit the bill perfectly.

With a working side zip fastening, these boots have a faux zip on the front, and faux pearl and stud detailing down the front. These boots have a nice chunky sole and good grips so they'll be perfect for the colder days that are still to come. Even better still I got these boots for only £6! They had been £16 and they were just been moved to the sale rack when I went in - perfect timing and a great bargain!

Sticking with the winter wear theme I couldn't resist picking up yet another woolly hat. I'm definitely not a hat person but I have a bit of a thing for cosy winter hats. I have several animal ones and I'm pretty partial to a bobble hat. I got a lovely mustard one from Quiz a few months ago and this black with a huge multi coloured faux fur pompom on the top called to me, and since it was only £3 I popped it into my basket

That's it for clothes, shoes and accessories but I did get a couple of jewellery pieces including another long line disc / circle necklace.

This one features both silver tone and gold tone pendants so it fits right in with the mixed metal trend. It features a combination of plain and crystal studded bars, circles and discs and it was only £2.50.

As much I love longer length and chunky necklaces, I'm also a big fan of more delicate pieces, and this one from Primark's Disney range was right up my street.

On a much shorter chain it's basically a Mickey Mouse head inlaid with a coloured stone representing a birthstone. I'm a May baby so mine is a deep green emerald, and as much as I would love this to be a real emerald, for just £3 I think this is probably just glass or crystal. It's really sweet and I've got to say I'm loving all of Primark's Disney collaborations, and I'm particularly loving their Beauty And The Beast range.

Beauty And The Beast is definitely one of my favourite Disney films and I've been loving all of the Mrs Potts and Chip pieces. The proper teapot still remains elusive but I did manage to pick up this Chip Trinket Dish on my most recent visit.

It basically a mini ceramic Chip mug which is attached to a ceramic saucer. It's perfect for keeping your rings and earrings safe, and you could even pop your change into it. This was £5 and like the other pieces in the range it's really nicely made.

I know I've said this about a dozen times over the last year or so, but when it comes to beauty, Primark are really upping their game, and every time I go in they have something new to look at. Before Christmas I noticed that they were stocking a new range called Holler And Glow, which from what I gather is a skin and body care range that is exclusive to Primark. They seem to do a lot of sheet masks but I went for one of their foot masks.

I'm slightly addicted to these slightly gross, slightly amazing foot peeling masks, and this Holler And Glos Purrfect Pedi Sock Mask which was £4 is definitely one of the cutest that I've used. I tried it out on Boxing Day and I'll let you know what I think in my upcoming December empties post x

Next up a make up item, and I'm going to be honest and say that I'm pretty disappointed with this. I'm not sure what I was expecting in all honesty but this just didn't wow me.

I think it was the silver glitter, outer packaging that drew me in, and the beautiful pink ombre of the powder.

Take it out of the box though and your left with quite basic clear, plastic packaging without a sparkle in sight.

I don't know what I expected this to be, maybe a beautiful pink ombre, shimmery highlighter and blush, but what I got was something completely different. just a matte very pale white / pink powder.

I know there is currently a trend for matte highlighters and illuminating finishing powders so maybe that is what this is. The pigmentation is fine and it feels nice and soft to the touch it just isn't what I thought it would be. That's why we need testers I guess, still it was only £3 and I'm sure I will find a way to use it.

My final purchases were both cleansing wipe based; On my first visit I went into a mild panic because I couldn't find my favourite tea tree wipes ANYWHERE! so I ended buying some of the PS Micellar Facial Cleansing Wipes For All Skin Types instead, and whilst I wasn't expecting a lot, over the last week or so these wipes have been a god send. They are very gentle on the skin and they were quite soothing on my irritated and flu ravaged skin. I eventually did manage to get my hands on some of the PS Oil Balancing Facial Cleansing Wipes For Oily & Blemish Prone Skin but I wouldn't hesitate to buy the micellar wipes again for emergencies. All of Primark's own brand wipes retail at just £1 for 2 packs of 25 wipes which is great value for money - I don't use them on my face that often but I wouldn't be without them now for everything from wiping sticky fingers to cleaning up make up swatches, they really are a must have for me.

So that was my late December Primark haul and the way I'm feeling at the moment it might be a little while before I get back into Primark so I will live through your Primark hauls for now, so if you've been to Primark recently and you've either written a blog post or uploaded a video to You Tube I'd love to see what you've bought so link me up x

In the meantime don't forget to watch the accompanying You Tube video which you can either watch above or via this link, and don't forget to leave me a comment and let me know if you have any questions on any of the items that I bought x