Tuesday 29 April 2014

AD / Press Sample - Daily Cleansing With Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash - A Review For My Pure*

There is a saying out there that one bite always leads to another and I think that's something that we can apply to beauty products too. Sometimes you try a product from a brand and you just know that you'll back for more. I felt exactly like this about Balance Me. Balance Me is an award winning UK brand, that produces a wide range of natural, skin, hair and body care products. I've tried a few samples sized skincare and body care items from them in the past and I've generally been pretty impressed, so when I saw the range on the newly relaunched My Pure site, I knew it was a perfect opportunity to try out some more products from the line.

I'm always trying out new cleansers and face washes so I thought that this was the perfect place to start. There are a couple of cleansers in the Balance Me range but the one I decided to try out was the Balance Me Daily Essentials Pure Skin Face Wash.

This product is 98.8% natural, and like the rest of the Balance Me line it contains no parabens, sulphates, mineral oils, silicone's, or artificial fragrances, or colours.

Ideal for all skin types this face wash is designed to cleanse the skin without drying or stripping this face wash contains grapefruit, petitgrain and frankincense essential oils to soothe and balance. As well as spruce knot and aloe vera extracts, to improve and  smooth and soothe inflamed or congested skins and miring and rice bran oils, to brighten and polish the skin.

Packaged in a white squeezy tube, this face wash, is opaque , white in colour and has an almost cream / gel like texture.

You can use it you would any other face wash, either working it with water into a gentle, light and creamy foam before massaging onto the face and rinsing, or by applying it directly to the face, massaging and then rinsing. I also used it with my Magnatone Pulsar, applying it to my skin first and then using the brush to thoroughly cleanse my face.

Unlike a lot of facial washes though, you also use this one to remove make up. In this scenario I applies the product directly to my face before a adding a little bit of water and removing with a damp muslin cloth or flannel.

After removing. my combination, oily skin was left feeling very clean and very smooth. It was a tiny bit pink but that's normal for me. It didn't feel tight or dry or on the opposite spectrum greasy or oily. This product is recommended for all skin types and I can see why, it's creamy and gentle enough for drier skins whilst at the same the ingredients help to thoroughly cleanse the skin without stripping making it ideal for more oil prone skins.

Although this product is pretty good at removing make up I predominantly used this as a morning cleanser, either over the sink or in the shower. It did exactly what it claimed and my skin really seemed to like, and I didn't experience a single breakout whilst I was using. I'm going to be 100% honest with you though, I probably wouldn't buy this product again. As much as I like the effects and how it left my skin, I just didn't like the smell. I'm really particular with smell and this one was just a bit too strong for me. Admittedly it doesn't linger on the skin for long but it's just a bit too intense for me. It smells very herbal, and almost green with a big hint of citrus. I know exactly what it is that I don't like about it, it's the petitgrain, which is an extract from the bitter orange. This isn't the first product I've disliked with this in so it's something I definitely need to avoid in future. A real shame for me but if your not as scent obsessed as I am then this is a pretty decent face wash for all skin types, and one that I would otherwise recommend. Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash retails at £16 for the 125ml tube that you can see here but My Pure also sell a 15ml sample tube for just £3.50 if you want to try it before buying the full size. Does scent play an important role in whether you repurchase a product? leave me a comment and let me know xx

*Press Sample
**As of 2021 This Product Is No Longer Sold By My Pure And Has Been Replaced Or Reformulated By Balance Me 

Monday 28 April 2014

Weight Loss Update - 4 Months In - 29 lbs Down And A Clothing Epiphany

Okay the pictures would suggest that I haven't had the best of months diet wise and that may well be true but I'm going to try and look at it another way.

Although I've only managed to lose one pound in the whole of April, I'm going to concentrate on the fact that I haven't gained anything. There were times especially this week when I thought I would have put a pound or two on but I haven't.

The body is a strange thing and to be honest I have no idea why I haven't gained. I've pretty much been ill in some form or another for the whole of April,and quite I've probably only managed to stick to my eating plan for about 2 weeks out of the month. Throw in some pretty hefty Easter chocolate indulgence and you'll probably realise why I'm classing this month as a win rather than the disaster that it could have been.

Watching the number falling on the scales is a fabulous feeling and it always gives you a boost and the encouragement to carry on, but this month I've found something that is probably just as important. As I've told you before, Thinking Slimmer unlike a lot of plans and weight loss methods isn't really about the numbers on the scales, yes you can weigh yourself but they recognise the importance of non scale victories. These can be as simple as somebody noticing that you've lost weight, to change in how you clothes feel and how you feel.

Throughout April I've been raiding my wardrobe and I've been shocked at how many long forgotten old pieces I've been able to wear again. I'm not saying they all didn't fit but now some of them just seem to hang better. I've also noticed that a lot of my go to daily pieces are feeling and looking a lot looser particularly around my bum and my tummy. The jeans and jeggings that I wear regularly are looser around the waist and around the thighs, and even my knickers feel a little bit more roomy than they used to. I even went out and bought a pair of trousers 2 sizes smaller than what I've been wearing. Yes I know shop sizing is ridiculous but it definitely gives you a bit of confidence.

Way back in the early days I used to post a lot more fashion pictures, over the years though I've felt less and less confident in my body so they've usually being resigned to the odd holiday picture. I know some people exude confidence no matter what there size but that just isn't me :(. This month though I posted a couple of OOTD's on my instagram account. The response was amazing and I'm so so grateful and thankful for all of the sweet comments that I received, so in the interests of fairness to those of you that don't have instagram, here they are x

All About Asda 

What I Wore 
Blue Floral Textured Top - George At Asda
Indigo Blue Jeggings - Moda At Asda

I wore the same shoes in both of these posts - some black bow detail Mel by Melissa Jelly Pumps, and I carried the same handbag, this one from H&M, and I wore a black, pleather biker jacket from La Redoute :)
All About H&M

What I Wore
Ancient Blush Wool Mix, Stripe Jumper - H&M
Indigo Super Stretch Treggings - H&M
Long Line White Vest - H&M
Chunky Rose Gold Tone And Crystal Necklace - Next

I just shows you where I've been buying clothes from over the past two years or so:). Affordable fashion no matter what your size :) I'm hoping to be able to squeeze my butt into some bits from some shops I've been avoiding like Primark and Top Shop - eek! I'm not saying that OOTD's are going to be a regular thing I still need a bit more confidence for that but even losing a little bit of weight has really opened up my fashion horizons. Not only am I going to be able to raid my own wardrobe for forgotten pieces but I'm hopefully going to be more willing to try new things - I really want to get out of my clothing comfort zone and hopefully losing a bit of weight will help me do that.

There are a number of obvious weight loss challenges that I'm going to have to overcome in May but I'm feeling super confident and ready to resume the challenge. The most obvious challenge in May is my birthday, but it's only once a year so I'm going to take the meals out, and cake in my stride. You can still have treats and lose weight :) I also have another family birthday and a couple of blogger events (one on my birthday :) to negotiate but these things come to try us - you just try a bit harder the next day.

I want to thank you all for the support and the thank you for the whinging you've had to endure this month - I'm definitely going to go all out to find a happier place in May :) If you want to find out more about my weight loss journey so far, please check out my Weight Tracker page above or pop the search terms, diet, weight loss, or Thinking Slimmer into the search box xx Thanks for reading and thanks for listening xx

(Various Thinking Slimmer Slim Pods Have Been Provided For Review / Promotional Purposes)

Saturday 26 April 2014

The EcoTools Bamboo 5 Piece Fresh And Flawless Complexion Set - A Review For My Pure*

It's been a little while since I did a review for natural beauty site My Pure but I hope that you'll be pleased to hear that from now on I going to be doing two reviews a month. The site has improved a lot since I last did a review for them, as well as a slick new design, they've also introduced lots of new brands including Balance Me and EcoTools.

I only have one EcoTools make up brush in my extensive collection - the retractable kabuki, but it's a firm favourite. I have to say I didn't know a lot about the range, but did you know that it was co created and endorsed by actress Alicia Silverstone? I didn't but it makes perfect sense; Silverstone is known for being vegan and being a long term and virulent supporter of animal rights and animal charity PETA. EcoTools are a cruelty free and environmentally friendly brand that promises quality and consciousness.

The My Pure site sells pretty much the full range of EcoTools make up brushes and applicators but being a relative newcomer to the brand I decided to dip my toes into the water by going for one of their sets.

There are number of different sets to choose from but I went for The EcoTools Bamboo 5 Piece Fresh And Flawless Complexion Set.

As the name suggest this kit is all about creating the perfect base, and perfect finish to the skin. The brushes come packaged in a cardboard / EVA case, with a magnetic closure that's perfect for storing your brushes and for travel. It also features a section that tells you exactly what each brush does, perfect for beginners.

Each brush features soft, cruelty free, synthetic bristles which are embedded in different coloured, floral patterned, recycled aluminium ferrules. There is the odd brush in the wider range with a recycled aluminium handle but EcoTools are know for their signature, sleek, varnished bamboo handles and that's what's the brushes in this set have. The brushes in this kit are probably what you would class as mini or short handled brushes but what do they all do?

1. Flat Concealer Brush

The first brush in the range is the basic flat concealer brush, that everybody needs in their collection. The flat, slightly curved head is ideal for applying and blending concealer into the skin. The bristles are soft, but the brush is firm enough to do the job and apply a bit of pressure.

2. Buffing Concealer Brush

This is an interesting brush and something that at first glance that you probably wouldn't consider an essential but believe me it is. The most obvious use of this flat headed, fluffy brush is to gently buff liquid or powder concealer into the skin and specifically under the eyes, to give it a more airbrushed, perfected finish, with no harsh demarcation lines. You can also use it though with some of the long wear concealers that need to be set with a finishing powder I have a couple in my collection, the Mally Cancellation Concealer and some professional concealers from Veil Cover Cream, and both of these need to be set with a specific finishing powder to ensure their long wear, and durability. This brush allows precise application of the setting powder, allowing you to set your concealer before finishing the rest of your base, with a larger powder brush.

3. Precision Foundation Brush

Probably the essential brush is any base kit, is a basic foundation brush. Okay I'm going to be honest, doing your full face with this one will take a bit of time because of the small size and thickness but don't write it off. The small size and the almost pointed tip means that this brush is ideal for precision foundation work. You can get it perfectly to those awkward areas around the nose, ears and eyes. The brush would also be perfect if you're one of those lucky people who don't need to use foundation all over their face, this brush would be perfect for smaller areas and areas that need a bit more coverage.

4. Complexion Blending Brush

Despite it's size this is a great brush. It works really well for buffing liquid foundation into the skin but personally I loved it for powder / mineral foundation. I normally use a much bigger brush for minerals but with this one I was able to get a more precise application in areas that needed more coverage, and the shape was ideal for that swirl, tap, buff application method.

5. Full Powder Brush 

The name describes this brush perfectly. It's a perfect mini finishing brush, ideal for applying face  powder to your nose or your t-zone, or in areas where you need to powder down. I don't know about you but I normally use a huge powder brush to finish off my make up, but I have oily skin, so generally my whole face needs powdering down, if your skin is drier and your skin only has a little bit of shine or doesn't need touching up as often, this brush is ideal.

This kit is all about precision and perfection, and in my opinion versatility. Okay the brushes might be too small for some to use over the whole face but when used alongside some full sized brushes this kit does exactly what it promises. The brushes are great for those problem areas producing, great precise results in minutes. Although this kit is all about the perfect complexion these brushes are remarkably versatile, and would make great eye and cheek brushes too. The synthetic bristles mean their ideal for liquids, creams and powders, and they wash like a dream, which is exactly what you expect from a high quality tool. With the smaller size of these brushes, some manufacturers inevitably would cut corners but not EcoTools, they are pleasing on the eye and the quality is first class and I'll definitely look into picking up some more brushes from the brand in the future. The EcoTools Fresh And Flawless Five Piece Complexion Set retails at £11.99 from My Pure. If you have any questions or if you've tried any other EcoTools brushes please leave me a comment and let me know xx


Wednesday 23 April 2014

February And March Haul - Beauty Featuring Avon, Rimmel, Miners And More x

Hey Guys x It's time for the long promised, second part of my February / March haul, and this time it's all about beauty.You wouldn't think it but I'm actually trying really hard not to spend so much money on beauty bits. I could seriously stock a branch of Boots based on the amount of stuff that I've got but despite that I've still picked up a few things over the last couple of months

First up Avon, as I've said before my next door neighbour is an Avon lady, I don't feel obliged to buy anything from her but I just can't help myself especially when they produce items like this.

This Marbleised Powder Blush in Self Discovery is stupidly pretty, you could wear it as a shimmery blush but for me it works way better as a summer highlight colour.

I'm not sure how well this picture shows it but it's a beautiful warm, peach nude shimmer. It's so pretty and reminds me a lot of the finish the MAC MSF's give. I think it's limited edition so move fast if you want it x

Next from Avon something I've wanted to try for a while. I'm a huge fan of their Ideal Flawless Foundation, the shade Ivory and the texture works for me perfectly so I thought I'd try it in the cream to powder formulation.

I've never really got on with cream to powder foundations before but you never know this could be the one, I'll keep you posted xx

The next 3 things I got from Avon were all lipsticks. I'm in the middle of altering my make up storage, and to be honest I couldn't believe how many lip products I own. I've done a little bit of a purge but I really shouldn't be buying any more -whoops!

The first one that I went for is the Ultra Colour Absolute Lipstick in the shade Pink Renewal.

Excuse the hideous dry scaly lips but this is actually quite a moisturising sheer baby pink shade, which is quite a bit lighter than it appears in the bullet.

The other two lipsticks that I got were from the ColorTrend range. This range is super affordable and I already own quite a few of their Kiss 'n' Go lipsticks but these ones are a little bit different.

The major difference is the packaging; Instead of the usual white packaging, these limited edition ones have red tubes covered in pink hearts.

As you can probably guess from the hearts this collection is all about love, and that's something that's also reflected in the lipstick design and in the names of the lipstick. The first one I got was Loveable.

How cute are the embossed hearts? I almost couldn't bear to use but the colour is so pretty and spring like it's already had a few outings. I'm not sure it looks in in the tube but it's a brightish pink, with just a hint of warmth perfect for people, who are scared of brights.

Again please try and ignore the state of my lips, my throat infection had ravaged my personage in more ways than one x but I hope this gives you some idea.

The last lipstick that I went for was Smoochable.

I have to be honest and say the swatch in the brochure was a little bit misleading. From the picture I thought it would be a bit nuder - is that even a word? It's a lot warmer but it has more red, and pink tones than I thought it would.

It's still super pretty though and very wearable, but again yuck lips and apologies for the full face shot apart from the lipstick I'm completely bare faced x

The last Avon item that I've bought was a nail polish. I love Avon nail polishes so much so that I'm waiting for a couple coming eek but this one isn't a colour in the conventional sense. It's actually described as a top coat.

Destination Peach is one of those pearlised iridescent colours that you can use to change the colour of other polishes. I haven't had the chance to try it out yet properly but it gives the nails almost a opal like, satin finish.

Would you believe from this, that I'm also cut down on buying nail polish, some hope, I recently added another two to my huge collection including Pacific 404 from the Barry M Aquarium Collection

and this one from a brand called Jess at Poundland. They have some really pretty colours and for a pound they're worth trying. I'll definitely be having another look at their pastel shades if this one is any good.

Breathless by Jess reminds me a lot in the bottle of Indian Ocean by Models Own. I'm definitely going to do a comparison post when I recover from a cat related nail injury - hmmm

I've being a bit obsessed with Poundland lately stocking up on Popcorn and the likes so on another trip to my local I found these Nail Rock Frou Frou gems.

These are ridiculously cute lollipop, cake and ice cream shaped charms / 3D decals that you stick on your nails. I'm not sure if I'll use them but they were too cute to leave behind. I'm also lead to believe that ones shaped like animals have been spotted, and I'm gutted that I couldn't find them :(

From Poundland to Poundworld and oddly enough something that I didn't pay a pound for! I much prefer Poundland to Poundworld but my mum had watched a documentary on pound shops which featured a £1 comfort bra so in we went. She picked up her bra, (which she loves by the way) and I found a little something in their reduced section.

I didn't know that pound shops even had reduced sections but this one did and I managed to a Milani Runway Eyes Fashion Shadows Palette in Fashionista Pink for just 50p! I already have one of these in olive green tones that I got in a swap and I'm really pleased to pick up this one. Admittedly I'm not a huge wearer of pink eyeshadows but this was two good to turn down. One of my Instagram followers also suggested that it would make a nice blush palette, apologies that I can't remember who suggested it but yes, yes, thank you I've tried it and it's fab, so many different tones, and a highlighter all in one.

Speaking of cheek colours, the lovely Michelle from Butterflies and Lillies mentioned that the Co-Operative Pharmacy nearest to me stocked Miners make up. I've never really tried anything from Miners before so I just went for the one thing, a Blusher Brick in Pinks.

It contains three different shades, a creamy pink highlight, a cool, bright pink and a more mauve pink.

Unusually for a product with embossing detail the texture is very soft and silky and the colour pay off despite my not so good picture is really good.

Again I'm not sure how well this comes across here or in the full face Loveable post but this a very wearable cheek trio, I really, really like and I'll definitely be checking out Miners as a brand in the future.

One of my obsessions over the last few months has been the chubby lipstick, balm hybrids. So far I've managed to resist the lure of the new Revlon ones but I couldn't resist this one from Rimmel.

Why though do these things have such long and complicated names ? This ones full title is Rimmel Lasting Finish Colour Rush Long Lasting Intense Colour Balm! Really? I won't be spouting that out on a regular basis!

They were quite a few shades to choose from but my love of pink lips shone through again and the colour I went for was 110 Make Me Blush.

This is another one of those brights for people that don't like bright lips. It's a lovely cool toned bright pink, quite a bit brighter than it 's appearing which I'm in love with. For a better idea check out my haul video at the bottom of this post to see it on my lips x  The wear time is excellent, it easily survives drinking and eating, it feels nice on the lips and it has that vanilla, cocoa butter taste reminiscent of MAC lipsticks and glosses

I'll definitely consider picking a few more of these up - naughty LouLou x

It's been a little while since I've purchased anything from ebay but after seeing these on Venus Loves Virgo I thought I'd give them a go.

Yup a make up sponge on a stick, on reflection I wish I'd gone for a pointier / thinner shape but it looks fun and it didn't break the bank. It was just 99p including postage from this seller x

I also picked up a few skincare bits including some face wipes from Primark - I got some of my favourite tea tree face wipes

and I also picked up some new ones from their new beauty range  - the PS Love Your Skin Deep Facial Cleansing Wipes. Again you get two packets of wipes for a pound - I've used one pack of these already and they really aren't bad, I'm not too struck on the smell but they do the job.

Finally I jumped on the bandwagon and bought a bottle of the new Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water. I'll do a full review of this when I've had the chance to try it properly but first impressions are good.

The last three things that I acquired in February and March are magazine freebies. Like everything else I'm trying to cut down on the amount of magazines that I buy but a good freebie is a good freebie. The Model Co Eye Liner Pencil in Black 01 came with Glamour, the Percy and Reed Wonder Balm came with Elle and an unbranded mascara came with Company magazine x

So despite the fact that it's now the middle of April that's my February and March beauty haul x To find out a little bit more about the things in this post please watch the You Tube video below or you can see it here x

and if you want to know anything else please leave me a comment x Thanks for reading xx