Saturday 31 May 2014

A New Way To Apply Foundation With The EcoTools Foam Applicator - A Review For My Pure*

I'm going to let you into a little secret - I'm very lazy when it comes to applying foundation, nine times out of ten I'll end up applying it with my fingers instead of with a sponge or a brush. Don't get me wrong it works, but it's messy and you usually end up having to buff your skin with a sponge or a brush to make it more seamless anyways. So lately I'm trying to make more of an effort to actually do it properly but what do you choose, a sponge or a brush? Well how about a brush / sponge hybrid.

For one of this months My Pure reviews I decided to try something that I've already seen a few reviews on - the EcoTools Foam Applicator.

To put it simply, it's a foundation sponge on a stick but it's so much more than that. Like the majority of brushes in the EcoTools range it has sustainable bamboo handle, and a recycled aluminium ferrule, but instead of cruelty free bristles, instead you get a firm, double sided, PVC free, foam sponge.

One side of the sponge is flat and pointed making ideal for getting into the smaller areas around your eyes and nose

and the other side is more rounded making it ideal for buffing and for larger areas of the face.

I'm going to be honest this takes a little bit of getting used to but once you've got the knack it makes foundation application quick and easy. I like to dampen the sponge a little bit first as this stops the sponge absorbing too much foundation, Then I pop a bit of foundation on my hand and the use the sponge to dot it on to my face, before using both sides of the sponge to blend it in to my skin. The sponge feels very soft on the skin but at the same time it's firm enough to create a seamless finish.

I have to say like all sponges it isn't particularly easy to wash but the best way I've found is to wash it in warm soapy water as soon as I've used it, giving it a good squeeze to get as much of the foundation residue out as possible. I then leave it on a flat surface to dry, which to be honest takes less than an hour in my experience, and it's clean and ready to use again. It also comes complete with a PVC free storage pouch which makes it ideal for travel.

I initially thought that this product was quirky and probably wouldn't perform but how wrong was I. This applicator for me, makes foundation application a breeze, and it's definitely less messy than using your fingers - even Jasper is a fan :) 

I would definitely recommend this product to anyone that wears any sort of liquid or cream base, be it a BB cream, a tinted moisturiser or a foundation. The EcoTools Foam Applicator retails at just £4.99 from My Pure, which is a good price to try something new.

How do you apply your foundation? Does this sound like something you would use? leave me a comment and let me know x 


Thursday 29 May 2014

Scrubbing Up For Summer With Balance Me - A Review For My Pure*

If you've followed my little place on the internet for a while now, you'll know that I have a passion, no make that obsession with body scrubs. I love exfoliating and I love trying out new products - I'm not brand loyal by any means and I'm still searching for the one. Whilst I don't think I've found "the one" yet I've found a few that are pretty damn close, including this one,the Balance Me Exfoliating Body Polish.

I talked a lot about UK based brand Balance Me in a previous My Pure post (you can read it here) so I'm not going to go over old ground, other than to say that this product is like everything else in their line, in that it's free from parabens, sulphates, mineral oils, silicone's, artificial fragrance and colour and several other nasties.

This is a salt based scrub and contains lots of skin moisturising ingredients such as sweet almond oil, virgin coconut oil, shea butter and glycerin. It also contains spearmint and rosemary extracts to stimulate the skin and the circulation.

The scrub comes packaged in a jar for easy access. It's very thick in texture and the salt seems almost suspended in a moisture rich butter.

The first thing you notice when you open the tub though is the spell, it has a very strong spearmint fragrance. The smell is really refreshing and enlivening and great for when you need a bit of a wake up call.

Despite it's thickness, it spreads easily onto dry or damp skin and you'd don't need very much. They instructions say to use it on damp skin but on more troublesome areas I would say it's fine to use it dry - because it's so rich in oils, the scrub almost appears to melt slightly on contact with the skin.

I'm pretty picky when it comes to exfoliators but this one does the job, it'd gritty enough to feel as though it's working and because it's salt based it rinses away easily, leaving the skin super soft and with a sort of moisture rich film on the skin.

This scrub is ideal for anyone with drier skin, or for anyone that wants a good, easy to use exfoliating scrub. I can honestly say that there was nothing about this that I didn't like, I love the texture, the smell, the moisturising benefits and the results, I'm not going to say it's the one because there are so many scrubs that I still need to try but in my opinion it will take a lot of beating.  If you would like to try it for yourself, and get that body summer ready, the Balance Me Exfoliating Body Polish retails at around £15.00 for a 220g tub from My Pure and various other retailers. If you have any questions please leave me a comment x I love reading what you have to say x


Tuesday 27 May 2014

A Vision In Gold - Nails Of The Day

This isn't exactly a nails of the day but it's the nail colour that I wore in my previous post. I don't know why but I was convinced I'd already done a post on this shade but I've searched through my blog and I can't find one x

Golden Vision is a shade from the Avon Nailwear Pro + range. I love this range and I love the fact that they're always issuing new colours and finishes. Golden Vision isn't a flat gold foil, it has glittery sparkles running through it which catch the light and sparkle in the light. This is two coats and the wear time probably because of the glitter was pretty decent.

I've taken these pictures in natural light but hopefully they give you an idea of the colour and the finish, in artificial and bright sunlight, the finish is a lot brighter and more sparkly. Are you a fan of gold nail polishes? leave me a comment and let me know x

Sunday 25 May 2014

A Meal With A Friend - Outfit, Face And Hair With A Review Of The Remington Ci8319 Keratin Therapy Pro Curl Volume Hair Tong *

My birthday is long gone now but my week of having a social life culminated is several days and evenings out, and on one of those occasions I managed to persuade Mummy Lou to take a few outfit pictures.

It was just something simple and a little bit dressy for a meal out with one of my best friends (read about the meal here). Alas in most of the pictures I appeared to be gurning or pulling faces - I really need to work on my posing lol but I'm putting them up anyway all be it with a bit of coverage on some of them :)

What I Wore
Indigo Skinny Jeans - George At Asda
Navy Blue Lace Peplum Top -  La Redoute
Tan Asymmetric Faux Leather Biker Jacket - La Redoute 
Gold Tone, Bead And Crystal Navy Blue Cord Necklace - Opia At Primark
Tan Sandals - AX Paris
Navy Blue Faux Suede Bow Detail Chain Strap Bag - Primark

On reflection, I wasn't that happy with the outfit, the peplum top does nothing for my shape and the dual fabric (the back is plain the front has a lace overlay) makes my look a lot bigger on the sides and hips than I world have liked. I love the lace detail tho and I have a dress in the same fabric also from La Redoute (below) that I love and that I feel a lot more confident in than I did in this. 

The jacket was a bit of an after thought but it was forecast for rain and I love the combination of navy and tan, and it went with my new favourite sandals which are from AX Paris

For make up I went for something really, really simple, I can't remember 100% what I wore but there was a bit of Mally, a bit of elf, a bit of Avon, a touch of Chanel and quite a bit of Benefit from what I remember x

The hair on the other hand was something a bit different for me. For as long as I've had hair it's been naturally straight. Due to illness and medication though my naturally straight hair has transformed into a mixture of curls, waves, and on bad days rats tails. I'm trying to embrace the curl a little bit more so I had a little play.

Fabulous beachy waves :) - you can really tell the difference when you compare the last two outfit pictures - sleek and straight to wavy and curly. I'm a bit obsessed with electrical and beauty and hair tools, so I had lots of options to choose from when it came to creating my curls and waves. What I decided to use in the end was this

Quite a while ago now I received a huge box full of Remington styling tools, and one of the products I received was the Remington Ci8319 Keratin Therapy Pro Curl Volume Hair Tong.

As you know I loved the straighteners from this range (see my post here) so it isn't surprising that I love these tongs too

Spot The Mistake - Ha Ha xx

The design itself isn't that different from any other tongs out there, they have a 19mm barrel and are in  in the traditional clamp style. They have a cool touch tip, and the clamp is also rubberised for easy,
and safe curling. The tongs also feature a long length, swivel cord, a 60 minute auto shut off,

and they come with their own heat protective pouch.

So yeah there not that different to the majority of tongs on the market in a lot of respects, where they so differ though is on the surface of the tongs. Like the straighteners they are ceramic infused with keratin proteins that are released during use, to care for and protect the hair whilst you curl. They are really easy to operate and feature just 3 buttons - an single on / off switch and both a + and a - button to control the temperature.

I love the fact that you can vary the temperature of these tongs. They feature a digital display and you can choose from 5 temperature settings between 130 and 210 degrees depending on the type of curl you want and your hair type and thickness.

I'm not amazing with tongs but these are pretty easy to use, I've tended to use them on the 190 setting, and whilst you don't need to I've used them with a heat protection spray, I've then just sectioned my hair, and starting either from the root or half way down the strands, I've just wrapped my hair around the tongs, clamped them down and waited for around 20 seconds or so depending on the strength of the curl I've wanted, and voila, tight curls or beachy waves.

I'm still a straightener lover but these might just have converted me to take a step over to the curly side. They do what they promise and I've noticed no issues with my hair after using them. There are cheaper tongs on the market but these are some of the best that I've used, they are light but substantial and I love the variable temperature setting x The Remington Ci8319 Keratin Therapy Pro Curl Volume Hair Tong retails at around £29.99 from most major retailers x

I hope you've enjoyed this little fashion and hair posts - I'm definitely going to have to work on the posing and do a bit less gurning but I enjoyed it and I'm definitely going to do more x Thanks for reading and if you have any questions please leave me a comment x

*Press Sample

Friday 23 May 2014

Foodie Friday - A Review Of The South Causey Inn, Stanley, Co Durham

Your probably already sick of hearing this, but last week I celebrated my birthday :) Over the course of the week I had a number of different celebrations with friends and different members of my family. Last Tuesday though I went out for a meal with one of my besties Dawn. She is one of the most considerate people ever when it comes to finding somewhere for us to eat, she always checks out menus, to make sure that there is something that little old veggie and gluten free me can eat.

Thankfully it's getting easier and restaurants both independent and chain seem to be more aware and more willing to cater for people with differing dietary requirements. We've found some decent places in the past but for my birthday meal this year, we decided to return to the place we went to last year - The South Causey Inn, which isn't too far away from me.

Purchased by the current owners in 1976 South Causey Farm as it was then known, was purchased as exactly that a farm but over the years it's expanded into an equestrian centre, an outdoor activity centre, a riding school, bars, a hotel, restaurant,and function rooms all set on 100 acres of land in the County Durham countryside. The inn won the Great British Pub Award Best Family Pub Award in 2013.

We started our visit with a little walk in the landscaped grounds. It's great for kids as there are loads of animals to meet and greet including, sheep, geese, donkeys, alpacas and obviously horses - notice Dawn's artistic photo of a goose :)

The grounds are just made for summer and there loads of gazebos and picnic tables outside, perfect for summer drinks.

The weather wasn't that great though so we headed inside - last year we were seated in the Restaurant area which is bright and airy but alas this year it was full so despite booking we ended up in an area known as the snug. Alas it was just too dark to take a picture but it was quite different to the main restaurant. It was very rustic with equestrian and farming equipment and memorabilia on the walls. It was furnished with several rustic wooden tables and chairs, as well as comfy chairs and sofas, and the traditional stools at the bar. The room was dominated by a huge roaring log fire. This room would be perfect for a hot toddy or mulled wine on a cold winters night but for me it wasn't the best setting for a meal between too friends on a spring evening. It was a little bit too dark and it felt almost squashed, plus I stunk of bonfire - open fire look great but they don't half make your clothes stink.

So onto the food, the South Causey menu is pretty substantial and throughout the day you can order breakfasts, lunches and afternoon tea, as ours was an evening visit we ordered from the main menu, which includes a separate vegetarian and coeliac menu. The choice is first class, and they have a real emphasis on local produce. Since the meals were so large last year we skipped starters and went straight for mains - Dawn isn't a vegetarian but she went for the Chefs Homemade Roasted Vegetable Lasagne with roasted vegetables and topped with a white b├ęchamel sauce, slow baked in the oven and topped with goats cheese & feta cheese, which came with a side salad a choice and chips, or potatoes. Whilst nothing can beat last years meal in her eyes, she described this as one of the nicest vegetable lasagne she'd ever had.

Me bad ! I didn't take a picture of he main and I didn't think to take a picture of mine till I'd eaten some of it eek! I went for the Roasted Goats Cheese & Braised Fig Salad. It was huge! I got a massive plate, filled with salad and topped with a mound of goats cheese and a few braised figs, as well as small dishes of coleslaw, olives and something which I think was roasted pepper mayonnaise. It was also served with a huge slice of toasted rustic bread, and a huge pat of butter. I didn't ask for it to be coeliac but they do usually provide gluten free bread on request.

The meals themselves were first class, you got plenty and the quality was really good. We struggled towards the end a bit but we still fancied a pudding. Again their dessert menu is really substantial and everything sounded amazing so it was hard to choose - In the end I went for the Lemon Curd Creme Brulee which came with a chocolate dipped strawberry and a brandy snap basket filled with chocolate cream. It was soooo good x I only wish that the Creme Brulee had been a little bit bigger.

Dawn had the Duo Chocolate Slab Filled Parfait - One with Malteser and One with Tia Maria and Raspberry, which was served with raspberry, mint, vanilla cream and a raspberry coulis. We weren't quite sure what to expect but she got two huge, solid chocolatey slabs that tasted like a combination of maltesers and raspberries. It was amazing but it was so rich and huge that she couldn't finish it, and despite having a few amazing spoonfuls neither could I, so the waitress wrapped it up for her to take home.

The bill came to around £37 for both of us which included 3 glasses of Diet Coke, I personally think that it was pretty good value for money, the portion sizes were excellent and the food quality was first class.

That said our experience this time probably wasn't as positive as last years, the room wasn't really what we wanted and because they seemed to be busy with a full restaurant and a private party, the service did seem to be a bit slower and a bit more lax than we would have liked.

That said I will be back and it's somewhere I would definitely recommend if your in the area or visiting any of the local attractions such as the Tanfield Railway or Beamish Museum. If you are booking though make sure you ask for a table in the restaurant unless you fancy a more, intimate cosy setting. You can find out more about The South Causey Inn here

Thursday 22 May 2014

Spending My Birthday At The DYO Fabulous Pre Launch Party

It's hard to believe that it's been a week since my birthday - I normally spend my birthday with my family but this year was a little bit different. This year I spent some of my birthday with lots of other bloggers at an official NE1 Newcastle Week Fringe Event.

I love jewellery, fashion pieces, precious metal pieces, semi precious gemstones I love it all. So when I was invited to a pre launch party for a new jewellery brand, no matter what the date I knew I needed to go.

DYO Fabulous is a local North East brand which has been four years in the making. The owner and founder Janet was always a huge jewellery fan, but she was concerned about the ethics and foundations of a lot of the jewellery that we buy on the British high street - did you know only around 10% of jewellery that buy in the UK is actually made here? that's a pretty amazing statistic to be honest it shows how much of the fashion and jewellery that we buy is mass market.

Over the last few years Janet has travelled the world looking into the jewellery industry and researching and obtaining ethical suppliers of semi precious gemstones, beads, chains, fastenings and findings, in order to make ethical, high quality and bespoke jewellery.

The event took place in Nancy's Bordello, a popular bar on the outskirts of Newcastle city centre. We had the entire upstairs room to ourselves, to drool over some of DYO Fabulous' beautiful jewellery pieces, and munch on some of French Ovens' gorgeous vanilla cupcakes.

After we'd had a little chance to look around at some of the designs and components, Janet, gave us a little talk on the history of the brand and introduced us to some her staff - including design graduates from local universities.

As well as selling high quality, individual one off pieces from their website, DYO ultimately intends to introduce us to an entirely new concept of purchasing jewellery.

DYO stands for Design Your Own and that's customers will ultimately be able to do. Using a specially designed interface on their website, users will be able to custom design their own unique piece of jewellery, to fit their own needs, and their own budgets. The interface isn't "live" yet but we were given some examples of how it works and how accurately the pieces will be produced.

I am so excited for this to launch, I think it's something that I could spend literally hours on. I really love the concept and the fact that you can create something completely unique, that nobody else has. They also plan to introduce a bridal matching service to match and create items to match bridal gowns, a section for stylists and a service where we can remodel old or broken pieces of jewellery into something new.

The more I saw and heard the more excited I got - I wanted it all - everything was just so me -  :)

Thankfully there was a little sample sale and whilst I wanted everything again I was good and purchased just one thing

This gorgeous, elasticated  bracelet is made from goldstone - a gorgeous brown / copper semi precious gemstone filled with gold sparkles - it looks amazing in the pictures above but by using the flash you can really see the sparkles. There is a similar bracelet on the DYO site at the moment if your interested x

I was also lucky enough to win a prize in their lucky dip - I was lucky enough to pull out this lovely carved rose detail bracelet, I think there is a bit of rose quartz in it, which is a stone that I love.

All in all I had a fabulous time, and I was only disappointed that I couldn't stay long enough to make my own Princess necklace. The idea and concept, and the ethics behind the brand are first class and the quality and attention to detail is fantastic. I really wish Janet and the team every success with the venture and I'd like to thank them again for the invite. I will definitely be back for more in the future x To find out more please check out the DYO Fabulous website xx