Sunday 30 November 2014

Madara Brightening AHA Peel Mask - A Review For My Pure*

Although I'm a bit to launch into a bit of a whinge I have to say that by and large I'm pretty happy with my skin. Now that I'm in my mid (cry) 30's my skin seems to be have sorted itself out. It's a bit drier and I no longer get the spots that blighted my teenage years and bar the odd hormonal breakout my skin is pretty clear.
I still have quite oily skin though but some people (aka Mummy Lou) see that as a blessing and in some senses I can see why - the fine lines seems to be slower in appearing and as yet I have nothing I could really describe as a proper wrinkle - sometimes though oily skin is a pain. Make up slip slides off my face, and sometimes I think you could probably drive a truck through my pores. Chuck in a bit of redness and a general lack of smoothness and maybe I'm not as happy with my skin as I'd originally thought.

Good skincare can make a difference though  and something that has made a real difference to my skin are products containing AHA's (Alpha Hydroxy Acids), for example glycolic and lactic acids.
More often than not plant derived, these toners, masks, moisturisers and cleansers have really made a difference to both the appearance and texture of my skin.

Always wanting to experiment and try new brands, for one of November's My Pure reviews I decided to try a product that I'd already heard a little bit about the Madara Brightening AHA Peel Mask.

Made in Latvia from 99.9% natural ingredients, this face mask contains a combination of Vitamin C, from the Quince fruit, lactic acid and Elderflower extract.

This product is designed to exfoliate and deep cleanse the skin, and unclog the pores, which will in turn lead to a more even, brighter, and fresher complexion. 

This mask comes boxed, and comes with a instruction leaflet. AHA's and the like, are pretty powerful ingredients, and even through the concentrations that your using here are way less than you would get in a salon peel you still need to read the leaflet thoroughly before you do anything. This mask isn't suitable for anyone with fragile or hypersensitive skin. You also need to use an SPF cream and your need to avoid sunbeds or intensive tanning for at least a week after use. Other that that it is suitable for all skin types, and the instructions tell you the best way to use it and how long to leave it on depending on your own skin.

Packaged in a squeezy tube, the texture from this mask wasn't quite what I expected. With a pleasant herbal smell, it's an opaque, white in colour, and has almost a cream, gel, serum type feel to. It's quite liquidy and it doesn't feel sticky or like any other mask that I've ever tried. 

Since I have an oily / combination skin the instructions advise that I use the mask twice a week, and leave it one for about 10 minutes at a time. It's easy enough to apply but I have to say I'm still not sure how much to apply, so I just applied enough to create a thin layer across my entire face and neck avoiding the eye area.The mask feels quite cooling and a little bit tingly when its first applied but it does seem to warm up as time progresses. Time for scary mask pictures!

I know, it's nearly Christmas not Halloween but I hope this gives you an idea of what it looks like on the skin. You can't see much much but you can start to see and feel a tightness. After my ten minutes are  up it does start to feel drier on the skin and it does seem to have set slightly. I don't think it matters whether it dries or not because if you have a different skin type your potentially leaving it for less time than I did. It is possible to almost roll it off, but you need to wash it off properly with warm water.

I'm not going to lie this mask does my skin looking quite pink (more than it looks here) and feeling a bit tingly after application but this is what it's supposed to do. You're removing all of that dead, dull skin to reveal the fresh, bright new skin underneath. That's probably why they recommend that you use this mask at night to give your skin a chance to go back to normal. 

I did get a few breakouts after my first couple of uses and whilst I am now feeling the tingle a bit more now than I did at first,  I do think that this has made a difference. I've only been using it for about 3 and half weeks now but already I can see a difference - my skin looks fresher, and brighter, and it's also starting to look a lot clearer. My expected hormonal breakout was almost none existent, and my skin feels a lot smoother particularly on my notoriously bumpy forehead. I usually like to try out skincare products for at least 4-6 weeks but all I can say is so far, so good. I know my skin responds to acids and glycolics so I'm definitely going to continue with this one till at least the bottom of the tube. 

I know people are often a little bit scared of AHA's  but if your looking to give dull, tired, mehhh skin a boost then this mask could be one to try. My Pure offer two sizes of this mask, the 60ml tube that you can see here, which retails at £20, and a more purse friendly 12.5ml size, which would be an ideal way to try this product, and retails at £5.50.


Friday 28 November 2014

Foodie Friday - Mushy Pea Quorn Curry

I know we're not even into December yet, but already I'm sick of the dark, the cold and the damp and I can't wait for summer. When it's dark and the weathers rubbish you want something warm and dare I say it spicy to eat. This recipe is one of the odd sounding Slimming World ones that I came across when I was looking for recipe inspiration. It sounds weird but for some reason it just works. There are lots of different versions out there but this is my interpretation. It's not the most authentic curry recipe out there and I can't vouch for the Slimming World values but it's really easy to make and I think it tastes pretty good.

Mushy Pea Quorn Curry

10 Sprays Fry Light 
4 Cloves Garlic -  Roughly Chopped
2 Large Onions 
200g Quorn Pieces - Defrosted If Frozen
250g Mushrooms - Sliced
250g Courgettes - Halved And Sliced
1 Pepper - Any Colour - Roughly Chopped
100g Cherry Tomatoes - Halved 
1 Tin Baked Beans
2 x Tins Mushy Peas
1 Tin Chopped Tomatoes
Curry Powder - To Taste 
Chilli Flakes - Optional
Salt And Pepper - To Taste

1. Spray about 10 sprays of Fry Light into a large pan. I'm using my pressure cooker pan here and garlic Fry Light but you can use whatever you like. Then add your chopped garlic and a few teaspoons of curry powder. I usually start off by adding a small amount of you can always add more later depending on how hot it your powder is and how hot you like it. You can also add some chilli flakes or fresh chilli at this point.

2. Cook it for a moment or two then add your chopped onion. Add a tiny bit of water and cook for about 5 minutes or so.

3. When your onions are starting to soften add your Quorn pieces, your courgettes and your pepper, and a little bit more water and cook for about 10 minutes.

4. Then add your mushrooms 

and your cherry tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes or so.

5. Now the recipe gets a little bit weird - add 2 tins of mushy peas to the pan and give it a good stir

6. Next add your baked beans and mix in 

7. Then add your tinned tomatoes and give it a stir

8. Finally you want to add a bit more water. I usually swill my empty tins out, so you get all the dregs out of the can. You want to make sure that the Quorn and the vegetables are just covered. Then cook it over a medium heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

9. By this time you sauce should have reduced and thickened. If it hasn't just leave it for a bit longer - you can leave it for as long as you need, just giving it a stir every so often. Check the seasoning and add a bit more curry powder, and salt and pepper to taste and cook for another 10 minutes or so, and then your done.

This recipe easily makes 6 portions. It keeps in the fridge for a day or so, and it also freezes really well. You can serve it with bread, rice or pasta and it makes a really nice, warming, filling meal.

This is a good fridge and cupboard clear out recipe, and you can really add whatever vegetables you like. I just used what I had at the time but in the past I've used aubergine, parsnip and carrots, just use what you like and what you have. I know the mushy peas and baked beans make it sound a bit strange but trust me it does work, and for veggies like me it's a great source of protein. If you like chip shop curry sauce then you might just like this too x I'd love to know if you try this recipe, so don't forget to leave me a comment and let me know what you think if you do x 

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Soak Those Stresses Away With Skin Blossom Therapeutic Bath Soak - A Review For My Pure*

The times they are a changing in LouLouLand and in a few months time my beloved bath tub will be no more. After a lot of thinking and procrastinating me and Mummy Lou have made the decision to swap our bath tub for a shower, come wet room. I know it will be safer and more practical for both of us in the long run, but I'm really going to miss it.

Having a bath is one of my number one ways to relax. Closing the door to the outside world, letting that warm water surround you, and inhaling a fabulous scent can really make you breathe a little slower and make your mind start to wander. It's funny how scents can take you somewhere else, and it's for that reason that I always have several different bath products on the go at once, to suit my mood or the occasion. 

For me a late night bath is all about relaxation, it's about calming the body and the senses and preparing you for a good nights sleep. There's no point going for something minty or citrussy, you want something that just makes you go ahhhhhhh, and one fragrance that does exactly that is Lavender. So for one of this months My Pure reviews I decided to try out the Skin Blossom Therapeutic Bath Soak.

Made from 74% organic ingredients, this product contains essential oils of lavender, rosemary and ylang ylang. Like everything else on the My Pure website it contains no sulfates, and instead contains a combination of coconut and aloe vera extract , making it suitable for the most sensitive of skin.

Packaged in a green plastic bottle, the first thing you notice when you unscrew the top is the smell. Don't think old lady, esq lavender, the combination of the lavender, the rosemary and the ylang ylang gives it a real, fresh aromatherapy type scent. 

Pour a small amount under warm running water and you get a bath full of soft silky bubbles. The scent is heady but at the same time, soothing and relaxing, and the water, and the bubble feel soft and non drying on the skin.

I have to say I love this product, the smell is amazing, and the bubbles it produces show that you don't need to use sulfates to produce a proper bubble bath. I'm going to thoroughly enjoy using this over the next month or so, and I'm only sorry that I won't have my bath long enough to buy another one. I really can't think of anyone that wouldn't like this, a nice warm relaxing bath is the perfect antidote to the hectic month ahead, so if you know a stressed out someone, pick up a bottle of this to pop in their Christmas stocking. Skin Blossom Therapeutic Bath Soak comes in a 300ml bottle and retails at £7.95 from My Pure x Are you a bath or shower person? Leave me a comment and let me know x 


Tuesday 25 November 2014

Embracing The Coloured Liner Trend With Eye Of Horus Scarab Sapphire Goddess Pencil*

I'm going to start this post with a bit of a disclaimer, I don't get on with eyeliner! When you combine my facial palsy, watery eyes, wobbly hands and probably the greasiest eye lids on this planet you have a recipe for disaster. Over the years I've tried lots and lots of eyeliners ranging from gels, to creams, to pencils and felt tips, and very few of them apply evenly or last more than a few hours on my eyes.

Like everything else in my life though I refuse to beaten, and I'm always buying and trying new products hoping to find the one thing that gives me the perfect flicks and cat eyes that I crave. One of the most recent product that I tried was from a new brand to me, Eye Of Horus.

Named after Horus, the ancient Egyptian god of vengeance, sky and kingship, this brand produces a small range of eye products based on ancient Egyptian formulations. All of the Eye Of Horus products contain high quality natural ingredients,  essential oils and plant waxes, including the beauty bloggers favourite, Moringa oil. The entire line is also paraben free and none of their products are tested on animals.

As I say the range isn't the biggest by any means but the most popular and most talked about product has to be the Goddess Pencil.

Available in 10 shades, this is in it's simplest term is Eye Of Horus' pencil eye liner. Formulated with a combination of natural oils and waxes, these pencils claim not only to offer smooth, pigmented, long lasting colour but they also claim to be kind to the sensitive skin on the eye area

One of the most recent editions to the Goddess Pencil line, is Scarab Sapphire. A beautiful dark sapphire blue with just a touch of sparkle.

The full sized pencils come boxed, and are double ended. On one end you get your basic pencil and on the other you get a firm, sponge smudger tip.

The first you notice about this liner is how smooth and creamy it is. It feels silky soft on the skin, and even when I was swatching it I could tell how smooth and creamy it was. As you can see from this picture the pigmentation is superb. It's looking a little bit darker here than it does in real life but this isn't a crazy, bright neon blue, it's a lovely midnight tone which great for people who want to wear a coloured liner without being too obvious.

Applying it on the eyes was no different. The smooth, creamy texture made for easy application, and the colour just glides across the lid, without any pulling or dragging. I just managed the one not amazing picture thanks to the awful light but I hope it gives you an idea.

I love the colour and the initial application was fine but I'm going to be honest and say this just didn't work for me. The product is very, smooth and creamy and as a result on my oily lids, the line moved and started to transfer within seconds of application, and to be honest it just didn't last that long on my eyes. The only way for me was to use copious amounts of eye base and liner sealer, which kind of defeats the object.

I had a little more success using this as a shadow, I applied it as a thick line then using the smudger end I blended it out to give more of a cream shadow type look. Again the wear time wasn't amazing but again a good quality eyeshadow base, did make a difference.

I really, really wanted to love this but it's just not going to happen. I love the colour and the texture but it just didn't work for me. I love the smoothness and the creaminess but on my oily lids maybe it was just a bit too creamy. How many times does that happen? What makes you like a product, makes you dislike it at the same time!

With base and sealer I can make it work but unfortunately it's not the apply and go product that I wanted it to be, and it's not a purchase that I could justify. If you have an oily lid like me then this is probably a no go, but if your drier or sensitive then I would definitely recommend you give this a try. It definitely seems to work better on drier skin, my mum liked it, and the swatch that I put on my hand seemed to set fast, and took a while to get off. Damn you oily lids, you win again! Eye Of Horus Goddess Pencils come in 10 shades, and retail at £17 from BeautyBay. Have you tried Eye Of Hours before? I'd love to know if you've tried the Liquid Define Liner so if you have please let me know below xx

(*PR Sample)

Saturday 22 November 2014

Sample Saturday - Finding Samples And A Mini Review Of The Garnier Body Oil Beauty Oil Infused Nourishing Lotion

Apologies for the lack of posts this week but I'm back with another Sample Saturday post. Over the last few weeks I've been sorting out all of my samples sachets and tubes and you'd be surprised at just how many duplicates I've accumulated.

I don't know about you but I'm much more likely to buy a product if I've had the chance to at least try it out first. Thankfully that's something that more and more brands and companies now seem to be recognising, and it's now easier than ever before to obtain samples and trial sized products.

Probably the best way to pick up high end samples is to brave the make up counter, but there are other ways. I'm a huge believe in signing up to online mailing lists, yes you might get a bit of junk mail, and junk email but every now and then you might get a little surprise through the post. GWP's - Gifts with purchase, and shopping online are also good ways to pick up samples but perhaps my favourite way is to buy magazines.

Despite my love of blogs and online media, I don't think my love for glossy magazines will ever end. Cover mounted gifts are often a great source of samples, and trial sizes, and of course how could we ever ignore the scratch and sniff perfume samples, and the occasional sample sachet.

Judging by the amount of sample sachets that I've accumulated from magazines, it still must be a good way for brands to get their new products out there into the public domain. During my recent search I found 3, 10ml sachets of  Garnier Body Oil Beauty Oil Infused Nourishing Lotion, all of which came from various glossy magazines.

Introduced earlier this year, this nourishing body lotion contains real essential oils and extracts of Argan, Macadamia, Almond, Shea Butter and Rose.

It is pale yellow in colour, and has quite a creamy texture for a lotion. It's very easy to massage into the skin, and it has pleasant, smooth slip, feeling on the skin.

This lotion takes a minute or two to absorb into the skin completely but afterwards the skin feels smooth and.hydrated, and not at all greasy or sticky.

I don't think my camera has really captured it here, but this product gives you skin a really healthy sheen. My skin not only looked better and healthier immediately after application but it actually felt moisturised for a good few hours afterwards.

Like any product though it does have a couple of negatives. Despite the inclusion of both natural oils and extracts, it still contains mineral oil so if your sensitive or you choose to avoid it. this product probably isn't for you.

My biggest issue though is with the smell, which is quite strong. I get a little bit of the rose but I also get quite a bit of almost woody, nutty, warmth. I do quite like the smell but it is quite strong and it does have a tendency to linger on the skin, so it could potentially interfere with perfume or fragrance. The scent isn't too girly though, so this could potentially be a unisex product

I know it's hard to judge after just a week or so's use but I have to say I'm pretty impressed with this product and it's something that I would potentially recommend. If you have drier skin, don't let the word lotion put you off, for me it's as affective as a thick, body cream but with a lighter lotion consistency. It feels nice on the skin, and the skin looks smoother, healthier and more hydrated almost as soon as it's applied. The scent could be an issue for some but since I've predominantly be using this product at night after a bath or shower, it hasn't really bothered me x

The Garnier Body Oil Beauty Oil Infused Nourishing Lotion is available in both a 250ml bottle which retails at around £4.99, and in a 400ml bottle which retails at around £6.99. It's available from various retailers including both Boots, and Superdrug. If your quick though and you want a bargain this product is currently on special offer in Tesco with the 400ml bottle retailing at £4.99 and the 250ml bottle retailing at just £3.32. Are you a body product junkie like me? Leave me a comment and let me know x

Tuesday 18 November 2014

An Iconic Nails Of The Day - Chanel - Rouge Noir

Although I'm not the biggest fan of Chanel nail polishes, it's hard to argue with the popularity of their iconic shade 18 Rouge Noir. Created in 1994, Rouge Noir, or Vamp as it's known in the USA, became one of the first "it" nail colours. Propelled to stardom after it's appearance on Uma Thurman's nails in Pulp Fiction, it's been worn by the likes of Madonna, and it even has it own Wikipedia article.

Although it's popularity has waned over the years, it still continues to be one of Chanel's best sellers, and by the year 2000, it was the fifth best selling nail polish of all time - not a bad statistic when you consider that it only been on sale for 5 years.

The reason for it's popularity is pretty obvious, Rouge Noir, literally translates as red, black, and that's a perfect description. This deep, dark red wine shade is both wearable and sophisticated, no matter how long or how short your nails are. I have to say I actually prefer this type of colour on shorter nails. Uma Thurman, proved that you don't need long nails to make an impact with your manicure. 

I've had this bottle for quite a while now, which may explain why I found the polish so thick but it still applies pretty well, and with careful application one coat would produce a full coverage deep red. Add the second coat like I have here, and you get the true, black, red, glossy finish. When it comes to wear time, unfortunately me and Chanel just don't get on and this lasted just 2 days without a top coat before it started chipping.

The colour of this polish deserves it's iconic status. It's that perfect, femme fatale, sophisticated with a hint of drama, shade. It's perfect for this time of year and it says something when similar shades, are referred to as Rouge Noir a likes. I love the colour but again the formula does nothing for me. I have had this bottle quite a while now but from day 1 it just didn't last on my nails. A good top coat will of course stretch of the wear time a bit, but for the price I'm not sure it's worth it. Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in 18 Rouge Noir retails at £18 for a 13ml bottle. It's not always the easiest shade to get hold of but it's currently in stock online at Debenhams, Boots, and House Of Fraser x Is this polish a hit or a miss for you? Leave me a comment and let me know x 

Saturday 15 November 2014

Sample Saturday - L'Occitane Shea Butter Zesty Lime Hand Cream

After a mini hiatus Sample Saturday returns with a post on something that I've been loving lately and using lots. I'm going to be honest and say that this product isn't technically a sample, but the full size is small enough to justify it's inclusion.

I'm a huge fan of L'Occitane hand creams and over the years I've probably tried most of their fragrances and textures. Alongside the permanent Rose, Lavender, Verbena, Cherry Blossom, and the original 20% Shea Butter varieties, they also produce yearly limited edition fragrances. The limited fragrances are always worth a look and a sniff and over the last few years they've produced fragrances such as Honey and Lemon, Sweet Violet and Vanilla.

L'Occitane hand creams seem to be one of the most popular magazine free gifts at the moment and last months Marie Claire came with a free 30ml tube. There were several varieties to choose from but I went for one of their newer fragrances Zesty Lime.

Like every other hand cream in the L'Occitane range, Zesty Lime comes in the traditional paint tube style packaging. Some of the larger sizes come in metal tubes which can be quite hard to squeeze but this one feels a lot more flexible and appears to be made of plastic.

This cream, like the original and best seller, contains 20% Shea Butter. The Shea Butter gives this hand cream, a rich, thick and creamy texture.

Despite the thickness it has a nice slip and it's very easy to massage it into the skin.

It does take a couple of minutes to sink in but because of the luxurious texture that's only to be expected. Once it's fully absorbed the hands are left looking fresher and brighter, and feeling soft, smooth and protected.

This hand cream is easily as good as the Original 20% Shea Butter one but for me it has a slightly bigger selling point - the scent! 

Described as Zesty Lime, you would expect it to have a citrus aroma, and it does, but Zesty Lime for me just doesn't do it justice Yes you do get fresh lime, but I also got fabulous lemon and grapefruit notes. If you like L'Occitane's Verbena fragrance you'll probably like this too. Zesty Lime is slightly warmer, and not quite as strong or fresh as Verbena but it definitely has similar citrus notes.

I know I'm a fan of L'Occitane hand cream in general but this one is probably one of my new favourites, due to both the texture and the scent.

Because of the texture Zesty Lime is perfect for this time of year when your hands get sore and chapped because of the cold weather. The texture also makes it an ideal night time product, just slather some on your hands and pop on a pair of cotton gloves, and in the morning your hands will be silky soft.

I guess there is only one real drawback with this product, and that's the size in comparison to the price. I love L'Occitane but their products aren't cheap. L'Occitane Shea Butter Zesty Lime Hand Cream comes in a 30ml tube and retails at a pretty scary £8! Okay you don't need a lot so the tube will last a while but that isn't cheap for just 30ml. Unfortunately it's limited edition and that's the only size tube it comes in,so you pays your money, you makes your choice I guess. Alas I can't just justify a repurchase of this particular one at the moment but I will definitely continue to buy L'Occitane hand creams in the future, or at least magazines that come with them as free gifts.

L'Occitane Shea Butter Zesty Lime Hand Cream retails at £8 for 30ml, and is available from selected L'Occitane stockists, L'Occitane standalone boutiques, and from the official L'Occitane website. Are you a L'Occitane fan? Let me know below x