Friday 29 January 2016

Treat Those Tootsies With OKKO - A Review For My Pure*

Every winter I make the pledge to look after myself just a little bit more, and more often than not it ends up as one big fat fail! Yes I'll wrap up warm and eat things that make me happy but when the weather gets colder, my normal body care routine sometimes goes out of the window.

The way I look at it, I'm not going to be flashing the flesh as much as maybe I would maybe in the summer so I can ease off on the hair removal and stop worrying so much about the state of my feet and my thighs. It's a total false economy though when you think about it, the more you ignore your feet the worse they get, if you look after them all year round it makes your life way easier when you get to sandal season. So in an effort to break the habit of a life time, this winter I'm whipping off that hair and I'm trying to take care of my poor little tootsies. 

Thanks to a poorly thyroid gland my feet need an awful lot of TLC. My heels are very dry, and cracked, and I'm prone to dry patches and calluses on my toes, throw in a dose of poor circulation and I need some serious help. I seriously do try, I exfoliate, and I use foot cream regularly, but at the moment nothing seems to be working, so for one of January's My Pure reviews, I decided to try out a product from one of site's newest brands OKKO.

Founded in the UK by two mums, OKKO's ambition is to make people feel comfortable in their own skin. They produce a small range of balm based products for the skin and the body, all of which are 100% natural and 100% environmentally friendly. All of their products are handmade in small batches for freshness, and contain no chemical additives. They are also suitable for vegans and they aren't tested on animals.

The product that I decided to try from the range was the OKKO Skincare Natural Foot Balm With Peppermint and Rosemary. The ingredients in this balm are like an A-Z of nourishing plant ingredients, it contains extra virgin olive oil, mango butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, rose hip oil and avocado oil, as well as vitamin E and peppermint oil, and rosemary oil, to refresh and soothe the skin.

This solid balm come packaged in a large eco friendly, cardboard tube similar to a lip balm, which saves on waste, and makes application a breeze. The balm itself has a solid waxy, oily texture and is translucent yellowish in appearance, which melts immediately on contact with the skin.

All you do is push the product up from the base, and apply it to clean dry, exfoliated skin. The balm melts on contact  and all you need to do is massage it gently into the skin. You can apply this all over the feet but I've been applying it specifically to my problem areas, mainly the sides of my toes and my heels. It doesn't absorb straight away so I would thoroughly recommend that you pop on a pair of cotton socks and let it soak in either for a few hours or if you can, overnight.

I'm not a huge fan of foot products fragranced with mint, and whilst this balm does contain peppermint extract, the rosemary fragrance dominates, given the feet a fresh feeling and a fresh scent.

I've been using this product every other day for around 3 weeks now and I can definitely see a difference. Appearance wise my feet look more healthier and hydrated, and there is definitely less dry skin on my heels and calluses on my toes. This product is great for moisturising the whole foot but for me, this product is ideal for those really troublesome areas that need a bit of extra love. 

This balm comes in a 42g tube but a little goes a long way, and since OKKO claim that even with daily use this product will last for for around 2 months, this product is both great value for money and great for your feet. The OKKO Skincare Natural Foot Balm With Peppermint and Rosemary comes in a 42g tube and retails at £14 from My Pure x  If you have any questions please let me know and thanks for reading x 


Tuesday 26 January 2016

My Little Box UK January 2016 Edition- My Little Wish Box And A Giveaway

I've got a special treat for you guys today, a subscription box, unboxing post. I normally post unboxing videos on my You Tube channel but because my face is still a bit puffy and my skin looks like rubbish, I'm posting it on here instead. Today then I'm showing you what's in the January 2016 UK Edition of My Little Box.

Every My Little Box is themed and this months box is entitled My Little Wish Box. All of the boxes are beautifully illustrated and this one is no exception, I always try and use my empty boxes and these ones are probably my favourites to reuse. They're nice to keep on show, and they're perfect for tidying away bits of stationery, crafty bits, and of course all those bits of make up, and nail polish, that you never seem to have any room for.

The first thing I normally do when I open the box is have a look through the bits of paper, My Little Box usually includes a couple of information cards on the products in the box, a quote card, and a mini magazine. I was never a fan of the fold out poster so I'm really pleased to see the return of the magazine but for me the paper stand out in this box is the quote card. It's one of my favourite quotes (although I have seen slightly different wording on occasions) and it's from Walt Disney  "All our dreams can come true, if you have the courage to pursue them" Definitely something to bear in mind when you're having a bad day.

My Little Box is very much a beauty and lifestyle box, so in each box you normally get a few lifestyle products, be it a piece of jewellery, stationery or even clothing. The stand out lifestyle product in this months box was this lovely, hard backed 2016 diary.

I'm not sure how well it's coming across here but it's in a beautiful duck blue, mint colour and it features the words "Dear Year, I Like You (Love Me) in metallic, rose gold, embossing on the front. It's a really nice quality diary and it features a week to two pages, so it's perfect for organising your schedule and keeping track of appointments

I really love it but why oh why wasn't this in say the December box. I already have two 2016 diaries, one handbag sized one that I got for Christmas, and a pretty, sparkly desk one that I bought myself so I can't justify keeping this one no matter how nice I think it is. I've asked around and all my friends and family already have their diaries and planners so I've decided to give this one away to one of you guys. So if you haven't got yourself a 2016 diary yet just fill in the Rafflecopter form below and I'll pick one lucky winner in a weeks time x This giveaway is open worldwide but the diary is in English but if you want it get entering x

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Next up another lifestyle item, the Petits Riens Bracelet Card, which is a jewellery item, come gift, come inspirational quotes, all rolled into one.

You get 4 tear off cards, each of which comes with a sentiment printed ribbon, and another card which has a curved metal charm, friendship bracelet on a mint / duck egg blue cord, with a Chinese / love knot style fastening.

I like the idea of this and the idea of giving your friends the sentiment that most suits them but what exactly do you do with the ribbons? I've seen some pictures with people wearing them as bracelets but for me they are nowhere near long enough to wrap around my wrist. I think I'll end up using mine for card making or scrapbooking, but since I love friendship bracelets, and things that you can stack I'll definitely be keeping the bracelet.

Now the bit you've all been waiting for the beauty items - first up a shout out to the little bags that you get, that usually contain the beauty products. Unlike the Birchbox bags these ones are a nice, size, they're made of a good fabric, the designs are cute, and you can reuse them. They are brilliant for popping things in, in your handbag, and they're great for packing things like cotton buds when you go on holiday.

The first item inside the bag is from My Little Box own brand, My Little Beauty, and it's the My Little Beauty Make A Wish Vanilla Scented Lip Balm in a 1.5g size. As useful as lip balms are I can't help but think they're a bit of a filler in beauty boxes and particularly when they're own branded ones like this. They do appear in an awful lot of boxes but it's something that I will probably use. I always have quite a few lip balms on the go at once so I hardly ever seem to use them up but they're always useful.

Next up something a little bit more interesting, a 50ml bottle REN Rosa Centifolia 3 In 1 Cleansing Water.

I'm slightly obsessed with cleansing waters, and I love all in ones and micellar waters for speed and convenience, so I can't wait to give this a proper go. It recommend for all skin types including the most sensitive and it's crammed full of rose otto, to calm and soothe the skin, a must have at this time of year. I'll probably do a Sample Saturday post on this when I've had a chance to try it.

The final product in the box is a make up item, and it's something that I've been wanting to try for a little while now. Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipsticks, have the pigmentation and staying power, of a lipstick but with the convenience and ease of application of a gloss.

Packaged in a squeezy tube, it comes with a velour tipped, applicator tip, give it a squeeze and out comes oodles and oodles of thick, luscious liquid lipstick. I've tried a few different liquid lipsticks but this one seems to be in a different class, it tastes lovely, it feels nice on the lips, it's moisturising, and the pigmentation and wear time is worth writing about.

The colour I received is Melted Fuchsia, which is a pretty hot pink. You can apply it with a light hand for a gentler finish, but I can see myself saving this one for the summer months when I've got a bit more colour. This is only a 5ml size compared to the 12ml full size, but this is a great size for trying a pricier product and I can definitely see myself maybe picking up 1 or 2 more shades after trying this one x

Overall I don't think that this was a bad box, I've seen a couple of different variations and I definitely prefer the one that I got. I love the lipstick formulation and I'm really looking forward to trying the cleansing water, My lifestyle highlight is definitely the diary, I just with it had been sent a month or two sooner.

I was feeling a bit mehhh about My Little Box towards the end of last year, but I've really liked the last two boxes so I'm sticking with them for another month. You can find out more about My Little Box here x Do you subscribe to My Little Box? Did you get the same as me? Let me know x

Sunday 24 January 2016

Hello Kitty For OPI - Some Special QVC UK Kits

I love nail polish an awful lot, in fact you could even argue that I'm a bit of polish collector. I have well over a hundred bottles and still I can't resist adding to my already pretty extensive collection. I have a lot of different brands, at a lot of different price point, but one of my favourite brands and one of the first professional brands that I ever tried, is OPI.

99 times out of a 100 I'm impressed with their polishes they wear well, they apply easily, and the polishes last forever, some of mine are over 10 years old and they are still as good as new. Something else that I love about them are their collaborations and product tie ins. Based in Hollywood there are the brand of choice for celebrities, characters, film studios, and big brands.

Late last year rumours started to fly around the beauty world about a new OPI collaboration with probably the most famous feline of all time, no I don't mean Grumpy Cat, although I would love to see that, I mean Hello Kitty.

Yes I'm one of those sadults that has a obsession with Hello Kitty, so when I saw the first pictures of the collection I wanted it all. The collection comprises of 12 normal shades and the matching Gel Colours, and several special edition full sized and mini kits, all named after things linked to that little white feline.

Although the collection had already been available in the UK for a couple of days, some of it premiered on QVC a week past Friday. I was sneaky though, I didn't know whether I'd be home from hospital in time so I'd already had a little look on the QVC UK website to see what was available. 
This kit immediately caught my eye due to the full sizes and the sheer value for money, so Mummy Lou, aka the tooth fairy, decided to buy me if for being brave at hospital - I told you I was a sadult ;)

For what I gather this kit is now exclusive to QVC in the UK, and I certainly haven't seen it anywhere else. The colours are available elsewhere but the packaging is just available at QVC now and as well as the polishes this kit is all about the packaging.

This collectors edition kit comes in a solid, cardboard box with a magnetic fastening, and contains 6 full size OPI nail lacquers from the Hello Kitty collection.

What makes this kit special and truly one for the collector, is the inside of the box. It comes with a cardboard stand, and 3 specially designed backdrops, one side in colour and one side in black and white for you to colour in. 

Full instructions are supplied and all you do is put them into the box in a certain way and it creates an almost pop up, puppet theatre type look.

Ridiculously cute, and really unusual and you get your 6 full sized polishes. Each of the full sized polishes in the Hello Kitty collection are characterised by a Hello Kitty design lid, unfortunately this is a sticker rather than a printed lid but they are still very cute.

The collection predictably is very pink themed but you also get a few stand out colours like those that appear in the cartoons and of course on the toys, stationery, bedding and anything else that you can think of.

The shades that you get are from left to right - Kitty White, a pearlised, shimmery white, Let's Be Friends, a pale, creamy pink almost French shade, Look At My Bow, a brighter baby pink, and Starry Eyed For Dear Daniel, a full coverage pink / purple glitter. It also contains 5 Apples Tall, a real apple red, and Never Have To Mani Friends, a dark, black shade.

I've swatched these on a nail wheel so you can get an idea of what they would look like on the nails. As you can see the coverage is excellent with all of the shades. Ever the palest pink Let's Be Friends only needs around 3 thin coats for full coverage. This kit contains a nice assortment of shades that will cover a wide variety of occasions and take you from day to night. Throw in the limited edition collectors packaging and this kit for me is a must have, it's also great value for money. The OPI 6 Piece Hello Kitty Limited Edition Lacquer Collection is currently available from QVC UK for the special price of just £31.32 plus £4.95, not bad considering each bottle would be £12.50.

As much as I love this kit and believe me I do, it didn't contain the two shades that I'd really set my heart on so I had another look and last Monday another couple of sets came online, including a couple of gift packaged duos.

Thankfully one of the duos contained exactly the two colour that I wanted so I decided to treat myself to the Bright duo which contained full 15ml sizes of both Super Cute In Pink, a bright bubblegum pink, and My Pal Joey, a lovely creamy blue shade.

Alas neither of these colours are showing up as that true, My Pal Joey is a much more of an electric blue than it's appearing here, and Super Cute In Pink is a lot less purple than it's appearing here. I thought it might be similar to Essie Splash Of Grenadine but in reality it much pinker and much brighter. Both of these are great summer colours, and since they are both cream polishes, the pigmentation and coverage is first class.

I probably could have got these a little bit cheaper if I'd looked harder but at £18.00 plus £3.95 postage, the OPI 2 Piece Hello Kitty Nailcare Collection in Bright still works out slightly cheaper than full retail price.

There are a couple of other kits on the QVC website and elsewhere, and whilst I am debating whether or not to get the minis kit, purely for the dotting tool and My Twin Mimmy, I'm pretty happy with buying most of the collection :) My nails are quite short at the moment but as soon as I get a bit more length on them I'll start doing a few nails of the day posts, if you have any questions in the meantime though leave me a comment and let me know xx 

Saturday 23 January 2016

A Late Foodie Friday - My Twist On Nigellas Eggs In Purgatory

The plans of mice and men, or women and cats in my case! Yesterday's Foodie Friday post was curtailed by a very poorly Jakey cat. Thankfully after some emergency surgical intervention, he's home and doing well, so I'm now slightly less stressed and relaxed enough to get my blog on.

As it happens the recipe that I was going to share with you yesterday, is a perfect one for when you're feeling stressed or fragile. Whilst it's not a comfort food in the traditional sense, Eggs In Purgatory is a quick, one pan dish that really hits the spot, when you need a bit of boost. I know it a super popular brunch or quick lunch dish but for me it something that you could eat anytime of the day or night.

The premise of eggs and tomato is a staple of the traditional English breakfast but for me it brings back memories of Friday night teas, or evening meals with my dad, all be it with the volume turned up. Nigella Lawson's recipe for Eggs In Purgatory (which you can find here) is quick simply the best and the simplest, and more often then not that's how I make it, but this is my slightly spicier version, that easily feeds two, and that's perfect for the colder weather x

My Twist On Nigella Lawson's Eggs In Purgatory

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Clove Garlic
Chilli Flakes or Fresh Red Chilli
Chorizo or Vegetarian Chorizo or Pepperoni
A Sprinkle Of Salt To Taste
2 x 400g Tins Of Tomatoes
2-4 Eggs
Grated Parmesan Or Any Other Hard Cheese
Bread To Serve
Chilli Oil To Taste

1. Take a large frying pan or saute pan, and then add your olive oil, then grate, crush or finely chop your garlic clove and add it the pan, Then turn you pan on to a medium heat. Like the original recipe then either add a sprinkle or two of chilli flakes depending on how you hot you like it, or if you have them or you like the freshness and heat add as much finely chopped red chilli as you like.

2. Cook it for about a minute and then you can either move onto the next step or you can do what I like to do and add a bit more spice with some chopped chorizo or spicy salami sausage.

Obviously I'm vegetarian so I tend to use either a vegetarian chorizo or some vegetarian pepperoni. I normally use Quorn but if you fine with wheat Realeat also do a really good, hot and spicy, vegan chorizo. Cook it for about a minute till the red / orange spice filled oils start to come out of the meat or meat substitute.

3. Then add your tinned tomatoes - I'm serving two people here so I'm adding two tins, and a sprinkle of salt to taste.

Then give it a stir to combine all your ingredients, and cook for at least 5 minutes until the tomatoes have reduced slightly, and their hot and bubbly.You want tomatoes to be hot enough to poach an egg in.

4. Then carefully, without breaking the yolks if you can add your eggs into the bubbling tomatoes. I'm using 4 eggs for two people. I find it easier to crack the eggs into a cup and then add them into the tomato mix.

Sprinkle a little bit of Parmesan or any suitable vegetarian cheese (I'm using cheddar) over the eggs and partially cover with a lid till the eggs are cooked.

5. Ideally your yolks should still be a little bit runny, but it depends how you like them :)

And your done - remove for the heat and either eat directly from the pan or spoon it in to bowls, and top with some more grated cheese, and for some extra spice some chilli oil if you have some. Serve with a spoon to scoop it up, and lots of crusty bread (I using gluten free ciabatta) to soak up all of these spicy, tomato and egg juices.

Over the last few months this has been one of my go to dishes, it's soft, a recent must for me, it's filling and warming, and in a strange way quite soothing. I feel a bit of a fraud calling this a recipe really it's so easy but all hail Nigella, and those other innovators for inventing such a delicious yet simple combination of ingredients x

Thursday 21 January 2016

A Life Update - Wisdom Teeth Removal, Spoonie Life And Things To Come

Tuesday 12 January 2016

A Beauty Sale Haul Featuring Boots,SpaceNK And The Body Shop

As much as I love shopping, for some reason I can never seem to get excited about the post Christmas and January sales. I hate getting up early, and I can't stand all of the pushing, and shoving and hustle and bustle so I tend to avoid the shops until well into the New Year. Online shopping though is another matter and as soon as a lot of shops stop delivering in time for Christmas, you can pretty much guarantee, that their online sales will follow soon after.

I normally start off any sales shop by working out what I actually need, with clothes it's always the basics, but when it comes to beauty, I'm pretty easy, sometimes I'll go for things I know and love and sometimes I'll take advantage of a sale price to try something new.

I'm always a bit loathed to place online orders with SpaceNK, thanks to their over inflated postage but they had a few good offers on so I decided to take advantage and place a little order. A lot of stores seem to have had sale stock issues this year, and some of my order was subsequently cancelled so I didn't save as much as I would have liked but I did manage to get two things.

Lipstick Queen is a new brand to me and one that I'd wanted to try for a long time. This is the Lipstick Queen Chinatown Three To Thrill Set.

The set contains 3, 3g Lipstick Queen Glossy Pencils, in some of the brands most popular shades, Chinatown Chase, Chinatown Pink Bluff, Chinatown Catalina. I love this type of product so I thought that this kit would be a really good introduction to the brand. I think I'll get more use out of the pink based shades, Pink Bluff and Catalina, but despite looking a little bit scary in the tube Chase, is actually a much more wearable, subtle pale, coral, red, shade. Unfortunately due to the lousy weather we've had lately, I haven't managed to photograph any swatches for you but if you watch the video at the end of this post. hopefully you'll be able to get some idea of what they look like.

Although these pencils aren't full size I still think that this kit was well worth the money. It was originally £18 but I got it for just £7.50. Unfortunately this set seems to have sold out online but all of the shades are available in the full 7g size for £22 each.

In an ideal world I would now be showing you some of the beautiful Laura Mercier Creme Brulee products but it wasn't to be, so instead I'm showing you a beautifully boxed nail polish from Rococo.

The box maybe beautiful but the bottle itself it quite plain, thank heavens for the gorgeous colour inside.

It's quite hard to see here, but Rococo Nail Apparel in 8559 Mystic Luxe is a purple, blue shade which is crammed full of silver shimmer. My picture aren't really doing it justice but it a really pretty colour,

I don't think it's anything overly unusual but it looked so pretty, and since it was reduced from £12 to just £3, it gave me the perfect opportunity to try a new nail polish brand. This colour is still available on the SpaceNK website along with several other Rococo colours.

One of the brands that SpaceNK sell is This Works and whilst they did have a few kits in the sale they didn't have the one thing that I did want, so I looked elsewhere and thankfully Boots came up trumps.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a frustrating illness, you can either sleep the clock round or you can't sleep at all. I suffer from terrible insomnia at times, and after watching a few presentations on QVC I really fancied trying the This Works Plus + Pillow Spray.

I can be a bit funny with scent though, so I didn't want to launch straight in and buy the full size, so this seemed to be an ideal solution. The This Works Sleep + Cracker contains a 10ml bottle of the Plus + Pillow Spray which contains a variety of essential oils, and ingredients, which is clinically proven to help provide a better nights sleep. This cracker was originally £12 and I got it for £8, I haven't tried it yet but I'm looking forward to giving it a go.

I can pretty much guarantee now that I'll get at least one Soap & Glory kit for Christmas, and Christmas 2015 was no exception. I was lucky enough to get the big The Whole SheBang set. I love everything in it and I particularly excited to try the tinted body cream, but at the same time I was a bit disappointed that this years set didn't include any of the Sugar Crush products. I love the zesty, yet warm lime fragrance so I couldn't resist buying this kit.

I admit it part of the reason I went for this kit was down to the bag, the Soap & Glory Get A Smooth On kit, came in a gorgeous, holographic silver, barrel bag.

I love anything holographic, and the fact that this bag contains products from the Sugar Crush was just a bonus. The bag contains a 500ml Soap&Glory Sugar Crush Body Wash. a 300ml Soap&Glory Sugar Body Wash and a 300ml Soap&Glory Sugar Crush Body Buttercream. Ahh limey heaven but my excitement quickly faded when I realised that there was a product missing!

This kit should also have included a 100ml Soap&Glory Sugar Crush Body Spray. I would normally have sent the whole kit back but it was sold out and I really wanted the bag so I emailed Boots customer service, and thankfully they came up trumps. They apologised and added 500 points to my advantage card - 400 to cover the cost of the product and 100 for the inconvenience. Thanks Boots, customer service at it's best even at their busiest time of year! This kit was originally £35 and I got it for £17.50 which was half price x

Something else that's become a bit of a Christmas tradition is The Body Shop and their festive fragrances. I picked up a few bits before Christmas but as soon as the sale launched online. I ordered a few extra bits.

I didn't go mad, and I only bought exactly what I wanted. I bought another 200ml bottle of the Frosted Cranberry Shower Gel, which I love and I've bought for years, and I bought a couple of the Glazed Apple items. I must admit I wasn't sure about the Glazed Apple range when it launched in 2014 but it's really, really grown on me. I think I wanted it to be a traditional apple fragrance but it's not, it's sharp, yet sweet, sugary and fruity. I can't describe it really but it's my in shower favourite at the moment so I bought a few extra bits to see my through the year as I don't think that it's a Christmas specific scent - I got a 200ml Glazed Apple Body Butter and a 250ml Glazed Apple Shower Gel. There are still a few festive sale bits available online so move quick if you want to stock up.

Although I didn't go totally crazy I'm still really happy with my sale haul. I picked up some definite favourites and a few new things to try so I'm pretty pleased. I've made a little video to accompany this haul, so have a watch even if it's only to see the Lipstick Queen swatches x

I've only bought a couple of other things in the sales, so I probably won't be doing another sale haul post, but if you've bought anything amazing or found a fabulous bargain I'd love to hear about it, so leave me a comment and let me know your favourite sale buys x