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Monday, 28 September 2009

Ask me a Question and Win a Prize!

If you missed my first BlogTV show, then I hope you'll be able to stop by for my next show on Friday 2nd October 2009. Link to my channel on BlogTV. I'll be co hosting an hour long show at 8.30pm (GMT UK Time) with Sirvinya.

We'll be interviewing each other based on questions asked by our subscribers and viewers. So if you'd like to ask us a question then please leave a comment below as soon as possible! If your question is picked you could win a prize!

Please note that we can't answer anything personal, but all make up related questions are welcome! The more interesting the question, the more likely it is to be picked!


Friday, 25 September 2009

The Cake of Destiny

Tired of life giving you lemons? Make a cake, a lemon drizzle cake!

Here's a recipe that I use to make a delicious, moist, sweet and dense sponge cake

This is the easiest cake to make and enjoy!


225g of Butter
225g of Caster Sugar
4 eggs
Grated rind of one lemon.
3 teaspoons of Bicarbonate of Soda
225g of Plain Flour

Lemon Drizzle:
85g of Caster Sugar
Juice of 1 and a half lemons

1. Preheat your oven to 180 Celsius (gas mark 4)
2. Line a cake tin or loaf tin with grease proof paper (if you don't have one then you could use individual muffin cases as well)
3. Mix together the butter and sugar
4. Add each egg and combine with butter and sugar mixture
5. Add lemon zest
6. Add sifted flour and bicarbonate of Soda and mix until well combined
7. Spoon the mixture in to the lined tin and use a spoon to level
8. Bake for 40 - 50 minutes, using a skewer to check if the cake is done (poke the cake and if the skewer comes out dry, it is done!)
9. Combine the lemon juice and sugar
10. Drizzle over the cake as it is cooling and still in the tin.



Thursday, 24 September 2009

Long Time No See! Beauty Without Cruelty Review

Beauty without Cruelty is somewhat of an iconic brand for me, I think my awareness of animal testing started with my purchase of this brand over 15 years ago! I almost cried with joy when I looked through the range and saw that "Mulberry" lipstick is still available!

The packaging may have changed from blue to a sleek silver but the ethos and mission of the brand remains. BWC has been making cruelty free make up since the early 1960's when it was formed as a charitable trust; dedicated to creating a range of cosmetics made from ingredients which were not tested on animals. Animal testing was routine and considered normal at that time and in some companies, still is.

The name says it all really and for me it's the perfect brand. You used to be able to find this brand in Boots in the UK but now it is mainly available online from Ultraglow and in certain department stores.

I seemed to have got pretty much the entire line to review for you, such was my zeal at having found a long lost friend. Everything I have reviewed costs less than £6 an item, which is amazing value for cruelty free and vegetarian make up.

So let's start with the foundation.

From L to R
Mineral Ultrafine Pressed Powder in Medium 2, 8g - I chose a coloured rather than translucent powder because although translucent is colourless, it can make my skin look grey. It is light and I feel best applied with a fluffy brush or Duo Fibre Optic Brush to set make up and relieve shininess. A make up sponge also works well.

Moisturising Make Up Foundation in Bronze Satin 4, 30ml - I haven't used a liquid foundation since my wedding in July, mainly because I generally find them too drying or just too heavy. I generally prefer mineral foundations at the moment. But for a flawless skin, covering up any imperfections is easier with a liquid foundation and concealer. This make up has a semi-matte finish, so it leaves the face looking fresh and glowy which is perfect for daywear. The packaging says it contains sunscreens but I doubt it is SPF 30 which I am used to, so I generally use this over my SPF, leaving a few minutes between the application. It didn't leave my skin with dry patches either which is a common complaint for me with some liquid foundations.

Natural Look Tinted Moisturiser in Medium 2, 30ml - this light liquid is absorbed by my skin readily leaving it feeling light and soft. It does not provide a coverage that will hide dark blemishes, but if you have reasonably good skin, then you could replace a heavier foundation with a moisturiser. I tend to do this in hot weather or if I am travelling. If you have oilier skin, then use less or set with a mattifying powder.

Liquid Concealer and Instant Highlighter in Medium 2, 1.2ml - This did a good job of covering blemishes and dark circles, redness and uneven skin tone. It is very lightweight so won't cover very dark circles completely but as a highlighter it works well enough , it also doesn't contain any shimmer so it's good for photography and an everyday look.

All of these are under £5 each!

Moisturising Lipstick, (from L to R) Birch, Butterscotch, Sweet Apricot and Perfect Plum. These are under £6 each and contain vitamin E and apricot kernel oil, they glide on and wear off graciously, without leaving hideous patches or attached to dry skin which is gross! My favourite is Birch as it's a beautiful natural warm shade on my lips, the matching lip pencil is good, a little on the hard side but that's good as I don't like very smudgy ones, they don't tend to last as well.

Mascara and Liner. I really liked these two. The liner (under £4) isn't waterproof but the applicator is highly tapered and not too soft so it gives excellent control and precision. The mascara (under £6) brush is large and the tube is tight so that it removes excess product and reduces clumping. My lashes did feel thicker and more defined after using it. I wouldn't say it's my favourite but it lasted well and didn't flake either.

Eye Shadows, the darker colours like the purple and brown are not hugely pigmented, so if you want a lot of colour it is best to pack on the colour using a flat brush or use them wet. The graphite and browns were gorgeous and rich with a good amount of non chunky glitter.

The duos below are Lilac, Graphite and Tamarind and are under £5 each.

Blushers. I have to say that even though the blushers are a bit talcy, the finish was superb and the colours were just what I wanted. They are easy to work with and building up the colour on the cheeks is a doddle.

Excellent Value but not a huge selection of shades, not much beyond natural shades so if you prefer lots of colour then I would look at a more fashion oriented brand like Sleek or Barry M. It's difficult to know where to place the brand as it stands on it's own and looks odd next to Rimmel and Maybelline with their over ambitious packaging and bright colours.

If packaging were a real issue I would tell you, it's cheap in terms of construction, but I really can't name a high street drugstore brand where the packing isn't problematic. These are sturdy enough to survive a make up bag although I always worry about blushers, isn't it always blushers which end up fracturing and all over the bottom of the make up bag?!

I will say is that I vote with my wallet and I would rather buy BWC than any other drugstore brand simply because of the ethical and environmental standards that BWC hold dear, and I feel that it's a massive shame that other brands put £££wonga before their conscience.

Here's a little look that I came up with today using the Tamarind eye shadows, hot chestnut and sungold blushers. Birch (my fave) on the lips!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Interviewed on It's Called Maintenance Blog

The lovely Gypsydancermacaholic is another make up junkie guru on YouTube. She posed some interesting questions about my love of all things make up related! Click here to read the interview!

You can read interviews with Gossmakeupartist and Scotlass99, two other UK based YouTube make up gurus on her blog as well.

I was chuffed to be asked, hope you enjoy the interview!


Tuesday, 22 September 2009

10,000 Subscribers Contest Winners!

It was really hard to decide on the three winners of my 10,000 subscribers contest. In the end I picked this video, embedded below. I really wish that Chariot90 could post a tutorial on this look, the sheer amount of time and effort that went in to this look which oozes style and creativity just made it a clear winner for me! Chariot90 lives in Sweden, so that is where the prize (MAC palette and Red Clutch Bag of MAC goodies (lashes, glitter liner, fluidline etc) will be posted out to!

The second winner is Glitterdollz7 with her effortless grunge/rock chick look. I loved that she started her video with NO make up on, to show that you can go from nought to hot in 10 products! Glitterdollz7 is from the UK.

The third winner is CandyCaneps with her beautiful every day smokey brown look. I love watching her videos as she is so lovely and easy to watch. I think her entry was great because it's very wearable and easy to do, I have a lot of those colours myself and would like to recreate this look. Candycaneps is in the US.

I'd like to thank every one of the entrants who took part in the contest and each and every single one of my channels subscribers and viewers, most of you I think only watch for my voice, which is cool - I am glad to be of service in some small way! Thank you for all your support, it truly means the world to me.


What happens when I have a bit of time on my hands!

I have been thinking about doing a Hallowe'en tutorial so this is what I was playing with, it's just a quick practice so I'll spend more time on the tutorial.

Rather than do something dark and scary I decided to do something bright and creative. This look could be used with loads of different colour combinations.

Products used:

Barry M Dazzle Dusts
Emerald Green
Black Gold
Nouba Bronze Liquid Eye Liner

Oh and by the way, it came off really easily with my make up remover!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Cosmetic Diary Tag!

So I thought I'd start a tag, I don't know if it's original or not but I thought it would be interesting to total up and document what I use in a day. I am a list-a-holic, I love making lists of things, it helps me organise my thoughts and prioritise stuff.

You know if you're planning a diet they say you should first do a food diary to see where you can cut things out or substitute for healthier alternatives, well I thought I'd do the same for my cosmetics to see what I use in a day.

I generally wipe my face with a damp cloth and apply some aloe vera gel because I am either going to the gym, running, cycling or swimming so no point in applying make up or showering until afterwards! If I am not going to do those, say if I have a meeting or can't get to the gym etc, then I use the same products in the morning.

Today I went swimming at Lunch time so here's what I took
Shower - The Body Shop Shower Gel in Morninga
Wash Hair Tisserand Rosemary Shampoo and Original Source Almond Conditioner
Clean Face Karin Herzog Professional Cleanser
Tone Face Aloe Vera Gel
Moisturise and Protect Glycolic Acid Moisturiser followed by Clinique SPF30
Body Moisturiser The Body Shop Vanilla Lotion

Naked Blowdry/Curling Cream (optional)

Make Up - this is my go to look as it takes me 5 minutes
e.l.f Studio Concealer and Highlighter (Medium)
Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks (Velvet Plum)
Bare Faced Beauty Mineral Foundation (Sincere)
M.A.C Kohl (Duck)
M.A.C Eye Shadows (Satin Taupe, Brule and Amber Lights)
Sleek Pout Polish (Perfect Plum)
e.l.f Waterproof Mascara (black)

I have a hormonal spot at the moment on my cheek, it's painful and massive so I am using Karin Herzog Vit A Kombi 3 cream a few times a day on the area to bring it down!

In my bag I am carrying Pink Sprinkles Mango and Lime Lip Balm, it seriously is the smoothest lip balm ever and Australis lip and cheek cream in case I fancy a bit of colour. I also carry the Body Shop's Soft Hands Kind Heart Hand Cream.

Baby Oil and Rosewater & Glycerin Toner eye make up remover (my own recipe see video for how to make it and then this video on how to use it.
Karin Herzog Professional Cleanser removed with a damp microfibre or muslin cloth.
Aloe Vera Gel
Glycolic Acid Moisturiser
Almond oil on my cuticles as my nails have been really bad and splitting and flaking (yuck) so this is helping bring them back to health.

so that's an average day in the life of my cosmetics - 24 products - that doesn't include toothpaste and mouthwash though!! It also doesn't consider when I do tutorials, I guess I should post again if someone tags me back! I'd love to read about your Cosmetics Diary, so let me know if you decide to take me up on my tag, however, consider yourself ALL TAGGED!


Sunday, 20 September 2009

Aw thanks to Jen (Mizzworthy) for her lovely I love your blog tag!
I've become an avid blog reader, always interested in other people's point of view about make up and trends!

I'm tagging:
Sophie (Melovemakeup)
Gail (Ooglegail)
and someone who has all the goss! BritishBeautyBlogger

There are loads I would also tag but I think that they've already been tagged by others or wouldn't know I've tagged them as they don't read my blog!

Cheers Jen, thanks for the tag!

Friday, 18 September 2009

Making Beauty Videos

I thought I would also use this post to tell you a bit more about how I make videos, there was some debate on Twitter last week!

So here's my total time for one video:

Shower and cleanse face - 30 mins
I usually time the making of a video for when the daylight is best in the room I film in, which is the afternoon. So I normally go for a run, swim, gym or cycle beforehand then have to shower which is also where I cleanse my face ready for the tutorial.

Style Hair - 30 mins
Ok sometimes I don't dry or style my hair so just put it back and hope you don't notice! Again most of my looks are linked to my lifestyle so if I am going out I will normally have a look and outfit in mind and film the tutorial around that.

Select Make Up - 30 minutes
I have a lot of make up! I like to select a range of brands and textures, this can take a bit of time. I like to play about with colours and spend time deciding which formulations to use together that will work. I like to plan this part as it makes filming and editing a much more efficient process. I think you can tell in my videos where I have been playing about as they need a lot more editing to cut out the faffing about with products.The videos that I film for the elfcosmeticsuk YouTube channel are normally the beginning of looks, so things like using false lashes, primers, concealers and foundations are all useful first steps in any look. Sometimes I go ahead and make another look video just to be efficient!

Select and prepare brushes/sponges/palettes up to 30 minutes
I have a lot of brushes but only a few of my favourite ones, so I have to make sure they are clean, disinfected and dry; ready to use. I normally clean my brushes after using them and definitely if they have had strong colours on them from the prior use or if I have used them in my kit on a client. Natalya was saying on twitter that she spent an hour washing her brushes! I gave her the tip of using distilled alcohol to speed up the drying process whilst at the same time disinfecting them.

Set up camera, lighting, background and mirror up to 20 minutes.
This can take up to 20 minutes as it depends on the ambient lighting in the room. I did invest in a professional lighting rig, but it kept blowing fuses and it was so hot and bright that I couldnt stand to sit under them for more than a few minutes! So now I use spot lamps which throw a white light, they still aren't as good as natural day light but come the long winter nights, it's the best we gurus can do.

Filming - 30 minutes
The actual filming is very short, although there have been ocassions where I have been unhappy with the lighting and look that I have scrapped it and started it again. I like to keep my videos to below 10 minutes, but if I am doing a full face look with will creep up to 15 minutes. My wedding video also was a three parter because it was start to finish bridal make up which is trickier than every day make up!

Editing 1 hour
For any video maker this is the most time consuming part. I upload my film from my camera to the laptop, sometimes I record directly to my laptop but that is fiddly and I would rather not have to drag my laptop around when I am filming! This upload is done in real time, at the speed at which the video plays. So can take 3o mins just to upload to my laptop before I can edit it.

I use Windows Movie Maker as well which is really basic and takes a lot of memory just to run, which means I can't do anything else on my laptop when it is working or it will crash. Editing means watching every minute of film and cutting and splicing back together the sequences to make something which is easy to follow and doesn't miss out any useful detail.

Rendering - 30 minutes
Rendering is the process where Movie Maker takes my edited project and turns it in to a movie files which can be uploaded to YouTube. I may have to do this up to three times to get the final version. This takes an age and it's a waiting game!

Sound Engineering - 30 minutes
On my e.l.f videos I like to take the rendered movie file and clean up the sound as it's often hissy and dirty. This takes time in finding and editing out background noise. I tend not to do this for my own videos as it takes so long. The produced sound file then has to be edited back in to the movie file and then the whole project (new sound and video) has to be re rendered back to a movie file! So you can see why I don't do this for my videos just for others as it's so time consuming!

Digital Photography - 30 minutes

I use a better quality camera to take still images of my eyes and face of the finished looks. I try not to use flash photography as it washes out the colours or makes them look different to natural light. This can take up to 30 minutes to get the right lighting, angles and focus and just get three decent shots. I then download them from my camera and work on them to zoom in to the eyes as my camera doesn't take good close up shots, I have to digitally and manually edit images to get the right size for the close ups!

Uploading - 30 minutes
If you've uploaded to YouTube, you will know that it's not that straightforward and doesn't always work first time! There is nothing more frustrating than leaving something to upload, to come back and find an error message. Sometimes this is YouTube, sometimes it's my wireless internet!

Blogging - 30 minutes
I like to blog about new videos here, writing an article can take a short or long time, depending on the topic!

So what's the grand total for one look video and accompanying blog article: 6 hours 20 minutes!

Of course I don't spend that 6 hours chained to my laptop working on a video but when you think about it, it's a long time and it's no wonder I can't do that many videos in a week! I think if I did try to do more than two videos a week I would lose interest in making them as it will become a bit of a chore! But luckily I still love making YouTube make up videos and blogging mainly because of the lovely feedback I get from all the lovely viewers and readers!

I'd love to hear about how you make videos and blog articles, and if you have any time saving tips for me! Also what do you like/dislike about vlogging?


Sunday, 13 September 2009

Skin Types and Care

This post is for everyone who writes to me about their skin. Unfortunately, I cannot respond on an individual basis as much as I would really like to, so take what you need from this post and I hope it helps you!

Here comes the science part...

Skin Types:
Your skin type is determined by how much oil is secreted by your glands.

If it is overactive then your skin is OILY, conversely if it is underactive then your skin is termed DRY.

Well that wasn't too scientific was it?

I don't know anyone with "Normal" skin and it is very rare as the environment, stress levels, diet and hormones all affect our skin in one way or another.

So how do you know which you have and what should you do to get the best out of it? If you read on I'll outline the key characteristics and causes of the three main skin types as well as some tips on caring for it. There are then three more skin conditions which are common and should be considered in your skin care regime. For example my skin is Combination and Sensitive.

Dry Skin:
Key Characterisitics:
  1. Matte Appearance
  2. Dry Flaky Patches
  3. Small Minimised Pores
  4. Feels tight after washing/cleansing
  1. Climate - oil secretion decreases as the temperature does
  2. Ageing - oil secretion decreases with age
  3. Some Medications (check with your doctor/pharmacist)
  4. Diet lacking in fats/oil
Moisturisers help protect and rebuild, nourish and soften the skin. Using a richer cream over night helps to repair the skin as well. Products containing rose, almond and evening primrose are considered to be rich and nourishing.

Oily Skin
Key Characteristics:
  1. Shiny Appearance
  2. Enlarged Pores
  3. Blocked Pores and Blackheads
  4. Blemishes/Spots
  1. Hormones (Teenage, Pregnancy and Periods)
  2. Climate - heat
  3. Hereditary
  4. Irregular Cleansing
  5. Foods rich in sugar and fat

  1. Opt for cleanse/tone/moisturising products that rebalance oil production. You can use cleansing oils as these don't penetrate the skin. Cleansing oils also don't strip the skin of all oils which leads to an increase in oil production - the vicious cycle we can often get trapped in. I use Dermalogica Precleanse oil.
  2. Try a Deep Cleansing Mask perhaps once or twice a week to clear out pores and prevent blackheads
  3. Use products which soften and calm the skin such as aloe vera and rosewater.
Combination Skin:
Key Characteristics:
  1. Oily Skin on the T-Zone (forehead, nose and chin)
  2. Dry Skin on the rest of the face
  1. The T Zone has a greater number of oil producing glands than the rest of the skin and they tend to be more active
  2. Inadequate Cleansing routine or strong cosmetics products (like heavy foundations or overly strong cleansers)
  1. Cleanse properly around the T-Zone
  2. Rebalance, moisturise and protect the skin using products which neither strip the skin of oil drying it out or over moisturise the skin clogging pores.
Ok, once you've decided which of those three you have for most of you will say combination, we now have to consider Skin Conditions:

Sensitive Skin
Key Characteristics:
  1. Redness
  2. Itchiness, slight swelling in reaction to cosmetics
  3. Dry skin will get drier
  4. Oily skin will get oilier
  1. Excessive exposure to sun, wind, cold and pollution
  2. Stress and Fatigue
  3. Illness and Medication
  4. Diet
  5. Repeated use of unsuitable cosmetics - this is why it's important to get your skin care just right, that way you can also find your perfect make up formulations.

The way to desensitise your skin is to use very gentle and soothing products. From personal experience I have found aloe vera gel very useful. It is a trial and error to find out which products won't flare you up, but persevere and you will find a brand or formula which will not flare you up. We also need to reinforce our skin's natural defences, so I use a sunblock which provides comfort, protection and moisture for my skin when I am out and about.

Dehydrated Skin
Key Characteristics:
  1. Fine horizonal Lines
  2. Dull appearance (lack of radiance)
  1. Climate (central heating & air conditioning both sap the skin of moisture)
  2. Not drinking enough water
  3. Alcohol
  4. Illness and Medication
  5. Caffeine (energy drinks/coffee/tea)
  6. Smoking
  7. Use of strong cosmetics products (ones unsuitable for your base skin type)
Drink more water, cut down alcohol and smoking - consider your skin type when choosing cleansing/tone/moisturising products. Maintain the skin's moisture with a good moisturiser.

Ageing Skin
Key Characteristics:
  1. Deeper Lines and Wrinkles
  2. Loss of Firmness, slackening and loss of features (e.g jaw line)
  3. Lines around the eyes and lips
  1. Pollution and Sun Exposure
  2. Lifestyle (smoking, stress, alcohol)
  3. Nature - it's a natural process!
To use products which help counteract pollution and sun exposure (products with sun protection factors built in) and to consider your lifestyle (smoking, alcohol, stress) it's easier said than done I know.

Let me know if this was useful for you!

Friday, 11 September 2009

Sleek Make UP Pout Polish - Sneaky Peek

I've been playing with my new tinted lip conditioner by Sleek Make UP, it's available in four shades, but I have Perfect Plum which is the darkest in the range; a spicy plum colour.

You all know that my staple lip tint is Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for cheeks and lips in Velvet Plum. It isn't a gloss so it's hard to compare on that aspect. But I was interested to try something with a 1/4 of the price tag!

The Pout Polish from Sleek Make UP is slightly different in consistency, more like a gloss but not really very glossy just not matte or dry so I wouldn't really be happy to put it on my cheeks as the colour distribution wouldn't be as good. It's great for natural looks as it's a similar tone as my natural lip colour. However, on the lips a little goes a long way.

A small amount can be applied as a sheer sheen of colour. If I add a bit more then it comes out a lovely dark cherry colour. I don't really like applying lip products with fingers so that would stop me putting it in my handbag and taking it out and about. That's my only complaint!

It's moisturising and nourishing as it's made with shea butter and almond oil, has an SPF 15 so it's good for all seasons and whatever the environment throws at you! It lasts about an hour or so before I feel the need to reapply but it wears off naturally rather than leaving patches of colour on any dry bits of skin so a top up is all that's needed.

Pout Polish Tinted Lip Conditioner from Sleek Make UP is £3.91 and available in Superdrug. The other colours are called Electro Peach, Pink Cadillac and Chocolate Kiss.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

In love with my new cleanser...

I have been using this Karin Herzog Professional Cleansing Face Gel cleanser for about two weeks, I was going to buy the Eve Lom cleanser but was put off by the £70 price tag. I don't know about you but that's more than the average person earns in a day so it's an awful lot to spend on a cleanser! This cleanser is £32 for a 50ml tube. (Currently there is a 3 for 2 on the Karin Herzog UK website)

I like
  • The smell - yummm! It's floral with a hint of coconut, I love the smell, even my husband liked it!
  • It's effective - scrupulously clean face and feels brighter and softer after using it
  • You don't have to wet your face and then faff about with the tube with you wet hands!
  • I am not allergic to it. Huge relief as I've been sent stuff that I didn't review because it made me itch!
  • My skin has been better (less rosacea and break outs) since using it.
I dislike
  • The texture takes a little getting used to as it is a bit like vaseline and you have to let it melt between the fingers before applying.
  • It works for taking off eye make up but needs to be reapplied mid way which is awkward and messy - I use it after I've taken off the worst of my eye make up to make sure it's all gone.
Would I buy it?
I normally use Dermalogica Precleanse which to me is the best since I had a facial using it. However I still use a separate eye make up remover, which I think is just a given really for people with dry/rosacea prone skin and I don't like rubbing my eyes and getting black all over the skin as it can stain! I don't want to wash my face with a drying foaming wash which would take every trace away in one go. So YES I would buy it, and consider the rest of the range.

I have made a demonstration video on my channel, you can see it by clicking on this link!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Tag - things which make me happy.

I haven't done a blog entry which isn't review based for a while so I thought I'd open that door a little for a peek in to "Things which make me happy"

1. Trial runs for special occasion make up. I think I am a bit of a people pleaser, I love hosting parties, helping out and I absolutely love doing bridal and special occasion make up. It's so much fun with brides to be, seeing their happy and mostly surprised (in a good way) faces when I have finished their make up.

2. My family, we are spread out around the UK and don't see each other often but they are always the first on my calling list with news!

3. My husband, it's the little things that he does that make me happy, he brings me chocolate when I have had a bad day, wakes me up with kind words and when we first starting going out he was kind to my cats, unlike the previous boyf! BTW Chocolate had to be mentioned on this list somewhere.

4. Going for a run and achieving a better time or distance than the previous effort! I would never have believed that I could actually enjoy running, I detested it for so long but now that I do it three times a week, it's not that bad really. I believe that exercise should be fun and rewarding in more ways than just improving your health. I try to go somewhere different so that it's a bit of an adventure and if I start to get bored I stop or take a break. Otherwise it feels like a chore and I don't want to lose motivation. On gym days I have a little treat like a face mask, foot scrub or new conditioner to use which just about counteracts the horribleness of the workout. My ambition is to be able to run the five miles to the local pub in a decent time, where I can relax with the paper, wifi internet and a hot chocolate, then jog back! I think I would only do this once a week though as it's rather time consuming!

5. Finding the perfect jeans/dresss/shoes/bag etc... This week I found my perfect autumn/spring coat. I am normally not an impulse buyer, I have to um and ah about it for a few days, but I tried this coat on and just had to have it. Saying that it's still in my closet unworn but I will break it out to take to London with me to meet Sirvinya and MyVanityTable next week!

This is a double breasted teal moleskin jacket from Debenhams (I was tempted by the Zara purple mid thigh length but it didn't quite fit properly and made me look like I was 14) I like the fact that it's not black and that it nips in at the waist but doesn't have a belt as I find belts on coats annoying! It's currently a respectable £49.99 which I think is great for a smart/casual coat. It should take me through to winter when I will break out the cashmere/wool full length!

6. Voluntary work within my community. It's tiring and often thankless but I enjoy volunteering as it gives me skills and experience that I wouldn't get in my every day job. I would recommend it to anyone with a spare afternoon. From walking rescue dogs to singing or playing an instrument at a retirement home, it will give you something more rewarding than just pennies in your pocket.

7. Playing with make up, well this had to be on my list didn't it! I love playing with new brands, colours, textures and looks. You Tube and Blogging have been brilliant fun and I've come a long way from when I started which was just me playing about with make up. I remember having a Girl's World toy when I was about 6, it was given to me by a friend of the family as their daughter was too old for it. I wish I still had it as I used to have endless fun doing hair and make up looks on the disembodied head! It would have been useful at College too when were practicing new techniques on each other instead!

So those were my "things which make me happy", a bit mediocre you may think but I believe that it's the small things that make me happy. After all as Bertrand Russell says To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Skin Renewal Facial Peeling Cream for under £10, SAY WHAT??

I have been saving this post for a good long while. I basically bought this skin cream on a whim during my honeymoon because I was intrigued as to whether something which costs £6.99 would actually deliver results that a glycolic acid skin peel would. I've been using it as my daily and nightly moisturiser for about six weeks now, read on to find out more about the results and my experience with it!

Where and how much is it?
Glycolic Acid Skin Renewal Cream by Holland & Barrett is my new best friend, for an 85g tub it costs £6.99 and lasts for ages. You can see a link to it here. It can be used all over the body, even around the eyes. It leaves my skin soft, supple and smooth. I don't know if I've said before but I have very sensitive skin, most sensitive skin products are too harsh for me! So if this product hasn't reacted on me then it must be very gentle. I always recommend trying a product in a patch test on the arm or neck to see if you react, do this at least 48 hours before applying to the face for the first time.

What is Glycolic Acid and am I going to end up with a crispy face?
Glycolic acid is a fruit acid and can be derived from sugar cane, pineapples and unripe grapes to name a few sources. It works on the skin in a similar way to salicylic acid (or aspirin), I've seen numerous skin care videos about using aspirin masks which can help with acne scarring, hyperpigmentation and wrinkles. Glycolic acid is the acid most commonly used in skin peels, you know the ones on 10 years younger where the person looks like the undead for a few weeks before revealing baby soft skin! But don't be frightened, to get that effect you'd have to use a product with a 70%+ concentration of glycolic acid, this cream has less than 20% so it's not going to make your skin peel that quickly or noticeably.

What happened?
I have been using this cream for over six weeks now, I always give treatments a month of my time to see how they work. The other day I finally noticed that my skin looked brighter, wrinkles were less obvious and it feels wonderfully smooth. Do you remember that on my eye make up remover video someone left a comment about Milia (those little fat filled white bumps that appear around the lips and under eyes)? Pretty much everyone has those, usually related to high cholesterol diets and lack of vitamin A. Glycolic acid is a great treatment for those as it gently breaks down the fats holding dead skin cells on your newer skin underneath, which can help release dead skin and clear up the milia. This has also been a great reliever of my rosacea which makes the skin on my cheeks look red all the time and sometimes I get a painful red rash which doesn't go away for ages. So far I haven't had any bad episodes and if one does come up this cream seems to make it go away faster and leaves the skin smooth instead of dry and flaky. Oh the joys of acne!

The only caveat with this cream is that it may increase your sensitivity to sun exposure, so you must wear an SPF during the day if using this cream as your moisturiser.

My recommendation
It's a big fat YES, I've recommended this product to everyone I know as I think it's a really effective and cheap way to get brighter and softer skin. I'm going to keep using it as it's proven its worth to me already. I've just ordered four more tubs of this, just in case there is a national shortage. I am a bit concerned as I ordered them a week ago and still no sign of them... hmmm.
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