Monday, 24 March 2014

My New Favourite Fragrance

For the first Christmas my boyfriend and I spent together, buying presents for each other was quite difficult! We'd set a budget of about £50 and I spent forever trying to put together a little hamper of presents for James, as he's a man who tends to buy what he wants when he wants it, rather than waiting for his Birthday or Christmas. James is also one who struggles for gifts, he often resorts to vouchers but he wanted to get me something physical as it was our first Christmas together. On Christmas Eve 2011 I was presented with a perfectly wrapped little Chanel box, containing a 30ml bottle of Coco Mademoiselle. I love this fragrance! over two years later I still have some left and I still use it often. Until the Christmas just gone, this little Chanel bottle was the only fragrance I owned! This year for Christmas, I was spoiled and after the festive season was over, I found myself with 5 perfumes! 

Now, moving on from that anecdote, here's another little story. I got to university in the centre of Newcastle, which leads to dangerous money being spent on nice food and all too many strolls through beauty halls. A very close friend of mine and I were wasting some time in our Friday break wondering Fenwicks beauty hall and found ourselves in Jo Malone. I'd only ever been in a few times before, once for my Mum's Birthday where we had their hand an arm massages (Amazing!). I saw a little bottle on the top shelf named 'Earl Grey and Cucumber' and Sarah and I just looked at one another. Sarah loves Earl Grey, and this fragrance was 100% her! After we umm'd and ahh'd for a little while it become an 'I will if you will situation' and Sarah and I left the shop with two beautifully wrapped boxes and posh little bags, and purses £39.50 lighter! 

I spent quite some time choosing my fragrance, I'd always lusted after the cologne intense range offered by Jo Malone but found the price tag off-putting and I decided I wanted a 30ml bottle. After much deliberation, I decided to go with Jo Malone's signature cologne, Lime Basil and Mandarin. This cologne smells like nothing I own, it's fresh, citrusy and light. Jo Malone describe the fragrance as 'Peppery basil and aromatic white thyme bring an unexpected twist to the scent of limes on a Caribbean breeze'. It's difficult to describe this scent, it's fresh and reminds me of spring and summer. If you have a Jo Malone near by, I urge you to go and take a sniff! 

Two things had always put me off Jo Malone, one being the price (£39.50 for 30ml!) and the other being the staying power of a cologne rather than an eau de parfum as I have issues with fragrance lastings on me. I need not have worried though, this probably lasts on me better than Chanel or Dior does! Most fragrances only last me between 2-3 hours, but this can last on me for closer to 4-5 hours and clings to my clothes really well, so even if it's not on my skin I can still smell it. The issue of price I've managed to justify, as really the price for 30ml is around that of most high end fragrances such as Dior, Chanel and Guerlain. The uniqueness of this fragrance also makes it worth the price to me, as with the Jo Malone colognes it's easy to mix them and blend them to give a very unique and personal scent. 

I've really enjoyed using this fragrance and I'm now completely besotted with the brand! I already have my eye on a few other fragrances for my Birthday, I think that Wild Fig and Cassis, White Jasmine and Mint, and Vanilla Anise are topping my list, but I don't think there's one I can say I don't want! 

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Hello! + Haul.

Hello there everyone!

After a massive blogging break, I'm back with a little haul today. I apologise for the massive gap, with university starting and getting into the swing of it, then Christmas, exams, a few bouts of tonsillitis! (the suckers are coming out in May! Yay!) I'm finally finding myself with time to blog, so I thought why not come back with a haul.

My haul, unboxed! (Sans Lip balm, which had already made it's way into my handbag.

Did you know that some big M&S's have a beauty section? it's full of brands like REN, Nuxe and Murad, but also carries smaller  brands I'd never even heard of! It's given my quite a list of brands I want to try out. As my lovely Mum is an M&S Premium Club member she gets vouchers and promotions quite often, and she had received a 20% voucher. We had intended to just pop into M&S and get the things we were after, and pop into Boots (sick Simone requires lemsips!) and head home. I had gone with the idea in mind of picking up a new bottle of REN's ClearClam Clay Cleanser and REN's micro polish cleanser.  When I got there, I discovered there were none the REN Clay Cleanser left! Of course, like any beauty addict, rather than go home and buy it online, I had to have a look around. I stopped to look at Murad, a brand  I had used one product of a long time ago on Holiday in Florida to clear up the skin on my arms (I tend to suffer with blocked hair follicles) and it worked really well. It was a spur of the moment purchase from Sephora and I used it in the shower and thought nothing of it, I was on holiday! Anyway, I decided to have a look at some of their products and found they sold some pretty decent sized try me kits, and that all Murad products were buy one, get one half price, and I could still use my of course, I got two!

Each set contains four products and I look forward to trying them out! I'd wanted to try their products since my boyfriend took me away to Rockliffe Hall (which was amazing) and I had a good look at their products there as it's what they use for facials.  I had intended to get a facial there, but as we only had an over night stay and had other treatments booked, I didn't get time to fit it in! We are planning to go back in April for my Birthday, so maybe I'll get to have one then if I like the products. 

Murad Ban Blemishes starter kit, price £29.50 at Marks and Spencers

First, the 'Ban Belmishes Starter Kit' this contains for products; their Clarifying Cleanser, Exfoliating Blemish Treatment Gel, a moisturiser known as Skin Perfecting Lotion, and a Blemish Spot Treatment. The products are of course not full size, but are generously sized so I should be able to get a good idea of how my skin likes or dislikes these.

Above - Murad Ban Blemishes Starter Kit.
Below - Murad Sun Undone Starter Kit, Priced £29.50 at Marks and Spencers

The second set I bought is their 'Sun Undone' Starter kit. Now, I don't have sun damaged skin, I've only been sunburned once (honestly! live in Saudi Arabia for 10 years = no sunburn, go on holiday to Spain once = Lobster child!) so I didn't buy this for that reason. The reason I chose this one was the fact this one is their 'revel radiance' line. It reminds me a lot of REN in terms of the packaging, it's the same orange shade. This set contains a cleanser as well, this time it's their 'Essential C-Cleanser', a serum called 'Advanced Active Radiance Serum', a moisturiser 'Essential C Day Moisture with SPF 30' and the matching eye cream, with SPF 15. Once again the sizes are generous and should allow me to get a good mix of products to see what suits my skin. The only worry I have with Murad is that some of their prices are not very student purse friendly, but if a product works I'm happy to pay for it. 

Above - Murad Sun Undone Starter Kit
Below - REN Radiance Micro Polish Cleanser, Priced £20 at Marks and Spencers

I also bought the REN Cleanser. I really bought into the idea of chemical exfoliation, however after getting a sample size of this, I realised my skin really does love a gentle, physical exfoliation. This one smells really nice and fresh (The whole radiance line from REN smells fresh and citrusy) and has little, tiny beads that exfoliate, and also contains glycolic and lactic acid. It's gentle and packs a good punch!

NUXE Lip Balm, Priced £6 at Marks and Spencers

I also bought this lip balm from NUXE. Now, everyone in my family has this! I have a pot, my mum is onto her second, my brother has one, and my boyfriend steals mine! Once you use this, it's very difficult to go back to anything else, and I wanted the stick to carry around in my handbag. Nothing else will cut it!

Marks and Spencers isn't really a place I tend to associate with beauty, normally I go there for good food and basics like socks, underwear and tights, but they've really impressed me! Their clothes are actually looking really good too! Next time you're in a big store, check if they have a beauty section, if you're in the North East, I know that M&S Newcastle has one (second floor, where the ladies wear is) and so does the Metrocentre. The staff are really helpful and really know the brands too. 

Have you hauled much lately?