Friday, 23 November 2012

Xen Tan Dark Lotion Absolute Luxe and Luxury Tanning Mitt

I got this at the Xen Tan bloggers event held way back in July at the rather swanky Malmaison in Manchester.  It's my favourite tanning brand so there was no way I was missing out.  I'm only just getting round to trying it now as I've been in denial about my paleness and pretending that I still have my Mexico tan (I really don't).  The event was great, we were all offered Xen Tan spray tans, the chance to get our nails done in the spa and a bag of Xen Tan treats.  We heard all about the brand too which I thought was an excellent touch - interesting Xen Tan fact, and something I didn't know, is that they're based just down the road from me in Bredbury.

So on to the review.  The Dark Lotion Absolute Luxe packaging looks great, and as it's a tube it's really easy to dispense the tan to apply it.  First impressions of the lotion was that it looked really light, a caramel colour rather than the usual brown Xen Tan, and it smelled absolutely amazing.  Not a hint of fake tan here, it smells really sweet and like vanilla, I loved it!  Now, the lighter colour of this made it a bit tricky to see where I had applied it already but I soon got the hang of it.  Application was very straightforward and quick, the creamy formula really helped and felt really moisturising.  I also used this on my face with no problems.

Once it's applied, you can tell you're a slightly different colour but it doesn't look like you've been rolling around in mud.  Even my boyfriend commented that the colour looked more reasonable than it usually does whilst I'm mid-tan.  I would say you could legitimately go to the corner shop wearing this.  I left this overnight - Xen Tan recommend at least 3-4 hours but best results in 7-8 - and the sheets looked absolutely fine when I woke up. Yay!  However the smell of DHA (that giveaway tan smell) was definitely present but it wasn't strong and went away after a shower.

The colour had developed overnight into a really nice, noticeable un-orange tan that looks pretty natural (for November anyway) - it wasn't quite as dark as I was expecting but I'm actually quite pleased about that.  No-one wants to look like they've been Ronsealed.   Not a hint of streaking either.  Overall, this is a gorgeous tan that's easy to use and actually makes tanning a lot less of a hassle, it isn't cheap but it's a luxury product that works really well so I would pay full price for this happily.  I love the tanned look but I just find tanning so time consuming but I'm going to try and keep up the tanning regularly with the help of this, wish I'd tried it sooner!

The Luxury Tanning Mitt really impressed me too.  I tend to apply with surgical gloves or a cheap tanning mitt I bought ages ago but I've now been converted to the Xen Tan Luxury Tanning Mitt.  It applies evenly and smoothly, and there's no residue on your palms as that tell tale giveaway that you've been faking it!  If you tan regularly I would definitely invest in this.

I've noticed today that Xen Tan have introduced some new products which look pretty nice - Luminous Gold Gel and Moroccan Tan as well as a back applicator...hmmm, interesting! 

For more information about Xen Tan or to buy some visit

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Sleek Pout Polish in Pink Cadillac

This is my first Sleek purchase, I was tempted by the lipsticks too but this was my third item on a 3 for 2 and I was running out of time on my lunch break to pick out some more so I left it.  I can always go back!  The packaging on this, and the product as a whole actually, reminds me of the MAC Tinted Lip Conditioner.  It even smells a bit vanilla-y.

In terms of colour, it's more of a sheen or a wash of colour than anything else.  It changes the colour of lips a little but not much and I still want to wear lipstick over it if I'm going somewhere.  Sleek Pout Polish has SPF 15 in it so it protects and moisturises.  This is quite a nice product, especially for winter, but I prefer Carmex Moisture Plus as it gives a similar level of colour, comes in a stick so less mess and it really feels moisturising.  I didn't feel like Pout Polish was quite as moisturising.  This is probably a product that I'll keep in my handbag or desk at work rather than using it religiously.

They do a few other colours too, so if you're looking for a MAC alternative, I would probably go for this as I personally don't feel like it's that different a product!

Available for £4.29 from Superdrug, currently on 3 for 2.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

NUDE skincare - NUDE Cellular Renewal Serum, NUDE ProGenius Treatment Oil and NUDE Perfect Cleansing Oil

After a recent bout of terrible skin that I think is probably caused by overusing one of the facial oils that I have subsequently found out is actually full of mineral oil, a cheap 'filler' oil which is a product left over from making petrol.  Mineral oil can make you break out, and isn't great for acne prone skin (which I don't have thankfully).  So, after researching mineral oil I've vowed to be more careful about what I use on my skin to avoid these sore breakouts.

The timing couldn't have been better for me to be sent these items from NUDE skincare for review.  These products are free of parabens, sulphates, PEGs, TEA, DEA, propylene glycol, phthalates, synthetic colour, synthetic fragrance, mineral oils and silicones. I don't even know what half of those are so I obviously need to do some more research.

The packaging on these is very different from what I envisage when I think of a 'natural' brand.  The Perfect Cleansing Oil bottle reminds me a little bit of suncream - but it makes sense as it's an oil cleanser so it means it won't slip out of your hands -  but the ProGenius Treament Oil and Cellular Renewal Serum look a little bit like something from an apothecary or a lab with their dropper bottles.

NUDE Perfect Cleansing Oil (100ml)
I've used this every night to take off all of my make up, including my eye make up and I'm really impressed. You apply it to your skin, add a tiny bit of water to make a milk and then rinse off. I use a cotton pad on my lashes to remove all of my mascara and it works a treat. My skin doesn't feel tight or dry after using this and my skin really feels clean. It doesn't feel like it leaves a residue behind, which pleases me.  It smells really nice too and because of the packaging it isn't messy to use.

NUDE ProGenius Treatment Oil (30ml)
I put this on after I use the cleansing oil.  It feels really light and - odd as this sounds - not really greasy and sat on the top of my skin.  It seems to absorb into the skin really well and quickly which is different to the oils that I've used before.  You don't need to use a lot of this product and again, this smells really nice - a little more herbal than the cleansing oil.

NUDE Cellular Renewal Serum (30ml)
This stuff is lovely, it actually looks to me like it glows when you drop this out of the bottle.  I pop some on on a morning, this is also really light and absorbs really quickly without feeling oily or greasy.  So if you want to put this on on a morning and then get your make up on, it's really not a problem.  You don't need to use a lot of this product either as a little goes a long way.  I feel like my skin looks visibly brighter from using this.

Overall, I'm so impressed with these products!  I've used similar things before and thought they were ok but these are way better and I feel like my skin has improved as a result.  I don't have any more spots, and the dryness around my nose that I often suffer from once the weather gets colder is nowhere to be seen.  I would certainly purchase these products in future, and others from the range (I've read great things about the Miracle Mask).  NUDE skincare is a premium brand so it isn't cheap but I genuinely think that these products are worth it, the quality of the products and the improvement in my skin justifies the price. These products have actually changed the way I view my skincare and I'll be reading more labels in future before I purchase products as I think minimal harsh chemicals is the way to go for my skin.

NUDE Skincare is available from John Lewis, for more information about the brand click here

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Max Factor Eye Brightening Tonal Black Mascara for Green Eyes

As a bit of a mascara snob - when your lashes are as rubbish as mine, you don't mind dropping a few £££'s to get results (hello YSL Shocking Mascara) - I don't normally buy from cheaper brands but I thought I'd give this a go.  I actually wanted the version of this for Blue eyes after seeing an advertisement for it in a magazine and being a little bit excited that there was a mascara with a blue flash in it that didn't look too 80's.  Nevertheless when I got there and realised it was divided by eye colour, I went for green as that's what colour my eyes are.  I guessed that it would maybe have a bit of lilac in it as that's what colour apparently complements green eyes (I don't really wear eyeshadow).

I got a bit freaked out when I got home and noticed that it said Black Ruby on the did I buy red mascara?  Thankfully, there's no red in it, more of a gold shimmer.  When I bought this I thought "hmm, gimmick" and I can't say that my opinion has changed.  Without trying the others and comparing my eyes to see how they look I can't say for certain if the shimmer makes a difference, it's really subtle though, it's not like glitter mascara.  The brush is quite stiff but seperates the lashes really well and isn't fiddly to use.

I was so impressed with this mascara!  It really lengthens and adds volume to the lashes whilst seperating them out which I prefer.  It can go a bit clumpy if you're not careful but some people like that look.  It doesn't flake throughout the day either and it's pretty easy to remove at the end of the day.  It has a little scent to it too which isn't unpleasant but is pretty pointless.

I've got liquid liner on in the pic below, but I think this shows the difference that the mascara makes to my little lashes still:

I don't honestly think that the colour tint makes a massive difference but I can say that this is a great mascara that really lengthens and offers volume to the lashes.  If I had normal length lashes I think the results would be brilliant!  I've been converted from my high end mascaras but I might try the version for blue eyes next time after all as I like the idea of a blue tint to it.

If you're looking for a new and inexpensive mascara, I'd recommend this one.  Available from*

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Revlon Matte Lipstick in Really Red

I've been after a proper matte red lipstick for a little while now, I wanted one that was genuinely matte and not too expensive as it's not that often that I rock a red lip.  I also wanted the 'right' kind of red - some of the ones I saw were too orange or leaned towards pink, which isn't what I wanted.  I came across these Revlon Matte Lipsticks during a bit of blog reading so went to check them out.

They're obviously popular because some of the nude and pink colours had sold out, I'd have liked to have tried them too but there's time for that I suppose.   A red what was I wanted and a red is what I got.  This is the perfect retro, classic red.  The matte finish is absolutely gorgeous but it definitely means you need to be spot on with your application, it's probably a lip pencil job here.

I just love it, it looks really glamorous and is exactly what I wanted.  I'm going to wear this on my next night out, it's a high impact look but with proper lashes and liner on it looks amazing.  The matte finish doesn't look dry but I'd still say to make sure your lips are moisturised well and in good condition.  It lasts ok, I do need to reapply if I've been eating/drinking etc but it does stay put fine.
Available from, currently on buy one get one half price.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Recent purchases (coat, top, shoes and a bag!)

I just thought I'd show you a couple of things that I've been buying clothes-wise recently:
I've wanted a fur collar coat since last winter but by the time I caught on, a lot of the nice ones were sold out so I kept looking this year and spotted this one.  There's quite a lot going on with this coat given the faux leather sleeves, faux fur collar and tweed but I actually love it - because it hits about 5 trends in one I can wear it with something really boring and still feel like I've made an effort.  It's toasty warm too, especially with the fur.  As it's a boyfriend fit I went down a size as I felt it was a bit baggy, it's still not fitted though.  It's also available at ASOS so if you've got a NUS card then you can get 10% off River Island stuff there.

I resisted the slipper trend for so long.  I don't know why as I'm usually always down for clothes that are as close to pyjamas as possible (hi, harem pants!) but I just didn't think they'd be very me.  That changed when I saw these, I dismissed them outright, then found I couldn't stop thinking about them over the weekend so rushed to Topshop on my lunch to get them.
I actually went into Topshop looking for this bag, and came out with the one above instead.  It's actually really sturdy and pretty big so I can fit my purse, massive phone and make up in there.  It has a little zip pocket inside too.  The outside zips are fake but I love the little key detail - I think if I ever get bored of these, you could easily replace with some other charm too. 

I already had this in grey but it's ridiculously comfortable, reasonably priced and so flattering on.  I know it's quite plain but it can easily be dressed up or down if need be.  I've worn it for work, out and about and I think it'd work well on a night out too.  I bought the tall version as sometimes tops are a bit short on me and on a peplum that isn't a good look.

All my purchases are mainly black aren't they?  Just shows, we're getting into winter....

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Dior Grand Bal Collection - false eyelashes in 002 Gold Crystals

Now available nationwide, Dior's Grand Bal collection sees the brand branching out into false lashes for the first time - 001 Pearl Drops and 002 Gold Crystals.  I was sent 002 Gold Crystals to review so here they are:
The packaging is very typically Dior - gold, opulent and luxurious.  Even the way the lashes are packaged are pretty different to the standard high street ones, they're packaged more like MAC lashes.  The glue that came with it is reusable in a little pot though I suspect it's no different to the glue that you get with say Illamasqua lashes (it has the same blue tint!).  It's effective enough and adheres the lashes well.

The style of these lashes aren't what I would usually wear.  I usually prefer something a bit more spiky and upturned or wispy and a bit feathery.  These sort of slant outwards and I didn't feel that this was massively flattering on my eyes.

The lash band on them is quite sturdy too and the lashes are quite long, I could probably do with trimming a little bit off these before I wear them again.  The crystals are really good quality and they do look pretty on.
After years of wearing lashes, I know what sorts of styles I suit and this isn't really it, I'm afraid so I probably wouldn't buy these.  If you're more adventurous or looking for a special treat for a lash love then I'd say this would be it!  They cost £19 which includes glue.
Some of the other items (especially the lipsticks and polishes are pretty gorgeous too), these are my two favourites from the rest of the Grand Bal collection:
Grand Bal Diorific Vernis Nail Polish - Diorling 

Grand Bal Collection Diorific Lipstick - Diva
The Dior Grand Bal Collection is available from Selfridges, starting at £18.00 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Etsy wants

Etsy is fast becoming a favourite website of mine, I've only bought a handful of things from there but I've been really impressed with each item I've bought.  I find it quite hard to browse unless I have an idea of what I'm after, kind of like Ebay.  But here's what I'm hankering for on Etsy at the moment:

Pink/lilac ombre hair extensions - LulusGalaxy
These are amazing, and actually not that expensive for what they are.  I could probably do this myself with a weft of hair and some Manic Panic dye but I have no experience with dying hair crazy colours so I'd rather leave it up to someone who knows what they're doing!  I wouldn't dye my own hair these colours either as I suspect work would have a fit and there are some days when you just want to blend in which is hard with pink and lilac hair!
I don't wear much jewellery and when I do - apart from earrings - I like to keep it understated.  This bangle is really pretty and delicate.
Ombre Tights - BZRshop
I don't think I need to say much about these, they're just pretty.
Strawberry Shortcake Nail Polish - WonderBeautyProducts
The choice of fab, unique polishes on Etsy is overwhelming but I narrowed down my choice to this one, I think it's really interesting and a bit different to what you can buy on the high street.
I think these are so gorgeous, they're quite expensive so they'd very much be an accent cushion rather than a full set of matching ones but I really think they'd be a great addition to my home decor and I've had my eye on the hummingbird one for ages now.
Classic Pink Lipstick Print - emmakisstina
I think this would look great in my dressing room (aka the spare bedroom to anyone else) and I love the lipsticks that she's chosen to draw.
Chanel Nail Polish Illustration - 23madisonstudio
As above really, imagine owning all of these in real life!
Songbirds on a Wire Print - AnamnesisPrints
I don't know where this would go in my house and it doesn't really go with anything of mine but I can't seem to delete it from my favourites.  There are quite a lot of this kind of thing on Etsy, drawings over pages of vintage books but this is one of the ones I like best.
Ace of Spades and Hearts Fimo Canes - yippeekawaiiyeah
3d nail art.  I love it.  For some reason I love Aces as well so I'm tempted to do some nail art with something like these are they look really good in terms of design and quality.
Have you ever used Etsy?  What's been your favourite Etsy purchase?  Mine's probably my teacup candle or my phone cover.  I'm now off work for a few days so I might well buy some of these things when the temptation gets too much!


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