Thursday 29 January 2015

Elemis Skin Nourishing Milk Bath Review

Whilst I don't really suffer from dry skin on my body I do suffer in the winter months from itchy skin which I put down to being irritated by the change from being out in the cold to being in warm, central heated environments. Sometimes it can get really itchy, irritated and bothersome, in my despair I was looking around my beauty stash for something to help and came across an Elemis Sp@ Home product that I thought I would give a whirl.

Elemis Skin Nourishing Milk Bath 

Elemis say

The Elemis Sp@Home Body Soothing range is about slowing down the pace at the end of the day, taking time to nourish the body and de-stress the mind. Relaxation is key.

Highly acclaimed, this Luxury Milk Bath has a unique formula that captures the essence of Cleopatra’s ancient bathing ritual. Its milk protein base is rich in nourishing vitamins, amino acids and minerals. Elemis Skin Nourishing Milk Bath contains natural plant collagen from Oat Extract and Japanese Camellia Oil to feed the skin whilst keeping it soft and supple. Skin Nourishing Milk Bath is excellent for irritated, sensitive and excessively dry skin conditions.

My thoughts 

From the description I thought this was just what I was looking for. I added a good splash of the product to a warm, running bath and watched the water turn milky. Scent wise this had a gentle, creamy scent that was pleasant and relaxing. I did find that this did the trick, soothing my itchy skin and the results lasted pretty much till my next bath. I have been using this product each time I have taken my bath and it has really, really helped. To be honest I wasn't really surprised as I have yet to be disappointed by Elemis products, it is one of my favourite skincare brands.

My only disappointment is that this was a sample size of 125ml from a gift set and I have now finished the bottle!

Elemis Skin Nourishing Milk Bath costs £42 for 400ml

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primers Reviewed

Regular readers of BeautySwot will know that I am a convert to the benefits of a good primer and having heard particularly good things about the infamous Smashbox primer I was keen to put them to the test.

Today I have two versions from Smashbox to tell you about.

The first is the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer - oil free £25 for 30ml

Smashbox say

Create a perfect canvas for foundation application with this silky blend of vitamins A & E, grape seed extract and green tea. The totally unique formula helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores for visibly softer skin. Wear under foundation to increase its longevity, or alone for a velvety-smooth finish. Apply a pea-sized amount to clean or moisturised skin using fingertips for complexion perfection.

My thoughts 

This primer is really light to wear, it barely feels like anything on the skin but it is quite magical in how it performs. It is clear and has that silicone feel finish to it so if you don't like that you won't be a fan of this... however, it smooths onto the skin and foundation quite literally glides across the skin. It does smooth lines and reduces the appearance of pores but not quite as much as the primer specifically for pore minimizing. This would be great for people with smaller pores to disguise. It mattifies the skin and literally works like an adhesive for foundation and makeup. My foundation remains perfect the entire day as does my makeup - like my blusher that by the end of the day looks as fresh as when I had applied it at 7am which I am incredibly impressed with. I can see the affection that people have for this primer. It is excellent.

The second is the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer - Pore Minimizing £28 30ml

Smashbox say 

Say goodbye to visible pores! Primer to perfection, plus dramatically reduce the appearance of pores instantly and for up to 8 hours. This non-drying formula also absorbs oil all day for flawlessly smooth, shine-free skin. Wear alone, over/under makeup, or dab on for touch-ups.

My thoughts

This primer as you can see from the picture above has a light colour to it and is a little bit thicker, this helps to 'fill in' the pores and smooth them to provide the perfect base for foundation. Once again foundation glides onto the skin and really does look flawless. As my pores are quite large I prefer this primer over the other for achieving a beautifully smooth and flawless finish to my skin. True to its word this does keep shine completely at bay from the usual places that it normally creeps onto (the t-zone) and skin looks perfect the whole day. As it absorbs oil it does have a slight mattifying effect to my foundations but not as much as the Photo Finish Foundation Primer.

A great primer to hide the pores, I have tended to use this almost every day.

*PR Samples

Tuesday 27 January 2015

New Makeup Brushes From No7 - Reviewed

This February No7 is relaunching its range of Cosmetic Brushes, including five brand new products, to make it even easier to achieve professional make up results at home. The NEW No7 Cosmetic Brushes will help you become an expert in contouring,  create the perfect smokey eye and give you a gorgeous flawless base.

Well I am all for creating a professional result at home and so I put a couple of the new brushes to the test...

No7 Stippling Brush (£14.50)

No7 say - The ultimate tool for a professional-looking and flawless make up base. The layered bristles of the brush ensure an even application of your favourite foundation, enabling you to create the perfect, airbrushed look at home. No7 Advisor, Samantha Catt suggests “Load the brush with a liquid or powder foundation and then apply by dabbing the brush on the face creating a dot effect. Finish off by blending the products into the skin using light circular motions for an immaculate base.”

My thoughts 

I have never used a stippling brush before I was sent this one to try and so I cannot compare it to any others on the market already. I was curious to see how it would compare to a standard foundation brush which resembles a paint brush and can (if you are not careful) result in streaks of foundation from the brush strokes. I tend to use my fingers as it is quicker  then trying to use a foundation brush to achieve a nice finish. I had no such problems with the stippling brush and I think I am a convert to be honest. 

The difference is that instead of being flat the stippling brush is almost circular which helps with application. It is really easy to use, feels soft on the skin and foundation looks flawless and practically invisible in just a few easy circular motions, with no streaks! I have clearly been missing out.... 

Anyway, the No7 Stippling Brush is a great, affordable brush that gives a fantastic base.

No7 Contour & Highlighter Brush (£14)

No7 say - Innovative and versatile, this double-ended brush is the must-have tool for the contoured effect. The angled bristles of the brush allow you to add definition, whilst the dome-shaped brush is perfect for highlighting areas of the face that naturally catch the light.

My thoughts 

Contouring and highlighting the face is a real makeup trend at the moment and No7 have tapped into this by introducing their dual ended brush tailored for contouring and highlighting. 

Once again the brushes are soft but not too soft that they are ineffective and surprisingly small but actually it is perfect for precision contouring and defining. Highlighting is also easy to do with the other end. The brushes picks up product brilliantly and once the product is on the skin it is easy to blend beautifully. 

I can highly recommend both brushes. 

The new makeup brushes from Boots No7 are out in February 2015

*PR Samples

Wednesday 21 January 2015

GlossyBox January 2015 - Inside Mine - Fresh Start Must Haves

As with all things January and a New Year the theme of this month's GlossyBox is of a fresh start. I think there is a nice mix of skincare and makeup and have no doubt I will be using all of the products included.

As ever the box is packaged beautifully making it a real pleasure to receive and open but of course it is the products that we are really interested in...

So What's Inside?

All five items are full size 

Kueshi Natural & Pleasant Cosmetics Revitalizing Face Toner 200ml €10.70 

This has come at just the right time as I am almost out of toner which I use twice a day every day. I haven't had a chance to use it yet and this is a new brand for me but it smells nice and fruity! The toner contains calendula, chamomile and aloe vera so I will keep you posted on how this goes.

Nicka K New YorK Colorluxe Powder Blush €8.95 

Loose powder without the mess? This is a great on the go product where the blush is dispensed from the powder puff applicator. The blush has no shimmer in it so gives a creamy appearance to the is a little bright ( deep pink) so light application will be plenty enough for a brightening pop of colour. I really like it.

MeMeMe Eye Line Pencil in Clay £4

I do love a good dark brown eyeliner and this one is creamy and soft to apply with good colour. I will let you know how I find it lasts but first impressions are good.

Naked Lips Organic Lip Balm Superfruits €5 

This fruit scented 100% natural lip balm smells lovely and feels really nourishing on the lips. It is packed with oils and leaves lips feeling soft and conditioned. Great for the cold spell we are currently experiencing.

Jelly Pong Pong All Over Glow £10

A good highlighting product is a daily staple for me so this gel/liquid highlighter was a welcome addition in the box. It is not too pale or too light for me so it provides a beautiful and radiant glow to my skin.

Final thoughts 

The box isn't overly exciting on first glance (I didn't squeal or anything upon opening) but take a closer look - the products are a decent mix of makeup and skincare and a good introduction to some new brands. The products are all useful and I think fulfill the theme of a Fresh Start.

*PR Sample

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Ojon Rare Blend Tamer Review

I have put up with pesky flyaway/broken hair strands on the top of my hair for a few years now, funnily enough I didn't really notice them until I had my son. He loves to play with my hair but not the bottom but the top and in the process has been breaking my hair. I find it really noticable but I didn't think there was much that could be done about it...until Ojon presented me with there Ojon Rare Blend Tamer Wand. It works in much the same way as (for those of us who are old enough to remember) the hair wands that we used in the 1990's that enabled you to have brush in highlights or colour into the hair.

Just remove brush from the tube and apply where you need to sort out frizz, flyaways and breakages.

Ojon say 

Invisibly smoothes stubborn frizz and flyaways.Our invisible, weightless wonder with a rare blend of restorative oils including Ojon™ Oil smoothes frizz, flyaways, broken and baby strands instantly and on the go. Won't leave strands sticky, stiff or greasy.The perfect touch up tool to toss in your bag.

My thoughts 

The Rare Blend Tamer is wonder stuff for my hair. It instantly solves the problem of flyaway hairs after styling and those pesky broken strands of hair that I have. It is really easy to use and the wand is good at applying the product onto the hair to smooth everything down. Best of all your hair feels just like your own hair, soft to touch with no sticky residue so there is no hint of product used.

I really like it and carry it with me everywhere.

Ojon Rare Blend Tamer costs £12.50

*PR Sample

OGX Lemon Highlights Shampoo & Conditioner Review

Last year I reviewed OGX Coconut Oil Weightless Hydrating Oil Mist with positive results and so I was eager to try some Shampoo & Conditioners from the brand.

At the end of last year I was given the opportunity to try some new products from OGX - Sunkissed Blonde - Lemon Highlights Shampoo and Conditioner. However, I have to say that OGX have a huge amount of choice when it comes to haircare products and is well worth a look, plus they smell gorgeous!

In big, bright packaging this is a cheery way to start the morning and certainly livens up the bathroom and pleasingly the product inside does exactly what it promises too.

OGX say 

A tropical blend of brightening lemon citrus oil to enhance shimmery, sunlit highlights all year long, with rich coconut oil to smooth and add shine while exotic key lime extract takes you away to a sensual paradise.

My thoughts 

I have highlights in my hair and they were beginning to look a bit lacklustre and dull, using the OGX Lemon Highlights Shampoo and Conditioner has really helped transform my hair. From the first use I could see that my highlights appeared brighter, blonder (although this is not a lightening treatment) and my hair shinier. I liked it so much I have continued to use these products and will undoubtedly finish the bottles, although it will take some time as they are so big!

A big thumbs up from me.

* SLS free and paraben free.

OGX Lemon Highlights Collection - Shampoo & Conditioner are on sale exclusively at Waitrose stores nationwide for £6.99 each. 

*PR Samples

Friday 16 January 2015

The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club 'Classics Collection' 9 Reviewed

If you are not familiar with The Fragrance Shop's Discovery Club, there has never been a better time to get acquainted.

This month they are celebrating two years of the club being up and running and are offering a bumper box of ten fragrances samples and an extra special gift of a miniature bottle (7ml) of Estee Lauder's top selling Modern Muse. Also included, vouchers with up to £60 worth of savings.

The way it works 

This is a no commitment, cancel anytime subscription quarterly box delivered to your door that costs £5. You will receive fragrance samples and money off vouchers for the fragrances featured with anything up to £10 off the price if you want to go ahead and purchase a full size bottle.

In this birthday box there are 10 fragrance vials included - seven for women and three for men.

The 'Classics Collection' features some of the biggest fragrance launches in the last few years and there are a fair few of my all time faves in there!

What's Included

For women -

Givenchy Very Irresistible EDT (£10 voucher off a 50ml purchase included)

Thierry Mugler Angel EDT (£5 voucher off a full size product) - Angel is probably one of my all time favourite Gourmand fragrances and the EDT is a softer scent than the original but without losing any of its sensuality.

Paco Rabanne Lady Million Eau My Gold! EDT (£5 off voucher included) Not quite a classic yet but I am looking forward to trying this one out.

Nina Ricci Nina EDT (£5 off voucher included) Although this came out in 2006 I have yet to smell this one, described as fresh, floral and fruity I cannot wait to wear this.

Jimmy Choo Original EDP (£5 off voucher included) I have reviewed EDP before, you can read my review here.

Lacoste Touch Of Pink EDT (£5 off voucher included) Only recently have I got to try this fragrance and it is fun and different. A really nice fragrance for every day.

Jean Paul Gaultier 'Classique' EDP (£5 off voucher included) JPG is one of my all time favourite perfumes, I love its vanilla scent and of course its iconic bottle. Seductive and delicious, I owned this as soon as it was released. It is indeed quite simply a classic.

For men -

Hugo Boss Boss Bottled EDT (£5 off voucher included) Aah Boss Bottled, this has to be my all time favourite men's fragrance. Fresh and fruity with a spicy heart and a base of woods. This is an incredibly sexy fragrance. I love it and luckily my husband agrees!

Paco Rabanne Invictus EDT (£5 off voucher included) Paco Rabanne invite you to 'inhale the scent of victory' with this fragrance, this was iconic with its trophy shaped bottle and sport inferences. I will let you know how we get on...

Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issy Pour Homme EDT (£5 off voucher included) The women's version will always remind me of my mum as she adored it when I was growing up. This is described as fresh, vibrant and elegant, it has some really interesting notes so I will be interested to see what my husband makes of it. It looks promising though!

Finally - The bonus gift

A gorgeous 7ml miniature bottle of Modern Muse which is just the cutest thing. I have already reviewed this perfume here if you want to know my thoughts on it. There is also a £10 off voucher included

Final thoughts 

A wonderful introduction to The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club, this really is a bumper discovery box.

To find out more and sign up for your own box please visit here

*PR Sample

Sure Women Crystal Invisible Black + White Diamond Anti-Perspirant Compressed Review

If ever there was a product made for me in mind it would be Sure Crystal Invisible Black + White Diamond...

I pretty much have a wardrobe packed with either black, white or monochrome clothing with the odd splash of colour for good measure.

Sure say 

Anti- white marks
Anti- yellow stains
Anti- sweat
48hr protection
0% alcohol

Provides our best ever protection

My thoughts 

I was sent the compressed bottle which contains 125ml but lasts as long as a 250ml can. I love the fact that it is small so great for travel or just to take up less space on the dressing table. I found that the spray did not irritate me at all and true to its word I could get dressed immediately. I must admit so far I haven't worn much white to put the anti-yellow stains claim to the test which is unfortunate as this is one of my major Summer bugbears.

However I haven't had any horrid white marks on my clothing and the protection is fantastic at keeping sweat at bay. The scent is one that I would call just a spray scent and it would have been nice for it to be a bit more feminine, that said my husband would happily use this particular product as it doesn't smell 'girly'.

So far, so good!

Sure Women Crystal Invisible Black + White Diamond Anti-Perspirant Compressed costs £3.39

*PR Sample

Zoya Nail Polish Payton - Nails Of The Day

Today's Nails Of The Day come courtesy of Zoya Nail Polish and the shade Payton. Payton is a pretty fully pigmented dark berry shade with holographic glitter running through it. This looks gorgeous in the sunlight but I found really hard to capture in a photo.

Zoya is a professional brand and it really shows in the ease of application and the consistency of the polish. The brush is absolutely perfect with application even and extremely smooth for a glitter polish (although this is fine glitter).

I couldn't fault it at all and on top of that I am impressed with how well it is lasting on my fingers which I shouldn't have been too surprised about as Zoya Nail Polish was named the longest wearing natural nail polish by an independent panel in Women’s Health Magazine.

Zoya is a natural brand and is free from the big 5

Free from Toluene
Free from Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde resin
Free from DBP (Phthalates) and Camphor 

Vegan friendly
Cruelty Free
Safe during pregnancy

That is not all, with over 500 shades in its collection from creme formulas to shimmer and glitter, there literally is  bound to be something for everyone. 

This was my first foray into the Zoya world and I would definitely try more.

Zoya nail polish can be found in most Natural stores like Wholefood Market and Nature Intended. Along with all major natural beauty websites like and and  Many salons and spas throughout the UK also stock it.

*PR Sample

Monday 12 January 2015

Schwarzkopf got2b Mind Blowing Xpress Dry Styling Spray Review

I have mentioned before on these pages that my hair is thick and porous and takes an age to dry whether naturally or by hair dryer so of course I am always looking for products that can speed up this process.

Back in mid December I was sent the new Schwarzkopf got2b Mind Blowing xpress dry styling spray to try out and have been using it every time I wash my hair.

Schwarzkopf say 

NEW got2b Mind Blowing xpress dry styling spray speeds up your blow-dry, detangles and conditions the hair and provides heat protection against hair dryers for perfectly styled hair in a fraction of the time.

My thoughts 

The spray has a lovely fresh and fruity scent and the one thing I learnt from using it is that you should use it with a bit of restraint. The first time I used it was I was a bit too happy to over apply and I ended with with hair that looked lank and was full of product. The second time I used it I applied far less (I didn't saturate my towel dried hair) and it worked a treat.

I particularly love that it detangles the hair, I have a section of my hair that is always knotted and a real mess and this spray made light work of it. It speeds up blow-drying time to under 10 minutes and it provides heat protection. Hair is left feeling soft and smooth and used correctly leaves no trace of product.

Schwarzkopf got2b Mind Blowing xpress dry styling spray 200ml costs £3.99 

*PR Sample

Thursday 8 January 2015

Sanctuary Spa Ultimate Salt Scrub Review

Sanctuary Spa say 

Our iconic dead sea salt scrub that leaves skin perfectly. polished and gorgeously moisturised.

Our multi award-winning and much-loved treatment contains sea salt from the renowned Dead Sea enveloped by a rich mix of moisturising oils: jojoba, coconut and almond.

While the salt gently exfoliates dead cells to stimulate and promote renewal, the oils soak into skin leaving it gleaming and exquisitely scented.

My thoughts 

When it's cold and wet outside there is no better time to disappear into the bathroom for a nice long soak and treat my skin to some body pampering. In winter time I like my baths hot (not too hot as they will dry out the skin) and I love the products I use to have great aromas.

When I finished my last scrub I was wondering what to purchase next and was about to repurchase The Sanctuary Body Scrub which I really like when I came across the Ultimate Salt Scrub on the shelf in Boots, well with a name like that I had to try it!

I have to say I am really glad I did. The Ultimate Salt Scrub is wonderfully indulgent but at an affordable price, it smells so glorious and sweet and far more expensive than the price tag suggests. The salt scrub is quite scrubby for great skin exfoliation but it comes accompanied with rich and delicious oils of Almond, Jojoba and Coconut which moisturise and condition the skin. The oils leave a residue when the skin is wet but when you dry off you are left with just fabulously soft, smooth skin.

I don't have particularly dry skin but I don't feel the need to use a separate moisturiser after.

A huge thumbs up from me.

Sanctuary Spa Ultimate Salt Scrub 650g costs £11.50 

Wednesday 7 January 2015

Milk Frother Review - Awesome Frothy Milk Made At Home

It is not often I get enthused by gadgets or tools but being a coffee and chai latte drinker this simple milk frother has got me all whipped up with excitement.

After popping in the 2 AA batteries needed to make it work you simply heat up some milk and turn it on.

It took me three attempts to get it perfect, who knew there was a knack to this!

The first time it made a huge mess and there was milk everywhere, clearly too much milk was in the cup.

The second time I put less milk in the cup and it worked better but initially there was a spray of milk that for the third time I wanted to avoid.

Third time lucky - I put the right amount of hot milk in the cup (hold the cup with one hand, machine in other).

Tip time - If you put the whisk bit just under the the surface of the milk and hold the switch fully down for 30 seconds you get beautifully creamy, frothy milk that is just perfect to tip into your glass or mug for an authentic coffee latte, chai latte or cappuccino.

An inexpensive, nice and easy way to bring the coffee shop experience into your home.

Argos Milk Frother £4.99

Twinings Bollywood Chai Latte Review

I still find it hard to believe that I didn't start drinking tea or coffee until I was twenty five as I sure have been making up for lost time. I like plain old tea but to be honest I am always on the look out for great tasting and alternative teas.. this Winter I have really got into drinking Chai Lattes. 

Chai Lattes originate from India and are usually a black tea with the added feature of a blend of spices like Cardamom, Cinnamon, Ginger and Pepper (or variations of this). They are sweet, spiced teas that you can drink with milk or for added sweetness add sugar. Personally I don't add sugar but traditional street vendors will sell them milky and sweet. I loved the concept and naturally was curious to give them a try.

When I was in Waitrose I spotted a recipe card for rice pudding that used the Twinings Bollywood Chai Latte and promptly went off to the tea aisle to make my purchase.

Twinings Bollywood Chai Latte is described as smooth, sweet and delicately spiced, it is made from Black Tea (Assam), Almond, Spice & Honey Flavourings and Flavourings.

It comes in Loose Leaf Pyramid Form and the tag is long enough to fit into a tall Latte glass.

The outer packaging is pretty don't you think?

As you open the bag the scent hits you, a deliciously sweet Almond aroma.

How to make - 

Pop a teabag into a latte glass or mug.
Fill about a third full with boiling water and let it brew for at least 3 minutes followed by a good stir and a squeeze to release all the flavour.
Top up with hot milk, frothy if possible, add a pinch of sugar if you like.

My thoughts 

I have had a a few glasses of this now and I can recommend that you ensure that you keep the teabag in for the full 3 minutes or even longer to get the full flavour, if you don't then the taste is quite insipid. When prepared correctly it is delicious. I tried it with hot milk and it is lovely but hot frothy milk enhances the whole chai latte experience.

Twinings Bollywood Chai Latte is sweet and packed with almond flavour and a hint of spice. I really like it as an alternative to my morning or afternoon cuppa.

Twinings Bollywood Chai Latte (12 Pyramids) costs £3.49


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