January 2017 favourites

My favourite products in January 2017!

I’m going to do monthly favourites posts on my blog. The things are either new in January, or something that I’ve rediscovered or have really been enjoying. The categories on these favourites posts are the same as on my featured products pages, so if you want to see what else has had a good review, check out the featured products pages. I only include things on those pages that have had a good review.

Make-up

When my mum heard about my cream eye shadow discovery, she bought me two more! The first one was from a range that I already have, but a different colour. I now have the Maybelline Color Tattoo in pink gold.

We also discovered that Max Factor does cream shadows, so we got the Max Factor excess shimmer cream eye shadow. You can see the whole range of colours on the Boots website – I got the copper one.

These are a different consistency to the Maybelline ones – in fact I think they are easier to apply, because they are more like a liquid face cream than a solid product. A little goes a long way, and you do need an eye primer underneath – otherwise it will crease. I like these so much that I got another one, but that will be featured in my drug store haul!

Skincare

You have probably worked out by now that I love everything mango! I mentioned the Victoria’s Secret mango shower gel in my Christmas post, but this month I’ve also been using the Victoria’s Secret mango body lotion, which has the same sweet mango scent and in fact stays on your skin even longer.

My Christmas Day treat from the Body Shop advent calendar was the Oils of Life sleeping cream. It was a generous mini and I would say that this night cream measures up well to others in a higher price range. My skin felt lovely and smooth in the morning, and the cream didn’t feel greasy when I applied it. I’m not a fan of scentless face creams so I was pleased that this one has a faint scent, though I couldn’t actually describe what it is – definitely something natural and something that I’m happy to have on my face. I’m trying out some of the other night creams from the Body Shop, but I would definitely get this one again in a larger size.

Hair care

Carrying on with the mango theme, the Avon Magnificent mango crazy hair tamer has become part of my daily hair care routine. I don’t care that it’s supposed to be for children – it does the job and helps me to get the knots out of my long, thick hair, and it leaves the hair with a faint mango smell. Not as sweet as the body lotion, but still distinctively mango! This link is for two bottles, but you can buy single ones or packs of 3. It’s cheaper to bulk buy, but of course you first need to work out whether you like the product. I will definitely be replacing it, but as I only use 2 or 3 squirts each time, it will last for a while yet.

I wanted to give my hair a treat, so I bought a range of hair masks to see which one I liked most. The first one I tried was the Garnier hair mask with avocado and shea butter    which, according to the manufacturer gives your hair supple bounce and shine. I would definitely say that my hair is softer and more silky after using this product, and I  love the smell – for some reason it reminds me of holidays! The description says that it is for dry, damaged hair, which is not what I have, so maybe there is a better product on the market for me – although I have to say that I’m pleased with the results, and with 300 ml, it’s a generous size.

Jewellery

This isn’t new, but I’ve been wearing it a lot this month. I don’t have a dog any more, but this lovely pewter golden retriever necklace reminds me of my golden guiding girl, and unlike some necklaces that are available, the shape of the dog is easy to feel, from the end of its snout to the tip of its waggy tail!

I like my jewellery to express something about my likes or personality, and this definitely shows that I’m a golden retriever fan.

The picture is of the necklace, but I don’t have the original box.

Food and drink

I talk a lot as part of my job, and I always have something to drink next to me. Although I could drink coffee till the cows come home, I do try to swap it out with other things, and as the weather is still cold, I tend to reach more for hot drinks. After having lychees at a Chinese restaurant recently, I remembered my old favourite Twinings mango and lychee green tea. As a child, I thought I didn’t like tea. The truth is, I don’t like the traditional English tea with milk – because I think it’s grim – but fruit teas, jasmin tea, rice tea – anything like that is fine and a good winter warmer.

If you’re looking for something cool and refreshing, I recently discovered Bottle Green mango and coconut presse.

Clothing

I love owls and when I found this    studded owl top, I had to get it! Actually it was going to be for New Year, but I didn’t get round to buying it. I made up for this in January and I was really pleased with the way that I could feel all the detail on the owl – his face, ears and the detail on his body. I’ve been disappointed by Amazon t-shirt stinginess before, but in terms of this, I’d say it’s fine to get your actual size, and I can confirm that it stayed intact in the wash. Still, I’d recommend that you wash it inside out to protect the owl.

How about you?

So, what are your favourite products this month? Do let me know in the comments – 1. Because I’m nosey and 2. Because I’m always looking for inspiration when it comes to new things to review!

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This post contains affiliate links, but I only promote links to things that I love or have tried!

Guest post – Amy’s new skincare essential

In this guest post, Amy tells us about one of her Christmas presents, which has become an essential part of Amy’s skincare routine.

Today I have something different for you. The blog’s very first guest post!

You may remember I mentioned Amy’s good advice in my post about eye make-up. In this guest post, Amy tells us about one of her Christmas presents, something that has become a vital part of her skincare routine.

Guest post number one – So, it’s a hello from me….

Ahoy internet land, my name is Amy and Kirsty has very kindly said that I can guest blog on her new and upcoming venture, because in short I freaking love beauty and make up and all that comes with it. Unlike her, I have no idea how to blog, so I am sure I will make a few faux pas so I shall apologise in advance. Nevertheless I am pretty excited to share with you, and to have a front row seat so I can see how quickly Kirsty’s new blog takes off.

I must warn you, I am not trained in make up or beauty, but I do love it and make it my business to absorb all I can about tips, techniques and upcoming releases. You will never see me without a full face of make up, because I love to play about with colours and products, trying to recreate looks that I see online. Sometimes I get it wrong… very, very wrong, but sometimes I get it right and the best thing about make up is that you not only get better with practice, but also it comes off at the end of the day. So it’s no harm, no foul right?

With Christmas all but a distant memory away it would seem silly of me to do a ‘What I got for Christmas’ post, but I do want to share one thing I got for Christmas, which has become a staple of my daily skincare routine, and I genuinely couldn’t live without right now, not something I would say lightly. This amazing item is the Clarisonic Mia 2, and whilst it comes with a heavy price tag, (at the time of writing it’s £109 on Amazon, or QVC normally has some pretty good deals), what it has done for my skin in such a short space of time is amazing.

Let me give you a quick run down of my skincare issues/history. Depending on my skin’s mood, I am either combination or normal. There is no in between with my skin. I had enlarged pores, and breakouts too, and was forever losing my make up because it would all come sliding off. I was at my wits end as I was cleaning my face daily, yet nothing would ever change and the products were never as amazing as they claimed to be. The great thing with the Mia 2 is it is as amazing as it claims to be, removing 6 times more dirt, make up and sebum (the oil that your skin produces) than scrubbing your face by hand. It does this by oscillating at 300 times per second to clean your skin super deep, removing anything that your cleaner missed. Whilst this sounds quite harsh it really isn’t (unless you press super hard, yeah you can tell I did that can’t you!!!) and claims are you can use it as many times as twice daily, although once is enough for me.

You have 2 speeds, so you can vary what you want to do, and the best thing is it is only one additional minute to your skincare regime. It is really simple to use as well, with only two buttons to navigate (on and change speed from delicate to normal). They recommend 20 seconds on your chin and forehead, and 10 seconds on each cheek. To save you having to count (one Mississippi, two Mississippi) the device will stop when it gets to the end of the time cycle so you know to move onto the next area, and will stop when the full minute is up. All you need to add is your chosen foaming cleanser to the centre of the brush and off you go (I like to use Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleaner as it is not abrasive in any way). It is even fully waterproof so you can cleanse your face in the shower. You don’t need to apply any pressure, just move the device around in swiping and circular motions, and let the brush do its job.

The brush heads do need replacing every 3 months or so like your toothbrush, but equally like your toothbrush, if you feel you have life left in it then don’t swap it out. You can get different heads for different things, such as deeper cleaning ones or more sensitive based ones, and they retail at about £21 each on the Clarisonic web page, but again some shopping around can get you them cheaper. To change the head you simply rotate it, and it pops off. Nice and easy.

Even the charger is magnetic so you don’t have to faff about finding the port, just hold the device close to the end and it does the work for you. It’s easily identifiable with 2 small divots where the charger will go and the same on the device itself.

I have noticed a massive difference in such a short space of time, and it really is quick and user friendly. I honestly can’t say enough about this product!! One small word of caution though, we all have dirt and grime in our pores, its inevitable. As this product is so powerful and cleans so well, you might find for the first few weeks of use that you have a few blemishes pop up as you are dislodging dirt and grime which has been happily sitting in your face forever and a day. It doesn’t want to be evicted, even though it doesn’t pay you any rent! These do go though, and the rewards of using it and pushing through, honestly outweigh these few additional blemishes. My skin has been better than it has been in years, even my other half has noticed without being prompted, so it must be good because what male does that. I jest of course, he is a diamond.

If there is anything else you would like me to review for you, any questions or queries you might have then please shout. Leave a comment below and I will be sure to get back to you and help as much as I can.

If you have made it this far, I thank you. I appreciate I have a whole lot to say and I am sure that Kirsty will tell me off for taking up too much of your time. I really love this product though, not sure I said that before or not….

Anyhow internet land, all that is left for me to say is toodle pip.
Have a wonderful 2017 and I hope that Kirsty lets me come back soon.
Kisses,
Amy

Favourite Body Shop products in December

Find out about my experiences with the advent calendar,a party at home and Body Shop at home.

Well, December was definitely a busy month for me in terms of buying and testing Body Shop products.

I’ve like the Body Shop since I was young (does anyone remember dewberry?!) My introduction to Body Shop parties was when I was in my early twenties and one of the guide dog trainers organised a party for the people on dog training. It was some time before Christmas and I remember buying presents and testing out the products.

At the end of November, I started hearing a lot about beauty advent calendars. I know it’s not the first year that they’ve come out, but somehow more people seemed to be talking about them. I watched a couple of reviews on Youtube and decided to get the Body Shop one.

The box was massive, and it was full of smaller boxes – one for every day from the 1st to the 25th December. Some of the numbers on the boxes were larger and I could read them because they were slightly raised. Others were more faint and smaller, so I asked my boyfriend for help in identifying the right box and also telling me what was inside. Some things were obvious, but the 60 ml bottles of shower gel, body butter and eye make-up remover all feel the same, so it was important for me to label them. It would have been somehow doable when I lived on my own, but it’s more accessible and more fun with sighted assistance. I guess you could get round the problem of identifying new products with an app like be my eyes.

I had a group of friends round for a Body Shop party which was a lovely chance to get together, have a make-over and try out some products.

I can’t link to some of my favourite products from December because they were the Christmas lines that are only available at Christmas. My favourite was spiced apple because it was so wintry and Christmassy. I think I must have bought most products in that range, but the vanilla chai and frosted berries were good too. They all appeared nice and early in the calendar so you had the chance to try them out and buy more before the stocks ran out.

My mum bought me the festive tin, which is shaped like an apple, and which I have now filled with make-up!

I passed along a couple of the tools, but will use most things that I got in the calendar. There were actually 3 on offer – I got the cheapest one at £60. Not the cheapest beauty calendar on the market, but there were decent-sized products in there and if you know you like the brand, it was an excellent way to get some more old favourites (for me that’s the mango, satsuma and pink grapefruit ranges), and try out some new ones (for me coconut and strawberry).

I’ve included some links below. These are not affiliate links. Whether you buy in-store, online or through Body Shop at home, the links just give you a bit more information about the products.

I had already been using the vitamin E moisture cream, so I decided to try out the rest of the range, including the the cleanser, the toner, and night cream. I would definitely recommend the range – it leaves your skin feeling smooth and hydrated. I used to have combination skin, but now it sometimes gets really dry, particularly in the winter time, so I want to take good care of it.

The same applies to my hands. My favourite hand cream is the grapefruit one. I just wish that the Body Shop would make these in larger sizes. Still, they’re great to pop in your hand bag, and if you want something bigger for your desk or your bedroom, I recommend the almond hand and nail body butter. I also tried the coconut hand cream – it’s a little overpowering at first, but the smell does wear off and it’s fine if you’re a big fan of coconut!

I wanted to try the vitamin C range too, so I got the glow-boosting moisture. because I wanted that “daily boost of radiance and hydration”! My skin can be as grumpy as me in the morning, so I wanted to try out something that would boost the natural glow. It also smells amazing. Like oranges. Not as sweet as the satsuma range, which I also love, but still distinctly like oranges!

I tried one of the products in the tea tree range, which I can’t link because I can’t find it on the site. I like the pump at the top to regulate the amount, but I have decided I just don’t like this smell, so however good the product is, I’ll use it up, but I won’t buy it again. I’ve since read that it’s more for people with oily skin, so not the best choice for me anyway.

Whilst checking out the other night creams, I came across the pomegranate firming night cream. (Link removed because I don’t think it’s sold any more. I don’t know if someone in their mid-30s counts as having “mature skin”, but I liked the idea of the cream moisturising and softening as I slept, so I picked it up as well. I’m not sure I really need this product, but it’s a nice alternative for a night moisturiser. My favourites are still the vitamin e day and night creams and the vitamin c moisturiser.

I watched a number of video tutorials about the Body Shop make-up and I did ask to look at it during my party. In the end, I only bought a couple of bits, which I’ll review in a future make-up post. It’s not that I dislike the make-up, but the things that I’m looking for are not yet in the Body Shop range. If they bring out cream eye shadows or a cream contour kit, I’ll definitely be interested.

There was a big body butter in door 24 of the calendar, but most of the products are travel-size, which is great for going away. In terms of larger products, I used the party host rewards to stock up on some of my bigger all-time favourites, such as the pink grapefruit body sorbet that I like because it gives instant hydration without hanging around on your skin. I like the fact that it’s in a tube as well, so you don’t have to keep dipping your hand into the tub. Ok I wouldn’t do it unless I had clean hands anyway, but I like the tube and would like to see more of them!

As someone who can’t see, I can use the main Body Shop site, Heidi puts text in the descriptions of the pictures that she posts in her group, and when I go into the actual shops, the staff are friendly and will help me find what I’m looking for. That said, there is definitely room for improvement in terms of the Body Shop at Home catalogue. There is an alternative .pdf, but I didn’t find it to be very accessible with a screen-reader, and I was glad that I have a kind boyfriend who was willing to go through the catalogue with me, reading out descriptions for products that interested me so that I could make my shopping list. If this hadn’t been an option, Sophie would have done this at the party too, but I’d like to see a more accessible document or web page in the future so that screenreaders are able to make their choices independently as we can on the store website.

Overall I was really happy with my products and owing to the amount that I bought, including Christmas items, shower gels and body butters that I haven’t named here, I’ll have plenty to keep me going over the coming months!

What are your favourite body shop products? Did you make any new discoveries in December? I’d love to know, so please tell me in the comments!

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Christmas 2016

My friends and family were so generous this year.

I got this idea from Youtube. At first I wondered why everyone was talking about their Christmas presents. At first it felt a bit like showing off, but I then realised it’s actually a good way to get some ideas about what’s out there, so I decided to do it too. I haven’t listed everything and I’ve included links where I could find things online so that you can read more about the products and sighted readers can see the images.

So, I was really lucky in 2016 and my partner, friends and family gave me some lovely gifts.

Beauty and skin care

Sanctuary spa hand cream

I’d already tried a mini from the Sanctuary Spa hand cream range – I needed something to get me up to my £20 for free Amazon postage 😉

I’d say this is definitely more green lemon than orange blossom, but the Sanctuary Spa products are good quality and this is a long-lasting hand treatment.

Jack Black intense therapy lip balm – grapefruit

This is quite a small tube, but it’s a special treat for the lips which isn’t sticky and which lasts a reasonable amount of time, so you don’t need to keep reapplying it. And of course it’s grapefruit! You’ll see after a while that I love anything that contains mango or grapefruit! Check out the lip balm here.

We’ve had the grapefruit, now it’s time for the mango. I got the body lotion in this range for my birthday and really liked it. Again, not cheap, but it’s good to indulge yourself with this sweet and fruity mango once in a while. Find out more here!

The Cowshed grumpy cow products

I just love the name! There are all kinds of cow ranges – moody cow, lazy cow, dirty cow (hand wash), but the one with grapefruit in it is the grumpy cow and I have been known to live up to this name, especially in the morning before the third cup of coffee. I haven’t actually used these products yet, but they smell delicious. I got the uplifting body lotion and the uplifting shower gel.

Body Shop – spiced apple tin

I can’t link to this because all of the Christmas ranges at the body shop were seasonal products. I’ll write more about spiced apple in my Body Shop haul post. All I’ll say now is that I’d recommend that you try them if they come back next year. I also got the spiced apple candle, and it makes my office smell nice even when the candle isn’t lit.

Body Shop frosted berries set

This was another seasonal product from the Christmas range with a shower gel and body butter. If the spiced apple is too strong and wintry for you, the frosted berries are a good alternative.

Clothing

Monster slippers – Jack the black wolf

So, as well as my fruit favourites, you will often see wolves and owls in my collections! These slippers are cosy and warm – just what you need when you work from home. My shoe size is between two sizes, but these are definitely on the generous side. They have furry heads, paws and tails, and their eyes even light up if you press the button on the left ear! I’m wearing them as I type and I’m very happy with them! Check out the wolf slippers here.

Wolf fleece

Keeping with the wolf theme, I hate the cold and this is a sure way to keep out the cold this winter. It’s fur-lined, so you can easily wear it as a warm jacket when you’re going out in the winter. This is where you can find it

Mermaid tail blanket

I read about these on a blog, then I heard about them on Youtube. They seem to have been a thing this winter!

Not really clothing, but my mermaid tail blanket is something you can use when you’re snuggled up on the sofa with a mug of hot chocolate and a good book. I was a bit surprised, because it was described as fleece, even though it’s knitted. However it’s a decent size and you can keep your legs and lower body warm as you snuggle down into it. Who said adults can’t be mermaids too?!

Christmas dress

I don’t have a link, but it was a long, satin dress with a full skirt that I wore on Christmas day.

Perfume

Happy Femme by Clinique

This is what Amazon says about this perfume:

“Floral, fruity, green. Created in 1997, Happy perfume by Clinique for women is a refreshing, clean, floral fragrance. It is the result of the following top fragrance Notes: bergamot, boysenberry and honeysuckle. The middle notes are: bushflower, grapefruit and moss and the base of the fragrance is: freesia, lemon and Hawaiian wedding flower. Happy perfume is recommended for daytime and romantic use.”

So, you guessed it, grapefruit again! This is a lovely, fruity fragrance. I took a risk with this because I said I would like it for Christmas without even smelling it, but I wasn’t disappointed and I’m enjoying wearing it. Here’s the link to the Happy perfume.

The other perfume that I was given is an old favourite that was first given to both me and my mum many years ago by a relative from Ireland. It’s called Innisfree and it’s another fruity, floral fragrance, probably heavier than the grapefruit one. It comes from Ireland and was named after a poem about the Isle of Innisfree.

Books

I had no idea what this present was, but when I unwrapped the gift box, there was an Audible subscription in there! This is a great idea for people who love to read, especially if you don’t know exactly what kind of books they like or which ones they already have. The Audible app is fully accessible to blind people who use VoiceOver on the iPhone and there is a really good selection of audio books.

The only slightly annoying thing is that you have to buy the books on the Audible site, and not in the app, but the site is easy to use with a screenreader and I had no trouble redeeming my first book.

I usually read everything for my job, news, and other information using the speech software on my computer, but when it comes to books and reading for pleasure, I like to listen to a real person – so this gift was ideal!

For the home

I’d never seen vases like this before, but I got an owl vase. Apart from being a welcome addition to the owl collection, he is tactile and you can feel his ears, face and feathers. Really cool!

I was also given two smaller, ornament owls, one of which could be hung up, so we put her on the Christmas tree!

Due to my love for all things spicy, I was given a grow-your-own chilli kit. A travel mug was also a welcome gift for this coffee lover!

We also received joint gifts including wine, chocolates and some fruity cheese.

Jewellery

This year I was very lucky and received an adjustable bracelet, a lovely pair of little owls as earrings, a necklace and a pair of cute doggy earrings.

The necklace is very Christmassy, so I probably won’t wear it again until December, but I think you can justify wearing it from the end of November, and as someone who doesn’t do Christmas jumpers, I do like to get out some sparkly Christmas jewellery. This is a tactile piece and you can feel the shape of the Christmas tree and its decorations.

I found the dog earrings in the autumn, then they went out of stock. My mum kept checking and finally snapped some up just before Christmas. They seem to be out of stock again now, so I can’t show you, but they are drop earrings with dogs viewed from the front. I like the Katy Craig collection and will be investigating the rest of the animal jewellery.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you use my links for Amazon and buy something, I will receive a small percentage at no additional cost to you. I only list products that I love or have reviewed.

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This post contains some affiliate links, but I only promote things that I’ve tried and tested.