27 February 2010

Barry M nail paint in Raspberry

I was given a bottle of this as part of my secret Santa present from the beautiful Abby, but just never got round to using it until this morning.


Out of all the nail varnishes I own, this was the quickest and easiest to apply. The brush is a little smaller than the Nails Inc one so it was easier to control where the polish went and consequently it was really easy to get a neat line at the cuticles and almost none went on my fingers.

With flash

As the name suggests its a gorgeous ruby red colour with a hint of pink, and is very pigmented so you only need one coat to get a rich even colour. It also dries to a glossy finish so you don't need a top coat although after taking this photo I added a coat of No 7 so strong nail varnish as I find it helps nail varnishes to stay chip resistant for longer.

Without flash

I am seriously impressed with this nail varnish and am planning on trying a few other colours from the range, hopefully they'll be just as good.

Are you a fan of Barry M nail paints?

25 February 2010

Cosmetics a la carte

This was one of the brands at the Chalk PR event, but I had to leave early and didn't get a chance to have a look at their products. However the PR company arranged for me to visit their shop in Knightsbridge, so I could find out more about the brand.

Cosmetics a la Carte was founded 35 years ago and one of their main focuses is on made to measure make up. Like Prescriptives (who are no longer around) they offer custom blend foundations (£45, or £35 for a re-order) as well as colour creations, which gives you the chance to re-create a discontinued lip colour or eyeshadow, although at £200 it really is an expensive luxury!


The boutique had a very pretty and sophisicated atmosphere with plenty of testers on display. I do find make up counters and boutiques intimidating as shop assistants can watch your every move and this was no exception but luckily the staff there were nice and I was able to browse without being followed around!


I was treated to a make up MOT with the make up artist, who spent some time finding out about my make up habits and likes before suggesting some products and doing a make over. I'm a big fan of radiant but non shiny skin and simple everyday eye make up so she recommended the sheer tint foundation and showed me how to create a simple look using 2 eyeshadows:

Rose dew primer
Sheer tint foundation
Secret light concealer
Gold and dark brown eyeshadows
Mascara (not in photo)
Papaya cheek ice blusher
Lip glass lipgloss

The product that impressed me the most was the foundation and I was kindly given a sample at the end, which I will review once I've had a chance to test it out properly.

Have you tried anything from this brand?

23 February 2010

Garnier Caffeine Anti-dark Circles 2-in-1 Roll-on

Dark circles are the bane of my life and no amount of sleep ever seems to help so I was very pleased to be sent this product to try.


This product claims to immediately reduce dark circles, camflouge and reduce the appearance of bags and give the eye contour an illuminated, hydrated and smoother appearance.

I am quite impressed with its ability to reduce my dark circles, they describe it as a tinted concealer and I think that sums it up perfectly. Its not as full coverage as my MAC concealer but it helps to neutralise the horrible purple colour so that the dark circles are less visible. Its a thin liquid and I've not had any problems with it caking or settling into any fine lines.

I've been using it over my usual eye cream, and because its so light I've not had any problems with product overload. It also lasts quite well as I've not felt the need to touch up during the day.

One thing that I'm not keen on is the fact that this product contains alcohol, which can dry out the skin although I've not noticed any dryness around the eye area since I started using the roll-on.

What I like best about this product is how easy it is to apply and how portable it is. I simply apply some under my eyes and then blend with my finger. I find it quicker and easier to use than my concealers especially when I'm running late and have to do my make up in 2 mins!

For reference I'm usually a MAC NC25 and the fair shade is a near perfect match.

19 February 2010

Product rave- Chanel UV essentiel

I've been worried about ageing for as long as I can remember and one day in lectures a dermatologist informed us that UV rays from sunlight is the biggest cause of skin ageing and since then I've read numerous magazines which have stressed the importance of sunscreen.

Since being told this fact I looked at numerous high street mosturisers but most only offer UVB protection and the only products that gave UVA protection were sunscreens which were too heavy and broke me out. Now I'm normally a high street girl when it comes to skincare but in desperation I went around the high end counters where I discovered this little gem.


What they say: With its SPF50/PA+++, UV essentiel shelters your skin against UV rays, pollution and free radicals. Enriched with moisturizing agents, its silky texture gives a translucent, non-oily, non-shiny finish while leaving the skin feeling incredibly soft.

What I think: This is one of my holy grail products. Its a milky white fluid which isn't too thick like most sunscreens so it applies easily without dragging into the skin. I wouldn't say it sinks in completely but it doesn't sit on the skin like most high street sunscreens and it leaves my skin matte with no horrible greasy afterfeel.

It makes an excellent base for make up and doesn't make my skin any oilier than normal. I was initially doubtful about how good a sunscreen it was but when I used it on holiday my face was significantly lighter than my body so it was clearly doing something. I can be prone to spots, especially when I use sunscreens but because this is so light I've never had any problems.

The sunscreen is designed to be applied over moisturiser so it is an extra step in my morning routine but its definitely worth it if it'll give me younger looking skin in the long run.

At £33.72 for 30mls its not cheap but you only need to use a small amount each time and each bottle lasts for a good few month.

Would definitely recommend this if you're looking for a daily sun protection product for the face!

18 February 2010

Chalk PR event

I was kindly invited to an event hosted by Chalk PR event to promote the companies they represent. Most of the creators were there so we could find out more about the brands and the products they had to offer.


Blooming Babe is a natural range created for mothers to be. The range has some very luxurious face and body care products, including a 'genie in a bottle oil cleanser' which is an oil based water soluble cleanser that removes make up and dirt without stripping the skin's natural protective barrier and 'glow papaya enzyme mask' which contains salicylic acid and fruit extracts to gently exfoliate the skin and leave it radiant.


Elizabeth's daughter is aimed at young girls and women with sensitive skin and features a range of 95% natural and gentle skincare products to help keep the skin blemish free. One of my favourite products from this range is the 'purifying mask' which claims to purify the skin and help eliminate toxins, something that is much needed atm!

He-Shi is a tanning range designed to give a natural and easy tan for both males and females. Most of the products are tinted allowing you to see where you've applied the tan and helping to prevent streaks. Some of the products in this range include an Exfoliating bodywash, Express liquid tan and a Fusion multi bronzer. I've been meaning to buy a tinted fake tan after a Dove summer glow disaster so was really pleased to find the liquid tan in my goodie bag. Look out for my review soon.

(photo from the Superdrug event)

Purity is a brand that offers organic skincare without the huge price tag. It was launched in 2009 and is currently exclusive to Superdrug. The range is 98% natural and on average 82% organic and includes products such as face wash, scrub, serum and several moisturizers. I first came across Purity at the Superdrug event and was given a sample of the serum to try out. I've been using if for the last few weeks and will be reviewing soon.


One brand that I was really excited about was Bumble and Bumble, as I've seen a lot of their products in magazines. They've recently brought out a thickening serum which claims to plump the individual strands of hair giving fuller hair over time. I have long fine hair so am really excited about trying this to see if it gives me thicker hair!


We were also briefly introduced to Korres which is a Greek brand that offers naturally derived face, hair and body products and Tommy Guns which has a range of shampoos, conditioners and styling products.

Another brand at the event was Cosmetics a la carte, a make up company that also offers custom blending. Unfortunately I had to leave early so didn't get a chance to find out more about the brand.

Hope this post was interesting and useful, sorry its so long!

17 February 2010

A few of my favourite purchases

Despite having exams recently I've still manage to find the time to go shopping, both in person and online. I'm still trying to use up my huge stash of toiletries so have been buying more clothes, shoes and make up, which is just as well since my wardrobe needs a major overhaul! These are a few of my favourite recent purchases:


I only started using a diary last year (don't know how I managed to be organised before) but I couldn't find any designs I liked this year so decided to go for a classic filofax instead. I got mine from Ebay for £12.50, a fraction of the price on the high street.


Another Ebay bargain I found when I should have been revising were these false eyelashes, at 10 pairs for a quid they're perfect for first time false eyelash users like myself!


I actually brought these a few weeks ago when New Look were doing 20% off and they've become my go to boots. Normally I can never walk in heels but this pair is surprisingly comfy to wear and gives me a nice height boost.


I've been looking for a jumper dress for ages and couldn't resist this cute one from H+M. Its thickly knitted and is really warm yet pretty. I'm planning on wearing this with black leggings and my New Look boots.

Have you brought any nice clothes and make up goodies recently?

15 February 2010

Aveeno product reviews

I was sent these products to review, and I've been using them over the last week or so to test them out.


The first product I was sent was the hand cream. According to Aveeno, the 'hand cream with naturally active colloidal oatmeal moisturises for 24 hours, forming a protective glove, and lasts through hand washing. Absorbs quickly and leaves dry hands looking and feeling soft, smooth and healthy'.


I was very impressed with this hand cream. Its a gel cream formula that sinks into the skin very quickly with no greasy afterfeel. I'm a bit of an obsessive hand washer so needed something very moisturising. I had some dry patches at the bottom of my fingers and they disappeared very quickly after I started using the cream. I normally use this 3/4 times a day after washing my hands and apply a think layer at bedtime. Its done a great job of keeping my skin moisturised and I've not had any dry patches since I started using it. It has a faint oatmeal smell but is barely noticable after application.


I was also sent the creamy moisturising oil to try out. According to the packaging the product 'is formulated with the concentrated goodness of finely milled naturally active colloidal oatmeal and sweet almond oil, known for their moisturising properties. It combines the benefits of an oil with the convenience of a cream, helping to maintain the skin's natural moisture level and prevent dry skin. Skin is left looking and feeling soft, smooth and healthy without a greasy after-feel.'


Again this product does what it says on the bottle. Its a light lotion that is easy to spread and sinks in quickly. It has a almond scent to it which I initially wasn't keen on but its grown on me and the scent lingers lightly on the skin afterwards which I really like. I like the fact that the bottle comes with a pump as the lotion is quite runny so it makes it easy to control how much product you want. I have normal/dryish skin and this does a good job of keeping them moisturised!

I've never used any Aveeno products before but I really like these two products and will definitely consider buying more products once I've finished my current collection of toiletries.

FOTN

Hope everyone had a good weekend. I had exams last week so I spent the weekend hanging out with my bf, shopping and eating lots of yummy food. It was just so nice to properly relax and not have to worry about work.

On Friday 2 friends had a joint dinner at a delicious family run Thai restaurant followed by drinks afterwards to celebrate their birthdays. Here's my FOTN:


Face
L'oreal studio secrets smoothing resurfacing primer
Garnier tinted eye roll on
MAC mineralize skinfinish natural
Maybelline dream mousse blush in peach satin

Eyes
Elite VIP colours eyeshadow palette in 5
Maybelline line definer liquid eyeliner
Primark black eyeliner
Maxfactor false lash effect mascara

Lips
Carmex
MAC nude rose lipstick

13 February 2010

Skin MD natural shielding lotion giveaway winner

Thanks to everyone who entered the Skin MD natural shielding lotion giveaway. I numbered all the valid enteries and used random.org to choose a winner.


The second entry was from Laura (Emerald Green 88).

Well done Laura! Could you please email me at peonieslilies@gmail.com asap with your address and I'll pass it on to Skin MD naturals who will post the shielding lotion to you.

Thanks again everyone who entered and look out for future giveaways on my blog if you didn't win this time.


12 February 2010

Update


Sorry for the lack of posts this week. I've had three exams this week that made up 40% my degree so all my time has been taken up with revision.

However they are now finally over so I have a lot more time to blog. I've been trying out some new products recently and will be reviewing them soon. I've also got quite a few shopping trips planned so look out for my haul posts as well as a giveaway.

Let me know if you there is anything in particular you'd like me to post about.

Also the Skin MD shielding lotion giveaway ends tonight so don't forget to enter if you haven't already done so.

7 February 2010

Superdrug spring summer 2010

Last week I was kindly invited to a Superdrug event to promote their range of own brand products and to showcase some of the new make up products that will be hitting the shelves over the next few months. There are loads of new products so without further ado:

Click on the photos for a bigger image.

Sleek

Sleek will be bring out 2 more limited edition eyeshadow palettes, 2 new pout polishes and some gorgeous new liquid eye liner colours. Thanks to Lina for the eyeliner photo.

Gosh

Gosh will be adding 3 new primers to their range (for face, eyes and lips) as well as some new nail varnish colours, lip glosses and glossy jumbo lip pencils. They've also recently brought out a new max intensity mascara.

Famous by Sue Moxley

Their spring summer range focuses on brightly coloured eyeshadows, Shimmerbrick stlye highlighters and eye shadow palettes.

Make Up Academy

Superdrug are also launching a budget range of cosmetics, with everything priced at £1.

Scarlett and Crimson

Ruby and Mille have created a cosmetics and accessories range aimed at the teenage market.


As well as all the make up they also had skincare and toileties on display, including their vitamin E range, a skin rescue oil (similar to Bio-oil), and Lula Bloom, a range of floral scented body care products that smelt beautiful.

At the end we were given a very generous goodie bag containing a selection of skincare and make up products which I will be trying out and reviewing shortly. Let me know if there's anything in particular you'd like to know more about.

Review - Soap and glory flake away

Product: Soap and glory flake away body scrub

Price: £6.50 for 300ml, £2.25 for 50ml (its often on offer though)

What they say: Want to put the bumps on your body to bed? Use Soap & Glory Flake Away® a spa-strength dry skin body polish. Apply a handful of Soap and Glory Flake Away® Body Scrub onto damp skin and massage in circular motions until most of the grains are gone. Rinse well, pat dry and apply moisturiser over the top whilst taking in the wonderful aromas of leafy greens, bergamot and mandarin, with floral and fruity middle notes, and a soft, sexy, musk, oakmoss, amber and woody drydown.

What I think: This is one of my favourite body scrubs. The product has lots of exfoliating beads which is great for getting rid of dry skin and a little goes a long way. The beads are rounded so its scrubby without being harsh on the skin and it doesn't dissolve or disappear too quickly, giving you plenty of time to really massage it into the skin. It also contains shea butter which is very moisturizing but at the same time its not at all greasy and rinses away easily with water.

It leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth and like all Soap and Glory products, it smells absoutely gorgeous!

Rating: 9/10

Would I repurchase:
Yes, as soon as I've finished all my other body scrubs!

Have you tried this body scrub? What are some of your favourite Soap and glory products?

5 February 2010

Valentine's day- the movie


Whilst playing around on my flatmate's iphone I came across the flixster app which tells you what new films are coming out and lets you watch the trailers.

I love my girly romantic comedies so was immediately drawn to Valentine's day which is about the lives and loves of 10 people in Los Angeles around the Valentine day period. It has a range of characters some of whom are in relationships, some of whom are single and features many famous faces including Jessica Alba, Patrick Dempsey, Anne Hathaway, Eric Dane and Ashton Kutcher.



Having seen the trailer it looks like a good light hearted feel good movie which I'd definitely like to go and watch in the cinema when it comes out on the 12th.

Are you into your romantic comedies? Will you be checking this movie out when its released?

A new name- Peonies and lilies

I've decided to change the name of this blog slightly, so now its 'Peonies and lilies' instead of 'Peonies and water lilies'.

The old name felt too long, this is a lot easier to say and sounds just as pretty :)

(Image from Google)



4 February 2010

A Chanel lookalike

The real Chanel J12 (image from Google)

Just before Christmas I decided to buy a watch as it was silly to keep fishing around in my bag for my phone just to see what the time was.

As usual I was really indecisive and couldn't decide which one to get. I was originally going to buy a boyfriend style Guess one but it was just too big for my small wrists, plus at £150 it wasn't cheap.


Whilst browsing the Argos catalogue I came across this Sekonda one that is almost an exact copy of the Chanel J12 watch I'd seen in stores. Initially I wasn't too sure about the white plastic strap but its much nicer in person than in pictures and it doesn't look at all cheap or tacky. I've since found several blogposts mentioning this watch so its quite a hit with beauty bloggers.


The watch retails at barginous £19.99 from Argos and comes in black and white designs. Its also currently buy one get one half price but I didn't think I'd ever wear the black one so just got this one.

The only downside is that you can't get the straps adjusted in store, it needs to be sent back to the manufacturers which is a pain. I've not had mine done yet so can't say how long it would take. Despite this I love the watch and it'll certainly keep me happy until I can afford some real Chanel.

ETA. I took it to another branch, and it turns out you can get them adjusted, it just depends on the store.

3 February 2010

Maxfactor lash lounge

I was invited to the Maxfactor lash lounge with Caroline Barnes (make up artist to Kylie Minogue and Cheryl Cole) last Saturday to promote their newest product- Lash extension effect mascara.


Lash extension effect mascara is designed to define, separate and elongate your lashes and it has a specially designed tampered wand to help achieve this. It is their longest brush yet and it is designed so that the middle lashes will be covered by the length of the wand and the tip of the brush used for the corner eyelashes. The liquid formula contains real nylon lash extension fibres for that lengthening effect.


Caroline demonstrated this mascara on the model and then compared it to the false lash effect mascara so we could see the difference. I always thought mascaras were quite gimmicky as I never notice much of a difference, however comparing them eye to eye you could definitely see the different effects they had.

Caroline applying the mascara on me (thanks to Natalie for the photo)

I have short straight lashes and the mascara definitely helped to lengthen my lashes. The way Caroline applied it make my eyes stand out more, however it still looked better on the model who had nicer lashes to start off with. One thing that impresses me though is how smudge free Maxfactor mascaras are on me compared to other brands.

At the end of the session we were given a goodie bag containing both the false lash and the lash extension mascaras to try out. I've been using the false lash mascara for the last few month so it will be interesting to see how the lash extension one compares when I apply it myself.

The beauty bloggers

We also had the opportunity to get our eyebrows threaded at Topshop but I'd just plucked mine the day before so me, Muhsine and Lina decided to check out the Marc Jacobs store instead (check out my blogpost here).

All in all it was an interesting event and it was really nice to meet other beauty bloggers and Caroline Barnes who were all absoutely lovely.

I also picked up several tips which are:

- Always apply mascara to the bottom eyelashes to help open up the eyes and do this before the top ones to avoid getting mascara dots on your eyelid.

- For the bottom eyelashes run the tip of the wand over the lashes then comb through to separate and define.

- For the top lashes, use the length of the brush for the middle lashes then use the tip of the brush for the corner ones, pulling in an outward direction to help them stand out more.

For a better explanation and demonstration of this check out this youtube video here.

2 February 2010

Review- Alberto Balsam strawberries and cream conditioner

Alberto Balsam has always been one of those brands that I always see in store but tend to walk past, preferring to go for more well know brands such as Herbal Essence and Aussie. However I fancied trying something new so decided to give this a go. Here's my review:

Product: Alberto Balsam strawberries and cream conditioner


Price: £1

What they say:Fancy getting fruity? This strawberries and cream conditioner smells fabulous and nourishes your hair, to leave it feeling fresh. It uses most of the same ingredients you’ll find in more expensive brands, but at a great price which means you can afford to look glamorous every day!
- Restores softness and shine
- Moisturises and nourishes
- Strengthens with pro-vitamin B5

What I think: This conditioner is surprisingly good considering its price. I use about a 3cm blob each time and smooth it through the bottom half of my hair. Its very easy to rinse out and leaves my hair feeling soft but clean. This conditioner is actually designed for dry damaged hair but I like to use extra moisturising ones on the end of my fine hair. Its a very light cream so as long as I rinse properly my hair doesn't get weighed down.

As its name suggests its got a delicous strawberry and cream scent that reminds me of those round swirly sweets and it makes the shower smell so nice.

Whenever I use this my hair always feels really smooth and silky and I've noticed that my hair is easier to comb through and doesn't knot as easily.

Rating: 9/10

Would I repurchase: Definitely, I'm really impressed and will definitely be checking out the rest of the range.

Calling all false eyelashes experts

I have quite short straight eyelashes that really need some extra help to stand out and since blogging I've become interested in trying some false lashes, but I've just never got round to buying any. However after talking about how big an impact lashes have on a look and reading some great posts I decided to get some cheap ones to try out.

Today I won a bid on a set of false eyelashes on Ebay and I get to choose any 10 lashes from the photo below:

(photo from Ebay)

I'd like to have a selection of natural and dramatic looking ones and am thinking of getting numbers:
-03
-07
-118
-128
-1028
-1088

Are they a good selection? or would you recommend any of the other ones? Thanks in advance.
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