The Official Countdown has started!

So now is when the real excitement starts to set in, its only 9 sleeps until the big day. Although my probably unpopular opinion is that Christmas Eve is more exciting than Christmas Day itself. I mean this is when the real festivities kick off! You cannot deny there is no better feeling than finishing work on the 24th, then starting that glorious drive home with a christmas anthem or 5 serenading you as you cruise along the seafront (if you work in Southend on Sea that is) with that inevitable bottle of fizz waiting for you when you get home. In my world, there is no better feeling. But thanks to the ridiculous offers on the booze in met supermarkets this year I have LOTS to get through. A very MERRY Christmas indeed!

So since I last wrote to you lovely people I have opened 3 advent windows. I KNOW. Im sorry for the delay but it is nearing the final week and making presents look pretty is really rather time consuming. So the three products I have received in the last 72 hours are all products I have neither used or in 2 cases, never even heard of until now.

The purple box of fabulous things gave me, Percy and Reed Volumising No Oil Oil, Roger and Gallet Fleur de Figuier Hand Cream and Rodial dragon’s blood sculpting gel.

  
Firstly, Percy and Reed, what is up with your naming skills?! Are you desperately trying to confuse me? No oil, oil. How bizarre. Anyway I have heard plenty of mixed reviews about Percy and Reed products so I have always been skeptical to try them out. However I am a sucker for a volumising product due to the fact that I have super duper thick hair that is so heavy, it falls flat quite quickly. I used this oil (well, not oil) on my damp hair and after blow drying with a barrel brush, I had a significant amount of volume at my roots. And I noticed throughout the day, the style did in fact stay in tact. So I did a bit of research into the formulation of this product and it turns out the Violet extract enriches and moisturises your dull and lifeless barnet to give you smooth, silky and voluptuous results. Which if you have thick hair, getting a silky result is usually tough so this will do the job. Not to mention act as a heat protectant to prevent you putting umpteen products through your locks.

  
Okie dokie onto the Roger and Gallet Hand Cream. I must admit I really don’t like the flour de Figuier scent. I’ve tried the Perfume of the same scent before and I couldn’t wash it off quick enough. On some people it smells fantastic and it really suits them, however for me, it just didn’t. So this was another thing i’ve given to my lovely Nan to try and review for me. As a huge fan of hand creams, Nan is an expert on how they should feel and smell on your skin. she thought the scent was beautifully fresh and not too strong which some hand creams can be. She told me that she could quite happily use this lots throughout the day because it leaves her skin soft and supple without the greasy after-texture that cheaper creams usually result in. Another thing she loved is the thin tube, since she only ever uses small handbags, it fits in the side pocket perfectly without bulking the bag out. So its safe to say nan would buy this hand cream. or maybe i’ll just add it to her christmas list. What a lovely granddaughter I am. Modest too by the sounds of it.

  
 And last but by no means least, Todays wonderful tube of Magic is the Rodial Dragons Blood. Okay, I have heard of this brand but the price tags are way out of my league so i’ve never looked into it any further. My research has told me that The formula of this product is scientifically tested to plump and sculpt facial contours to fight any sagging skin you get with age.

I have done plenty of research into this product and if my mum’s grimace on FaceTime was anything to go by when I told her this product is called ‘Dragon’s Blood’ then i’m positive you’ll all be wondering the same thing. So why is it called that? Well it turns out the Extract used in this product is that of the Dragon’s Blood Tree native to the island of Socotra in the indian ocean. The sap from this tree is naturally red which is why it’s known as Dragon’s blood.
As i’m sure most people are aware, as you age your skin does what most other things do when you get older; it goes a bit southward. And if a facelift or cosmetic surgery is a bit too heavy duty for you then this product has had reviews from the top skincare gurus and makeup artists to confirm that it actually does work. Applied all over your face and neck, it forms a protective veil over your skin to promote firmness, and help sort out all those uneven red tones as well as helping sooth sensitive skin too.
Since I don’t really need this product (yet) I will give it to mother, since nan is already using the time filler, and see what she makes of it. I shall update you all with her progress in due course.
Not that she needs an anti-ageing product of course. (just to cover myself)

 

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Unlucky for some, not for me. 

Excuse the day off but I thought I’d make great use of my Sunday off and finish my Christmas shopping before I spent all of my money on me (God forbid) 

However Sunday’s lonesome gift from M&S wasn’t of much use to me so I’ve had to improvise. The 13th little box from the Magic and Sparkle Christmas fairies – whom are apparently having a well earned holiday this year – presented me with a little bottle of Mio Liquid Yoga bath soak. What a glorious gift to receive from an advent Calendar; a good hearty size, a well known specialist brand and it does the job and smells beautiful while it’s at it. If you have a bath, of course. Which ironically and much to my dismay, I do not have. 

So I decided to improvise and use it as a foot soak in my foot spa. Not that I usually have time for a foot spa but I had a tough old day and my poor little toes were aching like mad. So I borrowed mum’s just to try this product and its pretty damn good. The scent is very strong and soothing since its jam packed pull of the essential oils of Lavendar, chamomile, spearmint and mandarin which all combine with the arnica and Epsom salts to provide a relaxing, soothing soak. 

As a brand that focus on the therapeutic side of events; such as relaxing muscles and relieving tension (hence the product name liquid yoga), they need to have a very specific formula, and consequently a price to match (you get what you pay for) 

So after soaking my feet in this they felt beautifully soft, relaxed and any ache that had been there from my tough day at work, had disappeared totally. 

Overall I’m not sure if I would buy this product since it wouldn’t benefit me because I don’t have the apparatus available to get the full rewards from using it; however if you are prone to knots in your muscles and usually get stressed quite easily (who doesn’t) I would say give this a go. Oh and if you have a bath of course. Plus it’s cheaper than paying for 5 massages a month. 

12th Time Lucky…

So the 12 days of Benefit have gone extremely fast because today was the last time I’d wake up and open that little box of joy to hear their whacky take on the 12 days of Christmas song. Today’s line was ’12 hunks a-flirting’ I don’t think I really need to elaborate on that one do you? Definitely not. 

However they saved a good one until last, The lovely Benefit advent pixies today gave me a lovely gift of Rockateur! 

Not to be overshadowed by Benefit’s last day, M&S also outdone themselves with their gift to me today, as I opened the little purple box to find a Diego Dalla Palma lipstick in 46 – which is a fantastic Dusky pink colour.

  
So starting with Benefit since today is their last day in my Blogmas countdown, I am really rather pleased with today’s little gift. For those that don’t know Benefit very well, Rockateur is a very popular cheek powder or blusher that when applied to the apples of your cheeks gives you a beautiful peachy, Rosie colour. It’s a very natural cheek blush and also does a bit of a highlighting job too. The powder has a tiny gold sheen to it, not enough to be a shimmer or glitter and you can barely even see it. However when it’s on, those light reflecting particles really give your face dimension and stop it looking matte and, well, flat. In my opinion, on my skin tone anyway, this colour appears warm which is awesome for this time of year when you’re opting for warmer shades. But saying that I found this shade of blush works better with a nude makeup look since the warmth will balance out the cooler colours on the rest of your face.

  
Okay okay onto the DDP lippy. I’ve used this before plenty of times and I’m so pleased they’ve given me this shade since it’s my favourite. It matches my cooler skin tone perfectly and combined with an autumnal, bronzed eye look… It just looks fantastic. I LOVE it. So thank you very much M&S.

Diego Dalla Palma are an Italian makeup brand based in Milan, and their products are underrated, big time. Their lipsticks and glosses are such a high quality and they don’t get the press they deserve. They have a price tag to match their quality but I’ve done research on the formulations of their lipsticks and its impressive (I won’t start on that now because ‘yawn’). When you wear them they are long lasting, they are low maintenance throughout the day because they have great staying power, the pigment doesn’t stain your lips after use, and I have to say they just look to damn fine. I mean they must be pretty confident with how good their products are if all they are relying on to rope those customers in is a simple black and white box. You’d think if the box is black and white the actual lipstick must have some bright eye catching pattern on it… Oh no. Black and white yet again. And all I can say to that is ‘Less is definitely more’. 

So since its Benefits last day I should probably let them win…however M&S have really done a brilliant job with that DDP lipstick. Both products are excellent for my complexion, both have great staying power, and actually both complement each other when worn together. 

So farewell Benefit Advent, we’ve had a good run! And the gifts you’ve given me throughout December have been wicked. I thank you for your participation in my Blogmas posts, and I hope to see you again next year. 

Perfect TENS everywhere!

We have reached the Tenth day in our Christmas countdown and my four advent calendars are getting really rather gappy. Yes I said 4. The M&S beauty advent, The Benefit makeup advent plus the two chocolate calendars mum and nan got me. I wanted Lindt but with me asking Santa very nicely for a Macbook this Christmas I was lucky to get a £2.50 dairy milk calendar and not a One Direction one from the pound shop.

Back to what you’re all here for; today’s gifts to me from the beauty advent elves were Neal’s Yard nourishing cream in Frankincense (M&S) and Hoola Nude Lip gloss (Benefit)

With these beautiful products, Sophie’s morning routine was a real winner. I left for work feeling pretty damn glam.

  
I’ll start with what I used first which was the Neal’s Yard cream. I’ve never used this brand before so it’s yet another first impression review. And please allow me to just tell you how magnificent this moisturiser smells. If you’re like me and love the typical spicy scents of Christmas, then this cream will be your best friend. It’s such an individual product since the scent of frankincense is rarely used in anything else other than fragrances and candles, which already makes me a fan before I’ve even tried it. 

Like the other creams I’ve reviewed during Blogmas from the Advent Calendars, it’s from a high end brand which means it’s formulated to the highest standard – and ultimately it absorbs into the skin beautifully without any residual greasiness to see or touch. So combining this quality with the wonderful scent, I’m a huge fan of Neal and his yard.

  
Onto Benefit and the Hoola gloss. If you’ve read my previous review of the Sugarbomb lip gloss again by Benefit you’ll already be aware of my dislike for lip gloss since its High maintenance, your hair gets stuck in it causing you to look like a bit of a wally and if you use too much, it gets gloopy and highly unattractive. Therefore I’ll always be a lipstick kind of girl. 

But it just shows you get what you pay for because a higher end brand puts a lot more effort into the formulation of their gloss which makes it a manageable consistency to wear, gorgeous to look at and easy to maintain throughout the day. Hoola reflects this point completely because I wore it today with pride and loved it. I love a nude lip colour so this gloss was perfect, with its golden colour and ever so slight shimmer. It also smells like toasted marshmallows, how awesome is that?! 

Okay another draw today since both products I received were absolutely flawless. Loved them both and will definitely be recommending them to anyone and everyone. 

Dressed to the NINES! 

Well well well nine days into December and only 3 Windows left to open for the Benefit Advent. I’m quite sad that the comparison posts are nearly a thing of Christmas past however saying that I’m super excited for what other fantastic little gems M&S have to offer. 

So the wondrous windows of glory from the advent calendars opened up this morning and gave to me the Filorga Time Filler (M&S) and the Bad Gal Lash Mascara (Benefit).

  
Today’s review for M&S will have a bit of a twist since it’s not me reviewing the product; it’s my nan. Incase you’ve not heard of Filorga before they are a very precise and scientific brand that test all of their formulas in specialist laboratories in France several times to ensure the product they create, bottle and sell to us Lovely ladies (or gents, No stereotypes here) is the best it can get, doing exactly what it says on the tin. 

Naturally a review for an anti ageing product should come from a person who would benefit from what it does as a product, which is not me since I’m 21 with virtually wrinkle free skin (at the moment, anyway). So I called for the help of my wonderful Nan to review the time filler. I thought she’d be a bit touchy about it being an anti ageing cream however she was more thrilled at the prospect of getting something for free no matter what it was! 

After one use as an addition to her regular moisturiser, Nan says that the cream smoothed onto her skin really evenly and it left no greasy film or patches on the top layer of skin like some cheaper anti ageing creams. She loves how soft her skin felt after using the cream and how gentle it was to use on the thin skin around the eyes.

As a high end product you expect the best results so after the continual use, I will keep you posted on how it works out for nan. 

  
Onto the 3rd mascara I have received during Blogmas and the 184th in my mass ocean of mascaras I have to swim through every morning just to get to the mirror. 

Bad Gal Lash is totally different to the other mascaras I’ve reviewed in the last week since the brush is a soft bristle brush wand. This type of wand is loved by so many of you since it’s so delicate when applying it. The plastic comb of Roller Lash and They’re Real! is the best wand for lash separation which is why they’re both so popular but they can also be a bit too vigorous and unkind to our fragile lash lines. So the next best alternative would be a soft brush wand like the Bad Gal Lash has. It concentrates more on giving volume than lengthening and curling lashes but if you have an eyelash curler handy, I’m sure you’ll be best friends with it in no time.

So in conclusion of this I don’t think there’s a winner today since I don’t have a real overview of the Filorga. But in hindsight I loved using the Bad Gal Lash mascara as it gave me a totally different look, and my nan is enjoying using her new expensive face cream; so we’re all winning today! 

SIX it up my Darling!

The 6th December comes to us today on a rather overcast, grim looking Sunday. I’m not going to Segway into some cheesy pun about my good self being able to brighten up your day. Because, well, cringe. 

So on this rather grim morning I opened my beautiful advent Windows to find the Rosie Nuit Parfum (M&S) and the Lollitint cheek and lip tint (Benefit). Was quite pleased with these two since I love this perfume and I’ve never used a liquid tint before so that’s what I call a first impression review coming your way.

So let’s start with the Lollitint. 

  Lip and cheek Tints have never been on my list of must try makeup items. They just seem like unnecessary items if you already have blushers and lipsticks coming out of your ears (like me). This one I’ve acquired happens to be purple. PURPLE. I may use this as a lip stain underneath a nude gloss just to vamp up a simple day look, but with experimentation, I have discovered blending it underneath a subtle highlighter on the apex of your cheeks creates a gorgeous colour if you have a naturally warm skin tone. Which isn’t me because my skin is about as warm as that of Edward from Twilight. 

However I’m still not a huge fan of this product since I think it’s a bit redundant when I have so many fantastic lipsticks and blushers. 

  In total contrast to Lollitint I have also now acquired a Perfume I am always using when I’m working. Oddly enough when it first launched I HATED it. It’s the intense night version of the Official fragrance released by actress and model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and it’s got a bit of a Chanel thing going on. A Chanel wannabe means you can be sure of one thing: it’s an extremely pungent scent. Although saying that, it’s grown on me and I now really like it. It has great staying power which is always a mega win where perfumes are concerned. 

So today I’m going to say M&S have bagged the prize for Day 6 with the Rosie Nuit Parfum. Not a totally biased decision because I’d say Lollitint can be seen as pointless against other more useful products on the market. Never the less it’s still a gorgeous colour that, when used correctly, will brighten up a daily makeup look. 

They’re REAL. No, really.

The excitment I expressed this morning was probably greater than necessary when I opened the Benefit advent calendar and from that little window was the product I have been waiting for since I bought it, winking back at me. Even though I’m already swimming through the 184 mascaras I already own, this one I was desperate to try. And from the title I’m sure the fellow beauty gurus out there will know it’s the ‘They’re Real!’ Mascara by Benefit. 

  
M&S were slightly overshadowed by Benefit today due to the fact they have given me the RENOVATE nail repair kit by Leighton Denny. An excellent product so I gather, don’t get me wrong, however up against a beautiful everyday makeup product like They’re Real! I was always going to vote Benefit. 

Therefore I’m already certain about which advent will win today. 

So since I woke up around 4 minutes before I was due to leave my house this morning, I decided to throw my war paint in my bag and make myself less of a monster once I was on the train. And let me tell you experimenting with a new mascara whilst on board a bumpy train, is a task done with great difficulty. Never the less, once I had gotten rid of all the black dots of stray mascara on my eyelid I was highly impressed with the result.

Similar to Roller Lash (also by Benefit), this wand is a plastic bristle brush, which is the standard wand for achieving false lash effect by separating the lashes; in other words NO CLUMPING. so we’re already winning. 

But they’ve gone the extra step with this wand by adding more bristles to the tip, which give you a helping hand to reach those wispy lashes in the inner and outer corners of your eye; overall creating the illusion of brighter eyes and a darker, more defined lash line. Again, a mega win. So naturally I was fluttering my lashes at everyone today with the knowledge that they looked epic.

  
Onto the magic of RENOVATE by Leighton Denny. I’ve previously said I’ve started to look after my nails after neglecting them for years, but that doesn’t stop them being brittle and causing my nail varnish to chip after just 5 minutes. No basic terms it’s a heavy duty buffing cream, you apply the cream and use the buffer that you get in the box to buff it into the nails to strengthen them and even out ridges. 

This product will take time to give a real review since it takes a few applications but going on the grounds that it sells really fast in the Beauty hall where I work, I’d say it’s worth the wait. Once I’ve used it I will post my full review.

So yes you’ve guessed it, Benefit have won Day 5 with their fantastic They’re Real! Mascara. During December you’re no doubt going to have plenty of occasions that require fancier makeup than you’d normally wear, and this mascara just takes the extra chore out of applying false lashes. Which for me is a godsend because I simply cannot deal with false lashes.