Thursday, 26 September 2013

Origins...Skincare Dream Team!

For years I put up with terrible skin, constantly getting spots and blackheads and suffering with an awful oily T zone. Then last year I decided enough was enough, I had to start taking better care or my skin.

I have tried many products, good and bad, but I recently tried the Origins Clear Improvements Active Charcoal mask and the Drink Up Intensive Overnight Moisturising mask and I have to say I think I've found my soul mates for my skin.

I tried the Drink Up Intensive moisturiser first and was pretty impressed with that alone, I didn't realise just how dry my skin was until after I used this product. Then I got a random cheek break out, I never get spots on my cheek. So I decided to give the Clear Improvements mask a go and when I took it off I could not believe my eyes! The random little spots were gone, after one use they were completely gone! I don’t think I have ever used a product that has worked so well and so instantly.

The mask itself is like a thick, black gel when you put it on and then it dries and goes stiff just the same as any other mask. It doesn't give a time length for keeping the mask on, it just says leave until dried, so I left mine on for a few minutes whilst I tidied up a bit then took it off. I know a lot of people are put off masks because they can be difficult to remove, and looking at this mask I thought exactly the same thing, however I was impressed with how easily it came off using a little warm water and cotton pads.

My skin was a little red after using it but once the redness had gone down and I could see the full effects I really was amazed.

The images above aren't from the first time I used it as I didn't even think to take pictures, so these are from the 2nd time I used the Clear Improvements mask. I always have spots on my chin, at varying degrees of angry, you can see on the before picture they are a lot redder than on the after photo. I know the lighting is awful on the before but you can still see the difference between the two images and the after is a lot clearer. 

I try to use this mask every other day (depending on how tired I am) and then I use the Drink Up Intensive Overnight moisturiser after it. When I wake up in the morning my skin looks so fresh and awake and it feels like silk. For me these products have been the best combination for spot prone skin I have used, I would recommend them to anyone who is fed up of having constant break outs. 

They aren't the cheapest products at around £22 each but they are definitely worth it, you only need to use a tiny bit and you don't use them every day so they last for a long time. One thing I think it is important not to scrimp on is skincare; I can't believe I went so many years without doing something about my skin.

Thank you Origins for this dynamic duo!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Giveaway Winner!!!

It's finally time to announce the winner of my MAC Illustrated Lip Bag giveaway, thank you to everyone who entered and followed my blog I look forward to interacting with you all in the future.

Thank you for all of your fab comments, it seems most of you like a good haul and honest reviews on affordable products, which is great as that's what enjoy writing about too :) I hope you will all continue to comment and chat with me on here and over on Twitter. 

So the moment you've all been waiting for...

The winner of the gorgeous MAC Illustrated Lip Bag is...

Ciara B

If this is you please can you check your emails and get in touch with your address details.

Thanks again everyone :)

Monday, 16 September 2013

Ten Reasons Why...#4

It's been a while since I did one of my 'Ten Reasons Why..' posts and seeing as my favourite time of year is just around the corner I thought I'd do another and tell you all why I love Autumn. 

Ten Reasons Why...I love Autumn
1. The fashion, I much prefer Autumn/Winter fashion to Spring/Summer.
2. The early evenings, I love it when it starts to get dark earlier it makes me feel all cosy.
3. The extra hour in bed!
4. The count down to Christmas.
5. Getting all wrapped up to go for walks in the forest hunting for pine cones.
6. The footwear, I spend all summer hunting for suitable shoes when really all I want to do is throw on a pair of nice boots!
7. The predictable weather! I hate not knowing what to put on in Summer because of the unpredictable weather. 
8. You don't have to mow the lawns!
9. No more hayfever.
10. Lazy Sunday film afternoons with the girls, it just doesn't feel right to have these in the Summer.

What's your favourite season? Are you an Auntumn lover or do you cling onto Summer for as long as you can?

Saturday, 14 September 2013

NARS Sheer foundations review

Like most girls I am always on the hunt for the perfect foundation, and I know I said I thought the hunt was over with the Bobbi Brown foundation stick but I this time I think I really have found my perfect foundation.

I first bought the NARS Sheer glow after watching too many Tanya Burr tutorials and being amazed at how it made her skin actually glow (in a non-radioactive way!). So like the little lemming I am I went along and got myself the NARS Sheer Glow in Monte Blanc, which is the perfect colour for my pale skin. This foundation makes skin look radiant and flawless, the coverage is fantastic and you can really build it. However as I do have an oily T Zone, as the day goes on the glow does start to become more of a shine. So I decided to try the Sheer Matte and man am I glad I did!

I have tried a few matte foundations before and I have always felt they make my skin look too ghostly and unnatural. The NARS Sheer Matte does neither of these things, it simply enhances my skin whilst covering up the blemishes and controlling the oily areas. I find I can go all day with out touching up and it looks just as good at the end of an 8 hour day at work as it did when I first put it on. I just love this foundation, maybe even more than the Sheer Glow. Again the coverage is amazing and you can build it no problem without it looking orange.

As you can see from the swatches the Sheer Glow has a lovely dewy finish and the Sheer Matte has a natural finish. They look two completely different colours here but I think that is because of how the light reflects off the Sheer Glow.

As you can see the two finishes are completely different.

If there is one negative about these foundations it would be that you have to buy the pump separate and when the foundation costs £30.50 having to pay an extra £3 for the pump is a bit of a cheek. Without the pump it is very hard to get the foundation out without wasting too much.

Have you tried NARS Sheer foundations yet? Which do you prefer?

Thursday, 12 September 2013

First High End Haul!

As it's my 30th birthday coming up (think I've mentioned that once or twice) I thought I would treat myself to some luxury products, I had some John Lewis vouchers burning a hole in my pocket so I thought why the hell not! I don't usually like writing haul posts (love reading them though) unless it's from somewhere unusual or a bit special, I think this one can be classed as special as it's my first high end haul ever! 

I wasn't quite sure what I wanted really other than some high end lipsticks as I don't own any and it was about time I did. After asking the lovely #bbloggers during the chat a couple of weeks ago I had my heart set on a YSL Rouge Volupte, thanks to a recommendation from Fisi from Oh Snap Babes. I went for Nude Beige, and I absolutely LOVE it! Look out for a full review coming soon... I also got an Estee Launder Pure Colour.

Another product I didn't have any of was a MAC eye shadow, ever since seeing an Instagram post from Sugar Fixx Beauty I have wanted the Cranberry shade so I could copy her look. Another eye product I bought was the YSL Babydoll mascara as I have read so many good reviews of it and my Benefit They're Real was running out. I am really loving it so far and I will definitely be doing a full review soon. I seem to go through stages of buying certain products, at the moment it's lips but a few months back it was foundation. This is when I discovered NARS Sheer Glow and after trying it I doubt I'll ever go back, I loved it so much I decided to give the Sheer Matte a try too and again so far so good! 

Finally I wanted to give the Origins Clear Improvements Active Charcoal Mask a try as recently I have been using the Drink Up intensive moisturiser, again I'm yet to try this but as soon as I do I'll let you know how I get on.

Look out for full reviews on all of these products coming up very soon. I'd love to read your comments on any of these products or any other high end products you're loving at the moment.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Maybelline Baby Lips Review

If you haven't heard about the Maybelline Baby Lips by now where have you been?! These much hyped lip balms have previously only been available in America but earlier this summer they finally made it across the pond. Like with all hyped up products, especially drugstore ones, I tried to resist being drawn in by it all but eventually as usual I caved!

I really wasn't interested in these at all at first because I just thought they were another lip balm, and really how different could they be? But when the inevitable happened and I jumped on the Baby Lips bandwagon I was pleasantly surprised. 

There are 6 in the range, 3 tinted and 3 non-tinted, I decided to go for the two most popular tinted balms 'Cherry Me' and 'Pink Punch'. 

Cherry Me is a beautiful subtle red and Pink Punch is a cute girly pink, the pigmentation of both is amazing for a tinted lip balm, I personally think these are much better than the lip butters (controversial I know). Not only that but they are really moisturising, they do exactly what a lip balm should do when so many others don't. Also they smell amazing!

Now I'm not usually one to comment on the packaging of a product as I think it's pretty irrelevant really, however if there is one downside to these babies it would be the packaging. It's a little tacky for my taste, but as I love these so much I'm willing to put that to one side (see packaging talk = irrelevant).

The Maybelline Baby Lips are £2.99 which I think is a bargain and exactly how much a lip balm should be. I think they are currently on some 3 for 2 promotion in Boots too as when I got mine there was nothing to indicate they were but then on my receipt I seemed to have money off?? I would recommend these to anyone! Mum's of young girls out there, I think they would be especially good for young teens who are wanting to get into makeup but are maybe still a bit young for lipstick.

Have you tried the Baby Lips yet?

Friday, 6 September 2013

Pure Beauty Awards 2013

Now I know you're all probably fed up of me wanging on about BlanX by now but...BlanX White Shock has been nominated for 2 Pure Beauty Awards and obviously we'd love to win!

For those of you who haven't heard of Pure Beauty it is a beauty trade magazine that you can subscribe to, each month they feature the latest beauty products and it is great for getting a heads up on the next big thing. From a blogging point of view I love this magazine as it is great for seeing what's coming up, they always feature blogger comments in there too.

BlanX has a really good track record with Pure Beauty, we have won the past two years, I was lucky enough to go to the awards ceremony last year and it was amazing! You can read all about it here. It would be brilliant if all of my lovely readers could take a few minutes to vote for BlanX in the Best New Dental Product and the Special Innovation categories. I am already thinking of something special to do with my goody bag loot to say a huge thank you to you all :-) 

You can vote for BlanX White Shock and lots of other fantastic products here at the Pure Beauty website.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Happy 1st birthday to Belles and Bows

Yes this is a cake I attempted to make for my daughters 1st birthday, like my blog my baking has got better with practice!

Who'd of thought it, Belles and Bows has reached it's first birthday (pulls cyber party popper)! Well there are a few posts dated earlier than a year ago today if you go back far enough but they don't count as they were copied over from another rubbish blog I started a couple of years ago.

After going back through my catelogue of posts I realised I never actually wrote an intro post, so I thought now was as good a time as any to do one.

What to expect from Belles and Bows...
Lots of random chitter chatter, product reviews (good and bad, I don't hold back), lifestyle updates from the family and work life, giveaways and general ranting! I'm by no means an expert when it comes to makeup and I am always learning new tricks, but I think that's what makes Belles and Bows a bit special. It's a blog for all you girls who like makeup and beauty but sometimes get more than a little confused by the science bit!

Belles and Bows is and has always been a place for me to gather my thoughts, not just beauty based but thoughts in general really. I don't really know what I set out to achieve when I started this blog and it has evolved massively since the early days. I'm still a rambler, and always will be because that's just me, and my photography has only mildly improved since the beginning but the way I see it Belles and Bows will always be a work in progress, just like me!

I'm super excited to have reached this milestone as I never thought I would have carried it on past a couple of months. I found it to be a brilliant experience and I am immensely proud of what I have achieved, to some it might seem like nothing compared to how far some other bloggers have come in their first year, but to me if even one person carried on reading it would all be worth it.  

If there was one thing I'd like to change about my blog over the next year it would be that Belles and Bows would become more interactive. I'd love to write more posts that inspire people to leave comments and join in the conversation. From my experience blogging is very much a community and a chatty one at that, I'd just love it if I could bring that out on my blog a little more. 

Well there's no time like the present to get more interactive with you lot so here we go...
I'd like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read Belles and Bows so far and as a token of my appreciation I have a little giveaway for you all. The prize is this gorgeous MAC Illustrated Lip Bag designed by Rebecca Moses worth £31.00 and is exclusive to Selfridges. It contains Girl About Town lipstick, Baby Pink lipglass and Embrace Me lip pencil (this is defo on my birthday wish list!).

As part of the entry I'd love you to leave me a comment below telling me all about what you would like to see more of in the future. What sort of posts do you like to read? Is there something that you think really makes a blog stand out and keep you coming back for more? 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck lovelies and thanks again for reading, I've got my fingers crossed for you all! ♥

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