Tuesday, 20 August 2013

A Change of Heart: MUA

I've been pretty bad at updating this blog lately thanks to one of the most time consuming activities on the planet - job hunting (thankfully I'm now soon to be employed, woohoo!) so there are a few posts I'm hoping to write up in the next few days.

Today I thought I'd have a little bit of a moan, and unfortunately retract some of the positive things I've said on this blog about one of my ex-favourite brands, MUA. I've mentioned quite a few of their products, but over time I've been finding one recurring problem that has really put me off of buying anything more from the brand - the packaging of nearly every product I've bought has broken within a few days/weeks.

The first breakage came immediately after buying one of their lipsticks last year. Each lipstick is meant to have a little bit at the bottom that shows the shade of the product, but this part of the packaging snapped off almost immediately once I got the lipstick home. No big loss as I wasn't too sold on the shade anyway.

I wrote a rave review of MUA's Undress Me eyeshadow palette back in November, and I remain impressed with the product quality to this day. The packaging was never anything special, but this didn't bother me - until the lid broke a couple of months ago. I'm now left with a pretty useless palette that I can't carry around or keep in my makeup box without making a massive mess.

I recently wrote a post about the combination of MUA's Undress Me Highlighter and Bronzed Perfection bronzer, both £3. I loved both of the products and found that they worked really well together, and couldn't beleive that they were such a brilliant bargain. Unfortunately, the reason the products retail so cheaply seems once again to be due to cutting corners on packaging - the lids of BOTH of these products have for some time now been broken. As with the eyeshadow palette, this renders them pretty useless - I can't take them anywhere and have to keep them seperately to the rest of my makeup.

 I'm absolutely gutted to think that such lovely products are rendered unusable by such a stupid detail as shoddy packaging. Just to be clear, I do look after my makeup - I don't keep products loose in my bag and store them in a box and home. It's only my MUA products that I've had any trouble with - I recently tweeted the company about this issue, but sadly got no response.

In future I will probably avoid MUA, and stick to my other budget favourites such as Sleek and e.l.f. Shame.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

5 Products to Help You Beat the Heat

In case you hadn't noticed, it's been pretty warm recently. Although this beautiful weather has many, many advantages, it can take its toll on your makeup. The humidity in particular, combined with the extra sweat we produce in hot weather (ew), means that makeup isn't as likely to last in this weather. So with this in mind, here are a few of my favourite products to help you thrive during the heatwave!

e.l.f Eyeshadow Primer in 'Sheer' (£1.50)

If you're a fan of wearing eyeshadow on a day-to-day basis, then I cannot recommend this little gem of a product enough. One sweep across the eyelid will dramatically increase the staying power of even cheapo eyeshadows, even in sweltering heat. This product is an absolute steal at £1.50 - if you haven't ever tried e.l.f products then get over to eyeslipsface.co.uk and treat yourself.

Kleenex Shine Absorbing Sheets (£2.99)

I mentioned these sheets in my Holiday Checklist post, but figured they were worth mentioning again here because they really are a beauty essential when it comes to beating the heat. These sheets are a cheaper alternative to MAC Blot Film, and cost just £2.99 for 50 sheets. Dab the sheets against your face to soak up excess oils from your face for an easy matte look, instead of that nasty shine that tends to accompany hot weather. Keep some of these sheets in your bag at all times when attended a big event in the heat, particularly when there are likely to be cameras involved. These sheets were a godsend at my graduation last month.

 Revlon Colorstay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick (£8.99)

 I've been wanting to talk about these lipsticks for ages, so I'm glad I've finally found an opportunity to squeeze them in. If you've never used one of these, then you will not believe how long lasting they are. I can put one of these lipsticks on in the morning, and by the evening it will still be there. Seriously. In fact, one of the downsides of these lipsticks is that when you do want to get them off, you'll probably struggle - they can survive showers, cleansers and scrubbing with cotton wool pads. In this heat, however, they are ideal, as you can rest assured that you don't need to be constantly topping up your lipstick to achieve a bold, bright, summery colour. The other downside is that these lipsticks to tend to be quite drying, so keep a stick of chapstick or topcoat on you to apply on top of the Revlon product.
 e.l.f Makeup Mist & Set (£3.75)

I know I did mention this product in my last post as part of my e.l.f haul entry, but there is no way I could write a post on products to combat the heatwave without giving it another mention. I've been using this product religiously since the weather turned ridiculous, and it's been fantastic. The product does exactly what it says on the tin, it keeps your makeup in place for a prolonged period of time, and definitely prevents it from melting off in the sun. If you're a fan of liquid eyeliner, particularly feline flicks, I cannot recommend this product enough - it really will keep your makeup in place all day. Again, this is another brilliant buy from e.l.f, and something that I will definitely be repurchasing.

Little White Lie Tanning Mousse (£17.49)

If you're a regular reader of my blog then you may recall that this was a product I received as part of my goodie bag from a Cosmo Magazine event, and I've been really chuffed with it since I've started using it. Whilst I will admit that the mousse isn't quite as much of a steal as the other 4 products featured in this post, I do find it to be very good value for money, particularly for tanorexics who regularly splurge on sunbeds or spray tans. The mousse feels very luxurious against the skin, probably thanks to the argan oil it contains, and creates a lovely tan that appears very natural and lasts for ages - I find that I only need to use this product once a week to stay bronzed, whereas cheaper brands such as St.Moritz will require reapplication after every shower. When the weather is this hot and you want to appear constantly tanned, I would argue that this product is worth the money for the hassle free and time saving solution it provides. My one bugbear about this product is the fact that the mousse is clear and gradually develops into a golden tan, so application requires a lot of attention to detail to make sure you're getting an even coverage. Other than this one hangup, I think this product is perfect for use during the heatwave.

I hope you find these recommendations handy. What are your favourite beat-the-heat products?

Friday, 12 July 2013

My e.l.f Haul

As a little graduation present to myself, I recently decided to take advantage of a generous offer from cult makeup brand Eyes Lips Face (e.l.f). The offer was spend £20, and receive a mystery goodie bag made up from the 'e.l.f loves' collection as a free gift. As I'd been dying to try out some of the most raved about elf products for some time, I thought it would be rude not to have a bit of a splurge.

Below is a picture of all of the products I received. Looking at them all now, I can barely remember which I ordered and which came as part of the free gift!

I thought I'd feature a few of the first impression stand out products in more detail, so here are a few of my favourites so far....

1. e.l.f Lipstick in 'Fantasy'
This was one of the products I received in the mystery bag, and when I first unwrapped it I wasn't too sold on the colour - it's a brick-brown colour and I just wasn't sure. However, when applied to my lips it comes out a beautiful nudey colour, smells and tastes delicious, is moisturising AND long lasting - winning!

2. e.l.f All Over Colour Stick
Again, this was a mystery bag gem. My first impression was pretty much...why? It seemed to me to be a messier alternative to bronzer, I couldn't be bothered to even try it. I can't remember what it was that made me eventually pick it up and give it a go, but I'm SO glad I did - this is a beaut little product! I use it mostly for contouring my face, by running it over my cheekbones, temples and jawline. It's absolutely perfect for this cause as it can be easily applied with precision and is very blendable. It's not too dark, not too shimmery and easier to use on the go than bronzer as there's no need to use a brush...I love it.

3. e.l.f Makeup Mist & Set
This was a product that I chose myself when placing my order. I'd been after a fixing spray for some time and found myself tempted my MUA's offering until I decided to do a haul with e.l.f. This spray does what it says on the tin - I've definitely noticed a difference in the staying power of my makeup since using this spray, perfect for all day events like my graduation last week. It feels a little wet when you first spray it, but it dries quickly and you can't feel it once it's dried. I would definitely repurchase this product.

4. e.l.f Liquid Eyeliner in 'Navy'
Not a particularly revolutionary product, but it does the job and does it well. I'd been after a navy eyeliner for a while so jumped at the opportunity to include one in my haul, and I've been pretty addicted to it ever since. I find it easy to create feline flicks with the applicator, it stays put all day, what more could you want?

Have you tried any e.l.f products? Are you a fan of the brand, and if so which amazing products am I missing out on?

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

MUA Bronzed Perfection Bronzer & Undress Me Highlighter

Apologies for the lack of posts recently; I have just got back from holiday with my uni girls. The holiday was the perfect way to end a beaut 3 years at Reading Uni, and I'm pretty gutted to be back in the grey UK!

Whilst on holiday, I suffered that age old problem - I didn't want to put my head in the sun whilst sunbathing because I was trying to read my Kindle, but didn't want to end up with a tanned body and white face. In the end I gave up and surrendered to the inevitable two-tone bod, and decided to rely on makeup to even out my skin tone.

My weapon of choice was MUA's new Bronzed Perfection Bronzer, which will set you back a mere £3. I decided to purchase this product after reading several positive reviews on the Bloggersphere, plus I needed a new bronzer anyway. The other thing that drew me towards this MUA offering was its matte finish - although I'm not opposed to a shimmer bronzer, I usually find that cheaper products tend to contain primary school style chunks of glitter that are far from flattering. Here's what the product looks like...

I've been using this bronzer alongside MUA's Undress Me Highlighter, £3, another lovely product that I mentioned in my Five Under a Fiver post a couple of months back. I use this highlighter sparingly, just brushing a small amount of powder above my cheekbones. Here's what it looks like...

I was not disappointed by either product. My first impressions were that, like many MUA products, both the bronzer and highlighter are huge, making them very good value for money. The bronzer only comes in one shade, but I imagine this will be a pretty universally flattering shade for Caucasian skin.
When using a brush to pick up the bronzer I did find that particles did fly all over the place, although this is fairly easily remedied by passing the brush very lightly across the product, and blowing gently on the brush before applying to the face.

The bronzer comes out a lovely shade on my skin, is easy to blend and is build-able. I've been applying it first of all to my cheekbones, jawline and temples, then a thin dusting over the remainder of my face to match the tan on the rest of my body. Here are some close ups and swatches of the products...

My main concern with both of these products is that, like several MUA products I already own, the packaging feels fairly flimsy. My favourite MUA Eyeshadow Palette, Undress Me, has been rendered difficult to use now that the lid has broken at the hinges, and the tube of one of my MUA lipsticks has also broken. Although I am beyond impressed at the amount and quality of the product you get for your money with both the bronzer and highlighter, I worry that the packaging will break before I'm able to use them up.

Both products score 4/5

Monday, 17 June 2013

My Summer Ball Look

It's been a busy few days for me - I got my degree results today (2:1 yaaaaaay), and I also had my end of uni Summer Ball on Saturday night. This isn't a formal event, it's basically an overnight festival type thing, but it was a brilliant night and the perfect way to send off an amazing three years at Reading Uni! For this post I thought I'd share what I wore, and my makeup look from the Ball. Here's what I looked like:

I absolutely love my dress, which is from Motel Rocks. I originally spotted it on a fellow blogger's page (see her original post here), and promptly fell in love with it. I had to exchange the original size 10 that I ordered for a size 12 (despite usually coming up as a size 8) because the 10 came up very small, but other than that I adore this perfect dress!
The fluro pink wellies come courtesy of my "BFF" Lizzy, who loaned them to me when the weather forecast was looking a little ominous. I stuck the headband on for good measure since the Ball tends to have a festival-esque vibe.

The Ball goes on 'til 6am, so I thought I'd go for brightening makeup in the hope that I'd look a little less haggard by the end. Here's what my makeup looked like:

I used a pair of Primark false lashes which I was really pleasantly surprised by, they were easy to apply and the glue kept them in place all night, and they only cost £1. I brightened up my eyes by applying highlighter into the corners using an eyeshadow brush. I also used a riduculous amount of my new MUA Bronzed Perfection Bronzer on my face, starting by applying it to my cheekbones, jawline and temples, and then applying a thin layer over the rest of my face. I also used highlighter just above my cheekbones, although the pictures don't really show this too well. I used a light gold eyeshadow across my lids, and a pale silvery-gold shadow below my brows. I hid my fake lash line with a thin layer of liquid eyeliner on my lids, and used a little lilac-grey eyeliner on my lower lash line, topped off with one layer of mascara. I didn't use eyebrow pencil on this occasion as I'd had my brows threaded earlier in the day, and it didn't really seem necessary.

I fake tanned (a LOT) using Little White Lie Self Tanning Mousse, which takes a few hours to develop. Unfortunately I got bored of waiting and ended up sticking a layer of St. Moritz Instant Tanning Mousse on top - the result being very bronzed (borderline orange) limbs. I think I just about got away with it...

I hope you like my Summer Ball look. I will leave you with a few more pictures of the night, because I'm so proud of all the beautiful friends I've made :)


Monday, 10 June 2013

June Magazine Freebies

Here are the goodies you can snap up free with magazines this June (the July editions of the magazines)

Red - Elemis Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm
This facial balm promises to create a youthful dewy complexion, and is particularly suited to those with ageing skin. The magazine costs £4, and the product is worth £11.50. A good opportunity to try a high end skincare product. 

Elle - Rodial Tanning Products
I hadn't actually heard of Rodial before...have I been living under a rock, or are throw just not that well known? Anyway, Elle claims that these freebies are worth £13.50 each, so if you're a tanorexic then it might be worth giving it a go. Elle costs £4.

Cosmopolitan - Sunglasses 
Not exactly beauty, but still worth mentioning. Cosmo is giving away three variations of sunglasses with this months issue, so if you're going on holiday then it's worth picking up a copy and taking the glasses as a spare pair for knocking about on the beach. The mag costs £3.60.

Marie Claire - Ciate Nail Polish and Caviar Set
I'm really tempted by this offer as the polish and caviar come in such pretty neutral colours! The set is worth £10 and the magazine will set you back £3.80. If you're not familiar with nail caviar, then it is essentially a pot of teeny tiny balls that you apply to the nail for a textured finish. 

InStyle - Neal's Yard Remedies Face Moisturiser 
I've never used this facial moisturiser, but I am a big fan of Neal's Yard hand and nail cream, so I imagine I would love this too. Their products use high quality ingredients, and have a lovely lavender scent. The product is worth £12 and the magazine costs £3.90. 

Glamour - Various ModelCo Makeup 
With this month's Glamour mag, which costs just £2, you can pick up products including a Fibre based mascara, two lip glosses, an eyeliner and a lip liner. Worth £15-16 individually, these products are worth £78 overall for anybody that feels like collecting the lot! Another brilliant freebie deal from Glamour.

Which mag do you plan to purchase this month? 

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Holiday Checklist

It's that time of year again...summer has officially arrived and if you're lucky, you will probably be jetting off to sunnier climes in the coming months. In light of this, I thought I'd do a post suggesting a few beauty bits and bobs that you should be adding to your holiday checklist this year.

1) BB Cream
I bought my first BB Cream to take on holiday last year, and it worked a dream. BB creams contain SPF protection meaning that you won't need to apply greasy suncream to your face, preventing potential breakouts. A BB Cream will also provide skin coverage during the day when you wouldn't usually wear makeup, making it ideal for those who feel uneasy at the thought of going sans-foundation. I use Maybelline's Dream Fresh BB Cream, you can read my full review here.
Me, lovin lyf 2k12 in Aruba

2) UV Spray for Hair. 
The one product that I absolutely swear by when around the pool or at the beach is Charles Worthington's Sunshine Spray, a protective UV spray for hair. You can read my full review of this product here. Not only will the spray protect your hair from harsh rays, it will leave it soft, shiny and tangle free - well worth investing.

3) Deep Conditioner
In fact, I'd probably recommend sacking off regular conditioner altogether in favour of a deep conditioning hair mask to use daily when on a beach holiday. Your hair will not enjoy being frazzled by the sun and exposed to salt water and/or chlorine, and deserves a little treat back at the hotel. Aussie 3 Minute Miracle is perfect for this cause as you don't need to leave it on for long for it to take effect.

4) Body Butter.
Traditionally I purchase a new body butter from the Body Shop before going on holiday, even if I'm nowhere near finishing an old one. Last year I went for Passion Fruit, and I can't wait to get in there and choose my fragrance for this year! These butters might be slightly more expensive than alternatives by Boots or Suprerdrug, but the quality IS better, and that's what matters when you're on holiday and most prone to dry skin. Keep an eye out on voucher sites for Body Shop discounts.

5) Waterproof Mascara.
The last thing any girl wants around the pool is panda eyes, but ditching the mascara can be painful! I will definitely be packing a waterproof mascara when I jet off to Tenerife later this month - I plan to try MUA's Waterproof Mega Volume Mascara, since it's cheap and cheerful and I will probably only use it on this holiday. 

6) Blotting Paper.
I've been using Kleenex Shine Absorbing Sheets recently, and have become pretty dependent on them. Blot the sheets against your skin to absorb excess oils from your face, ideal for holiday when you will probably be sweatier than normal (beaut). Keep these sheets handy to avoid looking super-shiny in all your holiday snaps. You can pick these up from Superdrug at £2.99 for 50 sheets.

Have I missed any important holiday essentials? What will you be packing to take away with you this year?

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

My Everyday Beauty Regime

Just in case anybody was wondering...here is my everyday beauty routine and a few of my go-to everyday products!


I use two cleansers, one in the morning and one in the evening.  In the morning I use Boots' own brand Cucumber Cleansing Lotion (£1.50), which is super cheap and cheerful and does the job for my fairly clear skin. In the evening I use DHC's Deep Cleansing Oil (£11) which I received in my goodie bag from the Cosmo Careers Masterclass and have since fallen in love with. This cleanser removes every last trace of makeup, and leaves my skin super soft and usually keeps it clear.


I absolutely loooooove Radox Shower Smoothies (£1.99, not pictured as I've currently run out) which you can often find half price in supermarkets. They smell divine and the scent lingers on your skin all day. In terms of shampoo, I'm currently using Mane 'N Tail, a crossover shampoo for horses and humans (£7.49 on Amazon for shampoo and conditioner). Yessssss I know - sounds a bit weird right? Well this is actually one of the best shampoos I've used, it leaves my hair feeling beautifully soft and adds volume. It's also famed for making your hair grow quickly, which is why I originally purchased it.


I use L'Oreal Mythic Oil (£13)  and Percy and Reed No-Oil Volumising Oil (£14 for a full sized bottle, but I got my miniature free from a magazine) in my hair before blow-drying. If I'm going somewhere special I will also use Tresseme's 24Hour Body Root Boosting Spray (£5.49). I try not to blow-dry, straighten or curl my hair unless I really have to, and if possible I don't wash it more often then once every three days.


I always start with Nivea's Express Hydration Primer (£3.99) which I  mentioned in my Five Under a Fiver post to create a smooth base and hydrate my skin (I don't use a dedicated moisturiser as they tend to be too much for my skin).  My favourite budget foundation of all time is Maybelline's 24Hour Superstay Liquid Foundation (£9), which I massively prefer to their popular Dream Matte Mousse. A few of my other staple budget-friendly products include Avon Glimmerstick Eyeliners (£6 but often half price), Seventeen's Doll'd Up Mascara (£6.29), and MUA's Undress Me Eyeshadow Palette (£4). My favourite daytime lipstick at the moment is Shade 14 'Bare' by MUA, a really nice Made In Chelsea style nude for only £1. I remove my makeup using the pink makeup wipes from Primark, which cost £1 for 50 and work perfectly.

What are the staple products that make up your everyday beauty regime?

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Haircare Advice for Blondes

I'd been planning this post before my disastrous trip to the hairdressers, thinking that my return to blonde would create the perfect opportunity for this post. Unfortunately, post-highlights I am still pretty much brunette (siiiigh). But hopefully there are still some blondies out there who will enjoy this post.

Lightening or bleaching your hair is always going to be damaging, and so keeping blonde hair in good condition can sometimes be very tricky. It's worth mentioning that if you have ever had bleach in your hair, dying over the blonde will not repair the hair - you should continue to look after the bleached hair as if it were blonde until the whole lot grows out. So, here are a few little things you can do to keep your barnet looking its best...

  • Use a deep conditioner regularly. This applies to all hair types, but is particularly important for people who have damaged their hair with harsh colours. Choose a hair mask that is specifically designed to hydrate, since the main trouble with lightened and particularly bleached hair is that it dries out extremely easily. It's not exactly a bargain, but my favourite deep conditioning treatment of all time is Molten Brown's Mer-rouge Conditioning Mask - read my full review here. Whatever treatment you choose, try to use it overnight for best results. If you don't have time then try wrapping the hair in clingfilm once the mask is applied and leave for an hour. Use a treatment at least once a week.
  • Use a hair oil. Using oils regularly can make such a difference to the moisture levels and therefore condition of your hair. Use an oil after washing your hair for soft and hydrated locks - I use Mythic Oil by L'Oreal which I love, but their popular Extraordinary Oil is cheaper and a massive favourite with the housemates. Make sure you choose the version aimed at coloured hair if you're not a natural blonde.
  • Use reconstructing shampoo. Shampoo is one of the harshest products you will use on your hair - its primary purpose is to strip your locks of their natural oils that keep them healthy. A hairdresser recommended I try L'Oreal's Absolut Repair Cellular Shampoo, which is designed specifically to reconstruct the damage caused by bleaching or over-treatment of the hair. The salon price of the shampoo is around £14 a bottle (no chance) but I managed to find a huuuuuuge salon-sized bottle of the stuff on Amazon for a tenner. It's fairly heavy for a shampoo so I wouldn't advise you use a huge amount of it, and be sure to wash it out thoroughly to prevent your hair from feeling greasy once dried. If you find that the shampoo leaves your hair feeling a little heavy, use it on the ends only, and use a natural ingredients shampoo on the roots. 
  • Get regular trims. Boring I know, but it's true. Even if you're trying to grow your hair out like me, it really isn't worth putting off a haircut when your ends are starting to go minging because it will only get worse, and you'll end up having to lop off more than was necessary. Try to have a trim every 6-10 weeks, even if you only get 1/2cm off each time.
  • Wash your hair less often. If you are a bottle-blonde and wash your hair every single day, OH MY GOD STOP.  Nobody, nnoobbooddyy needs to wash their hair every day - it might feel nice at the time but you are doing your hair serious damage, particularly if you blowdry and heat-treat your locks every time. Your hair will be retaining very little of its natural oils, making it dry, brittle and probably causing sluggish growth. Accept that at first your hair might look a little greasy, and skip a day before you wash it. The key is to keep going - don't relapse back into your old wash cycle or your hair will quickly become dependent. Try not to wash your hair more frequently than every three days, I promise you will notice the benefits before long and be amazed at how much longer it takes your hair to become greasy.
  • Don't brush your hair when wet. This is one of the most common mistakes people make, and one of the biggest causes of hair breakage, particularly on brittle coloured hair. Wet hair is weak, and yanking a hairbrush through it will rip the shafts apart. Instead, take your hairbrush into the shower and brush your hair whilst the conditioner is in. Then leave it until it's dry. Your hair will thank you for it.
Reading back over these tips I do realise that they are pretty basic, but if you follow them all then I promise you will quickly see a difference in the condition of your hair. I also realise that none of these tips are exclusive to blondes either, but if you have used harsh colours on your hair then this is when these things become more important. The obvious regulars also apply - try to cut down on the amount you straighten or curl your hair, and if possible avoid blow drying.

What are your top tips for keeping coloured hair in good condition?


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Review: Rose Gold Blush by Sleek

I've been looking for a new favourite blush for a while now, and although I'd been hankering after a lovely NARS one, I couldn't bring myself to part with over £20 for it. Instead I thought I'd check out a powder blusher from the Sleek range, as they are so often raved about on some of my favourite blogs. At only £5.49 each, I saw these as a definite potential beauty bargain. I went for Rose Gold, a lovely peachy pink with golden tones.

First impressions...the product is probably about half the size of a NARS blush, but the packaging is very sophisticated and feels sturdy. The lid contains a mirror which is always a nice touch. There is no brush included. 

The product has a good consistency, the powder doesn't fly everywhere when you apply the brush. The colour is subtle but beautiful, and works well when applied on top of bronzer. I find that this blush lasts a good proportion of the day - I've only had to reapply when going from day to night. Here are some more close up shots to give you a good idea of what it would looks like when worn...

I reckon this would be a pretty universally flattering shade, perhaps particularly suited to those with paler skin. The colour is very shimmery so I wouldn't recommend it to anyone that prefers a matte blush, but I'd still recommend Sleek powder blushes. You can get these online or from most superdrug stores.


Friday, 24 May 2013

The Dangers of Groupon / My Latest Hair Disaster

This is my first post since I finally finished my degree (!!!) and so I'm hoping that from now on I will be able to post a bit more frequently. As a result, I'm no longer going to post each individual blog I write on Facebook as it will probably start to annoy people - if you enjoy reading my blog and don't want to miss out then I'd love it if you could follow me. You can do so via your Google account, through Bloglovin (simply make an account on their website, it takes seconds), or by entering your email address. All three of these options are displayed to the left. You can follow anonymously if you would prefer.

(Edit: the following post turned into a bit of a rant. Oops.)

So, as a post-exam treat to myself, I decided I wanted to retreat from the dark side and get some highlights put back into my hair, which was a kind of patchy light brown / dark blonde colour from where I'd been trying a few home dye kits with unsuccessful results. The problem: highlights are damn expensive. To just rock up to a chain salon such as Rush or Headmasters you are looking at around the £100 mark for a full head plus cut and blowdry, and this is certainly not within my price range. So you can imagine my delight when I found a Groupon deal for a local salon offering a full head of highlights, a cut and blowdry AND  a conditioning treatment for a mere £36. I snapped up the deal immediately, thinking it was a miracle and far too good to be true.

Unfortunately...it was. Upon arriving at the salon (Envy in Slough) I was ingored by the receptionist for a good ten minutes whilst she was on the phone to another customer. "Oh no, you're lucky you missed the Groupon deal", she told the woman on the line. "To be honest we only use our junior stylists on Groupon customers and they're very inexperienced. You might not have been happy with the results". FANTASTIC START. I was literally standing right there.

I'd noticed in the small print before I headed off to the salon that there was a £10 surcharge on the day for customers with hair below shoulder length - I was hoping that since my hair is only slightly below my shoulders and hardly what you'd call long hair, I might get away with it. No such luck, I was told straight away that I'd be paying £10 extra. Then (after sitting in the chair waiting for a further 15 minutes whilst all the stylists were having a mothers meeting behind me) my stylist came over and made a few suggestions as to what would look good in my hair. "I think definitely two colours would look nice, maybe a bright and a honey blonde or even a few lowlights. We'll use a toner to remove any brassiness. How does that sound?"

It sounds good, thanks.

"Brilliant okay. Just so you know, that'll be an extra £15 for the second colour, and an additional £13 for the toner."


I look grumpy 'cos I hate having my photo taken
If you're no good at maths, this now meant that I was being asked to pay an additional £38 - more than the original cost of the Groupon, meaning I would have paid a total of £74! Against the salon's advice I scrapped the second colour because I literally couldn't afford it, but had to accept that the toner was necessary in order to stop my hair from going orange and stripey. How such a basic thing could count as an optional extra, I honestly have no idea.

Once my stylist finally started putting in my foils, I couldn't help but notice that the client next to me, who wasn't a Groupon customer, had at least twice as many foils as me despite the fact that I had paid for a full head. When I queried this I was just told that I was being given a more natural look as this was what would suit my hair. Total con, of course.

Oh, and the "treatment" advertised in the offer turned out to be conditioner left in for a couple of minutes - brilliant.

To be fair to the salon and my stylist, the end result is fine. It's a very natural look, probably more natural than what I was hoping for - you definitely wouldnn't call my hair blonde, but I guess it will continue to get blonder as I keep topping up the roots. Annoyingly, I think the end result would have been exactly what I was hoping for had I been given a proper full head of highlights like the woman next to me, very annoying. Likewise, I would have walked out of the salon happy with the results if it had only cost me the original £36 rather than the grand total of £59, plus a £5 train ticket to Slough (I would literally never in a million years have been to Slough had it not been for the Groupon).

So, the moral of the story is: if it looks to good to be true, it probably is. If you find yourself tempted by a Groupon, DO NOT BUY IT UNTIL YOU HAVE RUNG THE SALON AND ASKED IF THERE ARE ANY ADDITIONAL CHARGES. Even then, I wouldn't touch Groupon with a barge pole ever again - it was very clear that Groupon customers received very different treatment to regular clients.

Have you ever used Groupon for a beauty treatment, or for anything else? Please share your experiences in my comments section down below. If you can't see the comment box, Click where it says 'X Comments' (depending on how many comments have been left) and it should appear. You can leave your comment anonymously if you would prefer.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

May Magazine Freebies

Hi all. This is gonna be a very quick post to let you all know what beauty freebies are available with various magazines this month. I'm going to try to remember to do this post on a monthly basis :)

Three magazines have beauty giveaways this month (so the June editions of the magazines). They are: 

Elle - They're Real! Mascara by Benefit (miniature) 

This is a really great mascara, I've been using the full sized one on special occasions and it's fab. The full sized version is around £20RRP so this miniature is probably worth about a tenner. The mag will set you back £4, but it's a good bargain overall.

InStyle - Nails inc. Nail Polish

This freebie comes in a few different colours, my favourite being 'You're a Peach!', a lovely summery yellowy peach shade. Nails inc. polishes usually cost around £11 each. InStyle is priced at £3.70

Marie Claire - various Avon products 

You can pick up a 'glimmerstick' gel eyeliner, brow definer pencil or lipstick with this month's Marie Claire. I use Avon products fairly often, and I can vouch for the face that the twist-up eyeliners are amazing. The mag costs £3.80.

Happy shopping! 

Monday, 13 May 2013

Beauty Hacks

For this post I've put together a list of a couple of little tips and tricks I've learnt that save time and money in my beauty regime. I will probably have to do a Part II post at some point because I've probably forgotten a few things, and I'm discovering new ones all the time, but for now here are a few little beauty cheats to keep you occupied. You probably already know at least a few of these, but if you don't then happy days!

  • Remove stubborn nail varnish with foil and cotton wool. This is a particularly useful tip at the moment since glitter and special effect nail varnishes are all the rage, but if you've used them then you've probably realised by now that they are notoriously hard to remove. Instead of scrubbing away with cotton wool and nail varnish remover to no avail, simply soak a cotton wool pad in remover, wrap around the nail and wrap a piece of kitchen foil over the top, and wait five to ten minutes - even stubborn polish will slide right off. 
  • Remove every last trace of makeup with Vaseline. If you've got stubborn makeup that doesn't want to budge (waterproof mascara being the culprit that immediately springs to mind) then rub a little Vaseline onto a cotton wool pad and gently use it to remove makeup. It will remove every last trace of makeup. Make sure you use a cleanser afterwards because Vaseline is obviously greasy. I have a feeling I may have orinally heard this from my friend Natalie.
  • Rescue gloopy nail varnishes with nail varnish remover. If your favourite polish is starting to get a little dried out, put a drop or two of nail varnish remover and shake it. If the nail varnish isn't too far gone, it will be back to normal.
  • Recreate a fibre mascara with some loose powder. Apply one coat of mascara, then use an eyeshadow brush to dab a little loose powder onto the lashes before the first coat dries. Apply a second coat of mascara, and the powder will do the same job as a fibre mascara, lengthening adding volume to the lashes.
  • Make a hair doughnut out of a sock. This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but I've been doing it lately and it really works. Take an old sock (try to vaguely match it to your hair colour if possible), cur off the toe end, and roll it up into a doughnut shape. Use as you would a normal hair doughnut and secure with bobby pins.
  • Create makeup storage out of rubbish. Yep! I buy way too much makeup and needed somewhere to keep it all, but dedicated makeup storage is very expensive for what it is. I have a gorgeous Ted Baker makeup box for the majority of my products, but wanted somwhere seperate for my lipsticks, eyeliners and makeup brushes as it took me ages to root through the box to find them all. For my brushes and pencils I use an old jam jar, which I  have simply tied a piece of ribbon around to prettify. I pinched this idea from my housemate Anna, who in turn pinched it from Pinterest. The jar containing my pencils I keep inside the makeup box, but I keep the brushes out on the surface. I also discovered the other day that an upcycled Malteasers box makes the perfect lipstick container - use a bit of old wrapping paper or magazine to cover it and you've got a lovely makeshift box.

     Do you know of any beauty hacks that I should include in a potential Part II? Click below to leave me a comment, it can be anonymous if you wish.

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