Sunday, 21 September 2014

Urban Decay Naked Basics 2

Today - a Sunday, I know. How strange! - the Naked Basics 2 palette arrived on my doorstep. I actually don't think this palette has been released in the UK yet (at least I can't find a link to it anywhere). I bought this palette from Cohorted. If you haven't heard of Cohorted it's basically a website that offers incredible discounts on wonderful products. The more people that buy the beauty product, the cheaper it becomes.

Cohorted were offering 30% off the RRP (£22) of the palette making it £15.40. I had a few loyalty points to spend so I ended up buying this palette for a mere £10.71. Safe to say, I'm a happy Jemma. The palette itself has been created to complement the Naked 2 palette, much like the Naked and Naked Basics palettes. I haven't had a chance to play with it properly yet but as with all Urban Decay shadows, they're beautiful quality. Especially for mattes.

The palette comes with six cool-toned shades. Five mattes and one satin to highlight:
Skimp - pale nude satin
Stark - nude-pink matte
Frisk - warm grey matte
Cover - muted warm-red matte
Primal - muted brown matte
Undone - deep, smoky brown matte

At first glance, the Basics palettes look incredibly dull and boring compared to their cousins, but to create a gorgeous eye look, they're a necessity. They're perfect for highlighting, contouring, adding depth and definition, eyelining and even for brows. My originally Naked Basics palette is very well loved and I can't wait to delve further into this one. I'll keep you updated and let you know how I get on with it - I'm guessing it'll end up in a favourites post soon.

Have you seen the Naked Basics 2 palette anywhere online in the UK yet? Did you manage to get your hands on one thanks to Cohorted?

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Bacterial Vaginosis: What is it and how do I prevent it?

Yup, that's correct. Today we are going to talk about vaginas. I have um-ed and ah-ed about writing this post for a long time now but alas, I've realised that the majority of my audience is actually female, sexual health shouldn't be a taboo and I hope that I help - or at least inform - one other person.

You see, we've all heard of thrush, haven't we? Well, I'm going to talk about the opposite of thrush. The lesser-known Bacterial Vaginosis. The name itself gives me the creeps. It sounds like a deadly disease but in fact, it's quite common - we're just not that educated when it comes down to it. And I'm assuming that by reading this blog you're a beauty addict? Well, you're more prone to the condition...

What is BV?
  • First of all, it isn't a sexually transmitted infection
  • It occurs when the balance of bacteria inside the vagina becomes disrupted
  • It often causes unusual vaginal discharge, itching and bleeding during sex
  • It isn't serious (unless it develops in pregnancy)
  • It doesn't affect male sexual partners
  • More than half women who have been successfully treated previously find their symptoms return

What causes BV?
  • Beauty products! Using scented soaps, bubble baths etc. 
  • Having the coil contraceptive fitted
  • Using vaginal deodorant 

How is BV treated?
  • Taking a short course of antibiotic tablets
  • Applying an antibiotic gel inside of the vagina

How can I prevent BV?
Sadly, I've experienced this condition twice now. It isn't pleasant and now I try to avoid it as much as possible. 
  • I don't use a Lush bath bomb every single night like I used to (oops). Instead I use a bath bomb every now and then as a treat. Probably once monthly, probably less 
  • I don't use perfumed products around my lady area. I wash "that area" with Simple's Pure Soap Bar. Our vaginas are amazing, self-cleaning eco-systems that don't need synthetic perfumes
  • I steer clear of vaginal hygiene products (Vagisil, Femfresh etc) as they're absolutely awful. I've found that some products even contain alcohol - not good at all. They're an example of clever marketing as they create a problem that doesn't exist
  • After every period I use a tube of Balance Activ BV Vaginal Gel to ensure the condition is kept at bay

Let's talk about vaginas! Have you suffered with Bacterial Vaginosis before?

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Purrfectbox - a must-have for any cat

I've never been bothered by the beauty boxes - I've always found them to be quite lacklustre. However the Purrfectbox* is something that immediately caught my eye. These subscription-based monthly gift boxes contain a selection of five to six premium goodies for your cat (or dog - the Pawsomebox) that are customised based on your pet's size, breed and preferences. 

My cat, Ratchett (named after the Transformer) absolutely adored his box. In fact, he went a little bit crazy over it and we've since had to hide it from him. He's only allowed it out on certain occasions now. The boxes start at £15.90 a month and you can play the game below to win either 20% off of your first box or a free box.

This month's box comes with the Wasabycat Scratching Post which was by far Ratchett's favourite item in the box as it comes complete with catnip. Sadly we couldn't give the Hello Cat Snacks or the Trixie Multi-Vitamin Paste to Ratchett as he's on a strict diet due to an illness but we did pass them on to one of his friends who told us how delicious they both are! The Spot Laser has always been a favourite toy and the Heart Cushion 4Cats is adorable (and once again comes with catnip).

This is a subscription service that we're definitely looking into buying as it's nice to treat our furry friends every now and then. Sadly because of Ratchett's condition, he couldn't try any of the food-based items but everything else was spot on. Although he's quite an old cat he's still extremely playful. And it's nice to get him moving as he is an indoor cat. 

What are your thoughts on this subscription service?
*PR Sample

Monday, 15 September 2014

What I wore to my graduation

If you don't follow me on social media then you probably won't know that this time last week I was graduating from the University of Lincoln. I won't delve too much into the day itself but it truly was a special and proud day. The ceremony itself was held in Lincoln's cathedral and castle which created a magical setting.

The university's colours are blue and yellow so I instantly knew I wanted to wear a blue dress. Chi Chi very kindly sent me their Jenny dress* which is absolutely beautiful. It's such a princess dress and extremely well made. It has a low back but luckily comes complete with a padded bust meaning that there's no need to wear a bra. As someone with DD boobs I can vouch for the padding and say it worked very well - I was even complimented on how "great" my boobs looked on the day. Ahh, boys. 

I bought my shoes from the New Look sale and although they weren't the most comfortable, they were very easy to walk in. If you've ever been to Lincoln then you'll realise how important a good pair of shoes is - there streets are cobbled! I wore a simple necklace from Primark and my fake tan is by Nottingham's Saks salon and Xen-Tan (which I've reviewed before). The nail polish on my toes is KIKO's Poker Nail Lacquer in 05* and on my fingernails is Models Own's Coconut Cream*. 

What did you wear to your graduation?
*PR Sample

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Recent skin care additions including Elemis, Bioderma, GLAMGLOW and TheBody Shop

I have been absolutely loving my skin care recently. Although let's be real, I've always loved skin care. I've been chopping and changing it up and I've tried out some right gems. In fact, I have another skin care post coming very soon - crazy! Although don't worry, I have been using every item for a prolonged period of time. This post has been a long time coming...

When it comes to skin care, I really rate Elemis as a brand. These three Elemis newbies aren't half brilliant. In terms of diminishing fine lines, banishing acne or fading scarring well, they won't do that. But what they will do is ensure your skin is kept balanced and hydrated throughout the day - and night. I use the Hydra-Boost Day Cream* more than the Hydra-Balance Day Cream* because although my skin is combination, it can become extremely parched and thirsty as the day goes on. It balances my skin beautifully and the gel-like formula makes my skin feel gorgeously soft. As for the Hydra-Nourish Night Cream*; it's fabulous. I wake up with glowing skin that's ready to face the day. No complaints. 

As I mentioned above, my skin easily becomes dehydrated and the new GLAMGLOW THIRSTYMUD Hydrating Treatment* has become a necessity in my skin care routine. I slather a generous layer on my skin every Tuesday evening and my skin soon drinks it up. I find that I don't have to wipe off any excess as it melts away into my skin and leaves it nourished. Pricey, yes but a product I'd have no problem repurchasing. 

Throughout the summer months, the Bioderma Sebium Mat Moisturising Mattifying Fluid* became my go-to day time moisturiser. As I've mentioned, my skin is combination so when the sun is at its hottest it tends to easily get oily throughout the day. This gel-like moisturiser instantly mattifies the skin yet leaves it feel hydrated. It also uses lots of fancy ingredients to help prevent blocked pores, speed up cellular renewal and tighten the pores. Oh, and did I mention that it's unbelievably lightweight on the skin?

Although The Body Shop Aloe Protective Restoring Mask* is branded as a face mask, I use it as an intense night time moisturiser. Aloe is great for calming the skin so personally I love using it when I have a breakout. The following morning, redness has toned down and my skin is left feeling beautifully soft and hydrated. Sticking with the aloe theme; The Body Shop Aloe Eye Defence* is one that I've been loving. It doesn't really have an instant effect but then again, I wouldn't expect an eye cream to - prevention is better than cure after all. This eye cream is lightweight and cool and almost brightens the eye area. I love the fact that it's a pump bottle which means application is quick and easy. 

The Body Shop Tea Tree Pore Minimiser* has quickly become my everyday primer and it's made me more determined to try out the store's Instablur. This primer smooths over the skin and leaves it nicely matte and prepared for make up. In terms of pores, I tap a bit of product over them and it instantly fills them on and leaves my skin look - almost - flawless. I wouldn't recommend this if you're not a tea tree scent fan though - it's quite prominent.

One that I'm still not so sure of is The Body Shop Camomile Gentle Eye Make Up Remover.* Don't get me wrong, it does everything it says it should but I do think that when it's full priced, it's quite expensive compared to a lot of similar eye make up removers out there. It is gentle, it does melt away eye make up and it does leave the surrounding skin feeling soft.

I found out which products best suited my skin by using The Body Shop's Skin Diagnostic Tool which is free, quick and easy to use. It asks you a number of questions and then works out which cleanser, toner, moisturiser, exfoliator, serum and special treatments are better for your skin type and concerns. Genius. I wish every brand did something like this as it's a fabulous way to discover suitable products.

Phew, that was a long 'en! What skin care products have you been loving recently?
*PR Sample