Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Review - Neutrogena Wave

Firstly, let me start by saying that as usual I have not been paid or encouraged to write this review by the company and I purchased this product with my own money. However, I did find it on the clearance shelf at Boots which means that it was, of course, discounted. Hooray!

The Neutrogena Wave is a product which I have been interested in for quite some time. With famous faces advertising it such as Vanessa Hudgens and more recently Hayden Panettiere plus the fact that Neutrogena is the skincare brand most recommended by dermatologists, it’s surprising that I hadn’t tried their range before! Nonetheless, I was wandering around Boots whilst on a weekend away with my grandparents a few weeks ago, and when I spotted that this product had been popped in the sale aisle I had to have it. Usually retailing at £9.99 (and available at www.boots.com) I managed to get it at a steal for just £5 which was amazing actually as I only had a five pound note in my purse, courtesy of constantly buying products to review...

So, what does the brand claim? Well, here is television ad...

Then this is what Ulta (www.ulta.com) has to say about the product...

‘Neutrogena Wave Original Vibrating Power-Cleanser will transform your daily cleansing routine and give you super soft, super clean skin. The dermatologist-tested power cleanser is battery-operated and has been clinically proven to perform better than ordinary manual cleansers. At the click of a button, the gentle vibrating motion massages tingly cleansing foam deep into pores to remove more dirt, oil and make-up than ordinary cleansing. The softly textured pads gently exfoliate your skin. After just one use, your skin will be softer and smoother. The Power-Cleanser is water-resistant and can be used in the shower.

Included in the box for the Neutrogena Wave Duo, I received the machine itself (already filled with batteries) and 20 of the cleanser pads. Not bad!

How does it work? Well, it’s actually really simple. You take one of the cotton-wool cleanser pads already prepared with just the right amount of cleanser on, and you apply it straight to the circular surface of the Wave. Then you just turn it on and apply the pad to your face. There are two settings, one which works with slower vibrations for a daily cleanse and the other which works a bit harder on skin giving a more thorough deep-clean which I’ve been using every three days. All you do is move the pad in a circular motion across your face and once you are finished just rinse off the cleanser. Job done!

So the first time I used it, I learnt the hard way to remember that cleansers like this are not intended for make-up removal, but work better on a relatively clean face. I had my make-up on from that day, (foundation, eye make-up and all) when I began working the pad across my face. I’m not saying this product doesn’t remove make-up. But what does happen is that once you have placed the pad onto the surface of your face and turn it on, it pulls the make-up from that area to then be spread across the rest of the visage. After I had finished with the Wave I pulled off the black and brown pad (now covered with concealer, powder and mascara) and flicked it into the bin. However, I realised that my skin still felt as if it had make-up on, clogging up my pores so I suspiciously whipped out a make-up wipe to discover that most of my make-up had only been spread around, rather than removed.

I am not complaining though as nowhere in the product claim does it state that this is to be used for make-up removal. The next time I used it, I had already removed my make-up with Ultrabland by Lush (£6.10 available at www.lush.com) and experienced much better results.

I loved the feeling of the vibrations on my face and afterwards I felt so fresh and clean. My pores really did appear smaller and less visible and I have had fewer break-outs since using the Wave, so the product really does live up to its advertising! On the other hand, I’m not convinced that this is due to the quality of the formula provided in the pads but rather to the technology of the vibrations which are specifically designed to massage the skin into relaxing the entrance to the pores before the foaming product is supposed to get in really deep to flush out all the bad stuff. The formula doesn’t foam as much as I would expect of a foaming product, which I guess is kind of a good thing for me as I much prefer cream cleansers... Thirty Neutrogena Deep Cleansing Refill Pads can be purchased for £5.10 in Boots stores and at www.boots.com, although I have been experimenting with a couple of other cleansers, purely because I’m unsure of the benefits of the pads themselves.

I have been using the Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser by Liz Earle (£13.25 at www.uk.lizearle.com) with the Neutrogena Wave and have experienced great results. Although this is a cream cleanser and hence does not foam at all I feel like thanks to the Wave the product is getting further down into my pores, giving my skin a kind of deep-clean. I do this by wetting my face with warm water, before smoothing on the cleanser. Then I apply a regular cotton pad (which can be found at www.boots.com for £1.01) to the Wave and run it under hot water. I move the Neutrogena Wave around the different areas of my face in a circular motion, then once I am done with that I begin to gently polish off the remainder with the muslin cloth provided by Liz Earle. This makes me feel so pampered and really is as if I’ve been able to bring affordable yet luxurious spa treatments into my own home.

I guess the only real downsides to this product are how careful you have to be with it around the eyes and the fact that it can be quite difficult to use around the nose. My nose is where I get most of my blemishes and where my pores appear larger and darker, but it was quite difficult to get in and around the sides at the corner of my nose which made me feel like various nooks and crannies were left untouched.... having said that, I have usually smoothed these areas with my cleanser by hand and scrub them away with the cloth afterwards, so it isn’t as if those crevices are being completely neglected.

Basically, I’m really impressed by the Neutrogena Wave. The fact that it can be used in the shower is also great for me, as sometimes I might be too tired to go ahead with a massively long night-time skin regime, but this way I can grab it and be finished in three minutes whilst cleaning the rest of my body. The vibrations make me feel so relaxed and I’m sure I’m not imagining it, but I’ve been sleeping so much better since I started using this product just before bed! Plus, my moisturiser seems to be sinking in better whilst I’m asleep and my foundation appears to be applying much smoother recently, although I couldn’t say whether this is down to the Wave or down to the ‘polish’ part of the Cleanse and Polish regime.

Neutrogena are obviously onto something good here and they seem to have realized that as they are currently working on releasing a number of other Wave related products across the globe as we speak. The USA in particular can boast the release of the new Neutrogena Wave Sonic which works in a similar way but with a rotating head which is currently retailing at $15.99 and can be seen at www.neutrogenawave.com, plus a number of new formula pads which I am very excited to try out due to my uncertainty of the default pads provided with purchase of the Wave itself.

Overall, a great product with great technology... well done Neutrogena, just keep up the good work in developing it further J

Let me know what your experience had been with this product and how you’ve been using it... any tips and tricks welcome as always!


Marie Claire Inspire and Mentor Part 2

So I know it’s been a long time since I promised this blog, but here it is! My review of Marie Claire’s Inspire and Mentor evening of Getting into Beauty with Liz Earle...

It was Wednesday the 11th of May and I woke up feeling rough. After eating a ‘bad prawn’ a couple of nights before I was absolutely gutted thinking I wouldn’t make it. I had originally planned to get the 11.50am train to London even though the event didn’t actually start until 6.30pm, but this was because I know my skill levels in terms of navigating areas I’m not familiar with and didn’t want to get so lost that I might miss the whole thing. And I’d planned to mooch the shops for a little while too! However, due to my food poisoning, I was vomiting at that time and had to lie in bed for a couple of hours to prevent myself from keeling right over. Not the best way to feel on a day when you are hoping to meet a potential future employer. But, you know, I’m a trooper and managed somehow to yank myself out of bed, crawl over to the mirror and begin applying a face of make-up. Due to my sickly pallor I realised it was best to go all out with the bronzer to make myself appear a little less of a corpse.

Having missed my morning train, I shelled out nearly £25 for a new ticket and managed to catch a train at around 3.00pm. I slept on the journey and when I arrived in Euston I felt much better, success! So the event was to take place at the Charlotte Street Hotel located quite near to Goodge Street station. This actually ended up being a million times easier for me to find than I imagined as Goodge Street and Euston are just a couple of stops away from one another on my most highly frequented line, the Northern line. I arrived nearly an hour early, so I went and bought a Coke in KFC. Classy, I know.

The hotel was absolutely beautiful. I thought it was a restaurant upon arrival as there were tables located outside the front of the hotel under a canopy, but I soon realised that this was due to the expensive hotel bar being located close to the front of the building... this meant that cool City Slicker Londoners could sit outside with champers in hand reminding me how cool it looks to smoke... (not that I ever would.) The hotel reminded me a little of a members only club which I was fortunate enough to visit for my aunt’s birthday last year, in that it was full of plush sofas in homely yet luxurious and expensive looking lounges. The corridors and staircases were narrow, yet were carpeted thick and were surrounded by autumn-coloured walls making the whole atmosphere very warm and comfortable.

Heading down to the basement where the event was to take place I spotted a group of ladies of all ages dressed to impress in a vast array of different styles. There was one girl with a face painted with Burlesque style make-up, whilst another wore a long cotton maxi dress with a denim jacket. Then I spotted a younger girl perhaps just a little older than me wearing bright pink jeans with a vivid blue cardigan (clearly no stranger to the colour-blocking trend) and an older lady with a mid-length summer dress in black and white. I loved how different everyone looked and I immediately felt like I’d make the right decision in staying true to my own personal style (I had chosen a pair of high-waisted, rust-coloured, peg-leg trousers and a cream crop-top with a terracotta number printed on the front.)

After a few minutes of waiting outside the room, our names were ticked off a guest list and we entered the reception room where there was champagne, orange juice, red, white and rose wine and water waiting in glasses for us and a table of snacky nibbles for us to pick at while we mingled with one another. This went on for about half an hour which was great as I was able to chat with a couple of other girls who were also interested in working in magazines. We compared our experience so far and swapped numbers before being led into a very modern lecture theatre style cinema room.

And it was then, as I sank into one of the poofy orange-leather chairs that I saw her: Liz Earle. Please see my blog entitled Marie Claire Inspire and Mentor Part 1 if you don’t know who she is, but you really should as she is an absolute legend!

The best things that Liz Earle taught me which I will remember for life are:

1) Crawl, walk, run – never rush into something, even though you may be excited make sure you plan for every eventuality then it stands a better chance of being as perfect as you want it to be!

2) If you enjoy what you do, you’ll never see your job as ‘work’.

3) Choose a business partner with a different skill-set to your own, because if you just double up then you are going to miss vital areas in which you could excel.

So the lecture was set up almost as an interview with Helen Russell the Digital Editor of Marie Claire posing questions and Liz Earle using these as I kind of prompt for her to tell her story and offer us some advice. Despite the Q and A-based technique, the interview style adopted by Helen was very relaxed which meant that Liz seemed to feel comfortable enough to crack a few jokes and the whole atmosphere was very warm with both women smiling from ear to ear throughout! I literally loved it! How often to you get to sit in on a chat between two of your biggest role models, whilst learning from their experiences? Well, hopefully more often if the success of the Inspire and Mentor campaign so far is anything to go by!

And then there was the goodie bag... Oooh this was amazing! So as we took our seats, we each had a Marie Claire canvas bag bursting open with the good quality products which I have been using ever since. What was inside? – I hear you ask. Well, naturally we got a copy of the June issue of Marie Claire complete with the free gift of a Body Shop Body Butter (I got mine in the mango flavour which is so sweet and delicious I actually want to lick my skin once it’s on!) I subscribe to Marie Claire, so usually this wouldn’t have been a great free gift to me, but unfortunately the night before attending the event, an absolute clod went and spilt a can of Pepsi all over my copy before I had chance to read it, so the free mag was more than welcome to me.

Next I realised that there was a big paper bag with the Liz Earle logo plastered across it... could it be that Liz Earle had given us some samples? No. Not sample. But FULL-SIZED PRODUCTS!!! Yes, that’s right. I received a Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser Starter Kit (which usually retails at £13.25), Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic (£11.75) and the Liz Earle Superskin Moisturiser (which can be bought for a whopping £33.20 but is totally worth it!) I couldn’t believe she had been so generous to have literally given us not only £58.20 worth of free products but also her time and experience for just a £35 entrance fee. Honestly, she is so generous and it will be totally worth it for her as since starting these products a couple of weeks ago, already I can’t imagine life without them. Look out for a review on the Liz Earle brand coming soon! Please take my word for it and purchase these items at www.uk.lizearle.com and I promise you won’t be sorry. I’m actually going to go one step further on that and say if you are in any doubt about this brand just look at these photos of Liz herself... she is in her late forties, works under the stress of running her own international business AND has a family and yet her skin is flawless. She literally has the best most glowingly beautiful, luminescent, bright skin I have ever seen. She is her brand’s greatest advert in my opinion.

Also, if you are interested, she was wearing Shimmer Brick by Bobbi Brown on her cheeks. I know this because I asked. I simply couldn’t resist enquiring about the warm rosiness on her apples which just screamed ‘Youth’ to me. Seriously, this woman is a goddess.

So at the end of the lecture I made a move – I had a train to catch home – but not before having a bit of a chinwag with the lovely Helen Russell. This woman has such an inspiring energy and made me feel like I was the first person to ever ask about working in magazines. I found she was really attentive, interested in me and eager to share her knowledge... I don’t wish to speak too soon, but we discussed the possibility of work experience with the Marie Claire Digital team and she is expecting to receive my CV any day now (once my exams are over I’m going to send it to Neil Robinson the Media Digital Director at IPC... he came and did a talk about getting into the publishing industry at my university in March and we have stayed in contact since. He suggested sending my CV to him first then he would forward it on for me and Helen seemed to support this suggestion.)

In all Getting into Beauty with Liz Earle was a fantastic experience and I commend her for being involved in a campaign as positive and influential as Marie Claire’s Inspire and Mentor. It’s not often that I, as a poor student, will turn around and say, ‘That was totally worth the money’, but you know what? If Liz Earle did another one of these events, I’d be prepared to pay double because it was just that good!

Keep your eyes peeled for Part 3 of this series which will be a similar report to this but on the topic of Getting into Business with Carole White Co-Founder of Premier Model Management.

If you do just one thing today, check out the campaign at www.marieclaire.co.uk.


Sunday, 29 May 2011

Review - Max Factor's Lipfinity Lasting Lip Tint

As someone who gets more excited about lip products than world peace, I was really eager to try a new stain out. The original reason why I bought Max Factor’s Lipfinity Lasting Lip Tint was because my Rimmel Moisture Renew seemed to be hypocritically drying my lips out, big time. Plus, I’m a single girl who could do without a transferable lip colour topped with a gloopy lip-gloss, as I’m sure no guy finds either of those attributes in the least bit attractive and let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger, so every appearance-related product needs to count!

My idea with stains is that I can paint them on then top them off with some smooth-making balm such as my Carmex Lip Balm in the strawberry flavour, which retails at Boots online for £2.69. Then it gives my lips that berry-bitten effect whilst also keeping them soft and kissable. Or that was the idea. Can you already hear my disappointment? Well, before we get into that, let’s see what Max Factor claims.

‘Lipfinity Lip Tint Pen has a non-transferable water based formula that doesn't just sit on top of your lips but permeates the upper layers for a stunning kiss-proof effect. And its nifty pen applicator is perfect for precise application so you can build up the colour as much as you dare or keep it light and simple – you're in control!’

How very promising, I mean, it sounds like genius. A felt tip pen for your lips which paints on a formula specifically designed to tattoo through the thin skin on lips, to leave them with a passionate looking, lasting bitten-lip effect. I even kind of hoped that after enough uses this product would create some sort of permanent stain so that my lips might always look like they’d been kissed so hard it had almost bruised them... talk about oozing sex appeal, right? Well, that’s not quite the way it worked out.

The thing we have to remember also is that perhaps my lips were not a perfect canvas. I bite my lips when I’m nervous. Any kind of change in the weather makes them drier than the Sahara. And they have never taken well to any kind of coloured lip product. But with all that in mind, I can still attest that this is the worst I have ever used in my decade or so of applying make-up.

This product was bought in yet another Boots online haul (seriously, I have an addiction to spending all my wages on beauty items for my reviews... perhaps I should see someone...) It retails at £5.99 and I chose Berry Burst because I liked the idea of the natural berry colour. I had a romanticised image of Amazonian tribal women crushing berries from trees before tattooing the colour onto their full, lush lips. Now, you know I don’t usually like to epically slander a brand or product. However, I cannot express how much of a waste of money this item was for me. Even if they’d given it to me for free I would probably never use it again.

So what’s the story? Well, I opened up the product for first use and immediately loved the idea of the pen. It was really precise to apply the product with and initially seemed like a better innovation than the wheel. However, after a couple of uses I noticed that in the same way as the felt on the tip of one of my multi-coloured Bic pens began to crumble off and flake across the page when I was a child, this Max Factor product began spreading tiny dark balls of fluff around my mouth. The tip of the pen is now ruined, not ten uses later and is, disappointingly, less precise than Max Factor’s description claims.

Now for the formula: horrendous. Actually, that’s too harsh. However, I really don’t like this formula. It’s very liquid-y and seems to gravitate towards any cracks or cuts which you may have on your lips, which is quite the inconvenience for me as it is exam time so my lips are ripped to shreds at the moment (a little exaggeration, but still the skin on my lips is uneven right now!) On the other hand, this formula smells a little like sweet cherries, and tastes faintly sugary too, which is a bonus. And yet after a few seconds it dries up on your lips looking very permanent... that is until you put some lip balm over the top at which point the colour no longer appears none transferable but is suddenly sliding all over your mouth in a messy looking red mess, more reminiscent of a naughty child who’s been eating poisonous berries from a bush than the romanticised image I had of the tribal babes. Gutted. The second time I used the product, despite keeping the top firmly secure when I was not using it (that’s a lesson I had to learn the hard way as a child with my Bic felt tips...) the nib was dry and next to no product was dispensed. I ended up having to shake the pen and dip it in a little water before a pitiful amount began to show on my lips.

I just find that this product was a massive let down, drying out my lips without Carmex, looking sloppy with it and not really living up to its claim at all. I’m sorry I can’t say anything more positive. To improve the product, Max Factor should start with the nib of the pen applicator and use a better quality material because as much as I enjoy the texture of fluffy pieces of felt hanging around my lips, I’m not sure how attractive it looks. I guess, ‘Not at all.’

If you’ve had a similar experience please let me know. Or better still, if you have something good to say about the product or any advice and tips to help me make this work for me, I would love for you to reply in the comments box below. Until such a time when I am aware of some sort of Miracle Method for using this product, it will stay in my make-up box... for a little while.


Wednesday, 25 May 2011

15 Dating DON'Ts for Guys...

Following a recent date which I went on with an actually very lovely guy, I got to talking with my friends about the most horrendous things a guy can do on a date. Together, we came up with this list of totally unforgivable activities which make a girl want to slit her throat once she’s got in. It’s not about being perfect in every way, it’s more about treating a girl like the babe she is and not hacking her off so much that she feels the need to send an essay text message afterwards, advising ways in which the first-date technique can be improved for future reference when dating other girls (because he sure as hell won’t be dating her again!) Hope you boys take my advice, and treat your ladies good!

1) DON’T under any circumstances go on a date if you would rather be elsewhere. If you are ill, it’s better to cancel. If your mind is pre-occupied with anything other than how beautiful she’s going to look, it’s better to be honest. If you don’t fancy her, it’s better not to agree to a date in the first place. If you have already eaten by the time you get to a dinner date, it’s better to lie and pretend you haven’t and eat like there’s no tomorrow. If you have made other plans for afterwards, it’s better to bugger them and realise how lucky you are to be with this girl instead. Otherwise, you will make her feel like she’s wasting your time, and there is nothing worse for a girl than spending days getting excited only to feel like a boring waste of space.

2) DON’T have plans for after the date. Even if your lovely lady is a good girl who wouldn’t dream of doing the dirty on the first date, at least have a free evening. She will be flattered that you are so attracted to her that you abandoned everything else in the hope that she might give in.

3) DON’T spend five minutes getting ready. And if you do, DON’T tell her. The odds are she’s been teasing, painting, applying, shaving, tanning, waxing, moisturising, washing, brushing, straightening, curling, pinning, cutting, shopping and antagonising for hours in preparation to see you. When you say that you’ve just got in from the gym and just about had time for a shower, or that you’ve been completing several hours of manual labour to the extent where you nearly thought you wouldn’t make it, it’s basically you saying, ‘I really don’t give one what you think about me. I don’t even know why I’m here.’4) DON’T wear a hoodie or crap shoes. Always over-dress, especially on a first date. You might feel like a loser hopping along to the cinema in a button down shirt and your shiniest shoes, but a girl would a thousand times over prefer that to a guy who makes her feel like she made too much effort. This is particularly applicable if you were really nicely dressed the first time you met her, or if she knows from Facebook pictures that you usually dress well. If you dress down, no matter what the reason, she will automatically assume that you have done it deliberately to sabotage the evening, and hence that you are not interested in her. CLICHE ALERT! : You don’t get a second chance at making a first impression.

5) DON’T go out for a cigarette unless she is a smoker too or it is an exceptionally long date. That is to say it is completely unacceptable to leave a girl at the dinner table after being with her for less than two hours. You may be gagging for one of your tar-filled death sticks, but they are disgusting enough as it is without tainting a short date with their intoxicating smell. If you do, you'll be left looking as lonely as the old guy in this picture...

6) DON’T walk too fast. Just a minor pet hate of mine. If it is an evening date, particularly for dinner, chances are she is wearing heels. She doesn’t want to fall off them, or get her stiletto stuck in a hole because she is running to keep up with you. Where is the fire? Why the rush? Hold her hand, put your arm around her, even link. Anything to show her that you are fine with walking at her speed.

7) DON’T let the amount of time the date lasts be shorter than the amount of time she probably spent getting ready. If I really like you, I find it necessary to spend about two hours getting ready. That is from start to finish, so in that time I would be curling my hair, taking a shower, brushing my teeth, painting my face, putting on the outfit etc. If I wanted to get really particular about it, I would also rant about shopping for four hours, taking a nap in advance so as to appear fresh, pouring yourself into your sexiest underwear and hence wrestling with all kinds of straps and attachments, getting waxed, spending hours on the phone to friends in advance, dreaming about how perfect the date would go in an ideal world and... well, I could go on forever, but like I said, I’m not going to rant about that...

8) DON’T pay if you spent the entire time acting like you would rather have done anything else than be with her. Now, I’m not some sort of feminist extremist; I love lingerie far too much to ever be involved in burning my bras. However, I would always take money out on a date with me, and I hope that any girl would. On the other hand, if I feel like I’ve been agreeable company and that the guy has enjoyed me, then I would let him pay... after having a bit of, ‘Are you sure? Oh thank you.’ BUT. And this is a big BUT. Do not try and settle the bill yourself if you clearly didn’t have a good time. I get that you might feel like you should because, ‘ME TARZAN YOU JANE’ but any self-respecting ‘Jane’ out there is not going to feel comfortable having a guy who she hardly knows sit there and begrudgingly part with money when he obviously will look on the spend as a waste. It is an insult. Be polite, offer to pay. But if you know (and you really should because if you don’t then you’re even more of a monster than you have been throughout the date) that she knows you aren’t interested for whatever reason, when she offers to pay and actually begins taking money out, let her do it. Just because you pay, doesn’t mean that a girl suddenly can’t be disappointed in you anymore and that you were a really generous, sweet, lovely guy. It makes you a chauvinistic pig. Personally, I would a thousand times over prefer to pay and have an amazing night, than have a guy pay when he probably sees you as a waste of money.

9) DON’T tell her she looks ‘Nice’. She’s probably looked in the mirror before leaving her place and thought, ‘Wow, all that effort was worth it... I look phenomenal.’ Then for you to come along and use the most non-descript, mediocre word in the history of the English language is an absolute joke. It’s better to say nothing.

10) DON’T tell her everything you’ve done for the past week and everything you’re going to do next week. This is especially applicable if you’ve had a conversation with her before, because the standard of your conversation that time was probably a massive deciding factor for her when she agreed to see you. Try and pick up where you left off, rather than going over the mundanities of your daily life.

11) DON’T point out the tiniest spot you have on your face as if you were really gutted, when you’re blatantly not interested in how she perceives you in the first place. This will confuse her. She’ll think, ‘Awhh bless him, he was self-conscious about a zit because he knew he was seeing me’ but then later when the rest of the date has been decidedly average she’ll be thinking, ‘He could have had a million zits on his face and he wouldn’t have been any less attractive to me than he is right now.’ Also, boys pointing out spots often lead to embarrassing bouts of verbal diarrhoea which somehow lead to her confessing just how many inches of foundation she has applied in order to leave the house feeling remotely human. Not good.

12) DON’T let a massive text message-encouraged build-up occur if you know the date is going to be lack-lustre. She’ll feel a thousand times more let down if you spend the days leading up to the date texting her telling her you can only imagine how hot she’ll look, or how you can’t wait to kiss her again, before acting majorly disinterested throughout the date.

13) DON’T make a big deal about it if she doesn’t finish her food. Portion sizes are way too big in restaurants, especially if a girl has any plan regarding getting ‘FREAKAY’ following what was supposed to be a successful date. We are littler than you. Hence we don’t eat as much. Usually. If you start reprimanding her about not finishing her food, she’ll feel like she’s at dinner with some tight-arse elderly relative who doesn’t want to pay for uneaten food. For all you know, she really enjoyed it! She’s just ‘full’.

14) DON’T assume that just because she didn’t eat all of her main she’s not interested in dessert. I often save room for dessert deliberately, because it is my favourite course. Having said that, if you’ve spent the entire date banging on about how you’re in a rush to get the car back, or go out for a drink with your mate, she’s probably going to feel so bad about wasting your time that she will skip desert and make a rather pointed comment about having a chocolate bar when she gets in.

15) DON’T and this is a massive thing, DON’T, DON’T, DON’T lean in for a kiss on the cheek if the date has been terrible. If she’s not all over you like cheese on a cheese-burger by the end of it, laughing and smiling, touching your arm, looking you in the eye, then why on God’s Earth do you think she wants a kiss on the cheek? She probably feels like you are only doing it because you think you should, and that you really don’t want to. That is one of the most degrading ends to a terrible date; feeling like you have to let some guy kiss you on the cheek because he paid for your dinner, even though he doesn’t even deserve so much as to be around you for another minute longer. Again, this is particularly relevant if you have shared some sort of passionate clinch before because if she wasn’t as self-assured as she really should be, she will probably spend the next couple of weeks worrying about what she did wrong that made you so repulsed by her that you couldn’t even summon the energy or will to pretend to be after more.

As for the girls out there, put it all down to experience. If you shared a nice time with him in the past, it might actually serve you well to eradicate all memory of this mess from your brain and imagine some unfortunate tragedy which would have prevented you from seeing him again... perhaps he got deported, or sent to war, or found out he was gay all along. The odds are that he wasn’t a bad guy; he’s just got bigger fish to fry right now... surely if he was never interested he wouldn’t have taken you out in the first place. Hold out hope for that apology text explicitly describing some ridiculous reason as to why his behaviour should be forgiven, and if it is good enough, give him another chance, but only if he tries really hard to earn it, because if not, you are worlds too good for him in the first place. Until then, have pity on him. Poor guy screwed up an awesome opportunity epically and is so wrapped up in himself that he doesn’t even realise what he’s missing. Shame. Shame. Shame.

Have heart readers! We will one day have our Happily Ever After J


Friday, 20 May 2011

Marie Claire Inspire and Mentor Part 1

As sceptical as I was about parting with £35 per night I was interested in attending, I’m proud to say that curiosity got the better of me and I booked two nights worth of Marie Claire Inspire and Mentor events. My student loan went in, and no sooner had £70 of it vanished then another £30 odd for my return train journeys for each day (booked with Virgin via www.nationalrail.co.uk and as a student I managed to book return tickets PLUS London Day Travel card which enabled me to use the Underground to my heart’s content all day for just over £15 per day... bargain!) I initially was considering staying in a hotel for the night, but with prices being so hefty and revision time coming up, I figured having the morning in my university library then making tracks to London at about 1ish was a much better idea, especially considering the amazing price I got it for.

So what exactly is the Inspire and Mentor Campaign? A scheme set up by Marie Claire in 2010 was originally designed in partnership with The Prince’s Trust charity in order to celebrate the success of women in the work place and encourage the sharing of ideas, networking and the importance of mentoring and helping one another along, in order to give women that bit more to be proud of. Sound great right? Well, it really is. Since its launch, the campaign has hosted numerous lectures and seminars with inspirational guest speakers, enlisted the help of 17 of the most influential women in Britain spanning industries from film and fashion to beauty and business and created very real partnerships between these high-profile females and women who just needed that extra push to make their ideas a reality! For more information about the campaign and the successes which the mentees have had since the gruelling interview process just a year ago, check out the June issue of Marie Claire retailing in all good magazine vendors for £3.60. For students who may find that a bit too painful a fee, consider subscribing for just £1 for the first three months then £2 after that at www.magazinesdirect.com (the company through which Marie Claire organise their subscriptions). Also, there is no obligation to continue subscribing after the £1 runs out!

Anyways, let’s get onto business! Which events did I book? Well, there were three... How to get into fashion with Jane Shepherdson (most famous for the epic revamp of Topshop a couple of years ago and turning around the fortunes of quality women’s brand Whistles), How to get into beauty with Liz Earle (the lady who started a world-renowned beauty brand using only natural ingredients from scratch whilst raising a family) and How to get into business with Carole White (love her or hate her, she founded Premier Model Management in 1981 with her brother and consequently starred in the 7-part Channel 4 documentary The Model Agency... she is also managed to get tangled up in the recent Naomi Campbell ‘Blood Diamonds’ lawsuit somehow...) Naturally, I wanted to get onto them all, but unfortunately the Jane Shepherdson event was fully booked. Never mind, I thought at the end of the day, I knew I wasn’t going for Jane, Liz or Carole, but to see as many Marie Claire employees as possible, so I let it slide.

What else was I expecting? Well, when I booked the events I heard that the Liz Earle one was to be held at the rather plush Charlotte Street Hotel in the Goodge Street area whilst the following night would take place at Marie Claire Headquarters at the beautiful glass Blue Fin Building in Southwark. So I was expecting to get lost, that’s what I’m trying to say! Naturally, I had to plan my outfit around my inability to follow direction, so I decided on the first day to keep things simple with my gold gladiator sandals bought from Faith a million years ago, rust coloured tapered Topshop trousers, cream Topshop crop-top with peach coloured detail and my oversized cream knit cardigan from, you guessed it, Topshop! The following day, I wore my black glads (bought at the same time and place as the gold ones!), but took a pair of my highest heels in my handbag for when I arrived, after all this was Marie Claire HQ, my future place of work, so I had to make a good impression! I paired the shoes with my black faux-leather jacket purchased in Papaya for a steal at $25 on my last trip to the USA, my black wayfarer sunnies from Urban Outfitters which were a present from my mom last year and my snakeskin-print jumpsuit from Topshop (another bargain... got it in the online Flash Sale for just £35 from £65!)

In my confirmation email I was informed that the events would start at 6.30pm and finish at 8pm on the 11th and 12th of May and that there would be nibbles and champagne available! I also read on the Marie Claire website that we would receive goodie bags containing about £60 worth of swag per night... I thought, ‘SCORE!’

Anyways, over the next few days I will write up what each of the events were like and let you in on the contents of my goodie bag, but I just wanted to do this blog to let you all know about the campaign and strongly recommend it. If you have any questions or have had any past experiences with the campaign, please just stick it down in the comments and I will respond as soon as possible J

Take care my little chick-ettes.


Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Review - Maybelline Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner 24H

Despite being so comfortable with my BADgal thick pencil eyeliner from benefit (which retails at www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk for £14 and is totally worth it!) I decided that perhaps it was time for a change. Especially with the summer coming up, I could feel BADgal smudging into my crease-line in the heat of a warmer spring day, which as you can imagine was creating a rather odd panda-like effect which surprisingly enough is not what I was going for at all.

As an avid watcher of YouTube makeup tutorials, I realised that the latest trend in eyeliner seems to be the ‘gel’ formula which appears to have popped up in drugstore and high-end brands everywhere over the past year or so. Whilst watching Glee on 4od, for once I was actually paying attention to the adverts preceding it, one of which was the Maybelline ad featuring Jameela Jamil (TV presenter and columnist at my favourite easy-read magazine, Company). This advert showed a Maybelline makeup artist painting a thin line of Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner 24H onto the upper lash line of a beautiful model and the finish was so precise, I just knew I had to try this product.

So during my most recent Boots online haul, I made sure to add one to my cart before paying, and I was thoroughly excited for my box of goodies to arrive. Finally, a gut-wrenchingly long three days later, my £80 worth of cosmetics were handed over to me in the post-room of my halls, which resulted in me actually leaping in excitement before running to my room to try this item immediately. I bought the colour Black to keep things simple. Before we get into that, let’s take care of business...

Maybelline’s Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner which retails in at www.boots.co.uk for £7.99 claims to be...

‘• [an] Oil-free formula [which] holds highly concentrated pigments in a clear gel base
• Smudge-proof and waterproof for 24 hours
• [the] Most intense line for lasting drama
• Safe for sensitive eyes and ophthalmologist-tested
• Contact lens safe

at www.maybelline.com. And I completely agree with the whole claim, which rarely happens.

So, what’s my general opinion? My first thought was, ‘There really isn’t a lot of it...’ The pot isn’t very big at all, then when you look a little closer, the frosted glass is extremely thick, so the product probably only fills half of the volume of the tub anyway. However, this is a product which I am proud to have on my dresser, as it just looks so sleek and sophisticated; it looks expensive (which it should, since £7.99 is not peanuts on a student’s budget!)

The brush which comes with the product impressed me a lot as it seems to be quite good quality! The bristles are very soft, cut perfectly for precise application of the perfect amount of liner, plus the black handle fits perfectly in between my spiky little fingers allowing me to draw it on almost as if it were simply a pencil dispersing an even coating of the formula as I go along.

Now, with the product itself I was generally happy. It’s a very smooth jet black formula, which (with a little practise) can be swept on to professional effect. The practise is vital though, as at first I struggled with just how much I needed on the brush, as I found the finish much nicer if it was completed in one single line, rather than having to dip multiple times with a ‘painting-by-numbers’ method.

The product stayed put, and did not transfer to my crease or brow bone during a warmer day, which was basically why I bought it in the first place! It didn’t crack and dry up like liquid liners do, but also didn’t transfer (even to my pillow after a particularly heavy night, when I didn’t see removing my makeup as an option before falling to sleep) as usually happens with creamier pencil formulas. On the other hand, when I swiped it off another night with a make-up wipe before jumping into bed, it shifted easily making for convenient removal. The brush appears to have held up at this stage, and I expect it and the liner to last for quite a while as I have hardly made a dent in the pot so far! Plus with three other colours due to debut soon, the idea of buying another brand of liner just doesn’t make sense to me... The new colours will be something along the line of a grey-blue colour, a deep purple and a seductive brown, which I am particularly excited about as I think it will be lush for daytime!

Conclusion? I am a gel liner convert! This is perfect for day-to-day use and I honestly think I’m in on a great beauty secret... Feeling hopeful about (and I don’t want to jinx it but...) being onto a potential Holy Grail product! If you haven’t tried it, I promise it is worth the money and the time to get this right. Let me know what you think.

Take care


Why my cell phone is turning me into a crazy monster...

Ok, ok I apologise for not blogging for a little while, but it is coming up to exam time, so I think I may be excused. However, I am now in a remote caravan in Wales with my grandparents for the weekend, so even though I haven’t been able to post these blogs, I have been writing A LOT, so if you see an absolute bomb of blogs going up over the next couple of days then that is why!

Anyways, let’s go ahead and get stuck in!

What am I blogging about today? Well, I figured I’d have YET ANOTHER rant about technology and how much of a hindrance it is to modern day romance. I know I sound like a broken record, I know. But seriously! Facebook, Twitter, and even text messaging are currently turning me into a nervous wreck.

The other day when I asked my friend, ‘Why can’t things be like in the Good Old Days, with Dorian Gray?’ I didn’t mean, ‘Why don’t we all sign our souls over to a painting so our own flesh doesn’t decay...’ as she thought I meant. What I mean was that I envy so much a time when you wouldn’t hear from a guy for three days, but you knew it was only because he had gone on a trip, or his messenger had died of the plague. Those were the days.

Now, we have immediate communication with our love interests which I guess initially seemed like a great idea (one which I do not necessarily dispute as without the likes of Skype, cell phones and SMS we would never have discovered the pleasures of an array of technologically-centred sexual activity... sexting anyone?) But on the flip side, we also have to deal with questions such as, ‘Did he realise I was joking?’, ‘Why hasn’t he called?’ and ‘Who the hell is that skank in his Facebook profile picture with him???’ Not to mention the whole... ‘How long ago was my last text??? Did something give him the impression that I had finished the conversation? Or do I not have service, so it might not have sent? *Checks sent box* No, it’s sent... Maybe he’s out and he’s left his phone at home... I’m sure he’ll text back soon. There’s probably a problem with my phone. *Turns phone off then back on again* Nope, that made no difference. I’ll turn it off overnight, then when I turn it back on in the morning, then he’s will have texted me while it was off... He still hasn’t texted me??? Ok, well, maybe he figured I had gone to bed and he didn’t want to wake me... When shall I text him??? Leave it until later; I don’t want to seem too keen...’ And so it goes on.

Perhaps it is just me, but I’m sure it’s not. Texting turns me into a paranoid obsessive psychopath. There. I said it.

And yet, what is the other option? Not texting... waiting in the drawing room for a telegram to arrive? Mmm, I could. A tad too archaic though, no? Plus, finding a modern man who knows how to operate a telegram machine might prove a big problem, especially if I want him to be some kind of ‘normal’.

So I guess it’s up to me to control my habit of checking my phone every five minutes. Or sacrifice a potential relationship with a handsome soldier... Perhaps I’ve said too much. Although having said that, my mom always said, ‘If a guy wants to talk to you, he’ll cross oceans to get in touch as quickly as possible.’ Well, some would say that she’s been spoiled by my dad, who literally did cross an ocean to propose to her after just a few months of dating (22 years later, they are still happily married, for your information) but I can’t help but think that her theory supports the somewhat cynical cliché so relevant today, maybe He’s Just Not That Into You.

Well, we’ll have to see. And as usual, I will keep you posted!

If you can relate to this post, make me feel a little better... tell me your experience. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved and all that.

Until next time


Saturday, 7 May 2011

Review - LOreal Infallible Brush Foundation in Natural Rose

Once again, I have totally not been given money or free products by the company in order to write this review. I bought the product with my own money and always come up with my own opinions as to whether or not I like the product and if I will be purchasing it again. So here goes...
The claim made by the company with regards to this product is as follows; 'Infallible, the well known range for long lasting make-up, introduces it's latest innovation: a combination of a non-transfer long lasting foundation with a high precision brush, for easy application and a perfect looking finish. Even, Breathable, Undetectable.' Do I feel that this is an honest claim? For the most part yes, but there were (as always) some areas where I was slightly disapointed in this product as an everyday foundation.
I have been using this foundation for a couple of weeks now, to a variety of different events. I've exercised, slept and worked wearing this product. I bought it from Boots where it retails at £12.99 which is pretty standard for a good-quality drug-store product. However, whether this product works out as generally cost effective is another question entirely...
I only say that because I believe I will get through this bottle in no time, due to the application process. When you take the lid off this product you find a foundation brush attached, so you need to turn the barrel to the left for a couple of clicks for the product to be dispensed. The instructions given on the side of the bottle suggest painting the product onto the back of your hand, then dipping the brush in so that you can get the desired amount of foundation on the brush before applying it to your face. Honestly, despite the fact that this brush feature is the novelty which sold this foundation to me, after my first go I kind of wished that it wasn't there! What was the problem? I hear you ask. Well, firstly as I turned the barrel, the product didn't come out. No big deal, upon first application you may well have to turn the barrel a little more. However, anxious not to get too much product, I tentatively twisted it for about thirty clicks before the product eventually came out. Of course when the foundation did arrive, it kept coming, giving me at least double what I would usually use. Great. This is why I don't think the product will work out as cost-effective as I've had this problem every time that I have used it since that first time.
The brush is described as being of 'high precision'... it's a nice brush, especially for being provided with a product (I often don't like brushes that come with products as they are of cheaper quality than when sold individually). The bristles are soft and it feels so gentle when you are applying the foundation. However, I'm not sure if this is a 'high precision' brush if only because I noticed various nooks and crannies which seemed to be void of product, for example around my eyes and the sides of my nose it seemed that the product hadn't quite reached them. Also, after a couple of uses, some of the bristles began to clump together which happens with most foundation brushes... Without fixing this, I found that the foundation was going on much streakier, and needed more time to be blended so I had to get this sorted! Usually this is a problem easily remedied by simply cleaning the brush in a mild formula baby shampoo, but with this brush being attached to the product I had to be really careful to avoid contaminating the formula. This made washing the brush a bigger more detailed job than it usually is, causing somewhat of an inconvenience to say the least.
Another problem with the whole Brush Feature Dilemma was the fact that it was necessary for me to put the foundation on my hand first, which was a bit of a hassle as I then had foundation all over the back of my hand. Plus, this foundation is really hard-wearing, so when I went to rinse it off my hand with some soap, it stayed, which meant I had to take a make-up remover wipe out of the packet just to wipe it off. Of course, this is one of those sort of Catch 22 problems, as it showed me at least that the claim that LOreal made about the product being 'long lasting' was true!
Seriously, this product does not budge! One time, I applied it at ten in the morning, went for a half hour jog, came back, had a shower, studied for five hours, took a nap, worked a busy six hour shift at the pub where I'm a bar-maid, then when I got home there was a party I wanted to go to and assumed I would have to do my make-up all over again, but upon looking in the mirror I was pleasantly surprised that my skin looked as fresh as if I'd just applied the foundation! Result.
However, and I know it is annoying that I say this about most liquid foundations but... I really don't like a 'dewy' finish, and this is what I got with the LOreal Infallible Brush Foundation. At least this is what I got when I applied the product with the intended brush. I just think that finish looks sweaty, sticky, and slimy and what with my T-zone being by no means perfect, even as soon as I'd applied the product my nose and forhead reminded me a little bit of a horrendous oil slick. But like I said, that is completely down to personal choice as I know that a lot of you guys like a 'dewier' look.
In order to fix this, I used my powder brush and applied a little of my Holy Grail Foundation, Hello Flawless by benefit in I'm Cute as a Bunny!: Natural Honey retailing at £24.50 at any benefit counter. I only needed a little to take away that sheen and once I'd dusted some of this over my problem areas I was happy with the finish although would still not call it 'perfect' as I had to use another product to counter its negative points... Some might argue that I could use this product almost as a tinted primer as that's sort of what I did, but I'm not sure that's a good idea because even though the product is relatively light-weight it is still too heavy for everyday priming.
I also found that once I started applying the product with my fingers, the finish was a lot more matte so that's what I've been doing, which is a shame really because if I'd known I would end up abandonning the brush I perhaps wouldn't have wanted to pay so much...
The formula is really easy to wear, it feels almost as if you don't have anything on, and it makes my skin feel and appear very smooth and soft. 'Even, Breathable, Undetectable' is right, particularly if you have the correct colour for your skin which everyone should have. I used Natural Rose after trying three shades on my jaw-bone. It literally looks like I have perfectly even-coloured skin which is a definite plus!
As for the product being a 'non-transfer' foundation, this is simply untrue. I only had to brush my face against a colleagues shirt during a quick cuddle at work and it left a powdery residue behind. Also, this was before I started applying my powder foundation over the top, so there is really no excuse. However, this is not by any means the worst of this kind of experience I have had, but it does contravene the brand claim which is a big deal to me.
Conclusion. Would I buy this product again? Maybe. I won't be rushing out for it once I've finished this bottle. But then again, I might consider it if I need a quick fix familiar foundation if purchasing in a rush, as my experience has had more positives than negatives I think.
Let me know if you've tried this or a similar product! As for me, my quest for the perfect foundation... continues.