June Favourites 2012

Saturday, 30 June 2012

I can't believe it's the end of June already! These are my beauty, skin and hair favourites from the month of June. If you want to see my June Favourites video, where you can hear why I've been loving these products, then click here.

Every month I include a random favourite with my monthly favourites. This month, my random favourite(s) have been buying white items of clothing. I usually stick to dark colours and tend to wear black all year round. However recently every time I am in town, I am always drawn to white items of clothing, especially crochet or broderie anglaise items. The ones below are two of my recent purchases:

Top: New Look £12.99
Dress: Urban Outfitters £30 (Reduced from £65)

What have you been loving this month?

xoxo, Joy

Massage Experience

Thursday, 28 June 2012

I was recently kindly offered to try out a massage deal in Birmingham by the lovely people at Wahanda. I was rather spoilt for choice as there are tonnes of deals to pick from. In the end, I opted for the 1 hour deep tissue massage* at 'At One Day Spa', as it is close to where I live, had great reviews and had a 4.5 out of 5 star rating on Wahanda.

'At One Day Spa' is tucked away in the Great Western Arcade in Birmingham City Centre. If you weren't paying attention, you would probably miss it. I actually initially walked past it and had to go back! When I arrived, the first thing I noticed about the spa was the Far Eastern theme. There was relaxing music throughout, Buddha statues and lots of vibrant purple hues. I was led upstairs and kindly offered a drink on arrival before being handed a health questionnaire to fill out before my treatment. The ambience of the spa was relaxing and it was nice that the spa was upstairs away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.

The therapist I had was called Maria. She instructed me on how to get ready and told me lay down on the massage table. Before doing so, I took a sneaky picture of the treatment room. As you can see, the Eastern theme continues in the decor and the massage table was super comfortable. I have never had a massage before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I did feel quite self conscious and rather exposed to begin with, but as soon as the massage started, all my worries melted away. I felt so relaxed throughout the massage and I have to admit, I may have fallen asleep a little... The best bit of the massage was when Maria did my upper back and neck. I think I hold a lot of tension there from uni life (on clinics), the gym and my poor posture so it was nice to have that area massaged to release any tension. There wasn't any talking throughout the massage as I think it would detract away from the relaxing atmosphere and personally, I prefer this as I am not a fan of making awkward small talk. I left feeling completely relaxed and happy. When I left, my skin was a little oily from the massage oil as it hadn't sunk into my skin completely, but over the course of the day, it sunk in and left my skin feeling soft.

I honestly don't have anything bad to say about my experience and I would definitely recommend 'At One Day Spa' to anyone that wants to be pampered. I am officially a convert and will definitely be treating myself to more massages or spa deals from Wahanda in the future.

Have you ever had a massage before?

Thank you for reading. xoxo, Joy

*I was kindly offered to review a massage deal by Wahanda. This does not change my opinion and as always, my reviews are 110% honest.

Review: Revlon Photoready

Monday, 25 June 2012

In a bid to downsize my collection, I have been trying to use up products and have been "shopping my stash" and using products I haven't used in ages. I have had Revlon Photoready for quite a while now and have been using it a fair amount recently.

 The glitter in the bottle

From top to bottom: Blob, Slightly blended, Fully blended

The Good
- It looks really nice on the skin when freshly applied. It has a satin, slightly dewy finish and the shade I have (003 Shell) is a great colour match for my skin.
- It is a medium coverage foundation. It covers my red areas and blends easily into the skin.
- The packaging looks and feels expensive and the pump dispenses the right amount of product each time.
- It has SPF 20, so I was concerned that I would get major flashback face when being photographed with flash photography. However, I was pleasantly surprised that it did photograph well on the skin, hence the name 'Photoready'.

The Bad
- It has sparkles in it. It won't make you look like Edward Cullen in the glitter stakes, but if you look closely at the skin after application you can see glitter. I like to use 2 layers of foundation and I find it collects on areas that have more product.
- The staying power is very poor. I find it wears off my combination skin after a few hours, especially if I don't powder.
- It can look a little cakey on the skin. I have found that this does not suit dry skin at all. It clings to dry patches or healing blemishes and the glitter collects around these areas too.

Would I repurchase? Although the foundation looks lovely on the skin and is a great colour match, the poor staying power and the cakiness around dry patches really puts me off. So unfortunately, I don't think I would repurchase this.

Have you ever tried this foundation?

Thanks for reading. xoxo, Joy


French Manicure with a Minty Twist

Sunday, 24 June 2012

I was talking to one of my friends recently about how much we love French manicures. I think they are the perfect nail look if you're stuck for what colour to paint your nails and are really classic.

I really fancied doing a French manicure today, but didn't have any of those little half moon stickers, so I did them free hand. I am usually awful at doing the tips neatly, but this time I don't think it went too bad. I think the key to neat tips is to not have too much polish on the brush, as I usually put far too much on and make a mess.

I fancied something a bit different to the typical white tips and vaguely remembered Zoey Deschanel tweeting a picture of a French manicure with mint tips, so I used 'Office' by American Apparel which is one of my favourite nail polishes of the moment. Then I used 2 coats of 'Rose Lounge' by Bourjois over the top. I really like how it turned out. I think it's a nice summery twist to a classic nail design.

Do you like French manicures?

xoxo, Joy

Review: Caudalie Beauty Elixir

Thursday, 21 June 2012

As I am nearing the end of my bottle of the Caudalie Beauty Elixir, I thought I would lay out my thoughts of it.

After hearing a lot of blogger hype about the Caudalie BE, I bought it at the end of April and have used it everyday (usually twice a day) since then. I featured it in my April Favourites, as I was really loving the scent and the zingy freshness my skin feels after use.

After each use, my skin feels refreshed and hydrated. When I first started using it, I didn't notice the positive benefits to my skin that many others had and it even made me wonder if I was using it wrong... (I use it after cleansing and spray a few spritzes over my face and pat it in - What does everyone else do?). However after a few weeks use, I noticed that my skin felt more nourished and I may have just imagined it, but I felt my skin looked brighter. Any dry patches I may have had on my skin were also kept at bay.

It is claimed that the rosemary would help breakouts, however I had the mother of all breakouts throughout May and the beginning of June and I didn't notice much change in the length of time I had the blemishes. I did find, however, that as the blemishes healed, they weren't as dry and flaky as usual.

The scent is rather strong. The peppermint scent is the most obvious and while I love the pepperminty smell, I know a lot of other people don't.

I remember reading somewhere that Victoria Beckham uses this after applying makeup to look dewy and glowy. I tried this a few times, but I still preferred using it before moisturiser as a toner. After watching one of Lisa Eldridge's videos (I forget which one), I also learnt her technique where you can spray it onto your palms and inhale, before patting it onto your face. I have to admit, I never tried this but I imagine on long journeys, this would be a perfect minty pick-me-up for the skin and senses.

The Caudalie BE is quite expensive at almost £10 for 30ml, but I would definitely recommend this product. Have you tried Caudalie Beauty Elixir?

Thank you for reading. xoxo, Joy

Pandora's Box

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Recently I have been shying away from my costume jewellery and have been looking around for some more expensive, investment pieces. I have been admiring Pandora bracelets, as I like the idea of personalised jewellery with each charm perhaps representing a significant time of your life or special occasions.

Images from House of Fraser

I like the simplicity of the bracelet bases, as they could be worn empty without charms, with a few charms and/or jampacked with charms. At the moment, I'm think I prefer the leather Pandora bracelets, especially the cream one above as it would be perfect for summer.

The great thing about these bracelets are that you're not obliged to buy a million charms all at once. You could gradually build up your collection as time goes on and I think that makes the bracelet more special. As I said before, I think that if I were to buy charms, I would mainly pick them to represent special occasions. If I were to pick charms to go on my bracelet, the ones above are the charms I would opt for. There's a mix of things, ranging from a J charm (because you can't have a personalised bracelet without having an initial charm) to the turtle (to remind me of the girlie holiday with my friends to Zante, as we went turtle spotting) to the Matrushka doll (just because it's cute!).

What do you think of Pandora bracelets? What charms would you opt for?

Thank you for reading. xoxo, Joy

*This is a collaborative post. All words and opinions are my own.

Review: Superdrug Aqua Hydrating Range

Saturday, 16 June 2012

I have dehydrated skin, which means my skin is lacking in water rather than oil. This is probably due to me not drinking enough water throughout the day... *Slaps wrists* On one of the many times where I mooch around Superdrug (Does anyone else do that?), I came across the "Simply Pure" range specifically designed for dehydrated skin. As far as I'm aware, the "Simply Pure" line also has products for oily and dry skin. I decided to pick up the 'Aqua Hydrating Serum' and the 'Aqua Hydrating Cleansing Gel' from the dehydrated skin range. They were both priced at approximately £4.50 each.

Aqua Hydrating Serum
This is the real gem of the products I picked up. It's non-scented, light and absorbs into the skin nicely. The texture is quite thin and you only really need a bit to cover your whole face. I use this in the morning and it makes my skin feel comfortable and hydrated all day, without feeling greasy. I will definitely repurchase this when I finish this.

Aqua Hydrating Cleansing Gel
The cleanser is a standard gel cleanser, with no perfumes or parabens. It's a nice and effective cleanser, but doesn't feel like anything spectacular or luxurious when using. It doesn't foam at all, so I didn't find that this worked very well with my Clarisonic as I prefer to use it with cleansers that foam. My skin never feels dried out after use, but instead feels clean and soft. While it's a good cleanser, I don't think I will repurchase this as I generally prefer creamier cleansers which foam a little.

I think there's also a day cream, night cream and eye cream within this range, so I'm definitely tempted to try these out.

My skincare routine is a mixed combination of high street and high end brands. I'm a big advocate of trying own brand products, as they're reasonably priced and usually tend to be nice products. Afterall, what store wants to release own brand products that don't work and will reflect poorly on their reputation? What's your skincare routine like? Have you ever found any brilliant own brand products?

Thank for reading. xoxo, Joy

Review: L'Oreal False Lash Telescopic

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Left: Naked lashes, Right: Curled and 1 coat of False Lash Telescopic

This mascara is a fantastic lengthening mascara. I don't find it gives much volume or thickness, but instead leaves your lashes looking nice and long. I find that it starts looking clumpy on its 2nd coat, but I don't mind that look. With 2 or 3 coats, you get a long fluttery, but slightly spidery look. I have found that this occasionally smudges on me under my lower lashline and doesn't tend to hold much curl.

The brush is a plastic brush, which I generally prefer to bristle brushes. It's quite thin, so you can get really close to the roots and sweep it up the lash. Because it's such a small brush, I have misjudged how close it is to my eye a few times and it sure hurts when you poke yourself in the eye with a plastic mascara brush!

It's quite pricey at £10.99 for a high street mascara, however I really like it and will definitely repurchase :)

Have you ever tried this mascara?

Thank you for reading. xoxo, Joy

Do You Pin?

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Image from Pinterest

I have recently become more obsessed with Pinterest over the past few weeks. I have had my account for a while, but never really 'got it' so I never used to use it. But now I have created numerous boards, I have repinned a tonne of things and I love going on there to have a nose when I have free time.

My favourite sections to look at are the DIY/Craft sections because I would love to do more craft and it gives me ideas and inspirations. I also love looking at the recipes and interior design pictures :) I've even sneakily made a "Someday" board with wedding and baby shower inspiration, because even though I'm nowhere near that stage in my life, it's never too early to get inspiration and some of the pictures are too pretty to not repin.

Below are a few examples of the boards I have made:

My username is dearjoy (What else would it be? Hehe). Do you use Pinterest? What's your username? :) If anyone would like an invite, please feel free to let me know and I will send you one over!

xoxo, Joy

Wardrobe Envy: Ashley Madekwe

Saturday, 9 June 2012

I haven't done a style crush post in a long time, so I have decided to do another one!

Today's Style Crush is the lovely Ashley Madekwe. I have been following her blog, Ring My Bell, for ages now and seriously love her outfit choices. Ashley's outfits always look so put together and chic. I love the way she mixes basics and neutrals with a pop of colour, whether it's a piece of clothing, a gorgeous bag, coloured nails or a bright red lip. These are just a few of Ashley's looks I have loved:

All images are from Ring My Bell

Has anyone else been watching Revenge? I saw the ad on E4 a few weeks before it aired and was intrigued, so I watched the first episode online, and then the next, and then the next... I managed to watch the whole season over the course of 2 or 3 consecutive days. Clearly I use my time well...! Anyway... Ashley's character, Ashley, has one of my favourite TV character wardrobes! Lots of nipped in waists, bright colours and I'm sure I spied a few Topshop pieces too.

All images are from Google

Who are your style crushes? You can see more of my style crushes here.

xoxo, Joy

Review: Avène TriAcnéal

Thursday, 7 June 2012

I first came across the Avène TriAcnéal while browsing the skincare ranges in Boots, but was put off by the price - £23 for 30ml. Then I had a look around online for reviews, as I'm not one to purchase things on a whim, and came across the reviews on Make Up Alley. It had a 4.4 out of 5 rating on, which completely swayed it for me! I had a look around online and found it on eBay for approximately £14 (including postage).

TriAcnéal has 3 active ingredients: Efectiose to reduce inflammations, Retinaldehyde to eliminate imperfections and Glycolic acid, a powerful exfoliant to smooth skin's surface (Boots.com).

I do like this product as it does help with my breakouts. I haven't noticed much difference in blackheads or the closed skin-colour comedones that are predominantly on my forehead, which is a little annoying as these are what the majority of my skin imperfections are. But I have found that it is good on spots that are brewing under the skin and for helping to shrink those big beastly spots. I plaster it on those at night and the next day, the spot doesn't appear and has shrunk. However be careful when applying a large quantity onto small areas, as this product contains glycolic acid and can leave you with a minor acid burn.

With a bit of trial and error, I find this works best when you use a large quantity of product on a smaller area, rather than thinnly blended onto larger areas of skin. I have also found that it's best to not put any moisturiser on on top of it, as I find that it lessens the effects of the TriAcnéal.

Unlike other typical spot treatments, I experienced no irritation to my skin. I had no dryness or redness either, which is great as I have used other spot treatments (e.g. high % of Benzoyl Peroxide) which have left my skin looking burnt and feeling sore. I did find that it can sting on application on open skin, but that only lasts momentarily. It has a light floral type smell, which I personally find quite pleasant.

It is recommended that you only use this once a day, so I have been using it every night for the past few months. You are best off using this at night, because it comes out a creamy yellow, but dries to a bright yellow on the skin! If you blend it to a thin layer over the skin, it doesn't look as obvious. I have to also add, be careful if you have white or light coloured pillow cases!

Avène TriAcnéal

It comes in a handy tube, which is nice and hygienic. It generally works well, as you can squeeze out as little or as much as you want. However, sometimes the product comes out super fast, resembling a thin thread and ends up wrapped around the nozzle and making a mess.

It is quite a pricey product at it's RRP (£23), especially in comparison to over Avène products which usually retail somewhere between £6-£15, however like I said before you can find it online for cheaper. The tube does last for a long time though, as you really don't need a lot, so it does end up being cost-effective.

Have you ever tried this product?

I'm really liking Avène products at the moment. Are there any that you would recommend?

Thank you for reading. xoxo, Joy

NOTD: Blooboo

Monday, 4 June 2012

2 coats of Models Own Nail Polish in 'Blooboo'

This is a lovely, bright pastel blue polish, which is perfect for Spring/Summer. After a few days, I did notice that the colour dulls a little and isn't as bright. In the bottle, there is a pearlescent blue shimmer running through it, however that does not translate onto the nails.

It takes 2 thick coats (or 3 thinner coats) to become fully opaque, as the first coat is extremely sheer. The formula of Models Own nail polishes is always great to use and the wear is also fantastic. I've had this on my nails for a few days now and there are no chips in sight.

What are your favourite Models Own nail polishes?

xoxo, Joy

Project Empties #13

Friday, 1 June 2012

This month I have finished very few products, but I thought I'd quickly share them with you. I have written reviews for most of the products already, so I will link those below.

I have been loving using the view from my window as a background for my photos recently!

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation
Review: Here
Would I repurchase? Yes

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish
Review: Here
Would I repurchase? Yes

Neal's Yard Remedies Rehydrating Rose Daily Moisture
Review: Here
Would I repurchase? Yes

Clarisonic Refining Skin Polish
Review: This was a nice gritty body exfoliator. It had fairly large exfoliating particles and a pleasant fruity smell. It never left a greasy residue on my skin and left it feeling nice and smooth. It worked well on its own and with the Clarisonic body brush.
Would I repurchase? Yes

As you can see, I have used up some well loved products which I will definitely repurchase. What have you finished this month?

Thank you for reading. xoxo, Joy