Friday, 31 August 2012

Do you LIKE WhatLauraLoves?

 
 
They've sent five bloggers the same snake print dress that I blogged about here and posted photos of us on their Facebook page in our outfits.  We had to style the dress for our body shape and style.  You can click here to take you to my photo and click LIKE.  If you're not a fan of my outfit, theres four other gorgeous girls you can vote for too.
 

Thursday, 30 August 2012

WhatLauraWore: Red Chain Print Skater

Today I've got a quick WhatLauraWore outfit post for you all.  Now this dress may look a little familiar.  It's actually the red version of the aqua dress that I wore in this post from AX Paris.  Quite a few of you tweeted me to say that you'd bought the aqua dress so I thought I'd share some pics of the red version.  Here I am off for a lunch with my friends before going back to my friends house to go in her hot tub (hence the lack of false tan!)
WhatLauraWore:
Red chain print skater dress from AX Paris
Sunglasses by Dolce and Gabbana
Speedy 40 bag by Louis Vuitton
Sandals from Primark
Rose gold watch from DKNY at Earnest Jones
The Red Chain Print Skater dress from AX Paris was originally £35 but I got it on sale for £24.99 which is an absolute bargain in itself but it has since decreased further in price! to £12.99  For a dress that is so high quality, it really is a steal!  The material is gorgeous, it's fully lined and really comfortable to wear.  Check out my review of the aqua dress where I talk about the dress in much more detail.

AX Paris have also released a Red Chain Print Playsuit in the same material which I love the look of, especially for summer afternoons drinking Pimms with the girls.  I wouldn't buy it myself as I think it is so similar to this dress but had I had the option at the time I bought this dress and the Aqua Chain Print Skater dress then I would have bought the aqua dress and the red playsuit as it's nice to have a bit of variety.  That said, I love this dress as the print, although similar to the aqua, actually looks quite different, dontcha think?

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

OPI RapiDry Top Coat


Up until earlier this year, if I ever had my nails done then I would always have Calgel on them which looked lovely but it wasn't strong enough and lifted very easily.  Back then, my top coat of choice was the Calcrystal UV Top Coat which I used on top of the gel to stop my nails from staining yellow and if I painted them then it would also protect the polish the same as any other top coat.  When I stopped having my nails done with the gel I just continued using the same top coat and didn't really explore any others out there.  In truth, the Calcrystal top coat was great to use on top of french manicured gel nails but it didn't really do much for natural nails so when it ran out, I was keen to try out some others and this little gem is what I've found.
 
The RapiDry Top Coat from OPI is excellent.  It has a smooth formula and texture, not too runny and not too thick.  It glides onto the nails without dragging the polish underneath and really seals in the polish to protect it from chipping.  My nail polish lasts loads longer with this top coat on than without; take Elephantastic Pink from OPI for example, I usually get about 2 days on my natural nails and 4 days on acrylic nails without a top coat, whereas with the RapiDry top coat from OPI I get at least one week chip free out of my nail polish, that's definitely worth a perfectly manicured thumbs up!  RapiDry dries in record time too literally as soon as I've moved on to painting my other hand, my first hand it dry, which is perfect for those of us who are on the go.  I love how shiny and polished Rapidry makes my nails look.  Even if there's a messy application of my initial polish or if I've caught my nail when the polish was still wet and smudged it then the Rapidry seems to sort this out, leaving my nails looking even and perfect!

What top coat do you use?

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Batiste Fresh

Last Sunday I announced the winner of my Batiste giveaway, congrats to Laura from Laura's Beauty and Lifestyle Blog, I hope you love your prize.  Now I'm back with another Batiste dry shampoo review and this time I'm reviewing the Fresh scent.
 
Batiste Fresh
 
 
Fresh is probably the one Batiste scent that I've not heard much about.  I've tried all the others and hear people rave about the scents, particularly the latest ones which smell more like a perfume than a dry shampoo, but not much about this one.
 
Batiste Fresh has more of a unisex fragrance than the other dry shampoo scents so it's a good one to leave in the bathroom incase your boyfriend's hair could do with a bit of freshening up.  I'm not the best at describing scents but Batiste have got this spot on in saying that its cool and crisp.  I can really smell pear in it which is really refreshing.
All it takes is a quick spray at the roots, a vigorous rub and a quick brush through and it transforms your hair from a lank, greasy mess...
 
 
... To hair that is revived and refreshed.  Hello to happy, healthy hair.
 
 
Batiste really is my favourite dry shampoo brand, I cannot recommend them any more than I already do.  You can pick a can up for £2-3 from Boots, Superdrug, Bodycare, other pharmacy stores and supermarkets.

What is your favourite Batiste scent?

Monday, 27 August 2012

Empties #05

It is definitely time for another empties post and this one is very much skincare focused as I've been getting my body polished for my forthcoming holiday.  This would have been up sooner but the Decleor Cleansing Milk seemed to be never ending.  Always the tortoise and never the hare.  A lot of these products are firm favourites of mine; I've used the Decelor cleanser and toner for years and years.  The two scrubs I've been using up since I received them... in Christmas 2010!  You might remember my post on the big pink box I got them in if you've been reading my blog a while... but yes, 2010.  Since I've been operating a one in one out policy since January 2011 and really being careful with the beauty purchases I make in a bid to use up the products I already have, I'm hoping you can realise just how many similar products I had to use up before I made a start on these!


Soap and Glory Scrubs, Decleor Skincare and TIGI Hair Care
Soap and Glory- The Breakfast Scrub

This has to be my most favourite Soap and Glory product ever.  Not only is it a great gritty scrub but it smells amazing too, like porridge oats with maple syrup, mmmm.  I could literally sit and sniff this all day.  I wish there were more Soap and Glory products with this scent as I'm not a big fan of the scents of the other products.  I use this sugar body scrub twice a week in the bath to keep my skin smooth and free from any rough bits and it does a really good job.  It isn't as oily as some of the other Soap and Glory scrubs but it does still have oils in it so I wouldn't recommend using it before false tanning as it will effect the development of the tan.  The only time I use this when I've been wearing false tan is about a week later when I want to get rid of the rest of the tan on my skin as the oils in this product help to break up the tan.  I would not hesitate to buy this again, I adore it.


Soap and Glory- Flake Away
This week I finally finished up using another Soap and Glory scrub.  Over the last seven months I've been alternating between this one and The Breakfast Scrub and I have to say that The Breakfast Scrub is my favourite.  Whilst this salt scrub is really gritty and works very well at smoothing out my skin, The Breakfast Scrub is just in another league, mainly because of it's scent.  Flake Away is just too oily for me.  It is a brilliant exfoliater but it leaves my bath tub in such a state after I've used it, very oily, slippy and scarmy which I just cannot be doing with; after a relaxing bath the last thing I want to be doing is fannying on cleaning it afterwards.  I'll not be repurchasing this one.


TIGI S Factor- "Serious Conditioner" with Sunflower Seed Oil


I love this conditioner because it's really intense and does a great job at really nourishing my hair.  I tend to use it after I've just had my highlights and low lights done.  After shampooing, I put loads in my hair and just sit with it on for about 10-15 minutes before washing it out and my hair instantly feels so soft and healthy.  It has a light pink tone to it and smells like peppermint.  When I first started using it, it reminded me of a foot cream because of this!  I would definitely repurchase this conditioner.


Decleor- Cleansing Milk and Tonifying Lotion

Well my love affair with these products is finally over.  I've repurchased both of these countless times over the last five years but now is the time to move onto other products.  Decleor, it's not you, it's me and I wanna break up.  These are the last two Decleor Cleansing Milk and Tonifying Lotion bottles that I have and whilst I do think that they are fantastic products, particularly if you have sensitive skin, I want to try out other products now that I've used them all up and with that in mind, I'll probably not repurchase them in the future.  I do have plenty of good things to say about them as they have been my go to products for years now and you can read my full review of both of these products here.  I've replaced them with this Clarins cleanser and toner which have now become my staple skincare products.  I'm trying out other cleansers and toners but, like with the Decleor, these have become the two products I always have in stock in my skincare bag.

Throwing away empties is just so satisfying isn't it?!



What products have you used up recently?  Which Soap and Glory scrub is your favourite?

Sunday, 26 August 2012

WhatLauraDid: Week 35


Another week has come and gone and as well as doing my regular Sunday update, I'll also be announcing the winner of my giveaway at the end of this post.

I'd love to say that much has changed since last Sunday but in truth, I've spent the week in bed poorly with a cold and water infection.  Night Nurse, Day Nurse and antibiotics have become my poison of choice and finally a week later, I am feeling almost 100% better.  Gosh, I haven't been poorly in a while and I'd forgotten how much it takes it out of you.
 
Despite sleeping for the majority of the week my blog has been alive and kicking as I had some scheduled posts lined up.  The first of which was a WhatLauraWore outfit post featuring a first for me- a snake print dress from Evans!  I was gifted the dress as part of a blogger challenge where Evans sent the same dress to five of their favourite bloggers and posted photos of them wearing the dress on their Facebook for their fans to 'like' their favourite styling and the winner will then receive a £100 shopping spree in Evans.  I'd love it if you would vote for me here.

Another outfit post this week came in the form of this gorgeous black and pink floral maxi dress from Yours Clothing.  I'd say that this is definitely an evening maxi dress as it's not too casual for the daytime.  I'll be wearing it on my holidays abroad that are coming up.
One product that has been keeping my skin hydrated this week despite my cold is the Argan 5+ Dry Body Oil.  I cannot tell you how good it feels to get into a hot bath with a capful of this stuff when you're feeling poorly.  It has been an aromatic pick me up that has made me feel gorgeous even when I haven't looked it.  I've tried to keep on top of the simple beauty treatments this week; having a bath oil soak, exfoliating and painting my nails.  My favourite polish right now has to be OPI's Elephantastic Pink which I blogged about this week.  It's the perfect coral pink and just SCREAMS summer!

This week I brought the budget beauty bargains back to WhatLauraLoves with a cracking 28 blush palette full of gorgeous matte and sparkly pink and coral shades.  This is one eBay impulse buy I certainly don't regret.  I've saved so much money on my MAC repurchases since buying this.
 
I'm so pale after being poorly that I'm really going to have to get the fake tan out before my birthday night out in a couple of weeks time.  I've got a post coming up this week on how I apply my fake tan but I thought that first of all I'd write a guide to choosing a false tan as there's so many out there on the market and lots of things to consider!

So that's my round up of posts over with for this week  it's now time for me to announce the winner of my latest giveaway...

 





Congratulations, email your address details to whatlauraloves@gmail.com and I'll get your prize straight out to you!  Thank you so much to everyone who entered.

Stay Beautiful

Saturday, 25 August 2012

NOTD: OPI Elephantastic Pink

It's been a while since I last did a Nails Of The Day post as I've been wearing acrylic nail extensions with a french tip for months now.  I'm actually letting my extensions grow out naturally, before I get a full new set on for my holiday, rather than getting them soaked off.  I just keep cutting them down with a nail tip cutter, buffing them with a purple block and filing them squoval with a boomerang file before painting them.  I've really been enjoying wearing nail polish again and there's no colour I've enjoyed wearing more than this one.

Elephantasic Pink by OPI


I lusted after this polish in Sally's for months before I finally bought it and I'm so pleased I did. It has quickly become my most loved OPI polish and one of my favourite nail polish shades of all time.

Elephantastic Pink is a bright but very wearable coral pink which becomes completely opaque after 2 coats and dries in very good time.  The formula is smooth and the polish is creamy making it a dream to apply.  I'd say it's on par with my Models Own in terms of drying time and the formula is actually even better than Models Own which is saying a lot as they're my favourite nail polish brand.  It's glossy, quite gel looking and very flattering, particularly with a tan.


After the 2 coats of this polish, I apply my favourite top coat, RapiDry by OPI to and an even glossier protective layer.  The result?  Shiny, beautiful, summery nails.


Without a top coat, I find that this polish lasts about 2 days without chipping on natural nails and about 4 days on acrylics.  With the RapiDry top coat, it easily lasts for at least one week without chipping on my acrylic nails.  It's one of those shades that goes with so much of my wardrobe from my bright and floral summer dresses to my black, beige, white and grey work wear.  It adds a subtle pop of colour to a dull outfit and doesn't offend in the office.

By the way, just as a side note: I'm not entirely sure what elephants have to do with pink.  When I was younger my daddy always used to tell me that elephants paint their toe nails red so that they can hide in cherry trees.... so who knows what pink is for!?
Don't you just love the colour of this polish?  What OPI shades would you recommend?

Friday, 24 August 2012

A Guide To Choosing False Tan


Tanning is an essential part of my getting ready routine.  I tan all year round and love to have a bronzed glow about me.  Being tanned makes my feel gorgeous, slimmer and always ready for any occasion.  Of course on nights out, I still wear a full face of make up but when I'm tanned I can often forgo wearing a lot of make up during the day; I just make sure my eyebrows are tinted and I slick on a bit of lip gloss and mascara.  I'm going to be putting together some handy 'How To' guides on how to achieve a great tan and I'll be covering lots of different methods from false tanning at home to using a sunbed.  I thought I'd start with my favourite way to tan, the safest way to tan and that's at home with a self tanner.

Today I'll be sharing with you my guide to choosing a false tan.  I'll be sharing my top tips on what to look out for and what to avoid then tomorrow I'll be showing you how to apply your tan to achieve that gorgeous bronzed glow.


False Tan Formulas- Fake Bake Original Lotion, Xen-Tan Mousse Intense, Garnier Summer Body Gradual Tan, St. Moriz Instant Self Tanning Mist budget buy, St. Tropez Lotion

Brand
Choosing a false tan brand and formula is difficult, particularly if you've never tried tanning at home before.  If it's your first time tanning, then I'd really recommend going with one of the higher end brands as their formulas tend to dispel the chances of too many fake tan mishaps like ending up orange and patchy.  With false tan, you really do get what you pay for.  My favourite brands are Fake Bake and Xen-Tan.  Xen-Tan is the brand that ticks all the boxes for me; it applies quickly, evenly and without that biscuit, rice crispy fake tan scent.  Their tans are very deep and natural, they're long lasting and they wear really evenly.  They're very moisturising too.  Fake Bake ticks the majority of these boxes too, except that their tans aren't particularly moisturising, but the fact that they make an aerosol tan which Xen Tan don't is the one thing that keeps drawing me back to them as it is my favourite formula.  I'd really recommend the Fake Bake Airbrush tan if you're very pale skinned as it is a light tan and very buildable.  The St Tropez lotion is a light tan too but I'm not really a fan of it as it's too light for the majority of skin tones and I do find that it is easier to streak with this tan because even the guide colour is fairly light once it is rubbed in.

If you're on a budget then the St. Moritz spray is a good option.  The packaging is terrible and the product gets everywhere but the colour is actually pretty nice for a budget tan.  I wouldn't recommend the mousse formula however as it is so drying and wears very unevenly leaving you patchy and scaly looking.

Of course a higher end false tan will set you back far more than a cheaper tan but I really believe false tan is something worth investing in.  If having a great tan has such a positive effect on your mood when you're going on a night out, can you imagine how you'd feel if you'd gone for a cheaper tan that left you patchy, streaky and orange?  I'd much rather have a couple less drinks on a night out and go out with a flawless tan than end up mortal with orange legs.


Tone and Guide Colour
Look for a tan that is green or olive toned, Xen-Tan false tans are great for this, as the more olive colour in the false tan the less chance you have of turning orange as the green tone cancels out the orange tone.  Look for a tan with a strong, dark guide colour too, that way you'll be able to see exactly where you're applying it which reduces the chances of missing bits and ending up streaky.  Stay clear of false tans that are colourless or white, something like the Make Believe Self Tan Lotion may boast a lovely natural colour but without a guide colour, you risk missing a bit and turning out streaky.  When I was in my early teens I used so many self tans when guide colours hadn't been developed and even the higher end brands like Elizabeth Arden were useless.  I'd end up streaky and orange and this put me off fake tan for a lot of years.  It's only in the last couple of years that I've really started getting back into false tanning and that's largely due to the guide colour that comes with products now.

Formula
When choosing a formula, the most difficult to apply is probably a lotion.  If you're not used to tanning and want a fool proof application then I'd recommend a mousse or spray.  The Fake Bake Airbrush tan is my favourite spray as it is a light natural colour that is easy to use as the nozzle can be sprayed from any angle.  This is perfect if you don't have anyone to help you with doing your back as you can spray a light dusting over your skin.  Mousse false tans are equally as easy to apply, just make sure that you can reach all of your back and they are very quick to apply too as they don't take much work.  I'd recommend the Xen Tan Mousse Intense as it is easy to use and fast to apply but also provides the most deep, intense but still natural looking colour after the first application.  When you're first starting out with tanning, it can take a while to perfect your application time and routine and once you've been tanning for years like I have you'll find that what used to take you 45 mins to apply now takes 15.  With that in mind, I wouldn't waste my time on tans that are really light, personally I find it much more fulfilling to use a tan that gives you that deep natural glow after one application rather than having to build it up night after night.  The Fake Bake Original Lotion is good for this and one to try if you're used to tanning.  It provides a deep golden glow, as though you've been marooned on a dessert island for a few weeks.  Simply sunning.

Type
Another point to consider is the type of false tan you would like to use.  Personally I prefer the type of tan that you apply usually in the evenings, leave on over night and wash off the next day to reveal a deep natural tan that lasts for about 5 days to one week.  I usually apply my false tan the night before a night out so that it is fresh and at it's deepest.  Often my nights out are planned last minute and that's why I opt for this type of tan over a gradual tanner.

In my opinion, gradual tanners just aren't that good in the long run.  I hate having to apply them daily and find that the build up they leave on my skin doesn't wear too evenly.  There are some good ones out there, like the Garnier Summer Body which does give you a nice glow after the first use if you're quite pale to begin with but the majority aren't much to write home about if you're looking for a really deep holiday looking tan.  If you want something light and more of a light golden glow then a gradual tanner will be the one for you.  I wouldn't really recommend investing in a higher end gradual tanner as I don't find them to be good value for money as you'll be using it up quicker with applying it every day and I don't find them much different to the drug store brands.

Then there's always instant tan like Rimmel Sun Shimmer.  This is the type of tan that you apply just before going out and it will give you an instant tan for that night until you wash it off when you get home.  Personally I wouldn't recommend these types of tan at all as they tend to look pretty orange, badly stain your bedsheets and if you're out and it rains or if someone spills a drink down you then it is an absolute disaster.  You end up with streaky legs and a stained dress which is never a good look!

With fake tan, it really is just a case of trying out the different formulas and brands until you find one that you like and then stick to it- if it's not broke, don't fix it.  Don't risk a dodgy tan for the sake of broadening your horizons.  If you do want to dabble in other false tans then look for ones that have similar properties to your favourite if you're wanting it to do a similar job.  If Xen-Tan dark lotion is your holy grail product then you're probably not going to like, or get the same effect with Garnier's Summer Body and vice versa.

Check back on Tuesday when I show you how to apply your false tan to achieve a flawless summer glow.

What are your favourite fake tans?  Which would you recommend for me to try?

Thursday, 23 August 2012

WhatLauraWore: Summer Evening Print Maxi Dress

I can't actually imagine a summer in my life when I don't wear a maxi dress from Yours Clothing.  They're great quality, beautifully designed and very affordable.  Every year I seem to find one that is just as pretty as the last.  This is my Yours Clothing maxi dress of choice for this summer.


Floral Print Maxi Dress with Frill Detail
Yours Clothing


Floral print maxi dress with frill detail from Yours Clothing, £35

I'm loving this floral print maxi dress, it has such a beautiful print and looks what I would call evening summery.  Usually when I think of something being summery, I think of florals both bright and light but they don't always lend themselves so kindly to an evening outfit.  With the black back drop on this dress, it does.  I've worn this out a couple of times now for drinks down at my favourite beach bar with my besties and they've told me on both occasions how pretty they think this dress is.

I've worn many dresses from Yours Clothing in the past and this one is fantastic quality as all the others have been.  For a summer dress, it is pretty heavy as it's fully lined which is great as it isn't see through in the slightest considering it's made of a figure flattering chiffon material that glides over any lumps and bumps.  I'd recommend wearing it on cooler summer evenings and it would certainly see you into the autumn.  I'll be taking this on holiday with me when I go to Turkey.  I love boob tube dresses for holidays, they're just so easy to pull on and really comfortable, especially if you wear a little bandeau underneath. 

The dress comes with detachable straps which are great if you need a little more support and the dress itself is a very generous fit.  It is available in sizes 16, 18 and 20 then from 22 up to 32 in dual sizes.  If you're hovering around a size 22, I'd recommend sizing down to a 20 rather than getting the 22-24, other than that I'd recommend just buying your usual size.  The shirred detailing around the bust would accomodate a larger chest equally as much as it would support a smaller chest as it is so stretchy.    Whilst this maxi dress is perhaps not the most flattering of shapes on me as it makes me look a little larger than I am (the curse of having a small chest and legs with a wide middle!), this can be overcome by wearing a jacket, shrug or bolero in a block colour to create the illusion of a waist.  I love how the shirred detailling pulls me in under the bust at my smallest part and I've added a waterfall jacket to not only give appearence of a waist but to break up the bold pattern of the dress, this makes much more figure flattering on me.  The frills on the dress are so pretty and look great with the bold floral pattern, they provide a flattering and interesting shape to the dress that distinguishes it from other boob tube maxis out there.

I'm 5ft 5" and as you can see the dress really is a true maxi dress as it is very long gracing the floor at 132cm.  If you're a tall lady who usually finds maxi dresses divorcing your ankles and marrying your knees, don't be shy to try this dress on, you'll be surprised at how long it is.  I find this with all Yours Clothing maxi dresses, they length on them is brilliant.



WhatLauraWore:
Black Waterfall Jacket from Inspire at New Look
Large stud black clutch from Matalan
Rose gold watch by DKNY
Tassle sandals from Primark
 
Whats your favourite item from Yours Clothing?  Have you bought any Yours Clothing maxi dresses this summer?


 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

28 Blush Palette

Today I thought I'd share with you another budget beauty post in the form of this 28 blush palette that I got from eBay.  This palette would be great if you're wanting to have a collection of lots of different coloured blushes but can't afford or don't want to spend your money on lots of individual blushes from a more mid range brand like MAC.  I personally got this because I was using all of my mid to high end blushers day in day out for my normal make up when I'm just going to work or popping to the shops and I really felt as though it was a bit of a waste of make up.  Do I really need to be using a £20  blusher to sit in an office and take my make up off as soon as I get home?  Probably not.  I went in search of a blush palette that had many shades and different hues and I found this one.  I'm surprised by how much I like it.


Surprise, surprise there are 28 shades in this palette ranging from pinks to corals and peaches and even some orange shades.  They're all incredibly pigmented and I think that there are some to suit every skin tone here.  There are some good dupes for my favourite MAC shades too, I can only imagine how much it would cost me to buy this number of shades from there in one go!  The blushers are all powder, there's no cream products in here which is great as I'm not a fan of cream products.  The blushers aren't not too finely milled but that's to be expected for the price and if applied with a good quality brush then they look just as good as some of the mid range make up brands.



There is a great mix of finishes from matte to shimmer to sparkly which means that depending on what shade you use,  you may not need a separate highlighter.  I find that layering, blending or mixing a couple of different colours together works really well too.  You can create so many different looks with this palette and it's great for those who are just starting out with make up as well as those seasoned professionals amongst us.


The sleek black packaging of this palette makes it great for travelling too.  It's very slim and streamlined, just like the MAC palettes and wouldn't take up much room at all in your bag.


I paid £7.49 for mine from this eBay seller but there are so many available, just type 28 blush palette into your search bar.  P&P was free and it arrived very securely packaged within about 5 days.  I'd really recommend this seller as I had a great experience with them- I couldn't fault their service.

What are your favourite bargain beauty buys?  Have you tried a palette like this?

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Argan 5+ Dry Body Oil

I've been trying out this oil for a good few weeks now and I'm so pleased that I can finally rave about it to you all as on the 13th August the highly anticipated Argan+ range was finally launched in Boots.

Argan 5+ Dry Body Oil

Argan 5 + Dry Body Oil
The Argan 5+ Dry Body Oil has pushed my other favourite body oils by Jo Malone and Bio Oil to the back seat when it comes to both use in and out of the bath as with this product there is no need for a separate body oil and bath oil; it is multi purpose and works excellently in both forms.  The Dry Body Oil is just that, a dry body oil.  When applied to the skin, I pour a little into my hand then sweep the oily liquid upwards on my skin and sinks straight in.  My skin is left dry in that it is not oily or left with a film on it but nourished and soft to the touch.  I can get dressed immediately after use without worrying that this will transfer from my skin onto my clothes.  Also there's no time needed for it to sink in like you experience with a lot of body moisturisers- dry body oily is definitely the way forward!  With that in mind, I tend to use this first thing on a morning whether I've had a shower or not as it's so quick and easy to use and it keeps me moisturised all day.  It smells amazing too, quite warming, exotic and tropical.  There's been a few times I've left the house in a rush and forgotten to put any perfume on and people at work have asked what scent I'm wearing.  It smells THAT good!  The scent lingers for ages on my skin which makes it perfect for a night out as makes me feel very glam and as though my skin is perfect.  I'd definitely say this is a bit of a skin perfecter.  When applied, it makes my skin look sleek, without any dry patches at all and the sheen it creates seems to blur the imperfections on my skin.  I love the way it makes my legs look when I wear short dresses on a night out; glowing and healthy.



If you're looking for a lazy way to moisturise and soften your skin then I'd recommend using this as a bath oil.  It's a luxurious treat that I indulge in once a week by filling a nice hot bath and swirling a capful of this body oil into the water.  The effect is aromatic, it fills my bathroom of the exotic scent and it feels so comfortable to lie in.  Very moisturising, comforting and softening.  I love it.
On a night out with my bestie, having used the
Argan 5+ Dry Body Oil while I was getting ready
The dry body oil is formulated using Argan 5+'s special Argan + Synergy which is a blend of Moroccan Argan Oil with four other oils; Baobab, Kukui Seed, Moringa and Sacha Inci Oil.  Argan oil is full of fatty acids and antioxidants and is said to be great for stretch marks and improving the elasticity of the skin which is something that I really need right now with losing weight.  I'm hoping that with continued use I'll really see the full benefits of this dry body oil and I'll report back in a few months as to how it is working for me with prolonged use.  Argan oil is great to protect the skin against ageing too which makes this product great for taking on holiday to hot countries where you'll be exposed to the sun a lot.  I'd never use this and then go out in the full heat of the sun as any oil without an SPF would fry my skin but it would be fantastic to use at night, after a shower to replenish, nourish and hydrate the skin ready for the next day.

A little bit goes a long way with this product, even if using it as a bath oil as a cap full is more than enough, even in my 2 person jacuzzi tub, so it's great value for money and you'll find that you wont have to repurchase it too often.  That said, I've already bought a couple of back ups as it's currently on offer in Boots online and in store for £10 for the 200ml bottle until 5th September when the price will increase to £14.99.  There's also a 100ml bottle available for £6.99 which will soon increase to £9.99.  Personally I can't really fault this product.  When I review items I always try to give the things I like and dislike about it so that my opinion is balanced and then you can all make your mind up from there as to whether it's for you or not but I honestly can't pick out something negative about it.  I'd really recommend purchasing the 200ml bottle, you'll not by disappointed by it.

Monday, 20 August 2012

WhatLauraWore: Evans Snake Print Skater Dress

I was recently contacted by Evans to ask if I would like to take part in a blogger challenge they are running.  They've sent five of their favourite bloggers the same Snake Print Skater Dress and asked them to style it for their shape and personal style.  Of course I wanted to take part and here is the outfit I put together.  When everyone has posted their outfit pictures, Evans will be putting the photos on their Facebook page for everyone to vote for their favourite look and the winner will receive a £100 shopping spree at Evans!  I hope you all vote for your favourite when they post them.
 

WhatLauraWore: Evans Snake Print Skater Dress

























One thing that I've really loved about being a part of the Evans Take 5 Challenge is that I've been able to try a dress I would never have usually tried on myself.  As a rule, I prefer sleeveless or boob tube dresses and I'm not a lover of snake print so I was so surprised to try this on actually like the way that it looks.  The Evans Snake Print Dress is so soft on the skin, it is lightweight and really comfortable to wear.  It's stretchy without being clingy and I love skater dresses as they tend to be really flattering.  The snake print is in a mid to light grey and works really well with black and silver accessories.  I'd say my style for a night out is pretty, feminine and glamorous and that's what I've tried to create with this look.  I'm wearing a black waterfall jacket from Inspire at New Look with the dress which I love as it's a great shape and helps to break up the bold print of the dress.  The large black clutch stands out from the dress and the silver accessories add a bit of glitz to my outfit.  I've kept my make up glamorous but soft with a pop of pink on my cheeks, lips and nails.  



WhatLauraWore:
Snake Print Dress from Evans
Black waterfall jacket from Inspire at New Look
Silver heels from Nelly
Black clutch from Matalan
Silver diamante watch from D&G
Silver bangle from Red Herring at Debenhams
Necklace from Topshop, also available at Evans
Pearl stud earrings from Goldsmiths


Accessories from Top Shop, Matalan, Red Herring and D&G
Silver Sparkly Heels from Nelly

I hope you like my outfit.  Don't forget to vote for me on the Evans Facebook page.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

WhatLauraDid: Week 34

My best friend and I off to a charity event this week.  My dress is from Curvissa and will be featured on WhatLauraLoves this week
Work, exercise and my social life seemed to have taken over blogging this week as I've been so busy and now I'm feeling the effects... I've got a cold.  If any of you know any miracle cures, however weird and wonderful, for getting rid of a sore throat, ear ache and a runny nose then do let me know, I'm willing to try anything.

I went to a blogging event in Leeds on Saturday and was given a fantastic goody bag.  I've got so many new products to try out and sample for you.  Some of which I'll review fairly shortly, others I'll wait to see if I purchase the full size and then I'll let you know my thoughts.  I've got some Xen-Tan samples and a Murad primer than I'm particularly looking to try out.  Mr WLL booked us into the Marriott in Leeds and upgraded our room to a suite which was a lovely surprise.  I've stayed in the hotel before when I was in Leeds for Plus North and once again, it didn't disappoint.  We've actually just got back home now.  We spent our day swimming and enjoying the sauna, jacuzzi and steam room at the hotel, then went to the Thackray Medical Museum and to The Lounge with a couple of our friends.  I'm so pleased we made the most of my only day off, although it has been difficult with feeling poorly.  I'm going to have an early night tonight and will hopefully wake up on top form tomorrow!

While staying in the Marriott last night, I had a bit of a pamper night with some of my new products and I also popped on one of my most effective hair masks, the Herbal Essences Breakage Defender Mask that I also reviewed this week.  This has been my go to mask for months now and whenever I go away to stay in a hotel, I always decant a little into a pot for a treat at night.  I left this on my hair overnight and washed it off this morning.  My hair feels great today!

I also posted a WhatLauraWore outfit of a maxi dress I wore to the Zoo recently.  It's floral and summery without being in your face and bright.

Don't forget, I'm holding a giveaway to win a gorgeous Olga Berg clutch bag and Batiste Lace dry shampoo.  There's still time to enter as it closes on Saturday 25th August.  Enter here.

Hope you all have a good week and do let me know about any cold remedies you have!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Herbal Essences Breakage Defender Intensive Mask

Earlier this year I went through a phase where I didn't take as good care of my hair as I usually do.  I guess I just thought that since my hair was pretty resilient and greasy it would be able to withstand a bit of tough love but, as I found out, it can't.  The underneath of my hair has become pretty brittle and snapped in some parts.  Whilst the roots of my hair are still very oily the ends are dry which I hate.  It was time to take a stand and sort it out!  This hair mask from Herbal Essences has really been helping to nourish my hair back to good health.

Herbal Essences Breakage Defender Intensive Mask


I'm a big fan of these hair masks.  They work really well and are great quality, particularly for the price.  I've used the one in the pink pot before, the Ignite My Colour and that showed some promising results too in terms of keeping my hair in great condition.  Whether it made my highlights and low lights last for longer, I'm not so sure.  The one I've been using over the last four months is the Breakage Defender in the blue pot.  I's designed to repair and protect damaged, brittle hair which my hair certainly was when I started using it.  It contains extracts of pearl coconut and mango which are designed to help repair combing damage and protect the hair against brittleness.

To begin with, I used this 3-4 times per week and after a month had past and I really started seeing results, I dropped down to 2 times per week as directed.  One pot now lasts me about a month which is excellent value for money.  To use it, I shampoo my hair then apply it through my hair.  I focus on the mid lengths and ends and make sure there is a lot of product on the underneath of my hair where it needs the most attention.  I then smooth what is left on my hands through the top section of my hair at the roots.  I leave this on for much longer than the one minute that is suggested on the back of the pot, I usually get in the bath, wash my hair, apply the mask and then leave it for about 15 minutes while I shave my legs, exfoliate and wear a face mask.

This mask leaves my hair feeling soft, hydrated and as though the mask really has done some good to my hair.  My locks feel protected after using this, as though they're comforted and safe to repair and grow.  I read a lot about cheaper, lower end products just coating your hair and not actually doing it any good but I'm not too clued up on the ins and outs of it.  All I know is that this has really helped nurse my hair back to good health.  I've been using the Breakage Defender shampoo too and together with regular trims, the two products have made a great difference to my hair as it's stopped snapping, feels much softer, the ends are hydrated and it's been allowed to grow!  My hair is definitely growing longer and I really think that it is because it is so well nourished now.



Oh and it smells amazing too... I can't quite put my finger on it... Parma Violets perhaps?


The Herbal Essences masks are available in all the usual places; Boots, Superdrug, pharmacies and supermarkets but I look out for them in shops like Savers and Body Care where they're usually available at a discounted price.  I picked this one up in Savers for £1.99 which compared to the last mask I was using, the Ojon Volume Advance 2 Minute Hair Mask, is definitely a bargain!

Have you used any of these masks?  Which one is your favourite?


Monday, 13 August 2012

WhatLauraWore: My Zoo Outfit

Mr WLL recently took me to Chester Zoo and it was BRILLIANT.  We love having little dates like this... despite having lived together for over four years, it keeps things alive in our relationship and special I guess.  We're best friends as well as partners and it's lovely to just spend some time with each other away from home.  Whenever we go on our little trips out, I like to wear something pretty and this is the outfit I wore to the zoo.  My maxi dress is from Inspire at New Look.  I'd really recommend it if you're tall and find maxi dresses often come up short on you.  I'm 5ft 5" and it is really long on me so I'd definitely say it is worth a try if you're tall.


WhatLauraWore:
Floral maxi dress with tan plaited belt from Inspire at New Look
Lilac bandeau (under maxi) from New Look
Cropped denim jacket from Joe Browns at Simply Be
Animal print flip flops from Claires Accessories
Rose gold DKNY watch
Nomination bracelet
Necklace from Top Shop

We're planning another day out somewhere this Sunday too so if you have any suggestions for us (preferably in the North) then do let me know!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

WhatLauraDid: Week 33

Twit Twoo my Primark fleecy hooded nightwear top
This week I've been working out at the gym, yes the gym.  Whilst I'm a fan of exercise classes and swimming, I usually hate the gym but this week I've got my backside into gear and joined my friend for several work outs at her home gym and I'm feeling so much better for it.  I'm not someone who is particularly fit although my fitness has been building month on month as I've been losing weight and I'm so surprised at how much I was actually able to do, I even ran on the treadmill which is something I haven't done since the egg and spoon race in junior school!

Of course I managed to fit a little bit of shopping in this week, despite being mostly focused on exercise over the last seven days.  I repurchased the Clarins Cleansing Trousse and thought it was about time I blogged about it for you all.  If you're looking for high end skin care on a budget then this is the set for you.

I've finally figured out how to use my iPad this week, it's all up and running and I'm loving it!  I've downloaded lots of apps and films onto it.  If you have any recommendations for apps then please let me know in the comments box or on Twitter.  I've got a fantastic photo cover for it that I got from Bags of Love, check my review out here.

There's also a giveaway running on WhatLauraLoves which I blogged about this week.  Its to win a gorgeous Olga Berg clutch bag and a can of Batiste Lace and it is running until Saturday 25th August.  All you have to do to enter is to be a follower of my blog and to comment on the giveaway post.

Hope you're all well.  Have a fab week.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Clarins on a Budget

Ok so at £22 it's not exactly on a budget but its at the lower end of the pricey scale for a higher end brand...


Clarins Cleansing Trousse
For Normal/Dry and Combination/Oily Skins



Clarins is one of my favourite skincare brands.  I have a cupboard full of their products and have tried out so many over the years.  Whilst I'm certainly not a beauty snob, I really feel that you get what you pay for when it comes to skincare.  Looking after your skin is paramount, what's the point in spending money and time on make up if your skin has seen better days?  Prevention is better than cure and looking after your skin now will stand you in good stead for the future to defy the ageing process and also provide a great base for make up now.

Perhaps you're looking to start putting together your own skincare routine, or perhaps you're looking to try high quality products but are on a budget, then this skincare set is for you.  The Clarins Cleansing Trousse is a limited edition set of skincare products comprising of a 200ml cleansing milk, a 200ml toning lotion and a 30ml eye makeup remover which all come in a Clarins beauty bag.  The kits are available for normal/dry and combination/oily skin types so buying a set of skincare products has never been easier, especially if you're someone who is unsure as to which different cleansers and toners will work well together for your skin type. I have combination to oily skin and the kit that I have purchased is working really well for my skin and whilst I have other Clarins products, these are what I class as my basics and I always have a bottle of these in my bathroom cupboard.  Being a blogger, I am lucky enough to be able to try out lots of different products but when I'm not testing out products, or if something has aggravated my skin, then I always go back to these.  The kit costs £22 which provides over £15 worth of savings, the cleanser and toner are £17.50 each if bought separately and that's before you factor in the eye make up remover and the bag.  Whenever I run out of any of these products, I always just repurchase the set. Yes it means I have lots of Clarins makeup bags but the set is such a saving!

The Cleansing Milk contains gentian, hawthorn and sage and is soft and creamy in texture.  The cleanser gently removes makeup and excess oil to rebalance my skin, leaving it clean and a great base for make up.  It isn't the quickest way to remove my makeup but it certainly makes it feel geat after use.  I use it on a cotton pad in the evenings to effectively remove my makeup and to clean my face.  I also use on the mornings that I don't use my No7 Hot Cloth Cleanser.  The Cleansing Milk smells amazing and comforting, it reminds me of baby powder!

The Toning Lotion with iris and sage smells amazing too.  It is alcohol free so it is ultra gentle and doesn't irritate, burn or break out my skin (unlike Clinique...).  I use this morning and night to remove excess cleanser, make-up and oil.  It helps to tighten my pores, particularly where they're a little larger on my cheeks and smooth out the surface of my skin.

The Instant Eye Make-Up Remover is a handy travel size at 30ml.  I keep mine for when I'm going on weekends away and on holiday and use my Klorane eye make up remover on a daily basis instead.  The Instant Eye Make-Up Remover is a dual action lotion that you shake to mix the oil in with the solution.  This is one of the rare eye make-up removers that has oil but isn't particularly oily and doesn't leave your skin feeling greasy.  It removes heavy eye make-up with ease and even tackles waterproof mascara and long wear products without a hitch.  This little bottle lasts a long time as a little goes a long way.

A note about budgeting when it comes to buying beauty products

I get lots of emails from girls saying that they wish they could afford to have mid to higher end skincare and to feel the benefits from it and many ask which products I'd recommend.  I certainly don't have bags of disposable income to splurge on top skincare items, I just budget wisely and buy products that I really need.  I try to operate a one in, one out policy and use up the products that I have before buying new ones.  I'd rather spend £20 on one really good cleanser than £5 each on four separate ones.  I also try to compare the cost of things in my life-- £20 would easily buy Mr WLL and I a takeaway and a bottle of wine on a Saturday night but it would also buy me a new cleanser; i'd rather opt for spending my money on the latter, if I needed it as it would last longer (and won't go straight to my hips!).  In terms of the Clarins Cleansing Trousse, £22 for a 200ml cleanser and toner and a 30ml eye makeup remover is a really really good deal and £22 doesn't usually stretch that far!

What are your favourite Clarins products?  Do you prefer to save or splurge on beauty products?