Thursday, 27 February 2014

Beauty | Smashbox It's A Wrap Waterproof MakeUp Remover

I received a bottle of Smashbox's 'It's A Wrap' Waterproof MakeUp Remover for Christmas after it found it's way onto my Wishlist following hearing some great reviews about it.

As I've been on the hunt for the perfect makeup remover, I couldn't wait to give it a try!



Smashbox Say...
'Our super effective, yet ultra gentle remover lifts everything off lashes, lids and lips - even long wearing and waterproof makeup. Ophthalmologist tested. Dermatologist tested. Non-irratating formula leaves skin soft, clean and refreshed.' 

TheBrunetteSays...
After giving the bottle a good shake to mix up the 2 formulas, I apply to a cotton pad and get to work. They've got it spot on when it comes to removing even the most stubborn makeup - if I'm wearing quite a heavy base, I can remove it easily without using too much product or cotton pads. My eye makeup, which is usually where a makeup remover lets me down and leaves me all panda-eyed, wiped away effortlessly. I'm impressed. It does exactly what it promises. 
A big negative for me though, is the fact that it leaves quite a greasy film on the skin afterwards. Smashbox advise 'rinsing' afterwards but rinsing isn't enough to remove the film, it's a necessity to follow with a cleanser, which I know I should be, but as I'm struggling massively with pregnancy tiredness currently, I'm lucky to have the energy to remove my make up as it is before being flat out on the pillow before you can say 'It's A Wrap' ;) I'm not sure if it's the greasy film or maybe just pregnancy hormones, but I've been breaking out a little on my chin lately. 



Would I Recommend It?
It's a fantastic makeup remover. It works, it removes even the toughest products super quick. Top marks! But this product isn't for the lazy! Be prepared to follow with a cleanser and your full skincare routine. Which I'm sure you all do!! :) 

Would I Repurchase?
It's a great product, I think I'd repurchase to use solely as an eye make up remover if I didn't find one that lived up to this one. But for now, I'm still on the hunt for the perfect makeup remover. Watch this space!! 




Smashbox 'It's A Wrap' Waterproof MakeUp Remover, is available from Smashbox counters and online. (£16.50 Boots)

Have you found your perfect makeup remover??



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Saturday, 22 February 2014

The long journey that led to our little Christmas miracle...

If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram [if you don't, you should ;)] or are friends with me on Facebook, you will be aware of my latest news which James & I excitedly announced during our trip to Paris this week... 
We're having a baby!!

Our much anticipated little one is due to arrive in August.

We had actually been trying to conceive for over 16 months.


16 long, painful months! 
During that time we had no end of tests and scans to try and work out why it was taking so long. Every month got harder and I felt more negative as time went by. We never imagined it would take so long. And during this time, everyone around us were falling pregnant and having babies and it was really hard, as it just wasn't happening for us. And nobody could understand why. We also made the mistake of telling family and friends that we were trying, which put no end of pressure on us as time went on.
You may remember, if you followed my blog back in September, that I had key hole surgery? That was actually to check out my womb, ovaries and tubes to check if everything was okay. Which they were. It was quite frustrating as, of course I was glad all was fine, but at the same time I still didn't have an answer. I'd gone through surgery and the sore recovery for 2 weeks and was still no closer to finding an answer. I almost hoped they could find something wrong and be able to fix it.
See, my cycles are very irregular and are often quite long. I was having to temperature chart every day, every month, to see where I was in my cycle, I was testing for ovulation for weeks as I had no idea when it was going to arrive each month. My body was struggling to ovulate throughout the month. My body would often attempt and fail to ovulate until a successful ovulation, which made it pretty hard to catch.

For almost a year and a half, my life was pretty much an array of temperature charts, ovulation tests, fertility vitamins and scheduled nooky!! Not so much the exciting adventure we thought we'd have when we made the decision to start trying!

I was diagnosed with Unexplained Secondary Infertility and referred to the Fertility Clinic.
When we finally got our appointment at the Fertility Clinic, we were prescribed fertility treatment. It was our last hope, as after that our only hope was IVF. Having Bradley already meant we weren't entitled to free IVF so would cost us £4,000+.

Being prescribed treatment, was a huge weight off my shoulders. We felt quite positive about it, and you could almost say we relaxed a lot more.
The week I was due to start the treatment I started to feel a bit strange. I can't describe how I felt, I just felt different. I hadn't 'tested' in over a year. The disappointment and cost each month was too much, and I'd almost got to the point that I was used to my period arriving every month that testing never came into it. But something, that day, although I wasn't due my period for another 2 days, told me to test. And I was shocked to see it was positive! I had to get James to bring home some digi tests so I could see it in writing. I was pregnant the month before even starting treatment. How ironic. But amazing!



My doctor called it a Little Christmas Miracle and was super excited for us!!

Unfortunately, Christmas was a bit of a blur for me. I was so so poorly. I was sick and overwhelmingly nauseous for over 13 weeks. I can honestly say I have never been so poorly, for so long, in all of my life. It totally took me out. It was effort for me to get out of bed and to the sofa. I really suffered. I've basically spent the first 13 weeks of my pregnancy dying on the sofa, asleep or wrapped around the toilet bowl. Not pretty. I've not been able to use many beauty products, as the smell was just too overwhelming. James had to take his deodorants and aftershaves into the bathroom to use in the morning as I couldn't stomach the smell!! 

On top of feeling so poorly, I had a health scare at work. I can't go into it unless I want my P45 handed to me Monday morning, but I will, one day, open up about it as I feel people should be more aware of it!! It caused James & I huge stress and anxiety that I didn't need, so early in my pregnancy. I was hearing frightening news from fetal consultants and have had to have numerous tests to determine the health of my unborn baby. I'm awaiting more test results this week, but so far everything seems okay. I've had a month off work and am due to start at another workplace on Monday. I'm looking forward to the new challenge though. 

We had an early reassurance scan at 8 weeks. I was so happy to see a heartbeat, but I don't think it sunk in for James at that point; it was just a little squidge on the screen! :) I think the 12 week scan was the moment it all became very real for James. He couldn't quite believe his eyes, seeing this little baby with its nose, mouth, arms and legs moving around on the screen. He got quite emotional and I've never seen him so overwhelmed. Was such an amazing experience. 



Bradley is also very excited to become a big brother, and we're trying to involve him in the pregnancy as much as possible. We have a private gender scan booked in a few weeks and we've decided to take Bradley along, so he can be there to learn whether he'll be having a little brother or sister in a few months time.



We announced it publicly last week, whilst in Paris and it all got a bit more exciting!
That said, I take it day by day, each week is a huge milestone for me. I'm a lot more anxious during this pregnancy than I ever was back when I was 19 and pregnant with Bradley. I worry about every little thing and have to listen in to the heartbeat every other day, for reassurance. But everything, so far, is progressing as it should be...

I'm 15 weeks now, feeling a bit more human now Ive ventured into the 2nd trimester and already sporting a bit of a bump. [When I say a bit, I mean I'm bloody huge already!] Although I'm pretty sure it's part baby, part cake! ;)



I'll keep you all posted. :)




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Thursday, 13 February 2014

Lifestyle | My 30th Birthday feat. Prairie Charms Party Bags

So, I turned 30 at the weekend. 30. As in THIRTY!! 3 - 0! Waahhhh!!



As I'd been so poorly of late, I didn't really want to do too much, I wasn't in the mood to party and was worried that I'd end up getting too sick or tired and having to come home early. 
In the end I decided to go out for a nice meal the evening before my birthday with some of my closest friends, followed by a night at the comedy club. 

The very lovely Stephanie, from handmade accessories company, Prairie Charms, contacted me asking if I'd be interested in purchasing some quirky party bags for my guests. Since collaborating with Prairie Charms last summer during their Project Blogger event, and purchasing a few of their gorgeous pieces, I was more than happy to see what they had in mind!

Prairie Charms make gorgeous accessories specialising in all things girly, floral, quirky and whimsical. Their eclectic range includes hair ties, hair bows and bands, bracelets, versatile jewellery and floral crowns amongst others. 10% of all profits are shared between the Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity and the 'Kiss It Better Campaign'; providing funding for treatment of paediatric cancers. 

They are currently trialling the Party Bags alongside the release of their Spring Collection '14. 
Please note, as they are currently being trialled before becoming available for public purchase, information given may change.
The party bags are available to purchase in 3 different sizes; mini, small and large. And are priced at between £3-12 each.
The mini party bags contain one piece; the glitter bow [their most popular piece], the small bags contain two main items and one filler and the large bags contain three main items and two fillers. 

Stephanie worked very closely with me to gain an insight into my favourite items, preferences, favourite colours and themes to create my party bags. I chose to try the small bags which were priced at £8 each. 


When my package arrived, I was super excited to see what was inside!
The party bags were printed with the Prairie Charms logo and beautifully wrapped with a pink ribbon and contained name tags for each of my friends. I even received a complimentary bag for myself! :)


I arrived at my favourite Italian restaurant San Carlos and greeted my friends with my surprise party bags. It was a lovely surprise, who'd have thought it, party bags in our 30's! ha. And it was nice for my friends to have something to open whilst watching me unwrap my birthday cards and gifts! :)
They all seemed really chuffed with what was inside, cute hair bows, headbands, rose bobby pins [which they remember me wearing last summer ;)] and hair ties [we're all big fans of the Popbands so we love these!!] and alongside the handmade accessories, the bags were packed full of retro sweets and confetti. Very cute.


I had a lovely meal and catch up with my friends before moving onto the comedy club. Unfortunately we arrived with only a few minutes to spare, and the only spare seats left in the house were on the dreaded front row!! Fortunately, all comedians left me be! :) Although my friends got picked on a little, ha. It was a lovely night, I was really tired by the end! And I made it through the whole night without hugging a toilet bowl... wish is more than I can say for my actual birthday!! 



I still can't believe I'm 30. Actually mortified. Can I start going backwards now?? 
I got some lovely gifts and the Mr & I are off to Paris next week to celebrate it a bit more. :)


Visit Prairie Charms to check out their range of handmade accessories.





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Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Beauty | L'Oreal Skin Perfection 3 in 1 Micellar Solution

Previous to using this, my evening make up removal/skin care routine consisted of pre-cleansing with make up wipes then following with cleanser, toner, serum and moisturiser. I used a make up wipe first, so that if I ever fell sleep without attempting the rest of my cleansing routine, [which often happened *slaps hand*] at least I'd taken most of my make up off.

When I ran out of make up wipes, I vowed not to repurchase and was eager to try a micellar water instead, as I'd heard great things about them and felt that it'd be so much better for my skin. I wanted to get my hands on the infamous Bioderma solution, but thought I'd give a high street version a go first.

So I picked up a bottle of L'Oreal Skin Perfection 3 in 1 Micellar Solution...



L'Oreal say...
'High performance cleansing for sensitive skin. Used by make up artists, the 'micellar' solution swiftly removes all traces of make up and acts like a purifying magnet on skins surface to capture and draw out excess oils and impurities. So gentle, skin feels soothed and toned.'

TheBrunetteSays...
I applied the micellar water using cotton pads and gently smoothed over my skin. It felt fresh and soothing, never tight, no stinging, irritating or greasy residue left behind. I used it all over my face and neck, including the gentle eye area.
One thing I really liked about this product was the fact that it is un fragranced, which while I've been quite poorly, and unable to use fragranced products, has been great. 
This magic little product worked hard to dissolve my make up, and I was pretty impressed with the finish. My base is usually quite heavy so it takes quite a bit of product to remove all traces of make up. The water quickly sunk into my skin, leaving it feel fresh, clean and soothed. Even my stubborn eye make up was gone.
Whilst being quite poorly, I often left my routine at that, especially since struggling to use fragranced products. But I felt happy that my skin was clean. That said, I do prefer to double cleanse and follow with my full skincare routine as my skin is not fully squeaky clean and will find my toner still picking up left over make up. 
I did find though, that it ran out quite quickly and that the application onto cotton pad could get a bit messy; the water would spill out quite quickly meaning it was quite hard not to pour out too much.



Would I Recommend?
Yes, especially if you have sensitive skin and want to move away from nasty make up wipes - this micellar water is a perfect product for make up removal. It lives up to it's claims to remove make up and impurities and also tone and soothe the skin. Give it a go!

Would I Repurchase?
Yes. I want to try out a few other make up removers but I am more than happy with this product and would be happy to pick up another bottle. It's a fantastic price for such a great product!


L'Oreal Skin Perfection 3 in 1 Purifying Micellar Solution is available to purchase in most high street drugstores and online at Boots.com for £3.33 [RRP £4.99]


Have you tried any other micellar water products I should try out???




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