Saturday, 30 March 2013

Review: Omorovicza Perfecting Lip Balm

I purchased the Omorovicza Perfecting Lip Balm (£32 for 10ml) as part of an impulse internet bargain buy (details here) and am embarassed to admit, it's been four months now and I haven't ventured to try it. Until today.....
But, before I get to my opinion, here are the details on the product:
'Revive and nourish dry lips...with shea butter, eucalyptus and hyaluronic spheres, this gently tingling balm leaves lips fuller, softer and smoother.'
A spot of research into hyaluronic acid sourced here clearly shows why this ingredient is a feature of the balm:
'hyaluronic acid and collagen give the structure and plumpness to the lips.... keeping the skin nourished and healthy. The result is healthy well hydrated and plump lips that are well protected from the environment.'

Coupled with the warming, soothing and healing properties of eucalyptus it's pretty exciting stuff.
Today's been the perfect day to try out the balm. It's sunny but still bitterly cold and me and the OH have decided to head out for a long walk in a local park.
The balm is a lovely, neutral shade - you can see the effect of the light reflecting spheres as soon as you open the tub. Applying just a small amount is enough (well, at £32 a pop, you definitely want this tub to last right?!) You also get a faint whiff of the eucalyptus too.
Here are a couple of pics of my lips pre application:
I've deliberately not enhanced the pics in any way to hopefully help you to see the difference after application. Looking a little tired and dry right?
And, here are a few pics after:
Looking a lot more healthy and shiny!
I have to say, I love this lip balm. It's not tacky or sticky and the slight tingling sensation kinda makes you know your lips are there (if you know what I mean). It also fills in any visible cracks and smooths over dry patches, giving your mouth a much more appealing pucker!
Being a self-confessed lip-licker the minute I apply a product, a nice flavour is a must in any lip balm - the eucalyptus not only gives a little plumping boost, but tastes gorgeous too.
So, a great product and one I'm going to continue to reach for - albeit sparingly - at least until I can grab another great deal
Have you tried this lip balm or anything else from Omorovicza?
What are your favourites?
PS, If anyone is debating registering for either this, or any of the other Omorovicza products (I'd love to try them all!) please use my linkie.... I'd really appreciate it.
Much love,

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Yull out some love for Chartwell

The independant British-manufactured shoe brand  Yull was established in 2011. With funding from the Prince's trust in 2012 Sarah Watkinson-Yull set up manufacturing the brand focussing on 'style over fashion'.

I fell in love with 'Cornbury Park' and really wanted to get these for my friend's wedding at the start of the month. Alas, being unavailable in my size, my tootsies were not to be adorned.
Now, however, there's a new shoe in town.... one that I just must own! Ladies, I bring you 'Chartwell'. A beautiful and elegant design from the 'chic' selection at Yull. (Swoon!)


Each design takes inspiration, and name, from a place in Britain. Emblazoned with the British Flag on the sole, there's no mistaking this brand is British and proud. 
The gardens at 'Chartwell' (home of Winston Churchill) reflect a love of landscape and nature. So too do these shoes. Available in the three beautiful shades shown above, they inspire thoughts of long summer days in the sunshine, pretty pink flowers in bloom and endless beautiful blue skies... bliss!
So, 'how would you choose to style them?' Well, in order to win a pair all of my own c/o Yull, I've chosen three outfits I think would accessorise the shoes perfectly....
Chartwell Mustard
This silk printed dress from Scottish designer Christopher Kane is on the pricey side at £755 but how amazing would it look teamed with a white bag for day/afternoon occasions:
White pearl bracelet from John Greed (£19.95)
White leather clutch bag from Stephen Harkin (£110)
or with black for added evening drama:
Lulu Guiness perspex Lips handbag (£245)
Add a smokey eye and a slick of red lipstick to really give the look that wow factor!
Chartwell Blue
These are just screaming dungarees at me. So, I've chosen to team these shoes with the following ensemble....
Mid Wash Short Dungarees from River Island (£30)
Lace Cropped T Shirt from Top Shop (£15)
Just team this look with a sleek ponytail, a dab of lip balm and you've got the perfect summer chic look!
Chartwell Pink
For these shoes it just has to be a maxi dress. Versatile and easy to dress up or down, a staple in any summer wardrobe.
All My Love Adelle Cashmere Mix Maxi Dress (£135 currently reduced) 
To finish this look, add some long, feather earrings and Dior Rouge Dior Nude in Grege. 
Et Voila! Three very different looks from the same shoe.
In the words of Marilyn Monroe 'give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.' , and whilst I'm yet to try a pair of these beauties for size, you can bet I'm willing to take up the challange!
Fingers crossed I've done enough to impress the lovely peeps at Yull, and bagged myself a pair in the process too! Eeek! It's gonna be a sleepless few nights until the 4th April!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Making Teacup Candles

The OH has gone to visit a friend. It's been months since my first attempt at candle making and I've now burned the last of them. What better to do on a lazy Sunday than try some more?
I still had some of the wax (paraffin and beeswax) left from the last time, and also found some purple wax beads from a gift set I'd had quite some time ago. Since then, I've purchased some fragrance oils and decided to use one of these in batch two. (Getting adventurous this time around!)
You can always make use of left over candle wax - if your doing this though, be mindful of any scented candles you throw into the mix - the end result could prove unpleasant!
Rather than make this a wordy post, I'll just throw out some pics of the process....
Firstly, you'll need to chop up larger wax blocks into smaller chunks. This will make the melting process much much easier and faster.
You don't need to be too fussy about getting them all the same size - just get chopping!
The beeswax really does make a difference to the burn time of your candles. My first lot burned for hours and hours with just a small amount added to the mix.
Dye - believe it or not, this shade is 'antique ivory'. (Again worth thinking about, especially when mixing old candles together).
I picked these up in sets from local charity shops. You can always look around and tailor the mug to your own tastes, use up mis-matched crockery you've already got - or, if as a gift, search around for a special one.
Wicks - some from Ebay, some from a set I was gifted years ago. If you are purchasing wicks to use, it's better to sort the votives first as size matters - you can always trim the wick down if too long - but you can't make it grow!
I picked up a trio of fragrances on a weekly offer from A great little site for anyone looking to make products from home. Each friday they are running a deal where a higher priced product is on offer for just £5. (I opted for the Blackberry fragrance for my candles).
You'll need to make sure you use a 'bain marie' style (double boiler) to heat the wax. You can always consider using an old tin can if your worried about cleaning utensils/saucepans afterwards.
Important: Wax is flamable - don't leave it unattended and don't let it boil. To make sure this doesn't happen, you'll need a thermometer.
I'm not really sure about when best to add the fragrance (a little extra research on the internet would give you plenty of advice on technique - note to self for future reference!) It's at this point I added to scent.
Once all of the wax has melted, it's ready to pour.
I've misplaced my wick pins so improvised with an old fork. Keeping the wick centred and straight will help keep the candle burning cleaner and longer.
Keep a little of the melted wax at the end. As the candle cools, a well will form around the wick. You can then top this up to get a nice even finish.
And here they are, taking pride of place on our dresser.
So, there you have it. A fairly easy and straightforward process. Why not give it a go? It'll cost a fraction of the price of shop-bought candles and you get the satisfaction of knowing it's handmade too.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Review: Rodial Glam Balm Lip

Stella Magazine ran a beauty giveaway late last year - 14,000 products in 14 days! I was lucky enough to win a Glam Balm Lip by Rodial rrp £19.
'a rose flavoured and scented special formula lip balm designed to plump and fill the lip area, while repairing dry and chapped lips. Glam balm LIP contains Filling Spheres to inject volume, plump lips, fill fine lines and smooth imperfections for a flawless appearance. Rose Wax and Shea Butter nourish and soothe chapped lips, while Vitamin E protects against environmental damage.'
I hadn't started using the balm (ok, in truth, it was in a drawer and I forgot I had it!) but, with the ever changing weather we've experienced this past few months, my poor mouth has certainly felt the wrath of the drop in temperature. I've had chapped, sore lips for a few days and decided that there was no better time to bring out the big guns and lavish them with a luxury balm than now.
So, after using it at work (where the air conditioning also doesn't help) for around a week, what are my thoughts?
The tub: It's wide enough so you can get the balm onto your finger tip and not all underneath your nails - something I often find extremely annoying as it results in a lot of lost product, and one I'm glad to avoid with this one, being a more expensive balm. It also has a highly reflective screw top lid which doubles as a pretty effective mirror too - an added benefit when you want a quick, precision application.

The scent: It's quite a subtle rose scent. Not overpowering or at all unpleasant.

The product: It glides onto your lips and isn't sticky or tacky. I found it heavy enough to stay put, even with a bit of the old lip-licking us girlies tend to do - I know I'm not the only guilty party when it comes to this!

I found it moisturising and soothing - the chapping and soreness was gone within a day. I also felt that the balm evened the colour making my lips appear healthy and moist but not too shiny.

There was no stinging/tingling sensation you sometimes experience with products that claim to 'plump' the lips, however I didn't note any visible change in their appearance regarding fullness.

Here are a few pics of my lips with the balm on:

It's a luxurious product to use when you just want that 'natural look' or to feel a little more 'glam'med up. But, with the price tag making it more of a high-end item, I'll be sparse using this product day-to-day. One to keep for a treat or when in need of some additional TLC (Tender Lip Care). 
Have any of you tried this product?
What are your thoughts?
x Gem

Review Dr Nick Lowe Skincare

If you've read any of my other posts, you may notice that skincare is something I take very seriously. I tend to wear only minimal make up day-to-day so look for products that can make my skin look it's best - healthy, bright and blemish-free.
I'd read a few reviews about Dr Nick Lowe products and have tried a small sample of the Oil Control Day Cream previously. Keen to explore the range further, I've received a generous trio of products to review which are tailored to my main concerns - cleanser, scrub and anti-ageing lift.
My initial thoughts before I started using the products were on the packaging. The design is clean, crisp and unfussy. It's easy to work out what the products are for, and could appeal to either men or women. I've used each product for a few days to really see/feel the benefits. Here are my thoughts.....
Purifying Foaming Cleanser: (£10.49 for 200ml)

'An anti-bacterial foaming face wash to deep clean pores and lift daily impurities. Gentle exfoliators lift away dead skin cells resulting in deeply cleansed, refreshed and brighter skin.'
This cleanser is so easy to dispense - just a few squirts and you have the perfect amount of foam to use over your whole face and neck. It's unscented so again, appeals to both sexes. 

The product feels so lightweight that at first, you think it can't possibly be effective - you'd be wrong! It effortlessly removes makeup and declogs pores. There's no tightening or stinging sensation - just super fresh and clean skin. I've also noticed a significant reduction in oiliness - pretty impressive after just a few days of continued usage.

Cooling Menthol Facial Scrub: (£11.49 for 75ml)
'Reveal a softer, brighter and more radiant complexion with this menthol-based creamy facial scrub using gentle spherical micro beads to smooth the skin, purify pores and help stimulate cell renewal. From the first application skin is left thoroughly cleansed, smoother and brighter.'
When it comes to scrubs, it has to be grainy. The more of those small spherical orbs the product contains, the better. This one doesn't dissapoint! It has a creamy texture which is easy to work around the skin - you really don't need a lot of this one to get the job done. 

I always focus more on my T-Zone as this is the area I tend to have breakouts, causing my skin to look dull. The cooling effect isn't intense - more like that initial fresh feeling you get when damp skin hits cold air - except it lasts longer (hope that made sense!). After use, my moisturiser glides onto my skin - no lumps or bumps to get in the way. I've used it twice in the past week and have found it extremely effective at sloughing away the dead skin and helping to restore a healthier, brighter complexion.

Secret Is Out Instant Face Lift: (£25.99 for 30ml)
This concentrated cream is the next frontier in anti-ageing creams with it's duo-phase formulation that has not only an instantaneous effect, but also long term results when used consistently. It is a safe, non-invasive alternative to fillers, desinged to effectively fight visible signs of ageing, such as wrinkles and fine lines and is formulated for use on the whole face and neck.
Whilst I'm not yet of an age where deep wrinkles are setting in, I'm still keen to try to reduce the appearance of fine lines - particularly around my eyes and forehead. I don't have children (yet) but I do have a very active (and naughty!) cat that likes to wake me up in the night - whether she's hungry, in need of the toilet or just feeling mischievous... the result - often a very tired looking gemma trudging in to work in the morning.

Being a cream and not a serum, it's definitely my type of product. Easy to apply with minimal time/effort - essential for a girl that loves the snooze button! I'm impressed with the results I've seen after short-term use. It's really helped to even my skin and give it more elasticity without appearing greasy or laden with product. I'm quite tempted to offer my mum a go to see what she thinks, but the risk of not getting it back is probably going to keep it firmly at my house instead!


So, there you have it - a great range of products which I think deliver what they say on the box. I've loved having had the opportunity to try them and can certainly say I'll be back for more.

Compared to a lot of the high end skincare on the market, this range is much more purse friendly - in today's climate, that's gotta be worth considering. What's more, you can get free delivery when purchasing two or more products from the Dr Nick Lowe website directly, or use your advantage card points and pick up a few items at Boots.

Have any of you tried any of the other products?

What did you think?

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x Gem