01 December 2013

Christmas Wish List 2013

It honestly just gets harder and harder every time I sit down to write a Christmas wish list. Anyway, these are the things I'm lusting after this year! Clothes wise, I'd rather just have vouchers and pick things out for myself, so it's a bit of a boring list to be honest, but a list all the same.

1. Coated jeggings | River Island
I spotted Jess from Copper Garden sporting a similar pair of jeans about a week ago, and have been lusting after some since then. Just jeans, yes, but with a bit of added interest.

2. Dirty Works Banish the Bags Eye Cream | Sainsburys
Starting dodgy shifts at my new job has played absolute havoc with my poor dark circles. I've read mixed reviews about this eye cream, but with such a tiny price tag I am more than willing to give it a whirl.

3. Dior Nail Glow | Selfridges
Okay, so this is a pricey one at £18 a pop, but again, my poor hands are really starting to suffer from all the hand washing at work. This stuff just looks amazing; like a french manicure in a bottle. I'm dying to give it a try! 

4. Faux fur headband | eBay
When walking the dog in the cold weather, my ears get so cold they give me headache! This headband is cute and practical. Yes please!

5. Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette
This won't be released until mid December, but it is so freakin' beautiful. Enough said.

6. Dollar Vintage Wellies | Topshop
Yes, you probably think these are extremely garish but I think they're cute, okay?

7. Sleek Face Contour Kit in Medium | Superdrug
I am yet to try any products from Sleek so I think it's about time I did. My chubby cheeks need all the contouring they can get.

8. Real Techniques Blush Brush | Boots
Since receiving the Starter Set for my birthday, I am head-over-heels with Real Techniques. This blush brush has been on my wishlist for long enough.

9. Oversize chunky knit jumper | eBay
I have been in serious need of a plain jumper just to throw over my dresses for day-to-day wear. All my jumpers are patterned and clash with my dresses (not in a good way either...in a really, really bad way), so I really need this addition to my wardrobe!

What's on your Christmas wishlist? I'd love to know! 

Jo xx

30 November 2013

Poundland | Revlon Nail Varnish in Bewitching

Whenever I'm in town, I always try to make time to have a quick peek at the beauty products in Poundland. Admittedly, it is completely hit and miss, but it's beauties like this Revlon nail varnish that motivate me to keep having a look. 

Revlon | 620 Bewitching

I picked up a Revlon nail varnish in the most beautiful deep pinky-red berry colour, Bewitching. The picture doesn't do it justice; it is a little deeper and more striking in real life, and is my current favourite nail varnish. I couldn't have found a more perfect Autumn/Winter shade!  

What's your current go-to nail varnish shade?

Jo xx

19 November 2013

Durham Lumiere Festival of Light

On Sunday, my parents and I decided to visit my sister and while we were in the area, we thought we'd take a trip to the annual Durham Lumiere Festival of Light

Luckily it wasn't as cold as it has been these past couple of days (anyone else wake up to pure solid ice on their windscreen this morning? Phwoar it's sure getting cold), and there was only a sprinkling of rain so it wasn't too unbearable being out in the cold for so long. 

The main show area opened up at around 7.30pm and I have to say the organisation of the event was fantastic. We followed hundreds of people on the path round and up to the Cathedral with minimal waiting, where we were met by some gorgeous lights being projected onto the beautiful cathedral. 

Apologies for the rubbish-y images; my camera doesn't seem to like the dark
We then continued through the Cathedral to the smaller but equally as pretty attractions, my personal favourite being a phone box filled with tropical fish, which sadly I couldn't seem to get a good photo of. Stupid camera.
We also grabbed hot chocolate and a homemade cookie each from a cute little stall along the way for just £1 (which was yummy!) to warm up a bit before continuing to a couple more sights further on. 

Dresses made of tiny lights

As we were all working the next day and had a beastly drive home that night, we left at around 8:30pm having seen less than half of the lights on show, which was a huge shame. But it really was worth the journey; there was a lovely atmosphere and we all really enjoyed spending time together as a family.

Who would have thought plastic bags would make such a pretty Christmas tree?!

Unfortunately, Sunday was the last day of this years show so if you do want to take a peek, you will have to wait another year for the next show! It is completely free so a great little event if you're struggling to occupy the kids or just want to fill an evening. 

I just wish I could have told you about it sooner! 

Jo xx

15 November 2013

Offer | Amazing Discounts and Free Delivery at The Body Shop!

I thought I might share this amazing offer that popped into my inbox this morning...because I'm just so nice like that.

The Body Shop are offering some fab discounts this weekend so now is definitely the time to be doing your Christmas shopping. The offers are;  

£5 off when you spend £15
£10 off when you spend £25
£25 off when you spend £50

plus free delivery on all orders over £30!

Just use the code 'SPICE' at the checkout!

Shop away ladies! 

Jo xx

14 November 2013

eBay | Scottish Tartan Scarf

During the winter, I have always admired the tartan trend but this year it seems to have made a full-force comeback and I am loving it!

A good few months back I spotted that red tartan scarf in Primark and stupidly didn't pick it up. After heading back to my local store for it and to my horror finding it wasn't there, I turned to eBay in search of an alternative. That's when I stumbled across this little beauty. 

Tartan scarf | £9.99 + £2.50 p&p | here

The scarf is made by a Scottish brand called Berrydale. It's the perfect shade of red; not too bright, not too deep, and is 100% lambswool, so it's pretty cosy and is good quality. Admittedly I did expect it to be a little little wider, but it's nice and long and all in all it's pretty much perfect. I love it!

How have you been working the tartan trend so far this year? 

Jo xx

13 November 2013

Guess Who's Back...Back Again

Oh my word have I misbehaved this past month or so.

Since starting my new job as a Radiographer (oo, how grown up and sophisticated am I?), life has been pretty much non-stop! Trying to adjust from having more time on my hands than I could imagine to barely having time to brush my teeth has been strange, but now that I have begun to settle into work properly I feel like I can (hopefully) get back onto the blogging bandwagon. Granted, my posts won't be as frequent as they used to be, and I will have to somehow fit blogging around my shifts but all I can do is my best, eh?

I'm on late shifts this week anyway so hopefully I can schedule some posts during the day for the next couple of weeks. 

Anyway, how are you all doing? I've missed you! Give me updates!

I haven't been doing much exciting outside of work to be honest. My sister visited home from Newcastle a couple of weekends ago and we went bowling with her boyfriend and my dad for the first time in so many years. I lost (expected), but we had such a laugh and had some fun on the arcade games after.

We also had a bonfire gathering at our house with a few family friends, food, fireworks and lots of alcohol which was lovely. It's a nice yearly tradition that we have which will hopefully be continuing for many years to come.


Did you have a nice Halloween/Bonfire night? 

I also started my Christmas shopping on Monday (sorry to those who are still not allowing any mention of the 'C' word, but I am far too excited this year!). My best friends and I are doing a Secret Santa this year so I already have that one in the bag. For once I have actually managed to be organised. *fistpump*

For some reason I've found this post really hard to write up! I think I just need to get back into the swing of things and hopefully things will start to spill out onto the page again soon enough.

Anyways, I've probably really bored you here but I will get some posts scheduled and hopefully get back to normal(ish). Hope you'll forgive me for my absence just this once! 

Lots of love, 
Jo xx

27 September 2013

30% Off Rimmel Products at ASOS

Just a wee quickie to let you know about the 30% off Rimmel products at ASOS!

From left: 
Rimmel Apocalips | (L-R): Big Bang and Celestial | £6 £4 each
Rimmel Kate Moss Lipstick | (L-R) 05 and 08 | £5.49 £3.50 each

In standard Joanne style, I decided to take advantage and ordered myself a few goodies.
I've been hankering after trying the Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquers ever since they hit the shelves, so I got two in the shades Big Bang (which is the most stunning bright red I've ever seen), and Celestial. 

I also treated myself to a couple of the Kate Moss lipsticks, in shades 05 and 08. I'll pop up some reviews soon if you like, just let me know in the comments! 

Altogether these four products came to just £15, rather than the RRP of £22.98.
Bit of a bargain if you ask me.

Go on, what are you waiting for? Get spending ladies! 

The discount page can be found here.

Jo xx

23 September 2013

What I Wore | 23.09.13

So I thought for a change I'd try taking a couple of outfit photos outside in an attempt for clearer images; whether the images actually are better or not I'm undecided, so I'd love it if you could let me know which you prefer in the comments! 

Jumper - H&M | Disco pants - Daisy Street | Bag - Matalan | Glasses* - Firmoo | Necklace - ASOS | Converse All Star* - Amazon

Shamballa bracelet - Tresor Paris via Peter Jackson | Bangle - gift | Chain ring - H&M | Stone ring - Vintage | Star and eye rings - Primark | Nails - W7 10

This jumper is a current favourite of mine; you may recognise it from my 21st birthday present haul as my mum bought it for me after I picked it out in store. I've worn it a ridiculous amount of times already, it's so easy to just shove on and go, although it's not really for the faint hearted!

These Daisy Street disco pants are fab as well - I actually sized down in the hope they would suck me in more and they definitely do, although I may have been tempted to reach for them more often if I'd have bought them in my size. They are a little uncomfortable to wear for a full day just because they're that darned tight, so I only wear these when I know I won't be out and about for hours on end. I'm such an idiot.

The Tresor Paris bracelet is a new favourite of mine; I don't own another expensive bracelet and so this is a lovely treat for me which again I received as a birthday gift from a family friend. 
The lilac colour is just so perfect. 

What do you think of this outfit?
Don't forget to let me know whether or not you prefer the outdoor photos! 

Jo xx

18 September 2013

Polka Dot Nails | W7 10 & Revlon Rock

Quick nail art post for you today! I'm trying desperately to have a bit of fun with my nails before I start my new job as a radiographer on Monday (eek!). Obviously, working in a hospital I won't be able to wear nail varnish for infection control reasons so I've been applying new colours like there's no tomorrow!

This was just a really quick polka dot design I created using the gorgeous W7 pastel purple (which is just named '10' as far as I can see on the bottle) and a deeper purple Revlon shade called Rock. 

I thought the colours looked really cute together!

What do you think? 
What nail art have you been doing recently? 

Jo xx

16 September 2013

Painted Glitter Turns 1!

When I set up my very own little space on the internet exactly a year ago today, I actually wondered how long it would be until the novelty of my new hobby wore off.

Yet here I am; a year down the line and I am more in love with blogging than ever.

The blogging community is a far more amazing and supportive place than I could ever have imagined. 
You provide the perfect escape from day to day life and are the perfect audience for me to share my opinions, thoughts, loves and lusts. 

I don't think you guys realise how much that one little comment can brighten up my day; it means the world to me that so many of you care enough about what I'm saying to subscribe to my blog, comment and take the time to come back and visit again and again. 

In short, I'm seriously grateful to each and every one of you, so thank you.

Here's to the many more years of blogging to come.

Love always,
Jo xx

12 September 2013

H&M | Chain Rings

Okay so I may have fallen a little bit in love with these rings. So much so that I thought they deserved a blog post of their own; aren't they just the luckiest rings in existence? 
Go with it, guys.

Rings | H&M | £1.99
Admittedly I don't think I'd wear both rings together, but I just wanted to show you what they looked like on. They were just £1.99 for the pair; absolute bargain and I'm sure I'll get a ridiculous amount of wear out of these beauties. They don't feel half as flimsy as you'd imagine at that price either! 

What do you think?
What jewellery have you been buying lately?

Jo xx

10 September 2013

L'Oreal Paris Nude Magique BB Blush

I have to admit this is one product that really did excite me when I first saw it. 
L'Oreal claims their Nude Magique BB Blush to be a unique gel which 
"goes on clear and transforms on contact with the skin, self-adjusting to the skins pH level to deliver a natural glow specific to your skin tone".

That all sounds very scientific, so instead of expanding on that quote and pretending I know what the hell I'm on about, I'm just gonna chat about my opinion instead. I can manage that.

The packaging of the BB Blush is so clean and simple and in my opinion, you really cannot beat it. 
Sure, I do love the pretty, eye-catching packaging by brands such as Benefit and Soap and Glory, but sometimes all I want is something simple and uncomplicated, and L'Oreal really hits the nail on the head in that sense.

The product does indeed dispense as a gel-like consistency as claimed. 
However, do be warned that you have to be quick when applying the product after it has been dispensed. It doesn't take long before it starts to stain your skin to the garish colour (garish for a blusher, anyway) shown in the picture above. 

Trust me, the first time I applied this it was not a pretty sight. I looked like i'd been slapped with a belt on both cheeks. But, as long as you blend it onto your cheeks relatively quickly (I use my fingers rather than a brush and it seems to blend well enough) and don't just leave it all blotchy for a few seconds, it provides a beautiful, natural rosy glow to your cheeks.
I'm not actually sure if the colour differs for different skin tones, as obviously I only have my own skin tone to go by, but the colour really did compliment my tanned skin. I was surprised at this due to the shocking pink pigmentation I could see on the tube nozzle, but once blended it became much more subtle and natural.

One thing I would say about the blush is to apply it in a dabbing rather than a rubbing motion. When I tried to rub it in, it left very little pigment on my cheeks. It was only when I dabbed that I could begin to build up the colour nicely. 
However, even using the dabbing motion, I did find that I needed to apply a good 2 or 3 layers of the product before I achieved my desired look. I believe this could be purely down to my deeper, more olive skin tone. I think the blusher would be much easier to work with on pale-skinned girls, where the pigment can really stand out and quickly give a healthy pink flush.

Bottom: dispensed product | Top: blended product

I was expecting to be left with quite a dewy finish seeing as the product is a gel, however this wasn't the case. Once applied, my skin felt silky soft to the touch and I was left with a finish that was probably more on the matte side; a really natural, muted glow.

It also seemed to last well on my cheeks; I'm usually not a massive fan of the more liquid-based cheek products purely because I find that they tend to disappear relatively quickly on my combination skin. However, this one stuck around pretty much all day with no unsightly blotching or uneven fading.

Overall, I really do like this product and have started using it on a pretty regular basis, purely due to how healthy and hydrated it makes my skin look. Once you get the hang of applying it evenly, the finish it gives is pretty much flawless.

L'Oreal Paris Nude Magique BB Blush can be purchased from Boots for £7.99 here.

Having read a couple of reviews on this blush before, I know that not everyone has been as impressed with it as I have so I'd really love to know your thoughts!

Have you tried out the Nude Magique BB Blush?
What do you think?

Jo xx

03 September 2013

Calvin Klein | Mad Red

So I'm back from my 4 night stay in Alicante!
I had such an amazing, relaxing holiday, but all this morning I have been walking around with four layers of clothing on and I'm still freezing cold. I'm missing the 35 degree heat already!
We spent the whole holiday sunbathing, eating and drinking as to be honest there isn't much else to do there. However the beaches were just perfect; crystal clear, bright blue sea and palm trees galore.
A well deserved break, even if I say so myself!

Anyway I did schedule this post to go up on Wednesday (first and last time I will ever attempt to schedule a post!) but it seems Blogger didn't want to play along, so here we go!

I'd just like to start off by saying I have no clue why this nail varnish is called Mad Red. 
Mad Pink, maybe, but I certainly can't see a hint of red in this! 

Anyhow, this is one nail varnish I have been wearing to death recently. Calvin Klein's Mad Red is a lovely shade of pink which I would (maybe oddly) describe as a creamy coloured pink, with a teeny tiny hint of orange. 

It's a lovely bright, almost neon nail varnish, perfect for tanned skin and unlike any colour I've seen before.

What do you think of Mad Red?

Jo xx

30 August 2013

Collective Haul | ASOS, Primark, Steals and Charity Shops

So after throwing my 21st birthday party, I was left with a lot of money which has been burning a hole in my pocket. This means I've been doing quite a bit of shopping recently, but the majority of stuff I've bought have been absolute bargains which means I've not actually spent much of it at all... 

...so I went mad and booked a last minute holiday to Alicante with the bestie.

We're going on Monday and I am too excited for words. We've been talking about going on holiday for a good while now, but just never had the time to look or could never find a good enough deal. 
But we finally did it! 
Cue last minute panics about...well, everything. 

Anyhow, onto the haul!

Chain necklace | asos | £8 £4
T-shirt | Mango via asos | £19.99 £11
Jeggings | Pieces via asos | £22 £8

The asos sale is always worth a look as soon as any new items are added, as all the goodies disappear far too quickly. The necklace is sadly now sold out but I absolutely adore it; it was a bargain at just £4. 
The t-shirt is also really cute. It's boxy in shape, which I've never really taken a second glance at before as I never thought it would suit me, but it does! I didn't actually notice the little diamante anchor in the middle but it's not too obvious so I don't mind it. 

The jeggings just look like jeans, but are ridiculously comfy because they're so stretchy. I bought them in a size S/M, which is the perfect fit for a size 8/10. 

I actually tweeted @ASOS_HeretoHelp to ask which size I should order, as the whole S/M thing in something like jeans really puts me off buying them; if they weren't so cheap I wouldn't have bothered risking it.
It is such a fantastic Twitter account; any issues or queries regarding an ASOS order and they're on it within minutes. Customer service at it's absolute best!

Bag | Steals | £6
Cami top | Steals | £2
Shirt | Steals | £8

Steals is a store that stocks items from brands such as Topshop, Miss Selfridge and BooHoo which have been either returned or worn on the catwalk and cannot be resold. This means that you can get current season, high street stuff for ridiculously low prices. 
The shop labels are always cut out so if you recognise where any of these three items are from originally, I'd love to know! I have a feeling the bag and camisole might originally be Topshop pieces (it's not actually a great picture of the cami; it looks so much better on). 
The bag is huge and it feels so soft! Bargain.

Dress | Charity Shop | £5.99
Shorts | F&F via Charity Shop | £1.50
Jumper | H&M via Charity Shop | £3.50

As always, I couldn't resist a cheeky trip to the charity shops.
This dress, although I'm unsure as to where it was originally from, is the perfect fit and I love the cut out side detail. 
I've been looking for some cute shorts to wear to bed and for £1.50, I couldn't resist these cute floral ones. I was totally drawn to the jumper purely because of the colour. It's such a gorgeous bright blue, and I don't actually own a jumper with a v-neck; it makes quite a nice change to my standard round-neck jumpers.

 Monochrome cami | Primark | £5

As you can probably tell, I love these camisole tops just because they are so darned easy to wear. I couldn't resist this one; the Primark one's are just as good as the Topshop version, at less than a third of the price too!

 Travel bottle set | Primark | £1
Bikini bottoms | Primark | £3 £1

Seeing as I'm only taking hand luggage to Alicante, I needed to buy some travel bottles. I am ridiculously worked up about what I'm going to prioritise to take with me (sad I know). I'm actually thinking I might have to leave my foundation behind.

The thought of that makes me feel physically sick.

As expected, when we went bikini shopping yesterday we discovered that nowhere is stocking swimwear any more, and it's too late to risk ordering anything online. So i ended up just buying some bikini bottoms in the Primark sale which I can match with the black bikini top I already have.

So that's everything I've been buying recently! 
With the rest of my birthday money I'm seriously contemplating buying a tablet, but I'm a bit of a technological Dumbo and already having a laptop, I'm so unsure as to whether or not it would be worth the money.

What are people's opinions on tablets? Are they worth it?

What do you think of my haul?

Jo xx

27 August 2013

What I Wore | 21st Birthday Edition!

Yes I'm behind on my posts; bite me. I'll get there in the end!
Today I'm getting round to doing probably my last 21st-birthday-related blog post; my outfit of the day!

Dress - Primark | Necklace - Primark | Sandals - Next

Blue ring - Vintage | Scrabble ring - eBay | Above knuckle rings - eBay | Nail varnish - Kiko Apple Blossom

I actually received the majority of this outfit for my birthday. I knew I was getting the dress as I had picked it out whilst shopping with my mum. It's probably one of the most flattering dresses I own, it is just the perfect fit, has a really nicely structured top and is a thin, silky kind of material which just falls beautifully. I love the retro style print as well; it's not like anything else I have in my wardrobe. 
I've bought some gems in Primark recently so if you haven't been in for a while, I'd definitely recommend you pop in!

The rings all featured in my birthday present haul post (here), and the vintage one is now probably my absolute favourite. My mum bought it for me at a small market when we went on holiday down south, from a lovely lady who was telling us the story that it once belonged to her great grandma. 

I decided just to shove my hair back in a rough ponytail to make the outfit look a bit more casual as I didn't want to look too dressy, particularly as we weren't doing anything much until our evening meal. 

What do you think of the dress?

Jo xx

25 August 2013

Haul | 21st Birthday Presents!

I can't quite believe it was over a week ago now, but last week I had my 21st birthday! 
Luckily I don't feel any older and still act half my age so it's all good.
I thought I'd show you guys what I got; these pictures were taken before I had my birthday party at the local cricket club so since then I've been lucky enough to receive a few more bits of jewellery, gift vouchers, money, alcohol etc.

I know people sometimes complain about blog posts regarding birthday presents but they are my favourite blog posts to read, so just as a standard disclaimer I definitely am NOT boasting, I am just really excited and grateful to have received such gorgeous presents and I wanted to share that with you.
Now that's out the way, let's get stuck in!

My auntie bought me the VK's, Marilyn Monroe eye mask and red spotty ice pack (she blatantly knows me too well), along with some money, and my sister very bravely decided to buy me 21 things beginning with the letter J! 
Not all of these are pictured, but they included the Jack Daniels nail stickers (classy!), Jaffa cake keyring, and the gorgeous little Jane Austen book you can see peeking out just behind the acrylic makeup storage.
 The picture does not do this book justice at all. It's beautiful to look at and the paper is gorgeous; really thin and delicate so I'm not sure I'm brave enough to actually read it in case I ruin it! She also bought me the cute J scrabble piece ring, the gorgeous blue ceramic jar and the little colourful sticks on the bottom right of the picture. They are called Juicy Canes; I really wish I'd have taken a close-up picture of the ends of these because each rubbery stick is a different shape. They are so cute; and you chop them up into tiny pieces to stick onto your nails. They're so adorable, no doubt they'll be featuring on my blog anyway so watch out for that.

The gorgeous lilac Tresor Paris bracelet was a gift from a close family friend, I am so excited to own a genuine Tresor Paris bracelet! Everything else was given to me by my mum and dad, including the Real Techniques makeup brushes which I have been lusting after for far too long, a white rotating wooden pot to store my makeup brushes, the acrylic makeup storage, the vintage ring in the green box and the clothes in the image below.

Apologies for the bad photo quality, it was the best of a bad bunch!
My main gift from my parents was the party I mentioned before; I had such an amazing time and literally could not have had a better birthday if I tried. Don't you just love birthdays?
I'm also being taken shopping by my closest friends soon so that I can pick out some makeup for them to buy me, so I still have that to look forward to!

I am unbelievably grateful for all of my presents and I was well and truly spoilt rotten!
I have been doing a lot of shopping recently to get rid of the birthday money which is beginning to burn a hole in my pocket, so I think I'll try and get a few more haul posts up soon as well.

Jo xx

11 August 2013

What I Wore | 11.08.13

Well, I have been a busy little bee lately!
Following on from my own graduation a few weeks back, we spent a week down south for my sister's graduation, during which I discovered that I got a job as a radiographer at one of the hospitals near home (which I am very excited to be starting come September!)! I am so thrilled to not have to hunt for work any more, but also seriously scared of the responsibility!
 Shortly after my sister's graduation, we took another little week long break in Cotswold! It's an absolutely beautiful place and we were so lucky with the weather, which I was convinced was finally going to take a turn for the worse!
This coming week, I also have my 21st birthday celebrations along with all my pre-employment checks for my new job so it looks like I have another busy week ahead, so exciting!!
Anyhow, I have an OOTD for you today. It's just an everyday outfit, which I'm wearing to run a few errands so it's nothing too exciting! I went shopping yesterday with my mum to choose a few nice bits and bats for my 21st, so I might pop up a birthday haul to show you those goodies if you're interested!
Cardigan - M&S via Charity Shop | Top - Primark | Sunglasses - eBay | Shorts - vintage Levi via eBay | Converse* - Amazon
Necklace - gift | Lilac hamsa hand bracelet - Matalan | Blue bracelet - gift | Brown bracelet - H&M
As soon as I saw this cardigan I knew I had to get it; it's unfortunately a little too big for me but I think I can get away with it with the sleeves rolled up! I found it in a charity shop for about a fiver.
I've had these vintage Levi's for a little while now and I wear them to absolute death. I think they cost me about £25 but they were totally worth it because you can wear them with just about anything. The sunglasses were another bargain eBay purchase at just £3.99!
I received the necklace as a gift a good few years ago now; I wear it on a day-to-day basis when I'm not sporting a more statement necklace. It's so gorgeous, really delicate and just the perfect length. Definitely still my favourite piece of jewellery, even after such a long time.
Jo xx

31 July 2013

Skinetica | Anti-Blemish Treatment

About a month ago now, I was contacted by the lovely Richard from skincare brand Skinetica to see if I would be interested in trying out their much-hyped anti-blemish product. If you haven't heard of Skinetica* before, it is a product which claims to quickly 'soothe, calm and clear' any acne, spots, pimples and blemishes without the use of any toxic chemicals.
I had read many good reviews on the product before, but one minor issue was that I don't actually have many problems with spots. However, what I do have is scarring from spots I have had in the past.
After explaining this to Richard, he was more than happy for me to act as a bit of a guinea pig to see if Skinetica is useful in reducing scarring, and with that I was sent both a sample and a full sized bottle.
Now, before I discussed all this with Richard I had actually asked my older sister, who does suffer from hormone-related breakouts, if she'd be willing to give it a go. As it didn't really bother her at the time, she said no and that was that, I planned to use it on my scarring alone.
However, a couple of days after receiving the Skinetica she started to complain (thinking back, I think she was actually dropping hints, the sly so-and-so) that her spots had gotten worse and were getting quite sore, and so she agreed to give it a whirl. I gave her the full sized bottle and used the sample size myself.
So this review is actually going to be from two different points of view; my sister and her spots, and me and my scarring.
2-for-1, don't say I don't spoil you guys.

We'll start with the basics, shall we? The packaging is clean and simple, nothing too complicated. I like.
The only way I can describe the scent is by saying that it smells like bubbles. Do you remember the little plastic tubs of bubbles you used to have as a kid? This stuff smells the exact same.
I wouldn't say it's the most pleasant of smells to be applying to my face, but it is in no way offensive and my sister actually said she loves it, so I guess it's just down to personal opinion!
The product itself is the same consistency as a toner; it just looks like water and is really easy to apply. The bottle instructs you to apply with a cotton pad to clean, dry skin every 12 hours, leaving to air dry before applying any moisturisers etc. I have to say that when putting this on at night time after removing my makeup, I was shocked to notice even more makeup coming off onto the cotton pad. Clearly then, this also works as a good toner and I did kind of feel awful at the realisation that maybe I don't remove my makeup as well as I should do?!
Anyhow, another (and probably the most impressive) thing I found about Skinetica is what a fantastic base it makes for your makeup. It dries almost immediately so no hanging around, and applying foundation after using this is an absolute breeze. The first time I tried this as a primer was before a full day shopping at the Trafford Centre. Now, anyone around the Manchester area will know full well how darn hot and unpleasant it can get in there, yet there I was leaving at 10pm with an impressive face of makeup left. This is a big thumbs up for me.

Here's what my sister said about its effect on her spots:
"This stuff feels great on my skin, especially in the hot weather we've been having as it feels really cool and soothing. It's great for people like me who don't actually have a skincare routine (note to self: must lecture her over this!); one of the reasons I didn't initially want to give it a go was just because I don't have the time or patience for a proper skincare routine, and I thought this would be a boring, lengthy process. But it really isn't; it's so quick and easy. The full-sized bottle lasts forever and you only need the smallest amount to see the difference.
"When I first started to use Skinetica, I had lots of really deep, angry spots on my chin which I've been getting for months on end. I was surprised to find they only took about 5-6 days to clear up, and they haven't reappeared since! The smaller spots I tend to get on the surface of my skin stopped appearing almost immediately, unless it was a particularly hot day or I had just been exercising, in which case they did appear, but again went away after about a day.

"I've also noticed a difference in the scarring I've got from having spots. Although it is still there, it seems to have become a lot less angry."
Not a bad review really, is it? She's covered scarring a bit there, but I'll just tell you a bit about how I found it with my scars. I'm not actually sure how well it has reduced the pigmentation of my scars; to me if I look at them they don't seem to look any lighter, but I do find that I don't notice them as much, and they are so much easier to conceal! I think this might be a result of using the product as a primer, and perhaps it has also softened the scar tissue a little; I'm not exactly sure what it's done but whatever it is, it's definitely helped!
The small spots that have developed whilst I've been using Skinetica haven't hung around for as long as they usually would. They tend to have disappeared within a week at the most, which is good for my skin because when I do get spots they tend to hang around for a good while before making a move.
Overall, I think Skinetica definitely deserves a thumbs up from the both of us, especially on my sister's behalf! Her skin is visibly much clearer from my point of view, and although there is some scarring that hasn't cleared up completely, the big, angry spots have gone and her skin just looks so much healthier.
 Have you tried Skinetica before? What did you think?

Skinetica is available to buy from their website here for £9.99 for 80ml, including P&P.
You can also try out a 15ml sample bottle for just £1 before you buy the full sized, available here.

Jo xx

28 July 2013

Money Supermarket | Charcoal Challenge

Whilst enquiring about Money Supermarket's recent Big Night In competition (which I was too late for, boo hoo) I found out about their latest competition, The Charcoal Challenge*, where bloggers are each given £50 to throw a budget barbecue.
With the amazing weather we've been having recently here in the UK, I thought why the hell not and set about organising it!
I decided to take a trip to Aldi (which, by the way, is a seriously underrated store; the food in there is amazing and so cheap) in an attempt to stretch my budget a little further, and boy did I manage to get a whole load of food. We just had a small family barbecue between the four of us; my mum, dad, sister and I, so although we just spent around £44 of the £50 budget, I thought if I bought any more food we might spontaneously combust.
As you can see from the picture there was so much to get through.
As we already have a prehistoric reliable, sturdy barbecue, I thought it unnecessary to buy another, hence spending all the money on food and a bag of charcoal. We bought everything from salmon fillets and chicken to bread, peppers and bananas; all of which was shoved onto the barbecue bit by bit. 
My dad decided to use the chicken to make his (kind of) famous Tandoori chicken, which, by the way, is absolutely amazing. If any of you chefs out there fancy giving it a whirl then let me know in the comments and I can type up the recipe for you!
The salmon fillets were Aldi's lime and chilli flavoured fillets, which were also extremely tasty done on the barbecue and again I really would recommend giving them a whirl; I don't remember the price exactly but I do remember them being a bargain for the quality!
We also popped some tomatoes, peppers, sausages and paninis onto the barbecue and made a potato salad with the other goodies we bought. Most of the fruit was used in the blackcurrant Pimms.
 Whilst waiting for the food, my mum and I set about picking out the prettiest bits and bats we could find to decorate the table and bench with. We've had the elephant blanket for probably over 20 years, but it still remains one of my absolute favourites. It's probably hideous to most of you but for some reason I love it!

I salute my dad (I never understand why it seems to insult a man's masculinity if they cant take charge of the barbecue?!); the food really did taste as good as it looked. I could have just eaten it all over and over again.
Plus I think I deserve a good pat on the back for that impressive jug of Pimms, no?
I'm quite ashamed to say we almost demolished the whole lot; I think we had a sausage, a couple of paninis and a piece of chicken left over, all of which the dog very happily polished up.
 As if that wasn't enough, for dessert we decided to barbecue some peaches and bananas, and topped it off with some clotted cream (I know, how healthy are we?) and some chopped pistachio nuts.
All I can say is if you haven't tried barbecued bananas you are seriously missing out. Sort it out!
Overall we had such an amazing barbecue; the food was absolutely divine. We finished it off with a shameful performance on my part during a game of Trivial Pursuit. 
Family day, stunning weather and a stomach fit to burst equals one happy Jo!
I'd just like to say a massive thank you to Money Supermarket for giving me the chance to take part! It was probably the best barbecue I've ever had.
Jo xx

19 July 2013

Collective Haul | Including Primark, Zara, Boots and Charity Shops

First up; my apologies for being a bit absent of late! I had my graduation on Tuesday which was absolutely amazing (if you want I can do an OOTD? Let me know in the comments), the weather was beautiful as it has been recently and we had a lovely meal out afterwards.
Anyhow, today I'm going to do a little collective haul for you. Admittedly, although I tried to take pictures of things as and when I bought them, I forgot to take a lot of things and now can't remember what I bought (bad blogger), but here are just a few of the things I have been buying recently.
Blazer | £15 £11 | Primark
 Chain and fabric necklace | £3 | Primark
T-shirt*| £19.99  £12.99  £9.99 | Zara
I have been to Primark twice within the last week and have tried my best to be seriously restrained. My friends and I are going to be booking a holiday soon, which obviously means I will need to go holiday shopping beforehand so I am trying not to buy too much stuff until I know where we'll be jetting off to!

My old navy blazer is getting a bit tatty so for £11 I couldn't really resist this one, which actually feels a lot better quality than my old Primark one too. They had a few other colours available too; I'll be keeping my eye out for the nude one next time I pop in store.

I had £10 left on a Zara voucher I won a while back so I thought I'd get this simple t-shirt.
Admittedly I'm not actually sure what 'Nouvelle Belle' means, but it was oversized and perfect for wearing with my disco pants for a laid-back look.

Denim skater skirt | £8 | Primark
Dusky pink batwing shirt | £25 £7 | Republic
This gorgeous weather has made me realise how few skirts and dresses I have for wearing in such hot weather, so after seeing one of my bestests wearing this one I decided to get it too.
We all know that sadly Republic will be bidding us a fond farewell soon, so I decided to pop in for a peek at the sales and found this simple, staple shirt for a mere 7 quid. Bargain.

Shoes | £5 | Primark

I needed some blue flat shoes to go with my interview dress (note emphasis on the word 'flat', as heels would almost definitely end in disaster), so I grabbed these for a fiver

Stripy skirt | £2.50 | Charity Shop
High waist denim shorts | around £2 | Next via Charity Shop

Both bargains which I unfortunately failed to resist. My vintage levis are slightly on the small side for me, so I thought these denim shorts could act as my comfier version and I've worn them to death already. The skirt needs taking in a little and although I can't wait to wear it, it's a really thick, woolly material so I'm definitely not going to be risking it in this heat.

Loreal Elnett Satin Extra Strength Hairspray | £4 | Boots
Seventeen Sculpting Brow Pencil in Natural Brown | £2.89 | Boots
Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in Medium | £4.19 | Boots
Collection Hot Look Nails in Bongo Beat | £1.99 free! | Boots

These are mostly essentials; my old eyebrow pencil wasn't the right shade and whilst my Maybelline Dream Touch Lumi Concealer is good for under my eyes, it's not so great at concealing my spots so it was time to try out the much loved Lasting Perfection Concealer. To my delight, I discovered that spending £4 or more on Collection products would qualify me for a free Hot Looks nail varnish, so I chose the shade Bongo Beat; a lot greener in colour than the image suggests.

 Derma V10 Rejuvenating Night Cream | £0.99 | Bodycare
Derma V10 Coconut Body Butter | £0.99 | Bodycare
Lacura Lip Balms in (clockwise from top left) Classic, Summer and Sensitive | £1.50 for 3 | Aldi

The Night Cream was a bit of an unnecessary purchase but I was interested to see what the quality would be like for the price. I also wanted to try out the Derma V10 Body Butter to see if I can get away with using it in place of my trusty Body Shop Body Butter, as that could save me a hefty sum of money in the long run!
I've heard a lot of good things about the Aldi cosmetics brand Lacura, and so my mum and I decided to give these lip balms a whirl. They are so cheap, selling at just £1.50 for 3 so we decided to get three different packets and split them between my mum, my sister and I.

So there we have it, my most recent purchases!

Have you done any haul posts lately? I'd love you to link me in the comments!

Jo xx

12 July 2013

My Guest Post for Everything 5 Pounds | Neons

Just a quickie today to direct you over to a guest post I've written for the Everything 5 Pounds blog.
I decided to do a neon-themed wishlist and found some little gems whilst hunting through their website so it might be worth taking a peek to see if there are any bargains to be had!

You can find my post on their blog here.

I'd love to know what you think!

Jo xx