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

06 July 2013

Rimmel Stay Glossy Lipgloss | All Day Seduction and Fuchsia Fever

I've had these Rimmel Stay Glossy Lipglosses in my collection for a little while now, where for some unknown reason they have remained untouched...until recently.
I just realised how dramatic I made that sound...don't get too excited, I'm only going to do a review for you! After expecting very little from these lipglosses, I actually really am impressed.
Top-bottom: Fuchsia Fever, All Day Seduction

Let me start off by saying how much I love the packaging; I love the transparency of the plastic (which for me, is a must for lipgloss) as well as the overly shiny lid. The plastic is really nice and sturdy, and I would imagine would need some serious mistreatment before showing signs of any cracks or leaks.
L-R: Fuchsia Fever, All Day Seduction

All Day Seduction is a lovely peachy shade with gold flecks of glitter. It is well pigmented, providing a gorgeous everyday sheen to your lips. Fuchsia Fever is a strongly pigmented deep pink (deeper than the images suggest); genuinely the most beautiful shade of pink I own in a lip product. Unlike All Day Seduction, it is simply a glossy shade; no glitter involved. I actually think this particular shade would look a bit OTT with glitter flecks on top, so Rimmel were definitely ahead of the game on that one.
Top-bottom: All Day Seduction, Fuchsia Fever
The lipglosses have a great consistency and aren't at all sticky...until your hair gets involved, that is.
When will I ever learn not to wear lipgloss with my hair down?!
Dry lips aren't an issue with this lipgloss either. Whilst it doesn't moisturise the lips, it doesn't worsen dry lips either.
Rimmel claim that this lipgloss stays put for up to 6 hours. 6 hours may be a little far fetched (unless you're planning on not eating, drinking, talking or in fact breathing), but it does have pretty good lasting power, and I didn't need to reapply for a good couple of hours.
Overall, these are such easy lipglosses to wear that I'm happy to admit they are my new go-to lipglosses; particularly All Day Seduction.
The Rimmel Stay Glossy Lipglosses retail at £6.29 in Boots and Superdrug.
However they are also for sale at Fragrance Direct for just £1.99!
Have you tried the Rimmel Stay Glossy Lipglosses?
Jo xx