Thursday, 29 January 2015

Review: Lush Candy Mountain Bubble Bar


First of all I do have to apologise for reviewing a Lush product that is only available to buy in the run up to Christmas and in the post-Christmas sale (which is where I got hold of it). However I do feel the need to tell you all how much I now love the Candy Mountain Bubble Bar - in a sort of run into the fields, throw out my hands and sing kind of way (√† la Sound of Music). Plus it's plenty of warning for those of you who haven't tried it before to add it to your wishlist as soon as it comes out later this year. 

The Candy Mountain Bubble Bar is released every year as part of Lush's Christmas range, but from what I gather looks a little different each year. This one is cone shaped with swirls and dots of pink and white, covered in a pearly white lustre. At first I thought it had the Snow Fairy scent (which I love); it's quite similar but less sweet and more creamy, with a gorgeous vanilla base. It apparently has the same scent as the Creamy Candy Bubble Bar and the Rock Star Soap (I have the latter in my stash waiting to be used). 

I used the whole bubble bar in one go as it is fairly small in size; it produced a decent layer of foamy bubbles and turned the bath a pretty baby pink. The beautiful scent is strong enough to fill the bathroom but not so much so that it is overwhelming or heady. What I didn't expect was how soft and almost silky the Candy Mountain Bubble Bar turned the water - it made such a difference that I noticed it instantly. This softness stayed on my skin after getting out of the bath, as did the scent. This has to be one of my favourite bubble bars I've tried from Lush and I will definitely be getting one in the run up to Christmas 2015 (sorry about mentioning that!).

Have you tried Lush Candy Mountain? What is your favourite bubble bar?

Beauty Bird xx


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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Life: A Dietary Change and A Skin Transformation


Have you ever reached the point of getting so fed up with something that you realise you need to take more dramatic steps to get past it? This is how I felt with with my skin in the latter half of 2014 - specifically breakouts. I have suffered with spots in varying degrees for 15 years now - isn't that just a crazy figure? I had mild acne in my mid-late teens and whilst my skin has since been a lot more stable, mainly thanks to becoming a LOT more savvy with my skincare, I've still been plagued with spots on a daily basis.  However I realised that topical skincare wasn't enough to combat my breakouts and I needed to address my skin health from within. 

I would say I have always eaten fairly well; I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables and don't eat lots of junk food like cakes and chocolate (though of course I have my downfalls - Dairy Milk Oreo I'm looking at you). I also drink a lot of water as I'm not keen on fizzy drinks. However my diet did contain a lot of dairy, which has links with acne - though it isn't proven. After reading up on this on the internet, I discovered that the thought behind it is that dairy contains certain natural hormones that can stimulate the skin's oil glands, leading to clogged pores and breakouts. I noticed a lot of people say on Twitter, blogs and YouTube that their skin improved after cutting dairy out of their diet, so I decided to give it a try. 

Making a change is always easier when done is small, achievable steps, so this is how I approached cutting dairy from my diet. First I swapped normal milk for Almond Milk and Soya Milk as I was having a lot of milk in cereal and tea (I find Almond is nicer with cereal and Soya with tea - but unsweetened). I make sandwiches for work everyday, so I then swapped my Flora for dairy free spread and white bread for "Free From", brown, seeded bread, which is gluten free as well as dairy free. I ditched the grated cheese filling and now have ham or salami. I've now also stopped having cheese on top of main meals (like spag bol) and avoid cow's milk/cream based sauces for pasta, curries etc, using coconut milk or soya cream instead. The one thing I have struggled cutting out though is pizza - I absolutely pizza and for ages it's been me and my other half's Friday night treat. I now have pizza without the cheese - it's not the same, but still makes me feel like I'm getting my fix! Though just yesterday I did pick up my first dairy free cheese to try - so maybe cheesy pizza will be back in my life soon! In general I find that it really helps making things from scratch because then you can avoid what you need to and use whatever substitutes you like, plus it's much healthier overall.

So I've been doing this for months now and the difference in my skin is amazing, so much so that friends and family have commented on the change. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I don't have any spots anymore, because I know I have other triggers such as stress and certain skincare ingredients. But my skin has cleared up massively; the lumpy, cystic spots I was getting have been banished and it's generally odd little whiteheads and blemishes I have to contend with now. I even went out the other day with no foundation on, just some concealer! I can't explain how much of a big deal that is to me. Just to be able to look in the mirror at home makeup free and not feel disgusted at my skin is an massive achievement. If I ever have dairy now it's in occasional and in extremely small doses - such as a couple of biscuits or a piece of chocolate, which doesn't seem to affect me. Cutting out dairy does take some adjusting to and when it comes to eating out it can be more difficult, but for me it's oh so worth it for the amazing results.

I also want to give a special mention to some new supplements I've been taking at the same time, which I feel have contributed to my skin generally looking healthier. I have been boosting my diet with Organic Burst, which produce a range of organic superfood supplements, after reading about them on the blog Fragmented Splendour. I have been taking three of these, which Organic Burst describe as their top three beautifying superfoods for radiantly healthy hair, skin and nails; Acai Berry Capsules (£18.99 for 120), Wheatgrass Powder (£6.69 for 60g) and Chlorella Tablets (£16.99 for 250). The three are a powerhouse of vitamins, anti-oxidants and essential fatty acids, containing things like Omegas 3, 6 and 9, Vitamin A, Vitamin B2, Vitamin E, Zinc and Selenium, which are all great for the skin. I bought them individually from Feel Unique (clickable links above), but they can be bought as a bundle direct from Organic Burst.

Please note that I am no expert when it comes to diets and skin health, but hopefully this post will inspire some of you that might be looking to make similar changes. I'd be really interested to hear any of your tips and/or experiences in the comments below!

Beauty Bird xx





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Sunday, 25 January 2015

Review: Claudia Louch High Definition Liquid Foundation and Mineral Loose Powder


Having extremely spot prone skin, I am very fussy about what base makeup products I put on my face; I need to be pretty certain that they aren't going to break me out. The Claudia Louch range of makeup is non-comedogenic, which means they don't block pores, so I was excited to be able to try the High Definition Liquid Foundation and Mineral Loose Powder.

High Definition Liquid Foundation in N45 Cool Neutral 20ml - £52.50
This is definitely the most expensive foundation to ever grace my face! It is 94% natural and has been  created with HD cameras in mind, so is described as "perfect for anyone in the limelight who wants flawless HD coverage with a natural finish". I don't think the packaging is quite as luxurious as other Claudia Louch products I've tried, however being round and compact does make it travel friendly, plus it has a pump! N45 Cool Neutral just about works on my pale skin with careful blending, though I would go for a lighter shade if I used it again. I tend to use around 3 small pumps for my whole face; the High Definition Liquid Foundation has quite a runny consistency so a small amount blends out over quite a big area. I would say that the coverage is light to medium; I'm used to quite high coverage so I apply two thin layers and then top up with concealer (NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer) as necessary. The foundation blends out with ease, leaving quite a dewy finish, so I imagine this would be great for those with dry skin. Having an oily t-zone, I prefer to pop a light dusting of powder over the top to mattify it down a notch, which also helps it last through my working day.


Mineral Loose Powder in MN5 Cool Neutral 15g - £47.50
Speaking of powder, I've been using the talc free Mineral Loose Powder from the Claudia Louch to finish off my base. I generally stay away from loose powders because I have a tendency to spill them everywhere, though I'm not faring too badly with this one so far! I pop a little in the lid and simply dip in my Real Techniques Powder Brush, tapping off the excess. The powder is actually very fine; it looks very natural and feels light on the skin. The Mineral Loose Powder sets my foundation in place and absorbs any oil or shine. I love the fact it's also 94% natural like the foundation. 

I'm pleased to report that both the High Deinition Liquid Foundation and Mineral Loose Powder live up to their non-comedogenic claims and leave me with a radiant, natural finish. The coverage of the foundation is a touch too light for me and I don't think I could afford to re-purchase either, but it's been really nice to try something different to my usual base products! Find them both online here.

Have you tried any makeup by Claudia Louch? 

Beauty Bird xx


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P.S. This post contains PR samples. This does not affect my opinion of the products. 
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Thursday, 22 January 2015

New Year, New Treats


After receiving some money for Christmas, I put most of it in my savings but kept some aside for a few treats for myself. It has to be done right?!

Lush Christmas Candy Box
First of all I made a purchase from the online Lush Boxing Day sale. I only just managed to get the Christmas Candy Box with lots and lots of refreshing! If you went onto Lush's website that day too you will know what an absolute nightmare it was; I had so much on my wishlist and didn't get half of what I wanted. However I'm still pleased with the gift set, which contains a 100g bottle of Snow Fairy Shower Gel, the Butterbear Bath Bomb, Rock Star Soap and Candy Mountain Bubble Bar. I've not tried the latter two products and I've never tried a Lush soap, so I'm really happy that these were in the box. I used Candy Mountain the other night and it's already a favourite - full review coming soon!

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 Mark II Lens
My fianc√© bought a Canon 700d camera late last year for his business and it was inevitable that I was going to start using it for blog photos! He bought a couple of zoom lenses to go with it, but he said that the 50mm fixed lens, which is a favourite among bloggers, would definitely be better suited for blogging. So I bought the EF 50mm f/1.8 Mark II Lens to suit the 700d brand new and boxed from a photography shop on eBay for £68.00 with free delivery, which I thought was an absolute bargain. You can find the seller I used here, though the price has now gone up by a £1.00! I'm still getting used to the camera and all the settings, but I hope that my blog photos will get better and better as my photography and camera skills improve.

Enrapture Encode Totem Styler
This ceramic curling iron has been on my wishlist ever since I watched a YouTube tutorial by Wonderfuly0u. Previously I was using my hair straighteners to curl my hair, but they're quite chunky and I found it really difficult to do. The barrel of the Totem Styler has three different zones, each of which you can set to three different heat settings, so you can really control what type of curl you create. It comes with a removable stand, heat resistant pouch and style guide. The retail price for the Totem Styler is £59.99 and I bought this from an official store on eBay for just £23.99 with free delivery, which is a whopping 60% off!! It comes with a 3 year warranty. I've only turned this on to check it works and not properly used it yet, but I think it will make my life so much easier! You can find the seller I used here

Have you purchased any New Year treats for yourself?

Beauty Bird xx


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Tuesday, 20 January 2015

You Beauty Discovery Box January 2015

Not too long ago January's You Beauty Discovery Box dropped through my letterbox. Even though I knew what products were in the box, as you get to choose from a themed selection every month, I was still excited to get it open and see them in the flesh. This month's theme was all about banishing the January blues and offering products that are dedicated to "fixing" rather than "changing" and so helping you look and feel better about yourself.


I knew which products I wanted to try instantly as they've been on my radar for awhile. First off is the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil in a 30ml bottle, which is designed to remove makeup and impurities with hydrating Vitamin E and Olive Oil. I've only ever tried one other cleansing oil before (The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil), so it'll be great to try something different. My second choice is actually a duo and comes from Merumaya - a 30ml Melting Cleansing Balm and a 3ml Overnight Recharge Night Cream. I've tried a little sachet of the cleansing balm before and really liked it - it's more of a thick gel formula that emulsifies into a milk when you add water. Now I get the chance to try it again and for a bit longer, so I can make more of an informed opinion on it. The night cream sounds fantastic; it apparently contains five highly potent actives to firm, lift, diminish the signs of fatigue and aid skin restoration. Other brands available to choose products from this month were Elemis, Burt's Bees, Tresemme, Afyna and Boutique. 

Every box also contains the same extra treats; three sachets of Dragonfly Tea (I have the flavours Swirling Mist, Green Gaucho and Mountain Honeybush), a sachet of Dove Hair BB Cream and a £25.00 Hello Fresh gift card

I love the theme of this month's box and everything that's included, so I think it's £6.95 very, very well spent. Find out more about the You Beauty Discovery Box and how it works here.

What do you think of January's You Beauty Discovery Box? 

Beauty Bird xx


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