Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Canary Islands: A Tax Free Shopping Gem!

This time last month I was getting ready to go away for 10 days in Gran Canaria with the girls I went through Uni with. I didn't do your traditional Uni lifestyle; all 5 of us girls stayed at home and travelled to a Uni within 5 miles from our homes. We went for Uni for the degree, not the actual life. But through this, made an amazing friendship from day one. We shared all those dull lectures where someone - usually me - fell asleep, the essay stresses, the exam pains, and all the good times inbetween. It was always a plan to get away together after graduation and that is what we did.

We stayed all-inclusive in a lovely hotel in the Playa Del Inglés resort. I could not recommend this hotel enough, lovely rooms, amazing food, pretty grounds and SUN. If you're interested in holidaying in the Canaries, the Sunprime Atlantic View Suites and Spa, Gran Canaria is definitely worth considering.

Toward the end of our stay, we went for a daytime walk down to the Yumbo Centre and got sucked into the Europa Markets, big, bright beauty emporiums with all the brands you know and love. With skin are brands like Clarins, Estée Lauder, YSL and Lancôme, and all the perfumes and aftershaves imaginable from Calvin Klein, to Chanel, any beauty junkie would be in heaven. Especially when we learned of the prices. The shop we went to in particular was offering 30% all prices shown and the actual original prices on the labels shown were already amazing.
As mentioned in a past post, ever since my first Glossy Box, I have become a daily user of Clarins Extra Firming Body Cream. Here in the UK, it costs a hefty £42 for a 200ml tub. If I didn't think it worked, believe me I wouldn't be buying it. In the Europa, it was labelled as €40. Already a few quid cheaper than in pounds. Throw in that 30% off and all I payed was a much more painless €28.. Which would be roughly £23. Bargain? I think so! As well as my staple Clarins, I got a perfume for the mother, Escada Sexy Grafitti and an aftershave for the boyfriend.

The next day, the whole group went back to the Yumbo, which was probably not the wisest decision but I'm so in love with my last purchase, I'm so glad we did. Taking another wander into our favourite Europa, we saw.. SUNGLASSES. Raybans to be precise. With massive savings. And yes 100% real. As soon as I saw these beauties, I knew self-control was out of the window and swimming far away into the Atlantic Ocean.

But for a snap at £69 (€89 after discount) compared to the usual RayBan price tag of £110-120 can you really blame me? Of course not! :) I had been trying to tell myself all summer that I don't really want the Wayfarers like the rest of the world, but turns out I did and turns out I am still one very pleased and happy bunny.

We found out later that the reason for the low prices, was due to the Canary Islands being a TAX-FREE shopping zone. We found this out too late in the holiday to make the most of it. But this was probably for the best!

So at least I can share this with you, so if you're heading to the Canaries soon, or thinking about it for "one day", bring your best shopping shoes and enjoy the savings.. Or spendings!

A gorgeous view from dinner time at the hotel


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

MoroccanOil vs MiaFlora Pure Argan Oil

I have been using the brand MoroccanOil on my hair for 8 months now. I came across Mia Flora Argan Oil a few weeks ago and have been testing it on my locks since. Read on to see which I think is the best, which I will keep buying and why...

Not long after Christmas 2011, I made my first FeelUnique.com purchase. Quite a few YouTube gurus were raving about one particular hair product; MoroccanOil. My hair is prone to split ends as I'm not really a regular at my local hairdressers for a trim. Having said that, I am getting better with going for trims, but compared to most girls, I would say I have my hair done less than average. After hearing all the rave reviews about MoroccanOil, I thought I would give it a go.

I opted for the smallest size, as I was new to the product. The teeny tiny 25ml bottle set me back a very high £12.45. Since purchase, I have used this product after every hair wash and I wash my hair no more than three times a week. It was love at first use. I know many people detest the smell but I absolutely love it. It absorbed wonderfully into the dry ends of my hair, and created glossy trusses after every blow dry. I can't ever name a time it made my hair feel greasy. Although very pricey for what is smaller than most miniature bottles you would get at Boots, there is still well over a third left of that bottle. I can see it lasting until the anniversary of it's purchase. I was and still am, a big fan of MoroccanOil.

As my very cute, very transportable bottle is now into it's last half-contents, I have been thinking about repurchasing. Whilst on holiday, I was finding that MoroccanOil wasn't being as effective on my hair's dryness, due to sun exposure, the sea, chlorine etc and I was using a larger amount that usual plus adding more on during the day. So I started to think that maybe I had to look elsewhere for something better.

While recently browsing in a GNC store, I came across the MiaFlora Argan Oil. GNC had a deal on at the time where, if you buy 1 product, you get the same thing again for just £1, if you had their GNC Gold Card (which my boyfriend did). I had read on the MF bottle that the only ingredient was pure Argan oil, nothing else. And thinking back to my little bottle of MO at home, I knew there was other ingredients in there on top of the Argan oil contained in there. I decided that the pure form of the oil was what I needed, so I snapped up the offer and got two bottles for less than £13.00. £13.00 for TWO bottles more than double the size of the MO at 59ml- definite bargain.


I love that the bottle from MF comes with a pippette/dropper instead of having to pour it like the MO bottle. On my first use, after washing I applied a similar amount that I normally use of MO, about the size of a ten pence piece. Big mistake. I was thinking the blow dryer was taking ages to dry my hair.. Until I realised my hair wasn't wet, just oily! There was no time to rectify the mistake and re-wash my hair so I had to live with my clean but oily hair for a couple of days, tied up of course, until the next wash. Second time around, after washing my hair, I squeezed just 3 small drops onto my hand and moved it through my wet hair before blow drying and the results were fantastic. My hair feels softer than before, the ends look deceptively un-split and there is no heavy-hair feeling with the oil use.

Judging by the amount I needed, I can see the two bottles lasting YEARS. My only gripe with the MF pure oil is the scent - it smells of nothing really. But then maybe the perfume added to MO is a reason why it's moisturising factors were less efficient for me in sunny Spain. And although the MF smells "nothingy", it didn't mask the smell of my shampoo and conditioner so my hair still had a gorgeous clean aroma when dry. It's not a very heavy oil, it feels very light and fluid in your hand, hence why I probably over did it the first time.

The MiaFlora boasts uses like: daily moisturiser, cuticle conditioner, body moisturiser, and bath oil as well as a hair conditioning product. I wouldn't personally use it on my face, but I have found it absorbed very nicely into some dry skin patches on my body. I might try it as a bath oil one day and maybe on my cuticles, but for now I will stick to the main purpose I wanted it for.
Will I be buying MoroccanOil again? Doesn't look like it. This MiaFlora looks set to last a long time as a staple in my hair care. I would much rather pay for the pure version than a product that contains all kinds of additives and artificial perfumes.

To get some MiaFlora 100% Argan Oil in your life, you can find it at GNC stores (can't find the oil on their website I'm afraid) or Holland And Barrett for £12.99. I believe they are doing an in-store promotion at the moment where you buy one, get the second for a penny. Even if that offer is over, you're still getting more Argan Oil goodness for your money compared to the MoroccanOil brand.

Until next time.. Xo

Blushing: MAC Stratus review

When I started REALLY getting into make up, I recall searching YouTube for videos on how to create cheekbones and contour my face using bronzer. I went through a big phase of bronzer use for a long while and looking back now, I definitely got it wrong. Wrong colours, wrong application techniques, the works.

I didn't get into actual blusher until quite a while later, when there was a real hype over creating the perfect Kim K smokey eye and all the cheek and lip looks that came with it. My first blush buy was the infamous Nars "Deep Throat" which I have had for over a year now and it's still going strong. Soon after came MAC "Style", a gorgeous shimmery peach-coral sheer tone. I use them both regularly, more so than any other blushes I own.

However, there's a new kid in town. Joining my collection is the very beautiful "Stratus", a mineralise blush from MAC in the limited edition collection Heavenly Creature. I was originally looking to get "Solar Ray" after seeing it in Grazia, but swatching showed it was too light for my colouring (Normally NC35, Chanel 40, Armani 6-7). As I have got a good tan from my gallivanting abroad this summer, I'm even darker than usual and upon swatching Stratus it was a winner for me.

It is a gorgeous swirl of shimmery plum and gold. I barely have to pat my brush onto the pan to get a decent colour pay off on the cheek. I would say its mineralise finish formulation requires some reasonable effort to blend, compared to a sheer tone, but it's by no means hard to work with, just needs a little attention.

The finish looks great, I don't need to contour or highlight after; the tones combined just work to do both. Use very little for daily wear, or swirl it up for night-time glam. Just don't forget to blend blend blend with this one.
I'd definitely recommend it for olive skin tones. If this isn't you, do check out the rest of the collection as they had some absolutely gorgeous ones. The collection IS Limited Edition, so take a peak soon at your nearest MAC or their website.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

New Holy Grail: No 7 Hot Cloth Cleanser

So, I was in Boots last weekend, armed with several vouchers, including double points and more importantly, those lovely £5 off No 7 coupons.

I had a long look (much to my boyfriend's dismay) and then the Hot Cloth Cleanser caught my eye. Normally sold at £10 - which for good skin care is a bargain anyway really - but with that voucher, the cleanser is a very bargainous £5!

I was really excited to try it, and it did not disappoint. It claims to bring a little bit of spa to your home routine and I couldn't agree more. There seems to be a lot of product, 200ml will last me a long time. It also comes with a nice quality muslin cloth. Like all other No 7 products, it is hypoallergenic which sold it for me as I am very cautious with what I put on my face as it has had it's annoying sensitive moments in the past.

One pump of the product is enough, you rub it in to your skin then rub the warm wet cloth in gentle circular motions on your skin, finally rinsing with cool water to close your pores. I kid you not, my skin looks radiant with every use, I barely want to put any foundation on after because it makes my skin feel and look amazing and glowy.

It smells like a spa, fresh, clean and expensive. As I have just recently came back from holiday and have a tanned face, I usually find my face gets quite patchy some days after returning home. But not this time; I really do feel the cloth is working wonders for evening out my skintone too. Another massive thing I have noticed is the clarity of my skin; most people who know me would say I never get spots, but I do get the odd one here and there, on my cheeks or near my eyebrows (!?) but since using this, not ONE spot has intruded my face.

If you have any vouchers (and they're still in date..? Not sure if the promotion is still going) and are looking for a new cleanser, definitely give this one a go. I am in love and will definitely repurchase for the forseeable.

I have never personally tried Liz Earle but the way this cleanser makes my skin look is how I imagined LE to be like. So for anyone who can't afford the LE price tag, with the Boots voucher, this could be your new best friend.

Hope you've all had a good weekend xx

Monday, 30 April 2012

The April Glossy Box!

Once again, my blogging efforts are less than adequate. I keep thinking of things to say but switching on the laptop is a rare occasion for me these days, as the iPhone well and truly feeds my internet habits.  The Blogger app for iPhone however is dire.  I find it's only really any good for the short and sweet posts like nail-of-the-day etc.

Anyway, Glossy Box. I found myself subscribing in March, when the whole Harrods box was being hyped about, so of COURSE I wanted in. I have been umming and ahhing about subscribing to GlossyBox for months, but the Harrods collaboration tipped me over the edge.  And I enjoyed my Harrods box, although I thought the other samples that the usual bloggers I follow were much better than mine; I would have loved the Burberry lippy or the Leighton Denny nail polishes. Hey ho. I did especially love the Clarins Extra Firming Body Cream, so much so that I bought it a week ago when my sample ran out.  I really felt like it does what it claims to do, and my boobs and tummy feel amazing since using it regularly. *Not an excuse for avoiding the gym like I have been doing for God knows how long*.

Onto the April Box:

 Inika Eyeline in SAPPHIRE: Gorgeous. Blue is not really the best colour for brown eyes, but I think it makes my own pop in a good way, there must be some violet undertones to the blue that compliment my eyes. It glides on the waterline like a dream and lasts a long time. Definitely a fan of this kohl formulation.

Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum: Lovely, have been applying this after cleansing, before moisturising in the mornings and evenings.  It doesn't feel like it does anything when you apply it, but my skin looked especially soft and dewy the morning after an application and a decent sleep.  Not sure if I'd repurchase just yet, but its nice trying a skin serum for the first time so we'll see.

Monuspa Enriched Body Cream: Can't complain at a body cream sample, I always like to have one in any of my rotating handbags. This one is nice and moisturising, but nothing I would rave about at this point.

Figs & Rouge Lip Balm:  I once got one of theses as a freebie when I ordered something from the website www.salonskincare.co.uk and I loved it.  I was gutted when it must have overheated in my bag last summer, because it became all weird and crystallised like sugar in a balm.. not exactly luscious lips material.  And this sample I've received from GB is the exact same one I had before, so yippee! It really is a lovely lipbalm.. you can never have too many.

Lastly the Philip B Drop Dead Straightening Balm: I have been a total Moroccan Oil convert since... I don't know it's been a good 3 months at least.  I really do sing the praises of Moroccan Oil as I have never known my hair to look so healthy almost 3 months since it was last cut.  I do sometimes find with MO that my hair REALLY does need washing by Day 3, so it probably does build up a lot of residue in your hair.  I gave this balm a go yesterday, applying it to my wet-damp hair before blowdrying my hair upside down as usual.  I loved the result, my hair felt light and bouncy with a smooth finish. I wouldn't say it made the hair "dead straight" but I don't like that look anyway.  My hair feels much lighter today at Day 2 since washing as opposed to how I usually feel using MO, so I am definitely going to use more of Philip B.

What did you get in your Glossy Box this month?

I enjoyed these contents a lot this month, so for now, am continuing my subscription.  :)

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Sally Hansen NailGrowth Miracle.. Is a miracle!

While in New York last month, I was determined to find a Target and lose myself in there but unfortunately, no Target in Manhattan. The nearest one was in Harlem or something and there just wasn't the time to go.

However, there is always Walgreens! While browsing, I found myself face to face with a huge display of Sally Hansen nail care and polishes, much bigger than any stands I have seen in Boots or Superdrug. Usually you only tend to find Sally Hansen topcoats of strengthening base coats but in Walgreens I was amazed at all the SHADES within the ranges. In particular, the "Nailgrowth Miracle" range caught my eye.

My weak, incapable-of-growing nails have always been the bain of my life. I've been there, done that, with the false nail phase, which only really made my nails worse. I haven't worn falsies for well over a year now, I eat well etc, but unfortunately, strong nails have never been my forté.

So I picked up a bottle of the Nailgrowth Miracle in a nude-pinky shade and I have been nothing but amazed at the condition of my nails since using it. Most of my nails have tiny tips that peer above my fingertips now, and the nail feels much stronger than it ever has before. My nails rarely grow much before they start breaking,, so I am really impressed with how it's been working for me.

I'm just gutted I didn't buy a few more shades. The bottle cost me about $6 (£4) but they retail at almost £10 here in The UK which is just heartbreaking. Or even nailbreaking when you think about it. *sigh*

Anyway, next time I hop over to the States (which will be in a few months again I hope!) I will be stocking up!

Monday, 12 March 2012

I am back and I mean it this time..!

So, false promises and good intentions went out of the window since my last blog update. I'll have you know I have been a very busy bee still, so much so that I have hardly watched Youtube and read any blogs since December. Tell you what though, not reading or watching anyone else's current beauty and fashion purchases/obsessions have probably saved me a tidy amount of money over the last couple of months. I can't actually remember the last time I bought a dress I didn't need from Asos, or a blusher I could do without from MAC. I do miss the excitement of getting a new product or wearing new things all the time but you have to draw the line at some point and to be frank, I have zero space for any more un-needed tat in my bedroom.

However, I miss being a part of the beauty-obsessed community, and have found myself thinking about talking about this and that product I have been loving, plus I have started back watching more Youtube and paying attention to Bloggers again. So, I'm back..

Watch this space for my new favourite Nail Varnish that has literally been a "miracle" worker to my usually weak nails.