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.