Molecule-R Molecular Gastronomy Kits

Sunday, August 30, 2015
Molecule-R Molecular Gastronomy Kits
Heston Blumenthal's TV programmes have been a long time favourite of mine - I can watch them over and over again. I love the 'Heston's feasts' TV series as he makes such amazing meals and foodie experiences! However as much as I love him and the food he creates, the recipes don't seem as easy or simple to create at home...until now? 

I've seen the *Molecule R Vegan Noodle-R (£15) and the *Molecule R Vegan Pearl-R (£15) kits online for a while and I have been really intrigued so when the opportunity arose to test them out, I jumped at the chance! Both kits are from IWOOT and they contain everything you need, you don't need to go out and buy anything technical or any special health food ingredient. 

I tried the Pearl-R kit first which contains instructions, three pipettes, metal slotted spoon and five sachets of agar-agar which is a vegan gelatine substitute. Both kits use agar-agar as the gelling agent and I'm sure I've seen Heston use it on his TV programmes. The recipe/instruction booklet suggests balsamic vinegar, honey caviar and port caviar as options but I didn't really like the sound of any of them so I attempted to make orange flavoured pearls. I had to kind of make up the quantities which I think was my first mistake but the orange and agar-agar mixture after being brought to the boil and slowly dropped into vegetable oil did make little pearls! However, they are so delicate and it is difficult to remove the excess oil from them. I definitely need to try this kit again as the first time wasn't 100% successful. Stay tuned to my vegetarian food blog (The Veggie Kitchen) for my recipes with both kits in the coming weeks!

Molecule-R Molecular Gastronomy Kits

I then tried the Noodle-R kit which I thought would be the more difficult kit to use but I was wrong and the first attempt worked out so well! The kit comes with the recipe booklet, three plastic hollow tubes, five sachets of agar-agar and one large syringe. The recipes in the booklet suggested: arugula spaghetti, chocolate spaghetti and deconstructed clam risotto (with the spaghetti being the rice). The chocolate spaghetti naturally caught my eye and I followed the recipe, although I halved all of the ingredient quantities and it still made quite a lot. 

I made a cocktail inspired chocolate dessert using chocolate chip biscuits, meringue, melted milk and white chocolate and the chocolate spaghetti (with a small amount of baileys in it). I used a chocolate stick meant for hot chocolate as a 'straw'. The dessert tuned out so well, the chocolate spaghetti even though it is delicate was holding it shape and tasted like dairy milk and a hint of baileys - yum! The texture of the chocolate spaghetti is a little unusual at first but it tastes great, it was relatively easy to make (but a bit messy) and my dad who doesn't usually like desserts, ate half of it! If you want a recipe post for my chocolate cocktail inspired dessert, let me know in the comments. 

Overall, I definitely need to try the Pearl-R kit again because it does take some practice - I also need to look up more recipes. The Noodle-R kit turned out amazingly well first time round and I think it would be fantastic for a dinner party! Both kits are a little messy but they are fun and when they work out, it looks fantastic. I definitely want to try more kits from this brand, especially the Culinary Whipper Kit (which sounds a little dubious...) and the Aroma-R kit. Here are some of the kits available on IWOOT, all of which would make amazing, unique christmas gifts

IWOOT

Have you tried any of the Molecule-R kits? Are you a fan of Heston?

The Body Shop Spa Of The World Range

Friday, August 28, 2015
The Body Shop Spa Of The World Range
The Body Shop have been releasing some amazing, innovative and unique collections recently such as the Virgin Mojito collection which I reviewed back in May. This new and exciting Spa Of The World collection is inspired by spa routines and products from around the world. I was very kindly sent some of the products from the collection and I've been loving them!

*The Body Shop Spa Of The World Dead Sea Salt Scrub (£20, 350ml)

The scrub contains resurfacing sea salt from the Dead Sea and it comes in a gigantic tub - it's a 350ml tub and it is so heavy and luxe! The scrub doesn't really have a particular scent, it's just clean and fresh. The texture of the scrub is very different to any other scrub I've tried, it is scrubby and course but almost turns into a milk when massaged onto wet skin. It is definitely exfoliating but it isn't too abrasive and it leaves my skin feeling moisturised, super smooth and soft. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

*The Body Shop Thai Lemongrass Massage Oil (£14, 170ml)

I have to be honest and say that lemongrass isn't a favourite scent of mine however the oil is fantastic. It isn't really greasy like I thought it would be but it is really moisturising, smoothing and instantly reduces the look of dry or dull skin. We've been on a couple of staycations and days out exploring new cities in the UK so we have been walking a lot and this oil has been perfect for tired muscles and a bit of pampering after days of walking. The scent is noticeable on the skin but it isn't overpowering. I might have to pick up the french lavender scent. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5. 

The Body Shop Spa Of The World Range

*The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Body Clay (£16)

Now this is the more unique product from the collection and as far as I know, The Body Shop haven't included a product like this in a previous collection. Clay body masks are the essence of the typical spa in my opinion, it's what I first think of when it comes to spas so I was excited to try it out! The clay body mask contains purifying bamboo charcoal from The Himalayas, India. The mask looks and smells very spa like and fairly masculine, in my opinion. The mask is so quick and easy to apply and it dries on the skin so it feels like it doing something; although it is a little awkward to use as you just have to walk around with it on your skin for ten minutes and it isn't the quickest to wash off (I'd definitely recommend using a small amount as it will dry quicker and it will be easier to wash off). However just the experience of using it is very spa like and I feel as though it made my skin smooth and clean and it's just an indulgent product to use. Overall rating: ★★★☆, 4/5.

Overall, the process of using these products is so indulgent and very spa like which is perfect for a girly night in or a pamper session. It's a lovely range that would make a great gift and it instantly transports you to a luxurious spa in your own bathroom. The scrub and body oil are my favourite products and I'm surprised at how much I like the oil - it's a great body oil because it doesn't leave the skin really greasy/oily! Here my mini body shop wish list:




Have you tried any products from The Body Shop's new Spa Of The World range? What are your favourite products from The Body Shop?

iWhite 2 Teeth Whitening Kit

Thursday, August 27, 2015
iWhite 2 Teeth Whitening Kit
One of my main beauty concerns is my teeth as they definitely aren't the whitest and it does put me off wearing lipsticks, particularly more orange or yellow based shades, as it draws attention to my teeth and not in the most flattering way. I have been loving oil pulling over the past few months and it does work for me to an extent however I do want to see more immediate results that leave my teeth much whiter. Check out my oil pulling post on Femme Intemporelle (London Beauty Queen's new website).

I've been sent the *iWhite2 Instant Teeth Whitening Kit (£34.95) which I have seen on social media recently and I think I might have even tried the original version years ago. The kit comes with ten pre-filled trays so you get five full use out of each kit. You can use them consecutively or as and when you need them. The kit is 100% safe and effective, it contains an active stain remover and it contains MOHA complex which apparently restores your enamel which I am a little dubious about.

To use, you just gently brush your teeth and make sure your hands  are clean and dry. Remove the trays from the packaging (you can just use a one tray for the top or bottom teeth, or you can use both at the same time as I do) and place on your teeth immediately. The wait is 20 minutes although the first time I used it, I only waited for 15 minutes. I thought the wait would feel like forever but I had the trays on my top and bottom teeth for 15 minutes while replying to emails and it seemed like no time at all. After the time is up,  I removed the trays and rinsed off the excess gel. 

I didn't experience any pain or massive discomfort while wearing them or afterwards, it was slightly uncomfortable while wearing the trays solely because I'm not used to wearing a mouth guard. The only negative is that talking isn't really possible while it is on as you just end up drooling all over *not an attractive look at all*, you obviously can't drink during that time and if you're not used to wearing mouth guards like me, then it might feel a little odd especially the first couple of times. 

After the first use, I did notice some whitening, especially my front teeth and less so towards the sides where there is far less whitening gel in the sides of the tray. The only issue I have with this product is that the gel isn't distributed evenly throughout the trays so some teeth are in contact with very little gel and others have too much. However, the second time I used them (one day after the first use), I saw even better results. I have only used two so far as I don't want to use them all up at once - I will be using them as and when I need them but I can say that I definitely have whiter teeth since using this kit. 

Overall, I definitely noticed positive effects while using this kit and it is quick, easy and relatively mess free to use! The convenience of the kit is what makes it easier than other teeth whitening methods/products I've used and even though I have slightly sensitive teeth it doesn't make it worse. I noticed results from the first use but I think it takes at least two to get a more effective result from this kit. Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5. 

Have you tried the iWhite teeth whitening kits? Do you recommend any teeth whitening methods/products?

Guest Post: Brand Focus - Too Faced

Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Guest Post: Brand Focus - Too Faced

Too faced is one of the best high end brands I've ever come across. Their products are of the same calibre and quality of MAC but have much cuter packaging and are, in some cases, a little more unique (stay in tune for the eyeshadow palette). It's one of those brands that never disappoints and is well worth the money you invest.

Too Faced's 'Better Than Sex' Mascara:
When I first saw the packaging of Better Than Sex I thought that the eyelashes on the model had been edited. The box which is now well and truly recycled featured a model with basically no eyelashes and after an application of this mascara had absolute falsies. Or so, I thought until I tried and tested it. By far the best mascara I've ever used. Roller Lash and They're Real can't hold a candle to it. Nor does the mascara I have won by for the past few years which is MACs Zoom Fast Black Lash. The mascara curls and elongates your lashes SO well that it does look like you're wearing Ardell Wispies. You won't believe me until you try it and I really encourage you to do so!

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Eyeshadow Palette:
This palette is one of my go-to favourites right alongside Urban Decay's Naked palettes. This palette has a couple of shades that UD palette's don't i.e the cranberry red, baby pink and deep purple. All of which look absolutely fabulous on the eyes. What amazes me about this palette is how wonderful it smells. It smells more like chocolate than a Dairy Milk and I honestly have no idea how it's perfumed so well and how the smell of it has lasted 4 months (I'm sure it will last many more). The palette features day time wearable shades and also more glamorous shades. My favourite is the gold (bottom row, second in) it's very well pigmented and absolutely beautiful.

Guest Post: Brand Focus - Too Faced

Too Faced Naked Eye:
This palette is the perfect size to pop in your handbag for when you're going to be out all day. Or for a weekend trip when you need both night and day shades. As you guys can see there are lovely, light shades for the day and a selection of dark shades you can create a smokey eye with for night. It also comes with little cards and instructions on how to make certain looks which is so useful if you're an eyeshadow rookie.

Too Faced Beauty Balm BB Cream:
This is definitely a glam BB Cream. It has little sparkling flecks in it and when they catch the sun it makes your skin GLOW! It's beautiful for holidays with an SPF of 20. It provides light coverage and feels weightless on the skin so is fab for hot summer days.

I hope you enjoyed my Too Faced favourites. What is your favourite Too Faced item? Would you try any of these!

Love Abigail Alice

L.A.B Stroke Of Genius Brush Set

Tuesday, August 25, 2015
L.A.B Brushes were created by the US makeup artist, Brett Freedman who has worked with celebrities such as Sienna Miller and Taylor Swift. L.A.B brushes are created using fibre-luxe technology which is cruelty free; it means that the brushes are very durable and provide less product waste as the texture of the bristles enables great powder pick up and the bristles mimic the finest natural hair. The bristles are also extremely durable because the fibre technology doesn't lose it's shape or degrade like natural bristle brushes. 

I have the *L.A.B Brushes Strokes Of Genius Brush Kit (£18.99) which contains five eye and brow brushes which are all cruelty free, hypoallergenic and have a rubberised handle. Also the ferrel is supposed to be very durable, non-corrosive and resistant to damage which I am dubious about but hopefully it will mean that the brushes will withstand a thorough cleaning.

*L.A.B Crease Brush

Firstly, I love the design of these brushes and the crease brush is definitely one of my favourites from the set. The bristles are soft and smooth although they aren't the softest brushes I own by far! The bristles for this brush are quite dense but it is still flexible so it is great for placing a good amount of eyeshadow in a specific place and blending quickly and easily. I've only experienced a tiny amount of shedding with this brush. It washes well although it takes a while to dry - even when only spot cleaning. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5. 

*L.A.B Eyeshadow Brush

This brush is a fantastic shape for placing eyeshadow onto the skin, not so much for blending but just for placing the colour it's fantastic. Again as with the previous brush, the bristles are soft and smooth although not as soft as all the others I use. It is great for blending shadows under the eyes though and as a concealer brush, if like me you have a tendency to reach for new brushes to use instead of washing others...oops. Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5. 

*L.A.B Brow + Lash Groomer 

A spoolie or brow groomer is an essential for me as I am so conscious of my brows when filling them in - I do not want them to look really dark or drawn on so a brow groomer is great for blending product through the brows. This double ended brush is perfect and great for travelling. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5. 

*L.A.B Brow + Eyeliner Brush

If I'm not wearing any liner or eyeshadow, just mascara, then I always apply a small amount of dark brown eyeshadow very closely along the upper and lower lash lines as it provides instant but natural definition and makes the lashes look fuller and thicker. The angled brush is great for this as it is so thin and precise. It is also great for black winged liner with powder or gel liner. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5. 

*L.A.B Pointed Eyeliner Brush

Winged liner is one of my go to looks and recently I've been loving the gel liner again, especially the Clinique Brush On Liner; this brush is great with cream/gel liner! It is a little thicker than the other liner brushes I have but it is great for getting a good even line however it isn't so amazing for a precise point, in my opinion. However it is great overall and it doesn't pick up too much product. Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5.

Overall, I think it is a great set and the brushes are obviously really well made and I think they will be really durable. I love the crease, angled and brow groomer brushes and I will definitely get a lot of use out of this set. The price is fantastic too for effective cruelty free brushes. 


Have you tried any brushes from L.A.B 2? What do you think of this brush set? 

Aurelia Probiotic Skincare

Monday, August 24, 2015
Aurelia Probiotic Skincare
I've heard of Aurelia Probiotic Skincare for a while now and it has always intrigued me especially as the packaging is so adorable and we all know that I'm a sucker for packaging! Also I am always on the look out for natural skincare as that is what my dry, sensitive skin seems to like (it also seems to like expensive skincare which isn't great for my bank balance). 

Aurelia Probiotic Skincare uses botanical formulations with probiotic technology to manage inflammation, a main cause of skin ageing. Aurelia Probiotic Skincare is fantastic with regards to their cruelty free and environmentally friendly ethos and they only use high quality ingredients - they don't use parabens, mineral oils, silicones, synthetic fragrance, colours or sulfates; for the full list check out their ingredients policy


The cleanser contains an essential oil blend of chamomile, rosemary, bergamot and eucalyptus as well as vitamin B5, shea butter and vitamin C. The cleanser smells really nice, it is smooth and gentle on the skin and it leaves my skin feeling clean and comfortable but not stripped or dry. To me it is a natural, effective but basic cleanser so if that is what you're after then this might be one to check out. Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5.

*Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Revitalise + Glow Serum

My skin seems to have fallen in love with this serum! It doesn't irritate my skin in any way (I even think it's potentially helping get rid of or at least really hydrate my eczema) and it leaves my skin so moisturised and smooth so much so that I sometimes forget to apply my day/night cream. Although unlike all other serums I've used, it sinks in almost immediately and leaves no slippy or greasy residue. I will be buying the full size as I've almost finished this sample even though it's pretty pricey! Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5. 

*Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Firm & Revitalise Dry Body Oil

I'm not a massive fan of body oils, even though they can feel very indulgent and luxe, as most are so greasy and take ages to absorb into the skin; this one however is fantastic! Firstly, the scent is gorgeous - floral, sweet but musky, earthy and natural, in my opinion. The oil instantly alleviates the look of dry skin and once massaged into the skin and absorbed, after a few minutes, it actually doesn't feel greasy. I don't noticed any firming effects but it is the nicest dry body oil I've used! Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5. 

*Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Cell Repair Night Oil

During the colder months facial oils are a must for me as my skin becomes incredibly dry and dull. I love the dropper packaging of this facial oil and the scent is just like the other products - relaxing, natural and musky. I've been using this night oil on the days when my skin has been drier and it really helps keep my plump, smooth and moisturised. Once applied to the skin it does feel like an oil on the skin and that may not be wanted by some but I don't mind. I use the excess oil on my hands to massage into my cuticles. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5. 

Overall, Aurelia Probiotic Skincare products all are so indulgent and almost therapeutic to use, not only as they are gorgeous natural products but also because the scent of the range is so relaxing and calming, to me anyway! I'm so impressed with the samples I've tried that I will have to buy the full size of the glow serum and potentially the body oil. 


I also received a few samples from the brand Living Nature which is a New Zealand based natural skincare brand. I've tried their Sensitive Cleanser, Sensitive Hydrating Toner and Sensitive Day Moisturiser. The cleanser is a basic, no fuss cream cleanser and the toner is the same - perfect you want a basic skincare routine suitable for sensitive skin types. My favourite sample was the Sensitive Day Moisturiser, it didn't irritate my skin and it gave my skin a much needed moisture boost without leaving my skin feeling/looking greasy. 

Have you tried any products from Aurelia Probiotic Skincare or Living Nature?

Insjo In Bag Organiser + Keyring

Sunday, August 23, 2015
Insjo In Bag Organiser + Keyring
Insjo, means lake in some Nordic languages and the idea behind the brand name is the want to bring the beauty and calm of the nordic lakes into womens lives. The brand makes simple but practical and classic bag organising accessories such as bag in bags, keyrings, earphone straps and more. I am definitely one for throwing everything and anything in my bag and forgetting about it so an in-bag organising system is well over due!

I have the *Insjo Inari Cotton BagINBag (€38) which has a deep navy exterior and a cute bubblegum pink interior. The bag has eight pockets on the outside with some composed of mesh and others having popper closures. The inside has four large pockets, two of which have zippers. 

Firstly, I love the look of the bag, it is simple and efficiently designed - the bag also fits in my day to day bags really well too. The design is very minimalist and nordic which I adore! The pockets are a good range of sizes, with the outer pockets being great sizes for small snacks, receipts, tissues, pens and the inner pockets are great sizes for my earphones, iPod, iPhone. The bag doesn't fit my iPad mini although it still fits in my handbag while this organiser is also in my handbag. 

I've tried the organiser in my smaller Newlook handbags as well as my Zara and Asos and it fits well in all of them. I could definitely use it in my larger bags too and it would be perfect for travelling! I have been using the bag to keep my more valuable and most used products in so they are secure, organised and easy for me to find in my handbag. 

I also have the *Insjo Pink Keyring (€6) which like the bag is also simple. There are two keyring attachments on the outside of the bag which could be used to attach keys, touch or a cute keyring. Also if  your bag has a tab on the inside the keyring could be used to attach the bag organiser to your handbag so it can't be easily removed as a whole. 

Overall, I think the in bag organisers are such a fantastic idea especially if you need a little more organisation in your life, or handbag! Additionally they would be perfect for travelling with as they could easily fit a wallet, passport, travel documents, travel cards and small essentials. The design is simple and I love it - if you like to switch up your handbags often then it would be so handy as you could keep your essentials in the organiser and move it from bag to bag so you don't forget anything you need. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5. 

Use the code HEATHER2015 to get free shipping! 

There are larger bags and also various colours that would make great gifts for men and women; the larger bag organiser can be great bags themselves! The Saimaa Graphite Grey BaginBag is definitely on my wish list:

Insjo In Bag Organiser + Keyring

Have you tried an in-bag organiser? Have you bought anything from Insjo?

End Of Summer OOTD Ft. Zaful

Saturday, August 22, 2015
End Of Summer OOTD Ft. Zaful
If you have been following my blog or social media for a while you will know that I am literally obsessed with stripes, I have SO many stripy items of clothing and accessories in my wardrobe that it makes up almost half of my entire wardrobe. When the lovely people at Zaful contacted me about reviewing one of their items, I couldn't say no!

I chose the *Zaful Stripe Elastic Waist A-Line Skirt ($15.82, Blue) which is the kind of skirt that I have wanted to buy for a while but I haven't found the right style at a good price, until now. I love the dusky navy blue and white stripes as well as the two fairly large pockets with cute red stitching details at the sides of the pockets. I didn't know it had pockets until it arrived and I thought they would just add bulk but without anything in the pockets they don't. The material of the skirt is a soft, thin canvas like material which is unexpected as I thought it would be flimsy, see through or very thin but it isn't. 

The length of the skirt is a little longer than I would want but it is a nice midi length on me - keep in mind that I am petite so on a 'average' sized person it would be about knee length I think. The quality is the main thing that surprised me the most about the skirt, as well as how well it fits, the quality is so good for such an inexpensive item at about £10. 

Overall, I love this skirt and I think I will get so much use out of it next summer as it is already getting a little too cold in Manchester for completely bare legs but it pairs so nicely with nude heels, a simple white tee and a statement or unusual necklace - mine is from Swarovski. There are quite a few stripy items from Zaful on my wish list now. Overall rating: ★★, 5/5. 

Have you bought anything from Zaful? Do you love stripes as much as I do?

Summer Giveaway (UK only)

Thursday, August 20, 2015
Summer may be coming to an end soon but if you are lucky enough to be jetting off on holiday then this giveaway is for you (or you could host a summer/vacation themed party!). 

The giveaway prizes are as follows: Twister Picnic Blanket, Bar bingo and a £10 Amazon voucher for holiday essentials or books. Paddy Power Bingo is very kindly providing all of the prizes for this giveaway. This giveaway is UK only! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below:

Summer Makeup Essentials Ft. MeMeMe

Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Summer Makeup Essentials Ft. MeMeMe
MeMeMe is a brand that I have only tried a few products from but everything I've tried, I have loved. I reviewed their gorgeous, soft rose collection earlier this year and I was so impressed with the light up gloss and eyeshadow quad. Here are some of my summer essentials from MeMeMe!

Let's start with the bronzers, I recently posted a post all about bronzers for pale skin and the *MeMeMe Blush Me! (£8.95) in Bronze was definitely one of my faves from that post. The Blush Me! bronzer is perfect for my super pale skin as it looks really natural, it blends easily and it just gives my skin a pretty sun kissed glow. The other bronzer I have is the *MeMeMe Goddess Rocks (£12.95) which don't come in the most user friendly packaging and the shade is a little too bronzy/dark and golden for my skin tone but I think it would look gorgeous on deep skin tones.

Even though it's still summer, my skin is always dry so the *MeMeMe Seventh Heaven Moisturising Face Base (£15) is an essential pre-foundation step in my makeup routine. It smells so nice, it leaves the skin smooth and ready for makeup. I will get SO much use out of it during the upcoming colder months! Also during the summer I don't tend to wear a lot of foundation so I rely on concealer; multi-use products are really handy as we have been on a couple of mini staycations and anything that saves space is great. The *MeMeMe Correct & Perfect Concealer Kit in Buff (£7) has been a staple over the past few weeks, the shade match is fantastic for me, it doesn't look heavy or caky on the skin and it has a powder in the base of the compact. I thought the concealer (which isn't a corrector) would be waxy and hard but it is creamy and surprisingly  easy to blend particularly over the primer. 

Summer Makeup Essentials Ft. MeMeMe

Now onto the eyes, the *MeMeMe Ultimate Eye Palette in Soft Rose (£15) combines the beautiful soft tones with fine metallic shimmer and it's gorgeous! There is only one matte shade which is a downside to this palette in my opinion but all of the shades are smooth and perfect for a quick wash of colour on the lids. I've been using the cream shade all of the lid and brow bone for a bright eyed, fresh look. It is also a great neutral day to night palette; you can dampen your brush and get more pigmented, vidid shades. For the looks above I also used the metallic *MeMeMe Opulent Eyes Quad (£6.95)

Last but not least, for summer I prefer to use more creamy and nude lip products as I don't want to be worrying about a bold lip on a hot day. The *MeMeMe Velvet Finish Lip Glide in Rich Truffle (£6.95) is the perfect brown nude shade for everyday; it is comfortable and long wearing. It's a very Kylie Jenner shade! 

Have you tried anything from MeMeMe? What do you think of the summer looks I've created?

Snapfish Best Sellers: Acrylic Photo Prints

Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Snapfish Best Sellers: Acrylic Photo Prints
I've been lucky enough to work with Snapfish by HP before, as I reviewed their fantastic photo calendar, photo mug, personalised christmas cards and photo notebook all of which I loved and was so happy with. This time round I chose four acrylic prints which I thought would be amazing as gifts or as fantastic alternatives to traditional photo frames. 

I picked the *Slim 6x4 Acrylic Photo Print (£9.99 each) which feature your chosen photo behind a rectangle of clear acrylic. Each 6x4 acrylic prints come with an acrylic stand which I have to be honest and say didn't fit with the prints - the gap for them to stand in wasn't wide enough for three out of the four prints sadly although my dad armed with a file was able to easily fix the minor problem. 

I used the best photographs of my holidays that I could find but even so I didn't think the quality of the photographs would be good but I'm so happy with just how clear, crisp and vivid the photographs turned out! I used photos from our holidays in Taormina in Sicily, Ephesus in Turkey and Venice, Italy as well as an adorable photo of our guinea pigs *Einstein and Spike* who sadly aren't with us anymore. 

The acrylic seems really durable and I think they look great around our house to show off the wonderful places we've been to on our travels as well as Einstein and Spike which have to be the cutest piggies ever! My only slight issue is that the back of the print shows the paper of the photo (if that makes sense) and it can peel away from the acrylic very slightly when trying to push onto the stand; although I don't think anyone will be looking at the back - the photos are obviously the main focus. 

Overall, I am so happy with the acrylic photo prints especially the photo quality, overall finish and I think the price is great. There are a couple of minor negatives but nothing that would put me off buying in the future or recommending them. The larger acrylic photo prints would be just perfect for a feature wall as well as birthday, graduation, anniversary or dare I say christmas gifts (yes, I'm already thinking about christmas, in August!). The wall prints, photo books and photo calendars are also some of the Snapfish best sellers. Overall rating: ★★★★✩, 4/5. 

Have you bought anything from Snapfish? What do you think of the acrylic photo prints?

Elle Magazine Ft. Magazine.co.uk

Monday, August 17, 2015
Elle Magazine Ft. Magazine.co.uk
Elle magazine is the only magazine that I have consistently bought and read since I was a teenager. I love the layout, features, style and especially the beauty section (which I think should be far bigger but as a beauty blogger I'm a little biased). When the lovely people at magazine.co.uk asked me if I wanted to be one of their bloggers, I was so excited. I was able to choose a couple of magazine subscriptions and of course, one of the subscriptions I chose was for Elle magazine. 

It is not just a great source information and inspiration for my blog but it's so nostalgic to me as I am a long time reader although since my teen years the price has slowly increased so a subscription might be the way to go now! 

One of the features that caught my eye in the September edition of UK Elle is The Beauty Brief - new arrivals in the beauty world which is always going to be a fave of mine. I'm always interesting in whats new and what I need to add to my ever growing beauty wish list which is now ridiculous long! I also love the 'how to super charge your scent' article about finding your signature fragrance and how to store your fragrances (in a cool, dark place away from the sun is best). 

Overall, even though a lot of people think print is on it's way out, I still love flicking through a thick glossy magazine on a pamper night and Elle is my magazine of choice - it has been for years! As mentioned, I think a magazine subscription is definitely the way to go and so many magazines have great gifts with them if you subscribe. 


Are you subscribed to any magazine? Have you visited magazine.co.uk

Too Faced Semi Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette

Sunday, August 16, 2015
Too Faced Semi Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette
Too Faced is a brand that I have wanted to try for SO long and when the Semi Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette was released months and months ago in the states, I couldn't stop thinking about it. As with all products released in America first, it takes so long for them to become available in the UK. I almost bought this palette from the american amazon website and Sephora but shipping and tax is quite expensive so my bank balance is glad I didn't. 

I was over the moon when this beaut of a palette arrived, the *Too Faced Semi Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette (£39) will be available to buy in Debenhams tomorrow! I'm so glad that it is now finally available in the UK - so ready, set, go go go!
Too Faced Semi Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette
I have been trying out this palette for a past few days and I am in love with it (is that even possible?!). The palette looks like a giant chocolate bar, but don't eat it, sadly it's just plastic although it looks adorable. The magnetic lid closure doesn't work for me, the lid can open easily which is really the only negative I have about this heavenly palette. 

It contains a range of seven matte shades and nine shimmery shades - some contain more shimmer and others less. The range of shades is fantastic as there are gorgeous neutrals for everyday but you can add in some darker shimmery shades for a neutral smokey eye. Also the orange and blue shades would be great to add a pop of colour (I hate that phase but it works well) to a matte look. All but two of the shades are 'normal' sized but the Coconut Creme shade and the Butter Pecan shade are larger - I personally would have preferred them all to be the same size but that's just me and my love of symmetry!
Too Faced Semi Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette
From my experience so far, the shades are buttery smooth, pigmented on the whole, easy to blend and I love the names of the shades - oh and did I mention that there is anti-oxidant rich cocoa powder in the eyeshadows so they smell like chocolate! Yes, it's that amazing and again don't eat them, I don't think they would taste very nice. My current favourite shades include: Licorice, Puddin', Mousse, Nougat, Truffled and Frosting. Here's a breakdown of the shades:

Licorice: Matte black 
Coconut Creme: Matte cream
Nougat: Matte mink
Truffled: Matte rich chocolate brown
Hot Fudge: Deep brown with gold shimmer
Cocoa Chilli: Medium brown with chunkier gold shimmer
Pink Sugar: Light pink with iridescent shimmer
Puddin': Deep matte ashy brown (a great brow shade for me)
Blueberry Swirl: Shimmery indigo blue
Peanut Butter: Matte tan 
Frosting: Warm brown with fine gold shimmer
Rum Raisin: Shimmery/Metallic taupe
Mousse: Matte light chocolate brown
Caramel: Golden tan with orange undertones and fine gold shimmer
Bon Bon: Shimmery/metallic copper
Butter Pecan: Shimmery golden peach

The main things I look for in an eyeshadow palette are a good range of mattes and shimmers, an ashy brow shade, a matte black to use as a liner and a matte highlight shade - this palette ticks every box for me and them some! The beautiful shimmery shades, cute packaging and chocolate scent are just bonuses. 

Overall, so far this palette has lived up to my expectations,which were pretty damn high. It looks amazing, it smells amazing (not something I would usually say about an eyeshadow palette), the shades compliment each other and are easy to blend. However the lid isn't the best in my opinion, I did experience a little fall out but nothing major and the Pink Sugar shade isn't pigmented at all - it's more of a glitter topper shade, in my opinion. Despite a couple of very minor negatives, I adore this palette and I know I will get so much use out of it! It is £39 which is more than the Urban Decay Naked palettes but you get more shades and a good mix of warm and cool toned shades. I think this palette would be perfect for any natural eyeshadow palette lovers and chocolate addicts out there - I fit into both of these categories! Overall rating: ★, 5/5. 

I definitely want to try more from Too Faced now and I will have a post dedicated to the looks I have been creating using this palette on my blog at the end of August so stay tuned! 

Have you tried the original Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette? What do you think of the Semi Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette?

My Birthday Giveaway ft. Yves Rocher

Saturday, August 15, 2015
Yves Rocher Vanille Noir perfume giveaway
Today is my birthday! 

I'm 23 today *cries* so as I will be getting some lovely presents today (by the time you've read this I will probably have ripped them all open) I thought I would give a present to one lucky reader! 

I am giving away a gorgeous fragrance supplied by the lovely people at Yves Rocher. The Yves Rocher Vanille Noire Secrets D'Essences Eau De Parfum (30ml) is one of my favourite fragrances - I reviewed it fully on my blog already. The winner will receive a brand new 30ml bottle, fully sealed and boxed. As the restrictions on perfume are so strict, this giveaway is UK only

Here are my giveaway rules:

1. You must be following my blog on GFC (Google Friend Connect) and Bloglovin as well as Twitter (ofbeautyand)
2. You must be over 16 as I will need your postal address
3. UK only!

To enter: fill out the Rafflecopter form below! Good luck!

AA Bergamot + Aloe Deodorant

Friday, August 14, 2015
AA Bergamot and Aloe Deodorant
Amphora Aromatics is a brand I've reviewed on my blog previously, I've tried their Aloe Eye Gel which I loved so I was more than happy to try more from the brand. Amphora Aromatics is a natural skincare and bodycare brand which stocks a wide range of products. 

I chose the *AA Bergamot and Aloe Deodorant (£3.96 sale, 50ml) which unlike the majority of deodorants on the market doesn't contain the potentially harmful ingredient of aluminium. The deodorant does contain essentials oils and other great natural ingredients as such bergamot which 'attacks' bacteria which causes odour. The product comes in a roller ball bottle which I'm not a massive fan of as I prefer creamy stick deodorants. 

The scent is a little different that I thought it would be, it is fresh, citrus scented and it isn't too strong but it reminds me of kitchen cleaning products and it's quite a bitter scent. Besides the scent it is a great deodorant, it is a wet formula so it takes a while to dry as all deodorants of this type do but I don't have to wait around for ages. It is effective as a deodorant, which some natural deodorants aren't to an extent, although I don't think it would stand up to exercise. 

Overall, I love the look of the packaging, I am a fan of the natural ethos of the brand and the great ingredients list and it does work well for me on a daily basis but the scent it's quite what I expected and I don't think it would be suitable for hotter days or going to the gym for example - I've never been to a gym in my life but you know what I mean! Overall rating: ★★★★✩, 4/5. 

Have you tried anything from this brand? Do you use any natural deodorants?

Scentered Therapy Balms: Stress Less + Focus

Thursday, August 13, 2015
Scentered Therapy Balms: Stress Less + Focus
When I'm stressed or trying to relax more I find that certain scents, particularly lavender, chamomile, herbal and earthy scents are the ones that always help me the most. Scentered have a range of products that have been helping me recently especially as I stress and worry over everything all of the time!

Scentered make scented 'therapy' balms which contain moringa and shea butters to nourish the skin as well as provide a long lasting heavenly scent. All of the balms are 100% natural and include other ingredients such as beeswax and sunflower seed oil. The balms come in handy metal tins which would be great to re-use or upcycle. 

Scentered Therapy Balms: Stress Less + Focus
I have two of the balms in the scents 'stress less' which contains notes of chamomile, neroli and mandarin as well as the 'focus' balm which contains rosemary, mint and clary sage. Both are 5g which doesn't sound like a lot but a little does go a long way from my experience of using these balms. 


This scent is the one I was most looking forward to trying as I love anything with neroli as an ingredient/fragrance note. The balms are so handy and quick and easy to use as they are in a convenient stick form so I can use them at my desk, before bed or anytime throughout the day. The scent to me is just heavenly and so relaxing and calming - it smells slightly similar to the Sabe Mason solid perfume in the scent Copacabana (which I adore!). I apply the balms to my wrists mostly as well as a little behind my ears and neck. After about five to ten minutes the balms aren't noticeable at all on the skin in terms of texture but the scent is there and lasts for a good couple of hours on my skin. The scent definitely helps me relax and stress a little less - although nothing will ever stop me from stressing completely. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5! 


I haven't been using this balm as much as the 'stress less' balm solely because I prefer the notes overall in the 'stress less' therapy balm. This balm is just as quick/easy of use as the previous one although the notes are very different. The scent is very fresh, herbal, earthy and quite masculine, in my opinion. The rosemary, sage and mint all come through individually and aren't artificial. It is a little 'dads cologne' like to me so I don't think I will reach for this one quite as much but it is still a nice scented balm to use. I don't think I focus more after using this but the scent is quite awakening, if that makes sense! I'll probably get my dad to try this one out as I think he will get more use out of it. Overall rating: ★★★☆☆, 3/5. 

Overall, I am impressed with the packaging, easy of use and how authentic the scents are as well as the non-greasy feel on the skin. I adore the 'stress less' balm and I will be using it whenever I need to try and relax; however I don't think I will get much use personally out of the 'focus' therapy balm but everyones different and scents are a very personal thing - that being said, if you know that someone likes those particular scents then these fantastic scent therapy balms would make a nice, thoughtful gift. They have other scents such as 'sleep well' which sounds amazing, 'escape' and 'love'. 

Have you tried the Scentered therapy balms or anything similar? 

PMD PERSONAL MICRODERM: 2 Month Update

Tuesday, August 11, 2015
PMD PERSONAL MICRODERM: 2 Month Update

Back in May I published an 'initial impressions' post on the *PMD Personal Microdermabrasion device (£150) and to be honest I wasn't really seeing any fantastic results from it at the time although now over two months since I published that initial impressions post I do have some good news.

In May I had been using the white training disc for a few weeks to get my skin used to the feeling of the disc and I moved onto the grey disc which is designed for very sensitive skin. As I do have sensitive skin generally although not really where I used this device, I still wanted to be cautious with it as I didn't want any negative reactions and which thankfully I didn't experience. 

The grey disc was providing some positive results such as smoother skin and a slight reduction on my pores and overall just generally brighter skin where I used to device on my t-zone but still nothing incredibly amazing. After a few weeks with the grey disc I then moved onto the next disc up which is more abrasive - the blue disc for sensitive skin. I used the device once a week although I have to be honest and say that I skipped a couple of weeks due to being away from home and being ill. 

I was a little wary about moving onto a more abrasive disc but the blue disc is still under the 'for sensitive skin' category - with each disc I find that I was noticing better results. The blue disc has been the most effective, the pores on my t-zone aren't as bad and my skin overall is just brighter and smoother. I do think that you have to be persistent with this device, you're not going to see amazing results instantly. I was a little disappointed with the device in my initial impressions post although I had only used it three times. 

I don't know if the results will stay if I stop using it for a short period of time or if I have to keep using it once a week to constantly maintain the results but I don't think I would use this device often that from now on - it would come in useful if I was going on holiday or had an important event in a couple of months time and I wanted to get my skin in better condition. For now, I can only see myself using the blue disc, I don't think I would move onto the green disc (medium strength abrasion), I think it would be far too abrasive for my skin. 

Overall, after a couple of months I have noticed some positive results from this device and I'm surprised at how I haven't experienced any negative effects (apart from a small amount of temporary redness). The device is easy to use, set up and maintain although it definitely takes a few weeks of practise, or it did in my case. I don't have any lines/wrinkles as I'm only 22 *23 on the  15th August, cries* so I can't comment on that aspect of the device; I also don't have blemishes/acne/spots so again I can't comment on the effectiveness of the device on those problems. For me personally it isn't something I will continue to use on a weekly basis but only for special events and that makes it for me a little pricey at around £150 but if you were considering microdermabrasion in a salon, I think it would be a great at home device to try first. Please bear in mind that everyones skin is different and it may work differently for you. Overall rating: ★★★☆☆, 3/5.

Have you tried this device or any salon microdermabrasion treatments?