Thursday, 26 July 2012

Magazine Freebies Tried & Tested: Glamour Magazine and Balance Me Lip Salve


What?   Balance Me Rose Otto Intensive Lip Salve RRP £12
Free with? Glamour Magazine, August 2012
Magazine price?  £2.00

Not only does Glamour magazine boast interesting content and an affordable £2 price point but it regularly gives away some of the best freebies around. This month Glamour has teamed up with natural skincare brand Balance Me to offer one of four amazing products free with the August issue. You can choose from Balancing Face Moisturiser, Wonder Eye Cream, Pure Face Wash or Rose Otto Lip Salve. It was a tough choice but as I’m a huge sucker for lip products I plumped for the lip salve.

I really cannot say enough good things about this product. Made from 100% natural ingredients like virgin coconut, sweet almond, shea and cocoa butter it is intensively moisturising, I only needed a tiny amount to instantly smooth and soften my lips. Although it’s clear in colour it gives a lovely natural sheen meaning it can be worn on its own or over your favourite lipstick. It is scented with a heavenly blend of essential oils and smells absolutely divine. 

The ergonomically designed tube is not only hygienic but the angled applicator applies just the right amount of product. The white packaging and purple floral design looks chic too!     

The only down side to the product is the hefty £12 retail price, although considering how concentrated the salve is I imagine a tube would last a very long time. If you’d like to try Balance Me Lip Salve it can be purchased here

Monday, 23 July 2012

Little Luxuries: GÜ Desserts

For those unfamiliar with the brand GÜ (pronounced ‘goo’) is a British-based company who make the most deliciously decadent desserts, all served in mini pots of elegant glass ramekins. Their recipes range from simple mousses to more elaborate creations like ‘After dark Passion Fruit Soufflés’, ‘Hot Chocolate Melting Middles’ and ‘Raspberry & Chilli Chocolate Pots’.

I first came across GÜ on a flight to the US a couple of years ago (easily the best airline meal I’ve ever had!) and I’ve been hopelessly addicted ever since. These are two of my favourite varieties; Chocolate Ganache Mini Puds, an incredibly rich, smooth chocolately dessert, and Mango & Passion Fruit Mini Cheesecakes, one of GÜ’s latest forays into fruity desserts consisting of a crumbly biscuit base topped with a light, fluffy cheesecake and tangy mango and passion fruit compote. The portions may be small but because the desserts are so rich and creamy there is more than enough to satisfy even the most sweet toothed. Calorically there compare favourably to other desserts too, with around 200 calories for the smaller pots versus 250 in an average slice of chocolate cake. GÜ is available in the UK from selected supermarkets as well as some Boots, Nisa and Ocado stores. To see more of the GÜ range visit the official website Have you tried GÜ? What did you think of them?

Friday, 20 July 2012

Magazine Freebies Tried & Tested: Red Magazine and Jemma Kidd I-Glamour Mascara

When I’m not catching up on my favourite TV shows or reading a book I like to have a magazine ready on the coffee table to leaf through, I typically buy two or three a month usually choosing those that come with free gifts. Not only are magazine freebies a great way to get a product for a fraction of the retail price but they can introduce you to brands you may never have tried -or even heard of- otherwise. In what I hope will be a long-running series of posts I will review my favourite magazine freebies each month, this first edition is a little back-dated but in future I hope to get in early so the magazine is still available to buy.

What?  Jemma Kidd Make Up School I-Glamour Volume Mascara RRP £15
Free with?  Red Magazine, July 2012
Magazine price?  £3.90

This volumising mascara is part of a new range of products from make-up artist Jemma Kidd, sister to model Jodie. The best feature for me was the large brush which applied the product evenly and managed to coat all of the lashes, upper and lower, making them appear lengthened and separated. It didn’t go on too thickly or clump, and I found a single coat was all that was needed. The downside of this product was that during the day it tended to flake, leaving unsightly flecks of mascara around my eyes. As a freebie I could probably overlook this although I was disappointed considering the premium £15 retail price. I think for the price tag there are many better alternatives. If you want to try the mascara for yourself it can be purchased here

Friday, 13 July 2012

Mine at Last: Modalu Bibi

I discovered Modalu a couple of years ago, this –a tan satchel style bag called the Bibi- was the very first bag I saw and I instantly fell in love with it. It had the mid-range price tag of £155, enough to qualify as an investment buy but not unreasonable considering the quality of the design and the butter-soft leather. I’d just splurged on a quilted Ri2k bag though so instead of snapping up the Bibi there and then, I told myself I should wait, it would probably be reduced in the sale, I could always buy it later. Just a couple of months after that Pippa Middleton was pictured carrying Modalu’s Bristol handbag (later renamed the Pippa in her honour) and the profile of the brand sky rocketed. Their most popular bags seemed to sell out in stores overnight and started appearing on ebay for up to twice their retail price. Since then I’ve been trying to track down a Bibi, although I’ve found them in black snakeskin, pink, blue, burgundy patent and even canvas, the tan leather completely eluded me. Until amazingly last week one popped up on ebay, still in brand new condition with its original dust bag, I jumped on it immediately. I bought it on Friday and by Tuesday morning it had arrived.

As soon as I opened the package I could tell the bag was just as nice as I’d remembered; the classic yet relaxed design, the beautiful light tan -officially called ‘oak’- leather and chic gold hardware. Inside it has one central compartment with a smaller zipped pocket inside and a divider for a mobile phone. On the back there’s a handy pocket that could be used to store small items like keys or change that you want easily accessible. The interior is fully lined in a lilac monogrammed jacquard fabric. I found the main handles just a little too short to carry the Bibi on the shoulder but this isn’t a major issue as the bag comes with a long detachable strap so it can be worn satchel style. I’ve been really pleasantly surprised by how well the Bibi holds its shape, it’s not as structured as some of Modalu’s other bags like the Pippa so I was concerned it would sag if it wasn’t completely full but so far it’s held up beautifully. All in all I’m delighted with almost every aspect of the bag. The only thing I feel is lacking is a little more reinforcement in the base of the bag and perhaps some metal studs on the bottom to protect it from every day wear and tear. Aside from these very minor complaints I wouldn’t hesitate to unreservedly recommend this bag –or any of Modalu’s designs- to anyone who wants a high-quality, beautifully designed handbag for a reasonable price.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Fresh n’ Fruity: Treats from The Body Shop

I’m a huge fan of The Body Shop, not only are their products great quality but they’re committed to ethical trading. They were one of the first large companies to be openly anti-animal testing and support animal welfare charities, to source all of the raw ingredients for their cosmetics ethically and invest in Fair Trade initiatives across the globe.   

At the weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to a Body Shop at Home party, a new scheme where representatives sell Body Shop products door to door or host parties in your home, with 20% off everything and a selection of half-price sale products, I couldn’t resist treating myself to a few things. I choose two special edition Bath & Shower Gels in classic Body Shop fragrances from the ‘80s and ‘90s, Dewberry and Fuzzy Peach (£2 each reduced from £4) , they’re both infused with Aloe Vera so they’re not at all drying and leave skin feeling super-soft. They lather really easily and in additional to being a great cleansing wash can be poured under running water to give a refreshing bath soak. The Dewberry has a musky –almost lavender esque- scent, while the Peach is really fruity and punchy, perfect for an invigorating morning shower.

Continuing the fruit theme I also purchased a Blueberry Body Butter (£6 was £12.50), an incredibly rich, creamy formula designed to leave skin intensively moisturised. Like all of The Body Shop’s products this smells heavenly and the fragrance lasts a long time on the skin. It takes a while to absorb fully so it’s best to only use a very small amount and rub it in thoroughly. Applying it at night guarantees soft, supple skin when you wake up.

All of the products mentioned can be purchased now in store or online at their reduced prices by clicking the links above. Have you tried any of The Body Shop’s cosmetics? What did you think of them?

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