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I'm a confessed beauty addict that was lucky enough to work in the fashion & beauty world and enjoyed for a long time getting free gifts like handbags, clothes, shoes and more than anything else cosmetics!
My situation is now very different, I've taken a sabbatical year from work and I've been traveling with the money I've made selling my designers stuff on Ebay. Frankly, I have no intention to go back to my full time job for at list another year and for budget reasons had to find alternatives to the "top end" free treatments I was used to therefore for the last year or so I've been researching and experimenting various cheap alternatives and I've seen amazing results.
I will not write about DIY cosmetics recipes but of techniques and methods that done regularly I've found to be more effective than treatments like Botox, dermal fillers and mesotheraphy or any expensive lotion or Spa treatment I've ever tried.
The methods/techniques are the following:
Tanaka Massage for face: I came across this in a beauty forum and found the free instruction video on You Tube. This facial massage is based on principles and is a mixture of acupressure, lymphatic and bone massage. It is easy to learn and extremely effective. It will not take much of your time, just few minutes but must be done on a daily basis. I've seen results after two weeks especially in the eye area. Honestly, this is better than any professionally done facial massage I've ever had done and really changes the shape of your face.
Callanetics: Was my favourite beauty therapist that initially told me about this. Apparently it was very popular in the 80's and then went out of fashion. The Callanetics exercise program for the body doesn't make you lose weight but it makes you look slimmer. It is very similar to Pilates but having practiced both I've seen much more results with Callanetics. Callanetics works in a way that tones and elongates your muscles, it has done miracles on my bum and honestly looks like I spend hours in the gym when actually I do less than 2 hours of exercises a week. The program is available on DVD in different versions ( Callanetics for the morning, Aerobic Callanetics, advanced etc).I bought the DVD of the Original Callanetics and I later found out you can also download it online for free. Don't be put off from the look ok the DVD, as said, the look and feel of it is a bit outdated the exercises however are so effective that you can see a difference after the first two times you do the entire routine.
Facial exercises -Just Google it and you will find plenty of facial exercises programs sold in the form of DVDs or books for various prices. I've tried more than one and frankly they are all good, you can also Google for FREE facial exercises and you'll find lots of them for specific area of the face , just add them up to have a full face exercise routine and it will not cost you a penny. The basic points to keep in mind when it comes to facial exercises is that you have to do them until you fell a burning sensation , this is a symptom that the facial muscles are working and of course you'll also have to be consistent, do them at least 4 times a week for the first month. In my case I started seeing the results after the first week and I haven't stopped since then. I'm usually told that I look 10 to 15 years younger than my real age so I'm hoping that if I keep doing them for another year I'll look like a teenager. Jokes apart, they really work!
Iron out your wrinkles - I met an a lady in Nicaragua, she was the owner of the B&B where I was staying, was in her 70's and had an amazing skin, not one single wrinkle on her face! I asked her what was her secret and when she told me she "irons out her wrinkles with a tea spoon". At first I thought I didn't understand and my Spanish skills are worse than what I thought until she showed me her technique. She first moisturizes her skin with oil (any oil ) and then massages her wrinkles with the smooth part of a teaspoon ( the curved bit), first in the same direction of the wrinkle and then with circular movements. I'm talking about a deep massage, you really have to push into the skin like if you are trying to iron out the wrinkle. I know it sounds crazy but give it a try, you'll see the difference after the first time you do it. She was doing it every day and since I've tried this technique on my forehead wrinkles I'm addicted to it.
All the mentioned techniques will take some of your time,each time will take you 15 minutes to do the facial exercises, 45 minutes for the Callanetics program, 6 minutes for the Tanaka massage and 2 minutes for the wrinkle ironing technique.
Everybody knows what Facebook is so I will not go in the description and give instead a very personal review of my experience and thoughts about the website and the use of it.
I am one of the over a billion users of the website, actually, I would be more precise saying that I'm one of the over a billion people registered on the website but don't really like to use it for a number of reasons. My issues with Facebook start from the very definition of its use in Wikipedia: :" Facebook allows users to continuously stay in touch with friends, relatives and other acquaintances wherever they are in the world, as long as there is access to the Internet."
Please note the words "CONTINUOUSLY" and " IN THE WORLD", do I really want that? Things get worst if you match " CONTINUOUSLY" and "IN THE WORLD" with "RELATIVES" and finally " ACQUAINTANCES". This words combination is my typical nightmare scenario.
In addition I also have a long list of issues with some of the website features and users habits, I'll try to make a short list:
Writing style: Why so many people elongate words? I'm talking here about the" Helloooooo, how are youuuu? I' so happyyyyy" , etc etc. Am I missing a point here? Do we get money for the longest word?
Contents: Some people write on Facebook irrelevant and private details of their life; I mean I'm not interested in when someone goes to the toilet or has sex and I don't want the world to know when I do it!
Who is a Facebook friend: First of all this feature is very political as there is the question if I'm rude in not accepting someone as a friend. If I a small chat with someone at a party and he/she sends me an invite to be friends do I have to accept it? The issue here is that once you accept someone as a friend you share with them most of the information about you, the very same information you share with your friends will also be shared with your acquaintances and relatives. My mum that is almost in her 70's recently registered on Facebook and sent me an invite to be friends: I cannot really ignore her request, can I? She is my mum! Also, looking at it from another angle, the social status of many is based on how many friends they have on Facebook so does the fact that I have less than 100 make of me an unpopular person? Should my self-esteem suffer because of that or does the fact that I cannot care less than what I do make of me an horrible person?
Pictures: Judging from the profile's pictures on Facebook a big percentage of its users is a model or a movie star. Fact.
There is the possibility of tagging other people in pictures; I take this as a violation of privacy! Recently a supposed Facebook " friend" of mine tagged pictures of me during a holiday ( at a party and on the beach) and they were seen by work colleagues: how embarrassing!
Poking feature: I must admit I still haven't got the full meaning of this feature and have not explored it either but at first sight looks to me rude. Just imagine spending your time poking people in reality, wouldn't that be rude?
My general impression of Facebook is that has transcended the initial meaning of social network and is complicating my life so I will not use it.
I remember when YSL launched this revolutionary product; I'm calling it revolutionary because it really was at the time, the general feeling in the beauty sector was that we went from the Jurassic era of cancelers to the 21st century , literally overnight.
Many brand have imitated the formula but the original YSL touche Eclat still in my opinion remains the very best.
I've tried other brands, my nature is inquisitive and I tend always to think there is something better out there and I need to discovery it, in this case I've given up. Touche Eclat is simply the best.Fact.
What it is: Best way to define it is illuminator. The principle behind it is a radiance boosting Complex that capture and reflects lights.
How to use it: Really, this is like the brush of an artist, can be used on any part of the face & body ( yes, body too) that you want to highlight.It is most commonly used to hide dark shadows but the list of uses can be very long; I'll tell you how I use it to get some examples: upper lips bow ( before applying lip liner) to give you a great pout and make your lips fuller ,above the cheekbones to create a sculpted look ( Kate Moss style), top of eyebrows to give a fresher look at the entire face, corner of the eyebrows to create a well defined brow line, neckline plunge if you are wearing a low neckline top to give the impression of a fuller plunge ( I'm trying to be polite here but I basically mean the top part of your breast), center of the neck to give the impression of an elongated neck. These are only few examples, there is no perfect application, you need to experiment yourself and find what will compliment your features.
Now please do not think that I go out looking like if I'm wearing a mask, I can assure you the effect is 100% natural and in fact you'll look barefaced, only a better version of yourself.
Range availability: it now comes in 12 different shades, mine is number 3 and I have a peachy Mediterranean skin tone, if you go on the YSL beauty website you'll see examples of various pictures, pick the one that is most similar to your skin tone to find out what is the best shade of Touche Eclat for you or even better go and try it on in a store.
One and Only downside to this product: and my review would not be fair if I didn't mention it. Touche Eclat contains photogenic compounds that alter lighting so if you are going to take pictures be careful as the areas where you have applied it will come up as very white in the pictures; basically all the product that you have put on your face that is not visible to the nude eye will be very visible and in fact highlighted in pictures.
Price : £25 and worth every penny
I've been using this oil from L'Occitane as massage oil on my legs only, I was undecided between L'Occitane and another brand but I opted for this as I love the smell of other products from their almond range ad thought they use the same aroma in the oil as well.
In fact one of the things I like most from this oil is how it smells! Absolutely gorgeous and is a long lasting scent.
Packaging:Comes in a glass bottle of 100ml. The glass used for the bottle is tick, I personally find the bottle to heavy however must admit that has a luxurious feeling to it. A pump dispenser at the top ensures the oil doesn't drop or gets messy when you apply it.
Components: Having at a certain time of my life experimented with aromatheraphy , essential oils and DIY skincare I was intrigued to find out the composition of the product and it came with no surprise the fact that the base oil used is a sweet almond oil ( actually not much of a discovery considering that it says so in the name!!)
What is more interesting are the remaining components, between the list of them there are few that come to the attention like Evening Primrose Oil (known for moisturizing and softening properties), Borago Seed Oil (knows as a blood purifier), Peppermint (known as warming and stimulating), camelina oil ( anti inflammatory properties). I therefore decided to buy as it seemed to me like a great mixture of ingredients that could effectively have some toning properties and perhaps improve cellulite considering the camelina and peppermint properties.
Feeling on Skin:This is a dry oil and a very tick oil, a pump from the dispenser will be enough o massage one leg. Smells gorgeous, is easily absorbed and skin feels moisturized all day.
Results: I've been using this oil for 5 weeks and noticed that after the 1st week of application ( once a day) my legs looked firmer however this is probably due to the fact that were really moisturized. After the 5 weeks use my legs looked slightly more toned especially in the area around the knees, I'm not talking a bout a massive difference, just a small one; if this was due to l'Occitane almond oil or to the massage I used to apply it is hard to say.
Will I buy it again?: Only if a have extra money to spend or if I really want to treat myself as I adore the way it smells.I would not buy it again as a toning treatment because I don't think it really made a great difference
A friend of mine that has worked for several cosmetic brands introduced me to this product several years ago and is one of the few products within the Clinique range that I consider irreplaceable.
This eye make up remover literally does what it says on the box, within seconds, without rubbing, without irritating eyes. It is 100% effective with all types of make up including waterproof.
Packaging: comes in a 125ml bottle and is a bit of a shame they don't do a bigger size
Components: I'm afraid this is not much of a natural product, in fact most components are chemical and I'm not going to mention them as it would be along boring list that wold not interest many. Just be aware that is not a natural product however safety is guaranteed as it is Ophthalmologist tested
Suggestion for use: shake the bottle before using it. Do not use if you have fake eyelashes, it is a oil based formulation therefore not indicated for fake eyelashes or/and lash extensions. I use it saturating first a cotton ball and keeping it on the eye area for few seconds.
Feeling on skin:This is a eye remover with an oily base however no oily sensation left after ashing off face with water.
Price and where to buy it: £16.00 available from Boots or any Clinique counter
This is a good product that Clinique launched few years ago. I've used it during a time when my skin was under stress and irritated and fount it effective in covering the redness on my face. I don't tend to buy many products from the Clinique range however there are a few that I find amazing and would not replace with anything else, this is one of them.
Packaging: Comes in a jar containing 24g of mineral powder. A small powder brush is also included however I never used it because I much prefer to use a Kabuki brush for powder application and also the included brush seemed a bit cheap to me.
Components: 75% of components are a mixture of minerals such as Calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium the remaining 25% is a mixture of , magnolia bark extract, mushroom extract, grapefruit peel and Vitamine E. A special mention must be made to magnesium, it is highly effective for oily skin types because absorbs excess oil.
Application: I was advised by the Clinique sales person to apply a small quantity of product directly with fingers on my face and then brush it off. It was a great tip, I still use this technique for any type of powder application and the results are always flawless.
Texture and feeling on sin: the powder is very fine, of a light yellow colour that perfectly complements most skin tones (believe it or not our skin is more yellow than pink), blends easily without leaving any "powdery" appearance and has a fresh feeling.
Results: the application of this powder immediately cancelled the red patches on my face. I'm not sure as the claimed therapeutic properties but is definitely a winning canceling powder.
Price and availability: I bought mine from Boots, price is £24.50 but is available at any Clinique counter and of course online.
Before starting my review there is a fundamental point to clarify; perfumes have different concentrations of scent, according to the quantity of aromatic compounds they can be classified in:
Eau de Toilette contains approximately 10% of aromatic compounds, this is the cheapest version and the scent fades quickly. I will call this version 3
Eau de Perfume contains approximately 15% of aromatic compounds, this is the most used concentration and also the most commercial. I will call this version 2
Perfume up to 40% of aromatic compounds, the real expression of the soul of the perfume, sometimes is also called 'extrait perfume'. This is best if only applied to pulse points and only one single drop .Yes, I mean one single drop is enough and you can be sure that the scent will last for hours. I will call this version 1
On those important bases I'm going to write my review on the Coco Chanel Perfume ( version 1), the one I use, the most expensive version and also the one I see here in the picture. The Eau de perfume bottle ( version 2) is very similar with the exception of the little black rose around the neck of the bottle and the fact that is much bigger.
A bit of history : This specific perfume was created thinking to the Woman Coco Chanel and was the first one after her death so is supposed to be inspired to what Coco symbolized, her elegance, her personality her aura. Created by the famous perfumer Jacques Polge, the year of release of the Coco Perfume was 1984.
Packaging and prices: It comes in the classic Chanel black box and it is a 7.5ml or 15ml sizes at the prices respectively of £88 and £142. I bought it the first time few years ago and felt a bit silly paying £88 (a bit less at the time)for a bottle just a little bigger than a sample size but changed my mind with time. The bottle is tiny but made with a good quality glass, the lid heavy and useful for application as it doesn't' come with a drop dispenser. The little black rose is a tiny detail but looks great. Great to keep in handbag because is so small.
Scent: The best adjective to describe it is the same one used on the Chanel website for this scent: baroque. On a personal note I would also add: spicy, oriental, warm. Top notes are coriander, pomegranate blossom, mandarin orange, peach, jasmine and Bulgarian rose; middle notes are mimose, cloves, orange blossom, clover and rose; base notes are labdanum, amber, sandalwood, civet and vanilla. This is not a scent that will suit everyone, therefore, taking into consideration that any perfume changes according to the skin PH (acidity measurement) and, the price of this particular version, I advise to try the version 2 over the counter first and reassess the scent after a couple of hours before buying the pure perfume version.
Money versus price: I bought my last bottle approximately 7 months ago, have used it almost every day and still have a bit of perfume left in the bottle.
Instructions for use: Just a touch with the bottom part of the lid on your pulse. One touch. Once a day.
Where to buy it: I bought mine from House of Fraser but is also available at most of the Chanel Perfumes counters in department stores and also in Chanel counters in Boots.Doing a quick research on line you will probably find it for cheaper prices however I always buy mine from department stores as I wouldn't want even one single drop of it to go wasted in the package.
Thanks for reading!
I love Ruth Rendell writing style and reading this book only confirmed the fact she is probably my favorite writer of crime/fiction books, I've read most of them and also read the books she writes under the pseudonym of Barbara Wine.
Ruth is brilliant at describing personalities at the point that after reading the book they almost seem real persons. It helps of course the fact that I live in London and most of her books describe familiar places and street. In this specific novel there is a character ( a Spanish kind of house keeper ) that in fact reminded me of someone I've actually met!This is the type of book you better start reading at the weekend because you will not be able to put it down until is finished.
The story is about the ins and outs of a group of apparently totally normal people that live average life and at a certain point become involved with a crime; this is a recurrent pattern in all her books and is exactly why she is so brilliant; she makes crime appear like an ordinary thing that can happen to anyone, just like drinking a cup of tea.
I also like the fact she doesn't use crude language; if you like crime books that talk about blood and dead corpses and violence this is not the book for you.
Available from: I've bought it on Amazon but also seen in WH Smith
I've bought this in a duty free between a connecting flight from one Caribbean island to another one at a time when my skin was really feeling the effects of excessive sun exposure.
I must say that I actually bought 3 cosmetic products from the Estee Lauder range so some of the positive effects I've experienced are probably due to a combined action.
The serum has almost a liquid texture, very easily absorbed and with no silicon feeling to it ( unlike the other two Estee Lauder products I bought), in fact because it was so easily absorbed I've been very generous in the application and repeated twice each evening.
After more or less the first week of use I started seeing noticeable results that have increased with time.
Changes have been mainly in quality of skin texture and completion, my skin felt smoother with no dry patches and looked more radiant.
I'm sorry to say that there was no difference in wrinkle size ( either depth or length) and this is manly the reason why I stopped using it and switched to another product.
On their website Estee Lauder claims clinical tests that have proven significant reduction in wrinkles however that is not my case.
I will definitely buy it again and use it during periods when my skin feels under stress and is probably a great product for who only wants to prevent wrinkles however not enough effective to address deep wrinkles.
Availability: In most of the UK department stores, mid and large size Boots stores, online from most Etailers including the Estee Lauder official website
Price: £44 for 30ml
I bought this book mainly because everybody was talking about it, in fact I bought the Trilogy of 50 shades and started reading the first book with great expectations. I wasn't sure about the writing style of the author right from the beginning but kept reading and thinking that if everybody spoke about it there must be something good about so kept reading thinking the best was still to come. I was wrong.
The story is about a woman called Anastasia that is not particularly intelligent (at least doesn't say or do anything to prove the contrary) or charming, or beautiful or talented, basically an average woman like billion of others. This Anastasia meets a millionaire that falls madly in love with her, loves to take her shopping ( a rare man), buys her designer clothes, takes her on surprise holidays,sorts out her boss from hell etc etc. In addition this millionaire makes amazing love to her without failing even once.
What he sees in her remains a mystery until the end of the book and his attraction appears even more mysterious from the point in the book when she starts having confidence crisis and crying every couple of chapters. Honestly she is someone I would find irritating having as a friend!
The entire book is full of cheap romantic stereotypes, was probably a big sensation because has sex ( specifically some form of masochism) into it however nothing more than that and frankly I find the fact that had such a big success a prove that society really need to work a bit less and get a real life,( including sex life) instead of day dreaming.
Price : £9.98 from Amazon for Kindle (I bought the trilogy)
I've used retinoid products in the past and I' ve always find them very effective in their anti aging properties however a couple of them have irritated my skin ( I'm a sensitive type) and discontinued using them.
I was given a sample of the Ren product by a friend of mine and the sample was big enough to last 3 days; having NOT experienced any irritation I decided to buy.
It is pricy if you think about the size however in this case a little goes a long way, REN recommends to use 5 drops per application but in fact I need only 3 drops of product for my entire face and neck.
I've now been using this product for a month and the results are amazing!
My skin feels smoother, my pores have reduced size and my overall skin quality has greatly improved.
The major effect has been on my existing forehead deep wrinkles, they are reduced in depth and length.
Also, I'm impressed on how gentle is on my skin, I've been exposed to the sun in the last 3 weeks and have not experienced any irritation at all, in fact it seems to have a calming effect on my skin.
This is probably one of the best product I've ever used and will definitely keep using it.
Please note: I have not used this product around the eye area
I'm a great admiror of Pinz Buin products and have been using them for many years mainly because, for reasons I can't myself explain, they tend to give you a "golden tan" and also suit my skin type so was really looking forward to try the Tan &Protect.
I usually tend to buy lower protection SPF as I have Mediterranean skin type and tend to tan easily however this time I went for the SPF 30 because I wanted to build a nice tan quickly so below are my overall comments:
A bit priced compared to similar products on the market
Loved the smell and was easy to apply ( like most of the Pinz Buin products)
My skin felt nice and moisturized, also not greasy however the consistence of the product was a bit ticker than other Pinz Buin products used in the past
Googled one of the component I didn't know about called Melitane and found out the following info: "Melitane is a biomimetic peptide of a naturally occurring hormone that calms inflammation and is particularly effective in preventing UV-related damage. By stimulating the production of melanin in the epidermis, Melitane may complement our own levels of natural melanin to strengthen the skin's defences against the harmful effects of the sun and free radicals". This sounded good to me as I'm in my 40s and trying to avoid skin damage that might increase existing wrinkles
Everything went well for the first week however I started developing pimples on my face and neck in week 2 so stopped using the product, not sure if this has happened because I've used a higher protection factor and therefore the product consistence was ticker than others previously used