Monday, 25 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 25: My Favourite Things make-up bag

Day 25 gift - My Favourite Things...make up bag
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar 2017)
Not to get all Noddy Holder on you guys or anything, BUT....

IT'S CHRRRIIIIISSSSTTTMASSSSS!!!!!

I confess that this cute little bag was one of the main reasons that I was swayed into buying a calendar of miniatures that in truth I had no earthly need for!

I'm not sure it's branded, but I'm entirely sure that I do not care. It's slightly padded for some protection, cotton feel outer with a leak resistant liner.

A very cute extra for the Christmas Day gift in the advent calendar and I may or may not have actually purchased a few little favourite things to immediately stuff it with for myself...check out the Insta later!

Hoping you all have a silly, festive, fun and loving Christmas day with your nearest and dearest.

Christmas wishes and kisses and hugs and canap├ęs for all!!

xx Josephine xx



Good things come to those who wait! 

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 24: Pur Correcting Primer

Pur Minerals - Correcting Primer (illuminate & glow)
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar 2017)
Christ! Mas! Eve! Sparkles

Surely the best day of the year - the anticipation, the pre-emptive drinking, the cooking, the bustle, the fairy lights. Argh!! Too much to bear.

Safe travels for any of you who are only setting off on your journeys to your Christmas destination today. Wishing you all a successful and safe journeying!

Another primer today. Again this one doesn't feel to be silicone based - I realise people aren't a fan of those, but I never really minded. I didn't end up getting huge amounts of congestion from silicone though.

The colour of the primer is about the same as the tube it's contained in, once blended in though there's not really any tint (good). Wetter than the Autograph primer, I think this has a longer dry down time but feels more like it's doing something once it's dried down.

Designed to be a base for powder mineral foundation, I'll have to give it a whirl with my bare minerals, which has languished somewhat this year given my rather aggressive moisturising regime. Maybe have to skip the Skin Food on the day I plan to buff in a mineral foundation...

Illumination and glow is apt as the penultimate present, given the radiance theme running throughout the beauty calendar this year - and why not glow over some mulled wine with friends and family this evening, readying ourselves for the commencement of board games tomorrow!

Christmas kisses and wishes

xx Josephine xx

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 23: M&S Formula Ultimate Sleep Cream

M&S Formula - Ultimate Sleep Cream
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar 2017)
Happy Satur-YAY Sparkles!!!

Can't believe I've almost actually completed a project I set myself on the blog - it feels a long time since I've done that (have I *ever* done that?!) so I'm super pleased.

Today is a sample size (15ml) of M&S's relatively newly offered Ultimate Sleep Cream, promising to deliver the much sought after 8 hours of sleep in a jar. Or in this case a plastic tube.

So popular upon release in autumn last year, it actually sold out early this year, resulting in a waiting list!

At only £22 for a 50ml pot that's pretty impressive feedback if people are voting with their purses.

I think this was also included in a little black tube last year and I remember thinking it was lovely as I used it up on summer holiday this year.

If this proves to be the same little offering I will definitely keep an eye out when doing some Christmas sales shopping in M&S after the day itself.

Sleep-effect me up....!!!

Christmas kisses and wishes,

xx Josephine xx


Friday, 22 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 22: M&S Autograph Hydrating Confidence Boost Primer

M&S Autograph Confidence Boost Primer - Hydrating
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar 2017)
Hi Sparkles!

The day itself is drawing near and for all of you left in work, it's the final day before you skip out to a run of parties, celebrations and festivities!

I hope your lovely bosses let you sneak off before the final bell today :)

This primer feels lovely, doesn't seem to be silicone based by feel at least. From a first try on the back of my hand this does leave a satin feel on the skin.

For me, I don't think it would be enough on its own for my dry skin but over my normal oils and moisturisers could give a really nice base for make-up.

If it's good I would definitely consider buying as the full size is on sale for about £12.50 for 30ml.

The sample provided is generous at 15ml and will definitely be dropped in my travel bag for taking away with me.

What's your plan for today's escape to the Christmas season? Even those of us who have been off work will have been checking up on emails, so today is the start of a 4 day email free period!!!

Christmas kisses and wishes,

xx Josephine xx

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 21: Balance Me Rose Otto Face Oil

Balance Me Rose Otto Face Oil
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar 2017)
Morning Sparkles!

An impressive 10ml of face oil was today's offering, from Balance Me which is a British brand I have a couple of items from already, so this is quite a delightful little surprise.

You can definitely smell the rose otto oil before you event start using the little roller ball applicator.

From what I can see online, this gets a great write up on the various review sites hitting the first couple of google pages.

I suspect that this will be a lovely supplement to your normal moisturising routine, particularly in light of the various peels and chemical exfoliants previously offered in the calendar.

With my increasingly dry skin I have found that a facial oil or intensive serum before moisturising is a must...confession, in winter I actually use a recovery moisturiser under a normal moisturiser in order to try and get some layer of moisture onto my skin ahead of colour cosmetic application.

I'm very excited to play with this little one today and in the run up to Christmas and New Year! How about you?

Christmas kisses and wishes,

xx Josephine xx

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 20: Pixi Liplift Max (Honey Sheen)

Morning Sparkles!
Pixi by Petra LipLift Max (Honey Sheen)
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar 2017)

So it's a sister celebration today, with me and my two faves hoping to hit the town all being well ahead of the Christmas celebrations.

Today's calendar offering is a sparkly nude gloss which was a little smaller than the size of the large scale lower tier box might have implied (teehee).

This looks like it's pretty, neutral and probably suitable for most skin tones. I imagine it would generally be used as a topper for lipsticks rather than a stand alone.

I imagine that it will a zingy little number given the lip enhancing promises. Depending on how comfortable this one is to wear, I have checked out the other shades available online and the sheer rose looks very appealing and wearable.

I'm not normally a yellow toned lipstick person, so I'm thinking this might actually work over the Stila Stay All Day offering from earlier in the calendar...watch out on Insta to see if I'm right!

Christmas kisses and wishes,

xx Josephine xx


Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 19: Leighton Denny Nail Polish (Star Dust)

Hello Sparkles - and a sparkling hello at that!
Leighton Denny Nail Polish (Star dust)
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar 2017)

Today's calendar offering is a pretty silver, lightly holographic glitter suspended in a clear nail polish.

I will definitely be wearing this today and onwards throughout the season as it's super pretty but will also be fairly low maintenance, allowing for easy tip wear fixes.

I find Leighton Denny nail polishes to be average in wear, better ironically when I use the Essie jet setter top coat rather than his own top coat.

This would also make a pretty top coat with grey, pink or blue polishes underneath.

This would be a colour I would be likely to buy myself - it's a solid bottle and the only little box which was taped shut so it took me a minute to break her out!

Will you have sparkling tips from today onwards?

Christmas kisses and wishes,

xx Josephine xx


Monday, 18 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 18: Ameliorate Transforming Body Lotion

Hey Sparkles!
Ameliorate Transforming Body Lotion
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar 2017)

Happy Mon-YAY, to everyone whether or not your Christmas holidays have already started for this year...surely there can't be that much work to be done even if you're in the office? Get the Christmas tunes on and sing along at your desk or on the shop floor. Though retail readers might be sick of those tunes by this stage since they've been belted out since Halloween I think!

Anyhoo, today's offering from the calendar is a very scientific looking number, which promises to chemically exfoliate my skin while immediately re-hydrating to optimum levels.

A quick glance online shows me generally positive reviews - particularly for those suffering from keratosis pilaris (bumpy skin) on the upper arms. Key notes of caution are a non-lingering but unpleasant scent and a drying effect on non-impacted skin.

I'll give this a go on my arms first I think, in case it is slightly drying as I tend to get scalier skin on my shins in any case.

The 50ml size can be bought online for £9, with the 100ml tube costing just under £15 on the M&S website for those interested to re-purchase after use. Definitely loving the focus on chemical exfoliation and hydration throughout the calendar this year!

Christmas kisses and wishes

xx Josephine xx

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 17: Ren Instant Firming Beauty Shot

Ren Instant Firming Beauty Shot
(M&S Beauty Advent Calender 2017)
Morning Sparkles,

Today I've got the fun of a 2nd birthday party - can't wait to get involved with the party games and cooking with my favourite little man. Hopefully I'll get plenty of cuddles with my favourite little lady, too.

On a first read I thought that this would be Ren's version of Clarin's Beauty Flash Balm, but actually with a  quick Google it seems like it might be slightly more like the Rodial Dragon's Blood Sculpting Gel in the earlier box.

This can be applied both pre and post moisturiser, and throughout the day as required in a patting rather than rubbing motion.

The 10ml sample size is a little smaller than most of the facial products contained in the calendar, but it's a great brand and I'm excited to try this out.

Perhaps it can perk me up when the energy levels sag post toddler party...?!?

Christmas kisses and wishes,

xx Josephine xx

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 16: Percy & Reed Session Hold Hairspray

Percy & Reed Session Hold Hairspray
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar 2017)
Morning Sparkles

Following on from a restorative night's sleep, I'll be travelling home for birthday celebrations with the little prince this weekend.

Hopefully today's offering - another rummage into the back of the Christmas town jobbie - will help keep my tresses somewhat tamed in transit.

The full size is £12, with this mini retailing at £5. QVC appear to have two full sized sprays for £19 though, so if you love it I'd go for that deal.

I think this is quite expensive given that I typically use the industrial sized bottles of Tresemme, which act like aerosolised superglue and keep my determinedly straight-ish hair in curls all day with a liberal application.

Full disclosure: as you may have guessed I am not a lady bothered by her hair having the texture of plastic spaghetti in the interests of a style staying in place. All due respect to Elnett, but if my hair is moving I just won't trust that it wouldn't creep out of the desired style within 5 minutes of sweaty headed dancing in a club, or running slightly late for a flight.

This is a "reassuringly firm" hold hairspray, so I'm pretty sure some crunch will come with use, however the tip on the back does note that a softer finish can be achieved by applying to a brush and then styling softly. Perhaps a two for one?

How do you like your hairspray - soft hold or superglue crunch tactic?

Christmas kisses and wishes

xx Josephine xx

Friday, 15 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 15: Diego Dalla Palma Ciglione mascara

Yawn! Morning Sparkles...
Diego Dalla Palma Ciglione mascara
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar 2017)

...the morning after the night before is never the easiest. Add into the mix the man arriving at my door at 8am to put in a new gas and electricity metre. Groan.

However, the next in the large bottom row boxes has produced a lash booster mascara by Diego Dalla Palma. The Italian range is one which I'm most used to seeing in the M&S Beauty Halls but can also be bought in other department stores and online retailers.

I've seen pretty good reviews for some products but this will be my first foray into the brand, hopefully it can help my peepers look brightened and Bambi-like, regardless of the cocktail of cocktails imbibed last night...

...watch this space on Insta later today to see how it fares overall. At £17.50 for the full sized tube it's more expensive than my L'Oreal go to, and about £6 cheaper than my Elizabeth Arden love (along with other Chanel, Dior and YSL mascaras).

Have any of you tried this brand? Will it give my lashes the va-va-voom of '70's Sofia Loren, or leave me in a smudge puddle?!

Christmas kisses and wishes

xx Josephine xx


Thursday, 14 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 14: Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm

Hey Sparkles!!
Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar 2017)

Super exciting day planned for me today - it's my team Christmas lunch, which is usually the most fun event of the Christmas season, with the "Something to wear" Secret Santa theme, pretty free flowing booze and inevitable application of cocktails and cheesy tunes!

Emma Hardie's Moringa balm will therefore be a welcome treat to come home to (or, err....maybe wake up depending on booze levels), capable of removing the toughest of make-up products and smelling like a dream every time I use it.

I've had the full size of this product and it's really luxurious, similar in texture to the Elemis cleansing balm, without the crystals and heavy clove scent which I struggled with in the Eve Lom cleanser.

I love these little dinky pots - there was one in last year's calendar, too - because they're super easy for travelling, meaning that I can bring a favourite cleanser on the go without wondering what's in a selection of unmarked muji containers!

What's your favourite cleanser? Do you get on well with the balm formulations or miss the lather of a face wash?

Christmas kisses and wishes

xx Josephine xx

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 13: Shay & Blue Blood Oranges

Morning Sparkles!
Shay & Blue - Blood Oranges
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar 2017)

Indeed, no matter how hard you might be finding it to shake off sleep the citrus-y scent offered in today's box will definitely give you a wake-up call!

The 10ml miniature size is worth a hefty £25, and my mini from last year's advent calendar is still on the go as I really loved it but wanted to eek it out throughout the year to really savour it.

This is not a fragrance I ever would have chosen for myself - I'm much more an oriental or floral girl in the scent department, having generally abandoned citrus scents after a foray into CKOne at 13!

That being said, I do really enjoy masculine scents and the dry down on this unisex citrus is heady and something a lot more complex than I might have expected from the simple name of this. Perhaps Jo Malone has trained me to expect single note fabulocity based on names.

Surprisingly, this warm little citrus number could be the surprise hit of the season with me...highly likely to be purchased!

Christmas kisses and wishes

xx Josephine xx

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 12: Alpha H Liquid Rose Gold

Hi Sparkles!

Alpha-H Liquid Rose Gold (Limited Edition)
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar 2017)
Back to the radiance revealing theme of the calendar with today's offering! I'm a high fan of the Alpha H Liquid Gold formulation, for a gentle chemical peel to keep skin smooth and radiant all year round.

I'd seen the limited edition Rose Gold version earlier in the year but hadn't gotten around to nabbing myself a bottle as yet, so this is a very welcome addition to my bedroom skincare shelf!

The main difference is the addition of various aromatics and hydration binding ingredients, so the practical effects of the Rose Gold formula will closely follow the original version but with more of a scent.

Whether this is a benefit or not, will I suppose very much depend on your sensitivity to fragrances. I increasingly love a rose scent so am looking forward to this new addition to my regime. I apply every other night on a dry cotton pad, and aim to not put anything on my skin afterwards but sometimes when particularly dry do follow up with my Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial.

Enjoy - let me know if you, like me, are looking at yourself and the world through rose tinted lenses once you start with this little wonder!

Christmas kisses and wishes,

xx Josephine xx

Monday, 11 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 11: LGFB Sculpting Sponge

Hi Sparkles

LGFB Sculpting Sponge
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar 2017)
I was really delighted to open today's box in my advent calendar - Look Good Feel Better ("LGFB") is a charity which aims to give practical make-up classes and advice to women who are suffering with cancer. Sales of their products directly contribute to their ability to continue offering these classes and courses to cancer sufferers. 

The range is generally tool based rather than colour cosmetics, and the brushes feel lovely and soft. This sponge I will readily use in place of my Real Techniques version, I love a slightly dampened sponge for applying cream and liquid contour / highlighting products. 

I will definitely be adding a few more of their items to my daily routine - both because they're functional and also because I think helping people cope with the side effects of illness in a sympathetic and friendly way is really great. 

A family friend benefitted from such classes when she lost both her eyebrows and eyelashes during her chemotherapy courses - it was the loss of her eyelashes that surprisingly she struggled with more than anything else as before such a class she was a bit lost as to how to counteract that in her makeup regime (which would be exactly the same for most of us I suspect!) 

Please do have a look at the range - even if just giving the brushes a bit of a ruffle next time you walk past in an M&S Beauty Hall! The range can also be purchased from a range of online beauty retailers and Boots. 

Christmas kisses and wishes,

xx Josephine xx 


Sunday, 10 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 10: M&S Beauty Radiance Reveal Peel

M&S Formula Innovate - Radiance Reveal Peel
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar 2017)
Well, clearly M&S assumed that we'd all be hitting the mulled wine last night and yet again have a little present offered to improve our external sparkle regardless of the effects of seasonal overindulgence or a tendency to burn the candle at both ends!

I was quite impressed at the night cream offered by this range last year, so have high hopes that my Sunday morning facial will get a little "pep up" from this little beauty. I shall definitely be using my Rodial and Gatineau potions afterwards to maximise the plumping and radiance offered on this Sunday -  definitely feeling that I need a bit of help today!

Since having a fairly significant case of rosacea the past few years, I've noticed that my skin can't really cope well with physical exfoliants, so these enzyme or chemical based ones are typically better for me than the "bits in" varieties, much as a good scrub can be super satisfying.

If you have sensitive skin, either from the season or just generally, this little number might be the one for you! Another plus is the very reasonable price for the full sized mask - under £20, which means that if this works as well as I hope I'll be ditching the lovely but more pricey Elemis offerings on my bathroom shelf and picking up this little bargain.

Christmas kisses and wishes

xx Josephine xx

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 9: Nails Inc One Coat Gel Colour (Molten Star)

Morning Sparkles!
Nails Inc One Coat Gel Colour - Molten Star
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar 2017)

Time for a weekend mani? Look no further than your lovely M&S Beauty Advent Calendar - a glamorous gold offering is today's gift!

The colour is a lovely, rich, warm gold - and I'm generally a fan of the One Coat colour from Nails Inc, though typically I still prefer two thin coats where possible to avoid any streaks, which might be more necessary in this heavily metallic shade to avoid telltale brush strokes.

I unfortunately won't be able to wear this one - as it will make my skin tone looks somewhat similar to a corpse. Since having my colours done earlier in the year I find that most of my initial reactions to a colour for me (plenty that I absolutely adore which just don't suit me) were pretty much bang on.

I'm a Winter, which means silver metal only - while I breach this rule for my rose gold jewellery the yellow gold really doesn't suit well at all, so I'll gift this away to someone, while feeling very jealous of everyone's seasonal manis in the mean time!

Hope you all have a productive, mulled wine and music filled Saturday preparing for the big day!

Christmas kisses and wishes

xx Josephine xx

Friday, 8 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 8: Eyeko Black Magic mascara

Fri-YAY at last Sparkles! 
Eyeko Black Magic mascara
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar)

I'm off out with pals for a delicious Kenyan-Indian meal tonight in North London, which will be supremely tasty and great fun as always. 

My peepers shall be even more party ready than usual with a quick slick of Eyeko's Black Magic mascara. Promises include the delivery of drama and curl, with added volume and an extreme carbon black finish which will be water resistant. 

That's a big list for such a little tube! 

Based on the performance of the waterproof mascara included in the summer beauty box this year, I have no doubt that Eyeko have more than an even chance of delivering on all these claims - but make sure to check out the Instagram for my follow verdict! 

One thing I'm not entirely sure of is the curved brush - generally I find I get on best with a straight brush, with bristles rather than silicone spikes. What's your favourite mascara - either for formula or applicator?

I'm a huge fan of the L'Oreal Volume Million original wand, so much so that I clean it off when I start a new tube of the mascara with one of those silicone wands. Another much loved is the Elizabeth Arden mascara - the brush looks like *nothing* and yet achieves everything I want in a mascara - separation, length and curl! 

Christmas kisses and wishes

xx Josephine xx 

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 7: Korres Wild Rose sleeping mask

Hi Sparkles! 

Torres Advanced Repair Sleeping Facial
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar 2017)
Well, after an evening of dinner, dancing and frivolity I for one shall be aiming to race home to slather on some of today's advent offering and hit the hay early! 

Smelling like something you might find on your granny's nightstand (in a lovely, nostalgic way) the scent isn't too overpowering. Slightly powdery in the scent, the texture of the cream absorbs well on the back of my hand at least and feels like it's going to be deliciously moisturising. I'd describe it more as an intensive moisturiser than an actual mask texture - for example the Origins overnight treatment mask I sometimes use. 

At 16ml, this is a fairly standard size for the facial products and should offer enough applications to see if it really gets on with your skin. I am getting totally baffled by the differing sizes of all of these 15ml(-ish) samples though! 

Coming in at under £25 for the full sized 40ml product, this is something that could realistically be added to the nightstand if I really love it. 

How are you enjoying Advent so far? It's almost no time until the Christmas holidays will kick off with gusto - cooking, wrapping last minute presents and seeing all manner of family. Can't wait! 

Christmas kisses and wishes

xx Josephine xx

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 6: Stila Stay All Day Lipstick (Perla)

Still Stay All Day Liquid lipstick - Perla
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar 2017)
Hi Sparkles!

Party day has arrived, and with it I've been able to rummage to the back of the Advent Calendar once more and retrieve a tissue wrapped Stila Stay All Day lipstick from under the tree picture. What a treat!

This mini size of 1.5ml is a soft rosy nude (per the Stila site), which I think will suit most paler skin tones - particularly if you chose to top it off with a sheer lipstick or gloss in a slightly darker colour. I think this would also look great on a super dark skin tone, but it's very cool toned on some swatches I've seen online, so medium or warmer skin tones might struggle.

My concern is that, even with my Irish skin, it's a lot lighter than I would normally wear, and with the chances that a long lasting lipstick will dry my lips out I would be concerned with lines and possibly looking a little bit older, not to mention the risk of highlighting any yellow on the gnashers. I definitely will pop a less pink gloss on the top of this to counteract the teeth effect.

The inclusion of avocado oil and vitamin E should mean that the drying effect is somewhat offset - but I'm always slightly dubious of a claim for both long lasting performance and moisture. Almost self-contradictory!

Full size is £16 for 3ml so actually the tester size is quite generous. Makes me question the amount of superfluous packaging on the full sizes...

How have you found this little one?

Christmas kisses and wishes

xx Josephine xx

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 5: Rodial Dragon's Blood sculpting gel

Hi Sparkles!

Rodial Dragon's Blood sculpting gel
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar 2017)
For me, I feel like Tuesday is sometimes the hardest day of the week! We have our Christmas party tomorrow so there'll be lots to finish off today to ensure a timely departure tomorrow in order to enjoy all the festivities.

I've not used much of Rodial's range, but the enzyme peel included in last year's calendar was really good I thought, so it's definitely a brand which I'll pay more attention to in 2018.

The Dragon's Blood sculpting gel is recommended to be used twice daily on cleansed skin, it aims to plump out facial contours and the online reviews seem to be pretty impressive. Maybe this will be sample that makes it over to the "purchased" list.

The sample is 15ml, which is fairly standard for a facial travel sized product but might not last me too long if I'm slathering it on twice a day. The full price gel is about £60 for 50ml at John Lewis, but I'm sure there might be some cheaper options to be found online.

Plumped, primed and ready to party!!

Christmas kisses and wishes,

xx Josephine xx

Monday, 4 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 4: Gatineau Melatogenine Aox Probiotics

Hi Sparkles!

Gatineau Meltogenine Aox Probiotics
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar 2017)
Happy Monday - shouldn't every week start off with a little present you have to unwrap! Today's offering is one of the medium sized boxes, tucked in at the back of the Christmas town. Under this tree is Gatineau's Melatogenine Aox Probiotics cream.

This cream feels lovely and rich, the 15ml size is generous and Gatineau is an excellent brand. From reviews I've looked at online it seems that this one might be a little unctuous for some less dry skin types and prove a bit too slippy to be a good make-up base. That said, I'm going to slather it on, as my skin has turned increasingly dry as I get older - a challenge for someone who grew up with an oil slick and I still sometimes get a little stuck as to remedies for flakies!!

For me, there's little smell to this and the feel left on the skin is beautifully silky. I think I'll be a fan but will leave this to be a bit of a special treat otherwise I'll get addicted to a £70 face cream - eep!

What have you thought of the gifts so far? Definitely trying to help us fend off the dull skin caused by central heating, under sleeping and over indulging so far in my mind - most appreciated :)

Christmas kisses and wishes

xx Josephine xx


Sunday, 3 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 3: Nuxe Prodigieux shower gel

Morning Sparkles!
Nuxe Prodigieux Huile de Douche
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar 2017)

Yawn and stretch, for a lazy Sunday morning - the best kind! Keeping with the radiant theme is the second box from the big bottom row today.

This Nuxe Prodigieux shower gel is "precious scented with golden shimmer". I'm a fan of Nuxe's honey shower gel and cleanser which I've had before, and generally of their Huile Prodigieux range. This 30ml travel size will be a generous size for any pre-Christmas trips you're planning or just as a treat at home.

I'm liking the idea of getting sparkly in the shower and finishing off with the Huile and matching EdT which I already have, just because it's Sunday and I'm off for some festive fun with my Auntie who's up in London for the day.

Scrum-diddly-umptious Christmas kisses and wishes

xx Josephine xx



Saturday, 2 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 2: Filorga Smoothing Radiance Mask

Hi Sparkles
Filorga Meso-Mask
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar 2017)

Happy Satur-YAY! I'm going to kick the weekend off in the Radiant theme of the M&S Advent Calendar's gifts so far with the Meso-Mask.

The 15ml sample is smaller than yesterday's offering but still generous given the face only application and relatively high price for the full sized item. The brand itself is French, based on medical science and research.

Recommended use it to cleanse and exfoliate before applying the mask and rinsing with lukewarm water after 15 minutes. To be used several times a week per instructions, however I have spotted a few reviews online which are recommending that it's used as a spot treatment or rescue item rather than as per the instructions.

I guess whatever works for you! What are you up to this Saturday? Decorating your tree or heading out on the town?

Christmas kisses and wishes

xx Josephine xx

Friday, 1 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas - Day 1: Rosie Amazing Radiance Body Glow

Rosie for Autograph - Amazing Radiance Body Glow
(M&S Beauty Advent Calendar 2017)
Morning Sparkles!!

The first day of official Christmas season, even though I've had my decorations up for almost two weeks at this point, I just couldn't resist as I'm majorly feeling the season this year! 

There's five sizes of boxes in this year's advent calendar, and I'm loving the little Christmas town theme to the calendar this year.  First up is a sizeable bottom row box, containing this party treat from the Rosie for Autograph range, which you'll all know I'm a fan of on the scent side of things. 

Lightly tinted, this smells amazing and blends in well. You pale and interesting readers won't be able to use this in place of any instant tanner, but it definitely leaves your skin feeling silky soft and with a very subtle shimmer which will be a great base for party skin or for feeling indulgent on Christmas Day itself. 

The 50ml tube is generously sized and will likely give a few applications even on curvy sized shins and arms!

What did you get in your calendar? If it's the M&S one, what are your thoughts on the Rosie offering? 

Christmas kisses and wishes

xx Josephine xx 

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Countdown to Christmas with me!

Hey Sparkles

After yet another long hiatus from the blog this year, I thought the M&S beauty advent calendar would give an awesome opportunity to Countdown to Christmas with you all. 'Tis the Season of giving and all that.

Which beauty advent calendar did you get this year? I had to restrain myself from some of the beautiful but slightly (ahem!) excessive options around this year - such as Jo Malone and Diptyque. Very jealous for all you ladies or chaps who managed to snag one of those!

Christmas kisses and wishes

xx Josephine xx

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Fragrant Friday - Roger & Gallet Fleur de Figuier Fragrant Water(Week 8 2017)

Evening Sparkles!

Sticking with the theme of lighter fragrances, and as spring creeps ever closer I'm enjoying Roger & Gallet's Fleur de Figuier Fragrant Water. I first discovered fragrant waters in a Paris pharmacy a few years ago - not having a clue what they were but picking up one which was white flower based and absolutely delicious!

Essentially a grown up version of the Body Shop Dewberry / White Musk classics we'll have all had growing up through the early 90s (apologies for the Oldie reference for any younger readers!) These give you a scent which is lighter than an EdT but still has some depth without being overly saccharine and cloying.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Fragrant Friday - Nuxe Prodigieux Le Parfum (Week 7 2017)

Evening Sparkles


Following on from all the Valentine's fun and walk down memory lane courtesy of my long time favourite Autograph New York, I'm changing it up for something a little lighter (willing spring to come, albeit March is rarely the most enjoyable of months in the UK for weather!)

A light floral fragrance, I find this one calming and much more refreshing than a lot of the perfumes that I tend to wear - particularly in the winter months. It was launched in 2012 and for me replicates the scent of some of my favourite Nuxe products like their body cream.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Fragrant Friday - Autograph New York from Marks & Spencer (Week 6 2017)

Evening Sparkles!

Keeping up with the heady tones of last week's entry (Obsession - how Child of the 1980s of me!) this week I shall be switching it up to an old favourite. My tried and tested scent, which has probably been a signature smell for about ten years off and on.

Autograph New York was probably the first Oriental fragrance that I ever tried and was my first step away from the clean lines of perfumes such as Issey Miyake - or it's excellent, affordable cousin Isis from Marks and Spencers. There are a lot of affordable imitation fragrances out there, hence my love affair with most perfumes M&S, Next or Avon produce!

With a woody, vanilla base and middle notes of rose and jasmine looking up the details on this one have made me realise perhaps I had a prejudice against rose and "granny" perfumes in my head which my nose was merrily ignoring for years!! :) Top notes are fruity and light flowers.

I wear this one happily day to evening and have included a picture here with the box because I didn't pay quite enough attention last year and picked up bottle of Autograph New York New York, which is a lot sweeter, lighter and (for me) quite a large disappointment given what I was expecting.

That version comes in a white box so it should be easily enough identified when you're popping in to see them. Just watch out that you test the right version if you're going in for a sniff so you buy what you intend to smell like!!

Fragrantia rate this 3.86 out of 5 here.

Currently on sale for £18 for 100ml EdT (but it's as little as £5 for a 10ml purse spray if you just wanted to try it out). You can buy it on the M&S website here.

Til next time kitty kats - love, hugs and intercontinental kisses

xx Josephine xx

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Fragrant Friday - Freak by Illmasqua (Week 4 2017)

Evening Sparkles! 


Picking up from the heady theme of last Friday, this week I'm going to surround myself in a floral extravaganza!!! Old time favourite which has been a little hidden in my perfume case of late, I'm revisiting Illamasqua's Freak. It's a dark scent which is still light enough to wear as a daytime scent, albeit it is a fairly dramatic option. 

My lovely friend E had bought me a Davana scented cream from Molton Brown some years ago, which I absolutely adored - although when I bought the matching perfume actually the lasting power was disappointing for the price. 

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Fragrant Friday - Jo Malone Cologne Intense Velvet Rose and Oud (Week 3 2017)

Jo Malone Cologne Intense: Velvet Rose & Oud
Evening Sparkles

Tomorrow, to celebrate the end of my first week back in work I'll be wearing something special! Definitely not an every day scent, this is a heady rose and oud combination which stands alone. It also lasts much better than any of the other Jo Malone (intense or standard) colognes I have.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Harry Potter theme #3 Prisoner of Azkaban - the Patronus Charm (Clarins Tonic Body Polisher)

Hi Sparkles!!

The third Harry Potter book is my personal favourite but I wouldn't say that Dementors and Wizard prison Azkaban necessarily lend themselves easily to any vision of beauty a gal would willingly put on herself day in day out.

Rescued by the Patronus Charm - the shimmering vision of your internal spirit that can protect you from the soul sucking misery of Dementors....or, you know, the daily commute. One of the things that makes me feel sparkling clean and ready to face the world again is a lovely body scrub. I especially like one with a high oil for silky pins post shower - but wouldn't recommend those ones if you're planning to fake tan immediately afterwards!

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Fragrant Friday - Narciso Rodriguez for Her (Week 2 2017)

Narciso Rodriguez For Her - EdP 100ml and scented body lotion
Evening Sparkles

For tomorrow's delectation I'm sticking with a rose based theme, spritzing on the Narciso Rodriguez. Introduced to me by a former roommate, I absolutely love the smell of this perfume.

Like the Rosie perfume mentioned last week, this is a rose based scent but much more evening type scent given the sandalwood and patchouli base notes. This is less "everyday" scent but still light enough to be able to wear all day while feeling a little more dressed up.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Bookish Beauty: Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets (Theme: Killer Glance) - Illamasqua Pigments

Hi Sparkles!!

Continuing on our Harry Potter adventure under the Bookish Beauty theme we're now entering the Chamber of Secrets, home to the basilisk which can kill by its mere glance. So naturally this got me thinking about killer eye products which stop me in my tracks.

Long time favourite of mine are the Illamasqua pigments, these are messy little creatures but the sparkle is well worth the effort (and glittery home which will ensue!)

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Sunday styling - Sebastian clutch by Danielle Nicole

Morning Sparkles!!

Today the middle sister and hubby come to London town for a visit and to celebrate we'll be hitting up a champagne brunch to kick off proceedings and general merriment. Fear not - in keeping with the dry January theme it'll be Brut Champagne ;)

I'm enjoying the black outfits at the moment - I think an overdose of looking at Charlotte Tilbury and Pixiwoo means I'm attempting to eek out some make up artist chic in real life - but this colourful little number caught my eye with its combination of colour, Disney and accessories!

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Fragrant Friday - Rosie by M&S Autograph (Week 1 2017)

Evening Sparkles!
Rosie by Autograph - 75ml EdP and travel votive candle

Tomorrow I'll be smelling like a bed of roses....literally, thanks to this little number from the Autograph range at M&S. Based on Rose Centifolia (basically, rose from Provence) this combines both my love of beauty and my Francofilia.

I'm hoping spraying this liberally will inspire me to head back to the books of my French language course from last year's lengthy resolution list ;)

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Bookish Beauty - Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone (Theme: Youth) - Vita Liberata Fabulous Tinted Self Tanning Mousse (Medium)

Greetings Sparkles,
Vita Liberata Fabulous Self Tanning Mousse - Medium

Back in 1997 the first of J.K. Rowling's amazing Harry Potter series was published (although I didn't actually start reading the books until 1999 with the release of the third book - still a personal favourite - go Sirius Black!)

The Philospher's Stone was an object of alchemy - possessing the power to turn any metal into gold but also to produce the Elixir of Life which would grant the bearer immortality.

This got me thinking of my favourite skin care which lets you achieve a smooth, glowing, youthful complexion. As a firmly pale and interesting girl I have to say one thing which I turn to to feel healthier looking is definitely fake tan...although arguably I should hit the bottle a bit more often!

Back to the Blog with a Bang (well, a theme at least...)

Hello Sparkles,

It's been a while, lacking time, energy and inspiration to blog about beauty products for perhaps the last few months but realistically a much longer time!

Thanks to the proactive interwebbing of my friend Liv I recently managed to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in the West End in previews last summer. Stretching two nights and telling a tale that happens some fifteen years after we last saw Harry & Co it was one of the best theatre experiences I've ever had...potentially due to the proliferation of references to the book with which J.K. Rowling delights her eager and appreciative audiences.

You likely won't be able to see it for a while given the sell out status of the production, but I'd really encourage you to take a look - although I won't be letting you in on any of the specifics (#KeepTheSecrets) what it did get me thinking was that perhaps a Harry Potter themed series of posts might re-engage me and prove a challenge to the mind and the make-up closet to come up with products encapsulating some of the key themes or people in each of the seven books.

The series will be published over the next nine weeks - as each of the Deathly Hallows components will get their own week - and hopefully whet my appetite to get back into blogging, in addition to exciting the known and undeclared Potterheads in my reader group.

Til next time - love, hugs and well lit reading corners to you all

xx Josephine xx
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