"Betty Leopard": July 2012

Friday, 20 July 2012

My Fickle Face: Soap & Glory

I have had a bit of a revelation on the matter of skin care.

Regular readers will already be aware of my slight obsession with the condition of my skin and the multitude of products available claiming to improve it! I have long been searching for that miracle product, or range of products, that will give me the gorgeous, blemish free, perfectly moisture balanced, glowing complexion of my dreams.

But, this recent revelation has shown my quest to be entirely misguided. It would seem that my skin, instead of needing one perfect product, actually responds better when I vary the products I use to cleanse, exfoliate and moisturise.

Almost no matter what products I was using, no matter how much they had improved my skin when I first used them; if I stuck to the same ones for 5-7 days or more, I would get blemishes cropping up in the usual places (forehead, chin and the sides of my nose, classic T zone afflictions!). However, changing between three or four products every two or three days seems to be noticeably reducing the frequency and severity of my break-outs!

It is largely due to my, now diminishing, beauty box subscriptions that I have accumulated a good variety of skin care products to dip in and out of in order to make this discovery. However, I am not solely reliant on beauty boxes (which is probably best as I'm distinctly losing my enthusiasm for them) and I have ventured out to Boots and picked up some proper products to add to my rotation.

At the moment Boots have a 3 for 2 offer on indulgent bathing that includes a lot of Soap & Glory products. I really like Soap & Glory, from the styling and packaging to the scents, product names, and also the fact that every product of theirs I've ever used has worked really well (without being ridiculously expensive)!
I picked up Face, Soap and Clarity 3 in 1 Daily Detox Vitamin C Facial Wash (£7), The Greatest Scrub of All Facial Exfoliator (£9) and  The Fab Pore Intensive Action Pore Refining Facial Peel (£8).

Unsurprisingly, none of these products have disappointed :)
All three products are easy to use, smell great and leave my skin feeling amazingly clean and smooth. I've been using the face wash morning and night about 4 or 5 days a week (usually with a gap somewhere in the middle to keep my variety method going), the exfoliator once or twice a week in the evening and the peel no more than once a week. So far so good, with the exception of one massive spot that popped up in my eyebrow, I haven't had any major blemish complaints for about two weeks now.

I would definitely buy all three products again; Face, Soap and Clarity cleanses really well without being drying, The Greatest Scrub of All is a gentle exfoliator with small grains but still does a great job at making skin look and feel cleaner and fresher and, although I don't have particularly large pores generally, The Fab Pore definitely makes my skin feel less oily and very soft.

Although it doesn't have anything to do with the effectiveness I love the pink and turquoise colour combination of Face, Soap and Clarity too!

Depending on my finances, and whether the offer is still running at Boots, I might try out some different products from the Soap & Glory range too. I could really do with some more Righteous Butter.

Has anyone come across anything new in the way of skincare recently?


Sunday, 15 July 2012

Raspberry Granola Yogurt (No Added Sugar)

Over the past few weeks I have been trying to reduce the amount of refined sugar I eat. Both for general health and for weight reasons.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of my refined sugar came from snack foods; biscuits, chocolate, sweets. The good stuff basically! Even though there's still a lot of 'hidden' sugar in other foods that I'm also trying to avoid.

So, I've had to come up with some healthier replacement snacks and foods that stop me getting hungry and in need of a snack in the mid-afternoon. One of my favourites is currently this:

Greek yogurt, Raspberries and my own homemade Granola :)

I took the picture like this, because it looks better. But, truth be told, it tastes much better like this;

All mixed and mashed up :)

I started off putting a tiny amount of sweetener in the yogurt, but I find that I don't really need it anymore.
It's really filling and really yummy. So it's win-win basically.

I really love the granola. As well as having it like this as an afternoon snack I'm eating it for breakfast every morning. It's really easy to make and to adjust the recipe, to be honest I don't think I've made it the same twice.

Granola Recipe
Like I said, this recipe is really flexible, but these are the basic ingredients I work around. (adapted from Sarah Wilson's "I Quit Sugar Cookbook")

  • 4 tablespoons of Coconut Oil (not just good for your hair!)
  • 3 tablespoons of Brown Rice Syrup or 2 tablespoons of Honey
  • 2 cups of Porridge Oats
  • 1 or 2 cups of Dessicated Coconut (optional)
  • 1 or 2 cups of Various Chopped Nuts (optional)
  • Raisins (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons Chia Seeds or other seeds (optional)
Other optional ingredients include; coconut flakes, other dried fruit, chocolate chips.....etc

Melt the oil. Mix in the syrup/honey. Mix in other ingredients. Spread out on a baking sheet. Bake at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes or until golden brown, turn occasionally.

Couldn't be much easier really (yeah you could buy it, but it'll probably be at least 20% sugar).

Unless I crack under the cravings and eat a whole chocolate cake in the near future, you'll probably be seeing more healthier recipes from me - I'm working on sugar-free cake though.

Hope you're well

Sunday, 8 July 2012

HQ Hair and Japonesque

I was recently contacted by the people at Japonesque about the launch a range of their products on HQHair.com. 
I had obviously heard of Japonesque before, largely due to their almost cult following in the twitter and blogging communities. 

Unsurprisingly however (if you know me by now), I have never owned or used a Japonesque product. I wrote a blog post a while ago about make-up brushes in which I explained how I've never really owned any proper brushes, in part due to the fact that I don't consider myself skilled enough in the make-up department to know how to use them properly.

I don't think I have heard anything but good things about their tools and brushes, and so was pretty excited to be contacted by them and offered some free items to play with.

I was sent three items to have a go with; a  Pro Brow/Lash comb, a Pro Angled Brow Definer brush and a pair of Artisan Tweezers.

Now, my eyebrows are probably one of my least favourite features. I seriously over-plucked them as a teenager and they don't grow in the same way, so it's really hard to make them look neat and symmetrical :/ 

As such, I had mixed feelings about these products. First - Great! I need all the help I can get in managing my eyebrows! Second - Shit! This means I'll have to photograph my eyebrows and put them on the blog!

I was really excited to get my hands on the products. Even just in the boxes they look so beautiful and special, it took me quite a while to open them up and get them out. 
The brushes are both beautiful with their matte black and silver handles as well as well-weighted and nice to hold. The tweezers are equally beautiful with a pink enamel finish, and nice to hold.

I have had a pair of Ruby & Millie tweezers for ages that I have thought to be really great, so I was wondering how much better these ones could be (especially with their £16 price tag!). I was pleasantly surprised though; they were easy to use, precise and easy to grip hairs with. So I was actually pretty impressed with them. The £16 RRP still sticks in my mind though, although I was put at ease a little on finding out the Artisan Tweezer Reconditioning Program, by which you can send your tweezers off for free sharpening. So really, you shouldn't ever need another pair of tweezers again.
I do also really like the range of colours they come it. The pink is great, but if I'd had the choice I'd obviously have gone for the cheetah print ;)

I also really liked using the Angled Brow Definer brush. I only started defining my brows last year when I got the HD Brow kit in a GlossyBox, and since then I've only used the tiny brush included in the palette to do so. Again, I wasn't sure how much difference a proper brush would make. However, on using the brush I was amazed at how much better and easier it was to do my brows neatly with this brush. The longer handle obviously helped, as did the nice weighting and balance of the brush in my hand. I also felt it was easier to build up the colour in my brows with this brush and avoid making them look too heavy.
The Angled Brow Definer is £10.50 on HQHair.com, which I don't think is too bad a price for what is a great brush.

It's harder to comment on the Brow/Lash Comb, as it's the one I have the least use for. I don't really have enough in the way of eyebrows to need to brush them, but I have used the comb for my lashes as I curl them. From the use I have got out of the comb it's as nice to use as the brow brush, nicely proportioned, well weighted and easy to use. 
The Brow/Lash Comb is available on HQHair.com for £9.75.

From what I can tell, the two brushes I was sent are animal hair, and it would be a lie if I said this wasn't a concern for me. It would seem that Japonesque do have some synthetic brushes, which tend to specify in the descriptions (on HQHair.com anyway) that they are synthetic. Personally, I don't really understand why we are still using animal hair in make-up brushes when we can make really great quality synthetic brushes. If I am going to buy anything from Japonesque, or any other brand, I will ensure that it is synthetic - it would be nice if brands were a bit more up front about what their brushes are made from too as it's not always clear where animal hair is used.

I would say I have been largely converted to a Japonesque fan though. Although I haven't been aware of the availability of different products in the UK before now, according to the press release I was sent items such as the Professional Kabuki Brush, Professional Fan Brush and Medium Train Case are all now available in the UK for the first time, through HQHair.com which some of you more devoted Japonesque fans may be more excited about!

If you haven't already, head over to HQHair.com and check out what they have on offer. Japonesque is just one of many great brands available on the website, plus they seem to have an offer of for a free gift when you spend £10 (which isn't hard!!). I haven't bought anything from them myself, so can't say anything about their service but their prices are comparable to other online beauty stores and also have free delivery, so I should think I will try them out when I have some cash to splash.


PS. You'll have to take my word  that my brows looked great using these tools, I chickened out of photographing them :/