anti-aging, beauty, Skincare, Uncategorized

Beauty Haul | Marks and Spencers

I always enjoy a trip to the Sprucefield M&S because they have the best beauty selection with loads of cruelty free options.

Last month when I went in for the Studio 10 demo with Patsy Kensit the girls were kind enough to send me away with some more goodies so this haul review is 100% gifted but the opinions are my own.  I’ve had a good old month trying to make time to try all the goodies in here along with my usual stash of incoming products and the results are in!


REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial (£33 for 75ml)

First up were the samples of the REN 1 minute face mask.  This mask is activated with water after you apply it.  The purpose of this mask is to tighten the skin, fight the signs of aging and effects of pollution.  It does this with Vitamin C, Boswellic Acid and Magnesium for a boost to your skins glow.

With it only taking a minute, it really is the perfect mask for anyone short of time but in need of a mini pamper session.  I am pleased to say I did notice a positive effect on the skin using these but I wasn’t a big fan of the smell and dare I say acidic taste that was left on my lips after washing the mask off.

Rodial Stemcell Magic Gel (£55 for 50ml)

Rodial Stem Cell

I am a huge fan of Rodial as a brand and this product was a lovely one to use.  You can use the Stemcell Magic Gel as a night mask or an intensive treatment during the day.  The gel hydrates, tightens and tones the skin while also protecting against pollution (and if you weren’t aware, pollution plays a major part in our ageing).  It contains “Pronalen™ Bio-Protect complex and PhytoCellTech™ Alp Rose stem cell technology work towards maintaining the skin’s moisture balance”.  The product has a really silky feel when applied to the skin which I loved and the smell is very gentle and pleasent too.

Pure Super Grape Day Cream (£15 for 50ml)


The Pure Super Grape Day Cream comes with an SPF 15 which is always a good bonus.  It hydrates the skin with 95% natural ingredients and avoids synthetic colours, fragrances and parabens.  It is made with a complex of echinacea, peptides and an exclusive source of resveratrol which combined help smooth fine lines and wrinkles, hydrate and protect the skin.  This product feels non greasy when I apply it to my skin and hydrates well.  Great value for the price.

Rosie for Autograph Eau de Parfum (£14 for 30ml)


This is a really lovely fragrance if you are a fan of floral and rose scents. It is part of the exclusive range with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.  The fragrance lasts well on the skin like any of the other perfumes I have tried by M&S.  I love that they have a good range of fragrances to pick from and that they are all cruelty free.  So chuffed they popped two of this into my goodie bag so I can keep one in my handbag and one in the car.

Overall this was a great goodie bag and it really highlights a small portion of the wonderful range available in Marks and Spencers.  You may not find all these products in your local store as some are only kept in larger stores with a dedicated beauty department but you can 100% order them online for free pick up in your local store.

Do you have any favorites you have spotted in M&S recently?

Emmy x


*Although products are gifted, all opinions are my own.

beauty, Uncategorized

Beauty | How to go cruelty free in 2018

Going cruelty free can be a challenge.  It’s tricky to know what products you can use and what you want to avoid when you first start out on your journey to change your beauty products over.  And if I am honest, companies don’t make it easy on us.  Lots of brands will happily tell you they are cruelty free when the reality is they are not.  Others will fob you off and tell you that they comply with EU guidelines and animal testing is illegal in Europe (Which it certainly is) but that doesn’t mean the products haven’t been tested.

So here is my advice on what are you looking out for when it comes to keeping your beauty routine cruelty free.

Check for the Leaping Bunny logo

You will see a lot of bunnies on your journey to cruelty free but not all are equal.  Some brands will pop a bunny on their packaging and state the product is cruelty free.  These bunnies are worthless.  You need to be looking out for the official Leaping Bunny image, this is the only logo to assure a product is 100% cruelty free.  You will still find cruelty free brands that do not pay for the Leaping Bunny (such as Lush) but it sure is a good start to help you on your journey.


Vegan and Cruelty Free are not the same

If a product is listed as vegan, this does not mean it is cruelty free.  Companies such as Loreal have now started to offer “vegan” beauty products.  Sadly this no more makes them cruelty free than the moon is made of cheese.

vegan loreal

If a product is sold in China, then it is not cruelty free

It can be difficult to tell sometimes if a company sell in China, however if you can be sure they retail there, then you can be sure their products are tested on animals.  Sadly the Chinese government require products to be tested on animals by law before they can be sold in the country.  No matter how much care and attention a company has paid to its production of products, their efforts are undone the second they enter the Chinese market.

However do not confuse this for products made in China.  Products can be made in China and do not require any animal testing so long as they are not sold in the country.

loreal china

Google is your friend

We are blessed to be able to use our phones and laptops to check if products we wish to purchase are cruelty free.  There are so many wonderful resources out there to help you such as Logical Harmony, Ethical Elephant, Cruelty Free Kitty and Peta who all have their own lists for what brands are cruelty free.


You are on a journey and not every choice you make will be correct but it is important to forgive yourself for any mistakes.  It isn’t your fault, if only it was easier for you to know which products fit in line with your ethics.  You have made a choice to commit to small changes to your beauty routine and that is wonderful.  My advice is if in doubt, double check and if you need a quick replacement for an old product but have no time to research then stick to safe brands that you know you can walk into a pick cruelty free products with ease from such as Lush, Marks and Spencer own brand, Superdrug own brand and Aldi own brand.

This is actually my store where you will find me in most days of the week.  A 100% cruelty free business I am proud to work for.



beauty, Skincare

Beauty Review | July Lush Haul

I don’t tend to go nuts buying as much in Lush as others.  I loved the store before I worked there for it’s skincare range and I still tend to love skincare products the most and so only buy a few bath products a month for myself and the kids.

DSC_0737.JPGLast week the new Paint Brushes launched and I knew my kids would love them.  These bad boys are reuseable wands to do around 5 bubble baths BUT and it’s a big but for a reason, you can PAINT the bubbles with them!  Come on now, what kid wouldn’t love to be able to paint pictures in their own bubble bath?  I picked up the pink and blue ones which smell of Snow Fairy (bubblegum) and mint.

Butterball is such an under appreciated product.  It smells beautiful, like baby powder and it leaves your skin silky soft.  I always love bubbles with a Butterball so I grabbed one to pop in my bath along with a Creamy Candy I have at home already.

Next on my pamper list was Catastrophe Cosmetic.  This is one of the Fresh Masks from Lush and it is hands down my favorite.  It absorbs excess oil with the calamine powder, softens with the Irish moss seaweed and those blueberries are packed with anti-oxidants to help fight the signs of ageing.


We had an in-store product making session going on too where customers could make their own jasmine scented Sex Bomb.  I made a cheeky bath bomb too as there was some kit left over at the end of the session.  Those compounders in the Lush factory do a far superior job to my effort but it’s always fun to make products in store (in fact, did you know Lush do birthday parties too and you can arrange to make your own products during the party?).

I had also purchased a Gorgeous moisturiser which I forgot to photograph before gifting to my mum as a thank you for taking the kids overnight.  Gorgeous is a bit of an ouch price for a lot of people but it’s my mums favorite so I daren’t deviate and always get her it when she needs it.

Super pleased with all the bits I got today and I know they will all be used and loved.

Do you have any favorite Lush products?  Which ones do you use the most often?

Emmy x


Beauty Review | Pacifica nail polish

You may have seen me share my love of Pacifica products before but I have always found it very difficult to get my hands on many of their products.  Step in Baba Me.

Baba Me are an online store I used to get my cloth nappies and baby stuff from when I had my kids but I was pleasantly surprised to learn they now offer beauty products, including a full range of Pacifica!

I was in my element when they invited me down to their store for a look at what they had to offer.


They had a full range of shades available to purchase and they kindly let me pick 2 to try out at home.  I went for Crimson Kimono and Totally Coral.

polish colours

This range of nail polish is all vegan and cruelty free and they are also free of petrochemicals, sulfates, mineral oil, SLS, parabens, phthalates, peanut oil and propylene glycol.

I was so excited to try them out I removed perfect nail polish to get the Totally Coral on during my lunch break in work.  Perhaps I am dedicated to my blog…. or perhaps I am a nail polish junkie.  I will leave that for you to decide!


The coverage is good but it took 3 coats to feel my nail was fully covered though it didn’t take too long to dry which was good.  The shade was lovely, I am a bit obsessed with coral shades and the girls in work often laugh at how many shades of coral nail polish I own.  I will add that I work with my hands in and out of water all day so I was impressed at how well the polish has lasted me over the last 2 days.  I also think it offers a lovely shine once dry.    The Crimson Kimono is a very true red, though the image on the website makes it look more pink.  A great colour for winter and I am confident it will match many a Christmas jumper in my wardrobe.

polish on
Totally Coal

So let’s talk money.  Well at £9.95 they are a higher end price range competing with the likes of Nails Inc and Leighton Denny which are my go to cruelty free nail polish ranges.  I feel they can hold their own with these brands when you think about the fact they are also marketing to those who want to avoid the likes of preservatives, petrochemicals and mineral oils.  People expecting these standards know to expect to pay a little more for their products and Pacifica is without a doubt a well known and loved product globally for it’s quality.  I would 100% recommend these for people to purchase in the future and it’s highly probable I will be going back to purchase a few more shades and perhaps the top coat to add more durability too.

Emmy x


Please note that although these products were gifted, opinions are my own honest thoughts and I was not asked to offer a positive review in exchange for the products.

beauty, Freebies, Uncategorized

Free Beauty Products – July

The last few months have been great for getting beauty products that are cruelty free with magazines .  This month is no exception and I have found 2 magazines offering free beauty products with purchase that you just might love.

Free Make-up


First up Red magazine costing £4.50 have a duo of free products included, valued at £36 they have some Rodial make-up.   Rodial products are always great quality so I have high hopes for this pair.  The set contains a Smokey Eye Pen in “Black” (it’s a pencil, not sure why they call it a pen) and their XXL lip liner in “Street Style”.

Both of these items are full size which is always a bonus as so often you get minis as your free item. You will find my review of the products up later this week as I have been giving them a trial run in work.

Free Skincare


Next up is Marie Claire costing £4.20 containing the Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser.   This isn’t a full size, it is £10 worth of product which is enough to use it for traveling or to give the cleanser a good try at home and see how you get on with it.  You can read my review of the product up in the next few days – be sure to subscribe to get an alert when it goes up.

Have you spotted any Cruelty Free magazine freebies this month that I have missed?  If so, let me know and I will add them into the blog.


Emmy x



beauty, make-up

An interview with Patsy Kensit | Studio 10 Beauty

DSC_0699.JPGLast week I was kindly invited down to an interview with Patsy Kensit at Marks and Spencers in Sprucefield to promote the Studio 10 make-up range.

The set up was lovely with welcome drinks on the way in and goodie bags on each of the seats.  M&S were very generous giving us some mini perfumes, face creams and samples all for just attending.  Gotta love the girls in Sprucefield for hooking us up with goodies,

First up at the event was make-up artist Paul Herrington.  He spent a few minutes introducing the Studio 10 brand to us and then Patsy herself.  Lovely guy, super passionate about what he does and a lovely confidence in what he is talking about.  He explained that Studio 10 itself was created by Grace Fodor when she hit her 50’s as she was unable to find the kind of make-up she felt she needed.  The range was put together more as a grooming range for women rather than to make them look like they are wearing make-up.


After a few minutes the very striking Patsy Kensit arrived and introduced herself, told us about her morning and how she had been up from 4am to get here (It was after 11am at this point) and how she was confident the make-up applied to her would last her all day.  Then she hopped up on a seat to chat.


She advised us that we should be happy in our own skin and that she doesn’t want to make herself look 35 or 45, “I want to look the best that I can for the age that I am” which btw is 50.  I know what you’re thinking “Say what!?” I will be more than happy if I look like Patsy when I hit 50!

Apparently we should consider make-up as “Spanx for your face, think of it as good underwear that makes the dress look great.”  I really liked this comparison.  I always think we should make the most of keeping our skin healthy and while I am happy for people to go down the route of more extreme treatments if they would like, I really wish nobody was ever made feel they had to.  I actually thanked Patsy for her promo image  showing some real lines and skin texture.  It’s so common for us to see photos airbrushed to “perfection” that we can forget what real people look like.  Personally I want to know other people have lines and imperfections and I don’t want to see 25 year olds advertising wrinkle creams that we know have never helped their skin look good because… well because they are 25! Show me them when they are 45 or 55 and I will be more impressed. (I’m looking at you Dior!)


She then started to talk about specific products such as the Studio 10 Glow Plexion which is the red carpet of her make-up.  She compared it to Nars Orgasim and saying how she feels it has a much better effect on the skin and costs a fraction of the price.  Personally I am not a fan of using other products to try and sell your own and I don’t think there is as much of a price difference between the products as she did however, if you like Nars Orgasim and are looking for a cruelty free dupe, this product may be worth giving a try.  I can’t give you an honest comparison of the two products as I have never used Nars due to them not being a cruelty free brand.


Paul brought up a member of the audience for a demonstration and this lady had her make-up done while Patsy took comments and questions.  The lady who was selected from the audience was over the moon with the results and I did spot her purchasing some products after the talk so she was clearly sincere with her response.


When the talk was over I headed to the well stocked mini make over station to try some products on for myself.  The girls had many shades of everything open and were ready to go as soon as a customer sat down and the queue was pretty mighty so people had loved what they had been hearing and all wanted to try the products for themselves.

I already had a full face of make-up on and so I opted to try the lip liner, the lipstick that doubles up as a blush, Glow-Plexion as they bigged it up so much and a brow pencil as I am in need of a new one soon.


I have to be honest, while I loved the lip liner and lip colour, I was highly unimpressed with the brow pencil.  The colour was fine but it wasn’t great at giving good definition to the shape of my brows.  I was so unimpressed with it that I didn’t even take it as my free sample product.

I purchased the lip products and got the Glow-Plexion mini to try at home.  The Glow-Plexion is nice but I really wouldn’t write home about it.  A subtle glow to the skin and can be mixed in with your flundation.  The Age Reverse lip pencil and Wake up and Glow as a lip colour look good on and apply like butter on the skin but sadly for me they have no staying power.  I put them on this morning and 1 hour later it was almost all gone so I was really disappointed with it, the Wake up and Glow up did stay on my cheeks well though and made a lovely cream blush.  Would I buy them again?  Sadly it’s unlikely.  While I love what the brand stands for and that it is filling a gap in the market for the mature woman, I just feel for those of us happy to invest our time in trying different brands rather than looking for a one stop shop, it isn’t up to standard.





beauty, miscellaneous, Uncategorized

Nails & Lashes| Kiss Summer Party, Belfast 2018

This week I was blessed to be invited to the Kiss Summer Party to see their new Faux Mink Lash Couture Lashes and try out the imPRESS Gel Manicure.  As if that wasn’t enough, the event was held in The Merchant hotels roof top garden and the girls even brought the sunshine for us.

chikumo having her nails applied

No sooner were we into the party and we were being attended to with drinks from the free bar and having sets of the imPRESS Gel Manicure nails applied.  They had an amazing array to choose from and everyone picked the set that seemed to best fit their personality.  I opted for a beautiful summery turquoise with sparkly gold accent nails.  Love a bit of sparkle me.

legallybrunette_ni getting her nails did

To be honest, I’ve never worn false nails before because I keep my nails long and they are in a fairly decent condition so this was a first for me.  They had 2 options available, nails with tabs you peel and stick on and nails you apply with glue.  Mine had the tabs and honestly, it couldn’t have been easier for the girl to apply them.  She matched the size of the nails up to my own and then removed the tabs and pressed firmly onto my natural nail.  Simple as that really and they would be perfect for applying for a night out when you haven’t the time to paint your nails and wait for them to dry.


Time wise the press on nails should last around 4 days and those applied with glue last around 7 days.  I was worried mine might not last very well due to running around after the kids but 24 hours later and they are still going strong.


Next we hit the lash tables to get our own Faux Mink Lash Couture lashes applied.  Be aware KISS also do human hair ones which people may or may not wish to avoid on ethical grounds so you do need to go for the Faux Mink if you require a vegan option.

impress nails

They had a variety of lashes available to choose from and the glues were all vegan friendly too.  I had a more natural lash applied however due to the heat and hayfever eyes mine did start to lift at the edges so I didn’t get a photo of the finished look.  What I can say is everyone elses lashes looked spectacular and did last through the night.

When we left they gave us these super cute branded tote bags filled with a magical amount of goodies.  I’d say there is far more in there than I can get through… so I might as well share the love, keep your eyes peeled for a competition coming up on my Instagram page soon!!

24 hours later and my nails are still going strong

**gifted items are included in this review but all opinions are my own.