The One We Fell In Love With – Book review

 

The Blurb

PHOEBE  is caught between a rock and a hard place. Settle down and get married, or return to the French Alps to pursue her passion?

ELIZA is in love with someone who is no longer hers. In fact, he probably never was…And her dream of becoming a successful musician seems to be vanishing before her eyes.

ROSE is out of a job and out of a boyfriend. to make matters worse, she’s been forced to move back in with her mother…

But these very different girls have one thing in common. ANGUS. The one they fell in love with…

This is probably my favourite story that Paige Toon has written. From the very begining the plot is intelligent, its gets very messy and complicated. I found I didn’t always fully like the main characters as I didn’t agree with their reasoning behind certain actions and behaviours. There is a lot of secretiveness and sneakyness. Having said that It does have me questioning how I would behave in a similar situation. For example, given the chance, would I give in to the temptation of reading someone elses diary. Would I continue with a relationship that I knew was making my sister unhappy?

Mid way through the story there is a very major plot twist that completely changes the tone and direction of the story. It is definately a bit of an ‘Oh shit!’ moment which I didnt see coming. It actually does make me sympathise with and grow to like the characters more. I want everyone to have a happy ending.

I do feel that the way the last chapter has been written that individual characters stories are not finished. I would like to hear more from them in the future. This is actually something Paige does regularly. In this story we briefly catch up with Lucy and Nathan from her first book Lucy in the Sky. Im pleased to report they are doing well.

I don’t want to give too much away so am going to leave my review there. If you have never read a Paige Toon book before this is  good place to start. It is classic Paige writing at he best!

Let me know whether you have read this book and what you thought of it .


 

 

Benefit BADgal Bang Mascara – First Impressions? 

I’m not really one to get myself caught up in  the hype around new Mascara launches. In fact I never buy mascara as it’s one of those items that is so frequently given away as a gift with purchase, or included as part of gift set. I wasn’t in a hurry then to buy Benefit Cosmetics BADgal Bang volumising mascara. That was until I was able to get a free travel size (worth £10.50) as a new user of TopCashback. Not one to miss out on I deal I jumped at the chance, so here I am then sharing my first impressions. 


Marketed as a gravity defying mascara the formula contains space technology aero-particles, (mouthful), BADgal Bang promises to deliver massive weightless volume. The brush has been custom designed to provide 360 degree reach providing maximum impact. It also contains Pro-Vitamin B5 which with prolonged use helps to improve lash thickness. 

So is it any good…

I really like the brush. It has a conical shaped soft plastic flexible brush making it comfortable and easy to work with. 

I did find the formula quite wet though however because the brush is so easy to work with this isn’t a problem for me.

As you can see from the pictures below the difference this mascara makes to lashes upon application is dramatic, even with just one coat. I really liked how this looked. It was when I applied a second coat that I wasn’t so keen. I felt that my lashes now appeared clumpy. Not a look I personally appreciate! 

I didn’t have any problems with flaking, smudges or running throughout the day, even in the snow. However I did find that if you rub your eyes it will transfer to your fingertips. If you are habitual eye rubber this will have an impact on wear time. 

The mascara is easy enough to remove. I used a duel phase eye makeup remover on a cotton pad. I did find that I needed to hold the pad over my eye for about 10 seconds to allow it to dissolve the mascara before wiping it away. 

This isn’t a bad mascara. I do think it is a comparable to marmite though. If you don’t like that clumped lash effect you aren’t going to love it. 

Have you had tried out BADgal Bang Mascara yet? What did you think of it? 

Fashion Mini Haul – Trying out a new Budget Clothing Website 

Regular readers of Schoolrunbeauty.com will know how much I love a bargain. That’s why after seeing an advert pop up in my Facebook feed I was suckered into clicking through to discover what offerings the website Lessthan10pounds.com had.

The premise is ex branded fashion mostly on sale for less than £10. Some items are actually priced higher than this, and sold under their label rather than as ex-label.

As per usual with this is type of website not all the items will be to everyone’s taste. In my opinion though it has some absolute Gems so it definitely worth a look.

I ordered three items that came to £23.24 including postage. They arrived within 2 days of ordering, well packaged and via Royal Mail.

I’m so pleased with everything I ordered that I had to share them with you straight away. So excuse the messy hair and lack of Makeup…


Ex New Look Wide Leg Burgandy Jump Suit – £7.75

I love a Playsuit. I always feel a bit more sophisticated when I wear one. This one was originally from High Street retailer New Look. The quality is good though as the fabric is so fine you will need to be careful with underwear choice. A VPL is definitely not sophisticated!

It comes up long, which for me is great, it may though be a problem for shorter people.


High Neck Textured Jumper – £5.95

This is so warm and cosy. Most importantly it isn’t scratchy. I ordered this a couple of sizes bigger than my dress size as I wanted an oversized fit.


Blush Sequin Dress – £7.95

The quality of this dress is amazing! I love it and need and excuse to wear it out.

The top is made from a thick stretchy scuba material so is very flattering. I feel I could get away with eating a hearty meal wearing it. It feels quite heavy due to the sequinned skirt and hangs beautifully.

As the label has been cut I can’t see which shop this originally came from. Size wise though I would say it is true to size. I’m typically a U.K. Size 6, which is the size ordered. It does come up very short on my 5ft 7 frame, but I have very long waist to leg ratio so everything comes up short on me.

At the moment there is a coupon code that gives you an extra 15% of ex branded items.  This is 15EXBRAND

Have you bought anything from lessthan10pounds.com before? If you have let me know what your experience was like.

My first Pink parcel Experience 

Who else hates their period? I do, with a great big fat capital H! Saying that I do greet it each month with a ‘Halle-friggin-lujah’…I’ve dodged the pregnancy bullet. Those inevitable cramps and that not feeling truly clean experience are not welcome though! That’s why I decided I was going to give Pink Parcel a try. 

Pink Parcel is a monthly subscription service that promises to make those monthly visits ‘fuss free and fabulous’ The service combines treats, beauty products and those essential femcare products all delivered to you at home. This arrives in a discreet and well packaged parcel on a date of your choosing. 

My first concern was whether it would arrive in time. Fortunately it actually arrived roughly a week before my selected date. No problems there then.

Secondly, would I be sent the type of femcare product that I prefer to use? Thankfully you get to choose from a wide variety of brands and can pick, tampons, towels or even a combination of both. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this part of the box isn’t just an afterthought. You receive a good amount with a combination of items for both daytime and nighttime use. There is also even a little well filled ‘for now’ bag to keep in your handbag so you don’t ever get caught out. 

Also included in the box is a treat food item along with a healthy tea bag. I don’t know about you but I always crave chocolate around my time of the month. I also love a cup of tea!

January’s box theme is Positivity, so the beauty related products included reflect this. 

My favourite item included is the Made by Coopers Apothecary Happy Mist value £12. 

This can be used to spray in the air or onto fabrics. The lime, clementine and basil scent is very uplifting and definitely triggers the pleasure sensors. 

I was also pleased to see Browcote Waterproof Brow Gel. Value £6.99

Brow products are one of my favourite make-up items so I will definitely be trying this out. I’m that person that can happily leave the house with a bare face but I always have to have groomed brows. 

Laritzy is a makeup brand that I haven’t heard of before now. This eye pencil is what I consider to be a ‘safe’ introduction to the brand. This is the most expensive item in the box with an rrp of £18.00.

I have the shade shimmer which is a silver shade. I shall be trying this out in my waterline as an eye brightening product. The packaging states that it is free from Parabens and after checking their website I found out that they also do not test on animals. Both positives for me! 

The last item is a set of Bandzee Hair Ties value £5.95. 

I love this type of hair tie as they are strong yet don’t leave kinks in you hair. I do feel they are often very overpriced though, especially as I’m always loosing them. This was definitely a useful addition to this box. 
Over all I am really pleased with my first experience of Pink Parcel. The value of the contents far exceed the £12.95 price tag. I’m not going to lie sanitary towels are one of those essential items that I resent have to spend money on. This subscription service takes the pain out of it! I’m looking forward to seeing what February’s box brings. 

3 Skincare favourites for use at Night-time 

Every now and then I like to give my skincare routine a little bit of a shake up. Before Christmas I felt my evening skincare routine was not as effective as it could be. My skin was tired and lack lustre.

Given I am such a skincare hoarder I had  a rummage through my stash. I found I already had quite a few unopened products, specifically created for use at night time, just waiting to be tried out. 

Now Ive had a good old play with most of them I thought It was time I shared my favourite discoveries;

AD skin synergy nourishing night treatment 

I received this 10ml sized bottle of facial oil in my tili beauty advent calendar. It’s a good thing as this isn’t a product that I would normally gravitate towards. It is a very luxurious feeling oil and my skin seems to love it.  I’ve been using this for two weeks now and my skin is feeling much softer and smoother. 

The facial oil contains both cold pressed organic rose hip seed oil and organic rose essential oil. Not only does it smell nice but it is good for anti-aging. 

The rose ingredients are ethically farmed and traded on the slopes of the Andes mountains in Chili. No parebens, artificial perfumes, pertrochemicals or phenoyethanol are used in the oil so It’s no surprise that it has won three awards from BeautyBible.com. 

The full size 50ml bottle is £38 with free delivery. 

Garnier Miracle Sleeping Cream 

This purse friendly night Cream has been inspired by Asian skincare sleeping packs. It has a highly concerntrated formula of 7 key ingredients. When you feel it in the pot it has a unique tacky texture. I expected it to feel quite heavy on the skin. This is not the case though. It absorbs instantly so doesn’t feel heavy, greasy or sticky.  

I’ve almost finished an entire pot of this and am about to repurchase. My skin loves this stuff! It feels smoother and much plumper.

I actually could talk for ages about the ingredients in this cream however that would make this a very long post. 

My curiosity saw me doing a bit of research into  Some of those magical 7 are ingredients as I had never heard of several of them, and Im a bit of a skincare junkie. 

I’ve decided that this deserves its very own in depth blog post so that will follow soon. Watch this space! 

Lastly this next product is something I keep on hand for skincare emergencies. Fortunately I don’t have to use it very often, maybe once a month If I get hormonal breakouts. 

The Body Shop Tea Tree Blemish Fade Lotion is very effective at calming down pesky raised spots. When needed I will apply this before bed and by morning, though not completely vanished, the appearance of those raised spots is much improved. 

Often I find spot treatments can dry my skin out but this doesn’t do that. It is also suitable for most skin types as it has worked well for both my teenagers that have quite greasy skin. 


The rrp of this is £10 although The Bodyshop always have some kind of promotion running. Currently it is 30% off full price items if you use the code 14673. 

It is definitely worth using products specifically designed for use at night. The body recovers from tiredness best when it is  sleeping at night so the same should apply to your approach to skincare. 

I can testify that my skin is looking so much better since I’ve introduced these three products to my bedtime routine. 

Moral of the story…don’t hoard that night time skincare…use it! 

Gousto – The subscription service for busy foodies!

Well Hello! It’s been a while… Life got busy again! There never seems to enough hours in the day to do everything I’ve planned. Let’s be real here…I’m not the sort of girl to give up her sleep in favour of ticking something else off that never ending ‘to-do-list’. I am interested in anything that is going to save me time though. That’s why I decided to try out some recipe box services. The first Box I tried is Gousto box, and…… I am ridiculously impressed. Where has this been all my life? 


If you haven’t heard of Gousto box this is how it works. First up you sign up to a subscription service deciding whether you want a box for two or four people. Then you choose how many meals you want (up to four) when, and how often you want your meals delivered. Lastly you pick from a great selection of recipes and they send you everything you need straight to your front door. Simple!


My biggest concern about using this type of service was freshness. What happens if I’m not home? How does the raw meet keep from going bad throughout the delivery process? 

I was pleased to see that anything that needs to keep cool was packed into a wool cool biodegradable cool bag complete with Ice blocks. Everything was still cold so my concerns about the food spoiling was unnecessary.


The Ingredients themselves are all very fresh and of high quality. Where possible the items are delivered naked so packaging is kept to a minimum. How good does all that fresh food look? 

So far everything we have tried has been very tasty. Even my fussy youngest liked everything. The recipe cards are easy to follow and I love that everything is pre measured out for you. 

We are a family of five so ordered the four person box. The portion sizes are generous though so we have been able to stretch the meals to feed us all. Gousto do say on their website that they are adult portions and that a child wouldn’t necessarily require a full portion. 

Gousto box hasn’t removed the ‘having to cook’ element from my day, but it has completely simplified the process. No longer to I have to spend ages searching for interesting meals, making shopping lists and trying to source different ingredients. 

I have a diabetic son who has to carb count. This can often be tricky when cooking from scratch. All the nutritional information is listed on the recipe cards so this was actually really easy to work out. Another big time saver! 

The price of a Gousto box is structured depending on how many people you are ordering for And how many meals you choose. For us it works out as £47.75 which breaks down to £2.98 a portion. 

When you factor in the price of quality meat, 1 off ingredients, fuel costs, time saved and the removal of the ‘I can’t be bothered’ impulse take-away I feel that’s not a bad deal. 

If you wanted to try out Gousto for yourself this Link will get you your first two boxes half price. In the. Interest of disclosure I would also receive £15 credit to use on the website. 

For now I’ll leave you with some pictures of some of the tasty meals we have been enjoying. 




Nude by Nature Perfecting Concealer 

I’m always on the look out for a good Concealer. To be quite frank when it comes to Concealer I’m hard to please. 

I want something that provides high coverage, blends easily, doesn’t cake and  stays put, all without clogging my pores and aggravating any breakouts. Oh and I almost left out non creasing. 

As part of Feelunique’s pick & mix service I recently tried out this Concealer from Australian brand Nude by Nature. Though it’s not perfect, it does come very close. 

Nude by Nature produce Mineral Makeup using Australian native ingredients.The products do not contain any synthetic ingredients or preservatives, and are 100 % Cruelty Free and PETA certified 

The combination of ingredients offer Makeup with skincare benefits. 

Key Ingredients includes;

Kakadu Plum – An anti-oxidant and natural source of highly concentrated Vitamin C.

Ceramic Extract – Provides anti inflammation and hydration.

Avocado oil – Moisturisers, repairs and protects.

Jojoba Oil – An anti-oxidant and helps to restore skin elasticity.

Kaolin Clay – Purifys and helps to remove toxins. 

Shea Butter – Provides an intense hit of moisturisation. 

The packaging is Gorgeous. It looks and feels luxury with its rose gold caps and lids. 
I have tried this out as both an under eye and spot covering Concealer. 

The formula is very creamy and feels hydrating. As an under eye concealer it works great. It blends well and doesn’t crease or settle in fine lines. I like to use the pointed end of a beauty blender to tap it on.    With setting spray it lasts well enough throughout a full 8 hour shift at work. 

I found that it covered skin discolouration and imperfections well but didn’t fully cover major spots. A key pro for me though is that it didn’t aggravate or make spots any worse. 

As Concealers go this is teetering towards the more expensive end of the spectrum with an RRp of £20. Feelunique are currently selling it with 20% off at £16 

At this price I am definitely tempted to purchase a full size of this concealer. Fortunately for now I do have a second sample of this concealer that I am currently using. 

Brand Focus | Exuviance Skincare

Today I thought I would share with you one of my favourite skincare brands. US skincare brand Exuviance has been scientifically developed by renowned dermatologists Drs Van Scott and Yu. They are the creators and patent holder of the first gylcolic peel. 

The brand offers Salon quality skincare, using clinically proven ingredients, that you can access in your own home as part of your daily skincare regime. 

There are specific ranges available for different skincare needs including dry and sensitive skin, oily and acne prone skin and age reverse. As well as targeted treatments and makeup and skincare hybrids. 

I sometimes find it difficult to know what skincare products are suitable for my skin type.  I have had my fair share of skincare fail horror stories. Thankfully Exuviance has this covered. The Patient Condition checklist area of Exuviance’s website is very helpful as it matches products to specific skin concerns, helping you choose the right product for you. 

I have had the opportunity to try out a variety of products as I was gifted these at various blog events. Here’s a little run down of the products I’ve tried. 

£35 age reverse eye contour 

I was absolutely gutted when I ran out of this eye cream. I will most definitely be purchasing it in the future. (I’m just using up the other ones I have first).

I was starting to see fine crows feet before using this but they have virtually disappeared. Not a bad look for someone in their mid thirties.

Don’t expect instant overnight results, but with prolonged use and a little bit if patience you can see great results. 

free shipping Skinoracle.com

£23.39 gentle cleansing cream 


This is such a lovely cleanser. Every time I use it, it feels like a treat for my skin. The milky cleanser feels super gentle yet still provides effective cleansing. 

You can use this cleanser in two ways. Either as a classic cream makeup remover that you would massage in and tissue it off or use with water to increase the creaminess of it and achieve a deeper cleanse. 

I use this as part of my morning skincare routine. I love that I still get a true clean feeling without stripping my skin of moisture. The knock on effect of this has been far less breakouts. (Previously I had been told by a dermatologist that dehydrated skin was the cause of my breakouts). 

£20.89 purifying clay masque 

This clay mask has quite a tingling feeling on the skin. I would describe it as similar to the feeling you would get if you put toothpaste on a spot but the difference is it doesn’t dry your skin out. 

This mask really does work hard to lift and extract the dirt from you pores. Do be prepared to see the odd breakout post use. These minor pimples cleared up superfast though so are literally the dirt being lifted to the surface. Sounds gross I know, but effective! 

I am yet to come across an Exuviance product that has disappointed me. It is truly great skincare that gets better the more you use it. 

I would love to try out more of their products in the future. Let me know if you have tried any of Exuviance’s other products. I’m always up for recommendations.

Beauty Blenders | Splurge, Spend or Steal? 

When it was first released The Original Beauty Blender caused quite the the stir on the beauty scene.  Developed by celebrity makeup artist Rea Ann Silva It revolutionised the way many of us beauty fans  applied our makeup. 

Priced at £16 it definitely falls into the investment purchase bracket. That will be why everyone and their mama has since launched their own budget ‘dupes’. 


In the interest of research I decided to test out some of these ‘dupes’ and see how they compare to the Original. 

I’ve always loved splurge, spend or steal posts so thought heck, lets base my comparison around this format. 

Well…. Can a cheaper Beauty Blender hold its own against the Original?  

Packaging and Appearance 

When comparing to the original it is very easy to spot the dupes. Packaging is very basic. Once outside of their packaging though they are all very similar but with some variation on shape. 


Pictured from left to right.

The Original Beauty Blender retails for £16 from Beauty Bay

Avon’s offering, the precision makeup sponge, retails from between £3.50 & £6.50 depending on their current offers. 

Primarks 2 pack of blender sponges retails for a mere £1.50 

Contents

The original beauty blender is latex free and so is Avon’s sponge. Avon’s website describes it has a latex free PU sponge. Primarks sponge contains latex, so not good if you have an allergy. 

Feel

Avon’s offering is closest in feel and texture to the original. Something about it is off though, it just doesn’t feel as smooth. 

Primarks version feels very dense in comparison and doesn’t feel anywhere near as nice as the original. 

Reaction to Water

If you are familiar with the original beauty blender you will know that when it is held  under water it absorbs the water and expands. 

Avon’s blender does exactly this. In fact it grew a fraction bigger than the original. Primark blender doesn’t expand at all. 

Performance 

To try to keep a fair test I used the same primer and foundation with each blender. This was Smashbox photo finish primer and Loreal Infallible foundation. I also tried to stick to just using 3 pumps of foundation. 


Pictured left to right

The original blender by far gives the best and most even coverage. I feel my foundation looks very natural a flawless in this picture. 

Avon’s blender absorbed more foundation than the original so gave a less even coverage. It also makes an odd hollow sound when you tap it against you face. This im guessing is because the sponges fibres are less compacted and smooth and would be why it absorbs more foundation.

Primarks blender I found quite hard and uncomfortable on the skin. I had to work much harder with it as it seemed to move the foundation around my face rather than blend it in. This is especially noticeable around my eyes. 

Ease of cleaning 

All three blenders actually performed fairly equal in terms of getting them clean. They have all stained a small amount.



My Verdict – You get what you pay for! 

Primark’s offering as far as I’m concerned is a complete dud. I don’t like it. It doesn’t perform the same as the Original and actually felt a bit uncomfortable to use. As far as I’m concerned this is being passed onto the kids as a painting sponge! 

I was plesenty surprised by how well the Avon sponge performed. If you have never tried the Original Beauty Blender because perhaps you feel that £16 for the original is too expensive then this is a very good dupe. 

If you like the original beauty blender and want to save you self a good £10 then Avon’s sponge is definitely a good buy. I don’t think you would be disappointed. 

Thanks for stopping by and checking out SchoolRunBeauty.com.

Product Review | Xen-Tan Fresh Tanning Mouse 

I don’t know about you but I am so ready for summer now. I’m desperate to put away the winter jacket and get into my shorts and floaty dresses. One thing I’m not ready to do is expose my milk bottle legs. Yay for fake tanning products then! 

It was definitely time to shop my stash and dig out my sample of Xen-Tan Fresh Tanning Mouse rrp £33.99 for 236ml. Yes that’s pricey but I’ve done some digging and found that Justmylook.co.uk currently have this on offer for £17.99. That’s is by far the cheapest I have seen it available for. 
This celebrity favourite tanning brand has won numerous beauty awards including from the likes of Harpers Bazaar and Elle Beauty. 

The brand was developed by US tan enthusiast Dera Enochson after she found the already available tanning products were not fulfilling her desire to achieve that much coveted natural looking olive skinned tan. 

Xen-Tans lightweight foaming mouse claims to provide a buildable natural looking tan whilst also providing antioxidant, cellular protection and moisturising skincare benefits from a range non toxic ingredients including Green tea, Aloe Vera, Ginko Biloba and Vitamins D and E. So how does it perform? 

I certainly found this easy to apply. I used a tanning mitt which I found helped to blend the formula evenly into my skin. 

It dries down very quickly so I was able to get dressed after about five minutes. I didn’t experience any product transfer onto my clothing. 

This isn’t an instant tan, the colour develops   over time. You are advised not to have any contact with water for at least three hours after application.

PRO’s 

  • No horrible smell. It is supposed to be grapefruit scented though I feel it has a cocoa type smell to it. 
  • Easy to apply. 
  • Can use on face.
  • Added skincare benefits.
  • Doesn’t leave dark looking pores. 
  • No staining. 

CON’S

  • Does feel a little bit sticky. 
  • No guide colour.

Below is a before and after shot after using 1 layer of application and allowing to develop for several hours. The difference is very subtle. Where I do notice the the tan the most is on my shins. They are very white in the first picture. 

    I am happy with this level of tan for everyday wear. It is very natural looking and certainly doesn’t have that fake orange look to it. Zen-Tan do advise applying a second layer for a darker tan. 

    I found this a really easy to use product. My only negative is the lack of guide colour to ease application. I did miss a patch on my foot, whoops! Good job a shoe will be covering that! 

    If you have any recommendations for easy to apply fake tans do let me know as I’m always open to trying out new ones.