Book Reviews · Budget · Monthly Favourites · Skincare

February Favourites …

It’s been a while since I’ve done a monthly favourite collection, so I thought I’d show you what I’ve been using and loving this month.

It’s been a really long month … for some reason February using goes quite quickly but this time it has dragged on forever. It was quite a tough month for us, what with significant dates and all – I’m actually glad to see the back of it to be honest. I feel like March is the start of spring, everything should start to get a bit better – hopefully.  We’re off on holiday in search of some sun in a week or so and hopefully the weather back here will improve soon too. I’m pining for those beautiful warm spring days pottering around in the garden or on the beach! Because I’ve been on maternity leave, money has started to run out, so these monthly favourites, with a few exceptions, have come from my stash. I love discovering old favourites – things I’d forgotten about. It’s like shopping but without the cash!

Here are my top picks for Feb. Enjoy.

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Skincare: 

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Una Brennan Vitamin C+ Brighten Cleansing Oil £10.99/200ml Boots – When my Body Shop Cleansing Oil ran out I needed to get a new one, but I fancied a change. I still absolutely adore TBS Cleansing Oil but I wanted to see what else was out there. It is exactly the same price as TBS an very similar in texture – the only difference is the packaging. I prefer TBS pump, but mine always leaked everywhere, so I actually quite like this one. This oil is the easiest possible way to remove makeup. If you’re lazy about taking off makeup, then you need this or TBS oil (or Clinique Take the Day Off Balm) – you won’t go back to wipes! This is soft, silky and not at all greasy once removed with a warm cloth. All makeup, including eye makeup is removed with ease. I’ve been using this for about two weeks and I’ve only used a tiny bit so a little goes a long way.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair  Complex II 30ml/£45.00 John Lewis/Debenhams – I got a sample of this in the Estee Lauder gift I got with my perfume at Christmas and loved it instantly. I used to use this years ago and was a bit underwhelmed, but they reformulated and this Complex II version is amazing. Applied at night between toning and Hydraluron, this leaves my skin feeling soft and silky; my skin loves this. You only need a few drops so it will last quite a long time. I got the 7ml one as a sample and it has lasted me two months, so this should last for ages. I picked this up back in the January sales and have just finished the little sample size so have moved on to this. Thoroughly loving it.

Radical Skin Perfecting Screen SPF30 £35.00 BeautyBay – I am a bit obsessed with sun protection. Since we’ve had skin cancer in the family, I have made it my mission to kit everyone out with the appropriate SPF protection. As much as I loved tanned, bronzed skin, I get mine artificially – fake tan or bronzer; you won’t catch me baking in the sun and trying to get a ‘real’ tan – I’m far too worried about the after effects twenty years down the line! Anyway – this SPF is perfect. I have found that you really need to spend a bit of money to get a decent facial SPF that isn’t greasy, doesn’t block pores and cause spots and doesn’t leave a horrible white cast on the skin. This one smells lovely and has a very subtle shimmer to it, meaning under foundation, it is almost like a luminising primer. It doesn’t make my face greasy and makeup goes on perfectly. If this is a bit pricey, try Benefit Dream Screen which is a bit cheaper.

Makeup: 

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Nivea Men Sensitive Post Shave Balm £2.50 Tesco – I talked about this in my weird primers post (). Yesterday I talked about products not worth the hype, but this definitely is worth the hype and praise that it gets. First discovered as a primer by NikkieTutorials (who I love and could watch all day long!) on YT, this has been trialed and tested by loads of people – including me – to great success. The glycerin content of this balm, combined with the lack of alcohol makes this the perfect base for makeup – foundation literally sticks to the glycerin and stays all day. I’ve used it with Bourjois Foundation above, Clarins Extra Comfort, MAC Face & Body and Bourjois Healthy Mix and it suits them all; they all stick like glue and last for ages. I cannot recommend this enough if you have dry/normal skin – it might be too much for oily skin though, but at £2.50, it’s not exactly going to break the bank to test it out, and if it doesn’t work, it can be passed to husband/boyfriend/brother/dad etc. It does have a ‘manly’ scent to it when first applied, but once foundation is one that disappears (and I quite like the smell!). Definitely one to try and it is much better than some of my other much pricier primers.

Bourjois City Radiance Foundation in 01 Ivory Rose £9.99 Boots/Superdrug – I talked about this a lot on my Five New Things post, so I won’t go on about it here too. I’ve pretty much been using this every day since I got it. It is light/medium buildable coverage that applies really smoothly and conceals redness reasonably well. It isn’t full coverage, so if that is your kind of thing then this probably isn’t for you. I apply with a Beauty Blender or a flat top foundation brush and both give the same glowy effect.

Clarins Bronzing Duo Mineral Powder Compact in 01 Light £25.50 Escentual – I got this a few years ago and have used it on and off every since. It is a very pale bronzer that doesn’t really show up on my summer, more (fake) tanned skin, but in the winter months when my skin is ghostly pale, this is perfect. I’ve been liking a more bronzed look this month so have been using this a lot. The only thing I don’t like is that it isn’t that pigmented, so you have to do a lot of brush swirling to get enough product to show up on my skin. There’s a slightly darker colour and a lighter one that you mix together with your brush and then apply. For the winter months, this is a bronzing favourite and seeing as we’re going on holiday in a week or so where I’ll apply some fake colour, this is probably the last month I’ll get to use this until the end of the year when my skin tone goes back to practically white again.

Clinique Cheek Pop/Blush Pop in 08 Melon Pop £15.30 John Lewis – I really like these Clinique blushers. They come in a gorgeous range of colours and are so soft and silky to apply. They are very pigmented and you only need a small swish of the brush to pick up a lot of product. This colour is a gorgeous peach pink – perfect for spring and summer. It really lifts the cheeks and makes me look a bit more awake and alive!

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Pattina £16.00 Cult Beauty/Feel Unique/M&S – I’ve had this for a while too and had forgotten all about it! I love liquid lipsticks, especially matte ones, and I was watching a YT video and this was mentioned and I remembered I had it squirreled away at the bottom of a handbag. When I dug it out I remembered what a gorgeous lip product it was. They colour is a mauve/nude/pink and it applies like a dream, feels comfortable on the lips and whilst I’m not sure it stays all day, it does stay a fair while without needing attention. It is drying of course as it is matte, but I’m ok with that and it means no hair getting stuck in it on a windy day!

Collection Eyes Uncovered Nude Grey Palette £2.99 (on offer, normally £3.99) Boots – I cannot quite believe that this palette is only £2.99. The quality of the shadows is amazing for such a bargain product! If you’d really like to expand your eye shadow collection or get a first-time palette but don’t want to/can’t spend a lot – these are your best bet! They’ve expanded the range of colours now – there is a Nude, Nude Bronze and a Rose Gold – all incredible value and quality for money. The actual shadows are pigmented, soft, buttery and easy to blend – everything you need in a decent eye shadow!

Bourjois Smoky Stories Quad Eyeshadow Palette in 12 Sau-Mondaine £7.99 Boots/Superdrug – Again, I talked about this in another recent post. This palette, the Collection one above and the Urban Decay one are all I’ve been wearing all month long. This is a lovely palette and when combined with one of the darker shades from the Collection or UD, can create a lovely evening smoky look too. Very versatile.

Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics £23.00 Feel Unique/Debenhams/John Lewis – This really is a lovely, everyday, wearable palette. The six cool toned matte shadows are pigmented (for mattes) and not chalky; they are blendable and work really well together. I tend to work my way along the palette. I tend to use the darkest shade (far right in the photo above), wet with and eyeliner brush, pushed in to the lash line and then blended, for a softer eye liner look. I’m not a massive matte eye shadow fan to be honest, and this is the only matte palette I own like this, but this is so good at being matte that I don’t need another one – this one does the job perfectly.

Left photo Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics matte shades. Right photo Collection Eyes Uncovered Nude Grey shades

Other: 

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Colgate FluoriGard Fluoride Rinse £2.99 Boots – If you’re anything like me, I’m a little obsessed with teeth and oral hygiene – I’m forever flossing and trying different brush heads for my toothbrush. I hate my teeth (they are little, naturally stained – according to the dentist nothing to do with what I’ve eaten over the years, therefore totally unable to be whitened – and mega sensitive) and am completely paranoid of them falling out (I have dreams about it approximately twice/three times a week). In the Black Friday sales I bought a wizzy, jazzy Oral B electric toothbrush which is AMAZING. When I first used it it was a bit of a revelation… I was like ‘so this is what your teeth are meant to feel like after brushing!’ My dentist recently told me that I need to use mouthwash during the day (about three times if possible – at different times to when I brush my teeth) and because I wear a mouth guard (because I grind my teeth badly at night) I have to use the mouthwash just before I put the guard in. She specifically told me to get one that doesn’t contain alcohol but does contain as high a percentage of fluoride as possible – this was the result. I hate normal mouth washes because they burn! This however, doesn’t at all – feels really mild but refreshing and my teeth definitely feel cleaner after using it. A definite repurchase from me.

I’ve read three books this month (the perks of maternity leave eh?) and loved all of them.

The Silkworm by Robert Gilbraith is the second in the Cormoran Strike detective series from JK Rowling. I loved the first novel and this one was just as good. There is no doubting that Rowling is an amazing author. If you like detective fiction that is a little bit different – as Strike is a private detective, so there is less ‘policing’ in it – then this is a good one to try. I’ve just ordered the third and most recent one too.

Liar Liar by MJ Arlidge is the forth novel in the Detective Helen Grace series. Set in Southampton, these are very much your standard police procedural novels, but they are pretty grim reading. Arlidge is a script writer for Silent Witness, so the macabre scenes and crimes kind of echo the hideousness of the Silent Witness plot lines. Having said that, I find these so easy to read and really interesting too – if a little shocking in places.

The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh is set in Mallorca (I’ll be honest, I got this because I wanted to read about lemons, sunshine and Mallorca – and the cover photo looked enticing!) and is about a family with some serious tensions. Their holiday to Mallorca sets off a chain of events that is pretty explosive. I enjoyed this – again, very easy to read, kind of holiday/beach/no brain power required kind of book. The perfect kind of escapism.

That’s your lot for February!

Must buy? Colletion eyeshadow palette and the Nivea primer.

Thanks for reading.

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