• Spend or Save: Gazelli vs The Body Shop Spend or Save: Gazelli vs The Body Shop
  • Co-washing with Macadamia Flawless Co-washing with Macadamia Flawless
  • Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet
  • Bargain Beauty: Garnier Ultimate Blends Bargain Beauty: Garnier Ultimate Blends


Spend or Save: Gazelli vs The Body Shop

In many cases, I firmly believe that skincare is worth spending on because frankly, even the most expensive paint will look rubbish on a cheap canvas. However, I’ve been trialling two moisture masks lately that vary hugely in price and have been quite surprised by the results. Here comes the battle of the brands – Gazelli vs The Body Shop!

TBSvGazelli1 Spend or Save: Gazelli vs The Body Shop

TBSvGazelli2 Spend or Save: Gazelli vs The Body Shop

TBSvGazelli3 Spend or Save: Gazelli vs The Body Shop

In the red corner, we have the Gazelli Ultra Nourishing Saviour Mask*. As far as skincare giants of the world go, Azerbaijan isn’t a country that typically springs to mind. They do, however, have one particular skincare export that has won legions of fans the world over. Gazelli is a family business straight out of Baku, with brand values that strike a sensible balance between science and nature.

Over in the blue corner is The Body Shop Vitamin E Sink-in Moisture Mask*. Like the country of Azerbaijan, The Body Shop also isn’t synonymous with skincare for most people, being better known for Body Butters, shower gels and gift sets. Despite that, I’ve fallen very hard for a couple of their skincare pieces including the Vitamin E Serum-in-oil and Chamomile Cleansing Butter.


The hero ingredients of Gazelli’s mask include fig extract, a natural source of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and the brand’s patented Gazelli White Oil, a precious natural resource unique to Azerbaijan and formed over many years in the deep layers of the earth. The stars of the show in The Body Shop’s mask are rather more humble and modest, in the form of wheatgerm oil (nature’s richest source of Vitamin E) and soya oil. These are both Community Fair Trade ingredients, so bonus points for that.

Winner: A dead heat. Gazelli’s ingredients sound luxe and exotic, but The Body Shop are staying true to their Beauty With Heart manifesto using Community Fair Trade sources.

Scent, Texture and Application

The Gazelli Ultra Nourishing Saviour Mask smells nothing short of divine. It’s hard to describe the scent of their White Oil, it’s something you really have to smell for yourself but it truly is delightful. Throw in a hint of fig and you’ve got yourself one gorgeously scented product. The Body Shop are again more modest on this front, with the Vitamin E Sink-in Moisture Mask giving the same gentle, inoffensive scent as the rest of their Vitamin E range.

Texture wise, despite the fact that one is in a pot and the other in a tube they are almost identical. A whitish coloured, soft gel-cream hybrid that offers a cooling sensation when applied to the skin.

The instructions for use on both products is the same, too. Smooth a thin, even layer over the face, leave for 10-15 minutes then tissue off any residue. Simple enough.

Winner: Gazelli. Despite texture and application being essentially identical, Gazelli just about pips The Body Shop to the post for it’s scent.


This is where it gets interesting. Gazelli give a lot of claims for their mask, including plumping and minimising wrinkles (which I can’t attest to I’m afraid), intense nourishment and and instant healthy, radiant glow. I’m sad to report that I didn’t realise experience any of these. While my skin looks and feels lovely after use, the effects don’t last long at all – in fact, I’m back to looking my usual dull self after maybe an hour if that. There has not been any accumulative effect with several weeks of use, either.

The Body Shop happily match the expectations they give on this front, simply claiming that their mask will provide extra nourishment to the skin. It definitely does that, so I can’t complain that it doesn’t live up to what it says it does.

Winner: The Body Shop, purely because it does what it claims to do whereas Gazelli falls a bit flat.


Well, this is the big one, isn’t it?

Gazelli Ultra Nourishing Saviour Mask costs £40 for 75ml and is available online direct from Gazelli, online from Urban Retreat or in Harrods.

By sharp contrast, The Body Shop Vitamin E Sink In Moisture Mask costs £12 for 100ml and is available in store and online.

Winner: The Body Shop. Obviously.

Overall winner: The Body Shop


Just goes to show, you don’t necessarily always get what you pay for!

Co-washing with Macadamia Flawless

Before Macadamia Flawless* came into my life, I wasn’t super familiar with the concept of co-washing. I’d heard of it, but was under the impression that the practice of forgoing shampoo and washing your hair with conditioner was something reserved for afro hair. Turns out (not for the first time in my life) that I couldn’t have been more wrong, in fact co-washing can be pretty much a revolution for any hair type. Washing your hair with conditioner is great for colour preservation as it’s not stripping your hair with harsh sulphates, and it hydrates the hair shaft much more efficiently which really helps to cut down on frizz and improve manageability.

Flawless1 Co washing with Macadamia Flawless

Flawless2 Co washing with Macadamia Flawless

So, while co-washing is most popular among women with thick, frizzy and curly hair (that’s me), the very idea of skipping the shampoo and applying conditioner anywhere near my roots frankly terrified me because I have a super oily scalp. But, all in the name of blogging, I couldn’t say no to at least giving Macadamia Flawless a try.

Macadamia Flawless is touted as a 6-in-1 product that cleanses, conditions, reduces blow-drying time, detangles, enhances volume and eliminates frizz. That’s quite a lot to live up to! Flawless dispenses as a mousse-like texture that creates no suds, which does take some getting used to. Initially I was a bit scared of leaving it in for the suggested 5 minutes before rinsing out as I didn’t want my oily scalp exacerbated. I was also worried that it would weight my hair down and leave my curls limp and lacklustre, but I’m pleased to report that the results were quite the opposite of my fears.

If I’m leaving my hair in its naturally curly state, then I leave it to dry naturally. This usually takes at least 3 hours, but when left to dry naturally after using Macadamia Flawless it’s dry within two. If I’m blow-drying and straightening my hair, blow-drying time is halved from its usual 20 minutes to 10. My hair is left bouncy and shiny with significantly less frizz and flyaways, and the very best part? It doesn’t grease up my scalp in the slightest.

There is, however, a downside. A pretty big one, too. This stuff is expensive. Macadamia is a mid-to-high end brand anyway, so you can’t expect to pay a pittance for this paraben-free can of brilliance. Even so, I do think it’s a little steep at £25.75 for 250ml. It doesn’t last very long – my 90ml sample can (which retails at £8.75) lasted about 7 washes.

Despite it’s price, I would definitely say I think this is worth it. For most people, you wouldn’t want to be co-washing every time as you’ll experience some serious product build up quickly so by alternating this with your regular shampoo you’ll feel the benefits better and stretch our your supply for longer, too. You can also save a few quid by picking it up from LookFantastic, where the larger 250ml size costs £20.60.

What do you think? Do you swear by co-washing, or is this all Greek to you?

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet

Liquid lipsticks are big news in the beauty world lately, with many brands releasing bold, matte finish colours in surprisingly creamy formulas. One such offering is the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet collection, with eight shades of high impact lip colour four of which* I have here to show you.

Velvet1 Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet

Velvet2 Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet

Velvet3 Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet

Velvet4 Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet
02 Frambourjoise

Velvet5 Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet
03 Hot Pepper

Velvet6 Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet
06 Pink Pong

Velvet7 Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet
07 Nude-ist

While the doefoot wand packaging is pretty similar to the L’Oreal L’Extraordinaire lip colours I reviewed recently, you can tell just from the swatches that the formula is a polar opposite. The lightweight, airy texture of Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet is a delight, in fact your lips almost feel bare while wearing them. Despite being so rich in colour, they do not transfer or bleed in the slightest and actually last really well while eating or drinking. I’d say that the staying power of these is in the same ballpark as OCC Lip Tars, although the formula is much nicer and less drying. These are touted as having 24 hour hold; I can’t say I think they’d last quite that long but frankly, why would you never need your makeup to last that long anyway?!

Of the four shades I have, I think the modern suits-all fuschia of Pink Pong is my favourite. Nude-ist is bound to be a popular colour in the range, with it’s natural rosewood hue and I imagine Frambourjoise (how the bloody hell do you pronounce that one, then?) will have many fans too as a bit of a red-pink hybrid. Despite having come around to the idea of wearing red lips again lately, I’m not quite so in love with Hot Pepper as this is a very warm-toned red that I’m not convinced does me any favours paired with my skintone.

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet lip colours cost £8.99 and are out now in Boots and Superdrug – although both only seem to have 6 shades online. The online photos can be a bit hit and miss so I’d definitely suggest having a little swatch in store to find your favourite shade.

Bargain Beauty: Garnier Ultimate Blends

I spent a good few years as a devotee to pricier haircare products. Moroccanoil and Macadamia in particular were my favourites for shampoo, conditioner, deep treatments and hair oil – but their place in my bathroom cabinet has been well and truly ousted recently by a total high street bargain from the new Garnier Ultimate Blends range.

Garnier Ultimate Blends Bargain Beauty: Garnier Ultimate Blends

Garnier’s brand new offering consists of six different ‘ultimate blends’ with luxurious textures that defy their price, and containing a whole host of lightweight precious oils and restorative plant extracts from all over the world.

The blend I’ve been using is The Marvellous Transformer for dry, lifeless hair. As you probably know, my roots are super oily but I prefer to concentrate on the lengths and ends which are indeed dry and lifeless. The Marvellous Transformer products contain a healthy dose of haircare favourite Argan oil along with Camelia oil which has been favoured by the Japanese for centuries. And let’s be honest here – have you ever seen a Japanese woman with hair that isn’t sleek and gorgeous?!

The Marvellous Transformer Shampoo* (£2.79/200ml) is transparent in colour and quite runny in texture – so be careful when you squeeze the bottle as I’ve accidentally squeezed out twice as much as I need on a few occasions! The Marvellous Transformer Conditioner* (£2.79/200ml) is pretty standard stuff and not much to write home about, but The 1 Minute Treatment* (£4.49/200ml) is definitely a winner. Ain’t nobody got time to hang around for 10 minutes letting a deep conditioner penetrate the hair so this one minute wonder is ideal. Sumptuous and thick in texture, yet it doesn’t leave hair feeling heavy or weighed down. Lastly we have the Marvellous Glow Oil* (£9.99/150ml) which is super affordable for a hair oil and, in my opinion, is as good at its job as Moroccanoil. The scent is divine, too.

This is such a good range for its price point. The products genuinely feel high end and perform to the standard I’d expect from a much more expensive brand. I’m never left feeling greasy after washing and drying like I can be with other brands and products, so all in all I’m a very happy bunny. Something else I really like is that the shampoo and conditioner are available in 200ml or 400ml sizes, which is great – I go through shampoo at twice the rate of conditioner so to be able to get a 400ml shampoo and 200ml conditioner (or the 1 Minute Treatment, which I do prefer) is a small pleasure that seems to simple but appears to be a lot to ask from most brands!

The Garnier Ultimate Blends ranges are rolling out across stores this month, it should already be available in many places including Boots.

The one in which I surprise even myself

So yeah, sorry I’ve been a bit MIA this week. I’ve had a lot going on and just have been too exhausted to blog. Back in January I had a bit of a blogging identity crisis in which I said ‘I know exactly who I am in every other aspect of my life’. It’s a bit weird I know, but since publishing that little sentence it’s been playing on my mind. DO I know who I am? Really? Does anyone?

I’m gonna ramble a bit now, so feel free to click away if you’re just here for the makeup. I promise normal service will resume shortly. But anyway, you may or may not know that I have some weight issues. I was pretty average sized child and teenager (if we’re being honest, maybe on the slightly overweight side of average but by no means fat). When I was about 18/19 I started to just balloon and before I knew it I was just a pound or two shy of sixteen stone. I KNOW.

So, inspired by my own mother’s incredible weight loss a couple of years prior, I joined Slimming World in June 2012. By April 2013, I was down to my goal weight of 11 stone and I felt FUCKING AMAZING, like I could do anything. I’ve always been a very jovial person on the outside, even at my biggest, but when I lost all that weight I found an amazing level of confidence that had been locked inside for years. I didn’t have any trouble keeping that weight off, either, at least for a few months. Then, in July 2013, I went to Venice on the most incredible all-expenses-paid trip on the Orient Express, where I was fed 4 course meals three times a day… We were only away for 4 days but when I got back and got on the scales at Fat Club I’d managed to gain 7lb. That’s half a stone! In four days! Fuck me.

And basically, it’s been all downhill from there. I’ve tried and I’ve tried and GOD KNOWS I’ve tried but I’ve had so much trouble getting back in the right mindframe to lose that weight again. I’ve spend months and months beating myself up for it, when I reached my target weight I promised myself that I’d never let myself go like that again but that’s exactly what I’ve done. Now, I’m about a stone lighter than I was at my biggest which is shocking compared to where I was this time last year. The real kicker is that I’ve continued going to Slimming World every single week – I’m actually a member of the social team there (I’m the one who weighs everyone when they come in). Essentially my consultant’s right-hand-man, I’m more than used to dealing out Fat Club wisdom to other members when they’re disappointed with their result on any given week and advice on what they could try doing differently. But I’ll be damned if I can follow my own advice! It’s a vicious circle – I get angry and upset with myself, then I go and eat a fucking doughnut. Go figure.

With the weight issue becoming a huge obstacle for me, I’ve looked to try improving myself in other ways instead. Around the time I started Slimming World, I was considering quitting smoking (something I picked up at 15 because my mates did it and I thought it was cool. Isn’t that how we all start?). But then I thought, I can’t give up fags and cake at the same time, so I’ll lose weight first and quit smoking later. In the last couple of months, I have nearly given up smoking altogether which is a HUGE accomplishment for a heavy 20-30 a day smoker like me. I still have a couple of habitual ones like if I’m outside on the phone, or after a particularly epic meal, or if I’m REALLY pissed off, or the odd occasion that I’m out for a drink. But for the most part, I can truthfully say I’ve cut down by 99%. So that’s good.

Already pretty surprised at myself for managing to cut down/almost quit with the smoking business, this week I’ve bloody outdone myself. I have NEVER been one for physical exertion. In school I made up excuses for not participating in PE lessons every. single. week. I scoffed at people who get up early to go to the gym before work, and I looked at people out for a run and looking like they were actually enjoying themselves with an expression of ‘are you INSANE?!’. I am a couch potato through and through.

Last Wednesday, at work, the new guy (who clearly knew nothing about me to even ask this question) said ‘hey, do you want to run the Hackney half marathon with me in June?’. Once I’d finished laughing and assured him that I would indeed run the Hackney half with him – when pigs flew – I spent the rest of the afternoon thinking ‘actually… maybe running isn’t so bad. You don’t know until you try, right?’. So full of bizarrely misplaced motivation, I bought a sports bra and some workout clothes on the way home. Colin simply raised his eyebrows at me that evening when I said ‘right, I’m going out for a run’, and quite rightly so.

I stepped outside, flicked on some power tunes on my phone and off I went. I had a truly horrible time that evening. I picked the stupidest route I possibly could have done, mostly uphill with lots of pedestrian and motorised traffic. Every time I passed a person or a car I wanted the ground to swallow me up. What must I look like, this fat piece of shit wobbling all over the pavement, huffing and puffing with sweat streaming down my face (and my cleavage, and my back). When I eventually hobbled in after completing a painfully slow twenty minute mile, I burst into tears and cried for hours. What a fucking stupid idea, I thought. What a waste of money on the gear. Who am I kidding?!

The next day, Thursday, I looked at it from a different angle. Even if I did look like a total prat, you know what? I ran a damn mile. It might have been slow, but I did it. I’m still lapping everyone who’s sat on their arse. In a bid to be a bit more sensible and informed about the whole thing, I spent some time reading all sorts of articles on running for beginners and learned that I’d exerted myself far too much the night before. I came across the NHS Couch to 5K programme (not a sponspored link!), downloaded the podcast and steeled myself for my second run on Friday night. In actual fact I ended up going out after work and getting a bit squiffy on Friday (oops), but come Saturday I was itching to get back out and do it.

And do it I did. A woman named Laura voices the podcast, and she told me when it was time to run and when it was time to slow down for a brisk recovery walk. I combined it with shuffling all songs on my phone and discovered that you don’t need pumping trance to run – every single song that came on from a variety of genres seemed to have the right rhythm to match my steps. I took a totally different route, too. I live in what was the Athlete’s Village during the London 2012 Olympics, and this time I went in the opposite direction for a bit of an exploratory mission. I ended up around the Olympic Velodrome, and didn’t come across another soul the whole time I was out which certainly helped with the embarrassment.

In fact, I felt the opposite of embarrassment – I felt amazing and empowered. When Laura piped up to say ‘ok, now it’s time to get ready for your last sixty seconds of running… one, two, three, GO!’, I was actually kind of disappointed. It’s nearly over already? The song playing on my phone at the time was Affirmation by Savage Garden, and when Laura spoke up again sixty seconds later to say ‘you’ve done it!’, Darren Hayes sung that eternally relevant line; ‘I believe that beauty magazines promote low self esteem, I believe I’m loved when I’m completely by myself alone’. I slowed down to a walk, looked around at the empty land around me and burst into tears once again. Not because I was traumatised by the perceived sight of myself, but because I was SO happy that I’d got outside and done it despite how I felt previously, and because that line in that song at that exact moment was such a beautiful, beautiful coincidence.

I kept up the brisk walk for the five minutes it took me to get back to my flat, and when I opened the front door Colin caught sight of my grin through the sweaty red face and he beamed, too.

So I know I’ve only been twice and I’m not in a position to be preaching, but I honestly can’t get over how great I felt afterwards. Come hell or high water I am going to keep this up, I am going to finish this 9 week programme and then pick up a new one. I won’t be running the Hackney Half in June because it’s just not feasible for me to get to the level where I can run 13 miles in one go by that time, but I don’t need an event to aim for. I can take it one heavy, sweaty step at a time, knowing that I’m doing something I never, ever thought I would be able to do.

I can fucking do this. I’VE GOT THIS.

So yeah, that’s where I’ve been this week. A little bit of a running, a fair chunk of soul searching and a WHOLE lot of feeling.

Power of Three: Spring Fragrance

Well, the clocks have gone forward and the daylight is lasting longer. It’s also not hideously cold anymore, which means it’s time to shelve the smoky, musky perfumes that we’ve been shrouding ourselves in throughout the Autumn and Winter and bring out the sunny scents instead! Here is a selection of my current favourite Spring Fragrance…

SpringScents Power of Three: Spring Fragrance

Ghost Eclipse EDT, £34 for 50ml

Ghost’s crescent-moon shaped Deep Night fragrance quickly became a favourite among many as a vampy, alluring night time fragrance. Its polar opposite flanker is due to be released soon in the form of Ghost Eclipse*. It’s invigorating and fresh, not so overpoweringly floral as Ghost fragrances often are but more on the fruity side. An explosion of fruits open the fragrance – you’ll spot bergamot, lemon, mandarin, apple, blackcurrant and peach. The heart is in contrast to the powerful top, with soft freesia, lotus flower and rose with warm amber and musk in the base. Definitely go and give this a sniff when it’s released.

Find it exclusively at Superdrug and The Perfume Shop from 7th May, and nationwide from 1st July at Boots, Debenhams and The Fragrance Shop.

Thierry Mugler Alien Eau Extraordinaire EDT, £50 for 60ml

Eau Extraordinaire* is the latest flanker to be introduced to Theirry Mugler’s iconic Alien family, and instantly on first spritz I actually preferred this one to the original. The original is instantly recognisable, heady and chock full of jasmine absolute. Alien Eau Extraordinaire on the other hand is a teensy bit more generic, but it doesn’t choke you with jasmine. Instead you’ll find a crisp, citrussy top with bergamot, tea and neroli; a floral heart with heliotrope and tiare flower and the classic Alien-esque woody amber base notes. Much lighter and easier to wear than the original.

Find it in Boots or Debenhams.

Benefit Laugh With Me Leelee EDT, £29.50 for 30ml

An oldie but a goodie. I’ve considered this my signature scent since I bought my first bottle after my A Levels in 2009 and have been through probably two bottles a year since then. With top notes of cassis, melon and citrus; a heart of black violet, lily and a hint of jasmine and a woody amber base that’s not dissimiliar to Alien, actually. I absolutely love this stuff and will continue to buy it for as long as Benefit are producing it!

Find it on all Benefit counters nationwide, or online.

Anyone noticed a theme here? I definitely seem to be gravitating towards amber base notes lately. What’s YOUR favourite Spring fragrance?