; une tasse: a beauty and casual fashion blog: April 2012

My week in photos and what I bought

From L-R:

1. Stage one of the process of experimenting with dip dye. I'm hoping the blue will turn out as awesome as this so fingers crossed. Also can't get enough of these metal collar style necklaces going around, this one is from River Island (£7) and I love it so much I bought the silver one too.

2. Yummy handmade spinach and ricotta ravioli from Pasta Remoli in Westfield.

3. New bag from Zara (£19.99) but I might get the black version. Grey looks chic but it gets so grubby when going to and from work on the trains.

4. Another Westfield purchase, my new Bobble water bottle! I have no problem drinking tap water but I hate the taste of it when I've refilled a normal plastic water bottle. I always get told off for not drinking more water and I'm hoping this will encourage me to.

5&6. Constant rain and grey skies are so depressing but I've been getting lots of wear out of my mid calf boots my dad bought for me. £18 from Aldi would you believe it.

7. Collection 2000 Multiplier Mascara isn't too grand but it was a cheap buy (£4.99) and the Extreme 24 Hour Felt Tip Liner was free with purchase (usually £2.99). Hands down the best felt tip eyeliner I've ever used. It doesn't smudge and it stays on ALL day.

8. I love my new jim jam bottoms from Primark (£5).

9. Found my Nintendo DS in a drawer and I've spent all day on this. Gotta catch em all!

What have you been upto this week?

VO5 Gloss Me Smoothly Conditioner

I stay over at my rents about once a week and never bother bringing a wash bag as I only live 15mins away. I just use whatever is in the family bathroom. Lynx shower gel? Don't mind if I do! Thankfully my sister buys the shampoo/conditioner in the house . I've never considered using VO5 before not because I don't like the brand, it just wasn't on my radar.

I can't get enough of this conditioner. It makes my hair really soft and definitely less frizzy which is my biggest problem since I rarely straighten my hair these days. I guess this is down to the fact that it contains a blend of argan, avocado, apricot, jojoba and grape seed oils and the addition of hydrolyzed silk. It also smells really good which is important to me. I hate my hair smelling of nothing and am always envious of people who leave a waft of their shampoo scent when they swish by. I haven't tested this out yet but I can still smell it on the ends of my hair.

In my own shower I'm using Dove's Nourishing Oil Care Express Treatment conditioner and I've found that it doesn't make a remarkable difference. I know a lot of people rate it but it doesn't work for me. I guess you don't really know how well a product works until you have something to compare it to and for my hair, VO5 is so much better. I rarely buy matching shampoo and conditioner. I stick to Head and Shoulders then buy any conditioner that strikes my fancy or whatever is on offer. So I don't know how the shampoo is but I'll definitely be buying my own bottle of this conditioner especially as the whole range of VO5 shampoos & conditioners (250ml) are currently on offer for 99p in Superdrug.

My French Skincare and Haircare buys

Two weeks ago I spent five days in sunny Paris celebrating my sister's 21st birthday. I had already done all the touristy bits on my previous trip so this time was much more shopping focused and visiting lesser known areas of Paris.

Can I just say that the French have the most amazing food. I ate so much that I'm glad I don't own any scales coz I would be too scared to look. My bags home were bursting with cake, brie, crepes, madeleines and pain au chocolat. I'm still craving some authentic French bread and butter. Yummm!

My sister and I carefully planned out our shopping trips and did plenty of research beforehand. As recommended by Lisa Eldridge in her French skin care video our main destination was City Pharma (26 Rue du Four, near Mabillon metro stop). Although you are never more than 5 minutes away from a pharmacy the prices differ widely. I incorrectly assumed that a pharmacy more towards the outskirts of Paris would be cheaper but this wasn't the case. City Pharma is slap bang in the centre but was the cheapest around, however this meant it was rammmmed. I had to side step and squeeze my way through at every opportunity. Wasn't the best shopping experience but the low prices made up for it. Between my sister and I we must have spent around £100 in two separate trips.

This is my little loot

Bioderma Crealine H2O Micelle Solution (500ml): The holy grail of makeup removers and the accolade is well deserved. It swiftly removes eye makeup (even waterproof) without a leaving any horrid residue behind nor does it feel drying. I only use this on my eyes not my face but it feels just like water. I bought 3 bottles which were on promotion for 7.50 euros each. Bargain!! I don't want to think about what I'll do when I run out, I can't bear the thought of paying £16 for a bottle off ebay.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Astringent Micro-Exfoliant Lotion (200ml): My first foray into this brand and I am really pleased. I love astringents and prefer them over cleansing wipes. I don't feel like my face is clean enough until I see dirt and this removes a lot (thank you London pollution). This was 8.50 euros and I might buy it again. If it lives up to the claim of tightening and unclogging pores then I'll definitely do so.

Evan Facial Spray (300ml): I am hoping that this humongous bottle will be used if we ever get a summer this year. I have a mini Avene spray which is exactly the same thing but is much dearer. I actually bought this in a large Carrefour supermarket for about 3 euros.

The following creams and ointments were bought out of curiosity after reading Gwyneth Paltrow's list of must haves. I don't have sensitive skin but the Mr does and these are for his benefit more than mine.

Avibon - Vitamin A cream for dry/rough skin and apparently wrinkles?
Homeoplasmine - An antiseptic ointment for skin irritations
Biafine Act - For healing superficial burns and sun burnt/sensitive skin.

Nuxe RĂªve de Miel Honey Lip Balm (15ml): A little pot of heaven. I am not easily swayed from my faithful Carmex and I don't usually like honey products but love this! It's preservative free and contains Acacia honey, Shea butter and grapefruit essence - it smells (and tastes *ahem*) so good. It's quite thick and I think this would be perfect for wintry chapped lips. I paid 6.90 euros at City Pharma.

Klorane Mango Butter Conditioning Balm (150ml): The words "mango butter" drew me in. It just sounds so moisturising! It doesn't smell very mango-ey which was a bit disappointing. In my opinion a balm is thick and creamy but this has a thin formulation. I've only used it twice so haven't noticed a considerable different in the texture of my hair yet but hope it works. I think I paid about 5 euros?

Phyto Phytojoba Intense Hydration Shampoo & Phyto Phytobaume Hydration Express Conditioner: I've read about Phyto here and there but wanted to try for myself. There was such a wide range to choose from but I think I made the right choice. I normally always opt for hair products catering to dry hair in the hope that they will inject some life and moisture into my despairing barnet. I am waiting to run out of my current shampoo before cracking these open. I have only ever used "drug store" branded shampoos before so have high hopes. I paid 10 euros each.

With the exception of Bioderma most French brands are easily available to buy in the UK. I've included links to where you can buy them from in the titles but they are more expensive. I didn't buy anything from Avene, Caudelie or Liercac because nothing really took my fancy. I'm pretty pleased with my lot and am hoping I didn't miss out on something. What would you buy if you were visiting France?