Friday, May 31, 2013

Review: Topshop Cream Blush in Flush

Yes, I've been naughty again and had a sneaky try of this before getting my camera out, but just look at it. It's just such a beautiful bright coral that I challenge anyone to resist dipping into it the second they get it home.

Now I do love a good cream blush, especially when spring and summer roll round, and Topshop's offerings are no exception. The lightweight cream to powder formula is a dream to work with, blending easily into the skin to give a luminous, radiant finish. Personally, I can't see anything powdery about them at all, even after application, as they leave a dewy, just-bitten effect on the cheeks, and as an added bonus they are really buildable. So for anyone who is new to brighter blushes and just fancies dipping their toe in, then look no further - a light application of this with my Real Techniques stippling brush creates a subtle wash of colour, while a heavier hand results in a vibrant pop.
Flush itself is what I would call a true coral, which along with the light consistency makes it a match made in heaven when it comes to fresh, summery makeup looks. In terms of the photos, there is quite some variation in the way that the shade comes across, so go by the last image for the greatest accuracy, as it's pretty true to life.
The only down-side, I would say, is that I find the wear time a little lacking when compared to, say, a Mac powder blush. I do find that I have to re-apply about half way through the day, but personally I can live with with that in exchange for this stunningly beautiful colour.
Flush has fast become my most reached for blush of the season, and between this and my Mac Peachykeen there's not much more I could ask for for the next few months. Saying that, I have been eyeing up one or two of the other Topshop shades, most notably of all Head Over Heels and Morning Dew.

All shades are available from the Topshop website, for a very reasonable £6.

Have you tried any of the Topshop cream blushes? What are your favourite cheek products for spring and summer?


Monday, May 27, 2013

Review: Mac Paintpot in Groundwork

Two things before we even begin to go into my thoughts on this product: 1. Yes, I was an impatient blogger and cracked this open on a weekend away, meaning I didn't get to photograph it before use - hence it now looking more than a little bit gross. 2. Adding to the grossness is a delightfully placed hair, which I can assure you is from a makeup brush. You have my apologies for both.

On my last visit to my local Mac shop, I went in with two things in mind: A new spring lipstick, and a Mac Paint Pot. Despite being an avid Mac shopper, this was one product I had yet to try, perhaps owing to my - until fairly recently - reluctance to branch out from palettes when it comes to eye colours. Generally, I'm far too greedy and indecisive to ever go for a single eye shadow or pigment, be it cream or powder, but I'd seen these little gems floating around the blogosphere for a while by then, and had noted how lovely both Groundwork and Painterly seemed to look just used on their own.
So, what exactly are these Paint Pots, for those of you who have never tried them before? They are highly-pigmented cream eye colours which set with an intense finish, and the neutral shades among them  work well as a primer/base for powder eyeshadows as well as looking pretty darn good worn alone.
I picked up the shade Groundwork, which I must admit doesn't look all that exciting in the pot. It's described by Mac as a mid-tone neutral taupe, but while it does look pretty matte before application, on the eyelids it does have a bit of a glossy, sheeny finish. The best thing about Paint Pots is that they are really long-wearing - this one doesn't budge all day, and I have to make a point of removing it especially when it comes to my evening skincare routine. It doesn't crease at all either, which is one of the reasons it does make such a fabulous eyeshadow base.
Personally, I've been wearing this solo all over the lid for a really easy, day-time neutral eye. For me, it seems a shame to cover it up with layers of eyeshadow when it looks so pretty on it's own, and since the day I bought it I think I have pretty much reached for it every single day. It's such a quick and effective step to include in my morning makeup routine, and it's handy for travel too as it's such a small and sturdy pot.
Of course, for evening looks I do take full advantage of  Groundwork's power as a base for a more dramatic look, and that works really well too.
 The only downside to the Paint Pots, I would say, is that they do tend to dry out slightly, so it's a good idea to keep the lid screwed on really tightly and, as I was advised at Mac, to store it upside-down. Saying that, mine only looks slightly drier in the pot, but it's still just as easy to apply with a fluffy eyeshadow brush.

Overall I'm really impressed with this, and am looking to get my hands on a couple more very soon. I only wish I'd discovered them sooner!

Paint Pots are available from Mac at £14.50 a pop.

Have you tried any of the Mac Paint Pots? If so, which one is your favourite?


Friday, May 24, 2013

Review: Joico K-Pak Essential Travel Kit

As I have perpetually dry ends to my hair, I'm constantly on the look-out for helping hands, and my hair is one tough customer. There are not many products that it tends to absorb very well, so any effects tend to be pretty short-lived. On my hunt for a solution, I recently decided to purchase the Joico K-Pak Essential Travel Kit, which contains a couple of 50ml bottles of the K-Pak Reconstruct shampoo and conditioner, and a 50ml tube of  the K-Pak Revitaluxe. I thought this would be a great way for me to trial the range before investing in full-size bottles, as doing that there is always the risk of disappointment.

Enriched with Joico's unique keratine silicone complex, the K-Pak Reconstructor Shampoo is of  a rich, creamy consistency, designed to begin the reconstruction process. It restores weak and depleted hair to its optimal strenghth and condition by replenishing amino acids and filling in damaged areas of the cuticle, as well as hydrating and protecting with aloe and vitamin E. It smells really lovely - that classic 'just stepped out of the salon' scent, lathers nicely and leaves my hair feeling clean and soft. The K-Pak Reconstructor Conditioner has the same lovely scent and is designed to strengthen, detangle and reconstruct the hair., leaving it bouncy, silky and soft. The instructions recommend leaving this on for just one minute, but that just isn't enough for my long, damaged hair, so I tend to go for the standard three minutes (or more), and used in conjunction with the shampoo my hair is smoother and more controllable.
The real star of the set, though, is the K-Pak Revitaluxe Bio-Advanced Restorative Treatment. This touts itself as a luxurious treatment which is able to correct years of damage, while also preventing future damage - quite a bold claim, I'd say. The Keratine Peptide complex is said to double the hair's resistance to breakage, while protecting against colour fade up to 94% (great for my ombre hair). Revitaluxe has a cumulative effect, meaning that the more you use it, the shinier, stronger and healthier your hair becomes - so it's not a quick fix, but should have lasting results.
 I was quite thrown by this product at first, as it's extremely watery rather than the thick cream I was expecting. This does make it a little bit fiddly to apply in the shower, as it's easy to spill the product after you've squeezed out what you need - you really need to pop the lid back on straight away. It also smells exactly like those little purple Parma-Violet sweets which were popular back when I was a child - does anyone remember them? Personally I like the scent, so it's only a bonus for me. It's to be left on for 3-5 minutes once or twice a week, and I tend to do this in between the shampoo and conditioner stages.
Over time, I've noticed a vast improvement in the condition of my hair after using this - it's stronger, smoother, silkier and shinier. However, it hasn't completely put paid to problems like split ends, which I'm still suffering from to some degree.
Unfortunately the shampoo and conditioner only lasted a few washes, but the Revitaluxe is still going strong after a couple of months as you only need a small amount due to it's thin consistency.

I'm going to be repurchasing all three of these, as when used in conjunction with one another they definitely give the best results, and have made a bigger difference to my hair than anything else I've tried (although I'm still liking the L'oreal Professionnel Mythic Oil mask for in between). I'm also planning on trying out some of the Tigi S-Factor range, as I've heard good things about that too. Have you tried it?

The Joico K-Pak Essential Travel Kit is available for £11.95 from Feel Unique.

What are your favourite remedies and treatments for dry/dull hair?


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Review: Mac Pro Longwear Concealer

Hi everyone, I've been a bit absent on here for the past week or so due to illness, as I did mention in Monday's post. I had a nasty bout of the flu, which knocked me for six a bit, and it's only today that I've been feeling back to myself and have got the energy to get on here and get back to blogging. I'm glad to be back, as I do hate leaving this little corner unattended. Normal service shall now resume!

I often complain about the dark circles I have under my eyes, and while they are hardly a severe example they do tend to put a dampener on my day in the mornings. I've tried countless concealers and eye creams, and while I have now discovered the Elemental Herbology Eye Elixir, which has worked very well for me in terms of darkness and puffiness, I was still on the hunt for that perfect concealer. Previously, I had been using Benefit Erase Paste, which I did quite like for some while, but essentially I began to notice that it was sinking into and emphasising fine lines just beneath my lower lash-line, and let's be honest, nobody wants to have to contend with that in their twenties. I had often wondered if the level of coverage Erase Paste gave was all there was - it's quite a thick paste, but still I could see the darkness through it.
So, on a fairly recent trip to Mac, I thought I would ask for some advice, having never tried their range of concealers in the past.
I was recommended the Pro Longwear Concealer, which is designed especially for the under-eye area. It comes in a small glass tube with a pump dispenser on the top - something which I quite like as it seems far more hygeinic than dipping your fingers into a pot or jar. The only down-side on that score is that often, one pump is too much, so you can end up wasting a bit of product here and there.
I was surprised to be recommended the shade NC30, which is a shade darker than my NW25 skin (I'm still unsure whether I'm really supposed to be an NW or NC, as I'm yet to find the perfect shade for me in Mac products). Anyway, I have always been of the belief that it was wise to go for a lighter shade under the eyes, since you are trying to counteract the darkness. However, the assistant very kindly applied some of the product for me, and I was astonished to see how much better a job it did of concealing my dark circles. It seems to me that using a lighter shade under the eyes only serves to highlight the problem, and if you're not careful you can easily end up with reverse panda eyes. Saying that, some people seem to swear by this method, so as usual, I suppose it's down to personal preference.
The concealer itself is a liquid, not unlike the Pro Longwear foundation in consistency, and blends effortlessly into the skin when applied with my Real Techniques setting brush (maybe not its intended purpose, but it works for me!). I find  the lasting power to be really good, even more so when I dust a small amount of powder over the top to set it - after eight hours it still looks pretty good, but it does depend on whether or not I've been absent-mindedly rubbing my eyes throughout the day or not, which does happen on occasion!
Overall I'm really pleased with this concealer, and I don't think I've ever been able to say that about any of the others I've tried. I'm going to stick with it, as used in conjunction with the afore-mentioned Eye Elixir, I'm finally feeling better about my dark circles and don't have that moment of despair in the mornings any more.

The Pro Longwear Concealer comes in at £14.50 for 9ml, and is available from the Mac store here.

What are your favourite under-eye concealers and creams? Have you ever tried anything that worked really well for you?


Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday Catch-Up

Happy Monday, everyone. I realise that's somewhat ironic, considering most people are anything but come Monday morning, but as this post is going up as we're nearing the end of the working day, hopefully things have improved a bit on that front by now!
You may have noticed that I didn't manage to get any posts up over the weekend, and that is because I've been holed up in bed with a lovely bout of the flu since Friday. I'm still here now actually, but I've just about managed to muster the energy to put what should have been yesterday's post together today, which is basically just supposed to be a bit of a Sunday chitchat about the week gone by along with my Instagram snaps from the week.
It was a pretty standard one to be honest, and being ill I can't currently recall anything particularly exciting to tell you. My head feels as though it is stuffed full of cotton wool, which means that besides not being able to hear anything, my mind isn't quite in it's usual working order either! I can't seem to remember anything that happened before Friday, but since then I have been house-bound, so I have been watching countless Youtube videos, sleeping and trying to read a book, and not much else. So perhaps less of the chitchat than usual. Let's all just ignore that fact and behold the photos instead, and I will get back to you with a more exciting post tomorrow.
Hope you all have a great week.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

What I Wore

Shorts, Miss Selfridge  //  Lace-sleeved top, Topshop  //  Clutch, Primark(old)  //  Sandals, bought in Brazil  //  Bracelet, Ebay

Oh hii, thought I'd pop up a bit of an outfit post today. This is photographic evidence of my new peach studded Miss Selfridge shorts' first outing, paired with a white lace-sleeved top from Topshop. I must admit, in retrospect  I'm not all that keen on this combo as I've since found that the shorts look a whole lot better against black, and accessorised with some golden goodness. Not too much though, as I think the stud detailing speaks for itself, and along with the studded sandals there's already a fair bit going on. You'll probably see what I mean soon enough anyway, as it's bound to pop up in another outfit post. Faux pas wearing the same shorts twice in OOTD posts? Oh well, I'm sure we'll all get over it. 
Hooray for it being Friday tomorrow! I don't know about you, but for me today is always the busiest day of the week. As I've mentioned before though, I do get Fridays off, so it's not all bad!
Last night was the hubby's night off from work, and I finish earlier on Wednesdays too, so we decided to have a bit of a film and foodfest at home in the evening. I whipped us up some homemade spicy chicken tacos with guacamole, followed by banana pancakes, as we had a ton of leftover bananas that needed using up quickly (any excuse!). Needless to say, we pretty much ate ourselves into food comas and collapsed in front of The Lovely Bones - a film I have put off watching for the longest time because it's one of my favourite books, and for me, the film adaptations don't usually make the cut. I have to say though, they did a pretty good job with this one, so there was no shouting at the TV as there was when I watched One Day or The Time Traveller's Wife (don't even get me started!). Anyway, it was quite nice to be a bit naughty and treat ourselves food-wise, as we are both healthy eaters the majority of the time. Saying that, I do have a bit of a tough time saying no to chocolate, but don't we all!? ;-)
Hope you all have a lovely end to the week!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Review: Mac Blush in Peachy Keen

As we all know very well, a girl can never have too many Mac blushes, and you might remember seeing in last month's beauty haul video that on my last trip to my closest shop, I picked up a new Sheertone Shimmer blush in the shade Peachykeen.
Sheertone Shimmer blushes are, as you would expect, quite sheer, but can be built up to achieve a bright pop of colour if that's the look you prefer. They also contain hint of shimmer, and while tiny flecks of glitter are detectable in the pan, they don't transfer onto the face at all, appearing only as a beautifully subtle golden sheen. 
 Peachykeen is described by Mac as a 'very baby peach', and I have to say, it looks nothing like the swatch on their website, which is more of a reddish plum shade. It's a good job we have beauty blogs to help us out with things like this! Personally, I'd describe Peachykeen as a dark pinky-peach - it's not a soft pastel peach, and there is definitely something a bit earthier about it.
I had actually had no intention of taking home a blush when I popped into the Mac shop, but the assistant there kindly swiped some onto my cheeks to complement a couple of other products I was trying out, which I purchased, satisfied, and left. But for the rest of the day, which I was spending doing a bit of clothes shopping, whenever I caught sight of myself in the mirror I was impressed with the healthy glow I seemed to be exuding. Of course, I had the blush to thank for this, and by the end of the day I had swiftly popped back and snapped it up. It's now become my most-used powder blush, as it's such a flattering, wearable shade, and the subtle, radiant glow it provides is enough to perk up any tired, run-down or lacklustre face. Although it's sheer, it's also highly pigmented, so a light hand is recommended when applying it. It wears well too, and is still going fairly strong by the time I get home after a day at work. For me, this was my first Sheertone Shimmer blush, and after it's success I have now got my eye on Springsheen and Peachtwist.

What's your favourite Mac blush formulation?
Have you tried any of the Sheertone Shimmer shades?


Monday, May 13, 2013

Collective Fashion Haul // A Video

Please excuse what a state I look in this video, I'd just got home and found myself alone in the house during daylight hours, so I had to make the most and film in a very short window of time! It also turns out that Revlon Photoready foundation is not actually all that photo ready, as it makes me look SO shiny on camera! I did notice this before with another couple of videos, and made a mental note not to wear it when filming again, but as I said, I was in a bit of a rush this time and didn't think of it!
I won't be doing a post on this haul as I just find clothing a real pain to photograph in all its glory. However you will, I'm sure, be seeing these pieces in upcoming OOTD/outfit posts, so keep an eye out for those.
Until then, I hope you enjoy having a little nose into the contents of my (new) wardrobe, and if you do enjoy this video then please do pop over to my Youtube channel and give it a thumbs up and subscribe. I must admit, I'm feeling a bit disheartened again, as while I know it does take time to build up an audience, and I do make these videos for enjoyment more than anything else as a bit of a side project as well as to compliment my blog, my views have really decreased since I started out with filming, and I'm not really sure why! If anything, I would have thought it would be the opposite, but oh well, such is life.

Anyway, hope everyone has had a good Monday! If you have a Youtube channel then do leave me your link in the comments below, I'm always on the lookout for new ones to have a watch as I seem to get through my feed so fast!


Review: Nourish Balance Mini Kit

A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed the wonderful Nourish Argan Skin Rescue (click to read review), and along with that product, which as I mentioned has now become a nightly staple in my routine, I was also very kindly sent the Nourish Balance Mini Kit* to try out.
This came at a great time for me, as only recently has my skin transformed itself from 'normal' to 'combination' - my t-zone is now quite oily, and as I'm sure you've heard me mention, I've been suffering from breakouts too. So I was really excited to get started with this lovely little set, and see what good it could do for my skin. After putting it to the test for some time, as I find to be necessary with any skincare regime, I now feel ready to share my thoughts with you .
What I love about Nourish is that when creating their skincare ranges, they take into account not only the different skin-types we are all 'blessed' with, but also individual lifestyles and needs. Their natural, anti-ageing range of products aim to optimise skin health around the life that you lead as well as providing all the daily nourishment it needs to keep it in tip-top condition.
There are four different ranges available from Nourish, including 'Radiance' for normal skin, 'Protect' for dry skin, and 'Relax' for sensitive skin. As I said, I was sent the 'Balance' kit, which is aimed at combination skin.
The mini-kit contains 50ml of the Balance Detoxifying Cleanser, 50ml of the Balance Refining Toning Mist, 15ml of the Balance Nutritious Peptide Serum, and 15ml of the Balance Essential Moisturiser, and is available to buy for £24.95 - great for anyone wanting to dip their toe in the water.

Nourish Balance Detoxifying Cleanser*
This is quite a liquidy, lotion-like cream cleanser, containing a balancing blend of emollients and apple extract to leave the skin feeling fresh and clean, as well as helping to restore the skin's natural barrier.
The instructions suggest applying a small amount of this to the face with a cotton wool pad and then rinsing with cool water, but I don't personally enjoy using my cleansers this way, so instead I just massaged it into my face before removing it with a warm flannel/face cloth. When wearing makeup, it's obviously advisable to double cleanse - once to remove it, and then once to deep cleanse. I did find that this removed all traces of makeup after two cleanses, and it has such a lovely, gentle fragrance of green apple that it was a pleasure to use. It always left my skin feeling soft and well-hydrated, ready for the next step in my routine. It's 80% organic., and comes in at a bargainous £9.95 for the full-size 100ml bottle.

Nourish Balance Refining Toning Mist*
Again, this has the pleasant fragrance of apples, and comes in a spray bottle so that it can be spritzed onto the face after cleansing. I'm still going with this one, and find it refreshing in the mornings as well as being a welcome pick-me up throughout the day, so I do, on occasion, pop this one in my handbag for whenever the mood takes me. Packed with vitamins and minerals, this restores the natural pH level of the skin, which is obviously great for helping to balance things out and keep them on a level. It's also 97% organic, and for a full-size 100ml bottle you would pay just £8.95.

Nourish Balance Nutritious Peptide Serum*
This is a really light, hydrating serum which I find leaves my skin looking much brighter after use. Again, it's choc-full of nutritious vitamins and minerals, has the same delightful fragrance and helps to renew the skin's natural surface. For me, one pump is more than enough for the whole face, and I tend to apply it to my neck too. It's strange to think that in the past, I didn't bother with serums, as they are now an integral part of my daily skincare routine. It's 80% organic, and will set you back £16.95 for a full-size 30ml bottle, making it the priciest of the bunch.

Nourish Balance Essential Moisturiser*
I think this is probably my favourite product of the four. It's a light, 89% organic cream complex containing sebum-controlling properties, and sinks easily into the skin upon application, with no greasiness whatsoever. I personally find it really difficult to find suitable moisturising creams that suit both my face and neck, but this one works nicely and doesn't cause any breakouts, which for me is a rarity. The full size comes in at £14.95 for a 50ml jar.

In all, I've really enjoyed using this range, and will definitely be repurchasing. The mini kit is ideal for keeping on hand for weekends away or unexpected road-trips, and there are also full-size gift-sets available for each range, priced at £45 - that's a saving of £5.80 compared to buying each product individually.
I have to say, while I've been having some problems with breakouts and oiliness, I noticed a marked improvement in the condition of my skin within the first couple of days of use - it became much calmer and better balanced, as well as looking a lot fresher and generally healthier. Whatever your skin-type, I'd definitely recommend giving Nourish a try, as with such high levels of lovely, natural ingredients you're bound to be doing yourself a favour.

Nourish is available to buy directly from their website, and also from Feel Unique.

Do you like using natural and organic skincare?
If so, what are your favourite products?


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Weekend Wishlist

Mini Shopper, Zara // Aztec Scarf, Topshop // Tigi S-Factor Flat Iron Shine Spray, Feel Unique  // By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Powder, Space NK  // Neom Happiness Organic Treatment Candle, Cult Beauty // Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Powder, Space NK

Hello lovelies, I hope everyone has had a great start to the weekend! Mine isn't going to be all that exciting, as my husband is working more and more at the moment, so I'm spending a lot of time rattling around the place on my own. We already worked opposite schedules, as I get Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays off, whereas he has two days during the week. But at the moment, he's been working even on his days off, both during the day and at night. It's not ideal, and I had been thinking that if anything, work pressures would be easing off now that we are getting closer and closer to our big move. But I suppose at least it's not going to be for tooo much longer, and it does mean all the more blogging time for me. I say that, but I've got plenty already, although it will help in terms of filming Youtube videos. I usually struggle to find any time with both the house to myself and the sun still in the sky to do those!
Anyway, moving on from that, today's wishlist is, unfortunately for me, a little bit high-end. Now, before I got into beauty blogging, I wasn't even aware of a great many of the brands that I am today, particularly those available from sites such as Space NK and Cult Beauty. Now that I am though, there are just so many beautiful products I would be thrilled to try, but I just don't know if I really want to open that can of worms as I tend to think that once you do, you don't really want to go back! I was a victim of this with skincare, as in the beginning I wouldn't have dreamt of paying over £20 for anything, being of the belief that lower-priced products were probably just as effective. However, since I discovered how much I like brands that use nice natural ingredients and give chemical nasties a miss and the difference this has made to my complexion, I now find it hard to bring myself to buy anything else. At least with skincare you really are doing some good for yourself, but with makeup? Let's be honest, it just looks pretty.
Now, don't get me wrong, I've been using brands like Mac and Clinique for years, and for me those that you'd find at the beauty counters in places like House of Fraser were about as high-end as it got. Their products are already on the pricey side, and I have to admit that I often favour them over the cheaper high-street brands found in Boots. But now I have found myself lusting after products from brands such as Kevyn Aucoin and By Terry, and I just don't know that I want to start spending £30-£40 on cosmetics - in all likelihood, I would probably love them and want to keep buying them, and then where would my purse and my bank account be? It seems it might be asking for trouble!
As for candles, I just can't see myself ever forking out £40 for a full-size Neom. As beautiful as they are, and as long as they last, I just can't help thinking what else could be done with that money. I'm quite pleased to have discovered that they do smaller sizes for £15 though, which while still less than cheap for 75g is more affordable for those of us who want to dip our toes in the water.
So, will I really give this gorgeous selection of products the swerve forever more? Probably not. But I think I'll probably wait for special occasions like Christmas and birthdays, as they would make lovely presents (famous last words?). When I am in a position where I am able to get my hands on all the things I need, it will be nice to reserve real treats for the Christmas list, and I also think people enjoy giving things that are going to evoke gasps and shrieks of appreciation!

Have you tried any of the brands above, and would you consider integrating them into your daily routine? Would you think twice about converting all of your products to such high-end brands?


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Confessions of a Beauty Blogger Tag

1. How many hours a week do you spend writing/editing posts?
It really varies, depending what I'm posting that week. Sometimes I'll reel of a post in a matter of minutes if the mood takes me, but if I'm writing a thorough review or a post that requires some research then I'll put a fair bit of time and effort into it.

2. Are you a spender or a saver?
I seem to have spent my life alternating between the two. As a child I was a sensible saver, and as a teen and when I first hit my twenties I spent every last bit. For the past few years though, I've been quite a good girl and saved up again, but saying that, I've definitely let things slip in the last year or so (since I started blogging, funnily enough). I'm now trying to get back to putting my pennies away carefully, as we are going to be needing them for our move in the summer.

3. When is it easiest for you to blog?
I tend to get more done at the weekends. I much prefer putting posts together when I've got some time to myself, as having the other half around means getting distracted is inevitable. I tend to take most of my pictures on Fridays, and then I'll edit them all and upload them to blank posts ready for me to write them later in the week,

4. What's your worst makeup/hair habit?
Until fairly recently I was awful for brushing my hair too vigorously when wet, and not washing my makeup brushes often enough. However, I've now rectified both of those, so I'd probably say not using base and top coats when I paint my nails (literally going to change that this weekend too though) and bombarding my skin with too many different products, as I can't resist trying out new skincare!

5. What's the one quote that you wish the world could live by?
Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.

6. How long do you spend getting ready every day?
It depends if I'm washing my hair or not - about half an hour if I'm not (although that includes a quick shower), and about an hour and a half if I am (including drying and straightening my hair). If Im not going anywhere though, I tend to let my hair dry naturally, as it's gota natural wave and is a good chance to avoid heat damage.

7. What's your favourite video on Youtube?
Well these two are pretty hilarious:

But mainly, I really like watching other beauty and fashion bloggers' channels.

8.  Which blogger of whom you are a reader do you think deserves more subscribers than they 
Oh, there are too many to mention, but someone who definitely deserves more followers is WY, who runs Raves 'nd Ramblings. She is such a lovely lady, and really knows her stuff, particularly when it comes to skincare. If you haven't already, do go over and have a read of her blog. You can also find her on Twitter at @wy_hu

9.  Which one thing are you most excited about in the upcoming year?
MOVING HOME!!! Excited is an understatement.

10. What's your most awkward blogging moment?
I can't think of any, but uploading my first Youtube video was definitely a bit of a cringefest! Thankfully I got over that, and now really enjoy it, although the worry is still there as you never know who might be watching!

11. Are you wearing jeans, trousers, pyjamas or a skirt right now?
I'm wearing jeans, as I'm about to go to work and the dress-code is pretty casual but we have to be covered up, and tights in this heat are actually worse than jeans!

12. What are you most proud of in your life right now?
Probably, to be honest, my little blog! I'm also proud of how far my husband and I have come together and what we have achieved.

So there you go! If any of you lovelies fancy doing this tag then consider yourselves tagged!
Thank goodness it's Friday tomorrow!


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Review: Topshop Lips in Tease

Aside from Mac, Topshop lipsticks are very much my go-to, as I find them moisturising, highly pigmented and reasonably priced. In fact, some people argue that they are really similar in quality to Mac lipsticks.
Personally, I'm always eager to add to my collection, and had had my eye on several of the gorgeous shades Topshop had in earlier in the year - Brighton Rock, which is a gorgeously vibrant fuchsia pink, and Whimsical, a pretty Spring peach, to name but a couple. But when my birthday rolled around last month, I was disappointed to find that the majority of those were no longer on sale on the Topshop website (typically, they are now back in stock), and determined to add a new shade to my collection, I went for Tease. Now, online it's a little bit difficult to get a real feel for the Topshop lipsticks and how they are going to come out, and unfortunately there were very limited reviews available on this shade by other bloggers, but nonetheless, I decided to give this a go, and was really happy to receive it in a birthday present parcel from my parents.
Tease is not the usual sort of pink I would go for. An expression I've heard batted about to describe similar shades is 'pepto-pink', while the Topshop website describes it as a 'Barbie pink'. It's vibrant yet milky, and is the sort of shade I've always been terrified of wearing, feeling that they look far too harsh against tanned skin, and tend to wash people out if they are very pale.
Personally, I'm currently neither of those, and like to think that I have acquired a healthy degree of colour, without being particularly tanned, so I didn't find that this lipstick clashed with my skin-tone too much, nor blended in. I'll be honest, I'm still a little bit unsure about it, as it's quite a chalky, milky, bubble gum pink and I'm really not finding it very 'me'. I'm not sure whether it doesn't suit me or if I'm just not used to this type of shade.
Texture-wise, this particular is typically moisturising and applies easily, with the typically good level of pigmentation I'd expected. However, I do find that it tends to accentuate any dry areas on the lips, so I'd definitely recommend using a lip scrub and balm prior to application.

Have you tried Tease?
What are your favourite Topshop lipsticks?


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Review: L'oreal Nude Magique CC Cream Anti Fatigue

I'm sure most of you have either tried or at least heard about CC creams by now. Personally, I found the whole BB cream thing a bit of a let-down, and having tried several I can confirm that they definitely weren't for me. While they claim to help even out skin-tone, cover minor imperfections and redness and generally perk up a dull complexion, if anything I found them to do the opposite, leaving me looking grey and washed out. I wouldn't dream of replacing my tinted moisturiser with one, and would only ever use it as a base product underneath. If anyone has tried one that honestly did impress you then do let me know in the comments below, as I'd love to know if there is one that truly does cut the mustard.
So, what do CC creams have to offer that their predecessors didn't? Well, they claim to prime, protect, moisturise, control oil and fade dark marks and acne scars over time. On top of this, they aim to neutralise and brighten the complexion, so all in all a pretty tall order.
Of all the CC creams I'd seen, the L'oreal Nude Magique CC was the one that caught my eye, not least because it comes in three varieties: anti-redness, anti-fatigue and anti-dullness. Having tried some other items from the Nude Magique line as well as a couple of  L'oreal's primers and serums, and really enjoying them, I had confidence that this would mostly likely be one of the best on the high-street. I really like L'oreal as a brand in terms of their cosmetics, and as most of you know, I'm a loyal fan of their Volume Million Lashes Mascara and Youth Code Luminize Super Serum.
 I couldn't find many reviews to go by at the time of purchase, but I did see one or two for the anti-redness version, and I have to say that I was really impressed by the before and after pictures.
Personally, the variety that most appealed to me was the anti-fatigue version, so I popped online and made a swift order.
The Nude Magique CC Cream claims to transform into foundation and wake up the complexion for the perfect nude look. It also offers flawless coverage, perfectly even skin texture, a fresh dewy glow and 24hr hydration, and as an added bonus, contains SPF12.
The product itself is an apricot cream which is supposed to adjust itself to the colour of your skin upon application (hence there only being one colour for all skin tones), and is priced at £9.99 for a 30ml tube.

Unfortunately, this product wasn't a winner for me, as although it did perk up my complexion a bit and offersome very sheer coverage, unfortunately it left me looking like, well, an apricot. I didn't find that the colour adjusted well to my skin-tone, and I can only imagine how someone even paler than myself would find it.
I did find a way to make this work for me though, which involved wearing it underneath a light-coverage foundation such as the Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup. However, unfortunately for me, this was also short-lived, as within a couple of days I was getting breakouts under and between my eyebrows and on my cheeks - areas which usually remain blemish free.
I haven't lost all hope though, as I do think the anti-redness version looks much better. At the time of ordering, this wasn't really a concern for me, but thanks to hormonal breakouts I now think that it could be of benefit to me. That particular variety is a greenish colour, which is designed to counter-act redness, and again, adjusts to the colour of your skin upon application, so I'd like to give that one a go before I write these off completely.

The L'oreal Nude Magique CC Creams are available from Feel Unique here and Boots here.

I think I'd like to try out the Clinique CC Cream next.
Have you tried any CCs? If so, what was your verdict?


Monday, May 6, 2013

The Daily Face

L'oreal Nude Magique CC Cream (Anti-Fatigue)  //  Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup  //  Mac Pro Longwear Concealer NC30  //  Topshop Brighten in Moonlight  //  MUA Pro Brow Kit  //  Topshop Cream Blush in Flush  //  Mac Paintpot in Groundwork  //  L'oreal Volume Million Excess Mascara  //  Mac  Lipstick in Impassioned

Hello, hope everyone is well and that you've all been enjoying the bank holiday!
Today I thought I'd share what I've been wearing on my face with you, as I've been finding myself reaching for lots of new products as well as some old trusties.
Now, I understand that these sorts of posts would probably benefit from a picture of me wearing this little lot so that you could see it in action, but unfortunately I'm feeling quite unhappy with my skin at the moment thanks to persistent hormonal breakouts and am avoiding selfies like the plague. I will, however, be sure to pop up some photos when I've got things under control again, which I hope will be soon.
Returning products in this little line-up are, of course, the MUA Pro Brow Kit and L'oreal Volume Million Excess Mascara, both absolute staples in my daily routine, and the Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup, which I currently find myself selecting over anything else I've got in my arsenal. The reason I like it is because it feels really light, and looks really natural on the skin, and to me it seems like some sort of mid-ground between a tinted moisturiser and a foundation. It doesn't clog my pores at all, nor does in contain SPF - which can be both a good and bad thing, depending on how you look at it.
Underneath that, I've been trying out the L'oreal CC Cream (anti-fatigue), a review of which will be up tomorrow, so I won't go into that to much in this post to avoid repetition!
Concealer-wise, I'm still suitably impressed with the Mac Pro-Longwear concealer, which is an absolute gem for under the eyes. It hides dark circles really well and doesn't look cakey at all when applied with the Real Techniques Setting Brush, which is a huge bonus. On top of that, I've also been giving my Topshop Brighten in the shade Moonlight a whirl. This is really more of a brightening concealer, and is not dissimilar to the cult YSL Touche Eclat. I've only used it once so far though, so the jury is still out -watch this space for a review coming soon.
I've been really loving cream blushes of late, and the newest addition to my collection is Topshop Flush, which is a gorgeous bright coral pink. I like to apply it with my Real Techniques Stippling Brush, as it blends it down perfectly to a really pretty healthy flush of colour. It may look bright in the pan, but it's really down to you how intense you want the colour, as it's very buildable.

Topshop Cream Blush in Flush

On my eyes, I've been keeping it simple with my Mac Paintpot in Groundwork, which is a gorgeous creamy pigment with an almost glossy finish, which can be used as an eyeshadow base or worn on it's own, which is what I've been doing on a day-to-day basis. In fact, since I bought this, my previous staple, which was the MUA Undressed palette has been pretty much sidelined, as I just find that the Paintpot is so quick, easy and effective. I just apply it all over the lid with a fluffy concealer brush, and I find that it actually creates a lovely, polished look with minimal effort. Lashings of mascara is all that's needed to finish the look, and then with a slick of Mac Coral Bliss on my lips, I'm good to go. This is such a pretty, pinky-peach shade, which along with corals is what I'm all about at this time of year. It's really moisturising too, which is always a bonus.

So there you have it - that's pretty much all that has been gracing my face of late.
What are your favourite make-up picks for Spring?


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Weekend Wishlist

Monochrome Playsuit, Topshop  //  Ren Satin Perfection BB Cream, Space NK  //  Rose Gold Statement Necklace, Miss Selfridge  //  Kevyn Aucoin Liquid Airbrush Foundation, Space NK  //  Elemental Herbology Perfect Clarity Blemish Minimiser, Feel Unique  //  Embellished Heels, Miss Selfridge  //  Striped Crop Top, Topshop  // Cocktail Ring, Miss Selfridge

Hi everyone, hope you're all having a nice relaxing weekend and making the most of the sunshine!
I'm feeling pretty content at the moment when it comes to beauty, clothes and accessories, as I acquired quite a lot throughout the month of April and got everything I needed, and lots of things I wanted, too. But, as usual, I'd be lying if I said that nothing had caught my eye over the past week, so while this wish list might be a bit more modest than usual, it's still there!
Beauty-wise, I'm still suffering from the dreaded hormonal blemishes on my chin, so I'm looking for something to help me zap them in their tracks. What most appeals is the Elemental Herbology Perfect Clarity Blemish Minimiser - a product that had somehow escaped my notice during previous perusals of their website until I had another nosey earlier this week.
Another product I'm eager to get my hands on is the new Ren Satin Perfection BB Cream, something I've been waiting for for ages. Now, I'm not really a fan of BB creams in general, and have found every one I've tried so far something of a let-down, but this being Ren, I've just got a feeling that they will have done a good job.
I've been on the look-out for a new foundation, as while I'd usually be cracking out the tinted moisturisers at this time of year, my skin is really in no position to be going minimal at the moment, and is need of better coverage. I'm a bit tired of my current options - Revlon Photoready is nice, but I've recently began to notice how oily it makes me look when filming videos, and with my t-zone being a bit less controlable then it was previously, I'm thinking I might need to go for something a bit less illuminating and a bit more matte - not something that really appeals, but you've got to do what you've got to do. I'm mostly using the Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid at the moment, which is a nice mid-ground between a tinted moisturiser and a foundation, but I'd like to have another option on hand for those days  when it's just not enough, so the Kevyn Aucoin Liquid Airbrush foundation sounds just perfect.
Fashion-wise, Miss Selfridge have just unveiled their new collection of limited-edition jewellery, and I have to say, they've got some truly gorgeous pieces in. I also fell in love with a pair of their embellished heels, a monochrome playsuit from Topshop and a little striped crop top, too.

What's on your wish list this week?


Friday, May 3, 2013

What I Wore

    Leather-Look Shorts, River Island  //  China-Print Shirt, New Look  //  Leopard Print Boots, Ebay  //  Statement Necklace, New Look  //  Chunky Pyramid Stud Bracelet, Ebay  //  Sunglasses, Zara  //  Tan Studded Clutch, Primark (old)

Hello lovelies, I'm posting a bit later in the day than usual, but that's down to not having taken any snaps of this outfit in advance as I really did wear it today. I've also popped up two sets of photos, basically because I couldn't decide which one to go for!
It's still nice and sunny here, so I went with my trusty leather-look shorts from River Island and teamed them with my new china-print shirt and statement necklace, both from New Look. On my feet, I'm wearing some suede black and leopard-print ankle boots, and I've finished the look with a pair of Zara sunglasses and a Primark clutch, which is actually pretty old but is still going strong! Nail-wise, I chose this pretty pastel green, which is called Talisman, from a Brazilian brand called Ellen Gold. Unfortunately you can't get these in the UK, but this one is a really similar shade to Essie Mint Candy Apple, but I'd say it's definitely brighter and slightly less milky.
Today I've been busy running errands with the hubby - just boring stuff like paying bills etc. - and we spent the afternoon reading our books at our local coffee shop, which is always a nice way to wind down on a Friday. I'm currently reading The Age of Miracles, by Karen Thompson Walker, and I'd love to know if any of you have read it and what your thoughts were.
I've also been busy taking photos for up-coming posts, and this evening my plan is to catch up with a couple of people on Skype, burn my new Spring Yankee Candle, in Peach Orchard, and as is customary on a Friday night, do a spot of pampering. I am loving several face masks at the moment, and finding them really effective, so I've been looking forward to it even more than usual.
I do have a few more bits to chat to you about from this week, but I'll save them for my Sunday Catch-Up post, otherwise I'll have nothing left to say!
Hope everyone's had a good week and that there's a fantastic weekend ahead for us all!


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Thoughts On: Face Powders

I've never been much of a powder girl, having had normal skin for most of my make-up wearing life and being a fan of the dewy, radiant look. However, warmer weather and (perhaps) over-experimentation with beauty products have taken their toll, and lately I've been finding that my makeup now seems to slide off on my t-zonehalf-way through the day. So, feeling slightly skeptical, I trotted off to the shops in search of something that would help to keep that oiliness at bay and set my makeup without looking too heavy or chalky.

I picked up the Maybelline Dream Matte Powder, in spite of not having been very impressed with their Dream Matte Mousse foundation, which I found to be really drying. Now, before I go on, I feel I should just point out a couple of things which may or may not have made a 'Review' titled post on this somewhat redundant.
a) I actually have no idea what shade this is - it simply doesn't say, anywhere on the compact.
b) I'm abroad, and picked this up over here, but while writing this post I have discovered that it's actually been discontinued in the UK. Fail. It does, however, still seem to be available in the USA, so I'm hoping that means that it does still mean something to some of you....fingers crossed!

So, you can probably see why this is not, strictly speaking, a review, but more a post in which I am sharing my thoughts on, and my experiences with my very first facial powder. 

I have to admit, my first foray into this kind of product hasn't left me feeling convinced. Unfortunately I did find this one rather chalky, and  having recently acquired uncooperative, blemish-prone skin on my chin area, I didn't find the two to be a good match. I'm sure this is probably nothing new to anyone who is a regular user of powders, but I just found that it clung to any dry areas and essentially high-lighted some of the bits I wanted to cover up, which is not what I was going for at all. I didn't really find it did much in the way of keeping oil at bay either, so all in all I don't think I'm that sad to hear it has been discontinued. However, it does get some pretty fabulous reviews on Makeupalley, so each to their own and all that.

I popped into Mac the other day and the friendly assistant very kindly popped some of the Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Plus on me. It's a product I'd been intrigued by for some while, as while I'm not a powder person I know that lots of people swear by it , and I wanted to see what the fuss was about. This time, I found that it did provide me with quite a nice finish, but when I looked up close the powder was just too evident on my skin. To be honest, I can't imagine it's possible for a powder to become completely invisible, which is why I've never caved in and tried Bare Minerals, even though I've been tempted by the fantastic reviews.

So I'm wondering, do any of you regular users of powders and mineral foundations have any tips for using this type of product? Truth be told, I'm not even sure whether they are suited to my skin-type at all, and whether I'm just trying to get in on the action with something that is of no use to me, but I do think there must be something about them as I'm not sure quite so many people would bother with them if there wasn't!

I'd be really interested to hear any of your thoughts, tips or recommendations in the comments below, as much as it shames me to admit it, this really is the one makeup product that pretty much bewilders me!

Hope you're all having a good week, only more one more day until the weekend now :)

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