Thursday, 8 October 2015

Makeup Empties: Too Faced, NARS, Benefit and more!

Hi guys, I hope you're well. As you know I'm really loving beauty products at the moment: working in cosmetics has fuelled my desire (and knowledge) to source a true dream team of makeup and skincare to make me feel as confident and awesome as possible. My criteria is I want products that apply well and don't need touching up throughout the day - ain't nobody got time for that! And whilst I like to research as much as possible into my products, sometimes regular wear will bring to light any true issues, such as if they oxidise on the skin or don't last well or break you out, as what works for somebody won't work for someone else. So I've been collecting my empties, the products I've used right to completion, to give a little overview of what they were like and to decide whether or not they're worth repurchasing.

Smashbox Limitless Liquid Liner Pen
What I thought: I've featured this before (initial review here) and my opinion has not changed one bit. I LOVE this product. I got so much use out of this - I regularly use it at least six days a week - and it only started to lose performance after six months, whereas usually I'd need a new Collection Felt Tip Liner after about two or three. But that's not the only part that sets it apart from my favourite high street liner. The tip is super slim and precise, and the liner stays a true black even when used over eyeshadow (which I wear a lot of, often) and it sticks around all day without needing to reapply it. The precision is fantastic and it doesn't budge on me until I remove it at night. I completely recommend this product.
Would I repurchase?: Hell yes. And I have already, because I cannot be without it now!

What I thought: (Initial review here) I remain a huge fan of this product, which I tend to alternate with Ultrabland from Lush for removing my makeup in the evenings. It's my favourite cleanser when I'm wearing a full face of makeup, as the liquid consistency massages well into the makeup to thoroughly remove it all with ease, and the hygienic dispenser means I can add more without mixing makeup into the oil. It is a very gentle product which leaves my skin feeling clean yet not stripped or tight.
Would I repurchase?: I have since repurchased this product as I love the consistency and works perfectly for my skin. Also, despite it's RRP of £11 I always end up paying much less than this as The Body Shop are renowned for their offers - I just picked this up on a 3 for 2 skincare offer but there are often 30-40% off online deals too!

Benefit Cosmetics That Gal Primer
What I thought: As I have dry skin this primer delivers better results for me than it's bigger sister, Porefessional, when worn underneath foundation. I mostly use primer as I don't like to touch up my makeup and this provides longevity - also, I like the feeling of having a barrier between my skin and foundation, which can feel like it's clogging my skin. This pink, brightening primer also gives the skin a little glow and soothes it with raspberry and chamomile.
Would I repurchase?: I do really like this product and it does the job well, but I'm not 100% committed and am playing the primer field. I'm currently testing a new one so I'll report back soon!

NARS Creamy Concealer in Chantilly
What I thought: (Initial review here) I really like this concealer - the pale colour, the coverage, the lasting power on application. But I found that because it was really creamy, it could be a little bit thick and it dried up fairly quickly - I needed to replace this too soon for my liking.
Would I repurchase?: I did not repurchase this even though it wears really nicely - I am reluctant to spend so much money on a product which needs replacing so regularly. I've moved on to Urban Decay concealer which is a little thinner in consistency, equally fair in tone and gives as good coverage as this product - all for a cheaper price. Sorry, NARS!

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Siberia
What I thought: (Initial review here) I never used to know that foundation isn't one-size-fits-all and varies according to both season and environment. For example, I love this Sheer Glow but it didn't have as good lasting power for me in warmer weather as it did in the winter. In winter this stayed on well, gave a brightened glow, and did not cake on my skin. In the summer, I found the lasting power was quite poor and did not cope with the heat. For short wear times such as nights out this stayed on really nicely and had a really lovely finish, but I stopped wearing it for work shifts or long days out.
Would I repurchase?: I did repurchase this foundation as I love how it looks on initial application, and I think it will be great again as winter approaches. But I'll definitely be looking at different formulas for next summer.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation in Shell
What I thought: (Initial review here) This foundation is essentially the polar opposite of Sheer Glow in the fact that it lasts perfectly on my skin in the summer yet is terribly drying in the winter! The coverage and holding power is great but for me right now it's a little heavy for every day. Honestly, I think this foundation would be better for somebody with normal or oily skin, but it works for me as long as I use decent moisturiser and a non-mattifying primer.
Would I repurchase?: I did repurchase this product because, love it or hate it, there's nothing quite like Double Wear! However, now I save it for really long days or occasions where I want full coverage. I was really happy with it's performance at the three weddings I attended this summer. By not using it every day I no longer notice a drying effect.

Too Faced Primed and Poreless Loose Powder
What I thought: (Initial review here) This finely milled translucent powder is quite honestly the best powder I've used. Loose powder is one of those things you seem to have loads of and then none at all, I was genuinely gutted when I realised this had ran out. But seriously, what sets a powder apart? (I'd have laughed at myself two years ago as I picked up my £2.99 powder from Boots!) This is super sheer, super fine and lasts well. So that means it sets my makeup really nicely without feeling heavy, caking it or altering the colour. Powder is so important as if you use a foundation which works well for you, you can still totally ruin the finish by setting it with a poor quality powder which cakes the makeup and alters the colour. Also this is genuinely translucent, not "translucent" [subtext: will still somehow turn you kind of orange] - I know you feel the pain, fellow pale people!
Would I repurchase?: As soon as I ran out I wished I'd ordered a back up beforehand. This stuff is amazing and I wouldn't want to use anything else now.

And so I guess the moral of the story is that if you've used something right to the end, 9 times out of 10 it's because you like the product! A little research into what you're buying beforehand often means you end up with products you're really happy with. But when I don't like something I tend to drop it like it's hot: do you do this, or do you use all your cosmetics to the bitter end? And let me know - have you tried any of these products, or do you have any recommendations?

Friday, 2 October 2015

Luxury Wishlist

Hi dolls, and happy Friday! Today I wanted to pop together a little wishlist post as it feels like forever since I've created one. I've focused more specifically on (what I would consider) luxury items for this post too, as sometimes it's nice to dream! This time of year always has me dying to shop as it's when the deep colours and textures of winter start to appear in the shops, combined with Halloween inspired elements, all of which are always totally up my street. On that note, let's dream away...

As soon as Bloody Mary Metal put out teasers for their Hallow collection I was instantly enraptured, and now I'm desperate to own a Hallow Kitty pendant of my own! Little kitty skulls in oxidised silver hanging from a chain, I'm desperate to own one of these!
Lately I've been really liking the idea of tote style handbags, and Rhodesian of Edinburgh is my go-to for quality bags and practical designs. The yellow pictured may be a little bright for me, with my love of deep colours, but this would look beautiful in any colourway.
Bobbi Brown Greige Eye Palette:
As a cool-toned girl I love ashy colours, taupes and greiges on my eyes as I feel these suit my skintone.  I feel this palette is so classy, and would be perfect for both subtle and standout looks as we come into the party season. There's no way I need to own another neutral palette, but somehow I have few of these ashy tones in my current makeup collection and I think these would be really versatile, I could see myself using the mid-tone mattes frequently for a crease colour.
My love for Regalrose is no secret and they've really outdone themselves with their latest Poison Ivy collection. There's about four chokers which I desperately desire but this corset design is probably top of my list. I've just bought a dress with a low back for a masquerade ball I'm attending this Halloween and I think this would look incredible with it.
Too Faced Born This Way Foundation in Snow (out soon!):
The reviews on this foundation seem to be great across the board, and excitingly they're bringing out in even paler shades soon (both warm and cool toned in the fairest shade, thank you Too Faced for being inclusive!) I think I'll definitely be ordering this in a month or two when the sun's gone away for good and I'm back to my very palest.
Urban Decay Vice4 Palette (out soon!):
The reviews on this palette are, again, amazing and the colours are really beautiful and up my street - lots of cool, jewel tones but some awesome fire tones too. Generally I feel neutral makeup which can be worn everyday is much more easy to justify spending money on as it's work-friendly and I don't have time every day to blend together the perfect mermaid look! However this is the kind of palette I'd love to be bought as a gift as it would be so fun to create different looks with and would be awesome for a holiday or weekend away.
Argh I am so in love with these boots! I need them in my life but for £150 I think I'm going to have to wait. Please reduce these, Topshop, because I adore them...

So that's a wrap for my current fixations! Do you own any of these items? Which is your favourite?

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

August & September Favourites

Hi dolls and happy Wednesday! I actually started writing this post a few days ago but things have been crazy as we picked up our new puppy Leia on Saturday (for those of you who follow me on Instagram, you'll have no doubt seen the influx of pictures!) but just for now I want to focus on a favourites post. There's so much I could share, particularly as it was my birthday in August and I was fortunate enough to receive lots of lovely gifts, but writing about everything would make for a really long post so I've tried to be disciplined when deciding what to feature today! Stay tuned to read more about the items I've been loving this month...

Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette

The very moment Urban Decay announced this palette I knew it needed to be mine so I was really grateful to receive this as a birthday gift. I've used it so much already and I know I'll use it even more during autumn and winter. The colour range is gorgeous - there's a lot of versatile looks to be created here, from a matte grungy eye, to a classic grey smoky eye, to golden-brown smoky look. The colours are on par with Urban Decay's usual standards in terms of pigment, and they last well, however I was a little disappointed with fallout from some of the shades (annoyingly an issue with several of my favourites - High, Armor and Slanted I'm looking at you!) I'm not complaining too much as fallout is kind of a normal thing to happen with any glitter or shimmer shadows at the best of times, but it's not something I've noticed is as much of an issue in any of the other Naked palettes. Personally I like to apply my foundation then apply the rest of my makeup, otherwise fallout wouldn't be so much of an issue, but with this palette that's not usually a good idea. The brush that comes with the palette is fantastic, however - one end is perfect for smudging shadow into concentrated areas such as around the lash line, the other is amazing for blending shadow in general (it's also a lovely brush to use for highlighter!) Overall I still adore this palette though, the colours are amazing, just be warned to do your foundation last!

I received some gorgeous jewellery for my birthday, including this rose gold and silver necklace by Kit Heath and lilac watch by Olivia Burton. Both, to me, have a vintage feel to them and have been constantly worn since I received them! I also received a Trollbeads copper bangle which I adore (but isn't pictured - I need to buy copper cleaner as it's slightly tarnished) which the necklace looks lovely with. I love Olivia Burton's watch designs, and am so happy to finally own one!

This is the best product I've bought from Lush in ages! My thigh tattoo was my first big tattoo and I've noticed since it's healed that it occasionally gets a little bit dry. Since getting Elbow Grease in my life I've not looked back - it smells amazing, like orange blossom, and it's really moisturising. The texture is like coconut oil which makes it kind of greasy and sticky so I always keep it partially in the wrapper and apply it directly to my tattoo (and any other areas of dry skin, it's lovely on arms and legs in general!) It leaves my tattoo really glossy, moisturised and the ink looks refreshed and enhanced. Plus it smells dreamy, so I'd recommend this both for those of you who are inked and those who aren't!

Statement Coin Necklace from Happiness Boutique*

I wear statement necklaces quite often for work, as my work uniform is quite plain. A short, detailed necklace sits well with the neckline, however, and makes me feel like I've made more of an effort! Happiness Boutique is chock full of gorgeous statement necklaces and I'm really fond of this bohemian coin design. If you're a fan of statement jewellery Happiness Boutique is a great store to check out - they have a rewards programme, free shipping and host a bi-monthly giveaway which I like to enter (no luck as of yet, but I'll keep my fingers crossed!)

Benefit Cosmetics Air Patrol Eyelid Primer

Say hello to my favourite release from Benefit Cosmetics since Rollerlash back in February! This product is truly awesome and I've been using it every day since I received it. It's a BB cream eyelid primer containing SPF and an Enviro-Defend complex to hydrate and protect the thin skin of eyelids from pollutants, smoke and sun damage. The tip is designed to be softer than your pinkie finger so you can blend the product into the lids using the applicator, and the primer is slightly yellow-toned which brightens and colour corrects the lids. When I use this with eyeshadows they last so well. And (whilst it's a small detail) one of my favourite things about this product is that you can also retract product back in if you twist out too much which is amazing because I hate waste haha!

So there we have just some of my favourites from August and September! Have you tried any of these products, or are there any you're now wanting to try? Link me to your favourites posts too!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Try to make this life my own...

Hi dolls, I hope you're all well! It's been such a long time since I've shared an Instagram post but I feel like a good catch up with you all is much needed! The past month for me has been so busy, a really amazing end to summer, so I thought I'd share what I've been up to that's been keeping me away...

I thought I'd start this post from mid-August, just after my birthday when my laptop decided to give up the ghost. I travelled up to stay in Kent for a few days where I was a bridesmaid for my cousin Lettie - she'd organised an amazing beach wedding and the day was truly beautiful, as was the stunning bride! I loved the bohemian nature of the day, the different coloured pastel dresses, seeing the little ones run around and everybody eating chips and a slice of lovely homemade wedding cake on the steps, clutching a plastic flute of fizz. It was the most relaxed wedding I've ever been to and everyone was really happy just to chill out, mingle and have a little paddle. What a perfect day.

A few days later my mum and I popped up to to London for the afternoon - despite it being mid-August it was a horrid rainy day but we'd booked an afternoon tea so we weren't phased by the bad weather! We had a little browse in Selfridges where the Christmas shop was already in full swing(!!) and had a delicious afternoon tea which left us stuffed.

The following weekend I went to Portsmouth with my former uni housemates where we ate Chiquitos and browsed Gunwharf Quays. I managed to resist buying too much despite the very tempting outlet prices, but I'm definitely planning to head back there to do some Christmas shopping.

The next weekend a group of us attended the wedding of our friends and former colleagues Steve and Amy. It's always tricky to take photos of the couple at weddings as they're usually already being captured by photographers but we did manage to snap this selfie with the beautiful bride later in the evening! It was a gorgeous day - a really classic white wedding - and everyone staying at the venue was there for the wedding which was really lovely as everyone was united in celebrating the couple.

The day after the wedding, despite our rather delicate state, my best friend, boyfriend and I headed over to Portsmouth for Victorious festival. There was a group of friends already there and the festival was really cool for a day festival. Whilst the music wasn't totally my thing it was a really fun day and an amazing end to the weekend.

For my birthday this year my best friend had only gone and bought me a Foo Fighters ticket! It's hard to describe how much this means to me - we've both loved the band since we first started getting into music as teenagers and have grown up listening to them, so to finally see them play live after all these years was so exciting. We saw them in Milton Keynes Bowl which is such a cool venue and they were supported by Royal Blood (who did not disappoint, I love their album and they were even better and heavier live) and Iggy Pop who I never thought I'd get to see play! As for the Foos? The show was incredible, even with Dave having to play sat down following his injury earlier this summer he was still full of energy and gave an amazing vocal performance. Both myself and Lorna got really teary when they closed the show with Everlong as we were both so overwhelmed. It's one of my favourite songs and I still can't believe I've seen them after all these years.

The weekend after that, a group of us headed to Bestival. It's the first time I've been there and it's such a cool place - there's so much to do, so many places to explore and the whole place is really beautiful. We were even quite lucky with the weather and only got drenched on the Sunday night! The music was really fun to watch - headliners included Duran Duran, The Chemical Brothers and Missy Elliott who all gave really cool performances - but I think it's cemented my desire to go to a festival next year where the music's more up my street as whilst there was so much to do at Bestival I missed that calling where you need to see the bands that are playing. I went to Reading for many years and whilst I loved it I'd love to try another festival that's new to me - we're thinking maybe Download. Has anyone been there before, if so what did you think?

Then, in the last week there's been lots of big events. My best friend's 25th, and mine and my boyfriend's 2-year anniversary. We celebrated Laura's birthday on the same day as our anniversary, we headed into London for another Chiquitos and some cocktails - we had an awesome day! It was also my boyfriend's birthday yesterday, where we had a chilled evening with lots of nice food cooked by my rather fab chef brother and a cheeky glass of cava.

And now for the news that I'm really excited to share with you! As long-time readers of this blog will know we lost Skye, our beloved Cocker Spaniel, back in April. Our baby girl is so missed and I think all of our family still finds it strange just having one dog in the house (even though our Tilly has enough personality to keep us all thoroughly entertained!) We still often accidentally refer to taking the "girls" out or feeding the "dogs" as we've had two dogs for the majority of the past two decades. We never really knew if our family would get another dog after Tilly, but there's been lots of changes of circumstance in our household (one being my reducing my hours at work to focus on a long-term freelance plan - more on that another time) that mean there's going to be more people around during the next year or two at least - sorry Mum and Dad! However, my focus on freelance has meant that now is really good timing to get the puppy I think we've all wanted but until now has never been a fair idea - whereas now I'll be home much more during the day to help out during those initial first weeks. So let me introduce you to Leia!

Our baby girl is in the middle at the back, just look at that pink nose!

Leia turned seven weeks old yesterday. She's from a very large litter with a working mum and dad, and she's very friendly, loving and inquisitive. She'll be coming home with us this Saturday, and I'm like a kid at Christmas, I can't wait!

This photo of Tilly was taken when she was around the same age as Leia is now - I can't wait to see how they get along!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Hanneli Mustaparta for Deichmann

As everyone knows by now, I love shoes - some might say it's a little obsessive. Last weekend I was at Bestival and I found myself really struggling having brought only two pairs of boots with me - it's OK, I'm just the kind of girl who likes options! That's why bloggers getting together with brands tends to really excite me - they know the struggle of needing options - and that's why the new Hanneli Mustaparta capsule collection for Deichmann has caught my eye.

Last year I reviewed Deichmann's collaboration collection with Caroline Blomst - yet if anything, this year's collab is even more up my street. Uber-babe Hanneli's collection is edgy, super chic, more wearable, more blogger-esque. There's an abundance of hardware detailing, chunky styles and subtle quirks, all of which are rather pleasing on the eye. So I've created a little illustrated guide to the collection, to walk you through what Hanneli and Deichmann have put together for AW15...

The slip on skate shoe tends to be a favourite for many people for casual days, whether they're students or off-duty models. I love the textured front section and the monochrome colour palette - it means they'll go with everything.

I'm pretty sure the patent chelsea boots are going to be one of the biggest hits in the collection! I love the chunky soles whilst the cobalt stitching sets them apart and adds a little extra interest. I'd style them simply with ripped skinnies, a band T-shirt and an army jacket.

I'm a firm believer that a girl can never have too many black ankle boots (this is how I justify my own extensive collection!) The quilt detailing on this particular pair is a nice touch - I'd wear them with a boho dress, floppy hat and fringed bag.

Every winter wardrobe needs a pair or two of party shoes, so these courts make a nice addition to the collection. With their gold sparkle finish, these work well as a statement piece - they'd be perfect with an LBD, vampy lipstick and layers of jewellery.

I was also lucky enough to be able to sample a pair from the collection, so here's how I styled them...

The floppy hat seems to be such a big trend this AW, so I've had plenty of excuse to wear my spiked one from Beauty Bizarre! The shoes remind me of the chunky kind I was never allowed to have for school in the late 90s/early 2000s, so they're a bit of a throwback to those days! They are so comfortable and easy to walk in, plus I love the zip detail. In terms of styling, I stuck to the grunge theme by adding my favourite checked scarf from Primark and a lace up dress from Topshop.

Here I've illustrated the remaining items in the collection - I love the variety of finishes, from deep navy suede effect heels to shiny oxblood patent brogues I feel this collection would cover all wardrobe requirements perfectly for AW15. Both on trend and affordable, I love that this collection has tons of fashion credibility without breaking the bank. I'll have one of everything, please!

You can shop the Hanneli Mustaparta for Deichmann collection here. Which shoes are your favourite?