Saturday, 28 November 2015

Sticky9 Instagram Prints & Shelves Review

Hi guys, happy weekend! Today I have a different kind of review to usual. For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you'll know I'm quite snap-happy and love sharing personal photographs on there - no themes for this blogger here, sorry. However, according to Instagram I've uploaded nearly 2000 photos and Sticky9 offers a quick and easy way to get favourite photos printed so they don't get lost all the way down at the bottom of an Instagram feed. And what's more, they've now brought out accessories to display these prints. Today I'm going to be reviewing the shelves and prints, so here's what they look like...

Shelves and Prints - Sticky9*
The shelves were really easy to put up - they came with adhesive stickers so all you need is to decide where you want the shelves positioned, a spirit level, and, possibly, a helping hand. I wanted mine to sit slightly off with each other and I really like the effect of this.

The prints themselves are really lovely. They're a matt finish, printed on smooth card and framed with a white border. These are the 10x10cm prints, but 13x13cm prints are also available if you prefer larger sizes. My one warning would be that Instagram has a habit of ravaging photo quality, and as such this can show up on your prints, so before ordering make sure that the photos you're uploading from social media won't lack sharpness in print. I immediately wanted prints from my Instagram, but you can upload from Facebook, or manually if that's preferable.

The shelves are about 2cm wide and the edge of the shelf has a lip which enables you to lean the prints back against the wall. This also means that you can switch around and update your prints really easily which is a lovely touch.

Overall I really love my prints and shelves from Sticky9! You can get 15% off your first order using the code FRIEND11DKK... enjoy!

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Shopping Haul - Lush, Empty Casket and more...

Hi guys, I hope you're well. I'm sorry about the lack of posts last week, I've been suffering with a horrible cold/flu thing and have just been lacking inspiration of what I can write about. I also felt pretty shaken by the senseless horror of the Paris attacks. Given that in my last post I wrote about the Eagles of Death Metal gig I went to - they're one of my favourite bands and it was probably the most fun standalone gig I've ever been to. 9 days later and the horrific story hit the news that fans just like us, watching that same band, attending what should have been a fun and light-hearted gig on a Friday night, had been taken hostage, shot or killed. All over Paris, innocent people enjoying the nightlife have had their lives changed or taken forever. And I don't mean to bring a downer onto this blog post, but while the news was fully sinking in it felt impossible to write about the usual frivolous things I write about, when all of a sudden I was been feeling lucky to be alive, lucky to have had such an amazing gig experience so recently, and just aching for the fans that should have had that same experience but instead, due to senseless hatred, they experienced the worst - or last - night of their lives. The way people have dealt with the news of these attacks, pulling together in solidarity, has been awe-inspiring and I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge this. For most of us, we can't do much to help, but donating to the Red Cross is one way to contribute to helping people in crisis, which you can do here.

Anyway, on a much lighter note: I wanted to write a haul post today, purely because I love reading them myself. I guess basically I'm nosy and love seeing what other people buy when they go shopping, particularly bloggers who tend to have a keen eye for good products or bargains. I've tried to be organised this year and actually make a start on my Christmas shopping so I've been in the shops a lot recently getting tempted by all kinds of things, so I thought I'd share some bits and pieces that I've purchased within the last week or so. Enjoy!

Frozen, Brightside, Five Gold Rings and Candy Mountain from Lush
I guess there's a lot of Lush on my blog at the moment - I've been really into baths lately, maybe it's due to the cold weather! I went in store lately and picked up two bits I've never tried before: Brightside and Five Gold Rings. Brightside is a citrus scented bubble bar which is super uplifting. It's massive and costs £4.95 but I know I'll get so many baths out of it as the colour and fragrance are potent. Five Gold Rings are vanilla scented and covered in glitter which I thought might be cute as the party season approaches, however they do get glitter on everything! I think they're reasonable at £4.95 each considering you're looking at a minimum of five baths. Frozen is a neroli and grapefruit fragrance, it is so unusual and lovely - I also have the matching fragrance. When you put this in the bath it turns turquoise and shimmery, it's so gorgeous. It is £3.95 so I would prefer if it were easier to break in two so I could get two uses out of it, but I figured it's Christmas so I can treat myself haha. I've already reviewed Candy Mountain here but in a nutshell it's a super sweet, shimmery, girlie bubble bar, and it's only £2.95. These should keep me going for a while!

Dainty Deer Skull Necklace & Balinese Hoops - Empty Casket
I recently placed an order at Empty Casket for the first time and ohh my gosh, I'm in love. There is so much on that website that I could order in a moment's notice, everything is so up my street.  I've been making a point to only buy jewellery made from good quality metals to prevent wasting my money on costume jewellery which later tarnishes irreparably. I ordered a dainty deer skull necklace (it's a teeny little deer skull, subtle but cute) and a pair of 15mm Balinese hoop earrings. I'm really pleased with both purchases and can see myself wearing both a hell of a lot!

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Winter Remedy Treatment & Luscious Long Conditioning Spray
I used to religiously use the Aussie leave in conditioner sprays but sometime in the last few months I seem to have run out and not repurchased any. It's the only leave in conditioner I've found to be lightweight to use around the front sections of my hair, which keeps them moisturised and prevents them from looking flyaway without weighing them down, and some of the sprays contain a heat protectant too. I have noticed a negative change in my hair during the time I have been out of this product so I'm glad to have it back again in my life! The Aussie range was on 2 for £7 so I also picked up this "winter remedy" treatment, designed for shine and softness. This product considers itself a deep conditioner but I find it's quite lightweight for my thick, dry-textured hair so I'll be using this for quick hair washes when I don't feel I need a more intensive conditioner. However if you have fine or oily hair this is probably a good intensive treatment to have - plus, it smells amazing!

Bleach London Reincarnation Mask, Violet Skies and Rose Non-Permanent Hair Colour
I've been umm-ing and ahh-ing over these semi-permanent hair colours for a while now and I decided to take the plunge while they were on a 3 for 2 offer. I've not used coloured hair dyes for years because they tend to be a pain to wash out when you want rid of them, but I've heard pastels aren't too bad and mostly I just wanted to pretend I'm a unicorn because why the hell not?! I'm yet to use them as I've been feeling ill and also because I think I need a helping hand to get a decent application, but I'll keep you posted! As for the Reincarnation Mask - now that's what I call an intensive conditioner. I've had this before, I love it and I think it's a steal for only £6. My hair feels truly nourished and repaired after using this, I'd absolutely recommend it.

So these are a couple of the items I've picked up recently. Do you enjoy these kind of haul posts or do you prefer separate reviews? Have you tried any of these items, or will you be trying any?

Friday, 6 November 2015

October Favourites

Hey dolls, I hope you're well! Did you have a nice bonfire night? We didn't have anything going on here and our puppy Leia was not a fan of the surrounding houses' fireworks, bless her! Anyway, I wanted to write a favourites post today. I've had lots of favourites recently and have been making an effort to write more standalone reviews, but I didn't want to repeat myself here so I'm only featuring products I've not already reviewed. This is kind of beauty heavy once again - between my job in cosmetics and the majority of my spare time being spent working on illustrations I'm not getting many opportunities to share outfits lately, as I have less to get dressed up for, so right now I'm more likely to buy an eyeshadow palette than a dress or pair of shoes. I do plan to carry posting outfits I love when appropriate, but I have to be honest with you that if I'm not wearing a work uniform then I'm probably in clothes I don't mind spilling ink on - that's just my life right now! Thanks to those of you that have stuck around while my blog takes a slightly different direction. Anyway, onto this month's favourites!

I had absolutely and categorically planned not to buy this palette, eyeshadow being something I own a lot of already, but between having a rubbish day, staff discount and loyalty card points to spend I somehow ended up with this on its way to the till. Ho hum. At least it's not another neutral palette! As ever with Urban Decay's shadows I have not been disappointed. It's really hard to capture just how gorgeous the colours are and as an art geek I just couldn't help squealing over how pretty they are in the flesh.  Application and colour payoff have been fantastic, though I've been careful to apply these before foundation as fallout can be a minor issue (as is to be expected due to the sheer amount of glitter and shimmer throughout some of the shades!) For me that's not a deal breaker because if I'm going to use this palette the chances are I'm going to be spending some time on my makeup as these mermaid colours require more time and patience effort than a neutral eye look. I do also think this would be a fantastic palette for travelling, however: it's got a lovely and versatile double-ended brush, a huge mirror and contains a fantastic mix of both bright and neutral shades, therefore it caters for so many different looks. I've honestly been looking forward to putting on my makeup each day because of this beauty (it's cool, you can judge me, I do!)

MAC Blush in Well Dressed
I actually bought this a little while ago, not long after I featured it in a wishlist post, but somehow it's not made its way onto the blog before today. Well Dressed is a lilac shade with a frost finish which makes it a gorgeous blush which I like to wear quite high on the cheekbones as it is also very highlighting. The reason I felt compelled to share it today in particular is because it looks beautiful with the Vice colours and therefore I've been wearing it a lot recently and pretending I'm a mermaid.

To any fellow art or craft geeks reading this, you'll know buying new pens is super exciting and satisfying! These Faber Castell pens are honestly my favourite, I can't live without them, but until lately I've only ever used them in XS and Brush tip. Now I have SIX DIFFERENT LINE WEIGHTS, glory hallelujah! The beauty of these is that once dried they're smudge proof and waterproof so I can use them in conjunction with ink and watercolour which is one of my favourite ways to work. I'll leave some of the images I've created with them at the bottom of this post!

Too Faced Love Flush Blush in Justify My Love

Back to blusher because how cute is this Too Faced blush with its embossed rabbit print?! I've been in mourning of a bright pink blush since Bella Bamba by Benefit got discontinued, as a hot pink gives such a nice flush to pale skin on a cold day. This was the best I've found to replace it - the shade is called Justify my Love and is a really bright but cool pink which works well for me as I have quite cool-toned colouring. The lasting power is fantastic and these are hugely pigmented, I have to be really careful to buff it on gently and barely touch the product with the brush otherwise it can be too strong. This is a good thing as it means it's gonna last me for ages!

Higher Truth by Chris Cornell, Zipper Down by EODM, Royal Blood by Royal Blood
It's been a while since I've posted music in my favourites but these three just stay on repeat on my speakers. The album from Chris Cornell is awesome - it's quite acoustic so a departure from the heavier sounds we're used to from hearing him in bands such as Audioslave and Soundgarden but I love every track on this album and it's been accompanying me through days of illustration. Royal Blood I'm still obsessed with since seeing them support Foo Fighters back in early September - this is a flawless album I can't get out of my head. Then, as for Eagles of Death Metal - I saw them this Wednesday with a group of friends and I honestly think it was the most fun gig I've ever been to. I've got so much love for Jesse Hughes and the new album is fantastic.

I'll leave you with these illustrations I created with my new pens - I hope you like them!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Lush Oxford Street/Christmas Haul + Review

Hi dolls! Tell me, did you have a good Halloween? My weekend has been non-stop and kind of crazy, between a Halloween party and a masquerade ball, ooh and work, I've been a busy girl! Anyway, I wanted to chat to you today about some Lush products I picked up a couple of weeks ago - and now that it's November, I feel slightly less like I'm jumping the (glittery) gun considering many products are from Lush's Christmas range! My friend Kimmie and I headed up to Lush Oxford street for a little bit of shopping and she gave me some belated birthday money to spend. Kimmie's a Lush addict too which made for a really great shopping experience as we were both super enthusiastic about the products, bouncing around comparing scents and getting excited over new products or exclusive releases.

I had decided to only purchase products that either limited edition or products I had not used before. It's surprisingly hard not picking up usual favourites - a Rose Jam Bubbleroon here, a pot of Ultrabland there, but since I was using birthday money it was easier to take a gamble on new-to-me or luxury products that I wouldn't usually go for! I've also been waiting until I have tried each product so I could give a more thorough review. Too often with Lush hauls people review instantly, just based on smell or what they're supposed to do, but as a reader I want to know what it's like to use the products so hopefully this will be beneficial to those of you interested in Lush!

Butterbear is a sweet little guy, made of the same formula as the Butterball bath bomb but in a much cuter shape. He fizzes away really nicely in the bath and leaves your skin feeling super moisturised afterwards. If you prefer colour and glitter and heavy fragrance in your baths, Butterbear's probably not for you as he does not create bubbles or colour. Personally, I don't crave drama in my life and find this creates a really soothing bath - my skin tends to get dry but I don't feel I need moisturiser after using this product and the subtle fragrance is really pleasant without being overpowering (plus he's only £1.95!)

Orange Blossom Bath Oil
I believe these bath oils are Oxford Street exclusives, but they're honestly worth travelling there for - they've got tons of these in the store in all different colours and fragrances, for £2 each. They're squishy little balls of goodness, strongly scented and packed with oils but they're messy so you have to be careful with them as they transfer onto your hands and I worry that they would stain! I was careful not to let my hair in the water when I used this in my bath as I think they'd leave it feeling oily... for obvious reasons. (I've actually only used half as I'm thrifty and like to get a few uses out of bath products where possible!) Again, like Butterbear, my skin felt really moisturised after using this product and I love the scent of orange blossom as it is very uplifting.

Come to Candy Mountain Charlieee... this is one for all you unicorns out there. This is a bubble bar that tends to re-appear in Lush's Christmas collection each year, I've tried this before and bought it again because it's limited and I like to buy it when I can. It smells super sweet and is a bit shimmery too, yay! I love vanilla fragrances so this is amazing and even though I tend to get four baths out of this my bath always is left bright pink and smelling incredible so just imagine if you went wild and used it all in one haha. It is £2.95 which I don't think is a bad price considering the use I've got out of it! I've been using this a lot with Snow Fairy shower gel and they go so nicely together so if you're a fan of that I'd totally recommend this product.

I love me a Bubbleroon, particularly a strawberry one! This guy is new to me - Peeping Santa costs £3.95 and turns your bath bright red with the little hearts from his hat. This product contains oils including geranium oil and cocoa and shea butter which make your skin feel lovely after getting out of the bath. Whilst the fragrance in this product isn't as strong as in some others, it still smells great and creates loads of bubbles! I'd certainly buy another of these. (Santa's eyes are made of vegan chocolate on this product which I thought was a really cute touch, too.)

I feel like having said it so many times here I really don't need to reiterate that I love rose fragrances, but I'm just going to say it again because this shower gel is just my favourite. It's one of the famous Lush shower gels which comes back each year for Christmas - I used to be mad about Snow Fairy, which I still use and love, but I think Rose Jam has stolen the crown as I've grown older (though I'd still like some Snow Fairy too, please Santa!) The fragrance on this is divine and I've put more on my Christmas list as I fear this one bottle won't tide my obsession over for long enough!

Lush, may I just take a moment to thank you for putting lip tints into a stick applicator rather than a tin? I've had some before but found that having to use my finger to apply them means you end up with a conspicuous red finger for the entire day, as of course the point of the product is that it stains the skin and is tough to wash off. So thank you, and let me just gush about this product for a moment. I road tested it by wearing it out for the first time going for lunch with my university friends and it barely moved. I reapplied it after lunch regardless, then did once more that evening prior to meeting other friends for drinks... and it didn't fade, in fact it had hardly moved from my first application that morning and any reapplications were preventative attempts to stop it from moving. Whoa, big thanks Lush for a low maintenance red lip. There are downfalls - it's quite a dry formula, but my usual makeup routine involves me applying a lip balm while doing the majority of my makeup to counteract dryness, then blotting and applying lip product last, so it's not a huge problem for me. And yeah, the packaging isn't quite as sleek as if I were to pull a MAC lipstick out of my handbag, but then I'm not all that sleek a person either so maybe it's fitting... plus it's £5.95 so quite a bargain in comparison too! 

My hair gets quite dry ends as I colour and heat style it semi-regularly so I like to give it some TLC and was eager to try Lush's new range of hot oil treatments. The product itself is essentially a block of oils and conditioning goodness which you pop in a container and gradually add in hot water until the product is dissolved into a creamy liquid. (The packaging also recommends you make a cup of tea for yourself during this time, which I could only oblige.) It smelt amazing -just like vanilla. When the product had cooled enough for me to apply, I then applied it to dry hair, focusing more on mid-lengths and ends, then I wrapped my hair in cling film to keep the heat in a bit. I left it on for ages - it recommends about 20 minutes but I got distracted and probably left it for over 45, but it was easy enough to wash out - I double cleansed my hair just to be sure, then conditioned as normal. Afterwards my hair felt really great and less dry than usual - it felt conditioned enough to skip leave in conditioner which is unusual for me. It's packed with loads of oils so I'd mostly recommend this if you have dry or damaged hair but I was really pleasantly surprised. It costs £6.50 which was quite an expensive gamble, but actually I've got about a third of a mug left of this stuff in the fridge so it makes quite a lot (my hair is thick and fairly long) and as such I would buy this again as it was a nice and effective hair treatment.

This product was a bit of a wildcard but it's one both myself and Kimmie picked up and both of us love it. I've got everyone in the family to try this - boys and girls - because it's incredible. You can use it on wet or dry hands (dry gives a stronger exfoliation) and it leaves my hands feeling so much smoother, as they are often parched from washing them a lot. This truly makes me feel more confident about their appearance. The coconut helps to moisturise a little, but when I use this I tend to put on hand cream afterwards as the exfoliation helps the cream to penetrate more effectively. Kimmie also suggested using this on feet too, which I think is such a good idea and something I want to try!

So there we have it guys - my little lush haul and review! I really hope this has been beneficial to those of you interested in Lush, I do love to share products I honestly believe in. Have you tried any of these products, or will you be trying any?

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Halloween Makeup Essentials // Black Swan Inspired Makeup Tutorial

Hi dolls, I hope you're well! This week has been sooo busy but I wanted to write a quick post on Halloween makeup essentials (if you haven't already got them) plus a tutorial on how I will be creating this year's makeup! I'm attending a Halloween party this Friday and my friends and I have all been really open about our costumes, so my theme is no secret this year. And since I wanted to have a little trial run of my makeup anyway, I thought I'd post it here too. So here are my Halloween makeup essentials, and how I used them for my own costume...

I was sent over these Rimmel London products from the awesome Terri at HQ Hair for their #HQScare campaign. The rest of the products I purchased myself in Boots or Superdrug (in fact all of the products I used in this tutorial are from the high street so this look is easily affordable too, score!) Most of these are ordinary items you'd find in your day to day makeup bag - kohl, liquid liner, mascara, dark shadow. Chuck a white powder and a really vampy lipstick into the mix and I truly believe you have all you need for a variety of Halloween makeup looks!

Sooo, hopefully you guessed from this picture that my costume this year is inspired by Natalie Portman in the 2010 film Black Swan. Creating this look was my trial run for the party on Friday so there are a few things I'll change next time, but I'll run you through these as I talk you through this look!

I was not too concerned about fallout with this look as most of it is created using liners so I worked from the base up. I applied a matte finish foundation all over my face (I mean everywhere, even over my eyebrows! This was because I didn't necessarily need to flatten them completely, but the foundation makes them slightly tacky so the black and grey powders stick well to them.) I used the palest shade I have (I am fortunately really pale anyway) but, if you're not, white foundation may be helpful. I applied concealer on any blemishes then set the look using this Stargazer white powder, first with a duo fibre brush and then concentrating the colour using the sponge.

Then it's the fun (and tricky) part! Using a kohl pencil, I started by drawing a line from the top of my brow vertically down the bridge of my nose. Creating a point, I then sketched up towards the tear duct, lined thickly underneath the eye, and upon reaching the outer corner I sketched up towards the temple. Then I sketched over the top of the brow, tapering upwards parallel to the lower wing. Finally I sketched a few feathers to connect both wing lines, creating the final shape. When I was happy both sides were even (ish!) I used Rimmel's waterproof liner to line any finer points.
(NB: This Supershock gel liner by Avon is a fantastic product but I discovered it's actually too soft, pigmented and blendable for this look. It's fab for smoky eyes but falls down when you need lasting precision with a graphic look like this. I'd recommend a harder pencil that is more buildable, that you can sketch and get a finer point with - this is what I will be using next time.)

With the outline completed, I filled in the entire shape with a mid-grey eyeshadow (I used one by Sleek) I used lots of black shadow around the edges to soften the lines and added a highlight in the tear duct. Using kohl I sketched some lines over the lid to emulate feathers, then blended them out a little using a small brush. I then lined the lashline using liquid eyeliner and added some highlights using a silver glitter liner from Collection.

I then added tons of mascara to finish the look off - I love curling mascaras as they really make the most of the length of your lashes. This would also look really great with false lashes! (It is at this stage that I would recommend painting nails a vamp red and putting up hair into a ballet bun as you want your hair out the way anyway before getting in there to contour!)

For this look I used the black Rimmel eyeshadow to hollow out my cheeks, but I'll be using a much smaller brush next time to really carve out cheekbones for that "emaciated" look ahah. I wouldn't recommend a shiny highlighter for this look as you want the skin to look as flat and dead as possible but the white face powder applied more thickly would work well as a matte highlighter.

Then it was time for lips! I swatched a million lipsticks in Superdrug (slight exaggeration) then the girl recommended this beauty to me - it's by Gosh and it's called Twilight. The pigmentation is fantastic and I think it's even one I'd wear again day to day (with, ahem, less extreme eye makeup!) As for the lipliner - it's a repeat buy as it's a classic cheap vampy lipliner, but my old one was so old it said "Collection 2000" so I figured it was time for a repurchase!
Et voila, that sums up my Black Swan trial run! I know it's not perfect but I hope this inspired some of you as I personally found that I was watching makeup tutorials and so many called for professional face pigments or other specialised products which, frankly, I wouldn't want to buy for one-time use. What I like about this look is that the majority of items I've used are affordable and wouldn't be out of place in anyone's day-to-day makeup bag (erm... maybe apart from the white powder!), yet I think the results are quite effective. What do you think of this look? If you like this look, be sure to catch me on Instagram on Friday when I'll be wearing it out for real!

Friday, 23 October 2015

Halloween Wishlist

Hi dolls and happy Friday! So, Halloween's a week away and I am super excited. I'm a girl with a penchant for the Gothic and every year I love getting covered in fake blood and all black err-thang in the spirit of the occasion. As ever the shops are coming out with some fantastic costume pieces but I thought today I would create a wishlist of items that could be worn all year round yet also embody the spirit of Halloween, because the day itself always comes and goes too quickly!

1. Girls Bite - Tee and Cake via Topshop
I wouldn't be surprised if I accidentally slip and order this one in time for Halloween. It makes me think of True Blood and I love it! I'm not that much of a T-shirt person these days but I think it'd be cute with some jeans for super chilled days.
2. Highlight Contour Cream - Topshop
If you like being pale and interesting all year round it seems Topshop have finally come out with a contour cream that is light enough for those of us who are fair skinned! Now there's no excuse not to embrace porcelain skin and get that (ghostly) glow...
3. Shell Choker - Regalrose
I love a good choker and really like the delicacy of this - it would add a little bit of Gothic glamour to an outfit without being overstated. I love the tie back.
4. Flower Cat Ears - Orelia
Though ordinarily cat ears don't fall into most peoples day-to-day wardrobe essentials, I think if I owned these they would most certainly be worn more than their fair share! Black, flowers and cats are three of my favourite things and this is the perfect combination! Plus, y'know, costume sorted.
5. Skeleton Socks - ASOS
I love how cheeky it is to have socks that swear (I know, little things) and these are adorable!
6. Deer Skull Ring - Empty Casket
This deer skull ring would bring a bit of Halloween to every day (because I would definitely want to wear it every day!)
7. Alexa Silk Polish - Nails Inc
I am a self-proclaimed black nail polish connoisseur and this is one of my favourites. It's a deep grey-black with a pearlescent finish to give a little depth, and for me the lasting power is fantastic.
8. Hallow Fangs Necklace - Bloody Mary Metal
It would have been impossible to create a Halloween wishlist without including something from BMM's Hallow collection. Today I've featured Fangs: a casting of a cat's jaw bone and teeth which hangs in a beautiful wishbone shape.
9. Buckle Heels - Topshop
I love a good Mary Jane and something about these just screamed "Wednesday Addams" to me!
10. Black Cherry Lipstick - Revlon
Revlon's Black Cherry lipstick is a classic affordable dark lip which is beautiful all winter. I also just bought a lipstick from Gosh named Twilight which I'm a real fan of (pictured here) - my point being, it's all about the plum this time of year, the darker the better!
11. Witch Please Sweater - ASOS
There are no words. I want this to wear on all my days off, it is amazing!
So for those of you who, like me, wish it could be Halloween every day... I hope that gave you some ideas! I'll leave you with a little kitty skull illustration I created this week - come at me Halloween, I'm so ready for you!