31 January 2016

I reckon if you've been reading the posts that have been putting up throughout the majority of January then you'll be able to pre-empt what things I'm going to mention in my favourites this month. I've been pushing my creative boundaries and really getting to know some new products from general splurging at New Years and then exciting presents I received on Christmas morning...

MAC // Warm Neutrals Eyeshadow Palette

I got this for Christmas and have used this every day since. I talk about how much I love neutral shimmery shades all the time but this one takes the prize for all time favourite! MAC have two versions of this palette; warm tones and cold tones. I have a fairly warm complexion so the colours suit me much better and I'm never one to turn down a palette with a pretty gold!

In terms of price range, it's a little more on the expensive side at £65 but for what you're getting it's pretty much the bargain of the century. MAC charge £10 for the eyeshadows alone, plus £12.50 for the palette to put them in. So if you made this palette yourself you're looking at spending about £162! I guess to have a palette completely designed for you then that's not so bad, but Inglot charge in total £156 for a customizable 20 shade palette and at KIKO you can get a customizable 24 shade palette for £80!

Back to this palette, though, it's so versatile, there's a great selection of matte's and a just as good selection of shimmers. They're super pigmented and blend out really nicely. I guess the only downside is there's no built in mirror which would make travelling with this palette difficult!

Emma Hardie // Moringa Cleansing Balm

I have wanted to try this cleanser for the longest time, it has a great reputation in the blogging community but at £38 I could never bring myself to take the plunge. But I was doing a little New Years sale browsing on FeelUnique, it was 15% off and I'd just decided to improve my skincare routine so I finally went for it!

It smells amazing, that's the first thing I need to tell you. It's kind of like when you get a facial at a spa and they have relaxing incense burning, this product really add's a sense of luxury relaxation to your routine. Secondly, it's a solid cleanser. I've only ever used the Liz Earle 'Cleanse & Polish' so this was an entirely new sensation in itself. It kind of reminds me of coconut oil, but rather than melting it in your hands first you mix it on your face with warm water. It melts into almost a cream, almost an oil consistency that is smooth and sinks in beautifully. I kind of expected it to be a little lumpy because of it's solid form but there is none of that at all! It's really great at removing any left over makeup that my Micellar water couldn't tackle and leaves my face so soft.

The flannel that comes with it is great too, one side is a traditional flannel and works great at getting the bulk off, the reverse is more like a muslin cloth, I like to use this lightly once I've finished to remove any dead skin that may be left over. It leaves my face feeling and smelling (as pointed out by George) amazing. So far it's so worth the expensive price tag, we'll just wait to see how long it lasts to see if it retains that title.

Daniel Sandler // Watercolour Blush

If like me, you suck at blush, then you need to try this! It's a little bit expensive for a whim but it has changed my whole outlook on blushers. I'm pretty poor at applying powder and cream blushes, I either put too much on my brush and look like a clown as soon as there is contact to the face or it's so sheer that I build and just forget to stop at an acceptable place. Either way, I look like I've just returned from the circus.

This changes everything. I'm not too sure how you're supposed to apply, I've tried popping a bit on my brush and buffing it in but I found the product kind of just disappears into the brush somewhere. My next best solution is to pop two dabs on the apple of your cheek (one cheek at a time) and super quick before it runs down your face buff it in with a stippling brush. It blends beautifully and just gives you a fresh, glowy look.

There's also just something about comparing putting your face on in the morning to a beautiful watercolour painting that makes it a much more romantic event.

Benefit // Hoola Bronzer

I have never had much luck with Benefit products, so much so that the past couple of years I've just steered clear of them all together. I kind of just thought there was an awful lot of morality lost in the hype of a well-designed brand. I've had recommendation after recommendation to try the 'Hoola Bronzer' and 'Coralista Blush' but couldn't find the motivation to want to give Benefit another go. But someone finally caved in and gifted me this for Christmas and well, it would be rude not to give it a go really. And I'm so glad I did.

'Hoola' is super pigmented (which I learned very quickly) so you only need to swish your brush a tiny bit and you're good to go. It applies smoothly and blends even better! I don't have a bad word to say about this product, it has kind of restored my faith in Benefit and the excitable blogging community! They were right about this one.

After January, I actually look forward to doing the base of my makeup which has never been the case before. I'm normally all about the eyes, but now it's both. Benefit and Daniel Sandler have got me so excited to try new base products and I couldn't be happier about that. I have my eye's on a few things, but I'll keep those a secret for now... I'm sure they'll be in a blog post soon!

Love always,

27 January 2016

The last time I checked in and wrote a post where I just talked about life was 3 months ago, back in October. I've been feeling pretty defeated lately and glanced over Currently #10 just before writing this and I was just so surprised about how much things can change in so little time. Back then I was fighting a battle of uniqueness, originality and copyright, now I'm fighting against being a prisoner.

I've been feeling so trapped at work recently, being made to make changes that I'm not comfortable with and when trying to find help and guidance from those above me, being completely battered down. It's tricky. I understand that I have to work within the guidelines set out for me, that's my job I'm being paid for after all but when I'm told to change in a way I don't feel happy to do so, there's that battle of do I try and exceed in my capabilities but be unhappy doing it or make a fuss and find happiness in the long run? I try my best at everything I do, there's never really a time where I don't want to try because I enjoy pushing myself but at the same time should I push myself in a battle that is too big of a fight for my personal self?

The conclusion I came to was that my happiness is ultimately the most important thing and if my job is making me unhappy then that needs to change. I've been searching for something new for a while now. I want to try something different, something that's going to push me more in the field I'm trained in (visual arts) but also something that's going to teach me completely new things. The problem I'm facing here is that I don't have the experience for the things I've applied for. I have 5 years experience at  visual merchandising on a Sales Assistant level but no merchandising degree. I have a degree in Art & Media but no working experience in that field. I'm so keen to learn but finding a company willing to invest time in training me is hard.

I kind of feel like I'm trapped in a prison, I'm unhappy and forced to work without choice in my current job but can't find a break with a new job. I'm trapped because it's impossible to live without having means of providing money. I guess I just need to keep trying but my motivation and drive is slowly dropping, which is a shame because it's normally the thing to keep me going. I'm hoping time will tell and new things are soon on the horizon... If anyone has any advice at finding new jobs, please send it my way...

Love always,

24 January 2016

When you're after a new product, reading reviews from other bloggers can either be the best or worst thing. I tend to do it loads when I specifically need something new or when I'm thinking about splurging on something a bit pricier. Despite my meticulous research, I've bought a couple products recently which were super disappointing, especially after the glowing reviews that I read before purchasing. So I thought I'd share my opinions on them, just in case you want a counter argument to that product you've been lusting over all month!

Soap and Glory // Eyebrow Pencil

I heard about the S&G Eyebrow Pencil after watching a video by Hello October a few months ago. I've been talking about eyebrow products all month and my search to find something I really love. I've been pretty impressed with Soap and Glory products before and the Archery pencil with the spooly on the end has to be one of my favourites. So since Suzie seemed pretty impressed with this version, I decided to give it a whirl.

The pencil nib is similar to the shape of an angled eye brush, in theory, the idea seems great. It's slanted to get the shape of your brows right but pointed to get precise strokes. The problem is the consistency, it's just too hard and waxy. Which are two verbs I never thought I could use together. It tends to slide all over my brows without not giving any product off! I had to press pretty hard to see even the slightest colour payoff but it wasn't enough and I couldn't imagine having to do that every day before work! The clear brow gel on the other end is much better, it really keeps your brows in one place and lasts all day. So aside from the fact it makes the hairs super crispy once it dries, it was a positive end to a problematic pencil.

Clarins // Brightening Eye Gel

I am only 22 but have the wrinkles and dark circles of a 30-year-old. I picked up two samples from the Clarins counter where I work, one for fine lines and the other for dark circles with the advice to use one in the mornings and one a night. I used the fine lines one in the evening and the brightening one in morning but I can't say I really noticed much of a different from either of them. I think I even had an adverse reaction to the fine lines gel because it made the skin around my eye so dry and flakey. I had to break out my Kiehl's Creamy Avocado eye cream to combat the problem, but I've had problems with dryness ever since. It's a shame because I picked up a full sized tube of the Clarins Gel Cleanser and absolutely loved that, the moisturiser is pretty good too.

Tarte // Lights, Camera, Splashes Mascara

Maybe the problem here is me, I had intended on picking up the Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara whilst I was in NYC in November but picked up this one by accident. But in my defence I was tired and jetlagged and who'd have thought a waterproof mascara would be so different to glowing reviews of the normal version? Not me that's for sure. I honestly cannot get along with this. I find a lot with mascara's that I dislike them at first but then when I realise I'm applying it all wrong, I learn to love it! Not with this one, though. I like long, thick, defined lashes. This gave me, long - yes, but thin, spindly lashes. If you like the natural look, or have smaller eyes and find mascaras like the Two Faced, Better than Sex is too voluminous then you might like this. But it just wasn't dramatic enough for my liking. I wear a lot of eyeshadow and glitter so I need a mascara to balance it out, this one kind of just got a little lost.

Clarins // Eye Make-up Remover

Late last year there were a lot of money off promotions where I work and I kind of went on a Clarins binge and whilst it wasn't all disappointing, I was upset about the Eye Make-up Remover I picked up. Before, I was using my Bioderma, which I love and it does a great job at removing 75% of my make-up but it doesn't have a chance with my stubborn waterproof eyeliner and mascara. The Clarins makeup remover, on the other hand, was great, it took off pretty much all of my eye makeup but it left my skin with a slippery, oily residue which I hated. As I continued with the rest of my skincare routine it mixed with my products and they just slid off my face without allowing them to soak in! I'm sure it was the oily consistency which was the problem, but you need that oil to tackle waterproof makeup. I guess I'm just going to have to keep looking, but for a product that worked so well to start with it's a shame it ended so badly.

LUSH // Popcorn Lip Scrub

I talked about how excited I was to try this in a Lush haul around this time last year, the hype is real in regards to everything Lush but these lip scrubs seem to bee's knees. But with this one, I just couldn't get over the pure salty taste, not matter how hard I tried to not get it in my mouth, somehow I always got a taste. Granted the scrub is made from sea salt, sugar and coconut oil so the salty taste is to be expected but it was like I'd poured a whole tub of salt into my mouth. It just wasn't something I could learn to get along with. Which kind of sucks because I loved the results the scrub gave to my dry, chapped lips in the winter. I'll try a pure sugar scrub, maybe that might work better?

MAC // Mineralize Blush

I picked up this product over a year ago now, around about the time I had my MAC makeover and I regret buying it so much. At the time I was so naive about makeup, I still am but less so than then. I picked up the blush because the beautician at MAC had used it on me in my makeover and I loved the overall look. It was the first blush I'd ever picked up but I don't know why I did. It's such a sheer product that you honestly have to build it up so much in order to see that it's actually on your face.  I still use it now and then because it was too expensive not to but only on days where I really have time  focus on what I'm doing. It's not a product I'll grab for my pre-work makeup routine!

Have you tried any of these products before and felt the same? I was so disappointed with most of these because I don't tend to buy much on a whim, a lot of research will go into it first. So I honestly thought I was buying something worth the money. Nevermind, everyone makes mistakes.

Love always,

20 January 2016

I write a blog that predominantly talks about beauty and as much as I try and integrate lifestyle and fashion, beauty seems to be the topic I always get drawn to. It's the thing I enjoy talking about the most. I think, it's kind of like documenting my learning, which is exactly what this is. I have no clue what I'm doing, I'm just doing it because I just so happen to enjoy writing and makeup an awful lot! And despite writing for this beauty blog for the past 18 months, I will be the first to say I still no very little about makeup. I'm still learning. I mean, I only just implemented a successful skincare routine. I'm no Vivianna does Makeup or Caroline Hirons that's for sure. I've been thinking about that a lot recently, things I suck at, as bad at that sounds it's a great curb for growth. So here's 5 beauty related things that I just can't get the hang of!

Shaping those bloody, good for nothing Eyebrows

I talked about my struggle with getting 'on fleek' brows last week. I get my eyebrows threaded monthly but taming them in between visits to the brow bar is something I can't hack. They take me forever to do in the morning and they never match. I will push the saying 'eyebrows are sisters not twins' but when one is half way up your forehead, you know something has gone seriously wrong!

Repainting my nails before they chip away completely

I am the queen of putting off painting my nails. I love freshly painted, manicured nails but I hate painting them myself. They just take too long. There's never just one coat of paint and you're done. You've got to cut, file, buff, pre-coat, paint, then add another layer of polish before finishing with a top coat. And then you have to factor in drying time between each layer of paint. For me that's an hour of my time gone and it's not like you can do something in the meantime. What productive thing can you do without your hands? Name one, I bet you can't.

Looking like I've just returned home from the circus

I'm talking blush. In the mornings before work I get ready whilst sat on the bedroom floor, with the curtains closed trying not to wake my boyfriend. But even in broad daylight it's so hard for me to tell when to know when to put the blush brush down! I'll sit there and go, "that's too much, I know that's too much" then "or is it just too much because I'm looking too hard". And then because I'm unconfident with my blush applying skills I get more critical about the outcome, which just makes the whole situation worse. I tend to just skip this step completely to avoid the hassle.

Fake Eyelashes are no less my enemy than spiders

If there was one thing I despised more on this planet than spiders and snakes, then it has to applying false eyelashes. They look beautiful on but I just can't hack it. I have watched hundreds, maybe even thousands of application video's in an attempt to find a technique that will work. But I just can't do it. If ever wearing falsies in your crease to accentuate your eyeshadow is a thing, then I have that trend down!

Cleaning my brushes

Now, I can do this, it's something I can do but I'm just way to lazy. Where on earth do people find the time to clean their brushes. With working full time and blogging in the gaps, I don't have time to sit down and spend and hour or so meticulously cleaning every brush I own. It just takes so long. Maybe if I watched more TV I could do it whilst I sat there but I don't even know where I'd find the time to consume myself in Soaps and re-runs of Friends.

I'm sure I'll get better at these five things one day, but today is unfortunately not that day! If you have any hints and tips, I am all ears for turning things round in the future.

See you on Saturday.

Love always,

16 January 2016

I did this post for the first time back in October, I think (you can read it here) and it was kind of shocking to total up the entire price of my day to day face! Not that it changed anything because popped over the pond to America and went a little bit crazy in Sephora, then a couple weeks later my Mum set off for the Big Apple too with a list in hand of things I hadn't managed to grab. And then there was Christmas... So, needless to say, December saw my collection grow in quite an exciting but slightly worrying way.

However now that I've had all of the products for a little while, I've found my favourites and settled on the ones I use daily. Here we go, lets prepare ourselves...

Anyway in order of application;

Chanel // Vitalumiere Satin Foundation - £36

Nars // Creamy Radiant Concealer - £22.00

Benefit // Hoola Bronzer - £23.50

Daniel Sandler // Watercolour Blush - £14.50

Becca // Shimmering Skin Perfector - £29.50

Rimmel // Stay Matte Powder - £3.99

Anastasia // Dip Brow Pomade - £15

Billion Dollar Brows // Brow Duo Pencil - £20

Billion Dollar Brows // Brow Gel - £17

MAC // Warm Neutrals Palette - £65

Barry M // Dazzle Dust - £4.59

Soap & Glory Supercat Eyeliner - £6.00

Two Faced Better Than Sex Mascara - £19.00

MAC // Verve - £15.50

The grand total £291.58

Well... I don't quite know what to say! I mean, I don't use all 15 shades from the MAC palette every day, well I never use them all, mainly just 3, 4 max, So if we say that each of those shadows are worth £4.30 each (£65 divided by 15)  then I can shave £47 off that total, or if we say they're worth £10 (the price of the refills) then I can knock £110 off! That's not so bad. Not so bad at all.

Next time I'll do it based on what my face is worth on a night out because I reckon that is so much more! All the extra glitter and the false eyelashes, that's going to whack the total right up! Have you done the 'what does my face cost' tag yet? If so, link it in the comments, I'd love to read some and hopefully make myself feel a little better, I can't be the only one with almost £300 of products on my daily face!

Love always,

13 January 2016

Brows on fleek, something of which mine are never! I have been getting my eyebrows threaded for little over two years now, and up until about 1 year ago, that's as far as I have left them. I'm not brave enough to pluck them myself for fear of it going hideously wrong. I tried to trim my eyebrows once and that was a catastrophe enough to last me a lifetime.

I've spent the last 12 months or so dabbling in various brow filling techniques. My favourite so far being the Soap and Glory Archery Pencil (the one with the thinner nib and spooly on the end.) I picked up the Anastasia Brow Wiz in New York which is an exact dupe (more expensive, albeit.) I even got the Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade for Christmas but I've been a bit scared to use that thus far! 

I had the opportunity to try out a kit from Billion Dollar Brows a couple weeks ago and jumped at the chance. With my ever learning philosophy, particularly where the mystery of brows are concerned, this wasn't a chance to be missed. 

Best Sellers Kit // £49.50

If, like me, you are still pretty new to filling in your brows then this set should be on your hit list. Granted it's a little pricey, if I'm honest probably out of my price range as a newbie but the products are great and it's really easy to learn with. In the kit, you receive the Universal Brow Pencil, Brow Duo Pencil, Brow Gel and the Smudge brush. 

The Universal Brow Pencil is designed to suit all skin tones and hair colours, thus the universal title. Whilst I'm not convinced that it would work great on blonde toned hair, it works great with my mousy brown roots. The pencil is pretty dark, but with a light hand, it can apply fairly sheer. It's super soft meaning it goes on easy and blends super well, if, like me, you make a few of mistakes when getting that shape right, it comes off pretty easy too. No need to get the makeup wipes out! 

The Duo Pencil is double ended, one side concealer, one side highlight. The concealer is great for, well, concealing and of those dodgy edges you just drew in with the universal pencil, whilst the highlight looks great blended into the brow bone (which can be done with the smudge brush). This pencil is what takes your brows from looking like an amateur attempt, to Fleek Queen. Honestly, if you invest in one thing from this review it should be this! 

The Brow Gel is probably the product I was most impressed by, but that's hard to tell because I was pretty impressed by the Duo Pencil too. Probably because I've never used any products that do the same thing as these two, so I've nothing to compare it to. The Gel is completely clear, you just brush it on with the spooly applicator when you're happy with the way your eyebrows are looking and voila, they'll stay looking that way all day! 

In terms of skin tone and hair colour, if you have a paler complexion and brown hair, this kit would be perfect for you! I love it and know I'll be pretty sad when it runs out, I've got a while to go yet, though. Have you tried Billion Dollar Brows before? Or are there any other brow products you'd recommend for a newbie like myself?

Love always,

*Sponsored Post

9 January 2016

I've never really been one for New Years resolutions, yeah I've made them before, but such like putting a stop to chocolate and revising more. Both of those things, I knew, would never last. However, there is something about the past month that has made me want to be a better person in many ways. Health, living and the blog are all mentioned on my long list of goals for 2016. That's right 'long list', I have 7 or 8 goals for this year. I feel like you can work to more than one at a time (maximum of three I'd say though) but it's nice to know that when I succeed at one there is another one for me to smash!

My first resolution of the year is to, as the title suggests, to find a beauty regime and stick to it. I think that's going to be the hardest part, properly caring for my face before ending my day by flopping into bed and sleeping my night away.

Pre-Cleanse // Garnier - Micellar Water

This is the first step to my regime, taking my makeup off! I've talked about how much I love Bioderma before but it's pretty hard to get hold of. So I recently picked up the Garnier Micellar Water to which I've heard pretty impressive things. The 'better than Bioderma' statement has been thrown around a little too. I'll use this only at the end of the day to remove the thick of my make-up and any daily wear & tear from working.

Cleanse // Liz Earle - Cleanse and Polish

I have used this cleanser since I was 14 I think, maybe 15. I always get given tubes of it for Christmas because everyone know's how much I love it and go through it like wildfire. Up until about October, it had been the beginning, middle and end of my beauty regime. Pretty poor I know, but it kept me acne free. This cleanser will be to remove any remaining makeup after my pre-clease in the evening but also by itself in the morning. I actually recently purchased the Emma Hardie, Moringa cleansing balm, I used it for the first time yesterday evening instead of the Liz Earl. It's much richer in texture and has more of a nourishing effect, great for after a hard day to help my skin relax and recharge!

Toner // Pixi - Glow Tonic

Toners are a pretty marmite subject, some people think they're useless others couldn't live without them. I'm going to be honest and say that back when I first started caring for my skin, I thought they were pretty pointless, never really seeing results. But I've come to learn that toners are more of a product where it works on the deeper layers of skin, thus benefiting the top layers. I've been using this morning and night but Caroline Hirons actually recommends alternating between two different toners to get the best results. I'll give this a try this come payday when my bank balance has recovered from rather pricey Emma Hardie spending spree!

Serum // Korres - Anti-aging and Firming 

I picked this product up on a whim from TK Maxx a few days before deciding on this resolution. I'm pretty self-conscious about wrinkles and sun damage, especially around my eyes. I can hear you screaming "a 23-year-old with wrinkles, yeah right" but they're there, trust me. Whilst they're not the wrinkles of a 65-year-old, I like to indulge in the sun all year round and that has definitely taken its toll on my skin. I've been using this product for just over a week now and I can already tell the difference, my skin is much smoother around the eyes, and the shallow wrinkles on my forehead and around my eyebrows are dimming. I've been using this product morning and night too, however, it seems like everyone on YouTube is talking about Luna by Sunday Riley at the moment and I'm so tempted to make the splurge of the century and see how these bad-boys would work together!

Eye Cream // Kiehl's - Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado

I have kind of a love-hate relationship with this cream. I have dry skin, especially under the eyes and it really hydrates and makes my eyes look more awake but if I use it too often it dries out my skin even more. How that works, I'm unsure. I might just have more sensitive skin under my eye, seeing as it only happens to the one eye, but who knows. I'm on the search for something new, but committing is proving difficult at the moment because all the hype seems to be around this one! If anyone has any advice, I'm all ears.

Moisturiser // Burts Bee's - Daily Moisturising Cream

The final step to my beauty regime, moisturising. For me, this is one of the most important steps because it's the step specifically designed to hydrate your skin and with as dehydrated skin as mine, it's not something I can skip. I picked up the Burts Bee's moisturiser in New York because the dry, sharp air was playing havoc with mine and Georges skin, it's ok, does the job but isn't the best in the business. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for something a little more rich and hydrating, though.

Next thing to add is going to be an SPF, just in the mornings before I move on to my makeup. But, just this week I picked up the Chanel Vitalumiere Foundation which has SPF-15 in it, so adding anything else into the mix will be a little pointless seeing as the 15 will cancel out anything underneath it. When I run out of the Chanel though...

I totally get the "why should you wait until the New Year to set a goal and make a change", if you decide in the middle of March that you want to get fit, then that's a better time than any to make a difference in your life. But for me, there's something refreshing about New Year.  I'm not one for saying "this year is going to be my year" because, in my eyes, every year is my year. But there is something about the year changing and everyones positive attitudes towards resolutions that motivates me even more. What's your opinion? If you are for goals and resolutions I'd love to know what yours are for 2016.

Love always,