27 February 2016


This month has been such a tough one where staying frugal and not touching my bank balance has been concerned! I mentioned in my 'Beauty Products I need to get my hands on' post that there are so many new releases from January and February that I am desperate to try. But alas, I've decided to go travelling at the end of the year and I need to save for the adventure! So new purchases have been kept to an absolute minimum, in fact, I think I've only opened my purse a couple times this month! With that in mind, this month's favourites feature a lot of things I have rekindled my love for!

Chanel // Vitalumiere Foundation

I picked this up in January after I used up every last drop of my Nars sheer Glow at New Years. I have wanted to try this foundation for the longest time. I'd seen people close to me get it and felt so jealous but honestly, couldn't fathom shelling out £38 when I had a perfectly good, no perfectly
amazing foundation already. But finally, the time came.

I wasn't so sure at first, it's much different to the NARS alternative, much dewier compared to the matte effect that Sheer Glow gives. I'd catch myself in mirrors at work and have to fight the urge to pop to the bathroom and powder because I felt my face looked oily. I guess it was just shock,
I'd never used a foundation with that effect before, it just took a little bit of getting used to
really. But I stuck with it and now I'm besotted.

It's a great pick for spring, dewy and fresh just like the daffodils that are popping up everywhere. The durability is great too, I'd say I get a solid 6 - 7 hours without retouching.

Vaseline // Cocoa

This month has been the worst for dry, chapped lips. The sheer volume of days at work where I've forgotten to pack this in my handbag is crazy and the discomfort that ensued was crazier. However on those days where my mind didn't slip the important stuff, Vaseline was a life saver.

What's great about Vaseline it isn't made to be more than one things, it's perfect for looking after your skin and that's all it does. I've tried lip balms that are tinted, or taste nice, or last all day but they never work, not like Vaseline. Granted, it's not the most glamourous thing to pull out of your handbag, but I'm not complaining.

NARS // Audacious Mascara

I've pretty much been surgically attached to my Too Faced 'Better than Sex' mascara since picking it up last year. So much so that when 'Audacious' turned up on my door as part of a limited edition Glossy Box, I didn't give it a second glance. The Too Faced one is slowly running dry and in an attempt to make it last longer I've been reaching for alternatives all month and this one by NARS has been a winner.

'Audacious' makes my lashes look so thick it actually rivals 'Better than Sex.' In terms of length, it's not much different but the thickness definitely makes a difference! I wasn't so sure about the wand, the bristles are made from rubber and I'm more of a natural bristle type of person but somehow it seems to rival my cult favourite mascara so it can't be that bad. Although, they are a little pointy so you have to be careful when applying to not poke yourself. I for one learnt that the hard way.

Bio Oil

At the very beginning of this month, I managed to walk head first into the corner of a fixture at work, leaving a giant gash in the middle of my forehead. In the event of making sure I don't forever fixate my existence with the ridicule of Harry Potter related jokes, I've been applying Bio Oil every morning and night. I've never had much luck with it on my scars before but somehow it's worked miracles on this one! The scar is no more than the remnants of what you'd think was once a tiny scrape. I've been pretty impressed with it this month and will continue to use it until, hopefully, the scar is completely gone!

Real Techniques // Expert Face Brush

This was probably one of the first makeup brushes I bought for myself and for most of last year, it was lost at the back of my makeup drawer. Since splurging on the Chanel foundation, I experimented with a bunch of different brushes to see which gave the best effect. The Expert Face Brush by Real Techniques is much more dense and buffs in the product a lot more. If you're struggling with cakey foundation, you should give this a go because it really works the product in for a more natural look.

Invisibobble Hair Band

I don't know the best term for them, but they're meant to be kinkless hairbands and these bizarre things have been talked about a lot recently. They kind of look like an old fashioned telephone wire, just in a circle and to say I was sceptical about them would be putting in nicely. I have thin hair and I struggle a lot with kinks in my hair when I've been sporting a pony for even just a couple of hours, let alone a full day at work! But they were on offer at Boots and I thought why not.

Whilst they don't leave my completely kinkless after an 8 hour work day, they do leave my hair dramatically straighter than a what a normal hairband would. I reckon if it wasn't for my frustratingly thin and limp hair then I might have had more success. Regardless, though, they do mean I can wear a ponytail at the beginning of the week and not have to worry about needing to re-straighten my hair every morning!

So that is that. Something new, a few things old and finding love for things I've never loved before. A pretty successful month I think.

Love always,
Melissa


20 February 2016


This post is so, so long overdue. If you've read my blog before, even just once the chances that you've heard about the Barry M Dazzle Dusts, is very high. I talk about them a lot! I'm a girl who loves a bit of sparkle in my makeup and the MAC pigments are beautiful, just way out of my budget. I remember purchasing from the Dazzle Dust range when I was 13 or 14. In fact, somewhere on the internet are some horrific pictures of my best friend and I doing a not so impromptu photo session one summer after experimenting with a bright pink and blue shade. There was even a side ponytail to match! Thankfully since then, Barry M have ditched the pop-y colours and replaced them with a selection of much more wearable shades! And it seems like I may have them all!



Aphrodite, Athena & Venus

These three, are probably my favourites. Venus is a more subtle version of gunmetal shade, it's not hugely pigmented but looks really pretty on dark smokey eyes where glitter is prominent. Athena and Aphrodite are so, so similar, in fact, I tend to dip between both for my inner corner highlight every day. Aphrodite is a little more matte, great if you're not so keen on a lot of shimmer as it reflects the light without looking shimmery. Athena has a pinkier undertone, it doesn't tend to show up when you have it on, but I love it great on looks where I bring the inner corner highlight into the lower lash line too, counteracts the blue in my under eyes to make me look awake!

Tan

Definitely, my most reached for colour, especially last summer. It's a pinky gold-esque shade, not that it looks that way in the pot but on the lids, it warms up and is great for more subtle golden goddess looks. I tend to wear it the most over the top of the Naked 3 palette for a feminine rose look and with the Stila Eyes are the Window (Soul) palette for a subtle golden goddess look.

Bronze

This is the first shade I picked up when I rediscovered the range. If you like gold shades like MAC's Honey Lust then you will love this. It is so, so pigmented and it makes your lids look like a brand new  gold penny. It's got quite an orange undertone so if you have cooler skin tones I'd go for Tan instead but in the summer when you're rocking a golden glow this is a must have!

Petrol Black

The most recent to my collection (I picked it up today), Petrol Black is a little misleading. In the pot, it looks almost perfect black just with specks of a bright petrol blue. However when applied it swatches much bluer than you'd think. But it's still beautiful! More beautiful in fact. I reckon, if you have blue eyes, you should definitely check this out because I think it would look spectacular. Or if you're doing a dark, black smokey eye for a party this would look amazing over the top! I wish I'd had it for New Year because this would have worked so nicely with my nights makeup!

Barry M is such an underrated brand and it sucks that outside of their (perfected) nail polish range they don't get a lot of coverage. These Dazzle Dusts compare to the MAC pigments and they're way better value for money! You can't go wrong at £4.59 a pot. The pots are pretty tiny but a little really does go a long way!

Next on my hit list to add to my collection is Eos, Burgandy Noir, Charcoal and Oyster Grey. Unfortunately for me, I think 3 out of the 4 of those shades are discontinued. I'll just have to troll eBay in the hopes that someone finds a stray they no longer want unless I can by some miracle convince Barry M to hook me up. Well, a girl can dream!

Love always,
Melissa


17 February 2016


I do tag posts all the time, but never in the way they're intended. It's a little backwards really. I tend to 'take part' without actually being tagged in the first place. Because, well, why not? They're just a bit of fun. But for once I've actually been tagged, so here goes...

What makeup item could you not live without?

Like, physical product from a brand? Or generally? Generally, it would be liquid liner, I don't feel like me until I have on my cat eyes so I wouldn't be able to live without some sort of liquid liner. In a 'stranded on a desert island' situation, I could make any liquid liner work, just so long as I could have one at all times! In terms of product by a brand, I don't really have one of those at the moment. There are products I really love, like the Chanel Vitalumiere Foundation and the Benefit Hoola Bronzer but I could probably cope if they were discontinued.

What skincare item could you not live without?

Again, brand or generally? Generally, it would have to be Serum, any serum I don't mind. I just find they make such a positive impact in my skincare routine and I've really been loving the results they give. Brand wise it would probably be the Glow Tonic by Pixi. So many people say that toners are a waste of time but my skin looks and feels so much more awake when I use it in the mornings. And it has such great ingredients, I know it's prepping my skin perfectly for the rest of my skincare routine!

What are you worst at when applying makeup?

Either the cat eye or blush. I do a cat eye pretty much every day and have done for the past 5 years. But I still can't seem to get them to match, I can get them pretty close, but they're never perfect! Blush, on the other hand, I find myself avoiding it all together as I never know when to stop!

What's your biggest beauty pet peeve?

I don't really think I have one, but I guess overdrawn eyebrows? I'm definitely a fan of the bold brow trend but sometimes it gets taken a little too far. Much to my disappointment, we can't all have the perfect bold brows of Cara Delevigne or Maisie Williams and I'm all for giving it a go but the inch thick or geometric brow trend? That's just not working for me.

What's your favourite makeup era?

I don't know whether this counts as an era, I guess it does but the time when silent films were all the rage. Everything was in black and white so makeup tended to be fairly contrasting and bold so that it showed up on film. Dark smokey eyes and bold lips with a matte base! Heavy eyeliner was a thing too which brings me back to my teenage, punk wannabe stage!

What's your guilty pleasure product?

Emma Hardie's Moringa Cleansing Balm. With skincare, the idea is to splash the cash in places where there is more intensive or expensive/active ingredients and the cleansing stage isn't one of those. But I love this product so much. It smells divine and honestly makes it feel like such a luxury. I look forward to cleansing in the evenings now which is something I never thought I'd say before. But at £36 a tub, it's pretty pricey.

What's your underdog product?

The Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blush is such an overlooked product and I'm so shocked that it hasn't had more hype. If like me, you're not the best at applying blush, look no further. It's sheer and buildable, plus super blendable, all three of those are necessary when you don't want to look like Ronald McDonald when you leave the house!

What was your favourite product of 2015?

This is a tough call, I used so many products throughout the year and had so many favourites. I guess. if you include nails into this it has to be the Barry M Daylight Curing polishes because I raved about them so much last year! If it were makeup, it'd probably be the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal because I'm a sucker for some glitter. Ooh no, it has to be the Barry M Dazzle Dust's! I used them in every makeup look last year and talked about them in pretty much all of my favourites!

Thanks Rhaea for tagging me, I don't feel like so much of a loser posting this, this time around. If anyone knows of any other tags that I haven't done yet, please let me know. They're so much fun to do. If you have a blog, you should do it too, this is me unofficially tagging you. And if not, why not do it in the comments below! I'd love to read your comments!

Love always,
Melissa


13 February 2016


Whether you're going on a date or meeting up with your friends, your makeup on Valentines Day should be nothing short of whimsical and romantic. I've put together this look which has hues of pink and super subtle glitter for a natural day-night look that'll be really cute on Valentines weekend. Hope you love it...


For my base, I used L'Oreal 'True Match Foundation'. It's got a medium coverage with a slightly dewy effect for a natural, healthy glow. I used my trusty NARS 'Creamy Radiant Concealer' under the eyes and over the pesky spot I have on my forehead. I then set it using the Rimmel 'Stay Matte' powder in translucent to set my foundation and concealer in place, not to get rid of the dewiness on my cheekbones.

I used NARS 'Laguna Bronzer' lightly underneath my cheek bones for bronze and contour duo. You don't want to go too over the top here, it needs to look super natural. I finished off my base by popping on a little bit of the NARS Multiple in 'Orgasm'. What's great about this shade is that it's really natural and looks like you've been on a brisk winter morning walk. There's the slightest bit of a shimmer too, so it doubles as a highlight.


On my eyebrows, I went in with the Anastasia 'Brow Wiz'. I was super light handed and tried not to emphasise my brows too much. This look is all about the natural wonders so just filling in any sparse area's it what you want to aim for!

On the lids I used only shades from the Urban Decay 'Naked 3'. I used 'Strange' as an all over base shade, 'Burnout' was then used over the outer two thirds and 'Buzz' on the outer third and the crease. I did take 'Nooner' into the crease but you could have left it without, I just wanted slightly more depth as my eyelids can tend to look a little flat sometimes. To finish the shadow I just took the Barry M 'Dazzle Dust' in the shade 'Aphrodite' in the inner corner to open the eyes up a little.


Then finish off the eyes with a feminine flick. I used the Soap & Glory 'Supercat' liner before thickening those fluttery lashes with the Too Faced 'Better than Sex' Mascara. I topped the whole look off by popping MAC Lustre Lipstick in 'Plumful' on my lips.

Et voila... Here is a pretty, peony-inspired Valentines makeup look. It's super quick and really plays off the idea of natural beauty with a very minimal makeup look. Let me know what you think in the comments, if you have any idea's for alternative valentines themes makeup looks, I'd love to know...

Love always,
Melissa


8 February 2016


On Wednesday, Lent begins and whether you're religious or not, giving something up for 40 days could change your life. There's a saying that it takes 30 days to change old habits, so if you can get through lent, then guaranteed you won't crave it any longer.

1. Coffee & Fizzy Drinks

I gave up fizzy drinks as a 'New Year, New Me', resolution and in just under 40 days I'm feeling so good. I pretty much drink only water and juice and my skin is looking better than ever. I feel a little more energetic too and now I don't crave a Cola with my lunch anymore. In fact, I'm more excited about the array of juices on a restaurant menu than the selection of fizzies! 

2. Shopping

What better way to save a bit of cash than to give up shopping altogether? Granted you're going to have to spend a little, everyone needs food to live. But, aside from the weekly grocery shop, why not leave your purse a home for a change? No more coffee's on the way to work or vending machine snack before you get the train home. It can all add up pretty quickly and I bet you'd be surprised how much money you can save just by leaving your purse at home!

And that includes online shopping too. No debit cards, credit cards or PayPal allowed. 

3. That bad diet

Why not become a vegan? It's easy in hindsight to say, "I couldn't do that" or "that's not for me" but why not? The vegan way of life isn't just for 'animal loving hippies' anymore and it's only for 40 days. What's the harm in trying? Not only are you saving lives by cutting out all animal produce but you're also cutting out on things that could be harming your body. Just think whatever the outcome, once it's over you can indulge in chocolate eggs a-plenty (vegan or not) as a sweet, sweet, reward. 

4. Social Networking

Whilst giving up all social networking isn't going to be the answer to everything, paying more attention the surroundings around us will. George and I both get annoyed with each other for 'not listening' because the other is too engraved in their phone or computer. Giving up a form of social media will give us (and you) more time to take in 'real life'. Time to appreciate the things that expire rather than what your best friends dinner looks like!

5. Getting up after 8.30

One of the things I dislike about myself is how much I cherish a lie-in. I get up with no more that 30 minutes to get ready and leave for work in the mornings and then don't get out of bed until 10 am on my days off. Whilst a good night's sleep is important so is a consistent sleep routine. No matter how many hours sleep I get, I'm always tired because my body is confused. If I could commit to going to bed at the latest 11pm and waking no later that 8.30am every morning, I'm positive tiredness would become a thing of the past!

I think what's important to remember is that the things we depend on are only dependable because we consumer them so much. Take them away for 40 days and you realise how little you actually needed them in your life. I understand lent is based on Jesus' suffering but whether you are religious or not, it could teach you something valuable.

Let me know what you're giving up for lent? Or life. You choose...

Love always,
Melissa


6 February 2016


I love freshly manicured nails but I hate the time process to getting them that way! Finding an hour or so where I can do nothing but paint my nails is difficult enough. Then there's the applying the polish itself. Painting my left hand isn't so bad, with almost perfect precision but my right is like I painted it blind. It's kind of like a bipolar love affair and because of this, it tends to happen less and less often. If I wasn't saving and had a better-paid job, I'd probably pay to get them manicured but alas that ship isn't about to set sail anytime soon. However, in an attempt to have perfectly manicured nails all the time, I've spent the last 18months or so testing out tonnes of different products to find a team that will keep my nails looking beautiful for longer! When I do find time to paint them that is.

And, I think I've finally found it...

Hand Cream // Handy Gurugu, Lush

A step I pretty much always forget. Keeping both your hands and nails moisturised is key to ensuring your nails look healthy. Healthy nails mean longer lasting nail polish! I have tried tonnes of hand creams but none have ever compared to 'Handy Gurugu' from Lush.

I'm picky with hand moisturisers because I don't want anything that I can feel on my hands, lotions which don't soak in fast are a nightmare. You're forever sitting there, trying not to touch anything until, hours later, it's all gone. That's ok if you have the time to just sit and do nothing, but I get bored easy! This cream from lush is so, so thick, it moisturises my hands beautifully but - surprisingly for such a rich cream - doesn't linger on the surface of the skin. It's gone in 30 secs and my hands feel so soft and hydrated.

If you can get into a routine of moisturising your hands daily, then perfect but never moisturise before you paint your nails. Your lotion will leave a layer of film on your nails making it hard for the polish to adhere.

File and Buff // The 6 Way Nail File

This one is pretty self-explanatory but it took me a few years to realise it's importance. I picked up a similar one to this Champneys one in Boots, it has 4 sides with 6 different file intensities so you can really get in and smooth down the surface of your nails. Trim your nails first then go in with the file to shape them the way you'd like. After that use the fine side to smooth out any harsh edges.

I've found when I skip this step, my nail break easier. It's like a rough piece of wood that's easier to catch on your clothes!

Prime and Treatment // First Base, Essie

A nail primer - like the ones you use before you apply your makeup in the morning - helps to prep your nails and make the environment in which you apply your polish to is the best it can be for long lasting colour. I haven't really noticed much of a difference between results from alternate nail care primers so anyone you have is fine. I like using nourishing or hardening treatments the most as my nails can dry out fast and flake if I hit my fingers a little.

Nail Polish // Essie & Barry M

I have tried so many brands of Nail Polish that my bank hurts a little. But I've finally found two brands that I think come trumps at durability and longevity. And bonus, they're both drugstore! The first is one I talk about all the time! The Barry M 'Daylight Curing' range is the best at longer lasting, no chip polish. You're looking at £4.99 for a pot but for maximum durability you'll need to buy the top coat too, also £4.99.

Up next is Essie, at £7.99 it's cheaper than the Barry M set and the colour range is like no other I've seen. They both go on smoothly and last little a week before the chipping gets real noticeable.

Top Coat // Formula X

A good top coat is where I'm willing to spend the extra dollar, you can get a good range of colours anywhere but a good, long lasting, knock proof top coat is where you're going to get the most out of your money. I picked up the Formula X version back in February of last year and haven't been as impressed since. It applies evenly, dries quick and honestly adds a good 3 - 4 days to your nail art life. The name kind of reminds me of the Power Puff Girls too and although it doesn't turn my nails into cute pre-teen super hero's, it is as if it applies a force field around them.

Water

It was always going to come down to this. If you are treating your body nicely it treats you nicely back. I talked about the importance of water in your diet in The Haircare Diet and my Beauty Regime posts and your nails are no different. The more water you have in your diet the stronger your nails are. Simple.

And that's that. Pretty simple, and 'on a budget' friendly. Have you got any tips and tricks to increasing the longevity of you nail polish? This routine works pretty well for me but I'm always on the look out for new things to try.

Love always,
Melissa


3 February 2016


At the moment, 75% of my monthly earnings is going into a "Melissa Goes Travelling" fund. I've wanted to take a gap year and travel since I got my first job in 2010 and so far life has got in the way. 6 years later I've got a degree, about to turn 24 and feel like now is my last chance. Which is silly, I have my whole life to travel the world but I kind of feel like now is the best time. As soon as I start my career which I trained for, for the past 4 years, what are the chances of me being able to take a year out to travel and not being replaced by a - I hate to say it - younger model? Pretty slim to be honest. Anyway, I'm getting wildly off track, the idea is I'm saving is to go travelling but what comes from saving is having a huge list of makeup I want to buy but can't! I won't be able to fit my already large collection of makeup into an entire travel backpack, so why should I buy more? Especially when a single MAC lipstick could buy me 3 nights sleep in Cambodia!

So here's my, beauty products I really, really, need to buy but really, really shouldn't...

MAC // Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolor

These were released just this month and every blogger under the sun seems to be talking about them! To me, the idea of a liquid lipstick sounds like heaven. Easier to apply and lasts forever. What more could you want? At the moment, the thought of putting on a shade like 'Dark Side' or 'Lady Danger' before I go to work or out with friends sounds like the least inviting thing. I'm not one to touch up my makeup throughout the day, I just don't have enough room in my bag and I'm staright up lazy. These lipsticks supposedly last all day, all night, all week even. Apparently they're a little hard to remove but for something that stays put, no smudge, no wear whilst you're eating, well that's something I'd like to invest it. But for £21, I could get a two course meal in Rome. I'm sure I'll pick one up eventually, I have my eyes on 'Oh Lady' which looks like the lipgloss version of 'Dark Side' and 'Dance with Me' a classic deep red shade! I also like the look of 'Too Matte with Love' and 'Tailored to Tease' two beauitful pink shades! We'll see how long I can hold off on these for...

Barry M // Mini Mani, Iron Mani Nail Polishes

Barry M have been adding some real great things to their nail polish line recently. I don't know whether it's my love for Marvel clouding my vision or my real need to bring some life back to my flakey nails but I need this new range. 'Iron Mani' for strengthening your Nails and 'Super Mani' a 7-in-1 treatment to giving your nails that much needed but of TLC. There's two other additions to the range, 'Mani Mask', two nude polishes but I honestly don't need any more nude nail varnishes. The range comes in at just £3.99 (£3.20 at M&S) so they definitely won't make a huge dent in my round the world travel fund but every £££ counts.

Tarte // Tartelette in Bloom Palette

To be fair, my Dad said he'd buy me this for Christmas and considering the festive season has been and gone without a present from Daddy dearest, I'd like to think this palette was in my future. In my Dad's defense, I haven't sent him the link to buy it so it's through no fault of his own that it's on this list right now. Regardless, though, I do need to get my hands on this soon. This palette looks absolutely beautiful and I know that 'Firecracker' and I would get along so, so well. And at £33 for 12 shades, it's definitely not the most expensive palette I could have fallen in love with!

Charlotte Tilbury // Film Star Bronze and Glow

I have seen all the Youtube videos and read all the blog posts about this bronzing and highlight duo. Possibly the most splurge worthy thing on my list but definitely the product I've lusted over the most and for the longest time. At £49 I definitely won't be picking it up soon, for this price I could eat for two full days in Vietnam.

Beauty Blender

I've tried the Real Techniques version when it was first released not knowing really what it was about or how to use it and since then have thrown it away in disbelief that a sponge can make such a positive impact to applying makeup. I need to try this again. I struggle with the surface under and around my eyes, despite me improving my skincare routine I still have a lot of dryness and uneven skin which doesn't look good after a couple layers of concealer. And, whether I'm a sucker for a good marketing campaign or not, I think the Beauty Blender might actually make a difference. And screw investing in knock off versions I want the $20 real deal. I thought about it whilst I was in New York last November but didn't go for it because there was other things I wanted to spend the money on, but I've since returned home with enough dollars to have bought it in 5 different colours!

I'm only 34 days in to my 243 day savings plan before I head off and to say I'm struggling. I've had the week off work this week so occupying my time has been hard when I discount any means include money. That's the cinema, online shopping, spontaneous day trips and visits to London all out of the question. It can only get easier, right?

Love always,
Melissa