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Friday, 27 February 2015

February Beauty Favourites

Here are the beauty products I've most enjoyed using the most this month. Co-incidentally, they are mostly 'drugstore' products this time around.

Maybelline Eye Tattoo in the shade On and On Bronze (£4.99 here)
I got this back out at the beginning of the month after not using it for a little while. I love it for a quick wash of colour, as featured in this post on my 'Sunday Face', or used as a base underneath powder shadows. It stays put and is a lovely colour. I've definitely put a large dent in it now.

Max Factor Creme Puff Blush in the shade Seductive Pink (£8.99 here)
This is a lovely everyday blush. I love all of the blushes in this line that I've tried (I now own 4 after buying 2 then getting 2 more), but I think this is my favourite. It's a pinky/ coral shade that's pigmented enough but not too much so it's easy to wear. You can be slightly heavy handed and it doesn't matter, which is nice when I'm trying to be quick getting ready for work. It has a lovely glow to it without being too over the top shimmery and is supposedly a dupe of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting blushes (althought I haven't tried them). Being a combo/ oily skinned girl, I normally stick to more matte/ satin blushes but there's something special about these. My husband even commented on how nice my skin looked when I was wearing seductive pink, so they must be good! You can see my review post here.

L'oreal Glam Bronze bronzer in the shade Golden Bronze (£7.59 here)
I love the Soap and Glory solar powder for a bronzer but as I am so near the end of it,  I decided to pull this out and give it a proper go. I used it a couple of times when I bought it but the the Soap and Glory one took over. However, I've really been enjoying the L'oreal one as well this month. It's almost completely matte so I can use it for a bit of a contouring, too. You can see it swatched and compared to other bronzers in my recent 'contouring products 101' post here.

Too Faced Natural Eyes palette (£32 here)
This palette has got a LOT of use since I bought it. This month I went back to it and I've actually hit pan on one shade now. It's such a great neutral palette with everything I need for a complete eye look including lid shades, crease shades, dark shades to deepen the outer corner of the eyes and both matte and shimmer highlight shades. Well worth the money.

Collection Undercover Eyes palette in bronze nudes (£2.99 here)
I've been enjoying using this for a quick eye look on work mornings. It's small and convenient to fit into my everyday makeup bag and contains 6 natural/ neutral shades that are really nicely pigmented and blendable for such a budget brand. You can see my full review and swatch post here.

Nivea Express Hydration Body Lotion (£5.10 here)
This has been sat in my (rather large) stash of bath and body products for a little while. It came in a gift set and if I'm honest, I didn't think much of it as I tend to go for delicious smelling things like my Soap and Glory, Body Shop and Sanctuary products first (this one doesn't have a particular scent really, just clean/ fresh smelling). However, when I opened it this month, I found that it's a really good one for if you want to get dressed quickly so it's good to use in the morning. It's a gel-cream formula that does what it says on the bottle-absorbs quickly. I've been using this if I take a shower in the morning and saving my thicker body butters for the times when I have a bath in the evening instead. I've actually really been enjoying it.

Burt's Bees Almond Hand Cream (£8.81 here)
I've enjoyed using this super thick hand cream before bed now and then for a while but lately I've had a problem with an eczema-type rash underneath my wedding rings (I googled it and it seems that a lot of people suffer with the same thing due to soap etc getting stuck underneath them). It got super dry and this really seemed to help put a lot of moisture back into the skin. I wouldn't use it all over my hands during the day because it's very heavy and the sort of cream that takes a while to sink in. However, I have been using it every night and just on the problem area during the day and it has worked wonders.

Have you tried any of these products and if so, what did you think? What were your favourite beauty products this month?

Em x

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Getting Crafty: Handmade Mother's Day Cards

As a kid, I loved doing crafty things (some things never change) and my mum no doubt has a little collection of my projects I gave to her. I know that she definitely has a stash of paper bead jewellery I used to make using a craft set I had, I'm not sure of the brand but it was similar to this one on Amazon. I was a little obsessed haha...did anyone else have one of these?

Anyway, I really believe that Mums appreciate something home made, even when you're an adult. I love to make her hand made cards because it requires much more thought and effort than just walking into a shop and buying one. Being married now, I have two mums for me to make cards for. Mother's Day in the UK is only a couple of weeks away now (Sunday 15th March), so I thought I would get going on some cards and these are what I came up with...

I made the first card using the Fizzy Moon 'Birthday Wishes' decoupage pad. I bought it from Wilkinsons but they don't seem to have it on the website. You can check in store or it is available on ebay here. Athough it's technically for birthdays, I felt that the decoupage design I used from it would be suitable for a number of occasions, Mother's Day included. It comes with a mixture of die cut designs and beautiful papers with glitter detail, which I layered for interest. I cut out the heart from the papers using a heart shaped punch. For the folded design, I used a double sided paper from the pad and simply folded over the corners and stuck them down with sticky pads. Finally, I added some other embellishments from my craft stash.

For the second, I used the Dovecraft 'tea party' decoupage pad and matching papers, which I bought a little while ago from The Works website. You can find them here and here. Again, I used other embellishments I already had in my craft stash and the heart punch. I decided to also use the folded design for this card, but this time I stuck two sheets of paper together to create a double sided paper since the ones in this paper pack are all single sided.

I love how these turned out. I really like mixing different patterned papers while still matching them using a colour scheme.

What do you think? Will you be hand making your mum's mother's day card this year?

Em x

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Primark: The £8 Floral Cutout Satchel Bag

I haven't really bought a handbag for a few months and I don't generally buy many bags from Primark. I pick the odd one up, but in my Primark at least, lots of them look quite cheap....I mean they are, but you don't want them to look that way! haha.

However, I found this little gem on Friday for £8. To me, it's the perfect size for an everyday sort of bag. I love the tan colour for Spring/ Summer as it makes a change from my usual black everyday handbag. I thought the floral cutout detail was really pretty. It has a grab handle on the top and a long adjustable strap that you could adjust to use it as a shoulder bag or a cross body bag (I am doing the latter). I also like that under the flap is a smaller pocket where I can keep anything I want quick access to.

What do you think?

Em x

Monday, 23 February 2015

Contouring Products 101

Contouring seems to be all the rage at the moment so I thought I'd share the products I have tried and tell you a bit about what I think of each...
I recently purchased the newly released Clinique chubby stick sculpting contour (£19 hereI feel like this is designed for the everyday person who maybe isn't a makeup expert but wants to have a go at contouring like the professionals. I find that using a cream contour product gives a more defined look than a powder. Sometimes I like to use this and top it with a powder product if I want my face to be really scuplted, but I reserve that for evening wear.

The reddish brown shade does look a bit scary and very warm at first. It's definitely not something that those who prefer a more grey based contour would like, but it definitely doesn't appear quite as red toned once it's blended in. Personally I quite like a slightly warm contour but hopefully Clinique will bring out more shades if this becomes a popular product.

As far as application goes, the the chubby stick design means that you can literally just draw it onto your face where you want it. Being a cream product, it's easy to blend it out using either a brush or fingers. I like using the Real Techniques buffing brush and I find it easiest to start with a little bit and build it up with another layer if I want a bit more colour. You could also, of course, use a stick concealer a few shades darker than your skin in a similar way, but I was curious to try a cream product designed for contouring.
swatches left to right: S&G, L'oreal, Benefit
The Soap and Glory solar powder (£11 here) is a matte bronzer (for contouring beginners, remember that if you use a bronzer, it needs to be matte) with 2 shades, a lighter and a darker .I generally just swirl my brush across the 2 and apply but you could apply the lighter as a general bronzing shade then use the darker as a slightly more intense contouring shade if you wanted to. Some people don't like using a bronzer as a contour but I like to use this as a sort of quick contour-ish product. I sweep it under my cheekbones and blend it upwards so it warms up my cheeks too, using the Real Techniques blush brush. I really enjoy this product and the one pictured is actually a back up because I literally have a tiny bit left around the edge of the pan in my current one. I like to use L'oreal Glam Bronze (£7.59 here) in the shade golden bronze and Benefit Hoola (£23.50 here) in a similar way, although both of those are a bit darker and more pigmented so it depends on the look I'm going for.
swatches left to right: Sleek contour, Sleek highlight, Seventeen contour, Sleek highlight
Then I have a couple of different contouring kits that contain both a contour and a highlight.The Sleek contour kit (£6.49 herecontains another warm contour, more of a matte bronzer really in my opinion. I have the shade 'light' in this (there are 3 shades) but even the lightest shade still packs a punch so I use it with caution. The highlighter is lovely but very strong so is something I would only really use for evening wear.

The Boots Seventeen Define and Conquer (£5.99 herealso contains both a contour and a highlight. The major difference between this and the Sleek one is that the highlight shade is almost matte, which I appreciate as it's also good for setting undereye concealer and keeping the area bright. I did a review of this one back in October (here). My first impressions were very good and I still like it, but I have come to the conclusion that this is more a Summer product for me because the contour shade really is quite warm (warmer than the Sleek version). I can then use it as a quick contour/ bronze shade, blending it up onto my cheeks too, like the bronzers I mentioned above.
NYX blush in taupe (£6 here) is different from the other products I use for contouring in that it is much cooler in tone. This is good in that it looks very shadow-like, but I feel like if I wear this on its own with a blush, it can actually be a bit too cool toned on me. My favourite way to use it is to bronze up my face using the Soap and Glory solar powder first, then use the Real Techniques contour brush to put a little of this right underneath my cheekbones in a more concentrated area. It just steps up my everyday quick contour a notch. I do this when I want my face to look particularly sculpted, usually for evenings out, special occasions or when I'm going somewhere I know photos are going to be taken.
TheBalm's Bahama Mama (£15 here) is technically a bronzer but I find that it's a really quite cool toned one with not a lot of red or orange in it at all. The shade is somewhere between the Soap and Glory etc bronzers and NYX taupe, making it a good in-between. This one has such a smooth creamy texture that's pretty amazing quality.

Do you have any favourite contouring products that you think I should try?

Em x

Sunday, 22 February 2015

New In: Hair Accessories

I went shopping on Friday and for some reason, it seemed to be the day of accessories and makeup-I didn't spot any clothes that took my fancy (I did, however, receive my order from Dorothy Perkins so that made up for it hehe). Since I don't have many hair accessories after recently binning some old, tatty looking ones, I picked a few up from New Look and Primark.These will probably get more use in the warmer months, when I tend to wear my hair up more than I do in colder weather.

I thought the two bow clips from New Look would be really cute clipped into the front of a bun/ topknot. The black velvet one will be reasonably subtle against my brunette hair while the nude one, which has a waffle sort of texture, will stand out more and will be a pretty shade in Spring/ Summer.
The hairpins with little pastel flowers, also from New Look, would be pretty with a bun, too, or to fix my hair into a half up style or just pin back the sides. New Look also have a 3 for 2 offer running across jewellery and hair accessories at the moment so one of these was free. I thought the beaded ponytail holder (is that what you'd call it? It's not really just a hairband/ bobble) from Primark would pretty up a pony tail on days I just want to quickly put my hair up and be done with it.

What do you think?

Em x

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Collection Eyes Uncovered Palette: Bronze Nudes

ok I admit it, I have a neutral eye shadow palette problem...

I popped into Superdrug on Friday and went to the collection stand to pick up my favourite Lasting Perfection concealer. While I was there, I spotted the Eyes Uncovered palettes. I hadn't heard much about them but as soon as I swatched the bronze nude one (there are 3 different neutral palettes available), I knew I 'needed' it.

The shades are soft and pigmented. There are 6 in the palette and you can definitely create a complete look from it. The shades all have various degrees of shimmer, however, so personally I would probably add a bit of my bronzer or a single matte eye shadow into the crease, since I think a more matte crease is most flattering on my eye shape. The lack of matte shades is the one drawback. The colours are very reminiscent of the Urban Decay Naked palette (the original one). Obviously you are only getting 6 shades rather than 12, but this has its advantages. If you are someone who gets overwhelmed by a large palette then it's a good option. It would also be an amazing little travel palette because it's so compact but it still gives you options. You could easily create a light. natural eye or a much deeper smokey eye from it.

Best of all, these palettes are only £3.99! They are currently on 3 for 2 in Superdrug too, making them even cheaper (you can find them here). I feel like they're amazing value for the quality of the shadows and I think Collection are really upping their game eye shadow wise with these. It's great to see a decent neutral palette coming from such a budget brand.

Have you tried the Collection Eyes Uncovered palettes? What do you think?

Em x

Thursday, 19 February 2015

My New Boots: UGG Mariana

I've been 'umming and aahing' over UGG boots for the longest time, but recently my mum bought a pair and I made the mistake of trying them on...I'd never actually realised just how warm and snuggly they were. I've never been a fan of the classic sheepskin/ suede-like finish ones. Firstly, I just know that I would ruin them and secondly I see so many people 'walking over' on them...I'm not sure how to explain it really, but you know when the side/ back sort of gives way and people end up walking on the side/ back of the boot instead of the sole....yeah, it's not attractive.

However, I came across these leather ones (much more sturdy and durable looking, check) which still have the sheepskin inner (warm toasty feet, check). They also have lace up detail on the back with a sort of woven tongue (something slightly different, check). All I can say is that I do not know how I'm ever going to prise these off my feet. I was always a bit undecided but I think I'm converted. I think they look pretty nice worn casually with a pair of skinnies and they definitely have the comfort/ warmth factor. However, I WILL NOT, I repeat WILL NOT be wearing them in the manner I saw a lady at work wearing them a couple of weeks back...with a blouse and smart pencil skirt....

The style is called Mariana and I got them from the Littlewoods website here (at the time they were on offer for £160) but they are also available on (who I believe are a sister company) here, and the Schuh website here for £200. I figure I'm going to get a lot of use out of these and they should last well being the leather finish, so I think they're worth it.

What do you think? Do you love UGGS? Loathe them? Think they're worth the money?

Em x

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

A genius nail polish remover invention

I saw this Zoya nail polish remover with a pump on a couple of blogs a few months back. I thought yep, it looks like a good idea because I'm forever spilling/ wasting the stuff but I don't want to pay £10 plus for a bottle of nail polish remover. I continued buying the usual Cutex one I buy in a standard bottle.

However, I recently stumbled upon this one from the brand 'classics' in B and M Bargains. It's a huge 300ml bottle of remover in the same type of pump bottle that the Zoya one comes in....and it cost me £1.99.I wasn't sure how good it would be but I was mostly after the bottle to be honest. As it tuns out, it works just as well as any other and I had no problems removing glitter polish with it last night, which is notoriously difficult to remove. It only has 2 ingredients, acetone and water. Once I've finished with this, I will be keeping the bottle and refilling it because the design is absolute genius-you put a cotton pad on the flat part at the top, push it down and as you do, the remover is pumped up into the cotton pad. There is no wastage/ spillage and it also seems to stink less, probably because it's going straight into the cotton pad and nowhere else.

I had a look around online and there aren't many options...I don't understand why more companies don't do this because it's so easy and convenient! I did find a 70ml bottle here on ebay and the same one on the Xtras website here. These are, however, much smaller than the one I bought and more expensive, so if you have a B&M near you I'd recommend having a look. Alternatively, if you type 'pump nail polish remover' into ebay, you'll see that you can buy the bottles on their own in various sizes, for you to pour in your own remover.

Have you tried nail polish remover in one of these pump bottles? What do you think?

Em x

Monday, 16 February 2015

Spring Fashion: Dorothy Perkins Wishlist

I am already looking forward to putting away my woolly jumpers and making the move towards Spring fashion. There are a few things I like the look of on the Dorothy Perkins website at the moment and they currently have 25% off full priced items with the code 'DPFW25', so I thought I would share my picks. 

I'm in love with the star print denim dress. I seem to have a thing about stars lately-I currently own a scarf and a purse covered in them (you can see my post about the purse here). There are a few denim shirt dresses around at the moment so I think they are going to be a 'thing' this Spring. I think I'd wear it with black leggings or jeggings. It is £26 full price/ £19.50 with the code here.

I love the Eden jeggings from DP-they are so comfortable, decent quality and a good fit on me. I have a few pairs in different colours. These 'rose' ones as they're calling them would be cute for Spring/ Summer-I could imagine pairing them with sandals and a crisp white oversized cotton blouse/ shirt. They are £18 full price/£13.50 with the code here.

I actually already own the black strapless dress and I would recommend it! It's made from that scuba type fabric, which helps the skirt be a bit more full as the fabric is slightly more stiff. This is something that would be great for evenings out any time of the year, the classic LBD. You can find it here for £45 full price/ £33.75 with the code.

There's something cute about this horse print shirt and the blush shade is perfect for spring. It's £25 full price or £18.75 with the code.

I love mint green for Spring and this pleat front cami for £12 full price/£9 with the code  would be a versatile piece you could dress up or down.

What do you think? Are there any Spring clothes you have your eye on?

Em x

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Valentine's Day thoughts

As today is Valentine's day, I thought I'd share my thoughts...

Me and my husband do acknowledge it but I must say that I think it's very over-hyped and commercialised. We gave each other some (little) gifts and cards this morning. Since I love to bake and do crafty things, I also treated him to a home made chocolate cake and hand made his card. Neither of us spent a fortune because we just don't feel like it's necessary.

Tonight, we will be having a home made curry (made by hubby) and curling up on the couch with a blanket, a few DVDs and a bottle of wine. We do enjoy going out for a meal every now and then but we had a bit of an awkward experience a few years ago when he took me out for a meal on Valentine's evening. The restaurant had crammed in as many tables for two as they could so that we all ended up squashed together. It was one of those awkward situations where you feel like you're sitting so close to each other that everyone else can hear every word you say....hardly romantic! Since then, we have stayed in. There was one year while we were both living with parents when hubby took over his parent's 2nd living room and set out a table with flowers, candles etc. He cooked me a lovely meal and I thought it was so sweet that he'd gone to the trouble-to me this meant more than just paying for someone else to cook at a restaurant.

Big gestures and being taken to swanky places can be nice when you're first together, but by the time you've been together for nearly 6 and a half years like us, the little things someone does for you are just more important. If you ask me, you shouldn't need it to be valentine's day to show someone how much they mean to you or tell them how much you love them (we tell each other all the time). The little things hubby does like getting out of bed to make me a cup of tea when he doesn't need to get up for another half an hour show that he cares.

Then there's the issue of how the day can make single people feel. All the commercialisation seems to result in some feeling down about it because they didn't receive gifts or weren't taken on a swanky date, which shouldn't be the case. I can honestly say that it never bothered me one bit when I was single on Valentine's. I was perfectly happy as I was and so should you be. I didn't see any reason to actually want to be in a relationship unless I met someone I wanted to be in a relation ship with, so I never really understood girls around me who were desperate for a boyfriend. I really believe that if you can't be a happy person on your own, you won't be happy in a relationship. It's not healthy to solely rely on a boyfriend/ girlfriend to make you happy. A romantic relationship should be a nice added extra to your life, not a necessity. If you're meant to meet someone, you will when the time is right.

My final point is that there is nothing stopping you making Valentine's day about treating yourself or spending time with other people that you love, it doesn't have to be about someone you're romantically involved with. If you don't have a traditional valentine, then why not spend some quality time with someone else who's important in you life or have a pamper evening?

To sum up my thoughts, I would say if you're in a relationship then enjoy the day but don't get caught up in all the hype and make sure to let your other half know how much they mean to you throughout the year, not just on one day. If you're not romantically involved, don't worry abut it and just enjoy spending time with those you love.

What do you think about Valentine's Day?

Em x

Revolution Awesome Metals Foil Finish eye shadows

I've owned one of these Revolution ' Awesome Metals' foil finish eye shadows for a while, but I recently picked up a second, in the shade 'pure platinum'. They are amazingly metallic and so pretty. I like to apply matte eye shadows first and then use these for a 'pop' of metallic gorgeousness on the lid. They are a cream formula but not your typical cream. The texture is difficult to describe; it almost has a slightly bouncy feel to it.

The shadows come with a liquid eye primer and a little mixing tray (clearly 'inspired' by the Stila Magnificent Metals foil finish eye shadows). The idea is that you put a little of the primer onto the tray then a little of the shadow, mix it and apply. Personally, I find that this sheers out the pigment, even with just 1 drop of the primer, so it depends on the look I'm going for on whether I use the primer. I'd do that more if I wanted to wear them during the day, because it turns the finish more into a shimmer than foil. For a more dramatic look, I like to just pat it on straight from the pot using my finger. Used this way, they can be slightly chunky but I find that the best way is just to carry on patting to smooth them out. I always use an eye primer/ base like the Urban Decay primer potion under all of my shadows, but find that these last just as well as any other eye shadow, powder included. That's pretty good going for a cream.

At £5, I think these are a bit of a bargain, especially considering the price of the Stila version!

Have you tried Revolution's Awesome Metals eye shadows? What do you think?

Em x

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Max Factor Creme Puff Blushes

So this is a 2nd blush post in the same week...if you couldn't already tell, it's one of my favourite makeup products. I picked up a couple of these Max Factor creme puff blushes a week or two ago and I'm impressed! Lots of people are comparing them to the Hourglass Ambient Lighting blushes, which I've never tried and don't intend to (due to the ridiculous price of £28!), but I do know that I'm really enjoying these. There aren't many products that I've tried and really liked from Max Factor come to think of it, other than their All Day primer, which is one of my everyday essentials.

Onto the blushes...for starters, don't these look pretty in the pan? Each is a mixture of 2 shades merged together. They have a definite glow to them too, hence the Hourglass comparison. It's not really shimmer (I actually don't like a lot of shimmer on my cheeks due to my oily skin), but it does make your skin look healthy and not flat. I chose the shades seductive pink (left swatch) and alluring rose (right swatch).

Both shades I chose are pigmented but not too pigmented, if you know what I mean. Sometimes when I'm quickly getting ready for work, I don't want to be bothered with something I have to be careful with. These almost blend themselves really and if by some chance you are a little heavy handed, it's very easy to buff them out with your powder brush.

As you can see from the swatches above, seductive pink is a lovely peachy pink shade that's ideal for everyday wear for me. Alluring rose isn't my usual choice as I usually go for pinks and corals, but I've been looking for a more neutral/ bronzey toned blush to try wearing when I do a heavier smokey eye for nights out. Something to liven up my cheeks a little without clashing with anything, you know? It would also look very pretty with a tan in the Summer months. I do think, however, that it's name is a bit odd because there's nothing remotely 'rose-ish' about it!

Overall, I think these are a great buy, especially if you can get them on offer (Max Factor is currently on 3 for 2 at both Boots and Superdrug).

Have you tried the Max Factor Creme puff blushes? What do you think?

Em x

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Makeup Revolution: The £6 Blush Palette

I've thought about picking this palette up for a while but had yet to find it on stock at my local Superdrug, until Saturday, when they seemed to have freshly re-stocked the stand. I know you can order online, but sometimes it's nice to be able to swatch products and see them in real life, you know?

Anyway, I picked up Makeup Revolution's blush palette in the shade 'sugar and spice', which is the more pink of the two shades available (the other is more peachy, I believe). The packaging is sleek, black and glossy and the palette also contains a large mirror. It costs a whopping (I jest, of course) £6 for 8 shades so each blush works out at an amazing 75p! All of the shades have a nice, smooth texture and blend nicely so I don't think you can go wrong for £6. They are all well pigmented and actually I find that on my fair skin, I have to be quite careful that I don't apply too much. I usually pick it up on my brush and gently tap it off on the back of my hand before applying.

You can see in the swatches above that the top row has a couple of more neutral, pink/ brown type shades (perfect for when you wear a smokey eye or bold lip and just want a touch of colour to liven up your cheeks without it clashing), a 'doll' pink and a lilac/pink toned highlight shade that goes well with pink blushes. The bottom row has some darker, more berry type pinks, a coral shade and a shimmery medium pink. The majority of the shades are more on the matte/ satin side, which I generally like in blushes. As someone with oily skin, I think that the only way I'll use the shimmery pink blush shade is by mixing it with one of the more matte shades so I end up with a slightly glowy shade that isn't overly shimmery. I  would also say that the two shades on the left of the bottom row are quite similar on, although the one on the left is slightly more plummy. Honestly, I think they could have replaced one of them with a different shade, but for the price, I'm not complaining!

Overall, I'm glad I picked this palette up and I can see it becoming something that I reach for regularly. It's very good value and well pigmented, although as mentioned above, I do have to be careful about how much I apply. If you have a deeper skin tone, I think these would work nicely on you too, except for maybe the lighter pink shimmer, which to me is more a highlight for fair-medium skin.

Have you tried the Makeup Revolution blush palettes? What do you think?

Em x

Monday, 9 February 2015

An everyday makeup essential: The £1 MAC blanc type dupe

I recently repurchased this £1 eye shadow from Revolution in the shade 'Touch Me' because as you can see in the top picture, the one I'm currently using isn't going to last much longer. I love using a matte cream/ ivory sort of shade on my brow bone as a matte highlight and to help blend out the edges of whichever other eye shadows I've put on. I used to use MAC blanc type for this but when I'd nearly used it up, I started looking for a drugstore version. Is it just me or does it seem a little ridiculous to pay much for a single eye shadow that's almost the same colour as your skin?! Obviously this depends on skin tone, but for me, this sort of shade is just slightly lighter than my skin once applied (as you can see in the bottom left photo).

I found that it was actually quite difficult to find a good quality drugstore version of blanc type initially. I tried a wet n wild one first, which I had to buy from Amazon. It was quite nice but just not as pigmented, smooth and creamy and blanc type. A few months ago, my local Superdrug got a new Revolution stand and I spotted this. Into my basket it went, with me thinking that if it wasn't that great then it didn't matter too much because I'd only wasted £1. However, it turned out to be amazing! It is so pigmented and smooth, making it really good for blending out crease colours if you've been a bit heavy handed. Needless to say I will not be buying MAC blanc type again!

Have you tried any of the revolution single eye shadows? What do you think?

Em x

Sunday, 8 February 2015

The perfect travel makeup and brush bag

I don't know about you, but I'm always looking for a way to travel with my makeup and brushes without getting anything damaged/ squashed, particularly my brushes. I don't like to just throw them into a makeup bag with everything else because they usually arrive at my destination all misshapen. I recently came across this 'makeup brush folio case' on Amazon and thought it would be the perfect solution. When I travel, I like to have room for the brushes I normally use day to day plus a small amount of makeup-usually one of everything I normally use plus maybe an extra lippy to change it up.

The case has loads of room to slot your brushes in with a variety of pocket sizes. It will hold brushes with thicker handles such as the Real Techniques powder brush no problem, as well as slimmer brushes. It also has a few other pockets so I will (hopefully) be well organised the next time I go away. I imagine that I will put my lash curler in the top pocket on the left and a smaller palette like the Too Faced Natural Eyes or Tarte Rainforest After Dark palette in the pocket on the right. The pouch in the middle is on poppers so it can easily be removed if you do happen to want to just carry your brushes in this little contraption, but that is where I'd put the rest of my makeup, as I have done in the pictures above. You can also place makeup similar to the shape of a brush such as mascara, lipgloss, eye pencils etc into the brush slots because there are a lot of them and I can't imagine that I would need to fill them all with brushes.

As you can see, there is plenty of room to fit the brushes and makeup I'd need for a week or 2 away and my brushes won't just be thrown into a makeup bag getting squashed and mishapen. Yet at the same time, it's still reasonably compact. Perfect!

You can find the case here on Amazon. As I'm writing this, it's £15.89, although it was only around £12 when I bought it so I'd keep an eye on the price (the prices on Amazon do seem to fluctuate quite a bit sometimes). I actually had a £10 Amazon voucher to use so I thought this would be a useful thing to get.

What do you think? Do you have a favourite makeup/ brush bag for travel?

Em x

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Pastel glitter nails take 2

I am loving pastel nails with a hint of sparkle at the moment. It may be snowing, hailing and blowing a gale outside and I may still be wrapping up in woolly jumpers but I'm so ready for Spring. In my recent 'mint sparkle' post, I showed you Maybelline's Mint For Life nail polish from the superstay range. I'm still really enjoying the formula of these nail polishes. They cover well (you could get away with 1 coat for some of them but all are opaque in 2), the brushes are the large, flat type that make it quick and easy to apply and they last around 4 days on me as opposed to the usual 2 that most other polishes last on me (I'm hard on my nails).

I used the same glitter (Deborah Lippmann's 'Stairway to heaven'), but this time with a base of Maybelline's 'Eternal lilac', which I think is such a pretty shade. I've had a few compliments on this combination, actually, and was even asked if it was shellac when it was combined with the OutTheDoor top coat.

What do you think? Are you introducing Spring shades into your beauty routine yet?

Em x

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Rimmel Kate Moss lipsticks

You know that you love a makeup product when you own it seven different shades, which is the case with me and the Rimmel Kate long lasting lipsticks. I think they must actually be my favourite 'drugstore'/ high street lipstick (as far as the traditional lipstick bullet goes, anyway). They are well pigmented and have a nice creamy texture. Despite being reasonably long lasting, they are very comfortable to wear.

From left to right: 02 is a great bright pink that I love to wear in the Summer. 03 is a nice beige toned nude that is not too light so doesn't wash me out-great with a smokey eye. 05 is a sort of pinkish reddish, rosey shade. 08 is that nude/ mauve shade that everyone has dubbed the 'Kylie Jenner lip' in the blogging world. 16 is the most gorgeous coral that I love to wear in the Spring and Summer. As you can probably see above, this is my most well used of all of them. 30 is a gorgeous berry shade that I did a whole post on here. 107 is from the matte range and it's the classic deep red that seems very popular online. 

Have you tried the Rimmel Kate lipsticks? What do you think?

Em x

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Sanctuary Spa 5 minute thermal detox mask

Having read a lot about the Sanctuary Spa 5 minute thermal detox mask on various blogs and seeing that it is currently on offer for £7.00 instead of £10.50 in Boots, I decided to give it a go.

As someone who has combination/ oily skin (the typical oilier t zone and more normal cheeks) and on occasion suffers from a bit of a 'zit attack', (I'm particularly prone getting a few spots around 'that time of the month'), I appreciate a good clay mask. Clay masks are all pretty much designed to give your skin a really deep clean and this one's no exception.

Sanctuary claim that the heating up aspect of this mask 'helps to open up the pores so the charcoal and kaolin clay can help draw out the impurities from deep within the skin'. It goes on a 'very flattering' shade of grey and definitely starts to warm up as you massage it in. It feels really quite strange the first time you use it! Something I like about this mask is that because you only leave it on for 5 minutes, it doesn't dry, meaning that it is really quick to wash off. As a result, I would be able to find the time to use this mid week if I wanted to (I tend to leave the ones I leave on for longer until the weekend). It also doesn't dry the skin as much as a mask that dries/ hardens so I'd imagine that those with more normal or dry skin could also use it for deep cleansing purposes.

Overall, I'm enjoying this mask. I feel like it really deep cleanses my skin without drying it out, and it's quick and easy to use.

Have you tried it? What do you think?

Em x

Monday, 2 February 2015

My 'Sunday Face'

Our Sundays are usually quite low key. We often pop out for a wander around our local park or go to cinema and potter around the flat. Keeping in mind that during the week I wear a full face of makeup, I still like to put some on if we're going out but I don't like to spend too long faffing with it since it's such a casual day. I thought I would share this weekend's 'Sunday Face'. The products I use vary slightly but I'm going for the same sort of look. Please excuse the dirty brushes in the 2nd picture-I'd just done my makeup when I decided to photograph them to write this post later!

Face:I know that a primer isn't strictly speaking necessary in a quick makeup routine but Max Factor's Stay All Day primer has SPF 20 in it, which is enough if I'm just around the house/ going for a little walk etc so that's my reasoning. Revlon colorstay concealer is a 'does it all' concealer. If I'm doing a quick makeup look, I want something I can quite happily use on blemishes and under my eyes. I pat this in with the Real Techniques sponge. I skip the liquid foundation set with powder that I'd normally wear and opt to use a powder foundation as it's so much quicker. I use the MAC studio fix powder foundation in shade NC15 with the Ecotools bronzer brush.If you read my January beauty favourites post, you will know that my current favourite blush is the Clinique cheek pop in the shade plum pop. I apply a quick sweep of this with the Real Techniques multi-task brush. Benefit Gimme Brow is the perfect product for when you just want to give your brows a quick bit of definition without any fuss. I brush the shade medium to dark through my brows.

Eyes: On my eyes, I use a quick swipe of Maybelline's Eye Tattoo in the shade On and On bronze. This is a pretty, bronzey shimmery shade in a cream formula that sets so it lasts well. I apply with a finger then blend out the edges with the Real Techniques base shadow brush. I then smudge a dark brown eye pencil like Soap and Glory's Smoulder Kohl in the shade Cocoa Bean along my top lashline and smudge it out with a MAC 219 brush for a bit of subtle definition. After curling my lashes, I apply a couple of coats of my favourite mascara, which at the moment is Seventeen's Falsifeye HD.

Lips:I actually haven't photographed a lip product because that is the thing I change the most. It's normally a nude or a pink I go for, though, and it's always something with a moisturising finish that wears off nicely because I'm not one for faffing topping my lippy up all the time on lazy days. This Sunday's choice was the Revlon lip butter in the shade Berry Smoothie, which you can see in this post.

To summarise, I skip liquid foundation and bronzer, just go for 1 eye shadow shade instead using 3 or 4 (I do like to do the whole lid, crease, highlight, outer corner thing) and use 1 brow product instead of 2, all of which definitely cuts down on the time it takes me to get ready. I'd also wear this look on days when I'm in a rush to get out the door.

Do you have certain products or a certain look you go for when you want a quick 'lazy day' makeup look?

Em x

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Ice Cream Loaf

I recently saw this recipe on Nouvelle Daily and instantly knew I had to try it. I couldn't believe that ice cream bread was a 'thing', but it really is. It's amazing that it actually works but the trick is that the fat and sugar in the ice cream replace the fat and sugar you would normally use in a cake recipe. Since the recipe is in cups, I used my favourite set of pink measuring cups to measure everything out (these are a handy thing to have, particularly if you look at American recipes online, which are normally measured in cups).

You will need:

2 cups of full fat ice-cream-any flavour but it does need to be full fat
1 1/2 cups self-raising flower
Chocolate chips (I used about half a cup. Nouvelle's recipe said 1/3, but it's up to you).
A 'splosh' (yes that is a technical term haha but I didn't measure it) of vanilla extract (this is optional)

Step One: let the 2 cups of ice cream melt a little bit until you can stir it with a spoon (I just left it sitting out in a mixing bowl for about 10/ 15 minutes and that did the trick). I used Cornish ice cream in this case to add a stronger vanilla flavour. Add the vanilla extract if you want to here and mix it in.

Step two: Add the flour gradually and mix it in. I started out by using a spoon but as it got thicker I switched to just using my hands, since it makes a bread dough consistency. It did seem like the mixture was too dry at one stage but just keep mixing and eventually it will all stick together.

Step three: Add the chocolate chips and use your hands to knead them into the dough.

Step four: Transfer the mixture into a loaf tin that is either greased or lined. I used some tin liners that I picked up from Home Bargains-these are really handy because you don't have to faff about greasing tins or cutting greaseproof paper to the right size. Nouvelle's recipe said to bake it at 180 degrees but I used gas mark 5 on my oven and popped it in for about 40 minutes.

I was really happy with how this turned out and let's just say that is disappeared very quickly! I'm excited to try this with other flavours of ice cream, I think chocolate with chocolate chips is going to be my next experiment :-)

What do you think? Em x