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Saturday, 30 January 2016

Review: Makeup Geek Eye Shadows (Grandstand, Shimma Shimma, Creme Brulee, Cocoa Bear)

I've wanted to try the Makeup Geek eye shadows for a long time now after seeing them raved about online. They recently became more easily available in the UK because they can now be found via Beauty Bay.

After googling for swatches, I decided on buying a quad that I could use to create a complete eye look. It was difficult to know which shades to choose but in the end I went for the four shades below. Clockwise starting at the top they are Cocoa Bear, Creme Brulee, Shimma Shimma and finally Grandstand which is from the foiled eye shadow range. The normal eye shadow pans are £4.95 here and the foiled ones are £7.95 here. I also picked up a small z palette for £8.95 here because although I have a couple of the larger size, I wanted something more compact that I can put a few shadows in for everyday use-much more convenient to pop into a makeup bag.

All four shadows are smooth and pigmented and they remind me a lot of MAC, even down to the way they come packaged. I have a few MAC eye shadows that I have collected over time but they are not something I am going to buy a lot of at once when they are £10 each. I also find MAC very variable-some of them are super smooth, buttery and pigmented while other seem to have next to no colour payoff, which is pretty bad for the price point. The four makeup geek shadows I purchased, however, are all pigmented and nice to blend and work with. The one thing I will say is that the normal (non-foiled ones) do kick up quite a bit of powder when you put your brush into them so you do need to go gently rather than just shoving your brush in there, but I don't really mind that considering how nicely they go on.

Something the brand seem to be particularly good at is their range of warm, matte shades, which I just love for using in the crease to go along with more shimmery shades on the lid. I am also particularly impressed with the foiled shadow (far right in the swatches below) because the texture is insane! It is so buttery and pigmented that it feels like a cream shadow to apply and it looks beautifully metallic on the lid. I actually like to apply the crease shades with brushes then pop this shade onto the lid with my finger.

I am so impressed with these shadows that I can already see myself picking up more shades in the hopefully not too distant future!

Have you tried makeup geek eye shadows? Are there any shades you'd recommend?

Em x

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Review: Zoeva Nude Spectrum Palette

As soon as I saw pictures of the Zoeva Spectrum collection palettes, I knew I wanted the entire collection haha. I limited myself to choosing one palette, however, and I chose the Nude Spectrum eye palette based on the fact I thought I would get most use from the most neutral of the bunch. Back in October, I picked up their Cocoa Blend palette, which quickly became one of my favourite palettes ever (and that is saying a lot because I've tried loads of them!). You can see my review of that one here.

I think this palette is stunning, even down to the classy looking packaging. What I will say, however, is the only draw back is the rubberised finish (think along the lines of NARS products if you've ever used them). I can already tell that this is going to get very grubby with make up and finger prints because it marks so easily.

Onto the contents, however, and everything about it is just fabulous. There is a good range of shimmers and mattes in different neutral/ gold/ brown tones from very light to very dark. You can definitely get lots of different complete eye looks from the palette. The shadows are well pigmented and great to work with. The quality is definitely comparible to higher end brands.There is just one minor thing I think they could improve on as far as the shades go and that is to give each one a proper name rather than just a number.

As far as the price goes, this palette costs £28.50 from Beauty Bay here. I must admit that when they released and I found out how much it was, I thought it was a little steep compared to their other palettes. In the cocoa blend palette, I got 10 shades for £15.50, making the shadows £1.50 each. In the Nude Spectrum Palette, there are 15 shades so at £28.50, that makes them £1.90 each. Why the hiked up price, Zoeva? I do, however, think that when you compare it to other brands and consider the quality of the palette, it is still worth £28.50. The spectrum palettes are just not quite as bargainous as all of their palettes. However, I love this one so much overall that I'm tempted to buy the warm palette too, even if I do have more palettes than I need already!

Have you tried anything from Zoeva's Spectrum collection?

Em x

Saturday, 23 January 2016

The Perfect Valentines Lip: Maybelline Superstay 24 Hour Lip Colour

Top: Natural Flush
Bottom: Red Alert
It's been much longer than usual since I last posted anything because things have been a bit crazy lately...big decisions and job interviews...let's just say I'm hopeful that 2016 is going to be a much better year than 2015 was for me.

Anyway, back to the lipstick!  I received the Maybelline Superstay 24 Hour Lip Colour in the shade 'Red Alert' as part of a Maybelline Christmas gift from a friend (this gift set which is currently in the sale). You can pick them up individually via Boots or Superdug for £8.99 but Superdrug currently has them on buy one get one half price here. Regular readers probably know by now that I am a huge fan of the Superstay nail polishes for their lasting power (one of which was also included in the set and luckily it was one of the shades I didn't have!) so I was keen to try out the lip colour to see if it was as good.I actually picked up a more nude shade called Natural Flush since trying it, so that might give you an idea of how this review is going to go!

The two step lip colour consists of a liquid lipstick with a doe foot applicator that dries very matte on the lips (it takes a minute or two to dry) and a glossy, clear balm in stick form to apply over the top. Overall, it gives a glossy finish which becomes more satin as the balm wears off.

The red shade is very strong and pigmented while the nude is more sheer, but I actually quite like it that way because super pigmented nudes have a tendency to make me look a little bit ill-I sort of like just a little of my natural lip colour to show through.

Please excuse the not so neat application of the red-applied without a liner to show you what the product looks like on its own.
The thing that impressed me the most about this product is how non drying it is. I tried the Rimmel equivalent of this product a while ago and at first I liked it but once I had worn it for a full day, I realised that it quickly became very drying and heavy feeling on the lips and that it was near impossible to top up without it looking a mess-it was the type of product that required removing with waterproof make up remover and starting a fresh. The Maybelline one, however, was brilliant.The first time I wore it was to go out on New Year's Eve, applying it at around 7:45pm and taking it off at around 1:15am (so around 5 and a half hours of wear). It is the first time I have tried one of these dual ended lipsticks that didn't dry my lips out at all!

As for the wear time? Well it is not going to last 24 hours so if you go by the claim on the tube, it failed, but honestly who is going to believe that or even try to wear their lipstick for 24 hours?! I touched up once around the very centre of my lips after eating, about half way through the night. It's important to note that I was also drinking constantly throughout the night (let me tell you it was roasting hot in the venue we'd booked so I had a couple of soft drinks so I could gulp them down and avoid drinking my alcoholic beverages too quickly!). Honestly, though, I could have got away with just topping up the balm because the vast majority of the lip colour stayed in place. It also seems to be more or less kiss proof (I tested it on my husband, all in the name of research! haha) and all that seemed to come off was the balm rather than the colour. This makes it the perfect lipstick for date night, valentines smooching or a night out with the girls, if you ask me!

I am someone who has a few bolder lipsticks but is always slightly scared that I will end up with them smeared all over my face. I always go for a more matte finish to help it stay put if I'm going to wear a bold lip but even then I feel the need to regularly check it. With the help of the Maybelline Superstay lip colour, I can wear a stronger shade and have confidence that I'm not going to end up looking like a clown, hurrah! I can also apply a more nude shade and know that it's really going to last well.

Have you tried the Maybelline Superstay 24 Hour Lip Colour? What do you think?

Em x

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Beauty Empties and Reviews #16

I have a bag full of empties again so I thought it was time I told you which products I've used up, whether I liked them and whether I would repurchase...

Hair Products
  • Batiste dry shampoo in the 'Eden' scent. Batiste is my favourite dry shampoo and a necessity for me since my hair gets oily at the roots pretty quickly. This is my favourite scent and I have a backup already but sadly I think it may have been limited edition for Summer because I can't find it online. Please bring it back Batiste!
  • Got2B Guardian Angel is my favourite heat protection spray because it sprays a fine mist that seems to even distribute the product and it really does seem to protect the hair (my hair dresser always tells me my hair is in great condition so it must do something!). It doesn't leave my hair sticky like some can either. Definite repurchase!
  • I picked up the Aussie Frizz Miracle Conditioner for a bargainous £1 in my local £1 shop and it was nice enough but I can't say it did anything spectacular. I would be happy enough to use it again if it was on offer or something but I wouldn't go out of my way to repurchase it again.
  • Tresemme Deep Cleansing Shampoo is great if you use a lot of hair products that can cause build up or if like me, your hair gets oily quickly. It feels like it gives a really deep clean but doesn't feel too stripping when used with a conditioner on my ends. I have already repurchased.
  • Herbal Essences Fresh Balance shampoo is another good one for oily haired gals and is a fact, I repurchased it the day I am writing this post. I picked it up in Boots and it was supposed to be on offer for £1.99 I'm sure, however it went through the till at 99p for a 400ml-bargain so this would be the time to stock up!

  • La Roche Posay Serozinc is a nice hydrating toner that I use after my exfoliating toner and before moisturiser. It is convenient in a spray can and contains skin calming/ spot fighting ingredients. This is something I've bought a few times now and continue to use.
  • Garnier Simply Essentials 2 in 1 Make Up Remover is my favourite product to remove my eye make up. It is a bi-phase one that you shake up and it removes everything quickly and easily without having to tug on my eyes but without being too greasy. Again a repeat repurchase.
  • Neutrogena Visibly Clear Pink Grapefruit Cream Wash is a nice morning face wash that refreshes my skin and contains salicylic acid (good for oily/ blemish prone skin) without drying it out since it has a creamy texture. Repeat repurchase!
  • Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Overnight Purifying Gel is an amazing night time treatment. It contains both glycolic and salicylic acids to exfoliate, make skin look brighter and zap blemishes. I tend to use this most around 'that time of the month' when my skin tends to suffer a bit or if it's just looking a bit dull. I can see a big difference in my skin the next morning and I have already repurchased it. 
  • Simple Age Resisting Eye Cream is my evening eye cream. It sinks in nicely and claims to have age resisting properties. It works well for me at the moment as I don't feel like I need a heavy duty anti aging eye cream yet. I think keeping the eye area moisturised is a major part of anti aging so any eye cream will help but only time will tell. It also doesn't sting my eyes, which can be quite sensitive. I have already repurchased this.
  • Nuxe Reve De Miel Lip Balm has become an everyday staple for me. I think I've been through three of them now and am half way through another (this empty one has been sitting there for a couple of months). I use it morning and night and it seriously is the best lip balm I've ever tried.

Body Care

1. The Body Shop Shea Body Butter is seriously moisturising. I really like the Body Shop body butters in general and particularly like to use them after a bath in the evening (they're not something I'd necessarily use if I take a shower in the morning instead because they take a little while to sink in). I really enjoyed this one but am currently using the Almond one as I like to switch up the scent and I think the Almond one is even more moisturising.

2. 2 x Sure Crystal Anti-persperant. Not very exciting but I can confirm that as it claims, it doesn't mark clothes. I alway go for one of the non-marking anti-persperants, usually from Sure or Nivea, because deodorant marks really irritate me! lol.

Make Up

I'll say now that all of these are repeat purchases...
  • Rimmel Match Perfection Concealer is my favourite under eye concealer and I repeatedly repurchase it. It gives me enough coverage while being light and easy to blend.
  • Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer is my favourite concealer for redness/ spots because it stays put so well and has high coverage. 
  • Sleek Brow Perfector is a tinted brow gel that works well and I like the brush-some brushes on brow gels can be far too big but this is on the smaller side.
  • 2 x Sleek Brow Stylist, which is my favourite brow pencil. It twists up and has an angled tip with a spoolie on the other end so it's easy to apply.
  • Boots Seventeen Falisifeye HD Mascara is honestly my favourite mascara (even compared to the high end ones I've tried!) and has been for quite a while now. It gives quite dramatic lashes without being too clumpy.
  • Max Factor Face Finity All Day Primer is something I use every day. It prolongs the wear time of my make up and has the added bonus of SPF20. I would use a seperate  SPF if I was spending much time outside but for going to work and back etc it's nice to have a little bit of protection.
  • MAC Eye Shadows in 'Cork' and 'All That Glitters' are my favourite MAC eye shadow shades. I recently picked them up again after not using any MAC shadows for a while, finished them and tried not to repurchase them, telling myself I had plenty of other eye shadows. It didn't work.
  • Rimmel Stay Matte Powder does what it says on the tin and is super cheap, can't go wrong with this. I have been through loads of these over the years and continue to use it.
Have you tried any of these products? Which beauty products have you used up recently?

Em x

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Best Beauty Buys of 2015

Today I thought I'd share my top beauty products that stood out to me this year. I'm not going to include all the things that have been favourites for years. Instead I will concentrate mostly on the things that were new to me in 2015 and one or two that I discovered near the end of 2014 but used a lot throughout this year. Otherwise, the list would so long that I'd literally be typing all day haha. You'll notice that I haven't included any hair products but that's just because I haven't really tried any new hair things this year.

Skincare/ Body Care

The Nip and Fab Glycolic Fix range is something I've use pretty much constantly throughout the year. They launched a couple of new products this year, the Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme and the Overnight Purifying Gel, both of which make a big difference to my skin. I also love the normal Glycolic Fix Pads and the Glycolic Fix Serum from the range. Find the range via Boots here.

I love using face masks because I feel like it's a little treat and the right ones also really help my skin out! My favourites for congested/ oily skin/ breakouts were The Sanctuary 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask (currently £6.67 hereand Super Facialist by Una Brennan Anti Blemish Pore Purifying Clay Mask (currently £6.66 here). Both leave my skin feeling super clean and really do seem to help blemishes heal more quickly.

The Body Shop Body Butters have been a favourite of mine for years but I wanted to include The Body Shop Almond Body Butter because I'm pretty sure it's the best of the ones I've tried. It's designed for drier skins and is super moisturising, no doubt due to the almond oil in it. However, I can't seem to find it online so I am really hoping you having discontinued this Body Shop!

The Soap and Glory Sugar Crush range has been my absolute favourite bath and body range this year. The lime scent is just amazing and I find Soap and Glory products in general very effective. The scrubs really are very 'scrubby' and the body butter type products are very moisturising. Find the range via Boots here.

Eucerin Intensive Hand Cream (currently £6.75 down from £9 herefixed an issue I had with an eczema type rash under my wedding rings when no other hand cream I tried did anything. In the Summer, it got so bad that I had to leave my rings off for a few days to give my skin a break but it needed something to help it along and this really did the job. It really is the best hand cream I've ever tried,  which I put down to its urea content (a substance that naturally occurs in the skin). It is quite a thin, runny cream and sinks in quickly so it surprised me just how moisturising it is!

Make Up

Seventeen Falsifeye HD mascara (£6.99 here) is such a good mascara for the price. It gives a lot of length, volume and separation and in my opinion gives a similar effect to Benefit They're Real, which is more than twice the price. I've been through several tubes this year . You can see my review and comparison to the Benefit one here.

Clinique Lip Pop lipsticks (£16 herehave been a favourite lipstick formula of mine. They go on super smoothly with quite a lot of slip but as they wear in they seem to sort of dry down a bit and are reasonably long lasting on the lips. My favourite shade has been 'Nude Pop', which I have used pretty much non stop for the last couple of months, but I own three shades. They are £16 each via Clinique stockists (here via Boots).

Another favourite lipstick this year was MAC Peach Blossom lipstick (£15.50 hereIt's creamy and moisturising and the shade is the perfect nude-peach-pink shade that just seems to go with everything . I've used this shade so much this year.

Too Faced Love Flush blushes (£25 hereare just beautiful. I have the shade 'Love Hangover', which is the perfect warm peachy pink with a slight golden sheen. The packaging is super cute and the embossing on the pan makes them almost too pretty to use! Admittedly they are pricey so it may be worth waiting for a discount code (as I did!) or they would make a pretty gift. You can see my full review here.

Max Factor Creme Puff blushes (£8.99/ buy on get one half price herehave a beautiful finish to them that is unlike any other more reasonably priced blush that I've tried. They have a soft sheen that looks glowy as opposed to glittery or shimmery. They're so beautiful that I actually used up one of the shades I have and repurchased it (that doesn't happen very often with blushes so you know I love it!). I have collected all of the shades now but you can see my review of the first two I bought here.

Benefit Hoola bronzer ( £23.50 herewas sort of a rediscovery for me this year. I had used it before but forgot about it when I tried a couple of other bronzers. However, as soon as I went back to it I was reminded why I loved it in the first place. It's a very brown, non-orangey shade and it has enough pigment without being too much that its hard to work with. I find it great for my fair skin. Again, it's a bit more on the expensive side but worth it in my opinion. I actually just bought a Christmas gift set called 'You're so party' that contained this, They're Real mascara and sample sizes of Porefessional primer and Hoola lip gloss...and the best bit was that because it was in the sale, it was only a couple of pounds more than the bronzer on its own (£26.33 here). I have hit pan on it so thought I may as well pick up the set for when I run out since it was a good deal.

Stila Smudge Sticks (£13 herewere my favourite eye liners this year. All the shades I have tried are super smooth to apply (smoother than any other I've ever tried) and long lasting. I also like that they twist up-no sharpener required! Not far behind them for the same reasons (although just not quite as smooth as the Stila) are the Soap and Glory Smoulder Kohls (£5 here) and again Boots have a half price set of 5 shades for £7 that I just bought (available online here). It's a bit of a no brainer really when they're £5 for one!

My favourite brow products this year have been the from Sleek makeup. The Sleek Brow Stylist (£5.99/ 2 for £10 hereis a twist up brow pencil with a slanted tip (making it easy to apply) and a spoolie on the other end. The Sleek Brow Perfector (£4.99 here) is a tinted brow gel that really keep unruly brow hair in place while adding a tint. Most days I use it over the Brow Stylist but it is also great on its own if you just want a quick bit of something through your brows to give a bit of definition.

The Zoeva Cocoa Blend Palette (£15.50 herewas a product I tried to get my hands on for a while but it seemed to be constantly out of stock. When I finally got my mitts on one, I couldn't stop using it! I love the warm golden and brown shades in particular but the cooler shades are pretty too. All of them are well pigmented and easy to blend. The palette really does rival some much more expensive palettes which is brilliant for the price!You can find my review here.


Maybelline Superstay nail polishes (£4.49 herewere by far my best nail related purchase this year. The brushes are great and easy to use, the polish is pigmented enough that you can just use one coat if you want to, and they last a lot longer on my nails than any other polish I've ever tried. I like them so much that I've built up a little collection-I think I have around 10 shades.

Another thing that stood out to me was the Nails Inc A&E Base Coat and Albert Bridge Top Coat Duo (£12 here). The base coat really does help strengthen the nails and the top coat makes nails look super shiny.


Over Summer, one of my favourites was Ghost Eclipse (30ml git set in the sale for £16.66 here), which is a sweet fruity scent. Another sweet and fruity one I've enjoyed this year is Ralph Lauren Pony Collection 2 (50ml gift set in the sale for £28.66 here) I'm almost finished my bottle of that so actually just bought a gift set in the sales, which worked out cheaper than buying the perfume on its own.

As far as slightly heavier, Winter scents go, my favourites were Paco Rabanne Lady Million (£33.50 with free P&P here) and Ghost Deep Night (30ml gift set on sale for £16.66 here) . Both of these last for a long time on me and are both still quite sweet even though they are a bit more Wintery/ evening appropriate. If you like sweet/ fruity for a more Summery option then these are worth a try!

What were your favourite beauty products of 2015?

Em x