Friday, 30 March 2018

The best brush and on the gin craze | March Favourites

Get ready for a bit of a bumper favourites this month as this is a loves of February and top picks of March rolled into one post. We have a mixture of everything - makeup, an instagram account and the best drink you'll probably ever taste!

I've mentioned my sudden love for gloss a fair few times recently but there's one that has been head and shoulders above all the rest - NYX Butter Gloss in Angel Food Cake. Not only is the shade totally up my street, a pinky nude that is a bit darker than my usual lip colour, but the formula is legit magic. Not sticky but so high shine it's blinding. I think I'm going to have to pick up a few more shades of these because I'm obsessed.

I think I may have mentioned a couple of months back but when I went to Edinburgh last year we went on a gin tasting and it totally opened my eyes to this gin-mania that's going on at the minute. Although I'm still a prosecco girl at heart I am partial to a bit of rhubarb and over the last couple of months I've found myself thinking about having a rhubarb gin with lemonade at least twice a day. My favourite (and to be honest one of the only ones I've tried) is the Edinburgh Gin Rhurbarb and Ginger Gin Liquor. It's less gin and more a sweet sort of syrup but that means that it really hits you in the face with rhubarb and I'm all about that! 

My dad would say I have too many brushes, I say you can never have too many. So you can imagine my excitement when for my birthday my friends bought me a set of eyeshadow brushes that were multicoloured and sparkly. DREAM. For the past month I've been giving each of them a little go but there's one that I love so much, I honestly don't know how I've ever lived without it. It's got long-ish hairs (hairs?) and they're flexible with a flat top and it makes the perfect highlight brush. It may be a tenth of the size of previous highlight brush but I prefer it ten times more. It means I can just brush it onto my cheekbones in a sort of swirling motion, take it up to my brow bone and onto my cupids bow with no problems and no worries that it's going to end up spreading onto the middle of my cheek, which has been known to happen.

I'd like to give a quick shout out to Kate La Vie's instagram. It is so stunning and looking at it makes me instantly happy. Also I have an instagram album full of home inspo and 99 per cent of it are posts of hers.

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Wednesday, 28 March 2018

How I relax and unwind

I'm a total lover of pamper sessions and any chance I get I'll hop in that bath with a cup of tea or a glass of prosecco, depending on what day it is, and just chill out. So after a day at work or on a lazy weekend what does a horizontal (ha!) person like me do to relax? Here are my favourite things to do when I just need to chill out:

Run. That. Bath. I put all of the bubbles in, if I have a bath bomb even better! Is there anything better than a bubbly bath, glass of prosecco and an episode of Endeavour? If I'm wanting to go all out with the relaxation I'll have what I like to call 'a hair wash bath' which is basically a bath where I wash my hair. It's like a full on treatment - head to toe pampering!

Putting a face mask on is like the ultimate pamper time for me. There's two I'm switching between at the minute and I feel like they're a match made in heaven. When my face is feeling a bit sad and dehydrated I use the Oskia Renaissance Mask. This costs a literal arm and a leg (luckily I got it in an advent calendar) so I've been using it sparingly but it does a great job of giving my skin a boost of hydration without making it feel oily or greasy. When my face is more on the spotty side of just feels gunked up I'm all about the epoch Glacial Mud Mask (thanks Amy for hooking me up!) . It draws all the nastiness from my skin without shrivelling it up like a prune. I have to say I'm really impressed with how non-drying it is for this kind of mask and although I've only been using it for a few weeks my skin seems to be enjoying it!

I'm addicted to tea, it's potentially my biggest obsession and I'm totally okay with that. There's nothing better than getting the biggest mug we have, popping in two sweeteners, bashing that teabag and going ham with the milk. Drinking a cup of tea is one of my ultimate happy places and I usually have about six cups a day so you know, treat yo' self.

Last week I was spending my mornings and evenings on a 40 minute train journey and although the teatime train was a bit like hell on earth, my morning trips were a total delight! I decided to take the time to get in some reading and I sped through The F Word by Lily Pebbles. I love Lily's videos and was really looking forward to reading her book but I was really surprised at how much I loved it. If you don't know, it's a book about female friendships with stories, advice and anecdotes. When I was reading it I saw all of my friends in the book, they all slotted into the different situations and I loved that. This little morning reading slot made me look forward to my daily commute and definitely chilled me out before a day at work.

An honourable mention goes to TV. I'm obsessed with it and have mentioned my love for it many times (see here) so I'll keep it brief. Cup of tea in hand, Ru Paul's Drag Race on the box, switch the brain off - is there anything better?

What's your favourite thing to do to relax?

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Friday, 23 March 2018

Products that are seriously under hyped

There's always talk about hyped up products, how great they are or even if they are worth all the ranting and raving in the first place. So today I thought I'd give a special mention to those products that don't have much time in the limelight but are great and need to be shouted about.

Last year I delved into the world of NYX eyeshadows and I was seriously impressed. Their palettes get a lot of air time but I had heard next to nothing about their single shadows and I have no idea why. They're around £4 each, come in a ton of different colours and finishes and can fit nicely into magnetic palettes. I bought four shades last year that I thought would be quite versatile and then a shimmery red to make things a bit more interesting. I think they're so good for the price point and I have no idea why they don't get the kind of credit they deserve.

Back when they were released around 18 months ago there was a bit of hype around the Mac Liptensity Lipsticks but after a few weeks it all quietened off and hasn't really picked back up since. I am a total lover of this formula, creamy and comfortable on the lips but the pigment really packs a punch. I only have one of these (I'm much more of an eye shadow hoarder than a lipstick collector) in Smoked Almond and it's my go to autumn lipstick - a warm nude that verges on brown. There's a wide range of shades so why not give it a go.

Something which is slightly newer in my stash is the NYX blush in Mauve N' Out. Why has no one piped up about these blushes before! If you have and I've totally ignored it I apologise but I am well and truly on board with this product. It is pigmented, which can be an issue if I'm not concentrating and decide to slap a load on my face, but when used correctly it gives a rosy flush to my face which perks it up in all the right ways. It feels very similar to my usual blush colour so I feel like it will go with any kind of makeup look. Small and compact, I'm looking forward to travelling with this!

If you've read a few of my posts recently you might have noticed my sudden love for lip gloss. I'm all about that plumped vibe and I've been cracking out the creamy finishes and the glossy products left, right and centre. The thing that made me come to my gloss loving realisation was the Pixi Lip Lift Max in Honey Sheen. It's so good and I've heard next to no one share my enthusiasm for it. It has a subtle peachy shimmer so works great over the top of other lip products and it gives a great plump and tingling feeling without making it feel like someone is stabbing me in the lips with tiny knives. Such a great 'throw in your bag' product.

What is your favourite 'underhyped' product?

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Wednesday, 21 March 2018

My go-to evening base

As I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago (here) my 'everyday face' has become very minimal and basically a slap it all on and run out the door kind of situation. But on a weekend and on the rare occasions where I leave the house in the evening I've been going all out and putting all of the products on my face. So I thought I'd share what products I've been using when I want a full coverage, 'look at how much makeup I have on my face' situation. Enjoy!

After making the discovery that I actually have a very dehydrated face my choice of primers has seriously changed. I've gone from one that is very silicone-y and makes my face very matte to something tacky and semi-hydrating to plump up my skin before foundation. Back in December in my Look Fantastic Advent Calendar I got a mini This Works In Transit Camera Close-Up and I love it. It's sticky (in a good way) and it gives my skin a boost of moisture - but it's also quite pricy for a primer so if anyone has any cheaper dupes for it please let a girl know!

Foundation wise I've been using the Maybelline Superstar 24 hour Foundation in. I like it because it's full coverage but I'm still on the fence and not 100% sold on it. I might be putting too much on or something but it likes to collect and not fully blend into my skin. Also it doesn't last as long as I would expect a full coverage to do. I think I need to play about with it a bit more with different primers and brushes - I will get this to work!

When I'm going on out on my base there are three concealers that are my go-tos. The first is the Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer in Peach which I use underneath my foundation. It makes my under-eyes look a smidge lighter and brighter and I prefer my face when I use this product. Then on top of my foundation I go in with the Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer (I've mentioned by love for this concealer here), blend it out with my Real Techniques Sponge and finish off my concealer journey with the Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer in Light Neutral. I'm obsessed with this concealer, it's my all time favourite. Full coverage, tick. Crease proof, tick. Cracking colour, tick tick tick. This concealer trio is perfect for me.

Before I go in with the powder I dab a bit of the Pixi Glow Booster on the tops of my cheekbones, my cupids bow and the end of my nose. It gives me a bit of extra glow and I think it emphasises my powder highlight when I go in with that later. When my Laura Mercier Powder ran out a few months ago I thought I'd give the RCMA No Colour Powder a go and so far I'm very impressed. It's pretty much exactly the same, finely milled and does a great job at mattifying my face. Winner!

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Friday, 16 March 2018

Dipping my feet in The Ordinary pool

I've been meaning to try out something from The Ordinary for a fair few months and recently I bit the bullet when I was looking for a new serum to test out. I'm very new to the world of oils and serums so I have no idea what I'm looking for, but I took to Beauty Bay and read all of the reviews for all of the oils and serums on offer to gage what might be the best for my skin. I always thought I had oily skin but other the last six months or so I've realised that although that might be true, my skin is also pretty dehydrated and I need products that hydrate my skin deep down but don't make it greasy. So, back to my purchase. After looking at all of the oils and serums from The Ordinary, I went for the 100% Plant-Derived Squaline. Warning: I have no idea what ingredient it is, what it's supposed to do and if it would be any good for everyone, but here's how it's worked on my skin.

When I first used it I was very surprised at how much of an oil it was. As I said, I have no idea what it is so I didn't know what to expect but I thought it was going to be more of a water than an oil. That being said, when I apply it to my skin (I use about four drops all over my face and down my neck) I can feel my face drinking it up. I usually apply this a couple of hours before my moisturiser to give it enough of a chance to sink in. It seems like a long time but I've noticed a major difference in my skin by doing that. Packaging wise it's in a standard 30ml bottle with a pipet (pipet? Is that right?) and a screw top lid. The only problem I've found with this is that the lid doesn't screw back on properly but seeing as though I have a spare mini bottle which I can use when I travel (not that I travel very often!) so it's not really much of an issue.

All in all this is a cracking oil/serum. For £5.50 it's an absolute steal and if you have dehydrated skin and are looking for something to plump it up I couldn't recommend it enough!

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Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Products I'll always repurchase

As much as I like trying new things there are some products that I need in my stash either because a) I use it all the time and if I was without it things wouldn't be the same (oh the drama) or b) I don't use it that often but when I do I can't use anything else. So today I thought I'd share the products that I can't really live without and will always repurchase when the end is neigh.

It felt like a few years ago the Maybelline Eraser Eye Concealer was everyone's holy grail product and I still stand by that it is one of the only things that sorts out my under eyes. You probably know the deal, a sponge applicator with a seriously light weight formula that doesn't crease and gets rid of under eye circles in a flash. Nine times out of ten I have this in my collection and pretty much as soon as it runs out I repurchase.

Have to thank my brother for the next repurchase, the Fleur de Force Eylure eyelashes in Fleur Loves. It was the only Christmas present I cried at last year (what a sad life I lead - I was just happy someone knew my eyelash preference!) and I'm super duper happy that I now have a spare set ready to crack out when needed. These three quarter length lashes are the easiest eyelashes I've found to apply and they look great when they're on. If you're a lash novice or, like me, find it hard to get ones that fit your eye or are easy to put on then these are great. On the rare occasions I wear fake eyelashes, I don't think I'll be using any others anytime soon!

Another Fleur de Force product I love (she makes some seriously good stuff) is the Eylure Brow Tamer in Medium. I've mentioned this product before and I love it just as much now as I did the day I bought it. The tinted side is the perfect brow shade for me. A tiny little applicator makes it easy to brush up my brows and have give areas a precise amount of colour. The clear side is my go-to when I've just had my brows tinted and it gives a fluffy, natural look to my browage. If I'm being honest, I do find this runs out quite quickly but it's so good I'm willing to look past it. I am quite keen to try the Glossier Boy Brow but for now this is my go-to for my brows.

Now this next products is something I'll always repurchase because I haven't actually used one up yet but I love them so much that I'm tempted to get one for every occasion. It's the Glossier Balm Dot Com. I have one on my desk at work and one with my skincare but I feel like a need one for my handbag and another for my car - I could just move the ones I have from place to place but, let's face it, that would require effort. This is another product which is super hyped so I won't go on about it too much but I love the formula, thick but not sticky, and they smell incredible!

I've not been loyal to one eye cream during my time having a serious skincare routine but this one is something I keep going back to. It's the Body Shop Vitamin E Eye Cream. I like the fact that it's in a squeeze tube so I can just squeeze out as much as I need and the formula is seriously hydrating. Some eye creams I've found have really stung my eyes but I haven't had a problem with this one. We may not be forever friends but for now we're having good time hydrating my face!

What product will you always repurchase?

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Wednesday, 7 March 2018

My purse hates me | Beauty Haul

What a few weeks it's been. I was struck down with a mystery 'illness' that came and went within the space of a week (very bizarre) and then the Beast from the East arrived with its buckets of snow and freezing temperatures. So here's something for you to warm you up - a few bits I picked up on a recent makeup splurge. So, snuggle under a blanket, grab a cuppa and let's get cracking.

There's a NYX store in Leeds and yes, it is as magical as it sounds. I picked up three bits when I was there, the first being a lip oil. I saw this and pretty much grabbed it and shoved it in the little NYX bag my friends kindly retrieved for me to merrily fill. I was thinking it was going to be like the oils you see on instagram that magically plump your lips ready for your lipstick of choice. It doesn't do that but I've been putting it on after I do my base to get rid of the foundation that gets on my lips. An unnecessary step but I've been liking it! If you read my January favourites then you'll have seen that I'm all about lip gloss at the minute so I decide to pick up one of the Butter Lip Glosses in Angel Food Cake. There were loads of shades to choose from but I wanted something nude-y and this one does the job really well. I've not stopped wearing it since I've got it - great shade, non sticky formula and makes my lips shine! Totally into it. The last thing I picked up from NYX was a blush in Mauve n Out. A massive impulse purchase that I don't regret. It's a cross between a pink and a plum and gives a natural blush colour for winter and I think I'm going to get a lot of use out of it day to day.

I've heard a lot of good things about the Maybelline Super Stay Foundation so I decided to pick up one. I've not used it that much since I've got it but my first impressions are very positive. I have the lightest shade and it's a pretty good match for me. The coverage is medium to full, totally my bag, and it's mattifying but not drying. I've needed to do a bit of blotting during the few days I've worn it but I have to do that with most of my foundations anyway.

And last, but definitely not least, is the Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer in Fair Neutral. I've had this a couple of times before and every time I repurchase it I remember how amazing it. Full on full coverage, great shade match for me and lasts me a decent length of time.

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