Thursday, 31 October 2013

Instagram: October 2013

Getting extra cream and marshmallows at Costa | My bi-weekly ritual | Michael Kors watch | A bit of inspiration on the working weekend | My city's cathedral spire | Honey the bunny rabbit | A great Pottery Barn experience - fluffy winter throw for the chilly nights | Halloween at work | Gorgeous new makeup bag from Not on the High Street

Monday, 28 October 2013

Little Lush Haul

I don't think it's any secret that I'm a big Lush fan, but I seem to have neglected the shop until recently which is kind of awful. Now that it's becoming increasingly chillier outside and the longer nights are drawing in, I enjoy nothing more than retreating upstairs to soak in a lovely scented bubble bath and bask in glory knowing that Christmas is on its way. And yes, we can all say that C-word now (no, not that one, naughty) as it's unbelievably less than 9 weeks away! Anyway I decided to treat myself to a few Lush goodies last week after needing a bit of a cheer up. And what do us girls do when we're sad? We spend money, of course! Here are my current picks...

First up is Lush's coveted Winter favourite, Snow Fairy. This shower gel is amazing! I'd even go as far as to describe it as heaven in a bottle - oh yes, I'm that in love with it! The scent of it transports me right back to my childhood; a yummy mix of candy floss and pear drops that leaves you feeling utterly delicious yourself after a good lathering in the shower. But alas, Snow Fairy is never around for long! A Lush Christmas exclusive, I have no doubt I'll be stocking up on this over the next few months, maybe even resorting to the largest 500g bottle! Last year I went through a couple of these bad boys and felt a longing for it to be sold all year round, but I think having it as a limited product makes it much more special. I use it as a benchmark to really get into the Christmas spirit! Candy bubble bath, anyone?

I haven't bought a Lush face mask in ages. After getting an allergic reaction to a certain one in my teenage years (I can't remember the name it was that long ago!) I was put off from touching another one. That is until now... Is it totally shallow of me to say I picked up Love Lettuce because of the seaweed green colour? I suppose that shows what kind of person I am! Whenever I see a TV show or film where the girls are pampering each other at a sleepover with face masks they always seem to be green! Colour aside, this face mask has really impressed me. The scent is nothing to write home about but its effects on my skin have left me reaching for more. Its main ingredients are almond shells to polish and exfoliate, almond oil to soften, 100% pure French lavender oil to soothe, Kaolin to absorb grease, and the tightening action of Fullers Earth. It has a wonderful ability to clear away any dead skin and brighten the face while using soft and gentle ingredients. As with any freshly made face mask it's best to store the pot in the fridge before and after use to get the optimum quality out of the product. I have no doubt my fridge will soon be full of face masks after being proved wrong with this one!

Next up is the Sugar Plum Fairy Sugar Scrub. Can you see I'm loving the fairy theme at the moment? Delicately sweet-scented, this scrub is designed to help banish cellulite and leave skin smooth and fragrant. One of its main ingredients is plum kernel oil which not only adds to the scent, but has several skin benefits including to nourish, moisturise and improve skin's elasticity. It's such a cute little design too! I love the pink fairy embossed on top of the scrub and I think the colours are what you would expect from a sugar plum fairy.

The Ickle Baby Bot Bath Bomb may well be a mouthful to say, and it may also be designed to send your tot to the land of nod, but what girl can resist this amount of cuteness? For £1.95, you get a smaller bomb than usual but the design alone is worth it. The scent is very subtle - I'm guessing that's due to it being baby-friendly - but I honestly didn't mind that at all. It fizzes and disappears quite quickly, and turns the bath water only a slight blue tinge. However, I will say that it left me feeling calm, relaxed, and ready for a good night's sleep; probably all thanks to that lavender oil. A cute novelty for kids at bath time!

Finally, I couldn't go to Lush without buying a full-sized bath bomb. The So White Ballistic is one of my new favourites for Christmas. At first glance it seems so simple - a white powdery bath bomb that smells of crisp apples - but once that outside layer dissolves it reveals a secret pink centre which transforms the bath water into a soft rosy stew. There's not much more to say about this one. I just adore it and will definitely be repurchasing!

And that brings my little Lush haul to a close. What are your current favourite Lush products? 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Illamasqua Hydra Veil

Hi everyone, hope you're all having a good weekend! This Sunday's post is all about killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. I'm just going to put it out there: I've never been a fan of primers. I thought that my skin didn't really need that extra base because my makeup usually stays on okay with moisturiser alone. But boy, was I wrong...

Illamasqua's coveted Hydra Veil has been making waves in the beauty industry, and where I felt like I didn't need it I still really wanted it! I would say that it's a cross between a primer and a moisturiser (hence the killing two birds analogy) and is presented to us as a rehydrating gel formula. Very unique and quite stylish I'd say, this formula provides the optimal base for your makeup, helping to create a radiant finish to your skin. It also comes with a handy little spoon-spatula that hooks onto the interior for more hygienic removal of the product. One heaped scoop of this bad boy, quick work of the fingertips, and the gel is quickly absorbed into the skin ready for your makeup. You really don't need tons at all to cover your face - or you can just focus on areas which need a bit more hydration help.

I've trialled Hydra Veil with several foundations (NARS Sheer Glow, Illamasqua Skin Base, Esteé Lauder Double Wear etc.) and found that a gel primer is the way to go in order to keep my makeup from shifting. They all applied much smoother than they would over skin alone which was also impressive. I wear Sheer Glow the most out of all my foundations and by the end of a day's wear it can become quite patchy on drier areas of my face, but the use of Hydra Veil has prolonged my makeup's lifespan by at least another few hours! I've heard that this has presented mixed results for others, so it's definitely a product of subjectivity. However, it has left me feeling like I've got a new holy grail of a product; and I don't think I'll ever doubt the use of primers again!

Illamasqua Hydra Veil retails at £27 and is available from Illamasqua's website.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

MAC Pro Palette Project - Month Four

Hello one and all! I hope you're having a good week and staying dry in this flurry of awful showers. Today I have for you the fourth instalment of my MAC Pro Palette Project. I think it's all coming along quite nicely; we're over the halfway point now which is so exciting for me! I'm actually already thinking about buying another one because there are still so many shadows on my wish list. My wages are luckily serving me well as we all know that these MAC eyeshadow refills do not come cheap!

*I must apologise for the swatch photograph first and foremost. The sun was a bit temperamental and decided to go behind some clouds so it's a little bit darker than the other photographs - even with some lighting enhancement magic it's still not quite right! Also I swear my hand isn't grubby, just poor circulation and therefore freezing cold!*

It's very likely that when asked what the ultimate neutral MAC eyeshadow is then All That Glitters will probably top the list for most ladies. I think it makes a great starter shade for someone who is new to MAC and doesn't want anything too "out there". ATG is described by MAC as "beige with gold pearl" and is quite similar to a few other eyeshadows I own (namely Era and Woodwinked) when swatched. The finish is veluxe pearl and of course this means that there is fabulous pigmentation. I absolutely love this shade. It's not too shimmery and it's so easy to just sweep on as a wash of colour on the lid when there's no time faffing about with blending! I also think it flatters my brown eyes immensely and leaves the skin around my eyes looking much more even. 

Quarry is the first matte shade in my MAC 15 palette. I think what really made me gravitate towards this one was the description of it being "soft muted plum brown", which is just Autumn all over! When it arrived I immediately swatched it, and was glad to see that it was matte but not dull (difficult to achieve with most mattes). I'd say that this is Satin Taupe's matte counterpart, and I really like to use them together - especially to create a more defined crease. Some people have said that they've experienced blending problems with Quarry, but with a bit of perseverance and my trusty 217 brush, I've not had any problems with blending at all. I've also heard people say that they use this to contour their cheekbones - hmm, I don't think I'm brave enough to try, nor do I feel too sure about that one!

So, October's edition of the Project is coming to a close. I'm excited to get started with November's! You can bet that there will be some much more Autumnal/Winter shades being featured in the foreseeable future! But for now, what do you think of my new additions?

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Origins Clean Energy™

Hi everyone, hope you're having a lovely weekend! It's such dull, horrible October weather here - and I think the rain's here to stay unfortunately. Anyway, I'm well aware that this month's posts have been (and will still probably be) very MAC and Origins heavy. I own so many of their products which I really love though; and I'm sure you all love to read positive reviews, especially when you're umming and ahhing about separating with your money. Hopefully I can help you in making your minds up!

So here it goes, Origins Clean Energy™Gentle Cleansing Oil. Now, first things first, I'm so used to cream-style cleansers that I was kind of caught off-guard with this oil cleanser. Not that I didn't know what I was signing up for - it's pretty obvious really - I just think there was a little bit of apprehension about rubbing oil into my face. Although, I have to say that I'm glad that I persevered! 

While this cleanser starts off oily it soon transforms into a silky milky lotion with the help of warm water, which I love. It does an excellent job of getting all my makeup off gently, as the name would suggest. It's lightweight and protects natural moisture resources and helps reduce irritation. With scents of freshness with a hint of citrus, a few pumps of this into my hand works a treat on my face, before wiping off with a damp muslin cloth. It has left my skin feeling plump, smooth and free of impurities - at least until the morning comes around! This product is suitable for all skin types so I guess that includes you guys with oily skin; I suppose you would try and use it sparingly but I couldn't comment as I'm on the dry end of the scale. Plus, the lovely looking bottle will look a treat when you open your bathroom cabinet; and 200ml? That's going to last me for ages!

The only gripe I have with it is that the bottle doesn't come with a pump - I had to buy that separately from the House of Fraser website which was a bit of a pain because they arrived at different times. The pump itself didn't even cost that much so it would've been nice to have it included with the cleansing oil.

Origins Clean Energy™Gentle Cleansing Oil retails at £21 and is available from the Origins website, House of Fraser, and Boots.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Chanel Illusion D'Ombre in Emerveillé

I'm not going to bore you with all the insignificant details here, but I did want to mention that I've seen a lot of cream eyeshadows on both the drugstore and higher end markets. Tried and tested, this little beauty has come up trumps and certainly raised the stakes in the beauty category!

Chanel Illusion D'Ombre is a long wear luminous cream eyeshadow that is probably one of the most luxurious beauty products that I now have the privilege of owning. Its gorgeous packing is such a treat for the eyes, with a thick hard-wearing glass case and trademark Chanel screw lid. It also comes with a very handy application brush which is specifically designed for multiple possibilities. Held against the eyelid surface at an angle, it smooths shades over the lid like a traditional eyeshadow; or, held at a right angle to the lash line, it allows darker shades to double up as a precise eyeliner.

Emerveillé is a lovely, natural peachy pink shade enlivened with platinum reflectors. The iridescent flecks really add to the luminosity of the eyeshadow and make it feel that much more special! It just feels like an expensive product, you know? The texture is unlike any eyeshadow I've worked with before - a mixture of powder and cream, which I think definitely creates the best look. I love that it applies like a dream and has the advantage of not being a complete powder, so there is absolutely no fall down (as a powder shadow most likely would) or creasing when worn. The staying power is also one of the best I've experienced.

In the photograph I'm wearing Emerveillé as a primer base and then another coat over the top of lid for more staying power. The truest shade of the product is on the first half of my lid. I've blended it with a little bit of MAC Cranberry eyeshadow in the crease and on the lower lash line. A nice sweep of black cream eyeliner (this one's Laura Mercier), and my ever-trusty YSL Babydoll mascara and we're good to go!

I've only just recently got into pink shades on my eyes - as you know I'm a bit of a safe-player and tend to stick with neutrals. I think this is a nice change to my usual looks. I have my eye on a couple of others in the Illusion D'Ombre collection - namely Epatant (khaki-green), Illusoire (mauve), and Mirifique (grey-black) - and with the great results I've had with Emerveillé I have no doubt that I'll eventually collect them all!

Chanel Illusion D'Ombre Eyeshadows retail at £24, and are available from Chanel, Selfridges, House of Fraser, and Boots.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish - Soft and Gentle

Hi guys! Being well aware that summer is truly over and the colder months and darker days are drawing in, I'm still obsessed with getting a much sought-after summer glow. Today I have for you a holy grail product that I have been lusting after for ages. A few weeks ago I managed to tick it off my wish list as I finally bit the bullet and bought a Mineralize Skinfinish powder from MAC. Now, I didn't want to get something too "out there" for my first one so opted for the lovely Soft and Gentle, which I know has had high praise from bloggers and professionals alike.

Admittedly, I've always loved the look of the Mineralize Skinfinish powders; they remind me so much of planets or moons in the solar system, with that beautiful mottled effect going on! Soft and Gentle is described by MAC as a "gilded peach bronze" but I would say that it has more of a gold tone running through it, and interestingly applies as a lovely champagne-coloured highlighter. The finely milled powder creates a flawless yet frosty finish on the skin. A little goes a long way with this one - I like to apply it to the tops of my cheeks, and also the inner corner of my eye and browbone if I'm wearing a pink-toned eyeshadow or paint pot. The only thing I would say is that it does make a bit of a mess so make sure to tap your brush well before applying, otherwise I can guarantee there will be quite a few flecks of glitter on your face! Used in moderation, it can add a fabulous glow to even the most lacklustre skin.

So is it worth that £22 price tag? Personally, I do think so! You get a whopping 10g of product and only need the smallest swirl on your cheeks for an easy get-up-and-go look. It's definitely worth saving up for, as I'm sure you won't want to use any other highlighter again once you've tried this!

MAC Mineralise Skinfinish Powders retail at £22 and are available from MAC, House of Fraser, and Selfridges

Sunday, 6 October 2013

It's About Time!

After two years of being bound to a contract that I'm sure was way overpriced for what I had (BlackBerry Bold - rubbish, don't ever bother with it), I've stepped over to the dark side and got myself an iPhone! It's only been a few days but I have to say that I'm already addicted. I can't tell you how much Plants vs Zombies 2 I've been playing (can't stop won't stop)! Anyway, besides the obvious app bombardment I really love this phone. I've never had an iPhone before so this was a pretty big deal for me.

As you can see, I bought the 16GB White iPhone 5 from my local O2 Store. They had a brilliant offer that was an in-store exclusive so I would always recommend having a shop around before deciding and parting with your precious pennies. Originally I was going to get the £42 a month two-year contract, but the offer in-store was £20 up front and then £32 per month for two years. That's a difference of £10 per month, which doesn't seem like a huge amount but I promise you that it's much healthier on the bank balance - especially when there are other things you want to buy! I get 600 minutes - great for me as I'd much rather text; unlimited texts; and 750mb data per month - more than plenty for me. I didn't get the latest iPhone 5S or 5C because I didn't think it was worth 60-odd quid a month most tariffs were offering, and as I don't know much about phones I don't need all the techy stuff that goes with the newer ones. I'm more than happy with the 5!

Oh and, of course, with an iPhone comes the ease of Instagram, which I now have an account for. It would be lovely if you could follow me on there too as I'm pretty much using it every day! I'll also be doing a monthly Instagram update on here so you guys can see what I've been up to recently. I hope that it will give you all a better idea of my life and know that I don't just obsess over beauty products from time to time!

If you have Instagram, let me know!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Origins GinZing™ Moisturiser

Hey lovelies! Today I have for you a skincare product that I have been itching to get my hands on for the longest time. I'd had Origins GinZing™ Energy-Boosting Moisturiser on one of my summer wish list posts (what felt like ages ago on these chillier duller days) and have only recently gotten round to buying it, being a firm believer in using up what you already have. And while Embryolisse's Lait-Créme Concentré had lasted me an age and served me very well I couldn't help but think there was something missing from my routine. Suffice to say that I have really been struggling to find a decent AM/PM moisturiser that wasn't oily and didn't take an age to sink into my dry skin.

I'm sure there are now a million and one reviews on Origins GinZing™ but I was so excited to try it out that I couldn't resist telling you my opinion. First of all the packaging is simple yet eye-catching - nearly all the Origins products I own are in tubes of white or green so this bright orange pot is a refreshing change. When I saw other blogger's photographs of it I was surprised at how small it looked, however there is tons of product packed into the 50ml pot so worry no more! I really feel the need to comment on the scent of the product next. Oh my goodness, it's absolutely gorgeous - and so different from any other moisturisers that I own. It smells refreshing with lovely hints of citrus (I get a hit of chocolate orange when I take a whiff!) and I have no problems at all in getting stuck in. One sniff and it'll certainly wake you up in the morning - yum! The lightweight formula is also quite unique. It's not a cream yet not a gel either; I think it's the perfect balance of both, which is great because it sinks into the skin really well. GinZing™ certainly does what it's supposed. Perfect for all skin types, it leaves the skin feeling smooth, hydrated and radiant for the day ahead. I could honestly have no trouble raving about it until the cows come home!

On a side note I think you should know that I've been switching up my skincare routine only recently. Just because I could feel my skin really getting used to the products (if you know what I mean?) and noticed that my skin appeared a little lacklustre - not what a girl wants. Instead of my trusty Liz Earle - which I LOVE but feel we need to take a break, amicably I'm sure - I now cleanse with Origins Clean Energy and tone with Clarins Toning Lotion (posts coming very soon for both!), and I finish off with GinZing™. I can't tell you how revitalised my skin feels from the change!

Sometimes change is a good thing, right?

Origins GinZing™Moisturiser is available from the Origins website and Boots for £23.
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