Thursday, 30 January 2014

Instagram: January 2014

Mulberry dreams • Long overdue trip to Nando's with the uni girls • Anchorman 2 • The Magic Wand - one of my favourite Lush bath products • Passing my driving test, which I'm still on cloud nine about • Wine with old friends • Drunk blurry photos with said friends • Tegan hunting for voles • French gel nails are my new thing • Birthday selfie • French Fancies • Quest for new foods - I really like garlic and basil olives • Wagamama with the family • I could eat a million pulled pork gyoza, wow • Starbucks splurging • Selfies in my car will be a regular thing, I'm sure!

Phew! It's been a busy month for me with lots of fun and exciting things going on! This actually may be the most social I've been in months. 2014 has gotten off to a fantastic start. I hope you've all had a lovely month too!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

MAC Pro Palette Project - Month Seven

Hello everyone! I hope you're having a lovely weekend. The weather today is absolutely dismal, but fear not as I have a post to brighten your Sunday (at least I hope I do). After seven months of MAC treats I've completed my 15 Pro Palette! I feel like it's been a bit of an achievement to fill it in the time I have done, and with a bit of rearranging and colour coding - because I'm quite pernickety - the palette will take pride of place on my dressing table. These final three eyeshadows were bought with some of the money I received for my birthday so technically they're gifted. I figured I was so close to finishing that I just needed to purchase three eyeshadows instead of the monthly two. It seemed logical, right?

Here are the final three eyeshadows that complete the palette:

Blackberry is described as "muted burgundy-plum brown" and is a matte finish. It's not super pigmented but I really like this as a crease shade, or when used lightly, a transition shade in between the crease and brow bone for a taupe/purple eye look. I've also discovered that it goes surprisingly well with Amber Lights! It takes a little bit of work to blend, but the muted colour is worth it.

Sable is described as "gold-plum with bronze pearl" and is a frost finish. A wonderful shade that compliments brown eyes like mine, it's intense and unique. The coppery undertone means that it matches so well with Mythology (with Sable in the crease and under the eye). Ever since I received this shade there hasn't been a day when I haven't used it. The texture is so buttery and it provides just enough shimmer without being overbearing so it works well in a daytime look.

Mythology is simply described as "copper" and is a lustre finish. I'm so glad I took the plunge and opted for this shade as it's absolutely beautiful! The colour is pretty much a shimmery copper with rosy undertones (as you know I'm loving rose-gold hues at the moment, thanks UD Naked 3), and holds up very well on its own. I would like to think that this shade would look lovely on anyone, especially if you have olive skin or a nice tan! For a more intense colour, and to pick up those flecks of glitter, I recommend applying this shade with a damp brush to really pack on the colour.

And that's it! I hope you enjoyed this little project series. I've certainly had a lot of fun researching and purchasing products! I received another 15 pro palette and insert for Christmas so I'll be getting to work on that one soon. Is that something you guys would like to see? I would love to know!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Birthday Wishlist 2014

Happy Sunday everyone! I'm turning 22 on the 22nd (hooray numbers!) so I thought it would only be fitting to show you all what I would like to receive! Now, obviously some of these ideas are waaay out of my student price range - hell, they're probably waaay out of my friends/parents' price range too - but a girl can dream, right?

I've wanted a new pair of glasses forever so I thought I would treat myself to some Ray Bans. I'm used to wearing contact lenses most days but I want to give my eyes a bit of a rest and invest in some beautiful frames that will last me a long time. The frames I've chosen are the RB 5285 2034 in black/transparent, but I was torn between these and the dark havana version. In the end the black ones won out; the safer option, you might say! This is a bit of cheat on a wishlist, because I've actually already ordered them and my parents are giving me some money towards them as my present. Well, that and the fact that I just got my car too - a gift that "is worth about 20 birthdays" according to my mum, which I totally agree with!

Continuing my Chanel obsession, I would absolutely love a full size version of Chanel Chance eau de toilette spray. I can't tell you the amount of times I've loitered around the Chanel counter, spraying on sample cards (and my wrists) to get a whiff of this gorgeous fragrance. The scent is light yet fruity and the freshness stays with you long after the spritz. Also on my list is another beauty product: Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow. I've heard a lot about this product, and how it's fantastic as a contour for paler skin tones so I would love to get this, along with another pot of Hydra Veil - my holy grail base!

I've also popped this Mint Green Floral iPhone 5 Case on the list. It's from a lovely shop on Etsy called FieldTrip, which is so cute and thrifty I can't even handle it! I have tons of bits and bobs from the shop favourited in the hopes that one day I can buy them all. When I get my own place you can bet that I will!

Next, I have a Topshop number. Isn't it funny; I used to HATE denim jackets with a passion. I thought that they should've been left in the 1990s with B*Witched (remember all that double denim? C'est La Vie indeed!) Now, however, I've fallen in love with this beautiful MOTO Vintage Borg Denim Jacket. Light wash denim is now my calling! The final item on my wishlist is, of course, a designer handbag. Can't help myself, can I? This time it's the Michael Kors Jet Set Medium Travel Tote. Such a simple bag that would go with absolutely anything, I just know I'd use this every day for the rest of my life if it was mine!

I hope you enjoyed!

Friday, 17 January 2014

Chanel Rouge Coco Lipstick in 05 Mademoiselle

For a long time now I've had a list as long as my arm of Chanel products that I want to try out. There's just something about the luxurious packaging and brand that reels me in every time I step into Boots or my local House of Fraser. I can't resist a whiff of Chanel Chance, or a glance at their beautiful Le Verni nail polishes. The brand just oozes sophistication. As you may or may not know, I already have quite a love affair with the coveted Illusion d'Ombre cream eyeshadows and was lucky enough to receive my fourth for Christmas. So to carry on my makeup journey with Chanel I decided I would opt for some lovely lipsticks: enter Rouge Coco!

First of all, we have to talk about the packaging. A sleek plastic black casing with the unmistakable CC emblem on the lid encloses sophisticated gold metal and a gorgeous engraved bullet of colour. That sounds like a lot of waffle for someone who may just say "oh, it's just a lipstick", but the packaging is so beautiful that I think it's worth noting and it also justifies the price just that fraction more. I think it would look good displayed on any girl's dressing table!

05 Mademoiselle is a rosy medium-pink with a brown edge. It's pink without being frosty and is quite rich. In natural light the pink really shines through, and obviously there's a darker tinge when the sun fades away. I'm very much a natural-coloured lip kind of girl, and rarely do I wear lippies that look brown but I really like this shade. I feel quite posh when I pop it on; it's a great shade for a natural evening look! The formula is very smooth, pigmented, and surprisingly lightweight. I managed to get away with over four hours of wear before I noticed any fading and felt the need to reapply - and that was with eating and drinking (hello lipstick marks on coffee cups).

Overall, I'm so glad this product lived up to my high expectations, and having such positive reactions from people whilst wearing it makes it even more worthwhile! At first I was a bit iffy on spending this much on a single lipstick, but now I can't wait until payday to get my hands on another one. This may become an expensive addition sooner or later!

Chanel Rouge Coco Hydrating Lipsticks retail at £24 and are available from Boots and House of Fraser, to name a few.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Finally It's Happened To Me!

Hello all! Sorry I've been a bit absent from blogging the past week or so, but I've been super busy! And this is one of the reasons why! 

So, if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you'll know that yesterday I finally passed my driving test! I cannot tell you how relieved I was when the examiner said "I'm pleased to tell you that you've passed" instead of "I'm sorry, you've failed". 

I began learning to drive in October 2012 and subsequently failed three driving tests over silly things that I never do in lessons. I could drive with my lovely instructor fine but when a bloke with high-vis and a clipboard was sat next to me I was a nervous wreck. Luckily, the examiner I had for this test was the same guy I had for my second test - good because he could see how much I had improved over the past two months. I ended up passing with 7 minors - I think the highest amount of minors you're allowed to pass is 15 so I was well in. My instructor said anything in single figures is fantastic so I was pretty chuffed with that.

The car I'll be driving about in is a red Citroen C2, which I'm sharing with my mum at the moment until she can afford a new one. I insured it this morning and I'm now the main policy holder so technically it's my car! I HAVE A CAR! I spent the morning cleaning it out and had my first drive alone around my village and back home again, which was so weird but amazing too. I also did a bit of parking (in an empty car park) and a 3-point-turn in a dead end road. I'm so proud of myself right now, I can't tell you enough!

If anyone is debating learning to drive I would absolutely recommend it. Sure, it can be really frustrating at times and it takes a lot of confidence, but oh my god the rewards are amazing. I've got the freedom to go anywhere I want to, without relying on anyone else to get me places! It still doesn't feel real right now but I'm so excited for the future! It was such a lovely early birthday present (my birthday is next Wednesday) and I can officially say I passed while I was still 21!

And it looks like 13 is my new lucky number, who'd have thought it!

Monday, 6 January 2014

Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette

Okay, so us beauty bloggers have blabbed on and on about the long-awaited Naked 3 palette but just look at it! It's the most gorgeous palette I've ever laid eyes on! When I saw the press release of this palette, I was excited to see that it contained 12 brand new rosy-hued shades. From pale, shimmery pink to deep black matte with rosy-red micro-glitter - this beauty has it all! The art-school-style case follows the rose-gold theme, indented with a wavy effect in the metal and, of course, contains a large mirror on the inside for all your vanity needs. It also includes a dual-ended eye brush, and a week's worth of samples of their coveted primer potion.

Overall I think it's such a lovely palette filled with the highly pigmented, soft and blendable eyeshadows that we've come to expect from Urban Decay.

Onto the swatches...

STRANGE - Described as "pale neutral pink matte-satin", this is the lightest shade of the bunch. It's quite powdery and was probably the most difficult to photograph on my pale arm. Once applied to the eyes, however, it was soft and blendable. I think it would work really well as a solid base for any look or a subtle brow bone highlight.

DUST - Described as "pale metallic pink shimmer with iridescent micro-glitter", I personally think that this shade looks much better in the pan. It's a lovely colour, but the big chunks of glitter let it down in the blending and fall-out stakes. I expected this and it may be the one time that I hate to be proven right. Still, if you can get it to stay on your eyelid I'm sure this would be a great eyeshadow for a night out - just apply it with a dampened brush otherwise you're in for a mess!

BURNOUT - Described as "light pinky-peach satin", it's a medium peach with a pearly finish. I really like this shade as it provides great pigmentation whilst still giving a bit of shimmer. Just a lovely neutral which, despite its shimmer, applies buttery-soft on the lid and blends rather well.

LIMIT - Described as "light dusty rose matte", this is one of only two solely matte shades in the palette. I don't mind being limited to two, as I have my Naked Basics palette for all of my matte shade needs, but it's also good that UD have provided us with a couple. I like Limit as a transition shade when blending; it works very well and isn't super powdery.

BUZZ - Described as "metallic rose shimmer with silver micro-glitter", this shade is a warmer-toned copper rose to any of the previous shades and has a noticeable frosted shimmer. The colour pay off is good and, again, the texture is nice considering the shimmer. I think it would work well in the crease or under the eye for more definition.

TRICK - Described as (get ready for it) "light metallic pinky-copper shimmer with tonal micro-sparkle", the mouthful adds up to a darker copper than first expected. This shade has hints of rose and is overrun by warm tones of golden sparkle for another frost finish. I like it, but I'm not immediately drawn to it like others in the palette.

NOONER - Described as "medium pinky-brown matte", this is a shade I can get on board with. It reminds me a lot of MAC Quarry except it was a bit more powdery. Having said that, it does blend very well and is wonderfully pigmented.

LIAR - Described as "medium metallic mauve shimmer", I'm really liking the copper tones the darker they go. Liar is shimmery but not overtly so, with great pigmentation and texture. The swatch only took one swipe of my finger to look as it is in the photograph above. I would say the colour is more medium brown than mauve.

FACTORY - Described as "pinky-brown satin", this shade has lovely reddish undertones and a pearlescent finish. Depending on how you want to use this one, it can work well with a sheer bronze sweep across the lid or patted on for a very pigmented finish.

MUGSHOT - Described as "metallic taupe shimmer with slight pink shift", Mugshot is a lovely and warm-toned defining colour. The pink-toned shimmer is not as noticeable as other shimmers in the palette but that gives you leeway to work with other metallic shadows.

DARKSIDE - Described as "deep taupe-mauve satin", I really like the grey-plum shade of this eyeshadow.  If I had to compare it with another eyeshadow I would definitely pick MAC Satin Taupe as I think they are very similar, both in texture and colour pay-off. I've read that a couple of other bloggers found this to be one of the sheerest shades but I would have to disagree. In fact, the swatch you see probably took two sweeps at the most. Again, I really like the subtle shimmer, and I don't think it's as strong as it looks in the pan. Beautiful colour nonetheless!

BLACKHEART - Described as "smoky black matte with rosy-red micro-sparkle", the final eyeshadow in the palette is absolutely the most dramatic. I love that it's a bit different, thanks to the addition of the very visible red chunks of sparkle. The black itself is more of a charcoal that applies and blends rather well overall. I love using this as the main event in an evening look - an update to the familiar black smoky eye!

And that's it - all 12 eyeshadows reviewed for your pleasure! My personal favourites have to be Nooner, Liar, Mugshot, Darkside and Blackheart, but all the shades have impressed me in one way or another. I'd love to know which shades are your favourites!

The Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette retails at £37 and is back in stock at Debenhams and Look Fantastic from the end of January.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Staying Organised

I've never really been big on being organised, generally because I never feel like I'm that busy. I do love my stationery though! This year I feel that it's quite different. I have tons of things lined up for 2014 so naturally I figured a good Christmas present to ask for would be a diary/planner. I received a lovely black soft cover Moleskine organiser - something I have lusted after for the most part of six months - but obviously, being a diary, you have to start from January to December so buying one in June would've been a bit pointless!

I have to say that I absolutely love my Moleskine. It has so much in it which makes organisation really easy. On the left page is space for your daily outgoings and appointments, on the right page is a handy full ruled page for notes. In the back of the diary are sets of adhesive labels, so instead of writing "dentist appointment" you can just pop the tooth sticker on the desired day - an idea which I really like!

I also couldn't resist buying some notebooks from the ASOS sale. I saw these goodies from Sloane Stationery and knew that I had to have them! The "Big Ideas" book was a bit of wishful thinking - I wanted a nice big pad to write down dissertation research. There's something about putting pen to paper which I find therapeutic. I prefer it sometimes as a break from the fast-paced typing on a MacBook keyboard. Plus, the style is lovely: lizard-embossed cover with beautiful silver-lined pages! I just bought the "White Lies" pocket book purely for aesthetic purposes - shallow, I know. Again, it has an embossed cover but with gold-lined pages. I plan to use this as a book to write down ideas on the go; whether that be blogging ideas, reminders, or ideas for writing projects!

I guess what I'm saying is that I just really want to feel like I'm on top of my life this year, as odd as that sounds. I'm finding it so much more comforting to know I have a place to write down my thoughts, and prevent myself from forgetting my future plans - which I have done in my diary-free past! Sure, the idea of spontaneity calls to me at times, but I'd much rather have my affairs in order for the time being. 

2014 is going to be a super-busy year!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

2013 Beauty Favourites

Happy New Year everyone! I was a little worse for wear on New Years Day - too much midnight Prosecco - so blogging was certainly put on the back burner. I wanted to do a post solely on wishing everyone a happy new year, but it's probably been done to death and you guys already know that I have nothing but good intentions for you all, right? Instead, I figured today would be the perfect time to show you all a few of my favourite products that I've been using for the most part of 2013, and will surely be carrying on with throughout this new year!

I've only thrown in one skincare product here, but of course I use countless products and there are far too many to even mention in one post. One product that has stood out for me however is the Rosaliac AR Intense Serum* by La Roche-Posay. I recently mentioned this in my Tackling Rosacea post at the start of December so I'll refrain from going into detail, but it has done absolute wonders for my skin - along with their ever-famous Effaclar Duo! I highly rate La Roche-Posay for all your skin problem needs. The products are affordable and actually work really well, speaking from experience!

I guess it would be logical to then move onto my face base, which is courtesy of NARS Sheer Glow. Yes, I have raved about it before and it's still the only foundation that I keep coming back to, and don't bat an eyelid at the higher-end price. For a product that makes my skin look flawless, I'm totally willing to part with the pounds! It has such a great coverage and a wide range of shades to cater to most skin types. I use Mont Blanc, which is the second-palest, I believe. I was lucky enough to receive MAC Face and Body for Christmas so I've been mixing the two foundations to create a bit more coverage, seeing as F+B is designed as a more sheer base. I'm looking forward to using it during the summer months when I'm a bit tanned. For now, though, I really can't go wrong with Sheer Glow! Concealer-wise, I've been loving NARS Duo Concealer in the shade Vanilla/Honey. Again it's the lightest shade and, as you can see from the photograph, I use Vanilla quite often! Honey I don't need as much of because it's a corrector, but it's still very useful in disguising dark spots and imperfections. I also really like Bobbi Brown's Creamy Concealer, which I ran out of ages ago but plan to repurchase too at some point!

Next up is eyes. I honestly don't know how I coped without my MAC Pro Palette Quad! I chose shades which I knew would be extremely versatile and that I could easily use on the go. I have something for my brows, eyelid base and crease all in one handy quad. The shades included are Omega, Vanilla, Era and Brun. I'm planning on having a pink/purple toned quad for this year, as I have been loving wintery shades as much as neutrals. And, of course, I couldn't write a favourites post without my most-used mascara - Babydoll by YSL. I'm on the verge of repurchasing this beauty because I'm scraping the barrel slightly! The formula still manages to make my eyelashes look longer and fuller despite how little is left. Yes, Babydoll is here to stay!

Finally it's onto the lips, and my two most-used MAC Lipsticks! First, we have Patisserie - a gorgeous natural pink hue with gold flecks for added shine. I think it's the most wearable of all the lipsticks I own, and I find myself popping it on to make my lips look better! I wrote a full review back in May which you can read here. Then we have Plumful - the pink-toned plum shade I have been raving about for the past few months. It's the lipstick featured in my Perfect Winter Lip post, which you can read here.

What were your beauty favourites in 2013?
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