Wednesday, 30 January 2013

january favourites

Now that we're well and truly into 2013 (and I'm still dating everything as March 2011) I think it's time to share my favourite beauty bits and bobs from the past month, there really aren't that many as I seem to be stuck in a rut and am using the same things every day instead of switching it up and using some unloved products in my stash - a habit I need to change!
MAC Brick-O-La Lipstick - I'm not going to talk too much about this lipstick since I have a full review with swatches here, but I just had to include it in my favourites since it's the only lipstick that I've reached for all month.

Bepanthen - Yes, this is nappy care ointment. But bare with me, I read on a few people's blogs that this is a great lip moisturiser so what with my lips being in dire condition I was eager to see if it would work wonders on me too. Luckily, I spotted that the Bepanthen website were giving away free 3.5g samples (they still are, click on the 'claim your free sample' button on this page) so I managed to get my hands on one that is conveniently about the same size as a lip balm tube.
Although the ointment leaves a white cast on my lips, it really works! I'd say it was on par with Carmex, except that Bepanthen is more long-lasting and my lips still feel soft when I wake up if I apply it before I go to sleep.
e.l.f High Definition Powder in Translucent - After countless months of using a Maybelline powder foundation (I still haven't used it up, I think it's endless) I got really fed up of it and wanted to try something different, so I turned to another powder that I had lurking at the back of one of my drawers. 
The powder diffuses my pores and makes my skin look smoother and softer, plus e.l.f is great value and I'm guessing there's enough product in the pot to last a lifetime! The one gripe I have with this is the packaging, the screw top really wasn't a good idea as although there is a sifter, the powder is so finely milled that every time I open it I'm greeted with a cloud of powder.

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair - This was the one thing that I asked for last christmas, having tried out a few samples before I knew that my skin would rejoice at having the full size. And rejoice it did, over the past month my skin tone has evened out a lot and any redness has been reduced so much. I admit that it may be a little bit overpriced so I'm going to have to make this 50ml bottle last me at least  another year for me to justify a repurchase.

My soundtrack for this month has been Kasabian Velociraptor!, courtesy of a friend who gifted me it for christmas (thank you!) as well as The Kills Midnight Boom which is almost as good, but not quite. It's still oh-my-god-my-ears-are-in-heaven amazing though.

Monday, 28 January 2013

notd | nude + pink

I found an Essence nail polish in my stash that I acquired on holiday but never got round to wearing, which seemed perfect to continue with my love of nude nails. I also wanted to incorporate a nail polish that I bought from this blog sale (I also bought another one that I will be featuring some time soon) so I thought up some kind of simple nail art - this is the outcome.
The nude shade is Essence's Hazelnut Cream Pie and for such a light shade it's pretty opaque - it was almost perfect in two coats, though it takes an age to dry. I used Leighton Denny Babydoll for the pink stripes and tidied up the edges with a nail art brush from eBay (found here, the whole set is only £1.39!). I somehow need to get my hands on some more Essence polishes, I don't know why the brand isn't sold in the UK!
Essence 06 Hazelnut Cream Pie, Leighton Denny Babydoll

Friday, 25 January 2013

exfoliators aren't half bad

Skincare has been slowly making it's way up my list of priorities and it's got to the point where I *almost* like it more than makeup, I'd much rather treat myself to a new eye cream than mascara. Of course, the problem is that I can't switch up my skincare regime too often or my skin will decide that nope, it's not having any of that and break out. 
So my plan of action is to keep everything bar one type of product the same for a few months and test out as many of my chosen type as I can get my hands on, then incorporate the best of the lot into my regime - and this month it's exfoliators!
The St Ives Apricot Scrub is pretty basic, it's good if you're starting out with exfoliators and want something cheap and cheerful that gets rid of dead skin cells, but on the other hand it is quite harsh so I'd avoid it if you have sensitive skin. It efficiently gets rid of any dry skin but I don't feel as if it cleans out my pores or helps with any breakouts.

Neutrogena's Visibly Clear Pink Grapefruit Scrub is less harsh and also comes with a cheap price tag however it's my least favourite out of the bunch. The grapefruit scent might appeal to some, but for me it just makes me aware that I'm putting chemicals on my face. It lathers up slightly but feels more like a cleanser than an exfoliator as the "micro-beads" that the bottle promises are virtually non-existent and don't exfoliate at all, and it doesn't leave my face feeling clean after I've rinsed it off. Avoid.

I've had two samples of the Ginvera Green Tea Marvel Gel in beauty boxes and after a lot of um-ing and ah-ing over whether I should buy the full size just before I gave in and bought it, I was lucky enough to find it in my christmas stocking. This stuff is amazing, it comes out as a gel and as you massage it into dry skin it forms into clumps that are actually your dead skin cells! Slightly disgusting but you can really see it working and it's great at helping with spots too, if I use this in the evening the next morning any blemishes will have decreased significantly - 100% worth the money.

The Elemental Herbology Facial Glow Radiance Peel is an enzyme peel that you apply like a mask, then rinse off after five minutes. There's no scrubbing involved and is great for when I have any dry patches that won't go away as well as leaving my face feeling smoother and looking healthier and less dull - it definitely delivers in the radiance department. As the brand's name would suggest, their products aren't overly laden with chemicals which I'm a fan of.

Last but not least is the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant. This is actually a powder that you mix with water into a paste before using it like a normal scrub, which can get a bit messy but as you only need a small amount of the powder it will last you a long time. I personally wouldn't use it daily but as the product is so gentle to the skin you certainly can if you wish to. From the first time I used it I noticed that it left my skin feeling extremely smooth, and after a few uses it has a brightening effect too. I also found that my serum and moisturiser absorbed a lot quicker after I used this, and my pores were less visible.

My favourite of the lot is the Ginvera Green Tea Marvel Gel, followed closely by the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant.
What's the best exfoliator you've ever tried?

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

some highly edited photos of kensington gardens

Because I thought they looked pretty.
In other news, I hit 300 GFC followers! What. I hyperventilated a little bit. THANK YOU!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

mac brick-o-la lipstick

This lipstick was an impulse buy about three months ago at an airport, and as it is so often with impulse buys this quickly fell to the back of my lipstick drawer to be forgotten about. However, this post by Estée reminded me of it's existence and I have been wearing Brick-O-La every single day for the past three weeks. Seeing as this doesn't happen very often at all for me as I like to chop and change my products regularly, I thought that it's definitely worthy of a review!
Admittedly Brick-O-La doesn't look extremely special in the bullet, but once swatched it really comes into its own. MAC describe the colour as a "mid-tone berry" which to an extent it is, although I see it more as a muted red with a hint of brown - very classy! I can't fault the pigmentation, and on the lips once it fades it stains my lips a few shades darker than my natural lip colour. This shade is very versatile should work well on all skin tones, especially warmer-toned ones.

Brick-O-La is a permanent shade with an Amplified Creme finish and although I can't compare it to all the other finishes that MAC offer as I haven't tried them all, this certainly is creamy, applies smoothly, isn't drying and lasts a fair few hours. 
MAC Lipsticks are £14 and are available here.
I haven't done a review of a singular product in far too long, I need to get back into the swing of things!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

notd | rose bagatelle + graze box

This nail polish has been on my nails ever since I got it a few weeks ago (I hauled it here), I blame my newly discovered love of nude nails and my severe lack of any with a halfway decent formula in my collection.
Admittedly this colour is more of a light pink than a full-out nude, but it has the same effect of making my nails look dainty and the added bonus of covering up my stained natural nails (black nail polish with no base coat was not one of my best ideas).
I've never tried any of the L'Oreal Colour Riche nail polishes before and now that I have, I need more! It didn't start majorly chipping for about five days or so and the shade took three coats to be opaque, not too bad for such a light colour.
L'Oreal Colour Riche in 205 Rose Bagatelle
And here's what was in today's Graze box...

Sunday, 13 January 2013

the beauty blogger tag

It's been ages since I've done a tag post, which is weird as I quite like doing them and I feel as if it lets you get to know me a bit more. The lovely Lexi from Feather Light Beauty tagged me to do this, and I though why not - so here goes!
Why did you start blogging and how long have you been blogging for?
Honestly? Because I did a nail design, I thought it was pretty and I wanted to share it with people. I've been blogging since the start of last April, so about 9 months now.

Whose blog did you fall in love with first?
MakeupSavvy! It was the first blog I stumbled across that wasn't purely swatches and I just loved how laidback it was - like a magazine but better.

What was the first blogosphere hyped about product that you bought? Was it worth the hype?
I'm not 100% sure about this because before my days of blogging I had no way of documenting what I had bought (oh, the woes...) but it probably was the Max Factor nail polish in Fantasy Fire. And it was definitely worth the hype.

What are your five favourite things about blogging and being a beauty blogger?
- Taking and editing the photos is my favourite part, I guess I like editing because it's kind of like doing a makeover and making something look prettier. And I just love photographing stuff.
- Interacting with the blogging community. Reading comments always makes me smile, and I love the weekly Twitter talks although half the time I forget and miss them. At the moment I'm doing a makeup swap with Katie so I get to try out some American goodies - another perk of being a blogger!
- I find the actual writing of the posts quite enjoyable too. It's nice to let all your thoughts out to people who like the same stuff you do.
- You end up being so knowledgeable about makeup, I read so many reviews I can walk into Superdrug and know if half the products they're selling are any good or not so there's no blind guesses.
- Being able to ramble on about eyeliner and not get weird looks. Makeup isn't the sort of thing that I can discuss with my mates in real life!
What have you leant from being a beauty blogger?
Apart from learning about actual products, I've learnt how to design a website, take and edit photos, how to make posts interesting (I hope) and how to network and get your site out there. Having a blog has also helped me with my grammar, when I look back at my old posts I cringe at how many commas I used.

Have you changed anything since being a beauty blogger?
I buy more makeup and skincare than I would if I didn't have this blog and I've "borrowed" my mum's camera for better photos too.

What advice would you give to a beauty blogger just starting out?
Put yourself out there and don't be scared, the blogging community is far more positive and safe from trolls than the Youtube community. Also, presentation is key. A nice blog design, easy-to-read font and clear, large photos (choose the X-Large option on blogger) will make readers stick around if you aren't talking a whole load of rubbish.
And do it for the right reasons, if you think you will love blogging then go for it but don't do it for things like free samples. Building up your blog will take a lot of time (social media is great for getting your blog out there) and you will lose motivation if you aren't getting what you want.
Last of all you can make your blog as much work as you think you're capable of, it is your blog after all. If you aren't up for swatching endless eyeshadows but love nail polish just upload a nail of the day every time you have a new colour on that you particularly like with a brief description of the shade. Don't be convinced that you need to do a certain type of post in order for your blog to work.

Name your top five makeup brands.
Revlon and L'Oreal are pretty good and although I don't have much from MAC I love everything I've tried. Rimmel and MUA are cheap and cheerful with some great products hidden in there.

Recommend your top five beauty products.
Carmex is my holy grail and the best mascara I've ever tried is the No7 Exceptional Definition mascara. The L'Oreal Superliner is the only liquid eyeliner that I have complete control with and my go-to bronzer is in the E.L.F Contouring Blush and Bronzing Powder. The Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair has to be the best serum ever, my skin absolutely loves the stuff.

If you'd like to do this tag, go ahead! It's a lot of fun - and leave me a link to your post in comments so I can read it :)

Friday, 11 January 2013

the january sales

I know this post is virtually useless as the online sales are almost at an end, nothing worth buying is in stock and all those lovely discount codes are now expired. But who doesn't like showing off what bargains they got?
I didn't go as crazy as I have done in previous years as my bank account is still nursing it's wounds from shopping for Christmas presents, and when ordering online sometimes the delivery charges make the discount on whatever you're trying to buy redundant.
On the subject of delivery charges, the main reason I allowed myself this purchase from the Space.NK sale was that there was a free delivery code floating around - and standard delivery from Space.NK normally costs an outrageous £5.
I ordered the Laura Mercier Cool Classics for Eyes palette which contains two eyeshadows and a cake eyeliner, the latter of which I have never used before and am excited to try.
It was on sale for £10 but now is out of stock, you can find it here for £20 which I still think is a reasonable price for such a high quality palette.

I didn't actually buy anything from Fragrance Direct that was in the sale section, but as almost everything on that website is vastly discounted they fit in with the theme of this post - there's also the added bonus that everything I'm about to mention is still available for the same price I paid!
Let's get the nail polish out of the way first, since it seems to be impossible for me to quit buying the stuff. The L'Oreal Colour Riche is in the shade 205 Rose Bagatelle (£1.20), the Sally Hansen nail polishes are in the shades Green Tea and Thinking Of Blue (99p each) and the last one comes from a brand I haven't heard of before called Manhattan Rock Topia and I have shade 2, a burnt orange (99p).

As the Jemma Kidd makeup line is now being discontinued, it's cropping up on quite a few websites for really cheap. I bought an Ultimate Lipstick Duo in Cleopatra for £2.50, there's a balm on one end and a gorgeous deep plum shade on the other.
The last thing I bought from Fragrance Direct was the Diego Dalla Palma Snow White & The Huntsman palette, this was released last year to coincide with the film so now that all the promotion for the film is well and truly over I'm guessing in the manufacturer's eyes it's value has decreased somewhat.
The palette is amazing, it contains six eyeshadows (three shimmery, three matte), a black eyeliner and a killer red lipstick. Diego Dalla Palma is quite a high end brand, with one lipstick retailing for £14 so I was expecting the quality to be good and I was not let down. Everything has great pigmentation and for the price of £10 (RRP £25) this has to be my favourite makeup purchase in a while.

Forever 21 had a code for 50% off things already in the sale, so I treated myself to a headband, a beige waist belt, a ring and two hats. I like hats. Especially red ones.

Did you pick up any bargains during the sales?

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

asos wants

Lately I've been spending more time on ASOS than I should and as only to be expected, I've found some things that I really really want. But seeing that I've already spent too much money in the sales (haul post coming soon) I would channel my longing for pretty clothes through a wishlist, so at least I can pretend I own them. Yes I am that sad.




The wishlist turned out quite long, there were so many good things in the sale! Did you pick anything up?

Monday, 7 January 2013

spring 2013 makeup collections i'm excited about

With so many brands coming out with new collections in spring, I always feel slightly overwhelmed as I see so many lovely new things that I want to buy - and never do, since I'm forever thinking that something better is just around the corner, which is what stops me getting my hands on those fleeting limited edition items. I've pieced together a few new or upcoming releases that I'm most excited about!

NARS Spring 2013
The Nars spring collection is just drool-worthy. I'm eyeing up the blush, lipstick and nail polish although from what I can tell the nail polish looks pretty similar to Butter London's Knackered.
You can find more information here.
From what I've seen of Rimmel's new range of Apocalips lip lacquers, they seem super pigmented and as a lipstick junkie I feel I may need to purchase one or two...or five. The eight shades will be released on the 23rd of January for £5.99 each and you can see swatches here.
I'll be honest and say that I'm not too enthusiastic about MAC Archie's Girls, for me it doesn't seem particularly special apart from the LE packaging. However, the Strength collection is a completely different story - just look at those lipsticks! Two are repromotes from the coveted MAC for Iris Apfel collaboration, at least one of which I'll be snapping up (Party Parrot is the one I'm lusting for the most). I'm not sure of the release date, but it has already launched in the States so the UK can't be too far behind.
I didn't include the rest of the collection, to view it click here.

Which new collections are you desperate to get your hands on?
* Images are not my own.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

notd | ruby crush

Recently Rimmel have brought out the Precious Stones collection which consists of two new glittery nail polishes. Now I'm a sucker for all things sparkly so I was going to snatch one up on the next visit to Boots, but Santa beat me to it and I was lucky enough to receive one in my Christmas stocking.
Admittedly Ruby Crush is quite a festive colour that feels slightly out of place in the early days of January but I just simply had to try it out as soon as I could.
The bottle boasts that the nail polish will give you "full on glitter colour" and I have to say I agree, this has to be one of the most opaque glitter polishes I've tried and took two coats to be opaque although I added a third just in case as well as a top coat since the surface was quite rough.
The effect of the large gold glitter particles contrasting with the tiny red ones is really eye catching and no doubt one coat would look great layered over a base colour for a more subtle effect.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

empties #1

I hope you all had a lovely time celebrating the new year, and to kick 2013 off to a good start I'm going to begin one of my new year's resolutions - to start doing Empties posts!
My resolution isn't exactly that, it's to start using up more of my products and get rid of all my half-used bottles of body lotion etc and to document my process I'll put everything that I found particularly good or bad in these posts to remind myself what to repurchase and what to steer clear of in future. As I won't be including basic essentials or "meh" products I doubt these posts will appear as frequently as every month, just whenever I've used up enough things that I want to talk about.
Dead Sea Premier Micro Facial Cleanser - I'm quite proud of sticking to this cleanser and using it up as the bottle is massive and lasted me a good few months. It had a creamy gel consistency (if that makes any sense) and removed my makeup rather well. I didn't find it very special and it didn't prevent blemishes, although it has no claims to I always prefer it when my cleanser improves my skin as well as getting rid of makeup.
Repurchase? No.

Mischa Barton Whipped Shea Body Butter in Lemon Zest - A product that was included in a beauty box - the little pot in the photo is actually full size which I find a bit ridiculous. Apart from that, I liked this body butter. It smelled nice but not artificial and was quite moisturising, however it did take a while to absorb into my skin.
Repurchase? Nope, it's too expensive for such a small amount.

No7 Cleanse & Care Eye Makeup Remover - This was a mini that was part of a free gift, and I am so glad that it's finally finished. It stung whenever it got in my eye and wasn't the best at removing mascara and due to it's oily consistency it was almost impossible to apply makeup again if I'd mucked it up and removed it with this. I can't find it on the Boots website so hopefully it's been discontinued.
Repurchase? Nope.
Witch Naturally Clear Blemish Stick - A few bloggers love this so when it was half price I picked it up - I didn't really like it, it smelled alcoholic and didn't match up to how my Origins Super Spot Remover performed. The packaging is also not the most hygienic as you dab the tube directly onto the blemish.
Repurchase? No.

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish - I've never tried this before although it's probably the most raved about cleanser there is, and I have to say I love it! It's not incredibly convenient and takes longer to use than most cleansers when at night all I want to do is go to sleep, but my skin definitely likes it.
Repurchase? Yup, I have another mini of this and some other cleansers to get through first though.

Comfort Zone Renight Recover Cream - This moisturiser was very rich but at the same time didn't feel as if it was hydrating my skin enough if I didn't use the same amount as I would for my day cream. It also was scented, which I'm not too keen on in my skincare.
Repurchase? No, the full size is far too expensive.
The Body Shop Elderflower Cooling Eye Gel - If I'm being completely honest, I didn't notice any difference in my undereye area and all it delivered was a cooling sensation.
Repurchase? No.

Dirty Works Supreme Cream Body Butter - Dirty Works is a brand that I'd never tried before, but it seemed like a cheaper version of Soap and Glory so when I saw that they were giving out free samples I was eager to try this body butter out. It was moisturising enough but I couldn't stand the smell, the scent was old lady-esque and worst of all it lingered on the skin to the point where I felt a bit nauseous.
Repurchase? No.

Layla D Honey Moisturiser - I included this in my September Favourites so you probably can guess what the verdict on this will be. It gave the perfect amount of moisture for my skin, and I'm quite sad that I've used it all up!
Repurchase? Yes.

What are your new years resolutions?