Sunday, 29 September 2013

september favourites

Autumn is here! Ooh I'm looking forward to October. It's my birthday on the 6th, and the day after I'm jetting off to Sardinia for 10 days. Aw yees.

Every time the cold seasons roll around, I find myself applying more makeup that I otherwise would and this past month I've taken a liking to eyeshadow. Usually eyeshadow is something that I can take or leave, it's very much an unnecessary extra in my book but lately I've really been enjoying the Stila In The Light palette (review to come soon) and the Collection Eyeshadow Pencil in Vanilla Sky. Both were recent purchases and now they're a part of my daily makeup - the Collection Eyeshadow Pencil is great for a quick inner corner highlight and for a wash of colour if I'm in a rush; and the Stila palette is just... brilliant. My go-to shades are Kitten, Bliss and Sandstone, all of which blend like a dream and are well pigmented.
As well as eyeshadow, I've also been loading on the foundation, but with the changing seasons and the weather being all over the shop my skin has had one too many dry patches. Because of that, my foundation hasn't been sitting on my skin properly meaning that I've resorted to doing something I never do - using a primer. The Gerda Spillmann Hydro Pearls Moisture Lotion Makeup Primer came in a Birchbox and I've been slathering this on my face in the hope that it will do something. And it works. Not only does it make my foundation glide on and prolong the wear time, but it also moisturises and doesn't do that horrible primer thing where it balls up when you rub it. I guess I'll have to shell out for the full size.
The NYX Blush in Taupe also featured in my latest haul, and in that post I mentioned how I was hoping that it would be a good contour colour - well, to put it short it's better than I could have wished for. Granted, it's not as opaque as a few of my more warm toned bronzing contours, but it stops me from going over the top and of course it is buildable. And - AND - it's the perfect eyebrow shade for me. Can you see why I love this yet?
My lips have already embraced the autumn, and my berry lipstick of choice this month has been the famous Rimmel Kate Lasting Finish Matte lipstick in 107. Pretty much everyone owns this shade, and not without good reason as it's such a great one-size-fits-all colour. I was thinking of doing a post on my favourite inexpensive berry lipsticks, but when it came down to it I only had eyes for my beloved Rimmel shade. Guess I need to hit Boots and pick me up a few more variations. Like I need more lipsticks. 

Thursday, 26 September 2013

notd | vamped

I just couldn't wait to get the nail polish that came in this month's Birchbox onto my fingertips. My collection of dark nail polishes is very limited (My nail polish collection seems to exclusively be formed of bright colours, who would have thought it?) and this beautiful deep dark red is a very welcome addition.
The formula on the other hand wasn't so great, and as far as I can see the £14 price tag isn't justified at all. It chipped within two days (that's with a base and top coat) and took three coats to be fully opaque. It had a tendency to pool at my cuticles as the consistency was quite thin and runny, but at least the drying time was pretty fast.
I teamed my cheapy £1 skull ring with my freshly-painted nails too - I don't believe in buying expensive jewellery, let's just say that unless it's made of pure diamonds and blessed with the souls of a thousand kittens you can count me out. I don't even adorn myself in trinkets that often (bar the standard stud earrings) so I don't see that much point in spending over £15 on jewellery (I'm looking at you, Topshop) that is of only marginally better quality than Primark. If you look hard enough you can almost always find a good dupe on eBay as well (case in point: this ring).

Monday, 23 September 2013

uk magazine freebies - september 2013

Here's a quick little run-down of all the magazine freebies I could find for this month - I tried to get this post up earlier as I know that we're quite late into the month now but I wanted to make sure I had rounded up as many of the offers as I could find!
Marie Claire (£3.90) is offering a little 7ml sample of the Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus, worth £9.30 as well as a good few sachet freebies inside the mag and a free Clinique eye cream and foundation fitting at House of Fraser.
Elle (£4) comes with a gift card for 25% off River Island; I'm so tempted to buy Elle just for the gift card, but I'll try to resist as every time I walk into River Island I leave with too much shopping and not enough cash...
And last of all is InStyle, which has a 40ml Philip Kingsley Elasticizer with each issue. Apparently it's worth £8 as well.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

l'oreal skin perfection miracle cleansing oil

L'Oreal Skin Perfection 15 Second Miracle Cleansing Oil

Meet the newest addition to my skincare regime. Cleansing oils seem to be all the rage at the moment, and eager to see what all the fuss was about, I hopped along to Boots with every intention of buying the Una Brennan Super Facialist Vitamin C+ Skin Renew Cleansing Oil. After searching high and low and still not finding it (I don't think my local store stocks the brand), I settled for L'Oreal's version as it was on offer for a mere fiver. It comes with a pump too.
I've been using the cleansing oil almost daily for two weeks and have barely used any up, which is a nice change from realising that three quarters of my bottle of Bioderma is gone after a month. I typically use two pumps all over my face, and an extra one for my eyes -  I was worried it would sting but it doesn't at all. The fact that it removes almost every scrap of makeup in seconds is brilliant too, as I really don't like the feeling of oils on my skin; I tried the DHC Cleansing Oil before and didn't get on with it purely for this reason. It doesn't leave any residue behind and removes even waterproof mascara, although if I'm wearing a lot of eye makeup I tend to do a double cleanse and follow the oil up with a hot cloth cleanser.
So where does this leave micellar water? Well, I still keep some handy because I'm useless at liquid eyeliner, and micellar solution and a cotton bud manages to tidy everything up nicely. But if you're like me and like getting your makeup off as quickly as possible then get yourself a bottle of cleansing oil quicksmart.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

september birchbox

Molton Brown Ylang-Ylang Nourishing Body Lotion | ModelCo. Party Proof Lipstick in Kitty
Aromatherapy Associates Revive Body Gel | Révérence de Bastien Nail Polish in Number 14
Green & Black's White Chocolate | Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution

This month's Birchbox is a bit of a mixed bag (quite literally). There's a couple of really great things in there but there are also one or two products that I can't help but feel are there just to take up some space and bulk the box out, like the Molton Brown Ylang-Ylang Nourishing Body Lotion. I received a shower gel from the same brand, in the same scent, in the same bottle last month and they remind me of those little bottles you get in hotels, not a "luxury sample" or whatever Birchbox are calling them. I initially thought that the Aromatherapy Associates Revive Body Gel was a shower gel, but it turns out to be some kind of body lotion which isn't particularly thrilling either, but it's a decent size and will be used up.
On the other hand, the nail varnish is perfect. By the brand Révérence de Bastien and in number 14, this dark wine red is just the shade that's been missing from my collection and is the epitome of autumn. I'll have a nail of the day wearing this soon.
I was quite excited when I saw the lipstick in the box, but it turned out that the shade I got was a light pink nude that I won't get any use from so I'll have to pass it on. After looking at the other colour options on the Birchbox website it seems that I would have been stuck with a light nude shade whichever lipstick I got, so at least I'm not missing out on some gorgeous hot pink or anything. Because you can't have nice things if I can't have nice things.
Also in the box was a tiny bar of Green & Black's white chocolate (it's only a little bigger than my thumb) and a mini bottle of Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution, which could not be more perfect for travelling if it tried. This will be extremely handy for a weekend away, and is also refillable so I can top it up easily.

You can subscribe to Birchbox here for £10 per month plus postage (if you click my link we'll both get £5 worth of Birchbox points too!).

Sunday, 15 September 2013

cheddar & rosemary scones

As a baking novice, I can admit that I've only made scones a handful of times, and never savoury ones but after coming across this recipe along with its drool-worthy photos I thought that there's no harm in trying - right? I had to tweak the ingredients slightly (less rosemary, more cheddar and omitting the chorizo altogether) but they still turned out rather well. They smell divine, and are best served hot with a little bit of butter. I managed to squeeze out twenty odd scones out of the recipe, but mine were rather thin so I'd recommend not rolling the dough out too much.

300g of self-raising flour (although you'll probably need a bit more if you find that your dough is too sticky to do anything with), one and a half teaspoons of baking powder, 75g of butter, around 80g of grated cheddar cheese, a pinch of chopped up rosemary, 200ml of milk and one beaten egg.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (gas mark 4).
Mix the self-raising flour, baking powder and butter (stick the butter in the microwave until it's softened) together with your fingers until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add the cheddar and rosemary and stir. Pour in the milk and beaten egg then stir until the dough forms a ball (add more flour if necessary). Sprinkle some flour onto your table to stop the mixture from sticking, and roll the dough out. Use a cookie cutter or the top of a glass or something to cut out some circles, and put them on a greased tray. Stick 'em in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Scoff the lot.

Friday, 13 September 2013

recent additions

I have done far too much shopping lately. A shameful amount. 
It's not as if it's guilt-free either, I have a mountain of new stuff that screams overkill every single time I glance in its direction. 
First world problems, eh?

I was toying with the idea of buying a new eyeshadow palette, and after committing to it and some rigorous research (read: I googled it), I found a few palettes that were right up my street. I was torn between the Urban Decay Naked Basics and the Stila In The Light palette, but in the end I went for the Stila purely because it's better value - there's more eyeshadows and it comes with the eyeliner of the gods. Seriously, I've used the liner once and I'm blown away. It's perfect. It seems like Stila have updated the packaging too slightly as my palette comes with a mirror, which I'm fairly certain the original packaging didn't contain.
The Estee Lauder Pure Colour Cheek Rush blushes caught my eye while I was browsing through Estee Lauder's website, and I was rather intrigued by the concept. At first I thought they looked like high-end versions of the e.l.f HD Blushes, which I'd always put off buying as they looked far too pigmented for my taste (I'm a little heavy-handed and clown cheeks aren't my thang). However the Estee Lauder Pure Colour Cheek Rush blushes are more toned down and blend out to give a sheer glow - I went for the darkest shade, Techno Jam.
Also, check out my first YSL lipstick. Look at it. More specifically, the packaging. It's the stuff that dreams are made of. After deliberating between the thousands of different shades and formulas YSL make, I went for a Rouge Volupte Shine in the shade 12 Corail Incandescent. Another shade, 19 Fuchsia In Rage was calling my name too, but let's hope that what little self-restraint I have will kick in next time I pass a YSL counter otherwise my purse will be completely empty.
A trip to Superdrug resulted in me buying one of the new Collection Eyeshadow Pencils in Vanilla Sky just to see what all the fuss is about, and in the same couple of days I picked up a few other hyped-up products - the NUXE Reve de Miel lip balm is finally mine as is a little sample of the Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation that I spotted on the Latest in Beauty website.
I may have placed a little order with Cherry Culture too, which is an American website that stocks NYX as well as a few other brands we don't have over the pond and... wait for it... it ships to the UK! Granted, the shipping did cost over $10, but in fairness it only took just over two weeks to get here and it still works out cheaper than buying from NYX's UK website. I didn't want to go overboard as I only had my eye on one thing, so I *tried* to keep my order to a minimum. The reason for my order was to get my hands on the NYX Taupe blush, which is the perfect contouring shade for me. I've always struggled with using bronzer for contouring as it looks far too orange on my skin, and cool toned contouring powders are few and far between - in fact the only other one I've heard of is the MAC Harmony blush. The Taupe blush isn't quite as pigmented as I'd hoped, but it's buildable and gives a far more natural contour than any bronzer could. I also bought two of the NYX Round Lipsticks in Doll and Spellbound (I might do a review of them if you'd like?), and a NYX Slide On Pencil in Azure. The formula of both the lipsticks and eyeliners are great, I already had one of each and they're amazing quality.

And last of all, samples. A nail file, perfume vial and a few miscellaneous minis come as standard, but do you see that full size OPI nail polish up there? That is the result of paying an extra £1.50 for the BeautyBay premier service, oh yes. I got lucky with my Estee Lauder purchase too, and managed to score a few deluxe samples - a 4ml Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum, a 4ml Pleasures perfume sample and a mini Double Wear mascara.

So yeah. That's me on a spending ban for the rest of my life.
jk lol, you seen them new rimmel apocalips shades? totes havin' them.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

life in colour #5

brighton pier | the beach | donuts
record store | jewellery | tin can alley
amusements | panoramic | the lanes
to trains | store window display | fentimans
no drugs or nuclear weapons | meringues | the jersey boys
summer haze | sheet music | saturated
gloomy day | ladybird | platform one

Not much happened this past month. I took a day trip to Brighton and reignited my love for the Lanes, ate fish 'n' chips on the pier whilst being blasted with bad pop music from ten years ago (The Ketchup Song, anyone?) as well as being twenty five percent sure I saw Lee Mack using one of those life-size cutouts that you stick you head through.
Another highlight was strolling around Hampstead, buying a hand-drawn map of the area from a gelato shop (and a sorbet, of course) and stumbling across the most beautiful meringues I've ever seen in a shop window. I couldn't even go in as I hadn't finished my ice cream. Boo.

Friday, 6 September 2013

notd | red and blue

Sally Hansen Brisk Blue | Nails Inc for InStyle It's Red, Babez

Classic french manicures are boring.

I first tried this nail art (if you can call it that) using the red nail polish - a Nail Inc shade with a name so cringey it's laughable - as the base, but it was too sheer and the drying time took so long that I ended up smudging it within an hour, removing it and starting again using Sally Hansen's Brisk Blue as the base this time. I cannot recommend the formula of the Insta Dri polishes enough, Brisk Blue was opaque in two coats, and as the name would suggest, dried almost instantly. The brush is really wide too, allowing for a quick application.

A little announcement: I've finally made a Facebook page! It's Clouds & Cuticle Oil, and I'd love it if you could give me a little "like" if you enjoy reading this little blog - you can just use the little widget on my sidebar and that'll get you updates on when I've uploaded a new post.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

empties #6

I've started chucking all my bottles and tubes of empty products in a little Avene bag, and er... well it's overflowing, so here's a very long empties post so that I can finally chuck everything in the bin. Make yourself a cuppa, you might be here for a while.

First on the list is the Natio Renew Radiance Foam Cleanser, which wasn't that much of a foam cleanser at all. I'm trying to steer clear of foam cleansers so it's probably a good thing that it didn't lather up too well. Everything about this cleanser was average - it had a half-hearted attempt at removing my mascara and left my skin feeling a little taut.
Repurchase? No.

The Bluemandarines SkinLife Energetic Cellular Cream came in a recent Birchbox and I managed to squeeze out a week's worth (morning and evening) of use out of the 10ml tube. It felt nice and light on my skin as well as providing enough hydration, and I was all set to buy the full size until I saw the price. The rest of the Bluemandarines range that the Birchbox website stocks is in the £15-£20 range, but for this particular cream they want £35 for a 50ml pot. No thanks.
Repurchase? Nope.

More skincare minis (get used to it, that's basically all these empties posts are constructed of), in the form of that little REN travel kit that came with Red magazine a few months back. It contained the Vita-Mineral Day Cream, Rose Centifolia Cleansing Gel and the Frankincense Revitalising Night Cream, and as a proper first introduction to the brand they didn't fare that well. I got a distinct feeling of average about them, which I was not expecting from a fairly pricey brand. The moisturisers moisturised and the cleanser cleansed (albeit not too well, especially against eye makeup) and that's all they did. Nothing special.
Repurchase? No, no, and no.

I haven't been using the Weleda Aknedoron Purifying Lotion as often as I should have, which resulted in it taking far longer to use up than I was expecting. It just doesn't seem to give me the instant gratification results that I want, and (as far as I've seen) in the long run doesn't prevent blemishes from cropping up either. For some reason I still get the feeling that it does something, I think it helps with those little bumps that appear on my jawline that never actually turn into blemishes as such.
Repurchase? I'm going to see if my skin starts missing it and if it actually made any difference, but so far, no.

Another bottle of perfume from my stash finished! My goal is to use up all of my perfumes, and then only buy two or three that I really like and have good staying power. Britney Spears Cosmic Radiance is a typical fruity floral teenager scent, one that if you walk into high school changing rooms you will most likely smell (as well as breathing in more Impulse than air) regardless of whether it's Britney Spears' offering or the dozens of other perfumes that smell alike. Despite being an Eau De Parfum, the lasting power wasn't that good.
Repurchase? No.

I'm sad to see my little bottle of Bioderma Sebium H20 Micelle Solution all used up, I tried to ration it out but eventually I had to admit that it was empty. This stuff removes makeup - even stubborn mascara - like a pro. Whack a bit on a cotton pad, rub it around yo' face and that's it. Of course you have to follow up with a proper cleanser to, y'know, actually cleanse your skin, but this is a great makeup remover. Luckily I have a backup, but it's the Sensibio version (the one in the red packaging) and after trying that one out I think I prefer the Sebium formula more.
Repurchase? Yes.

The Elemis Pro-Collagen Body Cream came in a beauty box over a year ago, and I've only gotten around to using it up now (if that doesn't say something about the enormity of my body lotion stash, I don't know what does). The cream is fairly ordinary, it's got shimmer which I'm not a fan of in body products as it aggravates my skin but I was so surprised by the price. Elemis can't be seriously charging fifty quid for a 200ml bottle of this stuff. £5 yeah, £50? You're having a laugh.
Repurchase? No.
I had another mini of the Elemental Herbology Cell Plumping Facial Hydrator in a previous empties post, and there I mentioned that the price is extortionate. Well, I still stand by that, but this time round I've convinced myself that it's worth the money. This moisturiser is so lightweight, with an almost whipped consistency and absorbs into the skin quickly, leaving a perfect base for makeup. It delivers just the right amount of hydration, it isn't greasy and overall I love it. Now I need to summon up the courage to part with £40 over a little pot of cream collect enough Birchbox points.
Repurchase? Yes.

My hands have been more dry than they usually are, so I've been toting a hand cream around with me as I can't stand the feeling of taut skin on my hands. The Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream does the trick and absorbs quickly whilst not leaving a greasy residue behind. The tube lasted me ages too, but is still small enough to be handbag friendly - the only problem is the price. The 30ml size is only 50p less than the L'Occitane hand cream,  so I'm afraid that there's no competition as L'Occitane in my eyes is the king of hand creams
Repurchase? No.

A 30ml sample of the St. Ives Apricot Invigorating Scrub has been used up too. I try to make sure that I always have a manual exfoliator in my skincare routine as sometimes a chemical exfoliant isn't up to the job; surprisingly enough this scrub wasn't too abrasive for my skin, although my face did look a bit red after using it.
Repurchase? Perhaps, after I get through the slew of exfoliators I'm yet to use up.

Not pictured is the Neutrogena Visibly Clear Pink Grapefruit Daily Scrub, which needed to be gotten rid of as it was near its expiry date - I ended up using it on my body in the shower for the sole reason of using it up. It really isn't that good and barely exfoliates.
Repurchase? No.