Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Christmas Presents!

I've absolutely loved reading everyone's 'What I Got For Christmas' posts. I hadn't planned on doing one of my own so I put some of my presents away before I took pictures. However, I did photograph the beauty related presents in the off-chance that I'd blog about them. I am so thankful for each and every present. I see a lot of pamper nights in the near future with all these lovely bath and body products. Special thanks to Melanie for the amazing gift (second picture) which I managed to keep until Christmas day (sheer will power!) I am beyond excited to try the Wet n Wild palette. I hope you all had a great Christmas.
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Monday, 29 December 2014

Christmas 2014

I can't believe Christmas has been and gone. My first uni exams didn't finish until the 18th so in a way I feel like I missed out on most of the build up to Christmas during December (which I often think is better than the actual day). I certainly tried to make up for it though; the moment I walked out of the exam hall. I went to see a Pantomime for the first time in years and it was absolutely wonderful and so uplifting. With Christmas songs listened to, Christmas shopping finally done, Elf watched and TV caught up on, I ended up having an absolutely amazing time. What I love most about Christmas is seeing friends and family and everyone being so happy and festive. The food is also spot on. My mum roasted chestnuts on Christmas Eve Eve and everyone who was visiting tried one- it was a bit like an I'm a Celebrity challenge. I loved the way my Christmas tree was decorated this year too. It started off a few years ago very 'perfect' with coordinating gold decorations and gold lights but it has gradually become less and less gold until this year it was a multi-coloured, hand crafted explosion of amazingness. This year I actually remembered to open my advent calendar everyday too. How was your Christmas?
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Sunday, 30 November 2014

Anjolee.com Top Picks

Although I am notoriously inconsistent with my posting patterns, there is always a part of my brain consumed with what I'll blog next. Lately though, my brain has become so filled with uni stuff that blogging has been pushed aside. In fact, I recently committed the ultimate rookie blogger mistake- I used a new eyeshadow palette before I'd photographed it. Please don't judge too harshly. However, here I am, at 12:06am gravitating back to my little old blog to share some gems I've been admiring so longingly lately. Its difficult to think about the fact I have exams in a fortnight when I feel soo Christmassy and I want to think of what presents to buy and what movies to watch and how long I can get away with lying down under a big pile of blankets without moving for. 

Of course at this time of year gift guide posts are everywhere. They're helpful if you don't have a clue what to get someone, they let you see whats out there at the moment and they're a good little hint hint if you have your eye on something. I see 'top picks' posts as a kind of all year round gift guide which is why I chose that title for this post- cos the items below are certainly not just for Christmas. 

When I came recently came across Anjolee.com I spent so long browsing through their collection. It wasn't the first time I've been known to trawl through fine jewellery websites- after watching Bride Wars I spent a whole evening goggling at Tiffany's collections. Anjolee.com comes with an added bonus though, because its the only jewellery website that lets you customize any item to your exact preferences, taste and budget. Not too shabby eh? I started on the hoop earrings page and was enticed from there. Prepare to swoon.




  Studs / Ring / Bangle / Necklace / Bracelet

While I'm a lover of  the odd statement necklace or watch, the jewellery I wear most often is a couple of simple staples of fine jewellery. You'll rarely see me without my necklace or studs (you can check the photo archives). My favourite metal is white gold (which is one of the reasons the studs are included above) and this is for a few reasons: 1. It looks like silver 2. It has the quality of yellow gold 3. It is referred to in Mean Girls. What's not to like? Each of these items look so beautiful and delicate. You don't need me to rant on about why each one is perfect and I need it in my life as you probably get it just by seeing them yourself.

If you're looking for something really special to buy as a present this Christmas, or you just fancy treating yourself, I'd recommend you pop over to Anjolee.com and have a browse. 

Be sure to let me know what your favourite piece is!
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*Sponsored post*

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Veil Cover Cream- A Miracle Worker?

It has been a few months since I got my hands on the Veil Cover Cream Demonstration Kit* and the reason this review has been so long in the making is that I've never tried a product like it so had to learn how best to use it and really put it to the test. The kit contains 20 different shades of the cover cream and a translucent setting powder. If you've never heard of Veil before- you need only Google it and proceed to sit in awe at the before and after shots.
The shades I found to work best for my skin tone were natural medium and medium, although I did delve into some of the scarier shades like yellow and green for colour correction. I was pleasantly surprised with the sample size of each shade because you need only the tiniest amount of product per application so I can see even the Demonstration Kit lasting a really long time. The product has an unusual texture- its solid in the pot but turns into a thick cream on fingertips. The heavy duty consistency means that it camouflages imperfections but also blends extremely well into the skin really nicely and feels light. Other products such as blush also apply well on top. It smells slightly waxy but its not unpleasant or off-putting.
Veil Cover Cream is a product that falls out of the typical makeup categories. It is neither a foundation or a concealer; it can work as both simultaneously and either or. I've used it on top of my foundation in place of my usual Collection concealer and it did the job nicely. For best effects though, I think Veil Cover Cream should be applied as as a complete base in itself. Most effective application is with fingertips in a patting manner and then blending the edges with a really soft brush such as the Real Techniques Buffing Brush. 
Before I go on to sing this product's praises finish-wise, I'll give a quick run down of a couple of negatives I encountered. Firstly, I didn't get on too well with the translucent powder because it is loose and I had trouble getting the right amount on my brush. I instead opted for my Rimmel translucent pressed powder and that mattified perfectly well. Secondly, I didn't think it was as good at covering fresh blemishes as it was in covering marks and scarring. 
With regard to finish, this product really surpassed my expectations. While the scarring I have is mildish and now mostly confined to one cheek, I regard this cream as an absolute miracle worker in covering my red marks. Not only does it last the whole day, but it doesn't become greasy or crease around the eyelids; quite a feat for my skin. The versatility of this product is just so impressive: it can be used for an all out flawless makeup look, a quick fix for popping to the shops, a crazy Halloween look or, according to their website, tattoo covering. This is the most airbrush-esque, camouflaging product I've ever come across. If you have any kind of old acne scars or discolouration I would 100% recommend you try this. 
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Monday, 10 November 2014

Benefit The Bronze Of Champions

I think every beauty blogger/ makeup lover is partial to a bit of Benefit. From their unique packaging to their quirky names and overall quality, they’re definitely a popular high end brand. Their beauty kits are an especially big hit- and for good reason. You get to try out a selection of minis for the price you would pay for one full size product. And in all fairness- the minis aren’t even that mini- you more than enough to give the product a good test run.

 ‘The Bronze ofChampions’ Total Bronze kit for eyes, lips and cheeks contains some of Benefits best love products: Hoola Bronzing Powder (with brush); Ultra Plush Lip Gloss in Hoola; Watt’s Up! Highlighter; Creaseless Cream Shadow in Bikini-tini; Longwear Powder Shadow in Thanks a Latte; and They’re Real! Beyond Mascara.

The products come in a handy little box (magnetic- so it can stand upright on a shelf without things falling out), some ‘Tips and Tricks’ cards and even a large mirror (which I have actually just this second discovered- I’ve been missing out all this time!)  This also means that the kit is perfect for travelling.

Watt’s Up is one of the standout products of this kit. It is so creamy and silky. It has become my second favourite highlighter (after MAC MSF in Soft & Gentle). The only gripe I have is that if you apply a little too much, it visibly ‘sits’ on the skin rather than sinking in.

Hoola bronzer is another ultimate favourite of mine. I might cry when this runs out. Its the best product I’ve found for contour. You can apply it really subtly or go all out. The Hoola lip gloss isn’t such a winner. It is nice enough but not being a fan of lip glosses, I wasn’t blown away.  It also doesn't give much colour pay off on my lips because they’re quite a deep pink. It does smell really good though.

I never had much drive to try Benefit eye shadows as there isn’t a ton of hype surrounding them so I was very pleasantly surprised with Bikini-tini and Thanks a Latte (loving the names also). The cream eye shadow is a beautiful base which definitely prevents creasing (major thumbs up from me and my oily eyelids). It is similar in colour to Watt’s Up but lighter and pinker and the formula isn’t as dense but can be built up. The powder eye shadow is also impressive: well pigmented, has a beautiful gold base shimmer and a long wear time.

Finally, They’re Real Mascara-which I posted a rave review of last year but have since had mixed feelings towards. Yes, it volumizes, lengthens and frames the eyes exceptionally well but on me, it smudges and is such a pain to remove. I’ve found Lancome Bi-facil or Bioderma are the only things that can get it off without residue/ too much hassle.

I’ve done a little FOTD to show you what the products look like on. On the left I’m just wearing my usual base and on the right I’ve used all the products from the kit.
While I don’t solely rely on all these products on a day to day basis, they’re certainly lovely and the kit gives good value for money. It has allowed me to discover brilliant products I wouldn’t have otherwise tried and the quality of each product is of a high standard.

Have you tried any of these? Which Benefit Kit would you recommend I try next?
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Saturday, 18 October 2014

Sephora Base Sublimatrice Primer

I've always had a 'take it or leave it' kind of mindset when it comes to primer. While I was in Lisbon this summer I found a Sephora counter in a department store and was more than a little excited; using pretty much any excuse to buy things. 'This Nails Inc set is on sale so I need it even though I have 34723642 nail polishes already. I also need this primer because although I've never bothered with primer it is supposed to keep your makeup on longer and yea- c'mon- why deny the addition of another base step.' And so the Sephora Base Sublimatrice Primer made its way into my makeup bag.

In all honesty, I wasn't expecting a great deal from this product. I was really pleasantly surprised though! It has a light consistency and despite how it looks initially, doesn't sit on the skin noticeably or  like a disco-ball. For comparisons sake, I found this to be radiance-boosting but not as much as the Rimmel Wake Me Up foundation (which, for me, was a little much). What really stood out for me was how nicely my usual makeup went on top of this. It looked smoother, more enhanced and lasted longer. The only thing that disappointed me with this product was that it has almost run out after only about 15 uses. It is only 15g, but I still expected it to last a little longer. That's one of the drawbacks of buying stuff abroad: its not easy to get hold of another if you like it. 

Be sure to let me know if you've tried this and what you thought of it. Also, please leave primer recommendations in the comments- I need another asap!
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Sunday, 12 October 2014

The Reading Tag

I haven't written a tag post in ages and after seeing The Reading Tag on Fay Olivia's blog a little while ago, I knew this was one which would be perfect for me because although I am quite lazy with reading, I am quite the book worm when I get into it. They're also something a little different to post and let you get to know me better. I won't tag anyone specific just anyone reading this who wants to give it a go. Be sure to let me know if you do.

Do you have a certain place for reading at home?
Usually on my bed but I've been known to actually travel around the house and sit/ hang upside down in every little space until I'm comfortable.

Bookmark or random piece of paper?
I can never find my bookmarks so usually just whatever I have to hand. Recently I've used post its.

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter or a certain number of pages?
In general I can just stop at the end of a page or even paragraph. Stopping midway through a sentence is of course unthinkable.

Do you eat or drink when reading?
Reading is probably the only activity I don't consider snack- appropriate. Perhaps just a cup of tea.

One book at a time or several at once?
One at a time unless they're educational/ completely polar. I'm very easily confused.

Reading at home or everywhere?
Most of the time at home, particularly if I'm really into a book though I'll sometimes take one along on train journeys in case I run out of Facebook/ Instagram updates to scroll through.

Reading out loud or silently in your head?
Completely silently. I used to get so frustrated with my friend in school who read out loud next to me because I'd become so distracted.

Do you ever read ahead or skip pages?
I'll admit I did this when I was younger (and it gave me a rather confusing expectation for the end of HP7 - imagine knowing Dumbledore/ Snape are dead but discovering them speaking on the last page). Now I wouldn't dare.

Breaking the spine or keeping it new?
Keep it new through fear of it crumbling. I learned this the hard way when I broke the spine of my teacher's personal copy of A Scarlett Letter and had to hand it back to her in bits. 

Do you ever write in books?
Ever since I had to annotate and highlight my copy of The Great Gatsby in school I can't stop. I could be reading anything and feel the urge to note at the side that I like the way it is written or what it could represent. Its a curse.

What are you currently reading?
I'm between books just now. I finally admitted defeat with A Tale of Two Cities and now my university books have taken over. I think my next will be Pride and Prejudice though.
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Sunday, 5 October 2014

Most Used Makeup Brushes

Hey Everyone!

Today, with my makeup brushes freshly washed (a task which had become way overdue), I thought I'd talk a bit about which ones I use most frequently and what for. I don't see many, if any, of these kinds of posts around but I would be really interested to read other peoples as often makeup brushes can be used for a variety of applications outside of what they're designed for. 

I have 3 main brands of make up brushes that I use: Real Techniques (love these!), Elf and Scarlett & Crimson (bought in the Boots January sale a couple of years ago). I've yet to invest in any high end makeup brushes: I've had my eye on MAC ones for ages but to be honest I'm scared they won't live up to their price and I'll be disappointed. 
From left to right:
Real Techniques Stippling Brush: This is my HG makeup brush (if that is a thing). I've used it everyday since I bought it and I find it is best to apply foundation although also works well for cream blush. I think it might be time to buy a new one though as because the bristles are so dense and I use it so often, it is stained and doesn't wash up as well as the others.
Real Techniques Pointed Foundation Brush: I'm not at all into this kind of brush for foundation as I think its hopeless at blending, especially from the face to the neck, but recently I've been using it to apply concealer and it works a treat. Its just the right size and shape.
S&C Powder Brush: While this brush does tend to shed the odd hair, it applies bronzer and blush really nicely and picks up just the right amount of product. Its also really soft after a wash.
Real Techniques Contour Brush: This is one of the brushes I use as it is supposed to be used: for contouring the hollows of the cheeks and hairline etc. It works perfectly with Benefit Hoola bronzer and again is the perfect size and shape. It also applies highlighter really well.
Real Techniques Buffing Brush: It took me a while to get to grips with this brush: I used it for a while for foundation but found it didn't provide as good coverage as the stippling brush. I also used it for powder but it was just too dense. I've settled using it as a base blender- taking away any harsh lines, and I think this is how it works best.
Elf Professional Bronzing Brush: I don't think the angle of this brush makes it the best for bronzing but it is great for blush, or as I use it, for highlight. It applies my MAC MSF beautifully and really quickly. 
Elf Professional Eyelash & Brow Wand: I use this for running through my brows before I fill them in to take away any foundation or concealer that are sitting from base application. This is also a really handy tool for plucking my eyebrows.
S&C Sponge Brush and Blender Brush: I'm improvising with the names of the S&C brushes because they don't actually have any. I have 3 eye brushes that I use religiously: these two and the next. I know most people hate sponge eyeshadow brushes but I find them really easy to use and they don't waste any product. I use the blender brush continuously as I apply each shade which I find to increase the lasting power of the eyeshadow.
Elf Professional Lip Defining Brush: I've never been one to use lip brushes, and since this is pretty soft and fluffy, I use it to apply darker eyeshadows to the crease, outer corner and lower lashline. Its a really good size and density for each of these jobs.
Powder Brush: I've had this for so long that the brand name has actually rubbed off but its pretty much a standard, super soft powder brush that applies powder liberally.
Elf Professional Eyeshadow Brush & Wilko Eyeshadow Brush: I don't use these brushes very frequently but they've been included because they're in my makeup brush holder. These aren't as good as the eyeshadow brushes I've already mentioned, but are alright to apply a bit of matte brown to the crease on top of my Maybelline Color Tattoo. 

I didn't realise I would go into quite so much detail in this post- well done if you got through it! I like that most makeup brushes will last a good few years as long as you look after them. I was recently treated to the Real Techniques Starter Set (eye brushes) for my birthday. I've had my eye on them for the longest time but its taking me a while to integrate them into my everyday routine. When I'm more familiar I'll maybe do a full review.

What are your favourite makeup brushes? Which ones should I try?
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Sunday, 28 September 2014

When you're under the weather...

You'll know your body well enough to know the signals it sends out when you're less than a picture of perfect health. I'm not talking about a full on flu or bed ridden illness, just a bug or cold which leaves you feeling run down. For me, alarm bells start to ring when I'm really tired (more than usual which pretty much turns me into a sloth), have a sore throat/ its painful to swallow and the side of my lip becomes cut. Most of the time, these symptoms arise when I've been over exerting myself. 

With Freshers week still underway or just over, here are my top tips for when you're feeling poorly: or you have, as it is notoriously known: Freshers Flu.
  • Sleep sleep sleep. Give your body a chance to recover. It allows rest and repair as well as relief from symptoms. 
  • Tea. I don't know if its just me that does this, but as soon as I recognise that I'm not well I go into tea overdrive: English breakfast, pure green or peppermint- you name it, I have a mug of it. While I have absolutely no idea if it has any proven medical benefits or speeds recovery time, it definitely makes me feel better. And a spoonful of honey in a cup of green tea does wonders for a sore throat.
  • Water. It seems obvious but there's no better time than when you're unwell to make sure you're getting enough water into your system. Its easy to forget to hydrate when you're constantly on the go but it is completely essential.
  • Have a night off. Its easy to be caught up in the late nights but sometimes the only thing I want is to fall asleep at 10pm watching a Disney movie. It gives your body a well needed break and you wake up fresh as a daisy (ready for those early morning lectures).
  • Time. Sometimes, time is the only cure. You're body might just need to adapt to new surroundings and new routine, and that doesn't happen overnight. Don't be afraid to just wait it out.
To sum up: have fun, but look after yourself.
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PS. I am absolutely by no means a health expert- I'm just sharing my own experience and hoping it will help. 

Friday, 19 September 2014

Autumn Fashion & Makeup Haul

I'll admit it: the prospect of starting uni as well as my excitement for autumn and poring over high street shops' websites for hours finally got to me and I went on a bit of a blow out. You might look at this and think 'you were quite restrained' or, you might be on the 'omg you got all this on one shopping trip?!' camp. For me, this is way more than I'd usually haul but in my opinion, its justified by the above reasons and by the fact it was mostly paid for by the tips I'd been saving for months. 
Apologies for the less-than-great picture quality. I thought it was better to hang what I could up so you could see it better. My camera also decided to run out of charge so today's snaps are 50% camera, 50% iPhone- eugh.

SuperdrugSleek Palette £9.99 / MUA Palette £4
Boots: Natural Collection 2 for £3.50
New Look: Coat £44.99 (£49.99 without student discount)
Primark: Pink Jumper £8 / Grey Charcoal Cardigan £12 / Grey Charcoal Shoes £4 / Grey Gold Scarf £4 / Black Chiffon Blouse £8 / Super High Waist Skinny Jeans £10

Its safe to say that I am so excited to wear all of this and be all cosy for the approaching season. I had an absolute rush of happiness the other day when I first noticed the leaves on the ground (probably also fueled by the shopping buzz).

I should probably get off to sleep now and try and rid myself of what I think is freshers flu. In all honesty I thought it was a myth/ I would definitely be immune since I'm living at home but general tiredness and a throat which feels sliced have gotten the better of me. 

If you'd like to see any Freshers/ starting uni themed posts be sure to let me know. I currently have a stationary one in the pipeline. Also leave a comment telling me what you've been hauling lately.
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