Friday, 24 February 2012

Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice

Top - Topshop / Skirt - H&M / Necklace - Topshop / Bracelet - Girlprops / Rings - Urban Outfitters

I am a little bit obsessed with leather skirts right now. I bought both the skater & pleated style ones from H&M at the beginning of the year and I find myself wearing them constantly. I think they're both really versatile and add a cool edge to an outfit. Today I've paired the skater style one with this stripey top from Topshop. I saw one of the sales assistants in the Manchester Arndale store wearing this last month & have wanted it ever since. I definitely look a bit Beetlejuicy, especially with my white blonde hair. Hopefully I look a bit more put together than him though haha!

My boyfriend had a week off work recently and we spent most of it eating. Think we went through about 4 packs of steak! Needless to say my face looks a bit pudgy. I actually put on 4lbs in one week! Last week I was very luckily contacted by Jenny Craig who offered to send me a 14 day trial of their programme. I jumped at the chance and after speaking with my consultant on Wednesday I did my first day of the diet yesterday. It all seems really easy so far and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the food is delicious. Yesterday I had chocolate cereal for breakfast, chorizo & bean soup for lunch, then chicken tikka for dinner. Heres hoping that the rest of the meals are just as good & that I manage to shift the weight I put on by doing it! I'll let you know how I get on.

The lipstick I'm wearing is one of the Urban Decay Super-Saturated High Gloss Lip Colours. This neon pink colour is called Crush. I love the formula of these as they're really long lasting and glossy without being sticky. This colour is just so bright, I couldn't resist it. Its fairly warm toned compared to most neon colours so I'd liken it to an even brighter version of MAC Impassioned. On another note I'm totally loving my foundation today. I bought the Barry M white foundation creme yesterday and mixed it with my Estee Lauder Double Wear in Shell. Hello perfect colour match! Totally recommend it if your foundation is a bit dark for you. Huge thanks to Amy for the awesome tip!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Real Techniques Brushes

I've been watching the Pixiwoo channel on YouTube religiously for the past two years. I think that this was the first of their tutorials that I watched because I love both Illamasqua & Courtney Love. I feel like I've become better at applying makeup just from watching the ways that Sam & Nic apply theirs. Like many people I look forward to their next video more than I do for anyone else I'm subscribed to. So of course when Sam announced that she would be releasing a new range of makeup brushes I was really excited to try them out. I have waited a long time before buying these because as much as I love the girls, I wasn't sure if they were just cashing in on their 'guru' status or had actually produced a good range of brushes. It seemed a bit odd that in their videos they had suddenly switched from mainly using MAC or Louise Young brushes to the Real Techniques ones but their makeup looked brilliant all the same. So after watching tons of videos I finally bit the bullet and purchased the brushes that they use the most. I went for the Starter Set, Core Collection & Stippling Brush.

This is the Starter Set and it contains five eye brushes. I probably wouldn't have bought this set if it weren't for the inclusion of the Deluxe Crease Brush as I already have enough eyeshadow brushes. In their videos this brush is almost always used for blending in concealer. This is also what I use the brush for. The brush head is well rounded so it fits into all the crevices under my eyes & around my nose. Its works just as well on other areas around the face. One of the things I love about all the Real Techniques brushes is how dense the hairs are, yet they are also very flexible and soft. The Base Shadow Brush is a pretty generic fluffy eyeshadow brush but because its made of synthetic hair it works really well with creamier products such as primer or MAC Paint Pots. I use this to apply my MAC Painterly Paint Pot all over my lids before applying eyeshadow. The Accent Brush is perfect for doing detailed eye work. I use it to add highlighter to the inner corners of my eyes. None of my other eyeshadow brushes were small enough for that task so I really like that brush. I don't think much of the Pixel-Point Eyeliner Brush or the Brow Brush. The eyeliner brush is just a bit too thick for applying gel eyeliner. Considering the Pixiwoo sisters often opt for that super fine Louise Young eyeliner brush I was hoping they would've put out something similar. I think the brow brush is also too thick for filling in your brows so I prefer this one as a way of applying smoky eyeliner using dark eyeshadows.

One of the best brushes in the whole range has to be this Stippling Brush. It is just so brilliant at applying foundation. I wasn't sure if I needed this brush as I really love my Sigma F80 but the reviews were too good to ignore and I'm so glad I got it! The size of the brush head is similar to a MAC 130 meaning its big enough to buff foundation into the skin fairly quickly yet also small enough to fit into all the contours of my face. Again the bristles are dense and soft so it feels really nice against my skin. One of the things I like best about this brush and all the Real Techniques brushes is that not a single hair has been shed from any of them. Its worked really well with all the foundations I've tried it with and dries pretty quickly after I wash it. I'm still not really sure if its better than the Sigma F80 as they both give my foundation a flawless finish but I definitely enjoy using this brush a lot more & its a hell of a lot easier to clean.

The Core Collection is a set of four face brushes. The Contour Brush is a really great size & shape. It contours my face well but I think I still prefer to use my MAC 109 for that because it is a little bit smaller. The Taklon bristles means that it works really nicely with cream contour products such as Illamasqua's Hollow Cream Pigment & Soleil Tan De Chanel. I love to use this brush for cream blusher as you can apply the product exactly where you want to before buffing it out with another brush. It also works well with cream highlighters like MAC CCB in Pearl & it makes me want to get one of the Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow highlighters even more than I already did! I've not really tried the Pointed Foundation Brush much as I don't get on with flat foundation brushes. This one is absolutely tiny and it makes me think it would take a longer time to apply my makeup with it. I have used this to apply highlighter with precision and I think the size is really nice for that. I use the Detailer Brush as a lip brush and it does apply lipstick really evenly. Its brilliant for applying Sleek Pout Paints or OCC Lip Tars. I was in dire need of a new lip brush as the hairs on my old MAC one are all splayed out. This one keeps its shape very nicely even after washing. The Buffing Brush is another one thats great for applying foundation. I use this to buff in my foundation after using the stippling brush, blend my blusher into my cheeks better & to powder my skin. It works with all different kinds of foundation from tinted moisturisers to mineral powders. All the of the Real Techniques brushes are multi-purpose so you can use them for whatever you want. This is the set I would probably buy a double of because all of these brushes can be used for so many different things.

To be honest I don't think much of the black cases that come with the sets. I've just chucked mine in a drawer and thats where they'll probably stay. I also don't really see the need for the black bases that allow the brushes to stand unsupported as my brushes tend to stay in pots or in my brush roll. Otherwise I do like the brush handle design, they fit nicely in my hand and I think the colour coding for brush type is a really good idea. I like the outer packaging too and despite the fact that they're tucked away in the bottom corner of the brush stand in my local Boots, they were easy to spot from the packaging.

I ordered my brushes from Love Makeup as the prices were a bit cheaper than RRP, similar to what they were recently selling for at IMATS. I paid £50 including delivery for these 10 brushes, thats £5 per brush! I think thats an incredible bargain considering how good these brushes are and that I've paid £30 for just one MAC brush in the past. There are some real gems in this collection and I look forward to applying my makeup with them each day. Real Techniques are launching soon in many Boots stores across the UK. They've been in the Huddersfield branch for the past two weeks so I've been really tempted to buy the blush brush too. I do already have quite a few MAC & Sigma brushes though so I only wanted to get brushes that were unique. But if you're looking for some quality makeup brushes that won't break the bank, you need these in your life.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Diet Mountain Dew

Blouse - Primark / Skirt - H&M / Necklace - Topshop

Yesterday I finally got my hair done. My roots hadn't been bleached since October so it was well overdue! I went to Cutting Room Creative in Leeds like always as they are colour specialists & I've had complete nightmares in the past with other expensive salons turning my roots bright orange (cough Vidal Sassoon are utterly shit cough). This time we went for a new toner called Iced Milkshake in an attempt to make it a bit greyer and I think its quite a pretty colour. I'm still tempted to dye it pastel pink but Andy said he wouldn't take me out for a meal on Valentine's Day if I did, boo! I'll just do it the week after haha. I also had it cut into a long bob because my ends were just so dry & raggedy. Its a bit shorter than I would've liked but it definitely needed a major cut. My stylist put a new Kerastase serum called Fibre Architecte on the ends of my hair which was really lovely. Its the perfect parter to the Kerastase Ciment Thermique as its meant especially for really damaged brittle hair. I've just ordered a bottle in the hopes it will prevent my previous hair situation from happening again.

I wore this blouse from Primark which my mum bought for me when she visited earlier this week. I love the puffy shoulders, I think they make it look really ladylike. Its got a random extra layer of material which gives it a babydoll effect when worn untucked. I got this skirt from H&M last month as I had a £5 off voucher. You can't really tell in the pictures but its pleated chiffon. It was snowing when I left the house so I wore my Doc Martens. I only really wear them in the snow because they're the only shoes I can wear in bad weather without falling on my arse. I should wear them more because they go with so many outfits. I bought them when I went to New York a few years ago and they were on sale for $50. At the time this worked out as £35, I do love a good bargain!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

January Favourites

Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush
I got a couple of the Real Techniques sets at the beginning of January and have been using them every day since then. I'm gonna do a post about them in full but for now lets just say I cannot recommend them enough. My favourite out of all the brushes I got is the Deluxe Crease Brush. This is the most perfect brush for applying your under eye concealer. I've never gotten on with flat concealer brushes & found that the MAC & Sigma brushes that most people recommended for blending concealer didn't work well enough & shed loads of hairs. It makes blending so easy & because the brushes are synthetic they work so incredibly well with cream products such as concealers. I'd kinda fallen out of love with my Bobbi Brown concealer, preferring to just use the Corrector instead, but this brush has breathed new life into it. Not a single hair has been shed from this brush or any of the Real Techniques brushes for that matter. It also works really well for defining your crease, making 60s style eye makeup so simple to do.

Philosophy The Present
I already raved about this in my primer overview post but this has definitely been the best product that I've discovered recently. It just makes every about applying foundation completely effortless & leaves your skin looking smooth & flawless. My face looks noticeably better whenever I use this so I don't think I could be without this primer from now on.

Philosophy Cinnamon Buns Shower Gel
I thought that nothing would ever top Lush's Snow Fairy shower gel for a bit of in shower aromatherapy but I was very very wrong. It turns out that theres a reason so many shower gel companies are copying the bottle & design style of the Philosophy bottles - its because they're frigging amazing! I adore the smell of cinnamon rolls & this shower gel captures that perfectly. Its like you've walked into a Cinnabon whilst still in the shower. They really need to open a UK store outside of bloody Picadilly Circus because the ones in Starbucks & Tesco just aren't good enough! The front of the bottle even includes a recipe so you can make your own cinnamon rolls which I'm very tempted to try out.

Origins Super Spot Remover
Despite using my Clarisonic I still get a few hormonal spots along my jawline. I've heard lots of good things about this spot treatment & when I saw that it was available on BuyaPowa for just £8.50, I snapped it up. The bottle is so cute & tiny but a little goes a long way so even paying full price for it would be justified. The smell is a little weird, like a mix between witch hazel & rosemary. The cooling gel feels very tingly which I like because to me that means you can feel it working on your skin. It really does help to get rid of spots very quickly, pretty much overnight in my case.

Kerastase Masquintense Cheveux Fins
Another bargain from BuyaPowa. I got this for just £16 including postage. Not bad considering you'd normally pay about £25 for it. I'm currently waiting for my next hair appointment (after having to cancel it twice grr...) and felt like my hair could do with some pampering before and after my next round of bleach. I've only used this a couple of times so far but the pot is pretty small for the price so I'm probably only gonna get about six more washes out of it. I've been leaving this in my hair for a couple of hours before washing it out and it leaves my hair feeling a lot stronger and softer with minimal frizz. It doesn't weigh down my hair at all and the smell is really nice too. Its a good investment to make if, like me, you do torturous things to your hair.

Sainsbury's Popping Candy & Coconut Chocolate Spreads
I'm one of those people who often resorts to eating Nutella with a spoon when in desperate need of a chocolate fix. So imagine my delight when I saw these on the shelves of Sainsburys! Both are fabulous on toast or crumpets but I think I prefer the coconut one. It tastes pretty much like melted Bounty bars. I can imagine it working brilliantly as a ready-made cupcake frosting.

I prefer to watch American TV shows on my laptop than whatever is on Sky. All my fave shows finished for Christmas so I had literally nothing left to watch. I'd often seen Community mentioned on Oh No They Didn't and was always intrigued by it so I decided to download the first season. The show is kinda hard to describe but the basic plot is about a study group at a community college. They're all a bit mental really & have a penchant for clever pop culture references. Its one of the funniest shows I've watched in a long time & each character has been perfectly cast. I am so in love with Joel McHale and you might recognise one of the other main characters as the rapper Childish Gambino. I downloaded the second and third seasons too which are even better. For me & my boyfriend its become one of those shows that you mention & quote in every day life. Sadly its been put on hiatus in the middle of season three which is why we need to save the show!

Unbearable Lightness
This book was written by the actress Portia De Rossi about her struggles with being gay & eating disorders. I loved her character in Arrested Development & enjoyed Sirens & Ally McBeal but I'd never really paid much attention to her otherwise. I'm not sure why but I often find myself reading books about self-destructive behaviour & mental health issues. Maybe because I identify with it in some strange way. The book is a really sad read as you can feel her desperation. Shes so open and honest about how she felt at the time which I found quite inspirational. Its a really compelling book & I did find it hard to put down. Portia De Rossi is a wonderful writer and I think shes very brave to put all of this out there. I'm now onto reading Damned by Chuck Palahniuk who is my favourite author. I've only read about a quarter of it but its pretty good so far so I'd recommend that too.