Sunday 29 April 2012

More Real Techniques Brushes

Ever since I tried my first sets of Real Techniques brushes I have been completely in love with the range. They are so high quality yet really affordable. Nearly all of my MAC, Sigma & ELF brushes have been replaced by Real Techniques ones. Unlike my high end brushes, not a single hair has been shed from any of them which is something that has always been a source of great annoyance when applying my makeup. After writing my first review I also went out and bought the powder brush & blush brush because I was that impressed with the brushes I had already purchased. I love both of these too. So you can imagine my excitement when it was recently announced that three new brushes were being added to the range - the fine liner brush, the expert face brush & the setting brush.

I remember being really disappointed with the eyeliner brush included in the starter set. It was way too thick & nothing like the eyeliner brushes that Pixiwoo use in their tutorials. I feel like this fine liner brush was brought out almost as a replacement for that other brush. This brush gives you the ability to draw super thin lines & have brilliant control over your eyeliner. I've tried it with MAC Blacktrack as well as using it in conjunction with my new Illamasqua Sealing Gel and it works so well. You can really get into all those tiny gaps between your lashes with the fine liner brush leaving no annoying bits of skin showing. This is everything I wanted the brush in the starter set to be as it is more akin to the Louise Young brush that I often notice the Chapman sisters using.

The buffing brush from the core collection set has fast become one of the most popular brushes in the Real Techniques range. But it seems that one of the gripes that people had about it was that you can only purchase it in that particular set. This meant you would have to shell out another £20 if you just wanted another buffing brush. The expert face brush seems to be the solution to that problem. This one retails at £10 making it a lot more affordable. It is very similar to the buffing brush in that they both flawlessly buff foundation into your skin. The main difference is that the expert face brush has a smaller brush head which is slightly flatter on two sides. The bristles are shorter and a bit more densely packed. This brush is supposed to be better for applying cream foundation. I recently purchased the new Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Compact foundation and this brush is the perfect partner for it. It also works great with all the other liquid foundations that I use on rotation. I really like this brush, I'd dare say that its even better than the buffing brush. I find that the smaller size means that it is easier to buff foundation into all the different contours of your face. It really helps to achieve the flawless streak-free finish that everyone desires.

Finally we have the setting brush. This fluffy brush is used for setting your makeup in precise areas such as underneath your eyes. It can also be used for applying highlighter. I've been after a brush like this for a while because I often don't need to powder my whole face but its essential that I powder under my eyes. I use a ton of mascara on my bottom lashes so if I forget to set my concealer I always end up with loads of black smudges on my face. I normally use a MAC 227 brush with Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder to powder under my eyes but this brush is a bit too dense for the job which can sometimes make my under eye area look a bit cakey. The new Real Techniques setting brush is so much fluffier and perfectly disperses the lightest covering of powder. It sets my makeup really nicely without that cakey effect. I tried using it with highlighter too and it works just as well for this purpose. The fluffiness of the brush helps to really blend in the highlighting powder giving your face a beautiful glow.

I'm really pleased with these new brushes. Real Techniques have added some great pieces of kit to their range and I'm excited to see what kind of brushes they come out with next. Personally I'd love a big fan brush or more styles of eyeshadow ones. I purchased mine from Beauty Chamber where I got 10% off using the code GLAMOURZOMBIE which will basically give you free shipping if you purchase all three. I'm not sure if the code is still valid, but its worth a shot! They came super quickly as I ordered them a couple of weeks ago on a Thursday night and they arrived Saturday morning. I'd definitely recommend that site if like me you can't wait for them to be released in Boots.

Monday 23 April 2012

Look Beauty Double Hit Lip

I've been wanting to try some of the Look Beauty products for quite a while now but nowhere near me was selling them. I only saw them once IRL in the Superdrug in Meadowhall but the display was half empty and everything left had already been used, ew. So as soon as I saw that they had started selling products online I made an order. One of the things that stood out to me was their Double Hit Lip. This product has two ends, one side is a lipstick and the other is a gloss. You can use either end alone or both together which is what I think produces the nicest look. I purchased three shades: Rose Riot, Citrus Kick & Pink Punch. In all of these photos I am wearing the lipstick combined with the lipgloss.

Rose Riot is a warm pink colour. You can't really tell in the photos as the gloss pretty much covers over it but the lipstick actually has a lovely golden sheen running through it. It looks like NARS Orgasm blush but in lipstick form. This one stayed on my lips for a good few hours before disappearing. I love how this colour looks on me so I can see myself wearing this shade a lot.

The one that I actually like best out of the three I got is Citrus Kick. I'm not normally a nude or coral lipstick person, I tend to stick to pinks, but this colour is so beautiful. Swatched on my hand it looks really quite orange but once applied it merges with the natural pink in my lips to create a lovely soft coral. I think this is probably the most flattering shade out of them all and I can imagine this one suiting a lot of people. The lipstick itself is very moisturising & somewhat similar to the Revlon Lip Butters or MAC's glaze formula. This one didn't last very long on me though, it seems to be a lot sheerer than the other two colours.

Pink Punch is a neon blue-toned pink. Its ridiculously bright & not for the faint hearted. I think the lipstick colour is quite similar to Barry M 62 but in a much nicer formula. Its far more moisturising & really glides on. This one stayed on my lips the longest & even after the gloss wore off, there was still a slight pink stain. It wears really well in that you don't get patchy lips once it starts to fade.

Overall I really like these lip products, the colours are just so lovely. The lipgloss has the most gorgeous vanilla scent which might be overpowering to some people but I think its divine. The gloss doesn't feel sticky on my lips either. I don't find them to be particularly long lasting which might be due to the gloss on top but they will stay a couple of hours before needing re-application. I like the colours I chose so much that I'm happy to top up with them throughout the day. The only real bad point I can think of is it that it doesn't seem like you get a lot of lipstick in the tube. The bullet looks really small compared to my other lipsticks but I suppose its probably to make room for the gloss half. They only cost £7 each though so that price for what is essentially two products seems pretty decent to me. You can purchase these from certain branches of Superdrug or from the Look Beauty website.

Saturday 21 April 2012

All Of My Heart

T-shirt - River Island / Skirt - H&M / Bracelets - Topshop & Wired Jewellery

I can't seem to shake my affinity for pink & black clothes right now. I think its probably because pink is one of the few bright colours that I'm comfortable with wearing. Plus it goes so well with my hair haha. To be completely honest I'm getting a bit bored of the pink now! I think I might go back to blonde or just have a bit of pink ombre at the ends instead. I used to change my hair colour all the time but I'm pretty happy just being blonde. I'd been lusting after this t-shirt in River Island for months. I just love the huge bow! It was a good job I held off buying it because a few weeks ago it was reduced to £7 in their sale. I still really love my pleated leather skirt from H&M. Everyone should own one. I'm trying to wear it as much as possible now because I know I won't wear it at all once its Summer!

I've started back on Jenny Craig this week. I had quite a bit of a break inbetween my hampers because they only just got round to sending me my second one. I really missed having the food, especially the apple & cinnamon porridge which I'm having for breakfast every day. This time round I got to choose all my meals rather than them sending me a bit of everything and I'm finding I don't have the urge the snack this time. Maybe its because I know I enjoy all of the food I was sent. I asked for soup everyday too as I wasn't a huge fan of the potato or pasta pots. I must admit I have been a bit naughty today because I actually decided to make some slutty brownies! They are pretty much diet suicide but I've been desperate to make some for ages. I only had a tiny bit because they are so so sickly! At least I have another weeks worth of meals ready so I won't be straying too far from the diet. I'm also planning to start the 30 day shred on Monday because even though I've lost weight I still feel unfit. Hopefully I'll manage to get further than day 14 this time!

Sorry its taken me a while but its finally time to announce the results of my 1000 followers giveaway! I put all the entries into a list and used to generate the two winners. Congratulations to... Amey Jane & Natasha! I'll be in touch very soon :)

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Illamasqua Human Fundamentalism Collection

Last month I was invited to view the new Human Fundamentalism collection at Illamasqua Leeds. The campaign images for this collection are some of the boldest yet & celebrate individuality through bright colours. The ethos behind Human Fundamentalism is that you shouldn't be afraid to express who you are through your image. "Human Fundamentalism is an explosion of your alter ego. It's becoming who you are and not who you're told to be. Beauty isn't conformity, but the fundamental human desire to express your inner self on the outside." Its so refreshing to hear that kind of message from a beauty brand. At the event we got to play about with all of the new products whilst pigging out on fizz wizz and strawberry milkshake, yum! I loved the look of the Neutral Palette and the teal lipstick 'Apocalips'. Before that night I couldn't say that teal lipstick was something that I ever would've considered wearing but the imagery that the creative team put together totally sold it to me. The 'reverse Marilyn' image is entirely composed of colours that are the opposite of what we're used to seeing. I think it looks just as beautiful as the usual black liner & red lips. I bet the lipstick would look amazing on a night out. The false lashes were even dyed blue using one of the Illamasqua nail polishes, how cool is that?!

At the end of the event we were all given a lovely goodie bag containing this cute wicker box, a brochure & price list. The box was filled with several product samples, black paper, feathers & some more of those yummy sweets. As a graphic designer I really love the aesthetic of the Illamasqua brochures. I have a collection of some of the past ones stashed in my room. The white faced girl is definitely my favourite complete look from the new campaign. The colours on her eyes & cheeks remind me of a mango. I'd love to have a go at doing my blusher like that. Here you can see the whole of the new eyeshadow range. I really like the look of the pink one which is called Cancan. The white Precision Ink is definitely on my wishlist. Some of the girls at the event were wearing it and you'd be surprised at how normal it looks. It definitely works as a cool alternative to the traditional black.

I was given two of the new eyeshadows & a pot of the Sealing Gel. The brown one is called Vernau & the green one is called Pivot (the name 'Pivot' just makes me think of that episode of Friends!). Vernau looks really lovely when used in the crease, its a great matte shadow for blending out a smokey eye. It also works as an eyebrow colour. I love how bright Vernau is. I used to wear green eyeshadow every day when I was younger and its one of the few bright colours that I'm comfortable with on my eyes. I can see myself wearing this a lot. I probably wouldn't have bought these myself but nonetheless I do really like them. The Sealing Gel is absolutely amazing and is something I've been after for a long time. Just a tiny drop of this stuff can turn any powder eyeshadow into a waterproof eyeliner. I've tried mixing this with my MAC Carbon eyeshadow and it works a treat. I'd definitely recommend getting this item.

I was also gifted the lovely purple nail polish called Stance but I just couldn't resist buying Nomad for myself. Its such a wonderful bright jade green colour and the two colours go so well together. I managed to get Nomad for £10.50 from BuyaPowa & I think its currently listed again in the coming soon section so keep an eye out! Both of these colours are pretty much opaque in one coat and like all of Illamasqua's nail polishes, they apply beautifully. The new Precision Ink in Scribe can also be used as a nail art pen. Inspired by this I decided to do some stripey nails. I just used my Models Own x Wah Nails white nail art pen & considering I've never done stripey nails before I think they came out pretty well. I did the thumbs first with one of the Topshop nail art pens & it was just a dry streaky mess so thats why those ones look a bit different haha.

I always enjoy seeing the latest products that Illamasqua have to offer so huge thanks to Hayley & Alex for inviting me to this event. Its fab to see a company with so many innovative products in a vast array of colours. Thats what makes Illamasqua one of my favourite makeup brands. Have you picked up anything from the Human Fundamentalism collection?

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Keep Or Return: Topshop Kerb2 Leather T-Bar Shoes

Topshop Kerb2 White / Topshop Kerb2 Pink

I have wanted a pair of t-bar mary janes for such a long time. I'm sure some of you will remember those Clarks Magic Step shoes from when you were younger. They came with a key that could turn a lock in the bottom of your shoes to reveal some pictures on the sole. I used to have a pair when I was a little girl and I really wish Clarks would bring them back, at least then I could get a pair for Chloe! When I spotted these on the Topshop website it was love at first sight. They instantly reminded me of those awesome Clarks shoes. They come in several different styles but I really couldn't decide between the white leather & pink leather pairs. My local Topshop didn't have them in store for me to try on so I figured I would just order them online & then I could return one of them. They arrived this morning and I'm having the hardest time choosing! They both look so cute but at £60 a pair, I can only really afford to keep one of them. I feel like the white would be more versatile because they would go with everything but the pink ones are ever so lovely too. Which is your favourite? Or do you think I should bite the bullet and keep both?

The frilly socks I'm wearing are also from Topshop. They were 3 for £8 so I couldn't resist getting them in every colour. I love this socks & shoes combo, I think its absolutely perfect for Spring. I probably look like a five year old wearing these with the Kerb2 shoes but I love them anyway!

Monday 9 April 2012

March Favourites

John Frieda Full Repair Heat-Activated Styling Spray
I recently invested in the whole of the new John Frieda Full Repair range as I've read so many good reviews about it. Plus it was 3 for 2 in Boots so it would've been rude not to! I love the deep conditioner as it makes my hair feel amazing but the real star of the show has to be the styling spray. You basically spray this all over your hair after towel drying and after using heat tools on it your hair is left feeling very soft & looking very shiny. It really helps to keep your style in place all day. I blow dry my hair & use my Babyliss Big Hair styler every time I wash my hair so using heat activated products means I can still use these tools without having to worry about excessive heat damage. I highly recommend the whole range.

Good Things Deep Pore Anti Blemish Cleanser
I read about this product on Jennie's blog and I immediately went out and bought it. Its kind of a hybrid cleanser/toner product. This stuff smells absolutely incredible which makes it a real pleasure to apply. I like my toners to have a bit of oomph to them and my Liz Earle one didn't seem to be doing much to my skin anymore other than refreshing it. I really like using this because its pretty much a lazy girl's cleanser. When I can't be bothered with washing my face properly at night I remove the bulk of my makeup using Bioderma then I use this afterwards. You just put some on a cotton pad and wipe it on your face. You can see all the dirt coming off in the cotton pad so its easy to tell when all the makeup has gone. I find this has really helped to clear up my skin and although it might seem a bit harsher than other toners it doesn't dry out my skin at all.

Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré
I only got this stuff a week ago but it was love at first application. I felt that my Dermalogica Active Moist wasn't doing as much to my skin anymore as I still had dry patches if I didn't use a primer or serum under my foundation. I've heard a lot about this product and Sam from Pixiwoo always uses it so I figured it must be good. It hydrates my skin beautifully, evening out my dry and oily patches. Its very comforting & soothing on my skin and leaves you with a perfect base for makeup. I got mine from Screenface where it was £20 for 75ml including shipping.

Estée Lauder Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher
I've recently become really interested in serums as I felt my skin could do with a bit of a boost. I'm a big fan of Estée Lauder products so I figured I'd give their Idealist serum a go. You apply a couple of pumps of this to your skin before your moisturiser in the morning. This works as a primer for your foundation as well as making your skin feel really nice. It does minimise my pores and helps to get rid of any dry patches because it aims to resurface your face. It has also helped to fade acne scars I have. Its really expensive so I don't know if I would repurchase it but I do really like using it. It has definitely helped my skin out a lot but I think I might just stick to putting some Advanced Night Repair into my moisturiser instead.

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair
This stuff is simply amazing. I often buy Estée Lauder products so I've always had tons of samples of this floating about the house from those gift with purchase deals. I kinda dismissed this product as I only bothered using it once before and I didn't really notice a difference then. Recently my skin has been a little bit on the dry side so I went through my drawers looking for samples of serums to mix into my moisturiser at night. I used this every night for about a week and it made my skin feel really soft & look even toned. It has also helped to get rid of any spots I had as well as stopping the appearance of new ones. I think this serum is mainly meant for anti-aging properties so thats an added bonus, hopefully I won't get any wrinkles if I keep using it! I've since gone through two of the little samples bottles and I purchased a 30ml bottle from BuyaPowa. I heard that theres a small amount of this stuff mixed into the new Estée Lauder Invisible Fluid foundation (which I am also loving) so if you use that you can keep on reaping the benefits throughout the day. Either that or mix a couple of drops in with your moisturiser before you apply any foundation. This stuff is definitely worth its price tag and I don't think I could go without it now. I'd recommend getting this over Idealist but they do work brilliantly together if you're wanting a different serum for day and night.

Revlon Lip Butters
I've gone a bit mad with the current 3 for 2 offer in Boots. The hype won me over and I finally managed to grab some of the Revlon Lip Butters. I have never bought any makeup from Revlon before, their products just never appealed to me. But these are something else! They're more like a moisturising lipstick than a lip balm. They all have excellent colour payoff and give my lips a lovely sheen. They wear really nicely & fade evenly leaving a subtle stain on my lips. I picked up Strawberry Shortcake, Peach Parfait & Sweet Tart. None of the other colours really appealed to me so I can't imagine myself buying any more of these but I really love the colours I got. I've not worn anything else on my lips since I got these and for someone with a rather extensive lipstick collection thats quite an achievement.

Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 Hour Eyeshadows
Another extremely hyped product. These cream eyeshadows are great worn on their own or as an eyeshadow base. They don't crease on my eyelids at all and last until I take my makeup off at night. I picked up the colours Eternal Gold, On And On Bronze & Permanent Taupe. My fave is definitely the bronze one, it looks so lovely on its own. I would definitely get some more of these. I really want the white or silver to use as an inner corner highlight but all the point of sale stands I've seen only have four slots which have these three colours and then either the grey, blue or purple. Hopefully they'll release the rest of the colours soon.

Twinings Green Tea*
In my kitchen I have a whole cupboard filled with loads of different varieties of tea. Most people seem to think I'm a bit odd for preferring herbal teas over a regular cuppa. I think its mainly down to the health benefits they provide plus they taste great and only contain like 1 calorie. I remember chugging down raspberry tea to help bring on labour when I was nearing the end of my pregnancy and I always have copious amounts of echinacea tea whenever I'm poorly. My all time favourite herbal tea is Twinings Pure Peppermint. Its just so refreshing and it really helps to calm my stomach. I've had at least one cup of it every day for the past five years.

I was recently contacted by Twinings to see if I'd be interested in trying out some of their new green tea range. I'm already a big fan of green tea, I love the taste and its no secret that it can help to boost your metabolism. Its also full of natural antioxidants. I'd only ever had plain green tea so I was really interested to try some of the new flavours. My local Sainsbury's only had a few of the new range but I decided to try the Pomegranate Green Tea & Jasmine Green Tea. Both have a definite green tea taste but are very different. The pomegranate smells divine and tastes slightly fruity whereas the jasmine is a lot more delicate and floral. I think I prefer the jasmine one because it tastes exactly like the wonderful jasmine tea you get in Chinese restaurants. I'd love to try some of the other flavours. The mango & lychee and pineapple & grapefruit green teas sound especially nice.

If you want to try some Twinings tea for free then you can get two free samples by 'liking' the Twinings Facebook page. I'd suggest picking the Pure Peppermint & Pure Camomile, they are definitely my teas of choice.