Saturday 31 May 2014

Anastasia DipBrow Pomade In Blonde

Anastasia DipBrow Pomade in Blonde - £15

In my opinion Anastasia Soare is the unrivalled queen of eyebrows. I'm obsessed with both her Tinted Brow Gels & the Brow Wiz pencils. Unfortunately we don't have any Anastasia Beverly Hills counters in the UK & therefore the selection of products available is relatively limited. BeautyBay & Cult Beauty are currently the only UK websites you can order them from. Luckily they both stock one of Anastasia's most innovative products - the DipBrow Pomades. MAC, Tarte & Laura Mercier all do similar products but if there's an Anastasia version, that's the one I'm gonna buy. If you like your brows big, bold & beautifully defined then this is the product for you.

DipBrow Pomade is a waterproof, smudgeproof creamy brow colour that offers the ultimate definition for your eyebrows. The product simply glides on and stays put all day along. It does not budge! I find it really easy to apply & it gives such an effortlessly flawless finish. The best method of application is with an angled brush. I use the Laura Mercier Double Ended Eye Brow Brush but any angled brush will do. The flat edge of the brush allows you to get a precise & clean line so your brows look perfectly groomed. I've also used the Real Techniques Silicone Liner Brush to fill in any little gaps & it works surprisingly well on my eyebrows. You can use it to get a really finely tapered tail too. Even though the Pomade beefs up my skinny brows quite a bit, they don't look overly drawn on. There's still something natural about them. The product adheres to the brow hairs for optimal definition so it gives the illusion of naturally fuller brows. To further enhance my eyebrows I like to use a bit of concealer above & below them. This makes the shape look even cleaner & is good at hiding anything your tweezers might have missed.

My one gripe about the DipBrow Pomades is that the colour range isn't quite as good as that of the other Anastasia products. The Tinted Brow Gel in Granite & Brow Wiz in Medium Ash couldn't be better matches for my cool toned blonde hair & brown eyebrows but it was much harder to figure out which DipBrow Pomade to go for. The question I see others being asked most about this product is which shade should they buy so it seems I'm not alone in my colour match confusion. After much deliberation I went for Blonde as the three brown colours were horrifically dark. Blonde looked like a transformative taupe that could be built up to suit each person, much like MAC Omega eyeshadow which is one of my favourite brow powders. There are a lot of yellow tones in Blonde though and even when I layer the product on, the colour isn't quite right. It's ever so slightly too light & too yellow when you look up close. The colour is a warm taupe rather than the ashy taupe I was hoping for so it would be better suited to those with natural blonde hair. It's still fairly dark though so I'm glad I didn't go for one of the brown colours. I feel like I would need to mix Blonde & Dark Brown to get my perfect colour. Instead I've been using Blonde as a base & then I go over any lighter bits with a brow powder or pencil. That way I still get the smudgeproof clean finish of the DipBrow Pomade but the colour is slightly improved.

If colour matching isn't an issue for you then I couldn't recommend these enough! No matter how rubbish your natural eyebrows are these creamy gels can sculpt them to perfection. These pots of colour are incredibly pigmented so you only need to use tiny amount each time. I love the luxurious looking glass jar it comes in, Anastasia's packaging always looks gorgeous. They're well worth the £15. If you're after immaculately defined eyebrows without looking like you've gone a bit mad with a Sharpie then look no further - Anastasia's DipBrow Pomades are the one.

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Friday 30 May 2014

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer - £22

There are few concealers I love more than the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer but at the minute I can't get enough of the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. Previously I'd only really been a fan of NARS Blushers, Multiples & Illuminators but I finally got round to trying some of their base products and they are all incredible. What took me so long?! The colour of the concealer I have is Chantilly which is the lightest one available. NARS describe it as a true ivory shade for the fairest complexions. It's very neutral in colour so I find that it covers redness well & balances out my skin tone. The coverage is medium to full but the texture is so light that it looks seamless on the skin. Used as a traditional concealer it covers blemishes very well. The formula is very moisturising so it's great for smoothing over bumps without emphasising dryness. Compared to Collection Lasting Perfection in Fair, it's slightly lighter & yellower. I find that the Collection concealer is better for my undereye circles as it's so high coverage & the pinker tone cancels out any discolouration in that area. I have to use a peach toned corrector first if I want the NARS concealer to look as flawless. The Collection concealer tends to look a bit cakey though & the formula is fairly dry which is what led me to trying the NARS concealer in the first place.

What I like best about this concealer is that if I'm a bit pressed for time or staying somewhere overnight, it works as a light base so I don't actually need to use foundation with it. In the above photo this concealer is all that I have used on my skin. With a tiny bit of powder under my eyes, this concealer is my go-to fast base product. I basically dot it around my skin as you would with a foundation & then blend it out using a Real Techniques Contour Brush. Although you can do this with any other liquid concealer, the creamy consistency of the NARS concealer makes it really blendable & the radiant finish stops the coverage from looking like a mask. In comparison the Collection concealer can look a bit cakey if you slap it all over your face. My skin is nowhere near perfect. I have tons of freckles, redness & scarring but this concealer alone is more than enough for my everyday makeup. I adore the luminous finish of this product. It covers pretty much anything you need to cover and still looks natural on the skin. The staying power is really great too. The only real downside is the price tag. For the cost of one NARS concealer you can buy five of the Collection concealers but I have to say that I'm a NARS convert. There's something special about this luxurious creamy formula that makes me keep on reaching for it over all my other concealers. I've never been one for 'no makeup' makeup looks but I think I might have finally cracked it thanks to this wonderful concealer.

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Sunday 25 May 2014

Marlenha Blossom Elixir

Marlenha Blossom Elixir* - £44

At this time of the year I like to switch my moisturiser to something a little lighter in texture that still has plenty of nourishing ingredients for my skin. I was recently introduced to the Italian artisan skincare brand Marlenha and their wonderful Blossom Elixir moisturiser fits the bill exactly. You might not have heard of Marlenha before because all of their products are handmade in Italy in small batches. This ensures their high quality as all of the products are formulated with ingredients of natural origin. I've been finding myself increasingly drawn to natural products & if you feel the same then Marlenha are a great brand to look into. All of their products are free from parabens, chemical preservatives, SLS, synthetic colourants & alcohol. They don't test on animals either. The Marlenha range is designed to protect & preserve your skin's natural integrity. Their boutique workshop currently produces five different products - three of these are their luxury facial moisturisers. Blossom Elixir is their signature multi-action treatment.

This face cream is suitable for use both during the day and at night which is how I've using it for the past month. It features several active natural ingredients including argan oil, rosehip, jojoba oil, extra virgin olive oil and lipomoist. Despite the plethora of oils present the texture is still incredibly light. It feels like a gel-cream hybrid. The moisturiser sinks in really quickly and visibly plumps up the skin. Every last drop gets absorbed so it doesn't look greasy at all and acts as an excellent base for makeup. As it sinks in so well to my combination skin I feel like it would be best suited to those with normal to oily skin types. Anyone with dry skin would probably be better suited to one of the other moisturisers. Used alone it's perfect for the daytime but when I use it in the evening I add in a serum or facial oil to further boost it's hydrating powers. I love how soft & silky it makes my skin feel. I'm a big fan of rosehip oil and using this product every day has definitely helped to even out my skin tone & reduce redness. This face cream really soothes any irritation in my skin too. I always thought that argan oil was only for your hair but it's presence in this moisturiser has made my face feel so much softer. The delicate rose scent is absolutely beautiful and helps make this cream a real pleasure to use.

Overall I'm really happy with this moisturiser and I love everything it's done for my skin. At £44 for a 50ml jar this is a pretty expensive face cream. I feel like it can be justified though because this is an artisanal skincare product. It features the finest natural ingredients and everything about it has been put together by hand - including the packaging. I prefer my moisturisers in a pump bottle rather than a jar but otherwise I can't really fault it. This pot will last for ages as you only need to use a small amount for your entire face & neck. This luxury product is such a wonderful treat for your face and is sure to make your skin look & feel special on a daily basis. Marlenha products are available to buy online at

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Saturday 24 May 2014

DIY Nails Fruity Decals

DIY Nails Fruity Decals* - £6

I first tried some of DIY Nails' water activated decals back at Christmas and have been hooked ever since. I love doing my nails but I never have time to do much more than paint them with a single colour. My nail art skills aren't the best either. Polka dots, stripes & daisies are within my ability but that's about it! That's why these decals are such a brilliant idea. They're a quick and easy solution for an awesome looking manicure. No scratchy nail art pens or technical tools required. I recently got sent an incredible package of decals from DIY Nails. The ones that instantly stood out to me were these fruity designs. They're just so bright & colourful, they needed to be on my nails ASAP. For my base colour I went for Model's Own Pastel Pink. It goes really well with most of the designs but the banana is a little hard to see against it. The strawberry looks super cute though. I feel like Carmen Miranda haha!

To use these decals all you need are some scissors, a little bowl of water and a clear top coat. Just cut out the designs you wish to use, pop each one in the water for about 10-20 seconds and then slide them onto your nails. It can be a bit fiddly to begin with but once you get the hang of it, application couldn't be any simpler. I find it easiest to put the transfer at the base of the nail so you can slide the image upwards. You then have a few seconds to adjust the positioning before the design sets into place. I use a bit of kitchen roll to gently pat my nails dry and finally I apply the clear top coat. The decals sit flat on your nails but the extra layer of polish seals everything into place and makes the artwork look completely seamless.

Along with the fruity decals I received a whole host of their new designs. The cats, letters & doughnuts are my other favourites. There's even a little speech bubble with 'sashay away' written in it! This is the perfect opportunity to do some Rupaul inspired nails. At just £6 per pack you can afford to go crazy with these. Each design sheet comes with tons of decals so not only will they last for ages but you can create a totally different manicure every time. DIY Nails decals are available to buy from their online store, ASOS & Urban Outfitters. Check out the DIY Nails Instagram page for some badass nailspiration!

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Monday 19 May 2014

Don't Be Jelly

JuJu Babe Jelly Shoes In Multi Glitter & Black - £25

Who didn't own a pair of jellies back in the 90s?! They have always been one of my favourite fashion trends & I consider them to be everyday shoes rather than just beach attire. JuJu are the creators of the original British Jelly Shoe. Although every clothes store seems to be selling their own jelly shoes at the minute, I think the original is always the best. Office started stocking JuJu jellies again when I started uni. I promptly bought a pink pair of Fergies and wore them every single day. I even wore them with tights in the winter because I loved them so much. I couldn't be happier that they're back in fashion again & the Babe shoes are my new favourite. They're so comfortable & the chunky heel gives me some much needed height. I actually bought these last year from American Apparel because Office, ASOS & pretty much every other online JuJu stockist were completely out of stock. Now that we've finally had some lovely weather come our way I figured I'd get them out again & indulge in some jelly loving.

There's so many different colours available but I went for the classics - Multi Glitter & Black. I'm sure I had some similar glitter ones as a child. I kinda wish I could've gotten the Mega Glitter ones because they're insanely sparkly but nowhere had them at the time. If I had the money I'd buy a pair in every single colour. The pastels are divine. I find myself lusting after the baby blue & pink ones all the time. I know not everyone likes the socks & sandals look but I think that JuJus look amazing no matter how you wear them. The glitter ones work really well with black tights or socks because you can see the particles a bit more. I especially like wearing the black ones with some frilly ankle socks, it makes them look even cuter! Are you a fan of jelly shoes?

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Sunday 18 May 2014

Pen Nostalgia

Parker Sonnet Pearl Pink Gold Trim Slim Ballpoint Pen* - £58.99

I have a lot of nostalgia for Parker pens. Stationery has always been a geeky passion of mine. It felt like a rite of passage when my parents bought me my first fountain pen back in junior school. Of course, it was a Parker pen - a pearlescent purple Vector style. At the time I totally loved it. The pen made me feel a little more grown up & I enjoyed practicing my joined up handwriting. They were somehow really satisfying to write with. These days thinking about fountain pens brings back memories of leaky cartridges & those horrible ink eraser pens. Didn't you just hate it when your friends would borrow your pen & then the nib would adjust to their handwriting leading to hours of scratchiness? By Year 9 I'd had enough. I switched to biros and never looked back. That led onto a whole host of coloured gel pens & highlighters for revision. I love how I can relate every kind of pen to different times in my life.

I've always appreciated a good quality pen and I must've spent hundreds on them throughout the course of my design degree. Buying Prismacolor markers in every shade of grey & infinite amounts of Sharpies got rather expensive! I mainly work on my computer now using a graphics tablet but I still use pens to jot down ideas and sketch things out. New stationery bits excite me greatly, I feel like they're one of those small pleasures in life. So I was overjoyed when I was sent this utterly sophisticated Parker Sonnet ballpoint pen by Pen Heaven. I guess I'm technically considered a grown up now (really though?) so a grown up pen seems more fitting for my handbag. I had to write my first ever cheque the other day for some of Chloe's school stuff. Even though I had to ring up my mum to make sure I filled it in properly, in my mind it was another one of those adult milestones. It felt even better writing it out with my new Parker pen.

What I really like about Parker pens is how smooth they are to write with. I also note down a lot of info for my blog reviews so having a comfortable writing implement is fairly important to me. This pen features Quinkflow technology for better writing performance. Sonnet is one of Parker's signature collections and this slimline ballpoint is so pretty & feminine. I adore the pearlescent finish - just like my old fountain pen - and the rose gold detailing too. It has a twist opening mechanism and I always go for pens with black ink because it makes my notes & sketches easier to scan in. The pen came in this lovely presentation box and Pen Heaven specialise in luxury engraved pens so you're bound to find the perfect personalised present for any stationery lover. Do you get nostalgic about stationery?

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Saturday 17 May 2014

The Throwback Dress

We all have those clothes in our wardrobes that we just can't seem to get rid of. I have a hard time letting go of old clothes even if they don't fit me anymore. New Look are currently running a 'throwback dress' campaign to celebrate those wardrobe favourites you've been hoarding for years. My throwback dress has to be this pansy print tea dress from Topshop. It was from Kate Moss' first ever collection for Topshop back in May 2007. I remember staying up all night for a college deadline & I'd just finished my work as the collection launched online. I treated myself to this dress and the rest is history. I love the floral pattern & the shape is so incredibly flattering. It's actually a couple of sizes too big for me but for some reason it looks fantastic no matter how much weight I gain or lose. I've worn this countless times for evenings out but whenever the sun starts to shine it's one of those dresses I always reach for. It's still going strong after seven whole years so it was well worth the £45.

The lovely people at New Look offered me the chance to choose a 'future throwback dress' from New Look's range of dresses. As I love the style of my Kate Moss x Topshop dress I decided to go for this red floral tea dress. If something looks flattering on my figure I'm much more likely to keep it around for a long time. The colour & pattern are absolutely stunning. I don't wear a lot of red but I think that this bright tomato shade looks really nice on me - if I do say so myself! I wore it out yesterday and I got so many compliments on it. I love the little bow detailing on the shoulders and the overall quality is brilliant. It's the perfect little dress for the Summer. I simply adore it & I'm sure it'll be sticking around in my wardrobe for as long as my Kate Moss dress has! What's your throwback dress?

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Monday 12 May 2014

Daily Makeup #2

I really liked how my makeup turned out the other night. The style & colours I used complemented my 60s inspired Urban Outfitters dress beautifully. As I was going to a concert I needed to make sure that my foundation would stick around all night long. I can't get enough of the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation at the minute. I sandwiched it between a bit of Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer and Illamasqua Translucent Loose Powder. Even after hours of jumping about & dancing my base still looked perfectly matte & in place so I'd recommend getting both of those if your foundation is prone to melting. For concealer I used NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer underneath my eyes & on any blemishes. As always I went for theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer as my highlighter and then applied my favourite ever blusher - NARS Deep Throat - to add a peachy pink glow to my cheeks. Nude lips were all the rage during the 60s but I find it really hard to pull that look off. Pale skin & pale lips just makes you look ill. Instead I went for a lovely peach in the form of MAC Ever Hip Lipstick. I slicked on a bit of Lanolips Lemonaid Lip Aid* beforehand to soften my lips & add a glossy finish. It also helps to sheer out the lipstick & make it look even prettier.

Moving onto my eye makeup I didn't want to do a full on 60s eye look so I went for smokey grey eyeshadow instead. To make my eyeshadow last all night long without creasing I primed my eyelids using MAC Painterly Paint Pot. I used a couple of shades from the Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette - Verve all over my eyelid & then Pistol on the outer corners, blended into the crease & under my bottom lashes. I still really like the Yves Rocher Volume Vertige Mascara* so I layered it up for thick, voluminous lashes. I wanted to do a fairly thin line of liquid eyeliner so I used L'Oreal Superliner Perfect Slim & added a little flick at the ends. My eyes are pretty tiny so I always use a nude eyeliner on my waterline to make them look a bit bigger. MAC Chromagraphic Pencil in NC15/NW20 is the ultimate. Finally I filled in my eyebrows using Anastasia DipBrow Pomade. This stuff doesn't budge whatsoever & delivers intense definition to your brows. To make them look a bit more natural I used a combo of Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel & MAC Clear Brow Set. These helped to bring out the individual hairs so my brows didn't look completely drawn on. Let me know what you think!

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Saturday 10 May 2014

Yuko Phitenbella Shampoo & Conditioner

Yuko Phitenbella Shampoo & Conditioner* - £25

Whenever I get my hair done I like to change up the products I'm using to see if something different can help to repair all the bleaching damage. Recently I've been using this shampoo & conditioner set from Yuko & I'm pretty wowed by the results! Yuko is a Japanese hair care brand best known for their permanent hair straightening treatments which straighten hair without damage. To complement their salon services they launched a home hair care range with different products for each hair type. The Bella products are aimed towards those with chemically treated hair. It doesn't matter if you've had a Yuko straightening treatment or not, you can still use this shampoo & conditioner. If your hair is dry, thin, brittle, colour damaged or heat treated then these products would be perfect for you. This set normally costs £25 but Baobella Boutique currently have it on offer for just £9.99.

In another post I mentioned that I only wash my hair once a week. To those of you asking how, well when your hair is as bleached as mine is, it tends to stay very very dry. A bit of Bumble & Bumble's Dryspun Finish helps things along too! Of course when I do wash it I need to use something quite clarifying to remove all the product buildup. The Phitenbella shampoo leaves my hair feeling squeaky clean. Clarifying shampoos aren't the friendliest of products for those with chemically treated hair but this one is different as it's so gentle. The shampoo is clear & has a light pleasant scent. You only need a tiny bit because it lathers up so well. It features proteins & collagen to revitalise damaged hair. Protein is important in haircare because it helps to strengthen the hair strand reducing breakage, while the collagen smooths frizz & brings out shine. Since I started using this shampoo my hair feels much fuller from root to tip. It really helps to keep it big & bouncy after a blow dry. The ends feel so thick & I've had fewer split ends. My ends normally gets quite straggly if I get my roots bleached without a haircut afterwards but these products have really helped to minimise the damage.

The treatment conditioner is really thick & creamy. It contains nourishing jojoba oil and keratin which penetrates & fills damaged parts of hair. This makes your hair feel stronger and look shinier too. I love the intense glossiness this product brings to my locks. It's notoriously difficult to make bleached hair look healthy but this stuff manages it. Admittedly it doesn't make my hair feel as soft as some other intensive conditioners I've tried but all the other benefits more than make up for it, especially when I can just pop some hair oil on the ends for softness. When I use this treatment my hair looks sleeker but the conditioner doesn't weigh it down at all. I really like the balance these products bring to my hair. Even though they're hydrating & repairing my hair they also give it lots of body & volume. My hair has never looked so full of life. I would thoroughly recommend this range for anyone with chemically damaged hair. Have you tried anything from Yuko before?

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Friday 9 May 2014

Fall At Your Feet

Dress - Urban Outfitters / Jacket - Primark / Shoes - Vans / Necklace - Notonthehighstreet* / Bracelet - H&M
Rings - Topshop / Watch - Michael Kors / Brooches - Helpless Romantic & Stolen Thunder

Last Sunday I travelled down to Sheffield for an event I've been waiting ten whole years for - MCBUSTED. In all honestly I probably haven't listened to either Busted or McFly during that time but both bands will always hold a very special place in my heart. I'm sure I've mentioned my teenage stalking of them many times before. I even went to see James' musical Loserville in Leeds a couple of years ago. Nothing can compare to seeing them all live on stage together again though. Gotta admit, I did miss Charlie a teeny tiny bit but the show was completely amazing! They played so many good songs & I was happy that the ratio of Busted to McFly songs was in the former's favour. I especially liked the UFO performances because it was right near our seats. I had such a blast & I cannot wait for the much promised McBusted album. I was quite tempted to get a tour book but I ended up just getting a wristband from the merch stand because I spent most of my money on booze. £15 for 3 drinks?! I thought we were in Yorkshire!

So this what I wore for the concert. I spotted this dress in Urban Outfitters in Leeds a couple of weeks ago & snapped it up right away. I loved the combo of different sized gingham patterns & the collar adds such a cool 60s vibe to it. I go through phases of loving everything in Urban Outfitters & then not liking a single thing. At the moment I want so many things from there. I found this dress by Little White Lies on their website that Kay Hanley from Letters To Cleo wore on an episode of Parks & Rec. It's such an adorable vintage style Summer dress that's a bit 90s Courtney Love-esque. I'd best get saving my pennies for it! The Sheffield Motorpoint Arena was absolutely boiling inside so I'm glad I only took my thin leather jacket from Primark. This is one of my favourite items of clothing ever. It only cost me £10 & I've had it for yeeeeears. I decided to wear my Vans because I wanted to be comfy with all the dancing & jumping about. I'm pretty sure I spent most of the concert jumping up & down. It wouldn't have been right if I hadn't done a Busted-style jump or two!

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