Thursday 1 December 2016

November Favourites

Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum
I can't believe I haven't mentioned this perfume in one of my monthly favourites posts before! Along with the Chloe Eau de Parfum, Flowerbomb is definitely one of my signature scents. I didn't want to buy a new bottle until I had finished off all the other perfumes that I didn't like as much. Anyway I recently got round to repurchasing it & couldn't be any happier. I love Flowerbomb because it's really floral & sweet but still quite sexy at the same time. The fragrance contains top notes of tea & bergamot, middle notes of jasmine, orchid, freesia & rose, with base notes of patchouli & vanilla. Plus it's an EDP so the scent lasts all day long. Something about this perfume just makes me feel really confident. From now on the original Flowerbomb & Chloe perfumes are the only ones for me!

Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Celestial
I've wanted to get my hands on these illuminating drops for so long & I finally managed to get a bottle from House Of Fraser, hooray! This liquid highlighter is one of the most stunning products ever. It literally looks like liquid metal on your skin. I got the shade Celestial which is slightly pink toned but if you want a more golden finish then Moonlight is a beautiful colour to go for. I like to mix this in with my foundation for an all over glow & I also apply it on top of my cheekbones using a Beautyblender. I like my highlight to look as metallic as possible so finding this product was a dream come true. I normally go for powder highlighters because liquid & cream products always disturb my base but the Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops leave my foundation looking flawless & my highlight looking wet. If you ever see these in stock don't hesitate to buy a bottle because they are simply amazing.

Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick in Alabaster
Hourglass are best known for their frankly incredible Ambient Powders. I've tried a few of their other products & I've never been disappointed with any of my purchases. They recently launched their Vanish Foundation Stick & I was pleased to see that the shade range is all encompassing. They have really pale & really deep shades as well as everything in between. I picked up the shade Alabaster & it's a great match for me. I absolutely love the way this foundation looks on my skin! The finish is so smooth & poreless. It gives such good coverage & blends out like a dream. I never thought I would love a stick foundation as much as this one but it really is fab. The only real downside is that it's such an expensive product & I've already used up quite a bit of it!

NYX Dewy Finish Makeup Setting Spray
Isn't it handy having NYX in Boots now? I picked up this product on a whim after I ran out of the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray & to be honest I can't really tell the difference between them. I've become one of those people who likes to douse themselves in setting spray after applying makeup so I do run out of it quite quickly. The NYX spray was only £7 so even though the bottle is half the size of the Urban Decay one, it works out to be a lot cheaper. I went for the Dewy Finish spray as I love the look of glowing skin. It gets rid of that powdery look & makes my makeup last for longer. Although I do love Urban Decay, I think I'll stick to the NYX one in future!

Colour Cleaner
I go through different stages with eyeshadow. Sometimes I couldn't care less about it but right now I'm really into it. Since investing in a few Makeup Geek eyeshadows I've become obsessed with trying out new looks & blending everything to perfection. Good blending requires good makeup brushes & to quickly clean my brushes between shades I've been loving this product. Colour Cleaner is a knockoff version of the Vera Mona Colour Switch. The product is basically a black sponge in a tin so I felt that paying £16 for it was outrageous. I found this one on eBay for £7.50 & it works in exactly the same way. You just swipe your eyeshadow brush over the sponge & it will remove any excess pigment so that you can use another colour. It's such a simple idea but works really well. Washing your brushes has to be one of the worst beauty related tasks so this clever sponge is the perfect way to put it off for a little bit longer.

twitter / tumblr / youtube / instagram / bloglovin'

Wednesday 30 November 2016

DIY Wooden Advent Calendar

Wooden advent calendars are becoming increasingly popular at this time of year. They give you the chance to spoil your loved ones with more than just a tiny chocolate every day as you count down to Christmas. Not only are they a wonderful pre-Christmas gift, they work as a charming festive decoration for your home during the holiday season. Like every popular Christmas item, it can be difficult to get your hands on one. Aldi had a stunning calendar for only £8.99 but they sold out almost instantly & I certainly wouldn't waste £64.95 on Harrods' offering! I love getting a bit crafty at Christmastime as I think that handmade personalised gifts are the best. I decided to try my hand at making a wooden advent calendar for Chloe. Last year she had a Lego advent calendar which came with a new Lego toy every day. This year's Lego calendar didn't look like much fun so I figured I could fill a wooden calendar with toys that she'll really love instead. I think that the finished calendar looks absolutely gorgeous & just as good as something you'd buy in the shops! Here's how I made my wooden advent calendar...

Makers of lockers for schools, Action Storage sent me one of these blank wooden advent calendars from Hobbycraft & a £20 gift voucher to buy some decorative supplies. I decided early on that I wanted to do a white house with gold & silver accents. I went to Hobbycraft in Leeds & although they had plenty of the calendars still in stock, the decorations were in short supply. They had hardly any numbers available for the advent doors so the shop assistants suggested I just drew them on instead. I picked up some gold & silver Posca pens for this purpose but I found these gold stickers in Chloe's craft box at home which were the perfect size. As I only had gold numbers I decided not to include any silver elements to make the overall design more cohesive.

I started my advent calendar design by covering the entire house with white acrylic paint. I used a really cheap paintbrush which made the paint look quite streaky so I had to do two coats for full coverage. It's important to leave the doors open after painting them otherwise they can get stuck! Next I used the gold Posca pen to colour in the doorknobs. I really like these pens, the colour looks great & they dry very quickly.

Next I decided to work on the roof. I had wanted to cover it with glitter but the tubs of glitter in Hobbycraft cost about a tenner so I just used some gold glitter washi tape that I bought on Amazon instead. The lines between the tape give the effect of roof tiles so I was happy with how this turned out. I also stuck a little gold bow in the centre because I thought it looked cute!

The doors are the most important part of the calendar so I wanted them to look really good. I like simplicity in design & because there are so many elements to this calendar I didn't want to overcrowd the doors. I decided to use the glitter stars, the glitter heart buttons & the gold bows. I didn't want to bother with a hot glue gun so I used glue dots to affix all the different elements to the calendar. I then stuck on all the number stickers underneath. You get a bigger door for the 25th so I stuck on three larger stars to make it look really special.

I finished off the top section with some more stars & a couple of heart buttons to hide the wood joints. I also put Chloe's name on top of the 25th door to further personalise the design. I'm so pleased with how it turned out! It looks super cute & very Christmassy. I love anything gold & sparkly so I think the colour scheme is perfect. Chloe absolutely loves her advent calendar & she can't wait to open the first door tomorrow!

As for the contents of the calendar it's totally up to you! This calendar would be a fantastic present for any of your friends or family. You could do a beauty one with things like eyeshadow pans, lip balm & nail polish. Chloe's obsessed with things like Monster High Minis & Shopkins which both fit perfectly inside the doors. I even managed to cram in a Tsum Tsum for Christmas Day! You don't have to spends loads of money either. In some of the doors I've placed chocolate coins & mini chocolate bars but she's most excited about the toys! I really enjoyed making this calendar & it's something that I'll look forward to bringing out every Christmas with new surprises tucked behind each door.

twitter / tumblr / youtube / instagram / bloglovin'

Monday 17 October 2016

NYX Round Lipsticks

NYX Mars, Femme, Tea Rose, Spell Bound, Doll & Fire
NYX Mars, Femme, Tea Rose, Spell Bound, Doll & Fire swatches
NYX Round Lipsticks - £4

It seems like the entire beauty community has gone completely mad for matte liquid lipsticks. I love them too but more often than not I still find myself reaching for traditional lipsticks. They may not have the longevity of their liquid counterparts but that doesn't mean they're inferior in any way. My top picks for classic lipstick bullets are MAC, Charlotte Tilbury, Illamasqua & NYX. In terms of price one of these brands is not quite like the others but in my opinion NYX's formula is pretty much on par with some of my favourite MAC lippies. NYX themselves have a ridiculous collection of every kind of lip product out there but their original Round Lipsticks will always have a special place in my heart. They've been around for years but I still use them all the time. With the recent introduction of NYX stands into Boots stores around the country, I think everyone needs to try out what I consider to be the best drugstore lipstick ever. They're creamy, smooth, highly pigmented & they only cost £4 each!

NYX Round Lipstick in Mars

The first shade I have is Mars which is a gorgeous toffee coloured nude. It has just the right amount of pink to it for my complexion & is deep enough that it doesn't wash me out. This is one of my very favourites as it's just a great everyday lipstick & this particular kind of brownish pink colour is very on trend right now. Like all of the NYX Round Lipsticks that I own, this colour is opaque in just one swipe & feels very moisturising on the lips.

NYX Round Lipstick in Femme

Next we have Femme which is so bright that I don't think my camera does this colour justice! When I bought this I was hoping it would be more of an orangey red like MAC Lady Danger but it's actually a vibrant coral shade. Despite being super bright it's actually really wearable because it's not neon. The formula simply glides onto the lips with the greatest of ease & has a lovely glossy finish.

NYX Round Lipstick in Tea Rose

Another of my favourites is Tea Rose. I'm a complete sucker for baby pinks so my love for this particular lip colour should come as no surprise. I often find that light pink shades lean towards the cool side but this is a medium rosy pink that would complement a wide range of skin tones. I believe that this is one of the most popular shades in the Round Lipstick lineup & it's with good reason. Not only does it suit a lot of people but it also goes with many different makeup looks. It's beautiful & so easy to wear.

NYX Round Lipstick in Spell Bound

Out of the six NYX Round Lipsticks that I own, Spell Bound is probably my least favourite. Although it's a pretty colour, I bought these quite a while ago & hot pinks aren't really my thing anymore. I just think it looks a bit gaudy on me? Discovering that I have a cool yellow undertone has certainly made my lipstick choices more complicated! Anyway if you like bright magenta shades you'll probably love this colour. I find that Spell Bound has the glossiest finish out of all of them whereas the others have more of a satin finish.

NYX Round Lipstick in Doll

Doll is a stunning deep raspberry pink & I think it's the perfect everyday colour for Autumn. There's something about this shade that seems very sophisticated to me. I feel like Spell Bound was a colour that I could pull off better when I was younger & Doll suits me a lot more now that I'm older. NYX lipsticks have a slight floral scent to them, it's not overpowering but I can notice the smell of Doll most of all.

NYX Round Lipstick in Fire

Fire is a bold red with pink undertones. I absolutely love this colour as it really pops against my complexion. I'm actually wearing this lipstick in the picture at the top of my blog sidebar, I thought it looked so cool with my baby pink hair. One thing to note about these NYX lipsticks is that because they're so creamy, they can smudge & transfer quite easily. If you want a long lasting red lippy this might not be the one for you. It stains my lips ever so slightly & fades evenly but you definitely need to top it up throughout the day.

Have you tried NYX's bargainous Round Lipsticks before? What's your favourite colour?

twitter / tumblr / youtube / instagram / bloglovin'

Monday 3 October 2016

September Favourites

Bravura London Glycolic Acid 15% Night Treatment
Bravura London make some of my favourite skincare products. I adore their chemical peels as they are super effective but they can be a bit of a faff to use. If I'm feeling lazy I love finishing off my evening skincare routine with their Glycolic Acid 15% Night Treatment. This night cream combines a super rich moisturiser with a high percentage of glycolic acid. The cream is quite thick so you only need a small amount & have to massage it in really well. I find that it can make my skin sting a bit when first applied, especially if I have any active spots but it doesn't cause irritation or redness. After a couple of minutes it melts into the skin & makes my face feel incredibly soft. It also kills off any blemishes, clears blocked pores & fades scarring. I honestly noticed a difference after just one use as when I woke up my face was glowing. My skin has adjusted to the high acid content & I use it several times a week now. I've tried moisturisers with acids in before but none of them have been quite as effective as this one.

Foreo Luna Mini 2
I used to think that the Clarisonic was pretty awesome. However as I learned more about skincare I realised how bad it truly was for your skin. That whole 'purging' stage is a load of rubbish, the high powered brush just irritates the skin. It seems that many of the other people who used to use Clarisonics have switched to the much gentler Foreo Luna cleansing tools & I'm actually really glad that I bought one. I decided to go for the Luna Mini 2 as I liked the size of it & I figured it had all the features I needed. The Luna range is quite different to the Clarisonic as it doesn't exfoliate the skin. Instead it deeply cleanses the pores using sonic vibrations, much like an electric toothbrush. At first it didn't seem like it did too much. My skin felt softer & better cleansed but otherwise I wasn't sure I had made a good purchase. But a couple of months down the line, I have definitely noticed a difference in the texture & clarity of my skin. I will be doing a full review of the Luna Mini 2 at some point as I do have a lot to say about this product but in short, I think it's a brilliant bit of skin technology.

Jeffree Star Skin Frost in Ice Cold
If there's anyone out there who knows a thing or two about highlighting, it's Jeffree Star. His liquid lipsticks are my absolute fave so when he started teasing his Skin Frosts months & months ago on Snapchat I knew I needed them in my life. I ordered Ice Cold & Peach Goddess and while I adore them both, I tend to reach for Ice Cold a little more often. It's an intensely shimmery white highlighter with a slight hint of gold to it which makes it more wearable than BECCA Pearl. It gives the skin an almost metallic sheen & really pops on pale complexions. Highlighters are definitely my favourite makeup product in general & this one shines like no other.

CosRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
Last month I mentioned my love for the Mizon Snail Recovery Gel Cream. It's a great gateway product into the world of snail based skincare. I've had fantastic results from CosRX's products so I decided to try out their Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence & I like this one even better. Essences are kinda like serums but you apply them first to add an extra layer of hydration after your toner. It gives my skin an incredible sense of comfort, making it feel soft & juicy. It also reduces irritation & heals the skin. It spreads out easily so I only need pump for my whole face. Any more than that & my forehead can look too shiny during the day. You can use it once or twice a day depending on your skin's hydration levels so I just use it when I need to. I also really want to try out CosRX's snail moisturiser as I just can't get enough of that slime on my face!

Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer in Fair
You have no idea how long I've spent stalking the QVC website for this concealer to come back in stock but it was worth every second. This is probably one of my best purchases this year. Shape Tape is a full coverage concealer & when I say full, I mean full! It works wonders on my dark circles & covers up blemishes beautifully. The concealer blends out effortlessly & stays put all day. It doesn't look cakey or crease whatsoever. I normally have to bake my undereye area or my concealer creases like mad but a light dusting of powder does the job here. I also love how huge the bottle & wand are as it means I don't have to keep dipping it back in the tube. If you order it from QVC UK you can currently only get it with Tarte's Quickie Blending Sponge which bumps up the price quite a bit. The sponge is rubbish but I guess it still works out cheaper than ordering it from overseas. Hopefully they'll start selling it individually soon as I would most definitely repurchase this amazing concealer!

twitter / tumblr / youtube / instagram / bloglovin'

Thursday 29 September 2016

Scrub Love

Scrub Love Mint Temptation Coffee Body Scrub* - £12.95

As it's National Coffee Day I figured that this would be the perfect time to mention my latest skincare obsession. Due to my issues with acne I spend a lot of time testing out new products & working out a facial skincare regimen that is best for me. However the same cannot be said for my body. I tend to stick to the same old shower products that I know I like & won't irritate my skin. The product that I am fussiest about is body scrub. I only ever use chemical exfoliants on my face but I like something really gritty to exfoliate my body & slough off all that dead skin. I tend to go for salt based scrubs as sugar is just too gentle for me. Coffee scrubs are all the rage at the minute as this ingredient is said to be one of nature's best exfoliators with anti-inflammatory, circulation boosting, cellulite reducing & skin brightening properties. Scrub Love's coffee body scrubs are made from 100% natural ingredients that claim to banish blemishes, eczema, stretch marks, cellulite & many other common skin ailments. They sent me their Mint Temptation Coffee Body Scrub & I am completely in love with it!

The reason that coffee works so well as an exfoliant is that it can buff away dead skins cells without damaging the skin underneath. The high caffeine content stimulates circulation which promotes skin healing & the grinds in this scrub have just the right amount of grit to them for a fully satisfying scrub down. As well as the aforementioned ground coffee, this scrub is packed full of so many other wonderful natural ingredients. When choosing shower products fragrance is really important to me. I tend to go for either sickly sweet, citrus or minty scents so out of Scrub Love's current three recipes, the mint one definitely appealed to me most of all. The gorgeous scent comes from the inclusion of peppermint oil & tea tree oil which feel tingly fresh on the skin and are also natural antiseptics. One of the most exciting ingredients in this product is dead sea salt which not only aids exfoliation but is full of minerals including magnesium & potassium. When I was a kid I used to take baths filled with dead sea salt as it can really help to control eczema flareups & is beneficial for other skin problems too. Argan oil is used to bind all of the dry ingredients together & soften the skin. It is exceptionally rich in vitamin E & essential fatty acids so it will help your skin to look really healthy & glowing. The final ingredient is aloe vera which is also used to soften & moisturise the skin. It soothes dry, sensitive areas & improves skin elasticity.

To use this scrub simply take a handful of the product & gently rub it into your skin in circular motions. You can leave it on for a few minutes to work it's magic before washing it off. In the packet the scrub smells very minty but when used on the body, the scent is predominantly of coffee. After using it I smell like I've drank so many lattes that they've started to seep through my pores! Not a bad thing, unless you don't like the smell of coffee... but then why would you have bought this?! Anyway I've been using it about three times a week to keep my skin feeling super soft & looking beautifully glowy. I also like to use it on my hands & cuticles to prep them before a manicure. I've had no issues with skin irritation & it puts paid to any dry patches. I sometimes get a bit of bacne which certainly isn't very glamourous but this scrub has actually helped to clear up any sporadic blemishes. It gives my skin some of the most intense tingly feelings ever that continue long after I've finished my shower & my bathroom is left smelling like a branch of Starbucks. The Mint Temptation Coffee Body Scrub gets a huge thumbs up for being incredibly refreshing & properly waking me up in the morning. The main downside to this product is that it can cause quite a mess! When I rinse it off the coffee grinds end up all over my bathtub so a little extra cleaning is required after my shower. I don't mind though as skin this soft & hydrated is well worth the effort. Have you tried a coffee body scrub yet?

twitter / tumblr / youtube / instagram / bloglovin'

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Three Good Things: Nude Eyeliner Pencils

Today I wanted to pen an ode to what I consider to be the ultimate multi-tasking makeup item - nude eyeliner pencils. Back in the day people would use stark white eyeliners in the waterline to make their eyes appear larger. I remember being obsessed with MAC Fascinating Eye Kohl & although it did make my eyes look bigger, it didn't look natural. Then some genius (I have no idea who, but thanks!) came up with the idea of using a nude eyeliner, the same colour as your skin. This has the same eye brightening effect as white eyeliner but it looks a lot subtler & you can use them on more things than just your eyes. They are a staple in my makeup bag & I use them all the time in so many different ways. I wouldn't be surprised if you hadn't used one before as they do seem like quite a boring product but for me they're a complete necessity. First let's compare three of my favourite flesh tone pencils.

MAC Studio Chromagraphic Pencil in NC15/NW20 - £14 / 3g
The product that first started off my love affair with nude eyeliners was MAC's Chromagraphic Pencil in NC15/NW20. This used to be a limited edition product but I do believe it was made permanent last year. I think it's pretty obvious how much I've used this pencil as it's been sharpened down to a tiny nub. This is the cheapest pencil & you get the most amount of product so it's very good value for money. Surprisingly, out of these three eyeliners the MAC one is the darkest & has the creamiest formula. The creamy texture can be somewhat detrimental as it often mixes in with my black liquid liner, creating a grey smudge near my tear ducts. Apart from the greyness, it lasts really well on my waterline but is too dark to use elsewhere on my face.

Illamasqua Eye Colouring Pencil in Vow - £16 / 1.4g
Illamasqua are known for their more out-there products & colours but they do the basics extremely well. In terms of colour this pencil is my favourite as it is the lightest & yellowest in tone. It's a good match for my NARS foundation in Siberia so I can use it anywhere on my face as well as for it's intended purpose. It's definitely the most versatile of the bunch. The pencil blends in seamlessly but it's nowhere near as long-lasting as the MAC or Charlotte Tilbury liners. It also has the hardest & driest formula but that isn't a bad thing at all. It's still fairly creamy but the harder pencil nib delivers precise results & doesn't need to be sharpened as often so you won't need to repurchase it for a long time.

Charlotte Tilbury Rock 'N' Kohl in Eye Cheat - £19 / 1.2g
My most recent flesh tone pencil purchase is this luxurious little number from Charlotte Tilbury. I adore her Rock 'N' Kohls as they glide onto the skin like a liquid & do not budge whatsoever! If you're quick you can smudge them out but after just a couple of minutes they set into place & wear for up to 14 hours with no transfer. As you can see in the swatches at the beginning of this post, I tried rubbing all of the eyeliners five minutes after application. The MAC & Illamasqua pencils blend away with little effort but the Charlotte Tilbury pencil is both smudgeproof & waterproof. It is very pigmented so you only need a little bit but the pencil is super soft & creamy so it does need sharpening quite frequently. This is the most expensive pencil & you get the least amount of product but it offers immense durability.

Each of the pencils has their own strengths & weaknesses but I do use them pretty much interchangeably. To be honest I tend to use the first one that I can find in my makeup bag! The one thing I use them for every single day without fail is to brighten up my waterline. It reduces redness, opens up my eyes & generally makes such a huge difference. I have quite small eyes so if I use black kohl in my waterline it just emphasises their piggy nature. Once I started using nude eyeliner I realised how much bigger & brighter it made my eyes look so now I feel really weird all day if I ever forget to apply it. Another great use for flesh toned pencils is to conceal blemishes. It allows you to be precise & just cover the bits that need to be covered. Many people use brown pencils to drawn on fake freckles, well I use nude pencils to hide the freckles that regular foundation & concealer leave behind. The final reason I love to use nude pencils is to clean up other parts of my makeup. Need to carve out your eyebrows? Got uneven eyeliner flicks? Overdrawn your lips too much? Simply use a flesh toned pencil to correct all of your mistakes & no one will ever question your makeup skills.

Are you a fan of nude eyeliner pencils? If not I hope this post has made some of you realise just how brilliant & useful they can be. I know I certainly couldn't be without one!

twitter / tumblr / youtube / instagram / bloglovin'