Currently coveting

19 Dec 2015

Current Make-Up Bag Favourites

The inevitable cliche of make-up running out all at once typically happened to me during the weeks running up to Christmas. Being a time when I tend to wear more make-up (heavy foundation in the summer is a no-go), I had no choice but to invest in some more. However, this time, I wanted to try out some brands and products that I'd not tried before or used for a while rather than being stuck in the same old routine.

Max Factor is a brand that I never usually buy as it is at the higher end budget of the high street brands but I've found not particularly much better. However, this foundation caught my eye - mainly it's gorgeous packaging - so I took a leap of faith and picked it up in the shade Warm Almond. So far so good, I really like the amount of coverage it gives which means you don't have to apply a lot. It lasts well and is really easy to apply. I have been using the Real Techniques Foundation Brush which came as part of the Core Collection set. It is smaller than some of the other foundation brushes I've used in the past so it takes a little longer to cover your entire face, but gives a really flawless finish and good for topping up. 

I'm constantly on the lookout for a nail varnish that is wintery but not your typical dark red/purple that is the fail-safe colour of the season. I found the shade Black Cherry on the Barry M counter in Superdrug and - admittedly it is a dark purple but it has a browny-black tone to it that is much darker than the standard shade. I have had a Chanel polish in the past that was really similar to this and the Barry M one is arguably just as long-lasting. Trying to deviate from the classic-Christmas-red is equally as difficult this time of year, but MAC have lucked out with their shade 'Mocha'. This one is actually my sisters but I am so smitten with this colour that no doubt I will soon be buying it too. It is an off-red browny colour that is striking but subtle enough to wear in the day. 

Nars is a brand that I have only started to use this year as I could categorically not afford it as a student. I have tried and fallen for their Sheer Glow foundation and equally as brilliant bronzer (in Laguna), so I was quite assured that I wouldn't be disappointed in the illuminator. I couldn't really decide between the shades but I've heard a lot about this one. The colour is darker than I'd expected but blends in really easily and gives a really subtle sheen to your skin. The Aesop Body Balm is another premium product that I can't get enough of. It is so moisturing and the citrus scent is amazing.

NARS Illuminator in Orgasm | ASOS £23

Stone Thread Bracelet | Topshop £6 

Max Factor Miracle Match  Foundation in Warm Almond | Superdrug £12.99

MAC Lipstick in Mocha | MAC £15.50

Barry M Gelly Nail Polish Hi Shine in Black Cherry | Superdrug £3.99

Aesop Body Balm | Liberty £25 

Olivia Burton Black Midi Gold Dial Watch | Topshop £60

Real Techniques Foundation Brush in Core Collection Set | Boots £21.99


8 Nov 2015

October Favourites

October ending means another step closer to Christmas but I am still firmly in Autumn mode. Here are a few of the skincare and make-up favourites that are taking me through the season. 

Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque | Liberty £27

Just before writing this, I sat on my bed slathering my face in this stuff. I bought it a few weeks ago when I was feeling frivolous, tempted by the posts and pictures I'd seen raving about it. I have wanted a new mask product for a while to replace the Lush Mask of Magnaminty I had been using all year. As it is quite expensive, I preserve it by only using it in problem areas or places I want to target, rather than covering every inch of my face. It sets in to a light, clay-like layer and feels so smooth when it is dry. It makes my skin feel so much fresher after I've washed it off and the drying effect of the clay really drys out any blemishes. I'm addicted to this mask and use it two to three times a week. Aesop is definitely a high-end brand that I don't use a lot, but I don't mind investing in a product like this as much as it is so nice to use and makes a real difference to my skin.

Urban Decay NAKED Basics Palette | John Lewis 

I got this for my birthday this year and after lusting over the Naked Palettes ever since they became the 'it' thing in make-up it was a very welcome gift. I have never been one of those people that wears a lot of eye-shadow, particularly during the day as I felt it was too overpowering and didn't really suit me, but finally this has made it work. The shades are so subtle and blend so well together.

thisworks In Transit Camera Close Up | Boots £30 for 40ml

The justification of buying yet another moisturizer was a result of how much I have been enjoying using the In Transit No Traces pads to cleanse and brighten my face after removing my make-up. I am slightly addicted to the thisworks range at the moment, especially after becoming surgically-attached to the pillow spray - I am never disappointed with the results and I love the packaging. The Camera Close-Up works as a moisturiser, primer and mask depending on what you're wanting to get out if it. I mostly use it overnight as it hydrates my skin until the morning, but I also think it is a really effective base product pre-make up that plumps and evens out skin tone.

MIO Strong is the New Skinny Activist Body Oil | Marks and Spencer £29.50 for 120ml 

I saw the MIO Strong is the New Skinny kit in the Urban Outfitters sale recently -  I couldn't resist trying it out after seeing the MIO products floating around recently. This is my favourite one of the trio, a body oil that you apply when your skin is still damp from the shower. The formula aims to soften and nourish dry skin as well as reduce the appearance of uneven skin tone or stretch marks. It absorbs very quickly into your skin and leaves it feeling silky and hydrated. 

Kiehls Lip Balm #1 in Cranberry | Liberty £9.50

I am no way saying that buying any lip balm for just shy of a tenner is good value for money, as frankly you can't go wrong with a small tin of vaseline and there are many other things that your hard-earned money could go towards. However, I bought this in Liberty's the other week using a birthday voucher as I was stuck on what to buy and my lips were especially dry that day due to the drop in temperature recently - I couldn't not include this in my October round-up since it's been a firm fixture of my handbag. It has the liquidy consistency of vaseline that I prefer over balm sticks, but it is slightly less greasy and lasts for a long time. They do a range of flavours - I chose the Cranberry but I was also tempted by the Mango. 

Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Polish in Chilli 525 | Superdrug £3.99

I couldn't resist this colour - a browny-tinged red which is deep enough for autumn but is still bright and interesting. I have always been a fan of the Barry M polishes and I love that they're is such a range of colours nowadays, from matte to all kinds of sparkly. They're really good value at under a fiver (which is hard to find of a nail polish) and the gel look that this range offers makes it look a lot more expensive than it is. 

7 Nov 2015

Christmas Gift Set Lust List Under £50

Gift sets are an amazing way to try out a selection of products you wouldn't necessarily buy in full-size. This year, I have my eye on quite a few as even the highest of high-end brands have bought out special gift sets especially for Christmas. Here are a few of my favourites...

Laura Mercier Sweet Temptations Creme Brulee Set | John Lewis £35

Combining two of my favourite things, dessert and bathtime, Laura Mercier is offering an indulgent and luxurious set that would be the perfect way to spoil someone. The set contains a bath creme, body creme and a honey dipper inspired by the scents of French patisseries and created with some amazing ingredients (vanilla and caramel to name a few). This is definitely the height of luxury at bath-time, and almost good enough to eat. 

Philip Kingsley Geranium and Neroli Elasticizer Duo | BlowLTD £12

As a big fan of the Philip Kingsley hair products, it is quite shameful that I haven't yet tried the brands piece-de-resistance, the elasticizer. This set contains two limited edition Geranium and Neroli-scented travel-size elasicizers that are perfect stocking fillers. As most people know, it is a pre-shampoo conditioning treatment that adds shine, bounce and of course elasticity to the texture and condition of your hair. The packaging is gorgeous and they come in a floral box complete with looped ribbon, ideal to hang from the tree. 

Laura Mercier In The Glow Highlight 01 | BlowLTD £25

Once you've seen this set, I'm not sure how you could resist falling for its rose-golds and sheen pink shades within the classic, flawless Laura Mercier packaging. It is a trio containing a Matte Radiance Baked Powder to bronze, Bonne Mine Stick Face Colour in Peach Glow to add some life to your complexion and a Caviar Stick Eye Colour in Rose Gold to shimmer-ize your eyelids. I have tried one of the Laura Mercier caviar sticks before and it sparked a love for shadow-sticks in all colours. 

NARS Steven Klein Nude Lip Set - A Woman's Face | ASOS £29

A trio of class from Nars' latest collaboration with Steven Klein has hit the shelves and it would be ideal gift for those make-up obsessed. A creamy lip liner, classic nude lipstick and a matte lip pencil combine to create a show-stopping natural, sultry pout, perfect to for day-to-night transitioning. Dolce Vita lipstick and Mini Velvet Matte lip pencil compliment the Mini Patong Beach Velvet Lip Line - what more could you want in your stocking. This set is definitely not just for Christmas..

Rodial Heroes Collection | ASOS £50

Rodial; a brand that I am constantly lusting over online but have never plucked up enough courage to invest in their renound skin treatments before. So what better time than Christmas, when Rodial have combined their Skincare Heroes into a gift-set collection. You get four minis: the StemCell Superfood Cleanser (50ml), Dragon's Blood Sculpting Gel (9ml), Bee Venom Moisturiser (10ml) and Super Acids X-treme Acid Rush Peel (15ml). The set will also save you a third on the retail price.

NARS Steven Klein Dual-Intensity Eye Shadow Palette - Dead of Summer | ASOS £35

Another one of the Steven Klein/NARS collaboration, this eye-shadow palette screams Christmas and New Year parties, teamed along with the Via Veneto long-lasting eyeliner for the ultimate smoky-eye. Four sultry and seductive shades (Studly, Stag, Subra and Blackmail) in an amazing compact, ideal handbag-size, Team this with one of the Real Techniques Eyeshadow Brush sets and you have a winning present combination. 

Charlotte Tilbury The Gift of Goddess Skin Travel Set | John Lewis £39

Another brand I am desperate to try is the Charlotte Tilbury make-up and skincare that I am hearing so much about at the moment, especially with the numerous new lauches that have emerged ideally just before Christmas-time. The miracle-working Magic Cream in particular is being raved about, so what better way to try it than in travel-size, side-by-side with the Goddess Skin Clay Mask and the Wonder Glow Beauty Flash (all 15ml).  

Clinique Moisture Favourites Skincare Gift Set | John Lewis £40

Perhaps not the most Christmassy colour but the Clinique Moisture Favourites set is pink all over. Four travel size items: Moisture Surge Extended Thirst relief (50ml), Moisture Surge Overnight Mask (30ml), All About Eyes (5ml) and a Chubby Stick in Budding Blossom (1.2g), this is one to take you into Spring. You can't go wrong with Clinique!

Bumble and Bumble Full of Cheer Thickening Gift Set | Feel Unique £22

One of my favourite high-end hair care brands, Bumble and Bumble has released some gift sets for the festive season featuring some of their most reputable products. The Dry Spun Finish hairspray is something I hear about a lot as being a brilliant hairspray to add volume and texture into the finish of your hair. The value of the set is £36 so if you're thinking of buying one of the pieces anyway then this set is amazing value. 

All photos taken from named websites/sellers.

24 Oct 2015

The Art of Sleeping

For many, sleeping is no easy feat and does not come as naturally as we'd all hope. I first had trouble sleeping when I moved out to university and the new surroundings contributed to developing quite an erratic and unsettled sleeping pattern. A restless slumber became an ingrained habit and I have been trying to shake it off since. I am far from an expert but stress and anxiousness have proved to not help the matter, and all of this combined is not a pretty mix. 
I was long convinced of the notion that it was all in the mind - and I still think this is true, but I have found that external factors can make a significant difference. I saw consistent, great reviews of the highly acclaimed this works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray online and wanted to try it out for myself. It's formula is infused with lavender, wild chamomile and vetivert oils that creates a dreamy, typically relaxing and soothing scent that sprays onto your pillow just before you hit the hay, claiming to relieve bodily tension and insomnia. The statistics on the side of the box are hard to believe, stating that 89% of people had fallen asleep faster than usual after using the spray, as well as feeling more refreshed the following day. It's hard to know whether a busier lifestyle (hence increased tiredness) has contributed to the results, but since I have used the spray I have fallen asleep pretty much as soon as my head touches the pillow; the mornings have been a lot easier to wake up and I am generally not waking much through the night. I have used it every night since I first tried it and I would recommend it to anyone that struggles with sleep. 

The Deep Sleep Dream Cream is another staple of the this works sleep range, acting as a means of soothing hands and feet to encourage a deep nights sleep with the aromatherapy oils it contains. It smells slightly more medicinal than the pillow spray and is really moisturising. I can imagine if you've spent the day on your feet, a cream like this would be ideal after a relaxing bath pre-bedtime. It also contains organic crambe oil which acts to repair dry or damaged skin, as well as Omega 3 rich camelina which improves skins elasticity.

 Another addition to my bedtime routine comes in beverage form, as I've introduced an evening-orientated tea an hour or so before I go to sleep. The Pukka Night Time Tea is a blend of oat flower, lavender and limeflower that creates a soothing taste that will relax you into sleep-mode. It is quite a subtle taste and has a calming aroma, creating a perfect way to end the day. 

I also end the day with a night cream to soothe and refresh my skin whilst I sleep. The Una Brennan Superfacialist Probiotic Overnight Skin Recovery Cream is the perfect mask for overnight care, its ingredients formulated to promote skin cell renewal, as well as rejuvinating and moisturising the appearance of skin. I am a big fan of the Superfacialist range so I was instantly drawn to this product. 

An old habit that should help you drift off is reading. Whether it be the latest Man Booker Prize winner or an old Glamour magazine, drawing yourself away from the digital age of boxsets, series links and YouTube can be significantly effective in helping your brain wind down and prepare for bed. I'm currently working my way through the latest Richard and Judy book club choices, having just finished The Minaturist which I adored, and now onto Chanter's The Well, a dark and intriguing novel narrated by a women under house-arrest. It is different from anything I've read for a long time and has a can't-stop-reading quality about it. The short chapters make it ideal pre-bedtime material as even if my eyes are barely still open I can face reading at least one or a couple. 

Ambient lighting is also a dreamy mood-setter whilst you're becoming sleepy over the pages of a novel, and the trendy Moroccan-style ball string lights which are everywhere at the moment are ideal in fulfilling this setting. 

this works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray | Feel Unique £16.00 for 75ml

this works Deep Sleep Dream Cream | Feel Unique £18.00 for 75ml

Pukka Night Time Tea | Ocado for £2.39

Moroccan 20LED Shining Ball Metal String Lights | eBay for £4.99 

The Well by Catherine Chanter | Amazon for £3.85

Superfacialist by Una Brennan Probiotic Overnight Skin Recovery Cream | Boots for £15.99

17 Oct 2015

Birthday Beauty Haul

Having turned twenty-two a few weeks back, I have been relishing in the shiny new goodies that I acquired, not coming as a surprise that most of my gifts were beauty-based. Here is an array of a few favourites...

Clarins Joli Rouge Lipstick in Spicy Cinnamon | Debenhams

I saw this lipstick recommended on a beauty segment of a TV show a few weeks ago, described as 'brick red' which I thought sounded really interesting and different from the reds I usually go for. The Joli Rouge range from Clarins is so popular at the moment and I couldn't resist getting this with some birthday money. It is especially expensive for a lipstick, hence the special occasion purchase, but I think I will get my money out of it, having already worn it about 10 times since buying. 

Neom Feel Refreshed Travel Candle 75g | John Lewis

I knew I would be obsessed with this candle even under layers of wrapping paper and firmly seated within it's box, I could smell the scent already. It is scented with sicilian lemon and fresh basil which creates a fruity, fresh fragrance that does exactly what it promises. The Neom packaging is my all-time favourite in terms of candles, the beautifully subtle water-colour stained box has a firm place on my dressing table. I can't fault it and I now have my eye on the Neom diffuser for my Christmas list..

Clinique Finishing Powder | House of Fraser

One of my best friends gave me this as part of a Clinique set containing a finishing powder and primer. Having bought quite a lot of make-up lately replacing everything that typically ran out all at once, it is quite difficult to find anything new to replace my make-up staples but this set was a stroke of luck and turned out to be the missing parts of my routine. I have never used a finishing powder before and was slightly clueless as to how to use it or why, for that matter. It comes with a brush and the powder itself is suitable for all skin tones. It works perfectly with liquid foundation, creating a lightly matte finish and is really long-lasting. It holds make-up in place and works to prevent any shiny-forehead pictures. 

Caudalie Premier Cru The Elixir 29ml | Look Fantastic

This wasn't technically a present, but came as a free gift to a yearly Vogue subscription that my parents kindly bought me. It isn't something I'd ever buy myself given the hefty price tag but I love how luxurious it feels and looks. It is half-oil and half-serum which absorbs quickly into your skin to reveal a smoother, more radiant glow that fights against early signs of ageing, dark spots and increases firmness of skin. 

Urban Outfitters Matte Nail Polish in Green Tea | Urban Outfitters

I am obsessed with the packaging of the Urban Outfitters nail varnishes and this was given to me by my friends, fueling the overflowing desk-draw that is my collection of polishes. The colour is gorgeous and the matte effect gives a muted look to the shade, deviating from the summery, bright pastels meaning its suitable for the colder months. I find the Urban Outfitter's polishes last a long time without chipping too much, and matched with the scented top coat I picked up lately this is the dream team.


16 Oct 2015

Simple: Kind to Skin Illuminating Radiance Cream

Whether I have been in a supermarket, watching daytime TV or browsing the internet, everywhere I look lately I seem to find this product. It may have something to do with the fact that the 'radiance' and 'illumination' that the formula promises are tightly bound synonyms of this seasons buzzword glow, or it could be that this cream gives its high-end counterparts a run for their money.Who knows, but Simple's Kind to Skin Illuminating Radiance Cream is everywhere, and I have been desperate to try it out for myself. 

After sadly finding it's dedicated slot on Superdrug's shelf empty, I managed to pick it up in my local Waitrose (who knew they sold skincare?) for the bargain price of £6 (it's actually half price at £3 at the moment online). It comes in a smart little box but it's actually very decently sized at 50ml, so you really feel as though you're getting your moneys worth. It has a pump dispenser meaning it is really easy to use and measure the amount you need without wasting a lot. It definitely has an illuminating effect, creating a subtle dewy sheen to your skin. It feels moisturising which is ideal for my dry skin and the smell is fresh and unoffensive.  My only qualm is the shimmery, borderline glitteryness of the product which makes me conscious that I'm now sporting an Edward-from-Twilight visage from day to day ('s really not that noticeable after you've applied foundation, concealer etc etc.) 

The formula is light and really easy to apply which gives a lovely smooth base to apply make-up after use. It also has SPF15 in the formula as an added bonus and it's jam-packed with vitamins, 'skin loving' ingredients and light reflecting minerals that all combine to create the radiant glow that is much desired at the moment. In the past, I have used quite a few different products as primer substitutes, and this works just as well as other things I've tried in that respect. For just over a fiver, it's worth giving a go. 


11 Oct 2015

September Favourites

September has gone by in a blur, involving a busy and somewhat stressful time transitioning from being a student to being firmly emerged in the world of work. Along with this, I haven't had a lot of time to try out lots of new things this month, and instead relying heavily on my go-to make-up and skincare staples is how I've been getting by. Here's a sample of a few things I've been enjoying using this month.. 

Diptyque Scented Candle in Roses | Space NK £20 - £40

Slightly diverging from the beauty theme that these posts usually adhere to, I couldn't not include the newest addition to my growing collection of candles. Diptyque has been a brand I have lusted after ever since it's beautiful creations started appearing on the dressing tables of Pinterest, and being slightly steep in price range I have been reluctant in purchasing until now. It is an extremely luxurious and indulgent buy, ideal for a special occasion (who wouldn't love one of these as a present) and as you'd expect from the brand, it smells amazing. I fear it is going to be one of those purchases that I use infrequently on purpose to avoid it running out too fast, but at the same time I am looking forward to using the pot as make-up brush storage..

Avene Cleanance Expert | Boots 40ml £15.00

I bought this as bit of an impulse buy about a month ago, thinking it would act similarly to the tea-tree oil sticks I used to buy in secondary school as a desperate attempt to calm down occasional breakouts that accompany stress, hormones and not-so-healthy eating. Within the first few weeks of using it, I was not that enthused and thought it was a bit of a con as it didn't do much to even reduce the redness. But I persevered to at least get my money out of it, and about 3-4 weeks in I noticed a dramatic difference in the appearance of my skin. I only really use it on problem areas like T-zone and chin which have both become a lot clearer and any blemishes I do get don't hang around too long. It is not a miracle worker and it does take some time to kick in, but the eventual effects are amazing and if you're stuck hunting for a product to clear up breakouts then I'd give this a try. I have rarely found skincare that has had this effect on my skin's appearance - I can really only compare it to the YesTo Grapefruit Uneven Skin Tone Facial Scrub, which similarly made a visual difference. I use the Cleanance Expert alongside the Avene Hydrance Serum - a match made in heaven.

L'Oreal Paris Telescopic Mascara in Black | Superdrug £10.99

I have already raved about this mascara in the past, perhaps on more than one occasion, but as it is such a staple in my routine I think it's apt to include it this month as I've been using it religiously. The brush is really delicate making application so much easier than thick brushes in avoiding clumpy and undefined lashes, it lasts all day and the packaging is very classic and attractive. I can't fault this mascara - I am completely converted and I think it gives the high-end mascaras pushing £30 onwards a run for their money. The brand is also usually on offer in Superdrug so give it a go if you are on the hunt for a new mascara.

Rituals Rice Scrub | Rituals 150ml £10

This is one of those products that has been in my shower for months, which I reach for on a daily basis and have become accustomed to using it all the time, but has slipped through making it onto my favourites until now. It is a simple, fresh-smelling (it is infused with Cherry Blossom), light exfoliator that I acquired as a free gift when buying one of Rituals other products. The 70ml size is quite small in comparison to other body exfoliators but some how it has lasted me months and I still have a lot left, so the full size version is sure to last a long time. You don't need much and it is really effective in making my skin smoother and more radiant. I also like that you can use it on your face and body. 

Crabtree + Evelyn Nail Polish in Petal Pink | Crabtree + Evelyn £6

I wanted to make use of the latest Crabtree + Evelyn deal that meant if you handed in any nail varnish, new or used, they would give you a fresh, new polish for free in any colour. Granted, when I got there they only had about five shades left (including a very bold fuchsia and a shimmery gold - not exactly autumnal..) so I didn't exactly have the pick of the crop due to it's evident popularity. However, this shade was left over and my self-obsessed nude nail addiction couldn't resist picking it up. It is an extremely subtle pink so I use it as a base coat or when I am sporting the 'au naturel' manicure. Working long days means I don't have copious amounts of time to maintain non-chipped nails in the week so sometimes this is an ideal alternative. They have 21 colours to choose from in total, and they are free from the toxic chemicals that many varnishes contain and promises to have a lasting effect (its hard to comment on the longevity of an almost-clear colour..). Also, at £6 they are amazing value for such a reputable brand. 


19 Sep 2015

Sintra: Portugal's Hidden Gem

Before going to Portugal, and whilst doing some fundamental pre-holiday research of where to go and what to see, I came across articles on the town of Sintra and it instantly became somewhere that I was desperate to go. It is about an hours train from Lisbon and probably slightly closer by car; an ideal distance for a day trip away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I had pretty high expectations before we arrived, but it was beyond anything I could have imagined. On the walk into the town you are greeted by fairytale-esque, historic buildings at the bottom of a huge hill. Quaint shops and cafes make the perfect location for a re-fuel before you begin exploring, which will definitely take you the majority of the day, if not two. 

The first thing we did was visit Quinta da Regaleira, a gothic-looking palace where Jonny Depp once filmed. It is a must-see in Sintra, full of secret coves, underground tunnels, waterfalls and bridges, pretty much an adult's Alice in Wonderland. The main focal point of the estate is the Initiation Well that resembles an underground tower where you can climb up the spiral staircase and peer into it. In the Palace itself, you can climb the Chapel's turrets and see amazing views of from above. It is easy to spend hours wandering around here and you truly feel as if you're on a film set.

The Initiation Well

After lunch, we walked back to the town to get our bearings and wait for a bus to take us up the mountain (you can walk but the trek is pretty strenuous). The two main tourist attractions when you get to the top are the Castle of the Moors and Pena National Palace. Due to lack of time, we skipped  the castle, and being slightly castled-out from visiting Lisbon's Sao Jorge Castle the day before I didn't feel too deprived. Instead, we walked straight to the Palace of Pena. It is one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal and it really lives up to its title. A short, steep walk to the Palace (most people get the bus, again) takes you to its front door and it is breathtaking - photographs don't do it justice. Despite all the tourists crowding around, posing infront of the gates (guilty) it is like a fairytale Kingdom and you are so high up, it feels as though you can see most of Portugal in the distance. 

If you are planning on going to Lisbon or nearby, I would undoubtedly put Sintra top of your list of places to go while you're there. It has a lot more to offer than I got to see, including an amazing beach and a mystical wood - all the more reason to go back. 


13 Sep 2015

Beauty Transition: Summer to Autumn

It's a bit of a shock to the system come September when the temperature well and truly drops, umbrellas become a handbag necessity and holidays seem a thing of the past. Summer is undoubtedly my favourite season, when the sun naturally bleaches your hair and you can get away with the no make-up look simply with a tinted moisturizer and a pair of sunglasses. This can't really be said of autumn, so stepping up your beauty routine can make all the difference in maintaining a summer glow. 


If you have been soaking up the sun over the summer, skin can become more dry and scaly than usual due to the lack of moisture, and if you're not moisturising daily then any tan you have fought to keep fades twice as quick. A means of battling both of these autumn-induced issues is a fake tan that acts as a moisturizer. I only really use gradual tans as you can build the shade up as much as you want, and as I find sprays and mousses can be drying, gradual moisturisers are my go-to. The St Tropez Gradual Tan Firming Plus 4 in 1 is a product that I started using in Spring, drawn in by the promise of a tan that does everything. The shade is subtle but natural, and builds brilliantly upon any tan that you previously have. There is also a St Tropez Multi-Action Face which has similar properties but with a much lighter texture. If you'd rather not use a fake tan on your face, the Clarins Radiance Plus Golden Glow Booster is a product I have recently been raving about and I often use to balance out my face and body. It only requires a few drops in your choice of face cream or serum. Maintaining a tan in the autumn can feel rather futile and wasteful if you spend all your time covered up in jeans and over-sized jumpers but the beauty of gradual tan is that you can pick and choose how often you use it. I also like using the Dove Summer Glow Nourishing Lotion; a cheap alternative to St Tropez. I often choose the darkest shade of tan even though my skin is very fair as it lasts a lot longer and you don't have to use as much (hence better value) but this runs the risks of streaks. Moisturising your elbows and knees before application should help with this. 


When you have to resort back to your lightest foundation is when you know the tan has finally faded, and this is the moment bronzer becomes your best friend. The Nars bronzer in the shade Laguna is my favourite bronzer to use all year round. The shade looks dark in the palette, but is subtle and easy to build up as much as you want on the parts of your face that the sun would naturally hit (cheekbones, forehead, nose and chin). It is great at building up a bit of contouring and I always use it on my neck too to blend it into the rest of my body which tends to usually be a little darker. Since I bought this I have used it basically everyday down to the last few specks. It is quite expensive for a bronzer but it doesn't compare to any others I have used in the past. The MUA bronzer in Bronzed Perfection is a really similar shade for a fraction of the price at £3 for a huge palette, and Bourjois's Delice de Poudre bronzing powder in the shade Tanned (52) is a mid-range alternative that is also extremely popular. Bronzer in the winter is definitely a less-is-more type product but it can work wonders in re-injecting some colour back into your skin. 


If, like me, you have spent most of summer wearing not much more than the bare necessities of make-up, unintentionally pushing eyeshadows and lipsticks to the back of the draw, a simple way of reintroducing some colour into your routine is natural shades of eyeshadows. Although browns, golds and coppers are shades that look good at any time of year, autumn is the season when you can get away with them, day or night. My autumn wardrobe is mostly made up of camel, blacks and burgundies which couldn't compliment these shades more. The one particular eyeshadow I always find myself going back to is the Revolution Eyeshadow in the shade Mountains of Gold which is a shimmery, pigmented bargain at only £1. I use a fine brush to create a fine line just above my eyeliner on my lid and another line beneath my bottom eyelashes. A bronzer and more subtle alternative is MAC's shade Amber Lights. If you're not as lazy as me and prefer a range of colours to blend, the Barry M Natural Glow Eye Shadow Palette has a great combination of earthy shades which are suitable for both daytime and evening looks. 


Autumn also bids a reluctant farewell to the sweet-shop pastels for nail varnish that are all the rage in summer, and welcomes in the deeper tones. Although I am enjoying giving my nails a break from being painted at the moment, I am also keen to pick up some autumnal shades. Plum and burgundy are my favourite shades this time of year as they are dark and mysterious whilst still being feminine, and you can't get much better or more choice than the Chanel Nail Colours, particularly in the shade Lotus Rouge and Accessoire. My high street alternative to Chanel would inevitably be Barry M, who have a huge range of colours for only about £4 and are a brand I have loyally worshiped for years. The shades Burgundy Crush and Raspberry are failsafe, and if you're feeling daring, Paprika is also a particularly autumnal shade. Nail care is also big at the moment so if you want to add a little luxury into your DIY manicure then the Nails Inc Nail Kale Superfood Base Coat is the key to stronger, healthier nails.

12 Sep 2015

OGX Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum

Coconut seems to be one of the buzzwords of the year, finding benefits in its addition to skincare, healthy eating and even haircare products. You name it, there will be a coconut-related alternative or variation to try. Hair serums are no exception, and OGX's Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum uses the properties of coconuts to promise longer locks and less damaged ends as a result of its use, as part of their Coconut range. The Coconut Milk combines a blend of coconut oil, whipped egg white proteins and coconut milk itself, a weightless formula that you apply after washing to towel-dried hair from your palms.

It comes in a cute little bottle with a pump dispenser, and you get quite a lot for your money - 118ml for £5.99 goes a long way when you're only using a drop or two per application. As you'd expect, the scent is coconut-y, which isn't my favourite for hair products - I much prefer sweet, fruity scents. However, it isn't at all lingering and it pretty much disappears when it's dry.

When I first started using this serum, I put it through most of my hair but just avoiding my roots which made it a lot more wavy than it usually is - something I find serums tend to do to my hair. If I'm looking for volume and more defined waves then the serum is great, but when I want a sleeker look I tend to just rub it into the ends of my hair. As a result, they are much more hydrated and silkier, which is great for drying split ends and heat-damaged hair.  When the ends are not looking as drab, my whole hair tends to look healthier (especially if you are in desperate need for a haircut but don't have time to get one). I like to use it with the Philip Kingsley Daily Damage Defence which adds shine all over. Just be careful not to overuse the Coconut Serum as too much may leave your hair on the greasy side of shiny.

So if your hair is lacking moisture, this will put some life back into it and bring you back to that healthy, just-cut-and-washed-at-hairdressers look that is near on impossible to maintain in the temperamental British weather. You can buy it from high-street stores such as Superdrug and Boots, or online at Feel Unique.

7 Sep 2015

Views of Lisbon

About three weeks ago now, myself and my boyfriend set off from Gatwick to Portugal's capital, Lisbon, for four nights. We had both never visited Lisbon before, so we weren't sure what to expect of the city famous for its steep hillsides, tiled buildings and vintage tramways. The more time I spent here, the more I loved Lisbon and if you are thinking of a city break, I would recommend spending some time here. We stayed in the Portugal Ways Culture Guest House, about 15 minutes walk from Martim Moniz Square, which was a great location and amazing value (perfect if you're inter-railing or travelling with friends).  The city itself is extremely photogenic with scenic squares and interesting monuments (old and new) all over the place. Also, the hilly terrain of Lisbon means there are so many viewpoints over the city, it is hard to refrain from taking the same picture over and over again (In hindsight, the majority of my pictures appear to either be of the buildings or views of the city..). 

On our first day, we wandered over to the Old Town called Alfama that is often recommended as a place to visit when you're in Lisbon. It is full of winding streets and photogenic buildings that lead up to some beautiful viewpoints, which proved quite strenuous to reach. There is also a lot of really interesting street art that is worth having a look at. Be prepared for a steep walk down..! 

The view from the Guesthouse's terrace, where we ate traditional Portuguese custard tarts for breakfast each morning.

The next day, we went into full tourist mode and visited the Castelo de S. Jorge (5 euro entrance fee with a student card). It was a lot bigger than I expected and you could literally spend hours walking around the old castle walls. 

A view of Lisbon from the castle walls.

During one of our days in Lisbon, in search of a break from walking and some relaxation, we visited the coastal fisherman's town of Cascais, which has a direct link from Lisbon's train station. It was pretty cheap to travel to and the beaches were lovely. It is a perfect way to spend a day if you want to get out of the city.

We also spent one of our days in the breathtaking town of Sintra, which I will share soon. 

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