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30 Apr 2015

April Favourites

April has been a refreshing start to the Spring months, finally catching some sun rays, although perhaps scarcely, and occasionally ditching the winter layers if I'm feeling brave. These are five of my skincare and make-up favourites that I have been enjoying this month. . .

1. John Frieda Beach Blonde Shampoo & Conditioner | Superdrug £5.99 each

I knew these were going to be in my favourites this month even before I bought them as I'd heard many positive things about them. They were discontinued by John Frieda a while ago, but they've made a comeback recently and are firmly back on the shelves. I'm finding that this is a similar theme in hair products - the old Herbal Essences shampoos came back a few years ago after being replaced by some jazzy new bottles, which just goes to show that the old stuff is usually the best. Anyway, I absolutely love the smell of these, it's quite unusual for a hair product to be so minty (I'm used to fruit-smelling-hair) but it's really fresh and different. Also, the nozzle the shampoo and conditioner comes out of is a lot smaller than most bottles (a slightly strange feature to appreciate) but it means you can control how much you use a lot easier, as I always forget that you really don't need a lot of shampoo to cover your entire hair, even if it's long. The bottles really brighten up your bathroom and are just very pretty to look at. The beachy, salt-laden effect that a beach-related product should produce definitely materializes when my hair dries, even if it is not so appropriate in day-to-day life and much more suited for the seaside. A tiny bit expensive for high-street hair products but I would definitely buy again - if you can get them on offer (I got mine from Superdrug for half price) then give them a go.

2. Avene Eau Thermale Water Spray | Boots £3.50

I bought this at a time when I was in the mind-set of desperately wanting to try the Avene range but also slightly strapped for cash (thank goodness it's the end of the month..) - hence the very small bottle. Also, since this is just essentially a tin of water, I couldn't really justify spending double on the full-size one. Yet, despite its very simple nature, I cannot stop using it - I am becoming very attached to this little product. I think it really comes into its own when you have irritated, perhaps sunburnt or sensitive skin, but my skin is none of that at the moment but I love it just the same. I use it mostly after I've applied my make-up, but sometimes I find myself wanting to spray it just in the middle of the day at a completely unnecessary time. I think it does set make-up well, it never makes it run or move out of place, but I like it just to refresh and cool my skin. So maybe it is not an entirely useful part of my skincare routine at the moment, but I am really excited to take this with me when I travel in summer as it will be heavenly in a hot and sweaty climate.

3. High Lights by Technic Highlighter | Amazon £2.31 (and free delivery..!)

I am sure I've probably reviewed this highlighter somewhere on my blog before, as I've had it for a long time, but I don't think this highlighter always gets the recognition it deserves. First of all, it is insanely cheap in comparison to its high-end counterpart, and you get a lot of product for your money (12ml). I bought it as an add-on item initially, but since testing it out I have been using it as a staple in my make-up bag ever since. You only need to dab a tiny bit on your skin and blend, and it leaves a lovely glow which lasts for a surprisingly long time throughout the day. I mainly use it on my cheekbones before I apply blusher or bronzer, and even when I apply these over the top the shine still comes through. I really love the glowing, dewy skin look at the moment and this is the perfect highlighter to achieve that effect.

4. Korres Wild Rose Instant Brightening Mask | Feel Unique £7.00

 Korres is a brand that I love to browse as I constantly read great reviews of the products and I absolutely love the packaging, so when I caved and finally ordered something I went for the Instant Brightening Mask as it was one of the cheaper products that they sell. I had my reservations as I'd seen comments that it was an extremely small product, and at only 15ml you don't get too much for your money. Although this is true, it's the only negative that I can think of regarding the mask. It comes in a pretty white box (toothpaste-style), and the product itself is a thin, white cream that you apply all over your face. I usually only apply it in areas that I need it e.g. T zone, to try and make the tube last as long as possible, but luckily a little bit goes a long way. After use, my skin feels a lot softer and brighter - I think it works really well to hydrate dry skin. Korres products are all made using natural ingredients which makes them even better. I'm also really interested in trying the make-up products by the brand which are equally as pleasing on the eye.

5. Maybelline Colour Drama in 630 Nude Perfection | Superdrug £4.99

After seeing this lipstick pretty much everywhere lately I decided to test the hype myself. I wanted a colour that I could wear during the day, and many of the shades are quite dramatic - Nude Perfection was the one I went for. It was quite hard to find, being sold out in many of the high-street shops I looked in (always a sign of a good product), but I finally picked up the last one in a local Superdrug. The shade is a little darker than I expected, but it is a really lovely deep nude that it just subtle enough for day-wear. I also love the design of these lipsticks, as the pencil-esque style means you don't have to search around for a matching lip liner - it is essentially built in for you. The formula is just about okay to wear without a lip-balm underneath, but I usually do anyway to prevent it from going dry and flaky. For under a fiver it is really good value, if I'm brave enough I might try some of the darker shades to wear on a night out.

The photographs are taken on the beautiful pages of the Spring 2015 issue of Porter magazine and are all my own pictures.


24 Apr 2015

Non-Beauty Spring Things

A small assortion of things not related to beauty (for once) that I have accumulated lately, from summer-holiday reading material to footwear.

1. Patterned Folder | Paperchase £3

I am in my final year (and final term) at university and currently trying to complete my dissertation so I figured this was one of my last chances to buy stationery in an attempt for a last surge of much-needed motivation. I saw this folder in Paperchase a few weeks ago and I thought it was so pretty I couldn't not buy it. The pattern is on the inside as well, and it is a nice way to brighten up all my boring paperwork that seems to accumulate with university life. The range is called 'Raindrops' and there are other stationery bits that are equally as pretty, I am keen to buy the Raindrops desk pad to try and organize myself for the rest of the term. This file is not on the website at the moment but it is in stores, and you can see other things in the range here

2. Pointed Nude Flats | Topshop £26 reduced to £12

The Topshop sale launched this week and I spent a few enjoyable hours searching for a bargain. Although a lot of the sale is autumn/winter things, there are some pieces that are suitable for spring and summer like these nude flats that were only £10.80 (!) when I applied my NUS Student discount, reduced from £26. They are really summery and the neutral colour goes with most things, especially denim which I wear a lot. Pointed shoes seem to be everywhere at the moment so I was surprised these were in the sale, they also have a similar black version (here) which would be great as a smart approach to the trend, maybe as school or work flats. They have a fastening strap around the ankle which is great as it reduces the chance of them falling off when you're in a rush.. I haven't worn them out yet so I can't comment on the comfortable-ness but visually they are great.

3. Far From The Madding Crowd | Waterstones £4.99

As an English student this is probably a book I should have already read by now, being a classic Thomas Hardy... but I have finally got round to reading this after seeing the trailer for the new film adaptation coming out May 1st. I usually like to read the book before seeing the film to see how they compare, and I am only half way through the book at the moment (hence the bookmark) - struggling to read it around essay writing. Aside from the film, reading is a great way of un-stimulating your brain before you go to sleep - an alternative to watching a box set or TV until the early hours of the morning. This book is written beautifully, even if some of it does go over my head when I am keen to finish a chapter or further the plot.. It's also a nicely sized book - not too intimidating compared to a lot of the classics. 

4. Heath and Heather Rosehip Tea | Holland & Barrett £1.59 

I drink tea (mostly green and fruit) all the time as one of the ways to up my water intake (as I'm not very good at just drinking water in the day) and just because I like it. The latest tea that I have tried is Rosehip tea - I wasn't sure if I'd like it as I haven't tried Rosehip to eat or drink, I've only come across it as an ingredient in beauty products. It's a lot fruiter than I thought, it reminded me of berry tea but perhaps not as sweet. The Heath and Heather brand is about the same price as Twinings and normal supermarket teas, but it has a slightly luxury feel as the teabags are all prettily lined-up in the box as you can see in the pictures. The packaging is really simple and lovely, and some of the range is in the penny sale at Holland and Barrett at the moment, meaning two boxes for about £1.60. 


12 Apr 2015

Six Make Up and Skincare Favourites

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Serum | Boots £17.00 for 30ml

This was a bit of a splurge purchase, as Feel Unique have had some really good discounts lately, and I have wanted a serum that I can apply day and night to give a bit more hydration to my skin which is very very dry at the moment (also the packaging may have influenced my decision as it comes in a lovely little blue box). It is a really lightweight texture and gives the right balance of hydration without being too much. I actually really like it as a primer as it gives a nice base to apply make-up. My skin has been feeling a lot silkier lately, perhaps down to a combination of the new products I have been using, but I like to think this has played a part in that. I have read reviews that say it can be a bit of an irritant, so maybe it is not a serum for those with sensitive skin (it is also fragranced which could put some off). But overall, I have used this non-stop since it arrived at my door and I would definitely recommend it if your skin is dry and needs a bit of hydration. 

Yes to Grapefruit Daily Facial Scrub for Uneven Skintone | Boots £6.99 for 112ml 

This is my wonder-product of the week: the Yes to Grapefruit Facial Scrub. I had been wanting to try out the Yes To range for a while, having seen positive things on websites and Instagram lately, but as I've been product-buying quite a lot lately I thought I'd go for one of the more affordable products in their ranges. I went for the Yes to Grapefruit as it claims to even out skin tone to make your skin look brighter, as well as exfoliate, which sounded like a great combination to me as a lot of exfoliators I use tend to make my skin quite red after use. Firstly, it smells amazing; grapefruit is a really fresh scent which is so nice to use in the morning. As an exfoliator, it isn't too harsh but it does do the job and leaves skin feeling so smooth and lovely. As for evening skin tone, I don't know if it is completely down to this product but literally after the first time I used this my skin looked ten times better than before - it is a lot more glowy and even like it claims on the bottle, making putting on make-up so much easier. I am completely sold on this product and have used it everyday since - I can't want to try the rest of the range and want to stock up on this one in case it is ever discontinued...!! I originally bought it in Holland and Barratt as I had a points voucher to redeem, but the whole range is sold in Boots and Waitrose who frequently have offers on. At £6.99, it is such good value and I would definitely recommend trying it out. 

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner | Asos £12.00 

I have tried the Eyeko eyeliners a while ago, but I never got round to replacing it once it ran out so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it on the front of In Style magazine this month as a freebie (they also had Eyelash curlers, face wipes and a chunky eyeliner as other free gifts). I use liquid eyeliner everyday as I find it a lot neater and easier to apply (and longer lasting) than eyeliner pencils, and have previously been using the Collection Fast Stroke Liquid Eyeliner which has always been my go-to eyeliner - the only problem I sometimes have is that when you first apply it, there is a lot of the liquid on the applicator. This is great for when you want quite a bold line, but I find it difficult to draw a thin line across for daytime make up. With the felt-tip style eyeliners, like the Eyeko one, I find it a lot easier to draw a thinner line and I am less likely to make a mistake. At £12, it is quite a bit more expensive than the Collection liquid eyeliner (£2.99 at Superdrug) and I don't think the Eyeko eyeliner lasts as long, but I do prefer it especially in the summer when I don't want too heavy eye make up for the day.

Superfacialist by Una Brennan Rose Hydrate Radiance Day Cream | Boots £12.99 for 75ml 

I bought this as I've been keen to try more of the Una Brennan products, having loved the Superfacialist Micro Polish Wash. Along with the Vichy serum, it was purchased in a quest to hydrate my skin a bit more, as I find it a lot easier to apply make-up when my skin isn't as dry. This is one of the most moisturizing products I have used - when you first apply it leaves your skin completely illuminated and shiny with moisture, but it absorbs within a few minutes and gives you a perfect base for make-up (and the rose scent smells lovely). It has SPF15 as well, which is great for skin protection and means you don't have to lug a sun-cream around with you just in case the sun appears as its already in your moisturizer. It's slightly pricey for a daily moisturizer in comparison to other high-street ones as you only get 75ml, but I would re-purchase as I haven't found one to match this yet in terms of hydration.

Makeup Revolution Mono Eyeshadow Moutains of Gold | Superdrug £1.00

Makeup Revolution is a range that I am quickly becoming very obsessed with, as I am yet to buy a product I am disappointed with, and for the price it is amazing value. The single eyeshadows are only £1 each, and I picked up the shade Mountains of Gold, as it is quite a shimmery bronze which is a colour I have started to wear under my eye as an eyeliner substitute. I wasn't sure about how pigmented it would be for the price, but when applied it is really vivid, and one application is enough for the day as it is really long lasting. Definite thumbs up for the Makeup Revolution eyeshadows!

(Bottom browner shade is Maybelline On & On Bronze, higher shimmer shade is Makeup Revolution Mountains of Gold)

Maybelline Colour Tattoo Eyeshadow On & On Bronze | Superdrug £4.99

I am a bit slow on the band wagon with these eyeshadows, as I have seen lots and lots of raving about how good these are. When I finally got round to getting one in the Boots 3 for 2 last week, I chose the On & On Bronze shade (there is a pattern appearing in my eyeshadow buying...)  again to wear as eyeliner under my bottom lashes. It is quite similar to the Makeup Revolution Mountains of Gold, in that it is also quite shimmery (this one maybe a bit less), but it is a bit more subtle in shade - more browny-bronze than orange-bronze, and obviously it is a cream texture rather than a powder. It is really long lasting like it claims to be, and really easy to blend due to its creamy texture. 

8 Apr 2015

Spring Jewellery

I have never really been one of those people who invested in expensive jewellery, or even wore any of the same pieces all the time. I am much more likely to pick something up on an impulse buy, wear it for a week and then change my mind (or lose it) the next. But lately I have been much more attached to the jewellery I have acquired over the past few months, mainly because the pieces are minimal, understated pieces that go with pretty much everything - including eachother - which allows me to layer it all together. I am definitely a fan of the extremely delicate, almost-there jewellery, like thin midi-rings and dainty bracelets - they are really feminine and timeless. I am also gold-obsessed when it comes to jewellery, and I have finally learnt that I need to check that before I buy something that it is gold-plated as I was getting tired of all my rings and bracelets becoming brassy after a few weeks of wear (which is much more affordable than I thought). 

The Z for Accessorize range in Accessorize is a range I have been lusting over since Christmas, and it is great for this problem as most of the gold is gold-plated, as well as being affordable despite looking very expensive in my opinion. Another one of my favourite brands for jewellery at the moment is Orelia, which I came across in Topshop one day. They have the most delicate bracelets and necklaces which are really minimalist and simple - perfect if you want something to wear all the time that isn't going to clash with your outfit. 

These are a few of the pieces I have been getting a lot of use out of lately..

Watch | Olivia Burton 
Earrings | Accessorize 
Lotus Flower Gold Necklace | Z for Accessorize Range
Tree of Life Bracelet | Urban Outfitters
Midi Rings | Accessorize
Beaded Tassel Bracelet | Topshop Similar Here
Thin Blue Beaded Bracelet | Orelia at Topshop


2 Apr 2015

March Favourites

1. Herbal Essences Clearly Naked Sheer Shine Mist

This is a very new found love of mine, as I only bought it about a week ago but I already LOVE using it. It is meant to add a nice, glossy finish to your hair after styling. In Winter, due to neglect from the sun my hair goes a considerably darker blonde, especially at the roots, which makes it look a lot more dull than in the summer months. The spray just brings back a bit of life to the dullness, and it isn't oily or greasy on my hair. Also, it doesn't create the frizzy, bad-humidity-esque look that some hair products seem to attract, it does the opposite and makes hair look sleeker. It works particularly well when I have straightened my hair, making it really soft and glossy. It's super cheap, especially at the moment as it is half price in a lot of shops (I got mine from Superdrug), RRP £4.49 for 150ml. My only criticism is that it doesn't come in a slightly smaller size so I can fit it in my handbag, as it would be great to carry this around to re-apply during a long day.

2. Bumble and Bumble Invisible Oil Spray

Getting my hands on this product was a bit of a fluke as the travel size bottle was a freebie when I ordered the Styling Creme online. I already use Argan oil products before blow drying my hair so I neglected this for a while, thinking it would have the same effect. Yet, since coming back from university and not having unpacked properly yet, I turned to this product, and I have been having great hair days since. I don't know what it is that makes it different to other oils I use, but my hair hasn't felt this silky in a long time and it creates just the right balance between straight and wavy. It is a lot lighter to use than oils, detracting from the risk of over-using and making your hair too oily. I'm a big fan of hair that looks as though it hasn't been styled at all (surprisingly hard to achieve), and I think this spray really helps do this. It's also a really good primer before styling, and protects from UV damage (not that I am at much risk of this at the moment in the never-ending winter weather). I am definitely going to be investing in the full size bottle. The RRP is £19 for 250ml and you can get it from Bumble and Bumble here.

3. L'Oreal Skin Perfection Miracle Cleansing Oil

Even though I haven't had this for all of March, I felt as though I should include it as I have been using it religiously, at least twice a day, since I bought it. I have wanted to buy a cleansing oil for a while now as my skin has been really dry lately and I thought a bit of oil might brighten it up a bit, but it seemed slightly risky as lots of oil on your skin can inevitably lead to lots of spots. But, I have been won over by the cleansing oil - my face-wipes have been made redundant since buying this as I use it to cleanse in the morning and remove make-up in the evening. It is surprisingly quick at taking off even the toughest of make-up like thick mascara, I massage it into my skin for about a minute and rinse off - a lot quicker than scrubbing my eyes with a face-wipe. I have noticed that the blemishes I had have dried up, and my skin feels a little less dry than it did before which is great from just a cleanser. The oil is on offer at the moment in Boots, it is £5.33 for 150ml, giving you a third off the RRP £7.99. It is one of the cheapest cleansing oils that I have come across - I'm interested to try other brands to see how it compares, but I was pleasantly surprised with this product.

4. Superfacialist by Una Brennan Vitamin C+ Brighten Gentle Daily Micro Polish Wash

I am not going to say too much about this product as I have already reviewed it here, but I really wanted to include this in my favourites as I have been loving using this wash through March. Firstly, it smells AMAZING, I can't think of a better smell to wake you up in the morning. It combines a cleanser and an exfoliator in one with the micro-beads which makes such a difference to the feel of skin, however although it says to use in both the morning and evening, I prefer to use it mainly at night as it can make your skin slightly flushed after use, but my skin does look a lot fresher in the morning. I don't think it is sold in many other places apart from Boots for RRP £9.99 for 125ml, which is where I bought it from. I can't wait to try more products from the Una Brennan range if they all smell as nice as this one.

5. Sleek Shimmer Blusher in the shade Suede

After it was ranted and raved about, I got the Sleek contour kit for Christmas last year and loved it. I wanted to give some of Sleek's other products a try so I ordered one of their blushes in Suede, as I love the packaging and I wanted a blush in a peachy, almost bronze tone to give my wintery-pale skin some life. It comes in a rectangular compact with a mirror (not really big enough to apply blusher easily but perfect for eye make-up). I would say the shade is a blend between a blush and a bronze, as it is the opposite of pinky but not dark enough to be a bronzer. I am interested to use this in the summer when my skin is slightly darker, as I think it would really compliment tanned skin. Even though it is called a shimmer blush, the shade is matte, and the flat compact makes it really easy to apply with a blusher brush. For the price, it is really good value as I think it will last a long time. The only fault I can make is that the compact is slightly hard on your fingernails when you try to open it.

6. Real Techniques Expert Face Brush

I don't know if this product has been reviewed to death but I can't get enough of the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush. I thought I'd found my favourite brush when I bought their foundation brush, and I still love and use that one everyday but since buying the expert face brush my favourites have changed. Applying and blending blusher/bronzer is so much easier than any other brush I've used, and it is so silky soft on my skin. The circular design makes it really easy to do a circular motion when blending which I find a lot easier than other techniques, and once you wash it it feels brand new. You can buy Real Techniques brushes from Feel Unique - the expert face brush is £11.99 RRP, but you can get it a little cheaper from Amazon usually.
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