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Sunday, 10 July 2016

Skincare products I keep reaching for.

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Sooooo, it's been a while, but that's not going to stop me from carrying on from where I left off, and what's better than a good skincare post to get back into blogging? Skincare is something I've stubbled with for years and years, and only recently my skin seems to be agreeing to the products I'm using - so I'm keeping with those and sharing the love on here, for you lovelies. There's also a little tiny makeup product thrown in... but that's just because it's super lovely and it's been suiting my almost blemish free skin lately.

Cleansers:

Antipodes Grapeseed Butter Cleanser is an oily, buttery cleanser that is really well suited for my skin, which is really combination. I find that the natural oils within the cleanser suit the dry and oily parts of my skin, which helps in balancing out my face. The cleanser has little nodules of texture in the balm, which smush onto the skin when applied and rubbed in, which I think not only exfoliates the skin but also helps to refine the texture without being too abrasive. 

Moisturisers:

Jurlique's Precious Rose Hand Cream* is one of my all time favourites, and sits on the windowsill next to my bed, making it easy to grab and apply before I fall asleep. I apply a generous amount before sleep so my hands are nourished and taken care of by morning - as who doesn't want soft, supple hands? Another product that I love, and is a holiday staple (because of it's size and moisturising properties) is Nourish's Argan Skin Renew Moisturiser which is a light but really hydrating cream that sinks delectably into the skin and leaves my face feeling plump and moisturised, without feeling oily or weighed down. 


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Masques/Masks:

A new favourite of mine is the Estée Lauder Revitalising Supreme Global Anti-Aging Mask Boost which boosts radiance and moisture intake. I apply this before a moisture mask... and my skin is soooo so glowy the next day. My moisture mask is slurped up by my skin, and this product from EL is definitely the cause. It's applied over a clean face and neck, left for five minutes and then removed with cotton wool. It's not washed off, and I think that's very important. It'll have a full review all on it's own, but for now, just know that I'm a big, big fan. 

Miscellaneous:

A shout out to Mitchum Advanced Control 48 Hour Deodorant because if you're a bit of a Sweaty Betty like myself, then you cannot underestimate the importance of a good roll on deodorant. It's an essential for me, and you can bet that I have one in my room, bathroom and weekend bag. You can never have too many of these beauties! Lastly, it's another Estée Lauder favourite (duhhh, I'm obsessed) and it's their Double Wear Light Foundation which is a light coverage, that packs some glow and some staying power. The tube makes it pretty darn easy to use, and I find that only a pea sized amount is perfect for covering the majority of sins on my skin. Cannot recommend enough if you're looking for a light foundation that's going to make your skin look like skin. 


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Monday, 20 June 2016

Crown Brush Lilac Ombre Brush Set

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Do you ever get that feeling when something comes into your life, and you're just like 'YES'? Well, that was basically my reaction when these brushes made their way into mine. Crown Brush have made the most lust worthy lilac ombre makeup brushes, and I cannot contain my excitement. The bristles are wonderfully soft, dense and made from Nylon, so there's no cruelty here at all, which is very important in my makeup brushes. Plus they're so wonderfully pretty! It's not often I get gooey eyed over makeup brushes... but these had me gasping and shoving them in my mum's face going 'look at these! look how pretty!'. She agreed, they were super amazing. So we know that Crown Brush can talk the talk, but can they walk the walk?

Let's get straight to it: yes, they can. I've not been this impressed with a set of brushes since I first got my hands on some Real Techniques brushes, and that was a loooong time ago. This review has been a long time coming... but I really wanted to test them out for a while to understand how they're best used, how they wash/dry and how they stand the test of time. They apply, clean and last like a dream. The silky bristles are soft and brilliant at applying, blending and making me look presentable - that's no mean feat, let me tell you!
      Plus look at them! They're ombré. Ombré!! And at £29.99 for six brushes, a set of tweezers and a travel carry case... these Crown Brushes are some of the most affordable on the market, and let's not forget, some of the most beautiful too! I cannot wait to add more to my collection as you never have too many makeup brushes... right?

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The brushes:

Powder Brush (see the two images above), for your setting powders and bronzers. I tend to use this to apply power, as it has quite a dense head, but it still manages to apply product without overloading the skin - making it perfect to use for dusting loose or setting powder over the skin.

The Taper Blush Brush (see the first images below), for application of cream/powder blushes, as well as contour products. I've used to this to apply powder blushes straight from the pan, as well as blending out cream blushes which I apply directly to the skin. 

Deluxe Contour (see the first brush on the left) says it all really: for use with cream or powder contours, such as Illamasqua's Cream Pigment in Hollow or Charlotte Tilbury's Filmstar Bronze and Glow. This brush packs on a lot of pigment which is brilliant at defining the contours of the face before blending out. Due to it's small head, it's best used to define the nose, hairline and cheekbones before blending with a larger brush.

The Crease Blender (second brush from the left) is one of my faaaaavourite out of the set, as it blends like a dream. Pigments, creams or powder... this brush can blend them all flawlessly, but it especially wonderful at creating soft cut creases. One of my favourite ways to use this brush is to blend a taupe shade into the crease with another brush, before bringing in this one to take the shadow up to the brow bone, making sure that there are no harsh lines and leaving the makeup looking super dreamy and blended. It would make Lisa Eldridge really happy, let me tell you. She's a massive lover of a super blended eyeshadow.

A Chisel Shadow (third brush from the left) brush is ideal for packing on the product, straight from the pan, whether cream or powder (but I usually tend to apply creams with my finger before blending out). It's especially good at keeping product within the bristles, so there isn't a great deal of fall down onto the skin when applying eye products. A dense brush is perfect for packing on colour before blending out the product (that's where you'd bring in the Crease Blender).

Last, but not least we have the Detail Liner Brush (farthest from the left, first on right) which I think works so so well with applying darker eyeshadows over eyeliner, to either soften the look, or when used freshly, with a dip of water, to blend a cat eye liner look into something a little bit softer and hazier around the upper lash line. It's also fantastic at blending shadow under the lower lash line, as its short, fine head is perfect for precise application.

Lisa Eldridge did a fabulous tutorial over her lustworthy Signature Cat Eye Liner and these brushes have been put to good use in trying to recreate that. Check it out and then you'll see that this set of ombré brushes are made for it! Keep a special eye out for what eye brushes she uses, as you can see that these are amazing dupes for them! 


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Sunday, 19 June 2016

Skincare for when your skin is having a freak out.

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As someone who has ridiculously bad hormonal breakouts, I thought that this post would be the best way to show how I combat them. I hate the days when I wake up and have loads of blemishes, some under the skin, and some just there... blatantly there. Looking at me as if to say, 'what're you gonna do about it?'. How rude, right? Basically what I do, is I cleanse, masque and then moisturise like crazy! I want all the badness to be sucked out of my skin, before nourishing what's left with natural oils and goodness... all in the hope that they'll disappear and leave me be. I can dream, at least. Most of the time, it doesn't happen. They reduce in size, but they don't entirely go away... much to my dismay. So I'm just going to run through some products that help in aiding blemishes on their way... (the correct way being not on my face or as far away from me as possible).

Cleansers:

To cleanse, or not to cleanse... that is the question. Except there is really no question at all, but really just consider which are the best and most suitable for the most sensitive of skin situations. When I have really bad hormonal breakouts, my skin needs natural and non-abrasive skincare to remove makeup, so I try and stick to an oil for a first cleanse such as Una Brenna's Vitamin C+ Brightening Cleansing Oil which melts away makeup and does very well as removing those pesky waterproof eye makeup products. Following that first cleanse, I also prefer a gentle second cleanse and MeruMaya's Melting Cleansing Balm is perfect, as it just leaves the skin feeling clean, fresh and supple; which is the perfect base for a face mask or just to start my skincare routine.

Two other products which are also recent skincare additions and wonderful for a double cleanse, are UltraBland from Lush Cosmetics, a beeswax based cleanser that regulates the skin whilst being full of natural products and Liz Earle's Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, which is super light, nourishing and leaves the skin feeling lovely and soft.


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Masques/Masks:

One of my favourite part of my extensive skincare routine, is when I put a mask on, as I know it's going to help my skin immensely. Whether it's clay based like Queen Helene's Mint Julep Masque, which is amazing at shrinking pores, drawing out impurities and controlling oil on my t-zone - which to be fair, is very similar to an oil-slick some days. Baaaad days. For a sweet, calming hit of moisture I adore Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask, which just surrounds me with the scent of honey and lemon - it's so refreshing and calming... it's like someone wrapping your skin in the most beautiful of scented blankets... ugh, it's totally divine. A thick layer of this is divine on the skin and I find that mine drinks it up so so fast - must be desperate for all of the natural goodness from the Antipodes tube. For a serious exfoliation hit then I turn to Ren's Glycolactic Radiance Renewel Mask, a chemical exfoliant mask that combines fruit enzymes and acid to aid in resurfacing the skin - I love the way it tingles, as I know that it's doing the job I need it too. My skin always looks so glowy and fresh the next morning; it's a must have for scarred or acne prone skin, as not only does it exfoliate, but it helps to repair the skin. 

Some honourable mentions are masques are: Rosy Cheeks Fresh Face Mask by Lush Cosmetics, which is the prettiest dusky pink shade, and draws upon the properties of rose to calm the skin, whilst the clay balances the skin. Also for hydration, La Roche Posay's Hydraphase Intense Masque, which I use primarily on my cheeks and chin, as they tend to be the driest areas of my face (my chin is always really, really dry). I've yet to find any chemical exfoliator masques that I like as much as the one from Ren, but I will update you should I find any... or if you have any recommendations I would love to hear them!

Oils:

A little addition to this post, and not one for your face (shock!), is a bath oil. There's nothing that soothes me as much as a hot bath, and a calming bath oil as the natural scents just envelop you in a hug that you don't want to let go of. These mini's from Aromatherapy Associates are the perfect accompaniment for a soak, as you can concoct your own bath oil cocktails, depending on what mood you're in, and what your body and mine requires. A little bit of Relax Deep and Support Equilibrium can go a long way - trust me!

Another bath oil that is amazing at unwinding muscles is from Neom. I purchased the Sicilian Lemon and Fresh Basil Bath Oil and I feel like it was one of the best discoveries that I've made in relation to skincare products. A moisturising and relaxing oil not only unwinds muscles, but also infuses the skin with nourishment, leaving my limbs feeling supple and smooth, ready for a light coating of moisturiser before slipping into bed for a night full of sleep. I always find that I sleep best after using a bath oil - it must make me so relaxed that I slip into the land of dreams as simply and easily as I can. 

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Thursday, 16 June 2016

Easy Summer Outfit Flatlay

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I do love a good flatly, especially when it leaves me craving the items within it. So I thought, why not do a simple Summer one, for when the weather is actually nice - rare though that is in the UK. Some canvassing of Tesco's clothing section always has me leaving with something: I'm not really a snob in that sense, I'll take some fabulous clothing, regardless of where it's from. Hence why this is a collection of three wonderful brands: Florence & Fred, Asos and Boohoo. 

A delightful sun hat, emblazoned with 'I'm Busy' because let's face it, on holiday, or even in the sun, I'l be busy with a cocktail in my hand and some delicious food. That's what I do on holiday... plus lots of swimming, and soaking up some much needed sun. But when the sun is blazing in the UK, there is always place for a sun hat: whether to sit coyly behind when you're chilling out, or simply pulling the brim down to proclaim that 'I'm Busy' whilst protecting your face from the sun's rays - there is always a time for a sun hat. And whilst lazing the day away, the perfect accompaniment is a pair of strappy heels* that can be tied at the ankle, or worn up the calf - depending on the look you want to achieve. There are similar ones here from Boohoo, that are perhaps more appropriate as a faux suede isn't going to be as good as faux leather when the Summer showers start (much like today). I am obsessed with wrap up sandals right now, and these are super comfortable - plus look how cute they are! I think the faux leather is going to be tempting me into making another purchase from Boohoo (damn yooooo, stop tempting me with luscious things).

Lastly, but not least is this wonderfully beautiful and perfect for Summer, cotton striped co-ord from Tesco: which I think they've nailed! It's super easy to wear, light, breathable and just so damn cute! You can wear them overlaid, but I tucked sleeveless top into the high waisted skirt, as I think it just completed the outfit. To make it even more perfect, I think I need to have some mesh layers under the skirt, to make it more twirly - or so that it will stand out a little bit more - so that's on my to-find/to make list. It's such a perfect outfit and I cannot wait for lazy Summer days so I can wear this outfit again - come on Summer, make your move! 

F&F, Asos and Boohoo Summer Outfit 5

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Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Five workout tips for people who don't really workout.

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Yeah, I'm not really a gym goer. I find everything about it intimidating. The lights, the machines... the fact that men are always, always there... and that I've never really been one to workout. Would they judge me? Would they jeer and laugh? 
        The answer to that is basically no. They don't care. All they care about is working out, staying hydrated, and trying not to look like a red faced, sweaty mess when they're done on the cross-fit machine. They don't care... and you shouldn't either, so here are some tips that I've picked up on my workout journey.

1. Start slow and work your way up.

There is no point in running flat out for two miles, almost throwing up, and then not being able to get up the next day. What's the point of that? It's best to start slow. Go for a jog, or better yet, a power walk. Getting your body used to a faster form of exercise than running is what will build up your endurance. Running and running and running, when you're not used to it, will only result in injury, pain and a ridiculous amount of crying. Trust me on this one.

2. For the love of god, Stretch!

Believe me, you will feel it the next day if you don't adequately warm up, and cool down your muscles. You might pull something at the start if you haven't done enough stretching, and you'll certainly feel the pain in your muscles the next day if you don't stretch it out. Aching is to be expected, but not being able to walk properly the next few days... yeah, that's not what anyone wants.

3. Embrace the camel toe.

This is what the general consensus was on Twitter, especially from the wonderful Holly, who basically inspired me to not care what people think... as on one of my runs, they're not going to see me for very long anyway. And y'know... if in doubt, wear a longer top, right? But seriously, own it. Everyone gets it, well most women do, because they also have vagina's, and they also work out. So own it!

4. Hydrate.

You don't want to be one of those people gasping for air after exercising, almost falling to the floor, close to throwing up. Nope. I've done that, and have found that yes, pushing myself is something I need, but I know my body and it has limits. It needs to stay hydrated, as not only will I get a raging headache, but I'll feel faint and the next day will be a complete write off. Water is your friend, so make sure that you replace all fluids lost during exercise and make sure you eat. Protein is always amazing after a workout. For me, a banana helps with muscles after a run, and then a quick poached or scrambled egg will be enough to set me up until the next meal. Look after your body and give it the fuel it needs.

5. Get the right equipment.

I'm not talking machines... I'm talking shoes. For me, they're so damn important. As someone who suffers occasionally with a bad back (less now thanks to yoga), proper shoes are an essential tool for keeping you healthy, balanced and supported enough for the workout of your choice. Gym shoes, such as shoes for lifting are different to those specialised for running, but there isn't a real need to have two pairs if you cannot afford them. My running shoes have a shock absorbing sole, which allows me to bounce back, and almost spring myself forward, placing less pressure on my ankles and knees - and my ankles are something I do worry about, since I had an injury concerning it about three years ago. You need to look after yourself, choose what's right, and trust that it will do you well. 

When I say 'tips for people who don't really work out', I mean casual gym goers and those who will go for a light jog around the few streets when you live. I run/jog/walk but also do yoga and various strength exercises with my exercise ball, and cycle on my dad's exercise bike. I'm not a committed gym goer, as I just prefer to go at my own pace, in the little bubble that is my own home. I hope that one day I'll be able to just stroll into the gym and do my own thing, without a care in the world, but until then, I'll just stick to what I know. If you want to start, I've seen some wonderful tutorials on Youtube that can give some wonderful tips and tricks for beginners.


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Friday, 10 June 2016

My OKK Summer Beauty Box

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Happy Friday my lovelies! So today I'm going to be doing another edition of 'If I made my own Beauty Box' because loads of you loved it! It's such a fun thing to imagine, as a dozen or so bloggers have their own and it just leads me to wonder what I'd have in my own box ... so this time, is my Summer Beauty Box, featuring some of my favourite products to use during warmer months, and some new additions that I'll be wearing. My first post on this topic was waaaay back in March, entitled, obviously 'If I made my own Beauty Box...' which got a wonderful reception by some wonderful bloggers on Twitter and through comments, so here is my next addition!

In my imaginary box, which has a wonderful sense of Summer about it with it's red nautical stripes (much like the makeup bag below) would arrive at doorsteps, encasing the striped makeup bag and some wonderful goodies to leave you thinking about ways to laze away long Summer days (I like to do this with a cocktail, personally). 

Hydration is super important for me, especially when the weather changes, so including a super light, but hydrating moisturiser was a big priority, so I chose Jurlique's Rose Moisture Plus which is almost gel like in consistency, and perfect for combatting skin that gets shiny through the day. On top of that I think La Roche Posay's Effaclar BB Blur is the perfect light Summer base, as it really does blur the skin, making me think... where did the patchy redness on my cheeks just go? Yep, it's that good! These two are a really good combination for humidity, as they combat shine, and come from two skincare brands that I trust greatly. Read my reviews for La Roche-Posay's Effaclar BB Blur and Jurlique's Rose Moisture Plus Moisturiser here)

On top of a glowy, yet somewhat matte base, there's nothing like a bit of bronzer to perk the skin up - it's perfect for Summer, when it's time to get the pale pins out and apply liberal amounts of SPF. I always use a bronzer these days to warm up my skin, as otherwise it just leaves me looking pale - and not really in an interesting way either. So that's why The Body Shop's Honey Bronzer is so brilliant (see the full review here); suitable for even the palest skin tones, it's gives the skin a lovely warmth and glow without making sin look orange or if you need a good scrub (trust me, some bronzers do that). I'm a huge fan of this matte bronzer, especially because the packaging is so damn cute! You can still see the little indentations of the honey in the pan, making it so cute, but also so sad to use! Who wants to mar that loveliness? Whilst the skin is looking matte and perfect, a slick of stain or gloss is the accompaniment of choice, and at the moment, there is nothing better than Lancome's Juicy Shaker, which allows you to shake them up to achieve the consistency and colour of your choice. A vibrant stain, or a sheer gloss? That's totally up to you! The colour choices are especially stunning as well! My choice shade is Great-Fruit, a bright coral that has Summer written all over it (read my full review of the Lancome Juicy Shakers here).

For an eyeshadow that's the best one wash of colour around, Seventeen's Eyeshadow in Rose Quartz is a rose taupe packed to the rafters with shimmer, making it dramatic enough for a night out, but lovely and simple enough to wear in the day. Plus it blends like a dream, so what is there not to love? You can see the full review here, and gape over how beautiful it is. And now onto the last two products, both essentials in their own right - a facial massager and a wonderfully fragrant hand cream. The Body Shop's Facial Massager is the answer to dull, blemish prone skin as it helps blood circulation in the face, and also aids in drainage; which makes the face less puffy and generally looking a bit brighter. Last but not least, is a glorious hand cream from L'Occitane, and for anyone who loves the smell of cherry blossoms like I do, they you're going to be in for a wonderful treat when this is applied. Creamy, moisturising and in hard wearing packaging that can stand the test of time when rolling around in your handbag.

So, what do you think of my Summer Beauty Box? What goodies would you include in yours? x


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Thursday, 9 June 2016

High End Beauty for Everyday use

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I never really thought that I would be the kind of person that uses a lot of high end on a day to day basis, and when I think about it, I don't really. Yes, I may put on a higher end lipstick, but then again, today I was using a Maybelline Lip Crayon as my Nars Matte Lip Pencil sat in my bag. I think it's all about a bit of balance, but I wanted to speak about a few products that are essential enough for me to use everyday, and not just have them for special occasions - basically they're just so damn good that I need them in my life.

I try and balance everything in my life. I'll have a salad, but I'll also have cake. I'll use my L'Oreal Foundation, but I'll use my Charlotte Tilbury Bronze and Glow Palette to contour and highlight. For me it's all about using the best of both worlds, as who doesn't love grabbing a bargain from Boots or Superdrug? But also, the rush when a coveted higher end product makes it into your life... there's nothing like it for us makeup addicts. The happiness I get from a cream eyeshadow or the perfect coral blush isn't deemed as important as other happiness in my life, but just because it's small, doesn't make it any less significant for me. Happiness comes in small and large packages... like dogs. Dogs are little furry bundles of happiness, and they come in all shapes and sizes. 

But let's talk about the makeup. I know it doesn't look like it, but I have actually used that Tom Ford Lipstick. A part of me cannot bare to lose the embossed TF so I use the other side when I apply it to my lips. I know Casablanca needs me to use it properly... but I may shed a small tear when I mar the perfection of that iconic Tom Ford symbol. I blogged fully about Tom Ford's Casablanca lipstick here, so pop over for a full gushing review. Another beauty that pains me to use it, is Hourglass' Ambient Lighting Blush in Dim Infusion, a pink coral that has be glowing as if I've just developed my first crush - you can read all about that one here (the blush that is, not the crush haha).

Speaking of blushes, can we just have a moment to look at the glorious shade of Deep Throat? It's by Nars, obviously. Who else comes up with names like that, right? It's iconic in it's peachy colour with a subtle shimmer... a gorgeous offering from a brand that I'm growing to lover with each and every purchase. Read all about Deep Throat here. Moving swiftly away from blushers, we have the one and only Too Faced Bronzer, which is their Milk Chocolate Soliel bronzer, perfect for us pale lot who still like to look a little bit more tanned than we actually are. It's like a little cheat for being out in the sun and without the damaging effects to our skin - basically a win-win. It's best applied with a big fluffy brush for a streak free look, and best when taken down the neck as well - gotta keep the entire look synchronised. Read about the wonderful bronzer that does actually smell like chocolate, here.

Charlotte Tilbury is a brand that gets a lot of love, and quite rightly. It's a brand synonymous with quality and decadence, perfect for that everyday touch of luxury. My Filmstar Bronze and Glow is what leaves my cheekbones looking glorious, and starlet like. Although it hasn't had it's own post yet, it has featured in dozens of posts - because it's just that damn good. A grey toned highlight and a golden highlighter - is there a better match? I certainly haven't found it!

And what's a post without some Estée Lauder? I mean it's me, come on. An eyeshadow fivesome that takes neutral to a new level, with the ability to create a subtle wash with champagne shades, or smoke it up with a mahogany crease, there are so many possibilities making it an palette that can be worn from day to night with very little effort used to amp up the drama. It's their Pure Colour Envy Eyeshadow 5 shade palette in Defiant Nude, and it's just so so good. The last member of this family is the Estée Lauder Double Wear Brush on Glow BB Concealer, which also acts as a rather lovely highlighter - making it a pretty good dupe for the YSL Touché Eclat, as you know it's going to make everything look so glowy and lovely. I use it on the inside of my eye, on the top of my cheekbones under highlighter, and down the centre of the nose ... just to draw an extra bit of illumination to the skin.

What are your everyday High End favourites? Any that I need to pay close attention to? 


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