Friday, 31 January 2014

This Works Dream Team

This Works Dream Team - no longer available
I picked this little duo up from Boots before Christmas for just £10, so I could sample my first This Works products. With a stressful few months ahead, this is exactly what I've been looking for- good sleep in a couple of bottles. 

The Deep Sleep Pillow Spray (5ml) is quite a strong scent, so it's not one to spray directly before you're about to sleep. I prefer to spritz it lightly over my pillows and let it diffuse for a bit, so I don't end up heavily inhaling it as I sleep. It smells really relaxing and as soon as my head hits the pillow I instantly start to drift. 

However, the Deep Sleep Stress Less (5ml) rollerball is something that I use a lot more often, whether it's when I'm tackling a particularly challenging essay or if I'm trying to fall asleep. The smell isn't quite so overpowering but is concentrated enough for you to smell, enough to help you relax!

If I had to buy one of the two again, it would be the rollerball, as it's not quite so strong yet still relaxing. Unfortunately, this exact set isn't available any more but a similar (yet more expensive) version can be bought here with a full size Pillow Spray but the same miniature Stress Less rollerball. 

Monday, 27 January 2014

Nuxe Reve de Miel

Nuxe Reve de Miel - £9.50
The second I set foot in Paris I dropped my bags in the hotel and sped off to City Pharma, list in hand. This product, Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm, has been something I've wanted to try out for a very long time. The only reason I held back was because it was quite expensive and I wasn't sure if I would like the scent. However, City Pharma sells this for the bargainous price of just €6, under £5! It doesn't smell like honey at all, more so like a chocolate orange, but it's not a cheap, artificial smell, it's just really lovely. 

It's a wonder product, with a thick consistency that doesn't leave a shine on your lips. It's not too thick for use during the day (believe me, I slather it on my lips every hour!) and could still be used at night. Personally, I use my Dior Crème de Rose at night because I like to have a really thick balm, but I would still use this.

Yes, it's quite expensive for an average lip balm, but this isn't an average lip balm! I think this little pot of joy will last for ages, making the price tag not so expensive. You can find it for slightly cheaper on Escentual - link. I would definitely recommend this for people with insanely chapped lips to lips in good condition, who just want to keep it that way.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Concealers: Budget vs. High-End

Make Up Forever Full Cover - £22.95 and Collection Lasting Perfection - £4.19
My concealer collection is small but practical, to ensure that I get the coverage I need. However, from that small collection I only own 1 from the drugstore, the cult Collection Lasting Perfection concealer. 

Today, I'm putting it to the test against the Make Up Forever Full Cover concealer, to see whether it's worth splashing the cash for concealers or if it's better to save your pennies and go for the cheaper option.

Collection Lasting Perfection in 'Light' - link

At just over £4, I just needed myself to like this- think of all the money I would save! And it's not that I don't like it, because I really do, but the little niggles that I have with it is that is sinks into my pores and creases a little under my eyes.
The pore issue isn't such a big problem when I'm wearing a primer like The POREfessional, but if I just want to wear simple makeup going to the supermarket, I don't want to be faffing around with primers.
The problem with the under eye creasing is that if I need a lot of coverage (late night Netflix sessions are to be blamed) then it will crease when I apply more. When I just need a little pick-me-up, I can count on this to brighten my under eyes.
In terms of spots, the coverage is quite good but I didn't find it to be that buildable without getting cakey. 

Make Up Forever Full Cover in '5' - link
This can be bought in-store in the US and France, to my knowledge, but the link above is a UK seller. It is sold as a full coverage, waterproof concealer that can cover scars, hyperpigmentation and even tattoos. Now I don't have any tattoos to test this claim but I have plenty of scars!
It is the type of concealer that has to be built up, which takes a little longer but if you have scarring from old spots like I do, it's definitely worth it!
The way I use it is by applying it after primer but before foundation, then if I need any more coverage after foundation I can add some more. I've found that the best application method is to dab it on with my fingers then blend it in with a concealer brush. 
It has a matte finish and lasts for ages, as well as not being too drying so it can be used under eyes, too. It can crease a little under the eyes but when foundation is applied over it, this doesn't happen. 

The verdict? My purse hates me for this, but I think that the high-end option really is worth it. The £20+ that it costs really is worth it, because only a little is needed to get the best results. I've suffered from very dark scars and spots which really get me down, but this doesn't look cakey if blended well and covers up any imperfections.
However, the budget concealer is a strong competitor and, for the price, I'm not complaining! I would repurchase it, but for those days where I don't need as much coverage.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liner

Having heard a lot about the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liner I was incredibly excited to get it in a gift set. I've tried waterproof liner in a brush form but never in a pen form, and I'm glad to report back that it is a true wonder product. 

The pen makes eyeliner application a lot easier. Rather than dipping it into a pot and getting excess product on there, I just shake a little bit and the perfect amount is on the nib, ready for application. What I particularly like about the nib is how easy it is to change whether the line I'm drawing is thin or a bit thicker. 

It glides on smoothly- provided I've shaken it quite a lot. Once it's there, it's there. I haven't experienced any smudging, even in the London rain, but that's not to say it's difficult to remove- waterproof eye remover does the job nicely!

I'm really impressed with Stila's eyeliner offering making the £13 price tag seem more worth it. I'll need to see how long it lasts before I can decide whether it would be worth investing in again or if buying a cheaper one would do the job just as well.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Tarte Thoughtful Treasures

Tarte Thoughful Treasures - $19
Yes, it's another product from Sephora and, I'm sorry to say that it's completely sold out. I got my friend to pick it up for me on her trip to New York, as I was browsing the website and saw this absolute bargain! It's seriously worrying how much I buy from Sephora considering I don't live in a country with a store in it...

For just $19 (under £12) I couldn't pass up the offer to buy this Tarte Thoughful Treasures gift set. These are my first products from Tarte and I'm really impressed. With a mini of the Pure Maracuja Oil, a limited edition shade of the Amazonian Clay Blush in 'Thankful' and a mini of the revolutionary LipSurgence Skintuitive Lip Tint.

Pure Maracuja Oil - link

The first impression of this is that the packaging is both beautiful and the topper is very practical, with a little button on the top to dispose of exactly one drop of it. Now, onto the product itself, I was very impressed. It is rich in Vitamin C, which is great for its skin brightening qualities (not sure about this claim yet but it may need a little while longer). It is really moisturising, great for these winter months when even my oily skin can get dehydrated. It's not as thicker as the Josie Maran 100% Argan Oil which is quite good for when my skin is feeling quite congested and not up to thick products.

Amazonian Clay Blush in 'Thankful' (limited edition) - link to other shades
This colour looks absolutely terrifying in the picture above, and even in real life too, but once on the skin, it blends really well and does not come out as bright. I am so impressed with how long this lasted on my skin and how it just blended really seamlessly, not leaving a horrible line on my cheeks. Tarte needs to hurry up and be stocked in the UK!

LipSurgence Skintuitive Lip Tint - link
Naughty me, when I bought this I didn't even think about this shade or whether I would like it or not, focusing mainly on the blush and my excitement to own it. Little did I know that this would end up being the star of the show. It is not simply a baby pink colour (a shade that would not suit me at all) but it is a formula that adapts to your skins pH, giving you your own personalised colour. On my lips it comes out as such a beautiful colour and is not just "quite moisturising" but really moisturising. It's so good that even my mum likes it, and she's quite fussy!

L-R: Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in 'Thankful' and Tarte LipSurgence Skintuitive Lip Tint
Tarte needs to hurry up and be stocked in the UK, preferably in store so I can swatch for myself! This set was a great introduction to Tarte and if you live in the US and you haven't tried Tarte, I really recommend it. To all you non-Americans: hang tight, we'll get there soon.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Debenhams Winter Style Challenge

Image from the Debenhams website
Check me out, on a fashion roll! Don't worry, the beauty posts will resume as usual during the week. Today I'm making this post to enter the Debenhams Winter Style Challenge, which is an exciting opportunity where you have to make 2 style boards, one as a 'Winter Warmer' and the other as a more glam 'Party Look'. The winner gets a whopping £500 to spend at Debenhams and the two runners up get £50 each- I guess the season of giving isn't over yet!

My first look is the Winter Warmer which I made with the idea of being comfortable and cosy while still fashionable all the while. I love this teal jumper with a fun leopard print collar, which is stylish but warm, paired with a functional pair of thick cable leggings. 

need this funnel neck coat, it's just so beautiful without being too flashy or over the top, just a simple black coat. I paired the outfit with a tan cross body bag which is quite small, just to fit the winter necessities (lip balm, tissues and sanitizer are a must!) as well as some ankle boots for some warmth. 

To brighten up the complexion, I added this blush highlighter to add some glow to a dull winter face, as well as this white snow-link top coat to make any colour just that bit more wintery. 

Oasis Collar Jumper - £38 here

Quiz Black Fleece Cable Leggings - £11.99 here
Wallis Black Funnel Neck Coat - £65 here
Oasis Xin Big Lock X Body Bag - £28 here

Faith Chocolate Leather Triple Buckle Low Ankle Boots - £52.50 here
Lancôme Blush Highlighter - £35 here

Illasmaqua Blizzard Christmas Nail Varnish - £14.50 here
Total = £244.99

My second look is the 'Party Look', which was so much fun to make. Debenhams have so many brands put together that it made it difficult to choose but also a lot of fun to see all the different styles. This is just a classic little black dress with a twist, the gold collar makes it a bit more dressy. 

The coat I paired it with is gorgeous, elegant and classy but don't you worry, animal lovers, it's faux fur! I added some chunky black courts which I think don't draw too much attention to themselves, all the while making the outfit understated but glamorous. To match the gold/sparkly theme I added this gold sequinned clutch with some dangly gold earrings and a chunky gold bracelet. 

For makeup, I chose this shimmery eye palette for a lovely wash of colour over the lids, as well as a glittery gold nail polish to add some glamour to those finger tips!

Iska Beaded Collar Dress - £32 here

Quiz Stone Rose Faux Fur - £49.99 here
Faith Black Double Tassel Trimmed High Court Shoes - £25 here
No. 1 Jenny Packham Designer Gold Embellished Clutch Bag - £33.75 here

Red Herring Polish Gold Round Disc Drop Earrings - £8 here
Betty Jackson Textured Gold Panel Stretch Bracelet - £12 here

Bobbi Brown Glitter Nail Polish in 'Chrome' - £11 here
Bobbi Brown Bronze Eye Palette - £35 here
Total : £206.74

Who would have thought that the 'Party Look' would cost less than the 'Winter Warmers' look? I hope you enjoyed seeing my winter picks, for whether you're having a lazy day in front of the telly or if you're going out to a party- I'm definitely part of the former. 

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Favourite British Designer: Matthew Williamson

LFW SS'14 Show
This may seem like a strange post to be reading on Beauty for the Beauty but a little known fact is that I actually love fashion. Open up my cupboard and everything will come spilling out, it's that full. 

Today I'm posting as part of a competition for BLOGGERS[edit] (link) for the exciting opportunity to win entry to London Fashion Weekend, an event I've always wanted to attend.

My favourite British designer has got to be Matthew Williamson, his clothes are just gorgeous. Yes, it may be an expensive clothing line, but that doesn't stop me from ogling at the beautiful designs when I have so many other things to do!

He is originally from Manchester and then attended Central Saint Martins College in London but I think his clothes reflect the glamour and style of Paris. With titles such as Red Carpet Designer of the Year and Elle Designer of the Year he has a very impressive resume on the paper, but does he live up to that on the catwalk? Well, the answer is yes. 

His clothes are so chic and elegant but so wearable (if your purse will stretch far enough to buy one of his pieces!). Every catwalk show he puts on is bound to make you stare in awe at his beautiful designs, every one of them special in their own way.

In an interview he spoke about his clothes and said:

"My collections are known for their print, embellishment, attention to detail and kaleidoscopic colour. The designs encapsulate a bohemian spirit and a laid back sense of glamour."
Source - link
I love this b-e-a-utiful jumpsuit, with a bold yet simple design, and I love how it's paired with white heels- this is definitely something that I would wear. I'm incredibly tall, almost 6ft in fact, and it's so hard to find things to wear that aren't too short but still quite dressy, so jumpsuits are the way forward.
Embroidered Sweatshirt - link
I have a few picks from the website, too, some really gorgeous pieces. This ombre teal jumper with intricate embroidering on the front would look amazing paired with a pair of dark wash skinny jeans. It looks like it would be really comfortable and something that could be worn every day, not just on special occasions.
Winter Garden Organza Oversized Top - link
Getting into more Spring/Summer appropriate clothes, this oversized boxy fit shirt would look so chic with a pair of black skinny jeans, perhaps even wet look jeans. It could easily be worn as either a day outfit or a quick change of accessories and a darker lip could transform it into an evening outfit.
Winter Garden Organza Embroidered Skirt - link
Now for the item that I wish I could pull off but I know I could never in a million years make this work for me, and if I could it would be one single outfit, leaving this in the back of my wardrobe for months on end. Why can't my life be like Gossip Girl where they have an event to go to every weekend? Paired with a plain top and some matching heels, then you have yourself an amazing spring outfit.
Marais Oversize Tote - link
I can't write a fashion post without mentioning a bag, things I've been hoarding since I was about 5. This oversized tote bag is big enough to carry all of the junk that you probably don't need but you still put in just in case. The colours aren't boring but you wouldn't find them clashing with every outfit.

So, those were my picks- does anyone want to donate a few thousand grand to fund my Matthew Williamson obsession? The good new is, that for those of us on a budget like myself, Matthew Williamson designs a more affordable line for Debenhams which can be found here, currently on sale. Oh Matthew, you know just what to do. 

Don't forget to follow my new Twitter account here!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Best of 2013: Skincare, Bodycare and Haircare

Welcome back to the second instalment of my Best of 2013 series, where I tell you all of my favourite products of the year. The first post was about makeup (here) and this is about everything else- skincare, bodycare and haircare!

Best Perfume: Chanel Chance Eau Tendre Eau de Toilette, this is a beautiful fragrance that works well both during the day and the night, with great lasting power

Best Shampoo: Organix Moroccan Argan Oil shampoo, this shampoo makes my hair feel so soft and helps to tame my unruly hair
Best Conditioner: Elvive Nutri-Gloss Light Shine conditioner, prevents greasiness and prolongs shine, what more could you wish for?
Best Hair Treatment: Herbal Essences Beautiful Ends Intensive Mask, it's a great product to restore my hair and make it feel healthier and repaired
Best Styling Product: John Frieda 3 Day Straight spray, I spray this on wet hair and my hair stays straight until my next wash!

Best Body Wash: Palmolive Olive body wash, it's seriously moisturising and smells great, it's a really no-nonsense, no-frills product
Best Body Scrub: Sabon Tropic body scrub, it smells amazing, literally the smell lasts all day, and it sloughs off all the dead skin cells
Best Body Lotion: Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter, this smells lovely and provides instant hydration without feeling uncomfortable, sinking it quite quickly
Best Hand Cream: Elizabeth Arden Intensive Moisturising Hand Treatment, a really intensive moisturiser that does the job without a feeling of greasiness

Best Makeup Remover: Bioderma Sebium H20 Solution, it does a great job as removing waterproof makeup and preventing greasiness
Best Cleanser: Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, this smells amazing and feels so luxurious on my face, a definite pick me up
Best Toner: Caudalie Beauty Elixir, again, this smells amazing and feels really refreshing 
Best Serum: Josie Maran 100% Argan Oil, really intensive for overnight moisturisation
Best Day Moisturiser: Benefit Triple Performing Facial Emulsion, it's a lightweight moisturiser that makes a great base for makeup
Best Evening Moisturiser: Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Gel, it's not a thick and weighty moisturiser, but it still does the job without any discomfort
Best Eye Cream: Esteé Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Cream, this is a very thick and intensive eye cream providing some serious moisture
Best Face Mask: Origins Clear Improvement mask, this is great for sorting out any pesky blemishes and generally for clearing up a bad breakout
Best Spot Treatment: Freederm Gel, this can literally do miracles overnight, making an angry inflamed spot much less noticeable

That wraps up my favourites of 2013, what a long way I've come since my 2012 days of black eyeliner, mascara and power, with the only skincare routine being makeup remover wipes and an occasional face scrub!

Friday, 3 January 2014

Best of 2013: Makeup

Since the beginning of December, I've been working on a mega list of all my favourite products of the year. This is the first of 2 posts, being all about Makeup Products/Tools and the other Skincare/Haircare/Bodycare. 

Without further ado, my 2013 favourites (and some very quick reviews!)
Best Primer: Smashbox Photo Finish Camera Ready primer, long lasting and oil-free, a great all-rounder product
Best Foundation: Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow foundation, lightweight and long lasting, as well as buildable coverage
Best Concealer: Benefit Boi-ing concealer, very heavy coverage that covers all scars and blemishes pretty well
Best Powder: Rimmel Stay Matte powder in 'Translucent', this doesn't make my face look all cake-y yet keeps shine at bay
Best Bronzer: NARS Laguna, my only bronzer but still a great product for adding a healthy glow to my face
Best Blusher: MAC Gingerly, this was a tough choice but I've been using this blusher throughout the whole year, it just works at any time of year
Best Eye Primer: Urban Decay Primer Potion, put this on and my eyeshadow doesn't budge at all (can also be doubled as a lip primer!)
Best Eyeshadow: Urban Decay Half Baked, without a doubt the best eyeshadow I've used all year, a lovely golden colour that adds a beautiful glow to the lids
Best Eye Pencil: Bobbi Brown Long Wear Eye Pencil in Smoke, great for the waterline to make an eye look more smokey
Best Mascara: Benefit They're Real and Maybelline The Rocket, I couldn't possibly pick between them, as they're both so volumising and lengthening
Best Brow Product: Anastasia Brow Gel, great for keeping my unruly brows in place!
Best Lipstick: NARS Dolce Vita, a colour that I think would suit all skin types with a moisturising formula
Best Lipgloss: Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in 'Candy Shimmer' moisturising and a beautiful colour

Best Nail Polish: OPI Dulce de Leche and Nails inc. Holland Park Avenue, both so sophisticated and wearable all year round 
Best Nail Care Product: Sally Hansen Maximum Strength Instant Cuticle Remover, it makes cuticle care 10 times easier!

Best Tool: Real Technique Stippling Brush, great for blending in foundation seamlessly

Stay tuned for part 2, coming your way soon!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Bring on 2014!

Today is the 1st January 2014 (it feels so weird to write that!) and 2013 has come to an end. I've had such a lovely year meeting new people, trying new things and seeing new places- it's been an eventful one, that's for sure!

This year I...
...travelled to France, Germany, Italy, America, Jordan and Iceland
...tried Benihana Japanese restaurant in Picadilly Circus - amazing food and the chef cooks in front of you!
...bought too much makeup! But you all know that, don't you?
...laughed at Modern Family, one of the best comedy shows I've ever seen addicted to Breaking Bad, one of the best overall shows I've ever seen
...spent too much time on YouTube and Bloglovin'
...made my blog, one of my favourite things to work on!

I don't usually do resolutions for the New Year but I decided that it could be a good way to keep me on track for the next 365 days!

Stay focused - This is a really general one but I mean this in all aspects of life. I'm the type of person who hates to just do one thing at a time. I mean, as I'm writing this post I'm watching The Vampire Diaries on another window. I have important exams this year, exams that I need to focus for- no more movie-watching while revising!

Be happier - Cheesy, I know, but I've found myself getting so wound up over small things that shouldn't really matter. I need to learn to let myself enjoy everything I do, rather than getting caught up in something that happened 5 months ago.

Blog more! - Blogging is something that I really love to do and I've discovered a whole new world of people who share the same interests as me. Although I only really got in the swing of it a few months ago, I know this is something I want to keep doing into the new year and more. 

Sorry for all the cheesiness in this post, but I hope everybody had an amazing Christmas and New Year break as well as having an even better New Year.