Tuesday 15 October 2013

HydroPeptide Eye Concentrate - Beauty Time Therapies

Eye creams have always been a non-essential in my skincare routine, an added step which is easily overlooked or replaced by any old day or night cream. The lovely people from Beauty Time Therapies offered to send me an eye concentrate to rival all other eye creams by the relatively little known HydroPeptide, a brand which boasts scientific backup and me being now a fully fledged Chemistry student, I was very interested. It is accompanied by a rather impressive ingredient list explanation on the website, with items such a Matrixyl (a popular peptide ingredient made famous by No7's cult Protect and Perfect range) which helps stimulate collagen production and Haloxyl which claims to reduce dark circles in 2 months if used everyday!

I have been testing out HydroPeptide for a month now and am finding my dark circles are a little less prominent after many a late night, and my under eye area is a lot more hydrated, a problem which is especially important as winter starts to negatively impact my already dry skin. As for its anti-ageing properties, it is a tad too early to tell on my 18 year old skin, but I have definitely noticed a clear difference in the skin surrounding my eyes after just a month. At £45 a pop it is definitely more on the expensive side of skincare, but if you're looking for a more luxury product to target any signs of dark circles this may be the one for you!

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pink & orange

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Topshop Lipsticks in Macaroon and Infrared

While my wardrobe remains a plethora of white, grey and dark grey variations, recently I have really been embracing wearing actual colour on my lips rather than my usual slick and go of my go-to quick and easy Clinique Chubby Sticks. Two of my favourites at the moment are from Topshop's infamous lipstick collection; Macaroon, a bright neutral pink with a touch of peach which is lovely for an everyday lip, and Infrared, a vibrant orange which screams summer. Infrared was my go-to colour on holiday and continues to be a favourite for nighttime, whereas Macaroon is gorgeous for everyday wear.

At £8 a piece they are by no means the cheapest lipsticks on the high street but with a texture good enough to rival MAC's creamsheen offerings and lasting power of a good 2-3 hours on the lips, I will definitely be picking up more of Topshop's lipstick offerings!

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The Denim Diaries; Boyfriend Edition

Friday 20 September 2013

T-shirt, Cardigan and Jeans - Tesco, Shoes - Converse

Skinny jeans are usually my holy grail trouser option, yet boyfriend style jeans are suddenly growing on me. They are easy to style up or down and are ridiculously comfy and slouchy to wear. For daytime I pair mine with my new favourite item of clothing ever, a H t-shirt (H for Hannah, geddit ;) and a printed cardigan thrown over the top. Converse are the obvious choice to finish the outfit for everyday comfort.

Top & Jeans - Tesco, Blazer - H&M, Shoes - Very

For night-time heels and a blazer will always be my best friends for dressing up the simplest of outfits. I added a white vest with gold seam detailing and of course a red lip!

Don't forget to check out yesterday's denim diaries... skinny jean edition and check out Tesco's selection of denim styles here.

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The Denim Diaries; Skinny Edition

Thursday 19 September 2013

The lovely people over at F&F for Tesco asked me to be involved in their Denim Diaries; styling up both a pair of skinny jeans and boyfriend jeans into day and night variations with a few key pieces from the F&F range.

Jeans, Jumper and Boots - Tesco, Collared Blouse - Primark

The deep indigo skinnies are great for layering with a big fluffy jumper this autumn and this cable knit grey jumper is both warm and super comfy for day wear. I also wore my new brown ankle boots with the jeans rolled up to just above ankle level, but could be equally lovely paired with fluffy socks in the depths of winter!

Top & Jeans - Tesco, Boots - Primark, Necklace - Republic, Bracelet - Ebay, Lips - Rimmel Apocalips Big Bang

To dress up the jeans I added a black, slightly peplum top, an extremely spikey necklace and my beloved Primark cut out boots! A slick of red on the lips and bag was necessary to pull the outfit to nightime worthy!

Check back tomorrow for the denim diaries... boyfriend jean edition!

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Holiday Essentials

Monday 16 September 2013

So we are already midway through September and summer has pretty much waved goodbye for another year. To get away from England's slightly bipolar end of season weather I jetted off to Lanzarote with my family and after a few packing disasters, a lot of forgotten products and much borrowing from my beloved sister, I whittled my holiday beauty products down to a perfect fit!

Stand outs were Origins Zero Oil Cleanser, a sample which has lasted me a good couple of holidays, and cuts through any tough to remove facial sunscreen leftovers leaving my face squeaky clean. On my face I was using La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL, SPF 50 which left me burn free at the end of the week. One problem I alway encounter with this product is the white cast it leaves over my skin making me look even more washed out, so I pair this with Origins VitaZing Moisturiser which has both a tint and SPF, double whammy. This was my ultimate favourite product this holiday as somehow I managed to forgot foundation so used this as a super light and glowy base in the evenings, paired with a swirl of Nars Laguna Bronzer all over the higher points of my face and a touch of Sleek Pout Polish in Electro Peach on the lips.

In terms of sun protection, I love The Sun Mousse, a very weird formula which is super easy to apply and one application usually lasts me all day. While it is difficult to spread, it doesn't leave me sticky and uncomfortable as other brands such as Nivea and Garnier have in the past. I also relied on my Clarins Liquid Bronze Self Tanning to add some colour to my otherwise very pasty complexion, as for some reason I am resistant to developing a tan!

What were your holiday essentials this summer?!

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the joni jeans

Saturday 7 September 2013

The infamous Topshop Joni jeans have fast become a staple in my wardrobe, and while they are fantastic for everyday being super stretchy and comfy, they are also my answer to less shiny Disco Pants for a night out! I paired them with my New Look lace top which everyone and their mother seems to own, and of course my trusty Primark cut out boots. I cant seem to peel these off my feet at the moment as they seriously go with everythannnng, even if I was hobbling along the morning after as they are not the most comfy shoes in the world!

Makeup was kept reasonably natural with just black liner, neutral eyes and my favourite Ardell Demi Whispies to top off the eyes with soft coral lips. For once I wore my hair natural on a night out which I realised half way through the night was a mistake... hot nightclubs and untameable hair are not a good mix! For finishing touches I added my favourite silver spiked necklace from Republic, which is gorgeous but must always remember to try to not poke someone's eye out whilst hugging them!
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my brush collection

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Face; Real Techniques Contour Brush, Blush Brush, Expert Face Brush, Deluxe Crease Brush, Buffing Brush, Zoeva 127
Eye; Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush, Detailer Brush, Cozzette D300, ELF Defining Eye Brush, RT Pixle-Point Eyeliner Brush, ELF Eye Crease Brush, Zoeva 227, Unknown Angled Brush, Zoeva 231, Zoeva 228
(click for links!)

Embarrassingly, this is only my everyday brush collection, or at least the ones I reach for on a slightly more regular basis that I like to have on hand. I have at least 2 (wince!) more brush organisers with a whole load more brushes which rarely see the light of day and are currently gathering dust in a draw, forgotten and unused!

Of course, like any beauty blogger, my collection consists largely of Real Techniques by the infamous Samantha Chapman. Her face brushes, especially the ever popular Buffing Brush make foundation application literally a quick swipe, 5 second step to perfect skin, and her Deluxe Crease Brush will forever be a favourite of mine for quick and easy concealer application. I also adore her Contour Brush for pinpoint application of cream blush and use her Blush Brush adversely to add a smattering of powder over any shine. My Zoeva 127 is extremely useful for adding powder blush as a final step to ramp up the colour- you can never be too blushed is my motto! Finally my Expert Face Brush is often neglected until I rediscover its extraordinary ways of blending out any over application of foundation or colour all over the face!

In terms of eye brushes, Real Techniques are not as potent, yet I adore the Base Shadow Brush for a quick and easy wash of colour. I also use both the Detailer Brush and Pixel-Point Eyeliner Brush for inner corner highlights, whereas actual eyeliner application is reserved for the supreme power of the Cozzette D300. Blending and crease work is taken to new levels by the magical Zoeva 227, 231 and 228 along with detail work using my old but trusty ELF Defining Eye Brush and Crease Brush. Finally an old faithful angled brush which has neither a name or brand is reserved for brow use when I want a bolder look.

Although of course I don't use all these brushes on an everyday basis, they are all my absolute favourites and are amazing at their jobs! What are your favourite brushes?

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Pearly and White

Saturday 31 August 2013

I will spare you a very up close and personal picture of my teeth, but lately I have been indulging myself in a little whitening. Not having been blessed with beautiful pearly whites I have always been a little self-conscious about my less than perfect teeth, but after wearing braces for 2 years during my early teens I decided not to waste all that hard work and invest in a few whitening products. 

Not being able to afford the £200 price tag of professional treatment, I opted for Crest 3D Whitestrips Professional Effects, an American product I purchased from Ebay for around £20 for a 10 day course (similar seller here!). Using these for half an hour each day by sticking the plastic sheets to both the upper and bottom teeth really did make a big difference to my overall smile. I would take a guess that my teeth dropped about 3 or 4 shades in colour, considering they were pretty yellow to begin with and are now a much nicer cream colour. I will never have perfect pearly white teeth, but this does make me a lot more confident with my smile and for £20, why not?! 

Things to bare in mind; these may cause a little sensitivity, I had some by about day 8 but persevered and it disappeared a few days after I finished the 10 day course, also these do not work on veneers or anything other than real teeth! I had a few teeth problems when I was younger resulting in me having to have some extra build up on my canines which is technically not real tooth so the strips did not whiten them. I think if I went any whiter with the strips this may become a lot more noticeable so am reluctant to go whiter without a visit to my dentist first! I also use whitening toothpaste to maintain the colour (normally Macleans!) but will probably do another course of whitening within the next 6 months to keep up the colour, unfortunately it wont last forever!

How do you usually whiten your teeth?!

Cut It Out

Friday 23 August 2013

Top - Primark   Jeans - Zara   Boots - Primark   Watch - Marc Jacobs   Nails - Models Own BlooBoo

I have been lusting after a pair of leather-look cut out boots since they first appeared in torrents all over my instagram and tumblr feeds, making multiple appearances in YouTube Back to School fashion videos and doing the rounds on the interwebz. I spotted these black cut our babies from Primark for only £18, and snapped them up. Buckles make them adjustable to any size and a good chunk of a heel means I am near enough a 6ft giant clomping around in these! Chilly feet aside these are my Autumn transition shoes sorted, and will be glued to my feet for the next few months.

I paired them with a monochrome outfit with a flash of navy nautical stripes on top, with a little baby blue on the fingertips. In summer if you ever see me without bright blue or bright red on my fingernails, shoot me!

Have a faaaabulos weekend!

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Monday Masks

Monday 19 August 2013

After a very big week involving exam results, results night and V Festival, it is an understatement to say my skin is looking a little lack-lustre! Stress, a little overindulgence, alcohol, lack of water and sleep deprivation has left my skin crying out for moisture and a major detox. Whenever I need a pick me up, I always turn to masks  to restore some life back into both my skin and slightly frazzled hair.

First up is the Una Brennan Pore Purifying Clay Mask, which I slather all over cleansed skin with fingers leaving it on for around 15 minutes or until it hurts to smile! Warm water and a muslin cloth gets this baby off in no time and leaves fresher, less de-congested skin behind. I then add some kind of serum I have lying around (Hydraluron being the obvious choice today!) and then a thick layer of Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask, which not only smells amazing but also imparts a whack of moisture which my skin desperately needs. 

For hair that is soaked in festival grime - fingers crossed only cider and mud rather than anything worse! - I will be shovelling on the Philip Kingsley Elasticizer overnight to try and restore its shine and softness, and tomorrow morning will be washing it out with Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo which is clarifying enough to lift the grime!

I hope that everyone who received any results last week got exactly what you wanted, and if not remember everything happens for a reason. Have a great week!

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my eyebrow routine

Tuesday 13 August 2013

In my opinion, eyebrows can either make or break a face. They are the single most important factor in pulling together any makeup look, and whether you go for fine and natural, or full and thick Lily Collins-esque brows, suiting the shape and colouring to your face shape is vital. My preference has always been as thick and bushy as possible - ohh err! - and after many a brow mishap in my past from an almost fully fledged uni brow, to two tiny, sluggish mistakes, I am reasonably pleased with my brows at the moment, bar a few gaps which are pretty easy to fill in!

In terms of maintenance I am pretty low key. I have never had them done professionally, and honestly don't trust anyone else enough to get them done. My Tweezermans get pulled out about once a week to tame the stray hairs, going along with my natural brow shape, and banishing that uni brow back to the depths of 1998! I also have pretty unruly hairs in my brows, so tend to trim the front part where the hairs stand upward to keep them neat and tidy.

On a daily basis, I could not live without my Anastasia Brow Wiz in Medium Ash, my absolute favourite brow pencil which I use to fill in any gaps, lightly pencilling in the more sparse hairs at the front and extending them lightly at the ends. I also sweep a little Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel through them although this step is optional, as I am still on the hunt for the perfect brow gel. Anastasia's offering has a slightly too large brush which packs on a little too much product for my liking.

So there you have it, without a tadpole or even a scouse brow in sight - shudderrr!

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Brighton Rocks

Sunday 11 August 2013

A month or so ago I went to visit Brighton for a friend's 18th birthday, and apart from the weather being a little blah and windy, I loved my first visit to the little seaside town. Brighton is pretty beautiful, the lanes shopping is especially fabulous, and of course the pier and beach are massive favourites. Apart from a small incident with a rather over friendly diving seagull, I had the best time.

I wore my favourite red dress from River Island which always instantly screams summer and brightens my mood even if everyone and their mother already owns it, paired with black tights and my bright blue cable knit jumper from H&M to counteract the pretty harsh wind. Clashing primary colours is the way forward! Plimsoles are completely necessary with long days and lots of tourist sight seeing to do, so my comfy navy shoes from Primark were a perfect addition to my outfit.

We spent much of the day running around on the beach, eating alllll the food ever made and of course went dancing off into the night as soon as sunset hit. Makes you realise how much fun staying in the UK can actually be, not that I will be swearing off my sunny summer holidays anytime soon!
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the waterproof roundup

Thursday 8 August 2013

Waterproof mascara is a life or death necessity for straight, elephant lashed girls like me, which even after vigorous curling, lashings and lashings of regular mascara will always always turn my lashes into sad down turned spikes. Not attractive. Waterproof is the way forward, the high oil content makes lashes much more likely to hold their shape, even if they are an absolute bitch to get off!

My favourite of the bunch is L'oreal Telescopic Waterproof, a sadly now discontinued offering I bought on recommendation from Anna's blog, and have never looked back! I have a stash of these under my bed ready to fill its spot when this runs out, and I have previously professed my love for this wonder tube here. To sum it up; perfect, ridiculously long and separated lashes which will seriously last and last until you decide to attempt to scrub it off... I'm talking 48 hours+ here, I have tried it... naughty!

Coming in second is Maybelline's offering of the Falsies Waterproof version, which is a much wetter, much more volumising version of the telescopic. Some days this gives me fabulous, thick and perfectly curled lashes, on other days it gives me clumped up, sad, sticky lashes, dependant on my lash cycle (ie. if they are looking a bit sad anyway!) and on how much I can be bothered to curl them in lash pre-prep! This mascara is a saviour if you need nice lashes in about 3 swipes as this is so easily applied, no building up nessecary here!

Coming in last in Clinique High Impact in, you guessed it, waterproof. This was an impulse purchase in New York, and sadly has not wowed me in the mascara stakes! I find this does not hold the curl in my lashes very well at all, and while it is not as bad as normal mascara, it is by no means on the same curling level as L'oreal or Maybelline. I like to layer this over a tiny coat of the L'oreal Telescopic to give it some hold as I do like the volumising power of this mascara, and the best thing about it is that it is a lot easier to get off, so much less eye scrubbing and expensive makeup remover is required!

For reference, I use the Clarins Instant Eye Makeup Remover soaked on two cotton pads, holding one underneath my lashes and one above for about a minute or so and then rub them over my lashes. What do you use to remove waterproof mascara!?

I would love new recommendations for waterproof mascaras in the comments if you have any personal loves, I am always on the hunt for new favourites! 

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my lipstick collection

Saturday 3 August 2013

This by no means is an exhaustive post on all my lipsticks, as unfortunately I have another draw full of slightly dusty and very unloved lipsticks and glosses which are only reached for on rare occasions, but this clear plastic lipstick organiser holds 24 of my most reached for shades, placing them on full display so it really is just a case of grab and go in the mornings. The holder is from Ebay, which I picked up for only £2.99 here.

They are loosely arranged in order of most favourite to least favourite, left to right and then by brand with all names facing upwards for easy identification, yet my carefully designed order generally gets less organised by the day due to my general laziness at putting them back in position. My ultimate favourites have to be my beautiful MAC, YSL and Sleek lipsticks, and my Clinique Chubby sticks are my most reached for shades ever!

In order from left to right, top row to bottom row;
MAC Hue, Sleek OMG!, Clinique Chubby Stick Chunky Cherry, Sleek Barely There, Clinique Chubby Stick Super Strawberry, Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector 02,
MAC Shy Girl, Sleek Peaches & Cream, YSL 30, No 7 Classic Rose, Rimmel Apocalips Big Bang, No 7 Lip Pencil in Nude, Bourjois 3D Effect Rose Pacific, 
MAC Cream Cup, Avon Peach Silk, YSL 1, Revlon Lip Butter Tutti Frutti, Rimmel Nude Delight, Barry M Lipgloss 11, 
Fresh Sugar Passion, MAC Sheen Supreme Full Speed, YSL 13, Topshop Macaroon, GOSH Darling, NYX Mega Shine Lipgloss in Smokey Look.

Phewww. What is your ultimate favourite lipstick/gloss?!
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the individual lashes

Thursday 1 August 2013

Having not been blessed with a perfect, full lash line to flutter around I usually opt for false lashes on a night out. Strip lashes are generally my lashes of choice, with Ardell Demi Wispies being my ultimate favourites (wearing in this post!), but since Prom when I delved into the unknown territory of individual lashes, they have knocked strip lashes off the top spot in my heart!

My individuals of choice are the Ardell Individual Lashes in Medium Black, which I apply with tweezers, around 10-15 on each eye. While they are ridiculously fiddly, take about 5x more of my precious getting ready time than normal strip lashes do, and are extremely difficult to clean, I am a little in love with them. They could almost pass for real lashes and are just such a beautiful finish for any smoky or even simple neutral eye. Unfortunately these take me a good 20 minutes or so to get them looking perfect so are not suitable for use all the time, but every so often I crack them out if I have a little extra time on my hands.

I generally curl my lashes partially (not too much or they will be a complete bitch to apply!), add one thin coat of waterproof mascara - L'oreal Telescopic Waterproof, of course - and get cracking with lash application. One amazing tip I learnt from this Lisa Eldridge video which is so simple but is ridiculously helpful is to turn the lash box round the wrong way, so the lashes are the right orientation to apply with tweezers. I add a dollop of DUO Lash Glue to my hand, allow it to become tacky and then work across my lash line systematically. Once fully dry and the glue is no longer white, I re-curl both the fake and real lashes to force them together and add as much mascara as necessary for a little added umph. I also add liquid liner on any glue spots which may still be visible, et voila... perfect lashes!

Do you prefer strip or individual lashes?

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27 Wishes

Monday 29 July 2013

Philosophy 27 Wishes Multi- Purpose Balm*
Life is all about multitasking. No one has time for individual products wasting space and only accomplishing one job and the 21st century user demands multiplicity from products, so where I can I double, or even triple up; whether that be a lipstick turning into a cream blush, or a body lotion infused with fake tan and spf all rolled into one!

But Philosophy have recently taken the multitasking product variety into the next league with 27 Wishes Multi- Purpose Balm*, a product to rival Elizabeth Arden's infamous 8 Hour Cream. It is designed to take on pretty much any skin problem and I have been using it for anything from soothing sore and dry skin (especially useful for sunburn!),  as an ultra-nourishing cuticle balm, or adding a little shine to cheeks, eyes and legs! 

In texture, it is a thick, clear balm that almost dissolves into a thick liquid cream as it is rubbed in, which is much more easily absorbed into the skin than the rather sticky EA 8 Hour Cream. While the 8 Hour Cream counterpart has occasionally been branded a hyped up version of Vaseline due to its high petroleum jelly content, Philosophy's offering does not contain petroleum and is my pick of the two in terms of moisturising power. It has an extremely fresh smell (think a subtler version of Vicks!) and is very refreshing to apply on the skin.

Its only downfall is that when used as a lip balm the taste is horrendous, but as this is not actually marketed for use on the lips this is probably my fault rather than Philosophy's! Overall a fabulous product which has replaced any other multi-purpose balms I own!

You can find Philosophy products here, and the 27 Wishes balm here.

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The Makeup Swap

Friday 26 July 2013

Me and one of my equally makeup obsessed friends (Kelly) decided to shop our product stashes, extreme style, by organising a makeup swap to give those poor dusty unloved products a new home. The benefits of swapping old makeup are that 1) you get to see something that maybe didn't work for you, help someone else look gorgeous!, and 2) you can always ask for it back if you really miss it, so it is much less final than the rubbish bin!

Some things to bear in mind before doing a makeup swap...
  • Don't swap anything which cannot be easily cleaned or can pass on eye infections, ie. don't swap old mascaras, make sure eye liners are sharpened and dipped in alcohol to get rid of those pesky germs, and generally try not to give your friends your old, 90% used, dirty makeup.
  • Have lots of cotton buds, makeup wipes and mirrors handy for trying and testing things out!
  • If you do the swap with more than 2 people and more than one person wants an item, judge who gets it by seeing who the product suits best! Or compromise and half and half products such as loose pigments which can easily be decanted into smaller pots.

Kelly actually chucked out some pretty fabulous products so I lucked out and received a lot of lovely higher end, hardly used products such as Rimmel Apocalips in Big Bang, Two Faced Natural Eye Palette, Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in R.S.V.P. and  MAC Sheen Supreme Lipstick in Full Speed. I was a very happy girl!

Working on a  No7 counter in Boots, I do seem to accumulate a lot of No7 makeup and samples so Kelly was given a lot of mostly brand new No7 products, one of my old and unloved Benefit boxed powers and a Clinique Chubby Stick in Richer Raisin which I just cannot get to work for me unfortunately!

There was much ohh-ing, ahh-ing and lipstick remove, reapply and repeat as we discovered multiple new shades! I tested out Sleek's Smother (which Kelly assures me is an almost exact dupe of MAC's Rebel!) and Rimmel Apocalips in Big Bang, and I gave Kelly an eye makeover with some of her new (old!)  eye shadows as she never wears any colour on her eyes.

And what to do with any leftovers? Easy. Either donate to less makeup obsessed, but equally grateful friends and/or family, donate to an organisation such as Give and Makeup which help women in need (only lightly used/brand new items!) or just bite the bullet and chuck away the the really old useless products which no-one will ever want.

Happy swapping and let me know if you give this a go!

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