Friday, 29 August 2014

You know you're a blogger when...

Blogging is something I enjoy immensely, having given me a means of expressing myself and sharing my thoughts. Although I've only been blogging a few months, I've noticed it already impacting how I think and act in small ways. This is just a light-hearted little spur-of-the-moment post inspired by that which I hope will make you laugh.

... your hands and arms are always covered in makeup from swatching.

... you have or plan to invest in a fancy camera just for taking product photos.

... you always have a massive list of products you wish you could buy.

... you're always broke because you've been persuaded to buy things by product reviews.

... you always know about new product releases.

... your first instinct is to photograph anything new before even using it.

... it pains you to photograph a used product.

... you get excited every time you gain a follower

... your friends think you're a little obsessed.

... you're ready for everything twenty minutes early so you can take photos of your makeup and outfit.

... you consider other bloggers as friends despite never having met them in real life.

... you've experienced the panic of bloggers block.

... taking and posing for pictures in public isn't at all embarrassing to you.

... you justify purchases as being 'for the blog!'

... you worry your makeup collection isn't as big as other bloggers.

... your friends think you have way too much makeup..

... everything is a photo/post opportunity.

... 99% of the time when someone asks you what you're doing, the answer is 'blogging'.

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Thursday, 28 August 2014

New Blog Design/Unconvinced

Those that have been following me for a while may have noticed that my blog design has suddenly changed a fair bit. Until now, my blog had been a very slightly customised version of the Simple template and had no colour incorporated into it. Although I was fairly happy with it and I do like simple blog designs, I have for a while been wanting to get a bit more creative with my blog design and add a little colour. I chose to use teal/turquoise as this is my favourite colour and pink as I felt the two colours were complementary and, after some experimenting, ended up with the design now live on my blog.

As it turns out, blog design is not my strong point and I'm rather unconvinced by what I have created. Certain aspects I am very happy with, for example the post signature, but I am concerned that the overall look is rather girly/childish and not as professional as I would like it to be. I think part of the problem is that it's never going to look exactly as it does in my head, and I'm always going to be critical of something I've made myself. I am keeping my blog as it is rather than going back to my old design but will hopefully be making some gradual changes here and there until I'm relatively satisfied with how it looks.

As well as to acknowledge the change in my blog, this post is largely a request for feedback and advice as to how to improve upon this design as, honestly, I'm not entirely sure how to proceed from here.

My blog design before:

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Sunday, 24 August 2014

Makeup Rumours Collective Review

Makeup Rumours is a relatively new makeup brand which recently gave me the opportunity to try, and review some products of my choice. Makeup Rumours is cruelty free and extremely affordable, starting at only £1. Due to the very low cost, I was fairly dubious as to the quality of these cosmetics but, although there were some misses, was pleasantly surprised to find that there were also some real gems which I'd certainly re-purchase.

Before I begin reviewing the products themselves, I'd like to mention how impressed I was by the delivery service. I put in my order for these products rather late at night (past midnight) and, upon checking my email after waking the next morning, found that they had already been dispatched. They then arrived the very next day and so, considering the fact that I ordered very late at night, this was practically next day delivery! Everything was also packaged extremely well in bubble wrap to ensure that eye shadows remained intact. 

Gel Liner - £1
This was a product I really did not have very high hopes for, having always been disappointed by budget gel liners - whilst you don't need a  high-end gel liner, it's not something to scrimp on too much. However, as someone that wears gel liner on a daily basis, I couldn't resist trying what Makeup Rumours had to offer on the off chance it might surprise me. Unfortunately, as can be seen from the above picture which compares it to my current favourite, Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama, the quality proved to be as I expected. The formula was extremely sheer and when I tried to build it up to achieve a more opaque line, it became streaky. This product has since been removed from the website.

Besides the gel liner, these nail varnishes were the only other products I found to be disappointing. Before even using them, I quickly realised that the quality was not great as they have an odd, cheap, plastic-y scent. Once again, the formula was extremely sheer to the extent that I almost felt like I was painting my nails with lipgloss, and 4 coats were needed to achieve a relatively opaque colour. Even then, I did not find the polishes to last very long on my nails at all, with there already being chips on my nails by the end of the day. However, I have heard from others that the Club Colours Collection and Mini Nail Polishes are not as disappointing and have proved to be superior.

Of course I had to try some eyeshadows so I bought two palettes from the 'Dazzle' range - shade 1 and shade 2. At £1 per palette, this works out at 20p per eyeshadow which is extremely cheap yet the quality of the eyeshadows does not reflect this. As you can see from the swatches, they are beautifully pigmented, particularly the more metallic, pearlescent shades which I am very excited to use. The shades in each palette are complementary to each other and the palettes are a compact size so perfect for travelling or to keep in your handbag for touch-ups. 

Excepting Shade 6, these lipsticks were also winners from Makeup Rumours. There is a good colour selection on the website and the formulas are rich, creamy and non drying. My favourite shade by far of the four I tried is Shade 1 which gives the perfect red lip. One shade which was lacking in quality was Shade 16, which had a very gritty formula and needed to be built up to achieve the colour shown in the picture. However, as this was not a problem with the other shades, I believe I may have gotten a dud one. A complaint I do have is how difficult it is to tell what the shades will look like from the pictures on the website for example Shade 21 looked like a more red-ish pink in the pictures and Shade 17 looked like a lighter nude. Swatches alongside the product descriptions would prove invaluable. 

Overall this brand, like many, has both hits and misses but is one I would definitely buy from in the future as it has some high quality and exceptionally affordable products among their range.

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Friday, 22 August 2014

Blue Dual Liner

This look is in part inspired by the Dior Addict it-lash mascara advert. As someone that wears winged eyeliner everyday, I wanted to put a twist on this staple look and add a little colour to my makeup. By coincidence, I was also wearing Barry M Aquarium Nail Effects Paint in the shade Pacific which I think goes perfectly with this makeup look.

I began by wetting an angled liner brush and applying Orbit from the Sleek Ultra-Mattes V2 Palette along my lash line, creating a flick at the outer corner. As this is a dual liner look, I made this line thicker than I usually would. I then used the Collection Extreme Felt Tip Liner in black to create another, thinner line over the top of this. I chose not extend the outer flick as far with the black liner as I did with the blue. I then applied mascara and,  in order to enhance the pop of colour, I lightly dusted Barry M Dazzle Dust in the shade Kingfisher over my lashes whilst my mascara was still wet. If you want a more wearable every-day look, you may prefer to skip this step.

Products Used:
Sleek UltraMattes V2 Palette
Collection Supersize Fat Lash Mascara
Collection Extreme 24 Hour Felt Tip Liner in Black
Barry M Dazzle Dust in Kingfisher (78)
Barry M Aquarium Effects Nail Paint in Pacific

Would you wear this eyemakeup look? Have you injected a little colour into your makeup this Summer?

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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Mini Bourjouis Haul

When buying the little bits for my current giveaway, I couldn't resist taking advantage of the Superdrug 3 for 2 offer on Bourjouis products and, having been accepted into university that morning, decided I could justify treating myself a little. The 3 for 2 offer also included a free pair of gorgeous sunglasses which I'd really been hoping to pick up too but my local store had absolutely none left so if you see them in store, grab them whilst you can!

Rouge Edition Velvet, Shade Ole Flamingo
This is a product that has made quite an impact on the blogging scene and is something I'm sure you're all very tired of reading about but I have to tell you - it really does live up to the hype! I've had this product on my mental wish list for a while now and immediately made a bee-line for the testers once in store. I tried every single colour on the back of my hand and really wish I could have got them all as the shades are all very beautiful and I adore a matte lip. As for the 24 hour claim, I'd say this was an understatement as the swatches on my hand were still visible after two days and a shower!

Delice de Poudre Bronzing Powder, Shade 51
This bronzer is another product I'd had in mind to buy for a while, having read that it is a rather good dupe for Benefit Hoola - a bronzer I've been lusting after but unfortunately cannot justify. Although I cannot speak for whether it is indeed a decent dupe, I have found this to be perfect for contouring on a pale skin tone like my own yet buildable for those with a darker complexion (which was my also my reason for wanting Hoola).

Instant Dry Nail Drops
This wasn't something I had in mind to purchase as my third and free item but was rather a bit of an impulsive buy. Having heard people rave about Sally Hansen Insta Dri (which this product seems to be a copying) and being someone that is rather impatient when it comes to waiting for my nails to try, I thought this could be something I'd find pretty invaluable. I've used it a couple times and must admit I'm a little dubious as to whether it has made a difference but will carry on using it until it runs out nonetheless. One thing that did impress me was how little was needed (one drop) and how easy it was to use - if only you could simply drop nail polish on too rather than painting it on!

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Sunday, 17 August 2014

Thea Skincare Brand Review

After responding to a call on Twitter for beauty bloggers by Thea Skincare, I was sent three samples from their Fruit Enzyme range - a Crème Cleanser, Exfoliator, and Crème Moisturiser. This brand has won the Skinsmatters Gold Award, Green Parent Beauty award and are vegan and cruelty free, with none of their products having been tested on animals. All products are free from parabens, phthalate, sulphate, artificial fragrances, and  petroleum based ingredients.

The products mentioned in this review can be bought separately or as part of a starter set (which also includes a toner) for £32.95. Individually, they cost between £20-£30 which, whilst fairly expensive compared to other similar products, is affordable considering they are of a more high-end quality. Unsurprisingly, these products all had a fruity, citrusy scent (particularly the cleanser). Thea Skincare recommends them for all skin types, excepting hyper-sensitive skin and I did not experience any breakouts or irritation after using them.

Creme Cleanser - £21.95 for a 100ml bottle
I found that this cleanser quickly and easily removed my makeup although removing my mascara was a little more of a struggle. However, in the past I would always need to use a separate eye makeup remover so I am pretty impressed that this cleanser was able to remove both my eye and face makeup. It didn't remove my makeup quite as well as the Balance Me Cleanse and Smooth Face Balm which I recently reviewed, however I found the consistency to be much easier to work with and take off of my face.

Exfoliator - £24.95 for a 50ml tub
This exfoliator was probably my favourite of the products I was sent. In the past, I've found facial exfoliators to contain very little exfoliating beads and thus really fail at scrubbing off dead and dry skin. However, this was not at all the case with this one which left my skin feeling noticeably soft and smoother after only one use. Despite this the beads are not too harsh as they are quite fine, although I would advise those with very sensitive skin to be gentle when using this product.

Creme Moisturiser - £29.95 for a 100ml bottle
As someone that can get quite dry skin due to wearing foundation on a daily basis, I found this product to leave my skin moisturised and soft. It has a good consistency and soaks well into the skin without leaving it feeling oily or shiny.
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Thursday, 14 August 2014

100 Follower Milestone Giveaway

Last week I reached 100 followers on Bloglovin, a milestone I am very excited about and never dreamed of reaching in only two months. I cannot believe that so many people choose to read my blog and want to thank everyone that has shown me support in the form of another milestone - my first giveaway. This giveaway is international and the winner will receive:

Makeup Revolution Hot Smoked Palette
This particular palette is not one I own myself although I must admit I am now dieing to buy it. Makeup Revolution have beautifully pigmented eyeshadows and I chose the Hot Smoked palette for this giveaway due to the wide range of colours in both matte and pearlescent shades. This means it contains something for everyone and can be used to create many different makeup looks.

MUA Intense Colour Eyeliner in Jet Black
As a confessed MUA addict, this is my favourite black eyeliner, being extremely pigmented and soft so it does not drag the skin on the eyelid.

MUA Lipstick in Shade 3
This is a lipstick I own myself and is a beautiful bright pink.

MUA Matte Lipstick in Scarlet Siren
As someone that prefers matte lipsticks, I couldn't resist throwing one in this giveaway in a classic red shade.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Saturday, 9 August 2014

NOTD - Diagonal Stripes

I was recently painting my nails and came to the realization that I haven't experimented with my Barry M Nail Art Pen in a while - something that clearly needed to be changed! Although this is a fairly simple nail look, I thought I'd share it with you nonetheless with a NOTD post. I love the finished look of the diagonal stripes but am not 100% sure of these two colours together which I think looks almost Halloween-y.

Although I used a nail art pen, the same look can be achieved with a Sharpie which perhaps may work better due to the fact that, as you can see, it was difficult to get the stripes to be completely opaque with the nail art pen and applying a topcoat smeared the design slightly. I'm definitely going to experiment with some Sharpies and different colours in the future, having only used the black nail art pen thus far. For those wondering, the base colour is Lola Lavender from the Fearne Perfectly Polished set which unfortunately I believe was a limited edition Christmas set and no longer available. Also, a word of warning if you'd like to attempt this nail look - it will take some time and is incredibly tricky to do on your right hand - I shan't show you the mess that is my right hand!

Would you wear these diagonal stripes on your nails? Would you like to see more nail art posts in the future? I'm thinking perhaps a stained glass window inspired manicure.

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Thursday, 7 August 2014

1970s Magazine Adverts

Despite having been born in the nineties, my childhood was full of throwbacks to the 1960s and 70s due to influence of my mother - a true child of the 60s and 70s. I was raised on black and white videos of 'Watch With Mother' and developed a love of 60s music through listening to records on my mother's old jukebox, and her singing around the house. I had a collection of CDs featuring music from the 60s, knowing most of the words to the songs on them and, as a result, never had much knowledge of modern chart music until my early teens. I spent my teens pouring over my mother's collection of 70s Jackie magazines (resulting in a minor crush on David Cassidy) and my year 11 prom dress? A blue rockabilly style dress with a massive petticoat.

I now own a few Jackie magazines myself which still I read and love, from the lovely style of the comic strips to the photography and sweet letters sent in by readers. One aspect which really fascinates me is the adverts which often consist of beautifully drawn comic strips. I enjoy looking at how makeup has changed over the years both in price and appearance, comparing brands' vintage and modern forms.

It's so interesting to see how Bourjois has changed over the years. I absolutely love the packaging of the product in this advert and it makes me wonder - why did they ever change it? Can we also just take a moment to appreciate the fact that blush used to cost 14p compared to £7.99 now? We all know the value of money has changed an awful lot in recent decades, but it's still a shock to realize by just how much! The magazines themselves also cost only 3½p and my mother tells me that, even with four siblings, her parents gave her 30p pocket money a week - that's a lot of magazines!
I hadn't heard of this brand but apparently it's still going. All of the products in this advert are mascara but in different forms, even the little pots on the right which look like nail polish! As well as tube mascara, solid mascara was available in the 70s which one would add water to in order to use. Apparently a lot of people would spit in it, which is pretty darn gross and unsanitary! These different types of mascara aren't commonly used or found in high street stores anymore but I've discovered that there are still some brands that specialize in vintage-style cosmetics such as the solid mascara in this advert.

And finally, here's one advert that shows nothing has changed - 40 years on and beauty brands are still telling potential customers that looking hot is what's needed to get a job! Who needs a good CV and interview technique when you've got a short skirt, waxed legs, and clear skin? For those that are wondering the modern advert on the right is from a recent edition of Company magazine.

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Saturday, 2 August 2014

My Nail Polish Collection

Having recently sorted through my makeup collection whilst making my DIY makeup drawer organisers, I thought now would be a good time to show you my little nail polish hoard, before it once again becomes a disorganised mess! My nail polish collection is smaller than those I've seen on other blogs but is ever growing and is as much as I need because, let's face it, what currently jobless and soon-to-be student can afford a tonne?

Firstly, this is the section of my makeup drawer in which I am currently storing my nail polishes. As you can see, all my polishes comfortably fit in this little box, but there is very little room for my collection to grow, therefore I will undoubtedly be finding an alternative storage option when I (hopefully) go to university in September. You may have noticed that I have put a little spot of nail polish on each lid, enabling me to recognize the shades from above. I do this by dabbing a little of the polish on a piece of paper and gently pressing the lid onto it.

Left to right - Gelly Watermelon, Gelly Green Berry, Xmas Glitter, Magenta Glitter, Berry, Matte Crush, Pacific, Topcoat (all Barry M)
Barry M is my favourite and go-to brand for nail paint due to them both having very opaque formulas and being extremely affordable. The only issue I have with them is the formula gets thick fairly quickly but this is easily solved with nail paint thinner. The first two polishes are 'Gelly' paints which are marketed as being longer lasting and 'high shine'. The second two are glitter polishes which I  love layering over other polishes as feature nails, particularly the Christmas one which works very well with a pillarbox red. Crush is a more burgundy colour than it appears in the photo, and is currently the only matte polish I own. As part of the Aquarium Nail Effects range, Pacific has a beautiful iridescent quality when it catches the light, reminiscent of fish scales and I am keen to add the other shades to my collection.  Finally, the Barry M topcoat is my current clear polish of choice due to the fact that it is quick drying and contains two small metal balls which act to prevent it from becoming thick and clumpy.

Left to right - Attention Seeker, Gold Lining, Vintage Cream, Rudi Red, Lola Lavender (all Fearne)
These polishes are all from Fearne Cotton's 'Perfectly Polished' set which I received as a gift and contains some beautiful pink and pastel shades, all of which I have found to be fairly well pigmented. Gold Lining and Vintage Cream are two shades which I have neglected but I can imagine Gold Lining working very well layered over Rudi Red. As you can see, Rudi Red and Lola Lavender are my most well loved polishes from the set, excepting those I have already used up. However, it's worth mentioning that Rudi Red is rather deceptively named as it is actually a pink colour!

Left to right - Fairy Dust, Purple Mist, Mermaid (all MUA)
These polishes are all from the MUA 'Fairy Dust' range and have proved disappointing, applying very sheer despite MUA's claim that they require only 'one coat'. Mermaid has been the only shade which I have found to be useable on its own but I do use the rest of the shades by layering them over other polishes.
Left to right - Sonic Blue, After Dinner Mint, 2 in 1 Base Coat and Ridge Filler (all Collection)
The first two of these polishes are ones I surprisingly have yet to use, despite my love for royal blue and blue-green nails. However, I frequently use the base coat on those days I opt for a French manicure.
Left to right - Ice Queen Caviar, Sugar Plum (both Ciate)
This mini manicure set is one which came as a freebie with June's Glamour magazine. It is both my first Ciate polish and my first pot of nail caviar. The polish itself isn't EXTREMELY opaque but is pretty good for a pastel coloured polish and looks great worn with or without a caviar feature nail.
Left to right - Natural Collection Red, Natural Collection Pink, MUA Bright Coral, Random White Polish, Wet N Wild SaGreena the Teenage Witch
The first three of these polishes are ones which I suppose are best referred to as my 'emergency polishes' - those that you buy when you've been invited out last minute, your nails are a mess, and you have no time to run home. The Natural Collection nail paints actually proved to be surprisingly opaque although the shades annoying do not seem to have names. The mini white polish is one which came as a part of a cheap set and isn't great, but I am saving it to try with Konad nail stamping. The Wet n Wild polish is something I picked up whilst in New York, admittedly purely because the name amused me...
Left to right - P.S. I Love..., Embellish Manicure 3D Manicure Set
These are the most recent additions to my collection which I picked up from Primark. The Embellish manicure set is of decent quality but the P.S. I Love polish was a major disappointment which I will likely throw away, having a very opaque formula and a difficult to use brush. You can read more about them along with some other Primark makeup products here.
What are your favourite polishes from your collection? Are there any other sections from my makeup drawer you'd like to see?

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