Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Holy Grail - MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural...

"Holy Grail" is a phrase that gets thrown around quite a bit in the blogging world, giving products Holy Grail or near Holy Grail status. I'm not going to lie, and I think many of you will agree, it can be a bit *yawn* or *rolls eyes* as you end up reading about 1000 Holy Grail products (how many times can I drop those two words in one paragraph?). 

Despite my mini rant, I'm going to be one of those people and drop the HG, but for a completely and utterly valid reason.

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural is a powder that's raved about and loved by many beauty bloggers and I'm sure you all know the exact powder I'm talking about.  If not, then please let me introduce you to this gem...

MAC describes the powder as "A luxurious domed face powder with minerals, slowly baked to provide a dimensional yet natural-matte finish. Provides perfect light coverage. Use to set and fix foundation or as a touch-up throughout the day. New mirrored compact.".

Just to set the scene for you all, I love me a matte(ish) face, so a good powder is essential.  I've tried many a high street offering since I first graced the aisles of Boots. Some chalky, some that make you wonder if you've even put it on, and some which will be replenished once dead. 

MSF Natural is the second high end powder I've tried.  The other was the MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation, and lets just say I was less than impressed.  Nothing to do with the coverage or colour match, but I just seemed to hit the pan extremely quickly with a lot of fall out.  I was hesitant to try another MAC powder especially with the £23 price tag (not even THAT bad, I know... I'm just stingy).  However, after reading shining reviews and finding myself in a duty free MAC store (what a coincidence), I couldn't not justify this. 

And I am SO glad I did.  This powder is a dream *cue angel chorus* leaving you with perfect looking skin, setting any concealer and foundation, and airbrushing any imperfections.  Not too matte, not too dull, not too clingy to dry skin, not too chalky, not too cakey...  I could continue but you'd all get bored.

The shade selection is pretty impressive, especially on MAC's website.  I have Medium Plus which is somehow perfect for all year round (magic!).  As it's baked, I've found it lasts me for ages and doesn't crumble.  I've had mine since mid last year and it's still going strong. Just a quick swirl of a powder brush and you're good to go.  

I have the old packaging which is fine and has stood up to a make up bag bashing, but the new packaging looks a lot more impressive.  More sturdier with a mirror included, extremely convenient!

I honestly can't recommend this powder enough, even if your money is looking a little tight.  I just know it's a go to powder to make my skin look amazing if I'm having a bit of a down day.

Have you ever tried MSF Natural?  Do you have a favourite MAC powder?  I'd love to know.


Monday, 26 January 2015

The 5 Stages Of Realising You're Poor Til Payday...

Oh January.  Thank goodness you're nearly over.  I'm sure we're all feeling the same after a lavish December or going OTT in those sales, or both... guilty!  Being low on funds for the rest of the month once you've blown all your money is not fun!  I've realised that I go through these 5 stages when my bank account is not as plump as I had thought.  I hope at least someone else can agree with me... right?!

1. Shock

Casually checking up on your bank funds as you plan the weekends events because it’s a responsible thing to do (give yourself 10 adult points) and BAM, you’re pounds down.  More than you had thought, even in your ‘worst case scenario’.  You’re getting the sweaty palms and feeling a little sick as you realise what else you’ve got to do for the rest of the month.

2. Denial and Anger

“Superdrug?!  £50?! Definitely not me!.... Sainsburys?!  £35?! Don’t remember that” are usually the words that come out my mouth when I’m scrolling through my statement.  Then the usual “ohhh... yeah…” as you realise that no, you haven’t had you card duped, but you had spent your hard earned cash yourself on things that you’ve now eaten/realized you won’t actually use.  This is when the anger will rear its head, as how could you have been so stupid to waste your money like that.  Never again.  NEVER again.  

3. More Denial, less anger and a pinch of defiance

Still denying the purchases you made, except now you’re defiant in your denials. It definitely wasn't you.  A bold move. Stupid but bold.  By now, your boyfriend/mum/friend that’s been a witness to this will have 0 sympathy for you. 

4. Having a word

I guess we could call this acceptance.  Promising yourself that you won’t let it get like this next month and that you’ll never waste your money ever again.  All of a sudden we become a leading financial advisor and figure out what outgoing we have vs the bank balance so we can see what we are working with.

5. Internal Sadness

After you’ve budgeted until payday, there’s the internal sadness of your buying limit.  Look but don’t touch is sadly applicable for most things apart from the essentials.  And no, that nail varnish doesn’t count.  Roll on payday!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Did Someone Say Selfridges Haul?...

I don’t think I really need to expand much from the title…  I came, I saw, I purchased.  It was dangerous, and I’m not going to lie, cutting down the items in my basket to just three (aka a more affordable basket price!) was a hard task to say the least!  I’m feeling like I also need to reward myself (with more beauty purchases) for only buying three things… hah!

I was like the heart eyes emoji scrolling through the beauty pages!  I know us bloggers are a nosy lot, so of course I just has to share my three picks with you...  I’m so pleased with them all!

I just had to pick up a MAC lipstick to expand my small collection.  I always read so many reviews about so many lovely MAC colours that I want to get my hands on, yet when I have the chance to get some of them I completely forget the shades!  

I went with Half ’N Half, which is a lovely nude brown, a welcome addition to my lipstick collection and just completely me.  I hadn't read anything about it before I bought it so I was going in blind but very happily surprised!  It’s a little more natural looking on the lips than it does on the swatches.  I’ve been having such dry lips recently (just call me krusty the clown) so I was a bit worried about how this would look, but it’s really moisturising and creamy on the lips, and doesn't highlight any dryness.  It’s love already and I can tell this will be one of my go to lipsticks for 2015!  I can’t recommend this colour enough if you’re looking for a darker neutral MAC lipstick.

Ohhh be still my beating heart.  This is my first make up item by Charlotte Tilbury and oh my lawd, it didn't disappoint.  I really couldn't choose what CT to pick, but my inner Kardashian came out and I just had to pick the Bronze and Glow.  God knows I love a good contour.  

The packaging is beautiful (even the cardboard is nice!) and you can’t go wrong with rose gold casing.  Just amazing.  I’ve used this once and can confirm it is pretty much one of the things that dreams are made of.  The bronzer is subtle yet just works.  I can’t even explain it!  The highlighter is gorgeous too, not glittery or shimmery as such, it just makes you look radiant (I want to say glowing so badly right now!).  No glitter ball face, just the most gorgeous sheen.  

If you’re looking for a luxury contour palette, or considering treating yourself with some well earned (or just ‘because’) CT make up, I would really recommend this! 

Another brand I’ve never tried anything from, so I was excited to get my hands on this.  I’ve heard a lot about the Hypnose mascaras and had read a review on Moth Loves about this so whilst the set was at a barry bargain price, with an eyeliner and an eye make up remove, it would have been rude not to! This mascara is really lovely, not too wet at all and really opens up my lashes.  I must admit, I’m usually guilty of multiple mascaras, using two or three to build up my lashes on a daily basis but I can go solo with this one which I love.  I haven't given the Bi-facial or the eyeliner a try yet but I have high hopes for sure!

Have you bought anything in the Selfridges sale?  Let me know, as I’d love to get things added to my wish list!


Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Learnt and Learning...

I know you're probably over reading all these styles of post, and I know my lifestyle posts aren’t my most read, so this is more one for me than one for you (lol soz). Here’s 5 things I’m proud to have learnt in 2014, and 5 things I want to learn in 2015.

2014 - I learnt…

1 - Knowing my skin (and working with it) - 2014 was the year I finally got to grips with my skin and what works/doesn’t work.  I am now proud to say that I have a skin regime that works for me.  Sure, there are areas that need to be improved, but for the majority I’m super happy.  I rarely get spots (touch wood…  I’m talking one spot every three months maybe, if that!) and I no longer suffer with dry patches or tight skin on my forehead.  Next mission is to get my skin naturally glowing…

2 - Double it up - This point moves on very nicely from the previous one.  I’ve learnt the benefits of doubling up - I’m talking mainly cleansing and hair washing.  My skin has thanked me no end for learning the delights of a double cleanse and I now feel like my skin is still dirty if I only cleanse once.  It’s also a lot less dry and my makeup looks more flawless thanks to that!  I’ve also been washing my hair twice and conditioning once (after learning the tricks in Meg’s video here - I really recommend watching!) and I’ve now been able to go an easy three days before I’ve had to wash it again.  My hair is feeling stronger and healthier and I’m hoping this will help it to grow even longer.  

3 - Saving for now - This is the year that I upped my savings game.  It finally dawned on me that life is actually really expensive and I haven’t got all the time in the world to save - life likes to throw a curveball all too often.  I’m proud of how much I’ve saved this year and it’s rewarding to see it all add up.  Here’s to having a buy ban more often and reaping the rewards in the future (hellooo lovely house).

4 - Making room - My wardrobe and drawers were bursting full of stuff that I didn’t use/wear anymore (or at all, according to the of tags!).  After deciding on a monochrome/neutral wardrobe theme I dusted off my eBay account and started clearing out and selling.  I earned myself a tidy little sum and made room for more clothes in the process (yay)!  I’m also now pretty addicted to clearing out…

5 - Take control of my life as it currently is - Finally finally FINALLY in October I realised that it was my job that was making me extremely unhappy and affecting all areas of my life.  Sundays filled with dread that I have never experienced before and a good cry is not cool.  In November I started to apply for other jobs to get out of where I am, so fingers crossed I can get happy in 2015.

2015 - I hope to learn… 

1 - What works for me and my weight loss - I lost the best part of a stone and a half when I returned from uni and got my ass into the gym.  Fast forward one and a half years later and lets just say I’m not looking as good as I was for various reasons, despite still being in the gym 3/4 times a week. I’ve decided it’s time to take it right back to the start and I know that cardio works best for me, no more classes, so hopefully I will start seeing some results soon.  I’ve been going running with Nick too, so I’m hoping that within the first half of the year I can run my first 10k (against myself and by myself) and then eventually run a half marathon.  Slowly slowly catchy monkey…

2 - Quality not quantity -  I would hate to add up the money I’ve spent on absolute crap.  I could probably have bought the majority of bits on my wish list if I hadn’t picked up that red nail varnish here, or another cleanser there, or had two Costas in a weekend.  I’m aiming to buy less but better quality and hopefully having a bit more money to pop into my savings at the end of the month.  I’m kicking it off with a spending ban for January (and February if I haven’t gone insane before) so wish me luck…

3 - To say no and not feel bad - I watched Patricia Bright’s YouTube video on this (link here) a few hours after I had this revelation and it was music to my ears.  I am always saying yes to do things that actually I don’t want to do and the amount of times I’ve double booked myself is ridiculous.  Why oh why do I agree to do things when I know I’ve already got something going on?  Majority of the time I try to please two people and end up annoying both because of it!  This year if I don’t want to or I know it’s going to be too tight to fit someone in, I’m going to say no and not feel bad.  As Patricia says, it’s usually not the person I don’t want to see but the timing that isn’t right, so I’ll rearrange where possible.

4 - To continue working on myself - There are so many traits that I really don’t like about myself, more than I’d care to tell.  One of them is comparison, which absolutely cripples me and drives me insane.  Comparing myself to people who are completely different to me in every single way, yet I just seem to get into a downward spiral and can’t get myself out of it (usually resulting in a verbal slap).  This year I want to only compare myself to myself.  Have I improved on myself?  That’s really all that matters at the end of the day

5 - To try and work out my life a bit more - Without wanting to sound like Britney Spears circa 2002, I feel at such a cross roads right now.  I really don’t know what path to take or should take and feel like I need to pay an adult to tell me what to do.  Quarter life crisis here I come…

Let me know what you learnt in 2014 and what you hope to learn in 2015! 


Sunday, 21 December 2014

Winter Sleek Cheek Triple...

Ask anyone what their favourite autumn/winter make up is and I can pretty much guarantee the word berry will be mentioned. Everyone loves berry tones during the colder months, whether it’s deep reds, plums or purples.  I’ve not only been darkening my lips and eyes, but my cheeks too.

This Sleek Blush By 3 is my go to cold weather blush palette and has been in my make up bag since October. First off let me just take a moment to praise its incredible value and quality - £9.99 for three highly pigmented blushes is amazing.  Obviously at that bargain price it would be rude not to pick it up! 

There are three blushes in the Sugar palette – Turbinado, Muscovado, and Demarera.  You can pick these up individually for £4.50 each as Turbinado is very similar to the single blush shade Flushed (if not exact), Muscovado is similar to Antique/Sunrise, and Demarera is very similar to the single blush shade Coral (if not exact).  For me, these three colours are all I’ll need for the next few months.  The packaging is sturdy and sleek (no pun intended) with a good sized mirror inside the compact which is always welcomed in a palette.  This has already survived many bashings in my make up bag and you can't tell! The blushes have good colour pay off and don't give much fall out which is amazing - no-one likes powder products that crumble after a few uses, no no.

Turbinado is a dark red.  I was a bit worried about this to start with; rosy-cheeked elf was not my desired look of choice.  With a light hand and fluffy brush (Real Techniques blush brush) this can give a lovely warming “just been for an outdoor walk” flush (hence the name, again, no pun intended at all… cringing a little now). 

Muscovado is a pink/terracotta shimmer.  Again, you probably want to go in with a fluffy brush and a light hand, as it can become OTT quite quickly.  I’ve been reaching for this in the evenings for meals and nights out as the shimmer gives it a pretty look on the cheeks and the colour is quite natural if you’re concentrating on statement lips or smokey eyes.

Demarera has been my day-to-day choice.  I’ve been using my Zoeva 127 Luxe Sheer Cheek brush with this as it’s not as heavily pigmented as the other two (so a bit less dangerous). It gives me a lovely natural cheek, warming up my face and dream-teaming with my bronzer!

With a light hand and buffing brush at the ready to blend any harsh lines, I think these colours could work for everyone during the winter months.  

(Top - Bottom - Turbinado, Muscovado, Demerera)

Will you be adding this palette to your drugstore wish list?  I’d love to know if you’ve got any favourite Sleek blushers as I’m always looking to add to my collection!


Friday, 19 December 2014

Gift Sets For You...

It seems that every other post on my Bloglovin feed at the moment is about either a gift set or a gift guide for your friend/relatives/boyfriend/dog/etc.  Tis the season of giving and everything, and yeah I love buying presents for other people, but I also love buying for me.  No shame.   If you can solely buy gift set for other people then give yourself a pat on the back, because you’re a better person that I am. 

I wanted to (annoyingly… soz if you’ve read stuff like this already!) share the gift sets I have picked up for myself as they would be a good treat for you… Don’t tell me you aren’t using the “one present for you, one present for me” rule…

Yes, I’m sure I would have been delighted to open this on Christmas day or watch someone else’s face open it, but using my heard earned (lol) Boots points to pick this up was heart-warming.  You’ve probably read 1000 reviews on this once, complete with swatches so I’ll keep it short and sweet.  Great value, pretty blushers in a range of colours – win, win!  It’s something I can see myself packing to go away with even if it’s a little bulky as I know I’d be prepared for all occasions (with blushers and a bronzer) and you can’t go wrong with Benefit!

I nabbed these on Monday whilst Christmas shopping.  Some girls were stood around the make up discussing which gift sets and colours their friend/relative would like.  I was pondering which gift set I would like. These two Lip Bullets are in Wine Gum (deep berry) and Motel (natural brown), which look to me like perfect winter colours.  They apply really easily and are super pigmented.  I think they’re a bit smaller than the individual Lip Bullets Topshop sell, but at £10 for both it was a bargain I couldn’t resist! 

I have never tried this (shock horror) as I’ve always opted for high street cleansers and cleansing oils.  I saw this whilst looking for a secret Santa present for work (a fluffy bird/reindeer pen if you must know…). I thought the price was really good for a big 100ml Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, Instant Boost Skin Tonic spritz (30ml) and 2 muslin cloths.  Boyfriend did try and ask who it was for, but I defiantly answered the question with a solid “Me” before he could finish the sentence - Poor boy!  I can’t wait to give this a go, especially if it’s as good as everyone else is the blogging world is saying!  It’s exclusive to John Lewis, so I’d definitely say to have a look if you want to try out these products!

I’d love to know if you’ve bought yourself any gift sets (so I know I’m not alone!) and if you’ve discovered any products you love!


Thursday, 18 December 2014

The Christmas Tag...

I've been reading and loving peoples Christmas tags, partly because I’m really nosey and partly because I am MAD for Christmas.  I’m talking excitable clapping, squealing (much to my boyfriend’s embarrassment) and OTT smiles.  I have been loving everyone’s answers and seeing what other peoples Christmas traditions are as everyone’s families are difficult!

Quite a lot of people have tagged readers to give it ago (I read Blonde Amy’s) so of course, I didn’t need any more encouragement.  I even pondered doing it with out being tagged (sad) but that’s just how excited I am, okay?

Favourite Christmas film?
Oh lord.  Elf, Muppets Christmas Carol, or The Greatest Store In The World.  I’ve seen a few people mention this one and it is a corker. When I was younger I used to dream of being able to hide out in a store over Christmas.  I think mum even taped this off the TV for me and my brother, retro!

For those of you that follow me on twitter, you will know that I LOVE Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special… I’ve already watched it at least five times (would have been more but Nick banned me from starting it from the beginning the minute it ended).

Do you open your presents on Christmas eve or Christmas morning?
Always morning for stocking, then late morning/afternoon for the downstairs presents.  Me and Justin (younger brother) used to open one present together from our stockings, probably around pre 7am as we were banned from Mum and Dad’s room before then (scrooge).

Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
I’ll always remember the excitement of waking up on Christmas morning, but I was always so scared that he would still be out on the landing (I was scared of Father Christmas) so naturally I sacrificed my younger brother.  We then had our sacks downstairs under the tree and there would be glitter footprints all round the house from where he’d been! We’d be screaming like lunatics once the parents were up.  And opening stockings on my parent’s bed. Perfect!

I guess just the precious family time and just been so excited that I could burst.

Favourite festive food?
Anything and everything I can get my hands on.  Mainly mince pies, Christmas pudding, cheese twists, cheese in general, Terry’s chocolate orange… etc etc etc.

Favourite Christmas gift?
Ooohhh I don’t know. The main one the springs to mind was a Barbie Campervan I got back in the day.   I think I also got her open top beach car too.  Barbie was loving life that year and was racking up a hefty fuel bill in her Barbie world.

Favourite Christmas scent?
Real. Christmas. Tree.  Hands Down.  It’s such a Christmas morning memory scent for me and I just get super excited whenever I smell it again.

Christmas eve traditions?
We always have a picky tea on Christmas Eve and watch whatever Christmas special is on the TV.  Getting all cosy at like 5pm and just having family time, wrapping presents and eating!

What tops your tree?
An angel, which I used to think was magical and beautiful but is actually a little creepy...

As a kid what was one of the crazy thing you asked for buy never received?
Probably an animal of some sort like a kitten or a puppy.

What’s one of the best things about Christmas for you?
Family time.  I love spending time with my family, eating, drinking, chatting and just having a lush day!  I get on so well with my brother so we’re usually laughing about something or other (usually at my Dad much to his annoyance). Giving out my presents is another favourite part of the day and seeing peoples faces and happiness. I just love how everyone’s mood changes at Christmas and everyone becomes a lot nicer and friendlier.

I tag anyone that wants to do this...  just one week to go!