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Wednesday 29 May 2013

Meet My Advertisers | May

I say it every month, and I shall say it again. Where the flippin'eck did this month go?!  I've had a very busy month indeed - I've had uni work coming out of my ears and haven't had a day where I haven't thought about something work related. I'm still in the same boat if I'm honest, but it's the last slog to the finish-line now so I'm determined to keep the momentum going! I've been trying so many new beauty products and have a backlog of photographs stored to my computer - I think it's safe to say I'm sorted for content until the end of summer! Anyway, rambles aside, it's the end of the month again which means it's time to meet my monthly advertisers. Yippee.  It's a fabulous way to discover blogs that you may not yet have stumbled upon and introduce to you the lovely folks who have been sitting in my sidebar since the beginning of May. Without further ado, I shall hand you over to this lovely bunch. My exclusive advertiser this month is the lovely Anna and her blog 'On The Dressing Table' (she also has a blog sale going on at the moment for any of you bargain hunters out there!)..

Anna | On The Dressing Table | *May Exclusive Advertiser* |
Links | Blog | Twitter | Instagram - onthedressingtable | Pinterest | Bloglovin |

Hi! I'm Anna. I'm in my 20's (just!) and I live in a cottage in the beautiful but damp Cumbrian countryside with my husband and our two dogs, Disgy & Elsa.  On The Dressing Table evolved from a long-running love affair with all things beauty.  My first love was high-end cosmetics and over the years I have built up my knowledge and collection as well as training to be a professional make up artist.  In October last year I decided to start a blog to share some of the things I have picked up along the way.

I am always on the look out for good, affordable dupes of my high end favourites so I feature products from a range of budgets.  On my blog you will find a mix of honest product reviews, both good and bad, hauls, make-up and hair tutorials, the odd food related post and a bit of general life stuff as and when things happen that I think you might be interested in! One of my other loves is photography so I am slightly obsessed with Instagram - on there you will see a mix of beauty-related pictures along with the gorgeous scenery I am lucky enough to be surrounded by, as well as my two pups who I think you will agree are pretty cute!

I love to have a chat on Twitter too so feel free to pop over and say hi or ask me any questions. Anna xxx

Rebecca | Ruffles and Lace |
Links | Blog | Bloglovin' | Twitter 

Hi i'm Rebecca and I blog over at Ruffles and Lace. I am 17 year old Yorkshire girl with an unhealthy love for Harry Potter, pop tarts and of course anything beauty/fashion related. I have done since I was young and can never resist the next product craze or a cheeky trip to Topshop! I enjoy sharing with people recent beauty/fashion purchases and the latest outfit I have worn etc. so if you get a chance I'd love for you to pop over and say hi!

Nicole | NicNacksNails |
Links | Blog | Twitter | Instagram | SheSaidBeauty | Bloglovin'

Hello, My name is Nicole. I am a 20 something communications graduate student from the US. I began my obsession over nail polish about 2 years ago when I started NicNacksNails. My love for collecting nail polish has recently turned into a love for everything beauty related! Blogging has turned my hobby into a true passion. I enjoy writing about beauty products and sharing my thoughts just as much as I love reading and learning about products you love and enjoy. 

I truly enjoy interacting and meeting new people who share the same interests with me so stop over and say hello!

Jess | Lady of Vintage |
Links | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Bloglovin |

Hi, I'm Jess and the 'Lady of Vintage' in question. I write about 50's fashion, beauty and lifestyle. Along with loving all things vintage and shabby chic I also own a bakery so you'll find plenty of pictures from my tea parties and old fashioned recipes to try out. So if you love floral dresses, cake and a good cup of English tea my vintage inspired blog is the place to be!

Laura | Lola and Behold |
Links | Blog | Twitter | Bloglovin |

I have been reading beauty and fashion blogs for well over a year, and that is where my obsession with all things cosmetic- and beauty-related started.  Whenever I saw a new product hyped up on my favourite blogs, I'd go out and buy it.  It got to the point where I had so many cosmetics I didn't know what to do with them, so decided I should start a blog myself in order to share all of my favourite products with people, and there Lola and Behold was born.  My blog has been up and running since July, and in that time I have become well and truly attached to it, and couldn't imagine being without it.  My little blog has given me a creative outlet and somewhere positive to focus my energies and I have become so passionate about blogging - I hope you enjoy it.

Rachael | BeautyPea |

Hi! I'm Rachael, a 21 year old graphic design student from the North of England. After years of reading other blogs, I finally decided to start my own. I'm completely obsessed with fashion and beauty and absolutely love blogging - I think it's a great way to 'meet' and interact with people.  I mainly post OOTDs, reviews, monthly favourites, general beauty and fashion posts with a few lifestyle bits and pieces. My blog's still quite new so I'd love it if you stopped by and left me some feedback - Thanks! :)

I hope you've managed to find some new blogs to read - pop on over to my sidebar and say hello and do let me know if you've found yourself a new favourite (don't forget there's even more blogs to be found in my sidebar that haven't been featured here so don't miss out!)

If you'd like to be featured here next month then you can view my advertising packages here. 
I currently have an offer on my Medium & Small advertising packages - making the small just £1.50 & the medium £3 - a perfect way to give advertising a whirl if you haven't already. 

Lots of love x

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Balance Me | Balancing Face Moisturiser

Balance Me | Balancing Face Moisturiser (50ml) | £24.00* | Link

One thing that shall always remain an important part of my daily cleansing routine is a good moisturiser.  My skin changes from season to season, and often calls for different levels of moisture depending on the weather - I have fairly normal skin, without any overly dry or 'greasy' patches, but it does tend to lean on the side of being a little bit 'combination' from time to time - being at it's most temperamental in cold weather conditions. A while back, I was contacted by the lovely people at Balance Me - a brand which promotes natural beauty products and skincare.  Their aim is to get more people to understand the benefits of using natural products - without all the added 'riff raff' of harsh chemicals and preservatives that our skin doesn't really need.  I'm a big fan of Balance Me's Wonder Eye Cream (honestly, if you haven't tried it and are in the market for a good eye cream that does what it says tube - grab some - your dark circles won't know what's hit 'em!) so I was superly duperly chuffed to try their 'Balancing Face Moisturiser' - it sounded like just what my temperamental skin needed.

I've been trying this moisturiser for quite some time now, and have grown to really like it.  The smell is quite strong - so for those of you who hate strong smelling natural products this might not be your cup of tea - but it's surprisingly relaxing.  I really do like the smell and have grown to really crave it in my cleansing routine! It smells quite floral/spicy - but not in an overly 'knock your socks off' way - just light, refreshing and relaxing  (forgive me, I'm certainly not good with describing scents by any means - evidently). The fact that it's tailored towards 'normal to combination skin' is perfect for me - I struggle to get a good balance going on with my moisturiser - they're either too oily/heavy or far too light - but this one seems just about right for this time of year.  It sinks in incredibly quick and is very smooth to apply.  I love how it doesn't sit on top of the skin like a film - it just sinks straight in, leaving your skin feeling really smooth and soft afterwards and not greasy in the slightest - making it ideal for applying in the mornings before you put your makeup on (it really does leave such a smooth base - I was really impressed by this).  What's great about it is that it doesn't irritate my skin or smother my pores! It's packed with vitamins and anti-oxidants which help to balance the skin, giving it the nutrients and all-round goodness it needs and helping to settle any redness. I have a slight red patch on one of my cheeks that doesn't seem to want to shift - but when I apply this at night, it seems to appear calmer and smoother when I wake up in the mornings. 

I apply this both morning and night whenever I feel the need - it's just a really nice little 'all-round' moisturiser that isn't harsh on the skin and gives my skin just the right amount it needs.  I'd say this would be suitable for most skin types - but maybe the extremes would benefit with a moisturiser tailored towards dry or oily skin.  It works a treat on any dry patches I have but bare in mind if you do have very dry skin it might not be 'quenching' enough (they do a rich moisture cream that might be of interest to you though!)  It's definitely a great option if you have combination skin - as it seems to balance the moisture in all the right areas and calms any redness or dodgy patches you might have.  It claims to be a great option for those of you who live in warmer climates - sadly, living in Britain, I can count the number of hot days we've had this year on one hand so I haven't been able to vouch for this - but I can see why it would be a great option. It's not at all heavy and it's one that I will be taking away with me on holiday! It's light enough for my t-zone but gives the right amount of moisture on the drier areas of my face. Overall, I've really enjoyed using this moisturiser and it is one I shall continue to use, and I really do agree with the 'balancing' claim - the fact it's all natural ingredients makes me happy too. It has solved my combination skin woes and it's been one of the only moisturisers I've ever used that I feel happy using both in the morning and at night. 

You can find the Balancing Face Moisturiser here.
Or find your 'skin solution' for your skin type here. (dry, sensitive, congested, combination, anti-ageing..)
If you're interested in the Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream I briefly mentioned then you can find that here (one of my favourites!)

Have you tried Balance Me? Which products would you recommend?
Next on my list has to be their Skin Bright Hydrating Face Mist...I'm intrigued..

Saturday 25 May 2013

My 'Go-To' Face Base | Loreal Studio Secrets Professional Primer

Loreal Studio Secrets Professional Smoothing Resurfacing Primer | £14.29 | Link

You know those typical 'holy grail' items you have in your makeup bag? The ones you forever repurchase that get so embedded in your daily routine that you simply cannot live without them but often forget how much you rely on them? This is one of those items.  It occurred to me the other day that I've actually never spoken about one of my most used products on my blog.  I've been asked a few times what I use for a base before I apply my foundation as I've mentioned in  a few reviews that I don't really have problems getting my foundation to stay throughout the day and a lot of the time I really believe it's down to my primer. Without further jibber-jabber, I shall introduce to you to Loreal's Studio Professional Smoothing Resurfacing Primer (try saying that after a few - crikey!) I have had more than my fair share of these little pots - I believe I might be on my fourth or fifth so trust me when I say it's a well loved favourite. 

Now, I know primers are very much like foundation - what one person swears by, another one hates. It is a very personal thing and your skin type/moisturiser/foundation you use is all going to effect how your primer works.  For reference, I have fairly normal skin with a slightly oilier t-zone, and at certain times of the year my cheeks get a little dry - but nothing overly difficult apart from the odd pesky spot on my chin now and again.  The consistency has a very velvety, soft feel to it - and almost feels like a thick, whipped mousse when applied.  What I love about it is the fact it leaves no greasy residue on the skin - many primers I've tried feel quite greasy and I often feel a bit funny applying them to my skin - with this one, there's none of that.  It instantly makes the skin feel smooth to the touch - almost masking over any 'dodgy' uneven areas and helping to disguise any pores.  I apply it with my fingers, working from the middle of my face and outwards, concentrating on around my nose, my chin and my forehead.

I've never experience any breakouts with this product - it doesn't make my skin feel greasy and after smoothing out with my fingers it's undetectable - aside from the fact my skin feels one heck of a lot smoother! I then apply my foundation as normal.  I haven't yet found a foundation that doesn't work with this primer - it is the ultimate dream team with my beloved YSL Touche Eclat foundation. I know a few people said that they weren't too fussed about the wear time with this foundation when it was launched - but personally it lasts all day on me providing I use this beforehand and a dusting of powder afterwards.  It really is a little miracle worker for me - and I can honestly tell when I've forgotten to apply it.  It helps no end on holiday or in the summer when my makeup needs a little extra helping hand to stay in place and I hardly ever get any patchiness when I've applied it. I've actually used it as an emergency eyeshadow primer on holiday! If you're a fan of lighter, dewy foundations like me, then you'll know a good primer is a must-have in order to get it to stay put. There's no doubt that primers are a very personal thing, and they're very much a love or hate product - but if you've never tried a primer before or stay away from them purely because of the greasy residue a lot of them leave behind - then give Loreal's a whirl.  I even love the packaging - the little glass pot feels much more luxurious and considered than your average squeezy tube! It's worth every penny for me and it's worked better than some higher end options I've tried in the past. I love it. Holy grail status well and truly achieved.

What's your 'holy grail' primer? 

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Mac 'Lavender Whip' Lipstick

Mac Lipstick in 'Lavender Whip' | Baking Beauties Collection | £14.00 (link)

Whenever I hear about a new Mac collection, I simply have to have a nosey. It just so happened that this new collection coincided rather nicely with the end of my final major project at uni and I'd told myself that I would treat myself to a new lipstick as soon as I'd finished.  When I saw 'Lavender Whip' had been re-released as part of the 'Baking Beauties' collection (I'm pretty sure it's was released a few years previous in another collection) I had to make a swift order.  Those of you who know me and have been reading my blog/following me on Twitter for a while will know I'm usually one for peach/coral shades or classic reds. But there's just something about Lavender Whip that tickles my fancy.  I always remember the first lipstick I ever bought was a pale lilac colour (cringe) - although I couldn't possibly pull off that kind of shade now, Lavender Whip is surely a nod towards my inner teenage self. It's fun. It's girly. And it's just a little bit different to my array of peaches and corals that spill from my makeup drawers!

It's a cremesheen finish, so it's not completely opaque and has a slight sheen to it - which makes it a little more wearable and more appropriate for wearing on a day to day basis.  I already own Mac's 'Up The Amp' lipstick, which was a great plum option in the winter months - but sometimes I find it a little strong to wear in the day, especially now the weather is warming up.  As you can see, Lavender Whip is just that little bit creamier and toned down. The consistency is right up my street. It feels very smooth and creamy to apply, making it non-drying and comfortable to wear on the lips. I find I get a good bit of wear out of it before I need to top-up the colour again which is really impressive to say the shade isn't overly bright or strong.  If you always had your eye on the purples and vivid deep reds of last season but couldn't quite take the plunge, it's worth looking into this shade.  It makes a statement without being too over the top - bringing a subtle edge to your everyday lipstick choice. 

I guess it just adds a nice little twist to my usual spring/summer lipstick choices.  I'm a big fan of creamy shades so this is something I'm instantly drawn to.  It's not your average lipstick shade, but it's one thats suprisingly flattering and fun to wear. Fun being the key word here - it's very girly (without being pink!) and brings a little bit of colour to the face.  It brightens up a dull outfit in a jiffy! The collection is now mostly sold out, but I've spotted a few other items from the range lurking on some websites so it's worth having a little scout around if you fancy getting your mitts on this Mac favourite (there's also a gorgeous deep burgundy red and a pale orangey-peach).  I can certainly see why this little beauty was so popular a few years ago...

Have you tried Mac's 'Lavender Whip'? Do you go a little crazy over Mac collections like me?!

Sunday 19 May 2013

Bobbyglam Hair Extensions | Review

Bobbyglam Triple Wefted Hair Extensions in 'St Tropez' | 20-22" (180g) £89.99-£104.99* | 

A few weeks back, I was contacted by the lovely team over at Bobblyglam asking if I would like to try one of their triple wefted sets of hair extensions. Just recently, my hair has been behaving quite badly to say the least; it's shedding quite a bit due to being on and off medication, so clip-in hair extensions are something that I really could do with and I jumped at the chance to try a triple wefted set.  If you know me, you'll know I'm a massive fan of big, bouncy hair and lots of volume, so the fact that these hair extensions are super thick makes them perfect for me and what I would use them for.  This post will be quite lengthy (pardon the pun ;)) so I apologise in advance, but if you're new to extensions or fancy reading up on what Bobbyglam has to offer then grab a cuppa, get comfy and have a read.

| Colour & Choice |

After a great deal of umming and arring, I settled on the shade 'St Tropez'.  You will see from the photos in the tutorial section of this post that my hair is a multitude of shades and is light on the top sections, but quite mousey and dark underneath.  It is very much a backwards ombre... And the ends are darker than the very top of my hair.  This makes choosing colours rather difficult for me, as my hair is naturally blonde and I don't have any bleach in it - so getting a colour that's light enough without looking bleached often proves difficult.  St Tropez is the perfect shade, as it matches the lengths of my hair (which is where the extensions will sit and blend), yet also doesn't look mismatched compared to the top section. For reference, my hair is very similar to Lauren Pope's hair colour from The Only Way Is Essex - it's blonde, but with brown/toffee and caramel colours running through it and it looks almost brown underneath. 

Bobbyglam were very helpful helping with shade selection, and you can send a photo of your hair to them to be matched up by their team of experts.  I found the shade range available very good - for blondes or highlighted hair I know it can be a pain to get extensions to match, but they offer a good range of mixed shades and multi-tonal blondes so there should be something there for everyone. If I can find my perfect shade, then trust me, it will be a doddle for you! There is also a choice of length. I opted for the 20-22" simply because my hair is already quite long, but there is also the option of 16-18" for those of you with mid-length, shorter hair.

| Packaging |

The packaging really impressed me with this product.  If you're familiar with extensions then you will know the bog-standard way of packaging them.  Once opened, you're pretty much stuck with them even if they don't match your hair. I have definitely been there and got the 'gutted' tshirt when it comes to opening a shade that doesn't match - being stuck with a pack of hair you can't use and a purse that's one hell of a lot lighter in the process!  Bobbyglam have been very clever here and eliminated the problem.  The set comes with test weft - which is just as carefully packaged as the rest of the hair, but is separately contained in a little box so that you don't have to break into the pack and void any chance of return.  This is so useful - you can actually clip the hair weft into your hair and see very clearly whether or not they will match - something that proves quite difficult with other extensions I've had in the past. 

| Hair Quality & Wefts |

I've had my fair share of extensions so I know the difference between remy-hair and standard 'market' hair.  The hair is very delicately packaged in little hair nets, so there's no snagging or breakage when you remove them from the packet.   It's very soft and smooth, and the ends are as thick as the top of the wefts.  The amount of hair you get is also fabulous - the triple wefted sets provide you with 180g of hair - well above the weight of a lot of companies 'deluxe' weights, meaning you get one heck of a lot of hair for your money and with less clips.  I love the way the triple wefted sets are bonded together - making them only slightly thicker than a standard singular weft.  I really don't like thick wefts with a passion  I wear my hair pulled to the front, so big thick bands of hair running around the back of my head just look awful on me and other people seeing you're wearing extensions pretty much defeats the object for me.  Bobbyglam cleverly bond their wefts together (as shown in the photograph) so that they sit flat to your scalp.  In my pack, I received one 4 clip weft (middle of the head), two 3 clip wefts (back of the head, nape of the neck area) and four 2 clips wefts (sides of the head). This makes up the full set and it is completely up to you how many you wear at one time.  You can also choose between double wefted, triple wefted or QUAD wefted pieces (cripes, now that's volume for you!) amongst other hair-related goodies. It's also worth mentioning that Bobbyglam hair is ethically sourced.

As you can see, the triple wefts add so much body and volume to what is usually flat, straight hair.  I couldn't believe how seamlessly they blended despite my cruddy-hair colour and dodgy multitones - you can also see from the back view that they are virtually undetectable.  The texture matches my hair perfectly, and they don't look overly shiny or false. The ends also look very full as they are cut slightly blunt - no rats tails over here! Yippee!  The triple wefts do feel heavier than your average extensions set, I can't sit here and tell you that they feel weightless - they don't.  But they don't feel uncomfortable at all.  As I've previously explained, I would wear the full set for a night out or special occasion, but on a day to day basis I would probably use half the amount of hair, meaning the weight is virtually no different to any other hair extensions - and the fact that there are less clips means there's less chance of you giving the game away. It also makes application very speedy.

Overall, I'm really impressed with Bobbyglam. I'm planning on curling them soon so that they blend in with my everyday hairstyle (you can view my tutorial for my curly hair here if you're interested) - I will try and post some sort of photograph or FOTD post once I've made them work for my waves.  To say they provide this much volume when straight leaves me to think that they will simply blow me away with the volume when I curl them! Cheryl Cole.. eat yer heart out ;)

Have you tried Bobbyglam extensions?
You can have a nosey at their website here.

Friday 17 May 2013

Bird's Words & The Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2013

Happy Friday girls! For those of you wondering, I've finally hit my deadline for my children's book and.. I got it all finished! Yippee! I have been mostly chilling on the sofa and enjoying doing absolutely sod all for once as i've been working more of less non-stop for about 4 weeks.. I only have a report to write and a few other bits and bobs and I'm all ready for my show in London in July. Very, very exciting. I'm currently getting my website together, so those of you interested in graphic design or illustration - definitely keep your eyes peeled on Twitter for the link. I'm even considering setting up a little Etsy shop over the summer to give me something to put my mind to whilst I'm waiting for my 3rd year to this space fellow arty folk!

Anyway, I'm pretty sure you're all bored of everyone and their nan's cat posting about the Cosmo Blog Awards at the moment but blogging is such a big part of my life, I thought it would be silly not to get involved.  I have been blogging now for 2 years, which means I've just nudged into the 'Best Established Beauty Blog' category - I cannot believe how fast the time has flown by and I have a huge passion for all things blogging!  The award nominations run from the 3rd May to the 3rd June, so there's still time to enter if you write a blog yourself and fancy joining in the fun (you can also spread the word using #CosmoBlogAwards on Twitter). I shan't reel off a load of cliches, but if you're a regular reader of mine, or if you happen to have recently stumbled across my little slice of the interwebs and enjoy reading my jibberish, it would mean one heck of a lot if you could spare a vote for Bird's Words. You can hop on over and vote for me here.

Of course, if you do decide to drop a little mention for me, do let me know in the comments or tweet me (@Beth_BirdsWords) as I certainly owe you one very big virtual bird hug! 
Good luck to all of you entering this year! 

Wednesday 15 May 2013

Recent Buys | New Nail Polishes

| nail swatches all photographed with a topcoat polish |

If you follow me on Twitter, you may know that I recently took the plunge and sorted out my nail polish collection. Yes girls - I embraced my inner ruthless-ness and got rid of any I don't wear or any that had simply gone gooey and well past their prime! I find it very hard to part with nail polishes - collections are updated so often that it's sometimes hard to find a replacement for a shade that you're getting rid of and as someone who changes their nail polish up to 3 times a week (shocking .. I know, I just can't stand chipped talons!), having a big selection of shades is quite important to one's manicure regime!  Since clearing out the somewhat obsessive collection, I've been really good and only purchased 5 newbies over the past 3 months or so (this is astonishingly good going for me - it's taken a big fat dose of willpower not to accidentally-on-purpose knock a couple of bottles into my basket when picking up neccessities). I thought I'd show you the ones I decided to cave in to.. one brand being one I've never tried before but have been so superly duperly impressed by I will most probably be going back to grab the whole shade range pretty soonish..

| Sinful Colors | Timbleberry | £1.99 |
A brand I've never tried before but one that I will be buying into again for sure. The quality is amazing - for the price of £1.99 it is such a bargain and it beats my more expensive polishes in terms of application and wear time without a doubt.  I noticed very little chipping and the formula is smooth and easy to paint on.  The colour is also amazing - it's a lovely orangey coral colour with a slight hint of pinky red - a really interesting shade that is really bright and colourful - perfect for this time of year and one that will take you through summer as it will look beautiful with a tan.  A girl even stopped me when getting on the bus to ask what shade I was wearing on my nails - so trust me on this - the photographs don't do it justice! My local Boots store have quite an extensive range of shades - one of the best displays of colour i've seen in a long time - I really, really recommend you have a little nosey if you spot them.

| Orly | Purple Crush | £5 |
 This has been on my wishlist for ages.  At £5 it isn't the cheapest of polishes and the bottle is definitely on the small side, but I loved the colour so much I decided I'd treat myself.  I must say, the only downside to this polish is the wear time - I personally find it chips quite easily, and when dry the finish is quite matte.  I'm a big fan of shiny, glossy nails so this is something that annoys me a little.  I have to apply a couple of coats of my top coat to get a good gloss on it. Apart from that, I love the application and the colour range available, and the colour only takes 2 coats to get a fully opaque finish.  I actually quite like the little bottle and the brush - it's all very cute and it makes for a fool proof application - yippee.

| Barry M | Mushroom | £2.99 |
An old favourite and a cult product amongst the blogger world.  Such a brilliant understated colour that gives a nod to the whole 'nude nails' trend without looking sickly.  Barry M's polishes are some of my all time favourites and the quality is bang on for the price.

| Revlon 'Moon Candy' Collection | Galactic | £8 |
An impulse buy, and an expensive one at that! I was so taken by the little duos in their 'Moon Candy' collection and even though this polish probably isn't the most obvious choice now we're coming into Spring/Summer - it's one that I simply had to have.  The little foil pieces in the polish bring the shade to life and add so much dimension and interest to the nails.  I really love the finish it gives and the irridescent pieces certainly aren't skimped on - it only took two swipes with the brush to get the finish shown in the swatch photographed above.

| OPI | Teal The Cows Come Home |
Bought in a blog sale for £5 - I've had this on my list since last year so when I saw it in a blog sale recently I had to get it! OPI polishes don't come cheap so I was really chuffed to grab it for a fiver! If you're a regular reader of my nail-related posts you'll know I adore blue polish - and this shade is just the most beautiful shade of turquoise blue ever. It's not the most opaque polish in the world, which is a shame as it takes a good 3 coats to build up properly, but I've also worn it over plain blue polish to give a bit of metallic dimension and it looks amazing. I love it.

I've done so well to hold back on the temptation to go crazy and build up my collection again. But I think it's good to have a good clear out and buy shades you really love instead of having a load of them you'll probably never wear.  I will certainly be stocking up on more of the Sinful colours range - there's some amazing bright corals and blues in their shade selection that I simply need in my life! You can take a little look on the Boots website here (I'd also just like to add I am in no way associated with this company or being paid and poked with a stick to sing their praises - I just happened to stumble upon them and think it's of paramount importance that you are all aware of their existence!)

Have you tried any of these brands? Whats your favourite shade right now? I'm on the lookout for some new favourites!

Sunday 12 May 2013

My Love For.. Soap & Glory 'Clean On Me'

Soap & Glory | Clean On Me | £5.50 - 500ml

Just recently, I've been quite stressed to say the least.  I've had uni work to do on an almost constant stream and haven't had a great deal of 'me time' the past month.  I cannot wait until my deadline is done and dusted and I can finally treat myself to a nice hot bubble bath and a pampering sesh!  A relaxing soak has been totally off the cards for me of late, but I've re-introduced an old favourite into my shower-time regime that has made things just that little bit brighter.  Soap & Glory's 'Clean On Me' shower gel. I know there's only so much one can say about a shower gel, but don't knock it until you've tried it. You'll be brushing aside the Imperial Leather rather quickly once you've copped a sniff of this little beauty (not that I'm knocking Imperial Leather, but sometimes in a girl's life you just need a little dose of pink, right?) If you're a fan of Soap & Glory, you'll love this. It smells really light, fresh and creamy - and lathers up like a dream.  Once I step out of the shower my skin feels moisturised, soft and totally pampered.  With a built-in body lotion, it gives you an excuse to skip the moisturising ritual (I hold my hands up and admit I've been slacking just recently!) and it leaves your skin feeling squeeky-clean and soft to the touch.  The consistency is more like a luxurious cream - it's very rich and smooth, meaning it's a fabulous option for dry skin.  I tend to follow up with their Righteous Butter and together I find them the perfect combination.

At £5.50, it isn't the cheapest of shower gels but this bottle will last an age - the little pump means that it's virtually impossible to waste a single drop and you don't need handfuls of the stuff to get a good lather going on! Not only that, but it looks adorable sitting on your bathroom shelf!  I can't say I'm one to get excited over a shower gel, but Clean On Me will forever remain one of my firm favourites and for me, it's worth every single penny.  It's something I tend to buy when I feel like a little pick-me-up and I know a lot of you will agree.  If you love Soap & Glory but haven't tried this - I urge you to grab yourself a bottle...

What are your thoughts on Clean On Me? What's your current favourite Soap & Glory product?

Wednesday 8 May 2013

April Favourites

It's the beginning of another month. Which can only mean one thing. Favourites time! I do hope you have all been enjoying the rare occurrence that has been this wonderfully sunshine-y bank holiday! For those of you who are blessed to live in sunnier climes (lucky devils, you), it is simply an unwritten rule that whenever the sun decides to show itself in the UK, everybody, everywhere across the whole country must adorn their summer wardrobes, dust down their flip-flops and herd to the nearest watering hole. And stay there. Even when the sunlight is fading for the day and a mere strip of light on the pavement is all that remains of the excitement of the past few hours, we stay there. Until every last ray that we can possibly squeeze from the day has disappeared.  And even then, by heck are we taking our sunglasses off!? I love it when the sun comes out - it's amazing how much happier it makes you feel and even the simplest things like going for a walk and queueing for a Mr Whippy feel like the most exciting thing you've done since forever.  The pubs are full of bare beer bellys and football shirts galore, and the air is filled with many a whiff of BBQ's from every single garden on the street.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a red-hot summer now (even if red-hot simply means that we remain in decent double figures for more than the one week of nice-ness we usually get..)  Anyway, typical British rambles are a selection of my monthly loves..

| Moroccan Oil Treatment |
After using my mother's sample size of the Moroccan Oil treatment, it's safe to say I'm hooked. So much so I now have a fuller version.  You may have seen my post a while back on my love for hair oils (here), and my love very much remains the same.  I can't say I can tell a huge difference between this and my Macadamia Oil, but the smell of the Moroccan Oil is just divine. Honestly. I urge you to sneak a little sniff of this beauty if ever you get the chance. It's just what dreams are made of.  Yes, it's pricey. But it's worth every penny and a bottle like this would last you an absolute age! It leaves your hair feeling incredibly soft and nourished and I will never ever wash my hair again without applying some form of oil to the ends. Honestly, trust me on this - never again will conditioner simply be enough.  I really want to try their shampoo and conditioner now - my mum uses them and loves them to bits so I'm definitely on the hunt for some to try for myself now!

| Mac Turquatic Perfume |
The sun came out. So it's only fair that this little beauty came out too. If you have never copped a sniff of this summer-staple, I urge you to do so right away. Seriously, go knock yourself out and drown yourself in it. It's beautiful. Now, I'm no good with describing scents whatsoever, but I shall try to nonetheless. Imagine sitting by a pool somewhere tropical, cocktail firmly in hand and the sound of the sea gracing your ears. It sounds obviously cheesy, I know, but conjure up an image of your ideal sunshine getaway and this perfume is exactly what it would smell like. Right down to the tropical fish swimming around your ankles.

| Benefit High Beam |
I wrote about this product briefly a while back when I reviewed Benefit's Coralista set (here) and I've always enjoyed using it.  Ever since I first sampled 'Sun Beam' a while back it's safe to say I've had great admiration for these highlighters. The past month, I've been using this over all of my powder highlighters (my Nars 'Albatross' has taken a firm backseat for now) and I just love the dewy glow it gives.  You don't need a lot at all, and just a few dots of it along your brow bone and your cheek bones blended into the skin with a small fluffy brush gives such a gorgeous bit of dimension to the face without being glittery.  I find it looks a lot more natural than my powder highlighters and it's perfect for the slightly warmer weather we are having - I love that it looks dewy and glowy without looking false. It looks like your own skin. No glitterball-face in sight!  I even pop a few dabs on my chest area if I'm going out - it's such a versatile product, and one that I guess I didn't realise just how good it was until just recently. I'll definitely be buying the full size bottle once this runs out - and I really want to try Moon Beam now.

| Nyx Cream Blush in 'Natural |
This blush is one of my spring/summer staples (I actually have two pots of it so I have back-up!) and I included it last year in my 'Top 5 Summer Blushes' (you can have a nosey at that here). I have another shade of theirs and absolutely adore the consistency.  I'm really not a fan of cream to powder blushes as I find them drying - so this one is perfect because its moisturising enough to feel silky smooth on your cheeks but not so heavy that it slides off. Nyx have got the creamy texture spot on the mark and I get a good few hours wear out of them before they fade.  They don't go patchy either.  I simply love the shade - it's a perfect pinky-nude shade, making in the perfect summer companion. 

| Loreal Super Liner Perfect Slim Liquid Liner |
OOf. What a mouthful! I'm a big fan of liquid liner. And a big fan of Loreal's.  I usually use their ever-famous Super Liner Carbon Gloss, but on a recent makeup spree I decided to throw this one in the basket instead.  I wasn't instantly fussed but now I find I'm reaching for it quite a bit and I really quite like it! It's different to the Carbon Gloss due to the slightly thinner, and less flexible tip that makes it more of a felt-tip styled liner.  It's slightly less glossy and looks a little more matte in finish. What I love is the the fact that you're able to vary the weight of line effortlessly, and cat-flicks on the outer corners of your eyes are much easier to achieve. I really like it. Stays put all day, a doddle to apply and a offers a little more precision than other liquid liners I've tried.

| Mac Lipstick in 'Freckletone' | 
I've just realised I have no photograph of the lipstick in the bullet, but I've actually taken photos for a compilation of my nude lipstick collection to be posted soon so it will be included there.  This lipstick deserves a lot more recognition. If you're a fan of Shy Girl - then you will love this. It's a beautiful glossy mid-peach/nude shade that looks very flattering on both pale and darker skins. It's also rumoured to be a favourite of Kim Kardashian and Beyonce. Who can argue with that!? It's a lustre finish so wear time can be a little disappointing, however I can overlook this. It's such a gorgeous, glossy shade and one that I've been wearing almost every day since I bought it.

Also, before I tottle off to paint some more pictures for my children's book (the end is in sight!) I thought I'd be a little bit cheeky and mention the Cosmo Blog Awards. If you're a regular reader or somebody that enjoys reading my blog, it would mean one heck of a lot if you hopped over and voted for me here (it only takes a second or too..I promise)! My category is 'Best Established Beauty Blog'. I shall give you the biggest virtual hug ever if you decide to drop little old me a mention :)

What have you been loving in April? Anything here take your fancy!?

Saturday 4 May 2013

Revlon | Nearly Naked Foundation

Revlon | Nearly Naked Foundation | £8.99

I think it's safe to say I've become a bit of a foundation-aholic the past couple of months.  I used to be the type of girl who would find a base they like and stick to it, but just recently I've been testing and trying lots of new ones to add to my makeup collection; it's good to have variety there - my skin doesn't always call for the same coverage every day and I find it refreshing to have a bit of a choice.  Hardly surprising then that I got caught up in the hype that is Revlon's Nearly Naked foundation.  Being a fan of light, sheer bases I knew I had to try it.  Do I like it? Yes. But there's a few things I have mixed opinions on..

First off. The shade range. I've never tried any Revlon foundation before (I know, shocking..I've had their Photoready foundation on my wish list for donkeys..) so I wasn't sure where I would be in their shade spectrum.  After much debating I settled on '150 - Nude' as I'm usually one or two shades darker than the lightest available. However, in the morning when I decided I would give it a whirl, it became apparent that the colour was a touch too dark (my fault, not Revlon's!). I can usually get away with a shade lighter or darker but it was a struggle getting it to blend seamlessly because of the pink undertones to that came through once applied on my more yellow-toned skin. Feeling a little bit annoyed with myself for picking the wrong shade (we've all been there, done that and got a replacement bottle), I thought I'd grab a lighter one.  Every store I went in had '130 - Shell' as the next shade down, so I grabbed it and crossed my fingers.  It does match a great deal better, as it seems a little more neutral with the undertones, but it's possibly a touch too light.  What a kerfuffle.  I tend to wear the lighter shade as I find it blends better into my skin, and mix it with the darker shade in some areas if I think I need to.  This said, I find there's quite a bit jump between the 2 shades and I can't seem to find a middle-ground?! I don't think there is a '140' but if anyone has found one, do let me know as I seem to be smack-bang in the middle here. That was probably my first and only little gripe.

I find it gets messy very quick due to there being no pump, but to be honest, I can look past this. It doesn't effect the foundation in any way and if I over-pour I simply just tip a little back in - it's actually very handy as you can see exactly how much is left and rest assured you can get every last bit out once you're running low. The foundation itself is lovely. Now, I shall be honest here and say it didn't blow me away when I first started using it. There was no 'crikey me I think I've just found my new holy grail' moment but I did like how light and easy to blend it was and I didn't put it straight back in the drawer.  I've been reaching for it a lot just recently over my slightly heavier foundations. My skin has been a little on the dodgy side due to various reasons the past couple of weeks, and I've found it covers any blemishes well without drying around them and making them appear worse. Some might think that having a few blemishes would mean a heavier foundation, but for me I find a lighter base works better when I'm having a bad skin day - as it doesn't exaggerate the dodgy bits.  It helps to mask them and smooth out the skin, and also doesn't appear obvious that you're trying to hide something because it doesn't look 'caked on'.  You do need a primer if you want it to last (for reference I use Loreal's Studio Secrets Resurfacing Primer and it works very well with it). The first few times I wore it without a primer, it faded pretty quickly within about 3 hours, but if I make sure I prep my skin beforehand and dust a little of Mac's MSF over the top to set, I get a good 5-6 hours wear out of it albeit a little wear around my t-zone.  After application it gives is a very natural, satin-like finish.

It feels very, very light on the skin which is what I love about it. It's an absolute dream to apply and blend (I use a Real Techniques Buffing brush and it works a treat!) I do agree with the claim that it looks almost undetectable from your real skin, and it feels completely weightless.  I would say it has a little more coverage than a couple of my BB creams, but not much. If you're an Estee Lauder Double Wear girl then I'd stay well clear of Nearly Naked! But if you're in the market for a lightweight, subtle foundation that feels like you're wearing nothing on your skin, I'd really recommend it. Yes, there are a couple of things I'm not so sure on, but nothing major and I can see why there has been a lot of hype surrounding it.  It's really grown on me and I've been wearing it daily the past fortnight - it's been a little saving grace for me and my skin just recently and the only gripe I have is with the shade range for me personally but then again, I'm always awkward. I'm glad I have it in my foundation drawer and for summer I'm sure I'll be reaching for it a lot more! It wasn't instant love but it's getting there - once you learn to work with it I have to agree with the masses and state that it's a very good little foundation that does what it says on the tin (or bottle..)

Have you tried Revlon's Nearly Naked?
What were your thoughts? Yey or Nay?

Thursday 2 May 2013

Beauty Things I Suck At

Cripes. It's May already. Time flies. Some of my regular readers may have noticed I've gone somewhat 'skew-wiff' just recently with my usual posting habits.  I'm the type of person that loves routine, especially when it comes to days I get my blogging-hat on. For those of you who follow me on twitter you may have seen that I had the ever so fabulous idea of taking it upon myself to write, design and illustrate a children's book for my final project at uni, all in the space of about 4 weeks (smashing idea that, Beth - you've really made things easy for yourself!). I've enjoyed doing it so much but I've spent many a late night sat at my kitchen table, clicking away on Photoshop or covered in watercolour paint - snacking on endless packs of Dairy Milk Giant Buttons as I go (straight out of the fridge - THE one and only way to eat chocolate buttons - none of this room-temperature malarky! ffs..).  It's all coming together though, and for those of you interested I will hopefully have an online version put up on my 'profesh' website over the summer, so I shall provide the link when it's all done and dusted.  I only have another week or so left of having the deadline looming over me, so fear not, I shall be back to my usual schedule pretty soon and back into the swing. Anyway, on a recent rare chance I've had to actually sit on the sofa and browse the interwebs (after completing this book never ever again shall I take for granted the joy of just sitting on a sofa and doing nothing..), I noticed this tag floating around the world of YouTube. Whilst watching a few other beauty fanatics ramble about things that they 'suck at' in the world of cosmetics, it occurred to me that one is actually pretty cruddy when it comes to certain things that crop up in one's beauty regime from time to time.  I thought I'd talk you through 5 things I just cannot get the grip of..

French Plait | Can I do a french plait to save my life? Well the answer is basically, no. No I can't do a french plait to save my life. Ask me to do a fishtail braid or a regular bog-standard plait and i'll whip one up for you in a swish of a puppy dog's tail, but ask me to do a simple french plait and I'm useless to you. They're just far to fiddly for my little hands to fathom.

Eyebrows | If you read my Advice to my Teenage Self post (link here) you will know about my lack of arch on my eyebrows. It's taken me a very long time to get eyebrows that look remotely substantial ever since I got too familiar with my Tweezermans (wow that sounds iffy doesn't it..I can assure you it's not). I'm pretty nifty with eyebrow wax and my brow gels now (the HD brows palette is also a godsend) but I can never, ever get them to look the same. I know that people harp on about them being 'sisters not twins', but sometimes mine don't even look like they're friends let alone from the same family.  It's very rare that I'll do my eyebrows and think I've done a swish job of it. 

False Eyelashes | Although I do wear them from time to time and I love how they look, I hate applying false eyelashes.  I somehow always end up ruining the makeup I've already applied.  When I was 17/18 I went through a stage where I wore eyelashes every single day. I even went as far as to wear them on a flight and they absolutely wrecked my peepers (if you have sensitive eyes I really don't recommend you do it!).  I have such a love/hate relationship with them and guarantee if I'm getting ready for a night out you will find me sulking in the bathroom because my false eyelashes are giving my grief.  If I'm in a rush, I can't apply them.  Bare in mind I've had a lot of experience with them so I should be a dab-hand by now. I do the whole apply glue, waft hands in the air and apply when tacky thing but to no avail. Fiddly things don't mesh well with me.

Eyeliner flicks | Okay. So maybe I'm not completely rubbish with this but it's just the whole 'flicky' thing that has me in a right kerfuffle. It takes so much concentration and I get so close to the mirror I might as well be in it.  Liquid eyeliner is my staple 'go to' makeup look but the flicky-bits never ever turn out the same. Much like my eyebrows.  And don't get me started on gel liner. Just no. I'll stick to my Loreal Super Liner Ultra Slim thanks..much more Beth-friendly.
Getting My Hair Cut |  I've spoken about this on my blog before, but me and hair dressing salons do not get on well together. When I was younger, you could have sat me in any dentist's chair, waved drills and tooth picks in my face til your heart's content and as long as I got a sticker at the end of it then I would quite happily sit there and twiddle my thumbs like butter wouldn't melt - but sit me in a hairdressing chair and I'd morph into a devil child. Not the screamy-shouty type I might add, but I certainly cried one heck of a lot as soon as I saw someone with a pair of scissors, and used to shake my head and repeat the words 'don't cut much off' until the ordeal was over.  I caused a bit of a fuss, to say the least, and I can imagine a few of my past hairdressers decided to take a day off sick when they saw my name down on the books... There's just something I don't like very much about having a pair of scissors near my hair and fast-forward a few years and I still dread it. I still have a bit of an 'OHMYGOD don't cut that much off' moment every time I see a centimetre fall to the floor. Therefore, I don't go for trims as much as I should and split ends are probably having a field day on my barnet. I'm quite aware hair grows faster and healthier with regular trims and I'm probably doing myself no favours, but I often take to cutting it myself with my own hairdressing scissors. In fact, I don't think I've been in over a year now. Slap my wrist and call me a bad beauty blogger but I just hate getting trims and make no secret of it. 

So, there's a select few of the things I suck at.
What beauty things are you less than nifty with?