Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Lazy Dayz

Let's face it - I'm a student who prefers her sleep to pretty much anything else, so I've got to have a fallback routine for when I just can't escape those glorious extra five minutes in bed. To be honest, as long as I don't look like I've just stumbled out of a 6 month long hibernation when I have to be at an early morning lecture, I'm not really fussed about how I look. The girls that show up at 8.30am with full makeup and perfectly curled hair will always amaze me, but as long as I've got these four 'lazy dayz' staples then I'm happy as Larry. I've mostly grown out of the stage of always needing to wear foundation, so I'm more than happy just to stick to the goddess of all concealers - NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly. I just pop this where it's needed (under eye circles anyone?) and blend it in with my Real Techniques Contour Brush - trust me, they're a cracking pair - and my 'base' is done. Next we move onto the eyes, and the only thing I really need is a coat or two or mascara - my current favourite being the Bourjois 1 Seconde Volume Mascara. If I have particularly oily lids that day (which has become a more regular occurrence for some reason) then I'll dust a bit of face powder over them as well. Then on to perhaps the most important step of them all - the brows. Being a fair haired gal means my brows need some attention before leaving the house, and a long time favourite to get them street-ready is the MAC Eyebrow Pencil in 'Fling' - heads up blondies, this is a great colour match. Then all we need is a dash of colour to differentiate myself from any wandering undead, and I usually choose between a brightening blush, or a current favourite, a pinkish-nude lip in the form of NARS Satin Lip Pencil in 'Rikugien'. This entire look can be done in about three minutes flat, and when you get to that two hour lecture about modern politics in Spain or EU policy making, you'll be happy you spent that extra five minutes snuggling under the duvet.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

LORD & BERRY: BLACK WARDROBE




The other week Lord & Berry very kindly sent me over some items from their lovely new 'Black Wardrobe' collection to try out. Ever since the tender age of thirteen I have been a huge fan of the classic smokey eye (although I probably did an awful job of it back then!) so when these bits arrived in the mail, I was a very happy bunny! When I had a bit of free time, I decided to whack out the products and came up with a very simple yet gorgeous nighttime look. This party-ready smokey eye is super easy to achieve, and will look great on anyone.

1. First I started out by using the Lord & Berry Sketch Eye Shadow Pencil in #0301 Black * in the outer corners of my eyes, and then smudging it out with a fluffy eyeshadow brush. The placement doesn't have to be exact because when you blend it out you can make it more uniform - just make sure to blend it out quickly, as although it's really creamy, it sets quite quickly. 
2. Then use a flat eyeshadow brush to pack on the Seta Eyeshadow in Premiére * all over the lid and on top of the Sketch Eye Shadow Pencil. After, use a clean fluffy brush to blend out any harsh edges. 
3. Use the Lord & Berry Smudge-proof Waterproof Eyeliner in #701 In the Black * to tight line and waterline your eyes to make them super dark and intense. Follow that up with a few coats of your favourite mascara.
4. Sort out your brows, whack your foundation/concealer/powder on, and add some subtle colour to your face with a nude pink blush and lip colour.
5. Et voila! You're ready for a night on the town.

Products Used:
- Lord & Berry Smudge-proof Waterproof Eyeliner in #701 In the Black *
- Lord & Berry Sketch Eye Shadow Pencil in #0301 Black *
- Lord & Berry Seta Eyeshadow in Premiére *
- NARS Creamy Concealer in Chantilly
- NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien
- MAC Eyebrow Pencil in Fling
- Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light
- Bourjois Volume 1 Seconde Mascara

This is quite a neat-looking smokey eye, but you could also use all of the products in this collection to create an amazing, much grungier eye look. The products all had amazing longevity, and were indeed very black, which means that they're great additions to your collection if you haven't got anything similar already. Items from this collection retail from £10 upwards and are available at Selfridges. Plus, if you fancy treating yourself to the whole set of smokey eye essentials, you can get the whole set for the incredible price of £49. 

Have you tried any product from Lord & Berry? What do you think of their 'Black Wardrobe' collection? 
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The products marked with an asterisk (*) were sent to me by Lord & Berry to review, but all opinions my own. No payment was received for this post, apart from the products themselves.
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Saturday, September 27, 2014

White vs. white.

Long gone are the tipex-esque nails; the beauty industry have stepped up their game and have delivered some super chic shades to keep your mitts looking stylish all year 'round. I popped out to pick up Essie's Blanc after seeing Kate from gh0stparties donning it on her instagram page, and came back to find that I already had its Models Own counterpart 'White Light' in my collection, and that sparked an idea. I immediately got painting in order to determine which white was to ultimately steal my heart (#firstworldproblems much?), and here are the results...

Essie 'Blanc' (£7.99):
At £3 more expensive and a tad on the sheerer side, you would have thought that this would have already lost the race, but there's something about it that just makes me swoon. Both are pretty white, and from a distance you wouldn't notice a difference in colour, but close up I noticed that the Essie polish is ever-so-slightly cooler toned (more pink based) whereas the Models Own polish leans slightly to the warmer, cream/yellow side. Like I said, you wouldn't notice it if you weren't looking for it, but as I was, I picked it up and now it's all I can see. Personally the slightly cooler tone of the Essie version is more appealing to me, and that's why, despite it's slight faults, it wins my vote.

The cheaper of the two, and probably the best performing when it comes to opacity and shine, yet it's still Essie that takes the cake for me. This went on in two coats with no problem whatsoever, and due to it's 'hypergel' finish, didn't really need my 'ever-so-shiny' Seche Vite top coat to finish off the job. Both were pretty easy to work with, although this was less streaky than the Essie one on the first coat. If it had the slightly cooler tone that 'Blanc' did, then this probably would've won, but it's the Essie polish that wins for me.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

A/W Prep: Hands 'n Feet



Protecting your paws:
Our hands are probably the most vulnerable part of our body when it comes to being exposed to the elements. Not only are they subjected to constant temperature change and harsh weather, but daily tasks like washing up and general housework can also dry them out. It's a no brainer that the only way to keep your hands in tip top shape is to keep them moisturised, but finding a good hand cream is key, yet a never ending quest. I'm a huge fan of the hand products from Rituals - in particular the Miracle Scrub which has a thick balmy texture, but also contains little beads that exfoliate your hands at the same time. You simply give your hands a little massage, wash the balm off and you are still left with really moisturised hands despite washing off the exfoliator. As this is quite thick, it's great to use before bed, and you can even go as far as to buy some moisture gloves to keep the moisture locked in all night. I also always like to carry a hand cream with me on the go, and there are a million and one to choose from. Some favourites include; Ritual's Miracle Balm, Soap & Glory's Hand Food, and the Dove Intensive Nourishment Hand Cream.

Taking care of your tootsies:
Due to having such dry skin, I really have to take proper care of my feet all year round to make sure they survive the winter months. If I'm not careful, I can wind up with extremely sore - and not very attractive - cracked heels that can leave me unable to walk properly within a few weeks of temperatures starting to drop. One of the best investments that I have ever made, and perhaps my most used and loved 'beauty' gadget is the Scholl Express Pedi (£39.99). Now I know this is a bit TMI, but this is an electrical 'dead skin remover' which makes it incredibly efficient because the hard work is done for you. The roller has a sandpaper-like texture that really helps to keep your feet soft and smooth without all of the effort. I won't talk about this funky little gadget anymore because I know it's not the nicest of topics, but I've included the link up above so you can read further if you please. The next step is finding a good foot cream - at the moment I'm using the Feet by OPI cream - but there are loads of great alternatives out there like Heel Genius by Soap & Glory. I like to slap some of this on when I get home for the day and pop a pair of socks over the top, but you can do this before you go to bed and sleep with it on too if you prefer (I'm just not a fan of things on my feet whilst I sleep). When all else fails, all you need is some Vaseline or something like Weleda's Skin Food on a plaster and cover any cracks or particularly dry spots to help them heal much faster, and you should be good to go!

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Nic's Picks - Real Techniques Brushes


Real Techniques 'Nic's Picks' - £25.50 from Escentual

Ever since I saw the news of this newest set release from Real Techniques, I knew that it would be mine. I'm a huge fan of every RT brush I own, and a personal favourite is my much loved Duo-Fiber Face Brush that gets used everyday - which was a huge factor in wanting to get my hands on this set. Not only that, but this set includes three 'set exclusive' brushes (yes you heard me right - three) which made it simply irresistible to me. 

The set contains:
Duo-Fiber Face Brush a large, fluffy duo-fiber brush that is perfect for the lightweight application and blending of powder
Cheek Brush (set exclusive) densely packed and beautifully soft, this brush applies blusher evenly for a more dramatic finish
Angled Shadow Brush (set exclusive) your ideal partner for a professional-looking smoky eye, perfectly cut for applying shadow to the crease
Base Shadow Brush the essential brush for an even, smooth and flawless eyeshadow base
Eyeliner Brush (set exclusive) firm and angled for optimal control, this brush is ideal for powder, gel and cream eyeliner

The Cheek Brush, the Angled Shadow Brush and the Eyeliner brush are all exclusive to this set, and despite not having much time to play around with them yet, they are very welcome additions to my brush collection. Another thing that's great about this particular set is the fact that it's great for beginners as it contains everything a beginner could need - a powder/foundation brush, a blush brush, two eyeshadow brushes and an eyeliner/brow brush. Also at £25 (although I believe it'll be £30 in Boots?) it's great value for five fantastic brushes that are not only well made, but look gorgeous too. 

Are you planning on picking up this set when it hits stores on October 1st, or are you planning to be that bit stronger than me and restrain yourself?

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