Friday, 30 January 2015

Favourites: January 2015

As promised, I'm starting off the year as I mean to go on and am sharing with you today the bits I've been loving this month!  I haven't done a favourites post since...I think it was July 2013.  I don't tend to buy myself bits too often, so I've always worried that I'd just have the same favourites month in month out, but with my mission to clear through my ridiculous stash of bits, I think I should have something different to share with you every month!

Starting with my ultimate favourite for this month - The Body Shop's Almond Body Butter.  I've had this in my stock for a while now, but had been working my way through other body moisturisers.  I can't even begin to say how much I love this body butter - it's super moisturising, but this one smells incredible.  Even though it's just almond, I feel like it smells a smidge like a cherry bakewell because it's also a bit sweet!  But because of all that...I'm absolutely gutted that this seems to have been discontinued.  I can't see it online, and when I asked The Body Shop they told me to check outlet stores and the sale in April - please let me know if you spot it!

The lip balm that I've loved this month is LUSH's Lip Service.  I got it for Christmas from Liam's parents and spoke about it in my LUSH Christmas Haul - I've never tried a lip balm from LUSH before but I really like it!  It smells a bit orangey, but it's not a tangy citrus scent...more of a sweet orange scent.  It's really helped my lips this month - they were seriously dry when I was poorly with the flu!  Revlon's Matte Balm in Sultry has been my lip shade of choice this month.  I have already spoken about it here, so I won't bang on about it again, but it's definitely one that's worth checking out if you're into the whole 90's lip look.

I have a review of this coming up soon, but don't wait for it - you need the Jouer Long Wear Creme Mousse Eyeshadow in your life.  I have the shade Dusk and I hardly wear anything else.  I bought the Maybelline Color Tattoo in On and On Bronze this month to see what the fuss was on that - it's got nothing on Jouer.  I've already got my eye on the rest of the shades, particularly Galaxy and Twilight!

This month, I also picked up my first Illamasqua Cream Pigment in the shade Delirium.  It was in the sale already, but I got an extra 15% off with my birthday discount code!  It's been my contour of choice since I bought it, and I can't see myself switching to anything else anytime soon - it's really long lasting, and creates a beautiful natural shadow on the face because of the grey undertones.  I've been applying it with the Eco Tools Complexion Blending Brush as it's perfect for contouring.  It's paddle shaped which makes it ideal for slipping under the cheekbones, and because the bristles aren't super dense you can easily blend upwards!

What have been your favourites this month?

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

NARS Digital World Lip Pencil Coffret

Following on from Monday's Face Facts post, I thought I'd share with you my thoughts on the NARS Digital World Lip Pencil Coffret.  I won this set through a giveaway on Tasha's blog Hello Freckles and I can't thank her enough - definitely go and check out her blog!  The NARS lip pencils have always been on my mind, but I've never committed to buying one myself.  Unfortunately, this gift set is no longer available but I thought I'd still share it with you because there is only one set exclusive shade meaning you can still get your hands on most of the colours if you like the look of one of my swatches!

NARS Digital World Lip Pencil Coffret

The set contains three Satin Lip Pencils which are Descanso, Torres Del Paine, and Yu and two Velvet Matte Lip Pencils which are Iberico and Cruella.  I'll admit I was pretty worried about the two lighter shades completely washing me out or giving me a concealer lip, but I actually really quite like them!  The bold shades are my favoutites, but I am surprised that I like the lighter shades too.

NARS Digital World Lip Pencil Coffret Swatches
Swatches Top to Bottom - Cruella, Iberico, Yu, Torres Del Paine, Descanso

The formulas for these are really nice, but I feel like I have to say I don't think they live up to the longevity I'd read about.  The Velvet Matte Lip Pencils last around three hours before they've faded a bit or have come off a bit patchy if you've been eating or drinking.  I found that the mattes do leave a stain behind, but the colours really need reapplying again if it hasn't faded evenly, so I always made sure to be carrying mine around with me.  The formula was also quite drying which is to be expected with a matte lip, so I shan't complain too much.  The matte formulas did last a little longer using a liner underneath.

The nuder Satin Lip Pencils lasted a couple of hours before fading, but Yu lasted a good three hours the same as Cruella and Iberico.  Yu even left a gorgeous stain behind!  These were really moisturising and comfortable on the lips - far better than any moisturising lip crayons I have that are from high street brands.

NARS Satin Lip Pencil Descanso Swatch

Descanso is a nude peach with pink undertones.  This was my favourite of the lighter shades, and the one that I wear the most day to day.  It's so easy wearing, and definitely fits into the 'my lips, but better' category.

NARS Satin Lip Pencil Torres Del Paine Swatch

Torres Del Paine is a light peachy coral shade, which I do like but haven't worn as often as the other lip pencils.  It looks pretty similar to Descanso on the lip, but it does pull slightly peachier.  I think this will be great to use in Spring/Summer to use when creating a really fresh make up look.

NARS Satin Lip Pencil Yu Swatch

Yu is seriously an in your face colour, but I really love it.  I don't own any lipsticks that are similar to this shade - it's a bright fuchsia with violet undertones.  I think it really brightens the face, whitens the teeth and looks insane with simple make up and a jet black cat eye.

NARS Velvet Matte Iberico Swatch

Iberico is unfortunately the exclusive to this gift set.  It's a bold orange with red undertones and is the shade I've worn the most.  I love how it can be worn day or night.  It applies opaque in one swipe and really is a great shade - I hope they bring it back permanently!

NARS Velvet Matte Cruella Swatch

Cruella is the only shade I'd heard of before receiving this set.  It is a deep red with blue undertones and was my lip of choice for New Years Eve!  The swatch on my lips looks a lot brighter in the photograph than it is in real life - it's the darkest red I own!  It definitely looks more like the swatch on my arm.

As far as shades go, I think I'm pretty covered.  The only one I might need to add to my collection is Palais Royal which is a gorgeous plum shade!  But that can wait until next Autumn I think!  Whilst I love the boldness of the Velvet Mattes, I think I'm leaning towards the Satin Lip Pencil formula, just because they feel amazing on the lips.  The Mattes were just a little too drying for me, and for a high end product I'd want to make sure that I got plenty of wear from it.

Which shade is your favourite?

Monday, 26 January 2015

Face Facts: Orange Pop

It's been quite a while since I've written one of these Face Facts posts!  I hate taking photographs of myself.  If you didn't know/couldn't tell, all of my blog photography is done on my phone.  I don't have a super fancy camera and I don't have fancy lighting so something I find quite hard is taking a quality photograph of myself.  All of this said, I really enjoy doing these types of posts and maybe in the future when I maybe have invested in some kit, I can look back on these and compare my old style to the new!

Onto the look...I'm fed up of being cold now, I'm just not a fan of Winter and can't stand being freezing all the time.  I decided I was going to hop into Spring a bit early this year - I've started to dismiss my darker lips in favour of bolder and brighter ones and the look I've been reaching for a bit quite lately is this one!

Rimmel Fix and Perfect Pro Primer in 002
Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation in Ivory
Maybelline Instant Anti-Age The Eraser Eye Concealer in Light
Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in Translucent
Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Delirium
Naked Palette - Buck
NARS Eye Paint in Black Valley
Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara in Black
Barry M Brow Kit
NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Iberico

Real Techniques Buffing Brush
Real Techniques Setting Brush
Eco Tools Complexion Blending Brush
Eco Tools Full Powder Brush
Naked 3 Palette Dual Ended Eyeshadow Brush

Topshop Nails in Concrete

I started by prepping my skin with the Rimmel Fix and Perfect Pro Primer in 002.  I won this on a giveaway before Christmas (it and some other goodies look a total state because a nail varnish smashed during transit!) and haven't really used it too often.  It's really nice actually; velvety rather than feeling like your skin is coated in silicone so I'll start making an effort to use this more.  For foundation, I have been using my Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation in the shade Ivory.  This is actually my second bottle and it's currently my every day foundation - really illuminating with a medium coverage.  I concealed my under my eyes with the ever hyped Maybelline Anti-Age concealer and I like it, but I'm not sure if I love it just yet.  I only got it the other week, and I'm pretty hard to please concealer wise.  I set that with the Rimmel Stay Matte Powder.

I contoured my cheeks with the Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Delirium and ohhhhmahgod...I love it so much.  I only got it last week, but I've used it every single day since I bought it.  It creates the most perfect shadow that looks really natural.  I then blended that up lightly to give a hint of colour to my cheeks but nothing to dramatic because I wanted quite a simple look.  I used the shade Buck from the Naked palette to quickly add some depth to my eyes by applying that into my crease, and lined with the NARS Eye Paint in Black Valley.  For mascara, I chose the Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara.  I hated this when I first got it because the formula was so wet and application was always so messy, but it's okay now - I don't think I'd buy it again though when it runs out.

For my brows, I once again used my Barry M Brow Kit.  I use this every day, but again I don't think I'd buy this again.  It's pretty warm toned and I just feel that there must be something better out there to try.  I have a review of this coming this week so keep an eye out for that!  And for the main part of the look, I used NARS Iberico on my lips.  This was a lip pencil that came in the Digital World Lip Pencil Coffret and is currently my most used shade!  It's a warm toned orange red which is really in your face - I love it and don't own anything like it already!

What's your current go-to make up?

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Warming Chunky Chilli Soup

I've really been getting into cooking lately.  I'm finding myself constantly flicking through my growing collection of recipe books, and forever collecting the free supermarket magazines offering recipes ideas.  I love cooking, and actually have started to enjoy making my lunches for the week of work ahead which used to be a real chore.  Every Sunday, I set aside an hour to prepare my week of lunches and for the last few months, I've been really enjoying experimenting with different soups and stews.

Healthy High Protein Lunch Ideas

Last week, I created this chunky, warming chilli soup.  It's not expensive to make, didn't take long to do at all and is also high in protein!  I think it's the perfect soup to enjoy when it's freezing outside - the first bowl I had was when it was snowing!  The recipe makes enough for four people, or four lunches.  If you fancy trying it yourself, you'll need:

  One tsp Chilli Infused Olive Oil
  One Red Onion, sliced
  Two Chillies, sliced
  One Garlic Clove
  300g chopped Turkey (I used breast because that's what we had in)
  Two Tins (800g) of Chopped Tomatoes
  One Tin of Mixed Beans
  Three small, baked Sweet Potatoes (roughly 350g)
  One tsp Ground Paprika
  One tsp Ground Cumin
  Half tsp Ground Cinnamon
  3/4 Pint of Chicken Stock
I started by preheating my oven to 180 and placing my sweet potatoes onto a tray.  If I was intending on eating the skin of these potatoes, I'd add a spritz of olive oil to crsip the skin, but seeing as I'll be peeling these later, I skipped the oil and just placed them in the oven.  I then heated my chilli oil in a big pan before adding my chopped onions, chopped chillis and mincing my garlic.  I chose to leave my chilli seeds in because I love the heat, but if heat isn't your thing then you should scrape them out before adding them.

Once the onions have softened, add your turkey to the pan and brown that off before putting in your chopped tomatoes and mixed beans.  Add your spices and a quick grind of pepper before topping up the soup with your stock and leaving to simmer until the turkey has cooked through.

Don't forget about your sweet jacket potatoes - take them from the oven after around thirty five minutes.  You should be able to make a small slice in the skin so you can peel the skin away easily.  Chop into chunks and add to your soup!  I left my soup simmering for a total of around forty five minutes before pouring into a storage box and putting in the fridge for my work lunches!

What's your favourite easy lunch meal?  Share your recipes below!

Friday, 23 January 2015

LUSH Snowman Shower Jelly

I've said it before, but I'll say it again - I don't go to LUSH too often.  Lately though my Instagram has been filled with photos of what I've got from LUSH, but everything was either a gift I was lucky enough to receive either for Christmas or for my birthday, which was on the 12th January!

One of the bits that you might have spotted in my Christmas LUSH haul was the Snowman Shower Jelly.  I've never tried a shower jelly from LUSH before so it was all pretty new territory for me.  I didn't even realise that inside the pot, the jelly was actually a snowman shape that stays self preserved on its own!  I've been using him most days since getting him, and there's still a smidge of him left that hasn't melted down.  I'm actually quite surprised at how long he has lasted!

LUSH Snowman Shower Jelly Review

The Snowman smells really nice as you'd expect from LUSH; it's a fruity blackcurrant smell with some warming citrus scents powering through.  It's quite an unusual festive scent and it's not at all overpowering, it's just the right balance of sweet and citrus.  My skin is always left with a slight hint of the scent, but it doesn't linger around for long and my skin is left nice and smooth thanks to the carrot, bergamot and buchu oils that the Snowman is made with.

LUSH Snowman Shower Jelly Review

Compared to other shower gels I use, the Snowman was pretty hard to get a decent lather out of.  I often full body washed with my usual shower gel and then finished off my skin with the light lather of the Snowman to give my skin an added boost of moisture, focussing on dryer areas such as my shins and elbows.  I spotted on the pot that the Snowman was meant to have "plenty of shimmer" but I didn't notice even a hint of sparkle, but maybe they were just referring to the glisten of the oils that might be left on your skin?

As nice as the Snowman was though, I don't think I'll be picking another one up if he returns this year at Christmas - he was just so damn slippery!  It turned what would have been a pretty quick shower into quite the ordeal in trying to keep hold of the shower jelly!  I did love the scent though and the condition it left my skin feeling - I'd pick up the Snowman again if he came in true shower gel form or even a bubble bar, but I'll admit it wouldn't be as much fun!  The Snowman is no longer available this year, but I'm sure he'll be back this Christmas!

Did you manage to try the Snowman this year?

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Body Shop Haulin'

Just throwing it out there...I love The Body Shop.  Who doesn't?!  I don't think I've bought anything from there that I haven't really, really liked, and whilst I'm not keen on their prices, I am keen on the fact that there is always an offer on.  And the offers are usually pretty damn good.  I got a £25 gift voucher for Christmas to spend there (from my dog, Ronnie...he's a good dog!) and I am pretty surprised that I managed to hold off spending it for so long!  I was a bit disappointed to see that I couldn't spend it online, but hey ho, a trip in store it is - which by the way, was brimming with all of the Christmas stock!  There's hardly anything Christmassy left online, but there was practically all of the Christmas bits in store from the limited edition products to the gift sets at bargain prices!  Definitely worth popping in store if you missed something!

Despite all the Christmas stock, I didn't buy any of the sale bits really.  It was a pretty focussed shop actually and I must have been in and out within five minutes!  Onto the haul and it's going to make for a fairly long post...

The Body Shop Haul

Okay first off, I picked up the full size Chocomania Shower Cream as mentioned in my December Body Care Empties post.  I really liked using the miniature that I got, and couldn't resist picking up another!  At £2, it's hardly bank breaking either!  I also picked up a full size version of the Vitamin E Moisture Cream which I've been really liking lately.  I haven't finished the miniature that I've got, but I couldn't let it run out and not have one as a back up - seriously nice to use.

I went on a bit of a Vitamin E spree as I also picked up the Vitamin E Hydrating Toner and the Vitamin E Overnight Serum in Oil.  I've not tried either of these bits, so I'm definitely looking forward to slipping these into my routine.  I've not ever really managed to religiously use a toner in my skincare routine, but quite fancy using this Vitamin E one in the evening alongside the Serum in Oil.  When it first came out, I heard lots of raving about the Serum in Oil but that died out pretty quickly so I'm hoping it's as nice as everyone once said it was.  Of course I'll report back on it!

I really have been loving using the Soothing Aloe Day Cream lately, so thought that I'd add a second toner to my routine - I've really gone for it with toners guys - and that's the Aloe Calming Toner.  There's something about the Aloe Day Cream that I think has really calmed my skin down - I rarely break out anymore, and my skin just seems so much better recently now I've started focussing on skincare.  I even think I'm breaking out of the full on oily skin type and breaching the combination skin type!  Hopefully this will keep the good skin comin'...

I picked up the Tea Tree Cool and Creamy Wash as I'm running a bit low on my face wash stash.  I'm really looking forward to finishing my current ones so I can wack this one out - I can just imagine this feeling so soothing and nice on my skin!  I'm currently using a gel cleanser, so this cream will be a nice change!  And finally, I picked up a Facial Massager!  Facial Massages are actually really important for the skin as they aid moisture absorption, can lead to firmer, younger looking skin, and my main reason for getting one, they can help with lymphatic drainage.  I often get quite sore lumps along my jaw line, which I assumed were just annoying under the skin spots, but reading about facial massage made me realise that it might just be trapped toxins from the lack of blood circulation around my face - so...massage, circulation boost, no more sore lumps?  Fingers crossed.  Plus, Caroline Hirons recommended it so for £6 it's no biggie.

Better yet, the offer on at the minute is spend £50 and get £25 off!  Which meant I got £50 worth of product for my £25 gift card!  Well I went £4 over my gift card, but oh well...Hurrah!  Good times all round!

Have you picked anything up from The Body Shop lately?

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Calm Your Tits

I never really go into full on debate mode, but this week I'm just so confused by this whole feminist movement thing that seems to be always in the media lately.  This week The Sun stopped printing the topless ladies that we've seen on page three for as long as I can remember.  I'll get straight to the point here - we can't be on a mission for #NoMorePage3 when we're on a mission already to #FreeTheNipple.  

I feel like a man here in the way that I literally don't have a single clue what women are wanting.  The thing is, I'm all for women working to stop men seeing women as objects, but at the same time, I'm all for women being equal and having the freedom to do what ever the hell they want.


If someone wants to get their boobies out on page three then good for them, and go for it!  I get that there is a time and a place for it, but page three never harmed me when I was younger so why have we got to get rid of it now?  If I had a little boy one day, I'd rather his lady part curiosity was half answered as he looked at the boobs on page three than go trailing the internet for a picture of boobs because god knows what will come up then.  I just don't see why women are stopping other women from doing something that they want to do?  We should be celebrating women, boobs and all - not making our bodies some sort of taboo.  Are we aiming to get Heat's Torso of the Week banned next because it's objectifying men?  Didn't think so.

I don't want anyone to think that I'm in favour of objectifying women, because I'm not.  I  despise the new found 'LAD' culture that has emerged in the last few years - but I just don't see why we seem to be working to repress women and whinging when we have our boobs out, or are showing a bit more cleavage than usual when the women fifty years ago were working so hard to be equals?  Leave the men to sort  the 'LAD's' being such dick heads and let us women just focus on getting equal pay in the work place and other important things other than whose tits are out where.

I don't even read The Sun and don't think I've ever bought a copy other than to get a £5 voucher to buy fruit and vegetables at Morrisons; it's hardly going to affect me in terms of not being able to look at page three anymore.  I just wish people wouldn't be so offended at every tiny thing.  Calm down - Hakuna your Tatas.

What do you think?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, 19 January 2015

December Empties: Body Care

It's the final installment for what has turned into a December Empties series!  I've never seen an empties series before, but these empties have gone on long enough now!  I've already started on this months collection!  Throughout 2015 I'm really going to aim to do a monthly empties (if I have any) and a monthly favourites - they're posts I always enjoy reading but never actually managed to do myself!  So onto the last empties: Body Care.

December Body Care Empties

The Body Shop's Chocomania Shower Cream was one I really didn't like the scent of in the bottle.  It is seriously sweet.  I love chocolate, but this is like the most chocolatey fudge cake topped with chocolate brownies, dipped in chocolate sauce served hot and all melted.  It really does smell too much in the bottle.  But, lathered up the scent isn't so intense and it's just really nice.  It's still really sweet and chocolatey, but it is really nice and warming.  I do really quite like it as a bit of a shower treat in the evening!  I actually bought the full size of this as I spotted it in The Body Shop's sale for just £2.

I've spoken about the Boots Tea Tree and Witch Hazel Back Spray previously here, and Liam and I both really like this product.  If you suffer with body breakouts, this is definitely something that you should try.  This was our second or third bottle, and I will be repurchasing.  I haven't yet though as I'm waiting for it to come onto a three for two offer like it usually does, although it is currently £1 off at the moment at Boots.

The Champneys Overnight Hand Therapy Cream was a real favourite of mine.  I used it most nights before going to bed and found that the scent of it was really relaxing and helped me get a good nights sleep.  I would buy it again, but don't think I'll be buying it anytime soon as I have a ridiculous amount of hand cream stock piled.  But as soon as I've ran out of all of my stock, I'll be adding this back into my collection.

I don't know anybody who doesn't like Soap & Glory.  I love everything that they do and The Righteous Butter is no exception.  This isn't the first tub of this that I've gone through and it might not even be the second or third, and I'm almost positive that I have another one ready to go.  It's super rich, super nourishing and I like to use this straight out of the shower.  It's not too greasy and it doesn't sit on my skin like some body butters do so I feel like I can get straight into bed with it on without feeling sticky.

I imagine I'll be seeing you all again soon with some empties as I'm on a mission to use up some more of the products I've got!  If you didn't see them, you can see my Hair Care Empties, Skin Care Empties and Make Up Empties through the links!

What are your current body favourites?

Sunday, 18 January 2015

The Sick Day Skin Care Routine

This week hasn't been a great one as I've been plagued with the dreaded flu that has been making the rounds.  I've spent two days in bed watching the world go by from my window whilst watching a ridiculous amount of Friends.  Ten hours yesterday to be exact.  That's actually a little sickening writing that out.  But y'know.  Ill times and all that.

You might be thinking that fitting in a skincare regime when you feel so crap is a bit OTT, but I found that looking after my skin really helped in making me feel better in myself.  Don't get me wrong, I have spent the last three days completely make up free, and wearing very minimal make up on the days I made it into work, but my skin is feeling pretty peachy.

The Sick Day Morning Skin Care Routine

After cleansing, I started my day of lazing by applying my favourite eye cream which is the Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream.  I've raved about it here before, but it checks all of my boxes; smoothing, hydrating and brightening - brightening being the key here when we're severely lacking in energy.  I've been using The Body Shop's Soothing Aloe Day Cream for quite a while now, so kept it in my routine.  It's thicker than your usual day cream, but once applied feels really light and super hydrating.  I topped off my skin with Bioderma's Atoderm Cream but only applied it to the really dry patches on my skin which was mainly around my nose.  It really helped take care of the skin which had gotten sore from too much nose blowing!  I topped off my morning skin care with a swift application of LUSH's Lip Service Lip Balm to my super dry lips, ensuring that I did this straight after washing my hands seeing as it's a finger dip lip balm, and I don't fancy swiping my flu germs back into the pot.

The Sick Day Evening Skin Care Routine

The evening routine was also a pretty quick one.  I started the evening how I do every evening by using the Yes To Blueberries Eye Cream.  I like using this one in the evening as it's a bit richer than the Balance Me one and really helps to hydrate the areas around the eyes.  I follow that with the Vitamin E Moisture Cream from The Body Shop.  I haven't had this miniature too long, but I've already repurchased the full size!  It's really hydrating, but so light I could use it morning or evening and it smells really nice!

Following the Vitamin E Moisture Cream, I've been alternating between these two; the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask and the ESPA Optimal Skin Pro Serum.  The Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask smells incredible and will probably always be a staple in my skincare stash.  I absolutely love using it, and my dehydrated skin is always thankful by the morning.  The ESPA Pro Serum is one that I don't see getting spoken about too much, but is a product that is a real skin treat.  I'm going to link you straight to the ESPA website to read up on the benefits of the serum as there are so many skin loving oils in there that my post would be ridiculously long if I tried to list them all, but it brightens the skin, enhances radiance, moisturises, soothes and protects just to name a few.  It really is an amazing product and one that I'll definitely be repurchasing despite its £48 price tag...  Finally, I slapped on some more of the Bioderma cream where needed - I'd definitely recommend picking one of these up, it's been amazing at sorting out my extreme dry skin areas.

So there we have it.  I'm feeling so much better today and have even ventured out of the house!  I'm back to work tomorrow, and hopefully having carried out these routines I won't look too grey and lack lustre...hopefully much better than I did on Thursday anyway!

Do you have a sick day skin routine?

Friday, 16 January 2015

December Empties: Make Up

I'm still going strong with my almighty pile of empties.  I have definitely learnt that I do not need to fill the box I set aside for empties...  Today I'm back with the make up empties, and there really isn't that much variety going on as it's either a mascara or a lip balm.

I'll start with the mascaras.  This isn't my first tube of The Body Shop's Super Volume Mascara.  I've never actually bought one for myself but always end up with one as a present at some point or another.  I don't think it's a "super volume" mascara to start with, but it does give some real length to my lashes.  I loved wearing this on a daily basis, and I probably would buy it again just as a daily no fuss mascara.  The Body Shop always have offers on, so it's unlikely you would ever pay full price for it.

The Covergirl Clump Crusher mascara is one I'm actually gutted about, obviously because I can't get hold of it again now.  It's been finished for absolutely forever as I got it in my USA Beauty Box swap with Hannah last year, but it just sat at the back of my make up drawer!  The mascara was amazing at lengthening, separating and giving volumised lashes.  It was super easy to build up, and I would one hundred percent buy another one if I could.  BUT, I noticed that the Clump Crusher was in exactly the same packaging as my next empty from Maxfactor, which lead me to find out Covergirl and Maxfactor are owned by the same company (P&G) and we have a Clump Crusher version in the form of Maxfactors Clump Defy mascara.  I found a blog post on Unfade What Fades comparing the two wands and they're identical - I will definitely be picking up the Maxfactor Clump Defy as my replacement as I think that this might be my favourite mascara ever?

The Maxfactor False Lash Effect Waterproof Mascara is actually another repurchase.  I still stand by what I said in my first ever review in that it is totally crap at actually being waterproof in terms of wearing it lounging by the pool on holiday, but I do like the mascara for day to day use.  I think I favour a plastic wand as they comb through the lashes so much nicer in my opinion and give some real length, and this mascara is no exception to that.  I'd would probably buy it again, but Clump Defy does come in a water resistant version so I will probably buy that instead.  I do love a Maxfactor mascara though...

The final things are both lip balms, both by Burts Bees.  I've had so many lip balms from Burts Bees.  This is the first Mango flavour I've had, and maybe my third of the original Beeswax lip balm?  I didn't really like the Mango one - I really thought I would, but it's just too sickly for me and I could taste the sickliness when I breathed in through my mouth.  The Mango lip balm is sold as a nourishing lip balm, but I didn't notice anything spectacular in terms of nourishment.  I had to apply this quite frequently.  The Burts Bees Beeswax Lip Balm is peppermint flavoured and is a favourite of mine - I really like breathing in the freshness, and the mint kind of makes your lips feel cool.  I find this one to be much more hydrating and nourishing than the Mango.  I already have a fourth Peppermint one ready to go, but I'm actually just finishing up a couple of other lip balms before I open that one.

Have you tried any of these empties?

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Deborah Milano 24 Ore Velvet Eyeshadow

The Deborah Milano 24 Ore Velvet Eyeshadows...where to begin with these two.  I was asked forever and a month a go now if I'd like to try these out, and having never tried anything from Deborah Milano, I was so excited to try them!  Described as fade resistant, velvety soft and a high coverage with an easy to blend formula, I was sold!  They can be applied wet or dry, and my mind instantly wandered to a potential dupe for the NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadows which granted I've not tried yet, but was really hoping to find something with a similar intensity that I've seen on other blogs.

I opted for the shades 07 Dark Chocolate* and 08 Taupe* as these were both shades that I thought I could get plenty of wear from resulting in a fair and honest review.  Well...I've had more than enough time to reach for these and the verdict isn't a great one.

Deborah Milano 24 Ore Velvet Eyeshadow Swatch Review

My first twinges of disappointment came in when I was taking the product photographs and attempting to get some swatches.  I found that the shades really were lacking in any intensity and required a lot of building to get a good colour. Dark Chocolate (top swatch) is a warm brown which a slight satin finish and the Taupe shade (bottom swatch) I think leans slightly more bronzed, and has a fine shimmer to it which I really liked.  I wore the Taupe shade the most, and wore it almost daily for work to get a fair test.  Application was easiest using my ring finger to quickly wash the colour across my lids which I then blended out with a fluffy brush.  The colour has to be built up though - as I said, the pigmentation in these shadows aren't the best.  I usually opted for two to three layers to get a decent colour pay off on my lids, which was the same with the swatches on my wrist.

Deborah Milano 24 Ore Velvet Eyeshadow Swatch Review

I also tried these shadows wet (first swatch Dark Chocolate wet, second dry.  Third swatch Taupe wet, fourth dry) and where usually you can expect a higher pigmentation, applying these wet just watered the pigment down, and made application of any colour near impossible - you can see in the pan how much surface area I had to really go for to get this swatch.

Deborah Milano 24 Ore Velvet Eyeshadow Swatch Review

The wear time was pretty disappointing was just two hours before my eyeshadow was creased.  Not even slightly creased, really creased and quite patchy.  The wear time was slightly better using a primer like the Urban Decay Primer Potion, but only an extra hour or so.  It was easy to blend the creases out with my finger again, but the pigmentation just wouldn't stick around.  If you don't use a primer, spraying your eyeshadow brush with the Urban Decay Setting Spray also helped a tiny bit with the longevity of these eyeshadows.

The packaging for these is very basic, but it does the job just fine.  A light plastic casing, with a transparent flip and click lid houses the product.  You can see clearly which shades are which, and it comes with a sponge applicator which, in all honesty, I knew I wouldn't be using.  These shadows come in at £5.50 each, and I do think there are nicer packaging options on the high street at a similar or cheaper price.

I feel a bit bad writing so much negativity (who knew I'd have so much to say about two eyeshadows) but I just feel a bit let down by them.  I'd never tried anything from Deborah Milano before, and these weren't a great start for me.  The shades really do look lovely and the texture was velvety as promised, but the colours just don't translate effortlessly onto the skin for me!  Honestly, the most effective use I got out of these eyeshadows was actually on Halloween - I used the Dark Chocolate shade heavily as a contour across my cheekbones, around my eyes on on my temples...if you didn't see that on my Instagram, you can see that in full effect here!

Have you tried anything from Deborah Milano?  Any application tips that might make these work for me?
*The Deborah Milano 24 Ore Velvet Eyeshadows were sent to me for consideration.

Friday, 9 January 2015

The High Street 90's Lip: Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry

I'm pretty positive that 90% of the lip crayons that I own are by Revlon.  I love Revlon, and the shades that they have seriously have got me covered - I lean more towards lipsticks at the moment, but I still can't resist a good lip crayon.  I loved the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains, but despite the new Matte and Gloss range which were released over a year ago (can you believe that?!), I have only just branched out by getting my hands on one of their Matte Balms in the shade Sultry.

Kylie Jenner Nude: Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry

I was a bit worried that these might not be as good as their original release; the Balm Stains were forever hyped and these new releases kind of got spoken about and nothing more was said - no fuss, no nothing.  But I really, really like the shade I have.  Sultry is a dusky rose shade - it's got the brown under tones with a gorgeous rose tinge.

Revlon Matte Balm Sultry Swatch Review

Even though it is a matte lip, it's definitely easy wearing.  It glides on smoothly, colour pay off it amazing - the shade is definitely there in one swipe, and I don't find it to be drying at all because the Revlon Matte Balms have been made with shea, mango and coconut butter which kind of make these feel very lip balm-esque.  But don't be fooled into thinking that these have a tropical scent - the light peppermint scent that the original Balm Stains have is still there but it does fade quickly.

Kylie Jenner Lip: Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry

I've been wearing this a lot recently because it's just the perfect subtle lip - not subtle so that it's a nude, or a your lips but better shade, but the kind of subtle that's just nice.  Everyone bangs on about the Kylie Jenner nude lip, and I think that this is definitely right up that street - it's got the whole 90's grunge vibe going around it and I absolutely love it for day and night wearing.

What's your current go-to lip?

Friday, 2 January 2015

December Empties: Skin Care

Continuing on from the last Empties Post, I'm back with some more empties, but this time it's skin care!  I've really been enjoying my skin care routine lately and have really enjoyed finding some lovely products that really work well with my skin.  Some bits I've been using haven't been great, but oh well...

December Skin Care Empties

My first empty is this pack of Yes To Cucumbers Face Wipes.  I don't remember the last time I bought a pack of face wipes, and I actually won this pack - I used to use face wipes daily, but y'know...Caroline Hirons and all that.  Basically my skin care has come on in leaps and bounds.  These weren't bad face wipes, but I don't think I'll be buying them again in the hope that I actually stop being lazy and use water and an actual cleanser.

Next up is The Body Shop Camomile Waterproof Eye Make Up Remover.  I love this.  So much so, I've already bought and am onto my second bottle.  I don't use this daily, but it really is great for travelling and using on the days where your mascara needs a little extra help.  It needs a shake as it's got an oily layer, but it's amazing at removing your make up  - I love the entire Camomile range, and would definitely recommend you try it!

This Nuxe Nuxellence Jeunesse Youth and Radiance Revealing Fluid was a real favourite of mine.  Unfortunately for me, this was only a sample size, but I got so many uses out of it.  It's a really light weight moisturiser that applies beautifully to skin.  It feels really velvety and not at all heavy.  I would love to own this again, but at £47 for the full size, it's not something I'll be purchasing any time soon.  But if this is in your price range, I'd highly recommend trying it out!  There is 20.15% off it at the moment at Escentual!

The Garnier Pure Shine Control Moisturiser was one I really liked at first.  It was great before it started to get really cold - it's a  light blue formula with a jelly like texture, and smoothes on really nicely.  I didn't notice anything spectacular with the oil control aspect, but I did notice how tacky it made my skin feel.  I don't think I'll be picking this up again.  I also wasn't too keen on the Neutrogena Visibly Clear Spot Stress Control Cleansing Lotion.  First up, it's not your typical lotion - it's not creamy, it's a full on fluid.  I didn't use this regularly, just in times of need when I thought that something must be able to help me battle my skin - I didn't notice any real action from this lotion, but I guess I was using it irregularly.  I just found it to be quite drying, and stripping so my skin wouldn't have liked daily use.

Finally, my favourite from the lot - the Origins Make A Difference Plus Rejuvenating Moisturiser.  I can't even begin to explain how much I loved using this, and how gutted I was when it ran out.  Firstly, it smells amazing - really uplifting, slightly fruity, but mostly refreshing.  It was really light weight, but also really hydrating at the same time.  A little does go a long way, so despite the £34.50 price tag, I really would like to pick another one of these up.  The pot I had is best suited for combination/dry skin, which was nice on my skin, but I would like to try the Make A Difference Plus Rejuvenating Treatment for combination/oily skin to see how it compares.

What skin care bits have you been loving lately?