Monday, 28 April 2014

April Beauty Haul: Barry M, Soap and Glory, Sleek, Nars and more...

Viper Venom Eye Fix - Nip + Fab

£9.99 (on offer, usually £14.99)

This item featured in last month’s Lust List, and I decided to go for it over the other contender (Indeed Lab’s Eyesilix).

I have a lot of love for Nip + Fab, I think their products are genuinely effective and at a great price point, and they always seem to have the latest innovations. More and more of their skincare products keep creeping onto my bathroom shelf, so I almost wonder why I’ve never tried an eye product from them yet. I have horrible puffy eyes and dark circles, so I’m hoping this will help!


Sunday, 27 April 2014

OOTD: A Week in Working Outfits

A cheeky bit of work-based fashion for you today! I find dressing for work can be a real challenge if you operate in a traditional environment. 

It's hard to find outfits that are cute, reflect your personality and look professional enough to pass. 

So I'm always really interested in workwear fashion features of Outfit of the Day posts. To be fair, I make much more effort at work than on weekends, where I really become kind of basic!

Being dressed nicely at work makes me feel professional and like I can get on with the job at hand. 


Saturday, 26 April 2014

Blog Beginner Tips: Photography - Sony QX10 Review, Editing and More

A little bit of a break from the usual today, I’m going to be doing a post about the act of blogging itself, rather than products. This could be the start of a little series if people are interested, because when you’re just starting out there are so many questions you have about building a blog, marketing it, writing and scheduling etc. I’m by no means an expert, but I’ve found some great tips out there to share about all of the above.

Today’s post is going to deal with photography. Mainly because this is the part of blogging I like the least! I began blogging because I love to write. But because this is a beauty blog, pictures are crucial. Although I’m not into photography, and I don’t know a lot about it, of course I appreciate the role that beautiful images have to play, and I’ve been aware for a long time that my pictures are a big thing holding my blog back.


Thursday, 24 April 2014

TAG: Very Inspiring Blogger Awards

Yay! I LOVE being included in tags, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

 And the great thing is that I’ve been tagged for the Very Inspiring Blogger post by no less than two of my favourite bloggers, Amanda from Amanda In A Teacup (pay her a visit if you love cool illustration, she’s very talented) and Kerry from KerryJustBeauty (who owns a crazy amount of lipsticks and blogs about them all beautifully).

Rules are simple:

1. Share the blog link love for your nominees

2. Nominate some of the blogs that inspire you, link them in your post and let them know

3. Write 7 facts about yourself

4. Display the nomination badge on your blog and within your post

So, thank you ladies, 7 original facts is hard but here goes…

1. I am a mad cat lady. I’ve tried to fight it, but I can’t. I just love kitties. I will always be that person fussing over a random cat in the street, and I look forward to becoming an eccentric elder lady with a house full of moggies.

2. I used to drink six cans of Diet Coke a day at university. This cannot have been good for me in any way, shape or form. I would literally wake up and grab one. I think I was hooked on the caffeine. I would also always eat quartered oranges, only because one of the guys in my halls of residence got scurvy (actually SCURVY. Like a pirate!) because he never ate anything fresh.

3. I did ballet for 8 years when I was younger, and I sort of wish I’d pursued it more. But you get to a point where you have to choose whether to make it more than a hobby, and I didn’t. I never had the body shape for it anyway – too muscular and heavy. My mum was a professional dancer trained at the Royal School of Ballet and I think that seemed like the ideal for me when I was younger.

4. I’m a big believer in lists. I love a good list. If you have a list, you feel in control. But you can go overboard and get to the point where you have lists of lists….not that I would know from personal experience *cough*

5. I’m a person of contradictions in every way. And one of them is that I’m extremely social but I also go crazy without time on my own.  If I haven’t spend the odd afternoon by myself I feel really claustrophobic. Space to just think, daydream, process my thoughts.

6. I love learning, reading and studying…if that makes me a geek, then so be it! I would love to do a PhD one day in international relations. I’m just waiting for retirement to do it!

7. I’ve been trying to move house for over a year now….and I still can’t find anywhere to go. In fact, I sold my own house in July last year. So far, my buyer has been patient but it won’t last forever. I’m really panicking now. There’s just not much coming onto to the market that I can actually afford in the area I live. I’ve been close a couple of times, but always outbid. I keep praying my luck will change soon…

And the ladies I nominate are...

Rachael at the Painted Veil
Eilidh at Maisy Meow
Kelly at Adventures of a Riot Grrl
Ella at Every Little Thing

Go girls!!! xx

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Making 'Happy Ever After' Real

Hi dolls

A bit of a different post today. More of a lifestyle one! I'll be talking about relationships- specifically long term ones and how to make them last. 

A little disclaimer first. I certainly don't consider myself any kind of relationship expert. I make mistakes all the time and things are not always perfect. But one of the things I am proud of is mine and my husband's track record. 

We've actually been together for 10 years, and we'll have our third wedding anniversary this year. We met when I was 18 and although I didn't make very many good decisions at that age, finding Sebastian and sticking with him was one of the best.

It certainly hasn't been all plain sailing. The thing about 'Happy Ever After ' is that the story ends there and no-one ever talks about the 'after' part, and what that means. But it's always been worth whatever trouble it's cost. 

We haven't always got it right, but over the past 10 years I'd hope that I've managed to learn a few things...

Being with someone for such a long time can be hard work at times but if you find the right person,it's also the greatest blessing. The following is all common sense but I think it's the 'secret' -if it can be called that- to our being together all this time and still enjoying ourselves!

Be a team

You’ve got to know that you have each others backs, whatever the circumstances. There’s nothing better than feeling that you have an ally and a best friend who will always be there for you. And that’s what marriage should really be, in my opinion.

That feeling of you two versus the world. Nuture that however you can – from silly in-jokes to mad little adventures together. A shared history is really a unique and special thing. One of the good things about meeting fairly young is that we’ve been through phases together - we can look back and laugh at that song we really rated that seems awful now, or the strange fashions we were into – him with his long hair and baggy skater jeans, me with my pink ends and ripped fishnets!

That sense of a shared journey is such a comfort. We’ve seen other people come and go from each other’s lives – uni friends, housemates, little sister’s boyfriends- and we’ve been through it all together.

Even the hard times, awful as they are, we’ve been together and seen each other’s low moments, which is even more important than just sharing the good times. I look at us now and I’m amazed.

Because your late teens and early twenties are really where you do a lot of changing, we’ve grown up together. At our wedding I included as one of the readings a William Blake poem that I love because it mentions a tree with its roots all intertwined – and that’s really how I feel about us together.

Be kind to each other 

I know, I know. Its obvious. But its precisely because its so obvious that it gets neglected. You’d think being kind to your partner would be second nature, but in any long term relationship you can begin to take this for granted. And because you know each other so well and you feel safe, you tend to take all your nameless frustrations out on the other person.

I know that when Seb and I were both having a terrible time at work a year and a half ago, the atmosphere at home was also awful. He was working hard to advance his career and getting nowhere, I was getting bullied by my boss. We both felt bad at work and because we couldn’t vent there and we had to both be professional, we totally did the wrong thing and brought it home. It was fairly toxic because instead of home being a haven from those stresses, it was tense and horrible there too.

We forgot that you need to be kind to those you love. We forgot the other was also having a hard time and that it wasn’t okay to take it out at home, or even turn stress into some kind of competition. So now I try to remember to be kind.

Its always the little things. Making them a cup of tea in the morning, defrosting their car windscreen if you’re up first, buying them silly little ‘just because I thought of you’ things. But those are the things that make the most impact, and make your partner feel valued in a constant, low-level way.

Have time apart

This might seem like a contradiction to the whole ‘be a team’ thing, but every team needs time out. By doing some things separately, we enjoy our time together so much more. If I go away for a girls weekend, or on a night out with work colleagues, its actually nice to miss Seb. Just that little twinge that lets you know you’re looking forward to seeing them.

As an only child, I grew up with time on my own as a regular thing, and as a result I positively love time alone. I like reading my gossip magazines, doing a facepack, blogging and catching up on trash tv that he doesn’t like. And this headspace away from the other person ensures that things don’t get too suffocating. We have plenty of little rituals and hobbies that bring us together – but we also sometimes need ones that push us apart a bit, or things can get claustrophobic.
It only leads to trouble to expect one person to fulfil all of your wants and needs – life doesn’t work like that. With a variety of friends and those relationships – the one you go shopping with, the friend from the gym, the one you call when you need to unload- you don’t need to expect your partner to fulfil every single one of those roles. Seb is my best friend. But I don’t expect him to take the place of every other friend I have, and I think we’re better for it.

Know the grass isn't greener 

This can be a hard one to learn, especially when you get together young. I’m going to take a deep breath and say something that sounds a little shocking, because everyone sweeps it under the carpet – but, even if you love that person, you will find other people attractive. Someone will come along someday who will appeal to you.
Denying that and trying to insist that you’ll only ever have eyes for one person is the route to trouble. If you settle down with someone young, like I did, it’s madness to pretend that the thought of ‘What If?’ or ‘Am I missing out?’ won’t occasionally cross your mind. Pretending it doesn’t or even shouldn’t is just harmful. In real life, it does.

But the gift is all in how you handle it. Especially if you’re going through a rough patch, and then you tend to project a rose-tinted view of what ‘could be’ with someone that’s turned your head. What you need to accept in your heart is that the grass is not greener. Every single person on this earth has flaws – that person will too. Fantasies work precisely because the other person’s bad habits never come into it. Why would they? The reality of a person is always very different from the idealised daydream of them that never answers back and doesn't leave dirty socks on the floor.
If you find someone you ‘fit’ with, don’t jeopardise it for a half-baked daydream. Accept that your relationship is a product of reality, with its bad parts, but as long as the good outweighs the bad, there will never be a ‘better’ option.

Accept the rough with the smooth 

Know that there will be bad times. Know that there will be times you don’t fancy your partner. Know that there will be times where the very sound of their breathing annoys you!
But also know that these times always pass (at least they do if the relationship is still a good one). 

You go through so many cycles when you’re with someone long term, and you just can’t mistake a bad moment for a terminal decline. People like to sell you the ‘happy ever after’ line where the norm is that everything is sunshine and flowers and lovehearts the whole time - but that is not reality, and even if it was, how boring would that be? Real relationships take a bit of hard work, a bit of grit and determination. But is the payoff is more than worth it. 
There will come that sunny day where you’re laughing together, when you look over at the other person and your heart just bursts with love. Or the time you glance over at them in the gym and –man- they look so hot in that top. I tend to think that people expect to give up easily these days. It’s important to acknowledge that the ideal slushy romantic films sell us is not real or even necessarily desirable.
In our current culture, everything is so cheap and disposable. Novelty is valued over everything else. And I’m just as guilty of that in some areas- but my relationship is one thing where perseverance pays. Value yourself and the investment you’ve made in the other person - and don’t give up on it without very good reason.

Want the same things

Another one that sounds obvious. But I think you’d be surprised how many people get in deep without having the most fundamental of conversations. Because these conversations can be intimidating or uncomfortable. They can even be embarrassing. But you need to know exactly where the other is headed. Is marriage important to you? Do you want to have children someday? Does your career always come first? The big, basic building blocks and the topline values you two have need to match up. 

I knew early on with Seb that he’s a family man, that he’s close to his sisters and mum, he wants children, he’s traditional with regard to marriage but very equal in the home, and that he’s ambitious. That one day, he’d like to move to the country and have chickens. Luckily, this turns out to be what I want to. But if you don’t aim for the same things, there’s no chance you’ll get there together. 

I must admit I haven’t always been so sure. When we met, I didn’t have a clue what my life would be, and what my real aspirations were. Through constant communication, we’ve grown together, reaching for the same things and learning to value stuff together. And that’s why we feel so connected.
I’m not really sure who this post is aimed at but its been nice to step back from the shallow stuff, if only for one post!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

April Fashion Haul: Missguided, New Look ,Ralph Lauren, River Island

As sure as somewhere out there, Kim Kardashian is photoshopping a selfie and Britney Spears is on her third caramel frappuchino of the day, I’ve been shopping. My April clothes picks have more of a casual vibe and there’s definitely a lot of bright colour in there. Here are the pieces I’ve picked up lately.

Khaki leather waterfall jacket – New Look

This is my nod to the (slightly) warmer weather and lighter nights. I first glimpsed this jacket in a magazine editorial, and I just assumed it would be really expensive. 

Something about the taupe colour and the fluid waterfall drape. Imagine my joy when I clocked that it was from New Look!

New Look isn't really on my radar normally, it's not somewhere I ever shop, but maybe it should be. I'm so pleased with this jacket. I picked up an 8 because I like little jackets like this to be quite fitted, but this is fairly small - it fits nicely around the waist but it struggles on the bust - and I'm not even particularly large-chested!

But the drap collar means that I'd always wear it partially unzipped anyway, so its not really an issue. This jacket is defintiely my most reached-for cover-up at the moment, the colour feels so right with so many outfits and I think I'll be getting a lot of wear out of it.

Black snake and Perspex strappy heels – New Look

Of course, while I was in New Look I had to check out the shoe section, because I hear they have a great rep for their shoes. And I wasn’t disappointed! 

These ankle-strapped beauties called out to me, because they're just so darn unusual. At first, I couldn't decide if I loved or hated them - I found them puzzling, but I think that can be a good thing when it comes to fashion.

The material is like a wet-look, faux snakeskin that sort of glitters, then they have that crazy holographic elasticated ankle strap and a broad, clear plastic section. 

In the end, I decided I wasn't going to see anything like them again! What really sold me though, was that although these are stappy and sexy, the heel isn't too high, which means they'll probably get a lot of wear. And as they were in the sale for just £10, the deal was sealed!

Yellow neon snake chain necklace – eBay

Like a magpie, I’m drawn to neon accents. I love them when worn with monochrome or neutral tones to add an unexpected flash of colour, so when I saw this gorgeous, chunky chain, it was love! 
You can also wrap it around your wrist to create a bracelet, so the two-ways-to-wear element appealed as well. I can see this being an easy way to give a lift to a few plainer outfits.

Coral high-tops – Ralph Lauren

These were featured in my ‘Ooh, Spring Shoes’ post and I had to treat myself to them. I’m a flat shoes girl at heart, and the bright colour and iconic embroidered polo man really appealed to me. 

I love that fashion is having a sneakers moment, even though its taken me a while to get on board. Now there’s no stopping me. 

The main reason I wanted these is for any festivals I might attend this summer – they’d be perfect for dancing around in. The only trainers I currently own are either black wedgie ones or proper running shoes, so I thought it was about time to get some casual kicks.

White leather t-shirt –

Classics, re-imagined. Aren’t they the best?  It’s cool when brands put a fresh spin on an old favourite. 

This has sold out repeatedly, so I stalked this t-shirt online until it came in my size!

I love anything leather, but doing it in the format of an unassuming white tee seems very fresh. This fits really nicely and is a great basic with a twist that will be useful for pairing with dresses, skirts, silk trousers – really anything a plain white tee would go with. The opportunities to style this up seem limitless.

Evada triple section messenger bag – PopKors

I’ve been umming and ahhing over this bag for a while! It made an appearance on my Lust List two months ago, and in truth I’ve been watching it for longer than that. I haven’t bought a day bag in quite a while. 

Since saving up for my Alexa I’ve mainly used that – both for economies of wear and also because she’s so beautifully made that I couldn’t quite bring myself to go back to using cheap high-street bags. She’s spoiled me! So I was in two minds about this, but it won me over.

PopKors are an online Korean bag boutique. I’ve ordered from them before and was impressed with the quality of what I got. They do a sort of ‘premium’ range that’s made with nice leather etc, and that is part of this, so I thought it would be nice.

I just love the minimalist feel of this -  it’s basically three leather pouches that snap together or apart. It comes with a long, cross body satchel strap, but you can detach it and use one, two or all of the sections as a clutch bag, and I even thought you could also attach a chain strap to jazz it up for evening as well.  

The neatness and simplicity of the design just really spoke to me. It comes in black, tan, khaki, deep red or a navy blue, which was the one I opted for, just to steer away from the usual and also because I thought navy would be a good trans-seasonal colour.

Skinny camel trousers  - QED London

I’ve felt like a pair of slimline tan trousers were really missing from my wardrobe for work at the moment, and I seem to be wearing a lot of skirts and never any trousers to the office, so I wanted these to fill a wardrobe gap.   

Zara are normally my go-to store for anything like this, but the last few times I’ve been in they haven’t had anything of the sort, so I had to cast the net further afield.  This pair are a nice stretchy jersey which is a really great fit and I think they’ll be ideal for the office paired with a crisp shirt and a navy-blue blazer.

Tan and glitter wedge trainers – River Island

I finally gave in a few months ago and jumped on the wedge trainer bandwagon, and now I’m a total convert. They’re super comfortable and still make your legs look good- what’s not to love!?

I’ve worn my black pair loads, so I decided to treat myself to a lighter pair for spring/summer. These are a taupe suede with muted gold glitter panels, meaning they’d even look good on a night out. I know I’ve gone a bit shoe-crazy this month, so I might have to have a clear out to make room for all the new styles.

I'll be posting my beauty haul and a sneaky little trip to Primark separately!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

April Birchbox: The Balm, Laura Mercier, Color Club, RMK and more...

Another month, another Birchbox! This will actually be my last one for a while, I've decided to cancel my subscription. I've had a couple of nice things but overall it's been less killer, more filler so I've decided to take a break and try out Glossybox for a couple of months instead.

It's tough cancelling these things, because you get major FOMO and I just know May's box is bound to be amazing now I've backed out. But I decided on a 'three strikes and your out' policy and I'm sticking to it. 

I chose Birchbox because the items are more high-end,but I've seen some stuff in the Glossyboxes that looked amazing, so we'll have to see!

This month's Birchbox was one of the better offerings but not enough to convince me not to cancel...
Here's what was inside this month..

The Balm Cosmetics 'How 'Bout Them Apples?' Cheek and Lip Cream

This was my absolute favourite item from a samples box, like, ever!! *cue girly squeal*
Look how cute! It's a sweet little retro compact that's ideal for taking with you on the go.
Inside, there's a sample of one of the cream colour shades- this time 'Pie' which is a gorgeous neon coral. I love this shade, it's exactly the sort of thing I'd go for, so this will be put to good use. Multi use products are handy to carry around.
It swatches as a dense but wearable colour that's oh-so-pretty for bringing a flush of colour.
This shade is really delicious and spring-like. I love this product- I've never tried The Balm before and I'm actually excited!

Color Club Gala's Gems Nail Polish in 'Breakfast At...'

This forms part of a range of four polishes that Birchbox have exclusively produced with Spanish blogger and DJ Gala Gonzalez.
Gala has one of those impossibly glamorous lives where she just seems to jet set around picturesque locations and get invited to high- end product launches (swap lives, please?!). But most of her style choices are a little bohemian for me. I'm allergic to anything that looks like it could possibly smell of joss sticks!
However, its interesting that she's now collaborating on make-up. This shade isn't one I'd pick up off the shelf- it's a pastel green but it's shot through with a hint of fine gold shimmer. For some reason the shimmer makes it feel dated to me, like a block colour would have been more modern. 
When you put a couple of coats on, this is actually quite flattering on. The staying power seems good, but my polish doesn't tend to chip because I have acrylic overlays and they seem to hold colour much better than my natural nails.  
This colour has actually grown on me so I can see it being a nice choice for spring.

Yin Yang Natural Moisturiser

This actually turned out to be my favourite product in the box this month. Yin Yang isn't a brand I've used or heard anything about, and I don't think I was expecting much from this, so when I popped some on, I was really pleasantly surprised.
I found out the range uses botanical extracts and proteins to care for the skin. This moisturiser has coconut, sweet orange and wheat germ oils, plus witch hazel which claims to smooth fine lines. I know it has purifying properties, but I didn't know it was supposed to help with lines?
This cream was so light and easily absorbed, it smelt gorgeous and it had a mattifying effect on my skin, which means it would be great for summer. I really enjoyed using this product, but I do wish it had an SPF - I'm very unlikely to buy a moisturiser without some form of sunscreen in.
I checked out the website at and there are some lovely items - an Orange Flower Tonic that looks delicious and a Kaolin Clay Mask. I'd be more likely to buy one of those than use a moisturiser without an SPF, but having said that I did really enjoy using this because its so light, fresh and sweet scented. Am pleased that I got to discover this brand. This moisturiser would be good for holiday, where I'm likely to use a separate high protection sunscreen and don't want a heavy cream underneath.

RMK Make Up Base

A little confused about this one. I think its supposed to be a hybrid moisturiser/primer, but neither of those words are mentioned, which threw me off! Birchbox describe it as a 'lightweight lotion to  smoothe and hydrate the skin and make foundation last'.
RMK is a Japanese brand that I know is famed for its foundations, so I was very curious about this product. This product has an emulsion feel, like Polyfilla for all the fine lines, pores and general bad textures most of us have on their skin. It contains silk essence so it leaves your skin feeling really soft and smoothed out.
I was impressed by its ability to make my foundation stay, although I think it works better with liquid formulations, and I do usually use a mineral powder. However, at full price its £28.00 so I can think of better primers that could be had a lot cheaper! I think I wouldn't really consider this worth the splurge, especially as where I live, you can only get hold of it online, so with shipping charges its likely to be over the £30 mark.
A great one to try though, and when paired with my Chanel Vitalumiere this looked incredible!

Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Souffle Body Creme

Really excited by this, I love Laura Mercier, but I've never tried any of the bodycare stuff, so this was a great inclusion. The smell of this is amazing -  like crème brulee. Yum! I'm not very keen on coconut scents usually, but its not too overpowering here.

This was a nice, generous sample size as well, so it would be enough to take on holiday. The texture is really smooth and whipped and it sinks in nicely, although it left a slight sheeny residue on my skin, nothing horrible though, just a really rich sensation. The scent is strong enough not to need perfume afterwards, so this cream can really do double duty for you if you don't like wearing perfumes.

You will smell like baked goods, but in a really nice way! The full size comes in a large jar - but its plastic which seems disappointing for such a high-end product. Wouldn't it be much nice in a glass jar?

I did really enjoy this, but I'm pretty faithful to the body creams I like, so I don't think I'll be splashing out on the full size anytime soon, although it would make a lovely gift for any girl, really, just because it feels so luxurious.

So that's it with Birchbox for now, I might well be back at some point, but for the time being we'll see what Glossybox has to offer....


Friday, 18 April 2014

OOTN: Monochrome Sports Luxe

Another outfit of the night posting from me, and I'll also be doing a mini 'what's in my night out bag' to add to the fun!

I hit the town to celebrate a friends birthday last Friday night. Sunk a few glasses of fizz and some strange cocktails...and there may have been a few shots...then we got our dance on!

White leather tshirt- Missguided

Black nylon ruffled bandage skirt- InTrend

Nude cut out heels- Next

Ponyskin grey leopard chain strap bag- Laura Ashley 

Neon metal snake chain- eBay

White, black and gold multi-chain necklace- Topshop

I went for a monochrome look with a sort of sports-luxe vibe. It's a look I really like for its clean, fresh minimalism.

The standout piece has to be the white leather tshirt. As soon as I saw this on the Missguided site, I knew it had to be mine. It's just a really directional piece that's easy to dress up or down.

A tangle of chains jazz up the plain white- the multi-strand one is a purchase from the huge Topshop in the Trafford Centre in Manchester. I paired it with a bright neon yellow snake chain which I picked up on eBay.

For a monochrome look, I paired the skirt with this great skirt by InTrend- it's a thick nylon material, like tights, with ribbed ruffles to give it a bit of interest.

My nude shoes with the cut out panels are from Next- one of those situations where I saw a colleague wearing them, fell in love and ended up driving out to a retail park to pick up a pair of my very own that same lunchtime (not that I'm crazy or anything...right?). I thought they suited the sporty vibe of the outfit and were a bit of a lighter choice now the nights are brightening up.

My bag was part of my March fashion haul. It's from Laura Ashley, which isn't one of my usual haunts, but I was looking for something that would be a sort of Mulberry Lily lookalike without breaking the bank. I loved the Ponyskin finish and muted grey leopard tones. This is great because you can actually get quite a lot in there! And shall we have a peek at what that might be?

What's in my night out bag?

Hair Notes

To go with the futuristic vibe of the outfit, I kept my hair straight but I added a mini beehive using a Bump-It (I love them!) and some Batiste XXL Plumping Powder. Then I ran some Mythic Oil through the lengths and ends and misted with Tigi Catwalk Session Hold hairspray.

Beauty Notes 

Make-up wise, I had to balance out the monochrome with a pop of colour so I went for a bright pout. Using Bare Minerals for a flawless base, I contoured using the Sleek Face Form palette. A burst of highlight with the No7 Visible Radiance highlighting crayon.

I kept my eyeshadow look simple- Dainty Doll Eyeshadow Base in 'Frankie' to anchor it all in place, then CK Mono Eyeshadows in 'Moonstone' on the lids and browbone and 'Horizon' in the crease. The corners and lower lash line were done with Mac eyeshadow in 'Satin Taupe'.

I used the black and nude Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl to smoke out and shape the eyes, and a little bit of Bourjois Ombré Stretch shadow in black on the outer edges. I then added a bit of H&M Shimmer Dust in Champagne to the inner corners.

Sleek Brow Stylist took care of my arches, and lashes came courtesy of Mac In Extreme Dimension and some Eyelure Naturalites lashes.

My lips were conditioned with Vaseline Paint the Town Red and then coated with Sleek Matte Me lip paint.

It was a really fun night but I got in at a ridiculous time and I don't think I'll be going out for quite a while! Getting too old to cope with the consequences the next day! Here are a couple of snaps from the night:


Thursday, 17 April 2014

Review: Sleek Showstoppers Palette Limited Edition

Another day, another palette review! You don’t buy one for ages and then two come along at once, eh? 
Well, when I popped into Superdrug the other day, I was sort of on the hunt for the Garden of Eden palette, after seeing Gemma mention it on Makeup Magpie. But there was literally no sign of it, so not sure if they are even stocking it there. 
Of course, being me, I didn’t exactly come out empty-handed, because this little beauty caught my eye. It’s the Showstoppers palette, which is basically a collection of popular shades from the other palettes they do, re-issued as a set to celebrate Superdrug’s 50th anniversary.

I have a long-held love for Sleek ever since buying my first palette from them many moons ago. 

They’re just beautiful colours, so richly pigmented and blendable and such fantastic value.

I’ve re-bought the Storm and Nude palettes a couple of times each. Sometimes the colours they use can be a little bright for me, but I was drawn to ‘Showstoppers’ because it had a real mix of shades, some fairly unusual that I don’t have in my collection. 

And it's Sleek, so you know those shades swatch up real good!Here are each of the shades up close and personal:

Paraguaya – a light peach satin
Sunset – a burgundy metallic
Innocence – a pure white pearl sparkle
Bad Girl – a gold-olive green metallic
Noir- a blue-ish grey metallic
Ultramattes V2 – a matte black

Oh So Special – a matte, dark charcoal grey

Bohemian - a vivid matte coral

Storm – a matte dark navy blue

Sparkle – a warm, golden peach pearl

Au Natural – a dark aubergine with chunky silver glitter

Graphite – a bronze-brown metallic

Of course I love these, but some of the names are very weird. Why is Graphite a brown shade? Makes no sense. 

I think the shades I’ll get the most wear out of are Paraguaya, Sparkle and Graphite. I was really drawn to Bad Girl and to Storm as well, because they’re unusual and I don’t already own similar shades.

This palette is like a ‘greatest hits’ of Sleek’s shades and they’re super. It comes in the classic Sleek matte black compact with the big, clear mirror that’s so useful, especially if you’re travelling. At only £7.99 for all that I think you can justify your love ;)

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Into The Blue: A Fresh Eye Look

Blue make-up scares so many people. I think it reminds us all collectively - either through memories, or for 90s kids like me, pop culture references- of 80's styling matched with crimped locks and frosted pink lipstick.

But blue can actutally be such a gorgeous colour to play with, so don't make it the one shade you never touch in the palette!

Worn as just a hint, blue can be a strong look that's modern and fresh. And it suits everyone - whether you have blue eyes or as a popping contrast to darker gazes. In fact, using blue eye make-up has become one of my staples lately.

I was actually inspired by this picture of Taylor Swift (wow. Never thought I'd be saying that, but still...) where she has a shot of gorgeous, shimmering blue under the lashline, paired with black liquid liner and a shimmery white in the inner corners.

It's such a fresh, youthful look and it works for any season -  paired with a bronze glow in summer, or dramatic berry lips in winter.

Here's the kit I used to get my blaze of blue:

MUA Undress Me Too palette
Sleek i-Divine 'Storm' palette
Astor Eye Artist in 'Just a Crush '
Chanel Les 4 Ombres in '77 Influences'
Eyeko Skinny Mini Liquid Eyeliner
Avon Glimmerstick Chromes in 'Night Star'
Mac In Extreme Dimension mascara

Now for the step by step :

Step One

Blend a neutral, flesh coloured shade with a hint of shimmer over the lid and up to the browbone using a fluffy shadow brush. I used the shade 'Shy' from the MUA Undress Me Too palette.

Step Two

Next, with a flat shadow brush, pick up some grey-blue metallic shadow. I'm using a shade from the Sleek I-Divine palette in 'Storm '- the shades aren't individually named, but it's one of the two blue-toned shades. Blend this through the outer corner and crease to act as a 'bridging' shade.

Step Three

Using a slanted brush, pick up some of the darker, midnight blue metallic shade from the Sleek I-Divine Storm palette. Push it along the lash line to define your eyes and shade some into the outer corners. Isn't this the most gorgeous colour?

Step Four

Take a dark blue eyeliner and work it under the lower lashline and on the outer corner of the top lashline. I used an Avon Glimmerstick Chromes in Night Sky. I love these eyeliners. They're totally inexpensive, creamy and blendable and come in loads of great shades. Enough to make me want to hunt down a new Avon lady.

Step Five

Using a fine eyeliner brush, take a shot of a bright blue shade and run it under the lower lashline for an extra amp of colour. I used this fabulous peacock blue shade from the Astor Eye Artist Duo in 'Just a Crush'.

To bring out the blue even more, I added a pop of white pearl to the inner corners using my little finger- this was the white shade from the Chanel Les 4 Ombres quad in 'Influences'.

Then a very small amount of black liquid liner- this time I used Eyeko Skinny Mini Eyeliner and lashings of black mascara- Mac In Extreme Dimension.

And the finished look is true blue:

Keep the rest of your face fairly neutral with matte skin, a hint of bronzer and nude lips and let that blue pop!

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