August Beauty Favourites!

It’s been a LOOONG time since I posted a monthly favourites, mainly due to the fact that I haven’t really been trying out any new products. But this month I thought I’d get back to it since I’ve been using a few products that have really impressed me!

The first 3 are all from The Body Shop:

Body Shop Oils Of Life Sleeping Cream

This Oils of Life sleeping cream isn’t actually new to me, in fact it probably featured in a past favourites post. I bought it last winter, but since my skin has been so temperamental of late, I thought I’d give it a go during the summer too, and I LOVE it again. I have an oily t-zone which obviously gets oiler during the summer months when it’s warmer. I never liked the idea of adding more oil to my face, but I know that when you have oily skin it’s because you’re hydrated and it’s trying to compensate SOOO I tried it. I popped a thin layer of this on my face before bed, and in the morning my skin felt balanced and soft. AND it smells great too! I don’t use this every night because I’m still figuring out how to balance my t-zone, but so far so good!

Body Shop Skin Defence

Next is The Body Shop’s Skin Defence cream. I asked for this for my birthday and was very happy to receive it. This cream has spf 50++++ and is a lightweight cream to water finish protector for your face. You can apply it alone or under makeup and I’m definitely taking this to Florida next month, because I hate the greasy feeling of sunscreen on my face.

Body Shop Instamatte

Lastly for The Body Shop items, is this Instamatte. I managed to buy this for £2 as I had two £5 gifts on their loyalty card. This is a little lipgloss sized tube of primer type gel. It’s designed to be mixed into foundation or on top of lipsticks to transform into matte finish. I haven’t yet used it for the latter, but I have kept it in my bag at work and when my t-zone starts to look gross I tap a little of the gel onto the areas I need it, and I’m instantly matte. I only wear tinted moisturiser and it taps on top fine, but I don’t know how well it would work tapped on top of higher coverage foundation. I have a feeling it might break it up a little, but for the way I use it and for me, it’s a little lifesaver!

Lipsticks

Speaking of lipsticks, I’ve been loving these two again. I don’t usually like to wear a lot of lipstick in the summer, instead I reach for products with a more sheer finish, but since we were having a rather rubbish and autumnal feeling summer spell, I picked these two out.

The one on the left, in the picture above, is Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani ‘Ex-Girlfriend’ and on the right is Charlotte Tilbury’s ‘Stoned Rose’.

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Both are cream finish, and look nice and autumnal. Ex-Girlfriend doesn’t last too long on its own, but lasts much longer if you use the matching lipliner underneath, which I do. I love this Charlotte Tilbury lipstick too and think I’m going to find myself in the market for another one this autumn!

Skin Laundry Face wash

And lastly, I’ve been adoring this foaming facial wash by Skin Laundry. I got a sample size of this in my Liberty London advent calendar last Christmas, and I was totally shocked by how clean this made my skin feel and look. So when I eventually ran out I went and bought the full-size. It’s not the cheapest but you get a massive bottle and it lasts ages. I’m so glad I found it!

And that’s it for my August beauty favourites. Have you tried any of these? I’d love to know what you thought!

My New Year Beauty Splurge

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I admit it, I decided at the beginning of the year that I wanted to treat myself, and buy some of the things I’d been lusting over towards the end of the year.

And finally all the items have arrived so I can tell you (brag) about them!

I haven’t tried all of these items yet, since, as I just mentioned, they’ve only just arrived, but I’m going to share them with you anyhow, and if I love them you just know they’ll feature in a future post!

So let’s start with a couple of bits I picked up for my hair. I have been growing my hair out mainly as a kind of experiment just to see how long I could get it to grow. I have a trim every 3 (read 6) months and tell my hairdresser to cut off as little as possible. This is all well and good, but my hair is very fine and not thick so I have to do a lot to it to make it look like it has volume and isn’t limp.

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I found out about Grow Gorgeous through twitter and decided I would take the plunge and try their Hair Growth Serum and End Split Ends serum. I haven’t started using them yet, but the hair growth serum is a 2 month supply if you use it daily (which I probably won’t) so I’ll keep you updated. It’s supposed to add thickness and healthiness to fine and thin hair and promote a longer mane. The split end serum, I’m sure you can guess, is to help with my wispy ends towards the time in which I really should be getting a trim. I’ve just had my hair cut, so I’ll be starting to use these very soon!

The next thing I picked up is a product I’m sure you all know about.

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The Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette was probably the most sought after palette towards the end of 2016. Every beauty blogger and YouTuber was talking about it, and it was always either sold out or just darn hard to find in the UK. I saw it was in stock at Cult Beauty so went for it.

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There were a few reasons people were going nutty over this palette. Firstly, the quality of the shadows. They’re so pigmented that you only need a slight dab with the brush to get an adequate amount of product to apply. Secondly, this palette is mostly mattes with 3 shimmers. And the colours all go together. You can get masses of looks with this palette and there are so many combinations for different looks. Third, it comes with a nice brush and mirror and it’s light. It doesn’t feel like it’ll break in your suitcase. The brush isn’t the best but it’s enough to do the job, so you would do fine if you only had this to work with. I’ll level with you, at £41 this isn’t cheap, but it’s a gorgeous palette and I can see me getting use out this all year around. The shadows blend really nicely and because you barely need to use any it’ll last a long time before you hit pan.

Next, I was totally susceptible to Stila’s tweets advertising their sale and decided to pick up a few of their lip products. I got a nude liquid lipstick set featuring three of their Stay All Day lipsticks. They’re lovely shades, and so lightweight. They dry down very quickly but don’t drag or patch when you’re putting them on. Once they’ve settled they are transfer proof. I’ve only tried the colours so I can’t vouch for how long wearing they are, but I’ll let you know.

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I also picked up one of their glitter glosses. I’d been after a glitter gloss over the Christmas period, but didn’t see one I liked or was worth the cost. This Stila Metallics gloss in Citrine was £4.50 so I guessed even if it wasn’t for me it wouldn’t be a waste of money.

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But I LOVE it. Just look at the sparkles! It offers a lovely subtle glittery finish to bare lips and a metallic sheen as a lipstick topper. It smells lovely (as do the Stay All Day, liquid lipsticks) and when it wears off it leaves your lips all glittery (which I love). It is a sticky gloss, so if you don’t like that then you might not like this. I wore it on a windy evening and my hair stuck right to my face!

Next up, I’d been wanting to try an Urban Decay foundation for a while, and when a friend raved about the Naked Skin foundation for her oily skin I thought I’d give it a try. I was colour matched in store to be shade 1.0 and I was really pleased with the finish and the colour match. I’ve used it a few times now, and here’s what I think.

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This is a medium to buildable foundation. I expected to hate the smell and though it is a little painty to start with it goes away. It offers a matte finish, and I prefer a dewy finish so sometimes I use a hydrating primer underneath and that seems to help. It’s very easy to apply, goes on streak-free and with a brush offers a very natural finish. It doesn’t stay tacky, which I appreciate, but isn’t transfer proof. However each time I’ve used this (and with different primers underneath), around 3-4pm I noticed that my chin, nose and forehead oils had broken the makeup down and there was pretty much nothing left. I always set my t-zone with a powder too, so I don’t know if this was hindering rather than helping performance. It’s a shame. I need to work around this, and find out what’s going on with my skin and also which primer will work best with this. I really like this foundation so I’m willing to make it work! I’m going to try it with a setting spray and see if that changes anything.

Lastly, and mainly to get the free shipping when I ordered my palette, I picked up a Morphe brush to apply my new foundation with.

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It looked like it would be good for foundation and the reviews agreed, so I went for it. This is the Morphe Deluxe Buffer brush (M439) and it’s my first Morphe brush so I have high hopes for it. I’m looking forward to giving it a go!

And that was my splurge! Let me know if you’ve used any of these products because I’d love to know what you think. And if you have any Modern Renaissance palette looks you like, then let me know. I’d love to see how you’ve been using yours.

How To: Bright Eyeshadow Looks

When Spring was coming to an end I vowed I would start using some of the gorgeous eye shadow palettes that I own, and just don’t reach for. I’m obsessed with the gorgeous colours, but seem to leave my eyelids bare in favour of a colourful lip or cheek. But thankfully this summer I have had reason to use some of the colours, and formulas and now I’m going to share two of these with you!

I promised a post on the eye look I wore to be a bridesmaid a while back, but since I didn’t actually have any photos from that day where you could see my eye look, a post hasn’t materialised. So instead I’m going to show you one look I wore to a family wedding and another I wore to EDC recently.

The first look was to go with a green and navy dress from Karen Millen and used the UDxGwen and UD Electric eyeshadow palettes.

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I primed my lids and went in with Skimp from the UDxGwen palette all over the lid.

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Next I patted Freak from the UD Electric Palette all over my lid.

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I then added Fringe into the crease and to the outer C and blended it into Freak.

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Next I took 1987 from the UDxGwen palette and starting from the inner corner brought the gold colour near to the centre of the lid, blending it in with Freak.

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Once the colours were blended in, I wet my brush and went in with the colours again, patting them in until I got the vibrancy I wanted. And here’s the finished look!

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The next look was for EDC which needed to be neon and crazy. I wanted to use as many of the colours as I could, without looking too mad!

I started by reaching for my eye primer and then applied a white UD 24/7 eyeliner all over my lid. This created a white shimmery base to apply colours from my Electric Palette, which really helps to make the colours pop.

I started the colours by applying a small amount of ghost tape to the corners of my eyes. This helps create a nice line and prevent the ‘I’ve been punched in the face’ look I so often get when I apply shadow too wide.

I went in with Urban first on the crease of my eyelid and bringing it out a little towards the tape.

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Next I added Gonzo to the outer half of my lid, blending it with Urban.

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Next was Freak blended into the other half of my lid.

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Then Thrash on the outer corners. All of these colours were patted carefully for maximum colour impact.

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Next I added savage along the top of the Urban ‘flick’ on the edges of my crease to blend and create another dimension.

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To finish off, I applied a thin veil of Revolt across the whole lid which added a little sparkle and brought the whole look together.

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And here’s what it looked like!

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The day was very warm and humid but I was impressed with how the colour lasted a good 13 hours, with only a little transferring from the bottom lid to the top (which you couldn’t even notice just by looking at me).

So what do you think? I really can’t wait to create some more looks, and hope to use my UD Vice 4 palette more next. What looks have you created recently? I’d love to see them!

May Favourites

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And all of a sudden it’s June! The weather of late has been acting more like November, but thankfully I’ve been flooding myself with happy things to remind myself that it’s really the end of Spring and Summer is surely on its way.

So let’s take a look at what I’ve been loving this month!

May Faves

I’ve mentioned a few of these products in my last couple of blogs, but they’re worth mentioning again!

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The By Nature Coconut Sea Salt Spray is light, natural and smells amazing. It hasn’t got the same hold as my Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray but it’s a nice lighter alternative and I like the effect it gives.

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The Barry M Lip Oils are fabulous. So much so that I’m almost at the end of the Coco Loco one I have. But at £4.99 each they’re the kind of product I don’t mind using all up and re-buying. And I will!

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The Bee Good Plump and Firm Moisturiser was part of May’s Glossybox. I hadn’t tried it until I read a tweet from someone I follow who was raving about it. It’s an expensive product (full size is about £24) so I’m trying to keep this sample size as long as I can. The first time I used it my skin practically drank it up. It’s light but not too light, soaks in really fast and leaves my skin feeling lovely!

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Milani isn’t a brand that’s generally available in the UK and I plan to stock up on their products when I’m in the US towards the end of the year. But I’d been stalking their cult blush shade Luminoso on Amazon for a while and when I saw it at £4.49 with free P&P I knew I had to snap it up. When it arrived I was impressed with the packaging. A nice chunky compact with lovely gold surround, opens up to the baked blush with all its swirly pigment. And underneath the product is another compartment for a little brush. I won’t be using this brush but it’s great to have the option when you’re on the go. The colour on my skin is lovely. A nice summery coral blush, it’s VERY pigment so a little goes a really long way with the option to build up if you want to.

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The NYX Dark Circle concealer is a product I’ve been trying for a few months now, and I’ve really grown to love it. Not enough on its own, I pat it onto my under eyes in a thin layer and it does an amazing job before I top it with concealer (at the moment I’m using Benefit’s Boing) I like how light it is, so it does its best to prevent creasing, unless you use too much. It’s a great peachy colour which works against my dark circles and has some great reflective qualities.

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I mentioned this lip balm in a lip product blog I wrote not so long ago, but I’m loving it so much that I’m going to mention it again. This Dr Bronners lemon lime lip balm is choc-full of lovely oils and scent. It’s gorgeous on my lips, so hydrating and really good underneath lipstick.

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The Urban Decay Gwen Stefani range has to have been their biggest hit with me out of all the ranges they’ve released. I love Gwen anyway, but I now own both the eyeshadow and blush palettes, two of the lipsticks and a lip liner. One of the lipsticks, Firebird, was bought only a few weeks ago and I bought it specifically for a hen party I’ve just attended. No word of a lie, the colour lasted the whole day. And that was afternoon tea, cocktails and pizza afterwards. It was comfortable on my lips, didn’t bleed or crack and just stayed looking like it had when I’d applied it. It’s a lot brighter than I would normally wear but I got tons of compliments and it matched the pink feather boas we were all wearing!

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Go pick it up!

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I’d be stupid if I didn’t mention the new Ariana Grande album Dangerous Woman as a May favourite. I’ve listened to it more times than I can count, and now even Gary knows some of the words! I can’t decide which songs are my favourites because I like them all, but I have woken up with Moonlight in my head on more than one morning. If you haven’t checked it out yet, then you must!

Lip Service

I tend to go through phases with make up where one particular product is what I’m into at a time. At the moment it’s lip products (though I’m still very much loving blushes!) I wanted to talk about some of my current favourites.

I’ve mentioned previously that I have incredibly sensitive skin and my lips are no exception. As soon as I change lip balm, lip sticks, anything really, my lips balloon and go itchy. I get blotches and dry patches and it’s all bad. Anyway, I try to train my lips to like certain products if I just can’t get enough of them. All of the products I’m talking about today have no negative effects on my lips. They’re all fabulous!

My lips are so dry, that I’m always applying lip balms. If I don’t have a lip balm to hand I know I’m going to have a bad day, to the point where I have one in my hand bag at all times, one in my living room, one by my bed, and if for some reason I’ve switched hand bags and forgotten to put a balm in I have to find the nearest Boots and pick one up.

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This lip balm by Dr Bronner’s Magic is OMG amazing. I’ll be honest, I picked this up from ASOS when I had to make up the basket total to get free postage. I can’t remember how much it was, but it can’t have been more than a couple of pounds. This is an organic lip balm in Lemon Lime flavour, but instead of being balmy it’s made from oils. This contains avocado, jojoba, cannabis seed, lemon and lime oils. That’s a lotta oils. It glides on smoothly and hydrates my lips to the point that I don’t feel the need to reapply as often as normal. It’s not thick, so light and smells just like key lime pie but fresher. I’ve been keeping this as my at-home balm so I don’t go through it too fast. I love putting it on before liquid lipstick. It leaves my lips hydrated enough that matte lipsticks don’t sink into my dry bits too much. It’s just awesome.

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I’ve really started loving lip-oils as a result of trying the Dr Bronner’s balm, and so when I heard Barry M were bringing out some lip oils for £4.99 each I knew I wanted to pick them up. I got mine during a buy one get one half price promotion, so it was a no brainer to buy both! These look like lip glosses in the packaging and also once applied, but feel so hydrating and water-light on the lips. Coco Loco has coconut oil and camellia, smells like coconut and goes on clear. Berry Good has pomegranate and raspberry oils and smells like berries. This one goes on clear I think but is pink in the packaging. I haven’t noticed any tint when applying it, but that could be just me. I’ve been leaning more towards the coconut one, but that’s just because I’m obsessed with coconut scented things at the moment!

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Next I’ll talk about my current favourite liquid lipstick. Having dry lips, matte products aren’t the best on me, but Meet Matte Hughes by The Balm is so lovely that I just go for it anyway. Their Committed shade is a sweet mint scented lipstick that goes on so smooth and pigmented and dries down to matte in about 30 seconds. It’s budge proof (until you eat) and looks lovely. It does dry into the cracks in my lips, and I’ve been thinking about topping it with my NYX Butter Gloss and seeing how it lasts. Meet Matte Hughes has ruined me for other brand’s liquid lipsticks and I haven’t found another formula as good as this. Go buy one!!

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Lastly, let’s talk about Firebird. Urban Decay have just announced they’re clearing down their entire lipstick range, reformulating, re-packaging and then re-releasing a new staple range of lipsticks. This panicked me because I’d already bought their sell-out Ex-Girlfriend from the Gwen Stefani range, but wanted to pick up Firebird after having tried the sample they sent when I bought the eyeshadow palette. I soon found out that both Ex-Girlfriend and Firebird will be reformulated BUT I didn’t want to wait and love the Gwen Stefani packaging, so away I went. This is a BRIGHT pink with a slightly purple shift in it. It’s very pigmented and stains the lips (in a good way) but has a sheerness about it. I adore this colour and look forward to wearing it very soon. It’s way more adventurous than I usually wear, but you only live once and it makes me happy! Once the new Urban Decay range comes out, I intend on picking up Mrs Mia Wallace, which was first released in their Pulp Fiction range but I missed out on it. I’m so pleased it’s coming back in their permanent range!

So that’s it! I’ve become a little obsessed with Lipstick Queen’s range too, and very much want to pick up Frog Prince and Queen Bee – (I’m taking donations too…..)

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think?

March Favourites

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Happy April everyone! Did you have an awesome March? Mine was great – Spring is doing its best effort to appear. We’ve had a few days of lovely sunshine and I’m hoping that the chilly windy rain we’ve had this past week was all just to clear up and make way for Spring to really happen.

I’m desperate for nice weather so I can get outside running again – mainly so I can start to get a bit of colour on my skin. I think this is the first year that I’ve mourned Summer for a whole Autumn and Winter. Bring back the lovely weather!

So March has been full of TV, movies and of course beauty. Here goes with what I’ve loved this past month.

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I’m a massive fan of Judd Apatow’s stuff, my favourite being This is 40. He’s also involved in Girls, which I’m a huge fan of too. So I suspected I would enjoy this Netflix original show Love. And I wasn’t wrong. This 10 part tv series was everything I’d hoped it would be: funny, deep, clever and driven by some amazingly written (and acted) characters. If you like quirky and real then you might just love this.

We also revisited Cloverfield, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. I’ve written about the Before movies before so I’ll let you go back and read what I thought about them, but they’re still all kinds of awesome. Cloverfield is a pretty short movie, so we popped it on the TV one night when we wanted something fairly non taxing to watch.

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This is a found-footage type movie (and we all know how much I love those!) Set in Manhattan (and we all know how much I love Manhatten too). If you haven’t seen the movie I won’t spoil it, but it’s a real gem.

Now onto a few beauty bits:

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In March I reverted back to an old favourite, my Neutrogena grapefruit face wash (around £4).

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I moved onto a different one from the same brand a few months back, which had microbeads in it, but I’ve since discovered that these are actually little plastic balls which don’t biodegrade. They go down the plug hole into the water system and are super bad for the environment. Since I’ve switched back I’ve been wondering why I diverted. My skin feels wonderful, smooth and smells lovely too after using this. The difference is instant, and I know I’ll be sticking to this face wash for a long time!

Next is a Lush product – Mint Julips lip scrub (£5.50). This is basically a pot of minty sugar.

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You dig out a little of the sugar (over the sink or else you’ll have sugar EVERYWHERE!) rub it all over your lips and either wash or lick the remainder off. This particular scrub leaves my lips feeling oiled but not oily, smooth and tingling with minty goodness. It’s gorgeous!

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I’ve mentioned Benefit’s It’s Potent (£25.50) in my last beauty blog, so I won’t go into it on here, but I decided to go the whole hog and buy the full size of this baby. I’ve been really pleased with how it works and the difference it’s made. I actually think some of my fine lines have actually disappeared too. Can it be possible?

Next I’ll talk about my newest foundation purchase. I mentioned in the aforementioned beauty blog that I’d found something I liked better than the Clinique sample I was given, and it was:

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Max Factor’s Facefinity All Day Flawless 3 in 1 foundation. I was matched to Natural 50. I like the finish of this foundation though I have found it does oxidise on my face so I think it’ll be a little more functional once I have a little sun colour on my face. This foundation is primer, concealer and foundation in one, and has spf 20. I’ve been applying it using a Real Techniques buffing brush and focussing on buffing it out around my jaw line as I’m concerned I look a little flush once it’s on. But I do like the finish and it’s buildability. It offers a matte finish so you don’t need any powder. Interestingly, it did cling to dry parts on my forehead when first applied, but by the time I’ve done the rest of my face these had hydrated and I couldn’t see them any more. And it doesn’t settle into lines – perfect! I’m impressed, for the cost of this (£12.99) it performed a lot better than the Clinique sample, that I wanted so much to love!

Next is a couple of liquid lipsticks by TheBalm (£13.50)

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Meet Matt(e) Hughes matte liquid lipsticks in Committed and Charming. I bought these for events where I can’t be continuously reapplying lipstick. I am a serial lipsmoosher, so lip colour doesn’t last long on me. As a result I stick to sheer lipsticks or tinted balms but I’ve been impressed with these. Firstly they smell nice and minty, so they tingle a little when first applied. They go on smooth and don’t cling to any bumps. They dry to a comfortable feel and they do last well. There’s minimal transference, but they do come off if you eat oily foods. I’m a pale-faced gal so these being the palest ‘nude’ shades they’re still pretty dark and prominent on my face, and they do give me a pretty dramatic look. Oh and when I’m done they come off easily with a quick slick of Egyptian magic. Win!

Lastly is my favourite of the bunch. I got this for £13 off at Debenhams, and had been lusting over it for some time…. The Urban Decay Vice 4 palette (retails at £43)

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Firstly, let’s just take in the packaging. This is STUNNING. Urban Decay do packaging so so well. This even came with its own zippered travel bag. Now we’ve taken in the palette packaging, let’s look at the goods.

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Sigh. So pretty. I was so impressed this came with another lovely double ended brush. Urban Decay’s palette brushes are so good, I seriously doubt I’ll ever need to buy a separate one. The main thing that drew me to Vice 4 was the colour matches. Just looking at each of these rows, I can see complete eye looks. Three greens, three metallics, three mauve, three neutral, three greys etc etc. So many matches. And these look lovely wet as eyeliner too. I’ve used a couple in that way already. In fact I think I’ve used about a third of the palette already and I don’t often wear eyeshadow day-to-day. I’m so impressed.

So those are my March favourites. I’d love to read what you thought if you’ve tried anything I’ve loved this month. Leave me a comment if you have!

Now onwards through April!

February Favourites

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Despite February being a short month it’s been a great month for new things for me! This month’s favourites blog contains beauty, body, tech and tv so hold on tight – there’s a lot to get through!

I’m going to start with body products I’m loving this month.

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Starting with Nayobay’s Protective Hair Mask Volume Conditioner. This came in my February GlossyBox and I’ve used it once a week since I received it. The website says “This mask contains natural triglycerides that add density and volume to hair and features organically grown Shea Butter and Argan oil.” I’m not really sure what that means to be honest, but I know I love what it does to my hair. You leave it on for 3 minutes after shampooing and then rinse it off. Afterwards my hair and scalp feel cleansed for at least 4 days after, my hair feels manageable and not too soft. The only way to describe how my hair looks after using it, and drying naturally, is 70s hair. And I mean this in a good way. My hair has volume, but isn’t frizzy. It’s matte, but looks conditioned. I just love it. Oh and it smells kind of subtly orangey – love it.

The next body favourite was a Valentine’s gift from G-Man. Laura Mercier’s almond coconut milk honey bath. I’d been lusting over one of these for a while, and was delighted to be given this. The cute little honey dipper holds just enough product to then drizzle under running water. The quality of the bubbles you get is like nothing else, and when you’re in the bath it’s like you’re bathing in silk. It makes for a wonderful, luxurious bath and I can see this jar lasting for a long long time. Worth the cost? Definitely!

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Last for body products is this bath and shower gel I picked up in Tesco. I’m always a little put off by brands which market their products in a similar vein to other higher end brands. I had been wary of buying this as it looks at first glance like a Philosophy rip off. But I liked the scent and there was nothing else I fancied, so buy it I did. Honeycomb Secret by Treacle Moon feels luxurious enough for a drugstore price. Not as fancy as the Laura Mercier, I hasten to add, however this bath and shower gel feels nourishing on my skin and produces lovely bubbles.

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Moving onto beauty products now, and you guys know my love for Gwen Stefani’s Urban Decay collaboration – I tried and then had to buy Ex-Girlfriend, a sheer nude in her lip range. It appears to be my perfect nude shade, feels wonderful on and lasts fairly well on the lips considering I’m a serial lip smoosher. I also picked up a tube of Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm in Hibiscus, which leaves a lovely subtle tint on the lips and again feels really moisturising and lasts really really well. It doesn’t look to much when you add to it either which is great. Both of these are great every day colours for a not-too-done-up look when I don’t want my lips to be bare.

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Another huge favourite of mine this month is the Gwen Stefani for Urban Decay blush palette. This palette is *amazing*. The shades you get are all usable, and I’ve been loving blending OC and Hush, then highlighting with Angel. You can see from the photo that the palette’s a bit messy, and that’s because I’ve been using it pretty much every day! Plus the palette itself is massively gorgeous!

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Next in beauty, well it’s kind of body but let’s talk about it anyway, is Lemony Flutter cuticle butter from Lush. This should have been in my holy grails post, but I haven’t bought it for years and decided last weekend I needed it back in my life. My cuticles have been a nightmare lately, and I have a bad habit of picking at them when they’re drying out. This stuff totally fixes it every time, so much more effectively than all the other creams and oils I’ve been trying. And it smells so good!

Next I picked up the Bare Minerals Bare Skin Perfecting Veil. I needed something to set my under eyes and help to control my t-zone throughout the day. I’ve liked this powder so far, however it does still settle into the fine lines under my eyes, and I find I need to smooth those areas out throughout the day.

Now I’m going to talk about TheBalm’s Balm Shelter tinted moisturiser. TheBalm are fairly new to the UK and you can only really pick them up in very select London Debenhams stores and online. I visited the Debenham’s counter on Oxford Street so I could ensure I picked the correct shade. I love this product. It gives a really lovely natural finish, light coverage and doesn’t feel like I’ve got any product on when I’m wearing it. It’s a lovely satin feel to the skin and I love that it’s a sqiushy tube because I’ll be able to get every last bit of product out of it. I think this will be lovely in the summer too – plus it has SPF18! Win win! I really want to go and check out their Meet Matte Hughes liquid lipsticks, because I think they might be perfect for a couple of weddings I’m going to this year. I’m loving TheBalm!

Whilst I was at the TheBalm counter, I was chatting to the girl about brushes. I’d been looking at Sigma but they’re so expensive that I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to take the plunge. She recommended I head to Boots and check out Real Techniques brushes. So I did and boy am I glad! These brushes, I am told, are being picked up by professional make-up artists and I can see why. They’re soft, just dense enough, the bristles pick up the product (but not too much) and… they look so pretty! I’ve picked up the retractable kabuki and their foundation brush (which I actually use for contour and highlighting because I like the shape!). I intend on buying more….. eek!

And lastly, if you read my last beauty blogs you’ll remember I mentioned I’d never found my perfect mascara. Well this might have changed. Last birthday my bestie gave me a Lancôme 24hr Artliner and when she bought it, she got a free Lancôme Hypnose Volume which she passed onto me. I loved it so much that a few weeks ago I went and bought a full size. It’s lovely on my lashes, and even though I still need to curl them every time, it’s easy to build on, isn’t chunky and doesn’t make spider legs out of my lashes. Whoop!

Out of the world of beauty and onto tech now. I’d got some Tesco Clubcard points expiring so I had a look at their website and there wasn’t really much I fancied, but then I spotted I had enough points for a pair of Beats on-ear Solo headphones. So I redeemed my points and two days later I had these bad boys in my grubby little mitts!

beats feb
Look how pretty! They’re a great replacement for the red Skullcandy headphones that broke many years ago – and they were FREE! The sounds good enough on them, and now I can look like a loon with massive red headphones on once more 🙂

And lastly in my February favourites we move over to TV. My week’s holiday at the start of the month was scuppered by contracting a cold which did a very good job of mimicking the plague. As a result, much of the week was spent flat on my back watching Netflix. This is when I discovered Pretty Little Liars.

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I am addicted. I’ve managed to watch 4 whole seasons in about 3 weeks and I’m well into the 5th. I love the clothes, make up and the characters – it’s not the most intelligent of shows – it’s no West Wing – but it’s perfect for eye candy and passing the time. I won’t lie – there have been many times I’ve been screaming at the TV and sat bolt upright because I can’t believe what’s happening. In fact, what am I doing writing this?…… I could be watching Pretty Little Liars…

Just joking! So those are my (many) February favourites. Let me know if you’ve tried any of these yourself and what you thought of them – I’d love to read your comments!

Shutterbug’s Holy Grail Beauty List Pt 1

beauty

This winter has been particularly harsh on my skin, and as a result I’ve really had to think hard about what products I’m using. It’s also helped me to realise that in my 33rd year my skin has started to be less than youthful. My squishy cheeks have begun to feel less than squishy and my t-zone, which I thought I’d figured out, started to dry and flake. Ick!

So I’ve been on a beauty kick recently, much to my bank balance’s concern, however I really feel like I’ve found some amazing products. I haven’t been able to use all of them yet, but since I’ll probably be sharing the ones I do love, I thought first of all I’d start at the very beginning – I hear it’s a very good place to start.

When I first left school I decided to become a beauty therapist. The local college did a course, but you had to stump up £60 for the starter kit and also the thought of potentially touching people’s feet freaked me out…. So I got a retail job, and thank jeebus I did because I wouldn’t have met Gary had I not…. However, it’s always frustrated me that I had gotten to my early 30’s without actually knowing how to successfully apply make-up. Firstly I’m too lazy to wake up early enough to slap it on, secondly I’m too cheap, but thirdly (and maybe most importantly) there are 16 year olds walking around with perfectly formed smoky eyes and winged eye liner….. I remember hating myself early last year in Las Vegas watching a how-to video for my Naked 2 palette, recorded by a girl who was probably not old enough to vote. Things had to change.

So I sit here, almost a year later, safe in the knowledge that I now know most of the basics and having pretty much nailed some of the harder techniques. Yay me!

So today I’m going to share with you guys some of my Holy Grail beauty and skincare products. Some of these were newly acquired in the last year or so, but some of them I’ve been using for 15 years or so. There’s quite a few, so this will be part one. Here goes!

We’ll start with beauty products!

babyskin

Maybelline Baby Skin was recommended to me by a friend. As a drugstore item, this isn’t too expensive at about £7.99 for this decent sized tube. I’d been needing a primer, and this one blurs the pores, goes on really smoothly with hardly any product needed. I like to put it on underneath my Stila Color Corrector. I can’t feel that it’s there and it creates a lovely base to build onto.

browud

Urban Decay Brow Tamer (£15). I picked this up in New York from Sephora, so not sure how much I spent on it, but I needed something for my brows. Brow care and perfecting is a huge deal at the moment. My eyebrows are fairly thick, and darker than my hair colour. The shape is fine and all I usually do is brush them into shape each morning, but they do become unruly during the day so I picked this lightweight clear gel up to help them stay put. My hair likes to push my eyebrow hairs down throughout the day which bugs me, but this gel prevents that from happening, and doesn’t make my brows shiny or any darker which is perfect. Holy Grail status achieved!

buffer

This Leighton Denny Quatro nail buffer (£5.50) is insane. I haven’t had a decent nail buffer in a while, and as much as I’m nail polish obsessed, I have a bad habit of picking my polish off….. yes, yes, I know! So I saw this buffer had gone down in price on Amazon and snapped it up. The result was so amazing I instagrammed a shot of my nail afterwards. A glass-like finish that lasted for days – in fact it was still glass-like after removing my manicure a week later. My only bug-bear is the nail file part. I use a glass file, so have no use for the file side of this buffer, but it’s kinda sharp along the edge so there’s plenty of opportunity to slice your finger along the side whilst buffing.

chapstick

My Mum has always sworn by cherry Chapstick as long as I can remember. And since Katy Perry kissed a girl, it’s been feast or famine with regards to stock levels. I wanted to see what the fuss was about so I tried it, and it’s amazing how much better the cherry flavour is than any of the others. The formula seems thicker and stays on the lips for longer. Plus, it gives a very very small amount of colour too! So now whenever I see them I buy three or four so I always have a stock!

curlers

I have fairly thin, not amazingly long, very straight eyelashes which won’t curl. I’m still to find my perfect mascara, so you won’t find any on this post today, however I did pick up a pair of Surratt Relevee lash curlers (£22 Liberty) from Sephora at Christmas. Carefully designed to work for all eye shapes, these promise to grip and curl comfortably without pinching. And they are comfortable, lightweight and as you can see by how dirty my set are in the photo (sorry!) I have been using them a lot! Some people say you can train your lashes to curl naturally, but using curlers every night, but I don’t have the patience for that. A quick staggered pump and a slick of mascara and I’m ready to go! They haven’t worked magic yet, but they’re certainly doing better than any others I’ve used.

opi

HKTopcoat

 

Glisten & Glow HK Girl Top Coat and OPI Nail Envy are my two holy grail nail products. Nail Envy saved my nails and I recommend it to any one I can. I use it as a base coat every time I do my nails, and a treatment in between if my nails need it. HK Girl top coat replaced Seche Vite for me, since I’d started getting annoyed at the amount of shrinkage I was getting with it. It’s thick enough to smooth out course glitter, dries really fast (touch dry in about 5 minutes) and doesn’t drag nail art. Plus it’s not very expensive (£6.85 from Rainbow Connection)

lippy

I like to wear a little bit of something on my lips, but I stopped wearing lipstick as long time ago. I didn’t like having to think about whether it had smeared, bled, worn off, left a night coloured ring around my lips etc. And not wanting to use liplock, I just stopped using it. When I found out that Dior had a released their Color Reviver Balm (around £24) in their Addict Lip Glow collection I knew I had to pick it up. And at the time I had a Debenhams voucher so decided to treat myself. It promises to give you your own personalised pink shade in a nice sheer balm. It’s conditioning and not at all sticky. It’s my go to lippy at the moment. Then I heard that Givenchy had released a black variant in their Rouge Interdit, for Liv Tyler to recreate her lovely bee-stung lip and I wanted it! But you couldn’t find it anywhere in the UK so I managed to hunt down what appeared to be the only stick of it in the whole of New York – it’s amazing and does exactly what it says on the tin. Not too much colour, and again hydrating and not sticky. They’ve now started selling it here under the name Rouge Interdit Vinyl (£24) with slightly slimmer packaging. Go buy it!

naked

I am a huge fan of Urban Decay and have been for about 15 years since I bought my first mini palette – I think it was called Wallpaper…. I received the Naked 2 palette (£38) for Christmas a couple of years ago and it’s my perfect basics eye palette. Not only are the colours and formulas wonderful, but it comes with a fantastic double ended blender brush. Naked 2 is perfect for my skintone and eye colour, so I have no need for the other two palettes, and that’s what’s great about the Naked palettes because there’s one for every one!

primer

I also make sure I use the UD primer potion (just the original one) because I know my eye colour won’t budge the whole day, and also because if I’m using any bright colours (especially the UD Electric Palette) it will allow the colour to pop and prevent it from staining my lids. Magic!

stila

Stila One Step Correct (£24) is amazing – I’m worried they’ll stop making it and I won’t be able to get it any more….. I’ve blogged about this stuff before, but it’s a wonder serum in really pretty packaging. It’s pink, green and white swirls correct any red and blue tones to your skin in one pump. It’s lightweight and goes on beautifully to help give you a lovely even base to start applying your makeup to. It also goes on really well on top of my Baby Skin primer.

ysl

And last for beauty is Touche Eclat by YSL (£25) I’ve used this product for about 15 years. It’s gone up in price by a few £ since then, but the formula has stayed the same. It’s very light, illuminates and isn’t cakey. It doesn’t sit in my lines too much but it can rub off easily. I’m looking to invest in some setting powder, but until then it works fine. I’ve tried replacing it with a couple of things over the years to save money, but always end up coming back to this! My only annoyance is you have no idea when it’s going to run out, so one day you might wake up and do one eye and then realise there’s none left for the other eye (this has happened…) but I still love it!

So those are my beauty holy grail items! I’ll be posting my skincare holy grail items soon, but in the meantime I’d love to hear about your experiences with these products, or if you have used any and moved onto something else!