Sunday, 26 January 2014

MAC Red Lips - Viva Glam I & Russian Red Lipglass


I have always been a little bit scared of red lipstick. When you make a mistake with red lipstick it is always more obvious than any other lipstick colour. But when worn correctly it can just look so glamorous.

I have tried a couple of red lipstick in the past, the first was a £1 lipstick from MUA as I wanted to give it a try before investing in a more expensive red lipstick just in case I didn't like it. The formula was actually pretty good considering that it was only £1 but it was quite an orange toned red which isn't the most flattering with my pale skin. See post here.

I then tried a Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Revlon Red, which is a much more flattering tone of red as it has more of a neutural undertone and I felt more comfortable wearing it out and about. I really started to love the red lip look! It had the power to really dress up a look with very little effort.

For Christmas, after reading my Gift Guide For Her, my mum bought me the MAC Viva Glam I lipstick and the MAC Russian Red Lipglass. I promise I wasn't hinting....


MACs Viva Glam I was originally released in 1994. The best thing about the MAC Viva Glam range is that it is made in order to raise money for AIDS and HIV related charities with the full selling price (excluding vat I think) donated.

Viva Glam I is a classic and universally flattering neutral red, which works for all skintones. The matte texture again gives it that really classic look and fortunately it is in no way drying (a problem I usually have with matte lipsticks). Due to the matte finish it also has very impressive staying-power even when eating and drinking.

I absolutely adore this lipstick and know that it will always be the perfect red lipstick to turn to when a red-lip-wearing occasion presents itself. No wonder this gorgeous lipstick is still as popular and wearable as it was 20 years ago when it was first released.




Whereas Viva Glam I is a glamorous classic red, MACs Lipglass in Russian Red is a bright and fun 'look at me' red. It has a blue undertone which is beautiful on pale skin and makes your teeth look really white! Once you have applied Viva Glam I you're good to go and you can trust that it will stay put for a good few hours, the Russian Red Lipglass on the other hand is pretty high maintenance.

Russian Red has a typical lipgloss texture meaning it has the usual stickiness (although not too sticky) and the fluidity of the formula means it is prone to movement. Carrying a mirror in your bag is pretty much a must with this one. It is absolutely gorgeous none the less, and worth the hassle. Best saved for fancy nights out as it's high-shine glossy finish would definitely look a bit too much for daytime wear. A simple black dress and a slick of Russian Red on your lips is all you need for an instant sexy and glamourous look.

MAC Viva Glam I Lipstick

MAC Russian Red Lipglass over Viva Glam I Lipstick

Have you tried either of these products? What's your favourite red lipstick? Let me know by commenting below....


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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

BACK TO BLOGGING


My poor little blog has really suffered over the last couple of months. It has been badly neglected and has been in need of some serious TLC.

When I first started blogging I was posting every other day as I felt I had so much to talk about. However, posting every other day when you have a full time job is just a little unrealistic I think and as the months went on I really struggled to find the time to work on it. My posts went down from 15 per month to just 4.

Work became really busy and, in an attempt to save some money, I hadn't been buying as many beauty products. Lacking in time, inspiration and useful content I nearly gave up my blog all together, but I really missed it. I go a little crazy when I haven't got some kind of creative outlet. Now that we are starting a new year I am determined to get back in to blogging.

Another reason I stopped posting was because of the trouble I had taking any decent photos. My little flat only has three tiny windows so getting enough daylight is a challenge even in the height of summer let alone the depths of winter. My compact camera just wasn't cutting it anymore and I hated posting photos that I wasn't entirely happy with.

Luckily, for my birthday at the end of December, knowing what trouble I was having with photography, my wonderful husband bought me a new bridge camera, the Canon PowerShot SX500 IS. My god it makes a difference! With all it's fancy features taking photos in low light is so much easier (I still have a lot to learn about how to use it though! Any tips??)

Armed with a new camera in hand, a plethora of new beauty products from Christmas and my birthday and a new surge of inspiration I am back to my old blogging ways. 

If you're a regular reader you may have already noticed a few changes to my blog, including my new banner design (still not entirely happy with it but its much simpler than the last one) and some better quality photos, and I'm hoping these little changes are just the start of many improvements to come....

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Monday, 20 January 2014

Warm Winter Fragrances



Christmas 2013 was definitely the year of the perfume. I received three of the above fragrances as presents this year and also another one which is more of a Spring/Summer option which is why it is not featured.

My all time favourite perfume has to be Hugo Deep Red and I have been wearing it since my late teenage years (about the time I met my husband so it's his favourite too). The top notes are clementine, blackberry, orange manderain and pear. The heart notes are tuberose, freesia, ginger, hibiscus and the base notes are sandalwood, cedar, musk and vanilla.

Until this year I just hadn't been able to find a perfume I liked as much but I have now realised that my favourite fragrances are definitely dark winter scents and since I have been trying some I have fallen in love with many!


Ghost Deep Night is one of my most worn perfumes of 2013. As soon as the weather turned a little colder I started reaching for this one on a daily basis. I love Ghost perfumes as I think they smell gorgeous and are really affordable. As they are eau de toilettes, they don't last as long on the skin as some of the more expensive perfumes, but for everyday wear I don't mind. The top notes are Indian rose and belle de nuit, the middle notes are white woods, apricot and peach while the base notes are vanilla and amber musks. The mixture of vanilla, the fruity scents and the amber musks combine to make a gorgeous warm and cosy scent.

The first fragrance I got for Christmas was the Narciso Rodriguez For Her EDT which I tried a few months ago based on the recommendation of Adrienne at The Sunday Girl (link - a fantastic blog which always keeps me up to date on the latest beauty releases!) Like she says in her review, "the first time you smell it you will fall head over heels for its musky yet seductive notes". I couldn't have put it better myself! What surprised me most about this fragrance was that, although it is an eau de toilette, it has the intensity and lasting power of an eau de parfum. The top notes are floral and honey, the heart notes are amber light and the base notes are tactile woods. I just can't get enough of this one!

The second fragrance I got for Christmas was Alien by Thierry Mugler from my dad. Now this one is intense! You only need 1 or 2 sprays or it can be way too overpowering. A customer at work was wearing this one the other day and had obviously used too much as I could smell it from across the room. When you wear the appropriate amount it is an absolutely gorgeous warm and luxurious scent! Another amber based musky woody scent, but with a top note of jasmine. Another great thing about this perfume is that the bottle I have is re-fillable, you can take it to one of the designated perfume counters and have your bottle re-filled for a fraction of the price of re-purchasing a new bottle (approximately £25 to refill a 30ml bottle which would normally cost over £40).  

The third fragrance I got for Christmas was Ghost Moonlight, one of their latest releases. Again as an eau de toilette this fragrance is not as strong so I like to wear this when I fancy a slightly subtler fragrance than Alien or Narciso Rodriguez For Her. Described as a floral oriental fragrance the top notes are ginger and cantaloupe, the heart notes are orange blossom, pink peony and lily of the valley and the base notes are white chocolate, amber and sandalwood. Although this can definitely be classed as a writer fragrance the fruity notes make it very versatile and it could be worn all year round.

The only problem I have now is just far too much choice in the morning, but if that's one of my biggest problems I am a very lucky girl!

What are your favourite winter fragrances? Let me know by commenting below...

(Perfume scent information found at www.thefragranceshop.co.uk and www.theperfumeshop.com).

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Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Clinique Superprimer - Colour Corrects Redness


If you read my 2013 Beauty Favourites (read here) you'll know that my favourite face powder of the year was the Clinique Redness Solutions Powder, a yellow toned finely milled powder which cancels out the red tones in your complexion. You'll also know that I struggled to find a face primer that I really liked. When I saw this Clinique Superprimer I thought it may be the answer to my beauty prayers, and my mum was lovely enough to buy me it for Christmas.

Designed to work in the same way as the face powder, this primer is yellow and is therefore meant to 'correct redness'. When squeezed from the tube the primer is bright yellow in colour but once smoothed on to the skin it becomes more translucent. As a silicone based primer it has a smooth texture which glides on to the skin effortlessly and really does help to even out skintone and minimise the look of pores.


I wouldn't say that the colour correcting properties are life changing. Depending on your skintone there may still be some areas of redness after application, but it certainly does calm down these areas and make them easier to conceal.

The primer made my skin feel incredibly soft and smooth so applying foundation over the top was effortless. It didn't seem to work too well with my everyday foundation - the Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation, probably because of the differences between the mousse and silicone textures of the two products. They just didn't sit right together. However, it did work well with my Nars Sheer Glow Foundation. It therefore, suggests this primer works better with liquid foundations (I haven't tried it with a cream or gel formula).  


As with all primers I have tried, I have not found that this primer increases the longevity of my makeup. My mousse foundation seemed to gradually slide off my face throughout the day but the staying power of my Nars Sheer Glow was about the same. I am yet to find that perfect formula that works like glue to keep my foundation in place all day.

I do think that this is one of the best primers I have tried. The texture is very similar to Benefit's Porefessional but my skin seems to react to the Benefit one in a less than desirable way (hello breakout!), which hasn't been a problem with the Clinique alternative. Plus it has the added bonus of helping the red undertones of my skin!

As my Rimmel Stay Matte Mousse is my everyday foundation, this primer will not be in my daily 'rotation' (as the beauty bloggers like to call it) but it will definitely be a reliable product to turn to on particularly bad pinky/red days and for special occasions to use alongside my favourite liquid foundations, or just for days when I want super smooth and soft skin!

The Clinique Superprimer for redness colour correction costs £20 for 30ml. Clinique's Superprimer range also includes primers to colour correct discolouration, sallowness, and dullness, and each formula is a different colour to cancel out these skin concerns e.g to colour correct sallowness the primer is a lavender colour.

Have you tried any of the Clinique Superprimers? Let me know by commenting below....

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Sunday, 12 January 2014

My First Attempt at Nail Art....


This is my first attempt at nail art. My sister bought me a nail art tools set for Christmas so I thought I would give it a try. It's not that bad for a first try, although it did take a shockingly long time. I decided to use the Dotting Tool to create a polka dot pattern on my ring finger nail and then decided I wanted an extra challenge and painted white stripes on my index finger nail using the Striping Brush.

The polish I used for this look are the Rimmel I Heart Fruities Lasting Finish Nail Polish in 025 Strawberry Fizz and the Natural Collection Nail Tip Whitener with the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat on top.



I am pretty happy with the overall effect. The stripes are a bit messy as I painted them free-hand. I may try this again in the near future using some tape as a guideline to guarantee a straight line. I have also only done these feature nails on my left hand as I have no idea how to attempt such intricate detail left-handed!! I may have to train the hubby up on nail art to help me out, after all he is an actual artist and would be pretty damn good at it.

It looks as though the nail tools are from a company called 'npw', I don't know where she bought them or how much they cost but I have seen some pretty reasonably priced similar sets in Topshop if you're interested in picking some up.

It has given me a bit of the nail art bug actually and I am eager to try out some different designs.

Have you tried nail art? Do you have any tips? Let me know by commenting below.....

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Thursday, 9 January 2014

14 Books To Read In 2014


A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook that he made a list of 14 books in read in 2014, in which he tagged me as he had already finished one of my favourite reads of 2013 (The Snow Child by Ewoyn Ivey).

As a big reader anyway, I thought that this was a great idea and decided to do the same. It may also help me to get through the huge pile of books I already own but haven't gotten around to reading yet.

These are the books that I plan to read in 2014, in no particular order...

1. Before I Go To Sleep by S.J Watson - As I somehow ended up with a paperback and kindle version of this book,  my husband and I were going to read it at the same time so that we could discuss it. He actually read it about a year a go and it has taken me until now to get started. Oops. I like to describe this book as a bit like the film 50 First Dates but with a dark-side. 

2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - This is another book which has been sitting on my book shelf for far too long! I would really like to read it before the film comes out which I think is in February. Set in Nazi Germany this 'Young Adult' book focuses on a young girl with a love of reading. I have heard nothing but great things about this book and I am really looking forward to finally reading it.

3. Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern -  A book about the sudden and unexpected arrival of a mysterious circus and the competition of two young magicians. I don't really know anything else about this book but in this case I think that is probably best, the mystery is certainly intriguing.

4. The Men Who Stare At Goats by Jon Ronson - I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Psychopath Test' by Jon Ronson when I read it a couple of years ago and am eager to read more by him. I recently watched the film of the same title which convinced me to give this book a read. Jon Ronson's books aren't fiction but I'm not sure you could call them non-fiction either, perhaps truth with the occasional embellishment or exaggeration, but fascinating investigations in to unusual topics nonetheless.

5. Life of Pi by Yann Martel - This was one of those books that everyone seemed to be talking about at the end of 2012/beginning of 2013 and another one that I would like to read before I see the film. I have heard its difficult to get in to but worth it in the end.

6. and 7. The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman - I read the first book of the  'His Dark Materials' trilogy, Northern Lights, in 2013 which I did quite enjoy. I would like to finish the rest of the series whilst it is still fresh in my mind or else the second and third may become a little confusing. 

8. Lord of the Flies by William Golding - A classic which I am sure I should have read many years ago. I have started it a couple of times before but I am determined to finish it this year. If you don't already know it is the story of a group of young boys who are stranded on an island after a plane crash without an adult in sight.

9. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys - Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte  is one of my favourite books of all time. Wide Sargasso Sea was written as a sort of prequel to Jane Eyre which looks in to the back -story of one of the characters and is based in 1830s Jamaica. I thought this one may be quite interesting and provide a new insight in to one of my favourite books.

10. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick - I enjoyed the film and I have heard that the book is even better. The main character Pat has just left a mental health facility and is determined to win back his estranged wife with the help of recent widow Tiffany. The only thing that puts me off is that it apparently includes some major spoilers for other classic novels which I hope to read in the future.

11.  East of the Sun by Julia Gregson - I somehow ended up with two or three copies of this book and am still yet to read it. 2014 will be the year. It is the story of three women each on their way to India in 1928, a chaperone, a bride and a bridesmaid, each with their own secrets and hopes for their new beginnings in Bombay.

12. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - This is my sister's favourite book and one that she keeps telling me to read. I did actually start it years ago and got about a third of the way through but for some reason couldn't concentrate on it. It is the story of two women in Afghanistan and the oppression and second-class treatment that they are subjected to.

13. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - My husband got this book as a present for Christmas and it was highly recommended by his family. It is a mystery/thriller and is about the disappearance of a woman on her wedding anniversary, with her husband as the main suspect. I definitely need to read more books from this sort of genre.

14.  Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips - If ever I am at loss as to what to read next I simply pop on to my favourite book blog - booksandboxes.blogspot.co.uk and know that I can rely on Jasmine's recommendations. We largely have the same tastes in books and her reviews are insightful but without giving too much away and her passion for reading is inspiring. This book is one of her favourites from 2013 and her description makes it sound hilarious. Being an 'Ancient History nerd' as she calls them, I have a feeling I am going to love it! See her review here - link.

What books are you planning to read in 2014? Do you have any recommendations? Let me know by commenting below....

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Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The Best of 2013 - Beauty Favourites


2013 was a great year, and the year that I finally accepted that I was an adult. I got married to my best friend, went on my honeymoon and was promoted to manager at work. It is also the year that a lot of my friends bought houses and started having babies. This whole grown-up thing can be a bit scary at times!

I have no idea what 2014 has in store for me but I am hoping that my husband and I will buy a car and will hopefully start thinking about buying a house. I have no real new years resolutions but I do want to try and stress less about the little things in life.

So anyway, let's talk beauty! I love reading these yearly favourite posts as you really get to see what products people love, ones that aren't just a favourite for one month but products that have been in constant use. So I thought it might be helpful for you to see my favourite products of 2013....


 

Foundation - Although this was only discovered late October, the Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation has become my daily staple and barely one day has gone by when I haven't been wearing it since I got it. I didn't expect to like it but was pleasantly surprised by how lightweight it felt, how long it lasted, the lovely matte-but-not-too-matte finish and the fantastic coverage it offers. I currently do have to mix the two lightest shades to get the right colour which is the only draw back but it is extremely affordable at only £5.99 for 30ml.

Mascara - There have been two stand out mascaras for me in 2013 and both are from the master of mascaras - Maybelline. I am slightly torn between The Falsies Volum' Express Waterproof and The Rocket Volum' Express Waterproof as both have great longevity, hold a curl and give both volume and length to lashes. As long as I have one of these bad boys in my make up bag at all times, I will never need to try another mascara.


Blusher - My most used blusher this year has to be the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Dollface, a beautiful blue toned pale pink which is perfect for pale skin all year round. In close second would be Bobbi Browns Pot Rouge in Pale Pink!


Eyeshadow - I am definitely going through an eyeshadow phase at the moment. I am slowly building up my MAC eyeshadow palette and am completely in love with it. My most worn and loved shades are MAC's Patina and Sumptuous Olive. Both can be worn as a one wash colour over the lid or paired with other shades for a more sophisticated look. I do however also have to mention Maybelline's Colour Tattoo in On and On Bronze as this product lives in my everyday makeup bag. Again it is perfect for a simple one-shade eye look but also works fantastically as an eyeshadow base and makes colours such as Patina and Sumptuous Olive really pop!
 

Lips - My favourite lip product is MAC's Patisserie Lipstick, a beautiful brown-pink toned nude which can be worn for any ocassion. If I am ever in doubt as to which lipstick to wear I simply put on Patisserie and voilá! Even better, it feels hydrating and smells delicious! The other lip product I must mention is the e.l.f Lip Exfoliator, a sugar scrub in lipstick form which exfoliators and moisturises the lips, it's so yummy!


Powder - Although I have a feeling that the Guerlain Meteorite Pearls will become my most used powder of 2014 (see this post) I got it at the end of 2013 so I can't yet call it a favourite. Instead, my most used powder in 2013 was the Clinique Redness Solutions Powder, a yellow powder used to cancel out red undertones in your complexion. It is a very fine powder and therefore, almost undetectable on the skin.


Primer - Unfortunately I failed to find a great face primer this year, although many of them smoothed out the surface of my skin, they didn't help the longevity of my foundation, in fact I found that most of them had the opposite effect. I did however, find a holy grail eyelid primer - e.l.f Eyelid Primer. I did also love the Urban Decay Primer Potion, but I found that the e.l.f alternative worked just as well and it costs only £1.50!!

Eyebrows - During my quest for the perfect eyebrow product (see post here) I found the Une Eyebrow Pencil in B05 which has now become my perfect eyebrow product. It is a great colour, having no red undertones (something I found difficult to find) and a soft formula making it easy to apply and almost blend in to the eyebrows with a spoolie for a natural finish. I'm still on my first but will definitely repurchase when it runs out.


Concealer - The perfect concealer is still something that evades my grasp and I currently have to mix two to get the right consistency and colour - Maybelline's SuperStay 24hr Concealer in Shade 2 and Collection's Lasting Perfection Concealer in Fair. Maybelline's SuperStay has the best consistency and staying power for blemishes but I haven't been able to track down the lightest shade and the shade I have is too dark/yellow for my skintone. This is why I mix it with Collection's Lasting Perfection (which is too pale).

Eyeliner - I did try and step away from my daily winged liquid liner look but I always end up going back to it, and I only ever use one eyeliner - Maybelline's Master Precise Liquid Liner in Black. It is perfection - easy to use and lasts all day!


Perfume - It is difficult to pick only one perfume as I wear different scents in Spring/Summer and in Autumn/Winter so I have had to pick two. My all time favourite is of course Hugo Deep Red and has been since I was about 18 but this year my favourite summer fragrance was Ghost's Whisper, a floral fragrance with hints of mandarin, star fruit, honeysuckle and jasmine. As for the colder month's my favourite fragrance has been Ghost's Deep Night, a darker scent with hints of apricot, peach, vanilla and amber musks.

Brushes - When it comes to face brushes you just can't go wrong with Real Techniques. My favourite and most-used brushes in 2013 were the Buffing Brush (from the Core Collection) for buffing in foundation, the Powder Brush for setting powder and the Blusher Brush which is perfect for very pigmented blushes as it picks up just the right amount of product to avoid the fine line between blushing beauty and looking like a clown.

There were so many products I loved in 2013 and probably just as many which have been disappointing, perhaps I should do a Pants Products of 2013 post as well?! What were your favourite beauty products of 2013? Let me know by commenting below....

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Thursday, 2 January 2014

Guerlain Météorite Pearls 01 Teint Rosé for Pale Skin


Are these not the most beautiful things you have ever seen?! When my sister asked me for some ideas for Christmas and my birthday, these gorgeous Guerlain Meteorite Pearls in colour 01 Teint Rose were at the top of my wishlist. I have been wanting to try out some illuminating powders recently, as my pale skin can look a little sickly and dull at this time of year, and these pearls are simply stunning. It is the sort of luxurious product I can't justify buying myself when I have to pay for rent and food and instead they make a perfect gift. I literally squealed with joy when I opened the box! 

The Guerlain Meteroite Pearls are described as a "constellation of multi-coloured powders that recreate pure natural radiance. Meteorites pearls are harmonies of 6 coloured pearls to correct and unify the complexion: 2 pastel shades to correct skin tone, 2 unifying shades to even out complexion. 2 translucent light enhancing shades to capture and reflect light to sculpt the face." 

The idea is to soften and illuminate the face to create a radiant glow. As a fair-skinned and rosey-toned gal the colour correcting properties were particularly coveted and the delicious parma violets scent is a bonus. 

To apply you simply swirl a large powder brush over the pearls and sweep over the face. It can be applied all over or just in the high points of the face which naturally catch the light. On very close inspection a slight shimmer is left on the face but this is subtle and in no way glittery.

Guerlain do have a few versions of these pearls, each catered to different skintones with 01 Teint Rose designed to brighten fair and pale complexions and 03 Teint Dore designed for darker skintones. For a comparison 01 Teint Rose, 02 Teint Beige and 03 Teint Dore I recommend reading this post from Delicate Hummingbird - link.  

If you haven't already guessed, I absolutely adore this product. Not only is the packaging beautiful and luxurious (which as much as we don't like to admit it, is important) but the pearls give a healthy radiant glow which is perfect for pale skin. I know that these will become a daily staple in my makeup routine to add that little bit extra, and which will also help to set the rest of my makeup.

Now I think I have expressed my love for these pearls enough, so lets sit back and appreciate the sheer beauty of them....

 
 


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