Thursday, 27 February 2014

Beauty Travel Tip - How To Travel Light

We would all like to take our favourite beauty lotions and potions on holiday with us, but airport weight restrictions and tiny suitcases don't always allow it, so I thought I would share a little tip to help you travel light. A tip that I am currently using to pack for a mid-week city break to Berlin with the hubby!

I bought these empty plastic travel containers in Savers for a few pound, which allow you to easily decant your favourite products for travelling ease. You get one atomiser spray bottle, one bottle with a screw cap and another with a pump, as well as two small pots and a mini funnel to help pour your products without creating a mess, all in a handy transparent wash bag.

I have filled my bottles with conditioner, shampoo and shower gel and used one of the little pots to house some of my Body Shop Aloe Day Cream, my current choice of moisturiser as it's nice and thick, hydrating and perfect for sensitive skin. The hair conditioner is completely the wrong consistency to keep in the atomiser bottle so I would have preferred two pump bottles, but I can just unscrew the lid in order to use it.

The other travel essentials I am packing in this wash bag are a mini perfume atomiser bottle (a dupe of the handy Travalo which I bought on ebay for a couple quid - see this post) which is much easier to travel with than a full sized perfume bottle and this mini bottle of Hask Argan Oil which I got from Primark, which smells gorgeous and leaves your hair lovely and soft.

No longer do I need to pack full sized shampoo and conditioner bottles for a three day mini-break and instead can save some space in my suitcase for the inevitable holiday shopping spree, now that sounds like a plan! 

Although I bought this set in Savers, I have seen similar sets in Boots, Superdrug, Primark and Wilkinsons (link), here is a link to a similar set on Amazon - link

Do you have any beauty travel tips?

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Sunday, 23 February 2014

MAC Mineralise Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle

Yet another product that has been added to my makeup bag in my quest for a healthy 'glow' this winter is this MAC Mineralise Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle, a beautiful champagne-pink highlighter.

MAC describe Soft and Gentle as "a luxurious velvet-soft powder with high-frost metallic finish" which can be used as a highlight or as a "deluxe polish" for the face.

This baked powder appears to be an almost bronze-pink in the pan and because of the gold shimmer I was worried that it would be too harsh on my pale skin, but after reading a number of fellow pale bloggers raving about it, I decided to give it a go. The peachy-pink tones actually complement cool-toned pale skin perfectly and it leaves a luminous highlight on the cheekbones which, when applied with a light-hand, can be quite subtle. I like to use the Real Techniques Blusher Brush and I always make sure I tap off any excess powder before applying it to the face.

This is a fantastic product for adding an instant glow with very little effort and would be perfect for bridal makeup as it really is something quite special. Although the MAC Mineralise Skinfinishes are quite pricey, (£22) you get 10g of product and due to the tiny amount needed for each application, I can imagine this one lasting for years, even if I used it every day.

I have read that the shimmer particles can emphasise pores and fine lines so it may be best to avoid the Mac MSFs if this could be a problem for you.

I personally love this highlighter and know that I will get a lot of use out of it to brighten up my complexion on dull skin days, especially in winter. But not to worry, I saw my first tree in blossom yesterday so Spring is definitely on its way!

Have you tried any of the MAC Mineralise Skinfinish products?

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Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Everyday Nude Lipsticks

I have been trying to make more of an effort to wear lipstick on an everyday basis instead of just relying on some trusty lipbalm. I like the idea of the 'my lips but better' lipstick as it adds a bit of extra colour and shine without the high-maintenance of a bold lip look.

The Revlon Lip Butter in Pink Truffle is similar to a tinted lip balm in that it provides quite a sheer wash of colour on the lips but it has a slightly stickier formula and a bit more pigmentation. Pink Truffle is a muted pink which leans more on the brown side, I actually prefer to pat this on to the lips and blend it in with my finger for a slightly subtler look. Although it is quite glossy it can be a bit drying on the lips but it's still a lovely low maintenance easy everyday lip option. 

MAC Lipstick in Patisserie was my favourite lip product of 2013 (see 2013 Beauty Favourites here). It is such a great 'my lips but better' lipstick. MAC describe it as 'a sheer creamy neutral pink' which I think is quite accurate. It has a very slight shimmer and glides on effortlessly for a satin finish, it also smells amazing. The only downside is that is doesn't last very long on the lips but this could be because of the delicious smell and my habit of licking it off.

Out of the four, the lipstick with the best lasting power is the Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick in Asia so I guess it has been named appropriately. The shade Asia is a brown-pink nude and I would say it has a very slight mauve undertone. This is easily the most pigmented of the bunch as well. I first bought this about 6 months a go, considered it too dark for me and left it abandoned at the back of the drawer until recently when I thought I would give it another try and changed my mind. To make it a little more wearable I apply it straight from the bullet and then blend it in with my finger which makes it less harsh with my skintone. This is fast becoming my favourite choice in the morning.

The Clinique Butter Shine Lipstick in Pink-a-Boo really is buttery soft and very hydrating. It is more on the pink side of things and has a fair amount of golden shimmer so it may not necessarily be classed as a nude but it's sheer finish makes it a very wearable everyday shade. I like to wear this one when I want something a bit girlier that is still appropriate for work. Unfortunately, the buttery texture does mean that it doesn't last that long but it's a great lippy to keep in your handbag for a quick and easy pop of colour.

What are your favourite everyday nude lipsticks?

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Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The Liebster Award

I am a very lucky girl indeed and was recently nominated for the Liebster award by Sian at Pretty Possessive (link) and Kate at Talking Transplants (link), thank you so much girls I really appreciate it!

If you don't already know, the Liebster Award is a fantastic way to show your support to other bloggers, to let them know that you love their blog and to possibly find new blogs to read along the way.

The person nominating will pick blogs (with less than 200 followers) that they love and 'nominate' them, they then let the blogger know they have been nominated and give them 11 questions to answer which can be questions about their blog, their personal life or a mixture of both. The nominee then has to answer the questions, before nominating different blogs themselves and creating a new set of questions.

I think it is a fantastic way to find new blogs, and spread the love in the blogging community.

Sian has a gorgeous blog which has a great balance of beauty and fashion posts, I highly recommend checking it out if you haven't already!

Here are my questions from Sian....

1. Where do you see yourself being in 5 years time? I have never been a particularly ambitious person, I quite like the quiet life. In 5 years time I'll be 31 so I hope my husband and I will have a nice house that we can call our own and hopefully we will start a family =) It would also be nice to have a creative job that I am both good at and enjoy.

2. What is the best beauty product you have ever bought? Wow that has got to be the hardest question for a beauty blogger!  I'm not sure I really have one ultimate favourite beauty product I couldn't live without but I am currently obsessed with building my MAC Eyeshadow Palette!

3. Do you have a favourite item of clothing? If so, what is it? It has to be my wedding dress, I absolutely adore it and it breaks my heart that I can't wear it again, I might have to have a 'Friends' moment and just wear it while I'm doing the washing up like Monica lol.

4. Have you ever moved house? How many times? I have lived in 3 different homes with my family, one with my husband and lived in three different places as a student at University. The worst has to be when I lived with 6 boys and we had rats and slugs every where, the student life was such a glamorous life!!

5. If you could have any pet, what would it be? A cat definitely. I love cats and had two when I was growing up. I have already made my husband promise we can have a cat when we get a house (a second floor flat just isn't suitable).

6. Tea or coffee? Tea. I keep trying to make myself like coffee but it just isn't working.

7. What's your favourite place that you have ever visited? That's hard, in 2010 my friend and I inter-railed around Europe for about 5 weeks and we went to so many amazing places! I am a bit of an ancient history geek and wrote my dissertation on the Acropolis in Athens so it as amazing to finally see it in person, there is also the remains of an ancient city in Turkey called Ephesus which literally took my breath away!

Ephesus in Turkey

8. If you could only have three types of food for the rest of your life, what would they be? Pizza, pasta and chocolate. What more could a girl want??

9. What type of music do you like and who is your favourite artist / band? I have never really been that in to music but my favourite band of all time is Snow Patrol , they were amazing when I saw them live (and I usually hate live music!)

10. Do you have a favourite perfume, and what is it? Yes, my all time favourite perfume is Hugo Deep Red and I have been wearing it since sixth form but I have discovered some amazing perfumes this year so it's nice to switch it up a bit.

11. In no more than 3 sentences, if you could give a piece of advice to your 11 year old self, what would it be? I would tell myself not to take everything so seriously, to surround myself with people who make me happy and be confident in my own views and opinions.

Kate's blog is a mixture of beauty, lifestyle and health posts so there is something for everyone. She has a really positive outlook on life which is very inspirational!

Questions from Kate....

1. When did you become interested in Beauty & Why? I became interested in makeup when I had a bad makeup trial for my wedding and realised I would have to do it myself, I became addicted to beauty blogs when doing research about which products I should buy and even though I got married 11 months ago I just haven't been able to stop.

2. What one memory would you love to relive? I would love to re-live meeting my husband for the first time, we were both only 16 and were probably both really young and stupid, it would be really funny and also weird to think that we would become a couple 5 years later and then married 3 years after that.

3. What is your one fashion staple? I'm not sure I really have a fashion staple, my style is pretty simple and I try to stick to what works for my body type. In the winter I always have a hat! From October to March I won't leave the house without one.

4. Do you prefer high end or high street..or both? For clothes high-steet but for makeup I love high-end products, they aren't necessarily better but they just look and feel more luxurious, however the are far too expensive so the majority of my makeup (especially daily staples) are high-street.

5. What made you choose your blog name? I have always been a creative person, I used to paint a lot and do crafts so my mum said I should buy my own little shop to sell it all and call it Nicki's Nick-Nacks and the name just stayed with me.

6. Would you ever make YouTube as an extension of your blog? I love watching beauty channels on YouTube and I think it's a fantastic way to promote your blog but I absolutely hate seeing myself on camera and hearing my own voice so it would just make me cringe too much.

7. Who is your favourite Blogger? I'm not sure I could pick just one favourite blogger, however one of my favourites and the first blogger I properly started following was Simone from Simone Loves Makeup (link), she has a beautiful blog and a YouTube channel. She's Irish but lives in Dubai and I could just listen to her accent all day, she has a great sense of humour.

8.Natural Makeup or Smokey Makeup? That really depends on the day, although natural makeup is far more appropriate for work, I enjoy doing my make up so much sometimes I can get a little carried away.

9. How often do you share your blog with people you meet day to day? My friends and family all know about my blog and I often share links to my latest posts on facebook but I don't really mention it at work.

10. If you could meet one blogger / youtuber who would you choose? If I could meet one blogger or youtuber it would probably be Louise from Sprinkleofglitter (link), I think she's hilarious, really down to earth and comes across as very honest, I love watching her videos particularly with her daughter Darcy they're just comedy gold!

11. Do bloggers influence things you buy / try out very often? All the time! The majority of my makeup collection is down to recommendations and reviews from other bloggers. It just makes sense to see if other people liked a product before you spend your money on it, if there are a lot of negative reviews it might not be worth the purchase.

My nominations are...

Bekki from Inguz Fashion
Masha from Masha's Mumbles
Ash from Rambles of a Beauty Addict
Lydia from Florabundance
Lucy from xolucy
Kirsty from Kizzy Hearts

And my questions for these lovely bloggers are....

1. If money was no object, which beauty product would you buy?
2. What is your favourite book of all time?
3. Where is your favourite place in the world?
4. Milk chocolate, white chocolate or dark chocolate?
5. What is the most disappointing beauty product you have ever purchased?
6. What would your perfect relaxing Sunday be?
7. What is your favourite TV show?
8. Which is your favourite season and why?
9. If you could meet one blogger/youtuber who would you pick?
10. What is your favourite item of clothing?
11. What is your favourite thing about blogging?

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Thursday, 13 February 2014

FOTD - Glowy Complexion

If you read my January Favourites post, you'll know that over the last month I have been doing my best to inject some luminosity in to my complexion so I thought I would do a 'face of the day' to show you some of the products I have been loving for this very job.

I started by prepping my skin with the Simple Hydrating Light Moisturiser and then using some L'oreal Lumi Magique Primer on the high points of my face such as my cheekbones and avoiding any blemish prone areas (mainly the chin area). This is a new product which I have only been using for about a week but I love the pearlescent light-reflecting appearance and the smooth lotion like texture.

For foundation I opted for my Nars Sheer Glow in Mont Blanc (applied with my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush) as it is thinner than my Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation and will therefore allow the Lumi Magique Primer to show through more, it also has a dewy finish as opposed to the matte finish the Rimmel foundation. I used Collection's Lasting Perfection Concealer in Fair under the eye and this concealer mixed with the Maybelline SuperStay 24hr Concealer in shade 2 for blemishes.

For blusher I used my Stila Convertible Colour in Lilium which is a cream blusher that gives a healthy and dewy finish and sits well both with the primer and foundation. To finish off the skin I used a light dusting of the Guerlain Meteorite Pearls in Teint Rose on my T-zone. These powder pearls leave a beautiful subtle shimmer on the face which prevents an overly matte finish whilst still setting my makeup.

I decided to keep the eyes quite simple so curled my eyelashes and applied the Maybelline Volum' Express The Rocket Waterproof Mascara to add length and volume and then used the Maybelline Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner to create a winged liner effect. I then used the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eyeliner Pencil in West to add some definition to the lower lash line.

For brows I used my Une Eyebrow Pencil in B05 and softened the lines slightly with a spoolie. To finish off the look I used the Revlon Lip Butter in Pink Truffle, an easy everyday nude glossy lip balm.

I really like this natural glowy makeup look and have a feeling I will be wearing it a lot this month.

Do you have any of these products? Which products do you use to create a glowy complexion?

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Monday, 10 February 2014

MAC Eyeshadow Palette Update

I can't believe I only have 4 more MAC eyeshadows to get until my palette is full. My husband bought me the MAC palette and 15 pan insert for my birthday which I think is about £25 for the set. You can use the palette without the pan insert if you have more than 15 eyeshadows but I can't imagine I would buy more than 15 and I think it looks nicer with the insert.

Here are the eyeshadows currently in my palette....

Vanilla - Velvet Finish - Soft pale peachy-ivory flecked with shimmer - This is actually my least favourite shadow in the palette. I was looking for a perfect highlight shade but the texture can be quite hard to work with. I find that it lacks pigmentation and can look a little chalky. But don't worry this is the only one I have been disappointed with so far.

Coquette - Satin Finish - muted greyish taupe - I bought Coquette as I was looking for a cool toned mid-brown to use in the crease to blend out other shades and was drawn to this one because of it's taupe, and in some lights almost khaki-green, undertones. Because of this I find it works particularly well with green toned eyeshadows.

Wedge - Matte Finish - Soft warm beige taupe - Although MAC describe this as a taupe, Wedge was actually my warmer toned mid-brown choice, again great for crease work. I wanted something a bit warmer than Coquette but not too warm (orange toned) due to my pale skin and this is a perfect balance. 

soft warm beige taupe
soft warm beige taupe
soft warm beige taupe
Patina -  Frost Finish - Subdued olive brown with with a reddish golden sheen - Patina is one of my favourite shades, beaten only by Sumptuous Olive. I would personally describe it as a cool toned taupe brown with antique-y gold shimmer. I think it is one of those shades that can look very different on different skintones and paired with different eyeshadows. It is adaptable and versatile and above all just really beautiful! 

Tempting - Lustre Finish - Sinfully rich cocoa - I bought Tempting as I was looking for a powder eyeshadow which is a similar shade to the Maybelline Colour Tattoo in On and On Bronze and I think this is pretty close. It is a beautiful warm brown with gold shimmer/glitter. I was worried about the pigmentation of this one as MAC Lustre's don't have the best reputation but it is very pigmented and easy to apply with only minimal fall out. This shade could be duped with Urban Decay's Smog (found in the Naked Palette).

Sumptuous Olive -Veluxe Pearl Finish - Subdued khaki with metallic coat - This is my favourite shade in the whole palette and my most-used by far. It is a beautiful olive green with golden shimmer with fantastic pigmentation and the Veluxe Pearl Finish means it applies beautifully. This is a perfect one shade eye look option and my go-to choice for quick and easy morning application.

Club - Satin Finish - Muted reddish brown with green opalescent shimmer - Club is the most unusual eyeshadow in my palette. It is a duo-chrome shadow with a warm red-brown base and teal green shimmer. When patted on to the lid the green shimmer really stands out and when blended the red-brown tones are more prominent. I love how unique this shade is and it's one of my favourites for nights out (not that they happen very often!)

Espresso - Matte Finish - Muted golden brown - I originally bought Espresso to use for my eyebrows but it is far too warm in colour and can appear a bit orange in my brows. I therefore now use it as a crease and outer-v colour to add dimension to the eye. One of my favourite go-to looks is Sumptuous Olive on the lid and Espresso in the outer-v and blended up in to the crease. Simples.

Shale - Satin Finish - Muted mauve-plum with subtle shimmer - I'll be honest, I was hoping that Shale would be more purple in colour than it actually is and was therefore a little disappointed with it. It does seem to lack some pigmentation and needs to be built up quite a lot in order to get the colour I was hoping for, but, once there, it is lovely. As a cool-toned purple I think this one is particularly pretty on pale skin and would look amazing with green eyes.

Satin Taupe - Frost Finish - Taupe brown with silvery bronze shimmer - Taupey shades are always the hardest to describe. Like Patina I think Satin Taupe can look very different depending on skintone. On some is appears almost purple and on others it is brown. On me, the colour definitely leans more towards brown (although I would have loved it to be more more purple), I do however, still love this shade and pair it most often with Patina.

Smut - Velvet Finish - Charcoal with red frost - I am not sure I would agree with the description of this one. To me this is a charcoal with purple undertones and if there is any red frost it really isn't worth mentioning. This is a perfect softer alternative to the traditional black for smoking out an eye look or as an eyeliner. I was hesitant to buy a boring matte black for my palette and am glad that I got this instead.

So that is my MAC eyeshadow palette so far. I have 4 spaces left and have no idea what to fill them with. I am tempted by Naked Lunch as I would like a pinky-champagne shade for an easy all-over-the-lid option. Any other recommendations??.....

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Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Blogging Tip - Photography In Low Light

Taken without flash on a low-light camera setting.
Taken with flash.
Taken with daylight lamp.

Just a quick blog post for today guys, I went shopping today and just had to show you this nifty little lamp that I picked up. Not only do I hate winter because it is cold and wet but also because the lack of daylight can be a real pain when it comes to taking blog photos.

I have been on the lookout for a daylight bulb to go in one of my lamps at home but they are surprisingly difficult to find on the high-street (I guess most people prefer softer mood lighting in their homes). On a spontaneous shopping trip to Hobbycraft with my mum today I saw this daylight lamp and thought it would be a perfect solution to my lighting issues. It was £20 and although it isn't the most attractive lamp in the world, it does fold up quite small.

I have to say it is really useful! I have included some photos above to show you the difference it makes. The first product photo was taken on a low-light setting on my new bridge camera, which can actually be really helpful on it's own but these photos were taken just before 5pm (which being February means it's basically almost night-time lol) and I think it was just a bit too dark for it to cope.

The second photo shows the same set up and the same lighting but with the flash on. This does help to get better colouring but a flash can be a bit too harsh sometimes and can create an uneven light in a photo set-up (darker around the edges). The third product photo is without flash and with the help of the daylight lamp directly above. I kept the camera setting exactly the same for all three photos. I am so impressed with the difference it makes. The good thing about this lamp is that you can adjust the position to direct the light to a specific area or use it directly above your photo composition.

The lamp is the PURElite Portable Lamp and it is low heat, energy saving and long life apparently. I honestly have only used this today but I think it is going to become my new blogging best friend! I have done a quick google search and have found the same lamp on Amazon - link if you're interested, although it seems to be a couple of pound more than in Hobbycraft.

They did have fancier and bigger lamps but they very quickly went up in price so I thought I would try this one out first.

Do you have any blogging photography tips that other bloggers may find useful? Please share in the comments below....

P.S Please excuse my lack of ironing on my table runner! Seriously, who has time for ironing?!

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Saturday, 1 February 2014

January '14 Favourites

I am so over winter. I have been suffering with a severe case of the January blues and the cold weather has been playing havoc with my skin. It's dry and dull and in desperate need of some vitamin D, so for the last month my makeup has been all about injecting some life and luminosity in to my complexion.

Benefit High Beam

After reading Hannah's review ( of the Rimmel Stay Matte Mousse, where she recommended mixing it with Soap and Glory's Bright Here Bright Now, I thought I would give a similar thing a try and mix in some Benefit High Beam.

High Beam (a pink-silver liquid highlighter) seems to work in a similar way to the Soap and Glory product in that it sheers out the Rimmel foundation and adds a gorgeous but subtle glow. If you found the Rimmel Stay Matte Mousse Foundation to be too heavy or too matte I would really recommend giving this a try as it gives a beautiful finish.

Guerlain Meteorite Pearls in Teint Rose 

I have been using these Guerlain Meteorite Pearls constantly since I got them for my birthday. Not only do these pearls help to colour correct but the tiny shimmer particles reflect light to create a radiant glow. The Teint Rose pearls look particularly beautiful on pale skin. See full review here.  

MAC Mineralise Skin Finish Soft and Gentle

The MAC MSF in Soft and Gentle is pretty much a cult product in the beauty blogosphere and after reading positive review after positive review I just couldn't help myself. I did have a gift voucher from Christmas to use so ordered this and couple of eyeshadows to add to my ever-expanding MAC palette. I believe my first words when I swatched this were 'ooooohhh sooooo prettty!' and pretty much every time I've used it after that. This is a beautiful champagne-pink highlighter with gold shimmer which adds a beautiful glowing flush of colour to cheek bones. It is simply stunning. 

Stila Convertible Colour in Lilium

In another attempt to add a healthy glow to my complexion I have been favouring cream blusher over powder blusher this month. I have fallen back in love with my Stila Convertible Colour in Lilium as it has quite a unique sheer almost lipgloss-like sticky finish which catches the light to give a dewy appearance. In fact I love it so much I have just ordered another one in the shade Petunia.

Revlon Lip Butter in Pink Truffle

MAC Patisserie is my favourite nude lipstick but I have been looking for a cheaper high-street alternative for everyday use, something a bit sheerer. I bought the Revlon Lip Butter in Pink Truffle quite a while ago but recently re-discovered it. I previously thought that it was a bit too brown-toned but when patted on to the lips lightly it gives a natural and glossy 'my-lips-but-better' look. 

Burt's Bees Lipbalm

Not only has my complexion been dry and suffering from the cold weather, but my lips have been pretty awful too. For Christmas my sister gave me a Burt's Bees gift set and the lip balm has been an absolute god-send this month. It has a lovely peppermint scent and the texture is not overly slippery but more of an almost semi-matte finish which means it stays on my lips longer than other lip balms and as opposed to lip balms such as the Maybelline Baby Lips, the Burt's Bees one really feels like it it making a difference to the condition of my lips in the long run, instead of simply sitting on my lips for temporary aesthetic improvements only. 

This has become my favourite lip balm to keep on my bed-side table to apply last thing at night to work it's magic whilst I sleep.  

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in West

Another gift from my sister this Christmas (I know, she spoils me!) was the Urban Decay Black Market 24/7 Glide-On Pencil Set, a set of 6 amazingly soft and pigmented eyeliner pencils, with a mixture of neutral and more colourful shades but all perfectly wearable. My most worn shade this month has been West, a warm chocolate brown for a nice neutral eye look. Full review with swatches coming soon....

What have been your favourite products for the last month? Are you as glad to see the back of January as I am? Let me know by commenting below....

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