Thursday 28 February 2013

february favourites

So February's now over and done with, and as we grow ever closer to spring and summer I'm anticipating wearing more natural makeup, and this past month I've been concentrating on trying to find products to make my skin look as flawless as it can get.
Covergirl Natureluxe Foundation - This was included in the package of amazing goodies that Katie sent me from the US, and I honestly think that it's the best drugstore foundation I've ever tried. I am by no means a foundation entrepreneur, but believe me when I say it's good. Really good.
I am in the lightest shade, 305 Alabaster and it suits me rather well, and blends in seamlessly with not too much effort. Covergirl isn't available in the UK and if you don't want to resort to eBay, Max Factor is Covergirl's overpriced counterpart and one of their foundations - most probably this one - surely must have the same formula.

Covergirl Lashblast 24hr Mascara - I'm not going to go too in depth on this one, as I recently did a review of said mascara right here. It's my new holy grail, and again was send all the way from America by the lovely Katie (I'd just like to point out here how much I hate Royal Mail, as she hasn't received her part of the swap from me despite me sending it off over a month ago by airmail. I'm in the process of claiming compensation, but I still am royally *pun intended* pissed off at the postal service.) and I'm already dreading running out of it and having to buy the £12 Max Factor version or paying for shipping on eBay.

I've been enjoying the combination of two concealers for my undereye area, namely the Maybelline SuperStay 24hr concealer in Light, and the MAC Mineralize concealer in NW15. The Maybelline concealer offers great coverage with a natural finish, and the pink tones help cancel out the blueness of my dark circles. I then use the MAC concealer to highlight and brighten the area, and I have a full review of it here, pitted against a different Maybelline concealer.

Last but not least, I have been loving No7's eyeshadow in Wheatsheaf. This colour is a shimmery light peachy beige that I use in the inner corner of my eye or as a sheer wash of colour all over my lid to waken up my eyes. I should point out that No7 has had a complete makeover, and the formula of their eyeshadows may have changed.

What are your favourites for this month?

Monday 25 February 2013

empties #2

Since deciding to start these empties posts I've been flying through a ton of skincare samples, it's so satisfying seeing my sample stash decreasing - and I'm discovering a few new amazing products from the process too!
 Alpha-H Liquid Gold - I received this from WIMH a while ago, and put it to one side as I wasn't entirely sure what it was. Turns out it's a chemical exfoliant that you apply like a toner and leave overnight, and skip the moisturiser. I was so sceptical about this, I never ever skip moisturiser and I've already found some pretty amazing exfoliators but I was completely blown away by this and every time I used it (despite being a tiny 4ml sample, this lasted me a good four or five uses) I woke up to smoother skin with any blemishes or dry patches all but gone.
Repurchase? Yep.

Elemental Herbology Cell Plumping Facial Hydrator & Facial Souffle Overnight Repair Cream - I enjoyed both of these. They added a good dose of moisture to my skin and smelled very natural, but I'm completely put off by the price point. I would expect the pay about £10 each for the full size, £20 at most but not £40+.
Repurchase? No, solely because of the price, however I'd definitely consider purchasing a starter kit.

Cherry Carmex - Argh this stuff is amazing, it's completely transformed my lips and is my holy grail beauty product. The tubes seems to last much longer than the version in the pot, I have no clue why this is but this little tube has lasted me over six months now.
Repurchase? Already have (in my recent haul), my lips can't live without it. I do want to try Blistex at one point though, so after my next tube has run out I think I'll see if that works miracles too.
Murad Time Release Acne Cleanser - My skin didn't like this one bit. After using it for a week little bumps started appearing on my jawline - the ones that look as if they're going to turn into spots but never do. Luckily the sample is not very big and I managed to get through it pretty fast, but it's not suited to my skin at all.
Repurchase? No.

Clean & Clear Dual Action Moisturiser - I've managed to get through three bottles of this moisturiser as it was perfect last summer when my skin was oiler and it helped clear up spots, however I think that my skin has gotten used to it and it's effects have worn off.
Repurchase? Perhaps in the summer if my skin gets oiler again, as it's a great budget moisturiser.

Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Night Cream - In my eyes, Weleda can do no wrong. Every single product I've tried from them has been a winner - probably down to the natural ingredients - and this is no exception. It's got a scent that takes a bit of getting used to (very herbal) but disappears once the cream has been absorbed.
Repurchase - I went in Wholefoods with every intention of buying the full size, but instead left with another version that seemed more suited to my skin type (see my recent haul).

Melvita Rose Nectar Fresh Micellar Water - Believe it or not, this is the first micellaire water I've ever tried, and I have to say I'm converted. My eye makeup was removed so much quicker, especially mascara which makes a change from rubbing my eyes for a few minutes to get everything off.
Repurchase? I have a bottle of Bioderma waiting to be used, and I highly doubt this will match Bioderma's standards if all the hype is to be believed - so I probably wouldn't repurchase, but micellaire water in general gets a thumbs up.

A Graze box also popped through my letterbox, and here are the contents:

Friday 22 February 2013

betrousse summer break box

Betrousse seems to be the least talked about beauty box out there and I for one can't fathom why as I think their concept is brilliant. Their "kits" contain only full-size products, you can see what they contain so no disappointing surprises and the brand itself is French, and they certainly know what they're talking about when it comes to skincare.
I also reviewed the Spring Beauty box, which you can find here.
I am aware that we are very far away from summer at the moment, but let's just cast the title of the box aside for now as the products included aren't specifically aimed towards summer and I'm guessing the makers of this box just couldn't come up with anything else to call it.
The products included are: 
 Benta Berry Moisturising Cream For Girls And Boys, a unisex moisturiser for teenage skin that helps combat blemishes.
 Rose Petal Rain Mist by Cinq Mondes. I'm not entirely sure what this is as at first glance it looks like a body mist, however it doesn't have much scent to it - I'm guessing it's a cooling spray of some sort.
 Nail Art Kit Express. Not the best translation I've ever seen, this jiffy bag kit contains some rhinestones, pink bow stickers and a stick of boxwood, which I think is for nail art or pushing cuticles or something along those lines.
 Orhis Nourishing Face Cream - I like the packaging of this one, it's thin and squeezy. The product inside seems promising too, it contains a lot of natural ingredients and prevents premature ageing.
Lilas Blanc Secret Eclat Jeunesse is another moisturiser (couldn't they have made the contents a bit more varied?) and this one's anti-ageing and organic.

The total value of this box is £109, which is pretty crazy especially as it only costs £19. I actually won this in a competition too, so yeah you could say that I'm well stocked up on face creams for a while. Expect my next mention of a new moisturiser to be around 2015.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

outfit lust: asos + marc b.

Yep, it's another wishlist. Since joining Etail PR I've been contacted a few times with some opportunities to enter competitions, with the entry being a wishlist. I love making wishlists without any reason to anyway, so I jumped at the chance to pick a Marc B. bag and pick out an outfit to go match from ASOS, with the prize being £75 to spend at Marc B. and £175 to spend at ASOS - pretty good, eh?
If you want to enter too you can find the details here.
I picked the most casual bag I could find, and decided to go down the bohemian route with the outfit. I am in love with the flowy lace maxi skirt, which I teamed with a crop top and those amazing brogues. The headband is also something I've been eyeing up recently, although I'm not sure how I would suit a centre parting...

Tuesday 19 February 2013

mini haul

I haven't been buying much lately, I think it's down to so many people doing this 100 day spending ban - it's having an effect on me! Yesterday I decided to wander into town with the intention of claiming a free gift with a voucher I had...and some shopping may have occurred.
The voucher in question was from L'Occitane, they had some kind of promotion on their Facebook with a print-off voucher for a free 30ml hand cream so I popped into a L'Occitane store and picked up the Honey Hand Cream. On the whole I find L'Occitane hand creams to be one of the best kinds I've tried, and the honey scent smells just like the Lush Fairtrade Honey Shampoo (big surprise).
I'm not normally one for MAC collections, the Archie's Girls collection didn't thrill me at all but when I laid my eyes on the Party Parrot lipstick I knew that it would be mine. I stupidly missed out buying it last year with the Iris Apfel collection, which I blame on my stubbornness not to pay £4 for delivery so I made sure to snap it up this time as soon as the Strength collection was released.
I also had a look in Superdrug and treated myself to the Bioré Ultra Deep Cleansing Pore Strips and a back-up tube of Carmex. I've used one of the pore strips so far, and although it worked and removed a few blackheads I think that it's a rip-off, I paid around £8 for six strips and for that price I expect miracles!
The last thing that fell into my shopping basket was the Weleda Iris Hydrating Night Cream - not really much to say about this apart from I needed a new night cream, and Weleda is one of my favourite skincare brands as most of the ingredients are natural.

I'm thinking of buying one of the Rimmel Apocalips, are they worth it? What's your favourite shade?

Sunday 17 February 2013

lashes of london wishlist

A few wishlist posts for Lashes of London have popped up on my Blogger dashboard recently and I really liked the clothes featured, so on a whim I went on their website and I got hooked.
My favourite piece has to be the spotted playsuit, what's better is that it's on sale!
Also, Lashes of London have teamed up with Etail PR to offer £200 to spend on the site. All you have to do to enter is create a collage of your favourite items from the Lashes of London website, but the last day for entering your wishlists is today, so get typing! You can view the full details here.

Friday 15 February 2013

guest post: how do i find out my skin's undertones?

We've all been there, you put your makeup on in the house, go outside and realise you look a hideous shade of orange. This is a nightmare I'm sure we’d all like to avoid and it can be avoided if you match your foundation to your undertones not your overtones. You obviously try and match your foundation to your skin colour but you also need to take into account whether you are warm, cool or neutral toned.
A person with dark skin can have the same undertones as a person with light skin. Once you figure out your skin tone it will help you find makeup, choose clothes and even decide what hair colour would suit you.
First of all let’s go through the different skin tones there are:
Warm - Having a warm skin tone is the most common skin tone to have. You will have a yellow undertone to your skin meaning that you need a yellow based foundation. You would look amazing with peachy/gold/orange blushes to enhance your golden skin tone.
Cool - Cool skin tones have a red or pink undertone to the skin. This means that your foundation is going to need a slightly pinkish tint to it in order to match your face. Jewel colours like sapphire and emerald also look great on you.
Neutral - You’re a combination of the two. If you find that your skin appears to have some yellowish undertones and some pinkish undertones then you are a neutral tone. This means that most colours will suit you but you might be more drawn to one side more than the other. You may need to use a combination of different foundations, try mixing your own palette to try and find your perfect match.

Now that you know what skin tones there are, try some of these tricks to determine yours: 
A tried and tested trick for finding your skin tone is to look at your forearms. Are your veins green or blue? If they are blue you are more likely to be cool toned whereas greenish veins suggest a warm skin tone. 
Your jewellery can be a big indicator in your skin tone. Which colour do you prefer to wear - silver or gold? Is this because it compliments your skin the best? Take a piece of gold and silver jewellery and place them against you cheek, if you look better next to the gold you have a warm skin tone but if you look better next to the silver then your skin tone is cool.
Did you know that you can even check your skin tone using different coloured fabrics? Take a piece of green cloth and a piece of red cloth and hold them up against your face (the same way as the jewellery). Which one looks better against your skin? If the answer is the green one you are cool toned and if it’s red - warm toned. 

Once you have determined your skin tone here are some tips to help you get your makeup just right:
- Take advantage of free testers.
- Test your foundation on your cheek, your jaw and your neck.
- Try at least 3 different shades you think could be a match.
- Try to match foundation to your skin colour and don’t try and get one darker in the hopes it will make you look tanned - this doesn't work.
- Take another look at the testers outside in natural light to find the best shade.
- Take a step back from the mirror and look at your whole face.
- Remember less is more so don’t opt for full coverage unless you absolutely need it - medium coverage should be enough for most people day to day.

Thanks to Ashleigh at House of Fraser for providing the guest post, I certainly learned something new!
*Guest post. Image source: House of Fraser.

Wednesday 13 February 2013

covergirl lashblast 24hr mascara

It's been a while since I've bought a new mascara, so when Katie included this in our swap I saw it as the perfect opportunity to try out something new. I've been using the Covergirl LashBlast 24hr mascara for about a week now and thought it was about time I reviewed it. Yeah, I do reviews now.
This particular formula is the newest in the LashBlast range, but since I haven't used the original or indeed anything else from the range I can't say how they compare.
The wand itself is huge, but presents no problem in covering all my lashes, even the teeny weeny bottom ones. But perhaps you should avoid this if you're scared of stabbing your eyeball out with a mascara wand.
As for the 24 hour effect, they weren't kidding. It stays put with no flaking, smudging or anything of the sort, however the downside of this is that it's an pain to remove and even my Bioderma struggled but I found that an oil-based cleanser (I used the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil) made removal slightly easier.
With just one coat my lashes looked amazing - in terms of volume it packs a punch as well as doing pretty well at holding a curl. It delivers the same effect as false eyelashes in the sense that when you take it off, you'll be wondering where your lashes went. The one fault I can find is that it's not very buildable, with upwards of two coats clumps will start showing up, but on the whole I would highly recommend this if you're in the market for a volumising mascara and I honestly think that I've found my holy grail!
Covergirl isn't available in the UK, but Max Factor pretty much has the identical mascara as both brands are owned by the same company. The problem is that the Max Factor mascara is very overpriced, so if you're desperate to own it your best bet would probably be eBay's international listings.

Oh and yeah, it snowed today.

Monday 11 February 2013

uk magazine freebies - february 2013

I've been on the lookout for magazine freebies for the past few days, and having searched every single magazine rack within a mile of me I have one or two offers to report. I don't have any photos of said freebies as I'm not sure if they tempt me enough to warrant buying the magazine itself. Nevertheless, I can see the free gifts appealing to some and let me know if you plan on picking any of them up!
Good Housekeeping (£3.90) has a choice of two books, The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid or Relish by Prue Leith.

Elle (£3.90) is offering a £20 Kurt Geiger gift card. I'm contemplating getting this, but with Elle having the same freebie about a year ago I now know that it's impossible to spend no more than £20 on the Kurt Geiger website. But I'm eyeing up these shoes and £20 off would soften the blow to my bank balance somewhat. Oh and these are so pretty too...

Have you spied any free gifts that I've overlooked?

Friday 8 February 2013

lovely blogs #4

After remembering to join in with the last few weeks #bbloggers chats on Twitter (if you follow me on Twitter I do apologise as it's about the only thing I talk about) I've discovered one or two new gems in the blogging world, and thought I'd feature them in this post!
Beauty Becky | Beauty, Fashion & Lifestyle Blog
I am so incredibly envious of Becky's blog design - and of her blog in general, really. He reviews are fantastic and even though she's just started her YouTube channel she already seems to be a pro at it!
In the Frow
It's worth following Victoria just for some photos of her hair. Just look at her hair. I'm having a serious case of hair envy. Her blog is amazing too, I love her style and she currently has a giveaway on too!

Have you discovered any great blogs recently?

*Images are not my own. Images are the headers from the bloggers that I mentioned.

Tuesday 5 February 2013

notd | cosmic black

After seeing countless swatches of Illamasqua's Creator nail polish and convincing myself that I needed it, just before clicking the purchase button on Illamasqua's website it crossed my mind to see if there were any dupes. Well Google came up trumps, when I saw comparison photos of Creator vs. a W7 nail polish I saved myself a few pounds and opted for the cheaper alternative.
I don't have many complaints about the formula, it dried quickly and only needed two coats but (as is true for all W7 polishes that I've tried) the chemical smell is stronger than most nail polishes and definitely needs to be applied with a window open. Application was easy thanks to the large brush, however as I haven't tested the polish for longevity I can't comment on that although previous W7 nail polishes have never lasted more than four days on my nails.
The colour itself is black with silver sparkles, not extremely unique but the glitter does add some dimension to an otherwise plain manicure. And the price of this little beauty? £2, with free postage from this website. And £1 off your order if you like their Facebook page - not too shabby for a dupe of a £13.50 Illamasqua varnish!
W7 75 Cosmic Black

Sunday 3 February 2013

usa makeup swap!

So guess what came in the mail yesterday? Only a package from Katie with the contents of our makeup swap, coming all the way from America - this was my first swap I've ever done and I was delighted when I saw that it had arrived!
We both decided on a budget of £20, but then realised that to make it worthwhile we'd have to raise the bar, so we agreed on £35. I'm pretty sure that we both overspent though, I know I did - I spent around £45 plus £10 postage. I mentioned a few specific products that I'd like to try out as well as some ideas of products that I'd heard good reviews about, but I mainly wanted to leave it up to her to send me a few of her favourite things as all I have to go on is reviews, she knows better than I do!
I'm elated with what she sent me, here are the contents:
 covergirl lashblast 24hr mascara - I'm thrilled at receiving this, with it being probably the most raved about mascara on the planet! Katie picked up the newest formula too, it'll be interesting to see if it lives up to it's 24 hour claims as I'm always on the hunt for a mascara that doesn't smudge under my eyes.
• ulta lip crayons in glamour (darker colour) and oh! (lighter colour), these look stunning and having tried very few lip crayons before I'm eager to give these a go.
• physicians formula shimmer strips eyeshadow palette in brown eye candy, I can never have too many neutral eye palettes and the addition of the purple shade is rather interesting, I can't wait to have a play around with this!
• covergirl natureluxe foundation in the lightest shade, 305 alabaster. She said that it used to be her favourite foundation and I've heard nothing but good things about it from various bloggers, the colour looks a pretty good match for my paler than pale skin.
 wet 'n' wild comfort zone eyeshadow palette - another beautiful eyeshadow palette. This one looks handy for travelling since it has eight colours, and I've seen so many rave reviews of the wet 'n' wild eyeshadows that finally owning one makes me a very happy bunny.
• nyx slide on eye pencil in golden bronze. I've swatched this and oh boy is it pigmented, I have very few brown eyeliners that are any good so I'm really glad to have this as the formula seems comparable to the urban decay 24/7 eyeliners. 
• wet 'n' wild lipstick in just garnet. I love my lippies, there's no doubt about that and this lovely red shade is a more than welcome addition to my collection, Katie chose well!
 china glaze get carried away - which being the sad nail polish addict that I am is probably what I'm most excited about. But just look at it.
ASDFGHJKL IT'S GORGEOUS. *please excuse the unpainted fail nails, the nail polish addict in me was having the day off*
Katie also included a letter with a useful overview of all the products and why she chose them - and how pretty is her signature? I'm jealous.

If you want to do a makeup swap, I'd recommend finding someone who's blog you like and lives in a country that has brands you'd like to try and email them, chances are that they'd be as excited by the idea as you are!
I loved doing this swap and I can't wait to do another one, if you ever get the chance to participate in one grab it with both hands as it's really fun.

Check out Katie's blog to see what I got her, I'm sure she'll blog about it as soon as she receives her package!

Friday 1 February 2013

book review - the knife of never letting go

It's been a while since my last book review, honestly I just haven't been reading any particularly gripping books lately or had much time to much reading at all. But through Amazon's suggestions I found this gem of a book and thought I'd share it.
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness is the first part of the Chaos Walking trilogy and as with most books I read, it's a dystopian novel. The main character is Todd, who lives in a village populated only by men, surrounded by Noise - eachother's thoughts. The village has a dark past, and when Todd finds out that he's been fed lies through the other villager's thoughts he runs away and meets the first girl he's ever seen. Together they flee from the population of the village, who chase after them and - ...well, I don't want to ruin the plot too much so I'll stop my (rather crap) synopsis there. I'm really not doing the book justice, just multiply whatever I've made you think of the book by a million and you've got how good it is.
I would say that I enjoyed this as much, if not more than the Hunger Games and am now desperate to read the other two books in the trilogy (the second book is on it's way to me right now). Apparently there's to be a film soon too, I hope that it lives up to the books!
You can buy the book on Amazon here or on the Waterstones website here (they have free UK delivery).