Tuesday 30 April 2013

april favourites

Well April was absolute bliss. Full of studying, revising, cramming, studying and more studying and it only gets better - with next month comes the actual exams. Oh the joys.
Obviously, a full face of makeup is a perfect accompaniment to a day spent indoors doing very little, but even though I haven't been wearing makeup every day a fair few products have still caught my attention. All eyeshadows shown have been swatched over a white base.

I'm not going to harp on about NYX's Jumbo Lip Pencil in Chaos too much, as there already is a whole blog post (here) dedicated to that with lip swatches and everything, oh how I spoil you. But erm... it's good. And I like it.

I've been using Illamasqua's Imagine and Urban Decay's Painkiller (from the absolutely gorgeous Preen palette) for the same job, on my lower lash line for a more subtle way to wear bright eyeshadow. Imagine is a cornflower blue, whereas Painkiller is more of a turquoise colour and I've been alternating between both as I prefer the colour of Imagine, but as it's matte it takes more work to build up the colour than Painkiller does. For a full review of Imagine click here.

Another eyeshadow favourite, and it's the Blooming Eyeshadow Palette in 01 Sweet Pastels from Kiko. So yes, the black eyeshadow is rather pathetic but the other four are gorgeous matte pastel shades that are the embodiment of spring, flowers and all those lovely things. I don't think I've come across such a cheap matte pastel eyeshadow palette before, and the pigmentation isn't half bad either.
I did a full review of this way back when, which includes a rather out of focus photo of how I wear the colours on my eye. So if you want to be subject to that, click here.

As for non-beauty favourites, I've been loving this song and this song as well as listening to the YogPod podcasts at any available moment. I've been getting back into playing the piano much to the delight of my piano teacher, it seems that I will do anything to procrastinate from revising. I've also been introduced to Hershey's Cookies 'n' Chocolate bars, which I fear will take over my life (as well as Jaffa Cakes, damn they're good).

Saturday 27 April 2013

nyx chaos

We've all heard about NYX's Jumbo Eyeshadow Pencils, but what about their counterpart for the lips? I discovered an unloved Jumbo Lip Pencil in my stash and have been using it for the past month - and surprise surprise, it's a bright pink.
Chaos is a hot strawberry pink, not quite fuchsia but certainly in the same realm. This Jumbo Lip Pencil is a dream to apply, it glides on without a hitch and is fairly moisturising. The packaging isn't the best as the lid cracked within the second use, and always ends up covered in gunk. A plus though is that the pencil is one you have to sharpen, I know I'm in the minority here but I prefer that over an automatic pencil as you can always get a sharp point, making it much easier to apply.
I've really been enjoying chubby lip pencils lately (I've been loving an Ulta one too) and my preferred way of wearing them is to apply less than you would to get full-on colour, then buff it in with my finger to stain my lips which gives a more subtle look, and it has the benefit of staying on longer too.

I also got a cheeky little Graze box in the mail...I'm giving it thirty minutes before the entire contents have been devoured. Heads up, you can get your first box free with the code DHW95GKD (free food, c'mon).

Wednesday 24 April 2013

april birchbox

Oh beauty boxes, why can't I quit you?
After the demise of She Said Beauty's beauty box, I've been staying away from any subscription services for a few months (they drain your cash like nobody's business) but was lured back in with an email promising a free "Editor's Pick" box if I signed up with Birchbox. Of course I accepted as I have precious little willpower when it comes to free gifts, it's my kryptonite. Apparently this Editor's Pick box will arrive separately, so I'll keep you posted - but in the meantime, here's April's Birchbox!
 La Société Parisienne De Savons Soap | Weleda Skin Food | Natio Renew Radiance Foam Cleanser | Mirenesse Glossy Kiss in 14 Perfect Kiss | Birchbox Paname Paris Mirror | Gerda Spillmann Renaissance Age Serum

There's some good skincare samples in here, I'm particularly interested in the Natio cleanser as I haven't used a foam cleanser in a while - it's good to see that it's a reasonably sized sample too.
I've been wanting to try out some different serums lately and see if any match up to my beloved Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair so this Gerda Spillmann one couldn't have come at a better time, but I'd have to say that the product I'm most excited for is the Weleda Skin Food sample. My mum used to own a tube of this and whenever I used it, it really helped with any dry patches I had - also Weleda just happens to be one of my favourite skincare brands and in my eyes they can do no wrong.
Although the soap is in gorgeous packaging, my overall reaction to it is rather 'meh'. Useful, yes. Exciting, no.
I'm always happy to see any kind of lip product in a beauty box, and the Mirenesse Glossy Kiss seems right up my alley as at the moment I'm loving these chubby lip pencil types. The colour doesn't seem too bad either, although I haven't gotten around to swatching it on my lips yet.
And the last item, the Birchbox mirror is a nice addition, although the card that comes with the box lists the RRP as £7.50 - slightly optimistic, eh Birchbox?

So the total worth of this box is about £43, and my thought are that the contents are pretty good and I'll get my use out of them all.
I may even stay subscribed, who knows.
To subscribe to Birchbox, click here.

Monday 22 April 2013

key lime pie

I don't think I've talked about baking on here before, which actually rather surprised me as I've always been a fan of baking cakes, biscuits, pies, you name it. I'd like to introduce a few other kinds of post to this blog, I guess my book reviews are a start but although I read a lot most of them I don't think are worth reviewing. I don't want to be branded as purely a beauty blog, as truthfully food is a bigger part of my life than makeup will ever be (although I have to admit makeup is easier to talk about!).
Anyhoo, what I'm trying to get around to saying is that I recently found a book of recipes that I wrote when I was about nine years old, full of my favorite recipes copied out of recipe books. I remember the key lime pie being one of the tastiest so I decided to give it a go!
 Yeah it's a lime pie, and yeah that's a lemon. *I ran out of limes but don't tell anyone, shh it's a secret*

The recipe is adapted from one from a Delia Smith book (original recipe here) and here's my version:
For the base - 120g butter & 225g digestive biscuits
For the filling - zest and juice of three limes, three egg yolks & 400g condensed milk.
You'll also need some kind of flan tin, the website suggests that it's nine inches in diameter.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (gas mark 4).
Melt the butter and crush the digestives until they're almost crumbs. Mix together and press into the flan tin, so it's lining the edges and the bottom. Bung it in the oven for around ten minutes while you make the filling.
Using an electric whisk, mix the egg yolks and lime zest for two minutes, then add the condensed milk a whisk for about another four minutes. Then add the lime juice, give it a quick whisk then pour the mixture on top of the base. This should be in the oven for twenty minutes, and you ought be able to tell when it's ready as your whole kitchen will smell AMAZING. The best part is, it tastes as good as it smells. FYI, it goes surprisingly well with a bit of yogurt.
As the recipe only calls for egg yolks, I had three egg whites left over. I really don't like things going to waste, so... I made meringues. That's problem solving IRL kids, none of this stupid "John had twelve watermelons and he ate five, how many does he have left?" nonsense. Although I doubt kids read this blog. Or that John can manage to eat five watermelons.
Meringues are pretty simple to make (finally back on topic), for every egg white you have use 50g of sugar - so I used 150g of sugar. Using an electric hand mixer, whisk the egg whites for about a minute, then slowly start adding the sugar bit by bit while you're still whisking. Put dollops of the mixture on a tray with some greaseproof paper on it, then leave it in the oven overnight on a very low heat.

This post got a bit more chatty than usual...do you like it? Do you like baking posts? I honestly almost didn't end up publishing this, so please let me know what you think!
Oh, and my mum took these photos, thanks mum!

P.S Lina's got a giveaway running to help people vote for her friend to go to space! Click here to learn more.

Friday 19 April 2013

notd | checkmate

Orly Black Out, Nails Inc Floral Street
There's something very art deco about black and white nail art, I love the graphic, modern feel of it and it never fails to look eye-catching. However, I've always put off doing it myself, the main reason being that I've never found a white nail polish before that is opaque in less than a billion layers.
Well, I've found it. Nails Inc Floral Street is almost completely opaque in two thick coats, which having tried so many white polishes is pretty good going. Sure, there are a few streaks but when you're going to be covering half your nail in black, who's going to notice? Speaking of the black polish, I used Orly's Black Out. It's not the best, but the thin brush comes in handy when doing simple nail art although as you can see from my middle finger, it's not extremely accurate. Also, I do apologize for the bedsheet marks on my nails, I guess painting my nails before bed wasn't the brightest idea I've ever had.
I came up with the designs for my index and middle fingers off the top of my head, I copied the look I did in this nail of the day for my ring finger, and the nail art for my pinkie was nicked off Evelyn's post (who coincidentally used the same white base as me!).

Tuesday 16 April 2013

empties #3

This month may be the month I start to fall behind with my posting, at the moment I'm struggling to think up blog post ideas and coupled with it being exam season (I haven't even started revising, motivation where are you?) I doubt that I'll have the time to write up posts as regularly.
But let's cross that bridge when we come to it, and for now let me share my thoughts on some products I've finished up!
 Lush Tea Tree Water - I've gone through countless bottles of this toner, I use it every day and my skin doesn't feel completely clean if I don't use it. To be honest that's probably just down to habit, but it's got so many good ingredients that it must be doing something, right? It's also great as a refreshing spray in the summer, and Lush also sell another toner water more suitable for dry skin types which I sometimes buy in the winter.
Repurchase? Always.

VO5 Heat Protect Styling Spray - This is a pretty bog standard heat protectant. It's cheap, it's cheerful and that's all I'm looking for - it does the job and I don't feel as guilty subjecting my hair to all the curling, straightening and everything inbetween it has to go through. I wasn't a fan of the cleaning-product style spray though, it seems a good idea but it becomes more of a hassle when you realise that it can only be sprayed when the bottle is upright, which isn't very convenient and I ended up decanting the liquid into an empty spray bottle.
Repurchase? No, I prefer the Schwarzkopf Got2Be Guardian Angel heat protectant and they're virtually the same price.
L'Occitane Immortelle Brightening Hand Care - My past experience with L'Occitane hand creams has been great, but for some reason the one from the Immortelle range just didn't work for me. The scent was lovely and smelled exactly like figs but in terms of moisturisation it didn't do anything at all. I would have to apply the cream three times for my hands to be sufficiently moisturised, but after five minutes my hands would feel - I don't know how to describe it - slightly powdery, if that makes any sense?
Repurchase? No.

Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream - I'm very picky when it comes to moisturisers, and very few manage to solve all my skin's problems. My problem with this is that it felt like a primer, which although it did what it's title promises and made my skin feel smoother, it also felt like it was clogging my pores and didn't provide that much moisturisation.
Repurchase? Nope.

Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel - I don't think my skin is suited to Dermalogica products - although this cleanser removed my makeup well, it stung when I got it in my eyes (and this happens quite frequently because I'm lazy and don't use a separate eye makeup remover). It was a bit too harsh for me and it felt like it was stripping everything from my skin.
Repurchase? No.

Lavera Basis Sensitiv Organic Q10 Hand Cream - For me this was very much a "meh" product. It was nice enough and smelled good, but it just wasn't rich enough to deliver the moisture my hands need. So it's stuck in this limbo, I don't dislike it neither do I like it enough to repurchase, but at least there's one less sample in my overflowing sample drawer.
Repurchase? No.

Saturday 13 April 2013

uk magazine freebies - april 2013

I think that it's fair to say that we're spoilt for choice this month when it comes to magazine free gifts, it seems that every single fashion magazine in my local newsagent has some form of free gift attached to it! Luckily I managed to restrain myself, and I only bought one - is it just me or are the prices of magazines getting higher? I swear that they never used to be so expensive...
I picked up a copy of this month's Red magazine (£4), which has a choice of three skincare products from Aromatherapy Associates. I got a 50ml Hydrating Rose Face Mask that's worth £17, but there's also a 30ml Hydrating Triple Rose Renewing Moisturiser (worth £29!) or a 30ml Hydrating Renewing Rose Cleanser. In the magazine there's also a sniff of Calvin Klein's Euphoria, and a sachet of Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup foundation.

With InStyle (£3.80) there's a 50ml Cowshed body butter, the Slender Cow Extra Firming Body Butter and is apparently worth £10.

Cosmopolitan (£3.60) is offering a 50ml version of Phil Smith's Argan Oil cream, and Company's (£2) free gift is a dual-ended mascara by their own brand, I didn't manage to get a good look at it but I think that one end is supposed to be lengthening and the other volumizing. I've mentioned how much I loved their own brand eyeliner in my march favourites, perhaps their mascara will be as good - I'm planning to buy the magazine, so here's hoping!

Ciate have teamed up with Marie Claire (£3.80) to offer two of their nail polish shades, Sand Dune, a metallic gold and Pocket Money which is a dark pink nude. Truthfully neither of the shades appealed to me enough to warrant getting them, but if you're drawn to either I'd say to definitely snap them up as both are full size and are worth around £9.

Wednesday 10 April 2013

illamasqua imagine

Despite having heard so much about the brand and being intrigued by every new collection that they've came out with, I've never tried anything from Illamasqua before. You'd have thought that I already own a bucketload of their bright lipsticks - they're right up my alley, after all - but no, somehow I've managed to resist temptation so far, although I doubt that will will last much longer and pretty soon I'm bound to give in to the urge to own a colour as far from my natural lip shade as it's possible to get.
But moving on to what this review is supposed to be about - this blue eyeshadow. Got it in a blog sale for a fiver. Hell yeah.
Wearing Imagine on the lower lash line.
Inside the gorgeous packaging lies two grams of a lovely cross between a matte periwinkle and a cornflower blue colour, but if I'm being completely honest I was slightly let down with the pigmentation.
Granted, I did have ridiculously high expectations as amazing pigmentation is what Illamasqua is known for, but I did have to go over the swatch a few times to build up the opacity. But that being said, the shade is completely matte and I really should have applied it wet or used a white base - hello NYX Jumbo Eyeshadow Pencil in Milk - to get the most out of it.
As I'm not quite brave enough yet to use such a bright colour on my lid, I've been applying it on my lower lash line and it's worked amazingly well for that purpose. There's barely any smudging throughout the day and the colour is just as vibrant at the end of the day as it was when I first applied it.
Overall I'm pretty pleased with Imagine, however if you're looking for a superbly pigmented matte blue eyeshadow then keep looking.

Oh, and I've just noticed that 400 of you lovely people are GFC followers (geez, didn't I just hit 300?!), and as a way of saying THANK YOU I shall express my love for you in the form of a few many, many GIFs. So many GIFs in fact,  that I've made a whole page of them. All about just how fabulous you are for reading this blog. Also applies to all you Bloglovers, HelloCottoners, SheSaidBeautyers and the like, I don't discriminate.

Sunday 7 April 2013

notd | nautical navy

Stripes have always been one of my favourite nail designs to do. They're far more interesting than plain nails but are so easy - just stick on two lines of sticky tape onto each nail and paint over with a darker colour. I adore the combination of mustard yellow and navy when it comes to clothes, so it was a no-brainer selecting these two nail polishes even if the overall look is slightly autumnal.
The mustard yellow shade was opaque in only two coats, as was the navy colour. I'm pretty impressed with the coverage of the Manhattan Rocktopia nail polish as any other yellow polishes I've tried take far too many coats to be opaque to bother with; I've never seen the brand before but it was on Fragrance Direct for 99p (and who could resist that) so I may have to try out the other colours they stock.
Also the polish was made in Luxembourg, which for some reason makes me like it even more. I don't know why.

Thursday 4 April 2013

the bright lip

When it comes to makeup, lipstick is my downfall. It's the only type of product I feel comfortable experimenting with vivid colours, and for that reason I'm prone to buying a fair few of them. Believe me, it was difficult selecting my top five and it really all came down to wanting to include something other than just hot pinks, for which I could easily write up numerous blog posts - however I don't want to bore you as to the details of justifying buying two almost identical lipsticks, just because one is slightly more blue toned/smells nice/is limited edition etc so I don't think that post will come into fruition.
So let's settle for this - a post rounding up my current favourite bright lipsticks.
Unless my mind deceives me, MAC Insanely It was my first ever MAC purchase, way back when the Sheen Supreme formula had first came out and was limited edition. The MAC website describes the colour as a watermelon pink, which pretty much hits the nail on the head but I'd say there was a hint of magenta shimmer in there too.
I adore the finish this gives, it's comfortable to wear and you could almost be mistaken for wearing a lipgloss, it's that shiny - which makes sense as the Sheen Supreme formula is a hybrid of a lipgloss and lipstick.
 Revlon Lip Butters, how much more famous can they get? I own the shade Lollipop, a purple-fuchsia with blue undertones, which are very prominent swatched against other pink shades. I don't rate the Lip Butters in terms of moisturising, but my lips are so dry that only the most intensive of lip balms can do any good. On the other hand, the pigmentation is far better than Revlon promises and although it isn't completely opaque, it's definitely more than the sheer coverage Revlon says it offers.
I know it's mean featuring MAC's Party Parrot, seeing as it was limited edition and the only place that I can find online that sells it does so for an extortionate price, but how could I not - it's just so gorgeous. Party Parrot is a bright pinky coral and is a very "loud" colour, when worn on the lips it screams "LOOK AT ME!". There is nothing subtle about this shade.
The colour pay-off is amazing, but there is a price to pay that comes in the form of the matte formula. It definitely is long-lasting, but for my lips not to be in agony (told you they were dry) a hefty layer of lip balm has to be applied beforehand, as well as on top of the lipstick. Nevertheless, I can tell that this shade will be getting a lot of use come the summer.
 Everyone loves a good budget brand, and MUA do not disappoint with their £1 lipstick range. I have a few of their shades, but Shade 13 is the brightest of the lot. It's a bold orange-based fire-engine red that sure does pack a punch with it's pigmentation. It's creamy and glides on with ease, but this may present a problem as it transfers easily and feathers - but hey, it only costs £1, you're never exactly going to get Chanel quality for that price!
 NYX isn't a brand that is readily available here in the UK, which is such a shame as I feel they get overlooked - especially when it comes to their lipsticks. Their colour range is enormous, but despite this I only have one, the Round Lipstick in Femme, a bright orange coral. I don't normally go for coral shades as they never seems to suit me, but somehow Femme doesn't look too out of place with my skin tone. As with the MUA lipstick, the formula is creamy and a dream to apply.

Have you entered my giveaway yet?

Monday 1 April 2013


Exactly one year ago, this blog came to be. My first post was published at just past midnight so it's dated the 2nd of April, but let's not get into technicalities. I remember staying up all night writing that first post and designing the (bad) header and layout - thankfully I've changed that now. This past year has flown by so quickly and this little blog has become such a large part of my life, it's grown so much and I honestly still can't get my mind round the fact that anyone wants to read it.
Whether you've just found this blog or have been a reader from the start, thank you so much! Look, I even baked a cake for you.
Following this recipe minus the coconut and frosting.

*The giveaway is now closed but you can still do the easter egg hunt!*

So to say thank you for supporting me however long you've been reading, and to show my appreciation I thought it was only appropriate to hold a small giveaway (don't get excited, it's nothing spectacular). And because it is Easter after all, I might as well send you on an Easter Egg hunt. Here's how it works:

At the bottom of this post there is a simple question (which will be easy to google if you don't know it). Once you've found the one-word answer, you type it into the URL at the top of your browser after my blog's homepage name.
Example: What is the third word of the name of the man with the suit and top hat in Monopoly? Rich Uncle _________?
The answer is Pennybags, so you would put cloudsandcuticleoil.blogspot.co.uk/pennybags into the URL which would take you to a hidden page containing the next question. There are three questions to answer and the last page will show exactly what I'm giving away and a Rafflecopter widget where you can enter. I'm messing with stuff I've never used before, so please email me or leave a comment if something isn't working but first make sure that:
-  There are no capital letters.
- You've spelled your answer correctly.
- Also if you're answering the second and third questions, take away the p/ and the .html at the end.

Got it? Good.

What is the name of the donkey in Winnie the Pooh?