29 Jan 2015

Latest In Beauty - Get The Gloss Beauty Insider's Kit

Latest In Beauty Get The Gloss Latest In Beauty Get The Gloss Beauty Insider Kit Latest In Beauty Get The Gloss Beauty Insider's Kit

Beauty boxes and me have had a very rocky relationship, I'm not one for surprises so I guess the whole concept of a surprise beauty box each month was always doomed to fail where I'm personally concerned. Having said that there are a few beauty boxes floating around which allow you see what's inside them before you purchase them which in my opinion is a much better concept as this helps to remove a lot of disappointment. 

Just last week I was kindly offered the chance to try out the new Latest in Beauty Box which is currently in collaboration with Get the Gloss. Over the time in which I have been aware of Latest in Beauty I have always admired the boxes that they have put together, they've always seemed extremely well thought out and presented; the latest edition is of course no exception. The Latest in Beauty Beauty Insider's Kit* features nine different brands which will kick start you into 2015. From Essie, Glamglow, Shiseido and Laura Mercier there are a number of brands that I recognised as well as a few new ones that I was introduced to.

Starting off with skincare there is a nice little selection of products here, firstly the Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate (30ml) is a serum from what I understand which helps to protect the skin from day to day damage and signs of ageing. I must admit it's a new one to me but I'm really looking forward to giving it a try. Next up there is the Balance Me Radiance Face Oil (10ml) which I have tried before and really liked, this is a really nice and hydrating product that I like to use before bed in order to give my skin some TLC when it's suffering from dehydration. Another new brand to me was the Therapie Roques Oneil Cherish Skin Repair Serum (30ml) which I have to say smells incredible; again this is a serum which helps to protect the skin against environmental pollution. As well as this it also aims to boost micro circulation in the skin, so if it works just as good as it smells then I think we will be onto a winner. One of the products I was looking forward to trying the most was the Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment (10g) which I had read countless things about. I've already tried this as I just couldn't wait any longer and can confirm that it is without a shadow of a doubt the best clay mask that I have ever tried; I have never seen my t-zone look as clear as it has. Yes it is expensive but I'm seriously considering picking this up in a few month's time.

Moving onto make up products and tools there are a few nice treats to be found within this box. Starting off with the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer (30ml) I'd say that the inclusion of this inside the box is one of my favourite aspects alongside Glamglow. This is a primer that I actually have myself and it is one that I have used for the last six months; I think it's the best one that I have tried yet so it's nice to see this included. It's also worth noting that I have used mine a lot and have exactly the same size as this and it is still going strong therefore I think that this is a pretty generous size. There are also two mini Essie (5ml) nail polishes included, Shearling Darling is a deep wine shade which is a great choice for this time of year and Parka Perfect is a grey toned with shimmer inside. For the eyes there is an Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eye Liner (2g) which again is something I have tried in the past, it's a good little liner in my experience so it's nice to have a backup as mine is starting to dry up a little now. The James Read Sleep Mask Tan (25ml) is a product that is brand new to me and if I'm honest is one that I probably won't use, I'm not a big fake tanner anyway let alone for my face so I'll probably pass this onto a friend. Finally there is the Daniel Sandler Concealer Brush (full size) which I have to say is super light and pretty small too, I'm looking forward to trying this out tomorrow morning before I head off to university.

There is also a little leaflet with various discounts and offers on the brand websites that have been featured within this collaboration, I'm currently eyeing up the Glamglow one that's for sure!

Overall I'm really impressed by this box as every product barring one item is one that I would use and in some cases I have already purchased myself. The contents together are worth a total of £116 however it can be yours for just £19.95 plus p&p. I think this will be really popular as there are some really great products within this collaboration, if only all beauty boxes could be this good!


27 Jan 2015

Things I've Learnt About Blogging

Things I've Learnt About Blogging

My little space here will be three years old in March, where whilst looking back across my archives I realise I have never really written down in any great detail the various things that I have learnt about blogging over this period of time. From initially setting out to just write about mascara I was incredibly oblivious to this online community and the wonderful people within it. I have to say that when I sat down to plan this post I thought of a lot more things than I expected to so I'll try to keep it short and snappy but still informative.

It's not a race | The blogging world is growing at a rather rapid rate where is so different now to how it used to be back when I started almost three years ago. It's extremely fast paced in my opinion and it is incredibly easy to get caught up within it. Blogging is not a competition, we're all out doing our own thing and hopefully are enjoying what we do, if you're not you need to look into as to why that is. It's important to keep at your own pace so that first and foremost you don't lose your voice, your enjoyment and your passion for your blog. 

A DSLR isn't necessary | Of course I feel a little bit of a hypocrite considering my picture above has a DSLR in it, however I've seen plenty of bloggers who have used their phones for pictures before investing in a DSLR, in fact I used my phone to take the picture above. From my experience it's not how you take the photograph (although that sure does help) it is how you edit afterwards.

You don't need Photoshop | Now this is one that may raise a few opinions as I know Photoshop is a programme that a lot of people use and spend a lot of money on, however I don't own Photoshop and have never once used it for any of my pictures. Recently I have been extremely blessed in that I've receive such lovely comments from people who read my blog in regards to my photography, so I think it's high time I put together a few tips on what I use to edit my photographs. Whilst I don't think it is a necessary programme to have, I do think that it would be an amazing one to use. I hope to one day to purchase it however that is a long way off as it isn't something that I'm in a rush to do.

Drama | Don't get involved.

Hype | When I first started blogging I fell for the hype, I fell hard and found myself spending so much money. Trust me when I say that it's not worth it, hold fire and wait a few weeks, read around the product properly and then decide; don't just take someone's word for it.

I love it | I never thought three years ago that I would enjoy doing something so much. I've learnt that I love writing about make up and skincare and all the random other things that occasionally crop up on here. Editing photographs is also something that I really enjoy along with staging props etc, quite simply I really enjoy being creative.

Learning new skills | Before I started my blog I knew nothing about photography, I knew nothing about HTML and I knew nothing about the powers of social media and how marketing, branding and SEO worked, although that last one still confuses me quite a lot.

Communication | Looking back over the time I have being reading blogs and writing my own, I would say that this is the one area in which I feel as though I can give myself a pat on the back, although lately I have been incredibly busy so it's something that I'm trying to get back into the swing of. Comments go along way with fellow bloggers, in fact any form of interaction goes a long way and it is something that I feel quite strongly about. If you enjoy reading a blog let them know, if you loved that post they wrote last Thursday and it helped inspire you to do something, let them know; it will make their day!

Rewarding | Over the last three years I have developed and learnt new skills, I've also made friendships with some lovely people and I have had some really wonderful opportunities. Yet above all else I think I've gained confidence which honestly feels great to say as I've always been an incredibly shy person. Starting up my blog has been one of the best things I have done, it's nice to finally be able to fill out the dreaded 'hobby' box and write something down that isn't something pulled out of thin air.

Don't fret | If you run out of ideas or don't have time to blog then don't worry, take a break as I can assure you the ideas will come back to you. I used to worry all of the time that I hadn't posted in two days and even now I still do on occasion, however I've learnt that it just isn't worth it. It takes the fun out of it completely for me when I'm worrying about publishing content regularly so when I feel myself slipping into those old habits I just sit back, turn off my PC and do something else.

Quality over quantity | This next point links in well with the previous as I personally think that if you're constantly publishing content without much thought or consideration behind it, then ultimately you're doing yourself an injustice. Take time to plan your post and do your research properly, read back over previous posts and reply to your comments if you can. Personally for me I believe that quality stems not just from your published content but from the time and effort you take to communicate back to people. Replying to comments, tweets and emails helps build up a relationship between you and your readers over time. This is incredibly valuable and important to me, where from a reader perspective (I read A LOT of blogs myself); I know that I truly appreciate it when somebody replies to my comments whether it's on twitter or on their blog. Receiving a response from somebody when I've shown an interest in their content doesn't go unnoticed, not just by me but from other readers too I should imagine.

Be professional (within reason) | Now I wasn't quite sure what to call this point hence the bit in brackets. I can be a fine one to talk as when it comes to my blog I try to be as professional as possible because that's ultimately how I believe you should be, particularly if you're in the position where you work with brands. I'm honesty a big believer in the notion that 'first impressions count', they will stick so try and make them positive. Writing this particular section I immediately thought of twitter, as in all honesty some of the things I see on there shock me! However, on the other hand I think you can be too professional as people still want to see the human behind the blog and that's a good thing. I always like to remember that I'm just one little fish in a very big pond (this is the analogy of where my blog name comes from) and even now after three years it's still something I believe.

Spell Check | Oh the irony! I can spell check my work until the cows come home, yet two days later when re-reading over a post I can still spot errors I have made. I'm not perfect and I'll no doubt always make errors here and there yet by spending a minute or two checking for errors it can really help to make a difference to your content. In fact I have one more tip that I will squeeze into this section which is to read your work out loud. You may feel a little silly, yet I think it is extremely helpful in that it can help you to identify any sentences that perhaps don't make sense so that you're able to correct them accordingly.

Finally I'd like to add that singing along to Ed Sheeran doesn't always work when trying to write a blog post, however most of the time it does.


26 Jan 2015

Shu Uemura Metallic Bouquet Collection

Shu Uemura Make Up Shu Uemura Metallic Bouquet Shu Uemura Metallic Bouquet Shu Uemura Metallic Bouquet Shu Uemura Beauty Event

Last Thursday I popped along to Selfridges with a few fellow bloggers in order to check out the new Metallic Bouquet collection that has recently been launched from Shu Uemura. Having never tried anything from Shu Uemura before this event I found myself excited to learn more about the brand and to see what they had available. Up until then I had only ever heard about the eye lash curlers which have seemed to have won the hearts of some of my favourite bloggers, therefore before I had even got there I knew that I was going to pick them up at the event. I booked my place to attend this event after seeing it advertised on Instagram, whereby it was a simple invitation to have a look at the brand new collection after it had just launched therefore it's worth keeping an eye out to see what events are occurring at your local counters.

The recent launch of the 2015 Spring and Summer Metallic Bouquet collection sees bursts of colour from reds, greens, yellows and pinks, all of which are inspired by the twinkling bright fireworks of Tokyo nights. The collection boasts ten Metal Ink Me liquid eye liners, four of which can be used to define and six that are much more daring and playful.  I have to say after trying these for myself I thought they were absolutely beautiful, the pigmentation was incredible and they did not budge one little bit until I physically removed them with make up remover. The lovely Natasha is sporting the yellow liner there as you can see, I think she looked gorgeous! I like how these liners allow you to be able to play with a bit of colour without being over the top or too much out of your comfort zone.

Alongside the liquid liners there are also four Triple Me Pressed Eye Shadows which are all equally beautiful and can be used to create a playful metallic look. Whilst I admit they're not the types of shades I would wear on a day to day basis they are something I'd be tempted to consider for a party or even for a day when I'm feeling a little more experimental with colour. They were incredibly easy to blend and they left such a beautiful shimmer to the eye, in fact I'm actually regretting not purchasing one of these now purely because of how nice they were. From my pictures left to right you have Silver Viola, Platiunum Plumeria and White Gold Daisy, there is also Copper Dahlia which I seem to have forgotten to photograph, oops!

Onto lips there are five Rouge Unlimited Lipsticks which are limited edition shades. Cosmic Pink, Poppy Orange and Iris Mauve I would argue are the more pigmented out of the five shades, whereas Marigold Shimmer and Sakura Shimmer are,as the name suggests much sheerer and add a subtle hint of shimmer to the lips; these last two complement the metallic liners really well. I actually did come away with Iris Mauve as that particular shade really caught my eye whilst I was there, it's a really soft mauve tone with a pink undertone and comes in pretty awesome clear packaging.

My first insight into Shu Uemura has been fantastic as it really does seem to be a fun brand and one that keeps on coming with unique and interesting collaborations. The upcoming Yaz Bukey collaboration sounds like it will be fantastic so I'm really looking forward to seeing that once it is released in March. Before I round up this post I'd like to say a big thank you for the lovely ladies at Shu Uemura Birmingham who had us over for the event, it was a really lovely evening


24 Jan 2015

La Roche-Posay Effaclar 3-Step Anti Blemish System

La Roche Posay Effaclar 3-Step Anti-Blemish System

When it comes to my enjoyment of make up there is really only one thing that can ruin it and that's neglected skin. We all know that there's no point in spending our money on make up, no matter whether it is high street or luxury if we're not looking after our skin. Our skin is the blank canvas for our make up whereby if your skin is looked after to the best of your ability it makes the whole process of applying make up so much easier.

Now by no means do I have perfect skin, in fact quite the contrary as recently after a rather long sugar induced coma from Christmas my skin took quite the nose dive. That was however quite the blip on the radar as up until then I would have to say that things were going pretty well. Upon evaluation over the last few months I would have to say that the La Roche Posay Effaclar 3-Step Anti-Blemish System* has helped to play a role within that, although as you will read it hasn't been completely plain sailing.

La Roche-Posay is one of my favourite skincare brands to date, I'm a huge fan of Effaclar Duo + and have already alluded to how much I like their Anthelios XL Ultra-Light SPF for my face. Back in the beginning of November I started using the La Roche Posay Effaclar 3-Step Anti-Blemish System twice a day morning and night and feel that now almost three months on that I can share with you my thoughts on it.

The three step system is based around a cleanser, toner and moisturiser which as a routine aims to help those who suffer from oily and blemish prone skin to achieve clearer skin over time. My skin I would say definitely falls into this category albeit it having issues of dehydration, particularly around my eyes which I haven't managed to combat completely. 

Step 1: This involves the Effaclar Purifying Cleansing Gelwhich is unscented and is as the name suggests a gel that gently foams up on the skin. You can use this to take off your make up if you wish but I personally would refrain from that and would use this as your second cleanse as I don't think it removed my make up particularly well. Now I have to say that I have steered clear of foaming cleansers for over a year now and after using this I do find that I still stand by my reasons for doing so. I wanted to like this and at first I did however over the time period in which I used this I do think that this is the product which caused me my main issue: dehydration.

Step 2: The second step involves using the Effaclar Clarifying Tonerwhich I do believe is only available within this three step set. The purpose of this product is to help to reduce the appearance of pores, refine skin texture and to also help mattify the skin. Overall I liked this product as I think it certainly achieved some of its claims, particularly the mattifying aspect which is something that I noticed as soon as I applied it. Along with this I also believe that it helped to refine skin texture as my skin really did feel silky soft after using it.

Step 3: For the final step we have my favourite product which is Effaclar Duo +* , this for me is the star product of the whole system. This is a product that I think is sometimes stressed as an all over moisturiser however that's not how I like to use it, in doing so I find that it can be too much for my skin. Personally I like to use this on areas that I'm having trouble with such as my jaw line and forehead on occasion; for the rest of my face I simply opt for another product entirely. This has been a product that I have purchased myself in the past and will be one I repurchase again, I think it is brilliant at helping to reduce break outs in itself whereby this does make me question whether a system such as this is needed; although that is however just my personal opinion and experience after trialling this.

Over the time period in using this I noticed a couple of things. Firstly my skin did become clearer which is a positive as I noticed that break outs were reduced overall, and yet even when they did arise they were quickly diverted. On the other hand I also noticed that whilst my skin was clearer it was also a lot drier, my skin was visibly suffering as I think the system was just too much for it. A combination of products all aimed at tackling oil production had left my skin feeling quite stripped. I noticed this within three weeks of using it and decided to cut the whole thing down to just once a day, although I'm still convinced that it was just a little too much. The concept of this is great and whilst I really liked two of the products I can't help feel as though the foaming cleanser was a bit of a hindrance to me.

I'd like to quickly add that I'm aware that people can suffer with extremely oily skin in comparison to my own so this may work much better for them as a whole system than it did for me.


23 Jan 2015

Walking down the Avenue

Avenue 32 Wish List
There's nothing quite like having a good old browse online for some clothing inspiration, especially after having a mooch through your wardrobe and realising that you no longer feel like what your have fits your style any more. For the last few months I have being clearing out quite a lot from my wardrobe due to this factor and have slowly but surely started looking around for more classic items of clothing.

Working in collaboration with Avenue 32 I've pulled together a few of my favourite things from their website which I have to say is bursting with an array of talented designers, some that I recognise and some that I don't. Whilst these items are all on the more extravagant side in terms of price I can't help buy still have a look, a girl can dream right?

The BLK DNM Skinny Black Jeans instantly stood out to me. I'm forever hunting down the perfect pair of black jeans as they seem like the hardest type to get right from my experience so far.

After having a little browse of J W Anderson I came across the White Side Knot Cropped Shirt which reminded me of something from the likes of Greece. I think this type of shirt is utterly beautiful and so incredibly feminine; it will look perfect in the summer time with some light denim jeans.

The Paul Andrew Civic Sandals are for me classic yet still elegant and could easily be worn for a number of occasions. You can beat a black heel no matter what time of year so one day I know I will probably invest in a really nice pair.

Charlie Brear is a brand that I hadn't heard of before where even though the collection so far on Avenue 32 is quite humble I really do find myself wanting to keep an eye on this brand in particular. It's incredibly beautiful and sophisticated yet simplistic at the same time. The Black Tuxedo Jacket is really nice and has reminded me just how much I really want something like this within my own wardrobe.

The brand Shrimps x Poplin looks incredibly sweet what with this shrimps print kimono actually having tiny little shrimps printed all over it in the shape of hearts; it's just too much for me to handle. I'll admit that this really caught my eye as the soft design and light material are exactly the type of thing I look for when it comes to nightwear, particularly as we start to head into warmer nights (that seems rather wishful thinking at the moment).

Finally quite possibly the sweetest pair of earrings I have seen in a while belongs to the brand Aamaya by Priyanka who have created the Rose Gold Pearl Bunny Earrings; I'm secretly hoping for a rose gold stud at the back to resemble the short fluffy tail.

Once again I've somehow managed to go all out monochrome, this seems to be a bit of a habit of mine in the last few years although I can't see it going anywhere soon, it's instilled within me I think. This post has been sponsored by Avenue 32 although all opinions and the self proclaimed love for shrimps are my own.