27 February 2015

Life Lately #1

Life Lately

Well folks, as I sit here right now, right at this very moment, I find myself sitting in my 'old' bedroom with an empty shell of a bed. My wardrobe has no clothes in it, the bookcase is gone; it is quite literally me, my computer and my cat. Today I moved house and my oh my it is an odd thing. I, or shall I say we haven't moved for a very long time, in fact the last time I did I was around fourteen so it's a memory I don't really recall too well.

It is strange seeing all your belongings being unceremoniously dumped into big brown cardboard boxes, mingling with everyone else's things so that it becomes a sea of cardboard that you have to stand on tip toes to see behind. I'm the last to be picked up as I'm wanting to be with my cat when we travel, he's a miserable old chap at the best of times but deep down he gets quite scared so I hope he appreciates me being there with him. I'm already prepared for the constant wailing that will be coming from the back of the car seat whilst he is in his basket, he associates it with the vets and he hates that place let me tell you!

What else has been going on lately? Well, I'm rolling up to reading week on my course which is something I'm looking forward to. I have so much work to catch up on that whilst most students will relish reading week for a week long lie in I will be that student with her books out trying to comprehend as to why I chose to study the GDL full time; I must be mad.

At the moment I'm reading The Book of You by Claire Kendal, which is just OK yet it isn't something that I have really enjoyed, having said that it has been quite different to anything I have read before. I have also had a new phone in the last few months which was a rather long time coming. I crossed over to the dark side and put aside my beloved Samsung Galaxy for an iPhone 5S, of which I have to say that so far I absolutely love it! Only a few weeks ago I was kindly contacted by Iconemesis who asked me if I'd like to try one of their cases. The email popped into my inbox within hours of me purchasing another case so now I have two! After a little bit of deliberation I chose (with my mum in mind as she loves coffee) the Lily X Coffee design which I think looks absolutely gorgeous. The illustrations are incredibly pretty and feature various beverages in soft water colour designs. 

I've also being loving the RBS 6 Nations! I apologise now if you follow me on twitter as I do tend to tweet about that, Tennis and Formula One a lot. I sometimes feel like one of the only bloggers who shows an interest (I'm obsessed really) in these sports so if you're out there then let me know!

Oh and last but not least I have had some amazing news! Some of you may have seen my entry last week to the #MySmileMatters competition which was to win invisalign treatment courtesy of Oasis Dental Care. I'm so delighted to say, let alone type that I was chosen as the winner and will hopefully be starting the process relatively soon. Thank you so much to those that left me such lovely and supportive comments, it was so lovely to read them.

So I think that's about everything really. What have you been up to lately?

25 February 2015

Shoot for the Stars

Pandora Necklace Pandora Star Pendant

When it comes down to jewellery I'm a traditionalist through and through. I love feminine jewellery that is pretty and delicate as well as unique of which for me Pandora ticks all of the boxes and more. I've admired the brand for a long time now and always find myself looking at the latest collections in order to see what they have come up with next. 

Whilst Pandora is undoubtedly famous for the wide array of charms and bracelets they design and bring into jewellery boxes worldwide I do think that some of their other items can be slightly overlooked for those that are more popular. There are a variety of different rings and earrings available from Pandora (I have my eye on one ring in particular) as well as necklaces. 

Today I'm sharing with you the Pandora Silver Collier Necklace* which was kindly sent to me on behalf of House of Fraser. I have never had a Pandora necklace before so I wasn't exactly sure what to expect other than a simple silver chain however I have to say even though it is straight forward I think it is incredibly pretty. Made from sterling silver the chain is fully adjustable allowing the length to be switched between 45cm, 43cm and 38cm giving you flexibility for your desired look. As you can see there are designated circular links which resemble the individual lengths making it extremely easy to lock the clasp onto. Whilst this may seem like quite a simple thing to some I have to say it is the first time I have come across this personally; I was actually rather impressed by the added detail and consideration taken here. One final mention about the necklace would be the Pandora logo that is attached to the clasp on a small silver disc. Again it's a little detail but for me it's the little details that count; it all adds up to creating a beautiful piece of jewellery to cherish for years to come.

Of course I simply couldn't keep this necklace bare so I popped out to buy a little pendant for it. After much deliberation I chose the Pandora Aspiration Star which has tiny little Cubic Zirconia stones in. They're not diamonds (I wish) but they still look very pretty and help to add a little bit of sparkle to the necklace without it being too much. It's quite a small pendant actually, smaller than I had imagined when I first looked at it online however having now worn it I'm so happy that I chose it. For a long time I had being looking for a necklace that I could wear frequently that wasn't too big and was one that I hopefully wouldn't catch on various items of clothing; we've all been there I'm sure. 

It's rare for me to buy jewellery and it's even rarer for me to be given the opportunity to try something such as this. It's a truly beautiful piece and is one that I hope to buy a few more pendants for in the coming years. That's the beauty with a brand such as Pandora; you really can tailor it to suit you.

Pandora jewellery can be found at House of Fraser.

20 February 2015

Charlotte Tilbury Fallen Angel Palette

Charlotte Tilbury Fallen Angel Charlotte Tilbury Fallen Angel Eye Shadow Palette

There's no denying that when it comes to Charlotte Tilbury I fall head line and sinker straight into the counter. I find myself eyeing up the latest releases as soon as they launch which is a tad concerning however bear with me here, it's not just the beautiful packaging that keeps me captivated as these eye shadows are very, very good. 

Last summer I got a glimpse of the Charlotte Tilbury Fallen Angel Palette which I knew was due for release in the autumn. Having at the time the Dolce Vita Palette I knew that this would be one that I'd like to add to my collection, the shade range appealed to me like no other and I knew that it would be of good quality, plus let's not ignore the fact that the presentation of this palette is incredibly beautiful. The case is dotted with tiny little rose gold stars which is different to all of the other palettes in the range. As far as I'm still aware this palette is a limited edition although it is still for sale on the website and has been now for a few months.

Inside the palette there are four shades like normal all of which have a wet to dry formula so that they can be used differently to create various levels of intensity. Like all Charlotte Tilbury quads there is a prep, enhance, smoke and pop shade which helps to give you a little guide as to how to use them, although I just tend to go with what I like and hope for the best. For the prep option there is a beautiful champagne shade that catches the light wonderfully. Whilst this can be used all over the lid I also like to use it in the inner corner of my eye and on the brow bone to act somewhat of a highlight. 

To enhance the eye there is a taupe shade which has silver running through it. It is described as antiqued silver which I think is nice however it is not a full on silver shade such as those found in the rock chic palette. Moving onto the smoke option there is a velvet black which is very pigmented and needs a light hand, this is lovely to use for helping to create that beautiful sultry look by using it within the crease; I also sometimes use it to act as a smoky liner too. Lastly the pop colour in this palette is quite different to the others that I have tried as they have all been quite glittery whereas this is not. The metallic bronze in the palette is probably my favourite shade alongside the taupe option where it can be used to add that little bit of drama to the eye, something to quite literally make the eye pop.  

In terms of pigmentation these eye shadows are incredible, they really do work wonders and blend so very easily. Where fall out is concerned I have experienced very little with this palette, in fact I have experienced very little fall out with all of them so far. For me these have been one of the best eye shadows I have used to date in terms of not creasing, that's both with and without a primer although a primer is always best and will help prevent creasing for as long as possible.

Overall I personally could not recommend the Charlotte Tilbury quads enough; they really are beautiful and add a little bit of luxury to your make up bag. Whilst initially they are expensive at £38 (bear in mind this limited edition palette is £45) they do work out cheaper than putting together your own MAC quad.

18 February 2015

Recently Recycled #3

Recently Recycled

In my bid to use up my beauty products I come at you with yet another round up of a few products that I have used up over the last month or so. A lot of these are from before the New Year yet I never got around to featuring them, the end of the year always seems so busy! It has only been since I have started packing up everything for the move that I decided to photograph them so I could finally pop them into the recycling bin.

There's once again a frequent visitor from my favourite dry shampoo Batiste so I will refrain from talking about that yet again, I feel like I feature a can of that in almost every single post like this. Onto more interesting products I had the opportunity to try out the Radical Skincare Age-Defying Exfoliating Skincare Pads* which are packed full of AHA's and BHA's multi fruit extracts which help to exfoliate the skin chemically as opposed to physically. You get 60 pads inside of which I tended to use one once every two or three days so they did last me quite a while. Whilst I did notice that my skin felt a lot smoother I can't say that I noticed any other remarkable difference, my complexion saw no change despite using these frequently. Alongside the pads I was also offered the chance to try the Radical Skincare Advanced Peptide Serum* which considering the price I was expecting really great results however I have to say I was left feeling rather underwhelmed by this product. Whilst it was really nice to apply, the packaging too was pretty nifty (I loved how the product was dispensed) I honestly cannot say that I saw any visible difference in the texture/tone of my skin in the long term. It certainly made my skin feel lovely upon application but that was it, which for the price certainly isn't enough.

Onto body my beloved Raspberry Body Butter from The Body Shop was finally defeated. I had being trying to use this up actually as I'd had it for a little while and wanted to move onto something else. Like all the body butters from The Body Shop it was lovely yet I have definitely come to the conclusion that I prefer the more neutral/nut based scents instead of the fruity scents. Moving onto LUSH I also sadly finished off my little bottle of the much loved Snow Fairy Shower Gel. This has to be the only product that I have saved for special occasions as it smells so good and is only available at Christmas time; next year I would like to pick up a bigger size.

Last year I tried out the Faith In Nature Shampoo and Conditioner* in which I have found myself running out of the shampoo first out of the two. I tried the Grapefruit and Orange scent and absolutely loved it! It's not very often I really like a hair product but these really did tick the boxes for me. Once I've moved house I'll be ordering the coconut scent I think as after my experience with this duo I think that they will be really lovely.

The Nourish Balance Refining Toning Mist* was a product that I liked for its refreshing properties however it's not something that I found physically helped my skin. However in contrast to this the GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment* sample I have used up has been a product that if I hadn't have already thrown out would be featured within my February favourites, although I think I featured it in January too. This mask is utterly incredible and I'll be honest with you I would not have believed it until I tried it for myself. I have never seen my skin look as clear as it did once I had used it and that is no word of a lie.

Do we still like these kind of posts? I find I go through phases, sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.

16 February 2015

My Smile Matters

My Smile Matters My Smile MattersMy Smile Matters

Every single time I visit the dentist there is one particular element which always makes me feel insecure. You see I always find myself face to face with a poster which highlights the beauty of straight white teeth of which every time I see it I find myself crumbling up a little inside. If there is one thing that I'm extremely self-conscious of then it is my teeth, they're not straight and they cross over and I cannot stand it. I regret not having braces as a child although they were never offered to me however in all honesty it has only been since I was around 20 that my teeth have gotten worse.

Over the three years that I have being blogging there has never been a picture of my teeth on show; that is until today. I've thought about this post and have attempted to put it up for the last few weeks but could not bring myself to do it because quite frankly the thought of my teeth on show for quite literally anybody to see makes me feel really embarrassed. The angle above is probably the kindest I could choose because my teeth really do cross over; in fact I couldn't bring myself to pop up any of the other photos because of how I feel about them. Yes they're that bad. In the past I've deleted countless photos if my teeth have been present; it's sad but it is true.

Some of you may remember that roughly around this time last year I posted all about Orthodontics (find that here) in which I explained to you that I was thinking of having Invisalign. At the time of that post I'd paid for and had a consultation (since then I've had two at two separate dentists) and was left feeling SO hopeful after both dentists had told me that I would be a suitable candidate; I don't even have to have any teeth out which was my main concern. The reason I have yet to start this treatment off my own back is purely financial, it's expensive to undergo where at the time I was having to decide whether to fund the next part of my education or to have Invsialign; sadly I couldn't and still can't do both.

Invisalign is an incredible new treatment which is different to the traditional brace method in which this treatment allows it to be almost invisible, hence the name. As well as this you can also take it out when eating at meal times which I should imagine is so useful and saves a lot of awkwardness. I've actually seen Invisalign for myself first hand which only confirmed to me more that this would be the treatment I'd one day like. During my consultation one of the dental nurses who helped me actually had it herself and to this day I honestly could not believe how clear and literally invisible it was; I would not have knew if she hadn't told me. Due to the fact that this year I will be 26 I'm incredibly reluctant to go for braces which are more visible, if I was younger I wouldn't mind at all but because of my age I would like something more discrete. 

Having a perfect smile or at least straight teeth would literally mean the world to me, I know that's somewhat of a cliché but I know that my confidence suffers because of this and it has done for a long while now. On my graduation day I was so happy but I couldn't fully smile because of my teeth, in fact it was all I could think about whilst posing for pictures with my family. One day I'd love to be married (if someone will have me) and I sure do hope that come that day I will have nice straight teeth that I can be proud of. Just after Christmas I alluded to the fact that I'd like to start YouTube however I'm not going to lie, my teeth are putting me off doing so. To laugh and have fun with others without feeling self-conscious would be an amazing feeling; it would be as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

The process of Invisalign wouldn't be a miracle over night because as with anything that requires a positive result there is hard work and perseverance involved. I'd be up for that challenge and would love to share that journey with you right here on my blog. I've written this post today as it is my entry into a competition to win Invisalign treatment from Oasis Dental Care as part of their #MySmileMatters campaign. As you all know this is something that I have wanted for a very long time so I really wanted to enter.

14 February 2015

The Muji Files | Part 4

The Muji Files Part 4 The Muji Files
             The Muji Files Part 1                                       The Muji Files Part 2                                    The MujI Files Part 3

MUJI! Where oh where would my make up collection be without it? I'll tell you where, dotted around my bathroom, bedroom and handbag that's where. I know a lot of people now use Muji but honestly I think it is incredible stuff and can see why it is so popular. Before I confess my love for it a little too much I'll get straight into my next instalment of the Muji Files which looks at my blush drawer. This draw has changed ever so slightly since photographing this however everything in there at the time was something that I really liked. 

Starting off with the products from Topshop we have the Head over Heels cream blush which is a cream to powder formula which packs a fair amount of pigmentation and is super easy to blend. Making a sneaky entrance into this draw is the Topshop Highlighter in the shade Crescent Moon which sadly isn't available to buy any more, although there is the option of Sunbeam. Sunbeam is pretty but leans too far towards the gold spectrum for my personal taste. Crescent Moon however is much better for my skin tone because it has more of a champagne finish and is much lighter in tone, it's a shimmery highlight which packs a punch so a light hand is a must, it sure is worth it though as it is incredibly pretty to wear.

I've a couple of Sleek blushes here too which if I'm honest are probably a little bit old now however I haven't quite managed to bring myself to throwing them out, especially as two are limited editions. Having said that the trio blush in the top corner has to be the one I reach for the least, purely because I hardly ever wear bright shades like that these days. It's an incredibly beautiful blush palette which sadly doesn't receive the attention that it deserves as after all Sleek blushes are in my opinion one of best ones on the high street, they're also a bargain.

At the time of photographing this I had just the one NARS blush which was in the shade Deep Throat. This has been used quite a lot and to this day is one that I reach for regularly. It's a soft peach shade that is perfect for every day, it's very pigmented and like all NARS blushes it lasts really well throughout the day. Sticking with higher end for the moment I do have a cream blush from Illamasqua which was actually a purchase I made after seeing it used by Pixiwoo over a year ago. This is in the shade Lies and it is a beautiful soft baby pink that is actually incredibly sheer, in fact I find it to be so sheer that I struggle to get this to show up most of the time so instead tend to use it to highlight my cheek bones. If I'm honest I very rarely reach for this although since writing this post I'm going to start using it a bit more often; I'm convinced that I can make it work better for me somehow.

My Charlotte Tilbury Blush Swish & Pop Blusher in Sex on Fire is also found within this draw, still in its box I might add as I can't quite bring myself to get rid of that just yet. Like all of Charlotte Tilbury's products this is beautiful and is again a product I find myself reaching for pretty often as it is one of the few shades that I own that is on the more neutral spectrum. 

The last few products consist of a mineral blush from Lily Lolo* which is actually really nice however I feel as though I need a better blush brush to enable me to get a smoother blend with the fine particles; I sometimes can end up with a bit of a patchy look if I'm not careful. Finally I also have the Stila All Over Shimmer Duo in the shade Kitten which is so beautiful and can be used as a highlight, eye shadow and blush if you fancy although I do tend to use it as a highlight more than anything else. 

12 February 2015

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Balm Perfectors

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Balm Perfector Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Balm Perfector

One of my favourite lip products to date has to be the Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfector in the shade Candy Shimmer. Back when they were released a few years ago they really were hyped up; everybody seemed to love them! Looking back now I think that is the reason as to why it took me so long to try one for myself. They were obviously a bit more expensive than your average lip product therefore I simply just didn't want to risk it. Fast forward to the present day I'd argue that Candy Shimmer is one of my most used lip products; in fact I have even considered picking up Rosewood Shimmer which looks equally as beautiful.

When I heard that Clarins were releasing a balm within the line I have to say I was incredibly keen to try them out, purely because I knew how much I liked the Instant Light Lip Perfectors. For a couple of weeks now I have being trying out the new Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Balm Perfectors* and have arrived at my conclusions. Pictured above is Coral and Orange; no prizes for the given names but do they live up to their predecessor? Can we even compare them or are they two different products entirely?

Obviously there is a slight difference between this product and the original Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors. They were packaged in a squeezable tube and have sponge applicators, which if I'm honest I'm not a huge fan of, however I'm willing to overlook that aspect because in my opinion the product itself is fantastic. The balms as you can see are much more like a traditional lipstick in terms of appearance but are pretty similar in terms of packaging to the original lip perfectors. I like this factor as I think that the presentation of the product is spot on, it's chic, pretty and compact.

An important aspect to me when considering lip products is scent, I can't abide the make up scent that lipsticks can so often have. Luckily these smell just as good as the original lip perfectors with that lovely hint of vanilla being easily detectable. In terms of pigmentation I found myself quite impressed because for a product that is marketed as a balm which I'd normally associate as being quite sheer, I'd say that they are actually pretty good. They do provide me with a really lovely hint of colour without being too bold; in fact they really are quite lovely for day time wear. They're not going to win you any awards for a bright bold lip however that's not the purpose of this type of product. The Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Balm Perfectors are there to hydrate and nourish the lips; the colour is just a nice added touch which can be tailored to suit your daily make up look.

Coral despite its name is more peach toned in my opinion and is the my favourite of the two featured here. Orange is quite simply orange and will be a fabulous fruity shade for the summer time. I'm aware that there is a red within the six shades available which I'm quite keen to go and have a look at when I next get the chance.

Whilst the original lip perfectors have a more glossy finish I would argue that these are not as wet looking if that makes sense. They're still glossy to an extent but they sit better on the lips which makes them in my opinion easier to apply, although I can't say I had much trouble with the original if I'm honest. I really do think that Clarins have produced another fantastic product again as the balms moisturise my lips wonderfully and leave my lips feeling hydrated for at least three or so hours before I find myself wanting to reapply. They're available in six different shades at the moment and are priced at £18 which is the same price as the original lip perfectors.

Having now tried both of these products myself I honestly can't decide which one I prefer, the new balms gain two extra points in my eyes as I do prefer the packaging on a whole, purely because I never was a fan of the applicator on the original lip perfectors. They're also not as messy as a squeezable tube can lead to a potential disaster in your hand bag if the lid hasn't been put back on properly.

In a way I've found myself drawing a bit of a comparison between the original product and the new which wasn't my intention. I think it just came naturally to me having been such a fan of the lip perfectors to begin with. I'll be honest with you in that I can't pick a favourite; they're so similar in my opinion and achieve the same type of result. If you haven't yet tried either of these then I'd definitely say that they are worth checking out if you get the chance.

10 February 2015

Hydrating Skincare for Winter

Hydrating Skincare

At this time of year I'm always looking to incorporate products into my skincare routine that will not only keep my combination skin under control but will also provide my skin with enough moisture to ensure that my skin doesn't suffer from the harsh cold weather. Winter can be a tough time for our skin, it's often windy and pretty cold outside which is already bad for our skin yet when we get inside we're probably all guilty of popping on the central heating which is known for making dry skin conditions worse.

There are a few things that I've being using to help combat my dehydrated skin this winter so I thought I'd share them with you today. Starting off with an old friend we have the Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser which has been a firm favourite of mine for a good while now. It's a simple cleanser that I find works really well at removing my make up, it's fuss free, cheap as chips and doesn't leave my skin feeling stripped of moisture.

New to me this year has been the brand Hand Chemistry. I have being trying out the Hand Chemistry Heel Hydration Complex* which can be used on your  heels, hands and elbows; in fact anywhere which is suffering from dry skin. This I would say has to be one of the nicest hand creams I have tried, it seems to sink in so quickly leaving my skin almost feeling like velvet, it's a hard one to explain but it's safe to say that I'm going to repurchase another one as a backup. I feel like I can pop this on and almost immediately carry on with what I'm doing, that for me is a huge plus as I don't like having to wait for hand creams to sink in.

Onto hair I have being using for a while now the Argania Liquid Gold Hair Oil* which has since my initial purchase back in 2012 I believe changed packaging. Now I'm not going to pretend that I have tried any other hair oils to compare this to properly however all I know is that I really enjoy this, I find it light weight and hydrating, what more could you want from hair oils?

My last two products are from Origins which is I would say one of my favourite skincare brands although not everything I have tried has agreed with me in the past. On a whole though I like it a lot and find myself stopping by the counter a lot these days, I am l yet to try the Ginzing Eye Cream which I know a lot of people like so I am quite keen to try that next. The Drink Up Intensive Mask has been a product I've used a lot and is one that I still rate. I really do notice a difference the next morning when I have used this the night before as my skin is left looking brighter and much more bouncy; it's like a jump start to my skin overnight. 

The Origins Make a Difference Plus Rejuvenating Moisturiser is a product I picked up in the Christmas sales last year,  where if I'm honest I actually made a mistake with this purchase as I had initially thought I had picked up the treatment version. Despite that having now used this on and off for the last year I have been really happy with it; maybe it was fate in the end. This moisturiser is aimed at combination to dry skin whereas I have combination to oily along with dehydration on my cheeks and neck. I can see why this would be aimed towards drier skin as I do find that on good normal skin days this can be a little too much for me, however for the winter time this is perfect. It sits really nicely under my make up and helps to keep my skin hydrated throughout the day, in the summer time I even used this as a night cream at times as it wasn't as heavy as the Origins High Potency Night A Mins which again is another product I adore for the winter time, in fact in hind sight I should have included that in this post too.

What are your hydration heroes?

7 February 2015

Gifts & Pieces: Home Interior

Gifts & Pieces Gifts & Pieces

I've a confession; I'm addicted to Pinterest and home decor websites and have been for a while. Ever since the prospect of moving house came onto the cards I have being spending a lot of my time researching new ideas in order to incorporate them into the new house. Over the last few weeks I've being keeping my eye out for little trinkets and decorations to pop into my bedroom; it's so exciting because my current bedroom hasn't been decorated for a very long time. I'd actually say it's just shy of seven years so moving out and having a brand new project to get stuck into fills me with so much excitement.

Just last week I was sent some really nice home decor items from Gifts & Pieces which is a fantastic website that stocks an array of beautiful gifts, craft items and home interior decorations which would make wonderful additions to any home. I wanted to share with you these truly lovely items whilst they're still available to buy because I won't be decorating properly and displaying them in their correct places until around two months' time; we need to move in and get ourselves sorted first so I think that will be quite chaotic for a few weeks.

The Elsie Rustic White Hanging Heart* is an item that I have in mind for one of two places, it will either be going on the inside of my bedroom door or I'll be attaching it to my bookcase somehow to add a little bit of decoration to it. I think it's extremely pretty and definitely sways on the more shabby chic kind of style which has been one that I have admired for an extremely long time. The rustic feel to this makes me feel of the countryside, the somewhat unfinished appearance and the colour of it makes it ideal for the type of interior I'm aiming for.

Whilst I adore wearing jewellery I can be pretty bad at keeping track of where I put it down, particularly when it comes to earrings. They're so tiny and are so easily lost in my experience therefore the Fine Feathers Ceramic Trinket Box* has been ideal to keep my earrings in along with my rings which I also have a tendency to take off before bed and then forget to pop back on in the morning.

Being a true Brit I love nothing more than my cup of tea in the morning however I felt that the Polka Dot Monogrammed Mug* was just too pretty to risk being bashed around in the kitchen so have decided for now to use it as a means of storing a few things. I'm thinking a few of my most favourite make up brushes or perhaps even paint brushes if I ever get around to picking them up again. The fact that this is a little more personal with my initial on is something I really like; I'm really considering picking up one for my sister soon as she really liked this too.

I'll be back with a few more pictures of these items once they're all in place. I'm looking forward to sharing off some of my home DIY once I get started, move over make up, it's time for paint, overalls and a hammer!

3 February 2015

NARS Dual Intensity Eye Shadow Palette

NARS Dual Intensity Eye Shadow Palette NARS Dual Intensity Eye Shadow Palette NARS Dual Intensity Eye Shadow Palette
Top left to right: Europa, Himalia, Ursa Major (exlusive), Subra. Bottom left to right: Andromeda, Lysithea, Giove, Sycorax

At the beginning of the year I distinctly remember telling myself that I didn't need any more eye shadow. At the moment I have a couple of palettes that I use very regularly so I wasn't too sure whether I could fit one more in. All of my palettes I would argue are very much based around the nude spectrum with perhaps one that is slightly more rustic in tone, therefore when I saw the new NARS Dual Intensity Eye Shadow Palette I found myself considering what made it different, what could justify the purchase?

NARS for a start is perhaps my favourite make up brand on a whole although there's becoming tough competition from the likes of Charlotte Tilbury and Urban Decay. Before this palette was released I had been able to try some of the individual eye shadows in store at Christmas, where I found that they were incredibly pigmented and easy to blend. After this initial experience I really wanted to pick one up however the price of them made me extremely reluctant. One full size Dual Intensity Eye Shadow (0.05oz) will set you back £21 so they are pretty expensive. Despite this factor they have since remained in my mind because I had been so impressed with them.

Once I had discovered that a palette was being released with a selection of the shadows in I knew to hold off as palettes such as this tend to work out at much better value for money; this one is no different. Firstly there are eight eye shadows within this palette, each one being 0.03oz so they are slightly smaller than the full size options. Obviously there is a slight difference in size here but you're still purchasing eight eye shadows for £45 which I think is good value for money, although I do appreciate that this is still an expensive purchase.

Packaging wise its presentation is really nice, the top part is one large mirror which is something I think is quite unusual however following a typical NARS trend it really does pick up those pesky finger prints. 

Seven of the shades are from the permanent line with Ursa Major currently being elusive to the palette. I actually wasn't aware of this factor when I picked it up so it turned out to be a nice little surprise. Pigmentation wise these are just as good as their individual counterparts, they again blend easily and are lovely to work with. A large selling point of these eye shadows in general is that you can use them wet to help create a much more intense look and finish. Now personally I struggle using eye shadow when it is wet as I just can't seem to get them to blend very well. My story is no different where this palette is concerned as sadly I just cannot get to grips with it, even when using the designated brush that comes with the palette. Knowing I'm not very good at using wet eye shadow I can't say that this was a factor which made me buy it however if unlike me you're a dab hand with the eye shadow brush then it's a nice factor to consider.

The shade range in this appeals to me a lot and whilst again I do believe that this is a relatively neutral palette I do like the fact that there is colour present here. Giove for instance is a beautiful navy blue which actually when on does come out darker than it looks in the pan, it can add a really nice twist to a neutral eye. In terms of longevity I'm finding that these are pretty impressive, I've worn a few of the shades over both days since I picked it up, where come the evening time I have had very minimal creasing.

Overall it's a beautiful palette, expensive yet good value for money. Do I need it? Of course not, it is after all an eye shadow palette but if like me you really like your make up, particularly eye make up at that then it's one worth having a look at if you get the chance. I picked mine up at Selfridges this Sunday just gone which happened to be the day it launched in store. One thing I would add is to bear in mind that this palette is a limited edition therefore it might not be available for too long.

Before I round up I'd like to quickly address the fact that I have decided not to include swatches of this palette. I'll be really honest in that I struggle a lot to get a decent swatch photographs, I find it highly stressful and pretty annoying too whereby I spend so much time re-swatching products that it turns out to be really wasteful. My blog is somewhere in which I like to share photographs to the best of my ability, they're not perfect but everyone that goes up these days is a picture I'm generally on a whole happy with. Sadly swatch photographs and me just do not get along.

2 February 2015

January Favourites

January Favourites

Somehow this month I have managed to break my somewhat unwritten rule of always having my monthly favourites up before the first day of the new month. This last week has been so unbelievably busy that I haven't had much chance to sit down on the sofa let alone write this blog post. However I'm technically only two days late so without any further delay I'll get to my January Favourites.

Kicking off 2015 I started using my Kikki K Planner that I won in Kirsty's giveaway last year. Over the last month or so I have seen Kikki K products popping up left right and centre which is only testament to how great the brand is; they sure know how to produce beautiful stationary. This planner has been helping me to keep organised this month which is incredibly useful as I seem to be juggling so many things at the moment. I currently have my eye on so many things from Kikki K however I'm really quite dubious of the custom charges as they seem to be pretty steep from what I have being reading and hearing from folks online.

This month I have being using two blushes both similar in shade but different in texture. The NYX Rouge Cream Blush in the shade natural is perfect for creating a really subtle flush to the cheeks as is the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in the shade exposed. They've both been the only blushes that I have reached for throughout January so it has been nice to have two different finishes to work with. The NYX cream blush has been really nice to wear for every day for general pottering around, where in contrast when I've wanted my blush to last all day I have opted for the Tarte offering as I do find that it lasts longer on my skin.

At the beginning of December I picked up the MAC Lip Liner in soar which whilst it is popular for the much discussed 'Kylie Jenner Lip' I have to say that is most certainly not the look I'm going for; I'm sorry but it does nothing for me. I like using this just to slightly outline my lips to add a little bit of definition and longevity to my lipstick.

Probably one of my most repurchased products to date is the Sally Hansen Maximum Growth Daily Nail Treatment. This is a product I have used for such a long time and is one that I always go back to despite dabbling in other brands. I started using this a good three or four years or so before I started blogging and whilst I don't think it's a miracle worker I do think that it helps me in some respect. I've being using this again throughout January and I had up until Thursday seen a really nice difference in my nails (I totally chewed the lot off whilst applying for vacation schemes, stressed is an understatement).

My last product is one that I didn't expect to creep in so soon as in all fairness I haven't had this very long at all. The Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment* mask was a product that I had heard a lot about yet was one I was incredibly dubious about as it is quite expensive. In my previous post I mentioned that this sample came in the Latest in Beauty Get the Gloss Beauty Insider's Kit* so I was able to give it a whirl. It's safe to say it is the best clay mask I have ever tried as it somehow manages to removes nearly all the pesky unwanted blackheads hiding in your skin, leaving it looking and feeling fantastic. Don't ask me how it works because I've never had an experience like it, all I know is that for me it is something that I will be investing in at some point later on this year.

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