30 April 2016

NIOD Photography Fluid

NIOD Photography Fluid Review

Over the last few months the NIOD Photography Fluid has been popping up left right and centre; at least that is just on my twitter feed alone. Fellow blogger and beauty addict Stacey was the first person I saw raving about this little product, therefore after discovering that it was fairly reasonably priced I decided to pop it into my basket in order to see what all the fuss was about. 

The NIOD Photography Fluid is a product which at first I struggled to grasp the concept of. What exactly was it and where should I use it within my routine?

Quite simply it is a serum treatment in which its purpose is to minimise the appearance of imperfections and to even out skin tone. Through the patented Dragon Fruit Chromatic Refractor (try saying that after a night out) your skin's radiance looks boosted under light conditions and camera settings. Essentially this serum will aim to give you picture perfect skin, however, does it work?

In a nut shell I want to say yes, although, it is no miracle worker, I truly believe only the likes of Photoshop will ever give you picture perfect skin. That being said, we can help ourselves with products such as this. Each morning I like to use this on top of my moisturiser which I know seems odd considering it is marketed as a serum, however since I find it works best as a primer for me it makes sense to use it after my moisturiser and before my foundation. 

Since using the NIOD Photography Fluid I have noticed that my make up does look much nicer when it is sitting on top of this. It creates a really nice base for the make up to adhere to, ensuring that it lasts much longer throughout the day. It goes without saying that this acts as the best primer I have tried to date, even if that is not the purpose of the product. 

NIOD Photography Fluid Review

The product itself is packaged nicely in terms of presentation, however in practice it really does fall fowl of the design. The serum is quite simply too thick for a pipette style dispenser; it just does not work well at all. Due to the viscosity the product does tend to build up on the pipette which can often mean that it will seep out the side when you screw the lid back on, that's something I have to be careful of every time I use it. That being said I would still buy it in this format as the product is too good, however I really do hope that NIOD rethink the design of this because a simple tube would work much better in my opinion. 

As serums go I wouldn't say that I have noticed a difference in terms of hydration in my skin. I will be honest and say that I use this primarily as a primer now; I do not think of it in respect of skin care benefits as by the time I use this within my routine I have already used my eye cream and moisturiser. 

At a price of £20 I think this product is very good value for money, as for the price you get 30ml which may initially not seem a lot to some yet for how much you need it really will last you quite a long time. The only catch is that it has a shelf life of just six months so it's worth bearing that in mind, luckily for me it is now the only primer I reach for so it is being used every single day. 

The NIOD Photography Fluid can be picked up from Look Fantastic. When I ordered mine I managed to get it for just £16 due to a discount at the time, therefore it is worth keeping an eye online for those being promoted. 

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19 April 2016

Five Budget Beauty Stars

Budget Beauty Reviews
The start of 2016 saw me take a back seat when it came to buying new beauty products. Quite simply I decided that enough was enough. Whilst my beauty collection wasn't exactly over flowing, it was somewhat out of hand, particularly when I sat down and thought about how long it takes me to use one eye shadow; let alone thirty. 

Since the start of the year I have noticed that certain products have become somewhat staples within my routine. I simply end up reaching for them nine times out of ten which I think is testament to how good they really are. Five of those products are those which I would regard as budget beauty as they can all be found within Boots and Superdrug and they cost less than £10. For me personally £10 is where I set the bench mark figure, although I know that everyone will have their own individual stance on this. That being said, when offers such as 3 for 2 arise then I truly do think you can pick up some fantastic beauty bargains. 
Budget Beauty Reviews
It just so happens that I have five of those products to share with you today, four of which I use nearly every single day. 

Foundation

One of my favourite high street discoveries has to be the L'Oreal Infallible 24Hr Matte Foundation. This provides really great coverage, all whilst feeling light on the skin. Even throughout the colder months this rarely stuck to dry patches and even though my skin looked (still looks) deathly white it has never once oxidized on me. Whilst the foundation claims to be a matte finish I wouldn't necessarily  agree with that statement, this however is not a criticism as I personally like to have a bit of a more dewy finish as I think matte foundations can make the skin look rather flat. Overall I think that this is a fantastic foundation from L'Oreal, it is well worth trying out next time you're looking for an everyday base which won't break the bank. 

Blusher

It goes without saying that the only blusher which could make this post would be the Max Factor Creme Puff Blushes. Since the launch of these I have raved about them none stop, they truly are fantastic. The only criticism I have is that the packaging could be a better, however for the price I can overlook it. My blusher has since come apart after heavy use, however perhaps I should be a bit more careful next time as not many products survive being crushed in your handbag. 

Lipstick

In truth there are not a great deal of high street lip products that I really, really like. There tends to always be something which leaves me feeling a bit deflated about them. That being said, the Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick in the shade '45' from the Kate Nude collection has been a go to shade for me since I picked it up. It is fuss free, easy to wear and does not require much maintenance. Of course it is not the best in terms of longevity, however again for the price and general quality this is something I am more than willing to overlook. 

Eyeshadow

The only product I have here which requires a bit more effort to obtain would be the Kiko Longlasting Eyeshadow Sticks. Unfortunately there are not many Kiko stores in the UK, although you can pick up the products online. At this moment in time I only own just one of these, although I will most certainly pick up a couple more, as for every day wear they are very hard to beat. For instance today I wore the eyeshadow without a primer for over twelve hours and there was very minimal creasing. Quite simply the colours are great, they blend beautifully and they are extremely pigmented. 

Nail Polish

Last but not least Barry M Nail Polishes help to round up my favourite high street products at the moment. Whilst not all of Barry M's releases blow me away as such, I do find that the traditional range of nail polishes are very hard to beat. The colour range is superb, the formula is generally very good and the chipping for me is no worse than a polish from Nails Inc which may set you back £15. 

What are your favourite budget beauty buys?

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16 April 2016

The Bookshelf #1

Book Reviews

It has been a very, very long time since I mentioned some of the books which I have being reading. In all honesty, despite once being an avid book worm I no longer sit down and find myself becoming lost in another world for hours on end. Nevertheless, I still enjoy picking up a new read, even if they do take me longer to get through these days. 

In a bid to mix things up just a little bit over here I decided that I would very much like to share with you some of my recent reads. Therefore, each time I have finished three books I will pop up a new post in order to share with you my thoughts on them. They will be brief as I am no book critic, however one might just catch your interest. I often find new reads by stumbling across those which are mentioned by fellow bloggers and of course over on Goodreads; if you are a fellow book worm and you haven't been on that website before then I highly recommend checking it out. 

Philip Pullman - Grimm Tales

For a rather long time I had really wanted to read the darker twists to some of the classic fairy tales which we all know and love. The fairy tales by Brothers Grimm have being re-written and interpreted by many authors. In this version I have here they are explained and told by one of my favourite childhood authors, Philip Pullman.  There are a number of stories within this book, some which you will instantly recognise and others that you may not. They are a bit more ruthless, insincere and shed a whole new light on the phrase happily ever after.

Anita Diamant - The Red Tent

The Red Tent had been sitting on my bookshelf for the past five years or more, therefore it was about time that I picked it up in order to see what it was all about. The story is told by Dinah, whereby we are taken on a journey throughout her life, right from her earliest memories up until she departs this world. It is a story of ancient womanhood and the trials and tribulations that they faced. I will admit to this being the type of novel which I would never normally read, hence it taking me such a very long time to pick it up. That being said, it has opened up my eyes to a different kind of genre when it comes to the novels that I read, therefore I am so pleased that I decided to give this a go.

Paula Hawkins - The Girl on the Train

This book was rather hyped up towards the end of last year and it was the first novel that I decided to read as we headed into 2016. The Girl on the Train focuses upon a timeline of events all witnessed and put together by the lead protagonist of the book, Rachel. It is a book which, despite not liking any of the characters somehow managed to keep me hooked. As a reader it kept me guessing alongside Rachel as to what really happened, and even though for me it started to become quite obvious towards the end, I really on a whole enjoyed this debut novel from Paula Hawkins. 

Let me know if you are on Goodreads. You can find me here.

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12 April 2016

Dare to bare? bareMinerals Bareskin Foundation

bareMinerals Bareskin Foundation Review
When I first stumbled across bareMinerals a couple of years ago, I will admit to it being a brand which I found myself a little bit nervous of. The reason for this being purely down to the concept of a mineral foundation, it was just something which I had never even considered, let alone put on my face. 

Over the last year I have dabbled in mineral make up here and there and have been pleasantly surprised with the results, although I am still yet to try the mineral foundation. Whilst bareMinerals is most certainly based around mineral make up, I think it is worth noting that they are expanding their range and indeed formulas which have incorporated two recent bases which I have enjoyed quite a lot.

Earlier on this year I purchased the bareMinerals Complexion Rescue which is a rather light weight tinted gel cream. It has a lovely airy texture with a beautiful finish, however if I am honest I think that I picked it up at the wrong time of year. The coverage is fairly light, in fact it is a bit too light for me at the moment therefore I know I will find myself reaching for this more during the summer months as opposed to the beginning of the year. That being said, what with this new liquid/gel based formula being released from bareMinerals it has since paved the way for the Bareskin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation* which I have being road testing for the last four weeks. 


The Bareskin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation retails at £26 which I think puts it on an average playing field when it comes to higher end foundations. Available in twenty different shades it offers, once shaken and most certainly not stirred, an extremely light and easy to blend formula which provides medium coverage. One of the first things which first impressed me with this foundation was how silky smooth and light it felt on the skin. In truth there has only been one other foundation I have used which has felt as light as this, however it did not provide half as much coverage as this does. 

It is extremely important that you remember to shake this foundation before use or else you will quickly end up with a very watery liquid instead of the expected foundation. In terms of packaging I think it works relatively well, it's clean and hygienic, however it can be a bit difficult to squeeze the product out sometimes. Having said that when it has been shaken it can easily overflow out of the nib so that is something to be mindful of. 

In terms of application I find that this works well, however this has only been after a bit of trial and error on my part. I was kindly provided with the bareMinerals Perfecting Face Brush* which I was extremely curious about due to the fact that it has a cut out circular well within the brush. This is essentially for the foundation to be placed into so that it can be buffed into the skin. On the face of it (no pun intended), the concept of this sounds and looks pretty good, however in practice, at least for me it did not work. The brush for me felt a bit too stiff as I simply could not work the product nicely into my skin with this brush alone. Whenever using this brush I would find myself reaching for another so that I could achieve a more flawless finish as I was often left with brush marks through the foundation on my skin. I think it is important to state here that this, I believe was down to the brush and not the foundation because with the other brushes I have used the product has blended much better. 

From reading a lot of opinions online about this foundation and of course using it for myself I have come to the conclusion that you need to build this up. It is very easy to use too much of the product which then can make the task of blending it out much more difficult, you will quickly become caked up in foundation which is not ideal. Only a small amount of product is required as a little really does go quite a long way. 

The shade I use is Bare Porcelain which is a very good match for my skin tone, it's relatively yellow toned so those with a pink undertone may struggle, however I still think it would be worth trying a sample from your local counter just to be sure. My skin type is oily to combination with dehydrated areas in places. This can often make finding a foundation which works across all these different areas quite a challenge. Overall I would say that this does work quite well for me, however I think if my skin was slightly more oily then I would struggle as the texture has quite a bit of slip to it. 

There is for me only one main issue I have with this foundation and that is when I am wearing my glasses. I find that when I do the foundation easily rubs off very quickly around my nose, even when I have used a setting powder. This is something I do bear in mind as I wear my glasses pretty much around the clock these days so at the moment it is not a foundation I can wear to work, at least not until I find a really heavy duty setting powder. 

Despite the poor experience with the brush and the one issue I have when it comes to wearing this foundation and my glasses, I have to say that overall I really do like this foundation. It is super lightweight and it feels extremely soft and smooth on the skin. The finish is very natural and fresh and the formula contains SPF 20 which is important for protecting your skin against sun damage, no matter what time of the year. 

It is extremely important that you remember to shake this foundation before use or else you will quickly end up with a very watery liquid instead of the expected foundation. In terms of packaging I think it works relatively well, it's clean and hygienic, however it can be a bit difficult to squeeze the product out sometimes. Having said that when it has been shaken it can easily overflow out of the nib so that is something to be mindful of. 

In terms of application I find that this works well, however this has only been after a bit of trial and error on my part. I was kindly provided with the bareMinerals Perfecting Face Brush* which I was extremely curious about due to the fact that it has a cut out circular well within the brush. This is essentially for the foundation to be placed into so that it can be buffed into the skin. On the face of it (no pun intended), the concept of this sounds and looks pretty good, however in practice, at least for me it did not work. The brush for me felt a bit too stiff as I simply could not work the product nicely into my skin with this brush alone. Whenever using this brush I would find myself reaching for another so that I could achieve a more flawless finish as I was often left with brush marks through the foundation on my skin. I think it is important to state here that this, I believe was down to the brush and not the foundation because with the other brushes I have used the product has blended much better. 
bareMinerals Bareskin Foundation Review
From reading a lot of opinions online about this foundation and of course using it for myself I have come to the conclusion that you need to build this up. It is very easy to use too much of the product which then can make the task of blending it out much more difficult, you will quickly become caked up in foundation which is not ideal. Only a small amount of product is required as a little really does go quite a long way. 

The shade I use is Bare Porcelain which is a very good match for my skin tone, it's relatively yellow toned so those with a pink undertone may struggle, however I still think it would be worth trying a sample from your local counter just to be sure. My skin type is oily to combination with dehydrated areas in places. This can often make finding a foundation which works across all these different areas quite a challenge. Overall I would say that this does work quite well for me, however I think if my skin was slightly more oily then I would struggle as the texture has quite a bit of slip to it. 

There is for me only one main issue I have with this foundation and that is when I am wearing my glasses. I find that when I do the foundation easily rubs off very quickly around my nose, even when I have used a setting powder. This is something I do bear in mind as I wear my glasses pretty much around the clock these days so at the moment it is not a foundation I can wear to work, at least not until I find a really heavy duty setting powder. 

Despite the poor experience with the brush and the one issue I have when it comes to wearing this foundation and my glasses, I have to say that overall I really do like this foundation. It is super light weight and feels extremely soft and smooth on the skin. The finish is very natural and fresh and the formula contains SPF 20 which is important for protecting your skin against sun damage. 

The Bareskin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation* is currently available at Debenhams where they are currently celebrating foundation week with 10% off some of their most popular foundations.

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9 April 2016

The Archives | The Muji Files

Makeup Collection
Blogging can be as fast or as slow paced as you make it. No matter whether you produce daily content or post twice a week, it is still pretty easy to build up a volume of content which perhaps once off your home page rarely gets the chance to be seen again. As I sit down to write my 659th post *gulp* I decided that every now and then I would like to bring back to the home page some of the posts that I am personally most proud of. Working on blog posts can often take a lot more time than people may initially think. If of course you are a blogger then you know exactly what I mean, therefore I think it will be nice to highlight some of those posts every now and then. 

The first post I am bringing back is somewhat of a cheat if I do say so myself, as this post is part of a series which I thoroughly enjoyed creating. 

The Muji Files spanned over six individual posts which shared with you my make up collection as it was then. Naturally of course there have been a few new products which have crept in since that time, some have also since been removed. In fact, I think this post will simply lead to working on an up to date make up collection post for the near future. Nevertheless, there are quite a few products throughout this series which I still use to this day, many of which are cult classics and favourites among many of you. 

So, if you didn't catch them the first time round then have no fear, I have popped all of the links to each of the six posts below.

The Muji Files Part 1 - Foundation and Concealer
The Muji Files Part 2 - Eyeshadow
The Muji Files Part 3 - Mascara and Eyeliner
The Muji Files Part 4 - Blush and Highlight
The Muji Files Part 5 - Lipstick
The Muji Files Part 6 - Lipstick 

On a side note, I had a bit of fun putting the graphic above together in Photoshop. I really like how it turned out for my first attempt, let me know what you think in the comments below as I am considering putting graphics like this together a bit more often now. 
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7 April 2016

Get the Glow

Highlighter Beauty Products If you had asked me four years ago what one of my favourite make up products was then I can guarantee that I would not have even once mentioned highlight. These days, however I simply cannot get enough of the stuff.

Traditionally I have stuck to powder highlights, the reason for this being simply because I have found them much easier to use in comparison to liquid highlighters and creams. Powders allow me to have more control over the product itself and where it is placed, therefore they are naturally the options I reach for of a morning before I head off to work. 

Despite this I have recently tried some other options within my make up routine which have ultimately led to this post today. Seeing as though I now have a few options when it comes to highlighters,  I thought it would be nice to share with you a few products which may help to put the glow into your routine this spring. 

The Niod Photography Fluid is the first product I wanted to mention, however only briefly as it isn't strictly a highlighter. Having said that it does add a rather lit within glow to your complexion when used underneath your foundation. To be honest this has replaced all of my primers currently as I think it works an absolute treat, the fact that it adds this youthful radiance to the skin is a huge bonus and is just one of the reasons why I like it so much. Being liquid based I find it very easy to use, although that is purely because I use it underneath my foundation so I tend to just apply it like a primer. 
Highlighter Beauty Products
The most recent highlight I have used is from Perricone MD, that being the No Highlighter Highlighter*. This is a rather lovely little product which is presented in a nice glass bottle. Visually it looks lovely, however having now used this I do think that it would be much more practical to be within a little tube, however I know that would be going against the general style of Perricone products. In terms of application it is quite easy to use, it comes with a doe foot applicator which I think is necessary given the way it is packaged, although if it was in a tube then I would be more than happy to use my fingers to pat this onto the tops of my cheeks. The Perricone No Highlighter Highlighter is a champagne pink in tone, making it very wearable in my opinion. It is quite natural and does not look over the top once applied, in fact I think given my experience liquid highlighters do often look a bit more natural than powders. 

Moving onto powders, the MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Lightscapade is a firm favourite and will continue to be so for a very long time. This is most certainly the coolest highlight I own in terms of tone, in fact it can, if you are not careful look very pale on the skin so it's worth ensuring that you build this up gradually. 

The Charlotte Tilbury Bronze and Glow is a duo of course, containing not just a highlight but also a bronzer too. The bronzer in this duo is really quite lovely, although I feel as though I am a bit too pale for this at the moment, having said that in a few month's time I will be picking this up once again. The highlight however for me is the star of the show here as it is utterly beautiful and so finely milled. It really does add the most beautiful glow to the skin which just looks gorgeous. This is more of a traditional champagne tone which I think suits my skin much better in comparison to pink toned highlighters.

Highlighter Beauty Products It feels almost wrong of me to mention very briefly the Topshop Beauty Highlight in Crescent Moon as this product is sadly discontinued. This out of my whole collection is one of the more sparkly highlights which is why I do not reach for this as often these days, having said that it is beautiful and for the price it was an absolute bargain as it has lasted me a really long time. It is a real shame that Topshop pulled this one as it is a fantastic champagne highlight.

The final product is the Glow Highlight Powder from Phee's Makeup Tips in the original shade. Since launching Phee has released a little collection of her own highlighters and eye shadows which I keep on meaning to look into further. The Glow Highlight Powder is extremely pigmented meaning you only require a small amount to achieve a nice glow to the skin. This is most certainly a product which you could use in order to up the intensity on if you so desired.

Do you have any recommendations when it comes to highlighters? 
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4 April 2016

My Invisalign Journey | Tray 2 - 11

Invisalign-Journey
The months seem to be flying by as I go through the process of Invisalign. Despite this, there hasn't been a huge amount for me to report on throughout the initial stages of the treatment. Everything I mentioned in my previous post was covered right up until tray five technically, because all I had to do was change my aligner once every two weeks. The differences between each one was very minimal, where, in order for my teeth to move the aligner changes shape ever so slightly. Of course with each new aligner it took some getting used to as for the few days they were quite tight. 

When changing my aligners I had read from the very start that it was easier to change them of a night time, just before bed. This was so that you would sleep through probably the most uncomfortable part, which, having now done so for myself I would completely agree. 

It wasn't until I was due to change to my fifth aligner that things had to change in terms of my treatment. After my initial eight weeks of getting used to wearing the aligners each day it came to my next dental appointment whereby I would receive the all-important attachments. The attachments help to anchor the aligners on much better so that the teeth are pulled in the direction that they need. In total I have fourteen attachments that I have counted, in fact I had to double check as I wrote this as I couldn't quite remember.

Invisalign

In order for my Orthodontist to attach them I had to have a forty minute appointment. During that time he cleaned and polished my teeth and then proceeded to attach little plastic attachments to the teeth which required them. This was not painful in the slightest, although it was quite uncomfortable as my mouth had to be pulled open wide so that he could get access to the teeth at the side of my mouth. 

This appointment also required the process of reduction. Essentially this is the method whereby the Orthodontist files between your teeth with an extremely fine strip of metal; it is a bit like a nail file only much thinner and smaller. This is used in order to create space between the teeth so that they can move whilst you wear the aligners. Out of everything so far this has probably been the most uncomfortable part of the process. It can be quite tough at times for the file to go between your teeth, whereby it can often take quite a few attempts to get free movement between the teeth so that the file passes through without catching. On occasion it did feel as though my Orthodontist was really struggling to pull it through between my teeth, so much so that I joked afterwards if he had ever got it stuck. To this day no he said, although there is a first for everything! He did proceed to reassure me that it is easy to remove if that ever does happen, although I wasn't too convinced at the time. 

The reduction process did leave my gums and mouth in general feeling quite achy, as quite a lot of pressure had to be used. It is also worth noting that it was the first time that this had been done, so there was quite a bit which had to be carried out for the process to really get going. 

Due to the fact that I now had fourteen little attachments on my teeth my aligners naturally had to change to incorporate the new shape. I think it is important to state here that when I learnt that I would have to have fourteen attachments I did feel a little bit worried as I was concerned at how visible they would be. In all honesty, they do make the Invisalign treatment more visible, there is no escaping that fact, however they really are not that bad at all. 

Invisalign

The aligners from tray five right up until where I am at the moment (tray eleven) all have the designated spaces on for each attachment. This means that when taking them off in particular, I have to be mindful that they can catch if I am not careful; although after a few practices I did get the hang of removing the aligners once again. 

The picture above shows the current stage of my teeth at tray ten. There is a notable difference in my opinion in comparison to the picture in my entry to the Invisalign My Smile Matters competition just over a year ago. There is still quite a way to go as I approach the half way mark, yet when I see pictures of my teeth starting to look much straighter it feels me with encouragement and motivation as wearing these for over twenty hours a day can often be quite a challenge. 

If you are looking into Invisalign and would like to know more about it, please do not hesitate to get in touch. I will reply to any questions in the comment below, or if you prefer you can always email me on 'alittleboatsailing@hotmail.co.uk'.

I was given the opportunity to enter a competition to win Invisalign back in February 2015 where I am delighted to say that I won. Throughout the course of my treatment I will be writing about my journey as part of the rules of the competition. My treatment is free, courtesy of Oasis Dental Care however my opinions and my shared experience of my Invisalign journey will all be that of my own.

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