Tuesday, 31 October 2017

MONTHLY BEAUTY + LIFESTYLE FAVOURITES: OCTOBER 2017


Beauty products I've been coveting in the month of October...

Hair: This summer I went on my jolly holiday's to Portugal and decided to buy all the beauty essentials while I was out there to save on luggage weight. Whilst I couldn't understand what the packaging said, I recognised the Garnier 'Ultimate Blends' range of hair-care in a small shop next to our villa. However, it was orange in colour with a maple leaf on the front, a style I'd not seen here in the UK. I have to say, using it was hands down the nicest hair washing experience ever, for scent, for performance, for softness and manageability. I couldn't find it here for ages, but I recently saw that Boots started stocking the 'Maple Healer with Castor Oil' range. Targetted for very damaged hair, if you want to try a new shampoo and/or conditioner and you're looking for a little extra something for your hair, I highly recommend. 

Makeup: I've always had a soft spot for the Natural Collection range of makeup at Boots. It's super cheap and the quality is always top notch. It's a basic line, but one that shouldn't be forgotten about against the more glossy brands. I recently bought the Highlighter Stick in the shade 'Rose Glow' which is a very pearly, white, cool-toned shade - no rosy pink pigments to be seen here. For under £3 you get a product that applies lovely, sticks fast and stays put all day long. Looking for a fuss-free highlighter? Give it a go.

This month I headed to dupe city with the Makeup Revolution Renaissance lipsticks. I have the shade 'Triumph' which is a gorgeous dusty rose, nude. Yep, these lippy's are a copy of the iconic Charlotte Tilbury line and the shade is reminiscent of 'Stoned Rose' albeit without the price tag - you can bag yourself one of these for £4.
Skincare: I gotta admit, I was late on the Micellar water hype. I bought the Garnier Skin Active Micellar Cleansing Water in Boots on a whim as I wanted an alternative to face wipes for those days when I get in from work and head straight out to the gym. I have to say, I like how refreshing this cleansing water is and how it doesn't dry out my skin or make it look redraw. It's also pretty alright at removing the layers and layers of eyeliner that adorn my eyes.

Candles: Throwing two candles in here for fun! When it comes to candle scent's I'm not a sweet kinda gal, I prefer herbally, slightly sour scents. My two favourites are from Home Sense but made by DW home. Both are laced with a thyme scent which smells divine. The smaller, thyme and juniper candle is gorgeous and perfect for placing in your kitchen after making a stinky meal, or in your bedroom when you want to zen out. For candles, I always shop at TK Maxx.

Life. TV. Music + More...

Listening: The new Jessie Ware album 'Glasshouse', like a warm hug on an Autumn day. Top tracks 'Thinking about you' and 'Midnight' BEA-UTIFUL. As for other things to listen to, i've been really enjoying Sara Tasker's podcast for creatives: 'Hashtag Authentic' - Sara recently interviewed Dolly Alderton (who I love) and they discuss some really interesting points on editorial trends and newsworthy trends - what exactly is news and what corporations want to sell as news. You can catch it on Acast or Soundcloud. Speaking of podcasts, Daisy Lowe's newly launched podcast 'Femme' is also really good, the basis of the show is all about female empowerment and a safe space to share opinion and thoughts. I really enjoyed episode 1 with Laura Weir, editor of Evening Standard mag. 

Reading: Surprise, surprise! Here's an article by The Pool. I really resonated with Clare Thrope's piece on it being a taboo for a women to declare she doesn't want to reach the top. We don't all want to 'learn in' we don't all have a yearning to be a #girlboss. My favourite quote of the entire piece:


"Our identities feel so wrapped up in what we do for a living. But our jobs aren’t us – they’re just a part of who we are."

Two other recommendations for your lunch break reading list come from Vogue online. The first being an incredibly raw and interesting interview with Susie Cave who discusses the tragic death of her son as well as her label 'The Vampire's Wife' and her marriage to Nick Cave. Also from Vogue, Sali Hughes and her wedding beauty story. With Mary Greenwell on your makeup and Sam Mcknight on your hair - how much better can it get? As usual, Sali writes with flair and without snobbery, she is aware of her privilege but doesn't gloat. 

Watching: Stranger Things 2 kicked off on Netflix this weekend so I've been easing myself back into the water and trying to remember what happened last summer. Two things though 1. Millie Bobbie Brown's acting and the soundtrack. Epic. Aside from #GBBO i've been enjoying The Apprentice, one of the contestant's Joanna was a friend from college so it's ace to see someone flying the flag for Wakefield. I've also devoured Sue Perkins' documentary on the river Ganges, it's a really raw, vivid and honest piece of television - I usually find her really annoying "Baaaayke!" but not here.




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Friday, 27 October 2017

BEAUTY: L'OREAL CASTING CREME GLOSS '443 AUBURN HENNA'


If you're a regular around here, you'll know that I talk about the semi-permanent Casting Creme gloss hair dyes from L'Oreal quite a lot. Whether it's the red tones of 'Chili Chocolate' the warmness of 'Chocolate' or the babein' blonde tones of 'Light Iced Blonde' I like what the range has to offer and there are very few shades that I haven't tried.

When I discovered that L'Oreal were bringing out the 'henna' range of dyes to join the Castings family, I was super delighted as I've been trying to achieve a warm auburn tone through henna bricks for quite some time now. The range includes 4 shades ranging from black shade 2, to a blonde shade 5. Each of the dyes are suitable for dark brown/brown hair which makes them perfect for brunettes wanting to add gloss and shimmery red tones to their natural or coloured hair.

I tried the shade: 443 'Auburn Henna'...


443 is a dark brown colour level and is supposed to add warm orange toned red flecks with a brown base to your hair. My hair, as you know is coloured with some areas of damage so it is worth noting that the colour outcome is likely to be different to how the formula settles on virgin or barely processed hair.

The 'henna' shades are perfect for Autumn though I am not entirely sure the capsule collection includes any henna ingredient. I had a look on the back of the box but couldn't see it listed. On the Superdrug site, the listing states:

"Inspired by the warm and delicate copper tones of henna, Auburn Henna combines the rich and lively reflects of henna with an auburn twist. Give your hair the boost of visible henna reflects, but without the commitment. The henna collection is powered by your favourite Casting semi-permanent formula."

I feel this is a little misleading and I wish it was more obvious that the colourant is inspired by the tones of henna - maybe I'm just a little naive, but of course, any dye containing hydrogen peroxide couldn't be a natural colourant like henna. 
As you can see my hair has taken on a lovely warm, auburn tone. The picture above is after 2-3 washes as I always find the colour result is not accurate and much, much darker. On the darkest points of my hair the shade is a true red tone and on the lighter, more damaged parts, it is a lighter orange shade.
Have you ever tried the 'Henna' shades from Castings?

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Tuesday, 24 October 2017

STYLE: ANOTHER AUTUMN PRIMARK + ZARA HAUL - OCTOBER


I really did need some knitwear - or so I told myself as I exited Zara and then Primark some time later. There's certainly a pinch in the air now and having had a wardrobe clear out not so long ago, I wanted some knew pieces to play with. Naturally I turned to my faves, Primark + Zara.

Without sounding cliche and super unoriginal, Autumn is my favourite season and I love dressing for Autumn even more. Chunky knitwear, layers, ankle boots, thick scarves and jeans, without having to resort to the faff of huge, heavy Winter coats, hats and gloves.



I'm really loving primary colours at the moment, mustard shades being my hue of choice (And everyone else!) I love the vibrancy they add to my everyday looks, nevermind how cheery they make me feel.
First up are a pair of slippers from Zara Home. Yep, you might be thinking what on earth are those Crocs esc, clogs (#clothesmyboyfriendhates) but I LOVE THEM! They're a Birkenstock base with a velvet cover so as you can image, wearing them is like walking on a cloud. I like that I can wear them in the garden and round the house all thanks to grippy soled bottoms. I have barely taken them off my feet since I got them...not matter how insulting people are about them!


I haven't worn anything with a dip/asymmetric hem since my year 13 prom however, I can confirm that I was suckered by the vibrant, sunflower yellow shade. The oversized shirt is from the TRF collection and is a really thick, sturdy shirt that I like to layer under jumpers. I've mostly been going to this as a throw-on-and-go piece with faux leather leggings and boots to keep things simple, but tailored.


I have an obsession with chenille as it is super soft and luxe - but also washes really well without going to shit. I found this navy blue, oversized jumper in Zara for around the £30 mark . I got mine in a size medium however, it is so oversized that it fits like an XL. If you're contemplating this jumper, that's a factor to be aware of.


Also, a chenille jumper is this gorgeous mustard number. This one is from Primark and was about £14 something like that. It fits true to size and again, washes super well. The purple one, pictured above is also from Primark and the quality rivals similar styles I've seen in places like M+S.

What are your favourite pieces of Autumn clothing? 

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Friday, 20 October 2017

BEAUTY: ST. MORIZ ADVANCED PRO FORMULA DEVELOP - VELVET FINISH TANNING GEL


Having taken a holiday to Zante in the middle of September, when I returned it felt like the middle of Winter. Hello darker mornings, hello dark nights. I tried to hold on to my sunkissed glow for as long as possible - read, 1 week. It was then that I called upon the...

St. Moriz Advanced Pro Formula - Velvet Finish Tanning Gel

Like most people, St. Moriz beckoned me into the world of false tan when my Saturday nights were all about going clubbing and looking sassy. After many, many, many mishaps, disasters and embarrassments, it's only in my 20s that I realise where fake tan has a place in my beauty routine. 

St. Moriz say that the Velvet Finish Tanning Gel is made from salon quality formulations to create a neutrally scented, natural looking tan. With no guide colour (green smears anyone) the formula is ideal for everyone that doesn't want to ruin their bed sheets or p-jays.

One layer of the Velvet Finish Tanning Gel on my usual, pasty skin.

The tan develops over 4-6 hours, so I leave mine on overnight. I apply the clear, gel formula using a latex glove. Now, I must admit I love the concept, however, the clear gel caused me to be a little lax with application, not really taking the time to see how much I was using and where I was putting the lotion - take it from me, you must take some care with this or you can find yourself in streak city.

The formula still does have that infamous biscuity scent, especially after an hour or two of development time, however, it's nowhere near the levels of the Dark Lotion and is easily rinsed away. The colour pay off is nice, subtle without being too much which is perfect for pale gals like myself.


 I tend to re-apply the formula every 3 days or so to keep my colour looking fresher as the colour sticks around evenly for that amount of time anyway before it fades gradually with the odd bit of bobbling that requires a good old exfoliate.You can find the formula in Boots for £7.99, I'll certainly be picking up another bottle. The velvet finish tanning gel is on a par with my all-time favourite gradual tanner from Dove.

Which is your favourite St. Moriz product?

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Tuesday, 17 October 2017

BEAUTY: MY CURRENT HAIR WASHING ROUTINE


When it comes to my hair and the products I use, I'm really fickle. My high-end splurge of choice is the iconic Aveda Shampure but for more regular washing, I shop at Superdrug - scouting whatever is on offer. I will try whatever and I'm always looking for something that revolutionises the condition of my hair, beats frizz or helps prolong the time between washes.

My hairbrush of choice is a bristle brush as it tends to be the most gentle on my hair, this one is from Denman. I'd love a Mason Pearson, but for now, it's just that little bit too treaty. The bristles don't drag my tresses, they simply glide through whilst adding a little shine.



I am currently coveting a few new products that are working a treat for my hair. Think manageable, frizz free hair that's soft and shiny without feeling weighed down or heavy. The first is a product I've mentioned before in this post coveting summer hair care. It's the iconic Phillip Kingsley Elasticizer in the 'Coconut Breeze' variant. I use the pre-shampoo once a week to deep condition my hair and help prevent further damage via snapping. 


For shampoo, I am using the OGX 'Kuku Oil' variant and take my word for it, it smells ah-mazing. It's on the pricier end of the scale for £6 but it makes for one of the nicest hair washing experiences ever. The scent of it is like holiday's, coconutty and sweet. Created to help resist humidity and defrizz, I haven't noticed any particularly groundbreaking results on that front, but it is softer, stays less greasy for longer and leaves my hair smelling gorgeous.

My conditioner of choice is the 'Brilliant Brunette' - Visibility Deeper conditioner from John Freida. I love the Brilliant Brunette range as again, it smells gorgeous and leaves my hair feeling super soft. In terms of the deeper notes, my hair does look richer - but could that be because it's been washed? The packaging states that 'for deeper tones use the accompanying masque so I'm not sure if this does actually work but it does feel lush.

What are your favourite hair care products?

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Friday, 13 October 2017

BEAUTY: MAKE-UP REVOLUTION 'BROW REVOLUTION IN DARK BRUNETTE'



Ah eyebrows! It's only in recent times that I am able to say that I am fully cool with mine. From a horrendous waxing job in America nearly 10 years ago, I've been trying to grow them back ever since. There's a few pics of how simply awful they were in this post - and if you want to see how I care for my brows now, check out the post featuring my LVL lash experience.

Now that I have some started to maintain some shape and definition to my eyebrows, their grooming and upkeep takes barely anytime at all - even less so thanks to a new product i've been using from Makeup Revolution.

'Brow Revolution' in Dark Brunette...


The long lasting fibre gel retails at £6 and is available in 5 shades ranging from light, to super dark. The budge proof, waterproof and transfer proof formula achieves brow perfection in just a few seconds. I must admit, the application takes a little practise, but once you master it - your brows never looked so good!

Here are mine. Ignore the fact that I am growing them out therefore there are a few stray hairs hanging around, but do take into consideration how natural and full they look. The gel formula is applied using a super thin, pointed applicator and you gently apply soft strokes across your brow to fill in any gaps before brushing through with the spooly supplied. 

The gel formula is quite wet in consistency and can make-up your brows look a little 'felt tip-esque' if you don't work with it quickly and lightly. It takes a little practice but once you master it, you can achieve any look you desire.


What do you use on your eyebrows?

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Tuesday, 10 October 2017

BEAUTY: I HEART MAKE-UP 'GOLDEN BAR' PALETTE REVIEW + SWATCHES


If there's one area of make-up that is an easy sell for me, it's eyeshadow palettes. My local Superdrug had a little revamp and have now included more brand focused 'islands' around the store. One that particularly attracted my attention was the 'Tam Beauty' stand that was filled with Makeup Revolution / I Heart Makeup products. I must say, naughty dupey behaviour aside, the packaging and branding for the Tam products is seriously on point. 

Intrigued by the I Heart Makeup 'chocolate bar' palettes I began a fully committed swatch session in the middle of the store. I believe that there are 11 palettes in the range and each of them retail at £9 for 16 shadows (14 small size pans and two double size pans.) The Tam beauty site also states that these palettes are certified vegan, cruelty free and gluten free.I love the packaging for the palettes, very sturdy and interesting to look at - the large, clear mirror inside them is pretty awesome too. 

Immediately, I was drawn to the warm shimmery tones of the 'Golden bar' palette...



The palettes have a seriously chocolatey scent and what I like about 'The Golden Bar' variant is the amount of wearable colours included in the selection. My second favourite palette was the 'chocolate palette' however it contained a frosty pink shade which I knew immediately would be wasted on me.  

My favourite shades from the 'Golden Bar' palette are 'Cocoa', 'Tablet' and 'Golden' - all very wearable colours that can be subtly applied in a light wash for daytime, or amped up with more vigour for night.


The shadows are super creamy, easily blend-able with minimal fallout and hyper pigmented. Yes, they may be shimmery but I can assure you that you won't be looking like a disco ball. The shimmer is well balanced, not too in your face and quite beautiful. Each row of the palette contains a family of shades that compliment each other well - I love the bottom row which is filled with red toned shades, perfect for Autumn.

Perfect for achieving a bold, subtle or sexy eye makeup look, the formula of these shadows is divine - well worth the £9 price tag and for me, the 'Golden bar' palette contains no fail shades. All warm, completely wearable and easy to work with.

Have you tried anything from I Heart Makeup?


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Friday, 6 October 2017

BEAUTY: ROSIE FOR AUTOGRAPH CREAM EYESHADOW IN 'SPARKLE AND MAGIC'


I've been debating whether or not to seriously splurge and buy one of the cult ByTerry Ombre Blackstar cream eyeshadow sticks. At £30 they're certainly a high end purchase however, many drugstore and niche brands are jumping on the bandwagon and producing similar products.

A little while ago, there was a somewhat tense and slightly off interview uploaded toYoutube by the goddess, Sali Hughes featuring Rosie Huntington Whitely. Whilst I felt a little bored and uninspired watching the interview, I made a point to take a look at the Rosie for Autograph cosmetics line next time I was near an M+S. I'd heard a lot of hype about the line, in particular that Rosie's range is certified cruelty free standard.

The range features some decent products, nicely packaged and retailing at a mid-weight price -Think L'Oreal and Max Factor price points. There was one product in particular that I felt compelled to try.

Cream eyeshadow stick in 'Sparkle + Magic'...


Retailing at £12.50, there are 4 shades in the range, typical neutral colours including a brown, a camel nude and a berry shade which are all completely wearable. I love cream shadows as they can be worn alone (especially good when you are in a rush) or when layered under a complimentary shadow - which is the way I like to wear them.

'Sparkle and Magic' is metallic gun metal grey which has tones of silver and green. To me, it is the perfect colour for lighter coloured eyes to really bring the colour out. I have greyish blue eyes and as you can see from the pic below, Sparkle and Magic really enhances the colour.


The cream formula is nice to apply, either straight out of the bullet or with a brush. I do find it takes some layering to achieve an opaque coverage and a light wash can look a little streaky. As I mentioned above, I layer my shadow with a similar colour, my current choice is 'Chamoisee'  from MUA - A beautiful shimmery gold. In terms of longevity with this method, it's pretty good - it certainly lasts a full 8 hours at work. 

I definitely recommend the Rosie for Autograph cream eyeshadow sticks if you are looking for an easily transportable creamy shadow that you can apply on the go, that wears long and is a great dupe for the Ombre Blackstar line.


Have you tried anything from the Rosie for Autograph range?

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Tuesday, 3 October 2017

BEAUTY: LIQUID HIGHLIGHTERS, CONTOUR PALETTES & BRUSHES FROM 'COMPLEXIONS' AT MISS G COUTURE



I'm always glad to see new makeup brands emerging. The business of cosmetics is a difficult space to play in and competition is rife. As a newbie, the possibility of your products being swooned over by consumers, beauty experts and bloggers is the dream however, it's a tough game to break. With this in mind, I make an effort to try as many new and upcoming brands as possible to see how their product offerings fare against the current contents of my makeup bag in terms of quality and price.

Today I am talking about the 'Complexions' range of makeup from the online fashion brand, Miss G Couture. Now, you might just be thinking: "Not another make-up line from a brand" - But this is different. The Dad/Daughter duo behind the Miss G Couture brand has a unique tale to tale when it comes to knowing the cosmetics industry. They aren't newbies to the game. Woah no. Having launched two major cosmetics brands in the UK, one being Constance Caroll (old school) and a brand you probably have heard of, Collection 2000 - the team at Miss G Couture know the industry.

The current range is positioned at a mid-weight price point, with singular products retailing in excess of £10. In a marketplace where you can snap up high-end dupes for a couple of quid Makeup Revolution /MUA i'm looking at you....

How does the Complexions range fare?

There are two palettes within the 'Dawn to Dusk Contour and Highlighter' range - One is a powder formula and the other cream. They retail individually at £20, or you can buy both palettes for £32. You get 5g of product within 6 pans which are all housed in sturdy cardboard packaging. My only qualm about the white packaging is that finger marks show up easily and mine is already covered in product smears.


To begin with a full disclaimer here, I am not a typical contour kind of gal, despite being blessed with prominent cheekbones (about the only thing I was blessed with looks wise!) I rarely do much by way of contour and I certainly don't rock that ever-popular 'look' that we see all over Instagram. I do however like to add a little definition to my face and my weapon of choice are usually powder products. With this in mind, I was interested to see how well I got on with the cream products.


Dawn to Dusk Cream Contour Palette - Swatches in order from top row to bottom

The colour range within the cream palette is varied and I can imagine that the shade selection would suit a small number of different skin tones. This is a positive as the range only offers 1 palette to suit all. This brings me onto my issue with palettes per say. For myself, there a few neglected colours in the palette as I am super pale with a blue undertone. This means that any contour I have going on has to be done using a flat toned brown/taupe shade to avoid looking like an Oompa-Lumpa.

For the purpose of the review, I did try the lighter shades in the selection. When applied with an angled brush, they sit on the skin really nicely, no stickiness, no greasiness and a smooth colour payoff. Slightly too warm for me, but ideal for darkening a foundation, or for achieving/enhancing a sun-kissed, summer glow. The lighter shades are perfect for concealing under the eyes, my favourite shade being the slightly yellower toned second pan. The cream is opaque, moisturising and blends really nicely.


Dawn to Dusk Powder Contour Palette - Swatches in order from top row to bottom

I have to admit, I LOVE the powder contour range, Again the shade range is a little bit of a wasted on me, but I find powder products to be a little easier to work with if they tend to sit on the darker side of the spectrum. The powder formula is extremely velvety and soft to work with. The colour payoff is more subtle, which I personally prefer. I again, apply the powder using an angled brush with synthetic bristles. The powder glides on without bunching or streaking. The far right shade, again the one most yellow in tone works really well as an all over powder, I use it to brighten dull areas and finish off my base.



I have purposely not washed my brushes for these pictures. Firstly, because ain't nobody got time for that (they get washed every 2 weeks or so) and secondly, I genuinely think that they look better in the pics with a little colour on the ends. I can truthfully confirm that once I tried these brushes, I had a clear out and now 80% of my brush collection is made up of the Complexions 12 piece brush set.

For £25 you receive 12 brushes, 6 base, and 5 eye/concealer/lip brushes and a travel pot to store them in. The soft, synthetic brushes hold product well and don't lose hairs when applying your makeup. They also wash well and retain their fluffy, white domed appearance. This set is perfect as a treat for yourself, or as a gift. Take my word for it, they really aren't those crappy brushes you get free in sets - they're top notch!

Left: Complexions Blush Peals Liquid Highlighter + Right: Gold Pearls Highlighter

A hero product for Complexions, the Pearls liquid highlighters retail for £10, or £16 for the duo. I recently featured the Blush shade in my September monthly favourites as it has quite literally become a make-up bag staple. The formula is creamy, blendable and seriously shimmery. 

My only qualm would be the packaging, I much prefer a 'dropper' style applicator as opposed to the nail varnish brush style we have here. I must admit, the packaging for these doesn't (in my opinion) do the formula justice. For instance, the new Makeup Revolution highlighters look much more expensive for half the price.
Application of the 'Blush' liquid highlighter Left, straight application + Right, unblended

Packaging aside, I apply the highlighter by decanting a little onto a stippling brush and tapping to the cheek. The formula doesn't drag, or bobble and sits put until you remove it. A nice product that rivals some of the more established liquid highlighter manufacturers.


Application of the 'Gold' liquid highlighter - Left, Blended + Right, straight application

So there we have it, my thoughts on the initial line from Complexions. I can say that the brand is bringing out new products over the next month and the eyeshadow palettes look INSANELY good. Rumour has it, they're made in the same factory of a very, very well known cosmetics brand that specialises in buttery shadow palettes. For an infant brand, the formulas are very good. 

What do you think? Would you take a gamble on an unknown brand?

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