Friday, 28 February 2014

Monthly Favourites | February 2014

Hey! So today's post is going to be my first ever monthly favourites post! Pretty exciting that we're almost in the third month of the year already. Monthly favourites are one of my favourite things to read on blogs or watch on Youtube as I just love a good nosey to find out what everyone else has been enjoying the last 30 odd days or so (well 28 days to be precise for this month!) February has been a really interesting month for beauty favourites for me as I have discovered some new loves while also rediscovering some oldies but goodies!

Marc Jacobs Honey.
First up, the perfume that I have been finding myself reaching for in February has been the ever so lovely Honey by Marc Jacobs. This perfume is quite a new discovery for me as I only recently received this as a gift for Christmas but I've worn it frequently over the last few weeks. I would describe this as a fresh florally scent that is perfect for everyday wear and currently has me dreaming of spring days around the corner. The design of the bottle follows in the fun and quirky footsteps of the other well known Marc Jacobs perfumes with its large white polka dots and flowers poking out at you. So not only does the perfume make you smell all sweet and lovely but it also brightens up your dressing table too. What more could you ask for in a perfume?

Real Tecnhiques Blush Brush.
February saw my brush collection expand somewhat, or should I say my Real Techniques collection? The release of their new retractable brushes had me stalking the isles of Boots (as if I needed an excuse) and this was when I decided it was finally time to pick up this brush. Ever since I have been asking myself why on earth didn't I pick this up sooner? I remember thinking that in the packaging it looks a little weirdly shaped but its shape actually makes it perfect for targeting the area of your cheeks your blush aims to reach so easily. You've heard the rave reviews so I will save you the repetition, but this brush is undoubtedly a must have and something I have thoroughly enjoyed using recently.

Essie Nail Polish in Fiji.
I don't know about you but during the colder spells my hands really suffer and with just a tiny amount of neglect they quickly become a bit of a nightmare - dry skin and nails that don't know if they are coming or going. Not ideal. So I've really been trying to make an effort to maintain better condition of my hands lately by regularly smothering them in hand cream and giving my nails some TLC whenever I can. Fiji by Essie has been the perfect addition to my efforts as its a very pretty, almost french manicure pink colour that looks really effortlessly put together. I find it a perfect nail polish for when  you don't want to draw too much attention to your nails (especially when they might be looking a little shorter than normal) but still want to pretty your hands up somehow.

The Body Shop Hair Chalk.
Probably the most fun discovery for me in February and that was the Body Shop's new hair chalks. Hair chalks are becoming increasingly popular especially now we are seeing Spring in and embracing more vibrant colours back into our lives and I just love this pink hair chalk from the Body Shop. I won't go into too much detail as I've already written a full review on these here.

Mac Creme Cup.
Creme Cup. You and I have a love hate relationship, but over the last month I have learnt to love you again. One minute I love Creme Cup, the next minute I hate it. Let me explain, on some days this lipstick it just washes me out and does nothing for me, especially at the moment where I'm so pale skinned. Appearing lifeless and washed out is never a great look is it? I see this lipstick on some people and it looks stunning, but when I go to put it on I can never expect how it is going to turn out on me. This has become the lipstick I throw on in a hurry or when I don't want to have to think too hard about what lipstick to wear. Another reason Creme Cup doesn't cut it for me is that strictly speaking I prefer a brighter, bolder lip - give me red or berry pink any day!  So you may be thinking right about now why is this in your monthly favourites then Grace? Well cue the solution to my problem, and my next favourite of the month...

Dior Addict Ultra Gloss in Pink Trench.
Sorting out through your makeup can be a rewarding task, especially when you find old treasures that you forgot you had like a Dior Addict lipgloss. This lipgloss probably goes back about five years from duty free holiday shopping many moons ago, as you may be able to see despite it being quite well used up is that this lip gloss is the perfect companion to Creme Cup. Pop this over the top of Creme Cup and it gives the prettiest effect, the addition of the lipgloss helps bring my lips back to life by adding a little shimmer - nothing too much as it isn't at all pigmented (see swatch below for reference.) I was also surprised by how lightweight it all felt I was worried that an already creamy lipstick and a lipgloss would be way too much, but the lipgloss itself isn't sticky but rather moisturising in fact. So if you're like me and find Creme Cup to be somewhat bland I would definitely recommend trying it out with a lipgloss - its changed the way I look at it now! 

L'Oreal Ultra Precision Super Liner.
Discovering this eyeliner has been a godsend, for this cack-handed lefty! I picked this up after reading Beth from Birds Words rave about it on her blog. Liquid eyeliner is one of those things that I really have to be in the mood to apply and I definitely go through stages of wearing it but ever since picking this up I have been reaching for liquid eyeliner much more often on an everyday basis. The applicator is so easy to use and helps create the most - as the name suggests - precise line that is perfect for a range of looks. For example I have been using this to define my eyes during the day but it can also create a more dramatic look too. What I quite like about it is that it doesn't feel ridgid to apply, like some liquid liners have a really straight nib that doesn't budge which I find so akward as I'm naturally a bit cack handed at times anyway. Not this eyeliner though, the applicator is flexible and I feel like it follows as you make a smooth motion. Another thing I've noticed about this is how dark it is which is another reason it helps make your eyes stand out so well.

Swatches taken in natural day light.
What have you been loving lately?

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Champneys Facial Cleansing System Review

Champneys Facial Cleansing System | Boots | £19.99 | Link
Hey, today I'm coming at you with a product review and that is a review of the Champneys Facial Cleansing System.  I'm going to be giving you the run down on how I've found this product, and ultimately answering the question - is this the budget friendly alternative to the Clarisonic Mia?
The hype around the innovative forms of facial cleansing have become undeniable with a range of brands now adding their own versions of facial cleansers to the market - however this type of technology does not come cheaply with a Clarisonic setting you back at least £100. However much I researched and read mostly only positive reviews there was no way I was parting with that kind of money without knowing if it would be something I liked or if it would work for me. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across the Champney's Facial Cleanser on offer on Boots online for £19.99 - what did I stand to lose?
After using this daily now for almost a month I think I can give you an honest and fair review of my experiences with this facial cleansing system and offer you my opinion of the Pros and Cons of the Champneys Facial Cleansing system. Before I start I should point out that my skin is normal and I 
usually just suffer from the occasional breakout.
How does this work?
Switch this on and it begins vibrating: it is these vibrations that are said to cleanse your face thoroughly and 'remove impurities from the skin'. I have been using this daily either in the mornings or in the evenings with my Body Shop Vitamin E cream cleanser which I have found to be a really nice combination. For best results I dampen my skin and run some warm water over the brush head so it becomes really soft before I apply it to my face. In the evenings when I'm using this to remove my face makeup I always make sure I've taken off any eye makeup with my Bioderma beforehand. The leaflet provided in the box suggests you to work in circular motions and the rough guidelines are to spend 10 seconds on your cheeks and 20 seconds on your T-zone area so the forehead, nose and chin. Once I have roughly cleansed my face to those guidelines I simply rinse my face and I'm good to go.
The set is very simple and in the box you just have the main piece that you attach the brushes to and this comes with a small stand. Also included are two sets of exfoliation brushes and two normal brushes.  I haven't really used the exfoliation brush so I won't touch on that but basically you can very easily remove the brush heads and swap them around for your own choice and this is also handy when it comes to cleaning the brushes themselves. The normal brush is very inoffensive, it hasn't irriated my skin but it still manages to make it feel nicely refreshed afterwards.

- Price Tag
This has got to be the biggest thing in its favour as its considerably more purse friendly in comparison to others similar on the market. For under twenty pounds this is so cheap and definitely more accessible to people who aren't prepared to spend an excessive amount for their skin care routine.
- Effective in what it says it does
Since using this I have noticed an improvement in the way my skin looks and feels. I really do feel as though this removes my makeup more thoroughly than I could and you can visibly see what it is removing on the brush as you move it away from your face. Black heads around my nose and chin have definitely been reduced and I have just noticed a general positive effect on my skin in general, my spots are nowhere near as bad as they had been which is probably a result of this removing my makeup more effectively. And considering its winter and my skin is usually quite dull I have noticed a perkiness to it that I normally wouldn't see during this time of year.
- Water resistant
You can use this in the shower due to it being water resistant which is definitely helpful to me as it means I can incorporate it into my morning routine every morning.
- Compact / lightweight
This is very light and compact which would make it ideal for those who are frequently travelling or maybe to leave in your gym bag for those who are on the go. Although this also works as a disadvantage too (see below.)
- Battery operated
One of the biggest drawbacks for this in my opinion is that it is battery operated. Being battery operated means that when this runs out of charge its not as simple as being able to plug it in at the wall and leave it to charge for how ever many hours, you have to be prepared and have batteries backed up (which by the way,who even keeps batteries anymore?!) Although in the box this did at least contain two AA batteries but in the future it means the inconvenience of needing replacement batteries as apposed to charging it through the electrics. Another thing that this means is that although this product is initially cheaper to buy up front than other facial cleansing systems having to buy replacement batteries each time it runs out of charge eventually results in you spending out more money than you originally thought.
- Basic
This is very basic and though that may be ok to some people I just feel like this shouts its £19.99 price tag a little too loudly. With its all white design that looks a little too plastic for my liking and the simple on/off setting there is no denying that this is nothing fancy and instead is rather a true reflection of its price tag. I've also noticed that this has slipped out of my hands a few times as there isn't any grip on the handle and considering that this isn't the sturdiest feeling thing in the world it makes me a little unnerved that one more drop on the floor could eventually see the death of it altogether.

Overall Impression.
My overall impression on the Champneys Facial Cleansing system is that you get what you pay for, I found this to work quite well on my skin but I also found it to be nothing outstanding but then again what can you really expect from something that is under twenty pounds? Although I personally have not ever tried the Clarisonic I would say that for those on a budget that yes this is probably a good high street equivalent. For now I am going to continue using the Champneys Facial Cleansing system and at least get my moneys worth out of it but this has made me decide that I am probably going to invest in a Clarisonic or something similar one day for use in my skincare routine for the long run as I can't see this lasting forever.

What is your must have item in your skincare routine? Do you use a facial cleansing system like this?

Sunday, 23 February 2014

MAC A Fantasy Of Flowers : Spring 2014 Collection

Today's post is going to be dedicated entirely to the brand new limited edition collection from Mac cosmetics or at least a slice that I have managed to get my lucky paws on! This collection is said to be inspired by Spring and I will tell you now that the pieces are absolutely gorgeous and make me so excited that we are now approaching the transitional stage from winter makeup to fresh new spring looks. 
MAC describes this collection as "A dream world bursting with brilliant blooms of colour. A stunning bouquet of shades draws you in with hypnotic movement as a magical fantasy emerges glowing with a floral essence." - Link.
When I found out about the Fantasy of Flowers collection at the start of the year I knew this was going to be something I would like. I thoroughly researched all the releases that were going to be gracing our Mac stores from reviews online. I had my eye on four things in particular and was lucky enough to get them ordered as soon as they had become available online - I wasn't prepared to rely on buying them from my local Mac counter which is usually always sold out of these limited edition collections! You can imagine my excitement yesterday morning when the postman rang my doorbell and handed me a jet black box full of brand new Mac makeup.
The products I am going to be talking about in this post are the Mineralize blush in Azalea in the Afternoon, the Minerealize skin finish in Stereo Rose and the two lipsticks Heavenly Hybrid and Dreaming Dahlia, I've also included some swatches for you. Though limited edition the original packing reamins with the traditional classic black we all know and love, however it may have been nice to see something a little different for such a pretty collection. I would like to own some fancy limited edition packaging as Mac have had some really quirky ones over the years, maybe one day! However its not all about the packaging, and so onto product number one... 

 Recently I have been obsessing over Mac's blushes after buying my first one not so long ago. Blushes are quickly catching up with my love for lipstick which is definitely saying something trust me! Therefore it goes without saying that when I learnt about the new blushes in the Fantasy of Flowers collection I was keen to get one for myself. The collection introduced two new blushes: Azalea in the Afternoon and Petal Power neither of which have been released in previous collections as far as my knowledge can tell you. I looked at swatches online and decided on Azalea in the Afternoon as I thought that Petal Power looked a little similar to Nars Orgasm which I own in a blush/bronzer duo so I thought I would get something different.
Due to being a mineralized formula this blush is unlike a normal powder blush. I really like the look that these mineralized blushes give to your skin as they manage to create a very pretty natural flush to your cheeks. When I swatched this blush for the first time I was amazed by how soft this is - you can almost see from the image above how its just like velvet, so so beautiful! This blush gave my cheeks the prettiest light flush of colour, very dainty and feminine for the spring months. When blended out 
this creates a subtle look, however it still manages to leave an impact as it reveals a lovely frosty finish to your cheeks. Azalea in the Afternoon is definitely not an in-your-face kind of blush, making it quite versatile in my opinion and great for day to day use. I know that I'm going to be reaching for this tonnes in the upcoming months.

Ah Stereo Rose. Yes. I had read lots on this highly lusted over Mac product, another thing I knew I wanted for my collection. This is supposedly a repromoted item as it has been released in several collections before this one. Every time Stereo Rose is released it seems to cause new speculations and rumours. I say 'supposedly' because this has been scrutinized by those who know their Mac products and Stereo Rose is said to be different each time it is rereleased in a new collection. I have never owned this before, I don't own any limited edition items from Mac so the opinions I am giving on this are based purely on this version I have and not any sort of comparison.
Similarly to Azalea in the Afternoon this swatches on the fingers oh so smoothly. Don't be intimidated by the intense peachy colour in the pan as it actually produces the loveliest coral shade which is going to look amazing as a highlighter come summer time. I'm a big fan of anything that has hints of coral as I find it so flattering. Because of the coral shades in this skinfinish it is a multi fuctional product, great for highlighting those cheek bones or used even as a blush as its so easily adaptable. I really can't wait to have a good play around with this product. I know that for some Stereo Rose may be a disappointment as apparently this is far less pigmented than previous releases but I think that makes it more workable. I am really happy that I managed to get this to add to my Mac collection and would definitely say that its worth the hype as it is a pretty unique product. 
Below are swatches of both products taken in natural day light.

Next up is of course lipsticks. I'm not going to lie here people, I am a sucker for Mac lipstick. This is a fact I can't or won't deny. I love my Mac lipsticks and was especially excited to see the arrival of six new ones to their spring line. I'm not going to list each one but will leave Temptalia's Link if you're interested to see them all. First thing I should say is that I think that for some, this line of lipstick will be a bit of an anticlimax, purely because of the lustre finish each lipstick has. Lustre finishes aren't exactly the most popular type of Mac lipstick as not everyone likes the sheer look and the colour pay off is not as exceptional as other types from Mac. And what I mean from that in simple terms is the colour you see in the bullet is not a reflection of how it comes out on your lips. I
personally really like lustre lipsticks, as I find them one of the easiest to wear, they are nice and creamy and generally think the way they look is pretty.
Heavenly Hybrid looked right up my street from the moment I saw it, however I am slightly surprised to see such a berry toned shade in a spring collection?! Anyone else think that? Although personally I really like lipsticks with purple undertones, a flattering colour for a wide range of skin tones. Heavenly Hybrid is a perfect shade to move us from Winter into Spring as although it has hints of berry tones there is still something fresh about it, its not got that vampy feel like say Plumful by Mac. This lipstick will be great all year round something that cannot be said for every shade of lipstick, for example the next lipstick I'm going to talk about I would only ever wear in Spring/Summer because of its vibrance.

Dreaming Dahlia now this was the lipstick I hankered after most as coral colours are one of my absolute favourites to wear. From looking at this picture above anyone who knows their Mac products might be thinking that this is a dupe for Morange? Yes in bullet this looks very similar to one of my all time favourite Mac lipsticks Morange but obviously the lustre finish makes them stark opposites. This has been described as a coral with hints of red which from the swatch I did I think you could agree describes Dreaming Dahlia fairly accurately. Due to the finish this does not provide a fully opaque coverage, on saying that you can build this colour up. At first this will look somewhat transparent but you can definitely add more to the lips to increase coverage. This is lipstick is going to be a perfect one in a few months down the line and I can just imagine how this will look with sun kissed skin and a bit of Stereo Rose to highlight your cheeks, stunning!
 Below are swatches of both products taken in natural day light.
So there you have a handful of picks from the new Fantasy of Flowers collection by Mac Cosmetics. My overall thoughts on the items I have picked up is that they are a beautiful addition to have for the spring months so I know they will definitely get well used and loved. Plus I don't know about you but there's definitely something a little bit special about finally own some limited edition products... So if you're a makeup collector I have no doubt that something will tickle your fancy from Mac's new dreamy releases!
What do you think of Mac's new Fantasy of Flowers collection? Do you own any limited edition makeup items?

Friday, 21 February 2014

The Body Shop Hair Chalk Review: Falling For Blue

Hair Chalk | The Body Shop | £5 | Link
There has been one thing that I cannot get enough of the last few weeks or so and that has been the latest releases from The Body Shop with their brand new hair chalks. I think that these launched at the beginning of the month so they really haven't been out for long. If you've never heard of hair chalks before or are unsure what they are they are basically a temporary way of colouring your hair. When browsing one of the stores a few weeks ago my eyes were instantly drawn to the stand in the window showing off their brand new product. As soon as the sales woman saw me eye them up she quickly ushered me into a seat to give me a demonstration.

The hair chalks come in two bright shades 'Tickled Pink' or 'Falling for Blue' and instinctively I opted for the pink. The lady chatted through what she was doing as she applied the chalk to my hair, so if you felt unsure about how to apply them don't hesitate to ask for a demonstration. Although there are also some simple 3 step instructions on the packaging as well. Within a couple of minutes the ends of my blonde locks had been transformed into a bright explosion of colour - I was in love! The colour was so pigmented and bold against my blonde hair and it was unlike anything my locks had ever known. Needless to say that I hurried straight over to the till clinging excitedly on to my pot of pink hair chalk. I have since used that pink pot up, I think it got around five uses but you should probably take into consideration that my hair is quite long and you can apply as little or as much as personally desired. A pot would probably last somewhat longer on someone with shorter hair depending on how it was used. I prefer to apply it somewhat lightly so that you can still identify some of the blonde poking through underneath.

Today I was feeling a little experimental and went back in to try out the second colour option 'Falling for Blue'. Above you can see a couple of pictures showing the end result on my hair. I was really pleased with how it looked! Now I've tried both options I do think the pink is my favourite though (check my Instagram if you want to see a picture of how my hair looked pink.) But for now my ends are an exotic shade and for some reason I keep thinking of a mermaids hair when I see my blue ends - even though the little mermaid had red hair? I don't know maybe its just the blue reminding me of the sea...  I think if you're blonde like I am this colour combination works a treat and is right on trend too. Adding such an eye popping colour also seems to make my hair look blonder which I quite like too.
Overall I am completely taken with the new releases from The Body Shop, but I thought I would finish up by weighing up the Pros and Cons for you.

- Extremely well pigmented (against my hair anyway)
- They rinse out with just one hair wash
- Add colour to your hair without damaging the condition of it
- Inexpensive way of colouring your hair
- They can be a little messy to apply for the first time at home
- The colour pay off will not be the same for all shades of hair
So I think that's everything I wanted to say, I think that I've given the hair chalks a fair review. If you are interested in trying these out from your local Body Shop I would recommend trying them out first to save any disappointment.

Have you ever tried hair chalk? Would you ever add a bold colour to your hair?

Feel free to tweet me @graceyblossom or check out my pink hair on instagram @graceyblossom :) x

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A Love For Floral Prints

Liberty Print Makeup Bag | £17 | LoveToHold

One of the things that I was keen to talk about on my blog was a unique and lovely find that I disovered a few weeks ago when looking through Etsy. I was searching for a makeup bag and I was struggling to find the right one for me. My hunt for a makeup bag also made me realise that there is actually quite a gap in the market for decent makeup bags: all I could seem to find were those shiny Ted Baker styled ones which although I do like those types of makeup bags - especially for practical reasons as I can imagine they are easy to maintain and keep clean, I was after something more feminie.
Then I remembered good old Etsy, so I searched for makeup bag and I think I filtered  the results to UK only as the bulk of items on Etsy are sold by international sellers and one of the first results were these unique makeup bags made by a seller called LoveToHold. I was instantly in love with all the bright and beautiful prints available. I am such a sucker when it comes to floral designs! It took me ages to settle on this particular print as I could have honestly picked them all. Not only is the flowery pattern just lovely but so is the way that its been beautifully hand made, its really something special and the perfect addition to your makeup collection in my opinion.
These come in three different sizes, small medium and large, the small one looked to be more like a coin purse type of size and the large one was a wash bag size. I chose the medium size (as pictured) but I also got the matching wash bag too, which I'm as equally smitten with. This particular size is very practical as it fits plenty of your every day makeup essentials in! So if you're in the market for a new makeup or wash bag or just fancy a peak I would definitely reccomend checking out LoveToHold over on Etsy :)

Are you a lover of a particular print or pattern? What does your makeup bag look like?

Just A Small Introduction

So here I am with another blog, I know, I know how many times am I going to repeat that phrase? Well hopefully this will be the year that I return for good. I've been blogging on and off for the last four years as a hobby with general lifestyle inspired themes but I never had a specific interest per say. That was until around eight months ago when I was suddenly sucked into the beauty world after one innocent visit to a Mac counter with my friend. This was when I purchased my first Mac lipsticks, and the rest I suppose they say is history. 
With the help of many beauty blogs and YouTube videos I have come a long way since that trip to the Mac counter - I wouldn't have been able to tell you the difference between a lustre lipstick to a matte lipstick back then or how much difference a lip pencil can really make towards the way your lipstick looks. In all honesty a year ago I didn't really know anything about makeup, so I guess that I still represent the 'beginner' in all of this beauty malarkey but the thing about me is that once I become interested in something I tend to pick things up pretty quick. I have a job and am soon to become a self employed foot health professional so all of the makeup is bought with my own money and it's something that I pride myself in being able to do. 
So just when you thought that the last thing the world needs is another twenty something girl rambling on about makeup... my little blog appeared. But I hope you will stick around and enjoy reading my snippet of the beauty world.