Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Monthly Favourites: September 2014

Autumn is probably my favourite season and I especially love all the fall beauty trends so naturally September was going to be an exciting month for me. I've loved so many things over the last few weeks and I can imagine I will continue to love and use all of these products over the next couple of months too.

Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne.
I have a feeling that this new Jo Malone fragrance will be in a lot of beauty blogger's favourites this month. I actually picked this up at Gatwick on the way to my holiday last week but I knew it would be a firm favourite and have literally worn it every day since. Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt is so unique and fresh, and not normally something I would probably pick as it doesn't have any floral notes but its seriously lovely. Inspired by the English coast and days at the sea side this is the perfect fragrance for those crisp autumn days. I think that this is suitable for everyday wear but its also sophisticated enough to be dressed up or layered with another fragrance for like a night out or something.

Nars Tinted Moisturiser.
The Nars Tinted Moisturiser has well and truly made its way to holy grail status. I featured it in my recent favourite face products post and have been loving using this on a day to day basis as its not as heavy duty as a foundation so I find it lets my skin breathe a lot more. The coverage is still decent enough to stop redness showing through and you can always go in with a concealer if you want more coverage.

Barry M Gelly Nail Paint in Cocoa.
I mentioned all the new nail paints from Barry M in my autumn ready beauty products post and I've really enjoyed them all but my favourite has been Cocoa which is like a very dark brown, it could almost look black in some lights. I don't own any colours similar and this is just a perfect shade for the colder seasons of the year . As with all the Barry M gelly paints the formula is very shiny looking and lasts a fair while until it begins to chip.

The Body Shop Honey Bronzer.
I only own one other bronzer which is Nars Laguna and I have it in a duo with the Orgasm blush so the Honey Bronzer from TBS is actually the first bronzer I own that is just a bronzer. I've been using this non-stop since purchasing it and although I love my Laguna bronzer this does make a lovely change where its matte. I think this is going to be an ideal bronzer for me during autumn as its not as glowly in comparison to the Nars bronzer.

Nars Doucer Blush.
Sticking with cheek products, my favourite blush in September was a new one for me from Nars and that is Doucer. I've heard so much about this Nars blush and it really is one of those products that is a bit nothing in the pan but transforms on to the skin. Its a pale rose colour that is again matte, I really love this because its hard to over do it with this product and I think it would definitely suit all skintones. It really compliments a lot of makeup looks and it especially suits all the berry tones I've been wearing either on my eyes or lips this month.

Real Techniques Cheek Brush.
To apply my blush I have been obsessing over the new limited edition cheek brush from Real Techniques. To be honest I could have included all the new limited edition Nic's Picks set in my September favourites as they're all amazing - I've written a full post on the set here - but my favourite is probably the cheek brush. Its just the right size for applying the perfect amount of blush to the cheeks and I've been finding that this brush plus the Nars blush is simply a beautiful combination.

Nars Dragon Girl.
I had two favourite lip products during September and one of them was Nars Dragon Girl, I think I finally came to the conclusion that red lips really are my favourite this month - even though I love rocking so many different lip colours I feel most confident in a red. This is a gorgeous cherry red, and probably one I would opt for wearing on an everyday basis, its super long wearing thanks to its matte formula and is so easy to wear. I've written a full review here if you're interested to read more.
MAC Craving.
I couldn't do a September favourites post without including a berry lip coloured product - my latest and new favourite is Craving from Mac. Although I always seem to be declaring my love for red lipsticks berry colours are probably up there amongst my favourites to wear as well - I own quite a lot of berry shades. I would say that Craving is like the more opaque sister of Syrup, its a stunning pinky purple winter berry coloured lipstick. Whereas Syrup is a luster finish and not the most opaque in my collection, Craving has an amplified finish making it very creamy and comfortable to wear while still being extremely pigmented.
QOTD: What were your favourite products in September?

Real Techniques Nic's Picks Brush Set Review

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Real Techniques seriously know how to do makeup brushes. Most of my collection consists of RT brushes as the quality is amazing and they are just so affordable. Now it goes without saying that the beauty world was going to swoon over the latest, silver limited edition release of makeup brushes Nic's Picks, but I swooned pretty hard and couldn't even wait for these to make their way to Boots so made a cheeky Escentual order a couple of weeks ago. These arrived super quickly and I even got them in time for my holiday which made me very happy indeed. The set includes five brushes and three of which are exclusive to the set and the brush which excited me most had to be the cheek brush, however after using these solidly for a few weeks now I can honestly say that I'm massively impressed by every single one.

The duo-fibre face brush designed for the application of lighter products just didn't really work for me with powder - I didn't get on with it for some reason but when used with my Nars Tinted Moisturiser it was an absolute dream, the soft bristles effortlessly sweep the product across my face so evenly and flawlessly. I know the brush is meant for powder but honestly try it with a BB cream or tinted moisturiser and you will see exactly what I mean! The first set exclusive is the cheek brush, which as I mentioned above was the brush I was most looking forward to using and it didn't disappoint - its honestly the perfect sized brush for blush and I can see it replacing my RT blush brush already.

Another exclusive to the set is the angled shadow brush, which is another brush I've been loving as its the most perfect size to fit into the crease of your eye and because its so soft it blends product beautifully. I know that I'm going to get so much use out of this brush as I don't have anything remotely similar. I've been enjoying the base shadow brush used with concealer and then the last set exclusive the eyeliner brush I've actually been using to soften the look of my eyebrows as I'm not really a big eyeliner wearer but still want to get use out of it.

The set is easily one of my favourites from RT so far, I absolutely love the silver handles although my one and only grumble has to be that I've noticed that the wording is already starting to rub off on a couple of brushes which is a bit annoying. I can see past the wording rubbing off the brush handles purely because the brushes are so lovely to use and as always make applying products so much easier and give you that flawless finish.

QOTD: Will you be purchasing Nic's Picks?

Monday, 29 September 2014

A Girl's Holiday

Yesterday I arrived home from my first ever girl's holiday in Majorca, it was an eventful but fun-filled week of eratic sunshine and showers, sickness, shopping, sight-seeing and cocktails! Here are a few of my favourite pictures from the week.


Stay tuned for a few cheeky holiday hauls on the way...

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Fragrance Focus: Jo Malone Velvet Rose & Oud

 I truly love those days in the year where the seasons are on the brink of change once again. You can see glimmers of the new season arriving in the colours on the trees, catch a hint of it in the way the light becomes slowly darker or brighter day by day. Other times you can just sense it in the air around you. Autumn has to be one of my favourite seasons, if not my favourite... although I'm pretty sure I say that about all the seasons at some point. However there is just something I find incredibly stunning about autumn, and the idea of crisp autumn leaves falling on the ground brings me more excitement than I care to admit to.

With the changing seasons comes a shift in your own moods and tastes, and one product that has had me truly anticipate autumn has to be this Cologne from Jo Malone. Jo Malone Velvet Rose & Oud is part of the Cologne Intense line, which offer a slightly more decadent range of colognes with richer ingredients. Slightly more expensive than the normal range from Jo Malone, the Cologne intense perfumes come in these exquisite yet somehow simplistic black bottles that look so stand out on your dressing table. I am obsessed with the packaging of all Jo Malone's products to be honest.

Velvet Rose & Oud is a rich and sensual cologne perfect to relish yourself in during the fall. I didn't really fall in love with Red Roses from Jo Malone of which I had a couple of tester samples for. When I tried Red Roses on I would find myself thinking, 'it needs something else' I don't know, it just didn't work for me which is surprising as I love rose scents. So when I saw the Velvet Rose & Oud I was quite excited to have a smell of it.

Velvet Rose. Not just any old rose but velvet, and yes I really do think that the silkiness of the velvet in its name comes across. First of all you get this elegant, smooth flow of roses followed by a darker edge that is slightly woody courtesy of the Oud. There is definitely something extremely enticing about this perfume, especially as it heats on the skin creating a musky concoction to swoon over.

A scent best saved for the cooler months so you can fully enjoy the richness of its ingredients, and not really something you would want to wear on a day to day basis as it is so heady and sensual - not to mention you want to keep an item like this a little bit precious. This is ideal for evening wear, or for special occasions. As you may know, Jo Malone encourages fragrance combining meaning mixing up your own creation of scents and I have tried pairing this with my English Pear and Freesia which I think freshens this Cologne right up and achieves a far more day time appropriate scent. I'm excited to explore this fragrance some more in the upcoming months....
QOTD: What has you excited for autumn?

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

MAC Warm Soul Mineralize Blush

I feel as though there has been quite a few Mac posts on my blog over the last few weeks, and while I was in the swing of talking Mac I remembered this blush that I've had for ages now and have been meaning to write a post on. Warm Soul is one of Mac's mineralize products, which I have basically found to mean is that these types of blushes have a slightly more shimmered effect to them than other formula's, which is great if you go for those blush/highlighter types of product.
Warm Soul is a truly gorgeous blush to have in your collection, especially as we transition into that autumn makeup phase. The colour of this I would describe as rose gold, its definitely got hints of bronze mixed in with some coppery pink tones that looks so beautiful on the skin. This is one of those blushes that works well with a lot of makeup looks. I consider Warm Soul as like my 'nude' blush as its not heavily pink or heavily peach it just sits right in the middle and seems to work so bloody well with everything I put it with. When I don't know what blush to wear I will often go for this one as it has that versatility to it to suit any look I'm wearing.
Admittedly Warm Soul won't be for everyone, those who prefer a more matte blush probably wouldn't get on with this so well and although I think that Warm Soul would work amazingly on a lot of skintones, very pale skinned girls could have trouble wearing it as it may come across as slightly too bronze and glowy if that makes sense. On saying that I can wear this in the winter when I don't have as much colour to my skin, and I do prefer this blush in the colder months as I find it brings back that warmth to my face in a really flattering way. I love the way that the gold shimmer acts as a highlighter on the tops of your cheek bones too so it effortlessly does two jobs at once for you.
This is definitely going to be getting plenty of wear over the next few months, I would recommend giving it a swatch next time you're at a Mac counter if you're after a lovely rose gold blush for autumn. If you love blush keep your eyes peeled on my blog in the next month or so as I'm actually going to be sharing my Mac blush collection on here quite soon!
QOTD: What do you think of Warm Soul from Mac? What are your favourite autumn/winter blushes?

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Nars Dragon Girl

I was so pleased when my local John Lewis finally introduced a Nars counter into their beauty offerings this month, if you caught my recent haul you may already know that I was more than a little tempted my Nars' beautiful offerings. Nars Dragon girl has been one of those lip products I was hankering after for ages and ages and I finally gave in to temptation earlier on in the month. I'm a firm lover of my bolder statement lips - you'll rarely find me with nude lips - and so the velvet matte pencil in Dragon Girl from Nars was right up my street.
I've seen this little lovely crop up tonnes in the beauty blogging world and it was only a matter of time before it made its way to my growing lip product collection. Although chunkier than your average lip pencil Dragon Girl rings true to its 'velvet matte' texture as it is super easy to apply all over the lips to create a stunning yet effortlessly chic red pout. The matte lip products of the world can sometimes result in that nasty tugging on the lips from the drier formula however this almost has a slight creaminess to its application while still leaving a very matte finish. This cherry red lip pencil would look stunning on virtually every skintone I expect.  
Dragon Girl is the most wonderfully comfortable matte red lip product I own to date, it sits so smoothly on the lips that you forget its even on. Plus the wear time is incredible and even after consuming food and drink this leaves a nice stain on the lips. As with most matte products I would say to make sure your lips are prepped before applying Dragon Girl, I've spoken about how I prep my lips for a bold red look in this post here if you're interested to find out what products I use for that. I can see myself getting so much use out of this product, a staple in any red lipstick lover's collection I would say.
QOTD: What do you think of Nars Dragon Girl?

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Five Empty MAC Lipsticks

As I'm sure that you already know, upon your sixth empty MAC product you are entitled to return the empty containers and receive a free lipstick - more commonly known as the Back To Mac scheme. So far, with the donation of two empty lipsticks from my mum (the two with very worn out lids there) and my own usage I have accumilated five empty MAC lipsticks. In a weird way its quite satisfying seeing them all lined up there ready to be joined by a sixth empty Mac product isn't it?
 I'm debating whether to depot one of my shadows next as I could pop that into one of my empty pans in a quad, or whether I should depot the rest of my Creme Cup lipstick as its quite low now and I rarely use it these days. Hmm decisions. Whatever I decide I'm well on my way for a trip to MAC for my first ever Back To Mac soon! I'm so excited about autumn lipsitcks, they are definitely some of my most favourite shades to wear. But what free lipstick to redeem? I've been really liking the look of Twig and Craving each time I've passed Mac in the last little while...
QOTD: Have you ever done Back To Mac? What Mac lipstick do you recommend I get?

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Autumn Ready Beauty Products


There are a handful of beauty products that are leaving me super excited for autumn at the minute. Now don't get me wrong, I love summer and will enjoy one final week of my bronze, bright makeup while on my holiday this Sunday, but I know that the minute I get home I will be diving straight into this lot of goodies!

As soon as I caught a peak of the new BarryM autumn selection of gelly nail paints a few weeks ago I knew a couple would have to end up in my never ending stash of nail varnishes. The colours are all really autumnal and I don't really own any colours similar. What is probably going to be one of those love or hate shades is the dull yellow in Mustard though personally I like it especially if you put it with the grey Chai. But my favourite one out of the three I picked up is definitely the maroony brown in Cocoa I can definitely see this being a staple item throughout the autumn and winter months.

Now I know that a bronzer may be a bit of an unusual one to throw in to an autumn makeup post, but I've wanted The Body Shop Honey Bronzer for so long now and I thought that this would be the perfect time to pick it up. This bronzer is going to be ideal for when I'm a little paler as it really does give you the most natural warm colour, its matte with absolutely no shimmer so it isn't going to look super bronzed on my face during the colder periods. Another matte cheek product that I'm obsessing over is Nars Douceur Blusher - I can see a bit of a theme occuring here - ordinary looking in the pan but stunning when applied. Its a rosy pink with a bit of brown in there and because its matte I find it sculpts the face really beautifully - I'm beyond in love with this.

 Next we have two Mac products that pop up time and time again during autumn. Firstly the eyeshadow Cranberry, a shimmery berry colour that I find to be super flattering with my blue eyes. You wouldn't think it but its quite a versatile shade, it blends out well so it can be less intense or you can build it up if you really want that autumnal berry look. Another popular one from Mac is the lipstick Syrup: hands up if this is an Essie Button inspired purchase in your lipstick collection *raises hand* but the girl just doesn't let us down seriously... I bloody love this lipstick. Its a gorgeous pinky purple that is just so easy to wear and despite its lustre finish it has a good wear time too.

Lastly an indulgently delicious autumnal fragrance from my latest love, Jo Malone it has to be the Velvet Rose & Oud Cologne Intense. A scent that is both elegant yet sultry at the same time. This is rich and warm and perfect for those winter nights. I won't say too much more as I'm going to do a full review on this in the next few weeks.
QOTD: Are you ready for the change of seasons?

Monday, 15 September 2014

Manicure Monday: Sally Hansen Double Duty Base & Top Coat

Today I'm talking base and top coats, it's been a little while since I did a Manicure Monday post, mainly because I sometimes go through phases of painting my nails. I often get a bit fed up with the unsightly appearance of chipped nails, its one of my biggest peeves and I'm really terrible with them. Sometimes I can't get my nail varnish to last me more than a few hours, although sometimes I think that is down to my own impatience. Base coat? Top coat? Pff I don't have time for all of that.

Yep I'm guilty of just going straight in for the kill with whatever my nail varnish choice is for the day. However I recently picked up the Sally Hansen Double Duty Base & Top Coat and I have to say that the results impressed me. As the name suggests this is a double whammy of a product acting as both a base and top coat so I've been applying this before and after my nail varnish. This not only makes my manicure lovely and shiny but it also keeps my nails from chipping for at least 2 or 3 days which is incredible for my standards. Even once the chips do start to appear I've noticed that they are only very faint as well which is another bonus.

I do admit that faffing about with a base and top coat is a bit of an ordeal and not something I see myself doing every single time I apply my nail varnish. I usually set aside at least an hour because once applying the Sally Hansen polish and then a couple of coats of your chosen nail colour you're talking like four coats of nail varnish that you've got to wait to dry. But if you do want your nails to last you that bit longer this is certainly worth a bit of extra time and effort.

QOTD: Do you apply base/top coats to your manicure?

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Current Favourite Face Products

For every day makeup I like to keep things pretty simple, and it seems that I have finally found the perfect combination of products to achieve this kind of natural look. For my base product I've gone back to Benefit's the Porefessional which really blurs the appearance of my pores and helps make the rest of my makeup last longer. The Porefessional is like a translucent balm so it doesn't add any colour or enhance my complexion but it is very effective in creating a smooth canvas for the rest of my makeup. I just apply this in a patting motion with my fingertips.

I've been in love with my Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser ever since picking it up earlier in the month, I would say that this gives light to medium coverage so its perfect for everyday use as you can still see your skin underneath. I have this in the shade Alaska. My favourite way to apply this is with my Real Techniques Stippling Brush as it is a brush that seems to work well with lighter produts to give a lovely sheer finish. The final product I use to set everything is my bareMinerals Touch Up Veil, which helps keep my face from looking shiny.

All these products together give me a really fresh and natural look that lasts me throughout the day and this is what personally works well for me for my every day makeup routine. I can see myself sticking with these three products for a while to come.

What are your current favourite face products?

Friday, 12 September 2014

What's In My Carry-On Flight Bag

I still have over a week until my holiday but I'm that girl who packs her bags really, really early. Its better to be organised in my opinion plus it gives me plenty of time to realise if I've left anything out! Obviously as I've still got over a week left to go I will end up chucking more things in as the time passes but I thought it would be a fun post to share to get me in the holiday mood.
To start off I guess I should mention my bag itself, I got this in the Debenhams summer sale and its a brand called Tripp which make all kind of travel things - I also picked up the matching suitcase as well. Carry-on bags aren't particularly flash, but when you're travelling its better to think practically. This luggage bag is perfect as it comes sort of like flat-packed meaning that the bag itself is very light-weight. The handles are a perfect length but there is also a longer shoulder strap for if you get tired carrying this over your arms all the time. Inside its very spacious with an internal zip pouch and also one zip pouch on the front of the bag too.

So onto the contents of the bag... I won't be going anywhere without my passport. My passport holder is a Cath Kidston one from a few years back in the tiny rose print which I absolutely love its so pretty and girly. For all my airport shopping needs I'm taking a separate wallet to my normal one which has got the perfect amount of space for notes and coins so I can fit in my pounds and euros, this is from Fossil again a few years ago now. To keep myself occupied if I get bored waiting around I'm taking my headphones to listen to my music on my phone. I'm not bothering to take my old battered iPod with me as it doesn't even contain half the stuff I want to listen to these days :P
For the flight itself I've got a new book ready in my bag although knowing me I will probably buy a few more at the airport as well, along with some magazines too. I've got my juicecube as you never know when you might want an emergency charge of your iPhone. I also like to take what I deem a personalised 'first aid' kid with me which is basically a Cath Kidston makeup bag stuffed with necessary essentials: kwells, paracetemol, anthiestimin, immodium etc its also got in like a travel pot of sudocreme and bonjella - just medicine that you wouldn't want to be without for a week abroad basically.

I then have two more separate makeup bags that are both a bit more transparent as they contain bits that I'm definitely going to want to access at some point. The flowery clear bag is another one from Cath Kidston and the green mesh type one is from The Body Shop. A few loose items in my bag are likely to be pocket tissues, my tangle teaser and some of The Body Shop Vitamin E Facial Cleansing Wipes as I hate that dirty feeling where my skin feels unclean from the air in the aeroplane and stuff.

Here's a closer look at what's inside those makeup bags then. A couple more from TBS Vitamin E range, I have a little bit left of my Vitamin E Face Mist which I thought will be perfect for an on the go spritz of freshness. And I've also got the Vitamin E lip balm this will be ideal for travel as it contains SPF 15. I don't go out the house without a hand sanitiser so I definitely wouldn't leave the country without taking one, this is from Bath & Body Works and I'm not sure what its called (Orange Swirl?) but its quite citrusy and nice for holiday.

Our flight is thankfully a pretty short one but I still wanted to take a few skincare items with me in case I think my skin needs some TLC. The night before we fly I'm going to a wedding and then catching our flight at 6am the next day so I imagine that my skins going to be looking pretty tired therefore I want to keep it feeling as fresh as possible. I'm packing my Origins Drink Up-Intensive Over Night Mask which is amazing (review to come!) I have this in the handy 50ml size so its good for travelling with. If I don't think I need something as intense as the over night mask I've got a little sample pot of TBS Vitamin E Night Cream, which will still be good to have to hydrate my skin. For some more on flight pampering I'm taking my L'occitane Hand cream which is almost empty so I thought I could use it all up while away and I'm also taking a Lush Charity Pot.

For makeup I'm keeping my options very simple -  I don't think I can fathom the idea of putting makeup on so early in the morning. If I do decide to make myself semi decent I'm packing a Nars Tinted Moisturiser sample for a super simple base - I'll either apply this with my fingers or the Real Techniques Mini Face Brush which is such a handy little addition to your makeup bag. Again for super simple brows I'm trusting my Benefit Gimme Brow - this is great as you swipe it on and it neatens your brows up and makes them look fuller. I'm leaving my lips quite neutral with MAC's Lovelorn, which I think is the perfect lipstick to wear when travelling as its quite moisturising and just ever so comfortable on the lips. And even though I'm sure I will be sniffing lots of new scents at the airport my inner perfume junkie couldn't resist popping in my travel sized Jo Malone
And thats everything so far, I hope you enjoyed a nosey inside my carry on flight bag!
QOTD: What travel essentials do you take with you?

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

MAC Fling Eyebrow Pencil Review

Swatch taken in natural day light
 After feeling quite let down by Sleek's eyebrow stylist last month (review here) I decided it was time to head back to the higher end brands for my brow product problems. That sentence was a bit of a tongue twister there, but basically I ended up in Mac a few weeks ago in the hunt for my holy grail eyebrow product. I had researched my options and had decide on Fling but just for a second opinion asked one of the MUA working that day what brow pencil what she recommend me and she pointed me in the direction of Fling too.
What I liked about Fling is that the colour is much, much more appropriate for me compared to the Sleek pencil. There is none of that funny coppery colour going on with Fling and it goes really well with the natural colours of my eyebrow hairs.  If the colour isn't right I find that I just can't bear to even use the product anymore as it makes me so self conscious. I also quite like that the nib is very fine so you can be really precise with this if you want to be. The price of this is not so shocking compared to some higher end products, currently retailing at £13.50 which I would say is right in between a drugstore price and a high end price.
What I don't like on the other hand is the way that this product is designed: you have to twist it up rather precariously and it feels really stiff and like its about to break at any second, and then you can't twist the product back down once you're finished. This really annoys me because this also means you have no way of telling when this is going to finish so you could be mid-brow and this could run out on you. Also after not even a week of using this I noticed that all the writing had begun to wear off the pencil which I think is a bit poor quality for something that is over £13 to be honest, it just looks a bit tacky and like it could be a year old not a month old. Plus there is no spooile brush which is again not really ideal considering the Sleek one has a spooile and a better design for half the price.
My overall conclusion? Not worth the money at all. I would rather spend out a bit more and invest in a better product because although the colour works for me, everything else about this I think is a bit disappointing to be perfectly honest. I've never been let down with a Mac product so far, but this wasn't really the standard I would have expected for the price you pay and for that reason I couldn't recommend this product.
QOTD: Have you tried any Mac Eyebrow pencils? What did you think?