Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Beauty and Stationery Finds | Wilkinsons

Happy New Year! I hope you've all had a good start to the new year :) I also hope 2018 is finally the year I get ahead with planning a blog schedule (wish me luck!)

I'll admit, I don't really need any more stationery, but whilst on a job away I had gotten ready quite early so I thought why not just pop down to the shops? One of the perks of having the city centre right outside your hotel! Also, on top of that, Wilkinsons was basically empty so early in the morning, so I had the whole shop to myself!

I did have to pay a quick trip to the Essence counter beforehand, for blog purposes of course. Now, in my hometown, the closest Essence counter to me is always half stocked at the best of time, so the sight of a fully stocked counter meant that I was definitely leaving with some goodies for the first time in ages.

My eyes traced the stands for one product in particular, and lo and behold it was in stock. I've always wanted to give the Essence Matt long lasting lipgloss a go, but the one shade that appealed to me most was always out of stock. Now I had my hands on it; 08 The Big Chill, and let me tell you; I am so glad I finally found it. I love the shade, and surprisingly the formula is just as good as the Colourpop ones (in my opinion). The shade is the perfect dusty rose that I find super flattering on myself, infact I can't believe it isn't talked about as much. For all the hype about the Colourpop ones, this is a really nice alternative and frankly, a very cheap one at that. I'll save the swatches of this, so I can compare it with my Colourpop lips post. It retails at around £2.30, although I can't find this particular shade on the Wilkinsons page.

Next, I was in the market for a new eye primer. For some reason, every time I buy a new one it leaks all over my makeup bag, emptying it before I've had a chance to use it. I had heard quite a bit about the Essence I Love Stage Eyeshadow Base, and I was hoping the nude colour of the eyeshadow base would help with cancelling out any discolouration too. You can find it here for £2.50.

The next two products are not from Wilkinsons, but I thought I would just include them too. I picked them up from M&S on a bored, evening stroll. The Nuxe lip moisturising stick was a spontaneous buy because my lips were so dry, I thought it would be good for on the go. It's actually quite similar to my much loved Nuxe lip cream, but I'll save that for a dry lips SOS post I have coming up. Next, I wanted to try out the Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser since hearing about it from two of my favourite blogs; UmmBabyBeauty and Danielle's Beauty Blog. The mini size is perfect for me because I wanted to see how my skin reacts to it first, and yep I just realised I left the price tag on!

Moving onto the stationery finds! Wilkinsons do some amazing pieces, at incredibly inexpensive pieces. I am probably going to start my professional exams soon, so I thought might aswell do it in style haha! Their new Decelerate collection is my favourite, it's where most of my buys came from.

Their exercise books always come in handy, and for a pack of three for £2.50 (here), you can't really complain. Especially, once you see how amazing the cover designs are, sleek grey and marble effect, yes please!

I also picked up another notebook set, which was slightly more expensive at £3.50 for two, but I couldn't really resist the gold lined paged. (I can't seem to find this one on the website)

My favourite finds were these little A6 'Today is Great' marble notebooks (here), with a lovely grey hardcover, for the price of £1.50! It would have been rude not to pick up two! These actually look a lot more expensive than they are aswell, I think they'll be popular with a lot of bloggers too because the quote is quite motivating.

Lastly, I picked up this little rose gold diary for around £1. I know the shiny cover won't be to everyone's taste, but to tell the truth, I'm like a magpie with anything rose gold nowadays.

I hope you enjoyed seeing what I picked up recently!
Have you had any good buys lately?

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Friday, 22 December 2017

Essie Gel Couture Holiday Collection

I was really excited when I saw the Essie Gel Couture Holiday Collection*. At this festive time, I normally reach for the deep plums, but this collection had me trying something new. Inspired by jewels (all will become clear once you see the names of the nail varnishes!), this collection is perfect for brightening up this Winter Season and adding some glitz, which we could do with! Surprisingly, there was a lot of snowfall where I live recently, the view outside my window was a sea of white, grey and green. This rarely happens here, and we had a lot of fun running around the park and building snowmen! The point of this mini story, however, is that this collection is a great way to challenge the status quo, and try something new this Winter (and maybe rock those bold colours when you're building a snowman). There were a lot of Frozen references flying around that week haha!

Moving on, this collection features six shades. Two of the shades are a take on the traditional silver and gold (but wait until you see them!), then we have a bright red and a vivid pinky/purple, before the final two shades which include a tinsel green and a deep aubergine/burgundy (which is the only shade in the collection that I would say is more traditional).


Diamond in the Cuff 

Diamond in the Cuff is your classic ivory shade, but this one has a shimmery twist. The glitter particles are incredibly fine however, so it creates a really lovely, luminous effect, rather than a glittery or grainy finish. I did think the shade had a bit of a silver undertone, almost reminiscent of the pale silver tinsel you would find.

This shade does need two coats to be opaque, and I also found this one needed a bit more time to dry otherwise it went a bit sticky. I do think it looked quite nice on, although ivory isn't really my kind of shade as sometimes it can look a bit stark with my skintone, but the silver undertone helps.

Gold Gliding

I was the most excited for this shade! As soon as I saw it, I thought wow, that's a shade that I definitely don't own. It also looks a bit warm toned in the bottle, and my hands have more of a yellow undertone too, so I imagined it would look good. I was expecting a bronze gold as per the description, although I clearly didn't read it carefully because I missed the 'brushed with carnation pink'. No, if there was ever a rose gold nail polish, this was it! I just love the shade, again the shimmer is very fine so it looks very glitzy without looking like obvious glitter. It is definitely a glamorous shade, infact this is the one I paired with my Christmas party dress (which was a black, velvet knee length dress embellished with pearls if you were wondering - I LOVE it just as much).

Again, with this shade I went in with two coats just to be on the safe side. I did find that this performed really well compared with the rest of the collection, it dried much quicker and there were no signs of chipping and it lasted well. I might have had to go to my Xmas party in trainers because of the snow, but hey atleast my nails looked good!

Rue De La Ruby

Rue De La Ruby is described as a 'fiery red', however I was expecting a ruby red based on the shade name. In actual fact, however, I think this is definitely more of a raspberry red. It's one of those shades that just isn't really a red and isn't really a pink, so raspberry red it is. With one coat it does come up as a brighter red, but two coats deepens it to give it a slight maroon tone.

Looking back at the pictures now I actually think it looks quite nice on, but reds aren't normally my go to. This shade was a bit trickier than the others in terms of application. I felt that it took much longer to dry, and then when I finally did think it was dry, nope it just came clean off. I would give this shade a bit more drying time, but fans of oxblood shades might like this brighter take.

Graced in Garnet

Graced in Garnet is described as an 'aubergine purple' and I think that's a spot on description. I can't really improve on that, but it's slightly brighter than I was expecting. Again, this shade needs two coats to ensure it comes up as opaque. I did really like this shade though, although that might just be typical me, going for any shades that look slightly burgundy! It is a more refreshing option compared to my other Winter shades though, as I feel like it's a bit more eye catching.

Jade to Measure

Jade to Measure is described as a 'brilliant emerald green accented with sapphire blue'. To be honest, I cannot see any sapphire blue coming through, at all. I would simply describe this shade as a tinsel green. I don't mean it in a dismissive way, but if you wanted to see what kind of shade this is, just think about the classic green tinsel that you would spot around this time of the year. The shade applies opaque in nearly one coat really and again I didn't notice any chipping or peeling with this, so the formula is again one of the better ones out of the application. However, the shade just isn't for me, I can't pull it off, I find it much too bright and vivid. I do prefer the ivy green from the Leathers Collection (Back in the Saddle - see here) However, if standout shades are your thing, then Jade to Measure is for you!

Amethyst Noir

Finally, the deepest shade in the collection. Described as a 'vivid jet burgundy', again I would say this is spot on. It is an incredibly deep plum shade that applies near black, therefore one coat might be best for this shade (bonus it applies opaque in one coat too). The formula of this shade was again one of the better ones, it didn't take long to dry and was surprisingly one of the least messy shades! Again, no chipping with this one. However, as much as I like it, I don't think I can get away with a near black shade for everyday wear (it will look black from a distance), I'll get too many questions haha!

Overall, as I've mentioned in the last few Essie posts (see here and here) so I won't go into it too much detail, I love their brushes! They make the application much easier and they're the perfect size. As excited as I was with this collection, I think it has definitely encouraged me to try out some more shades and maybe get out of my Winter comfort zone a bit. Gold Gilding is my favourite shade out of the collection,. Just like most people, I'm a little obsessed with rose gold, it's kind of hard not to be! I wouldn't say there were any duds, but as I mentioned, Rue de la Ruby and Diamond in the Cuff do need a bit more time to dry and they were prone to flaking a bit. However, the other shades were fine in my opinion, and this was without a top coat.

You can pick up these Essie varnishes from Superdrug, Boots or Amazon. Gold Gliding is selling out fast, but it's still available on Superdrug here. (see here for Amazon Diamond in the Cuff, and here for Boots Rue de la Ruby).

I hope you enjoyed this post!
Which of these shades do you fancy?

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Friday, 17 November 2017

YSL Black Opium with Perfume Click

There's always that one perfume we lust over, and for me that has always been Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium! I've been hooked on it ever since I saw the adverts, and it's always the one I would try out in department stores. However, I think the scent of it is quite unique, especially considering that it probably does come across differently on everyone's skin, so I wasn't entirely sure it would work well on me. Also, if you add in the fact that it is hardly ever on offer (you can tell it is a very coveted perfume!), it was one I still hasn't purchased.

YSL Black Opium Eau De Parfum

However, when Perfume Click got in touch with me about trying something from their website, I thought to myself well it's finally time I gave it a go. They kindly gave me a £35 gift card towards the purchase, and I paid the difference. I got the 30ml version (see here), so I could get a better idea before I invested in a 50/100ml bottle. Their website is worth checking out as they have some great offers on sometimes, especially with their Black Friday sales that are now on. I've scrolled through some myself and these ones really caught my eye; Vera Wang Princess 100ml for £22.90 here, Estee Lauder Modern Muse 30ml for £27.15 here (I love this one too), and they have my favourite Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau so Fresh for £55.55 for 125ml here.

YSL Black Opium Eau De Parfum

Moving on, the website was really use and my order actually came quite fast with standard delivery, and it was also tracked. It made a really nice present when I came home for one of the weekends (I like treating myself when I'm on the move! It helps cheer me up haha).

I thought the packaging was really fitting too, with the dark glitter themes on the box matching with the glittery bottle, and the addition of some rose gold (which always goes down well!). The bottle is actually smaller than I expected, I can fit it comfortably in the palm of my hand, so that was interesting at first because I was like how did they manage to fit 30ml into this?! I love the little circle in the middle though, it's handy to see how much you have left, and I think it adds to the whole edgy look of the bottle. The cap with the Yves Saint Laurent stamped on it is a nice touch too!

In regards to the scent, I''m not the best at describing these, but the perfume is supposed to be a glam rock interpretation of the classic Opium (which I've never tried personally). It has main notes of coffee, which then follows with notes of pink pepper, orange blossom, jasmine, vanilla, patchouli and cedar. I actually never drink coffee and I don't like the smell of it either, so I was a bit surprised when I was researching the notes before I brought it.

YSL Black Opium Eau De Parfum

When I first spray it I really get the vanilla coming through (it''s also quite strong initially), then that quickly dies down quite a bit to give a thicker, sweet scent (on me I think the fragrance gets a bit muted at this point so I really have to give it a sniff). I wouldn't say it screams dark and mysterious (like I was expecting), but at the same time it is more suited to Autumn/Winter. It isn't an incredibly strong scent (well on me), but at the same time I don't think you want to spray too much at once as it can start feeling a bit heady. The wear time is average (so no more than 6 hours on me), but it does leave a nice, warm scent on your clothing. It is a perfume that I'm glad I own and one I would take out for occasions, but I would strongly recommend you try it out a few times because 1) it's not really true to how you expect it to be from the advert (I find it to be weaker and the scent wasn't exactly what I was expecting) and 2) it does come up differently on everyone so it is down to personal preference.

YSL Black Opium Eau De Parfum

I know this was a bit of a mixed review but I am still struggling to make sense of this perfume in a way, when I asked my Sister she said she thought it was quite flowery! Black Opium is an enigma! I'm sure I'll get a lot more use of it in the coming months though (so I can always report back), I reckon it's the definite choice for the Christmas German markets. Personally I find it to be a bit too much to wear for work, so it's mainly weekends and evenings I reserve it for.

I hope you enjoyed this post!
What are your thoughts on Black Opium?

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Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Essie Leathers Collection by Rebecca Minkoff 2017 | Review + Swatches

First of all, I'm so sorry that I took off again. Some of you might know that I started a new job (my graduate job), but even then I was intending on posting regularly, but I've had to travel a lot more than expected and it's all been quite last minute. However, I am home now (well that's the latest!) and ready to catch up on your posts, and I'll do an update post soon!

Moving on, Essie have really been spoiling me! I've come back home for the weekends, and surprise; another amazing parcel! It's honestly incredibly kind of them. This particular post will be about their Leathers Collection by Rebecca Minkoff*. The Leathers Collection has been inspired by Essie's global colour designer, Rebecca Minkoff, and her handbag line. Unlike the leather look nail polish trend that I remember was quite the rage a while back (I did give it a go but found it a tad gritty personally), this range aims to capture the rich, buttery feel of the finest leather. So, from what I believe, it's not supposed to give a full-on leather look, but more of a subtle, luminous effect.

The collection is split into two kits; mini kit one and mini kit two. Mini kit one features three deep shades. I find that they have an almost gothic take on some classic winter shades, but as you will see I personally think two of them also have those Christmas feels. Mini kit two, in comparison, features three neutral toned shades, but again these have some added vividness and offer more than you would guess on a first impression. The mini kits feature 3 nail polishes which have 5ml of product each (their full size polishes have 13.5ml).

Moving onto the shades ... Mini Kit One*

Tote-ally in Love
Oxblood reds are always a good Autumn/Winter shade in my book, and no I'm not biased because I have a huge collection of them (!) Tote-ally in Love is a tad brighter than the majority of my collection as it has more red running through it. I do like the fact that it's a bit more vivid though as it separates it from all the similar shades I have, and I find it a bit more wearable for different occasions. It was slightly more messy than the other shades to apply and there was some staining with this one and In Hot Purse-uit (below), that can happen with some Winter shades so it just needs a bit more work to remove. The matt finish works well with this shade though, it doesn't look flat and it gives it an edgy, grunge look.

In Hot Purse-Uit
This is one of the first shades that gave me Christmas vibes. Even if you just look at the bottle, you can see the iridescent violet shimmer coming through. Essie do describe this shade as a rich indigo blue, but to be honest I don't really see the blue when I'm wearing it (although that could just be me!). It pulls more of a deep purple for me, with the reflective violet flecks. This is a very bold, standout shade. I see it more as a Christmas party shade, for me it's if you wanted to make a statement, this shade would be it! Again, this one needs a bit more work to take off and it can smudge and get a bit messy if you accidentally touch it before it's completely dry. It is a really pretty two toned shade, but maybe not an everyday shade (then again mini kit two is better suited for you if you want everyday shades!).

Back in the Saddle
I'm not really one of those people who has ever been drawn to green nail polish, mint green maybe, but anything else and I just pass it over. It's like when you ask people what their favourite colour is, you rarely hear green, right? There is just something about this shade though! It has those Christmassy vibes, it's just reminds me of a Christmas advert where the female lead is twirling around in an deep green gothic skirt. It's a very deep, enchanting green, I would say it's an ivy green but even deeper. The silver flecks really add to this shade, and it is completely unique in my collection! I think you can guess, I really love this shade. Essie have got it spot on with the colour choice and the silver flecks, and this is definitely a shade you can go out and buy without worrying you have something similar at home. Plus, if you fancy a change from the classic Winter shades, why not give this a go?!

Mini Kit Two*

Push the Envelope
This plush lilac is more your everyday shade but as you can see from the picture, it's slightly brighter than most neutral shades so it really pops against the skin. Saying that, in the photos I can definitely see what Essie mean by plush lilac. However, when I was wearing it, I felt like it was more what I would describe as a concrete grey. It is a very office appropriate, formal shade that I'm sure will really appeal to people who enjoy wearing these kind of shades, or other neutrals by Essie like Ballet Slippers/Fiji. However, I'm not sure it's one of my preferred shades as I don't think it looks as good on me personally as the neutrals from Essie's Fall 2017 range (see here). It's supposed to have a soft, silver glimmer. However, I don't think it's very noticeable (especially not in this image), yet it still gave it a gritty feeling. This was the only one where I felt like you could feel the shimmer slightly, it wasn't a problem with the others however.

Cross-body Heat
This is also another shade that I can say I adore! I think the description for this is pretty spot on so I won't try to add to it: a rosy mauve accented with subtle lavender shine. Again, I think Essie have got the balance perfect with this shade, it looks muted but the colour still comes across so well, it's also cool enough that it looks quite formal and understated, but it's not too cool in that I find it doesn't suit me. I'm really glad to have this one in my collection! I mean, you could probably find something similar, but this is literally just the kind of shade that I was looking for, it doesn't pull too grey or too purple like ones I've seen. I really don't know what I can add to that! But I would definitely buy a full size version of this if it ever came out, just encase I ever run out of this (not that I've ever finished a bottle of nail polish in my life).

Bucket List
Lastly, I really expected this shade to be a traditional mint green. I was a bit surprised when I put it on as it goes on a lot brighter than it looks in the tube, but then again Essie do describe this as a turquoise green brushed in a light aqua luster. After a bit of umming and ahhing I finally came to the conclusion that I actually rather liked this. It is quite bright and vivid but I think it's a refreshing burst of colour, and its actually not too much, if that makes sense. Again, I think this shade would suit all skintones, and even though it is marketed as more of an Autumn/Winter range, I can see it being a popular Spring option.

Formula + Brushes
I really do think Essie have the best brush applicator out there, but I didn't think the brush applicator in these minis would be the same as the full sizes. It is, however, the same (which is perfect if you're not the best at applying nail polish like me!). The formula is also opaque in one coat for over half of the shades (including the 3 shades in mini kit one), it was mainly Push the Envelope and Cross-body Heat where I felt like I needed a second coat. The dry time was also quite reasonable, I thought that they dried quite quickly, although the second layer took a bit more time.

If I was being really picky, I think In Hot Purse-uit might have looked better with a glossy finish because I think the shimmer would have come across a bit better, it gets a bit lost with the matt finish. On the other hand, not everyone wants glossy nails for Winter and I think the semi-matte finish of these will be a happy compromise for many people who don't want to go for the full matte finish.

You can still buy these kits online on Boots for £12.99 (mini kit one here, mini kit two here). They are also included in the 3 for 2! I have atleast two favourites from each kit so I would recommend them, they're a great way to try some shades that might normally have been out of your comfort zone!

I hope you enjoyed this post!
Which of these shades is catching your eye?

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