Sunday, 30 July 2017

What have I been Up to | Part 1

I haven't done any lifestyle posts in ages, so I thought it would be interesting to introduce a new series. Plus you can get to know me a bit better, and to be fair even I was getting tired of review after review haha!

First of all, I recently graduated with a first class honours from University. Honestly, I'm still a bit shocked as I remember starting University what only felt like yesterday, and now I feel like I'm an adult looking back on it all. I did enjoy the various modules I did, but I can't say the heavy workload wasn't tiring! Like a lot of posts I've seen recently, I also didn't think University was all it was made out to be, it wasn't an episode of friends really. There was still a lot of childish behaviour. It was a learning curve, but I'm glad that I had my close friends to go through final year with. I'm also planning on writing about my year out doing work experience, what do you think?

Capsule Wardrobe
Since finishing University, I've probably done around 10 'spring clear outs'. I had a lot of clutter I got rid of (useless lecture slides haha). I also have a wardrobe full of clothes and drawers filled with makeup, yet I often have nothing to wear and I'm still not happy with how my makeup looks or my application skills. Therefore, I've decided to sort of create a capsule wardrobe with a mix of high quality formal and informal pieces, so that I can mix and match. The only problem is good quality is hard to find on the high street nowadays, it's all flimsy, cold shoulder tops!

I also want to get some good makeup staples that I will use everyday. I've still not found the perfect concealer match, I'm also experimenting with correctors but I'm yet to find the one. Hopefully, all the skincare products I'm currently trailing should give me a good result, so there's less need for correctors to cover my hyper pigmentation.

Chaophraya - Restaurant Review
I really want to include more restaurant reviews in these lifestyle posts too, mainly because I love food! We were in the mood for trying something new, and decided to visit Chaophraya. I have a good mix of Thai restaurants around me, and so previously I've been to the Thai Edge and Chi Kitchen (which was amazing, but has since closed down). I LOVE Thai starters, so of course we went for the platter as a starter. Although, the menu was quite confusing as it said £9.95 for the platter but two people minimum, so why not just say the platter is around £20? I did enjoy the spring rolls, however the chicken satay was a bit too dry for me. It wasn't like a marinade like other restaurants I've been too, but more of a coating. The fritters were decent, but I didn't really eat much of the salad. I didn't feel like the starter was really worth it, as in the Chi Kitchen you would be given 3 of each item and the quality was definitely better.

I generally don't get on with Thai mains, especially the curries, the taste just isn't for me. With that in mind, I went for the Chicken stir fry with cashew nuts, does this look like a stir fry to you? Even then it would have been fine but there wasn't much chicken in it, and it was more like a soup with gravy, and I really didn't like the taste of the sauce. The mushrooms and nuts were also too hard to eat, so I didn't really have much of it.

My Sister on the other hand had the spicy fried rice with chicken and basil. Again, there wasn't much chicken in it, and it just tasted of spicy rice (it was a on the greasy side too). The fried egg also tasted a bit too rubbery. Chaophraya is actually more pricier than the other Thai restaurants I've been to, but I really didn't think it was worth it. The starters were mediocre (with the exception of the spring rolls), and I didn't think the mains were up there.

I hope you enjoyed this post!
What have you been up to lately?

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Thursday, 27 July 2017

Shadow Switch Dry Blush Cleaner Review

Lately, I've been seeing a lot of beauty tools and gadgets popping up, and there's been quite a few instances where I've thought to myself 'ooh I would love to try that!'. One of these instances was when I saw the Shadow Switch Dry Brush Cleaner by Beauty Essentials*. Normally, when I do an eye look, I always have a baby wipe or two with me to quickly get the pigment off the brush, so I could go in with another colour. This however seemed to be a no mess, quick solution, and so I was eager to try it out.

Beauty Essentials are an upcoming brand, so they haven't launched just yet, but expect to see plenty more in the way of beauty tools from them! You can find the shadow switch on Amazon here. I think it will retail for just under £6. The brand will also be available in Harvey Nichols (see here).

When I opened the Shadow Switch, I was actually a bit surprised because it looked very reminiscent of a shoe polish tin! (Although they will be updating the packaging, so I don't know if it will still look like this going forward). The inside is filled with a black meshy sponge. Now, I was expecting the sponge to feel a bit damp to the touch, but no it was bone dry. For hygiene reasons, you are also encouraged to wash the sponge with lukewarm water and a fragrance free soap, and replace the sponge every 2 months.

The idea is you swirl or rotate your beauty brush over the sponge, and that should remove any powder on it, thus allowing you to switch shades.

I found a vivid blue eyeshadow palette to try it with so I could see just how well it works. I used the darkest two shades, and then swirled it on the sponge. I did have to swirl it for a bit longer than I imagined. When I finished, I noticed that the pigment had come off but the brush still had grey stains from the blue-black eyeshadow. I then tested it on the back of my hands to see if there was any pigment left on the brush, and there wasn't. So whilst the staining doesn't affect any colour transfer, it isn't very aesthetically pleasing. I also noticed the brush looked slightly splayed, that could have been down to how long I was swirling it for, so you could try not to swirl it for too long. I also think because the sponge is so dry, that can also cause the brush to splay slightly from the friction as you swirl it.

Overall, I'd just like to point out that this wouldn't replace washing my brushes regularly, as I think that's still important for hygiene reasons. It is however a quick and relatively easy fix, especially for travelling purposes, where you might only have a few brushes or you're in a hurry. I wouldn't use it very regularly personally though, as I think it can cause your brushes to splay slightly if you're constantly swirling them over a sponge, and it can be a bit costly if you're replacing it every 2 months.

I hope you enjoyed this post!
Have you tried anything similar?

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Monday, 24 July 2017

Technic Colour Max Lipstick in Be My Baby | Budget Beauty

Technic Colour Max Lipstick Be My Baby

When I saw the brown lip trend sweeping the internet, I really wanted to give it a go. However, I find that lipsticks often don't look anything like the swatches on me, and so I was put off spending a lot only to be disappointed. Then on a trip to Bodycare to buy bath sponges (of all things), I came across this Technic Colour Max lipstick in the shade Be My Baby which looked like a lovely reddish brown in the tube. It was only around £1, and the shade looked like just what I had been searching for, so I thought it can't hurt to give it a go.

I'm going to be honest here! This was initially going to be a negative review, I didn't like how the shade looked on me at first, and I wasn't sure on the formula. However, when I was looking for a graduation lipstick, I tried this one out again, and it just worked! The shade actually looked pretty good when I made an effort with the rest of my makeup, and yes the formula won't blow you away, but it's not bad for £1.

Technic have definitely come a long way from my teenage years when I used to pile on their shimmer shadows! They've upped their branding, and some of their new releases (that I've spotted on instagram) do look really good.

Technic Colour Max Lipstick Be My Baby

This lipstick is from the Colour Max line, there isn't much about it online but it is definitely a matte range. The shade, Be My Baby, is a very autumnal shade! When swatched it does come across a warm orange brown, however it's a little cooler when applied (more reddish), hence why I didn't think it suited me at first.

It's not as pigmented when it comes to application, so you do have to apply a few swipes. The formula is also not as smooth as I expected, so I would recommend you exfoliate your lips beforehand so it doesn't go on patchy. However, once it's on, it doesn't feel heavy or incredibly drying (compared to other matte formulas). However, because of my REALLY dry lips I do apply a liberal amount of the Nuxe lip balm underneath, which shortens the wear time to about 3 hours (as it makes it a bit slippery). Putting a lip balm underneath also means it doesn't go on as true to colour (so it applies more orangey-pink, versus the reddish brown). If you don't suffer with dry lips though you should be fine, and you could get 5-6 hours out of this. It wears very evenly, and does leave a bit of a stain behind (which I really like!).

Technic Colour Max Lipstick Be My Baby swatch

It does have a matte finish, however it's not in your face matte (if that makes sense!) It's a really natural, muted look. This is the point where I realised that I've been going wrong, and that instead of the bright pinks I've been hoarding, I should have gone for more everyday lipsticks like this.

Technic Colour Max Lipstick Be My Baby lip swatch

The packaging is is a black matte tube with a clear cap. It's safe to put in your handbag as it clicks into place. However, the lipstick isn't so stable itself, it moves around within the tube as you apply it, so it's currently scraping along the side.

Overall, I really do like the shade! I know the formula won't be for everyone (or those with very dry lips - matte lips are such a struggle for us!), but if you're on a budget or you just want to try some new shades, then I would recommend giving it a go. It has encouraged me to perhaps look at some more shades on the brown scale, and maybe put in a cheeky Colourpop order. You can find it here for £2.25, or on Amazon for £1.95 (if you don't have a BodyCare by you).

I hope you enjoyed this post!
What are your favourite everyday lipsticks?

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Monday, 17 July 2017

Affordable Eye Brushes

Cheap Eye Brushes

I'll be honest, I don't wear eyeshadow all that often to need a huge brush collection, but when I do try out an eye look I used to find myself scrambling around for some blending brushes (you can't beat a good blending brush, can you?!) I do have some great brushes from Nanshy (cruelty free and synthetic - see my review here), but I like having a few variations. The thing is, brushes can be really expensive! I know they can be a great investment, but they're not for everyone's budget. I initially saw some cheap brushes on Makeup Savvy's blog I think, and I've seen numerous bloggers shouting their praises. So I had to give them a go!

Cheap Eye Brushes

I got these 12 eye brushes for the whole of £3!
(I really don't know why I left the wrappers on for the pictures)

I was a bit apprehensive of the quality, but honestly I was blown away when they arrived! They seem sturdy, the quality is great and they look pretty nice. I got the black set, however you can also get them in rose gold or pink. You can pick them up from this seller for £2.98 here or £2.46 here!

The brushes included are:
(PS They don't have names, so I'm just making them up as I go along)

Cheap Eye Crease and pencil Brushes

A (slim) crease brush - This is PERFECT for precise crease work, or even just blending a colour through the crease. Definitely one of my favourites!

A pencil brush - I was looking for an affordable version of one of these for ages! It's a bit too firm to blend with, but it's just the right size (around half the size of my pinky fingernail to be exact) to apply some colour to the lash line, and then you could use the crease brush (or any of the blending brushes below) to smoke it out.

Cheap Blending Brushes

The Blending Brushes - These four blending brushes features two that are slightly flatter (the centre two), whilst the outer two have more of a domed shape. However, the tops of these are all quite dense, making them perfect to blend as you go along. They really are amazingly soft (infact all the brushes are), and they're so versatile! Definitely a great addition to anyones collection.

Cheap Eyeliner Brushes

An Eyeliner Brush - This is actually my favourite kind of eyeliner brush to use as I have small lids, so it allows me to get a precise line close to the lash line. I use this with powder and gel liners.

An Angled Brush - I guess you could use this to fill in your eyebrows, but I don't really fill mine in. The bristles are actually more flexible than I expected, it's not too firm at all. You could use this to apply winged eyeliner but again it's not a look that I think suits me. Plus I ended up poking myself in the eye so won't be doing that again in a hurry!

Cheap Blending Brushes

A Large Dome Brush - I just had a hellelujah moment! By now my face was full of blue eyeshadow, and just by going over everything with this brush, all the harsh lines were gone and the fallout across my cheek has been swiped away effortlessly. This is an AMAZING all over eye blending brush for that final touch! Or even a concealer brush.

A Small (flat) Dome Brush - This is another brush that's perfect for blending out the crease or lash line.

Cheap Shader Brushes

A Flat Shader Brush - This is another brush that's good for a general wash of colour. It is quite dense and firm, so will probably work well with cream eyeshadows.

A Synthetic Flat Brush - This is great for packing on pigments and glitters. The synthetic bristles are quite flexible, but it retains it's shade for a precise application.

Overall, these brushes are worth every penny, and probably much more! They're super soft, and I've washed them around 2-3 times each and haven't noticed any shedding. Also, from the listing I brought it from, it said they were made from synthetic fibres (rather than animal hairs), however some of the listings say wool (which is strange as it's the same product, there's hundreds of these listed on ebay). Also, if the links don't work for you, just search for 12 piece eye brush set.

I hope you enjoyed this post!
Have you tried any of these brush sets from ebay?

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Wednesday, 12 July 2017

By Nature from New Zealand Skincare Review

Some of you may remember that I found the perfect affordable eye cream from By Nature from New Zealand, which I picked up in TK Maxx. Click here if you missed it! On my quest to try more products from the brand, I also found the Hydrating Day Creme and the Replenishing Night Cream, which I picked up for around £6 each.

By Nature from New Zealand focus on simple products that work, their products are free from parabens and preservatives! They also don't test on animals, so it's a great cruelty free option.

Hydrating Day Creme with Coconut Oil (find here)
The hydrating day creme is infused with Rosehip Oil, Vitamin E, Hyaluronic Acid and Aloe Vera to deliver intense hydration that lasts all day. On paper, this sounds perfect for someone with dry skin like me, however I'm not completely sold on this one as I'll explain.

First of all, it has quite a thick formula, and hence why I think it's more for normal-dry skin. I think those with oily skin might be a bit overwhelmed with it. When you massage it in it does go on well, and whilst it doesn't sit on the skin, my skin still feels a bit tacky from it. Some people might prefer that for a makeup base, but I'm not a huge fan. However, after a bit the tackiness does go away.

Secondly, the main reason I'm not sold on this is because it's labelled as a hydrating creme, but I feel like the replenishing range is actually more hydrating! The replenishing range is lighter, but I feel like it absorbs instantly and my skin sort of drinks it up! This isn't to say the day creme is rubbish, it still gives a really smooth and soft base, but I don't find myself reaching for it very much. Those with very dry skin might still like to give it a go as it can be quite smoothing.

I should also point out it does have quite a strong coconut scent when you first apply it, and again this does put me off a bit.

Replenishing Night Creme with Rosehip Oil (find here)
The replenishing night creme is infused with Argan Oil, Hyaluronic Acid and Aloe Vera to help restore lost hydration. So the only difference between the two ranges is the give and take of Argan Oil and Vitamin E.

However, I find the replenishing night cream has a lighter formula. It's not runny, but my skin just absorbs it in instantly, and I love how hydrated my skin looks and feels! There's no noticeable scent to this one, and I would say it's quite versatile. I can layer it over a serum or facial oil, or I can just put a good amount of it on, and it keeps my skin well hydrated throughout the night. Infact, if I'm at home, I sometimes prefer just going in with this one.

I don't use it every night as some nights I just go in with an exfoliator and oil, so I can't say I've seen any long term results from either of the creams. However, I would say this one is suitable for all skin types, as it's not heavy, and also all skin types can be dehydrated!

(Top - Day Creme, Bottom - Night Creme)

In terms of packaging, they both come in squeezy tubes, which I guess is best for hygiene reasons. They also both have a generous 75g which is good value. You can buy them directly online from the By Nature website, however since it is Australian based I think shipping would be significant.

Overall, I did prefer the Replenishing Night Creme from this duo, and it is one that I would probably repurchase if I found it again. However, I'm not too sure I would repurchase the Hydrating Day Creme, also because there's so much choice in the market for moisturisers, so there's always that itching to try another. I also wear a good amount of serum underneath my moisturiser every day, so I don't need a really heavy moisturiser too.

I hope you enjoyed this post!
What are your best skincare finds?

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Friday, 7 July 2017

NARLOA Jasmine & Neroli Body Oil Review

Recently I was given the opportunity to try the NARLOA Jasmine & Neroli Body Oil RRP £15* (see here). NARLOA is a recently started entrepreneur led brand, that provides vegan, cruelty-free, plant-powered skincare. So far, they have three products in the range: the body oil, an oil based cleanser and a facial oil.

I've actually never tried a body oil before (although I do have the Nuxe one somewhere unopened), so I was super excited to give this a go! Also, I quite liked the idea of trying a natural brand. NARLOA infact make their products in small batches to ensure freshness, and their products are free from preservatives, parabens and alcohol.

Due to having never tried a body oil before, I was slightly worried that it might be a bit greasy or it might look too shimmery on the skin (which is fine if you're on holiday, but obviously if you're heading off to work you don't want your clothes to have a greasy residue).

However, I needn't have worried, as this isn't greasy in the slightest. The formula is very light, and slightly runny, meaning that it is absorbed instantly. To be honest, I did think that due to it being an oil, it would be more richer. The only way I can describe this is that it's like a serum. So you know how a serum works in dehydrated skin to replenish and hydrate the skin, but you would generally still go over with a moisturiser for dry skin. Well, the NARLOA Body Oil* is similar, I find that it does a good job at re hydrating my skin, but it's not overly thick like a body butter. So people with dry skin might want to use this say out of the bath, and then go in with a body moisturiser to finish off. Or you could just apply a few more layers where your skin is dryer, so I apply a bit more on my elbows, knees etc (and don't worry because it still doesn't look greasy).

I quite like the end result on the skin too, again it's not the oiled look I was imaging! It's very subtle, just a well hydrated look and a subtle glow when first applied.

The cons of the products, however, are that because it's so light you will end up using quite a bit, especially if you use it regularly all over your body. So the 125ml of product might not last you very long. This might work out a bit pricey as the body oil costs £15. In my opinion, I would say this is more of a premium product, since the brand is focused on organic skincare.

Due to it's main ingredients being Jasmine and Neroli oil, the body oil definitely does have a Jasmine scent. It's hard to describe an oil, but I sometimes use the Jasmine oil you can buy off the supermarket shelf to do a hair massage, and it's definitely not as strong as those ones, but it does come across when you first apply it. However, once it's absorbed in, you can't really smell it unless you give it a good sniff haha!

The packaging is very basic so far, a clear plastic bottle with a white label glued on. However, again I was surprised by how good it looks in reality, and the minimalist theme goes well with the brand. It also features a push top with dispenser that makes it easy to get just the right amount out.

Overall, I enjoyed using the NARLOA body oil*, a lot more than I was expecting to infact. It's light and hydrating, and really easy to massage in and go, especially for the Summer. In Winter, with my dry skin I might need to pair this with a moisturiser, but I quite liked the edition of an oil in my routine.

I hope you enjoyed this post!
Have you every tried a body oil, and how did you find it?

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Monday, 3 July 2017

Collection Lasting Perfection Colour Corrector in Lemon Review

Today's post is all about a product I had high hopes for! What with my dark circles (that no amount of sleep will shift) and hyper pigmentation around my chin, hearing about an affordable corrector was music to my ears. I saw the Collection Lasting perfection Colour Correctors (RRP £4.19) on their twitter page, and so I added it to my superdrug order. (see here) In the past, my attempts at colour correcting (basically putting orange lipstick underneath my eyes), did not end up well (to say the least). So I was looking forward to trying out this more neutral shade. However, as I'll explain below, I just didn't get on with it. I have seen a lot of positive reviews on this, so I'm not saying it won't work for everyone, but I just don't think it worked with my skintone.

So, colour correctors are supposed to counteract any skin concerns. So generally a green corrector should cancel out redness, lilac would cancel out sallowness, and yellow/salmon should cancel out darkness or any purple/blue under the eyes. Therefore, for my dark circles I opted for the shade Lemon.

When swatched it is like a pale yellow. However, when I applied it and then went to blend it out, it looked a lot lighter, so it basically contrasts quite a bit with my skintone (around NC30 for reference) and gives off a bit of a white cast. Therefore, whilst the under eye area does look more illuminated as the corrector is brightening it up (like the same results you would get if you're using a concealer a few shades lighter), the dark circles don't look as diminished as the under eye area actually looks a bit ashy due to the corrector being too pale for me.

The first time I tried the corrector I applied it as you would a concealer, so one big swipe under my eyes. However, I found it was more difficult to blend it in and I felt like the formula was too thick. So, since then I've been going in with a tiny bit at a time, patting it in and trying to build it up in thin layers. This does counteract the ashiness to an extent also, but not completely.

So once that is done, it's time to go in with concealer, this is definitely not a corrector that I could wear on it's own (maybe if you were quite fair). However, due to how pale it looked in contrast to my skin, I actually felt like I needed to go in with more concealer to cover it up. I use the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in 3 Warm Medium (which works perfectly for me). I still felt like my under eye area needed more warmth added back though, so I went over it with some of the Maybelline Eraser Eye concealer in Nude.

(Sorry about the picture quality! I really had to weight up the quality vs lighting, because in good lighting my dark circles looked nowhere near as bad and you couldn't really see the difference - these pictures were also before I went in with the Maybelline eraser)

The end result was that from far it probably looked fine, my undereye area looked a little brighter, however it wasn't a huge difference in terms of my dark circles with just concealer. These images do look better than the reality though, encase you were thinking what is she going on about (as you can't see the contrast to the rest of my face)! From up close though, I definitely felt like it still looked too pale compared to the rest of my face (if you look at the 3rd image), and my fine lines were also emphasised during the day due to all the layers of corrector and concealer I had on (it didn't look too cakey though). However, was there any point of the corrector when I still had to go in with 2 concealers? I think not.

The reason being is that I think this corrector is more suited to people who wear shades 1 or 2 in the matching concealer, and that is probably my own fault! It does say it cancels out purple tones, whereas my darkness is more on the brown-greenish scale. I definitely realise now that I need something more salmon coloured, and I am currently trying the YSL corrector in 1 Apricot Bisque I picked up (see my haul here). Therefore, I wouldn't really recommend this if you're more tanned, or south Asian (like myself).

I also did give it a go on my chin to see if it would cancel out the darkness, and that was a bad idea haha! I'm not even going to put the pictures up, but it's definitely a corrector for the under eye area only.

In terms of packaging and the applicator, it's exactly like the concealer from the same range, so I won't go into too much detail. It has a frosted glass exterior, and a doe foot applicator. It is very easy to get them mixed up, I have done it myself! Just double check the shade on the lid.

I hoped you enjoyed this post!
I'd love to hear what your favourite concealers/correctors are, and in what shades?

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