Friday, 26 February 2016

New Favourites

Left to right: Rimmel The Only One Lipstick in Oh So Wicked, Barry M Loud Mouth Extreme Lip Colour in Diva, Freedom Makeup Brow Pomade in Soft Brown, Makeup Revolution Ultra Aqua Brow Tint in Medium, Illamasqua Cream Blusher in Zygomatic. Above the Freedom Makeup Brow Pomade in Soft Brown: Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in Soft Brown. Below the Freedom Makeup Brow Pomade in Soft Brown: Freedom Makeup Brow Pomade in Medium.

Aside from the foundation, this lot of favourites comes in pairs. Two nude pinks, two vampy lip colours, and two brow products. I'll start with the nudes.

Illamasqua Cream Blusher in Zygomatic | Usually £22, I bought this in the sale for £6 something a few weeks ago, so it was an absolute bargain. I think it's my new favourite blush, and I may like it more than my beloved Nyx Cream Blush in Natural. Now that's saying something! It's just so natural, and not too brown like I thought it'd be. The formula is creamy and easy to blend, and leaves a slight sheen on your cheeks. I can't recommend it enough.

Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Nail Paint in Pink Lemonade | I hadn't painted my nails in two years, after painting them religiously every week for the longest time. This was mostly due to my job, of which I still have. However, I fell in love with this colour. It's a slightly pinker version of Models Own Utopia and OPI's Steady As She Rose, which are two old favourites. It only takes two coats to become opaque as well, which I was surprised about because of its light colour.

Rimmel The Only One Lipstick in Oh So Wicked | Despite reaching for Naughty Nude almost daily, I was still apprehensive about putting it in my 2015 favourites. I don't know why my feelings were luke warm when I couldn't fault the formula. Since then, though, I can't get enough of it, so decided to try another shade from the line. I went for the darkest, vampiest shade there is, and I've been loving it. Just like Naughty Nude, it's incredibly long lasting. I mean, it survived pizza! Next on my list: Peachy Beachy.

Barry M Loud Mouth Extreme Lip Colour in Diva | I already owned, and loved, four shades from this range (review and swatches here and here) when I bought Diva, months and months ago, but it's taken me this long to get around to using it. Like the others, you need the smallest amount. They're not glosses, but highly pigmented colours. I find that they last well on my lips, and wear down beautifully. The swatch makes it look like it'd bleed and smudge, but it honestly doesn't. I've just used more than necessary for the photo. I would probably wear a lip liner if I was going to really pack it on, though. It's not as foolproof as the Rimmel one.

Makeup Revolution Ultra Aqua Brow Tint in Medium | I bought this early last year when I placed a large order, and I'd used it a couple times, but it's only this month that I've started appreciating it. Like pomades, it's very pigmented, so you only need the tiniest amount, but I've found it to give an incredibly natural finish. At £3, it's a steal.

Freedom Makeup Brow Pomade in Soft Brown | Like many people, I'm a fan of the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade, but mine's beginning to dry out, so I thought I'd try a cheaper £5 alternative. I bought Freedom's offering in Soft Brown, which is the shade I use of the Anastasia one. At first, I thought it was a little too warm, so bought the ashier, darker Medium, but I've since decided that Soft Brown is the shade for me. I can't tell much of a difference between this and the Anastasia one. Both are pigmented creams that have some serious staying power. The powder duo, £4, is also a product I'm a fan of.

Collection Illuminating Touch Foundation in Porcelain | On other people, this foundation looks light, but I still find it a little dark for my liking. Fear not, though, as my Body Shop Shade Adjusting Lightening Drops sort this out. It's the actual formula which has impressed me. I'm used to natural or matte finishes, so wasn't sure what to expect with this dewy one. It looks and feels great on the skin, though. Foundation sometimes settles into places it shouldn't, and goes slightly dry and crusty, but this one doesn't. It has a tendency to crease a little more if I put it on my eyelids, but it's not a big issue. I also like that it's not glittery, unlike Rimmel's Wake Me Up! It has medium-full coverage, and the cherry on the cake is that it's only £5.99 full price. You can often find it on offer for £3.99, though. I'd heard bad things about the Lasting Perfection foundation, so was apprehensive about this one, but it's surpassed my expectations. It'd be even better if there was more of a shade variety.

Do you own any of these products? What do you think of them?

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Yankee Candle Additions | Scenterpiece

I love the electric warmer I already have from Yankee Candle. I've always had a thing for candles and home fragrance, but have never been allowed a naked flame in the house, so it's been a safe alternative that's allowed me to have another vast collection of the little things I love.

There aren't many electric warmers available, at least ones which I find aesthetically pleasing, so I was pleased to hear of Yankee Candle bringing out an entire range of them. The Scenterpiece Melt Cup Warmer which caught my eye was the Elizabeth one because of its incredibly simple design, but it wasn't available to buy in the UK for a while. This is no longer the case, though, and I bought mine from last week for £24.99. The only thing I don't like about it is the texture. It's rough, so I can see it being difficult to clean, should it get marked.

From the beginning, I knew I'd buy one Melt Cup and reuse the container for other wax, despite the brand advising not to so they can make more money. The scent I chose was Red Raspberry, which is a favourite of mine. These Melt Cups are a fair bit more expensive than your standard wax tart (£4.99 instead of £1.49). They are three times the weight, but seeing as I already have so many regular ones to use, it's not worth me buying more. I do like the idea of being able to quickly and easily change over scents, though.

The first thing I did when I received my parcel was tip out the Red Raspberry wax and replace it with a regular wax tart. It melted perfectly fine, and a couple minutes in the freezer had it popping out no problem.

To bring my order over £30 to qualify for free delivery, I added a Lemongrass & Ginger wax tart to my basket, which is one of the new 2016 scents. It's incredibly fresh and uplifting, and one I can already see myself buying again. I was also able to find a £5 off code, which was just the encouragement I needed to place the order!

Are you a fan of electric melt/wax/tart warmers, and of the Scenterpiece system in particular?

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Recently Purchased

I hadn't painted my nails in roughly two years, but last week saw me buy four polishes from Barry M's new ranges, and I've painted my nails multiple times since. I don't know what changed, but I'm rolling with it! I bought the Gelly Hi Shine Nail Paint in Pink Lemonade (the third one along) in store, wore it, loved it, and then decided to buy some more online at Boots. It was 2 for £6 or 3 for £9, but adding a third only increased the total by less than a pound, rather than £3. Then student and staff discount brought this down further, meaning I somehow paid £1.58-£2.36 for them. I chose the Mani Mask in Bashful, the Gelly Hi Shine Nail Paint in Cream Soda, and the Gelly Hi Shine Nail Paint in Butterscotch Sundae. I'm loving these delicate, nude shades. Pink Lemonade reminds me of a slightly pinker version of Models Own Utopia and OPI's Steady As She Rose. which are old favourites of mine.

I've been wearing and loving Rimmel's The Only One Lipstick in Naughty Nude an awful lot, but I also like my berry shades, so picked up Oh So Wicked from the same line. It's already love. I wore it the other night and it lasted through pizza, which is the ultimate test in my eyes. These lipsticks seem to seal themselves without becoming drying, meaning they comfortably last for a long time.

In the same Boots order as everything else, I also bought another Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Liner in Black because I always like to have a back up.

Then, from Superdrug, because it was out of stock at Boots, I bought the Collection Illuminating Touch Foundation in Porcelain. This was £3.99 down from £5.99, and I used £1 of my collected points, making this just £2.99. It's darker than what it looks like on other people, and this is the lightest shade, but this isn't a problem now that I have The Body Shop's Shade Adjusting Lightening Drops in my life (I love them so much!). I've only worn it once at the time of writing this, but I like it so far. I'm used to natural or matte foundations, so wasn't sure how this dewy formulation would fair on my combination oily skin, but it lasted well, felt really nice on the skin, and actually made my skin look less flat than it normally does. It also wasn't cakey, and didn't settle in places it shouldn't. This was with using the Soap & Glory One Heck Of a Blot Primer underneath it, though, so I don't know how good it is on its own.

I've liked the look of printed trousers/jeans for a while, and finally decided to just buy some in Primark last week. The ones above were £11. The trouser material is something I'm going to have to get used to, but I love the print, and am already on the look out for some navy tile ones.

I spotted the skirt above (£17.99) in New Look before work one day, and impulsively bought it without trying it on. Once home, I found that while it didn't fall down, it was too big to look flattering. I wanted to exchange the 8 for a 6, but it wasn't available, so I just returned it. Then I found it on ASOS, where smaller sizes are available, so bought it again. The smaller size fits perfectly. I've recently tried on three New Look skirts in size 8 now, and all of them have come up big, so it's something to consider if you're going to buy one from them. Anyway, the print of this one is pretty boring, but I can see it coming in handy for a few occasions.

The makeup bag was also from New Look, and was £5.99. It's so incredibly tacky, but makes me happy to look at! It reminds me of mermaids and unicorns and all things beautiful. The photo above really doesn't do the changing colour justice, so I've included more photos below. I've also included photos of me wearing the clothing and Barry M's Mani Mask, all of which are from Twitter/Instagram.

I'd be interested to know what you've purchased recently, so let me know below!

Monday, 15 February 2016

Little Sailing Boat

I went to a craft fair with my nan last September, and one of the first stalls had these beautiful cross stitch designs. They were small, made up of soft hues, and had silver thread running through them, reflecting in the light. Being the indecisive person I am, I walked away without making a purchase. After making our way around the large hall and going back to the random cheese stall multiple times for samples, we walked past this stall again, and I knew I had to buy one, if only as a reminder of the day.

I find the actual process of cross stitching tedious, so it's taken me a few months to complete, but I really like the result. The photo loses the dimension of the silver thread, sadly, but you kind of get the picture. It's not anything spectacular, but it's the first cross stitch I've done that's used techniques other than block cross stitching. It has half stitches, one strand stitches, two strand stitches, and some back stitches as well.

This is more of a post for myself, but if you like this type of cross stitch design, you can find more by typing 'derwentwater minuets' into the likes of Amazon or eBay.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Brands I Discovered Last Year

I realise 'discovered' sounds a little pompous, but stick with me. Other vocabulary didn't have the same ring to it.

When I was thinking of brands and products to include in this post, I initially skipped over both Nip & Fab and Origins because it feels like I've been using them for so much longer. It was definitely 2015 that saw these enter my life, though, both beginning with a mask.

Nip & Fab | I was first introduced to Nip & Fab through being sent the Glycolic mask to review. It was the first mask to make a substantial difference to my skin, so I then began to look into more of the range. I now have four of the Glycolic products and like them all, but the pads are probably my favourite because of how quick and easy they are to use. I also own a couple products from the Dragon's Blood range, and while they don't make as big a difference to the surface of my skin, I still like them. Like they say on the packaging, they leave my skin feeling plump and softly moisturised.

Origins | I bought the Mask Marvels set early last year simply because it was an incredibly bargain, and each mask in the set was highly rated. The Out of Trouble and Clear Improvement masks were nice, but it's the Drink Up Intensive one which really impressed me. I then bought the Cleansing Oil, which although good, I still prefer The Body Shop's Camomile version because it's incredibly similar, but half the price. 

Just before Christmas, the gift sets were on offer and my discount, for some reason, doubled up, making them a very good price indeed. It would have been slightly cheaper to get them in the half price sale, but when that rolled around, they were no where to be seen from the beginning, so I'm glad I bought them early! I've been liking the GinZing moisturiser from one of these sets. It smells deliciously orange-y, and is refreshingly light. Having combination oily skin means I don't need something heavy duty. Is it any better than cheaper light moisturisers I've come across? I'm not sure. I just know that I like it.

The other set included the KissZing Lip Crayon in Rosemance, which was my main reason for buying it. It has quite a satin finish, which surprised me, and it's not as balmy as I expected, but it wears well and looks beautiful on. I also have a couple of GinZing Brightening Mascara samples, and while I'd never pay £17.50 when I love my £7.99 ones, it's still a good mascara. It doesn't clump or flake, and just makes your lashes look natural. I'd recommend this to someone over the Benefit ones, and they're more expensive.

Zoeva | Zoeva brushes now dominate my collection. The quality of them is so much higher than their price point. My favourite has to be the 322 Brow Line because it's thinner than any other eyebrow brush I've tried, so doesn't pick up too much product, which is great when using pomades. The 102 Silk Finish is also my favourite for foundation. Even after all the battering it's gone through, it still looks great. The 127 Luxe Sheer Cheek is the only one I've been slightly disappointed in, and I think this is because the hairs aren't synthetic. If you'd like to read reviews of every Zoeva brush I own, click here.

Makeup Revolution | I know it's the brand which rips off other brands, but I really like some of the products, and they're cheap as. The Iconic Pro Blush, Bronze, and Brighten Palette in Rave is a little powdery, but apart from that, it's a good all rounder. The bronzer is matte and subtle, the highlighter's of a nice candlelight shade, and the blush has the warmth I tend to gravitate towards. For £4, it's worth giving it a go. The Ultra Brow Arch & Shape is a dupe for Anastasia Beverly Hills and Soap & Glory's offerings, and I'm a fan. The pen end has all but dried up now, but that's because I've had it a while, and it's down to this type of product, but the pencil end is still soft. It really is worth the £3.50. The Ultra Aqua Brow Tint is just £3. I didn't use it a lot in 2015 actually, but I think it's going to be in my next favourites post. A claimed dupe for the Makeup Forever Aqua Brow and NYX Eyebrow Gel, it's pigmented, easy to use, and stays put.

I've only tried the brow products from both Anastasia Beverly Hills and Freedom, so I can't say I 'discovered' the brands, but still wanted to mention them. The Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in Soft Brown is as good as everyone says, but mine's starting to dry up, and instead of spending another £15, I'd rather buy Freedom's £5 version, also in Soft Brown. It's slightly warmer, so I've also bought Medium Brown since, but in terms of formula, I don't think it's massively different. The Duo Eyebrow Powder in Soft Brown (£4) is also nice. It's not massively pigmented, so you do have to dip your brush a few times, but it's one to use when you want a natural look, or to set your eyebrows after using another product.

I hope I discover just as many great brands in 2016. What do you think of the ones I've talked about?

Friday, 5 February 2016

New Products | First Impressions

I wanted to have a little natter about the products I've picked up recently, so why not turn it into a blog post?

The only time I really buy from Illamasqua is when they have one of their epic sales. I love the products I've bought from them in the past, but they're so expensive full price. This year, I held off until everything in the sale was 70% off, and bought the Powder Blusher Duo in Lover & Hussy for £7.80, down from £26, and the Cream Blusher in Zygomatic for £6.60, down from £22. On top of this, I used my 15% off birthday discount, so they were quite the bargain! Lover and Hussy are soft and pigmented, just as I'd expected. I do have similar shades and formulas from other brands in my collection, so I probably didn't need them, but am sure I'll get plenty of wear out of them anyway. Zygomatic is so beautiful. It's the perfect nude pink. It's not as pigmented as the other cream blushers I've tried from them, but I like that. It makes it easier to blend.

I finally caved and bought the Real Techniques Complexion Sponge. What I really wanted was the Beauty Blender, but I'm not willing to part with £16 for a sponge just yet, so settled on this £5.99 alternative. So far, I think it does apply my foundation better than my brushes, but I don't know if I'll repurchase. You have to replace it every 1-3 months, whereas my brushes last years. I don't know. I like it, but it hasn't become a holy grail yet.

The new Revlon mascaras were on offer at Boots for £6.99 (down from £9.99), 3 for 2, and I managed to use student discount on top of my staff discount, so I couldn't resist trying a couple. I've never tried a Revlon mascara before, and am very much pro Maybelline in this area, so didn't know what to expect. I'd read that the green Super Length one was generally preferred, so my sister & I both chose that one, and then I thought I'd try the red Ultimate All in One because the brush was so small. I've used them a couple times so far, and I think I prefer the green one. It doesn't clump your lashes at all, and leaves them looking natural and fluttery, similar to Maybelline's Mega Plush. The brush on the red Ultimate All in One mascara can pick up too much product because of its size and plastic bristles, meaning it has more potential to clump, but it's still okay. At the moment, I don't regret buying them, and will continue to use them, but will probably stick to my trusty Maybelline ones in the future. I'll let you know if this opinion changes when the formulas start to dry down.

What are your thoughts on these products?

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Disappointing Products #02

I usually read a lot of reviews before purchasing a product, so it's rare to come across a disappointing one, hence why there's only three to show you this time around.

I'm a fan of the Aussie shampoos and conditioners, with the Mega and Miracle Moist ranges being ones I've repurchased multiple times. I thought I'd try out the Luscious Long products some time last year instead of my usual ones, though, just to mix things up a bit. It had high ratings and positive reviews, and is supposed to make your hair silky smooth, which I'm all for. However, the shampoo made my hair so dry, and the conditioner didn't do much either. If anything, I thought they'd have the opposite effect and possibly weigh my hair down from being too conditioning and silky, so the fact that they were drying really surprised me. This is the one range I'll be staying away from in the future.

The Garnier 5 Second Perfect Blur Primer is supposed to blur wrinkles, fine lines, and pores, while leaving your skin feeling smooth, soft, and matte. To be fair, it does do these things, but I hate the way it feels on my skin throughout the day. It has that silicone texture that's very slippery, and not only does it feel horrible, it doesn't help your makeup last well.

I love Maybelline mascaras, and used to use the Colossal Volume Express one years ago. I picked it up again during a promotion last year, and when I got round to using it, was surprised at its flakiness. Even as I was applying it, I would notice little specks falling on my skin. It wasn't completely terrible, and I could manage this small negative feature, but why bother when I can use ones I love? Life's too short to use an average mascara. I ended up giving it to my mum, where most of my unwanted makeup goes!

All three of these products are loved by many, so I'm disappointed that they didn't work for me. Have you tried them? What do you think?

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