Beauty: The One I Tried To Resist

I really didn’t want to buy this. Honestly, it is something I’ve resisted for well over a year. An yet a few weeks ago it made it to the tills, and now it’s in my daily rotation. Call me weak-willed if you like…

17 Highlighter1 photo 3dd56db7-253c-4dba-8952-3d8cca3e810e_zps1fdukrg2.jpgSo, my reasons for not wanting this product? Here’s a list;

  • I’m not a huge fan of 17 makeup. I use the Stay Time concealer because it’s the only damn one on the high-street that’s neutral toned and pale enough for me. Trust me, I’ll be trying out the new Barry M ones as soon as my current tube has run out.
  • The packaging. It’s cheap looking, it gets absolutely filthy, and the pump releases either no product, or enough to give my whole body a glow.
  • Primers break me out. Nuff said.

When I decided I wanted to try a more liquid highlighter, something I could mix into my foundation to give it even more of a boost, my aim was to pick up the B. Highlighting Pearl Serum thing. It IS a lovely colour, the packaging is beautiful. And the product seems terrible. I tried to swatch it and it balled up all over my hand. No go!

17 Highlighter3 photo 0abf4714-a099-44b6-9e12-f188fcacfa74_zpsyj3fj6f9.jpg17 Highlighter4 photo ab46b4d6-b21f-411d-866d-35af465c2a06_zps93p66ccf.jpgA browse through the shelves and I spied an offer on Seventeen promoting a free lip pencil if you spent £X amount. This primer was just a little over £X amount (£5?!), and despite my dislike of the packaging, despite the tester pump spewing a LOT of product over my hand, I picked it up. I can’t resist a free lip pencil. I haven’t used the free lip pencil…

Turns out that the packaging is still awful, the pump is still terrible, the product is pretty damn good! It doesn’t break me out, it gives my foundation the ‘oompf’ I was after, and if used as a primer it really does prolong my makeup (but who has time for primer on weekdays?!). I don’t particularly like using it as a standalone highlighter as I feel it does remove my foundation slightly, but to provide an all-over glow – it’s perfect!

17 Highlighter2 photo 40ce5989-4882-41c2-a4bd-1ce63f44dfb2_zpss9rmoczu.jpgAnd that, my friends, is why you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s covers. Or makeup by it’s packaging.

Have you not purchased something because of it’s packaging? Any more highlighter recommendations?! 

Beauty: Forgotten Staples

I’ve recently gone back to some old favourites, products I’d forgotten I’ve ever used, items that I now don’t know why I even stopped using.

Baby Oil photo 53714f53-7dc6-417a-864b-54df26a501e3_zpszwfmrc1i.jpgTo be fair, the last time I used Baby Oil was probably when my parents stopped using it on me, but still! I started using it again after finding an unopened bottle in the bathroom cupboard when we moved into the flat. I smooth some on after a shower, still as wet as possible (I can’t see myself keeping it up in winter!), pat dry with a towel and that’s it – wonderfully soft and glowing skin. And it stays feeling soft and moisturised for days. As long as you rub it in as well as possible then pat dry I don’t find it too greasy, the scent is almost unnoticeable and it just agrees with my skin. It gives the effect of coconut oil, but I find it much less greasy and slightly easier to apply.

Ponds Cold Cream photo 89963951-3b97-43bf-a85a-954e935b323d_zpsenqn8ofw.jpgPonds Cold Cream photo 51326481-8c06-45b2-861b-36c13029e240_zpsxpgihiab.jpgNow, Pond’s Cold Cream. I used Cold Creams YEARS ago, but stopped when I got to university. I’m not sure why I stopped as I only used them in the morning, or late at night for a quick second cleanser if I needed it. My favourite version (surprise surprise, it’s Garnier!) also didn’t need washing off so was a great late-night fix.

The Pond’s offering is something I won in a giveaway a while back, and whilst I won’t say it’s my favourite, I do like it. My skin has responded relatively well to it, it hasn’t aggravated what I believe is hormonal acne, and it’s made make-up removal a breeze. I find it especially great for removing lipstick as it doesn’t taste icky, but gets everything off. Lady Danger is a nightmare to get off with anything else, and if left on it stains white pillows like a bitch.

Another old favourite I’ve discovered recently is warmed up Ribena. It’s the perfect thing for a sore throat…

Have you discovered any old favourites recently? Do you use any of these products?

Beauty: Pink to Make the Boys Wink

I’m not really a girly girl. Yes, I wear makeup. Yes, you’ll most likely find me in a floral dress. But I was the one clamouring for our team away day to include white water rafting. I’ve done Go Ape, Zorbing, I love those ‘watersports’ involving being dragged behind a speedboat on an inflatable object. Rugby is my game and I’ll stand up for my team against total strangers on the train (true story, I think they were rather surprised!).

 photo Pink Makeup 2_zpsu4mstyyg.jpgNow we’ve established that I’m not a girly girl, we’ll talk about my collection of pink makeup. You know, the girliest makeup possible.

I was quite surprised when I was going through my makeup how much of it was pink. I genuinely thought I was more into highlighted cheek bones and bold lips, and whilst that still makes up the majority of my collection there’s still a lot of pink…

 photo Pink Makeup 3_zpsizegcwwr.jpgPink blushers. The newly released Max Factor blushers are probably my favourite bit of makeup to hit the shelves in 2015. Light, perfectly blendable and a good range of colours – I’ve picked up 3, including this lovely pink shade. It looks so natural on the skin, a beautiful flush that’s so easy to pull off. And of course we have Nars Douceur. Not strictly pink, this is brown-toned and excellent for subtly sculpting the face. I reach for this when I’m in a rush, which is most days now.

 photo Pink Makeup 5_zpsitavuzco.jpgPink lips (and an overexposed photo). This is where I struggle to pull off pink-ness. The Revlon Matte Balm in Elusive has been in my stash for ages, and I’ve finally passed it on – the shade is almost neon on me, and so starkly pink. Just not my cup of tea! In contrast the Bourjois lipstick is slightly nuder, and it just works well. I’ve no idea what shade it is (the label has rubbed), but the formula of these is creamy and long-lasting. I’d buy more if it wasn’t for the ridiculously shaped bullet making application tricky. On the ‘throw on’ side there’s the Clinique balms. These are subtle, I’d never pay for one, but I do like them. I find them ideal to throw in my handbag as they don’t melt (ahem, MUA Power Pouts!), and I can slick them on without a mirror. Not as moisturising as they claim, but I’ll forgive.

 photo Pink Makeup 4_zpsnu71pzp8.jpgPink nails. Whilst I much prefer a nude nail, something about pink nails do pull me in. This shade is perfect for me as it is muted, a little grey, so it doesn’t look too pretty. Whilst I’ll never pay for the Nails Inc bottle (this came with my pedi-machine) I have to admit the quality is pretty high!

Of course, these photos are also missing THE pinkest item in my collection – Naked 3. The palette that started my high-end buying, the first bit of makeup I owned that cost over £10. It’s very pink, though as long as my hair isn’t too ginger I find it easy to pull off. It’s out of my summer stash as I’m living in limited space (I’m down to 1 set of mini acrylic drawers people!) but if you are after a different neutral palette, this one is good.

 photo Pink Makeup 1_zpsplnlolub.jpgSo yep, the non-girly girl has a lot of pink makeup!

What kind of makeup do you wear most often?

Beauty: An Italian Kiko Haul

I couldn’t go to Italy and just walk by about eight Kiko stores now, could I?! I’d heard great things about the brand, loved the lipstick I bought a few months back, and had quite a long wishlist.

 photo Kiko Haul 1_zpstovgz28r.jpgIn the end I was very well restrained, with two separate ‘hauls’ coming to less than €25 euros in total. Could I have spent more? Hell yes, but I tried to only pick up items I knew I would get a lot of wear out. W firmly told me more lipsticks were unnecessary (I have to agree), and I’m wary about new foundations which did limit my spending. I’m sure my overdraft let out a sigh of relief!

My first haul was in a store very close to the Vatican (on the main road leading from the metro stop). I went in just to have a browse really, and came out with a highlighter and two lip liners.

 photo Kiko Haul 3_zpsoydgh9dv.jpgThe Mosaic Highlighter was on my original wish list, but I couldn’t find this anywhere so I assume (sob) it has been discontinued. I’d dearly love to try it though! This one is probably the most pigmented highlighter I’ve used, you definitely need a light hand! I reckon it will be a touch too golden (there is a white shade) once my tan has finally faded – but I have plenty of ‘pale’ highlighters so this doesn’t bother me.

 photo Kiko Haul 4_zpsxdgrguie.jpgThe lip liners are perfection. I’ve tried a few and the only ones I’ve liked before these are from Max Factor. These are creamy but stay put, and are available in LOADS of colours. I picked up two of the more neutral colours, one leaning more brown, the other pink. I just wish I had grabbed a red one – I arrived back to find mine had dried out?!

 photo Kiko Haul 2_zpsbnz1gztd.jpgThe second haul was in Venice and the result of dragging W round half a dozen stores to find somewhere that had the right combination of palettes and eyeshadows in stock. I realise I could have split the buying but I didn’t want to add more card charges to my account (RBS isn’t exactly wonderful when traveling abroad!). I picked up a quad instead of my original plan of a triplet, and grabbed 3 matte shadows and 1 shimmery. The mattes are crazily pigments and smooth for the price, the shimmery nothing less than what I would expect (and a pretty good dupe for a certain cranberry shade…). It’s annoyingly bulky, but at around £9 total for a custom palette I can’t complain!

My little shopping sprees haven’t definitely got me interested in what Kiko has to offer, and I’m sure I’ll be nipping into their London store over the summer – I’m really intrigued by some of their blushers, and also their brushes!

Have you tried anything from Kiko? What would you recommend?

Beauty: Bargain Brush Set

I’ve probably achieved the most alliteration in that blog title ever!

 photo Ecotools Brushes 3_zps546zjjnj.jpgBefore my holiday I was well aware of the limited space I would have for my makeup bag. Faced with paying more for checking-in luggage that our own seats me and W decided to share one large suitcase between us – and my usual tactic is to pack all the things just in case. Hmm.

This meant I was on the hunt for new makeup brushes, especially for powdering and bronzing – nobody got time for contouring on holiday! I usually use the ‘body brush’ from The Bodyshop for powder and love it, but it is rather chunky…

 photo Ecotools Brushes 1_zpspldjkpxq.jpgI was routing through the Boots Reduced stand (my tweezers have been discontinued so I’m stocking up!) and found a couple of the Ecotools Travel Sets, down from £13 to £5. I’m not sure whether they are being discontinued but I’m still spotting them at this cheaper price so my advice – get in there while you can.

I don’t think too much to the two smaller brushes – they are okay, but I’m not really sure what their purpose is. Slightly too big for eyes, far too small for face…I’ve been using to blend concealer and pinpoint apply powder, though I confess these too will probably end up being recycled fairly soon.

 photo Ecotools Brushes 2_zpszf6ruljq.jpgThe bigger brushes are marvelous. Don’t let their dinky size put you off, they are soft, densely packed so as to actually provide some sort of application but without being so dense that they wipe off your base. I used the longer one for applying powder, and the teeny one for blending bronzer. Probably the wrong way round, but that’s how it worked for me. For £5 you really shouldn’t let this bargain get away!

What makeup brushes do you use? Have you tried any Ecotools brushes?

Beauty: The Holy Grail Conditioner Search

I find my HG conditioner years ago, completely by accident. I’d gone away with my family and completely forgotten to pack some, so I grabbed the cheapest and most moisturising-looking once in ASDA.

Conditioner 2 photo 958dc526-cb3e-41e0-b24a-1a353abb9020_zpscxtpv4af.jpgGuys, I loved this conditioner. Light texture, moisturising, it never weighed my hair down AND it was silicone free (I rarely use shampoo so this is a must for me). At £1 a bottle, it lasted a good six months. I could slather my hair in handfuls of it for a deep treatment, I could add a little to a spray bottle of water for a pick-me-up. A 10p sized dollop would be enough for my entire head, it detangled like a dream.

Conditioner 1 photo 3a7d065a-9813-428a-bd43-bc24544d768b_zpsfpzqbxlb.jpgBut they discontinued it. In truth I am pretty sure they discontinued it a few years back, but I stumbled across three bottles on a shelf last year and grabbed them. I’m now coming to the last of these and face searching for a new conditioner for the first time in years. Urgh.

So, any recommendations for a light but moisturising conditioner, preferably under £2 a bottle (definitely no more than £5!), no silicones, and easily available? 

Have you ever had a product you love be discontinued?

Beauty: A Pre-Holiday Glow

Whilst I’ve learnt to embrace my pale skin, I always feel a little self-conscious come summer. If I’m truly honest to myself, I hate the way my legs are so blotchy and uneven. I have a white scar running behind one knee which can look obvious, and I just need a confidence boost. Fake tan has never been a success for me, so trying out a gradual version was high priority this year.

 photo Gradual Tan 1_zps2uo7jyk4.jpgAfter comparing reviews, standing in Boots totting up prices, I finally went with Dove Summer Glow. Apparently it’s meant to smell better than other brands, though if this is ‘better’ I’m not sure I want to try anything else – I find the tell tale biscuit scent to be quite strong. The moisturiser itself is creamy and hydrating, it sinks in nicely and the effects last. The tan element is definitely there, with two applications giving me a golden glow – and an orange tinge to anywhere I’ve not applied properly.

Quite honestly, I’m a fake tan novice and lack the patience needed to apply it. If you are dedicated and apply slowly and carefully I see no reason why this wouldn’t give a seamless tan – but it will streak slightly if you rush it. Still, not a bad colour and with change for a fiver!

 photo 007d008f-ab16-43b6-9490-e526c86a415e_zpsf8a463c9.jpgGarnier BB Cream SPF 50 photo 415f1d60-dde6-4c9b-ab76-cb79ed0529b6_zpsaa3gr7mt.jpgA slightly tanned body, it makes sense to add a little glow to my face too. The high SPF Garnier BB cream is a little dark for me naturally, but when I have a slight tan it gives the perfect light base – I loved using it in Italy! A dusting of bronzer (Bodyshop’s Honey Bronzer is perfect for a non-orange look) and I could have spent a fortnight on the beach, not staring at an Excel Spreadsheet all day.

Do you fake a golden glow? What products do you recommend?

Personal: What Could You Save?

Who doesn’t like the idea of getting cashback on their everyday spending? Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, wrong! Santander allow this to come true with their 123 credit card which offers cashback on supermarket shops, department stores, petrol stations and TfL- who could resist that!?

 photo a99dc03f-c9fd-43f0-abe9-1dce0111e743_zpsggkmutb1.jpgTaking on a credit card is a big decision, but if you do decide to go for one I’d definitely consider getting something with bonuses like this! Santander have also greater a pretty nifty calculator – just pop in your monthly income and it will calculate your expected annual cashback.

Based on my (excessive) use of rail transport it worked out I’d gain a massive £127 cashback a year. That’s a pretty immense amount of month, which could see me nearly doubling my food budget over the year, or even just treating myself a bit more. Makes the thought of spending so much on train fares a bit nicer too!

 photo 2015-06-15 19.43.22_zpsaizzicad.jpgSantander offered to send me on an experience with the money I would save, but due to my holiday (currently in the sun as you read!) and then moving it was causing timings to be a little bit difficult. Instead they decided to treat me to some items off my ‘I really, really want but can’t justify the cost’ list. These are things I’ve never, ever buy for myself as they are just too expensive. I literally squealed with excitement when the package turned up. And as it was delivered to my desk at work that was a teeny, tiny bit embarrassing. Ah well.

 photo 2015-06-15 19.40.49_zpsgz4semrd.jpgThe first thing on my list is Tom Ford’s Velvet Orchid. I got a whiff of this back in January and fell in love. The scent is perfect, and it lasts so well on the skin. I sprayed in on my wrist mid-morning, travelled from Oxford to Surrey, slept and could still smell it at work the next day. At £72 this is eye-wateringly expensive, to the point I wouldn’t even put it on my Christmas list.

 photo 2015-06-15 19.38.24_zpszrvu7l8s.jpg photo 2015-06-15 19.41.23_zps6x5zztqp.jpgNext up was something Charlotte Tilbury shaped. I’ve lusted over Dolce Vita for months, but when I finally swatched it a few months ago I was less than impressed. Enter The Sophisticate. A palette of shades I don’t actually own, no glitter, only a little shimmer, and that beautiful, beautiful packaging. It’s something I wouldn’t ever treat myself too – I cried a little inside at spending £37 on 12 eyeshadows, let alone 4!

 photo 4158b62a-7cf8-4028-8164-8d07f7766f3e_zpsiy6wjsv4.jpgNow, a MAC lipstick. You may argue that I do buy MAC lipsticks, and you’d be right. However (I say a trifle defensively) I play it safe. I buy neutral colours, ones I know suit me. I’ve never picked up a bold from here, until now. Lady Danger is a damn scary colour, an orange-toned, bright, scary red. It’s gorgeous, I love it, and I’m hoping it isn’t restarting my MAC addiction. I’ll need more lipstick storage if so…

How much money could this cashback credit card save you? What would you do with the money you would save – an experience or some treats?

Beauty: Holiday Packing

A long-awaited trip, I’ve been planning Italy for what feels like months. The first time me and W have ventured abroad on our own (does Scotland count?!), the first time I’ve been to Italy in a while. It’s been planned meticulously, planes, trains, hotels, restaurants, how to warn of my tomato allergy in Italian…

 photo bed429a7-03bb-4886-9a9a-fa80d58cce9c_zpsyjnbud05.jpgI’m ridiculously excited to get away, and I’ve been secretly planning what to take for months. I don’t want to take a huge makeup bag with me as I want to get the most out of our time away – so I thought I’d share my minimal beauty supplies. Of course, I’m also saving space for when I hit Duty Free and Kiko!

 photo 9957bb08-e437-4a0a-86a4-863978292b5f_zpswxl1ozj2.jpgFirst up is the usual boring stuff – though I’ve limited showing you the toothpaste! I’ve picked up some miniatures for sharing between us – I rarely use shampoo, so one small bottle is fine between us for a week. I’ll need to grab another small bottle of conditioner as mt hair drinks it up, and I need to take a trip to Bodyshop for a mini shower gel too. Skincare wise I’ll be taking my facial soap, and a small amount of Pixi Glow. I’ll need to grab a small bottle of makeup remover too!

I’m not too sure how my hair will take to the heat (last time I experienced it was five years ago in Turkey – and it wasn’t pretty) so I’ve grabbed a salt spray in the hope of keeping somewhat presentable locks. We’ll see…

 photo 68ae4a27-7d1c-4001-b945-e8e6a4219acc_zpsyj00b4k0.jpgNow onto more exciting bits. I couldn’t go away without my all-time favourite moisturiser, and the newly released BB cream is also coming with me. Factor 50, it will hopefully stop my face getting burnt! I’ve got a big bottle of SPF20 for the rest of my body, as well as a small tube of non-tinted SPF50 for shoulders and top of feet (mine are prone to burning!). For days I’ll just be throwing on BB cream, mascara, and possibly a little concealer.

 photo 3682435a-1a19-4120-ac48-cf463c82ad05_zpszaeejreo.jpgEvenings are where I’ll vamp it up slightly. I’m planning on taking my Smashbox palette as it pretty much covers all bases when it comes to eyeshadow looks. As I’m still pre-holiday I’m still convincing myself 3 lip choices is fine (a nude, a plum and a red) but somehow I’m guessing a few more might make the cut. I’m wanting to pick up an orange-toned red in duty-free too…

 photo a21b66c9-72cb-4de9-84d9-b34f9cf5fc4e_zpsr388kkr0.jpgAnd of course, I’ll be taking my beloved Hourglass palette. This on top of the BB cream makes for a fabulous and effortless base! I’ll be using the Ecotools mini brush kit for applying – I found it on the reduced counter in Boots at a bargain price so I highly suggest going for a browse. Full review coming up. Oh, and the giant cosmetics bag is from Ted Baker, I fell in love as it’s so uni-sex without being boring. And it fits perfectly in the bottom of my weekend suitcase!

 photo a8a1e92d-62ef-46f8-a551-7ba236c01c68_zps9aynndsy.jpgAnd that’s it! I’m pretty impressed with how streamlined I’ve kept this considering my makeup collection has expanded dramatically in recent months. Now as long as I ignore that temptation to pack allllll the lipsticks we’ll be fine!

What are your travel must-haves? Do you like to take a full or reduced makeup bag on holiday?

Beauty: Wine Lips

Nope, not the look you get when you’ve over-enthusiastically gulped a mouthful of red wine…

It might not be the most summer appropriate but I love a wine coloured lip in evenings. I think a deep wine colour looks sophisticated and I don’t run the risk of it clashing with my slightly ginger hair (sometimes red can be a bit tooooo much). My favourite combo is a L’Oreal liner and Kiko lipstick, these last for hours throughout eating, drinking and a bit of kissing.

 photo adbfd722-2aa5-41f3-9165-ae2a403227c3_zpsjtykrydb.jpgThe liner was a panic buy after I’d travelled home for a birthday meal sans makeup bag. With a mascara at home I ran out to buy a foundation (more on that soon) and a lipliner. I was planning to pick up the darker mauve toned one from Max Factor (I love it) but both Boots and Superdrug were out. Swatching multiple, so many were out of stock but I eventually came across this. Completely different to what I was aiming for, it was love at first sight. It’s slightly softer than I would like, and actually needs blotting a bit or it can smudge, but once it’s set it’s set for good.

 photo 2015-05-15 20.29.34_zpsbo6bk1z4.jpgThe matte Kiko lipstick is almost an exact match to the liner and, whilst you could wear both separately, together they create a block of colour that you will have to remove when you wake up the next morning. I’m not a fan of the packaging of this – too complicated (took me five minutes to open the first time!), and the shape of the bullet means a clean line can be tricky. But the colour is divine, the formula not too drying. The price point is infinitely more friendly than MAC and, whilst I prefer MAC, I’m looking forward to exploring Kiko stores in Italy. Hopefully without the booming music they come with over in the UK.

 photo f8cd1430-a76d-46ec-a26e-569e9830522c_zpscanzw1k1.jpgAt the moment, I seem to wear either nude or wine lips, and it looks like that isn’t set to change too much – though a red lip and LBD is certainly on my holiday outfit list!

Are you a fan of this lip colour? What do you suggest I pick up from Kiko?