Sunday's Session | Pamper featuring Good Things, Alpha H, REN...

7/29/2012 08:33:00 pm
This weekend, inspired by Anna of Vivianna Does Makeup and her Weekend Posts I have decided to share with you a little of my pampering sessions.  I don't have a set day for this, I tend to do it whenever I fancy a little bit of a sprucing up, and a bit of a relaxation session.  Today, I was feeling rather sleepy all day - due to the fact I am fasting - and more or less curled up in bed watching the Olympic Gymnastics, Diving and Beach Volleyball.  Quick side note: I'm actually enjoying the Olympics waaaaay more than I thought I would!  Yesterday's Men's Road Cycling was somehow quite riveting, and the opening ceremony was just perfect for a children's literature fan like me.  Anyways, I digress: back to the beauty bits.  
So, after a little (or a lot) of bed and TV, at 17:30 I decided to run myself a bubble bath (a Lush Bubble Bar would have been perfect at this point, but I had to make do with a lovely Radox Bubble Bath), jumped in with my Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban audio book on play, and it just so happens that I am now sitting here, at 20:00, starting to watch The Zoo on ITV, feeling thoroughly pampered, and definitely more relaxed thanks to this little horde of beauties:
In terms of my face, I applied my newest face mask, the Good Think Five Minute Facial Face Mask which 1) smells ridiculously gorgeous 2) feels like its actually doing copious amounts of good to my skin and 3) appears to be a cheaper and yummier version of the REN ClearCalm Clay Mask.  This stuff is soooo good that I will be writing up a separate review on this very soon.   Haircare-wise, after a good old double shampooing - with Vosene - I applied the Herbal Essences Seductively Straight Sleekening Intensive Mask for 5 minutes before rinsing, whilst I rinsed off the Good Things Mask using a little bit of Lush Ocean salt, thereby giving my face a little bit of exfoliation action too!  Of course I did the usual washing business that one must do in a bath or shower, and if you are interested, today's products of choice were the Soap and Glory Exfoliating Mitt with the Original Source Lime Shower Gel, which I adore.
So, after stepping out of the bath, deodorising and moisturising occurred:
And now, my faaaaave bit: skincare on my face!  Today, I really treated my skin to a mixture of 3 different items - the weird hot, cold, hot, cold weather really takes the healthy look out of my skin, so I try to put it back via skincare, so that I don't need to do so much when it comes to make up.  First up, the Alpha H Smoothing and Perfecting mask.  Now, I'm sure you can see this seems to crop up in the wrong place in this pamper routine, and you'd be right!  However, I am currently using this gem as an active night time moisturiser, as opposed to as a mask: I don't suggest you necessarily do the same - I am very aware of the limits of my skin, and this is fine for mine, but sensitive skins and reactive skins need to be cautious.  I applied it in a very thin layer, and massaged it right into the skin, then continued on to my REN T-Zone Balancing Day fluid, to balance my skin, and followed up with a superb burst of moisture in the form of DCL Post-Peel  Quick Recovery which is essentially a very calming, soothing, and moisturising cream that smells of angel delight!
Penultimately is my least favourite part of pampering - hands and feet.  For my hands I use the REN Vetiver hand cream because it literally disappears, leaving the hands like velvet.  For the feet I use Neostrata Problem Dry Skin Cream, which is complete and utter witchcraft!  Using this 3 days in a row will give you feet-model style feet!  I slather it on, and put on a pair of socks:
And last of all, trusty old Lanolips: my poor lips are in a right state, due to the fact I can't drink from 3.30am to 9pm, and as such, I am layering on as many lip balms as I can - Lanolips and Blistex Intensive Moisturiser are my current saviours!
And I believe that that is all for this miserable Sunday afternoon!
Love A.x

Thing of the Week 18 | Topshop Cream Blush in Butterscotch

7/27/2012 06:00:00 am
With the sun FINALLY making an appearance, I've been (slightly) embracing the lighter foundation, dewy/healthy look, and my secret weapon isssssss:
I just pat this on the tops of my cheekbones, and it gives a beautiful radiant glow!
Love A.x

Thursday's Talons! | Bourjois So Lacque! Rouge Casino

7/26/2012 06:00:00 am
Today we have a beautiful, shiny, classic red colour.  Only negative is that it takes at least 3 quotes for opacity!  Otherwise, it is GORgeous!  I've had this on a week now, and the bottoms are just starting to chip!

Love A.x

Best Top Coat Ever | Nails!

7/25/2012 06:00:00 am
I'm sure pretty much everyone knows what I'll be going on about today!  It it: Seche Vite!
I've been using this for a couple of years, and tried a few others in between but this is just the stuff.  As in the actual stuff.  Of dreams.  Base coat, 3 coats nail colour, this on top, all dried enough so I can play with my hair 30mins later without hair streaks in my nails!  Nails stay chip free for at least a week.  Plus I can use this just before I get into bed.

Love A.x

Face of the | (Summer) day!

7/24/2012 06:00:00 am
I loooooooooooooooooooove summer.  Everything just seems better with the sun.  I love warmth.  I love light.  Aaaaaahhhhhhh summer is just MY time of year.  So I thought today I'd share with you a more summery face of the day - featuring green eyeshadow and pink lips and cheeks!  Verrrry summery!

And thissssssss is the pile of 'stuff' I used to create this look, tried to use a few bits and pieces that often get neglected!:

Base: Dior Forever Foundation in 031; Model Co Powerstick Duo Foundation in Natural 02 as concealer
Setting / Powder: Powdered under the eyes with The Body Shop Loose Powder in 03; powdered whole face with Bourjois Healthy Balance Powder in Light Beige (forgot to take a pic!), and set the base with Vichy Dermablend Powder
Face Products: Avon Earthern Rose as contour; Topshop Prime Time Cream Blush on cheeks; Topshop Butterscotch Cream Blush as highlight.
Eyes: Green eyeshadow from Night Series palette; Dark brown from Vamp HD Brow Palette along lash line and through crease; Curled lashes with Tweezerman eyelash curlers; Avon Supershock Max Mascara.
Lips: Rimmel Exaggerate lip liner in East End Snob; L'oreal Rouge Caresse in Impulsive Fuchsia.
And that's about it!
Hope you liked!
Love A.x

Current | Blusher Loves featuring Mac and Prestige

7/23/2012 06:00:00 am
Generally, in life I'm a bit of a pink girl.  I love pink.  It just makes me a little bit happy.
It is now July.  The end of July.  And the sun likes to rear its head for a couple of minutes, tease us, and wander back in and amongst the clouds.  What this means is that my skin hasn't got its summer glow yet: you may thing, ah she's Asian, she's got 'tanned' skin.  But the yellows in my skin means that it can look a bit sallow and sickly!  So I need me some sun, which helps add more golden tones to it.
However, I cannot influence the sun, so I'm faking it.  With the help of pink-toned blushers and highlighters.  Most days, I'll use a bit of Mac Briar Rose Beauty Powder on the cheeks, with a little Prestige Baked Mineral Blush in 01 Pink as a highlight on the tops of cheekbones:

Hope you like the products!
Both pretty hard to get hold of now, butttttttttttt they were too gorgeous not to share with you!
Love A.x

Alpha H Liquid Gold Supersize! | New packaging!

7/22/2012 06:00:00 am
Now I'm sure you've all heard me bang on about Alpha H Liquid Gold, and extolling its virtues, but I thought seeing as I've just ordered and received a new one I would just refresh your memories!  Alpha H Liquid Gold is a glycolic acid based product, which helps firm the skin and improve the texture.  Basically, glycolics work by loosening the glue that holds the dead skin cells in place.
Now, I have loooooooooooved Liquid Gold for about 9 months now, and find it really helps to perk up my sometimes dull-looking skin, BUT it doesn't just work on my relatively trouble-free skin: my mum uses it to lighten brown spots on her face, and my sister uses it the same way as me - to reduce scarring somewhat - as well as to help with breakouts.  So far, we've bought 2 bottles of the 100ml, each of which last about 4-5months, but when browsing QVC the other day, we saw the offer for the Supersize of 200ml in the new packaging.  We had been after this for a while, and our current bottle was just running out, so it was  bit of a no-brainer, especially when the 100ml normally costs close to £30, and the Supersize was around £35.

Firstly, the packaging of the product now seems to fit the brand better - it is more classy, definitely more eye-catching, looks like it does what it says, and ergonomically it actually works better: what I mean by this is the old bottle used to be fairly rigid, making it a little hard to dispense the product, but this newer bottle is softer and more flexible, so the product can almost be squeezed onto my cotton wool pads!  Apart from this, the product is still the same brilliant product it has always been, one that I would recommend to almost anyone, bar maybe more sensitive skins.  But, if you do decide to use this, remember firstly to always do a patch test before your first use - perhaps on your lower forearm - and to always use sunblock during any course of usage (although you should always be wearing an SPF anyways!).
Not much of a review, more of a reminder of a fabulous product that slots into my skincare nicely, and I sometimes forget to talk about!  Plus, if you have the chance to buy the supersize, i recommend you do!
Love A.x

New Powder | Bourjois Healthy Balance Pressed Powder

7/21/2012 06:00:00 am
I've been using a mixture of the Mac NC35 Pressed Powder and The Body Shop Loose Powder in to make my face look extra polished (I love a bit of powder!), for a couple of years now, but as my face has been leaning more combination-oily than normal, I've been super disappointed with how the Mac has been handling the shine - basically it doesn't!  Plus it's a little expensive.  Anyways, a couple of weeks ago, browsing the make-up stands at Boots, I stumbled upon the Bourjois stand (read: headed directly for!), and picked up a glittery nail polish that will feature in a Nail of the Day post soon, and a true red nail polish, which again I will show you soon.  There was a 3 for 2 offer on, AND a free pair of sunglasses, so I picked up the following as my third item:

Now, I had been eyeing this up for quiiiiiiiiiiiite a long time, but had been putting off purchasing it, so the 3 for 2 plus sunglasses offer was just the push I needed!  Firstly, I looooooove the red packaging, I can always find it in the depths of my bag, and it just makes me a little happy to see that flash of red!  It is much more slimline than my Mac compact, and when opened, it houses a mirror the size of the lid, making it perfect for travelling:
I chose the colour light beige as I have a tendency to oxidise throughout the day, and the colour has lots of lovely yellow undertones for a yellow girl like myself!  The actual powder is super finely-milled, and smells absolutely gorgeous, like all kinds of tropical fruits!  The smell in itself makes me happy!  As for coverage, a tiny amount on a flat top kabuki brush completely perfects my make up in an instant, anddddd I have found it to be really effective at controlling the old shiny skin!  I would say the powder makes my foundation matte for around 4-5 hours, BUT then allows the skin to look healthy as opposed to shiny for the rest of the day.  Because of it's super fine texture, I can layer more on top if I want to throughout the day without the worry of caking.

I'm really impressed with this powder, and can see myself repurchasing when it runs out!
Hope you liked this!
Love A.x

Thing of the week 17 | Avon Supershock Max Mascara | New Fave? Yup!

7/20/2012 06:00:00 am
So, as you may have gathered from this freebie post, I picked up the Avon Supershock Mascara free with Marie Claire this month.  And I've got to say, it's bloody brilliant!

When I opened the tube I was actually a little disheartened as I don't actually like plastic brushes, I'm generally a bristle girl through and through!  But after application, I feel that I've been converted to this mascara (including it's brush).  This mascara thickens my roots, and lengthens and separates my lashes on first application.  On the second coat, ridiculous amounts of volume is achieved, all the while never leaving the lashes clumpy!  I can layer and layer this on, and still be left with dark, thick, fluttering lashes that look lovely and seductive!
I don't have a pic of it on me at the moment BUT I'm sure you'll see it in a face of the day soon!
Love A.x

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Swivel Stick | Ultimate Convenience

7/19/2012 06:00:00 am
Quick post today.  I know many, many people love Palmer's Cocoa Butter - the smell, the softness, the chocolatey-ness of it, but did you know it also comes in a littttttle swivel stick?  Well, I say little, but it's not little like a lip balm, it's much bigger than that.  Perfect for popping in your handbag or in your bedside drawer, this can be used as a lip balm, around the cuticles, on knees and elbows, even on small patches of dry skin (this is how I've been using it on my nose).  

At £5.99 from Boots I reckon it's a perfect essential for anyone and everyone!
Love A.x

Mac Innocence Beware! | Review

7/18/2012 06:00:00 am
Now, this is one of my biggest make-up related regrets:  I did not purchase Innocence Beware! when it first came out in the Venomous Villains range.  I don't have the gorgeous Disney casing (Disney is one of the pleasures in my life) - I also didn't purchase the Heartless lipstick!  Basically I should have bought it all.  Anyways, re promoted in the Shop Mac Cook Mac collection, I decided that even though I wasn't getting the Disney version, the colour was gorgeous enough in itself that I should buy it.  And I did.

Now, I don't buy many Mac products anymore, most of the time I feel they're much too overpriced and somewhat overrated, but when I do buy something from a limited collection, it kind of makes me feel cheated when the casing is just normal!  Mac's only saving glory is how wonderful the product inside is.  Innocence Beware! is a cremesheen, so feels fairly moisturising on the lips, but can have a tendency to slip off, so I always use a lip liner.  The colour of Innocence Beware! is first and fore mostly a nude colour, but with tones of a pinky-mauve running through it.  It is slightly lighter than my natural lip colour, but runs along the same tones, so serves to brighten up my face.  What I really like about this is that it is sheer enough that you can subtly change the look depending on which lip liner you use: I alternate between a nude and a pink, and correspondingly find the lipstick looks different each way.

I bought this at the same time as the Viva Nicki lippy, and that one was so harsh against my skin that I sold it more or less straight away, but this has gone to the top of my favourites pile!
Hope you liked this!
Love A.x

Complete Essential | Vichy Dermablend Setting Powder

7/17/2012 06:00:00 am
So, today I'm going to write about a product I've used every make-up day for over a year.  To be honest, I really thought I'd written a post on this, but I suppose that's what happens when you stumble across a truly brilliant product - you think you've told the whole world about it!  Anyways, today's post is on the little gem that is the Vichy Dermablend Setting Powder.  It quite literally is what it says on the tin - a setting powder: but the genius is that this is supposed to add to the wear time of any make-up under it, and is also supposed to be weather-resistant.

I use this as the very last step in my make-up routine (unless I'm also using my new Collection 2000 Fix Me Up setting spray), after whichever loose or pressed powder I decide to use of a day.  Now, this comes with a little powder puff inside (excuse the colour of my puff, it needs a wash to free it from foundation), and I shake the pot upside down, take the lid off and apply the powder using the puff to each cheek, forehead, nose and chin, then use a flat top kabuki to buff it into the skin.  

As you can see from the above series of pictures, the white powder literally blends down to nothing on the face, and sets the make-up for the whole day.  It also imparts a perfectly polished and flawless look to the skin, but also adds a hint of luminosity and radiance that can be lost from the skin when a flawless base is created.
The powder really helps my make-up to last a full day, and is one of the few items I will never be without!  Plus, for a product that only costs £14.30, it lasts a ridiculously long time, and is available from Boots.
Love A.x

Currently | Buried

7/16/2012 06:00:00 am
So, I thought I might show you part of exactly what I'm buried under at the moment!

Seriously interesting dissertation stuff but it's literally burying me!
Hope you don't mind that this is a bit more lifestyle-based!
Love A.x

Manuka Doctor ApiClear Skin Treatment Serum | Review

7/15/2012 06:00:00 am
It is not secret that I am a huge advocate of the Serum.  I think serums are an amazing product, and first learnt about them in my last job, where I learnt a hell of a lot about skincare.  In terms of serums, I learnt that a strong percentage Vitamin C Serum can really help with ageing and free radical damage, but in more general terms that serums penetrate further into the skin, and can help repair from deeper within the skin's structure than say a cream or a lotion.  Plus, serums absorb into the skin - in my opinion - in a much nicer way than a cream or lotion, AND they can easily magnify the effects of any current skincare routine.  Now, my issue in life is hyper pigmentation from any spots that pop up along the way, and a slightly uneven skin tone, so my serums are always geared towards this.  In terms of Vitamin C, I have tried an expensive GloMinerals one, which did nothing for my skin, and in my slightly younger days, the Vitamin C Skin Reviver from the Body Shop, which for £13 did wonderful things for my skin: I may actually try it again sometime soon.  I found the Estee Lauder Idealist to do absolutely nothing for my skin, so sold it on Ebay, and discovered the Clinque Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector which was just amazing!  In the 3 months I used it, I found the hugest turnaround in the pigmentation of my skin, and would easily have bought it again had I had enough money or Boots points!  However, the lack of funds led me to research and find a slightly cheaper alternative.  I had been hearing a lot about the Manuka Doctor face mask and the amazing results people were achieving on scarring with the Repairing Cream, however I didn't have the space in my very long skincare routine to add in another cream, especially one with no particular oil control properties.  Whilst browsing the range, I did notice however that the brand did make their own serum, this particular serum in fact:
Introducing the Manuka Doctor Api Clear Skin Treatment Serum.  In basic terms, this serum which contains both bee venom and manuka honey, is supposed to assist with hydration levels, skin refinement and texture, as well as aiding to get rid of fine lines and scars.  I would say I've been using this around a month to a month-and-a-half so far, and find it slots nicely into my skincare routine.  I use it after cleansing and toning, always in the morning, and on some nights, depending on what else I'm using that night.  The serum has a pump, which is lovely in terms of hygiene, and I find that half a pump is more than adequate to cover my entire face.  The bottle pumps out a thick-ish clear gel-like substance, which when spread onto the skin almost seems to turn to water, as you can see in the following series of pictures:

The serum literally becomes nothing but a layer of super soft hydration on the face, a layer which feels lovely and soothing, nourishing and cooling at the same time.  I would normally apply my moisturiser over the top of this in the mornings, and if using it at night time, I may add a thicker serum over the top depending on what my skin needs that day, and maybe a moisturiser.
In terms of effects, I haven't noticed anything drastic, but what pleases me so much about this serum is that it seems to be carry on the good work done my previous Clinique serum.  My skin tone is still fairly even, apart from a few new marks, which the Manuka Doctor seems to be getting to work on, and as an additional bonus, breakouts seem to be much fewer and further between.
In terms of scent, I would say it just smells clean, with a slight medicinal note!  I think the bottle would last around 3 months using it between once and twice a day, which is fairly standard of most 30ml serums.
If you like the sound of it, it is available for £18.99 at Holland and Barrett, and I personally think it is worth every penny.  One word of caution however, this cannot be used by anyone who is allergic to bee stings!
Love A.x