September | Empties

9/30/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins!
I always try to finish products: I always mean well, but I am a sucker for new things.  Anyways, this month I did manage to finish three items, and they really are three items that I absolutely love.
The Hydraluron was a lovely skincare extra, at a time when I was severely dehydrated.  I would love to buy another tube of this lovely gel to water type serum, and will do at some point.
My fave within these empties is the Pro Collagen Oygenating Night Cream.  I am gonna go out on a limb here and say I really don't think there is a better night cream around.  I love it - it softens, brightens, and deeply moisturises throughout the night.  For now, due to its expense I am currently using the Pro Collagen Marine Cream if needed, but when I have the money, this will be repurchased in a heartbeat.
La Roche Posay Hydraphase Intense Mask has served me well for over a year, injecting moisture when I really needed it. It was cooling, soothing, and dealt with dehydration in a deeper way, and will be a repurchase.
Hope my empties gave you a little food for thought!
Love A.x

Les Senteurs Gourmandes | Vanilla Noire

9/29/2013 05:11:00 pm
Hola Munchkins!
Les Senteurs Gourmandes is a brand that conjures up imageries of intimate exclusivity, and for that reason alone, I was drawn towards the brand.  Vanilla Noire is an ultimately beautiful fragrance: I was apprehensive that it would carry the obvious olfactory nuances of any other vanilla scent, but this is something more elite.  La Senteurs Gourmandes truly manages to provide an assortment of subtly tweaked vanilla fragrances, from this Vanilla Noire, all the way to a Vanilla Bourbon - a real selection for a perfume connoisseur.  
This particular scent is an intoxicating blend of richness, caramel-y headiness, with a sensuality about it – something one can really yield to.  Indeed, I have found myself spraying and re-spraying Vanilla Noire in order to continuously smell it on myself!  There is, of course, no need to do this, as the longevity on the skin is excellent: it starts off as a somewhat alcoholic scent, but dries down in next to no time into an aroma that manages to virtually meld with my own skin, and that I catch a smidgen of each time I turn my head.  A buttery accord lends the perfume to being absolutely more-ish, whilst the vanilla is wholly pure – not artificially sweet, nor a musty, ancient odour.  The actual notes within the perfume include cinnamon, clove and ylang ylang, all of which add the “noire” to the vanilla.  Ultimately seductive, infinitely deep, rich and something categorically special.  Definitely a signature scent and the perfect cosy smell for winter.
Love A.x

Tool Rediscovery | Fan Brush

9/21/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins!
I love to contour my face - I am not at all blessed in the cheekbone department, and as such I contour every day.  My tool of choice depends on the intensity needed and the effect desired: I use a small setting brush for a precise, heavy contour, a loose blush brush for a more everyday contour, and a normal firmness blush brush for those in between days.
This little beauty is my Crown Brushes Fan Brush, and I generally forget about it.  In the past I only ever used it for highlighting, but randomly used it with my Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder the other day, and loved the effect.  It gives a defined, yet very natural contour, but can also be used for warming up the face using a normal bronzer.  I love this brush - the fan shape is perfect for hugging the facial contours.  
Love A.x

A Week | Of simple, constant skincare

9/20/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins!
When it comes to skincare, I am what they refer to as a complete tart.  I flit in and out, with different products finding favour not only on different days, but also at different times of the day.  It's awful, but that's my nature!  Anyway, after watching QVC (something I do of a late-night or weekend), the presenter said that using the Balancing Elemis Duo - Lime Blossom Cleaner, and Lavender Toner - had helped to re balance her skin and tighten her pores.  Now, I had tried this duo previously for a few days and literally thought "meh".  Nothing really happened - my skin was clean, but that was about it.  So when QVC said that the results were tangible in approximately a week, I though ah, there's a challenge for me!
After about five days, I really did see a difference - my skin was getting less oily throughout the day, and just felt more balanced in general.  The Balancing Lime Blossom Cleanser is a lovely milk cleanser - slightly thicker than the average milk cleanser - and is absolutely ideal for taking off make up, and for a little massage, with fingers or with the Clarisonic: I always end by removing it with a flannel.  The Toner is lovely and refreshing, quite unlike most toners, and really complements the Cleanser.
All in all, a really lovely, simple set that nourishes the skin whilst actually helping to balance it.
Love A.x 

Thurday's Thought Seven | Comparison

9/19/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins!
Love A.x

Veritable Cornucopia of Uses | Coconut Oil

9/18/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins!
For centuries, coconut oil has been used for its many health and beauty benefits.  Natural and organic, it is a hardworking multitasker that feels beautiful, and can be used from head to toe.  Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, but melts on contact with the skin, with the oil infiltrating deep into the pores due to its low water content.  Within Coconut Oil is an ingredient called Lauric acid, which is anti-microbial, making coconut oil a deep skin cleanser, that rids the skin of dirt and bacteria, as well as being an all-round healing chemical that fights both fungi and bacteria, helping keep spots and blackheads away.
As a facial oil, Coconut Oil makes a beautiful anti-ageing oil, perfect for a good night’s beauty sleep.  It fights free radicals that cause ageing and moisturises deep into the skin for a perfectly supple visage on awakening from your slumber. Definitely a must-have for all Sleeping Beauties!
As a deep cleanser and a make-up remover, Coconut Oil is highly effective. The oil breaks down even the most waterproof of mascaras, and removes all make-up.  Just massage onto the skin, and then remove with a hot flannel for soft skin that is beautifully cleansed.  As an eye make-up remover, it also replaces hydration around the eyes – one of the first places to see fine lines from dehydration.
As a soothing oil for skin complaints such as eczema and psoriasis.  Homoeopathists have been extolling the virtues of Coconut Oil as an effective dry skin treatment.  From experience, I can say that Coconut Oil soothes even the worst eczema itching, and used regularly, becomes an eczema preventer.
As a deep conditioning hair mask.  Just apply liberally from roots to tips, and comb through.  When rinsed out (I suggest a double shampooing), hair is soft, bouncy, shiny and itchy or flaky scalps are thoroughly soothed.
As your everyday body moisturiser: Coconut Oil as a body moisturiser is brilliant.  It sinks into the skin leaving it feeling incredibly velvety, and deeply nourished.
Love A.x

Bioderma Sebium | A Complete Review

9/17/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins!
I often wondered what all the fuss surrounding Bioderma was all about, so I tried it.  And let me tell you, I didn't really like it.  So I moved on to the L'oreal Micellar Water, which I found better than the Bioderma, but still not too amazing.  When I was kindly gifted the Bioderma Sebium Micellar Water, I suddenly had an "ah-ha" moment.  It was everything I thought it could be.
Bioderma Sebium, splashed onto cotton wool, then swiped over the face is both cleansing and - unlike any other micellar flirtation I have had - is actually refreshing on the skin, leaving no micellar-type stickiness on the surface.  I tend to use this as a quick "let-me-get-my-make-up-off" or as a first cleanser on a light make up day, but there is no doubt that if you used enough cotton wool, this bad boy would take every scrap of cosmetic off of the skin.  It also tackles eye make up wonderfully, and doesn't sting!
Worth every penny - very glad I have two bottles!
Love A.x

New Generation | Skin Cleansers

9/16/2013 02:51:00 pm
Hola Munchkins!
Modern-day skins deal with such a plethora of ambushes and attacks upon them that the cleanser of the modern woman has to consider all factors in order to both protect and repair it from the onslaught it faces. These new-generation cleansers are rising fast through the ranks of the skincare world to establish themselves as efficacy-proven, results-driven multi-taskers.  Today’s potions need to be not only thoroughly cleansing, but must contain added extras so that the thoroughly-modern-Millie’s of this world can resolve all their skin woes through one tiny bottle!
soap and glory

Soap and Glory Peaches and Clean
This little beauty is one of the best all-round cleansers ever: reformulated and repackaged in beautifully feminine but minimal packaging, it has the same beautiful smell, beautiful texture, brilliantly brightening and smoothing formula, but is somehow just inherently better.  The juicy peach smell gives it a luxurious edge, whilst a slightly loose texture makes it more than perfect for an effective facial massage.  The new Peaches and Clean gives a little bit of a tingle to the skin thanks to its use of fruit acids and definitely proves its worth – after just a few days of use, skin looks obviously brighter, more even-toned and clearer!

Nip and fab

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Cleanser
The lure of this particular cleanser is the inclusion of a favourite acid – Glycolic, which provides anti-ageing benefits, including firming of the skin.  Smelling beautifully of citrus, this is a lovely gel cleanser to use in the morning as a wake-up call, or in the evening as a freshen-up.  It works to smooth and clarify the skin and its texture, and works nicely with the Clarisonic.  Best used as a first cleanse to clear the bulk of make-up, leaving you to choose something a little more luxurious for the second cleanse.

loreal men expertL’oreal Men Expert Black Charcoal Wash
This is a brilliant deep-cleanser, brought to my attention on a hunch that the men’s skincare market would be able to deal with oily skin in an effective and long-lasting    way.  I find it to be quite the beautiful (odd word to use for a product made for the menfolk!) product.  Containing black charcoal, it works to deep clean, absorb oil – it is ever  so slightly abrasive, and lathers up to quite a luxurious grey foam, with a minty, menthol feel on the skin.  It leaves skin clean, but not stripped, and really helps to keep oil at bay.
Love A.x

Yves Saint Laurent | Belle D'Opium

9/13/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins!
I am fast becoming quite the fragrant girl.  Yes I am a fragrant ladddddy.  I am hooked on smells at the moment - I've always been one for smelling things, I smell my food and drinks before consumption, and have been known not to be able to sleep if I can smell food around.
Today I bring to you my newest obsession.  I quite literally have to have it.  I think it is quite possible that most department stores are finding their testes depleted thanks to my over-zealous spritzing.  I have always, always been sucked in by glamour of YSL Opium (well done PR, Marketing and Advertising!), but found the original to be too woody and oppressive for me, but in steps Belle D'Opium.  Beautifuully oriental and deep with a sweet edge, Belle D'Opium is quite literally everything I've been looking for in a perfume.  My scent tastes have switched from craving the cloyingly sweet to craving a sexier, deeper type of sweetness - sandalwood and jasmine are often my elixirs, and Belle D'opium is now my drug!
Love A.x

Thurday's Though Six | Me!

9/12/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins!
Love A.x

Happy | Bourjois Happy Light Foundation

9/11/2013 07:42:00 pm
Hola Munchkins!

Bourjois Happy Light is my absolute foundation of the moment, and has been for around a month now.  I find myself gravitating towards it automatically, I love the ease of it, the flexibility of using fingers or a brush, the actual feel of it on my fingertips.I find this to be a beautiful and truly innovative product that is adapting to the trend for perfect, but still skin-like bases.  
It is more transparent that your average foundation, and is almost more of a transparent base with pigments in it than a pigmented foundation, and so I find that it covers in a very healthy-looking, natural but perfected way, almost mimicking the look and feel of a slightly-glowing skin.  The yellow-tones really mimic my own skin colour as opposed to masking it, which is lovely, and actually very rare!  It feels lovely and lightweight on the skin, does need setting, but looks and feels like a much, much higher-end product.  It is what I would call a grown-up version of Bourjois Healthy Mix, and a brilliant dupe for Giorgio Armani’s Maestro Foundation! 
Love A.x

A Review | The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

9/10/2013 09:15:00 pm
Hola Munchkins!
Now, I am not going to review this book in its entirety.  It is wholly too beautiful and intricate for me to even really synopsis it for you, so this will be more what I thought about it.
The night circus jumped out at me for its black-edged pages.  Shallow but definitely true.  Plus, it was in a charity shop, so was super-duper cheap!  I have had it for months, never quite finding the time or the mood to read it.  Until Saturday, where I took it on a one and a half hour journey "just-in-case."  Just-in-case turned out to be one of the best, most awe-inspiring books of my life.  So much so that I literally finished it in 4 hours.  
It is a book that is about more than magic - it is about the beauty that lies within magic, and is a theme that runs throughout the whole book: people, creations, events - beauty, and I mean true, stunning, chills-down-your-spine kind of beauty - is the core of the book.  Layered on top of this beautification is a less cheesy Romeo and Juliet style romance, but more tame, and more real-life (if that can be said for a) a book about magic 2) a book that is so beautifully written).  
The actual prose is ridiculous.  As in so good.  It is captivating, and appeals to someone like me who is in love with all things pretty.  It flows, it is not sickly sweet, nor saccharine, but it just flows in a way that just had me sitting up in awe: and I have read me a ton of books for my 2 English degrees!
I have no more to tell you except just read it.
It has restored my love for reading to an entirely higher plane, and is a book I will love forever.
Love A.x

Beauty | Of Yester-year

9/08/2013 01:18:00 pm
Hola Munchkins!
A little bit of a more thoughtful-ish post today!
Currently, the perception of perfection associated with the advertising and marketing of the beauty industry is something that is taken as gospel: the ideal shows women as needing to be beautiful, sultry creatures.  Enchantingly doe-eyed nymphs, all plump-lipped and long-lashed, are perpetually seen as the best way to sell a product.  
Beauty is portrayed as being a sense of perfection, a flawnessness, a need to constantly change oneself to be better.  The Beauty advertising industry is often accused of pushing the expectations of unrealistic, idealistic beauty onto the female population of today, particularly through their excessive use of photo retouching, and excessive claims of a product's benefits.  With so much sway and gravitas, isn’t it time the beauty industry used its power for good?  
The beauty advertisements of yester-year are more focussed on the woman as glamorous, the woman as put-together, and the woman as worldly.  They see the world as an ultimately less perfect, but women-centred place, and often through them we can see the true essence of beauty – a lesson to be learnt by the women of today.
Love A.x 

Incoming | Bases Updated

9/07/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins!
I feel like sometimes things creep up on us in life, and this time, I find that a pretty good collection of new bases have found their way into my collection.
I have been wanting to love BB Creams, but I genuinely haven't liked the ones I have tried: too sheeny, too pinky, too sheer - but this has actually turned my opinion.  Slightly thicker in consistency than your average BB Cream, it covers well, evens tone quite easily, and adds just enough moisture to the skin.  This definitely needs a little powder to set to prevent shine from coming through - but for a BB Cream, it does stand the test of my super oily skin, and needs a re-powder around 4 hours of wear.  
Now, I really loved the premise of this little stick of goodness from Maybelline - the Fit Me Anti-Shine Stick, and so far, first impressions are good.  It is creamy, glides onto the skin, leaves a demi-matte but healthy finish, and is beautiful when set with a little powder.  It does a good job at leaving the skin shine-free for around three to four hours before touching up, but that is pretty much normal for my shiny shiny skin!
The Maybelline Superstay Waterproof Powder is something that I have had in my brain for a while - I liked the liquid foundation so much that I wished a powder would be made, and tah-dah! Powder!  This is a beautifully fine-milled powder that mattifies, sets, and adds extra coverage - in fact I rather think this would do beautifully on its own, straight onto skin. 
Bourjois Happy Light is my foundation of the moment.  I actually find this to be a beautiful, innovative product.  It is more transparent that your average foundation, seemingly there is almost a transparent base with pigments in it, so it covers in a very healthy-looking, natural but perfected way.  It feels lovely and lightweight on the skin, does need setting, but looks and feels like a much, much higher-end product.  Definitely blows Healthy Mix out of the water for me!
More golden-toned, but not so good for oilier skins.  Nice coverage and finish, but not as perfected as the Maybelline BB - the wear time is not hugely good, but is a very nice product that would be a perfect match for the more normal skin types.
Beautiful product.  Yellow-toned foundation, specifically formulated for Asian skin tones, and I must say, I really like the colour on me.  The foundation itself, in texture, is what I would describe as thick-but-thin, and as such, is very reminiscent of YSL Touche Eclat foundation, and performs in a very similar way.  It covers very well, and a tiny, tiny bit blends to a perfected, flawless finish.  Again, needs powdering, but that is more to do with my super-oily skin that the product itself.
Hope these mini-reviews gave you a feel of the high-street base products on offer at the moment - they are pretty brilliant!
Love A.x

Solid Scents | Lush Vanillary

9/06/2013 04:49:00 pm
Hola Munchkins!
I am a super, duper, ridiculously cold person - in terms of temperature, not emotion! - and this often leaves me spraying myself in perfume only to find it has disappeared from my existence an hour later.  Because of this, I have found myself turning to both oil-based and solid perfumes.  
Lush's Vanillary was one of my first of this kind of purchase - housed in a little black tube, perfect for literally dropping into your handbag.  This vanilla scent is, just like its name, more vanilla-y that pure vanilla.  
The addition of tonka and jasmine deepen the fragrance, making it both subtle and spicy, with just a slight touch of the oriental.  It is just absolutely lovely.
Love A.x

Thursday's Thought Five | Happy Girls

9/05/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins!
Today a reminder that beauty comes from happiness!
Love A.x

Spray it | Melvita Orange Blossom Water

9/04/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins!
Floral waters seem to be all the rage these days - each individual flower has different properties and as such, can help different skin types.  Now, myself and my sister have been releasing our inner alchemists and concocting our own floral waters for around a year now, so when this popped into my British Beauty Blogger Beauty Box, I was intrigued to see how it fared.  
First of all, the ingredients list is pretty short, something that fills me with hope when it comes to a nice, simple product.  The spray itself diffuses nicely, ensuring a soft, even application over the whole face, and the scent is beautifully comforting, albeit surprisingly difficult to describe!  I have actually used this spray when feeling extremely sick and nauseous, and found the scent to be brilliant at calming and relieving nausea.  This floral spray refreshes skin, blurs make-up to a slight soft-focus finish, but as far as skincare benefits go, I'm not 100% convinced.  I'll stick to a home-made orange blossom spray for now - there is a certain fabulous sense of satisfaction from making my own!
Love A.x

Empties | July/August

9/02/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkin!
Little snapshot of what I've used up in the last few months:
Una Brennan Rose Oil
Lovely thick cleansing oil, used as a first cleanse.  Easily takes off make up when massaged in then wiped off with a flannel, but does not emulsify.  Not repurchasing as prefer the L'oreal Oil for cleansing purposes.
Elemis Tri-Enzyme Cleanser
One of my basic (but much more than basic) cleansers, that I always have on rotation.  Lovely smell, nice thick texture that can be thinned out, and visible smoothing of the skin can be seen.  Already repurchased - don't think I will ever be without.
Origins Zero Oil Cleanser
Lovely foaming cleanser that feels cooling and purifying on the skin.  Helps to keep shine away that little bit longer.  Will probably repurchase when I whittle down my current cleanser collection!
Ren Clear Calm 3 Clarity Restoring Mask
Love this mask - thick, soft, clarifying - it does it all.  Plus, can be used as a cleanser if loosened with water.  Will be repurchasing when funds allow!
Organic Pharmacy Seaweed Mask
A perfectly nice mask, but nothing special.
Clarins Pink Clay Mask
Lovely mask, very clarifying, but also softens the skin. Would love to buy as a set with the other Clarins products.
Clarins Ultra Matte Lotion
Actually lived up to it's mattifying claims!  Left skin matte in the morning, and oil free all day!
Claring Pore Minimising Serum
Used in conjunction with the Ultra Matte Lotion, extended the mattifying time of the moisturiser.
L'oreal Skin Perfection 15 Second Miracle Cleansing Oil
Beautiful.  Now one of my go-to, staple cleansers.  Already bought another one - silky smooth texture, brilliant for massaging, emulsifies, and rids the face of all make up when used with a flannel.
Origins Zero Oil Toner
I actually found this felt too alcoholic and too strong on my face, and my face never finds anything too strong!
Ren Glycolactic Mask
Fairly good brightening mask, but the Elemis is much better.
Elemis Tri-Enzyme Mask
My staple mask.  Already repurchased.  Brightens the skin instantly, so good for a quick-fix, but also gives cumulative results for general skin health.
Omorovicza Deep Cleansing Mask
Amazing product.  So amazing that it brings all blemishes and break outs up from under the skin, so definitely not one to use right before a big event!  Would love to repurchase, but the price is a lot.
Rimmel East End Snob Liner
My general go-to lip liner.  Will repurchase ASAP.
No7 Nude Lip Liner
My go-to nude lip liner, will be repurchased.
Kiko False Lash Concentrate Volume Top Coat
Lovely, innovative product - really builds extra volume on top of any mascara you are wearing.
Hope you found my empties interesting, I know I always love an empties post on account of my ridiculous curiosity.
Love A.x

Faves | August

9/01/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins!
Here are my favourites from this pretty gorgeous month.
August has been more of a natural month for me - sorting out skin that has been stressed to the max, but still allowing my actual skin to show through.
L'oreal Skin Perfection Moisturiser is something that I was sent, and is now something that I really love.  Smoothing, sorbet-like, comforting soft pink in colour and scent (odd description, but you will know what I mean if you smell it!).  Perfect moisturiser for day and night.  It settles to a velvet-like finish on the skin, and just looks and feels as though it is doing all kinds of good for you!  A full review will be coming soon.
Bourjois Happy Light is to me what Healthy Mix was to a lot of person - healthy, happy-looking skin.  Beautifully light-weight, an exceptional colour choice in 53 Golden Beige for a yellow-based Asian skin tone such as myself, provides a perfected look to the skin without being heavy or settling on the face.  Medium coverage, very natural and radiant - basically my skin but absolutely better!  Another one that I will be reviewing at length shortly.
Along with a lip, I feel that brows really finish off a look - to coin a cliche, they are the icing on the cake.  Brows take a look to a lady-like, face-framed, strong level, and at the moment I am using a very cheap Saffron brow pencil - I can get away with cheaper brow pencils due to the fact that my eyebrows don't need a lot doing to them, and are black.  Paired with brows, I have been loving full-on lashes.  Givenchy's Noir Couture has been my favourite now for easily 9 months - I coat the lashes in this magic potion for slightly lengthened, but a definitely thicker flutter!
A nude lip has been my staple: if I'm not using my L'oreal Rouge Caresse in Tempting Lilac (super buttery and moisturising), then I use this combo - Maybelline Lipstick in 742 Luminous Beige, with No 7's Candyfloss lipgloss over the top.
The Harry Potter films have been playing on TV ever Saturday, and to be quite honest, that is my idea of Saturday-night heaven!  I actually have the box-set, but how lovely is it to just sit in front of the TV and watch without any effort? 
Ah The Borgias.  Sad, sad face.  Best programme ever.  Fact.  Before period dramas (Game of Thrones, The White Queen) exploded with a vengeance onto our screens, this was the absolute original.  The view into the clandestine world of the papacy - its intrigues, mysteries and scandals - the Borgias provided drama, passion, and a fabulous sense of the sumptuous life lived within the Vatican.  Incredibly well-acted, and drawing loosely on the Borgia family members, this will be sorely missed in my life!
This once-upon-a-time book worm is trying to regress back to the wormiest of her 7-year old days, and read both voraciously and indiscriminately.  Update will follow!
Hope you liked my faves this month!
Love A.x