No7 Vouchers Small | Haul

5/31/2012 06:00:00 am
I love getting No7 £5 off vouchers.  Normally I buy my fave dark nail polish - Temptress - but I haven't done that yet.  Never fear though, I'll get another voucher so I can pick it up!  This time I decided on some uber useful things - 2 brushes to add to my collection (I really should get around to doing a make-up brush post..hmmmm).  The first brush that I picked up is one that I already have in my collection, but tbh I can see myself picking up at least another one or two - the No7 Eyeshadow Blend and Contour Brush.  I'm sure many of you have this one, and I know it's a known dupe for a Mac blending brush, and I just love it.  The brush head is a little longer than many other eyeshadow brushes, and are very soft and flexible.  I use it daily for blending out the crease of my eye, and if I'm using Mac Paint Pot in Constructivist, I use a flat brush to lay it all over the lid, and the No7 to blend it all out.  It is probably one of the most useful brushes that you can own - if you were stuck in a situation where this was the only eye brush you have, i think you could still create so many different eye looks.
L-R: Smokey Eyeliner Brush, Eyeshadow Blend and Contour Brush
The second brush is a new one, and one that I've had my eye on online for probably about a year, but could never ever find it in store.  It is the No7 Smokey Eyeliner Brush, and after my local Boots had a little jiggle around, I managed to find it in the make up brush stand that now exists, as opposed to in the No7 stand.  It is a short, stubby little brush head, with fairly dense, short bristles that would be excellent for first packing colour on, and then smoking it out, which I think would be especially effective under the eye.  I am really looking forward to this teeny brush becoming a staple in my routine!
As a side note, I really like the design of the No7 brushes - simple and elegant, black handles with gold ferrule and gold writing!
Love A.x

Cosmetic Collection | Fashionista

5/30/2012 09:00:00 am

Top Row: Rose Shine, Juicy Apricot
Bottom Row: Butterscotch, Golden Glow (Eyeshadow)
Top Row: Night Sky, Double Take
Bottom Row: Brunette Bombshell, Nude

Lipstick in Buff

These are my 2 palettes.  Red is cheeks.  Black is eyes.  Both pretty beautiful I think.  And I tried to make them SUPER useful palettes.
The cheek palette has a soft pink, an apricot, a softer more natural pink, and a gold eyeshadow that I am actually using on my face for highlighting purposes.  The Eyeshadow palette has the ever-useful black, a gold-toned brown that is bronzey, a metallic brown and a nude, for use as a base.  
The pigmentation of these is brilliant, both the blushers and the eyeshadows need the lightest touch for amazing colour pay-off, all of the powders are finely milled and rival higher-priced brands.  Four blushers / eyeshadows plus a palette cost me £12, and actually come in these little self-containers, so I can swap them in and out of the palettes:
The lipstick is a gorgeous cool-toned light nude shade, that it pretty opaque, and helps to brighten my face.  The finish is fairly moisturising, similar to a Mac Lustre finish. Wear time is average, but super easy to reapply without a mirror. Loads of people have said they don't like the packaging, but for some reason I find it pretty appealing!  I like the slim-line shape, and I have no objections to the red packaging at all!
All in all I reckon from the few products I've tried from the range are lovely, high-quality products, and I'd love to try some more!
Hope you found this little post on a lesser-known brand useful!
Love A.x

An Old Fave | Collection 2000 Big fat Fake mascara

5/29/2012 09:00:00 am
Diorshow and Dior Extase are my faves EVER.  But doing temp work, and now being a uni student again means the old funds are never guaranteed.  Soooooooooo when I heard about the Collection 2000 big fat fake, I was like ooooooooooo let me try.  I did.  And I loved.  But being the fickle idiot that I am, when it finished I bought something else.  Weirdo.  Anyways, picked it up again a few weeks ago and I still love it. 

As with any mascara, it has good and bad points: the bad is that it gets dry pretty quickly, although I think I may have found a solution - put a drop of eye make up remover in it!  I'll let you know how that one goes when mine dries out!  The good points?  Well, the best point is that it really fattens your lashes from the roots.  I love this.  I keep wiggle wiggle wiggling the roots of my lashes for the 'oh-so-seductive' look. 
Sometimes I don't care for how this mascara looks at the tips of my lashes, so I'll use one of my Maybellines first, and wiggle this on afterwards.  Love it a lot.
You should buy it =].
Love A.x

* Here comes the summer son...

5/28/2012 08:00:00 am
It burns my skin.*  Haha remember this song?  It's Texas, Summer Son.  Let me link it for you so you can have a little nosey!  With all this gloriously glorious weather, I've decided to put together a little post for you in which I share my summer essentials (read: mostly sunblock!).  
First things first, I use a anti-dark spot serum under all of my skincare, my current (and nearly ending) serum is the Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector, which has worked wonders for some scarring I have.  As it is ending, I manage to procure a sample of the Origins Dr Weil Mega Bright Serum, which I must say I am loving. 

For my face, I always use a high factor sunblock regardless of the time of year, but summer defos calls for a high, high factor, in my case, Factor 50.  The two I currently have on rotation are the No7 Anti-Dark Spot Facial Sun Protection in 50+ and my favourite ever - the Heliocare Ultra SPF90 Gel.  I loooooooove the heliocare - it comes out ever so slightly tinted, smells of peaches and all wonderful summery fruits, and its gel0-like texture just melts into the skin.  It is expensive at around the £20 mark for 50ml of product, but I know my skin loves it, and the good significantly outweighs the bad!  I know SPF90 seems excessive, but my skin is prone to scarring, and I use a lot of AHAs and chemicals on my skin to remove these, leaving it vulnerable to even more skin damage!  Therefore the high SPF is necessary.  The No7 is more of a cream texture, much thicker, but still blends into the skin well and doesn't leave an oily residue or white cast, and I actually bought it with a £5 off No7 voucher, so it cost me £6 instead of £11 for the 50ml of product.  I definitely would recommend that if you have a No7 voucher you have a look-see at this!
For my body, I like a once-a-day application, once its on I really don't want to faff about.  This year's once-a-day of choice is the Piz Buin 1 Day Long Lotion in 30 High.  I really like this, I wasn't so sure of it at first, it reminded me too much of the traditional sun creams, but as I've been using it, I've realised it only seems like the traditional ones.  It is a white/cream cream (not really a lotion lol), but sinks into the skin within about 5 minutes.  What I tend to do is apply my face SPF to face and neck, then apply my body SPF whilst I let my face absorb the goodness.  I apply it to my feet (previous years of forgetting this have led to verrrrrrrrrry bad flip flop lines!), chest, arms and hands, then leave it to sink it whilst I get to work on my make up.
Last but not least issssss an after sun.  Now I don't use this regularly, its generally a treat for when my skin is like OMG need moisture and rescuing, which for an oily gal like me isn't often, but it is lovely when used.  It is the Lierac Apres-Soleil Cream.  It is blue.  It soothes.  It is lovely.  And that is all you need to know!

Hope this helps in some way!
Love A.x

Ultimate Foundation Alchemy Station necessity! | Barry M White Foundation

5/27/2012 09:00:00 am
So I am a weird colour.  Namely yellow.  Like a Simpson.  I accept it.  I make no bones about it, I just am a weird colour.  It's a double-edged knife: when I get a good foundation match, I look healthy and a little golden, when I don't I look too pink and weird.  A lot of the time, this means I get matched to foundations that are darker than me.  I have many, many of them, and I just felt like what a waste of money, so when I spotter this little gem in Superdrug I snapped it up!
 I think it was about £6, and it is such a clever little product.  I wish they did a yellow to add into my foundation, that would help me so much (as we speak a Mac yellow pigment is winging its way over to me BUT powders are messy, a cream would be better!).  Anyways, as you would expect, this lightens up my foundation depending on how much I add.  Only problem?  Add too much and you look ashy.
Overall, I think this would be a good staple in anyone's make up bag: oily girls whose foundations tend to oxidise, very fair girls who can't find a good match, and anyone who seems to always get matched too dark, like me.  I may even purchase a darker one to darken light foundation!  The possibilities are now endless!
Love A.x

Battle | Primers: Benefit the Porefessional V Philosophy the Present

5/26/2012 09:00:00 am
Yesterday I went to see the film Dark Shadows with a couple of friends, and a conversation about a GOSH primer I used to have, that one of my friends had found unloved in a drawer inspired this post.  The film is amazing btw.  Best film I've seen in a loooooooooong time.  Hair and make up of the women - Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter and Chloe Moretz were amazing, but it was Eva Green's hair (blonde!) and make up that stole the show: just ridiculously flawless: found myself entranced by her! And of course, the gorgeous Johnny Depp is the lead.   
So, on with the post!  I have a need for a primer.  Without one makeup will be sliding off my face in a matter of hours, especially around the end of my nose.  Weird.  At the moment, I have 2 primers in rotation - Benefit the Porefessional (review here) and Philosophy the Present (original review here).  If you have a quick peek at the original reviews, you can see I pretty much liked both, but as I am using them more and more, I am finding differences between the two.  

I originally thought that the Porefessional was somewhat helpful in holding onto my make up for dear life, but sadly I am discovering this is not the case.  What it is good for is filling in the old pores - BUT there is still the issue that however many times I use this, I almost always seem to apply toooooo much and the primer pills, creating flaky bits all over my face.  Sigh.  
So I used the Present the other day.  Aaaaaaah I had forgotten that I liked the smell - kind of lavender mixed with baby powder?! - and how well it grabs my make up.  Tbh again, you need a tiny weeny amount, otherwise, as I discovered, your foundation won't blend, the surface of your face will almost be too stiff!  I think, in the battle of Porefessional V Present, Present wins out.  So perhaps I'll have to sell my Porefessional to stock up my almost finished Present!  But then again, fickle old me might stray back to the GOSH primer!
Hope this helped a little!
Love A.x

Thing of the Week 11 | Clothing Haul

5/25/2012 08:00:00 am
Not really a haul.  Just two items.  But they're for the sun.  Which I adore.  I adore the sun =D.
 Little navy and white striped shoe with a bow and a small espadrille-type wedge.  I neither like espadrilles nor small heels nor wedges so these are a departure from my normal style, but I thought they were super cute for summer.  These were £12 from Peacocks, but they had 20% off so were £9.60
Ridiculously soft t-shirt.  Fits amazingly.  Don't actually like slogans or writing on t-shirts, but I forgave it thanks to the worn-in look.  Let's say it looks vintage!  From TK Maxx £7.99
So there is my little teeny weeny summer haul!
Love A.x

Topshop Make up Haul | Prime Time Cream Blush

5/24/2012 09:00:00 am
I love me some Topshop make up.  In particular I love me the cream blushers.  They are literally to die for!  So far in my collection I have Flush and Head Over Heels.  Lips-wise I have the lippy in Innocent.  And a couple of days ago I added the following to my little collection:

On the Topshop website this is just described as Pink!  Haha it's definitely pink, but I'm stuck as to what kind of pink to call it.  In real life, it appears slightly warmer than in the pics, and I think I'd class it as a mid-pink, with some warmth and brightness to it.  I swatched Neon Rose in the shop - think I'll have to go back and pick it up - and Prime Time is slightly more natural than Neon Rose, but at the same time, fills the void for a brighter pink cream blush in my collection.  In terms of formula, well I have 3 Topshop cream blushers, so I suppooooooooose you could say I love the formula.  It is a cream-to-powder formula, very creamy on first touch, and lovely and softly powdery when blended.  In terms of blending, they blend like a dream, and what I've found from trial and error is that the best kind of brush to use (I tried them all - stippling, angled blush, small blush, kabuki) is your standard everyday fat blush brush - mine is Bobbi Brown.  Swirl the brush in the old Blush, then apply like you would any blusher.  The combination of the blush and the brush (lol at the rhyme) gives a gorrrrrrrrrgeous finish.

In terms of wear, this blush grabs onto your base and stays put, so will last as long as your base!
I looooooooooooooove these cream blushers, and will post a little look at my others soon.  Perhaps Neon Rose will be included if I get back to Topshop before then!
Love A.x

Make up Book | About Face - Scott Barnes

5/23/2012 09:00:00 am
I don't normally like make-up books.  But this is amazing.  Super useful for getting that 'J-Lo Glow' and to learn how to contour and highlight amazingly.  Based on a monochrome palette, this book is just amazing.  In the pics below, if there are 2 pics in one of my pics, that's a transformation and OMG the transformations are ridiculously amazing.
 J-Lo on the cover
 Example of contour and highlight on darker skin tones
 Section on basics, including:

 Transformation on a more mature lady
 Section on skin
 My fave transformation - I've worn this contoured eye look a couple of times now - would you believe its just done with one grey shadow?
Kimmy K
I really love this book - I am eagerly awaiting Scott Barnes' second book!
Love A.x

Bronze and Glow Haul! | Superdrug

5/22/2012 09:00:00 am
Lately I've been favouring the bronzey, SLIGHTLY more natural look, and wanted a few products to help achieve this a little bit easier.  
I think this new look is in part inspired by a gorgeous make-up book I've got by Scott Barnes,  About Face, which I am adorrrrrrring atm.  Sometimes I feel that the products I used for the Bronze and Glow look are a little stark on my skin tone, and don't alllllllways blend as well as they could, so I set out on a mission to find 1) a natural glowy bronzer 2) a highlighter that leaned more towards the cool end of the spectrum (think gold) as I have plenty of warm-ish ones.  I struck gold at good old Superdrug, where their 3 for 2 offer enable me to purchase 2 things I've had my eye on for a while now:
1) Collection 2000 Shimmer Shades in 1. Way to Glow
2) Famous by Sue Moxley Baked Bronze Pot in Shade 1 - Miami
 The Collection 2000 Shimmer Shade in Way to Glow is a gorgeous warm peachy-toned, subtle bronze with hints of warm gold to it.  I use this over the apples of my cheeks, after a touch of contouring with The Balm Bahama Mama.  It makes the cheek area luminous, and looks as if you've been kissed by the sun!
 The Sue Moxley Baked Bronze Pot in Miami is most definitely not a bronzer!  It is super light, and fit the requirements I had for a cool-toned highlighter exactly!  It is a truly stunning shade, leans a very cool kind of gold, and seems to have a mix of yellow and white undertones.  It is GORGEOUS applies from tops of cheekbones to the temple area, down the bridge of the nose, and centre of the forehead.  You literally look as if you've been lit by candlelight!
In the above swatch pics, the Shimmer Shades are on the left, and the Baked Bronze Pots on the right.   I think these give you an indication of the shades, but the light is very poor today!  
In terms of quality, I think both are amazing, and I am definitely contemplating getting the other Shimmer Shade, which is a pinky-toned colour.  As for Famous by Sue Moxley, I reckon this is gonna be a new obsession for me!  I swatched literally everything on display, and was amazed by the quality.  The eyeshadow palettes and their version of the Shimmer Bricks were beauuuuuuuutiful!
Hope you liked this, will be posting about the Scott Barnes About Face book tomorrow!  It is an amazing make-up book!
Love A.x