Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Pixi Natural Brow Duo Review

Hi dolls,

Now I don't normally rave about eyebrow products and that is because it's an item that I rarely use, not because I don't like using them but because I haven't really found a product worth raving about - until now. I have to say a little thank you to my mom for getting me into this product as I wouldn't have been aware of it unit now.


Now while I don't own too many Pixi products I do really love the range, so was excited to try this out after my mom was raving about the product. I am really fussy when it comes to brow products, as I like them to look really natural without them looking too dark for my face.

What I like about this product is that it is not only a brow pencil it also comes with a tinted gel to help shape and tame the brows while adding a tint of colouring. I think I apply this a little different to how it should be applied, and instead of going straight to the pencil I like to apply the gel first to shape my brows and then fill them with the pencil. Once this is done I think lightly go over them again with the gel just to set any hairs that have gone of out place.

Here's a little before and after for you:


As you can see they don't look great before the brow pencil, and I have always had the little gap brow at the front.


Thank goodness for the after, as you can see not only are the hairs tamed and shaped but the gaps are filled. I love the way this product fills the front, it sort of looks like the hairs are filled naturally and you can hardly see the pencil applied on the skin which is something I love.

As you can see from the swatch picture the pencil is very light but I like that not only because it matches my brows perfectly but because if you want a more defined brow you can build on the colour. Now the gel even though it doesn't look very tinted works wonders and is perfect for a quick fix, I have found that if I'm in a rush or not making too much effort I can pop this on and still my lashes appear slightly darker and filled which is an added bonus. 

I find this duo really easy to use and literally have my eyebrows done in the space of about 5 minutes, which I love. The only problem is that it only comes in the one shade which may not suit everyone, and that was something I was slightly worried about before using it as the colour is 'medium brown', something I feared would be too dark as I wouldn't class my brows as brown at all. Gladly though it isn't too dark and at £12.50 it's a steal for me. 

For me this is one of my makeup bag essentials, and will continue to use and love!

Hope you enjoyed, have you tried this before?


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Sunday, 28 October 2012

OOTD: Chelsea Boots

Hi dolls,

I cannot believe how quickly the weather has turned and how cold it has become, which means it's time to dig out the fluffy warm jumpers and wooly hats. Anywhoo, I went for a family meal on Friday night and wanted to share with you a little early birthday present in the form of my pretty Chelsea Boots. I have always wanted a pair of these but found that every pair I have looked at just haven't fit my right or in the case of Topshop's pair I didn't want to fork £45 for a pair of shoes with suede that was already marked.

Onto the outfit:


Top: Oasap*
Skirt: Toshop
Tights: New Look
Shoes: Office

Now I know thanks to the lovely dark nights you cannot see these shoes so I may have to do a little post on them as they are my babies.

FOTD:


Really simple FOTD:

Face: Makeup Forever HD Foundation
Cheeks: Benefit Bella Bamba
Lips: Revlon Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie
Eyes: Lancome Hypnose Mascara
Eyebrows: Pixi Natural Brow Duo

Short post today, hope you've all had a great weekend!

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Friday, 26 October 2012

Monu Beauty Bag: Oily Skin

Hi dolls,

Now skincare is something I don't feature as much as I'd love to on my blog but something I spent a lot of time and money trying to perfect. I got the perfect opportunity when I was invited to become a part of the Monu blogger review panel which allows me to test their products out and got my hands on the Monu Beauty Bag for oily skin (*).

Monu have become famous for sourcing ingredients from herbs, minerals and oils which are kind to the environment and do not test on animals. Their product range features formulas that cater to all skin types so you never feel that you may have to go without or settle for something else.


The Monu Beauty Bag is a kit designed with products tailored towards specific skin types, and the ones available target: Normal, Oily and Dry skin types. Now these are not only a great way to treat your skin but also a great way to try the Monu range out before buying fuller sized products.

What I love about this bag is that I've been trying it out for just over a month now and found it's not only perfect for home use but because of the addition of the zip back it means you can pack it with you on journeys and you don't have to worry about carrying millions of bottles because it is all compact in this little bag. Because the bag is slightly bigger it means you can then pop in the additional products such as eye creams and cotton wool, meaning you have everything in this little bag.

Inside the bag comes a little card detailing the products you receive in your bag including the ingredients, and honestly the items in the bag are probably some of the easiest to use skincare items that I have come across. I tend to use just a few of the products everyday - as other items in there such as the mask are designed more to be used once or twice a week - but find this literally takes me 5/10 minutes on a night and my skin is feeling fresh and clean in an instant.

The bag contains six items all between 15ml and 50ml that are designed to help with the appearance of cleaner and blemish free skin. In the kit you get;

Clarifying Cleanser

The clarifying cleanser is simply designed to clean and balance the skin while leaving it fresh and comfortable. 

I find this a great starter to removing makeup, the first time I found the application a little weird as it states the cleanser needs to be removed with either tissue or wool and applied it with my fingers to find when I went to take it off it had dried in my skin. So I would really recommend applying it with cotton wool as it makes it a whole lot easier. 

Clarifying Toner

The clarifying toner is designed to remove the cleanser and also leave skin feeling fresh and toned.

What I really liked about this is the fact it includes Witch Hazel, which you may know I love to use of my skin. However if I'm being honest this smells and feels the same as Witch Hazel so I have a feeling it's just that in a bottle, so even though it's one of my favourite pieces in the set I would just revert back to my Witch Hazel bottle purely because it's cheaper.

Anywhoo, it's amazing to see when using this with makeup on, the amount it still fetches off after already using the toner. You feel like you have a clean face, apply this and then realise how dirty your skin must be and how it builds up oils and dirt.

Blemish Treatment

The blemish treatment is designed to help smooth skin and help make skin blemish free.

Now I was a little scared of using this product initially because I read that this treatment has acid within its ingredients which is something I wouldn't necessarily use on my face. However once using it I can safely say it has helped my skin, you do get an initial stinging but that is the formula working to heal the blemish.

I love using this when my skin is really bad, I actually put it to the test this week knowing my skin would be bad after not using it for a week found it cleared my skin really quickly and heals well. A little goes a long way with this bottle and I can it lasting a while despite its 15ml capacity.

Mattifying Lotion

The mattifying lotion basically does what it says on the tin, reduces shine in the face while also reducing the look of pores. 

This is a product that can be used morning, night and before the application of makeup, and I really like how this feels on the skin. It's quite lightweight and sinks in quickly, I have used this as a primer a few times and it does help with reducing the shine on my face throughout the day. 

One thing I will say is give it a couple of minutes to settle into the skin, because I popped it on with a foundation and because this is white it just made my foundation even paler than what it was. Now I don't know if that was because I was still tanned or what but now I thoroughly let it settle before applying foundation, because what's worse than foundation too dark for you? Foundation that is too light!

Micro Exfoliant

The exfoliant is designed to help even the skin out while giving the appearance of reduced pores.

This is one of the products which is meant to be used occasionally and the bottle actually states that depending on your skin type it affects how often this product should be used. I like this product it makes my skin feel great when it's been washed off and so soft.

A smaller bottle within the set, but I do find the product goes a long way - something I didn't really expect.

Cleansing Mask

The cleansing mask aims to give you radiant skin while leaving it fresh and clear. 

Another product designed to be used a couple of times a week, but that is what you expect with a mask.  Now the smell of this is quite strong but that is because you can smell the witch hazel, something that I have grown to love the smell of. However if you aren't a fan of the smell or that of tea tree than this might not be the best product for you.

I do find though this works really well in the evening when my skin is looking a little worse for wear and when for me the shiny head is at its peak. So I pop this on and it draws the oil from my skin really well!

This has become a staple piece within my skincare routine, something that I will continue to use and at £29.99 it is a great way to introduce yourself to Monu and try their products out if you don't want to break the bank straight away on some of the bigger bottles.

Have you ever tried Monu products?



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Sunday, 21 October 2012

Nail Care: How I grow and maintain my nails

Hi dolls,

So today I thought I'd do something a little different because for a while now people will comment on my nails asking the questions; "Are they your real nails?" "How long did it take to grow them?" "Can you do anything with them?" Any many others.

I figured because these are common questions I'd try my best to answer some of these in a blog post, and maybe help you if you are trying to grow your nails.


I will admit now that I don't really go to extreme lengths to look after my nails but instead just rely on the four products above; Rimmel Nail Rescue, Matte Nail Envy, the Stylfile nail file and the S-Buffer.

When I first started looking after my nails and wanting to both strengthen and lengthen them (haha rhyming while I'm at it) I did initially use OPI's Nail Envy for the two weeks by re-applying every other day to build the coats up and strengthen then, and I will admit it did work wonders on my nails but for the price I couldn't justify keep re-buying it unless it was part of the duo pack that I initially got.

Now don't expect your nails to instantly grow after the two weeks of using nail envy, I found it did take a couple of months for them to get to a decent length and since then they now do grow quicker than what they do to a length that I have never been able to grow them to before.

Once you get them to your desired length the hard work doesn't stop there you then have to maintain your nails so that they don't become brittle and begin snap. To combat this I have found that I like to continuously have my nails painted (which yes I know isn't the best thing to do but I think they look better this length painted), however some of you may think that they are only so strong because they are painted but once the polish is removed the nails are still quite strong.

My nails with China Glazes' Dress Me Up

So when it comes to preparing my nails for painting this is the little routine that I go through and can still be applied if you are not painting them:

I begin by cleaning my nails with nail polish remover even if they are not painted just to remove any traces of polish and that they are clean to work with.

Once I have done that I then use the Stylfile S-Buffer to remove any ridges and smoothen the nail before applying a base coat. That way it just means when it comes to adding polish I'm not going to end up with any of those little bumps once the nail has dried.

After that I use the nail file to shape my nails, and what I like about this file in particular is that it gives a nice natural shape to the nail and shapes them evenly (if that makes sense) sort of giving it that false nail look which I do quite like.

When that is all done I pop a coat of OPI's Matte Nail Envy on as a base coat just to strengthen the nail, and what I like about this is that is appears to sink into the nail leaving no trace of polish behind, making it harder to mess it up while waiting for it to dry.

Now it would be the colour stage which is pretty self explanatory, but you could cut this step out if you were more concentrated on strengthening your nails.

Lastly I like to apply a coat of Rimmel's Nail Rescue, which I have found give similar results to that of OPI's Nail Envy just at a cheaper price. You can then add a coat of this every few days if you wish as it just helps strengthen your nails.

And that is it, my little nail care routine which I find works for me and has worked in nearly a year giving me nails that I am happy with and can withstand a lot - and yes I mean my retail job which requires me to work with delivery palettes and boxes.

A lot of people do ask "how can you do anything with your nails" and I will admit that I can't actually fasten the clasps on necklaces and bracelets well but that is something minor for me. Anything else is normal, and my nails haven't made a change - instead of that feeling when you have false nails and because they are so long cannot do anything with.

I hope you liked this post, and do you like your nails longer or shorter?

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Thursday, 18 October 2012

Next Beauty Event

Hi dolls,

I feel really bad for not updating my blog for a few days, third year of university is really kicking my ass, it seems the more lessons you go to the more your work load builds while it seems to be taking longer to complete these tasks. Anyways enough of uni, as I'm hating the weather also - or should I say these early nights as it's a right bugger to take photos when daylight is against you.

Anywhoo, I was very lucky to attend the Next Beauty Event last night which previewed the release of their new AW12 beauty and fragrance products.

I was able to meet some gorgeous ladies including the lovely girls at CSI Beauty, Sarah, Kat, Emma  and Bec while chatting over food and alcohol which is always a good mix.

While there you could also get your nails and eyebrows done, or even get a massage. 


Now when it comes to buying beauty products Next isn't necessarily the first place I would go for these, but after last nights event this preconception has completely changed. I was amazed by their new boutique which has everything from nail polishes, fragrances to cosmetic bags.

There is something to suit everyone.

My favourite of them all is the introduction of Next's newest fragrance collection which are named after the fashion capitals of the world: Milan, New York, Paris and London.

Milan

Milan captures the aura of that fast-paced furiously stylish Italian city. Top notes of melon and green apple give way to a hear of magnolia and violet and a lingering woody base. Confident yet feminine, this fragrance has a super-chic modern edge.

London

London has lychee and citrus top notes, a heart of rose and peony evolving to a powdering musk and cedarwood base. This intriguingly eclectic aroma reflects the British capital's renown for individuality and creativity.

New York

The essence of cosmopolitan uptown New York is represented by a radiant and captivating white floral, featuring tuberose and gardenia with elegant jasmine and sun-kissed orange blossom.

Paris

Paris, the home of haute-couture, is perfectly portrayed by an exotic floral bouquet of orchid, jasmine, ylang-ylang and orange blossom, with a base of musk and warm amber. It's sensationally sensual and unapologetically decedent. 

My two scents of the night were New York and London, both smelt lovely and are fragrances I could see myself wearing daily. What makes these even better than their smell is the price, a 50ml bottle will set you back at £8 which is a bargain and the prices don't go much higher for the bigger bottles.

What I like about this collection is that if you can't decide which fragrance you want to try they have a collection of 4x10ml and an atomiser case for on the go.

Cosmetics wise I literally could be hear all day talking about my love for their range, now I didn't know that Next stocked named brands such as Models Own and Marc Jacobs but to see familiar faces in the range for me was great to see! They really have gone all out!

Here are the lovely products from the goodie bag:


I had to include a photo of the bow because the packaging for this range is simple yet really cute. I love the modern feel that it has and will happily stand amongst my other perfumes in its own right. 

I hope you enjoyed this post, and what do you think of their Christmas ranges?

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Friday, 12 October 2012

Magazine Freebies: November Editions

Hi dolls,

So it's that time of the month when the magazines hit the shelves and if you're like me have a dash down to see what is out. I must say this month is a great one in terms of magazines and their freebies, it seems that there are so many to choose from, or in my case so much to spend because I end up buying them all.


Marie Claire (£3.70)

With Marie Claire this month you can bag yourself four limited edition 30ml L'Occitane hand creams, I of course went for the rose petal one but was very tempted by the others. I have also seen with the bigger sized magazines you can get your hands on a sample of Dove's Colour Radiance Express Treatment. I have loved L'Occitane since they were last in the magazines as a freebie and has quickly become one of my favourite creams, so if you are a fan of the brand make sure you get your hands on the limited edition creams.

For £3.70 you get some really great freebies with Marie Claire and think the hand cream is enough just to get the mag. 

In Style

This month In Style was probably my most sought after magazine because of the Benefit freebies, you can get your hands on three mini Benefit products: Benetint, Cha Cha Tint and Sunbeam. I only picked these two up as these were the ones I wanted to try the most, but I think it is worthwhile picking the three up as again they are not only a great freebie but a great way to try the products out at the bargain price of £3.80.

Red

Red have teamed up with Liz Earle this month to give you the chance to try Liz Earle's Cleanse and Polish with a Muslin cloth. I am a big fan of this product so I would be silly not to grab this offer as this is perfect to take away with me on my little journeys. If you are interested and want to try this product out I suggest you pick it up as it will only set you back £3.90.

Cosmopolitan 

I was especially excited to see this the other day while shopping as it looked a great freebie, the packaging was really cute and I am a sucker for lipglosses. Cosmopolitan are offering their readers the choice of three lipglosses from Miss Guided, and I went for the lightest pink available, however I will admit I wish I had chosen another colour now as the payoff isn't great, it's more like a clear glitter gloss to go over lipsticks. 

However for £3.50 I can't complain.

I hope you enjoyed as I should be asleep now as I have to be up early tomorrow morning for a little weekend trip to London, have you picked any freebies up this month?


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Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Blog Photography Setup and Tips

Hi dolls,

This really has been a delayed post for me as I have had people email me with the exact question of how I take the photos on my blog, and since getting the comments from a couple of lovelies on a post I figured; why not do it now?

The Camera

So first things first when it comes to taking photos on my blog the most important thing is the camera used for photography. Now I do love a bit of photography here and there so I don't mind making a little investment in one, and have always gone for bridge cameras.

One thing I will say is that you don't need a big flashy DSLR for blog photos a standard little digital camera will be fine, especially one with a macro function for those close up shots. If you can avoid taking photos on your phone as it doesn't always give you the best quality photo and camera phones so lack the functionality of digital cameras.

For those that do ask the camera that I use is my Fujifilm HS30EXR which is a bit of a beast in terms of size and price, but for me it was worth it as I don't only use it for my blog, and the good thing about bridge cameras is that they are a great way to play around with features and settings for taking photos and a way to learn before progressing to a DSLR (if you want to).

Lighting

Lighting is most arguably one of the most important factors when taking blog photos, which means that it can also be one of the most hardest things to work with. For the purpose of taking photos natural light is key, and I don't just mean when the sun is out but even on slightly overcast days all will work for your photos, and if you think you're photos are slightly darker due to overcast weather you can slightly edit your photo for a brighter pic.

So when it comes to taking my photos I like to take them downstairs in my living room, as it is the brightest room in the house. I take my photos right underneath the window as this gives me the best reflection of light onto the object.

In natural lighting with flash

Now that I have hyped the importance of daylight one thing I will say is never take a photo directly towards the light as you will end up with a very dark product photo and just doesn't always look right. 

However all that said with the winter fast approaching daylight will be dwindling away quicker than we know it so you will want to know how to take good photos in the dark, which is where daylight bulbs are key!

A daylight bulb is something really easy to get your hands on and don't cost much, you can whack one of these even in your bedside lamp and use it for your photos. What this means instead of the light giving off a yellow tint it will instead be pure white light which will be better for your photos.

Flash

This is something that you will always hear different opinions of, a lot of people will not recommend using for taking your photos, but I find that when taking photos in daylight I do sometimes like to use flash as it will just lighten the photo slightly without taking away too much of the colour.

 With flash
Without flash: to me just looks dull

I will warn you though don't always rely on the flash as this can sometimes really drain the colour in your photos and leave a flash light on your photo (that annoying corner of the photo that has white in it) which is hard to edit out. 

However if you don't have a very steady hand then flash will be of great use to you as it will keep the image steady.


Macro

Macro mode is a beauty bloggers best friend, and is something I always rely on for my photos as it just makes them that much more crisp especially when focusing on certain aspects of my photos. You will find that macro not only allows you to get photos really close up of products but also focus on a product if you have items or patterns in the background.

Without macro: unsteady hands can lead to blurry photos
Yay for macro!

Composition and Background

When I take my photos I tend to try my best to get the photos in the middle of the screen just out of preference so I tend to have a grid on my screen so I can do this. Now there aren't really any rules of where to position your product on your camera screen but for me personally I like to have it right in the middle.

For my background this has recently changed, I will always try and take photos on a white background so you are just focusing on the product itself and to start with I would literally take 2-4 plain A4 pieces of paper and pop them together, but recently I got myself a sheet of A2 white card for 99p from Ryman just to make my photos easier to take. 

I think for taking photos it is better for either a clear background such as white or a cute background such as a floral background - you need something that is not going to take away from the product. 



My Setup

Now the important bit my setup:


So it's really basic but I find it works for me, a bit of card and natural light. 

Editing

Now this is one of the important steps for me when taking photos as I like to use Photoshop to edit my photos slightly. Instead of talking about it here is a photo taken in natural light and then edited:

Unedited photo
Edited

So I hope you enjoyed this post as it's something that is a little different, but practice is really key with your blogs photo. This layout isn't something I started to do until I had played around with a lot of different things from background to lighting. Now I have managed to find a way that I really like and think works well with my photos.

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Saturday, 6 October 2012

The Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2012

Hi dolls,

So Thursday was D-Day, it was the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards - an event that seemed a long way away since the shortlist announcement, and then came and went so quickly. So I hopped onto a train and got myself down to London for the event (yes it was an excuse to stay in a posh hotel and do some shopping) which was being held at the ever so lovely Rose club. 

Now before I get too much into this post I would like to say a massive thank you to every single one of you that voted for me, it literally meant so much! Even just to be shortlisted meant a lot, that you guys took time to vote for me as best new beauty blog. So again thank you!

I felt so honoured when I found out that that we were the shortlisted bloggers out of 35,000 which for me is such an accomplishment. I probably drank some of the best cocktails at the event with the choice of three, which were constantly stacked up and you were never waiting for a drink - always a good thing. 

I was a little nervous before the event going on my own, but during the night I met so many lovely bloggers, including the lovely Law, Madison, Zoe, Fleur,  Louise, Milly and so many more! And yes I even got a little fan girlish when I met some of the girls after following their blogs for so long.

Unfortunately I didn't win but I didn't think I would, if you do want to find out who won what check the link out here: winners.


Dress: River Island
Shoes: Dorothy Perkins


The goody bag:


The first thing that comes to mind is amazeballs! I went through the bag in my hotel and had to stop myself from screaming when I came across some of them; ranging from V05, St Tropez to Urban Decay - what an amazing bag!

Finally would also like to say a massive thank you to Cosmo for arranging such a great event, and I look forward to more (hopefully).

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