Saturday, 29 March 2014

• MAC products that I got for my birthday •

On the 16th March I reached the ripe old age of 22 and I was lucky enough to receive such lovely gifts including some new Nikes, LUSH goodies and so many bunches of flowers that I could start a small florist business (I really love flowers). I was so excited to unwrap these presents in particular - I had an inkling that I'd receive some new MAC products as I've been on a spending ban recently. I haven't been into a MAC shop for about 4 weeks (aren't I doing well?) and I'm a real drugstore product kinda gal if I'm honest, so receiving high end products like these really is a treat! I've not tried any of the above products, apart from the lipsticks of course, and even then I've never tried a Viva glam lipstick. This excites me, so I've been really looking forward to writing this post.
I've been leaning more towards dewy skin lately as we're fast approaching Spring and I think skin looks beautiful with a slight glow to it in the warmer months, but that doesn't mean to say that my skin behaves accordingly; quite the contrary. My oily t-zone loves to play up around this time of year (heck, most of the year, since we're being honest) and I'm constantly searching for the perfect powder to keep the shine at bay. The MAC Colour Correcting Compact in Adjust looks like a great colour for me to just swipe over my t-zone and eliminate any oiliness and I've read some wonderful reviews about it - I will just need to try it now to see how it holds up. There are 4 shades; Neutralize (yellow based), Illuminate (lavender based) and Recharge (apricot based) and the shade I have, Adjust, is described as peach-beige. I will definitely be reviewing this soon as I'm really interested in how the colour correcting pigment works.
I've not tried anything from the Prep + Prime range as I tend to think of MAC as more of a base, lipstick & eyeshadow store, so I wouldn't think to go for some of the skincare items. The MAC Skin Brightening Serum looks interesting and can be used just before make up to prime the skin or even in the evening as part of your skincare regime. I'll be trying both ways and will report back. It'll be interesting to see how I feel about MAC skincare items as opposed to their make up products, which I lurve.
Aaaah, the lips. Absolutely amazing and definitely "me" colours. I'm not usually one for lip gloss but the MAC Lipglass in Viva Glam 1 is so pigmented, so creamy and not at all sticky. It's beautiful worn alone and equally as stunning when paired with a darker lipstick. The scent is the typical MAC scent, slightly vanilla-ry and hardly detectable and a scent that I really quite like. Unfortunately I can't find a direct link for this product although I have had a hunt, but the link provided is to the Debenhams MAC Lipglass page.
The MAC Lipstick in Viva Glam 1 is so gorgeous and a dupe for a drugstore product that I own - a post on this will follow shortly! It's a deep red with which is slightly plummy and is also matte, one of my favourite formulas. I'm looking forward to pairing this with smokey eyes and a little bronzer for an evening look as the pigmentation is amazing, and not something I could get away with for school. This little duo make the perfect sexy, modern red lip and I absolutely love them together.

Again, I'm very lucky to have received these gifts and every other gift that I received. A little disclaimer - I'm in no way boasting, I just wanted to show you my new pretty beauty things and thought you'd like to read it. I also love reading these sorts of posts so was excited to write my own!

Have you tried any of the products mentioned? I'd love to hear your thoughts. I'm planning on trying them all this coming week!


Friday, 28 March 2014

• My saviour of the moment // The Body Shop Deep Sleep Pillow & Body Mist // review •

I'm just not sleeping properly and I hate it. When I start dropping off, I have an idea for a lesson or remember that I have some marking to do, and I'm instantly awake without the ability to drift back to sleep. It was becoming a bit of a nightmare until a few weeks ago when I was rummaging around in my body care storage box. I found this little wonder, The Body Shop Deep Sleep Pillow & Body Mist, and decided to give it another go. I remembered it working for me about a year ago when I was having the same problem, so it was high time I started using it again.

The mist smells quite like you'd imagine it to. The camomile adds a certain sweetness to the sleep-inducing spray which is really comforting and relaxing, whilst the essential oils have a multitude of properties which aid restfulness. I tend to spray the product directly onto my bed sheets, my pillows and around the area that my head will rest. The smell lingers for a while after it's sprayed, but if I'm honest, I'm not sure on the longevity of the scent as I'm fast asleep before I can find out. It does say that you can spray it onto your body but I'm a bit scared of that kind of thing, only putting products onto my skin which are made for skin, so this way was never going to work for me. I have read reviews that it works well this way though, so to each their own.

So this product ticks all of the boxes. The scent is lovely and inoffensive, it's easy to use and you only need a few spritz each time, and most importantly, it helps me get to sleep (and stay asleep, for that matter). If you're suffering from this kind of thing, stress-induced or not, I'd recommend giving it a go. It's only £10 and really works for me!


Sunday, 23 March 2014

• Shop my stash // rediscovered products - Spring edition •

I've been lacking colour in my make up recently and I'm really starting to miss it. The 23rd March feels like the right time to inject some fun into my looks and use some of the products that I used to know and love. I've spent the past week rummaging through my make up bag and finding the products that I always reach for during the Spring months that I just seem to forget about throughout the rest of the year. One reason for this post is that I'm trying to force myself into using up some of the make up which I already own instead of buying more and more and more...if you're an avid reader of my blog, you'll know that I do love my hauls and I've been on one too many recently, encouraging me to use what I already have lying around. And since I'm on a spending ban, it's nice to get excited about things you haven't used in a while - it's as if I've just been shopping and I'm using lots of new things!

This post is a collab with Molly from mollyox, a gorgeous little blog that I always turn to for reviews. Molly and I purchase quite different items and products so it's really interesting to find out what I'm missing out on! I really recommend checking out her blog - her layout is gorgeous and she takes the clearest, most beautiful photos...if you head over there, tell her I said hi!
Ah, my trust old MUA Undress Your Skin Primer. I used this in the days where I had more time in the mornings and when my skin was more oily. As we're approaching the warmer months, I can already feel that my t-zone is starting to look a little less matte, so I'll be reaching for this a lot more. At £4, it does the job really well and I can't fault it - I need a minuscule amount, which is usually half a pump/a pump, to cover my t-zone and my make-up stays put all day, without slipping and sliding off half way down my neck. The Garnier BB Cream in Light/Clair isn't something I got on with to begin with, but I soon realised that this product works best when used with fingers. Applying it with a brush just doesn't work for me as I feel like any brush I use just swipes it across my face without it actually sinking into my skin. It provides a very light coverage which is perfect for me as I tend to go a lot lighter with my bases as it progresses towards Summer. It is fragranced which doesn't bother me as I actually quite like the scent and it's a thick BB cream which can be sheered out or built up.
Out with the Benefit Hoola, in with the Benefit Sugarbomb! I miss this product so much and I'm now asking myself why I ever stopped using it. I like to switch up my blushes and bronzers quite regularly and I think this one just got lost at the bottom of the pile. It's a stunning rosy/bright pinky colour with tiny little shimmers, it's really gorgeous for this time of year. I tend to go for matte blushes in Winter and this little guy always makes an appearance in my Spring make up bag. As I mentioned previously, my t-zone can always do with a little mattifying so I'm going to start using my L'oreal Paris True Match Powder to balance things out again. It's a very finely milled powder which doesn't provide a lot of coverage, but sets everything in place. As a highlighter, my MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Lightscapade is so so stunning and always completes any look I go for. It is quite subtle when applied with a brush but I tend to use two fingers to dab it onto my cheek bones. It catches the light beautifully and I like that it's a unique product in my collection, as many of my highlighters are a goldy/champagne colour. Silver/pearl makes a change and I'll definitely be using this for a subtle Spring glow.
The No7 Stay Perfect Eyeshadow Palette in Rainforest was one of the first beauty products I owned. I used to wear it all the time, especially the copper colour, just swiped over the lids with a little mascara. The quality of the eye shadow is great and the colours are really lovely together; I'm definitely going to try and incorporate this palette into some Spring eye looks. I also enjoy a light wash of champagne across my lids to keep things fresh and simple in Spring, and the Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Sin used to be my most-worn eyeshadow from about the age of 16 until I was around 19 (this is my third pot!). At that time, I didn't experiment with makeup a whole lot, so this colour was a really easy one to wear. It's a gorgeous shimmery champagne which catches the light beautifully and I can't wait to start using this again. In terms of eyeliner, I really like the look of applying a thin line of colour to my upper lash line and applying mascara to only my top lashes. I think it really brightens up the eyes and adds a pop of colour in a subtle way. Because I have dark brown eyes, I feel like purple and teal compliment them really well, so I'm going to start wearing more of my Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil in Lust and my Bourjois Khol & Contour Eye Pencil in Blue Virtuose.
Finally, the products that I switch up alllll the time are lip colours. I'm a massive fan of orange and I go for both sheer and full-on lip products when it comes to Spring. For a subtle sheen of colour, the Revlon Colour Burst Lip Butter in Juicy Papaya is perfect. If you're afraid of wearing bright oranges, I recommend going for something like this, as it adds colour but can be sheered out to suit your preference. Everything about this product makes me happy; the fact that it moisturises my lips, it's so easy to wear, is the perfect shade of peach/orange. I'm really looking forward to wearing this again as it's a lovely colour to wear for work when I wan't to add a little something Springy to my look, but don't want to add too much. One that I wouldn't wear to work, however, is the Topshop Lipstick in Infrared, purely because it is so so pigmented and a very statement colour. It's a vibrant, gorgeous, in-your-face, look-at-me orange and my most-worn colour of Summer 2013. I just didn't leave the house without this lipstick on. It's definitely not for the faint-hearted and probably not suitable for work (especially in a teaching profession!) but the creaminess of it, the pigmentation of it, the pure amazingness of the colour is enough to wow me every single time I put it on. It just brightens up my whole face and is very on trend for Spring/Summer 2014 (not that I follow the trends - I'm usually a year or two late!) If there's one thing I recommend from this whole post, it's this lipstick and I really can't wait til it gets sunny enough for me to wear this one again!

It was fun rummaging through my make up collection and reminding myself why I loved these products once upon a time. Sometimes, when you buy new things constantly, it's easy to forget about amazing items that you already own - and since I'm on a spending ban indefinitely, I'll be picking out my old beauty products more frequently than I have been recently!

What were your most-loved products that you've forgotten about? Do you also get wrapped up in all the new launches, sometimes forgetting about perfectly usable products that you already own? (I'm guilty of this and I'm definitely going to avoid Boots, John Lewis and Debenhams for a while!)


Thursday, 20 March 2014

• The LUSH life: part 3 // the routine •

The third and final post in my little LUSH series is all about my skincare routine. I use mainly LUSH products (bar the odd Soap & Glory product and a blob of Sudocrem on my blemishes) and I love how natural and gentle the products are. I feel like the skincare line has really changed my skin, calming any redness and blemishes I may have, and I love my little routine I have going on.

The products I'm going to talk about are all suited to my skin and may not work for you, but I'm sure that any member of staff at LUSH will help you find the routine to suit you. My skin type is combination; I have a semi-oily t-zone, dry skin around my mouth and jawline and normal skin on my cheeks (as you can imagine, this makes it rather complicated when looking for foundations and skincare products). I have acne scarring on my cheeks and get the odd breakout every now and then on my chin and jawline. I turned to LUSH skincare when I was around 16 years old, when my skin was at its worst. I was recommended the Cupcake Face Mask and instantly fell in love - it drew the crap out of my skin and calmed down my redness. Unfortunately, my acne was way past any non-medical cure so I had to go on Roaccutane, but the point of this story is that I was so impressed with my experience with the product as nothing I had tried before even came close to calming down my redness. And so my love affair with LUSH began!

If you missed the first two posts...
Part 1: LUSH collection
Part 2: LUSH favourites
The following routine is my evening skincare routine - my morning skincare includes lots of Soap & Glory and not a lot of LUSH.

• I start off by removing my make up with coconut oil (I bang on about coconut oil in these posts!) and then wash my face with cold water. I mix a little of Let the Good Times Roll Facial Cleanser and cold water in the palm of my hand to make a paste - I make this paste thick when I need more of an exfoliator, and thin when I don't need to exfoliate. I then massage the paste onto my damp face and neck, being careful to avoid my eye area, and rinse off with cold water. I wrote a full review of this beautiful product which can be found here.

• If I need to exfoliate, I'll reach for the Ocean Salt Facial Scrub. I tend to do this once a week/once every 10 days when I feel like my skin is looking a little dull and could do with a pick me up. The scrub is very grainy and is full of sea salt, lime and butters. It's not for the faint-hearted and certainly isn't as gentle as most exfoliators, but it works brilliantly at getting rid of any dead skin and making my skin feel so soft. I wash my face and take a pinch of this product, then work it into my skin and wash it off. You need to be really very careful that this product doesn't go anywhere near your eyes or it'll sting like crazy (unfortunately I talk from experience!) and I make sure not to get it anywhere near my under eye as the skin is so delicate there. For now, I'll stick to using this product once a week/once every 10 days so as not to over-do it and this has been my exfoliator of choice for around 3 years now.

• So many people have raved about the Tea Tree Toner Water and for good reason. It's just so lightweight and gentle with a really subtle tea tree smell that is hardly detectable. I either spray some onto a cotton pad and swipe it all over my face after I've cleansed or I spritz it directly onto my face, again after cleansing. The first way is less messy but the second way is the most refreshing, and something I tend to do a lot in the summer when I'm feeling hot and bothered. The tea tree works really well at reducing the oil in my t-zone and calming down my blemishes that always gather around my chin and I can't say enough good things about it.

The Full of Grace Facial Serum is a real luxury item and is used in the famous LUSH spas in some of the facial treatments. It's a solid serum that's packed with softening (but non-greasy) butters, camomile and portobello mushrooms - to "retain elasticity and keep you looking radiant." This product come packaging-less so you'll have to find a tin (I have a few LUSH tins) to put the bar in to keep it fresh, so do bear that in mind. Depending on how lazy I'm feeling, I either run the bar in between my fingers to create a serum/buttery texture and then go onto massaging it into my skin, or I rub the bar directly onto my face and then massage it in. I have been told that rubbing the bar onto my skin can't be hygienic but I never do this when I have any open blemishes, so there's no need to worry there. LUSH do also state that you can rub it directly onto your skin so I'm just going by their advice. You can also use this product before applying a face mask to allow the mask to absorb deeper into your skin and I've found this also works beautifully. In general, this product is so so lovely and I always make sure I have a back-up just incase it runs out/I lose it/someone mistakes it for food and eats it (it has a very foody/herbally scent).

• I use Vanishing Cream Facial Moisturiser in both my evening and morning skincare routine as I can't decide which routine it fits best in - it's such a wonderful moisturiser and is great in either situation, so I thought I'd use it in both routines. It's really lightweight and sinks into the skin so quickly, leaving no trace of moisturiser whatsoever. I'm not sure it'd work well for people with dry skin but it works well for me as it doesn't make my t-zone greasy. I do struggle to find a moisturiser that works for me as I have such extreme combination skin so when I found this last year, it became a staple and I'm having to force myself into branching out and trying new moisturisers. The texture is really thin and kind of runny, it's not heavy at all and is definitely what I'd call a summer moisturiser. In terms of scent it's very light but like most LUSH products, it's herbally and inoffensive.

• My lips are constantly chapped and it's so ridiculously annoying, especially as I'm a matte-lip lover, so it occurred to me a few years ago that I need to start getting into lip scrubs. This Bubblegum Lip Scrub was the first lip scrub I'd tried and I haven't strayed away from it, so I'm not sure how it compares to other lip scrubs but I'm in no hurry to find out. I rub a small amount of the scrub onto my dry lips and then either lick it off (is this gross?) or massage it off with a towel and I'm left with lips that are free from dead skin - winner! Aside from exfoliating, the scrub also manages to moisturise my lips as it contains jojoba oil which just makes it the perfect product for me. I'm lazy when it comes to putting chap stick on (which is probably why I have chapped lips) so the fact that I can skip this step makes me all the more happy. The scrub also tastes and smells like bubblegum which is a bonus, and I'm looking forward to trying the Popcorn Lip Scrub when I run out of this one!

So I've reached the end of the series and if you read all 3 posts or even just this one, thank you and I hope you enjoyed them. Please let me know if you like these types of posts as I have so many products from the same brands and would love to do this type of series again. And if I haven't persuaded you to pop into your nearest LUSH store yet...then I've exhausted it and clearly haven't gotten across how utterly amazing the products and the brand in general is. :)


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

• The LUSH life: part 2 // the favourites •

I had such lovely feedback on the first post in this LUSH series that I couldn't wait to sit down and write the next one. In part 1 I talked about my whole LUSH collection; in this post I'm going to share with you some of my favourite products from my collection, including some bath, shower and skincare products. These are the products I keep repurchasing, the ones I keep going back to over and over again and the ones that make the most difference to my skin, hair and shower/bath experience. Links will be provided down below, as always, to make it quick and easy for you to access the websites incase you like the sound of the products. I hope you find this post helpful and enjoyable, and that I manage to inspire you to check out your local LUSH store. PS. I'm not on commission (although I wish I was!) I just generally enjoy boring everyones ear off chatting about LUSH - it's one of my favourite topics as well as one of my favourite brands.
Let the Good Times Roll Facial Cleanser - a truly amazing facial cleanser that smells like toffee, is grainy enough to gently exfoliate and which also manages to moisturise at the same time. It's very effective at removing any last traces of make up and is perfect for prepping the skin for toner. A full review of this product can be found here, where I rave and rave about it in loads of detail.
Rose Jam Shower Gel - this shower gel is unfortunately discontinued as it's limited edition which sucks as it's probably one of the best scents I have ever and will ever smell. It smells exactly like sweet roses in a youthful, fun kind of way and is the consistency of thick jam - that is probably the only way to describe it. It lathers up really well and you only need a tiny bit which is good news for me, as I ration this baby like my life depends on it. If you've sniffed either the Ro's Argan Body Conditioner or the Rose Jam Bubble Bar, you'll be happy to know that this shower gel shares the same scent as them, so do not fear, you can still get your hands on something that smells like the shower gel.
pink FUN - this product normally comes in a solid form that is in the shape of a Christmas cracker, but I just placed mine in this old LUSH tin to keep it fresh. It smells just like sweets and the smell completely fills the room, if not the whole of my upstairs, and again, lathers beautifully. It has so many uses and for a fiver is such a bargain for how little product you need per usage. As a shampoo, you break a bit off, create a lather and massage it into your hair. As a shower gel, you break a bit off and squash it into your shower poof or shower sponge, creating a lather and washing your body with the suds. As a bubble bar, you break a bit off and run it under the running tap, creating mounds of gorgeous smelling bubbles. I think these products are so fun (...hehe) and unique as I haven't seen another company go for this type of thing. 
Hair Doctor Hair Treatment - this peppermint smelling pot of wonder is specifically targeted at strengthening the hair from the roots down. Unlike other hair masks, you're supposed to apply the Hair Doctor concentrating on the scalp to combat the problem of dry hair by working on healthy hair. I love this, as it's all good and well just applying product to "fix" the split ends etc, but the root of the problem (pun intended) is what needs the most help and attention. Aside from all of this good stuff, it also smells amazing and menthol-y, creating a cooling, tingling sensation when it's applied to my scalp. Once I've targeted my scalp and roots, I then move onto the lengths of my hair and apply it to my dry bits. I then wrap my hair in a towel and leave it for as long as possible and potentially over night, then wash it out with normal shampoo and conditioner. My hair feels so silky and soft after and doesn't need washing for at least 4 days. The peppermint really works at cleansing the hair and getting rid of any build up - you're hair is definitely going to feel squeaky clean after using this.
The Comforter Bubble Bar - if you like rich, fruity scents and lots and lots of bubbles, you're going to like this. The Comforter is one of LUSH's best selling products and it's so easy to see why. The bubble bar smells just like blackcurrant and reminds me of Ribena, taking me back to my childhood. It's such a comforting scent, which is probably related to the name, and like most LUSH products, the scent really lingers after you've got out of the bath. You use this by crumbling the bubble bar in the bath, running the shower head over it to create a few bubbles, then turning the taps on to create the rest of the bubbles. A full demo of how to use a LUSH bubble bar can be found here

I can't actually wait for my bath tonight. I'm going to sit there with my hair mask on, reading my current book and soaking up the scents of my bubble bar. If you can't decide what to buy from LUSH on your next shopping trip, I highly recommend these and I always go back for more of them. The sales assistants know me by name now and always know exactly what I've gone in for - usually one of these 5 products.

I'd love to hear of your favourite LUSH products - leave your favourites in the comment section, and any reviews you've written. I really enjoy hearing people's different opinions of LUSH products and I'm always on the hunt for new products to try out!


Sunday, 16 March 2014

• The LUSH life: part 1 // the collection •

I've been asked a few times to show my LUSH collection as I've posted a few reviews about the products (click here to read those posts!) and it's kind of obvious that I really love the brand. A few weeks ago I had a lightbulb moment where I thought of a new series I could create, which is all about LUSH. I thought that part 1 could be my collection, part 2 could be my favourites and part 3 could be my routine. So this has materialised and I've finally got round to photographing and starting off the series. I hope to answer all of your LUSH questions that have been in the comments and to showcase some of their amazing products, hopefully inspiring you to check out the brand, too.

As you may know, LUSH pride themselves on not testing on animals, using little or no preservatives, using little or no packaging and using only vegetarian ingredients. They support small organisations and businesses, are fair to their suppliers and immerse themselves in projects such as animal protection and human rights. On a more personal level I've always had amazing experiences when buying from both a LUSH store and when making an online order; I've always found that they can never do enough to help in a non-pushy kind of way. They've always given me the best possible experience and I really love chatting to them whenever I find myself in a store. I can't say a bad word about the company and I wish that other brands would take a leaf out of LUSH's book!

I realised as I was collecting my products for photographing that I should really avoid buying more LUSH products as I definitely have enough to last me for a few months, at the very least. Please note that this collection was built over time, ranging from about a year ago up until a few weeks ago. Also please note that some of the products in the photos were limited edition and have been discontinued, so you may follow the links below and not be able to buy the products... Sorry! I thought I'd put them there anyway so you can read up about the products incase they come back :)

The shower
yellow FUN - described as a vanillar-y sent. Use this as a bubble bar, shampoo & shower gel by breaking bits off creating a lather in your hands/with a sponge.
Sandy Santa Body Butter - a Christmas product. A scrub that smells slightly floral that is buttery enough to provide moisturisation for the skin. I crush the solid scrubs in empty LUSH pots as it makes them easier to use.
pink FUN - described as smelling like sweets. Absolutely amazing scent. Can be used in the same as yellow FUN.
Rose Jam Shower Gel - smells like sweet roses.
Sonic Death Monkey Shower Gel - smells like chocolate and coffee.
It's Raining Men Shower Gel - smells like honey and is the same scent as the Honey I Washed the Kids! soap.
The bath
Starting from the blue bath bomb at the top left, round in clockwise.
Shoot for the Stars Bath Bomb - smells like honey and is the same scent as the Honey I Washed the Kids! soap.
Golden Wonder Bath Bomb - notes of sweet orange and cognac. There's a special surprise in the middle of this bath bomb... (I'll be finding out what it is tonight!)
Yuzu and Cocoa Bubble Bar - notes of chocolate, coconut and caramel. Absolutely amazing scent and is super moisturising on the skin.
Lord of Misrule Bath Bomb - notes of spicy black pepper and patchouli. The most unisex of all the scents. (Unable to find a link for this one unfortunately.)
The Comforter Bubble Bar - probably the most famous bubble bar that LUSH currently do. Smells of blackberries and is very, very fruity.
The skin
Each Peach (and two's a pair) Massage Bar - made with cocoa and shea butters, with fruity peachy undertones. I use this when I get out of the shower by rubbing the bar directly onto my skin and massaging the butters in.
Vanilla Dee-lite Body Lotion - this smells divineee and is probably one of my favourite scents from LUSH. It smells exactly like sweet vanilla and is a really lightweight lotion.
The face
Ocean Salt Facial Scrub - a grainy scrub full of sea salt to exfoliate, and avocado butter to moisturise.
Let the Good Times Roll Facial Cleanser - my holy grail product of all time. A cleanser made with maise to gently exfoliate your skin whilst removing any last traces of make up. Read my full review of this product here.
Tea Tree Toner Water - a very gently toner infused with tea tree to reduce oil production and prevent blemishes.
Vanishing Cream Facial Moisturiser - a lightweight moisturiser that sinks into the skin really quickly, is perfect under make up and includes witch hazel to help clear the skin.
Full of Grace Facial Serum - a rich solid serum which can be massaged directly onto the face or warmed between your hands before being massaged onto the face. It's packed full of portobello mushrooms to help the skin to retain elasticity and lots of butters to moisturise.
Bubblegum Lip Scrub - a sweet tasting sugar scrub that both exfoliate chapped lips and leave them feeling moisturised, too.
The hair
No Drought Dry Shampoo - Dry shampoo in powder form. Sprinkle this lemon-scented product straight onto your hair and massage in, or onto your palms and then massaging in.
Over the years, I've tried and loved so many more LUSH products, but these are all I have for now. It's a rather large collection but I know that I'll be using everything up, so I don't mind so much. I dread to think how much money I've spent in LUSH over the past few years, but I know that the ingredients are great for my skin, the company doesn't test on animals and they are fair to their suppliers - this is priceless, in my eyes. Below is a photo of all of the products in all their glory. Be sure to watch out for part 2 of the LUSH series where I'll be chatting about all of my favourite LUSH products, some of which aren't shown in this post.
PS. Don't forget to enter my MAC Giveaway - ends on 19th March!


Friday, 14 March 2014

• Face five challenge // tag •

I'd been eyeing up the face five challenge posts that were appearing on my bloglovin feed so I was chuffed to bits when Gillian from purplegillian tagged me to take part! The tag entails creating a make-up look with just 5 products which is harder for some than it is for others - luckily, I tend to keep my make-up look minimal for work and end up using around 5 products anyway.
If you read my recent haul post, you'll know that I picked up the Bourjois 123 Perfect Colour Correcting Cream in 31 Ivory and have to say that I really like it. It's quite liquidy compared to other foundations that I've tried (too many that I care to admit!) but the coverage is great. I haven't included a concealer in this look as I think you can build the coverage of this product for any problem areas. Anyway, I won't say too much about this as I'm planning on reviewing it when I've had more experience with it.

I didn't intend for this look to be kind of Bourjois-heavy, but the truth is that my favourite and most-used base products are from Bourjois. The Bourjois Bronzing Primer is no different and is such an easy product to use. It works perfectly as a bronzer and can also be used as a contour colour too. Cream products are always my favourite to use as I think they look more natural than powder products, so picking up this bronzer last year was a no brainer for me. I apply it to the high points of my cheeks and around my hairline and it warms up my face beautifully.

The Soap & Glory Thick and Fast Super Volume Mascara  in Superjet Black gives my lashes masses of volume and the right amount of thickness for day-to-day wear. I've only just started using it but I'm already in love with it. With a minimal make up look, I try to emphasise my lashes as they can really open up your eyes and add a little something special to your look.

If I'm not wearing any eyeshadow I tend to go big on brows and this Rimmel Professional Eye Brow Pencil in Black Brown is both the perfect colour and the perfect texture for me. I prefer eyebrow pencils as opposed to brow powder as you can sharpen pencils to get a really crisp point, making it easier to create the illusion of added individual hairs. Another bonus is the brush that's on the lid - it's a bit rough but it does the trick.

My final product is the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in 05 Candy Shimmer. This is the lip product that I reach for when I don't have time to um and ah about which colour to wear as it's so easy and looks great with any look, particularly natural ones. It has the perfect amount of pigment, adding a slight peachy-pink colour to your lips, whilst not having that nasty sticky effect that other glosses give. It certainly does what it says on the tube as it gives your lips a natural sheen whilst perfecting them to make them look fuller and glossier. You can read a more in-depth review of this product in this post.

Thank you again to Gillian for tagging me to do the challenge, I absolutely loved writing it! I'm not quite 'there yet' when it comes to posting photos of make-up looks actually on my face, but if I was, I'd definitely show you all what the products would look like on...maybe this could be an idea for an updated face five challenge in a few months time!

The 5 people that I'd like to tag are:
Amie from belle-amie
Selina from seli's corner
Kristina from creepers and cupcakes
Ellis from ellis tuesday
Amelia from amelia rose

The rules are:
1. use 5 products to create a make-up look
2. each different product counts as one product - eg. benefit benetint can only count as one product
3. no palettes, trios, quads or multi-shade palettes are allowed
4. tag 5 others to complete the challenge
5. have fun!

I would also like to tag all of you to complete the challenge, just leave your links down below. I'd love to see what you all come up with!

PS. Don't forget to enter my MAC Giveaway - ends on 19th March!


Wednesday, 12 March 2014

• Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge // review •

I was probably the most excited to use this out of everything that I bought in this haul. The original Beauty Blender was absolutely way too expensive for let's face it, a sponge, so £5.99 seemed like a fair price to try the dupe from a brand I already know, love and trust. I was initially dubious but after copious amounts of research I decided to put the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge to the test.

How to use
You use the product by soaking it in water and squeezing the excess out - as you can see in the photos, the sponge doubles in size. After dabbing either liquid or cream foundation onto my face, I used a tapping motion with the flat side of the sponge to blend the product into my cheeks and forehead. I then use the tip of the sponge to blend the product into the hard to reach places, such as around my nose. The sponge also works great with concealer and I use the flat side of it to reach the corner of my eyes. I have used the curved side of the sponge to apply my cream blush to the high points of my cheeks, and it does a great job at this, but it then means I have to wash the sponge every single time I use it, so as not to mix blush and base products. It's safe to say I haven't used it for blush again... (I'm too lazy/there's not enough time to wash my sponge every single morning!)

I'm really very happy that I picked up this handy little tool. I knew I couldn't go far wrong as it's a Real Techniques product, but it has really impressed me. My base looks flawless when I use it and my foundation blends in so beautifully. It never looks patchy nor cakey, and the size of the sponge makes the process of applying foundation to the whole of my face a lot speedier. The sponge is well designed and well thought-out - the flat side is so useful for getting into the nooks and crannies, and the curved side makes applying and blending really easy. One of the massive plus points, for me personally, is that the sponge doesn't soak up my foundation. I use exactly the same amount as I do when I use my brushes (1 pump of my Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum) and the sponge blends the product into my skin, not swiping it off or soaking it up. Amazing! It makes a welcome change from using a brush as I get stuck in a make-up rut sometimes and I've used my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush to death (still in mint condition though!) and the novelty of using a sponge that doubles in size after wetting AND produces amazing results just baffles me (it doesn't take much...) I definitely recommend this product and will be repurchasing the sponge as and when I need to. £5.99 is incredible for an item that does the job so well!

Have you tried the Miracle Complexion Sponge? What did you think of it?

PS. Don't forget to enter my MAC Giveaway!


Sunday, 9 March 2014

• A quick, healthy, yummy salad // recipe •

I wanted to throw in a little extra post this weekend as my dinner last night was rather unexpectedly lovely. Apologies for the awful photo quality - it was taken in the evening and I'm not an owner of a really expensive, amazing camera (yet). I also didn't plan to blog about this salad, therefore didn't take a photo of the ingredients before hand, so basically, this is just a really rambly apology...

• one sweet potato
• one chicken breast
• half a bag of salad
• a cup of couscous
• balsamic vinegar
• olive oil

1. Peel and slice the sweet potato into wedges. Drizzle them with a little olive oil and place them under the grill.
2. Cut the chicken into bitesize chunks. Drizzle a little olive oil on top of the chunks. Put them under the grill with the sweet potato.
3. Add half a small cup of boiling water to the couscous and keep stirring. Add a little boiling water every now and then until the couscous is cooked (soft and kind of mushy - in a good way).
4. Wash and rip your salad into bitesize pieces.
5. When the chicken, sweet potato and couscous are cooked, add them to the salad.
6. Season the salad with a little salt and drizzle some balsamic vinegar on top.

This salad is so healthy and so, so tasty. You've got your protein, veg and superfood in there. Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar on top and bam, a quick and satisfying dinner. (How many times can I say "drizzle" in one post? Drizzle drizzle drizzle...)

Let me know if you decide to make this - it's delicious and I urge you to try it!

PS. Don't worry about the little black bits on the sweet potato - I like mine crispy and these bits are my favourite.

PPS. Don't forget to enter my MAC giveaway!


Saturday, 8 March 2014

• A small(ish) haul •

Ohh my little blog, how I have missed thee. I've been pretty absent this week, I know, and I do apologise. Job stuff, university stuff - it's all going on! I was having a particularly good day on Friday and decided to take myself on down to Boots, splurge a bit, then tottle my way into apple, and splurge a bit, and just generally have a good time mooching the streets of Cambridge.
You're probably aware by now that I literally cannot walk into a LUSH store without going in and buying something - I am well and truly obsessed and have been for about 3 years now (would you like to see my LUSH collection? Or my favourite LUSH products? Let me know!) Yesterday, I decided to go for the LUSH Yuzu and Cocoa Bubble Bar which smells just like a mixture of chocolate, coconut and caramel. I watered at the mouth a little when I smelt it for the first time...amazing. I also thought ahead and brought with me 5 empty black LUSH pots and got a free LUSH Hair Doctor, which was rather great. Normally, you get a free fresh face mask (they're all incredible, Oatafix is my fave) but I have so many masks already that I wanted to liven it up abit. I've tried Hair Doctor many-a-time and adore it - it smells pepperminty which is great for refreshing your scalp and leaves my hair feeling so silky soft and smelling incredible. I tend to slather this onto my dry hair (I use a lot of the stuff, usually get 2 uses per pot), wrap my hair in cling film (this part is VERY sexy and VERY glamorous) and sleep in it. I then wash it out the next day, condition as normal and I'm left with what I can only imagine angel's hair must feel like. Pretty freakin fantastic.
In my February lusting//March wish list post I wrote about wanting to try the Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream and I couldn't help myself when I found myself walking into Boots, drawn in by the infamous 3for2 signs everywhere. I picked up the lightest shade, 31 Ivory, and I'm hoping (praying) that it's the right shade for me, because my local Boots doesn't stock the 123 Perfect range. I've heard many good things about this product so I will definitely be keeping you informed on what I think about it! And, due to the 3for2 offer, it would be just rude of me not to pick up 2 more products. Skincare, haircare and make-up are all included in this offer so I decided to branch out from my usual skincare products and try something from the La Roche Posay brand. The La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo [+] Anti-blemish Cream really stood out to me as it seems to do everything that I'm looking for - unclog my pores, smooth my skin and fight blemishes. I'll keep you updated on this as I'm not used to trying new products, so I wonder how I'll fare with this one - everyone seems to love it, but skincare is so personal to each individual that it could go either way, really. Lastly from Boots is the Rimmel London Nail Nurse Top and Base Coat 5 in 1 (is there really any need for that humungous long name?!) I repurchased this because I really appreciate an affordable base and top coat that keeps my cheapo nail polish from chipping. Simples. And this stuff seems to work a treat!
Is it cheeky of me to include samples in a haul post? Well nonetheless, I bought home the Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Make up in 2C1 Pure Beige and the Chanel Vitalumiere Satin Smoothing Fluid Make up in 20 Clair. I really wanted to try the Vitalumiere Aqua but they didn't have any samples in stock, so the lovely Chanel lady encouraged me to try the Satin Smooth. I've got 10 day samples of each so I'm looking forward to giving them a go, I nearly have £40 worth of Boots points so I'm tempted to buy myself a high-end foundation with those!
Finally, this badboy. I got myself an iPhone 5s. It just made sense to me - I love my iPad so much, so why not upgrade to the iPhone 5s? I'm in love with it and have hardly put it down since I got it - this post has taken me three times as long as it normally would as I'm constantly going back to my iPhone, checking out the new features, playing around with it, texting people just for the sake of texting them on my shiny new toy. Yeah...I just love it. And this Ted Baker case - amazing. The very persuasive Kate from o2 on the other end of the phone just happened to sway me into buying it, but I'm glad she did as I just love it. The only thing is, you can't see the beautiful back of the case, which is gold. But I can always switch it up. I love love love it!

I've called this post a small(ish) haul, but the iPhone makes it a pretty pricey one! I guess I mean 'small' quantity-wise, but certainly not small price-wise! There again, we all need to treat ourselves every now and then.

PS. Don't forget to enter my MAC Giveaway!


Monday, 3 March 2014

• Sheer Cover Studio UK // review & demo •

Something unexpected happened this week that shocked me; I turned into a mineral make up convert. As a self-confessed liquid foundation junkie, I can now say that there's a strong contender for my favourite foundation type. And I'm surprised, to be honest, because I've always favoured liquid foundation over gel, mousse, powder, so I thought mineral make up wouldn't match up to it, ever. I was really, really wrong.
Whilst reading about the Sheer Cover Studio UK* brand online, I realised that the mineral make up was like no other, in that it provides medium to full coverage and is really pigmented. For someone with acne scars and hyper-pigmentation, this was like music to my ears (or artwork for my that even an analogy?) as it's so important for me to have these imperfections covered. I love the fact that this make up is better for your skin than liquid foundations, as it doesn't clog up your pores and is very light on the skin - the more natural the better in my eyes. I was really excited to try the products and I was asked to wear them for a week to see how I got on with them. In my box I received 2 base products and a bronzer, a mascara, a tube of lash extending fibers, 3 brushes and a guide showing me how to use the products. I'll begin with the review and the demo will follow.

Psssst! Click here to be taken to the Sheer Cover Studio website - see, I've made it all nice and easy for you :)
Conceal and Brighten Trio-concealer
These three are seriously pigmented and so creamy. The first time I used them, I was surprised at how pigmented they were (surprised, yet again. There's a bit of a theme running in this post!) The brightener is a really sheer white colour which looks really lovely on the inner corner of my eyes to brighten them up a bit. I've also tried it on the tops of my cheekbones and that works well too, but the bronzer (which I'll come onto in a moment) has a bit of shimmer in it which highlights my cheekbones already. The darker shade of concealer is literally the most perfect match for my skin tone and is a dream at covering any blemishing and scarring. The lighter concealer in the trio is gorgeous as an under eye concealer - its highly pigmented, doesn't crease at all, and gives that really glowy, highlighted, Kim K look that everyone seems to be craving at the moment. It also covers my dark under eye circles amazingly, and hides my blue/purple veins that I always seem to have (does anyone else get these?!) I use the concealer brush that came with the set to apply the concealers, and have even used my fingers a few times, and each way works brilliantly. These three are definitely winners and have become a real staple in my routine already.
Perfect Shade Mineral Foundation in 'Light'
This foundation blends seamlessly into my skin; it doesn't look cakey or powdery, it just looks like skin (but better - flawless and poreless with an even skin tone.) The colour match is amazing and you only need the tiniest bit to get great payoff. It's really very pigmented so I usually end up tipping the product back into the pot, which is a good thing, meaning that 1. it'll last longer and 2. I'm not putting so much make up on my face. I have to say that after about 5/6 days of use, my skin felt so much better and I had fewer blemishes and angry patches than I did before I started using this. I honestly forget that I'm wearing this foundation during the day, it feels so lovely and light on the skin. I've even received a few compliments on how good my skin is looking! - I then of course attributed this to the mineral make up, and pointed them in the direction of the Sheer Cover Studio website.
I use this by tipping some of the product into the lid and swirling the brush in it, tapping off the excess and working it into my face in circular motions. When I've covered my whole face, I don't add any more product onto my brush, but I go over it all to ensure it's all blended in - I of course go down my neck a little and make sure I'm going up to my ears. Below are the photos of the foundation on my hand - one is without blending it in with my finger, one is when it's blended in.
Sun Kissed Bronzing Minerals
I absolutely love bronzers and I tend to favour them over blush, especially when I'm in a rush in the mornings, so this product was really exciting for me to try as I'm a sucker for testing out new bronzers. What I love about this product is that it's not orange, it's more of a brown with red undertones which is a unique colour and one that I don't currently have in my make up collection. It has the slightest bit of shimmer which is perfect for adding a glow to the skin and I usually swipe it over my cheekbones and up onto my temples. It blends beautifully and is, like all of the products, very pigmented. It looks so natural on the skin and looks perfect with my pale skintone - not too much, but a slight sunkissed look. It will look so gorgeous in Summer and I've already got lots of use out of it in these not-so-warmer months! Below is again a photo of the product swatched on the back of my hand, and below that is a photo of the product blended in.
Lengthening Mascara and Lash Extending Fibers
I've put these two products together as they work hand in hand and provide really lovely results when you work with both of them. First off, the mascara wand - it's the perfect shape for reaching the tiny lashes at the inner corner of my eye as the wand gets fatter towards the end. See this is already a winner in my eyes as not enough brands provide this with their wands; it just makes application so much easier. Along with the lash extending fibers, which really do give the appearance of added lashes to give you a false lash effect, this mascara is perfect for both day and night. In the photo that you'll see in the demo, I used one coat of the fibers and one coat of the mascara for a natural, day-time look. For an evening look, I'd recommend applying a coat of mascara, then a coat of fibers, then a few more coats of mascara. It's great that you can do this as the mascara doesn't go clumpy at all, like most mascaras do after a few applications. I'm really impressed with this mascara and will definitely be giving it a go for an evening look in the near future, as I've only experienced it for a day-time look.
You might notice that I always mention this in mascara reviews - removal. Something that really niggles me is when mascara takes an age to remove. This product, on the other hand, doesn't take long and is removed easily with coconut oil and a wet cotton pad. It doesn't cling to your lashes, making it difficult to swipe away, and it just kind of melts away with the oil.
Sheer Cover Studio Make Up Brushes
The three brushes included in the set are the Sheer Cover Studio Concealer Brush, the Sheer Cover Studio Foundation Brush and the Sheer Cover Studio Bronzing Brush. They work perfectly with the products in the kit and are some of the softest brushes I own. I've washed them once and they washed perfectly, they didn't shed and they were dry the next day - perfect. There's not much else I can say about these really, apart from I really recommend trying them if you're thinking of buying the products.
Below is a photo of myself without any make up on. The second photo was taken after applying the concealer under my eyes, the foundation all over my face and the bronzer on my cheekbones and temples. I deliberately did not conceal my acne scars or blemishes with the concealer to give you a true indication of the coverage of the foundation. As you can see, it provides medium/buildable coverage and won't look cakey if you just keep applying - I tested this at the weekend by re-applying the foundation over and over and it really didn't look like I'd packed the product on at all.
I for one am so impressed with the Sheer Cover Studio UK line and I'm really glad that I had the opportunity to test and review the products. I highly recommend them to anyone - for people who are looking for more natural make up, for those who are wanting to cover scars and blemishes, even for people who are skeptical of mineral make up and have never given it a go before. To be honest, I was in the latter category, but I just thought "meh, why not" and it was the best decision I could have made. Improvements to my skin and the feeling that I'm using make up that is good for my skin are just two of the plus points of these products.

Have you tried anything from the Sheer Cover Studio range? What did you think?

PS. Don't forget to enter my MAC Giveaway! 


Saturday, 1 March 2014

• February lusting // March wish list •

• February lusting // March shopping list •

February has been the month of lusting - there have been so many product launches and I've read countless amazing reviews whilst thinking to myself "ooh, I must pop that on my shopping list". Last night I decided to see just how much my shopping would cost and it came to nothing short of £406 - at that point, I knew it was never gunna happen. So for this month's lusting post, I have narrowed it down to 6 very special, very beautiful products that I believe are justified in their own way. If you wanted to check out what I was lusting over in January, here's a link to last month's lusting post.

1. Bourjois Rouge Edition Lipstick in Pastel Preppy
Currently £7.99 from, click here to be directed to the site.
We're fast approaching Spring so I'm starting to think about lighter, pastel-y lip colours. This one seems perfect, a very soft orange, which is a great colour to transition us into the next season. It will come as no surprise that I've included products from Bourjois because I love them as a brand!

2. Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow
Currently £49 from Charlotte Tilbury, click here to be directed to the site.
This is just so beautiful. Everything from the packaging to the product itself is so gorgeous in my eyes. The sculpting powder (left) looks like the perfect contour colour, not to orangey like a bronzer, but not too muddy like some contour powders. I'm a massive fan of highlighters and this champagne-y colour looks like the shade of highlighter that would suit me - I much prefer a champagne highlighter to pink or pearly highlighters when it gets to Spring/Summer.

3. Dove Hair Nourishing Oil Leave in Spray
Currently £3.59 from Boots, click here to be directed to the site.
I'm nearly out of my Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment and I'm on the hunt for something which will give me the same effect, but for a more affordable price. Although I don't mind paying £25 for a hair treatment (especially one that works wonders on my dry ends), I'm always open to trying new products and I've heard great things about the relatively new Dove hair care range.

4. Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream
Currently £9.99 from Boots, click here to be directed to the site.
I ran out of my Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation *sob* a few weeks ago so I need to head out to Boots and buy myself a new base. I'm currently testing a few mineral products from another brand and I'm really enjoying them (a review will be up on this soon!) but I will need a liquid base for days that I want a different sort of finish. As I've said before, Bourjois are one of my most used brands, if not the most used brand in my make up collection, and I always trust their products to deliver. I've heard lots about CC creams and although I do think they're a bit of a fad that will probably die out soon, I wanted to give them a go before I can make a judgement. If I'm honest, I didn't get on too well with any BB creams from any brand, but I'm going into CC creams with an open mind. I'm excited to pick this one up! And for £9.99 for a well respected brand, you can't go far wrong.

5. Marc by Marc Jacobs Rose Goldtone Stainless Steel & Leather Watch in Maroon
Currently £111.11 from Saks Fifth Avenue, click here to be directed to the site.
I'm not sure there's a lot to say about this one...the photo explains it all. It's just absolutely stunning. I'm not usually a watch kind of girl, but I do need to start wearing them for when I'm in the classroom and need to keep an eye on the time, and what better way to ease myself into watch-wearing than with this stunner? It's my birthday on the 16th and I'm hoping to get enough birthday money so I can buy this, but we shall see - watch this space!

6. The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter
Currently £12 from The Body Shop, click here to be directed to the site.
I never went for the whole Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm thing as I just knew that other brands would bring out more affordable alternatives, and sure enough, they did. This is usually the case with high-end products so I always try to be patient and wait for a cheaper option! I usually remove my make up with pure coconut oil, but for a change I thought it would be nice to try something from The Body Shop's new skincare range. I love anything gentle as I try to treat my skin with as much care as possible, whilst trying not to use too many chemicals in the products I expose it to, and this cleansing butter seems to tick all of the boxes.

So there are my six most-wanted products from the month of February. Spring is in sight and I'm feeling really positive about the rest of the year, and I always look forward to a change in season as I can start thinking about mixing up my make-up and skincare to suit the weather.

Do you have any products that you've been lusting over lately?

PS. Don't forget to enter my MAC Giveaway!