August Favourites

Sunday, 30 August 2015

aug faves 3.1
It's that time of the month where I talk about my favourites for the month, so here they are:

Chanel Le Vernis 767 Fraicheur: it was inevitable that this would feature. I obsessed about getting this nail polish before I managed to get it, and I obsessed about it even when I did get it. This has to be one of the prettiest colours I own, and not only is it truly dreamy, it's so easy to apply and surprisingly long lasting for a Chanel polish. Win-win.

Korres Wild Rose CC Cream in Medium: When I initially picked this up in Greece, I was quite excited about it, but it was rather thick for the hot weather there. Now that I've been back in England for a while, I've had a chance to really appreciate this. It's quite thick, you can really tell it's a CC Cream as opposed to the Chanel Healthy Glow Fluid I was using, and so it covers up redness and creates a very light veil of coverage over imperfections. It won't mask them completely, but it's enough for me to feel like I can get away with just this and no concealer when I'm on a quick trip to the shops.

Jo Malone Eau de Cologne in Blackberry & Bay: Yep, this is here again. One of my discoveries in late spring, I've been loving it for summer. The small bottle I have means I can carry it around with me in my handbag or when I'm travelling, and top up easily.

By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Violet Orchid: I love these, but normally Misty Rock would be my go-to. This month however, I've appreciated how lazy I can be using this, and the fact it can be my eyeshadow and eyeliner in one.

REN Vita Mineral Omega 3 Optimum Skin Serum Oil: This is a little thick for hot days, but considering how England has been having its usual summer temper tantrums, I've been cracking this out on the cooler days and layering this on. Coupled with a good hyaluronic acid, such as the Deciem Hylamide (on a good day, read my thoughts on that here), this sinks in, and I can feel it nurturing my skin all day.

Lipstick Queen in Jungle Queen: I've had this for a while but it's only this month really that I've found myself reaching for it. A lovely orangey-red that is very comfortable to wear, this is has been my go-to red lipstick for nights out of late.

Lipstick Queen in Hang Ten: I am surprised by how much I've been enjoying this . It's so sheer and barely there, and basically a lipgloss/lipbalm, but I can't help but reach for it and slick it on when I don't want to commit to a lipstick all day, but want to add a little something to my lips to complete my look. Plus, I'm a sucker for that orange packaging!

So that's another month's favourites done and dusted. What have you enjoyed this past month?

Chit-chat and Catch-up

August catch up

August has been a bit of a busy and difficult but exciting month for me. There weren't massive gatherings or anything constantly, but it's surprising how going out for a evening can take it out of you for a while (yep, not going to lie, I became a homebody many years ago!). Apologies for the picture quality, but I only had my phone camera at hand when I was out and about.

I had the wonderful opportunity to go and see the live reading of The Iliad at the Almeida earlier this month. This was an amazing project put on by the Almeida and the British Museum and involved over 50 actors and actresses, each reading a few pages, before passing on the baton to the next person. It was a hugely ambitious project, because the Iliad is very long, and it began at 9 in the morning, and didn't finish until 1am the next morning! What was really clever about this is the fact that it was live-streamed throughout its duration, so that people who couldn't make it to the British Musuem during the day or didn't have tickets for the evening part, could watch it from the comfort of their own homes. I saw that when they were getting the equipment and people over to the Almeida, they even filmed and live-streamed it on public transport. That's what I call dedication! As someone who studied the Iliad at university, and as one of my favourite 'books', it was absolutely thrilling listening to some wonderful talents bring the story to life as it was done originally. I saw some amazing people, some I recognised, some I didn't. Of the people I recognised, I saw Mark Gatiss (Sherlock's older brother Mycroft from the series), Ian McDairmid (Emperor Palpatine from the Star Wars series), Ben Whishaw, Tobias Menzies and a whole load of other amazing people whose names I've forgotten now. Not everyone read things the way I would have wanted, but then, each artist had the freedom to interpret passages how they wanted, so I respect that. I think the Almeida will be releasing this as a video or DVD at some point later. If you're interested in such thing, I highly recommend trying to watch some of it at some point. Even when I was watching it through livestreaming, I felt thrilled and excited, even more so when I was in the theatre. Honestly, it was one of the most wonderful things I've ever experienced.

I had a bit of travelling and meeting up with people more this month, as well as spending time with my family who I don't really see all that often, something I am trying to resolve to do more now by trying to organise my calendar and schedule better (I'm writing this from my parents' house right now). It was great fun visiting a friend in Oxford, even if it was the day after the Iliad reading, when I got home at 2am and had to be up at 7am *cries*. I had the joy of trying out a rosemary and salt flavoured ice-cream. Sounds gross, I know, but I found it oddly delicious.

I've seen so much improvement in my blog, what with getting more involved in Twitter, and I feel like I'm slowly getting less shy about having a blog. Although I still feel like an utter newb at the whole thing, I don't feel so awkward about being it, because everyone in the blogging community has been so friendly, kind and helpful. When I receive comments and compliments from other bloggers, I have a little meltdown of happiness each time, even if it's the smallest thing.

This now leads me onto what I'm going to change about my blogging schedule. Ordinarily, I would post 4 times a week, diligently, even if it meant last minute panicks and late nights. I would always try my absolute hardest to post Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. However, in the past couple of weeks, after making sure I get onto social media on a daily basis, I've realised just how much of a time investment blogging is. Normally I'm really organised, but for the past couple of months, I've felt like I've been running at full-tilt to catch-up or to make up for time where I've wanted to chill and relax, or start sorting out my house, or just taking time for myself! I've also found out that my sister, who I'm really close to, is going to be moving to a different country sooner rather than later. What I thought was going to happen in a year or a year and a half's time looks set to happen in much less time. What with this, visiting family and friends more, giving some more time to fitness again, as well as making sure I produce content I'm proud of, I won't be posting on Saturday's so often. I'm still trying to see what schedule fits me best, so I'm going to see if I can stick to Tuesday, Thursday and Sundays, and post every other Saturday, so I will see how well this fits in. If it doesn't work, I'll go down to posting purely 3 times a week, but I'll update you on that. It makes me feel a little bit of a failure in one sense, but at the same time, I feel it's the best thing to do in order to take control of my blog again. After all, I'm the boss of my blog, not the other way round.

Bank-breaking, love inducing: By Terry Ombre Blackstar Melting Eyeshadow

Thursday, 27 August 2015

by terry 1
I know, I know, you've seen raves about these everywhere I bet. The thing is, these really are that good. Pigmented, long-lasting, and buildable, these are exceptionally good quality eyeshadows. The price of each shadow stick really does mean that they ought to be good, as a single one will take a £29-sized chunk out of your wallet. What I really like about these, other than the already mentioned qualities, is the fact it goes on so creamy and doesn't tug or pull at your eyelids. The fact it's so easy to apply, comfortable to wear and with good colour payoff, they're one of my favourite eyeshadow products.

The other beauty of this is the fact that they are all one-wash wonders as well as multi-taskers. I have lots of eyeshadow palettes and pots of cream eyeshadows, but these Ombre Blackstars are what I normally very sleepily reach for in the morning before work, adding dimension to my eyes. I normally pair the gorgeous Misty Rock, a pale shimmery plum-pink, with a minimal cat-eye flick for my day-look. I tend to reserve the deep chocolatey Brown Perfection for nude-brown looks, very blended out. The intense purple Velvet Orchid is more for evenings. I used to pair these two with eyeliner as well, but during my holiday, I found that they worked really well as their own eyeliner. A smoked out Velvet Orchid with another, less blended out smudge of shadow close to the upper and lower lash line, with lashings of mascara, looked amazing. I've definitely repeated these looks for other evenings out since.

Though the price is a horribly steep for a single eyeshadow, they are so good, I can't help but want some more shades! I've got my eye on Frozen Quartz and Ombre Mercure.

I've heard that the Kiko shadow sticks are dupes for the Ombre Blackstars, at a fraction of the price. Can someone who's tried them let me know what they are like? Are they as long-lasting and comfortable to use? Have you tried both to compare? Have you got any other eyeshadow stick recommendations? Let me know in the comments!

by terry 2

A new Hydraluron? Deciem Hylamide SubQ Anti-Age serum

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

 photo hyalamides.jpg
I'm always on the lookout for something that will counter dehydration. Seeing as Hyaluronic Acid is the IT ingredient for dehydration, I've been keen to get this into my routine. I've used the famous Hydraluron for most of the past year, but went off of it because although it's at a very good price point, I don't much enjoy the tacky and sticky feeling I have on my skin afterwards. I needed an alternative. When I saw a post by Caroline Hirons on the Deciem Hylamide Solution, I thought that it ticked most of the boxes, so a quick trip to my nearest Boots store had me sorted out.

This is a much more watery solution than Hydraluron, and seems to work best patted in lightly. It comes in a pipette form, which I can appreciate, because it really is that watery, and the pipette offers a good deal of control over dispensing.When it comes out of the pipette, it reminds me of a very watery kind of glue, which is perfect for making other serums and moisture adhere and absorb into the skin. It has a very faintly green tinge to it, which can only be due to the algae extracts that are included in the ingredients list.

In terms of results, I've been quite pleased with it. It's slotted into my routine very neatly, it absorbs fairly quickly, and you don't get the same sticky feeling as with Hydraluron. I really do sense a plumper feeling to the skin on my cheeks after using this. I also feel it helps other products absorb better if it's used beforehand. My test for this was with the REN Vita-Mineral Omega 3 Optimum Skin Serum Oil, which normally doesn't sink in that well and leaves me feeling like an oil slick, but using the Hylamide serum eliminated that completely.

Unfortunately for me, there is a 'but' to this. Sometimes I get a little eczema or rash on my face at times, and I noticed stinging and some slight pain on these patches, which isn't pleasant or comfortable. On the bad days, I either have to do without or put up. Not really something I'm happy about.

I think in conclusion, if you never ever have to experience rashes or eczema, and you're looking for a less-sticky form of hyaluronic acid without breaking the bank, this serum is a wonderful option for you. If you are like me and occasionally suffer from these kinds of things, it might be best to keep looking for an alternative. If you have any recommendations, please send them over to me!

I'm also going to include a mini review of the SubQ Eyes serum which I bought as an alternative to the Mizon Snail Eye cream I was using, and quite simply, I don't like it. This made my eyes water and sting, even though I didn't get any product into my actual eyes. As far as I'm concerned, no eye product should make your eyes sting. A fail for me. I may try to revisit this at some point, but for now, it's a no-go.

Sorry for ending this review on a bit of a down-note, but I guess it's always good to remember there are going to be things that don't work for us all the time or at all. Have you tried either of these? Did you have positive experiences with them? Let me know!

My MAC lipstick collection

Sunday, 23 August 2015

mac collection

Considering how much I love lipstick, it surprises me that most of my lipstick collection isn't actually MAC-based. They have a large range of colours and textures which means I could have my pick of colours and finishes to choose from. I think it's possibly because of the fact that they just do so many colours, I feel a bit inundated with the choice. This means I normally go to the lipstick stand, swatch a ton of colours, get overwhelmed with making a decision, and totter away without anything. That being said, I do have some MAC lipsticks in my hoard, so thought I could show you them, and perhaps get some advice for any colours you think I ought to add to the stash?

Cosmo: a nude brown-based pink that is great for medium-toned skin. It possibly would come off a little too brown on people with lighter skin/lip tone. It definitely falls into the 'my-lips-but-better' category for me. I remember that I wore this a lot when I first got it, and used it as my go-to nude. When I swatched it for this post, I felt very nostalgic and quite guilty that I'd not used it in so long. I plan not to keep it in my handbag from now on.

Lustering: a pretty, warm and bright pink that has a red undertone rather than blue. I bought this on a whim quickly before going to a work event, and I'm so glad I did. It picks up any look and can be layered up depending on how bold you want to go.

Sheer Plum: I don't think I really use this colour much, other than in the colder months. I'd describe it more as a reddy-brown than a plum if I'm really honest. It can come across as a bit too dark, even on me (my lips are quite dark I comparison to the rest of my face), so it's one I don't tend to use unless I'm going for a kind of moody-russet look.

Watch Me Simmer: wow. Look at how bright this colour is! It's a salmon-coral colour that is very vibrant on the lips. This was the colour that caught my eye most from the limited edition Shop Mac, Cook Mac collection. I sometimes am a bit wary wearing this because it is just that bold, but it's still a colour I adore.

Victoriana: from the limited Toledo collection. I wrote a review post about this, check it out here.

Syrup: my final one, and probably my oldest. It possibly needs to be binned now, it's that old! I don't really use this colour anymore, because I have other colours that fulfil my nude-colour needs, but this is still a pretty colour. Pink with a slight purple undertone, it's so sheer that it looks barely there on the lips, but adds just enough hint of colour to give your look an overall sense of completion. Definitely one of those 'keep on standby' shades.

So there you have my MAC lipstick collection. Really quite small I think, when I look at all the other lipsticks I own! Do you have any MAC faves that you would recommend I buy asap to grow the collection?

Fresh on my nails: Chanel Le Vernis #767 Fraicheur

Thursday, 20 August 2015

chanel fraicheur 1
I have literally been waiting for this nail polish for weeks. Two months in fact. I have been obsessing over it to the point that not a day has gone past that I've not thought of it, that's just how much I have wanted this nail polish. I blame the internet! I can't remember where I first saw it posted up, but as soon as I did, I couldn't get it out of my head. Finally, after weeks of visiting the Chanel store daily, it's finally in my grasp. Cue Etta James and violins.I've already shown it off a few times on social media, I am that overexcited about it.

You've probably seen Chanel's new addition to the Chance perfume line, Eau Vive. To celebrate this, they've released nail polishes to match the Chance line, including this new shade as well as a few re-promotions. I snapped up Fraicheur as well as #515 Peche Nacree.

To cut to the chase, Fraicheur is exactly everything I've been dreaming of. I missed out on their limited edition shade Jade which had me kicking myself. With this in my grasp and on my nails, that has been put well behind me. Fraicheur, to me, is a minty-jade green colour, with shimmer. I only really notice the shimmer if I'm looking very closely at my nails, or in very bright light. If you are a glitter phobe, then you can put your fears aside with this shade, the shimmer is very delicate and barely noticeable. I've read on other places that with two coats it is opaque, but my own personal experience has had me apply three layers to get the best colour payoff. Don't let that put you off though, it is an absolutely stunning colour, and I've only started to notice tip wear on the fifth day. Chanel really are improving their nail polish formulas.

This colour is absolutely gorgeous and dreamy, I honestly keep looking at my nails just because I want to stare at the colour! I think it has a fairly neutral undertone, so should work well with all skintones. I'm currently still tanned and it looks really pretty even against my darker skin. Green may not be a colour favourited by everyone, but this colour is soooo pretty, I really do think you need to go and look at it if you can! You may need to race me though, this colour is so lovely, I'm very close to irrationally going back and picking up a spare bottle. If you see someone by the counter, singing Etta James while buying this, you may need to stop me.

Fraicheur and this collection are limited edition, and are available from department stores at £18.

chanel fraicheur 2

Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Sisterhood-of-the-World-Blogger-Award


So today's post is a bit of an unusual one. Not only am I posting on a Wednesday, but more importantly, I am doing the 'Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award', for which I was nominated and tagged by the lovely Amanda over at amanda-speroni. You can read her nomination here. I'm actually really really happy about this, since it's bloggers nominating other bloggers they think deserve some recognition (well, at least that's what I'm telling myself), as well as them and readers getting to know each other better.

First things first, the rules:
Thank the blogger who nominated you and link them in your post
Answer the ten questions you have been sent
Come up with 10 questions of your own
Spread the love and nominate up to 10 bloggers

Right, so now that's out of the way, I'll answer Amanda's questions to me!

Why did you start blogging?
Hmm, well I was reading beauty blogs left, right and centre, as well as spending money on all this skincare and makeup with no-one to gush to about them. My friends are interested in beauty, but not to the slightly manic levels I do, and blogging seemed like a good idea to get my feelings and thoughts about things out there, and possibly find other people who wanted to chat with me about the same things.

Who is your biggest inspiration?
There's quite a few people I admire, but the two that just jumped to my mind are Diana Wynne Jones, who has been a favourite author of mine since I was a small child, and is in my opinion, one of the best British writers we've ever had, plus one of the few females to have really really made a name for herself in the fantasty world (yes I'm a geek). She even had one of her books adapted into a Miyazaki film, and frankly, that just astounds me. It's difficult enough to try and translate different cultures, so to have a film made of your book by such a famous Japanese studio is amazing. The second person to jump to my mind is Angelina Jolie. I have a bit of a girl-crush on her; not only is she beautiful, generous and very true to herself, she is staunchly dedicated to helping those who have been affected by the horrors of war and poverty. I've always been a fan of hers since I can remember, and it really doesn't surprise me that in a survey this year, she came out the top most admired woman in the world.

What is your perfect day
A perfect day firstly starts off with me not having to wake up at 7am, because I am a terrible morning person! I would wake up at 9 or 10 in the morning, have a spot of light breakfast before heading out for a run. Obviously I'd need to come home to spruce myself up after this, so I'd have a relaxing bath and get ready before heading out. I would have to go visit the British Museum, because this has always been a favourite place for me, I could literally spend a whole day here! After wandering around for a bit, I'd head out to Bea's of Bloomsbury which is my favourite place for afternoon tea. If it's summer, I would then head to Regent's Park to relax in the afternoon sun, take in the flowers and greenery. For dinner, I'd either head to a Japanese restaurant near my part of Camden, or else go to Carnaby Street. If Liberty is still open at this point, I'd definitely pop in and have a little browse around their beauty and perfume section. After dinner, a short stroll around Soho to walk off dinner and make way for dessert would take me to nighttime tea and cake at Princi, before heading home to bed. Ahh, that would be bliss!

What would be your dream job?
Well obviously, it would be absolutely amazing to turn blogging into a full-time gig, but what I currently see as my dream job is owning and managing a company like Cult Beauty that specialises in bringing Asian skincare and makeup to European countries.

What are your top 3 goals?
1) Curate and own the perfect wardrobe. 2) Own a house with a garden. 3) (this is a bit of a 2-in-1) Overcome my fear of swimming and driving (not at the same time!)

What is your all time favourite book and movie?
Can I cheat and have two books please? Honestly, I'd have more if I could, but if I absolutely must, I can narrow it down to two. No make that three. They'd be American Gods by Neil Gaiman, Night Watch by Terry Pratchett and Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. Oh no, I just thought of two others I'd add to my list. Arrrgh. Film wise, I'd also have to narrow it down to two. Sorry, you just can't ask me to narrow it down to one, I need at least two to get the different feels! One would be Stardust, because it is such a sweet and uplifting film. The other would be Red Cliff, which could technically be counted as two films because it was so long and had to be split in half. This has epic music and sweeping scenery, so fulfills my need for grandscale films. There would be loads more for both these categories, but these are the ones I am always happy to switch on and watch/read over and over again.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hmm, that's a very difficult question for me as I don't even know where I'll be in 1 years time! Can you come back and ask me again in 5 years?
On a serious note, I think that I will have achieved my goal of owning a house to call my own, even if it is a small one. I hope possibly to go back into academia, but that is still something I am deciding on.

What are your top three blogs that you follow?
Viviannadoesmakeup, Gh0stparties and Lily Pebbles. No thought needed. I have recently discovered Park & Cube, and have fallen in love with Shini's blog, because the layout, presentation and photography are just so ridiculously impressive.

What are your favourite social media apps?
Instagram first and foremost, just because a picture speaks a thousand words, and it's so addictive! Closely followed by Twitter, I love the immediacy of the chats and how genuinely nice people are on there.

What are your top tips for people just starting out as bloggers?
I'm still very new at blogging, but I do have some tips: get yourself onto Twitter now, if not yesterday. Don't be scared of it as I was, it is one of the most powerful tools you will have for getting your blog name out there, as well as 'meeting' new people and getting blogging advice. I was honestly scared of using it, but now totally regret not getting on with using it properly earlier! Also, be aware that blogging takes up a lot of time! If you don't have a lot of time you can set aside for blogging, don't aim to do loads of posts. It's better to cut the number of posts and focus on writing content you are proud of writing, rather than rushing to get things out. It'll make you feel more organised and in control. Producing good content takes proper time and investment. Know what you can fit in. You write and run your blog, not the other way round.


Now for my nominations: Emily from An Au Pair in Paris
Uli from foundsomepaper
Gameema from aboutgameema
Lauren from The Luxe List
Mel from Lilies and Lipbalm
Tori from 30 Plus And Beautiful

My questions are: 1. Describe yourself in 3 words
2. Why did you start blogging?
3. Other than blogging, what is a hobby that you are passionate about?
4. If you could go travelling for a month, and you had unlimited financial resources, where would you go and what would you do?
5. What is your proudest blogging achievement/experience?
6. If you could meet anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?
7. Do you have an object or habit that you consider your lucky charm or do to get you in the zone before doing something?
8. What's your earliest childhood memory?
9. Which would you pick to be given: flowers or cake?
10. What would your advice be to people thinking about or just starting a blog?

Thank you for reading this post! I hope you enjoyed it! It really made me think, and I hope you felt you got to know me a bit more. If you do your nomination, please let me know so that I can be really nosy and read, I'm looking forward to reading!

Could this be your new hair conditioner? Ojon Rare Blend Moisture Therapy Conditioner

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Ojon

I'm a bit of a conditioner floozy, I'll be the first to admit that. I flit from one to the pther as soon as I finish one bottle, constantly in search of one that will make me go 'ah-ha!', and give me a hair like silk. Since I was little, I've always imagined that when I found the right products, my hair would tumble down in such a way it would make eloquent writers think "Ah! Her hair is like a flowing river". I'm not joking here. I just know that's not going to happen. Also, if someone came up to me and said that I would more than likely start backing off slowly, with my hands up in the air, and gently tell them "It's going to be all alright"...

Imaginings aside, I really am looking for something to calm my hair. Hair oils give it much needed hydration, but don't seem to do all that much for the frizz. I always seem to have a slight halo of hair standing around my head, and no I don't mean because I think I'm so angelic (angels don't dump their their clothes onto an armchair and cover them up with a blanket when people visit, I'm pretty sure of that). My coarse hair just doesn't like humidity and makes it clear to everybody to see. After looking around for something to replace my Windle & Moodie conditioner, I decided to give the new Ojon release a go because it's a brand I've been meaning to take a look into for a while, and I'd read some good stuff about this new conditioner.

So what's the deal with the new conditioner? Aimed at deep hydration, it is made with three different butters and four different oils, including their own special oil-blend. This really thick conditioner works to both protect and repair dry hair, and boost moisture. The texture of this is extremely thick, very similar to a cream hair mask, and very easy to apply. The instructions are to work it in and leave for two minutes which I can find hard to do if I'm washing my hair over the tub, but I can cope with when I'm in the shower, as I step out of the shower spray range and scrub myself.

I was a bit disappointed with this when I first started using it unfortunately. It went on lovely, but I wasn't a fan of the smell. Sort of herbal in a strange gravelly way, with a touch of bitterness? I also didn't see any real improvement with frizz or shine. At £23 a bottle, it was a real downer for me to have spent that money and not see any results. I was all prepared to just finish it as quickly as possible and move on.

Then I decided to use a clarifying shampoo on my hair, because it had been a while, and slapped the Ojon on afterwards. Lathering it in, I could already feel a difference to how it felt from usual, but it was when I was washing it out that everything clicked. Wow. My hair felt the nicest it had felt in a very long time after washing. Smooth, soft, hydrated but not greasy, my hair felt glorious. Yes I'm going to use that word. I decided to play it safe and let it dry naturally, and had no frizziness that night. This lasted even the next day. I left my hair down and swished it like there was no tomorrow. My hair was exactly how I wanted it. I brushed out my hair before I went to bed, feeling like a modern Rapunzel. Then the next morning dawned and...oh hello frizziness again. Sigh. It was lovely while it lasted.

I've been using this every time I wash my hair now for nearly a month, and from what I can see with my own hair, it doesn't always work following certain shampoos. The only time I have ever felt it was doing what I needed and wanted it to do was after a clarifying shampoo, and obviously, I'm not going to be using a deep clean shampoo all the time. I'm happy for it to have its place in my hair routine for now, but I'm going to have to keep searching for the ultimate conditioner.

The Ojon Rare Blend range is available from Boots and John Lewis although I can't find it on Boots online. Will you be trying this conditioner out? Do you have any recommendations for me?



My mani routine

Sunday, 16 August 2015

manicure routine
If nail polish is the show, then no nail addict should forget the behind-the-scenes care. Buffing, nail oils etc, they're all important in making sure your mani looks the best it can. I thought I'd give you a look into my nail care kit as a self-confessed polish-holic.

I start off with clipping my nails, because I've grown up having to cut my nails (habits you get from playing musical instruments) and with nail clippers. I'm sure some of you are weirded out by nail clippers, but I feel the same about nail scissors, so each to their own. I then file them with my Leighton Denny glass nail file. Though the sound of it can sometimes set my teeth on edge, I find that this is much more effective than the cheap emery boards. I follow up with the Essie Starter Scrub to take off any dry and dead skin cells. This only came into my mani routine recently, and I'm very glad I did. I wrote a review of it here recently. I then go about tidying up cuticles with the Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover. Instant this is not; effective it is. I find I like to sit around for about 5 minutes waiting for things to soften before getting in there with my cuticle tool. I'm far too afraid of the sharp part to take it anywhere near my fingers, but I use the rounded pushing part (pusher? What is that part called?) to put the cuticles in place.

After this, I go in with a nail smoother/buffing tool. I also only ever buff my nails once a month, just to make sure I don't thin them out. After this, I massage a nail oil onto the nail surface and cuticles to give them a bit of nourishment. I'm currently using the Essie Apricot nail oil and finding this really effective. For my final step, I slather on a hand moisturiser to top off the hydration. My favourite for the past year has been the Malin + Goetz Vitamin B5 Hand Treatment, which smells like almonds and instantly soothes parched skin.

I find this really helps keep my nails in top condition, even through the constant hand washing, polish wearing and general wear and tear I force them through. I always make sure to keep at a day or two a week where my nails are polish free after wearing any polish, and if possible about a week every month or other month where I forgo polish completely (very difficult when I have so many) to give them a bit of a rest. Sometimes even polish maniacs need a bit of a detox.

Do you have any manicure recommendations? I'd love to hear them!

Taking yourself to a spa around the world in your home: Body Shop Spa of the World

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Body Shop spa 1
As a beauty addict, I normally read about new products on the web, and research them to death before deciding to go and buy things. On the rare occasion, I will spontaneously buy something that I see when I am wandering around. Sometimes these spontaneous purchases don't pan out for me, other times they become something I absolutely fall head over heels in love with and decide I can't ever do without. Just a couple of days ago, I walked past the Body Shop in my lunch break, saw the word 'Camellia' in the window, and walked out twenty minutes later poorer but in love. I've only had them for two days and am obsessed. I know it's only been a short time, but these products are just that good, I couldn't wait to share.

Body Shop launched the Spa of the World collection only this week, and aims to bring you to a spa within your own home, with treatments/ingredient focus from around the world. They have five different steps in their different 'rituals' for this range: Scrub, Treat, Relax, Nourish and Massage. Each step has a few different options within them, so you're not limited to just a choice of five products. I had the joy of having the two scrubs and creams put on my hands. Naturally it was two of these that came home with me.

body shop scrub

The Dead Sea Salt Scrub is a wonderfully rich scrub that is part of the 'revitalising' ritual, aimed to lift up your energy when you're feeling a bit run down. I can definitely see why this scrub falls into this ritual. The salt flakes are huge, so if scrubbing these in doesn't perk you up, I don't know what will. They crumble relatively easily, so don't worry about them being too harsh on your body. Obviously, please don't go all out scrubbing them in. Unless of course that's how you like to use scrubs. If you have skin problems like eczema (such as myself), you may have been told to bathe in Dead Sea Salt. If you don't have a bath or prefer showers, then this scrub will be a great alternative. What I find even more impressive about this scrub is the fact it actually moisturises my skin at the same time. It's got sunflower oil (you know, in case you want to fry something on yourself. Joke.), sunflower seed oil, mango seed oil and soybean oil. You will come out feeling buttery smooth, and very relaxed in that calm, soothed way, thanks in part to its uplifting marine-citrusy smell.

The Japanese Camellia Cream is described as a velvet moisture body cream, and I wouldn't disagree with this description. Looking at it in the tub, it looks like a heavy-set mousse moisturiser but smoothed on it feels very velvety and luxurious. It sinks in quickly and penetrates into your skin quite deeply (though this may be because I've used the Salt Scrub beforehand), leaving your skin comfortably moisturised for hours afterwards. The scent is slightly sweet and floral, but not overbearingly so, which is ideal for me because sickly sweet gives me headaches. The ingredients include shea butter, mango seed oil, and of course the main draw, Camellia Oil. Camellia oil is rich in oleic acid which is great for giving you smooth and hydrated skin. Putting this on after using the Salt Scrub in my shower prepares me for bed really well, because it seems to settle my mind and take away all the busy thoughts that were in my head, so that I can get to sleep more easily.

The Spa of the World Collection products are the not the cheapest things to buy from the Body Shop, but they are possibly the most luxurious thing I have seen come out of there for a while. In their dark brown packaging, quality ingredients and delicate fragrances, I think they deserve the price point. Pretty to look at in the bathroom and shelf, glorious to use, well done Body Shop for making something that stops me in my tracks.

I heard from the assistant that the range is only limited edition, but not-so-small part of me is really hoping this isn't the case. If it is, I strongly urge you to get yourself either to the online shop here. What are you waiting for?

Summer on my lips: Lipstick Queen Endless Summer

Thursday, 13 August 2015

lipstick queen 1

Ok, so England isn't experiencing the best summer ever, but come on, it's not the worst either. While it may not be blazingly hot enough for me to decide shorts are entirely appropriate for the office (listen, I got back from a heatwave in Greece to 18C, I'm going to be cold for a bit, ok?) I can still incorporate summer on my lips, and Lipstick Queen's Endless Summer collection fits the bill exactly.

lipstick queen 2

I've prattled on in my July New In post about how excited I was that the Endless Summer collection was back for another year, but I really wanted to do a post dedicated just to them, because they are amongst my favourite lipsticks around. Considering I have so many lipsticks, that's a pretty bold statement for me I think. Of the now expanded collection, I have 3 of the 4 shades available.

Let's get the packaging out of the way first: bright, bold and yes, very 60s, which is only right considering the collection was inspired by a 60s movie. This film was about surfing, so the boxes all have a very beach-esque theme running on them. What I thought was very clever is the fact that each box has a slightly different colour way, depending on the shade that comes inside, e.g. pink highlight for the pink lipstick. The tube itself is a gorgeous orange that isn't quite matte, but not quite a shiny metallic. They do pick up greasy fingerprints somewhat, but you can easily wipe them down. I tend to keep them in the pockets of my bag or in my makeup bag so they don't tend to pick up dirt.

lipstick queen 3

Anyway, onto the shades themselves. I own the shades that were released originally. I have Perfect Wave, Stoked (again), and Hang Ten. Perfect Wave is a Barbie pink to me with a hint of red-fuschia. Stoked is a gorgeous red-based coral, and is my favourite colour of the three for its warming and bright colour. Hang Ten has been a surprise hit for me. Last year this would have been the one I hated; this year, with my growing appreciation for nude colours, I've somehow fallen head over heels for it. This is a very pale nude-browny colour that makes me think of the film Barbarella. Very 60s, which is exactly what the collection is going for.

lipstick queen 4

The colour are all sheer, but give you a lovely glow and wash of colour when applied. They last surprisingly well on me, with both Perfect Wave and Stoked lasting about 4 hours providing I don't stuff my face with doughnuts and eat my lipstick (as I did today). Hang Ten has less lasting power, but that's to be expected from a shade like this. All of them are extremely comfortable to wear though, feeling both weightless and non-sticky. I would advise prepping your lips a bit beforehand, especially for Hang Ten, as this does show up dry patches.

This range also contains goodness for the lips, with SPF 15 packed in, as well as Candelilla Wax and Vitamin E. So not only can you walk around with a gorgeous coloured pout, you can give your lips a bit of love at the same time. That's a win-win in my book.

The Endless Summer range are £18 per lipstick, and available at Space NK. Will you be giving lipsticks a go? Let me know if you do!

Suti Rosewater Organic Facial Spritz

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

suti 1
Acid toning has been a favourite step for me in my skincare routine since I got into skincare a couple of years ago. The whole swiping it over my face made me feel like I could actually feel the dead skin cells falling off, and the tingly sensations felt very satisfying. Nowadays, I mix the tingly feeling acids with clarifying ones that you can see results from. The only 'problem' I had was the moisture toning/spritzing step afterwards. I always religiously do this, but I don't find it as satisfying. Possibly because I have yet to find a moisturising spritz that I enjoy. Or possibly because I want one that I can feel the sensation of doing something

I've tried the much-written-about Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist (mini samples. Too sticky, didn't like the smell, and the spray nozzle didn't work in both nozzles, grr). I use the La Roche Posay Serozinc regularly but it's not the most exciting thing out there. The Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic Spritzer smelt a little too powdery for me and didn't really feel particularly moisturising. Avene Eau Thermale is something I normally reserve for my body when I have skin irritation.

I recently picked up the Suti Rose Water Organic Facial Spritz when I was actually looking for the Melvita Rose spritz. I've never used this brand before, but since I've read good things about them on various blogs, decided to give this one a try. Featuring the brand's own Rose Moon Essence, Suti's holistic approach aims to soothe the skin as well as relax the mind. With 'renewal and regeneration' the focus of this spritz, it smells lovely if you like rose scents, as I do. I don't know if I buy the whole spiritual healing thing, but I do find the rose smell quite calming.

I don't think I would buy this again once this finishes, because I'm a spritzer floozy, but I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

If you like rose scents, you may want to take a look at this and test it because you might love this more than I do.

Suti Rosewater Facial Spritz is £22 and can be bought from Whole Foods and Suti's own website.

Empties #1

Sunday, 9 August 2015

empties 2.1

My first empties! I've been keeping these in a bag for a while, in preparation for the day I would write an empties post, and here it is! There'll be some mini reviews of the products I've used up here, but nothing too in depth as I didn't realise how many empties I've kept, so there's a lot to get through.

Alpha H Liquid GoldAlpha H Liquid Gold: No introduction really needed here. It was one of my first acid treatments and scared me a lot when I first tried it. I ran out of this some months ago, and a replacement will be bought at some point in the future.
Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Facial: too oily for my tastes really, probably because the pump dispense far too much for my face in one go, and I found hard to control. This one isn't on my to-repurchase list.
Oribe Dry Texturising Sprau: Again, no intros needed here. It smells great, is horribly expensive. I have to use it sparingly because I find it very sticky.
Pai Perfect Balance Blemish Serum: It doesn't normally look like this, promise. I tried to open it up to get to what I thought would be teeny tiny bits of residue, I was that desperate for it. I really liked this. A lot. I just need to empty my skincare cupboard a bit before I can buy anything else!

empties 1.1
Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel: I like this. I'll admit I don't feel like I love it, but I'm approaching the end of my second bottle, so I guess I must like it more than I think? I don't see results as such, but it feels nice and is easy to use in the morning. If anyone can recommend me something that has the same texture, then send then to me please!
Moroccan Argan Oil: This took aaaages to use up. It's a good oil, but I didn't necessarily find it helped my very thirsty hair.
Chanel Hydra Beauty Serum: So expensive. A good texture and thickness for hot weather, but on sensitive days it didn't feel the best on. This is one I am sure I won't buy again.
Caudalie Beauty Elixir: Cult item. Great stuff. Just wish the spray nozzle was a bit gentler. If you have sensitive eyes, don't open them straight after you've sprayed, the scent can sting.

empties 1.3
Clarins Extra Comfort Anti-Pollution Cleansing Cream: not the most exciting cream cleanser on the block. There's nothing really to be said about it.
Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo: This is love. I adore this shampoo.
Superfacialist by Una Brennan Neroli Firming Oil: This is a really nice oil, I really enjoyed this. I can't decide though if I prefer this one or the Rose version. Both recommended.
Mermaid Hair Conditioner: Wow. This smells like heaven. I don't normally buy conditioners that smell this sweet, but frankly this smells so good, it'd be a crime to not use it!
Body Shop Camomile Waterproof Eye & Lip Makeup Remover: This is great stuff. It removes the most stubborn waterproof mascara and lipstick. At less than £10 a bottle, it's gentle on the skin and, frankly, a steal.
Origins Make a Difference Plus Rejuvenating Treatment: I hadn't realised I'd kept this pot for so long, it's been probably a year since I finished this. This is good stuff, I used it a serum level for hydration. I don't think it's quite the same level as the Nude Progenius Omega Treatment Milk, but then it is almost less than half price, so, go figure.

I hope you found my mini-reviews helpful if you're interested in any of the products here. Have there been any products you've used all up and recommend?

My skin's new best friend: Original Source Skin Quench Body Butter

Saturday, 8 August 2015

original source skin quench
If you've read previous posts on my blog, you will have worked out that I am obsessed with moisturising my body. It's a must for me. I literally cannot cope if I don't do this step after I'm out of the shower or bath, otherwise I just feel wrong. It's one of those things that I've gotten so used to after years and years of the habit, I feel incredibly uncomfortable if I miss it.

This does mean that I am almost always on the lookout for good body moisturisers, or at least I was until I discovered the Life NK Ultimate Unwind Body Souffle. It wasn't the cheapest out there, but then again, it wasn't the most expensive, and my skin seemed to really enjoy it. Two tubs in, and I had decided that it was going to be the one. Unfortunately, when I went to buy my replacement third tub, I found out to my horror that it had been discontinued. I'm pretty sure I heard in my dazed state that Space NK have decided to discontinue their Life NK range altogether. How rude.

So while the Kiehls Body Butter which was placed next to me would have been a quick thing to grab, I walked away to try and find a replacement (mostly because I think the Kiehls body butter is nice enough but so overpriced). I made do with a small travel sized Body Shop body butter while I sulked. Then one day while I was wandering around Boots, I stumbled across the Original Source Skin Quench Body Butter and seeing that it was only £6, decided to give that a go. I decided to go for the Lime and Coconut Oil, and used it that night.

Oh. My. This stuff is good. Seriously. I'll admit it's quite a stiff and slightly dry body butter in the hand, and very thick, but once massaged into the skin, it sinks in within seconds. It says 'fast absorbing' on the tin, and it really does do that.

With Shea Butter, Coconut Oil and Avocado Oil, it's full of natural goodies that go all-out at moisturising the skin, and leave my skin feeling comfortable and hydrated, without turning into a greaseball. I'm not one for sickly sweet scents, so the Lime and Coconut Oil is perfect for me. It smells refreshing and uplifting, without being overly bearing. It doesn't quite replace the Life NK one that I miss, but it's a replacement that I'm happy to stick to, at least for now.

Great hydration, fast absorbing, lovely smell and less than £10? I honestly don't see what more I could ask for. Original Source, please don't ever discontinue this one, ok?

What last minute travel plans have taught me

Thursday, 6 August 2015

last in travel

I love travelling. The excitement of seeing somewhere new, or even visiting somewhere I've gone before, it really is lots of fun. I also quite like the whole packing aspect of travelling. Mostly because I love writing lists, and also the browsing and buying of new travel wardrobe additions.
Well, that is how I feel normally. Normally I'll have had my holiday booked two, maybe three weeks in advance, at the very least. I'll have written up my preliminary clothing list, an edited clothing list, a beauty list and so on. Lists, lists, lists. And I'll have gone through Topshop and ASOS to death, purchased and returned things umpteen times to make sure I'm happy with everything I've bought.

This time however, my holiday was booked only two days before I flew. Eep. My usual need for making list upon list just wasn't going to get the full attention I would usually give it. Which meant that I was bound to forget something. Which I did, obviously. So here's a roundup of what I've learnt from this trip as well as new discoveries/decisions.

1. Muslin cloths are just easier to use when travelling. Yes I am a die-hard flannel person, but muslins fold up smaller, making them easier to pack. Also, they dry a lot faster.
2. Superdrugs Double Faced Cotton Wool Pads may just actually be better than Boots' version.
3. I am bound to forget my toothbrush. This is extra annoying because I have to use super soft small ones that need to be bought from a dentist. Resolution: buy a spare and put it in a special travel grab bag from now on.
4. I've decided to set up a 'grab bag' specifically designated for travel essentials with a mini checklist inside it. I'm going to keep a toothbrush, toothaste, dental floss, SPF lipbalm, handcream, cotton pads and buds, and one of those do-all balms in it. I'm also going to carry spare supplies in case 'that time of the month' strikes. You never know if you're going to be near a shop that sells those kinds of things, and there is nothing worse than being caught out. Trust me, I've been there.
5. The MUJI stackable acrylic cream pots don't seem to work very well. Personal experience has led to exploding cream and leaking balms; the single individual pots seem more reliable. Yes it works out more expensive, but I'd trade that for reliability.
6. Labels are a must. The number of times I've slapped something on without realising until too late that I've put on the wrong thing proves this.
7. Multi-adapters for chargers are the way to go. Especially since I now travel with my Kindle, two phones and my laptop. Do not put in the cable for the multi-adapter, and then forget the multi-adapter itself.

I'm sure there are lots of other things I could add to this list, but these were the things that really stood out to me from my recent holiday. Do you have any other tips you've learnt from past experience?

New In

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

July new in 1
Recently I bought quite a few new things to add to my stash of skincare and beauty, and thought it would be nice to show them off before I come back with more in depth opinions of them.

As you will know if you have read my previous post about going away on holiday last minute, I ended up going to Greece to visit my boyfriend's family, which tends to mean that I end up doing a little beauty shopping in his hometown. It has some great department stores, as well as a little Sephora (yay!) and things always work out a little cheaper when I buy here than in the UK. I picked up from the Hondos Centre department store the Korres Wild Rose CC Cream, Apivita Purifying Mask with Propolis, a mini Korres Grapefruit mask, and a small bottle of the Avene Eau Thermal. I was actually going to pick up the La Roche Posay Eaux Sensible, but unfortunately they had run out of stock, and I really wanted a water spray to help soothe the heat rashes I had developed from the heatwave Greece was experiencing at the time. I know, Greece is hot in summer, but for someone who isn't very good with heat, walking about in 40C+ temperatures meant I really needed some soothing help for my skin!

In case you're wondering, I picked up the Korres CC Cream in Medium tone because I am quite tanned at the moment, and the Light shade just would not work on me at the moment.

The next thing I picked up is actually something I bought last minute before I went on holiday, and something I bought in London. It's actually a repurchase really rather than something new. Last year I bought the Lipstick Queen Endless Summer lipsticks in the shades Stoked and Perfect Wave, and I absolutely fell in love with Stoked. It was, in my eyes, one of the most gorgeous coral shades I had ever owned, and felt really light on the lips. The only problem was that it suffered terribly in the heatwave last year we had in London, and fell apart less than a month after I bought it. My attempts to fix it only made it worse, and I was resigned to using the tiny, wonky stub that was still in the tube, while weeping ever so slightly every time I did. To my delight, Lipstick Queen have actually brought the Endless Summer limited series back this summer, so obviously I snapped up another tube of Stoked. The last year has also seen me growing more fond of nude shades so I am very tempted to pick up Hang Ten as well. The packaging of the Endless Summer collection is fantastic in my opinion. The boxes are very bright and 60s looking, (go figure, it's inspired by a 60s film), and the metallic orange tube looks really unique. Stoked itself is a gorgeous colour, and I am so happy that I have it back in my lipstick stash!

I also picked up the Deciem Hylamide SubQ Anti-Age Advanced Serum from Boots, after reading some good reviews around the web. I was in the market for a new hyaluronic acid serum, and have fallen slightly out of love with the Indeed Labs offering, mostly because it is quite sticky. This serum aims to deal with moisture loss, works on multiple levels, and comes in at a great mid-range price point. Plus, it's currently £5 off in Boots at the moment.

Have you picked up anything new that you're excited about recently?

July Favourites

Sunday, 2 August 2015

July favourites

It's that time again where I round up my favourites from the month. The very short heat wave we had in London at the very beginning of the month had us all fooled I think, we were all so ready to crack out the shorts and hit the parks, which was the main reason I bought the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Fluid. Even though the hot weather in the UK didn't last particularly long, I really enjoyed using this as my daily base. This worked out even better while I was on holiday in Greece, because it is so lightweight on the skin, and managed to even out light discolouration on my face, and put up a very good attempt at hiding my scars. It still needed a bit of help from some concealer, but it was exactly the base my face needed for nights out in 30C temperatures!

The next favourite has to be my much loved YSL Volupte Sheer Candy in Pomegranate. I'm sure I've shown this more times on the blog and Instagram than I care to remember, but I adore this product. Lightweight and glossy, but with a good whack of colour that somehow still leaves a stain even after eating, this is one of my go-to lip products, and I carry it around with me always. This was especially great for me during my holiday because no one really wants to walk around in ridiculously hot temperatures feeling their lipstick on them, so this worked perfectly.

Essie Saltwater Happy has to be one of my favourite limited edition launch from the brand. It's a gorgeous light blue that is very similar to their Bikini So Teeny, but ever so slightly lighter. Lapiz of Luxury used to be my favourite blue from Essie, but this has surpassed that completely. Read my review of it here.

Finally, my By Terry Ombre Blackstar eyeshadow sticks really came into their own in my mind this month. I usually use Misty Rock anyway on a daily basis, because it's such an easy to wear shade for the office, but my decision to not pack eyeliner with me for my holiday left me slightly bereft. The shades Brown Perfection and Velvet Orchid completely negated the need for eyeliner. They doubled as eyeliner and eyeshadow for nights out. Brown perfection worked perfectly for more subtle smokey eye, while Velvet Orchid gave off a far more sultry look, even if I do say so myself. I'm seriously thinking about buying another shade because they go on so easily, and stay on all night. These eyeshadows may just well be my favourite eye products of all time!

What were your favourites for July?

100 years of Maybelline

Saturday, 1 August 2015

maybelline 100

A few months back, when I had fifteen minutes to myself while I was waiting for a friend, a quick 'browse and don't buy' session in Superdrugs turned into a mini haul. Among the things that I picked up were a couple of products from the Maybelline range celebrating the company's 100th birthday. 100 years in the beauty industry isn't something to be sniffed at, especially considering they bring us great products at affordable prices.

I decided to pick up their Matte Maker pressed powder as well as one of the Color Sensational lipstick in the colour Plum Passion. The products come in specially coloured packaging, with blue and white stripes and red and whit stars. Very Fourth of July!

Plum Passion is a bit of an unusual spring/summer colour as it is quite a full-on berry. It's quite a pigmented blue-toned magenta colour that goes on quite full. With a light hand and a bit of dabbing however, it softens to a slightly lighter wash that is suitable for day-wear. I rather like this colour to be truthful. The first time I put it on, it went on a bit full and bright but it sits so comfortably on the lips, it's hard not to like.

The powder is in all honesty, just a pressed powder. I don't find this product all that exciting really. It comes in a large flat screw-top package and is very densely packed. I found that with this powder, an extra light hand and a very fluffy brush is needed. The first time I used it was while I was visiting my parents and without my usual tools, so the powder went on very heavy, thick and mattifying to the point of dull. Now that I have had time to play around with it, using my Real Techniques Blush Brush (I like using this for powders rather than blushes), I would say it's a nice enough product to use, but I think I'll still stick to my Hourglass Diffused Light powder for powdering purposes.

I bought both of these from Superdrug, but am having trouble finding them online. I did however see that the Mascara in this collection/packaging was available online, so if you're interested in the other lipstick shades or other products in the range, I would suggest heading to a store to look for them.

Have you tried any of the products in the 100 years special collection? Who else thinks the packaging for it is extra cute?