Monday, 13 April 2015

How To Get Instantly Happy | 7 Mood Boosters

Because sometimes, we just need a little help on Mondays...

Stand up and dance to at least three songs. - I say three because you have to give your body and mind time to get into the swing of things, but after three of your favourite songs you're likely to be bounding around the room like BeyoncĂ©! Who run the world? - You. You can stop after three if you want, or you can go with that good feeling and keep dancing till you drop. (My money's on the second one...)

Listen to 'Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)' by Baz Lurhmann. - Linked below. It's not one to dance around to, but everyone should hear this song at least once in their lives. Adapted from an inspirational speech given to students graduating high school, it's filled with the best and most powerful life advice you'll ever hear, and will help put things back into perspective.

Spend some time around your pet. - If you don't have a pet, (firstly, why not? They rule!) take your parents/friends/neighbours dog for a walk or get yourself down to a pet shop like Pets At Home. Go look at the guinea pigs, watch the fish swim around, ask to stroke a customers dog - they always say yes and nobody thinks you're weird. Animals are incredibly therapeutic and being around them can help you stay calm and at ease.
Take your makeup off. - Imagine you're wiping away the day. You can make this as ritualistic as you want, taking your time and going in with cleansers, oils, maybe even your favourite face mask. Pamper your face like it was your soul and you'll start to feel cleansed and new again. You can even reapply your makeup afterwards if that helps you relax, but apply it differently to before, give yourself a fresh start.
Take a long shower or bath. - What better way to chill out after taking your makeup off than a good, hot soak. (Are my readers shower or bath people I wonder, let me know) Wash away your worries and take as long as you want. This is "me" time. Then slather yourself in body lotion and get into clean, cosy PJs. Bliss.
Have that treat because you deserve it. - That chocolate bar, that bag you've been eyeing up online, that glass of wine and trashy T.V. program. Just eat it/order it/do it. Don't wait for others to offer or tell you that you can, sometimes you need to remind yourself that you deserve a treat once in a while. Don't let yourself feel guilty, just do it!

Write down five things that you're grateful for. - Just like the dancing, you can stop at five or keep going until you run off the page. After you've found five, the rest will come flowing and you'll realise that you have so much to be thankful for. If you're struggling for ideas though, listen to Baz Lurhmann below, he'll give you some inspiration for sure.
"It's not happy people who are thankful, it's thankful people who are happy." - Unknown

What do you do to feel instantly a little happier? Leave your pick-me-ups below and let's help each other get through this first Monday back at school and work!

Friday, 10 April 2015

Benefit Minis | Big Mini Review!

If it wasn't clear enough already, I'm a sucker for mini things. Mini anything. If a brand can show me something I like and then reproduce that in miniature form, I'm pretty much guaranteed to throw my money at them shouting "Yes, yes I'll take it! It's so cute!" And if there's ever a brand to rock it in the miniature makeup department, it's Benefit. Through samples with purchase, Christmas calenders, value sets, and special offers, I seem to always be drowning in tiny testers - produced in replica packaging... so adorable.

 It's Potent Eye Cream & Total Moisture Facial Cream.
So let's dive in with skincare samples. These were both gifts with purchase, and I plan on keeping the pretty little blue pots to refill when travelling or flying. It may look like there's approximately one use in each of these, but both creams are so intensely thick and so dense that a little really goes a long, long way. I love the feel and smell (fresh cucumber) of the Total Moisture Facial Cream and if I had money to burn, I'd consider buying the full size. Next time you're at a Benefit counter, try to ask for a sample - it's great stuff.

Dandelion Lipgloss & They're Real Mascara.
These were both paid for; Dandelion came as part of a set called "Feeling Dandy" and the fabulous They're Real caught me at the counter at Boots. Curse you for putting adorable products at your check outs, Boots! I'm not a fan of Dandelion personally, I feel that it makes my lips dry yet disappears within an hour. It also has a weird not-sticky-totally-sticky texture and smells powdery. They're Real however, I love. I really, really like this mascara, I just find that Maybelline The Falsies gives me such similar results and is half the price.

Tints: Posie Tint, Bene Tint, Sun Beam & High Beam.
Now these guys are little gems that I'd happily splash the cash for. I think High Beam and Sun Beam particularly are worth every penny of their price tag, but if you can, get a sample size (in a set or during a Christmas offer) because they last years. Years people. High Beam is pretty high up the list of my all time favourite makeup, but Sun Beam would do the trick if you weren't, y'know, pasty and practically transparent. #palegirlproblems. As for their cheek and lip tints, they're also fab, if you blend them fast enough - beware of coloured dots on your face! But they'll stay put through the apocalypse and look like your skin, not makeup.

Left Photo, Top-Bottom: Bene Tint, Posie Tint ~ Right Photo, Top-Bottom; Sun Beam, High Beam, Girls Meets Pearl, That Gal
Primers & Bases.
Contrary to the colours suggested on their packaging, That Gal is pink based and Girl Meets Pearl is golden based. That Gal is also sold as a primer for the whole face, and Girl Meets Pearl is sold as a highlighter, however these two are basically sister products and can both be used in either way. I've never gotten much use out of these because High Beam (or Sun Beam if your golden) does a much better job of highlighting I don't favour 'illuminating' primers. I do favour mattifying, pore minimizing ones though, and The Porefessional is great at providing an overall blur on the skin. It smooths things over and doesn't feel to slippy. It's still not quite good enough to charm me into buying the full size, but whenever I get my paws on The Porefessional I enjoy using it.

Minis are a great way to test out products and work out what you're willing to pay full price for. I'd highly recommend investing in a set of the tints and highlighters, they'll really last you forever, and Boots are now offering mini They're Real Push Up Liners too. Let me know what Benefit products you love below... maybe I'll have to collect a few more samples!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Amy's Makeover | Everyday Mummy Makeup

If you follow me on Twitter (which you really should by way) you may recall that a few days ago I went to give my lovely friend Amy a makeover/make-up lesson. With two little ones at home, she needed a look that was easy to apply, gave a pulled together, wide awake look and wouldn't take more than 5-10 minutes in the mornings. Below is the finished result (forgot that all important "before" photo - damn it) and how we achieved it.
First Comparison Products Used:
  • Bare Minerals Foundation on the left, Rimmel Match Perfection on the right
  • Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer on the left, Rimmel Wake Me Up on the right (under the eyes)
  • Benefit Throbb blush on the left, Rimmel Stay Blushed in 'Pop of Pink' on the right
Looking at Amy's skin and colouring, we preferred the Rimmel Match Perfection foundation and the Wake Me Up concealer, but the Benefit Throbb blush.

Other Products Used: 
  • Benefit High Beam
  • Rimmel Bronzer in 'Sun Glow'
  • Rimmel ScandelEyes Shadow Stick in '001 Bluffing'
  • Natural Collection Shadow in 'Butterscotch' (in the inner corners and under the brow)
  • Amy's own eyeliner pencil in black (on the outer corner of upper lash line)
  • Maybelline The Falsies Mascara (on the top and bottom lashes)
  • L'Oreal Brow Artist Plumper
  • L'Oreal Rouge Carress in '101 Tempting Lilac'
We talked about different variations and what would be necessary every day vs what could easily be skipped. We realized that the L'Oreal Brow Artist Plumper, Benefit High Beam and eyeliner pencil weren't that necessary for Amy and that her time was better spent on other products when she's in a rush. Amy also has great skin so I convinced her to stick with her BB Cream on a daily basis and only use foundation when needed.
Unfortunetly, Throbb belonged to Amy so I had to substitute it with Dandelion in this photo... you get the idea.
We were left with a pretty but low maintenance look that left Amy still looking like herself, just a little more polished. The whole thing can be applied in around 5-7 minutes and only required one brush to be used for bronzer and blusher, the rest works perfectly - better even - with fingers.

Final Quick Mummy Makeup Look:
  • Garnier BB Cream for every day (to be replaced with Rimmel Match Perfection on special occasions), with Rimmel Wake Me Up concealer under the eyes. 
  • A quick dust of Rimmel Bronzer in 'Sun Glow' followed by Benefit 'Throbb' blusher.
  • Rimmel ScandelEyes in '001 Bluffing' over the lid and Natural Collection Shadow in 'Butterscotch' popped into the inner corners.
  • Finishing off with a coat of Maybelline The Falsies on the upper lashes and a quick swish of L'Oreal Rouge Carress in the plummy shade 'Tempting Lilac'
Let me know what products help to give you that instant pick-me-up when you only have 5 minutes to spare in the morning, I'd love to pass on your recommendations to Amy. 

Monday, 6 April 2015

Fashion & Makeup Haul | Primark, Superdrug & Boots

What's the best thing about having two weeks off work? You guessed it; the extra shopping time. I thought I'd share a few goodies I've picked up over the first week of the Easter holidays (don't worry, this was not all one trip) so I guess you'd call that a 'collective haul'? Woah, I've never sounded more 'YouTube' in my life...

Oh Primark, how I've missed you. I always leave it far too long between Primark outings and often find that I miss great products (namely, awesome Disney shirts and dupe handbags) that everyone else has the common sense to pick up before they sell out. Whilst I normally miss out due to my inability to stomach a Primark frenzy on Saturdays, I will happily venture in mid-week and enjoy the bargains without feeling like I wandered into Wall-Mart on Black Friday.

I grabbed two vest tops (the best kind, that come in every colour with adjustable spaghetti straps) in khaki green and white, and also a black cropped vest top that I'll wear under sheer shirts or as a larger bando type thingie. These are great for layering or for holidays.
As are Primark's espadrilles which I lived in last summer. I thought it best to pick them up in my size before they go.
I also couldn't decide between two paneled handbags and in the end I left with both. #sorrynotsorry
They were £8 each and FYI, I've used the black, taller one far more.


I went a little Tanya Burr crazy and picked up two lipglosses in the shades Aurora and First Date, at £6.99 each. I'm thinking about doing a post on my Tanya Burr glosses, would that interest anyone? I also liked the look of her individual lashes, £5.49, and somehow they found their way into my basket too, oops.
From one YouTuber to the next - I grabbed a travel size Co Lab dry shampoo by Ruth Crilly (A Model Recommends) in the scent 'Rio'. This little cutie was only £1.99 and a great way to test it out before committing to the full size.


Boots next, the one shop on the high street where I think I could loose several days of my life browsing the shelves, swooning and swatching. I finally caved at the Benefit counter and bought the ever popular 'Gimmi Brow', and lemmi tell ya, this thing had better work miracles for a painful £18.50! For comparison purposes, I also grabbed the L'Oreal 'Brow Artist Plumper' for a much more reasonable £5.99 (I have a blog, I can buy two of the same products at once it's... totally justifiable research).
I also replaced my Soap & Glory Brow Archery (I was clearly having a brow moment) and also grabbed three sachets of the Montagne Jeunesse Cucumber Peel Off Masks at a pound each. Steal.

Others & Extras.

This week I've also picked up this darling little dish (that I'm really milking in this post, eh?) from Sainsburys that says "Pretty Things". I saw it and thought it would be perfect for blog photos.
My lovely, very generous StepMum Anj (Hi Anj!) was super kind and bought me two new Urban Decay Revolution Lipsticks in the shades 'Naked' and 'Obsessed', during a trip to London. I've written a review on these lipsticks here. Thanks Anj!
Last but hopefully not least, I've also jumped into the world of Face Oils and bought this 'Overnight Serum-in-Oil' from the Body Shop's Vitamin E range. I'm a bit scared but can't wait to see how I get on with it.

So keep your eyes open, I'm sure some of these will be making further appearances on here as I test and trail them all out. Let me know if there's anything you'd be particularly interested in seeing me review or if you've tried any yourself. I'd love to know how you got on.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Sneak Peek Inside Mum's House | Home Decor Highlights

Maybe I'm a nosy parker but I've always loved getting a sneak peek into someone else's home. Whether that's to find out more about them as a person, "borrow" home decor ideas or just good old fashioned voyeurism, I've always preferred getting glimpses inside of real homes over the staged, sterile show-homes in magazines. They either look entirely unattainable or cold and uninviting - sometimes both - and who wants that? A proper home is so often a reflection of the lives happening inside of it, perhaps that's what makes it a pleasure (and a privilege) to observe. So without further adue, let me introduce you to the authentic, lived in, very loved home of my Mum and Stepdad.

One of my favourite bits in the entire house has got to be the Kitchen wall. Our appliances (fridge, oven, draws, cupboards) all line up along the other side of the room, leaving a rather boring plain white wall, which Mum and Steve cut bright green squares into, creating a real statement piece. The kitchen overlooks our garden, and bringing the green inside as an accent colour keeps the room looking open, spacious and fresh. They then filled the space with over-sized Scrabble letters, to spell out the very wise words, "eat cake".

If we leave the kitchen and head out to the garden, (excuse the dog toy!) you'll mostly find lawn leading to a small outhouse that my parents use as an office/garage. But before this, there's a patio area with a picnic bench, a few plants, etc. My favourite part of the patio is the small stretch of brick wall that Mum and Steve have covered with plates and pottery from their travels to Morocco. Lanterns hang from the wooden rafters and the vibrant colours give the garden an exotic, warm feel... even in the dreary British weather!

From one garden to another; meet Duck. Duck has sat on her little blue "pond" in our front garden for many years now. She's a bit weathered and worn but she still attracts a lot of attention from passers by and we love her. The blue shingle she sits on makes it look like she's bobbing along happily in her watery home, and visitors and friends can often tell which house we are by asking, "are you the one with the giant duck outside?"

Rather fittingly, we're finishing our tour with a stop at the bathroom. The light creams and sandy colours all work well together to create a very peaceful, relaxing vibe, and the tiles paired with the white wood and pebbles make everything feel a little spa-esc. You may be wondering what a photo of the inside of the shower has to do with anything, but I truly love this shower for it's amazing seat. I can assure you, that there is no greater feeling after a long day than getting into a steaming hot shower and sitting comfortably, undisturbed, under the running water. Pure bliss... Oh, and super easy to shave your legs too. Just sayin'.

My Mum does read my blog (Hi Mum!) so please keep your comments kind - as I know you will. What little trinkets or rooms in your house are your favourite? Let me know below, I'd love to read about what makes your house your home and maybe "borrow" a few home decor ideas from you too!


Wednesday, 1 April 2015

March Favourites

So it's the first of April and that can only mean one thing... Monthly Favourites time!
This month for me has been all about getting a more Spring appropriate, fresh-faced look as the sun's started to show itself a little more. I've been reaching for products with a more dewy affect and replaced my powder blush with a cream. Below is a list of my most reached for products for the month of March.

Collection Eyes Uncovered Pallet in Nude 
I picked this up a few weeks ago and have been pairing it with my Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics a lot this month. In fact I actually wrote a blog post comparing the two right here. Whilst it's fine to chose one or the other, I've been loving them together, going with the Collection shimmery shades over the lid and the matte Urban Decay colours in the crease.

Maybelline Baby Lips in Cherry Me
Staying with our "fresh" theme, I've loved going back to that just-bitten look and keeping things less harsh on the lips. This tinted balm is soft and glossy looking but provides a real pop of bright redish pink that I think suits me quite well. I've worn it so often this month and I just love how easy it is.

Rimmel Match Perfection
I mentioned this beauty in My Complete Foundation Collection post, and it even got a sterling ten out of ten rating! This foundation can give skin that's still a bit dried out from Winter that radiance that can be lacking in colder weather; it's great at hiding texture and rough patches on the skin.

Rimmel Stay Blushed
As it's been turning more sunny, (hooray for the clocks going forward!) I've been loving that fresh faced look and have been opting for as many cream products as possible. I love the Rimmel Stay Blushed formulas as they blend so well and end up looking like a real blush from within on the cheeks.

Bath & Body Works Candle in Mahogany Teakwood
My lovely friend Rachel (hey Rach!) brought me this back from her trip to America earlier this month and I've been burning it every evening. Mahogany Teakwood has been a love of mine since 2013 when I first visited Bath & Body Works in Florida. I was so sad when it ran out and I knew it couldn't get it again until I (or fab friends of mine) went over to the states! It smells exactly like an Abercrombie & Fitch store.

Let me know what you've been loving below, especially if you have any cream formula products that you can't live without... I can see myself getting really into them for summer! You can check out last months favourites here, and don't forget to come back next month to see what I'll obsess over for the month of April!


Monday, 30 March 2015

My Dad's 50th Birthday Hamper | Men's Gift Ideas

So I've always found men much harder to buy for than woman, is this just me? Namely, I've always found my Dad hard to buy for. My Dad is the most unmaterialistic person I know (must be where I get it from, no?) and designer clothes, posh aftershave or expensive luxuries are mostly wasted on him. In fact, my Dad so rarely wants for things, that when he does, he usually buys them for himself. This means that he's got the good gear when it comes to walking, music and camping (his biggest hobbies) and doesn't leave me with a lot of scope to "push the boat out" for his 50th birthday.

Hence, the Man Hamper. The Manper, if you will. God bless Wilko for their unnecessarily large collection of random baskets, as I was able to pick this perfectly sized one for a mere £8.50 and proceed to fill it to the brim with manly goodies. I thought I'd share the finished product with you all, in case like me, you struggle with gift inspiration when it comes to the men in your life. I hope it sparks some great ides for you and you find it useful.

Books & DVDs. 
DVDs and books are great for male birthdays. My Dad is a bit of a reader and so this year I've stayed away from DVDs and have two books in his hamper instead. The first one I've gone with is "The Camping Cookbook" which is jam packed with great recipe ideas for when you're camping (something my Dad does a lot of) and starting to get a bit bored of the same old bacon sarnies and burnt sausages... The second one I picked up is The Jungle Book, my Dads absolute favourite Disney film - and one of his favourite films in general - I saw this copy in The Works and thought it had such beautiful cover art, and my Dad will totally appreciate the sentiment here.

Food and Snacks.
A nice easy one here. Why not stock up on his favourite foodie items, or better yet, food that reminds you of him. I've gone with Skittles and Starbursts not because my Dad adores them necessarily, but because we have a tradition of putting these particular sweets out at Christmas. I included random "manly chocolate" like a KitKat chunky, Mars bar, Snickers etc to bulk up the manly element (no Galaxy Ripple here!) and then included some crisps that you're always guaranteed to find at Dad's house and a bottle of Lea & Perrins to smother all over his cheese on toast! I also bought a 10 pack multipack of rainbow drops (another guilty pleasure) to scatter about the hamper and fill in any gaps.

Other Goodies.
Other little bits and pieces I went with included the fail-safe male birthday present of beer, (three whole bottles of it) two bottles of my Dads regular poisons and a third "wild card" for him to try out. Honestly, you can't go wrong with beer. Speaking of which, I also found a quirky little wooden post card with the Adams Ghostship logo printed on the front. I though this was a bit different and only around £2.50 so I popped that in there too. I included two mugs, one with Beach Huts all the way round it (my Dad loves Southwold and had a beautiful British Seaside wedding last year) and one with the brilliant Wallace & Gromit (Dad loves them and bares a striking resemblance to Wallace...) Other goodies included walking socks, razor blades, moisturizer and Olaf themed shower gel. Yep, Dad's a Frozen fan.

Final Ideas & Tips.
So my final tips when buying for boys are to keep it easy with guilty pleasures, or find out their hobbies and then try to think outside of the box. If they enjoy film, why not get them a cinema voucher so they can see a film you know they haven't already got on DVD. Or if they like cars, why not get them a subscription to a monthly car magazine? As for guilty pleasures, these are easy because people can enjoy them again and again. Are they partial to a packet of Pork Scratchings? Do they routinely munch on Maltesters? Family sized treat bags and a bottle of beer keep things nice and simple if you're just not sure.

Let me know your manly birthday ideas below - I could always use more. And as you've had a selfie of me and my Mum already, it only seems fair to include one of me and my Dad too! Here's a very blurry (unflattering) shot of us at Dad's gorgeous wedding last year. See what I mean about Wallace?


Friday, 27 March 2015

My Complete Foundation Collection | Makeup Showdown

You know you have too many foundations when trying to take a photo of them all is like arranging a class photograph. "Come then everyone, tall ones at the back, little guys at the front - you too Revlon Colour Stay, we don't have all day!" With ten foundations to compare, I'm not even going to attempt to go into great detail on each one. Instead, I've got another Makeup Showdown for you where I’ve divided the judging process into “need to know categories” with an overall rating out of ten. Please note however, that my skin type is extremely dry, and I suffer from redness, large pores and a few fine lines (sad face) so the overall rating is based on how effective each foundation is on me, and what I look for in a base.

Bourjois CC Cream
Coverage: Light, but better than you expect!
Finish: Matte-ish Satin
Lasting power: A full day out in the sunshine, it'll fade only slightly
Final Thoughts: For such a runny, barely there formula, this covers and lasts brilliantly. In the summer it's light enough to work on my very pale skin, and is by far the best CC/BB/tinted moisturiser product I've come across.
Overall Rating: 10/10

Rimmel Lasting Finish Nude
Coverage: Medium
Finish: Matte/Satin
Lasting power: Easily enough to get you through work and after work drinks
Final Thoughts: Definitely a fab foundation, it ticks every box and I wear it a lot but it's slightly behind Rimmel Match Perfection, which is just that bit better on dry skin.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10

Illamasqua Skin Base
Coverage: Very Full
Finish: Very Matte
Lasting power: Ages (probably)
Final Thoughts: No matter what I do, I cannot get this foundation to look passable. Some people love it but I find I look like a cake-face clown in a mask of heavy makeup and I've worn it out in public maybe twice? Thorough disappointment as it's the most expensive I currently own!
Overall Rating: 2/10

Revlon ColourStay
Coverage: Very Full
Finish: Very Matte
Lasting power: Good, but it does begin to settle
Final Thoughts: These days I find ColourStay to settle in my smile lines and around my nose after four/five hours, no matter how I apply it. It can also look cakey and heavy on the skin sometimes but is a holy grail for a lot of oily skinned girls - I loved this in my oily teenage years!
Overall Rating: 6/10

Rimmel Match Perfection
Coverage: Lightish Medium
Finish: Fresh, Dewy
Lasting power: It'll do you proud for a full working day
Final Thoughts: For once, dewy does not mean greasy! I love this guy mostly for the finish and blendibility. Perfect for dry skin and bad skin days as it glides over imperfections and texture and doesn't highlight them.
Overall Rating: 10/10

L'Oreal Infallible
Coverage: High Medium - Full
Finish: Fresh Satin/Matte
Lasting power: Till the cows come home
Final Thoughts: This would be another 10 pointer, and probably my favourite if it wasn't for the fact that regular use breaks me out. On special occasions though I wouldn't wear anything else.
Overall Rating: 9/10
Revlon Photo Ready BB Cream
Coverage: Very Light
Finish: Dewy/Shiny
Lasting power: An hour or two before greasiness kicks in
Final Thoughts: Another disappointment. This guy oxidises as the day goes on and looks greasy after a short amount of time. It also just doesn't seem to sink into the skin and transfers a fair bit.
Overall Rating: 3/10

L'Oreal True Match
Coverage: High Medium
Finish: Fresh Satin
Lasting power: Enough to last you a serious Saturday shopping spree
Final Thoughts: I can see that this guy would be a great contender, but it loses serious points for colour! It's called "True Match" yet doesn't have a shade light enough for me, and the closest one oxidises to the point where I can no longer 'get away with it' after around four hours.
Overall Rating: 5/10

Rimmel Lasting Finish
Coverage: High Medium - Full
Finish: Matte/Satin
Lasting power: Through the party, the after party and the walk of shame
Final Thoughts: It's good, but I just don't reach for this one often because I rarely need the coverage and if I do, L'Oreal Infallible looks better and lasts just as long. But hey, at least Rimmel doesn't break me out.
Overall Rating: 7/10

Bourjois Healthy Mix
Coverage: Lightish Medium
Finish: Dewy
Lasting power: Will get you through a school day
Final Thoughts: A real teenage cult classic, this foundation performs well on younger skin as it's not too heavy but gives good coverage, lasts around six hours and blends well.
Overall Rating: 8/10

Let me know if there's any foundations missing that you think I should try. I still don't feel like I've found that Holy Grail base yet so I'd love to hear your suggestions!

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