Friday, 19 October 2012

A Teeny Tiny Haul - Boots & Wild About Beauty

The last time I bought a beauty product of any description was over a month ago so I thought I was due a trip to Boots; partly to replace things, partly for new nail polish! I also popped into Debenhams and *ahem* accidentally managed to spend some more money there. 

Boots are running a 3 for 2 offer across all cosmetics right now so I decided to take advantage of that. I initially just wanted the Essie polish in Bordeaux but I decided to pick up another tube of the Rimmel Fix & Perfect primer because it's one of the best primers I've tried and I'm just working through other samples at the moment. I've heard so many good things about the Maybelline Forever Strong polishes so I picked one up in the shade Rosy Sand. I thought it would be a nice warmer toned alternative to Chanel Particuliere. I'm wearing it just now and I have to say, it applied beautifully. I'm not entirely sure I like the colour though.

My beloved Rosewater Toning Spritz from Botanics ran out a fortnight or so ago and I've been lost without it so I had to repurchase that. I also picked up a shower gel from the new Botanics bodycare range. It's the Restoring Cream Body Wash. I bought it because my skin is feeling quite irritated at the moment; I've used it a few times now and I think it's helping. I had a coupon for this Tresemme Volumising Dry Shampoo so I grabbed a can to add to my current supply. I can never be without that product!

When I was in Debenhams I spotted a new counter for a brand I'd never heard of before. It's called Wild About Beauty (I think the name is pretty silly) and the range has been developed by make up artist Kim Jacob and celebrity Louise Redknapp. The products themselves all look and feel really nice. I loved the shade selection; everything looks quite natural. 

I picked up a couple of products to try out. The first thing that caught my eye was the Nutritious Gloss in Astrid. It's a dark pink berry shade which is surprisingly pigmented. I'll need to wear this a bit more before reviewing it but expect to see a post fairly soon. I was intrigued by the Mattifying Balm so bought that too. If you've tried BeneFit's Dr Feel Good, this product is sort of similar. You can use it under or over make up but I'm planning to buff it on my T-zone after foundation with an ELF Powder brush. I think it'll be a nice alternative to powder for me; I hate looking powdery. I couldn't even wait to photograph this product before trying it so I apologise for the less-than-perfect photo!

The girl on the counter, Kathleen, was lovely. If you're in Glasgow I'd definitely recommend having a chat with her because she's more than happy to tell you all about the new range. So far, I'm quite impressed with what I've tried.

What have you been buying recently? If you have a haul post, link it below!

Stace xx

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Wednesday Wishlist: Make Up Academy

MUA is one of the best high street brands, in my opinion. They never cease to amaze me with exciting new products at really reasonable prices. Whilst I do enjoy using products from brands like Revlon and L'Oreal, if I'm after a cheap fix MUA is always at the top of my list. I sometimes buy their products in Superdrug but often the stands are messy and poorly stocked so I prefer using their lovely website. I always get my parcels quickly and they offer free shipping if you spend over £25. You can get a lot of MUA products for £25.

I thought I'd share the products I'm tempted by in this week's wish list!

I think I'm most attracted to this mascara because the packaging is similar to Maybelline's One by One mascara which I quite enjoyed! The brush has rubber bristles like my favourites; BeneFit's They're Real  and L'Oreal's Volume Million Lashes. This comes in brown, black and waterproof. I think I'd go for the waterproof version.

I have my eye on the shades Yummy (bottom right) and Dolly (top right). I like experimenting with cream blushes every now and then. At £2 a pop I don't think you can go wrong. The other shades are Bittersweet (bottom right) and Blossom (top left). 

I remember when Fleur De Force posted a video about a similar product from Ciate priced at £18 and thinking that was a ridiculous price. £3.00 is much more reasonable. If you've not heard of these manicure products before they're basically little beads that are applied to a just polished nail to give an interesting 3D effect. From MUA's range I'd go for the shade Libra because it's the most neutral looking colour. I wish they'd release with a black or dark blue.

This is probably a predictable choice from me; I do love dark red shades! I've never tried any of MUA's £1 nail polishes so I'm interested to see how they compare to my more expensive favourites. 

I've been meaning to pick up this shade for years! It's a dark, slightly golden taupe-brown shade which I think would look perfect in the crease for definition or all over the lid with darker shades. liner and lots of mascara for a pretty smoky eye. 

Have any MUA products caught your eye recently?

Stace xx

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Lancome Le Crayon Sourcils

Until quite recently I was terrified of brow pencils. I was more than happy with my Smashbox Brow Tech powder because it was so easy to achieve a softly defined brow with that product. I always thought pencilled in brows looked really obvious and considering mine are already so dark, I was afraid they'd look harsh if I used a pencil.

I lost my favourite brow brush so my Brow Tech was out of action for a while. I lasted about a week before breaking down and heading out to buy something for my brows. I'd heard some good things about the Lancome Le Crayon Sourcils so I went to a counter to try it out. When the assistant used it on my brows I was surprised at how soft they looked so I picked up a pencil in the shade 030 Brun.

The shade is pretty much perfect for my dark brown brows; it's quite ashy which I appreciate. My favourite thing about the Lancome pencil is how easy it is to use. I use it really lightly but can apply more pressure if I want a bit more definition. Unless I press really hard they never look overdone. I like the little spoolie on the end too, it's handy.

I think I'm going to have this pencil forever because despite two months of constant use I've still not had to sharpen it! It is priced at £16.00 which I think is reasonable. If you've been considering this pencil I'd say it's worth it.

What's your favourite brow product?

Stace xx

Saturday, 13 October 2012

A Little Life Update


I don't normally post specifically about my life but a lot has been happening recently so I thought it was about time I wrote about it. I've not posted anything in three days and it's driving me crazy!

Almost four weeks ago now I made the decision to split from my boyfriend. We'd been together for around three years and lived together. It wasn't an easy decision at all but I know that it's the right one. Nothing bad has happened; we just grew apart and I had been feeling miserable for quite a while. We were always waiting for something to come along and make us better; finishing university, moving, finding jobs. I realised that we shouldn't need something else to improve our relationship and I felt as though we were just putting off going our separate ways. I will always care about him and wish him the best for his future. I'm concentrating on becoming the confident, independent girl I was before. 

I found a new flat but I'm still waiting on the paperwork to come through so that I can move. It's really difficult to live with someone you've broken up with; I wouldn't advise it but I don't have a choice at the moment. I need to move within the next week so can everyone please keep their fingers crossed?! I'm going to be living by myself which is both scary and exciting at the same time. I'm looking forward to making it my own without anyone telling me that I have too many cushions!

On a more positive note, I was offered a job yesterday. A job I really wanted. I'm beyond delighted about that and can't wait to start a week on Monday. I've also got to thank my friends for being the best people in the world over the past few weeks. The lovely things they've done for me make me want to cry more than anything else has! Some of those friends are probably reading this right now; I want to thank you for the comments, tweets, emails and anything else you've said or done in the last month. I've appreciated every single one of them and don't know how I'll be able to thank you enough. 140 characters doesn't sound like a lot but sometimes they mean so much.

If you find yourself in a similar position to me or if you're struggling with The Big Stuff in life please don't be afraid to make a decision to keep someone else happy or because  the consequences would be too difficult. You're all a lot stronger than you think and sometimes you just have to be brave and selfish. Your happiness is ultimately your priority and if something is making you miserable it's up to you to change it if you can. You'll soon realise that you're not alone.

With love,

Stace xx

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

BeneFit Sunbeam Free with InStyle Magazine

I just thought I'd hop on and blog about a little freebie I came across today. I don't usually buy magazines for free products but I've been wanting to try BeneFit's Sunbeam for a while and the magazine was only £2.50 in Tesco (normally £3.80).

The sample is a dinky 4ml but contains more than enough product to try for a little while, at least. I was under the impression that this was a really dark golden colour and that's part of the reason I've not purchased the full size already. I was worried it'd be too dark to use as a highlighting product. However, as you can see in the swatch, it's more of a dark champagne shade which is a perfect highlight colour for me. When blended out it looks pretty subtle but I can't wait to try it out on my face very soon. 

If you're not interested in trying Sunbeam you could pick up a mini BeneTint or Cha Cha Tint instead. The magazine is full of high street finds this month so I'm probably going to spend part of this evening reading that!

Have you tried Sunbeam?

Stace xx

Monday, 8 October 2012

Illamasqua Highlighter Brush

I'm blaming Cami for directing me to the Illamasqua counter to purchase the Highlighter brush. She said it was fabulous and brilliant for pretty much everything and you know what? She was spot on. So, if anyone reading this post hasn't heard about this wonderful brush before, you should be heading to Illamasqua's website to buy it in approximately three minutes, I reckon. 

I was a little hesitant to spend £24 on a brush from a brand that isn't especially famous for them but my doubts were put to rest when I got my Highlighter brush home. The quality is excellent; in fact, this brush and the other I have from Illamasqua are probably the best quality brushes I own. They feel more sleek than MAC or Sigma brushes and are much easier on the eye than my beloved Real Techniques brushes. I've washed my Highlighter brush countless times and not experienced any shedding or colour bleeding. It still looks and feels almost exactly like it did when I purchased it almost a year ago. Illamasqua brushes are also cruelty free and made from synthetic fibres if that's important to you.

It's all well and good if a brush looks and feels lovely but what you all need to know is how it performs when applying make up, right? I think Illamasqua are missing a trick by labelling this brush as a highlighter brush because it can be used for so much more than that. I have used it with cream or liquid products such as concealers, foundations, cream and liquid blushes and liquid highlighters. I've also used it with powder blushes, face powder, powder highlight and contouring products. Basically if you had a stash of these brushes you'd never need to use another face brush again. Well, perhaps you'd want a big fluffy powder brush (I'm currently coveting this one from Illamasqua.) My favourite way of using the Highlighter brush is with cream or liquid products because I find that it works them into the skin beautifully. Because the brush is on the small side it's good if you're trying to be precise. That does mean that it takes a bit longer if you're using it for foundation but I like the finish I get when using it for that purpose so I don't mind taking an extra few minutes. It's a nice size for applying face powder to specific areas if you're not wanting to cover your entire face. I like to focus mine on my T-zone and under eye area. 

I honestly don't think I've ever felt this way about a brush. And I feel like a bit of an idiot for just typing that but it's true. I honestly think that any beauty addict worth her salt needs to own at least one of these brushes. For me, it's the absolute epitome of a 'multi-tasking' brush and I love that.

With special thanks to Cami and her enabling abilities!

Are you tempted yet?

Stace xx

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Weleda Almond Soothing Facial Lotion

This Almond Soothing Facial Lotion from Weleda has been my night time moisturiser of choice for the past month to six weeks. I picked it up from FeelUnique the last time I placed an order. It was £11.95 which I thought was reasonable until I received the product and noticed that it only contained 30ml of product. It's my own fault for not checking!

The Almond range from Weleda is targeted towards dry and sensitive skin so I thought it would be a safe bet. My skin is normal/combination but I like something a bit more hydrating at night and I prefer using products for sensitive skin because I don't worry about my skin reacting badly to them. Weleda also make a cream version of this product which is much thicker in texture. 

When I think of a lotion I expect it to be quite runny but texture-wise this product is rather thick. If you've tried the infamous Embroylisse Lait Creme Concentre it's quite similar to that. As you can imagine, the lotion smells strongly of almonds so if you're not a fan of that scent, I'd avoid this product. I only need a little (about half the size of a 5p coin) to cover my face; I concentrate it on the drier areas of my face. 

I'm happy to report that it leaves my skin feeling nicely hydrated and hasn't caused any reactions. I've used this in the mornings under make up and haven't noticed any excess oil on my face. I'd recommend it to anyone with dry/normal skin looking for a nice no-frills moisturiser. I'm not convinced by the £12 for 30ml price tag  but I will definitely enjoy using this until it runs out.

What's your favourite night cream? 

Stace xx

Ps - starting a new job tomorrow; wish me luck!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

My Top Five: Autumn/Winter Polish Picks

I've been dying for the weather to get colder (well, it was never really particularly warm, was it?) and for the days to get shorter partly because it means I can start wearing some of my favourite polishes that perhaps aren't Spring/Summer appropriate. Apologies for the rubbish photo, my usual photography spot is out of action as I'm in the midst of packing up my life.

YSL La Laque Couture in 6 Rouge Dada 
Rouge Dada is a classic red shade; I think everyone needs something similar in their polish collection. It looks quite vibrant in the bottle and it is on the nails after two coats but I tend to add a third because I prefer the deeper red colour I get as a result. The formula of these polishes is strange; it's very light and looks a bit watery or gel-like but on the nails it looks opaque and shiny. They're really easy to use because of the nice wide brush and the short drying time. If I'm wearing a red over the next few months, it'll probably be this one. 

Chanel Le Vernis in 533 April
A polish called April in October? It doesn't make any sense. This shade came out in Chanel's Spring collection and it was a nice colour to wear during the transition from winter to spring. Now I've been enjoying it as we transition from summer to autumn. It's a muted raspberry pink shade which I think would work on a lot of skintones. It wasn't the star product from the  collection but I bought all three polishes and this is the one I've used the most. It's a nice alternative to a red without being vampy or neutral. Formula-wise it's one of the better Chanel polishes as I can easily get an opaque finish after two coats. The wear time with this one is excellent, too.

Chanel Le Vernis in 505 Particuliere 
I've just used this shade to paint my nails and I feel as though I'm falling in love with it all over again. During spring and summer if I wore a neutral shade it was something much lighter than this mushroom-taupe from Chanel but now that we're in autumn this polish will probably be on my nails at least once a week from now until February. It's one of those shades I don't have to think about; it just goes with everything. The formula is opaque in two coats and whilst I'd prefer a wider brush it's not too fiddly so I can live with it.

Color Club in Rad Nomad
This smoky purple shade has only just made it into my top five but I couldn't not include it because it's quickly becoming one of my favourite colours. Last year I would have included Revlon Perplex in this list but shimmery polishes are never my favourite so when I came across Rad Nomad it effectively replaced Perplex in my affections. I'll need to post a nail of the day post with this polish soon. My only quibble with Rad Nomad (and Color Club polishes in general, actually) is that the brush is so thin and annoying to use. 

OPI in Lincoln Park After Dark
No autumn/winter polish list would be complete without this shade, would it? Lincoln Park After Dark is a deep purple, almost black, colour with a cream finish. I wear this on my toes all year round but I only wear it on my fingers during this time of year. Again this is a shade I think everyone should own because despite being so dark it's still really versatile and works well with most outfits. I usually need three thin coats for an opaque finish but the wear time of this polish is excellent for me and the wide OPI brush is a dream to use. 

I should say that Chanel Rouge Noir would also be in this list but mine needs to be replaced. I love the dark red-black shade but I find the formula of that polish to be a bit fickle so if you have any recommendations for similar shades place leave them in the comments because I'd be interested in checking out alternatives.

What are your go-to polishes during the colder months?

Stace xx

Friday, 5 October 2012

Budget Beauty Essential: Boots Essentials Nail Polish Remover

This post is another instalment in my budget beauty series; I apologise for letting that fall by the wayside over the past few weeks, expect to see more of these posts in the near future!

Today's post is about my all-time favourite nail polish remover which conveniently only costs £1. I've tried more expensive removers from a variety of brands but found that none of them work as well as this one so I've given up on trying anything else. This remover takes my nail polish off so quickly and easily; who could ask for anything more? Obviously it needs a little help if you've got six layers of glitter polish on but I think that goes for all removers.

The only downside to this product is that it does contain acetone which can damage fragile nails. In saying that, I paint my nails at least three times a week and they haven't suffered due to using this remover. 

So, if you've not given the Boots Essentials Nail Polish Remover a go, I highly recommend that you do!

Stace xx

Thursday, 4 October 2012

John Frieda Full Repair Range

I was recently given the opportunity to try out John Frieda's relatively new Full Repair* range. I have the shampoo, conditioner and deep infusion. The range is designed to 'revive overworked hair' with Inca Inchi extract. As I don't use heat on my hair very often and I never colour it I wouldn't describe my hair as 'overworked' so I enlisted the help of my friend to help me with this review.

The shampoo was my favourite product of the three; I've used it all up! The description of this shampoo sounds quite similar to the Osmo Berber Oil and Macadamia Natural Oil shampoos which are both favourites of mine so that might explain why I liked this product. It's a fairly standard shampoo; it smells inoffensive and lathers up nicely. I sometimes struggle with shampoos irritating my scalp and this one didn't which is a huge plus for me. It didn't leave my hair looking limp so I'd say that it somewhat delivers on its 'full body' claim but it's not a miracle product in that sense. Emma, my reviewing friend, also thought that the shampoo wasn't really anything special but that it worked nicely.

Before I even tried the conditioner I knew I probably wouldn't like it because I never use a traditional conditioner like this. Like the shampoo it's what you'd expect from a standard high street conditioner. I found it to be far too conditioning for my hair so only used it a few times. Again, Emma didn't think this product was anything special. 

I've been trying out is the Perfect Ends Deep Infusion which is the interesting product in the range. Its purpose is similar to a hair oil or serum but the consistency is really odd. It looks like water or a light oil but it comes in a pump bottle so it's quite tricky to use. I'm not sure why they didn't package it in a spray bottle because that would have been much more convenient. You only need to use a really small amount of this product; I overdid it the first time and my hair was horribly greasy within a few hours. I used this before blow drying my hair and did find that it made the ends look smoother. I don't think it'll be replacing my hair oils or my beloved Aussie leave in conditioner spray, though. Emma didn't particularly rate this product either.

This review probably sounds quite negative but on the whole the products aren't bad, they just don't work particularly well on my hair type. If I were to repurchase anything from the range it would be the shampoo. With prices starting at £5.89 the products are worth a try if you have colour treated hair or heat styled hair.

Have you tried anything from this range?

Stace xx

*PR Samples

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

YSL Touche Eclat Foundation

I mentioned the YSL Touche Eclat foundation in my most recent favourites post but I wanted to write a separate review about my new base of choice. I resisted picking this up for a long time because a lot of the reviews I had read said that the coverage was incredibly sheer. Whilst I do tend to prefer a light coverage foundation I got the impression that YSL's offering would be more like a tinted moisturiser. I'm pleased to say that after trying a sample my preconceptions were dismissed and once I ran out of my Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua I finally purchased the YSL Touch Eclat foundation.

The packaging is nice; it feels heavy and whilst the glass bottle isn't especially travel friendly I do like being able to see how much product I've used. It also comes with a pump which dispenses just the right amount of product for one layer of foundation. I felt quite guilty for parting with £31 for the little plastic bottle of Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua but the £28 price tag for the Touche Eclat foundation was a little easier to swallow, in part due to the packaging. 

We all know that it's what's on the inside that counts, right? In that respect this product doesn't disappoint either. It is a light coverage foundation but it offers slightly more than I expected. It's also very buildable; I like to add a second layer to the areas of my face which I feel need a little more coverage. I should point out that this foundation is definitely not for anyone who swears by Estee Lauder Double Wear or something similar. If you have a lot of blemishes, scarring or redness to cover you're probably not going to like this but if you just have a slightly uneven skintone and only get blemishes occasionally I'd definitely recommend giving this a try. The finish is less dewy than I expected and that's a positive for me as I do get a little oily in my t-zone. It's definitely not a matte finish either, though. If you have very oily skin and love a matte finish, I'd steer clear.

I've tried applying this with my fingers and that works nicely but I prefer to use my Real Techniques Buffing Brush as I find I get a bit more coverage that way. The product melts into the skin quickly so application is a breeze. I get a decent amount of wear from this foundation; around 6-8 hours. I usually powder through my t-zone but find that if I want to add another layer of foundation later in the day I can easily do that without making my skin look caked in foundation. 

The YSL Touche Eclat foundation is available in twenty two shades across a spectrum of undertones. I have B50 which is from the neutral range. I believe there should be a shade to suit almost everyone. 

Have  you tried YSL's latest foundation? 

Stace xx

Monday, 1 October 2012

NOTD: China Glaze First Mate

What's this? A NOTD post of a polish not made by L'Oreal! I realise I've been posting about L'Oreal polishes a lot recently but I still regularly wear polishes from other brands. I picked First Mate up from a blog sale a while back; it's a mini bottle but with 9.6ml it's a really decent size. 

The colour is a dark blue. It's not quite navy which disappoints me a little because it means I'm still on the hunt for the perfect dark navy creme finish polish (suggestions in the comments, please!) I like it, though, it's a bit more Autumn appropriate than my beloved Nails Inc Baker Street. Formula-wise it applies really nicely and is opaque in one coat if you're careful. I added a second though, mostly out of habit!

I find the wear time of China Glaze polishes in general to be pretty good. I got about three days out of this manicure with minimal chipping and tip wear which is a long time for me. The top coat I used here was Sally Hansen Insta Dri. 

What do you think? 

Stace xx