Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Budget replacements for my everyday makeup

We're half way through January and it's been a whirlwind two weeks already. I've managed to get a lot of the things done that I wanted to as well as some fun and free day trips and a birthday bash for the manface.

After a quiet December work wise I entered 2019 incredibly poor, of course this coincided with the time my personal makeup started to run out. (OF COURSE!!) I decided for to be sensible for a change and try some budget alternatives until I've got a few more pennies in the bank. I hate to stray from the norm and was actually already feeling down about the two items I bought before even trying how did they turn out?

This is the contents of my standard every day makeup bag, a winning formula I've not strayed from for at least the past six months. The shrewd eyed amongst you can maybe work out the two items I recently ran out of, foundation and brow gel.

Despite being lucky enough to have a career that I can do what I like appearance-wise I really am not very adventurous with my every day makeup as you'll see. Even when I'm getting up at 1.30am for an early morning makeup call I'm not brave enough to go in bare faced so I have my 15 minute makeup routine down to skin, brows and lashes and rarely wear eyeshadow to work.

I always think it's hard to tell in photos but I have such extraordinarily pale skin, even the palest shades of most brands will come off much too dark on me, so when I discovered I could wear a couple of the lighter Bobbi Brown brown shades I never looked back. Yes you heard correct, more than one shade, what is this beautiful dream? I never normally have one option let alone two.

Now the Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation I use is £34 but I have a pro card so I get it for around £23, this of course makes a huge difference, when it comes to my own face I loathe to slap on anything really pricey. Despite the large discount it's still a bit too much for me to replace this month so I took a trip to Boots, expecting to be disappointed as I can never find drugstore foundations that are light enough for me. I tested a variety of unconvincing ivories before I spotted the Rimmel Lasting Finish Breathable Foundation in Light Porcelain and it was good, maybe even lighter than I've been wearing for the last couple of years.

Not going to lie, the applicator is weird, but the more I use it the more I think it makes sense. It's attached to the lid, a large sponge doe foot style applicator. I'm used to pumping some products on the back of my hand then applying with the brush from there, however with this I need to apply the product to my face like I'm gearing up for a combat situation then work it in to the rest of my face. Although it's not what I'm used to, I quite like this method now and I reckon I'll get just as much out of the bottle if not more than a pump action.

As much as I've got on with this foundation I will definitely go back to Bobbi Brown when I get the chance, but for now this is a lovely alternative. It is also just £8.29 so it's protecting my bank balance somewhat.

As for eyebrows I've been using the Anastasia Dip Brow for the longest time but I also like to brush some brow gel through and for that I've been using the Eyeko Brow Gel for the last couple of years. It's a great taupey brown which I love, it's so important it's not too warm. However when looking to replace it I realised it's £18, again a little too rich for me right now.

I've been really scraping the tube to make my brow gel last as long as possible but I finally had to give in and grab something new. I looked at a couple of different options but finally settled on a  NYX Tinted Brow Mascara in the shade Espresso. Boots didn't have any testers out for these and the colour of the packaging doesn't really help gauge what it's going to be like, but Espresso looked the most similar to what I wanted. I was a little worried it would be too red toned but actually it's a really lovely shade and exactly what I want. At £6.50 its almost a third of the price of the Eyeko one so I reckon I'll be sticking to this from now on regardless of my financial situation.

I think the next things I'll be running out of are my Dip Brow and mascara so if you have any suggestions for other products I should look at I'd love some tips!

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Too Faced Peanut Butter and Jelly Palette

Happy hump day friends, how are we all finding the week so far? I don't have a lot of work on yet (self-employment woes) so I've been keeping myself busy working on some personal projects and later I'm going to go through my clothes because Marie Kondo has got in my head.

This is the last palette I wanted to share with you guys for now, the Peanut Butter and Jelly palette by Too Faced. I'm not usually one for cute or character based packaging on my makeup, I like everything to look as chic and professional as possible however there was one shade that jumped out at me and I decided to take a break from the norm.

What I really like about the packaging of this palette is that it is metal, it feels durable and means it will easily wipe clean. It's also a very compact size which is idea for personal makeup bags or travel. If I'm just staying away for a night out this is exactly the kind of size palette I'd want with me for getting ready, does anyone else feel slightly silly arriving at a hotel or friend's house with a huge bag when they're only going to be there one night?

This is the most recent of the three palettes I've been using recently and I actually managed to take a photo before I dove into it this time, almost like a real blogger. The mirror is decent enough for touch ups but I do love a full lid mirror. As you can see there is a selection of both matte and shimmer shades, all of which are quite regular natural shades until BAM Jelly. That was the shade I mentioned earlier, a shade I have never worn before and couldn't reaaaally imagine on me but I had to give it a go.

The colour pay off is good especially from the red/brown toned shades, even swatched like this I found it hard to imagine that purple shade working with the others.

Another nice thing about this palette is that Too Faced have provided a little booklet with some suggested looks and which shades to use to achieve them. It slots in over the mirror and is a nice idea especially as a gift. I decided to have a go at the bottom look so that I could try out that gorgeous purple, Jelly.

I actually ended up adding in an extra shade Jammin' to define the crease a little further and I was surprised to see it all works nicely together. Using the purple as a pop with neutral shades is key to having something wearable I reckon, I may even give this a go on a night out soon if I'm feeling brave. It's definitely a palette to push you outside your comfort zone and be a little more experimental but gently, surrounded by those familiar shades we use so often.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Tartelette eyeshadow palette from Tarte

I've just spent the whole weekend slightly distracted thinking about when I could get back to the blog, sad eh? I even bought a huge new notebook specially. Insert cry laugh emoji here. I feel like the time away has helped me re-discover why I used to love blogging and now it's once again an activity I can enjoy without obligation.

Today I wanted to share the next eyeshadow palette I've been enjoying, in fact I've used it pretty religiously since I got it.

Tartlette Amazonian Matte Palette by Tarte is a great staple palette if you're a regular user of matte eyeshadows, which I am. I very rarely wear shimmer unless it's an occasion and up until I bought Tartlette I'd pretty much lived off of the Kat Von D Shade and Light palette over the past few years.

This palette is so incredibly rich it's a pleasure to use, but with strong colours comes fallout so give those brushes a tap before touchdown. As you can see there's a gorgeous selection of neutral shades ranging from ever so light to the blackest black. (Had I known I'd come back to blogging I'd have photographed it new - sorry about that!)

You can see just how pigmented these eyeshadows are from the swatches above, its nice that even the lightest shades give you something to work with as some palettes don't have enough oomph I often find.

I've marked the shades I used for the makeup below in the previous two images and I absolutely adore the shade Best Friend which is what stands out the most. I love a taupey brown anyway but it can be unusual to find one with a berry tone to it.

I've gone heavier here than I would for every day wear but I love that this palette can be versatile in this way. I use lighter browns for day to day wear then something like this when I'm going out. Palettes that can do both are very precious to me because I don't like to carry a lot of my own makeup around, I lug too much makeup around at work to want to do it elsewhere as well. On the same note the palette itself is actually a really nice size, it's compact enough to fit in my regular makeup bags but big enough to give you a great sized mirror for touch ups on the go.

I feel I can't finish this post without remarking on how delicious the palette smells, it's like opening a fresh box of chocolates every time I do my makeup. I reckon I'll be using this palette for a long time to come. 

Friday, 4 January 2019

Happy New Year with Anastasia Beverly Hills

Oh hi there strangers, 2019 has dragged me back to my humble little blog after what seems like there anyone still out there!? I hope everyone has had a wonderful festive period and have kicked off the new year feeling good about what's to come. After a slightly turbulent 2018 I'm determined to make this year more productive and fulfilling and create more time for things I usually tell myself I can't fit in, like this.

I've had a few eyeshadow palettes that I've loved using over the past few months and really wanted to share on here but being out of the blogging loop I just never remembered to take photos. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen this Christmas makeup look already when I posted it a few weeks back.

I had a lot of fun creating a makeup that was simple yet also a little whimsical, the rosy cheeks and pink nose were inspired by the chilly weather outside, and some fake freckles seemed like a cute addition. Oh how I wish I was as blessed in real life. However the reason I tempted you over here today was to share a palette with you, Prism by Anastasia Beverly Hills.

I've had this palette sat in a drawer for a little while without many opportunities to use it, I love the mix of mattes and shimmers, with some gorgeous peachy tones but mostly those golds! I was gagging to get them on my face over Christmas and in this look I used a combination of the four I've pointed out above. Sphinx and Eternal in particular are stunning and so rich, in fact there is really good pay off from all the shades I've tried in this palette, I'm very impressed.

EDIT: It niggled at me all weekend so I came back and added swatches, I don't know what I was thinking!? Also, I now have a new favourite shade I can't wait to try, Lure. The colour order corresponds with the palette so hopefully it's easy to see which is which.

This is the first time I've really used any eyeshadows from ABH. I'm a massive fan of their brow pomade and a lover of their bronzers but that's pretty much the extent of my experience with the brand, hopefully I can get my hands on some other bits to try this year.

I'd really love to hear if you've been using this palette, or have any other recommendations for products of theirs. Or just pop me a comment to say hi so I know I'm not talking to myself...who am I kidding, I'm quite content talking to myself. I'm just happy not to be covered in tinsel anymore, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Grungey green with Kat Von D

It has taken me so long to write this post. I'm having a day of the most excruciating back pain and my brain is apparently finding it difficult to be elsewhere. I can only apologise in advance for the un-contained ramblings that follow.

I've started off 2018 happy but incredibly poor, January can always be a bit dead work wise for me but an upcoming project also fell through leaving me with a touch of the "how do I pay rent?" fear. So I've been raiding my kit, my workshop, even my personal makeup looking for things I can sell to other artists and in the process I've been rediscovering some bits I love or have yet to even try.

Today I want to talk about the Kat Von D Shade + Light Eye Contour Quad, which falls into the latter category. This was a present from one of my closest friends, we went to uni together and have a lot of the same tastes and interests, makeup being one of them. I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to get this on my face (I think it's been about 9months since I received it.) but after having a little play today I'm excited to start getting some proper use out of it.

I love the whole aesthetic off Kat Von D's beauty line, I'm very much a goth at heart, wrapped up in a pastel haired exterior. I love all of the packaging and for this palette in particular I really like the cut gem shape and very much appreciate the wipe clean finish.

I'm presuming these Eye Contour Quads come in other shades as well but this one features a deep green, which isn't really a colour I would have thought to experiment with. It is dark enough however that it's actually very wearable whether you're going a bit messy and grungey like me, or for something more extravagant on a night out.

Although I never stick to them, I like that KVD's products come with a key telling you what each shade is intended for should you need it. So from left to right these are the called Base, Define, Contour and Highlight.

Finding this palette actually came at the perfect time as I'd been slowly getting back into the smudged eyeliner look and this gave me a nice alternative to that. So first up I just used the green shade around my lashlines and blended it out slightly with a clean brush and then my finger to keep it slightly raw and messy. I didn't apply right into the corners of my eye with colour directly I just smudged what was there already so it wasn't as intense. Something like this whether you use eyeshadow or eyeliner to achieve it is so quick and easy, but adds some definite intensity to the eyes.

You'll have to excuse the photos, because of the shape of my eyes and them being slightly hooded it's a little hard to see the difference in the two looks.

For the second one I applied a lot more, I took the green right into the socket and blended it out a little, concentrating the colour to the outer corners and crease does tend to widen my eyes slightly. I also added a little more under my bottom lash line so that was more intense.

I then used the Base colour, I swept this across my eyelid, a little in the corners of my eyes and a tiny bit right under the lower wash of green. Lastly I used the Highlight shade on my brow bone and a little around the outside to help that green blend out a bit more.

I also added some felt liner to my top lashes, and pencil liner on my waterline to finish it off.

As you can see the green really isn't too green at all, its got a hint of grey to it and is so dark that I think it makes for a slightly more interesting smokey eye. As someone who is completely stuck in their ways when it comes to their own makeup it's nice to change it up a bit, I need to try and force myself to keep it up.

If anyone else has created any looks with this palette I would love to see, I love to do other people's makeup (duh) but find it so difficult to be creative with my own.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Review: Uncommon Goods gift guide*

I've just finished a busy run of work and during this brief period while I still have some money in the bank I've been getting as much Christmas shopping done as possible. I love buying presents and spend ages searching for gifts that are unique and quirky but also have a personal touch for my friends and family.

I was really excited to be contacted by Daniel at Uncommon Goods because not only did it give me an excuse to browse the website for hours and oogle all the precious things of the shop, but they were kind enough to let me choose some items to help me review their website.

UG is a marketplace style site run out of Brooklyn, New York specialising in unusual, handmade goods. Don't worry, most of their gifts can be ordered internationally and prices can be seen in British pounds which is handy. The company strives to minimise environmental impact as much as possible, both themselves and their artists use sustainable or recycled products where possible. They are also part of a program called Better To Give which allows customers to choose a parter to donate $1 of their orders to, something I'm sure all of us can get behind.

I went ahead and chose some bits, they're all items I loved personally but also all pretty affordable so they would make great gifts. If your taste is drastically different to mine don't fear, there is a huge range of products on the site.

Miniature things, who doesn't love them? So cute!! I knew instantly I needed to give this tiny boat to a friend who loves everything nautical. I love a gimmick so the oar for scooping out the salt pleases me greatly. It will make such a sweet addition to the dinner table or even just kept on the kitchen counter. This little, pewter boat was handmade in Nova Scotia which makes it that little bit more special I think.

This one is right up my street, I'm a big fan of anything anatomy/medical themed and I had the huge dilemma of which organ to chose. In the end it seemed a no-brainer to go for a classic heart. I'm currently having an internal struggle whether to keep this for myself or gift to a friend I know would also adore it. Sharing is caring right? (I want it.) There are 13 different organs to choose from, I kind of need the uterus too.

Oh be still my beating heart, is this not a thing of beauty? Pineapple, check. Gold, check. Functional, ding ding ding. I love this so much, it looks most majestic on my makeshift bar and too pretty to use but I'll be drinking out of this bad boy a lot over the Christmas season I'm sure, and you better believe I'll be smug about it. I wouldn't normally spend £25 on a tumbler for myself so this did feel like a treat and would make a super special gift for anyone else with as impeccable taste as me. *winks*

How sweet is this? I love the illustrations on this game which is what first caught my eye. My friends and I tend to get together for games nights from time to time and it's something my family like to do at Christmas as well so I feel like this will get some good use. It's all very compact and portable so is a good one to chuck in your bag and take out, I can't wait to have an excuse to play it.

Last but definitely not least is this awesome print, as you can see it goes perfectly with my slowly growing gallery wall. I love the simple, monochrome design, it's very much my style. There are quite a few great prints on the site but this one jumped out at me, I'm really glad I chose this.

I spent an awful long time looking through the Gift section on Uncommon Goods, trying to whittle down what I wanted and once I'd finally made a decision I was really excited to receive the box of goodies and find that they were just as wonderful as they looked on the site. They arrived quickly and were packaged well to protect everything inside, the quality of the products is perfect and I'd feel very confident ordering from UG in the future.

I did notice that because the site has such a wide range of gifts it's easy to find something for everyone, I always struggle shopping for the men of my family but there are some great bits and pieces for all the guys in your life here and here. It's always the trickiest part of Christmas shopping for me.

Also if you like what I've shown you so far in this post, do check out the Uncommon Collection which features exclusive products meeting the highest standards for uncommon design, sustainability and doing good. This is such a nice idea to showcase those items that are specifically environmentally friendly and using resourceful business practices in their creation.

I'd love to hear what you thought of the items I chose or if you've spotted anything else on the site you'll be ordering, it's so nice to discover a little haven for new and original products so you can really feel like you're giving your loved ones something special. It's the same excitement I get from markets, second hand stores or even TKMaxx - the treasure hunter in me is content.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Skincare Review: Proaura serum*

I'm back with another skincare review, this time from a brand that is completely new to me. I'm always excited to try new products on the eternal quest for better skin, if you're not on this ride please don't tell me, the world wouldn't be able to handle my jealousy.

Proaura is a Vitamin C Face Serum with Astaxanthin which is boasted as nature's most powerful antioxidant and 60 times more powerful than Vitamin C. Proaura has both as well as hyaluronic acid and claims to help your skin with ageing in a number of ways. Firming the skin and increasing elasticity, long lasting hydration and restoring vitality to dull, tired looking complexions. This last point is what peaked my interest the most, my lifestyle is erratic and work often means long days and little sleep, sometimes out in harsh weather.

One more thing, Proaura is hypoallergenic, paraben and fragrance free which I know is a big plus for some of you guys.

As mentioned already I love to try products that will help with my dull, tired skin when I've been on a big work stint, but I was also intrigued to give Proaura a go when I noticed one of the main ingredients was hyaluronic acid. I tend to go for products containing hyaluronic acid quite a lot as they've always worked nicely on my skin, keeping it brighter due to the added hydration.

As you can see the packaging is very simple, I always like this look as it's almost got an old apothecary feel. I'm okay with a clinical look, I associate it with something that works and is good for you before I've even given it a go.

You dispense the product using the built in pipette and don't need a lot of it at all. I tend to use a little extra so I can take it down my neck too and give me slightly more time to rub it into my skin. You get a tightening feeling as it sets so I like to follow it up with a moisturiser whether I'm using it before bed or under my makeup.

Now Proaura claims to deliver visible results in just three to four days of application, I'm not sure I could say I saw any dramatic change in my case but my skin definitely feels a little more smooth and looks slightly brighter and more even, but I do have to use it daily. I also used to be quite conscious of a couple of forehead lines I'd developed yet these seem to be less noticeable lately. I don't know if Proaura has reduced them or made my makeup sit nicer but I'm very grateful either way.

I have to admit I've been using this product for quite a while before I got the time to write my review and am now nearly at the end of the bottle. I do love to try new products each time something runs out but I am going to be sad when this runs out.

Proaura is usually £35 for a 30ml bottle which I think is a reasonable price due to how far it goes, but I noticed it's currently on sale for £25 so now is definitely the time to grab it here.

If you do give it a try I'd love to hear your thoughts and I hope you enjoy it as much as me.