Thursday, 30 January 2014

Monochrome mania

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I felt, after a week from absolute hell, that is was time for me to browse the online retailers in hope of cheering myself up with the winsome, extravagant clothing which were on show; which of course has lead on to another one of my famous top 20 wishlists. Now, I don't know whether this was a good or a bad idea, as now I've fallen completely in love with every item and although the captivating clothing did succeed in boosting my mood, I'm left swooning knowing I cannot afford anything. At the moment, I absolutely adore the monochrome trend. It's been around for a while but this Autumn/Winter (and even going into S/S), it's really hit home and I can't get enough of it. From spots to stripes, checked to gingham, hearts to flowers and the irresistible dazzling prints; it ticks all the boxes. I think what attracts me most is the fact black and white clothing is so versatile and so stylishly appealing when worn. Teamed up with a brighter coloured coat and a pair of cliche black boots and you're set to go brave the winter weather. You just can't go wrong!

Are you loving the monochrome trend, or any of the other latest trends? Let me know your favourites; after all, you can never have too many clothes and accessories to lust over.

P.S: I finally figured out (to the best ability I could reach which isn't that great) to insert a navigation bar into my blog. Hopefully it's working fine, the only problem being when I viewed my blog via mobile, the navibar seems to be off width compared to what it looks like on desktop. If anybody has a solution on how to fix this, I'd be extremely grateful as I don't want to fiddle with my html anymore than I already have done because let's face it, I'm absolutely useless.
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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Eyes, Lips, Face


A few weeks back, I widened my makeup range by taking advantage of the 50% off code at e.l.f. It's not a brand I'm familiar with, nor have I ever used anything from e.l.f before but I've seen so many reviews, both positive and negative about e.l.f and I decided it was time to indulge in and decide for myself. Recognizing the three letters from past blog browses, I wasn't sure what to expect and with slight embarrassment my way, it wasn't till I visited the website that I realised e.l.f stood for 'eyes, lips, face' (I'm late on realising common knowledge, I know!). At first sight I was pleased with how cheap the products were and how high quality they were according to the website reviews; something which I can't fully judge just yet as I haven't had the chance to try out everything. However, what I have used already I am mostly satisfied with and am surprised at just how lovely they are. At affordable prices I wasn't expecting much, but it has subverted me and I'd be more than happy to purchase again.



I went a little overboard with the brushes and the eyeshadow but it was all for a good cause; in other words I wanted to extend my brush collection to the point I start applying my entire makeup with various brushes, feeling their individual benefits for smoother and more beneficial appliance, and I want to start building up my eye makeup on the odd occasion with the addition of eyeshadow, just so I don't look as plain. The brushes I purchased were the Flawless Concealer Brush, Defining Eye Brush, Studio Complexion Brush, Small Stipple Brush and the Eyeshadow Brush. So far, I have only used the Complexion Brush and the Flawless Concealer Brush as these work well with my daily essentials and I am extremely impressed. The Flawless Concealer Brush is perfect for blending my Collection Concealer, especially when applying around my eye area. Since swapping my fingers to replace with a brush, I have noticed a more slicker and balanced appearance, it's easy to use with the curved and super soft brush and any streaks and creases I used to have, have vanished rapidly. The Studio Complexion Brush is implemented when I've finished putting my face on and again, it does a fantastic job of sweeping the powder delicately across my face, preventing any show of patches and forming the natural look. It's great for full makeup applications but it's also practical when you want to splash another bout of powder as the day progresses. The thickness of the brush is definitely a highlighted feature as when placing the brush into the desired powder/blush/bronzer it is not overpowered by colour and has just the right amount on the tip to apply onto the facial area. I am looking forward to using my other brushes as the weeks go on, the Eyeshadow Brush and the Defining Eye Brush will certainly come in handy when I fancy wearing eyeshadow and practice creating a mixed look and contouring the eye and the Small Stipple Brush will be perfect for any other combining I wish to do. As an even bigger bonus, all the brushes have a fluffy texture so are not rough on the skin and as of yet, none of the bristles have fallen out, yay! 


The eyeshadows I purchased were the Studio Matte Eyeshadow in Nude, the Studio Pigment Eyeshadow in Baked Brown, and the Pressed Mineral Eyeshadow in Beauty Queen and First Date. The packaging of the eyeshadows are cute, tidy and protective for when you want to carry them out anywhere, however the Studio Matte and Pigment Eyeshadows are much smaller than I thought. The Studio Matte and Pigment Eyeshadows also come with a sifter top which is pretty pointless as it doesn't allow enough powder to fall but it is easily removable so I was okay with that. With the Mineral Eyeshadows, Beauty Queen has more of a shimmer to it than First Date which I love when I want a more dazzling look but they both view the same on the eye; not very bright but nice enough to build up. The only downside is the pigmentation, it does take a while to layer for it to be visible. It is a soft, easy to blend eyeshadow with a lovely formula but as it's loose and thin, it takes a while to unify. We're only talking two or three goes which isn't a problem to me, but it may be an issue with others. As a whole, I think these are more suited for everyday use and you may have to top up a few times (but with it being a mineral eyeshadow I suppose that is expected and unavoidable). I'd love to try out the Baked Eyeshadows next time to compare the two and I think experimenting with darker colours may just show that pigmentation can change to a positive.

Moving on to the Studio Matte Eyeshadow; the colours of the Mineral eyeshadows are very similar and are so pretty and natural but I just couldn't push myself into liking the colour of this. The 'nude' colour looks much more yellowy when on the eye and it doesn't suit me at all. It is much more vivid and I think would be even more vibrant in other shades but I dislike how the colour becomes clumped and appears as though it's piled on. It is said to reduce fine lines but I must say it ridges easily (I think that would improve if a primer was put on first); however, the eyeshadow does provide much longer lasting, desired coverage which unfortunately is just about the only positive. Like the Mineral Eyeshadow, it is light to moderate pigmentation and you still need a few tries until you reach your required amount of eyeshadow on the lids.  It does tend to go everywhere and is quite difficult to get started with applying it. I didn't use the included brush to apply as I found it useless and impossible to blend with and ended up attempting to use my fingers. Truthfully, as a whole, I think the colour is a little bland and I do prefer the mineral eyeshadows with the glimmer to them. I wouldn't repurchase but I do think there are other uses for this eyeshadow, such as it being helpful to crease, applying to the bottom lid for an extra boost of natural colour, and to maybe even use as a highlighter.

As somebody who only likes neutral colours which are not entirely stand out eyeshadows and appear more faint but still shimmery on the eyelid, I was a little dubious of the Studio Pigmented Eyeshadow in Baked Brown as it wasn't as light as I thought it was. However, I am open to trying out different things and this was certainly a success. I think once on the eye, the darkness wears thinner and with it being a highly (amazingly!) pigmented eyeshadow, it is complimenting to my pale complexion, is crease resistant, only takes a swipe or two, stays on for a good few hours (which again would improve with a primer) and the application is even. Ironically, this turned out to be my favourite. Both this and the Studio Matte Eyeshadow are sheer but I prefer this kind of sheer as it has a shine to it. It is perfect for the smoky eye look (something which I'm still practicing) and the texture is super smooth. Although it is just as messy, if not more messy than the Studio Matte Eyeshadow, I find this deserves much more praise than the Matte. I do think the lighter browns enhance my eye colour more than the darker brown shades but it was nice to step out of my comfort zone when using this.


For the price of this Tinted Moisturiser (75p at the moment!!), you really can't go wrong and I was seriously impressed with how radiant it did make my skin look. The packaging is average, the tube is small and you'd have to stock up if you wanted to use this long term however, as a one off for me to try I don't have many bad things to say about it; you get what you pay for. The shade Ivory is perfect for my skin tone but the coverage is light so I have been applying one layer as a base before I put on my foundation. I have found it makes my skin look more glowing and smoothed out by doing it that way and manages to add a subtle tint, covering any redness and blemishes completely. It works brilliantly with my sensitive, oily skin which is often highly irritated by new products but this caused no problems at all and the orangey scent that arises is an added bonus. Some people may not like a smell to their face products but I find it refreshing and it doesn't stick on to the skin so it is bearable. I do have to use powder on top of this as it does leave my skin a little dewy but to say I do suffer with my oily skin, it is easily fixable. This is going to be a life saver for the summer and holidays abroad when I don't want to wear much makeup just for it to sweat off, but at the same time don't want to go bare faced showing my spot scars, dark circles and other imperfections and with SPF 15 included, it will protect my skin too. Overall I think the tinted moisturizer is ideal to pick you up when you need a slight boost in your complexion, to balance your skin tone and brighten your face in times of need.


Finally, the last products I popped into my e.l.f basket were the Studio Shimmer Palette and the Studio Makeup Mist & Set. The packaging of the Shimmer Palette really appealed to me, I thought it was prettily and securely packed with a cute, handy mirror included, along with the colours adding to the substantial brightness. I couldn't quite believe how suitable it is for the super affordable price. The variety of colours is a definite benefit as it gives you a chance to create similar shades but with a little experimental mixture. They are all light/cool toned which leaves a natural look, something which is always going to be my favourite. I have only used the rosey shade and the golden brown shade of the Shimmer Palette so far and I have used them as a highlighter around the cheek bones, under the brows and along the nose bridge. I don't think I'll be using them for the eyes as they have a creamy, buttery texture and I do think it would crease on the eye; however for the face it is fab. The smoothness of the shimmer stands out when applied but it is not obvious, it leaves a healthy glow and how it wears on the skin is SO lovely, giving you a sparkled effect. It is extremely lightweight which makes it easy to apply and it blends well without having to take too much time to build up (but once again I prefer to use my own brushes and my fingers in place of the one they supply). You only need a small amount so I can tell it's going to last me a long while and that tiny smidgen of shimmer goes a long way. It stays on for the majority of the day, and the high quality consistency provides the fresh look you chase after.

The Makeup Mist & Set is my new staple product. It does exactly as it says, and does an amazing job of keeping my face set for the day (but not literally, otherwise that could become pretty nasty). This is my first purchase of the sprays that keep your makeup in place and I'm so pleased with this that I don't think I'll be digging the cash out to pay for a more high maintenance one (unless I fancy a change). Just a couple of sprays on each part of the face is necessary to keep your makeup fresh for the day and with the pump being a decent enough size to fit in your handbag, you can use to top up your makeup as you feel your skin becoming shiny again. However, with the few times I've used this I haven't had to add more spritz, only when I'm going out somewhere a bit more important. Once again, it reacts pleasantly with my oily skin and doesn't contribute to any extra oil; in fact it does my skin justice, giving it a natural glow. Affordable and convenient, I couldn't recommend this enough. It's going to take a big step into my daily makeup routine.

So that's that. I didn't get round to photographing the eyeshadows I did like on my eyes or the shimmer and the tinted moisturizer on my skin but quite frankly I don't think it would show up well as they're all so natural and it doesn't look as though you are wearing much makeup which is why I am content with my spends. The brushes are certainly my most preferred items out of the bunch of stuff I ordered and I shall continue diving into the collection of brushes to find out which ones become my all time favourites. I hope you managed to get a summarized overview of the products and I do recommend you look out for the next discount code on e.l.f. (I do believe there's 25% off non sale items at the moment too) I certainly will be, as all of this only cost me £20 and I'm persuaded to now try other products. The products are hit and miss depending on personal preference and skin type but they're such good value for the money.

Has anyone tried out any e.l.f products and if so, what are your favourites? If you have anymore recommendations, feel free to throw them my way!

Lots of love...


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Thursday, 16 January 2014

Forage and Find

Now if there's one thing I love in life, it's jewellery and if there's an element that increases that love, it's vintage jewellery. However, this isn't just any vintage jewellery business, this is an authentic, dynamic vocation which doesn't believe in losing jewellery that would otherwise be forgotten about, but instead plans and puts together a whole new concept. I was recently approached by the lovely Alice from Forage and Find which lead on to my discovery of these beautifully unique, handmade jewellery pieces. Not only did I fall head over heels for the striking items, I loved the creative approach both Alice and her mother take on reproducing precious historical valuables, reworking them to suit individual styles and producing a spanking brand new fragment from the past, bringing it fresh and wrapped into the future. This not only means you're always guaranteed an interesting, unusual statement piece of jewellery that you will never find elsewhere, but it also benefits the environment, saves a perfectly reusable segment from being wasted, and upcycles those forlorn materials giving them a new and inspiring lease of life; all of which I'm 100% supportive and respectful, which I'm sure everybody else will also be. 

The story and background of the trade is so sweet and their positive attitude towards it is uplifting. To have an essence of history locked into the stunning gems is such a brilliant idea. Alice and her mother 'believe everyone should have access to interesting handmade vintage jewellery that provides a talking point.' They state 'We don't believe in mass produced, and instead prefer to rework previously unloved fragments of the past and dedicate our time to developing unique pieces of jewellery that will never be repeated again.'

What the virtuous duo do is simply special in each and every way. They are most certainly the most clever and skilled mother and daughter I have ever stumbled across. You can tell straight away the amount of time and effort that is put into designing the assortment of antique pieces and can identify the care, love and protection of these assortments. Each piece has a strong eye-catching feel to it and are so elegant and well thought out, the carefully crafted clarity shines through instantly, showing great tenderness towards every component and bringing them back to life. The majority of the jewellery even manages to tell a story, most of which gears up your imagination to represent a fairytale like the The Fox Jumped Over The Moon Silver Statement Necklace and the 1930's Watch Mechanism Necklace which reminds me of something I'd see lurking in the setting of Alice In Wonderland. From clock mechanisms, to swallows, to books, there really is something for everyone to choose from, indulge in and lust over (like I am at this moment in time). Below I've picked some of my favourites which was exceedingly difficult to narrow down, but I managed it... just.

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All images taken from www.forageandfind.co.uk

There are so many distinctive pieces you can work with and with affordable prices starting from as low as £7 and international shipping, you really couldn't ask for more. Each and every one of the products from the collection would make the perfect gift, especially now Valentine's Day is just around the corner. If this is something you like to try out or be inspired by, you have to check out this noteworthy brand. Once you have found that solitary piece, I'm truly certain it will be treasured for a long time. Forage and Find deserve the recognition and deserve to evolve and I have an enthusiastic instinct that this is going to thrive into something huge. 

You can find them here:
Etsy

Feel free to let me know if you took out that spare moment to browse through the glorified jewellery, I'd love to know what your favourite pieces are and if you now adore it as much as I do!


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Sunday, 12 January 2014

What I got for Christmas - the late edition

I guess I should start off here by wishing everybody a happy 2014! That stomach bug I so willingly spoke about in my previous posts seemed to make an appearance to the rest of the household, including me, last week and I've only really just got over the deathly, attacking germs (I must make a note not to jinx myself ever again because I'm prone to that). This means I've not even had the chance to photograph my wonderful Christmas gifts, up until now that is. Obviously, I haven't included everything. Which by everything I mean the numerous boxes of chocolates I was bought that have accidentally ended up disappearing in my now recovered stomach but there were other surprises too such as money, and a pampering voucher to have a day at the beauty salon with the ladies. 

Every year, I realise how lucky I am to receive such lovely, thoughtful gifts and 2013 was no different. As you get older, Christmas isn't as exciting as you already know most of what you'll be getting but I think that day in particular is filled with happiness and appreciation to your ever so attentive family and friends. My presents didn't have a theme to them, they were just random bits and bobs that sum me up completely. The main present from my mum was the Enrapture Encode Totem Styler which has become my new favourite hair product, does exactly as it says and makes my hair feel luxurious. Another product that has now become my holy grail is the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, I can't describe how better my skin looks and feels just from applying this over the past few weeks. My grandma quite gracefully broke my makeup brush virginity. She bought me the two Real Techniques brushes I was lusting after to start me off when venturing into brushes; the Expert Face Brush and the Blush Brush which I completely love. I also did pretty well with makeup bags which have come in handy as I'd been wanting some new necessities. I received two dainty ones from my mum and a lovely, angelic lace one from my Auntie.

The typical toiletry gift sets once again made a familiar appearance but you can never go wrong with some Nivea bath and shower luxuries, and the pretty Beauty Boutique box featuring hand cream and nail accessories was ever so cute. Moving away from the beauty side of things, my set of three bows from Birdcage Bows was one of my highlighted gifts. They are so beautifully made and I'm sure they'll do me great justice not only when I want to make my hair my main feature but to add that spark when I'm having a dull hair day too! The gorgeous phone case is from my mum and it's sitting dignified as I speak. The bracelet was a charming little gift from my friend and then there's the watch, which wasn't actually a present but I had to include it as it was just too irresistible (and cheap all at the same time) for me to not dig into my Christmas money pocket to buy. The clutch bag was yet another present from my ever so lavishing mum and it's so versatile, perfect for both winter and summer. I actually paired this with my gorgeous, floral, lace trimmed playsuit on New Years Eve (which was another present), and I can't wait to make use of it as I plan more events to use as an excuse to dress up. The black River Island bag was a sweet surprise from my cousin and his girlfriend. I wasn't expecting another bag but there's always an open space in my room crying out for one, especially when it's a dinky black piece which can be used almost every day.

My stunning photo frame and my adorable vanity mirror with a tiny smudge of storage are now both placed in my bedroom and match the vintage theme as suitably as a pair of snap cards; I fell in love with these at first sight. Finally, we have my pyjamas from Forever 21, I chose them myself but they ended up being another gift from my mum to me. They're not only ridiculously comfortable, but the top half gives out a strong message to inform the male population what to do to get us in their good books. 


So that's me done, did everyone else get what they wanted for Christmas? Anything in particular that shone out from the rest? I love to have a nosy at other people's gifts, even if it is ten times too late.

Lots of love...







P.S. As you may or may not have also noticed, I've already stuck to one of my New Year Resolutions regarding my blog and have had a little revamp. I also set up a Twitter page specifically for my blog which you can find with my social media buttons. All I need to figure out now is how to create a navigation bar for the top of my page and fight my way through html annoyance when implying it into my template. Hopefully I'll stick to another goal and post more regularly too, but for now I really need to work on my shocking time keeping skills which is stopping me from planning out posts frequently!
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