December 30, 2013

My First Christmas Experience

Growing up in the middle east, my folks wasted no time in letting me know that Santa wasn't real. (I really hope there aren't any kids who read this blog). An unspecified parent was especially anti-Christmas. This meant I wasn't allowed to join friend's Christmas parties or give gifts to friends who did celebrate it, so receiving gifts was awkward. Christmas was just another day, so permanently moving to the UK has let me experience it for the first time.

I'm going to cut to the chase, on actual Christmas day, I slept till 5pm due to work related reasons and had the house to myself. So when I say the 'Christmas Experience' I mean the month leading up to it. The first Christmasy related thing I took part in was way back in November where we caught the local Christmas parade and watched as the Xmas lights went on in Brum. We finished the night by indulging in some overpriced hot chocolate at Starbucks. 

Personally Christmas day for me was way back on Dec 1st where I along with a couple of friends had a Christmas dinner together. It was quite amusing and I learned a lot, I had no idea crackers were a regular feature (I got tiny tape, I have no idea if I'll ever find use for this) at a Xmas dinner but you have to pull it in a specific way. I also had no idea cheesey Christmas songs are regularly played at these dinners, I felt like I had warped into a Christmas movie. Despite all the temptation, I didn't really stuff my face too much, but I did get sleepy and apparently was the token grandpa at the party and had a quick nap.

Aside from that, I was gifted my second ever advent calendar and unlike the first time, I actually managed to not eat it all in a few days. My partner was away with family on Christmas day but I was surprised to get a message saying to go look under the Christmas tree whenever I woke up and lo and behold there were two tiny packages waiting for me. Since I had also bought something for him, I had to fight my curiosity and said I'd wait till he came back so we could exchange gifts face to face.

The day after, I thought I'd make my way into town and at least see what all the fuss surrounding boxing day was. I was rather disappointed by the sales as a lot of it just seemed like reject Christmas gifts. I did however, manage to pick up the Bat Lash set from the local Illamasqua counter so no complaints. I also didn't think the crowds were that bad, (the side effects of being raised in the land of the malls) but I may have been lucky and missed the rush.

Overall, it was experience? It was nice to finally kind of get into Christmas but I have to say people definitely seemed extra preachy this month. Getting religious talks made me cringe a lot, same with people saying how terrible it was for people to go and indulge in boxing day. It all just came off as extremely narrow minded. The only other minor disappointment would be the lack of Christmas decorations I've seen. I had kinda hoped people in the neighborhood would go crazy with Xmas lights all over their houses but I'm going to guess that'd be something I'd have to move to the states for.

How did other people's Christmas go this year? Let me know below and even feel free to link up to Xmas related posts below :)

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December 24, 2013

Lush Rudolph Face Mask Review

As a vast majority of you are aware, Christmas is only a few days away and Lush, as per usual, have released a couple festive themed products. As it's the first time I'm in the UK/any country where Christmas is a 'thing', this is the first time I've been able to indulge in all of it's consumerist glory and have grabbed myself this Rudolph face mask. It is a seasonal mask so it won't be around in stores for much longer until next winter. So why the name? The pictures below will explain.

As far as I'm aware, the red jelly in the centre is solely for decoration purposes. I've not tried to stick it on my nose either. The ingredients for the face mask consists of cucumber, kaolin, oatmeal, tofu, coconut oil, mint, green tea powder and lavender oil. 

On my first application, this was really awful to apply. I would scoop a little out and apply it on my face but it wouldn't even stick to it. Also there was a fair bit of fallout. So on my first two applies, I sat there with barely any face mask on me, which really did not do much.

It wasn't until my 3rd try that I figured out how to apply it effectively, I had to leave it on the side for a an hour or two so it'd be less crumbly and basically scooped out a lot and just slapped it all over my face, I was very liberal as I applied it over the bathroom sink so I didn't care about fall out and it seemed to do the trick.

Did it work? Honestly, I felt like there was some improvement but it's not as effective as some of the other face masks by them I've used. As my skin isn't usually red on my face but it definitely left my skin looking and feeling smooth. 

Would I recommend? Honestly? I don't think I'd buy this again next year so for that, unless your skin goes red in the winter months I don't think this is particularly 'great' and I can see why it sells for just the Christmas season.

A tub of any fresh face mask by Lush sells for £5.95, but Rudolph retails for £5.50. Have you tried out any of Lush's Christmas related products? Share your thoughts below!

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December 19, 2013

5 Refreshing Ways Frozen Breaks the Traditional Disney Princess Fairytale Mould

When I first watched the trailer for Disney's Frozen, I honestly didn't think much and was not hyped to see it at all. That snowman struck me as annoying and the plot seemed uninteresting. When many positive reviews began spreading all over the web, the movie suddenly grabbed my attention and I made my way to the cinema to see what all the fuss was all about and damn did it bring such a welcome refreshing change to the usual Disney Princess story. If you haven't watched the film yet, I highly recommend you do before you read any of this as it contains important spoilers.

Warning: Spoilers!
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December 15, 2013

Urban Decay Naked 24/7 Glide-On Double-Ended Eye Pencils

A lot of people have been rather vocal about the new Naked3 palette, whether it be about how they must have it or about how boring it is. With the whole beauty world busy focusing on the new palette, I had no idea that Urban Decay was also releasing double-ended eye pencils for each of their Naked palettes. That's 4 double ended eyeliner pencils for the Naked palette, Naked 2, Naked3 and the Naked Basics palette.

The main reason behind my purchasing this is that I've actually only recently bought myself the single pencil liner in Perversion (the blackest black) and have fallen in love with it so much that I'm getting through the product faster than I'd like. So I figure that these would be some nice alternative shades to wear for work and I can savor Perversion for social events.

I ended up picking up only 2 out of the 4 choices available as Naked contains shades that are available in the full collection that I've swatched and didn't care for and Naked 2 had Perversion, which I already own along with another shade that I wasn't so sure would look right on my skin. The Naked 3 and Naked Basics pencils both contain colors that aren't currently available as single eyeliners. I'm unsure as to whether they used to be available previously though.

Naked Basics The two shades are rather yin and yang with Crave being the deepest, darkest brown-black matte whilst Venus is a soft, off-white shimmer great for highlighting. 

Naked 3 The two shades in this are Darkside (my mind instantly thinks of the villain Darkseid) which is a purple taupe shade with a satin finish and the standout shade Blackheart, which is a smoky black matte with a rosy red micro glitter finish. The pictures for Blackheart really don't do it justice.

Personally, I love the idea of these as when it comes to Urban Decay's 24/7 eye pencils, I'm instantly attracted to the bright and colorful shades and haven't been keen on spending money on a boring shade at all. However, as these are essentially 2 in 1 liners and cheaper than the singles at £12 compared to£14 it was a no-brainer. If you haven't tried any of Urban Decay's eyeliners, it's definitely a great way to test them out for yourself too. If you've been looking for a really black eyeliner I would recommend you try out Naked 2 as it has Perversion, 

As far as I can tell these have the same consistency as the rest of the 24/7 eyeliner range, they're wonderfully creamy and incredibly long lasting. I really had to rub my hands to get rid of the eyeliner on it for all but Venus as it's the lightest color.

I think these have only recently released in the states whilst these won't really be fully available in most places in the UK until the 20th of this month but guess what guys? Debenhams have these in and they're 10% off. For some reason Naked 2 and Naked 1 are listed as sold out though so you'd best pop in store to grab these.

Will you be trying out these eyeliners at all? Or are you all keen on the Naked 3 palette? Let me know below!

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December 11, 2013

5 Radiant Orchid Makeup Products for 2014

Radiant Orchid has officially been announced as color of the year for 2014, where Orchid is classed as a purple with pink undertones. I'm most definitely a huge fan of purple but I have to say I'm rather disappointed that it's a pink based purple as I do find the number of 'purple' lipsticks on the high street that are more pink than purple slightly irritating. I want more blue based purples! Violet all the way! I don't usually care at all about trends but it would be cool if companies were to release truer purple products over pinky purple this coming year.

Products L-R (No primer) : Illamasqua Shadow in Savage | Sugarpill Shadow in 2AM | Illamasqua Blush in Thrust | Kat Von D Lipstick l.u.v. | Lime Crime Uniliner in Orchidaceous

As I said, I'm not into trends and I was just curious to see if I even had anything that was Orchid. I was surprised to find I did own one flowy top that probably qualifies along with these 5 makeup products, which are my only orchid makeup products. It would have been ideal to have had a single type of each product in this but surprisingly, I don't own a pinky purple nail polish at all, so I've popped in two shadows instead and didn't want to go out of the way to buy makeup in a color I don't necessarily love.

1. Illamasqua Pressed Eyeshadow in Savage I purchased this during one of Illamasqua's summer sales for just £5 on a whim. I'm ashamed to say I haven't really used this color much aside from adding it to a pink eyeshadow look for extra depth. I need to use my Illamasqua shadows more as I don't have a definite opinion on them yet.

2. Sugarpill Pressed Eyeshadow in 2AM | Heartbreaker Palette I've said in my Perfect Palette tag that my Sugarpill palettes give the best color payoff, especially this palette. I admit, poison plum is definitely my favorite purple shade out of all of the ones Sugarpill do but this is my second favorite and it goes really well with the rest of the colors in the palette.

3. Illamasqua Powder Blusher in Thrust This is the closest 'purple' blush I own, Illamasqua actually describe it as a deep magenta pink. I adore Illamasqua powder blushers as they're long lasting and super pigmented, I admit though that with this shade, I'm too scared too apply too much on my cheeks as I'm worried it'll make me look a little too clownish as it's rather bright.

4. Kat Von D lipstick in l.u.v. My purple lipstick collection has grown a lot in the last few months. I've specifically been avoiding buying any pinky purple lipsticks so this is probably the closest one to orchid I own which doesn't have a blue undertone or isn't too brown or berry like. L.u.v. is currently only a limited edition shade that was part of Kat Von D's Spellbinding Lipstick Set. Fingers crossed, it will be part of their permanent range as it's my most used from the set. 

5. Lime Crime Uniliner in Orchidaceous Officially the only item I own that has 'Orchid' in the name, I had to include this. That said, after swatching, this is clearly the most blue toned purple out of all of these. I do adore these eyeliners as I don't really know many companies that do colors like these that are cheap as well. The only issue I have with Lime Crime's liners are that some of them need extra layering as they're not opaque enough.

What are your thoughts on the new color of the year? Awesome? Disappointed? Maybe apathetic? Let me know in the comments section below!

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December 06, 2013

If I Celebrated Christmas...

Also known as, if only I came from a family that celebrated Christmas and have more money than sense. This is the first time I'll be in the UK over Christmas time so it's interesting actually seeing all of the crazy makeup sets that are available to those who do celebrate it.

Christmas Gifts for the Makeup Addict

1. Urban Decay's The Vault What Makeup Addict hasn't heard of this set of 40 eyeliners? The second I saw it online, my reaction was WANT. Yet, when it came down to it, I knew in reality that even though the price is decent for a set of 40, I'm only really interested in maybe 10 eyeliners at the most and if I had ever spent that much money, I'd probably hate myself a little for getting it. Cheerful thoughts huh? XD

2. Kat Von D Spellbinding Lip Set This may be kind of a cheat as I already own this, but I'm glad I got it. I've been meaning to try out more of this beautiful woman's line for a while, especially the lipstick sets she's released. I've stopped myself from buying previous years' ones as they generally had a rather boring selection of color choice but this set has a decent variety of them. My only complaint is how small they were.

3. NARS One Night Stand Palette I'm a NARS virgin. Never tried any of their items ever but I hear they're meant to be amazing, especially their blushers! So when the new set released, I figured this would be the best chance to try them out as they're rather pricey, at least it would have been if I had purchased it immediately. Now they're all on ebay for ridiculous amounts of money.

4. Sephora Give Me More Lip Set This is another one that I already own but haven't written anything up for. Sephora has honestly released a load of amazing gift and value sets this year. It's such a shame that many of these sets aren't available in the France store as they're Unfortunately, it seems as though Sephora no longer

5. Bare Minerals Degrees of Dazzling Set Not only am I NARS virgin, I'm also a Bare Minerals virgin...along with many other makeup brands. When I saw Bare Minerals' Degrees of Dazzling set in Debenhams I was of course instantly attracted to it. It was also rather affordable compared to Urban Decay's the Mother Lode and don't think it cost any more than £60, sadly it seems as though it's all sold out. 

6. Benefit Lip Gloss Set Out of all of Benefit's Christmas gift sets that released this year, the lip gloss set was the only one that really interested me, I can't help but think it's simple because of the purple gloss in the set. Damn my Achilles heel. The six lipglosses are all sample sizes and I may be getting my hands on this soon as Debenhams has 15% off Beauty until Sunday. 

7. Illamasqua Design By You Nail Polish Set I, like many people, am a huge fan of Illamasqua. The Design By You set allows you to create your own nail polish whilst working with David Horne at the Illamasqua Beak Street Store in London. The concept is pretty awesome and I do adore my Illamasqua nail polishes. The opportunity to make your own personal shade would lighten your wallet by £300. I've only seen this option on the Selfridges website, it doesn't seem to even be listed on Illamasqua's site at all.

8. Kat Von D Spellbinding Look Kit As I've said already, I've been meaning to try more of Kat Von D's products and this seems like an excellent way to try it out. If you're not from the states, you can get your hands on Kat Von D goodies from Roses Beauty Store.

9. Illamasqua Perfect Pout Gift Set A set of 6 of Illamasqua's lipsticks including a purple one and an exclusive shade? Want! Sadly, I already own too many of the colors in the set to justify the purchase, even if the price has come down from £85 to £60.

10. Yves Saint Laurent La Laque Couture Colour Collection I saw this and thought, I must get this but thankfully it's sold out and I also saw this and got them mixed up with Tom Ford, who should totally release a set like this. YSL though? I'd rather they released a decent lipstick value set for christmas..

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December 04, 2013

Perfect Palette Tag

I've never been a fan of tagged posts. The content for the majority of them never appealed to me. That said, whilst watching Vintage or Tacky's videos I came across this Perfect Palette tag as it seemed like a fun tag to do. I haven't really seen it in many blogs but after some googling turns out it's only recently spreading around. Essentially, there are 8 different categories and you need to chose a palette per category. When I tried to do this mentally, I really struggled to think of which palettes to go with which and thought I had barely enough palettes to cover each category, so I gathered all of my palettes together.

The 8 categories are:
1. Best Packaging
2. Best Color Payoff
3. Most Versatile
4. Best for Travel
5. Biggest Regret
6. Best Color Names
7. Least Used
8. Most Used / Most Loved / Desert Island

Best Packaging
This was a no brainer, I adore the packaging of all of Sephora's Disney palettes. I only own the Jasmine one out of the three that released, I really wanted to love the Ariel one but the color selection was disappointing. Anyway, this is the only palette I own that sits on my shelf as a decorative piece because I think it's just that pretty. I don't own any Urban Decay palettes but if I did, I know that it would have been a contender for this spot.

Best Color Payoff
This was going to be a toss up between either a Sugarpill or an Inglot palette and in the end, I ultimately decided to chose Sugarpill over Inglot for color payoff. Specifically the Heart Breaker palette, had I not already owned all three palettes before the release of their pro palette, I definitely would have purchased that but sadly, I have three smaller ones to keep. So out of the three, I chose this one, which is the newer one of the three that I own.

Most Versatile
What's more versatile than a Z-palette? Surely nothing! You can depot anything and everything and just throw it all in here. I essentially use this palette to store all of my makeup geek shadows along with a bunch of things I've depotted. Including a Clinique blush and a few lipsticks. You could buy shadows from all sorts of brands and keep them here though, Makeup Forever, Inglot and even MAC. What you do with it is up to you.

Best for Travel
Inglot Palettes were the first palettes I had ever owned, and they are the company that sparked my initial interest with makeup. These freedom palettes are amazing for travel because they're not only stackable but have magnetic lids that make it impossible for your eyeshadows to fall everywear whilst travelling. I've taken my Z-palette abroad before but regretted it because of it's flimsy lid, I've never had a problem with Inglot ones.

Biggest Regret
I bought this BH Cosmetics Original 120 palette so I would stop going out of my way to go and buy ALL of the eyeshadows. I find that it's not especially pigmented as people have claimed it to be and more importantly this post by Sara had put me off it completely as I realised that this palette was from China when I inspected it closely, which also meant that it wasn't cruelty free, d'oh! If animal safety isn't your thing, hopefully your own health would be enough to put you off makeup made in China. Arsenic and mercury? Not on my face please.

Best Color Names
It turns out that not a lot of my palettes have decent shade names as a fair few of them rely on numbers or don't even have a name at all! So my choices were limited to start with. Out of all palettes I own, I would say I like this names in Sigma's Creme De Couture palette the most. They're mostly just sweet desert names that make me hungry. If my Concrete Minerals Zombie Girl collection was in a palette though, that would have easily have been my number one choice.

Least Used
I'm ashamed to say that the Beautifully Disney Enchanted Kiss palette that arrived broken the first time I purchased and had to demand for a new second one is probably my least used one, unless you count the Claire's palette in the first two images, but I had received that at an event and still haven't taken any photos before trying it out so I'm disqualifying that one. This Disney palette is actually quite nice...for neutral colors, which was why I went for it as I thought it'd encourage me to try more subtle looks, so far, it hasn't worked yet and I should really work on fixing that soon.

Most Used, Most Loved, Desert Island
I honestly, don't feel like I own the perfect palette yet and when I made my mental list I was going to cop out by leaving it at that without choosing one and mentioning that if I was stranded on a desert island I honestly wouldn't be worried about what I look like and much more concerned with shelter and survival. However, just before finishing this post, I changed my mind and decided that out of all the palette I currently own, this would be my most used and most loved, despite it not really seeing much love recently. This Inglot palette was my second ever palette that I owned and it was the first one whose color selection I had chosen myself.

I'd love to see all of your choices and will be tweeting a few people who I'd like to see try this tag soon. Feel free to link up your post in the comments below! Even if you don't take part, feel free to just write your choices down there!  

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December 01, 2013

Giveaway Winners

A short quick announcement on who's won Urban Decay's giveaway.

The prize of a Revolution Lipstick of their choice goes to winner 1, and the Urban Decay samples are for the second winner. Winners will be contacted within the next 24 hours for personal information and will have 48 hours to respond, otherwise prize 1 will go to winner 2 and the samples will instead be given to a 3rd winner. 

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November 29, 2013

Sleek Makeup Blushers

Boots and Superdrug have been hosting a 3 for 2 deal this past month, so I used this chance to grab myself three of their single pan blushers as without the offer it never really made sense to buy the single pan ones when their Blush By 3's were better value. This review is much more of a first impressions post, but you will see a more in depth review in the future sometime once I've used these enough.

The three shades I ended up choosing were 923 Pomegranate, 926 Rose Flush and 935 Flushed. Pomegranate wasn't my first choice as there was a third shade I wanted but it wasn't in stock (I really dislike how empty Sleek Makeup stands always tend to be), so I figured I'd just grab this as it seemed like a lovely shade but when it came time to swatch, I didn't like the metallic kind of finish on it, it looks like  something I'd put on my eye not on my cheeks, but we'll see how I get along with it.

Rose Gold is the stand out shade out of all three easily. It is easily the most unique shade I've ever owned. The name is so fitting as well just look at those swatches! I love how it changes from rose to gold depending on what angle the light hits it. I've read that it's meant to be a dupe for Nars' ever so popular Orgasm blush but I don't recall thinking it was ever as pretty as this any time I finger swatched it, I'll have to go and look one more time now that I own this and compare.

Flushed was the second one I had actually settled on as it had swatched beautifully in store and seemed like a lovely everyday shade I'd be able to wear and was most excited for this when I first bought these. After using these, although flushed looks lovely on my cheeks, I'm too busy obsessing over Rose Gold to really appreciate this shade for now.

A single pan contains 8g of product which is rather generous, especially when you compare these to other blushers. My Illamasqua blushers, as lovely as they are only contain 4.5g and my NYX ones are still more expensive than these and still manage to contain less product. Madness. Although these do contain more product, they aren't as long lasting as some of my other blushers I find, I also managed to rub off these arm swatches using nothing but my hands quite easily as well. So you will probably find yourself needing that extra product.

You can grab one of these at your local Superdrug for just £4.49 each or on the Sleek Makeup site. Have you tried Sleek Blushers in the past? What do you think of them? Let me know below!

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November 24, 2013

Thor Inspired Makeup

I know the new Hunger Games film is out and people are probably expecting Hunger Games looks but I didn't feel particularly inspired by the movie and I'm still getting over how fun Thor the Dark World was. Admittedly, I know nothing about the Thor comic verse which prevented any potential nerd rage making it a fun and enjoyable watch. What I enjoyed most about the film, was the banter and general relationship between Thor and Loki. So, I thought I'd make two different looks, one on Thor, the other on Loki. Today's look, is based on Asgard's most arrogant warrior, Thor.

Arrogant may be harsh, I definitely got the impression Thor was that and rather stupid in Thor 1 and Avengers Assemble. It seemed as though they down played these qualities in the Dark World though. Anyway, moving on from all that, this look was based on the general grey, silver and red outfit we see Thor wearing, I thought it looked like I had just worn too much makeup, especially with the red lipstick, so I threw in some lightning in there as he has some connection with thunder and lightning sometimes. I'm not entirely sure what they are as they've not made it very clear. Anyway, I was very tempted to just scrap this look entirely as I wasn't too pleased with it but maybe some of you may feel differently? I find myself feeling very meh with makeup at this time of year because of the lack of lighting.

Products Used
Illamasqua Hydra Veil
Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation 10
Illamasqua Powder Foundation 200
Illamasqua Precision Ink in Scribe Abyss
Concrete Minerals mineral eyeshadow in Ether & Black Metal
Sugarpill pressed eyeshadow in Love+
Vitage Cosmetics Shadow in Spiced Coffee
Yves Rocher lipstick in Grand Rouge
Illamasqua Powdered Metal in Thalia

Did you catch Thor: The Dark World? What were your thoughts on it? Lemme know below!

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November 20, 2013

Benefit POREfessional*

This is officially my first post with a * at the end of it ever since I've added a disclaimer policy on the blog. If my memory serves correctly, I received this sample of Benefit's POREfessional at a Benefit event. This is, as I just said,  a sample size product, so it's not the item you would receive if you actually purchased the item. So this is meant to be one of Benefit's most popular products, especially in the UK. If you're not too familiar with Benefit cosmetics in general, Porefessional is a primer that is meant to minimise the appearance of pores and fine lines.

Aside from concealing pores and fine lines, POREfessional is oil-free, contains Vitamin E and also helps makeup last longer. It's won multiple awards in the last few years. It's also rather versatile as you can apply it either before or after applying makeup but it is recommended you use it after moisturising. If you suffer from dry skin from time to time, I would definitely moisturise as I woke up one morning with especially severe dry skin and this ended up irritating my skin by causing a stinging sensation. That said, I've never otherwise had a negative reaction to POREfessional and I don't really regularly moisturise (aside from a bit of Hydra Veil). 

What I love about the beige formula is that it applies nude, making it a universal product for every skin tone. My issues with it? I don't really know if it's doing anything for me. I think it made my makeup last longer, but I'm honestly not sure. I'd say it may have concealed my fine lines but it definitely did not do anything for my pores at least no more than my foundation does. As an award winning product, I think I had too high expectations for this. It may be something to do with potentially not needing the product yet? I suppose it would react differently among various skin types.

So ultimately, will I be purchasing a full item? Sadly, no. I have almost used up my entire sample and I don't see the need to spend £24.50 on a product that doesn't really seem to be doing much to my skin. I would rather invest in something that would actually minimise pores rather than conceal them. That said, I would potentially try out a few more samples just to see if I am missing something or not.

Have you tried this item? Did it work well with you or am I missing something here? Maybe I'm applying it wrong? Do share your experiences/tips below! 

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