December 31, 2015

5 Makeup Purchases That I Regret Making in 2015

After sharing this year's favourite makeu, it's only fair that I share purchases that brought buyer's remorse.

1. Marc Jacobs The Lolita Palette
So this is a weird one. I'm currently panning this palette and have hit pan on 3 out of 7 of the eyeshadows. I get a lot of use out of it and can create many gorgeous everyday looks with it. It's also the sleekest eyeshadow palette I own. So why the regret? Pigmentation. While it's not impossible to work with, I find the shimmer doesn't seem to really ever pop as much as I'd like. Some days I notice that the eyeshadow has disappeared on my lids too. Certain shades have too much formula and others require just a little too much effort to blend. Ultimately, I felt like for the price I paid, I didn't get the amazing quality I was looking for.

2. Jeffree Star Cosmetics Liquid Lipstick in 794
Despite raving and raving about Jeffree Star's liquid lipsticks, I had a bad experience with one of them, 714. This is mainly my own fault, I knew from online swatches that it'd be too neon on my skin tone. I didn't even swatch it on my lips in store. I just made the purchase without thinking! Regret!

3. Milani Rose Powder Blush
This Milani blush is absolutely stunning! Which is exactly why I bought it. As for the quality I find that you really need to dig to get any colour on the cheeks. It's possible that the reason I had this issue is due to my medium skin tone. I also found it very difficult to blend the blush on to the skin.

4. Models Own Nail polishes
This was the only impulse purchase I made this year that I regretted the same day of purcahase. Since entering the working world, I rarely paint my nails AND I have a million nail polishes. Why on earth did I decide to buy 5 extra bottles of nail polish?

5. Covergirl 2 Step Mascara
I purchased this as a friend of mine had amazing lashes and she used this mascara. Thing is, she also just naturally had awesome lashes. Mine need the extra help so it didn't seem to work as well for me. Also as someone who dislikes mascara to begin with, why did I think getting a 2 step mascara would be a good idea? It's double the effort!

Have you made any purchases this year that you ended up regretting in the end?
Read More »
1 Comment

December 29, 2015

Top 10 Beauty Products of 2015

2015 is the year I attempted to not buy too much makeup. While I like to believe I reduced the amount of makeup bought compared to last year, I'll admit that if I did, it doesn't feel like I cut down enough. The original plan was to share my favourite palettes, nail polishes and lipsticks all seperately as I did last year. In the end, it was too difficult for me to do as there were only a few stand out products that I truely loved this year. I've expanded my usual top 5 post to my top 10. So, in no particular order:

1. Urban Decay's Naked Smoky Palette
Despite attempting to not purchase too many eyeshadow palettes this year, I ended up purchasing 7 and having 2 gifted to me. Out of all 9 palettes, I found it too difficult to create a top 5 palette list because they all couldn't compare with this one eye palette, the Naked Smoky. This palette really stood out to the rest in terms of pigmentation, blendability and colour palette.

2. Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipsticks 
I've raved and raved and raved about the Jeffree Star Liquid Lipsticks, I worry I'm boring my readers with how many times I've repeated myself. I've had one dud shade, 714, which did not suit my skin tone at all. The rest have been some of the best purchases I've made. Stopping myself from purchasing all the shades has been difficult. My personal favourite lip shades are Doll Parts and Celebrity Skin which have become everyday essentials for work.

3. Marc Jacobs Gel Liner in Blaqueur
When visiting Paris this year, I made the stereotypical beauty blogger's pitstop at Sephora. After picking up a few Marc Jacobs products, I was kindly given samples to go with them. In the end, I didn't really enjoy the stuff I bought but loved the samples I was given. The Marc Jacobs Blacqueur gel liner has been very well loved this year.

4. L'Occitaine Hair Repair Oil
Having bleached my hair to oblivion and beyond, I've been spending a lot of money maintaining it's condition. While I still stick to the same shampoo and conditioning products, I've been using L'Occitaine's hair repair oil instead of the L'Oreal one. At £20, these aren't cheap but I love the scent and the oil is thick enough to calm my frizzy bleached ends.

5. Illamasqua Brow Gel
I've always felt very 'meh' about brow products. For a long while, I'd just use brown eyeshadow to fill my brows. This year, I picked up Illamasqua's gel liner after having a makeover by one of their makeup artists. They had done an awesome job and I had never seen them so perfectly shaped back then. The fact that I hadn't threaded or plucked them for over a year at that point and still managed to get 'brows on point'.

6. Zoeva Brushes
The Zoeva brushes are my favourite impulse purchase of the year. For the longest time I had felt as though I didn't have all the right makeup brushes I needed. Once I picked up the Zoeva Rose Gold eye brush set, I've not felt like I've needed any more. It's no wonder these have been so raved about, they're excellent quality. I plan on investing on duplicates to use exclusively in the makeup kit.

7. Makeup Forever HD Foundation
I'm absolutely gutted about this foundation. After picking this up heavily discounted at IMATs this year, I fell in love with this foundation. It blurred my big pores and had very good coverage without a heavy finish. Then, Debenhams had even brought the brand nationwide on counters in the UK, so it should have been easy to replace my bottle right? Except Makeup Forever has changed their formula now and relaunched the foundation as Ultra HD. While my first instinct was to just go and pick that one up, online reviews were less than stellar and put me off.

8. Kat Von D Liquid Lipstick in Double Dare
The Kat Von D liquid lipsticks are my 2nd favourite formula. I find they're a bit more consistent in quality than Jeffree Star so far as I've yet to have found a dud in their range so far. Double Dare is awesome simply because it's both an awesome lip colour for daily use without sacrificing quality, something I had found plenty of nude/everyday liquid lip shades were guilty of.

9. Too Faced Baby Love Flush Blush
While this blush claims to last for 16 hours, I find blushes never last very long on my oily skin. This blush is no exception, it does not last 16 hours but it does manage to still be visible on my skin far longer than any other blush I own. I'm not going to lie though, how long it lasted wasn't the reason why I first purchased it, it was the adorable packaging that sucked me in.

10. Kat Von D Metal Crush Eyeshadow in Thunderstruck
This is the most versatile purchase I've made this year. Kat Von D's thunderstruck is described as a 'metallic pearl' on Sephora. It's great for adding sparkle to the lids, highlighting cheek bones or giving your lips a slightly metallic sheen. Perfect for those of us who don't want to splurge on the recent trend of lipsticks with pearl finishes.

What have your favourite products of the year? Share your thoughts on the comments below!
Read More »
No Comment

December 27, 2015

Kat Von D Double Dare Liquid Lipstick

I'm a huge liquid lipstick fan. The only gripe I've had with them is that the best quality shades always seemed to be the bolder ones. The neutral ones tended to be lacklustre in comparison. In only the last few months, I've managed to find a few everyday shades that perform as well. One of my current favourites is from Kat Von D's Everlasting Liquid Lipstick line, Double Dare.

I visited New York with quite a few of Kat Von D's liquid lipsticks on my to buy list. Although Double Dare wasn't on my list originally it ended up being one of the two I settled on. The swatches I took in Sephora won me over.

Double Dare is officially described as a Cocoa blush. However, I find it has a slight peach undertone without it being too apparent. It's one of the few liquid lipsticks I own that are appropriate for everyday wear. I find Kat Von D's liquid lipsticks some of the easiest to apply. Double Dare applies evenly with no flaking problems. I find Double Dare dries down quicker than the older shades seem to.

While I don't find the Kat Von D formula to be drying, I find it can tense up the lips a little. I find my lips only feel dry after several hours of wear.

Although the quality is great, the major drawback for those of us outside the US is buying anything from Kat Von D is costly due to customs. This year, the brand have been introduced to Sephora Spain and Sephora Dubai though, so hopefully they'll be even more globally available in coming years.

The Kat Von D Liquid Lipsticks are available for $20 each at Sephora US.
Read More »
No Comment

December 20, 2015

Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipstick in Masochist

After impulse buying my first trio of Jeffree Star liquid lipsticks last year, I didn't expect to be buying even more. At the time I regretted the purchase because I already owned all those shades. However, once they arrived and I actually used them, all of my regret had vanished. If anything, I couldn't wait for more shades to release. While I've managed to resist most of their shades, some were impossible to skip out on, including Masochist.

Masochist is described as a dark pink matte which is 100% accurate once on the lips. It has a dark fuchsia look when applied, in it's tube it seems to have slight red undertones to it. There are few pinks I actually enjoy wearing, with my current neon green hair, Masochist has been my go to bold lip colour.

What I love about Jeffree Star's liquid lipsticks is that they don't dry out your lips, something all liquid lipsticks are guilty of. Masochist is no exception and is neither drying nor hydrating. However, unlike all my other Jeffree Star lipsticks, I find Masochist doesn't seem to fully set. Which causes it to get pink everywhere and make me paranoid about it being all over my face. Somehow, even though it gets on my fingers and food, it still manages to stay on my lips after several hours of wear. 

Aside from that, I'd just be repeating things I've previously said in all my other reviews. The Jeffree Star Liquid Lipsticks have had a slight price hike and now cost £14 / $18. Masochist is currently unavailable online but will be available back in January. If you're in the UK, it would be worth stopping by Cocktail Cosmetics as they usually have a better stock in store compared to their online site.
Read More »

December 17, 2015

Birmingham Christmas Markets

Within minutes of Halloween ending, it seems as though every retail store began shoving Christmas in all of our faces, pushing the 'Buy! Buy! Buy!' mentality of the season. Coffee houses began serving their Christmas drinks which filled all our Instagram feeds. Lush Christmas collection? Christmas parades? Christmas Lights? Meh to all I say. Once the Frankfurt Christmas Market opens, that's when I officially accept Christmas is here.

During my university years, I never 'got' the Christmas markets. Mostly because I was too tight with the little money I had. Now that I'm a 'real' adult that and can afford such frivolity. These days I really appreciate them, as the Christmas lights, the ice rink and Ferris Wheel seriously improves the atmosphere of the otherwise short and grim winter days.

There are plenty of stalls to pick up Christmas decorations or Christmas gifts but as per usual, my focus has always been on the food. Particularly the 1/2 meter long hot dogs. One of these years, I plan on braving the unusual reindeer and ostrich burgers.

I won't lie though, the real reason I love the Christmas markets is all the deserts. From crepes, to churros (you know, 'authentic' German food), Berliner doughnuts, chocolates, Marshmallows coated in chocolate, Sweets and candy, there's something to satisfy my sugar craving only a few steps away from work.

The Christmas market is currently in it's last week and runs until the 22nd of December.
Read More »
No Comment

December 13, 2015

Lush Star Dust Christmas Bath Bomb

Winter in the UK is pretty grim, which makes it impossible to get decent photos of almost anything! By the time I reach work the sun has yet to come out and when I'm home it's already sunset. So prepare for a few months of not a lot of content! Anyway, it's December and I've treated myself to another reading session in the tub, accompanied by a Lush bath bomb.

Of all the Christmas bath bombs, Star Dust looked like the least exciting one. Which is exactly why I picked it up. Ylang Song seemed plain on the exterior but had a green surprise in it, so naturally I needed to find out what the big deal was with Star Dust.

The downside of a star shaped bath bomb, is that it's difficult for it to maintain the perfect shape. By the time I finally got around to using it, it had lost a bit of powder and was slightly damaged. Definitely not a gift to give to a perfectionist.

Ultimately though, the shape of it doesn't matter. What happens to it once you finally drop it into the water? It instantly fizzes with white foam, misleading you into thinking that's all there is. After a few seconds, it oozes out a hint of blue, leaving the grey water with a glittery tint of blue. And last but not least, tiny colourful stars float to the surface.

The bath bomb smells mostly of vanilla. I didn't really pay much attention to the scent though as it wasn't particularly unique. It also includes rosewood oil and bergamot oil although I couldn't really smell them.

In the end, I probably wouldn't repurchase this. I was merely curious to know what was hidden within stardust. If you were interested in picking up Star Dust as a gift during Christmas, it's not an Oxford Street exclusive and can be purchased anywhere for £2.95 until the Christmas season is over.
Read More »

November 22, 2015

Tom Ford's Viper Nail Lacquer for Autumn

I don't think I've ever looked at a Tom Ford nail polish. Each time I stop by a Tom Ford counter, I seem to only look at their lipsticks without considering anything else. Simply because they're price tags have always been outside my comfort zone. I've been close to parting with my money several times but reason has always stopped me. I've been lucky enough to receive a Tom Ford lipstick as a Christmas gift last year. This year, I was lucky again when my mother decided to gift me a nail polish in my favourite colour.

Let's start with the packaging, I never thought I'd ever see the day a nail polish bottle would make my Illamasqua bottles look so bland in comparison. The gold plating on the cap gives the polish a sophisticated finish.

It was disappointing to find that one coat leaves your nails with a sheer and uneven coverage. Two improves the situation, but ultimately you'll find yourself applying 3 layers of polish for both decent coverage and an even application.

Viper is a black violet shade. Depending on the lighting, Viper will either lean black or violet. As nice as black nail polish is, it can be quite harsh to wear and I find the purple offsets the harshness.

The plus side of 3 coats of polish is, I found I had 0 chipping problems. Viper remained perfect on my nails for almost a week without the use of a top coat.

While I wouldn't spend £27 on a Tom Ford nail polish for myself, it does make for a beautiful gift and could see myself gifting one to somebody else.
Read More »
1 Comment

November 20, 2015

Lush The Experimenter Bath Bomb

The experimenter is one of several new Lush Oxford Street exclusive items. After much umm-ing and ah-in at the bath bomb selection in store, I settled on a few. Including, Ylang Song, the Experimenter, Intergalactic and Frozen. Out of all four, the Experimenter seems to be the most talked and raved about.

The bath bomb is a combination of purple, pink, white, yellow and blue, creating a rainbow of colour the moment it touches water. According to the lovely Lush ladies in store, each time you use the Experimenter, you get a different pattern each time.

The experimenter contains popping candy causing it to make a popping noise while it fizzes. It also has vetivert oil, vanilla absolute and tonka absolute. Leaving the tub with a subtle musty scent.

Once the fizz dissolves completely, you're left with a tub of what I think is meant to be lilac but ends up looking quite grey. A disappointing end considering the rainbow of colour you first get. While the fizzing process is fun, the Experimenter leaves you with a rather meh experience by the end of it. 

If you're not up for a trip to London, you can order the Experimenter online for £3.95 each.
Read More »
1 Comment

November 18, 2015

An Afternoon in Newcastle

Small fact about myself, I was born in Newcastle but raised abroad. It only occurred to me recently that the only thing I kind of know Newcastle for is Georgie Shore, which I don't even watch. So while visiting relatives up North, I made time during one afternoon exploring the city centre.

The first thing I noticed when stepping out of the train station, was how well Geordies live up to their friendly reputation. With this being my first getaway since New York, the contrast in just small, casual interactions hit me hard. From the florist by the station, to the taxi drivers and even retail workers. On our day of playing tourist, the first thing we did was catch the sunrise by the Tyne.

After shower and breakfast, we made our way into town to check out the castle Newcastle was named after. It was surprising to discover how compact the city centre was. It turned out, the castle was only 30 seconds away from where we were staying. After a hunt for the ticket booth, we navigated out way around the maze of a castle before checking out the view on top.

From there we walked up Grey street, known for it's grade I buildings. This was what I was most looking forward to checking out as it's been raved about. However, aside from it being a beautiful street, it was mainly just restaurants on the road. I was disappointed by the lack of independent boutiques that it used to have according to my older relatives.

After passing by the Early Grey monument at the top of Grey Street, we headed into Grainger Market to avoid the busy shoppers. The market has a mash of things, from fruit and veg to a Marks & Spencers stall, there's bath bombs, Turkish lamps and even some vintage style clothing. After a browse, we settled on getting a snack at an affordable Turkish stall adorned with the tiniest tables and stools. Our day basically ended after we got sucked into the Eldon Square shopping centre. Admittedly, doing a lot of window shopping in the Fenwick beauty hall. Next time I stop by, I plan on not being lured in by all the stores and partake in some more cultural activities. 
Read More »
No Comment

November 15, 2015

Marc Jacobs The Lolita Palette

When Marc Jacobs first announced the launch of his beauty line, the beauty blogging began buzzing with excitement. Me? I got sucked right in, the peculiarly shaped but sleek packaging. So when I finally walked into a Sephora in Paris earlier this year, I basically only picked up items from his line. After months of trying out the Lolita palette, I finally have a kind of review. By 'kind of', I mean I can't actually decide how I feel about it.

The Lolita palette has been my got everyday nude palette for work for a while now. It's probably the sleekest one I own with it's ultra slim packaging. In fact it's so thin, that the brand even provides a sleeve to place the palette in. While I originally thought it was pointless, it's been handy for during travels and prevents scratches.

While the packaging is nothing short of perfect, I wish I could say the same for the eyeshadows. The eyeshadows don't have any names. From left to right the 7 shadows come in matte off-white cream, matte nude, matte dark coffee brown, metallic warm pink with iridescent glitter, iridescent champagne pink sheen, light peach sheen, rosy copper sheen. 

The 3 matte shadows are a bit powdery. With the dark brown being least pigmented out of all and doesn't apply evenly. Of the four shimmery shadows, the first one has bad fallout, even if you manage to apply it without creating a glittery mess, as the day goes on, I found glitter all over my face. The next one is too pink for my yellow skin tone. The other two shadows though? Perfect. Well, almost. 

I'm personally used to just dabbing my makeup brush into my eyeshadows as they're usually super pigmented. However, I find I have to dig into these shadows for pigmentation. I do get a lot of use from this palette and despite all it's flaws it's still easy to create everyday looks with it. However, with all of the glowing reviews this palette has had along with the price of $59, I was expecting a perfect palette and I was disappointed to find that it was a good one...just not a perfect one!

So, don't expect a flawless palette. It is a good palette and it's very easy to get a lot of use out of. Ultimately, I can't see myself repurchasing this. I would however be willing to try out a different Marc Jacobs palette, one with less matte shadows in particular.
Read More »

November 12, 2015

Jeffree Star Androgyny & Doll Parts Swatches

On the off chance you haven't heard, Jeffree Star has released 5 limited edition liquid lipsticks this Christmas. He's even released a very tempting discounted bundle for all 5. I could even justify the unusual shades released this year, the white would have been great for mixing and the green liquid lipstick would be interesting paired with my current neon green hair. However, on the day of release, I managed to contain myself and settled for two.

Doll Parts, Celebrity Skin, Androgyny

Androgyny is described as a plum mauve. When I first wore it, I was surprised by how dark it was, especially as it looked so normal in the promo images. I was even more surprised by how normal it looked when I took photos too as again, in the flesh, it's quite a deep colour. It's not quite the everyday lip colour I expected like Celebrity Skin but I see myself getting a fair amount of use from it.

Doll Parts is described as a soft cool toned pink. My god, I know Androgyny is the lip colour that everyone is obsessed with but Doll Parts is easily a must! As a pink hater and someone of a medium skin tone, I finally have a somewhat girly pink lip colour that actually suits me. It feels somewhat Barbie-ish but it actually somehow manages to not clash against my skin. I've gotten a lot of use from this already, I'm almost tempted to buy another spare for if I finish it. 

So those are my swatches! I can't give much of an in depth review on these as I've had them for less than a week. I personally prefer the white packaging over the bright pink one too. Androgyny and Doll Parts seem to be of the same excellent quality that my other velour liquid lipsticks are. As these are limited edition, I thought I'd share some swatches soon before they're completely gone. 

Have you picked up anything from Jeffree's Christmas collection? What do you have your eye on?
Read More »

November 04, 2015

Life Lately | October

This is the first October, I seemed to have actually noticed and appreciated autumn. I've somehow managed to never notice yellow, orange and red leaves everywhere during the last 5/6 years of being in the UK. 

It's been a long time since I picked up a book and just couldn't put it down. A Thousand Splendid Suns, the sequel to the Kite Runner, is not a light read and easily dampened my mood this month. At the same time, it made me grateful for everything I have in my life and made my count my blessings. My job, my partner, my family, my education, the fact that I can afford a roof over my head. Just everything!

At the start of the month, I got sent down to London for work. After my commitments, I checked out the ever so raved about new Lush store (while seeking shelter from the rain), because damn, how could a shop really garner so much hype amongst beauty bloggers? What's the big deal? As a cynic, I was pleasantly surprised. Staff were even friendlier than other branches and the Oxford Street exclusive items are what made it worth the trip.

Halloween night was a bit quieter this month. For the first time ever, I actually tried my hand at pumpkin carving! I got a little too enthusiastic trying it as Halloween was never a big deal during my childhood. After a bit of baking we binge watched the entire Netflix Scream TV show. Which wasn't the plan, I just can't help myself with murder mysteries, and HAVE to know who did it.

October has been a frustrating month. I have no future plans and no idea where I'm heading. Each time I try to organise something, plans never seem to quite pull through. Or there are a lot we might do this, might not, only time will tell. It's been really difficult to accept that I can't do anything to make sure plans pull through.

In other news, I've mixed things up with my hair a little, and just gone full on neon/slimey green:

To get this colour, I mixed up Manic Panic's Electric Banana with a teensy bit of Electric Lizard since I has so much blue leftover in my hair. Both dyes are UV reactive which has amused me a bit too much. Most comments on the new hair has been "it's very Halloween-y". Despite that, the plans are for the colour to stay a while in November. At least until I'm bored before returning to peacock shades.
Read More »
No Comment

November 01, 2015

First Attempt at Sugarskull Makeup

I tend to get a bit irritated with myself each Halloween. My brain goes on overdrive with possible ideas but when it comes down to it, I struggle to ever deliver those ideas. For one, I don't have the time. Work is the main thing to blame but when you combine that with the face that we get so few daylight hours during this time of the year, taking photos become impossible.

Then there's always the face that a lot of things never turn out the way I had planned or imagined it. I suppose this just comes down to the fact that all these Youtubers, Instagrammers and Makeup Artists just make it look so easy. Sugar skulls have always seemed like a simple enough thing to do, paint your face white and throw on some fancy designs over it. Experimenting with a new medium (face paint in this case), and expecting things to turn out perfectly was silly of me. 

Ultimately all I can do is carry on practising and getting used to these face paints. Maybe plan a few Halloween bits a while in advance next year too. Fingers crossed. next year I'll finally get it together and do a better job. I definitely plan on retrying a sugar skull face next year too!

Products Used
Mehron Black and White face paints
Urban Decay Electric Palette shadows in Urban and Jilted
Read More »
No Comment