September 29, 2016

Travel | Ticking Off The Bucket List at La Sagrada Familia

I can't remember when I had La Sagrada Familia on my bucket list or what the reason was for it. All I can really remember is wanting to visit the curious looking church (especially as someone with a sheltered upbringing in the middle east) by Gaudi in Barcelona after randomly stumbling upon it. This year, after making a list of places I wanted to visit, I just went for it, with very little planning involved.

From the distance, La Sagrada Familia isn't the most aesthetically pleasing structure. It comes off odd, somewhat ugly but definitely unique on the Barcelona skyline. It wasn't until I got up close that I noticed the insane amount of detail on the exterior, particularly the nativity facade which depicts the birth and early life of Jesus in chronological order. The turquoise doors add a pop of colour to the otherwise drab exterior, giving a hint of what's inside...

Even though I've never stepped into a church until my 20's, La Sagrada Familia is unlike any church I've been in. Instead of over the top Christian imagery, the interior is minimalistic with just one depiction of Christ and is largely influenced by nature instead with motifs like pillars resembling trees.

For whatever reason, most churches tend to be very dim, La Sagrada Familia is the only one that let's so much light in, you almost feel like you're outside. The stained glass windows spills out a rainbow of light throughout the room giving an iridescent glow to the organs.

We paid extra to take the lift up one of the towers to check out the view but honestly didn't think much of it. Perhaps skip out on paying the extra cash until the building is complete.

You can skip the line by booking a timed ticket in advance on the official Sagrada Familia website.
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September 25, 2016

Beauty | Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Moshpit

When Urban Decay announced they were revamping their lipstick line with 150 new lipsticks, I found myself overwhelmed by choice and was put off trying any. A few months later and I had accumulated £15 of points on my Debenhams card that were ready to expire so had a peak at the huge addition of lipsticks to the Urban Decay counter. The first one I picked was Moshpit, the berry plum lipstick had intrigued me but the name sold it. 

Packaging wise, the Vice lipstick range is nothing special. It's a lot lighter and shorter than the Revolution line. It has a standard lipstick bullet shape with the Urban Decay logo impressed on it which feels like a step down to the circular bullet the Revolution line had. The casing is mainly gunmetal with a gold base, making it look a bit like an actual shotgun bullet casing. It feels cheaper than the Revolution line, despite the price of both being similar.

Moshpit was a surprisingly unique berry plum shade as it's slightly muted. I was glad to find that none of the berry lipsticks I owned were quite the same. Moshpit had redder undertones to MAC's Rebel and although an arm swatch suggested Tom Ford's Black Dahlia to be an exact dupe, I found once on the lips Black Dahlia came off very red on my lips while Moshpit leaned more purple.

Out of the 6 possible finishes, Moshpit has a cream finish. It's surprisingly pigmented with very good colour payoff, it didn't need any layering. Despite it's cream finish it somehow managed to last really well through hot drinks and meals with minimum fading. It easily lasts around 6 hours without a lip liner. It's a huge step up to the original revolution lipstick formula, which I found to be so creamy it lessened the wear time.

Overall, while I prefer the packaging of Urban Decay's Revolution lipsticks much more, the new Vice lipstick range's formula easily put's the Revolution line to shame.
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September 18, 2016

Brand Roundup | Kat Von D Beauty

If you've somehow missed the latest beauty buzz, Kat Von D has finally launched in the UK! Kat Von D's makeup line is a relatively young brand whose alternative themes caught my eye from day 1. I've forked out the extra cash for international shipping several times now and have managed to try out a lot of items in her range. Since there isn't quite enough products in the range to justify a 'Best of' or 'Top 5' post, I'm just sharing my overall thoughts with everything I've tried. 

Top - Vampira, Susperia, Bauhau5
Bottom - Double Dare, Lolita, A-Go-Go

Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks are a definite must try. Sure the beauty market is over saturated with liquid lipsticks but I find myself always coming back to Kat Von D's on a weekly basis. The formula doesn't suck out all the moisture on your lips, long wearing and even last through a few meals. Although Lolita is the liquid lipstick that everyone raves about, I rarely reach for it and my favourite everyday shades are Double Dare and Mother. Of the bolder shades, I find Vampira and L.U.V are gorgeous but Bauhau5 and Susperia perform better and I use those far more. A-Go-Go is the only one I own that I regret buying, online it seems to be a regular orange lip but with my skin tone it's so neon!

I'm usually hesitant with any holy grail item in the beauty community. The trooper eyeliner was no exception and I originally didn't understand the hype behind it. It was very watery and impossible to work with. Six months after I had given up on it, I read somewhere that I needed to store it upside down, so the ink flows towards the brush tip. I then turned into the blackest liquid liner that's easy to use and so long wearing, it's often the only thing left on my face after a long day out. I've now gone through 4 of them and don't plan on switching things up. Believe in the hype around this one. Small added bonus, I can't help but chuckle at the Iron Maiden reference.

The eyeshadow palettes are definitely another hyped item in the range. The palettes are works of art, with a lot of thought and effort going into the artwork and choice of eyeshadows. They are all decently well pigmented, although formula wise I'm unsure if I'd consider them to be the best out there. The shade and light eyeshadow palette is a great matte palette for any makeup artist to have in their kit. However, as a consumer, I wouldn't buy it for myself as I know I'd only use up the warm shades. 

The Metal Crush shadows on the other hand are what I wish the formulas in these palettes were like. They are easy to work with, super pigmented with an almost cream like formula. The only exception to this seems to Black No 1, the one dud which requires a fair bit of layering. The downside to single shadows though is the price. Depending on how much you're willing to spend, you'll want to pick up shadows you know you'll use often. Thunderstruck is perfect for this as it doubles up as a beautiful highlighter. 

The Lock-It Tattoo Foundation is as full coverage as everyone make it out to be and covers the worst of blemishes easily. It is however, also extremely thick and difficult to blend out. I find I have to mix it with a primer of some sort to avoid looking like I've caked on the foundation. It's so long wearing that I find it requires extra cleansing at the end of the day to remove. The other downside is, when I use this alone I find it doesn't suit my skin type as it breaks me out.
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September 04, 2016

Beauty | Shopping My Stash / August Favourites

I've not previously done monthly favourite posts as I never seemed to mix up my beauty regime often enough. Lately I've been digging through my makeup collection and trying out long forgotten purchases. Most of which were abandoned shortly after buying, and I'm embarrassed to admit some that have never even been touched. To make up for this, I've been making a conscious effort to shop my stash and have found some new favourites. Naturally, not every item I've tried out has been great, these duds have either been passed on or binned.

What - MAC's Prep + Prime Skin Base Visage
Why - This was gifted to me well over 6 months ago along with a few other MAC products. I had never touched it until August though, I was finding my foundation just wasn't sitting right on my skin, it was cakey and would set strangely around my pores. It provides a smooth base that makes my foundation glide almost effortlessly on my skin. It's also meant to be effective for evening out redness but I can't comment on that as it's not a problem I have. 

What - Urban Decay's Revolution Lipgloss in Liar
Why - Wearing liquid lipsticks on a daily basis over summer has been exceptionally drying on the lips. Adding just the smidge of lipgloss on top of Kat Von D's double dare liquid lipstick hydrates my lips enough to fix my chapped lips problem.

What - NYX Vivid Brights Eyeliner in Fire 
Why - Red eyeliner isn't something I've ever envisioned myself wearing or wanting. The vivid bright liners are an excellent lazy way to add just a pop of colour to the eyes. I find it also clashes in a good way with the turquoise hair.

What - YSL Kiss and Blush in 11 Prune Impertinente
Why - I've barely touched this since buying it with my staff discount aeons ago. With a medium skin tone, I find the problem with dark matte lip colours is sometimes they can sometimes be too intense it ends up looking almost black. I wanted a burgundy lip colour that wasn't too intense for work. Looking through my stash I rediscovered this gem which applies more like a dark lip stain than a gloss making it part of my daily work face this month.

What - Olaplex
Why - I'm not 100% sold on the after care treatment yet but am still trialling it out. The in salon treatment though has definitely won me over. Before the treatment, I would find bits of hair on my clothing, a lot more in the shower drain and my hair brush would be full of hair after one hair brushing section. After I went in for a treatment, even though it didn't completely eliminate the fallout, it did do a damn good job of reducing it. I rarely, if ever, find loose bits of hair on my clothing, the shower is a lot easier to clean out and the same goes for my hair brush. 
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