I was looking for a new mushroom-y beige nail colour as my previous had run out and picked up this Lasting Gel Colour from Collection. This colour is named Stormy Grey but as you can see the colour isn't remotely grey, but rather a muted beige.
I needed 3 coats for an opaque finish and I found the consistency of the product to be quite watery. It has a very wide brush which makes application quick and easy. I did find there to be a very strong smell with this nail polish, stronger than most others.
As you can see from the swatch above the finish is very high-shine, typical of a gel nail polish. However, after a few days on my nails the shine seemed to dull and ended up looking like any other standard nail polish. The nail varnish lasted 4-5 days on me before needing to be removed, and I have a very hands on job so I thought that was pretty impressive.
The cost of this nail varnish was a measly £3.19, it certainly won't break the bank, and for the price I was pleased with how long-lasting it was. I was disappointed that the shine seemed to wear away after a couple of days but really I bought it for the colour so I'll definitely continue to use this.
On far too many occasions I find myself drawn towards the makeup aisle in Tesco, and on far too many occasions a few beauty items sneak their way into my basket. My latest purchase was the Barbara Daly Concealer in Fair.
The packaging is MAC Studio Finish-esque but with a square container, and the product itself is pretty much a budget dupe. The consistency is creamy and light, perfect for covering blemishes and under eye circles. The shade selection is pretty poor, I believe there are only three, but the lightest shade 'fair' suits me perfectly.
I apply this product simply using my ring finger and pat it lightly into my under eye area. Although this pot contains a tiny 1.4g of product only a very small amount of product is needed. The pigmentation of this product is incredible and provides fantastic coverage. The formula is creamy, not at all drying and has stayed put under my eyes all day. However, I can talk all day about how much I like this product but I know what really sways people into buying a product is the results.
Of course on the left I have not applied any makeup and on the right I have applied only the Barbara Daly Concealer on my under eye. I'm so amazingly impressed with the results of this concealer. My dark circles are completely covered and my whole eye area looks brightenend and flawless. This concealer does sink into my fine lines under my eye but I've yet to find a concealer that doesn't, so I don't find that a massive issue.
The Barbara Daly Concealer can be bought at Tesco for £5.00.
I'm feeling very autumnal and obviously with Halloween coming up I thought there was no better time to rustle up a batch of homemade pumpkin soup. It really is so easy and super tasty. You will need:
1 large pumpkin, seeded, diced and peeled
2 onions, finely chopped
200ml double cream
700ml vegetable stock
Hot chilli powder, to taste
Chopped Thyme, to taste
1. Begin my chopping up your pumpkin. I'm not gonna lie, this is hard work! I began by cutting away the top and bottom, then slicing into segments. Swipe away the seeds as you would a melon. It is difficult to remove the skin as it is so tough. I'd recommend roughly chopping it off rather than attempting to use a vegetable peeler.
2. Add a little oil to the largest pan you can find (I had to use two) and heat. Add the chopped onions and fry for 5 minutes until soft but not coloured. Then add the chunks of pumpkin and heat until the pumpkin turns a golden shade.
3. Add the hot vegetable stock and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the pumpkin pieces soften. Then add the double cream. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Next you need to puree your ingredients in a blender or food processor. In my processor I would fit 800ml of ingredients in at a time, so had to do this in three batches. Add the pumpkin chunks with only a small amount of the liquid. Puree until the soup reaches a thick, smooth consistency then add some more of the liquid. At this point I added chilli powder and thyme to taste.
5. At this point you could run your soup through a sieve for a silkier texture, but I like my soup to be thick. Transfer all your pureed soup back to a large pan and reheat. Serve with a swirl of double cream and a warm, crusty roll.
I've seen quite a few 'What's In My Handbag?' posts floating around so finally thought I'd do my own. The handbag I am currently using is this Primark studded handbag, with two carry handles and one large shoulder strap. It's not the most ideal bag as there are no separate compartments inside, but it's large enough to carry all my essentials and I love studded bags.
So, onto the contents. I've removed all the obligatory chocolate wrappers and dozens of receipts. I'm terrible for hoarding receipts. I also found about 10p worth of one pence coins at the bottom of my bag too.
Sainsbury's Cream and Lace Makeup Bag
This was actually a small Christmas gift from my sister last year. It's a beautiful satin-effect makeup bag with lace detail. It also came with a compact mirror and a small tube of lip gloss.
Laura Ashley Pencil Case
I've had this pencil case for a couple of years now and it's lasting well. Being a teacher I always carry a pencil case with me full of pencils, highlighters and my new polka dot pens.
eos Strawberry Sorbet Lip Balm
I reviewed the eos lip balm and I wasn't a massive fan. However, I have it now and may as well keep it in my bag for when my lips are feeling a little dry.
Rimmel Kate Lasting Finish Lipstick in 03
This is such an easy to wear neutral lip colour so I keep it in my handbag for the times when I want my-lips-but-better.
I don't know why, but I always carry my passport around with me. I bought this cream passport cover from TK Maxx.
When it gets to around September-October an umbrella becomes a permanent fixture in my handbag. This is a pretty boring, plain black one from Totes but it's decent quality and has lasted me since last year.
I don't chew gum because firstly, I think it looks horrible, and secondly, I always swallow it. Tic-Tacs are great at freshening your breath and there's only 1 calorie per mint.
River Island Purse
I've had this purse for a couple of years now and I really need a new one. It's a beautiful colour but as you can see it's looking pretty worn. I'm going to replace it with another River Island purse as it has so many useful compartments.
Impulse Loving Words Body Spray
I like to keep a cheap and cheerful body spray in my bag for those days when you feel a little whiffy. This one has hints of raspberry and lavender and it smells amazing.
I like to keep a notebook on me at all times just in case I need to jot down an address or some other information, or if inspiration hits me for a blog post.
I popped into Home Bargains looking for a diary and came out with the lovely floral notebooks and these gorgeous polka dot ballpoint pens.
I really didn't need four notebooks but I just loved every single one and couldn't not have them all - and at only 69p each, how could I refuse? They're A6 size so perfect for popping into your handbag.
I also picked up these polka dot ballpoint pens for only 29p for a pack of 2. Pens have a habit of disappearing in my house so I'm constantly buying more. As they come in the lovely gift box shown they'd be great as a Christmas stocking filler too.
Four notebookes and four pens for only £4.14 - now that is most certainly is bargain stationary!
Today is an extremely dreary, cold and wet day but I really need to go shopping. I like this outfit of the day as I think it all looks quite 'put together' despite the little or no effort put into it. My leather jacket keeps my warm in these colder months.
On a recent trip to Boots my eyes were drawn to the rather garish packaging of the Collection Does It All 5-in-1 Mascara - purple and yellow with a rather cartoon-esque font! I was about to go and pick up my usual Max Factor False Lash Effect mascara which I have been using religiously for a year or so now, but thought I'd live life on the edge and picked up the mascara with the garish packaging, which cost only £3.99 - a snippet of the cost of Max Factor False Lash Effect! I was sceptical that a budget mascara would do nearly as good a job as the Max Factor. Boy, was I wrong!
This mascara claims to do 5 jobs - lengthening, volumizing, curling, conditioning and being long lasting. Quite a large claim. The main reason I was drawn to this mascara is because the wand isn't too dissimilar from the False Lash Effect, quite a stiff plastic brush rather than the long bristley ones I despise.
The tube does a good job of removing excess product from the wand as that's my one dislike of new mascaras - they always have too much product on them! The size of the wand is perfect for getting into the corner and end lashes with bristles on the very tip of the wand. Now for the results...
On the left I'm wearing no mascara and the right picture shows me after applying the Collection Does It All. I have to say I am amazingly impressed with this mascara. My lashes are certainly lengthened and volumized with minimal clumping (my pet hate). You can also see in the picture below that there is a nice amount of curl to my lashes, I hadn't used an eyelash curler on this occasion.
I really do feel the pictures speak for themselves on this one. I'm so, so happy with this mascara. As well as looking great they feel good too. No dry, flaky clumps or smudging. This mascara has lasted all day on me with no budging so it seems to live up to it's claims on that one. Unfortunately for Max Factor, this has fast become my new favourite mascara and I am most certainly going to continue purchasing this.
I have to admit I have a bit of an obsession with James Arthur lately. I never used to find him attractive but all of a sudden... those arms! My boyfriend has just come home from working away for 9 days so we're going out for dinner at Pizza Express. I wanted to wear something stylish but comfortable so opted for leather effect trousers and a striped jumper. Of course I couldn't leave the house without my trusty H&M boots!
I was finally paid today and there were quite a few things I needed to stock up on - I seemed to run out of everything all at once! Here's what I bought:
Sure Cool Pink Anti-Perspirant Deodorant
Not a very exciting item, but an essential. I'm generally not a sweaty person but I've always bought the Sure deodorants as they seem to do the job and the Cool Pink version smells pretty nice. Sure deodorants have this new motionsense system and, don't ask me how, it releases the scent as you move. Sometimes throughout the day I'll suddenly get a whiff of the sweet scent which is nice. These were on offer at 2 for £4.
Dove Damage Solutions Intensive Repair Shampoo & Conditioner
I tried the Dove Damage Solutions Intensive Repair mask a while ago and loved it so thought I'd give the shampoo and conditioner a whirl. I remember using a Dove shampoo and conditioner years ago and I was really impressed with how soft my hair was, so I'm unsure as to why I didn't continue to purchase. These were on offer at half price (£1.35).
Charles Worthington Strength & Repair Heat Defence Spray
I always buy the Charles Worthington heat defence spray and they've recently redesigned their packaging to look extremely luxurious. This heat spray claims to provide thermal protection, breakage protection and give added shine and moisture. It smells really good too. This costs £6.99.
Impulse Loving Words Body Fragrance
As much as I love my Marc Jacobs perfume, I like to keep a can of impulse in my handbag for those times when you're not sure if you're a bit... whiffy. The Loving Words version has Violet and Raspberry scents and it smells really, really lovely. This was on offer at £1.00.
Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer
Need I say more? This concealer has been a firm favourite of mine for many others, and plenty of others love it too! It's coverage is incredible on blemishes and under eye circles, though the formula can be a little dry. This was on offer at £3.99.
Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer
Another favourite of mine, the coverage isn't as great as the Collection Lasting Perfection but the formula is much creamier and gives a radiant glow. Great for the-morning-after-the-night-before eyes.
Collection Does It All 5-in-1 Mascara
I usually swear by Max Factor False Lash Effect mascara but wanted to try something a little more budget price. This mascara has a stiff, plastic brush, not dissimilar from the False Lash Effect, and claims to curl, volumize, lengthen, condition and be long-lasting on your lashes. I've not tried it yet but I'm certainly looking forward to it. Could this be the end of my love for False Lash Effect? This was on offer for £3.99.
Collection Lasting Gel Colour Nail Polish in Stormy Grey
I adore neutral shades of nail polish and was looking for a new mushroomy-nude. Although the colour is called Stormy Grey it's not remotely grey, but rather a beige. It doesn't seem to have as much shine as the Barry M Gelly nail polishes.
There once was a time when I didn't own a single makeup brush, bar a few cheap eyeshadow brushes from some Christmas gift set. Oh, how times (and my makeup routine) has changed! Now I simply couldn't survive without an array of beautiful brushes adorning my desk. Here's a round up of my four essential makeup brushes and why I couldn't live without them.
The Real Techniques Expert Face Brush - where would I be without this bad boy? The Real Techniques brushes are a favourite among beauty junkies and newbies alike, due to their affordability and amazing quality, and the Expert Face Brush is loved by many. It is such a versatile brush which can be used for a plethora of jobs - applying foundation, buffing concealer, blending... the possibilities are endless. Personally I use this brush for blending concealer once I've applied it under the eye. The size and density of this brush makes it the perfect tool for the job in my eyes (or under them).
The Real Techniques Stippling Brush is another firm favourite of mine, as you may see from the pinkish hue on the bristles I use this to apply cream blusher. Again, the density and size of this brush are ideal for this use. As mentioned before, the Real Techniques brushes are fabulous quality, and will withstand wash after wash with very minimal shedding. The bristles also stay soft which makes them great value for money.
I absolutely adore this EcoTools Bamboo Blush Brush because it is so amazingly soft. I've had it for a pretty long time and washed it quite a lot but it still stays soft. Best of all, EcoTool brushes are made from natural and recycled materials so my conscience is clear whilst using this little beauty. Although this is advertised as a blush brush, I find it's a little on the large size for this use. Instead I use it as a powder brush. It feels like little puppies kissing my face.
Last but certainly not least is the EcoTools Angled Eyeliner Brush, which I find to be absolutely perfect for filling in my eyebrows with powder. The bristles are just the right stiffness to apply the powder effortlessly. Again this brush is made from natural and recycled materials - bonus!
Do you have any essential makeup brushes? Have you tried any of these?
I love a bit of a bargain and with purse strings being tightened as Christmas approaches I've managed to find a few pieces online for under £10. It was difficult to find some A/W appropriate clothing among the mass of crop tops and bikinis but I think I've managed to find a few hidden gems here.
I recently dyed my hair from light warm brown to a medium ash blonde, but for some reason it still stayed quite warm-toned. I really wanted to take it an ashy shade so purchased a couple of budget toners from the high street.
First up is the Superdrug Colour Effects in Cool Blonde which costs a mere £1.29 for 75ml of product. Superdrug also have a 'buy one get one half price' offer on this product.
This product is supposed to be a wash-in colour as opposed to a tinted shampoo. Because of this I was quite surprised that the solution wasn't more purple, instead, it was a blueish-grey colour. The consistency was really quite runny, as you can see from it dripping down my hand.
Following the instructions, I wet my hair in the shower and squeezed away any excess water. I then slathered a whole bottle all over the roots, lengths and ends of my hair. The formula lathers very easily and so a lot did drip away from my hair. The instructions says to leave it on for only 5 minutes, but I lived life on the edge and left it for 15. Even after this excess time I wasn't blown away by how well it had toned my hair, but a second application the next day gave better results. The product claims to be a conditioning colour but I really felt the need to apply my own conditioner afterwards as my hair didn't feel remotely conditioned. If your hair only needs a slight toning then for the price I would recommend this product, but not if you want to remove very warm tones from your hair.
The next toning product I tried was the Pro-Voke Touch of Silver Twice a Week Brightening Shampoo, which costs £2.23 for 150ml of product. I actually found this in Home Bargains whilst looking for a conditioning mask and totally did not expect to find toner in there.
Boy, is this stuff purple! It is aimed at those with platinum hair, but I figured it'd do the same job at removing warm tones from medium blonde hair. Despite this being a shampoo the consistency is much thicker than that of the Superdrug product and as such I needed to use a lot less. I covered the whole of my mid-back length hair and I only used 1cm of product (from the top of the bottle). I can see this lasting a really long time which means that for the price it is fantastic value.
This product certainly did a much better job at removing warmer tones from my hair, and I was left with a lovely ash blonde shade. I don't feel that this product has a stronger smell than any other haircare products and even though this is only a shampoo my hair did feel pretty soft after applying. I only left this product on for 5 minutes and it did a much better job than two 15 minute applications of the Superdrug toner. I would thoroughly recommend this product and I really hope Home Bargains continue to stock it.
Here's an 'after' picture of my ash toned hair. Apologies about the iPhone quality photo, but this was taken in natural daylight.
I know I'm a little late with this as plenty of other bloggers have already reviewed this item, but I bought the Nivea In-Shower Body Moisturiser around 3 weeks ago and having been using it since then I wanted to share my thoughts.
I get very dry skin on my legs all year round and even if I used my favourite The Body Shop Strawberry Body Butter every single day the problem would not be solved. I was sceptical that this product could answer my prayers but I was wrong - I can't even tell you how much I love this product. I apply this all over my body during my daily shower, rinse away and since using it I have not had any problems with dry skin at all. Best of all, this is such a lazy girls way to moisturise.
The moisturiser is somehow absorbed into wet skin very quickly and it really does work. You can either use this alone, which works absolutely fine, or double moisturise once you're out of the shower for extra hydration to your skin. But honestly I don't feel the need to double moisturise despite the usual dryness of my skin.
The moisturiser has that usual 'Nivea scent' which I personally love and leaves my skin amazingly soft, smooth and smelling gorgeous. The product also claims to be free from artificial colours and silicons - bonus! It's really decently priced, at only £3.56 for 250ml or £5.10 for a larger 400ml bottle. A little really does go a long way with this product so I can see my bottle lasting a long time yet. This has fast become an absolute essential for me and I will most certainly continue to purchase.
I couldn't put my pinks away just yet, but I feel that this is such a lovely muted, dusky pink that is really wearable for Autumn. It truly is a beautiful, classy colour. As with most Essie polishes it takes 2 coats for an even finish.
Today I've given myself a little facial pampering. Having completely normal, non-oily and non-spot-prone skin means that I do tend to neglect my skin a little as it never looks like it needs a bit of TLC. Coming up to Winter I do need an extra moisturising boost so these are the products I use.
The first step is to use the No7 Total Renewal Micro-Dermabrasion Exfoliator on clean, damp skin. This is basically a hardcore version of exfoliating as the particles are extra tiny and really give your skin a good scrub. My face can look a little red after using this but I don't feel any irritation and my skin is amazingly smooth immediately after use.
Next I use the No7 Heavenly Hydration Moisture Mask. Now don't get me wrong, I wouldn't say this is the most amazing moisturising mask around but it does an okay job for now. I don't think I'll repurchase once it's run out. You apply this mask for around 10 minutes before wiping away. My skin does feel more hydrated after use and isn't at all greasy. There's also no strong smell with this product.
So then I double moisturise using the Garnier Essentials Hydrating Day Cream. I really like this day cream because it has an amazingly light texture and really does hydrate my skin. If I'm just staying in I will literally slather this all over my face and leave to sink in. Again, there's no strong smell with this product. It's also really cheap at around £3.
For under the eyes I use the Benefit It's Potent! Eye Cream. I actually received this is a free sample when buying some other Benefit products a while back but I really like it. It's a pretty thick cream so it won't do well to apply under eye makeup right away, but for lazy pampering days it's perfect for letting it sink into the skin.
Now because lips are skin to I always remember to look after those on pampering days too. I start off using The Body Shop Lipscuff, which is a lip-scrubbing balm with small, rough particles in it. This does a great job of removing any dead skin from my lips and leaving them smooth. Next I apply a Fairtrade lip balm I actually received as a wedding favour. It is made of all natural ingredients and tastes of After Eights.
So there we have it, my pampering sessions essentials. My routine is a lot different from other peoples because of my skin type. It really doesn't need a massive amount of TLC, just a little pick-me-up with some high street products.
I've been in love with Autumn nails colours and this week I'm wearing Nails Inc Hoxton Square with a coat of Essie Matte About You mattifying top coat. Unfortunately I did buy Hoxton Square a long time ago so I'm not sure it's still available. It is a beautiful deep purple shade and I think it looks great with a matte top coat.
I recently bought this beautifully soft fluffy cardigan and I love it. I did find that my wardrobe gets darker in the winter months so insisted on buying something lighter. I'm also wearing my new Primark faux leather trousers which are so comfortable!
On Saturday night I went out for a friends birthday and this is how I wore my hair and makeup. My hair was curled using my favourite Babyliss Curling Wand, the only curling tool that will actually create a lasting curl in my hair.
The Body Shop Radiant Highlighter (worn as primer)
Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in Shade 1
Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer
The Body Shop Extra Virgin Minerals Loose Powder Foundation
VIVO Ultimate Eyebrow Kit
VIVO Baked Bronzer in Sun Kiss
MUA Blusher in Bubble Gum
Benefit Ooh La Lift
MUA Undress Me Too Eye Palette (Shy, Wink & Obsessed)
Mascara is a holy grail product for me and I will never, ever leave the house without it. Even on my 'makeup-free' days I'll have a sparse coat of mascara. I honestly feel naked without it.
I think that mascara if a pretty straight-forward and simple beauty product. Really there are only 2 main types of mascara; waterproof and non-waterproof. You hear and see all sorts of claims from the beauty industry - this mascara is lengthening, volumising, doesn't clump, lasts 16 hours... but honestly, I feel that it all comes down to trial and error. The best thing to do is just try a few mascaras and see which you prefer. It took me almost 8 years to find my perfect mascara!
So without further ado please let me introduce you to my soul mate, my one and only, the piece de resistence that is the Max Factor False Lash Effect Fusion mascara.
So I've been using this mascara for quite some time now. Every now and then I might have a fling with some faddy new product on the scene but I always go back to this. The brush is quite fat and the bristles are more flexible than other mascaras. For me, this coats my lashes to perfection and I've never experienced any smudging or flaking with this product. Since using this mascara I've had countless compliments on the length of my lashes.
I also own another essential mascara -waterproof. Waterproof mascara is perfect for holidays, warm weather, or times when you're likely to cry, such as weddings.
I have actually tried and tested this mascara at a funeral of all places, and it really did work. This Rimmel mascara does a pretty good job of separating and lengthening to lashes too. The only problem with waterproof mascara is that it is harder to remove at the end of the day.
So, onto application. I think application is pretty straightforward when it comes to mascara. Starting as close to the root as possible underneath the lashes glide upward towards the ends. To combat any clumps, move the mascara wand side-to-side slightly whilst moving upwards. I recently uploaded a 'My Makeup Routine' video on YouTube. Skip ahead to 13:25 to see the method I use to apply mascara.
I have officially resigned my pink nail polishes until next Spring and so out come the autumnal colours. I love everything about Autumn and I tend to find my wardrobe and nails go a little darker. Here are my favourite Autumn nail colours.
Rimmel 60 Seconds in Grey Matter
I adore this nail varnish and actually wear it all year round. It's a beautiful blue-based grey which can look really subtle and so acceptable for work. It has quite a fat brush which makes application a doddle and really does dry in 60 seconds. You need two coats to create a lovely even finish.
Revlon Top Speed in Stormy
Another fast-drying nail varnish, this is a beautiful taupe colour. I always really like the consistency of Revlon nail polishes. Again, you need two coats for an even finish.
Nails Inc in Belgravia
This is quite similar to the Revlon polish but has more of a metallic finish. I do love brown nail varnishes in Autumn and they go with every outfit. Two coats are required for an even finish.
Rimmel Pro in Desire
This is such a beautiful, vampy deep red and it is perfect for Autumn and Winter. I find that these nail varnishes do tend to last pretty well. Two coats are needed for an even finish.
Nails Inc in Hoxton Square
I tend to shy away from more 'unnatural' nail colours such as purples and blues, but this deep, rich purple is do die for. The consistency is fab and you only really need one coat, though I chose to use two on my nail wheel.
Essie in Bobbing for Baubles
Without a doubt my favourite Essie colour. Bobbing for Baubles is a beautiful almost-black navy grey, but the shade changes slightly with the light. The best thing is that you only need one coat for a thick, even finish.