Month: March 2014

The Budget Palettes

Make Up Academy or MUA is a budget friendly makeup line that is available from Superdrug. I can’t say I’ve ever tried anything from this line before, but a recent browse in my local store left me grinning from ear to ear, clutching two brand spanking new palettes.

The Black One
MUA Eyeshadow Palette – Heaven and Earth – £4.00 (YES! Thats a 4!) A 12 shade strong beautiful earth tone palette that ranges from a yellow toned pearl to a deep plum brown. The best thing about this palette is not only the shade range, but the pigmentation and longevity of the shadows. The only downside is that there aren’t any matte shades for those days when a sparkle isn’t needed. Beware, a primer is a must for these shadows, as they have a tendency to crease. But, all in all, this palette offers enough brown/gold shades for you to shake a stick at, a nude lovers best friend on a budget.

The White One
MUA Eyeshaddow Palette – Undress Me Too – £4.00 – A stripped back nude palette that, on face value, ticks all of the boxes (there are matte shades too!). Wink (bottom row, fourth across) and Dreamy (top row, far right) are my favourite shades! Strangely the shadows in this palette don’t seem as pigmented as the ones in the palette above, but they’re fine for occasional wear, or if you’re prepared to keep touching up the colour.

In terms of a budget friendly eyeshadow palette alternative MUA has got it covered.


3 – Wish List

This weeks wish list highlights the need for an injection of colour in my life!

Starting with this gorgeous Pale Green Medium Clutch from Whistles, I’ve been lusting after one of these clutch bags for as long as I can remember, here’s to hoping one makes it into the sale sometime soon! #studentbudget

Followed by these ah-ma-zing Rosemary Print Sandals from Topshop, wouldn’t they be perfect for the summer? I’m loving this style of shoe lately, just see last weeks wish list for proof!

I know I have far too many lipsticks in my life, but there’s a definite gap in my stash for these two beauties! NARS Barbarella is a sheer pretty peach, and wouldn’t it be the perfect every day shade! *justification noted*

And the second lipstick currently on my mind is none other than MAC’s Neon Orange, a brighter than bright orange that I just can’t keep my eyes off! Teamed with a LBD or top this would make the perfect statement to any outfit!

I’ve been on the hunt for a little gold pendant necklace for as long as I can remember, and I think I might have just found ‘the one’ in this Dogeared Keep It Zen Gold Plated Om Symbol Necklace. Just the right size and colour, but for now, I’m still on the look out.

The Whistles sale is just far too tempting, and I’ve been lusting after these three pink jumpers since they first made their appearance on the site, I don’t need them all… but I would love to have just one of them, trouble is… I can’t decide. What do you think…
1 – The Misty Trapeze Knit
2 – The Devon Knit
or 3 – The Rumi Rib Funnel Knit

And finally, a last minute addition to the line up is this to-die-for coat that none other than Miss Alexa Chung, fashion goddess, has been spotted sporting. Where is this from? And how can I get one? *or a similar, ahem, cheaper, dupe*

images used are sourced from the respective websites

What I Love This Week (2)

This week has flown by, and it’s a good job! 3 more days till I get to go home… can you sense my excitement?! So hot off the press is this weeks weekly round up!

The Londoner – Rosie, is a lifestyle blogger that calls London home (hence, The Londoner) and her blog posts are focused around taking fantastic photos and documenting her travels and day to day life, and boy am I envious! Be it life, style, travel or food, Rosie’s got it covered, and every post is effortless to read. And… just take a look at this adorable photo of Rosie’s dog Custard(!), go have a read, you’ll love it!

Rosie & Custard

Lipstick with some Sunshine’s ‘The Peach Line Up’ – Following My MAC Problem post, I’ve been browsing the blogoshphere for some Spring inspired lipstick alternatives and this post from Tamira hit the spot! I’m currently lusting after NARS Barbarella!! *someone help me*

Lisa Eldridge’s ‘Easy, Effortless Winged Liner’– Since my flatmates left for easter break I’ve been filling my spare time with a multitude of different youtube videos, and one that’s had me hitting the repeat button is the ‘Easy, Effortless, Winged Liner’ look from none other than Lisa Eldridge! I can’t wait to try this out!

Perricone MD Face Finishing Moisturiser – I’ve rediscovered this little gem in my skincare stash this week, and boy I’m glad I did! This lightweight facial moisturiser helps firms the skin’s appearance and minimise imperfections and its great under makeup too.

Aurelia Miracle Cleanser – The perfect Spring cleaner! Fragranced with a blend of Eucalyptus, Chamomile, Rosemary and Bergamot this creamy cleanser buffs away dead skin cells and make-up whilst helping to stimulate the skin’s natural renewal process, it smells divine!

EASTER & Marks and Spencer’s ‘Toffee Fudge and Belgian Chocolate Hot Cross Buns’ – Now, the hot cross buns are just an added bonus to this post, because they’re yummy! But really, what I love this week is that I get to go home for Easter soon! 3 days and counting! *here’s to forgetting I have 3 exams in May*

images used are sourced from the respective websites

My MAC Problem

I’ve spoken about my MAC eyeshadow obsession, now who’d have thought it stretched all the way through to their lipsticks too? Not I! *hangs head in shame*

Left to Right
The Bold Lip: Diva (matte) – An ‘intense reddish-burgundy’ shade that brings the wow factor. I love a matte bold lip – and I like to bring this one out on nights out with the girls, it suits my olive complexion and enhances the green in my eyes (makes my teeth look whiter too) – it’s all good. It’s super long wearing, and looks equally good patted lightly on to the lips as it does applied straight from the bullet. But beware of the drying formula, this one seriously sucks the moisture out of your lips, so the best thing is to apply a bit of balm pre application to keep things a bit more moisturised. I’d advise getting the lip scrub out before you apply this one too, clings to dry patches like hell.

The Nostalgic Lip: Viva Glam 3 (matte) – Back in the day I had my first ever MAC purchase, and it was a blush. And I’m so mad that I can’t remember the shade of it! I can’t wait to get home for easter so I can have a rummage around to find it (I’ll keep you posted). Anyway… I do a strange thing with all of my blushes, I like to apply them to my lips (mixed with a bit of balm) and I know I shouldn’t, because as soon as I do, I fall madly in love with them as a lip shade, and can never ever find an exact match(!) – can you sense my frustration?! So you get the picture, this MAC blush because my favourite lip colour ever, a dark, pinky brown red, it was sophisticated and grown up and I loved it. So armed with my blush and the little tin that I mixed the balm into I went to the MAC counter and got the lady to find me a similar shade. She seemed both amazed and horrified at my beauty experiment, but found me a dupe, and I left, Viva Glam 3 in hand and a big grin on my face. A muted brownish-plum. Shame I don’t wear it much anymore!! ;)

The one I don’t know if I like: Craving (amplified) – An amplified creme finish which is really pigmented and has the long lasting power without the drying effect, tick, tick, tick. But the colour? Meh . It is described as a ‘burst of plum’ with warm pink undertones which is actually quite dark on first application. I like it, but I don’t love it. There’s just something about it, I feel like if I had brown eyes, then it would probably work, but with pale green, not so much.

The First Repurchase: Creme in Your Coffee (cremesheen) – Now if you’d have have asked me 6 months ago what my favourite lipstick in the world was, this would’ve been it. A creamy mid-toned pink brown that I wore every single day, and sometimes still do. It’s gorgeous, it has the staying power of a god, and imparts the nicest ‘my lips but better’ wash of colour ever. It was, and still is my first ever lipstick repurchase, so it will always hold a place in my heart, but now, enter Bobbi Brown ‘Brownie’ – it’s a straight up dupe, but matte. And you know how I feel about matte. Sold.

The Pink Lip: Brave (satin) – A pink-beige with white pearl satin lipstick that really doesn’t get as much love as it should in my collection. It’s basically matte, which I love, and even though it’s a bit drying, you still get the moisture of a satin finish. Now don’t be put off by the ‘white pearl’ description, it’s not a hideous 80’s frost by any stretch, more an added dimension to the shade that prevents it from looking flat. It does lean fairly cool in tone and is tinged with brown making it great for medium complexions, and one I would mark to be a fab everyday muted shade. See above regarding the lip scrub – flakey and crumbly is not chic.

The Standard Lip: Patisserie (lustre) – A sheer creamy neutral pink, one of which I’ve already raved about here in my first ever post, I’ll spare you the repeat and just let you check it out for yourselves if you haven’t already!

The Naked Lip: Naked Bud (lustre) – Described as a ‘neutral sheer nude’ from the recent “A Fantasy of Flowers” launch. It’s a light peachy-beige with a golden sheen to it. Unfortunately this isn’t a total winner for me, I love the colour, it’s perfect for everyday wear, but I’d love it even more if it lasted longer than a half hour. It also sinks into the creases a lot, which isn’t pretty! But none the less, it’s a beautiful colour which would suit all skin tones, especially the warmer ones of the bunch.

I’m concerned that I have MAC 7 lipsticks, not only because it’s a fraction of my overall lipstick collection, but because it just doesn’t seem enough (!). I have a lot of love for MAC’s lipstick offerings, so much so that if i’m having a bad day, I magically find myself at the MAC counter swatching up my entire arm of colours that I have to have. My current wish list includes: Ruby Woo, Peach Blossom, Neon Orange, Cherry Lip Pencil and Dubonnet.

And… breath

The Killer Duo

Contouring is my best friend, not only because I love seeing such a visible result, but because it has a the ability to transform my big round face into something a bit my aesthetically pleasing. And with conturing, comes highlighting. Naturally the only thing to do was to have a killer duo from the same product family. Enter Mr Kevyn Aucoin…

Contouring– Now I’ve tried a multitude of cream and powder products, but nothing has ever got me as interested and hooked as the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Medium. If you haven’t tried it, then you’re seriously missing out on a good one here! I’ve found that the easiest place to source Kevyn’s goods is Space NK, which is fast becoming my second home (I’m on first name terms with the sales assistants).
The sculpting powder ticks every single box – it’s blend able, subtle, and the right mix of cool toned grey and brown shades which creates a natural shadow to the hollows of the face.

Applied under the cheekbones and chin, onto the temples,and down the jawline and sides of the nose, you’ll end up with a perfectly sculpted model-esque face. I’ve never manages to over apply this product – I use the Real Techniques Duo-Fibre Contouring Brush and find it picks up and deposits just the right amount of product onto the face. It’s so natural that I doubt others can tell the difference, but that’s the point. When I look in the mirror I see a much more defined set of cheekbones and that for me.. is enough.

The only problem I have with this product is that it’s too good. I use it every day, and not only as a contouring powder, but as an eyeshadow too, it’s the most beautiful crease shadow that deposits a lovely subtle shadow and now, my eyelids feel naked without it.

Highlighting – For this, Kevyn delivers the goods again, the Celestial Powder in Candlelight is like a candle lit glow in a product. Its gorgeous and elegant which imparts a subtle, but noticeable glow. Applied to the forehead, cheeks, temples, chin and even décolleté it’s a top highlighting offering. The pearl powder gives an ultra-light shimmer without looking glittery and obvious, and with a warm apricot tone running through it, it gives a whisper of colour ideal for all complexion tones. Again, this is also perfect as an eyeshadow, just watch you don’t fall into the same trap as me.. because you’ll never be able to use anything else!

Foundation Fix

Finding the perfect foundation can often seem like an impossible task, but with so many fantastic formulas on the market today, I find it difficult to find one that I don’t love. So sit back and enjoy my top 5 that have stood the test of time and remain on rotation for all different occasions.

For a sheer coverage finishNARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser – (I wear Groendland) – £28.00 – from Space NK. An oil-free formula that provides light to medium coverage and sun protection while helping to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and dark spots. This is a hydrating offering, infused with Kopara from French Polunesia and mineral rich seawater to revive the skin, leaving it to appear visibly softer, smoother and brighter. When I wear this I feel like I’m glowing from within! The veil like coverage of this tinted moisturiser is perfect for every day wear for those who want to even everything out.

For a full coverage finishGiorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation (I wear 5) – £34.50 – from Selfridges. Best. Foundation. Ever. Now theres a claim for you. This full coverage offering delivers like no other, theres no cake, no powdery particles, and it lasts all darn day. The finish is not too matte, nor too dewy, its just in-between the ‘perfect’ area of the spectrum. There are many positives to this product; there’s no SPF, so it’s perfect for flash photography situations, there are 21 shades(!) so theres no excuse for not finding the perfect one, the coverage is what you make of it – built up with a brush its perfect for night time, but its equally as lovely blended with fingers for a daytime approach and it’s virtually undetectable, giving that “I woke up like this” glow. Perfect

For an oily galsBobbi Brown Long-Wear Even Finish Foundation (I wear 3 Beige) – £30 – from Selfridges. This is the one for all day occasions and those hormone related oily and bad skin days. I use around two pumps for my whole face which imparts a light to medium coverage when applied with a brush. The website describes a matte finish, but I’d say this is sits in-between. Throughout the day it stars to get a bit more glowy, which I actually like. To round it up, It’s ridiculously long wearing, perfect for daytime to evening occasions, its medium to full coverage, and provides a satin like finish that imparts a subtle glow whilst keeping the grease at bay. What’s not to like?

For glow gettersNARS Sheer Glow Foundation (I wear Santa Fe) – £30.50 – from Space NK. A glowing, natural radiant finish foundation that imparts a sheer finish coverage that evens skin tone and brings the glow. This is one for the normal-to-dry and dry skin types, a transparent and weightless look with sheer to medium coverage. Warmed up and applied with fingers, a little goes a long way with this one. I find it best applied with fingers, but a built up version is equally as nice when it’s applied with a brush. Definitely one to try if you’re interested in a glowing look.

The tinted moisturiser highlighter hybrid – Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint (I mix Bronzed with Pearl) – £30 – from Cult Beauty. Luminizing… now that’s an understatement! This bad boy is dew-ey. This is light-to-medium foundation-like texture with some serious glow, Pearl could almost be mistaken for a highlighter. Now colour wise, I’m at a crossroads, and that’s because Jouer is a bit of an online-only offering in the UK at the moment meaning I couldn’t swatch and colour match. So… I got two. First I got Bronzed, which is perfect for me in the summer when I have a tan, in fact more often than not, that is still too light. But for the time when I don’t have a deep tan, it’s just a tad too dark, but mixed with Pearl, it’s a winner. In fact i’ve been know to mix Pearl with a lot of my aforementioned foundations to ramp up the glow!

Keep your eyes peeled to see if this five may become seven (YES – seven!) as I finally bit the bullet and got matched for the YSL Youth Liberator Foundation and CHANEL Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation that everyone’s going crazy for. I’ll keep you updated.

The Budget Candle

I will admit that aside from makeup and skin care products, another blossoming obsession of mine is candles. Unfortunately I skated right past the pound shop tea light phase and went straight to the luxury offerings.

First it started with the Diptyque bunch, I have happily burned my way through both Baies and Figuier, and boy are they good! The subtle but encompassing scents which fill the whole house is amazing for candles that burn so slowly. Despite my love for Figuier in particularly, I just couldn’t bring myself to part with 40 big ones for something I effectively just.. burn. But when I’m rich (read: not a student) Ambre and Mimosa, I’m looking at you.

But, amazingly, I’ve fallen in love with a more budget friendly brand. DW Home create really interesting candles with intricate blends of scents. My favourite (pictured above) is “Auto Shop Noir” – a dark and smokey blend of warm tobacco leaves and fresh vetiver with a subtle hint of woodsy white oak and fragrant sandalwood. It is beautiful. Musky and dark and warm, perhaps a perfect one for the colder months, but its just too lovely to save for so long. At £5.99 from my local TK Maxx it’s a steal! So much so that I bought three! Keep an eye out for a review of the other two soon.

2 – Wish List

This weeks wish list takes more of a fashion approach – don’t worry, I slipped one beauty item in there for good measure.

As the days get longer and the sun gets stronger the need for sunglasses increases. And as I ruined my last pair on my recent trip to Tenerife, I’m in desperate need of a replacement. Ever since Tanya Burr posted this picture 11 months ago, I’ve been lusting after the Prada SPR170_F01Z1 Cortex Brown Gradient Lens Sunglasses. I wish I had the money to spend on these. I managed to curb my love for them last summer, but they’ve come back to get me with a vengeance.

Perhaps a bit optimistic, but I love this bikini from Topshop. The Botanic Bamboo print is gorgeously set on a grey background, a subtle way to wear a printed two piece. Roll on summer!

Now I know it’s spring, but sometimes I can’t break old habits. This top with an overlapping back from COS is beautifully elegant, and I have to have it! Dressed up with jeans and black heels, this would look effortlessly chic on a night out with the girls, or for a drink with the boy.

I don’t need another purse. In fact i’m more than in love with the purse that Harry got me for the christmas before last. But this leather wallet from & Other Stories is just fab. I love the folding detail and the colour, maybe I’ll hold back on this one, but it is gorgeous isn’t it?

Now for the makeup to slip back in, don’t worry, I hadn’t forgotten. Tom Ford’s spring drop is an 8 strong lipstick line up ranging from barely there nudes to strong and sexy pinks. The light texture and peachy-pink tone to this Summer Fling ‘sheer’ lipstick offering has me weak at the knees. £36 for a lipstick… I love it, but I kinda love food more.

This is a shocker. My flatmate’s reaction to my lusting after this particular item was somewhat amusing, it was along the lines of “surely not, that’s far too colourful for you”. But spring has sprung, and I’m looking for an injection of colour into my black and fifty shades of neutral uniform – and that colour comes from this yellow offering from Whistles. The Rose Cashmere Boxy jumper is to die for. But, £165 for another jumper… see above.

Finally, I’ll round this off with a pair of shoes that are more than perfect. The ASOS HOXTON Heeled Sandals are the epitome of sleek and fashionable – not to mention that they are the perfect accessory for all spring/summer outfits.

The moral of this story… a girl can dream.

images used are sourced from the respective websites

What I Love this Week

It’s not unusual to find me with my head buried in a beauty or fashion related read of some sort or with my eyes scanning blogs. So for this weeks ‘end of the week’ post, I thought I’d share.

Beware: Please clear your schedule for at least three hours before reading on…

Minimalist Baker – This is food porn at its best! Dana and John’s baking blog is enough to spur on the pangs of hunger in an instance. Their simple and easy to follow recipes are perfect for baking novices and experts alike. Have a browse… but be warned, you’ll definitely leave hungry.

Vivianna Does Makeup – Words. Can’t. Describe. My love for this blog is endless. Perhaps the first blog I well and truly fell for, and boy did I fall hard. Anna dishes out friendly, franks and witty daily post that just keep me coming back for more. Her love of black clothes and beautifully packaged makeup gives her top marks in my book. Check out todays video for the ultimate swoon worthy wardrobe. Ladies… hide your purses.

Ok, so this isn’t exactly a ‘read’ but… hear me out. The Lisa Eldridge tutorial is a must watch for every woman out there. A perfectly executed makeup look for day or night. So good, I even put it to the test today! (With moans from the boy who ‘couldn’t hear his car program over my “makeup womans” instructions’) Makeup woman?! Does he not know that Lisa is a makeup god?

Want a dose of flawless photos to peruse? Well Beauty is Boring has it covered. Creator, Makeup Artist and Photographer, Robin Black, works with Beauty is Boring documenting photographic breakdowns of the face, with comprehensive lists of all products used to create the look. Prepare to be amazed.

images used are sourced from the respective websites

Come at me Brow

Now its no secret, i’m a dark haired lady – naturally my eyebrows resemble those of Wolverines and in the past I may have resented this, I shaved (yes – shaved!!) my monobrow in order to obtain the more aesthetically pleasing separated brows and ended up with rather attractive stubble (!), but now.. the bushier the better baby.

With fashion forward folks looking towards the bleached brow, and many people just hacking their brows all together, it seems like a comprehensive brow breakdown is needed.

Rule No. 1 – Embrace your brows! Whether they’re naturally thin and arched, or bushy and bold, work with what you’ve got. If you’re eyebrows are thick, don’t pluck them within an inch of their life, love them! Cause baby, big is beautiful. Think Cara Delevigne, Lily Collins and Audrey Hepburn, those are the brows I lust after!

Step 1: Go to a professional – It’s worth paying that little bit extra for someone to give you their professional opinion, whether you go to get waxed, sugared or threaded, if you’re explicit in what you want, you’ll always come out with a set of brows you’re happy with.

Step 2: Invest in a good pair of tweezers for maintenance – I’m always on the cautious side when it comes to plucking, but with the right tools, you can achieve brow perfection. I recommend the Tweezerman offerings, a bit pricey, but seriously worth it! Think of it as an investment. Beware, in order to obtain complete precision, these bad boys are sharp!

Step 3: Arch those brows – in order to achieve a polished brow look there is one product that I rely on, the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil, a powder, wax and pencil all rolled into one the precise little nib.

Used in sparse areas to sketch in a few extra hairs, or to shade at the arch, this strongly pigmented wax fills in and holds like no other, brow perfection in one little pencil.

Dark Brunette is an undetectable brow-like shade for us dark hairs gals, and it’s bloomin’ long lasting, it’s seen me through rain and shine without so much as a hair out of place. Let’s not forget the spoolie brush at the other side, which is great for coaxing those strays back into place. The best thing.. I’ve had mine 7 months, used it every single day, and there’s still half left – which almost makes it worth the £26 price tag.


There you have it, a comprehensive brow guide and a review in one. No excuses now girls, get those brows ship shape.