Wednesday, 31 July 2013

More Crownbrush Love - Duo fiber Face Brushes Review

As mentioned in one of my previous posts, I was lucky enough to win the beautiful duo-fiber face collection of brushes from my faves, Crownbrush UK. As always, they came with immaculate packaging, and super-speedy delivery just a couple days after I had passed my address onto them. I used three of these brushes on my birthday, and everyone commented on how lovely my skin looked, as well as the complete adoration of my flawless face make-up myself. (That sounded completely big-headed, and it was the only way to get my point across, I apologise, but it was totally unintentional!)

The brushes from left to right are; Bronzer C442, Face Powder C406, Liquid Foundation C404, Blush C436.

Despite that this is stated as a bronzer brush, I found this brush worked best at buffing in my foundation. With it being my birthday, and having a little more time to spend on make-up, I applied two shades Laura Mercier's silk creme, to lightly contour, and my foundation was left twice as flawless as it usually would be with a Real Techniques Buffing brush, or my triple-the-price Urban Decay Optical Blurring brush.

I have used this brush for applying both cream blush products, and cream highlighters, and have loved the finish created with both. It is a similar size to the liquid foundation brush, but thanks to the shorter length of the bristles, this brush is a little more dense, and I find moves the product around less, which is ideal for getting a more precise application either on the apples of the cheeks, or the tops of cheekbones, depending on what it's used for. I hadn't realised that I already had the liquid foundation brush, and have already reviewed it in my previous Crownbrush post (here) but I've chosen to use this brush for applying my radiance primers, as I found the application with a brush makes the product work into my skin easier, and I can use less product than I would normally.

This face powder brush probably hasn't seen as much action as the others, as I tend to favor a natural finish to matte. But whilst we had the horribly sticky and warm weather, I applied my powder with this, and applied a little MAC Fix+ afterwards, and I have to say, it left a much nicer finish than without the powder. My makeup stayed put, even after a long country walk and a few wine and sodas.

I'm completely thrilled with these brushes, and once again Crownbrush has knocked every other brush company off my radar thanks to their incredible customer service, speedy delivery and more than perfect professional quality brushes.

If there was an angel and devil sitting on each shoulder, even the angel would be telling you to treat yourself on the Crownbrush site. I promise you won't be disappointed, go, go, go! I currently have a 10% code off for all my followers too, which is FINJA13, and my link in the sidebar will take you straight to their site.

Thanks so much Crownbrush. You have once again, completely revolutionised my make-up routine!!


Sunday, 28 July 2013


My MAC Eyeshadow Collection

Hey everyone! So the birthday celebrations are more or less over now, so I thought I'd get to work on a post I've been planning for quite a while now, a very much overdue eyeshadow collection to join my previous lipstick collection. This one is forever growing, but at the moment, this is my MAC x15 eye palette, in all of its beautiful glory.

The colours in this palette, with the finishes from left to right are:

Vanilla (Velvet)
Brule (Satin)
Quarry (Matte)
Omega (Matte)
Cork (Satin)
Woodwinked (Veluxe Pearl)
Patina (Frost)
Satin Taupe (Frost)
Charcoal Brown (Matte)
Embark (Matte)
Sumptuous Olive (Veluxe Pearl)
Club (Satin)
Cranberry (Frost)
Sketch (Velvet)
Carbon (Matte)

All the swatches in this post have been done using a blending brush, to create a more realistic view on what the colours will look like when applied.

MAC shadows are easy to blend, last well, especially when used with a primer, and some are more pigmented than others, but overall, their shadows are pretty damn incredible, and the colour selection is perfect for beginners and professionals.

The "mattes"- (Left to right, Vanilla, Brule, Quarry, Omega, Cork, Charcoal Brown, Embark, Carbon)

Both Vanilla and Brule were very hard to photograph, because they are so pale, and don't show up a lot on your lids anyway, but both are ideal as base colours, or very subtle highlight colours, depending on your skin tone.

Quarry is an ideal crease colour, a lot cooler in tone than most, so looks very natural, making it ideal for a "pin-up" 50's inspired eye look. Cork is also amazing for this, but it's a lot warmer, so I tend to use it if I'm a little more tan, or if my makeup look is a lot more bronzed and Victoria's Secret-esque. I also like to use Cork all over the lid, and under the eye if I decide to go for a bohemian/grunge Cara-esque look.

Embark and Carbon tend to be used as liner, as powder colours are a lot more subtle than liquid and gel liners for certain occasions. Embark is a lot more subtle than Carbon, which is a true black. The red undertones in Embark are truly beautiful, and make this one of my favourite shades in this palette.

Both Omega and Charcoal Brown are brow colours for myself, depending on how intense my makeup look is, and because I dye my brows, Omega is good for the days where it has faded, a mixture of both in between, and Charcoal Brown for when they are darker. (Girl problems, ey?)

The "shimmers"- Left to right (Woodwinked, Patina, Satin Taupe, Sumptuous Olive, Club, Cranberry, Sketch)

Woodwinked is a beautiful colour to be used alone, as when blended out, it seems to come across as two colours, starting as a deep bronze/gold shade, and leaving a very warm red/brown on the blended edges. Quite similar to Sumptuous Olive and Club, which when blended also have the effect of two shades. Club is completely multi-tonal, it appears brown in these pictures, but has tones of green running through it, similar to Sumptuous Olive, making them a perfect combination.

Sketch is quite similar to the darkest shade in my Estee Lauder Raisins palette (review: here) a deep plum, which is very flattering on pale blue/green eyes like my own. Cranberry is similar in finish, but more of a deep red, than deep purple, it's very obvious to see why this is such a favourite, it is beautiful, and so different to the usual eyeshadows on the market.

Patina and Satin Taupe are also beautiful shades, with Patina being what I would call a very subtle bronze, and much more appropriate for daytime wear for anyone nervous about having too heavy of eye makeup in the day. Satin Taupe is quite similar to Woodwinked I'd say, but as the name suggests, it has tones of Taupe running through it (too obvious?!)

I'd say my favourite finish would be a toss up between matte and frost. I like mattes as they are so easy to wear on a day to day basis, and blend well, however frost is almost like a shimmery version of matte, without having huge shimmer particles that make you look like Edward Cullen, it's a subtle way of doing shimmer, and making your lids look more glossy, rather than sparkly.

My favourite combinations, are; 
-Brule across the whole lid, Quarry in the crease, with cat-eye liner flick for the perfect 50's inspired look.
-Patina across the lid, Embark used as liner, and blended a little. Embark is a brilliant alternative to black liner, and the red tones are so flattering on pale blue/green eyes like my own.
-Sumptuous Olive and Cork through the crease, with a little Carbon dabbed as close the lash-line as possible to thicken the lashes.

I feel as if I've waffled on for what feels like a lifetime now, if you want to see any looks, or anything reviewed in depth, please let me know! I'm going to post about my two MAC quads next week, I think.


Friday, 26 July 2013

One of them things you don't REALLY need - Velvotan Fake Tan Folding Back Applicator Review

Whilst ordering some more of my favourite fake tan the other day, I saw this little contraption come up on the same page, and I thought, despite how much of a novelty product it seems, how kind of brilliant the idea behind it was. 

But what did I really think of it? The concept, and the idea is pretty good, and I can imagine, quite the money-maker! However, the design just isn't quite there yet, it's too flimsy and small to get an even finish on your back, and takes so long to use, that by the time its even, your tan has actually dried, and gone a little "crumby" - it wasn't pretty!  I like the fact that it folds, and has a replacement pad, for ease of storage and use, but out of storage, it just isn't worth the money.

So I'm pretty sure you can all guess whether or not I think this is a total novelty? So much so, I wish I'd have spent my money on five bars of Dairy Milk from the pound shop. But let's be serious, chocolate is welcome anytime, anyday. (Is that some Dairy Milk in the fridge??? BYE!)


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Favourite Things #3

(Insert typical British comment about how brilliant this sunny weather is...) Thanks to the much welcome sun finally making it's appearance, I thought I'd fill up my little wicker basket with tons of beauty products, my camera and get outside to take some pictures. This time my favourite things post seems very much summer orientated, and has more fake tan than I think most people own. Hey, the things you'll do when you aren't blessed with olive skin...

Xen Tan Moroccan Tan- Okay, the story behind this tan, I bought it WAY back in Winter '12 when it first came out, and being nervous that it was going to be way too dark, I ended up sticking it in a storage box and overlooking it everytime I applied a fake tan. So about a month ago, I thought sod it, I need to give it a go, right... So I did. I left it on for about five hours, when the tube says three. However, it hardly developed and I was left the same colour as I was previously. I tried it again a couple weeks ago, and decided to sleep in it, and after a doctor's appointment the morning after, it had been left on for about 14 hours, and this time, once washed off, I was left with a beautiful olive, natural deep tan (not as dark as most people make it seem, however.) with zero streaks, and I smelled like a holiday, thanks to it's lovely coconut scent. It wore quite well too, and lasted about a week. I'll get a full review posted of this at some point...

This Works Perfect Legs Gradual Tan- To keep up a tan, I moisturise and exfoliate regularly so that the colour fades evenly, and to keep it looking glowing, about 4/5 days into the tan, I top up with a gradual tan. This Works Perfect Legs products are packed with vitamins and other fancy-shmancy ingredients which help even out skin tone, and cover bruises and blemishes. I often get a little nervous about fake-tanning my legs, as after shaving it often settles in pores and just looks horrible. This doesn't, and makes me feel as confident as those women that seem to jump around like kangaroos in Veet and Bodyform ads.

LDN: Skins Lotion TONE 1- ANOTHER TAN? GOD, SHE MUST LOOK LIKE AN OOMPA LOOMPA? No, I use this one for the upper half of my body in the middle of the week. It has a slight tint, making it easy to apply, and it smells divine, leaving me smelling my own shoulder all night when I've applied this. It is a gradual tan, and just leaves your skin moisturised, and keeps up the "moroccan" olive glow which comes from the Xen-Tan offering.

(Just to add, I apply tan ALWAYS with either a mitt or latex gloves, which I buy from my local chemist. This avoids stained palms, but always remember to use the remaining product leftover to graze over the tops of your hands...)

Diorskin Forever Foundation in 020- Another product which got slightly abandoned from fear of it being too dark, and guess what, it wasn't! I've rediscovered this baby, and I'm loving it even more this time round. It's a wonderful foundation, definitely not popular enough for how brilliant it is. It's a medium coverage, long-lasting, natural matte foundation which manages to blend in perfectly, and makes your skin look fantastic! Another Dior product getting raved about from me... I just LOVE Dior!

Clinique Chubby Stick for eyes in Ample Amber- I bought this after seeing it on LLYMLRS' blog, as I thought when they first came out that none of the shades were very wearable, but this is a gorgeous shade, described perfectly by it's name, Amber. It's a lovely warm shade, and looks amazing on its own, but also works fantastic as a base colour, for the rest of the shadow to cling to.

MAC Art of the Eye Collection (Rimal Dahabia palette)- In particular, the shade I've been using the most is Shroom, a colour in MAC's permanent collection, but a new discovery for me, and it makes the most perfect inner corner highlight colour, and seriously finished off any eye-look, by brightening the eye area and making it look just a little more glamorous. (I feel like that whole statement came off a little "I think I'm a Kardashian." but just to clarify, I very much dislike the Kardashians, so I apologise...)

John Frieda Frizz-Ease 3 Day Straight- Being a curly girl with very thick hair, it does become occasionally hard to manage, but I've started using a very small amount of this spray with my usual Neal and Wolf Heat Protectant, and it manages to keep my hair a lot less frizzy, and minimises styling time across several days. 

Avene Thermal Spring Water- Technically an empty bottle now, but it shows how much I've been loving it! I won't waffle, as the review is here.

Bourjois 1 Seconde Polish Remover- Yes, I'm very late to the party with this one, but I must admit, that I'm kind of loving this. Despite the weird sensation of sticking your finger in a foamy hole (avoid giggles!) and its one second claim this is quite the revolutionary product. It's much tidier and easier to use, as well as minimising the need for packs of cotton wool and nail polish remover, it's kind of brilliant... 

Leighton Denny Crystal Nail File- Another anti-waffle product, as the review is here.


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Wishes and Wants #5

Oh, here we go... More things I want? My ever growing lust list, is doing just that, growing...

These are a few things I'm lusting after...

Top of my lust list is this gorgeous delicate open heart ring by an Irish jewellery designer, Chupi. Isn't it just gorgeous? Another jewellery piece from the brilliant Dixi, a brand which sell the most perfect bohemian and festival inspired jewellery, is the rose gold quartz necklace. You can find tons of variations on these quartz necklaces everywhere, but this is by far the prettiest, with its rose gold accents instead of silver. 

MAC Lipsticks again, I'm telling you, they're like a drug! Pure Zen is a beautiful nude shade, not too pink toned, and not too "concealer lips" so it looks ideal for me. Pink Nouveau is something totally out of character, as I hardly ever wear pinks, but I'd blot this on to leave my lips with a subtle pink sheen. And more Chanel  Le Vernis again? More beauty drugs... I promise these aren't the same shades, Ballerina is more of a milky/french manicure type shade, whereas Tendresse is more of a sheer pink. Both are my favourite types of polishes, and I tend to favour a sheer pink/nude feminine shade over a bold shade in the summer months especially.

Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder has been popping in and out of my mental wishlist (I sound cuckoo!) for some time now, I guess it's one of those that you just have to try products. I'm looking for a new cuticle oil, and provided that CND Solar Oil is used by a lot of beauticians and after application of Shellac I thought it would probably have the most benefits for my nails. Who knows? Another to give a go...

It's no secret that I'm a little bookworm, I have been for as long as I can remember, and surprisingly, I still haven't read the Notebook, or any Nicholas Sparks novels for that matter, so I'd love to get my hands on a few to read. Seeing as I know have a new lamp in my bedroom, I can finally read at bedtime again, woohoo!

And a little less realistic, but still completely on my "please be mine" radar....

Yes, the jacket has popped up before on my wishlists, but provided I'm a big biker jacket fan, I NEED this real leather one to be gracing my wardrobe soon. Mulberry bags and I have an odd history, I haven't actually owned one, but when I went into John Lewis last year, I tried to take one off the shelves to look at it close up... Little did I know it was hooked up to an alarm system which just started blaring across the whole floor. I was dying of shame, I didn't know whether to run or stay there... Totes awkward... 

Despite already having a camera, it isn't a full DSLR, so that's my excuse for wanting a new one. I did Photography at College and I enjoy it a lot more now that I'm not being graded on it, so I'd love to have one of these! 


Monday, 8 July 2013

I shop a lot/Haul

You all must know by now that I shop, a lot. I've bought a lot more than this in the previous month, believe me, but I thought I'd show you some of the more interesting things... I think I may make hauls a regular thing on my blog. My Instagram pictures of tons of beauty products tend to be popular, so I may just bring them over here. Think I may do them every month around the time of my Favourite Things posts, and the next one will be after my Birthday, so hopefully that'll be an exciting one. (Fingers crossed...)

Given that Boots had "buy one get one half price" on all cosmetics, it'd be wrong to not buy myself some new Essie polishes wouldn't it? I'll just keep telling myself that... I picked up "The more the merrier" a beautiful bright lime green shade from the summer collection, and Splash of Grenadine, an opaque purple with slight pink-tones. Both are equally beautiful and very summery, ideal for this beautiful weather!

MAC YOU GET ME EVERYTIME! Okay, so I may or may not have treated myself to a new quad, no biggie... Left to Right, it's Nylon, Naked Lunch, All that Glitters and Mystery. I also picked up Vanilla Pigment. As you can tell, this quad, my 217 and myself have already been on a date (wink, hubba hubba...)

I couldn't resist posting more pictures of these beauties by Chanel. How I managed to stop myself at three, I really don't know. Despite my Chanel Soleil tan de Chanel, these are my first Chanel makeup purchases, and I decided to get something classy, and elegant, given that Chanel is almost like the God of elegance in beauty. I decided on the Rose Cache Le Vernis, and the Rouge Allure in Evanescente, a beautiful pink/nude which is a "your lips but better shade." I'm going to save both of these for my upcoming birthday to make me feel extra special. Chanel, I do believe you have started a love affair...

With all that nail polish, I need a new remover, right? I'm loving this one at the moment! The scent is very strong when you open the tub, but the scent which tends to linger on your finger tips is really quite lovely, very floral and summery.


I can't think of a snazzy title - Estée Lauder Eyeshadow Duo in Raisins Review

I was looking at my blog stats and all that boring stuff a couple days ago, and I noticed that someone had gotten to my blog by looking for Estee Lauder's Raisins eye palette, however I hadn't actually reviewed it, so I thought, given how beautiful it is, and how amazing it looks in the sunshine, I would review it for whoever was looking for a review... 

The typical Estee Lauder gold packaging is the epitome of elegance, it looks so much better and feels a lot more luxurious than brands like, for example, MAC or Bobbi Brown. I find it can be a little stiff to open sometimes, but I'd sooner have it hard to open than easy, as knowing my luck, it'd pop open and I'd find it in crumbled pieces.

I like palettes with mirrors on the inside of the lid, they make them much more travel-friendly, and it always saves bag space when you don't need an extra mirror as well as your make-up. But, onto the product itself... the shades are a pink-toned champagne colour, which when applied on the lid, thanks to its very subtle shimmer, looks more like a beautiful gloss finish than glitter, and a rich cranberry/blackberry type colour, also with multi-tonal shimmer running through it. Both shades are perfectly soft and easy to apply, have zero fall out, and are highly pigmented. As with most shadows, the colours are much more vibrant and last a lot longer when used with an eyeshadow primer (my primer of choice being Nars Pro-prime Eyeshadow base) but even when used without a primer, they last a long time on my non-oily eyelids. The only fault with this palette is just how pigmented the darker shade REALLY is, it's so dark that it's very easy to overdo it, so making sure you apply layer by layer, and with a very good blending brush is a necessity.

This palette, is overall, pretty impressive. I bought it for the gorgeous shades, but didn't particularly have high expectations, and I've been blown away by just how amazing the quality of the shadows. As with most palettes now, I haven't even touched the dinky little applicator that comes with it, but when websites like Crownbrush are around, you can get professional quality brushes for such affordable prices, that you do not need to consider these (excuse my French...) crappy foam applicators.

Hope you're all loving the sun, but make sure you know you're SPF, UVA and UVB are protecting your skin, we don't want any horrible symptoms of sun damage, do we?

Lots of love. 


Thursday, 4 July 2013

Things I've never heard of but love all the same...

First off, I apologise for the products which you probably won't be able to get your hands on, but I'm currently loving them so much I want to share them anyway. And maybe if you're planning a holiday you'll be able to find these yourselves? I dunno, but here we go, I'm waffling on... 

These are a couple of things the lovely Emilie got me in our swap, and both are brands I hadn't heard of previous to this, but are now severely on my beauty radar. 

The raspberry lip balm by a brand called Estelle and Third (cute name, right?) looks more like a gloss with it being cased in a lip gloss style tube, but once applied feels like a lightweight balm, and is completely sheer. It isn't overly glossy or tacky, leaves lips feeling moisturised, and on a day of minimal makeup finishes off the look by making your lips look healthy and conditioned, as well as feeling it.

The eyeshadows by a brand called Kicks are seriously pigmented, and the swatches above are one swipe of each colour, they blend easily and don't have a lot of product fall out. making them a solid near-perfect eyeshadow. But we all know that nothing is perfect...
(For reference, the bronze shade is called Bronze Heat, and the deeper brown is called Lady Godiva)

For all the English ladies wanting something like these shadows, MAC's Woodwinked and Satin Taupe are a perfect alternative. I haven't actually tried either of these products, but I can guess from what I've seen that Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfectors and No7 BB Lips are brilliant alternatives for the balm too.

I've just put Magic Mike on my iPad thanks to Netflix, so I'm off to watch that (and to remember to blink, oh and no dribbling...)


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

An Irritating Beauty Chore - Leighton Denny Crystal Nail File Review

I'll take a guess that I'm not the only person that seriously dislikes nail filing? I hate it, but it's something that must be done, to keep nails in a good shape, and to smooth any rough edges. For as long as I can remember I used metal nail files, you know those horrible ones you get in manicure kits which people buy you for Christmas when they don't know you well enough? How I used them, I do not know. Then 3 years ago I got hooked onto the less terrifying emery board, but still found nail filing was a tedious chore. With my nails in SOS mode, I ordered a crystal nail file off Amazon, a little pricier than their metal and emery board counterparts but with a promise of a lifetime guarantee, and easier nail-filing. But, do they live up to the hype?

With the file being made from glass, the packaging is one of the most important aspects to stop it from smashing as soon as it gets put in a handbag. It's case isn't the most attractive, but is very protective, with an aluminium coating, a black velvet type cushioning, and a plastic flip top lid. 

When you file your nails with any other type of file, you tend to get that residue, which leaves what can only be described as dust underneath your nails, meaning you have to do a little tidy up after filing. Something which attracted me to this file is the fact that this is eliminated, as the edges of the nails are "sealed" whilst filing. (I must apologise for my dreadful descriptions in this post, but I am in no way an expert on nails or manicures, can you tell?!)

For a very obvious reason, I cannot comment on the "lifetime guarantee" as I haven't had it for a lifetime... But with a person as clumsy as myself, I dare say that I will drop this at some point, and it'll be another fallen victim to my wooden floor in my bedroom.

But I cannot recommend this file enough, it's completely revolutionary, and I've now got two of my Aunty's lusting over these. This is one of those items which is a complete game-changer, knocking everything else out the ball-park!

In the picture above, I had broke a nail (very low, ouch!) and so I needed to file my nails down quite a lot to make them all match a little more. When I would usually use a nail scissor and an emery board, the crystal nail file was the only thing I needed, to take at least a few mm off the length of my nails I spent about five minutes filing both hands... making it easy to use, and quick? My ideal product!

You can buy this file from Amazon, here. You can also buy larger ones, but in my eyes, this is the perfect size to keep your nails in shape, especially if you have quite small finger-nails and nail beds like myself.

And I forgot to mention, that I haven't forgotten I promised to hold a giveaway, but I was a little concerned that if GFC ended, then my "100 followers" giveaway would become a little obsolete. Anyway, now it's still here, I'm definitely going to be shopping so I can hold my first giveaway! How exciting!!

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