Saturday, 31 December 2011

Face of the Night - NYE 2011

For some reason when I think about New Year's Eve the colour silver springs to mind. I've also been dying to try out an Illamasqua eye shadow which I bought in the summer and tonight was the perfect occasion! I'm not going anywhere fancy, but that doesn't mean one can't make an effort.

Products used:

- Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation B10
- Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer
- ELF High Definition Powder
- Bourjois Delice de Soleil in 51
- MAC Blusher in Mocha
- Illamasqua Liquid Metal in Surge
- Illamasqua Eyeshadow in Gimp
- Blink + Go High Definition Mascara
- Barry M Dazzle Dust in 91 Silvery Black
- MAC Viva Glam V Lipgloss

I hope you all have a wonderful evening, whether you're all glammed up and going out or staying in with your pyjamas on. Have a wonderful 2012 and may this be the year all your dreams come true. And good luck with your resolutions if you've made any!

See you next year!

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Just a quick post to wish you all a very happy Christmas! I hope you're having a lovely time enjoying all the great food and your presents! This is also to say thank you to all my readers and followers; you're all wonderful!

Also just a quick update: I'm currently at my parents' house for Christmas and was supposed to be back next week, but it turns out I'll probably be staying a little bit longer as I'm most likely going to need surgery to get my arm fixed. Of course I haven't taken a camera or my Macbook, so posts might be a bit sparse for the next couple of days even though I had lots of things planned for this blog.
Hopefully everything will return to normal soon and I can be a good blogger again.

In the meantime, have a wonderful new year and may 2012 bring you everything you ever wished for!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Favourite products in 2011

I've never done a favourites post before, but seeing as the year is nearing its end I thought I may as well do a round up of products I've either discovered or carried on loving this whole year. Rather than a regular post with lots of pictures I've made a video about this.
It's only my second ever Youtube video and there are still a lot of things that annoy me about it, but hopefully I'll learn and they'll keep getting better. In the meantime, enjoy and let me know about any thoughts or questions on any of the products mentioned:

Monday, 19 December 2011

A word on The Body Shop Body Scrubs

I am a hugely massive fan of The Body Shop's cult Body Butters - so much so that I even consider any other body butters or even body lotions a waste of money. I have found however, that their other products are very, very hit and miss, which is a bit of a shame. Funnily enough, both the best and the worst body scrub I have ever tried are made by this company.

My absolute favourite is this one here, the Sweet Lemon Body Scrub. It smells divine, just like lemon drops and it's the second time I have bought a tub of this goodness.

As you can see, this one's quite gritty which makes for a very thorough scrub, but it's in no way uncomfortable or painful. To me, this scrub offers just about the right amount of roughness to really polish my skin.

Beware, however, as it is one of those scrubs that leaves an oily residue on your skin. I personally like that, as it means my skin is even more nourished after using this and in summer I can just skip applying body butter after using this, whereas in winter it gives my skin a much needed boost in moisture. Yet if you're one of those people who don't like oils give this one a miss.

Body Scrubs just like Body Butters are available in different formulations and I wish I had one to recommend if you'd prefer a less gritty body scrub without the oiliness. I tried the grapefruit one which has more of a jelly-like consistency and whereas it should tick all boxes in theory it just didn't perform at all in practice.
The problem with the lighter scrubs is that they're too... well, jelly-like. Imagine what would happen if you tried to apply jelly on to your skin in the shower. Yep, that's exactly what happened with said body scrub. Before I managed to massage any of it in it just fell to the floor in a big blob. Gentle exfoliation is great, but you need some grittiness in your scrub or it's not a scrub. I ended up using copious amounts of product with pretty much no result at all. You're better off mixing some sea salt in with your shower gel.

Have you tried any of their body scrubs? How did you get on?

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Christmas Tag

So, after reading / watching lots and lots of Christmas Tag posts and videos I've decided to do one of these myself. It's the perfect excuse for a more personal post in which I can ramble on and on and on (now's the time to quit reading if you're scared). I'm actually quite surprised I haven't done this earlier, as I am a bit mental about Christmas and I could quite happily celebrate it all year round.

1. What's your favourite holiday movie?
Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Miracle on 34th Street and more recently Arthur Christmas.

2. What's your favourite Christmas colour?
Gold, though I love it a lot more in combination with red.

3. Do you like to stay in your PJs or dress up for Christmas?
I like to dress up first for Christmas dinner and for opening the presents. Eventually I will then get uncomfortable, give up and just get into my pyjamas.

4. If you could only buy one person a present this year who would it be?
My grandparents (okay, that's two people, but they could share it), because they deserve so much yet never buy themselves anything.

5. Do you open your presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
I'm Polish, so we celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve after it gets dark. We have dinner at about 5 or 6pm and then open our presents after everyone's finished. Christmas Day is meant for playing with your new toys and lazing about feeling stuffed from all that yummy food.

6. Have you ever built a gingerbread house?
Yes and it was a lot of fun, but also a waste of gingerbread, as it went all dusty and we had to throw it in the bin.

7. What do you like to do on a Christmas break?
I don't get a Christmas break. I had to work through the holidays the last two years in a row, so I don't know what I'm going to do with all that time off I'm getting this year.

8. Any Christmas wishes?
For all my loved ones to get along.

9. Favourite Christmas smell?
My mum's absolutely amazing baked apple cake: apples, cinnamon, vanilla and rum. Mmmmmmh....

10. Favourite Christmas meal or treat?
I love almost every component of our Christmas dinners, mainly because they're things I only get to eat once a year. Also, Starbuck's gingerbread latte.

So there's my little Christmas rambling post. I tag anyone who reads this to do one of their own, it's not too late yet!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

December Glossybox Contents

After last month's Glossybox turned out to be a bit of a dud I was really looking forward to this month's edition. I wasn't going to read any reviews until I got mine in order to avoid disappointment, but I just couldn't resist and had to have a sneak little peak, so I knew more or less what to expect.
I filmed a video of the unboxing of my box which you can find here: December Glossybox Contents Video. It's my first ever video, so it felt a little bit awkward talking to myself and I also dropped a lot of things out of nervousness!

Now, onto the contents of this months limited-edition Christmas Glossybox!

First up is the BLINK+Go Hi-Definition Mascara. This is a full size and the tube is absolutely huge! I don't think I'll be able to use all of this up before it dries out, but I'm very happy that I got it, as I do need a new mascara and I haven't tried anything from this brand before.
Sample value: £14.99

Next up is this mini Cargo lipgloss in the shade "Serengeti", which is a coral shade with pink undertones and gold flecks of shimmer. I wasn't sure where I'd heard of Cargo before until my boyfriend reminded me that we saw a Cargo stand at Boots which had been quite heavily attacked, so there was hardly any stock left. I'm not overly excited about this, as it looks like something I would have picked up as a teenager and I have gone off sparkly lip glosses in the mean time. But who knows, maybe I'll rediscover my love for long-forgotten products?
Sample value: £0.95

This next product had me quite excited. It's a mini nail polish by Deborah Lippman (another brand I've never tried) in Razzle Dazzle, an absolutely stunning fuchsia glitter shade. I'm not really one for glitter nails, but I've read so many posts on them lately that I am sort of swayed a little bit. I'd make an exception for such a beautiful shade any time anyway! It also came with a nail polish remover finger mitt, which I'll happily try out when I'm on the go and my nail polish has chipped to a disgraceful state!
Sample value: £8.57 for the polish / £2.33 for the finger mitts

I also got a little pot of Seventh Heaven by MeMeMe which is a moisturising face primer. This is again a brand I've never tried - not because I haven't heard of them, but simply because it never particularly appealed to me. However, I'm in need of a face primer, so I'm more than happy to give this a go. It smells absolutely lovely as well, which is always a bonus!
Sample value: £5.00

Lastly I also got a bottle of Rituals Foaming Shower Gel in Mandarin & Mint. I personally hate mint, but the mandarin scent is so overpowering that I can barely make it out, which is great! I wasn't too sure about getting shower gel at first. Yeah, it's a full size bottle, but it's... shower gel... barely a luxury product. Then again this does feel and smell very lovely and I wouldn't usually splurge on shower gel for myself.
Sample value: £6.50

The total value of my box comes to £38.34, which is not as high as some previous boxes that I received, but I still made my money back from the mascara alone! The one thing that I appreciate the most about this month's box is that there were no perfume samples, as they always felt like a little bit of a rip-off to me. All the samples are a very generous size and there are two full sized products which is amazing! However, there are no real luxury brands included this time, which is a bit of a shame.
Overall still a great improvement on November's box, so I'm happy. I'll let you know how I got on with this month's products and also all the things that I got in the November box in about two weeks or so!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

NOTD #03 Hyper by Gareth Pugh for MAC

This nail polish was featured in my haul post which I published yesterday, but seeing as you couldn't see much of what was in the bottle I thought I'd do a NOTD on it, considering I was also dying to try this out.

Words cannot describe how much I love this nail varnish. Basically, if I was a colour this would be me. It's a stunning royal blue with aqua and purple shimmer. It's also one of those colours that are hard to capture on camera, as it's a lot more shimmery and metallic-looking than you can see on the pictures.
The gorgeous purple sparkle which can be seen in the bottle gets a little bit lost on the nails, unless you're in really dim light or only apply a very thin coat.
It was fairly easy to apply and you can get wonderful results from either one thick or two thin coats. Drying time was also very short - about 30 minutes and it was at that rubbery stage where you can use your hands again but have to be careful. After an hour I was finished as it was rock hard.
I've decided that this is my new favourite nail shade ever. At £19 it's not cheap but you do get a huge bottle which I know I'll never be able to finish.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Big Collective Haul: Florida holiday and a trip to Boots

I finally managed to get all the pictures to publish this massive haul post I've been threatening you with all this time. Most of the items are things I picked up on holiday, which was an unashamedly touristy Disney and shopping holiday. We basically turned into kids again and allowed ourselves to do everything our parents would have stopped us from 10 or 15 years ago.

I'm going to start with the beauty products I snapped up, as I personally always find them more interesting!

First off was a little trip to MAC where I finally managed to get my hands on the limited edition paint pot in "Let's Skate", which seemed to be sold out everywhere. I've already used this a few times with a mink eye shadow in the outer corner and it looks gorgeous!

Next up is this new nail polish from the Gareth Pugh collection for MAC. I love how unique the packaging is (what else would you expect from Gareth Pugh?), but unfortunately it also means you can't really see how gorgeous the shade inside is. It's a shimmery, iridescent mix of royal blue, purple and green. I'll definitely be featuring this in a NOTD post soon, so you can get a proper look at it!

I also picked up another MAC Viva Glam lipstick, this one's in IV, which is a beautiful glittery dark pink with a reddish undertone. Quite frankly, I want the whole Viva Glam collection, because every single one of those lipsticks is absolutely gorgeous!
I don't remember the prices on any of these, but they were cheaper in Dollars than they are over here in Pounds, which meant some huge savings for me.

Next up was an offer from Elizabeth Arden I couldn't refuse! All of the following items came in a set with the make-up bag pictured above and cost a mere $40. I've tried a few and they're a bit hit and miss, but I just go away when I could have ALL THAT MAKE-UP for round about £25! The bag alone is a very welcome addition to my collection, as I'm seriously running out of storage space for my make-up products.

Inside were this sparkly red nail polish, a mini mascara and a luxury sample of the Red Door EDT...

... three lipsticks in (left to right) Red Door Red, Smooth Mauve and Soft Red...

... two lip glosses in Sparkling Ruby and Golden Pearl ...

... two eye pencils in Midnight and Espresso, two lip pencils in Crimson and Taupe ...

... an eye and face palette including 10 eye shadows, a blusher (which I really, really love), a highlighter and a bronzer ...

... and a little pouch including two eye shadow and a face brush (phew!). These brushes are alright, but not great - however, their small size and the nice little pouch they come in meant that they went straight to my handbag where they're incredibly handy on the go.

While we were there I also snapped up a tube of Eight Hour Cream, even though I didn't really need any. Just before we left I bought some for £13 off Buyapowa thinking I'd got the bargain of my life - and then I spotted it for $12. That's less than £8 which is beyond amazing considering the RRP is £25!

The next thing actually took some persuasion from my boyfriend.

He thought this monster of a palette by Sephora would be perfect for me, but I instantly thought of those gigantic make-up sets which you buy for early teens which always turn out to be really rubbish. I then swatched some of the eye shadows and instantly changed my mind. They were buttery soft and insanely pigmented, so I'll get some incredible use out of this palette!

Here's the inside: A mixture of 96 matte and shimmery eye shadows which means I'll probably never have to buy another eye shadow again (I have yet to decide whether that's a good or a bad thing).

You can then flip it open some more and reveal 84 lip glosses. While that's a great idea, it's not so useful for on the go, as I can't exactly take this box with me for touch ups. It's still great for experimenting and mixing shades.

At the bottom there's an additional drawer with three blushers, one bronzer, six gel eyeliners, a mini mascara and two mini eye pencils in brown and black. It also came with some brushes and applicators which were completely useless as with the majority of brushes that come with sets. I'm most excited about the eye liner gels, as there are some unusual shades in there that I'm just dying to try.
The whole box cost $50, which again is very reasonable considering the amount, variety and most importantly quality of products that you get.

Clothes shopping was mainly holiday oriented with just one exception:

These are my new favourite flat boots ever. Alright, maybe they're my only flat boots, but that's only because I can never find any boots I like unless they have some kind of high heel. These are made of soft grey suede and are so comfortable it's ridiculous. Again, at $30 an absolute bargain which I'll be happily wearing to death!

This Fox hoodie was bought for when it got chilly in the evenings as soon as the sun set. Unfortunately it looks a bit flabby in the picture, but seeing as I'm not going to invest in a mannequin any time soon you just have to believe me that it looks a lot nicer on. I also love the faux-fur in the hood which kept me nice and snuggly on the odd occasion that the weather wasn't so great and will hopefully continue to do so now that I'm back in colder climates.

Next up are just some basic, easy-to-wear t-shirts. They're nice and comfy and make a nice casual outfit with some flats and skinny jeans. As you may be able to tell we spent a lot of time in skate and surf shops, as it's the only style of clothing we can both agree on (my boyfriend and I have quite different tastes when it comes to clothes).

Next up: Holiday shorts! I'm not entirely sure when I'm going to wear luminous green and blue hot pants again, but for our holiday they were perfect and they looked nice on bronzed skin.

Apart from that I bought some bits and pieces from Victoria's Secret where you could pick up a pair of pants for $3, which again was amazing considering the pretty designs you could choose from. I've decided however, not to show you a picture of my pant collection, as that's just a bit too personal!
I got two souvenir t-shirts, one of a minion from Despicable Me and of course one from Harry Potter world to wear around the house.
Lastly we also got me an NFL jersey (New Orleans Saints, Drew Brees in case you were interested), as they were on 2 for 1 in Reebok and it made my boyfriend very, very happy. We actually went to see an NFL game live and I enjoyed it quite a bit, so am a bit more lenient now when he stays up till 3am on a Sunday because a game is on.

Yesterday I also popped into Boots, so I thought I'd include all my purchases in this post as well, so as not to swamp you with too many haul posts.

First of all there's a bottle of Batiste, as I can't imagine living without it any more. My favourite is actually the tropical one due to its scent, but I thought the leopard-print bottle would look pretty on my dressing table.
I also needed a night cream, so I bought one by Good Things, as I'd never tried anything from this brand before, but read a few good reviews on them.
Finally, I HAD to try some V05 hair oil considering how everyone raves about it and I could really do with a boost for my hair now that my beloved Ojon shampoo and conditioner has run out.

I got an eye primer from Soap and Glory as I'm going to need a new one soon. I was sure that I picked up the bright one, but at home it turned out that I'd accidentally bought the dark one for smoky eyes, which I'm a bit gutted about, as I won't get as much use out of that.
Now, I'm usually not a huge fan of glitter, but I've had some cravings lately and these have been fully indulged with these Barry M purchases. I bought three glitter eye liners, as they were 3 for £10 and then you got a silver glitter nail polish for free if you spent £7 or more! As always, reviews and swatches will be up some time soon!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

No7 Heavenly Hydration Moisture Mask

I wrote a few words on this in a haul post a while ago, but I feel that I've had enough time to play around with this face mask in order to be able to write an honest review. I've also been using this as a little Sunday treat for my skin, so what better day to write this post than on a Sunday?

This costs £14 for 100ml and like all No7 products is available at Boots. It comes in a pump dispenser which makes it nice and hygienic to use, though it can leak a little bit if it's not stood upright. It's a funky looking product in the tube, as it's layered in a spiral with a clear liquid, but once you press it out you get a very smooth, slightly runny pink cream.

You can apply this in a thick layer on your face and leave it in for 3 - 10 minutes, depending on how much hydration you think your skin needs. Alternatively, you can also apply a slightly thinner layer and leave it to sink in over night for a bigger moisture hit.
I use this as a thick mask and leave it on for about 10 minutes before wiping off excess and then splash my face with water to get off the last of it.

I have to say I have fallen in love with this product a little bit. First of all, let me tell you about the texture: It is literally the smoothest, silkiest thing I have ever put on my face - it is a dream to apply.
Afterwards, my skin feels moisturised and fresh. It also gets this glowing, dewy look which is so hard to recreate with make-up.

What impressed me the most, however, was how it dealt with my skin when it had another rebellious phase. Last week my face basically got fed up of long-haul flights and a mixture of chlorine, air-conditioning, frosty winds and sweat. It reacted with a ridiculously oily phase - it was so bad it looked like I'd smeared lipgloss all over it. I was really unsure whether to use this mask or not, as it seemed that it needed a thorough deep cleanse rather than moisture, but I gave it a go nonetheless. It not only managed to calm down my complexion, but got rid of all the grease for good! What's not to love?

I would thoroughly recommend this product for normal, dry and even oily skin and I'll definitely go back to Boots once this runs out to buy another one to rescue me from my skin dilemmas.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Collection 2000 XXL Volume Sensation Waterproof Mascara

I picked this product up from my local Superdrug before going on holiday, as I was looking for a cheap waterproof mascara to take with me. This cost £4.99 and came in the colour 1 Black.

The texture is very thick and quite dry as you'd expect from a waterproof mascara really. The wand is a classic shape, but it really is gigantic! This makes for quite tricky application in the inner corners of the eye as well as on the bottom lashes - it's not impossible, but does require a steady hand.
I found that it coats my lashes nicely, but for a big impact you need to apply a couple of coats. This is not a major problem, as I found that it layers without any major clumping, even if you wait for it to dry in between applications. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:

Without mascara

After applying XXL Volume Sensation

It took me three coats to get this result, but I'm quite pleased with it! Excuse the freckle-ness, but the sunshine has really brought them out with a bang.

I was fortunate enough to be able to test this in a variety of scenarios to see how waterproof this mascara really is.

  • General wear: I got about 8 hours' wear out of this and then it started crumbling around the bottom lash line - that's an acceptable amount for me, though I would have appreciated a longer wearing formula.
  • Tears: My mascara didn't budge one bit. Perfect result.
  • Sweat: This didn't seem to have an immediate effect on the mascara, but it did reduce its longevity and crumbles appeared a bit earlier than usual.
  • Light rain / splashes: Again, it didn't move and stayed on my lashes like glue.
  • Heavy rain / swimming: This was a disaster. The product slid off my lashes and decided to settle on my cheeks where I couldn't get rid of it even with heavy rubbing!
Removal at the end of the day was fairly easy - my Cleanse and Polish got rid of every last trace whereas face wipes got rid of about 90% without having to rub.

For the price tag this is an excellent product, which gives a lovely finish to eye lashes, though it's not particularly long-lasting - both on the eyes as well as in the tube, as it's starting to dry out now after about two and a half weeks. Just don't take it swimming with you!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Lacura Q10 - or the not so miraculous £1-miracle-cream

I've been mixing up my skincare routine quite a bit lately, so there will be quite a few reviews coming on how I got along with all of my new products. Some of them worked really well, some not so much.

I first heard about these when I first started trying to save some money back in June. I only started using them recently, however, as the Clinique moisturiser I'd been using before that didn't want to end and I also received some samples after that which I wanted to use up first.
These cost £1 each and are from Aldi - not a shop I'd usually consider for my beauty needs, but I'd heard so many rave reviews about them I just had to give it a go. After all, the worst-case scenario would be that £2 went down the drain - so what?

Among the amazing things that I read about this cream was how well it fared in blind tests among much more high-end products and that it was the only anti-ageing cream that is scientifically proven to work. I'd like to point out that I don't know how accurate those reports are, but they sure sparked my interest.

The packaging is nice enough - they both come in glass pots which look pretty on my dressing table and also give it a more expensive appearance. I like that the lids are different colours, so I could see from the top which one to use for day and which one to use for night.

Lacura Q10 Day Cream

The textures of the two creams vary heavily. The day cream has a nice light, but still creamy texture. It feels moisturising, but not greasy and sinks quickly into the skin.

Lacura Q10 Night Cream

As you can see from the picture the night cream was a little bit... different. The texture reminded me of butter, but not in a good way. I had to really dig into the pot to get any product on my finger as opposed to a greasy film. It left my skin really sticky and horrible, but then night creams are supposed to be a bit richer, so if your skin is dry to very dry you might be alright.

I am aware that this cream is not really meant for my skin type. Though it doesn't really say what skin this IS meant for, I wasn't expecting any wrinkle reduction at the age of 22. I usually have normal to combination skin with the odd dry or oily day thrown in for good measure if my skin's feeling rebellious. Nevertheless, I've used anti-ageing products before and they usually did a nice job of keeping my skin hydrated and soft.
These, however, broke me out severely. My skin became quite odd - it was not oily, but it just felt kind of sticky, like the surface of a rubber ball. I really, really wanted to like this because of the amazing price tag, so I kept on using it in the hope that my skin would get used to it, or that it would work better in the winter. But no, the spots kept coming and the plasticky feeling on my face stayed.
After a while I stopped using the night cream and the spots improved a little bit, but still wouldn't go away completely. When I finally chucked the day cream as well, I had clear skin within three days.

It might work on more mature or very dry skin types - some people do love this after all. I wouldn't recommend it for normal, oily, or even slightly dry skin, as it is just way too rich and greasy. For £1 each, however, it's still worth trying - at worst you can do what I did and chuck it in the bin after a few uses without any hard feelings.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Holiday Update

As mentioned in my previous post I went on a holiday to Orlando two weeks ago. We're still here for another two days, but it's a lazy day today, so I thought I'd post a little update:

1) I know I've said this before, but I've got loads and loads of things coming up when I get back home on Wednesday. I'm bursting with ideas and plenty of motivation to get it all written up. I'm also going to buy a new lead for my video camera and yes, there will be videos as well as blog posts: reviews, tutorials and more! I'm also planning on slowly redesigning my blog layout to freshen it up a little.

2) Expect a massive, massive haul post as soon as I get my things sorted. The prices in America are absolutely ridiculous compared to England. I went to a regular MAC shop and everything was cheaper in Dollars than in Pounds back at home, so I could have quite happily bought the entire store. And don't get me started on the outlets - we spent three whole days doing nothing but shopping and even my boyfriend enjoyed it as much as me.

3) Speaking of boyfriend, we are now engaged (yay!). No worries, though, as I am far from going all bridezilla on you and turning this into a wedding blog. We'll probably be engaged for ages, as there are a few other important things that we need to sort out first (moving out, kickstarting our careers, etc.), but it's nice to know that the promise is there.

4) I got my November Glossybox a day after we went away, so there's no point posting about what I got when I get back. I'll probably do a double review together with December's products.

So bear with me and towards the end of next week there should be some exciting new things up for you to enjoy!