Friday, 29 August 2014

What's In My Travel Make-Up Bag?

Make Up Bag and contents NARS MAC Benefit

I started the week by showing you the contents of my travel wash-bag, so thought I'd end it with a peek into the make-up I took on the same trip! I took a small make-up bag, and kept things pretty streamlined (for me, anyway!), and I was pleased with my choices.

Base products are always essential, and I managed to take two primers. Yes, I know that's hardly streamlined, but they were both minis so that barely counts as one. I used Benefit Porefessional over MAC Prep + Prime, purely because it was so hot the last thing I needed was more glow - mattifying products were the way forward. I took my trusty NARS Sheer Glow (I use Barcelona FYI), and it's BFF NARS Creamy Radiant Concealer. Clearly I was in a NARS-y mood when I packed because I took my NARSissist Blush Palette too. The full review is here, but basically it contains Laguna, Orgasm and an exclusive powder highlighter - it really is everything you need in one place and perfect for travel. Somehow my Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick managed to sneak out of this picture, but I took that too, y'know, just in case

Not wanting to faff around with Dip Brow on holiday, I took my Anastasia Beverley Hills Brow Wiz, for brow perfection. I also took the Benefit They're Real Push-Up liner, mainly because it is compact and long-lasting, and I wanted to give it another chance. I'm still neither here nor there on it, to be honest. Glamour magazine provided me with a good old Clinique mascara (I am sure the Chubby Sticks were a myth, I searched hard) and I took my Shu Uemura curlers for fluttery lashes. I thought long and hard about which palette to take for eyes, and settled on the Sleek Del Mar palette (reviewed here) as it had a good variety of shades to get me in the holiday mood. 

I managed to keep the lip wardrobe to a minimum, taking just my Paul & Joe lipstick in Pink Stockings, my new love the Revlon Colorburst Moisture Stain in Cannes Crush (review and swatches here, if you're interested) and for a nude option, MAC Creme Cup. 

Restrained, right? Right? I didn't have a massive bag to lug around, but definitely gave myself options, so I feel I did pretty well here. Some days I look in my handbag at work and discover seven lipsticks, so this felt like a big achievement! 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

A Picture Perfect B&B

door sign goldplease remove your shoes
Whilst browsing airbnb (for the first time, might I add!) for somewhere to stay in Brighton, I hit the jackpot when I stumbled across the gorgeous Number 34. I ummed and ahhed for a couple of days, finally settling on the Gold room. Then oddly enough one of my absolute favourite bloggers Katy stayed there and posted some seriously gorgeous photos of her room, the Silver room, which I took as a good omen as she's a girl of taste.

wooden shelves with lots of accessories

As soon as we walked through the door and I laid eyes on those shelves I was in love. Lots of the decor at Number 34 is upcycled and vintage, making it so unique and full of character. Set against a backdrop of whitewashed walls and the kind of painted floorboards I have dreams about, it's a gorgeous, light and airy haven. 

top of drawers with butterfly print
airbnb room in brighton

The Gold room is gorgeous, and I spent the first afternoon in Brighton really looking forward to getting back and trying out that comfy bed! It was so lovely to return to somewhere so homely that night, with scented candles in little lanterns dotted around on the stairs. When we turned on the lamp we noticed that the wallpaper behind the bed was shimmering with golden glitter, a gorgeous touch! You can't see it in the day, so it isn't garish at all, and I found myself wondering where I could incorporate glitter wallpaper at home, something I never would have expected to like.

dog lamp and bed
framed photo of black cat

I loved the little details like the bicycle print on the bedsheets and the framed pictures of cats - it certainly made me feel at home! The owners also had two gorgeous cats, which were so big and snuggly it almost made up for being away from my own naughty kitty.

white and gold bedroom
keyring number 34

I wish I had managed to photograph the kitchen, which was also totally Pinterest-worthy, but there were always other guests around. It was a lovely, friendly atmosphere though, and I really enjoyed chatting to the other guests over a coffee in the morning, with a cat snoozing away in the corner. It really was so easy to feel at home. I'd definitely recommend checking out Number 34 if you're looking for somewhere to stay on a budget in Brighton, and can see us returning in the future. I fancy the Silver room next time! 

Monday, 25 August 2014

Stila All You Need Is Love Blush Palette

Stila All You Need Is Love Palette

Stila All You Need Is Love Palette

Browsing the Stila sale on their website, and hoping to find a nice set of lip glazes, I instead stumbled across the All You Need Is Love blush palette. It was too pretty for me to resist (and a bargain at £6, with free delivery) and I just had to have it. It's pink, it had gold writing, a heart...I always fall for things as sweet as this. It arrived really quickly, and luckily is just as lovely in the flesh, and I have been falling in love with it. 

Stila All You Need Is Love Palette

The four shades can be used individually, or swirled together to make a pretty rosy pink. I love the look they give all together, as well as the top left shade. As you would expect, the gold writing is just an overspray, that makes for a slightly glittery first few uses, but disappears pretty quickly. I do like that the letters are slightly raised though, so when the overspray is gone you can still see them. The blush (without the overspray) is not shimmery, but has a little sheen to it, a sort of satiny finish. I love the texture of these blushes, really buttery and blendable, and the pigmentation is just right; not too strong, but definitely makes an impact. You can blend these out nicely for a very natural flush, or build up for a stronger look. 

Stila All You Need Is Love Palette swatches

This has gone back to being full price on the website, but I still don't think £12 is a bad price for four pretty shades. I'd kind of forgotten about Stila's non-lip products, but I will definitely be trying out a few more bits from their line. The Ice Cream collection has the cutest packaging ever! Let me know if you have tried this blush, or have any Stila recommendations

Sunday, 24 August 2014

What's In My Travel Bag?

I recently made a little promise to myself that I'd start using up some of the many minis and samples I seem to have accumulated, through free gifts, beauty boxes and the like. I often stash them away 'for travel' as if I live some kind of jet set lifestyle, then when I actually travel, forget to take them! So when we went away recently I decided to take the opportunity to take quite a few, plus some of my usual products that were little enough to be travel-friendly. 

For skincare, I took a couple of mini Liz Earle products from a gift set, the Cleanse and Polish and Instant Boost Skin Tonic. Both of these have Holy Grail status for me, so I love that I can take them away. I sometimes decant a bit of Emma Hardie cleansing balm into a mini pot so I can double cleanse, but I forgot to, so had to do both cleanses with Liz Earle. I had a mini Elemis Marine Cream (which I talked about here) as a free gift from Feel Unique, so took that, as well as a mini L'Occitane Precious Cream and a tube of Balance Me eye cream that I received in a beauty box to try out. I quite liked it, but I think the Nuxe cream I wrote about here is still my favourite. I also took my full-sized Hydraluron and La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo +, as I had a pesky spot that I wanted to keep under control.

For the body, I took a mini Liz Earle Orange Flower Botanical body wash, which I loved using. The scent was so fresh and lovely in the morning. I also took a mini Monu Ginger Body Oil, which I didn't end up using, though it smells so lovely that I have left it on my bedside to remind me to try it out one evening soon. I had received a Rituals Qi-Gong deodorant in my Glossybox, and took that along too. I had been a bit sceptical, as I tend to just pick up a cheap deodorant (Nivea or similar) from Boots and didn't see the need for anything more fancy, but I actually loved using this as the scent was just lovely - I haven't yet tried anything I didn't like from Rituals. I took some perfume minis from Michael Kors and L'Occitane too.

I knew my hair would need washing, so took along some shampoo and conditioner sachets from a Glossybox that aren't in the picture (you aren't missing much, they weren't great) and a Dove 60-second Treatment Shot, which I was pleasantly surprised by. I also took my bevoled Percy & Reed Quite Wonderfully Wavy Texturising Spray (read more here) and Wonder Balm to keep my locks shiny. As you can see, I also chucked in a spare hair bobble, as they like to hide from me. 

Extra essentials were also packed, such as a nail file and polish (in case of chipping!), face cloths and an eos lipbalm, plus I filled the little pockets on the front of my washbag with cotton pads and buds. I loved that I was able to take so many products because they were all so tiny and cute! Do you have lots of samples and minis to get through? Do you use them for travel, or do you have certain products that you love to take with you when you go away?

Friday, 22 August 2014

The Angelfood Bakery in Brighton

angelfood bakery in brighton lanes

When I lived in Brighton, the whole cupcake craze had only just begun, and I like to think I was one of the earlier obsessives. When I discovered the Angelfood Bakery in the Lanes, I was in love, and no shopping trip was complete without a Red Velvet stop. I would sit in there, hogging one of the few tables, for ages, dreaming of opening a little bakery myself. My boyfriend and I were totally predictable - Red Velvet for me, Cookies and Cream for him. If we were feeling wild, he might go for Chocolate Orange, and I might have Devil's Food (with peanut butter frosting - yum!). 

diet coke and cupcakes
red velvet cupcake in brighton

On our little trip down this time, we just had to pop in, and it was all as dreamy as I remembered, right down to the shelves stacked with goodies like sprinkles and jars of marshmallow Fluff, the window allowing you to see what's going on in the kitchen, and the coke served in glass bottles. I'm sure it tastes better that way! The cream cheese icing was as delicious as ever, and I found myself falling in love with cupcakes all over again. I haven't baked any in ages, but maybe I need to get the palette knife at the ready to try to recreate those gorgeous frosting swirls. 

Counter at Angelfood Bakery Brighton

If you're ever in Brighton and in need of a sugar hit, I strongly recommend a little hunt in the winding Lanes for the Angelfood Bakery. Like Lush, you'll smell it before you see it, and you won't regret popping in for a little treat. 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Five Products To Get That Glow

We're definitely past the mid-Summer point, and heading towards Autumn now - I know I'm not the only one guilty of looking forward to jumpers and hot chocolate! For me, these last few weeks of Summer are all about the healthy, glowing look I always hope I'll have managed to achieve after months of sun. The weather may not always be on my side, but I've got five products to share today that certainly are, and I know I can rely on them to get me one step closer to that beachy glow I dream of. 

The Budget Gem -  L'Oreal Lumi Magique
I picked this up after reading multiple raves, and I have not regretted it one bit. Billed as a primer, I usually use one pump of this pearly cream mixed in with my foundation for a perfect luminous finish. I know I'll be repurchasing when this runs out, as it can turn any day into a glowing skin day.

The Bronze Glow- Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick

My first Shimmer Brick was purchased in Macy's in 2005, when I was 15 and on a school trip to NYC, armed with a fistful of dollars and dreams of JLo's complexion. I've never been without one since, which tells you how I feel about this cult favourite. It's just so handy, and can be used swirled together or as individual eyeshadow/highlight shades (the lightest is fantastic for opening up that inner corner). There's some gorgeous shades available, though my favourite is the classic Bronze. 

he High-End Dupe - MeMeMe Beat the Blues Highlighter
I received this dupe for Benefit High Beam in a Glossybox, and have been really loving dotting it along my cheekbones and the bridge of my nose with the little brush in the lid, before blending out with my Real Techniques buffing brush. The finish is a pearly sheen that isn't too frosty, which goes really nicely with the L'Oreal Lumi Maqigue, and I just love it under bronzer. I have the shade Pearl Pink, but the other shade, Oyster Gold, looks champagne-y and right up my street, so is sitting on my beauty wishlist. 

The Highlighting Hero - Watt's Up
Here's one I know I'll repurchase when it finally becomes nothing but a stump. This is my dream highlighter, champagne gold and glowy to the max, in an easy-to-use stick form. I swipe this anywhere I want to achieve that softly-lit look, namely the cheekbones, nose bridge, cupids bow and brow bones, and as with the MeMeMe, blend with a buffing brush (I ignore the weird sponge thing on the end). This is such a firm favourite of mine, and worth every single penny. 

The Luxury Splurge - Hourglass Ambient Lighting Trio
How could I not mention the palette so beautiful I lost my actual senses in Space N.K. just looking at it? No regrets here, even with the price tag, as it's true love. I've waxed lyrical on it's magical properties here, so I won't go on again, but honestly, these powders are worth the hype.

Monday, 18 August 2014

An Ode to Bobbi Brown Longwear Even Finish Foundation

Bobbi Brown longwear foundation warm natural

We didn't hit it off right away. When it replaced my all-time favourite foundation, Natural Finish Long Lasting, how I mourned it! I resented this flashy new Longwear. The new, all-improved formula didn't seem like much of an improvement to me. The consistency seemed thick and heavy, it didn't blend out nicely, and I needed so much to cover my face. I was so confused! Did I need to shake the bottle? Was my face just suddenly massive, and in need of loads of foundation? These were dark times. 

When I was buying lipstick at a Bobbi Brown counter and mentioned my disappointment in the new foundation, the MUA was shocked. "But it's the best foundation ever!" she exclaimed. I explained that it made me feel like I had loads of make-up on, and that my foundation brush seemed to just make it worse - it looked weirdly streaky. Her answer was immediate; I needed the new Full Coverage Face Brush. Marketer's dream girl I know, but in a moment of weakness I handed over my card. I needed to make this relationship work. 

The brush itself is a magical wonder tool, but that's a story for another day. My introduction to the world of buffing rather than painting foundation onto the skin however, opened my eyes. Longwear is the best foundation ever. It gives amazing full coverage, with a tiny amount that can be buffed and blended out until my skin looks somehow both natural and airbrushed. The finish is pleasingly matte, but not flat in the slightest, and the patches of my skin that can look oily after a long day are kept under firm control without leaving my skin feeling dried out. Amazingly, the coverage lasts all day long - the twelve-hour claims are indeed true. Bonus points for the cracking shade range (18 shades, catering to all skin tones, long live Queen Bobbi) and SPF 15 that doesn't cause flashback. 

Fast forward a few years and Longwear and I are still inseparable. I am pretty certain that this is my wedding day foundation, as it just ticks every box. We may have got off to a rocky start, but Longwear and I are soulmates now, bonded for life. Just so long as I have a buffing brush handy. 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Recent Reads

books saga cuckoos calling what alice forgot and a street cat named bob

I am going to be pretty sad when the Summer ends, and I can't read a book every few days. I know that when I go back to work my evenings will become busy again, and I will be exhausted by bedtime, so I will really miss having the freedom to stay up late to read just one more chapter. Here's a little peek at what I've been reading since we last discussed such matters.

A Street Cat Named Bob -  James Bowen

I actually met James Bowen and his gorgeous cat many years ago near Covent Garden tube station, and got a little high five from Bob himself! I didn't realise I was mingling with celebrities at the time, but was amazed when I saw his book in Waterstones. It's taken me ages to get around to reading it, and I wish I had done sooner. I totally fell in love with Bob and chuckled away at his odd antics, but I also ended up with huge amounts of respect for James. His story of beating addiction and taking control of his life against the odds (and the odds really are stacked against homeless people) is really inspiring. 

What Alice Forgot - Liane Moriarty

I found myself really drawn to the character of Alice, a sweet and slightly naive 29-year-old, who one day wakes up and finds she has lost ten years of her life. At 39 years old, she has three children she doesn't remember, her once-adoring husband hates her and she has become a marginally terrifying domestic goddess/supermum. She can't remember why or how these things have happened to her, and I really felt Alice's fear and heartbreak when the people she'd usually turn to for help were the ones who most disliked her. Easy to read, and really engaging, I'd definitely recommend this one.

Saga Vol. 1-3 -Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

I finally caught up on this comic (or graphic novel, if you're fancy) series that my boyfriend has been banging on about for ages. As usual, he was right, and I love it! Funny and action packed, I've found myself seriously rooting for the star-crossed lovers Alana and Marko as they try to outrun the bounty hunters after them and their newborn baby. There's half of a teenage ghost for a babysitter, a spaceship that's actually a tree, seahorse people and a cat that can tell you when someone is lying - it's pretty inventive stuff, and weirdly reminds me of Star Wars. 

The Cuckoo's Calling -  Robert Galbraith

Why didn't I read this sooner? I ordered it the day Robert Galbraith's secret identity was uncovered, then politely ignored it for ages. I think I was scared of disliking it. I needn't have worried, as I was utterly gripped, not only by the mystery of the beautiful, troubled model Lula Landry's suspicious fall from her balcony, but by the detective duo of Strike and Robin. I loved how this book was set in modern day London, but felt like a good old-fashioned whodunnit - though Queen Rowling was always going to write a nostalgia-inducing page-turner wasn't she? 

Have you read any of these? I love hearing about other people's opinions on books! Let me know what you've been reading, and if you have any recommendations! 

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Beauty Wishlist

July was a little spendy for me, and so I'm having a no-beauty-treats August, which is killing me softly. There's so much I want to try out right now. Instead of spending my Saturday shopping, I've spent it daydreaming about the things I wish I was buying. A girl can dream. 

beauty wishlist 2014

I know Summer is on the way out, but I think Bobbi Brown's Sand & Surf palette would be a long-term love. I have a few of her palettes, and they are just such gorgeous things to own. This one is so unusual, packaging-wise, and the shades are classic Bobbi - muted, classic with a bit of sparkle.

The GLAMGLOW Supermud sounds like exactly the kind of emergency product I'd like to have on hand for those times when my skin just isn't playing nice. I'd love to hear your thoughts or links to reviews of any of this range, as it's a bit of an investment. 

I keep missing the Urban Decay All-Nighter Setting Spray on Cohorted, as it sells out in seconds, which just makes me want it even more! I've never really tried a setting spray, unless a spritz of Caudalie counts, so I am really keen to give this a go. 

I am having serious scent-lust over Dolce & Gabbana Dolce Eau de Parfum. The bottle alone would have drawn me in, but the scent itself is a really pretty light floral that's a tiny bit woody. 

I've been known to buy nail polish just because they are named after Ibiza, so you need to understand how well I have done to resist Charlotte Tilbury's very Balearic-inspired line so far. Her whole collection looks stunning, but the beach sticks particularly call out to me, and I seriously want to place an order, sharpish. Formentera and Moon Beach look especially beautiful. 

Finally, the NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadows have been popping up on a few blogs, and although NARS is a beauty blogging cliché, it became one for a good reason. I noticed recently that although I have a good few palettes, I don't own many individual eyeshadows, which seems like a dreadful mistake which must be fixed. Where better to start than with the shade Himalia?

What do you think of my picks? They're all a bit high-end for a girl supposedly on a budget right now, but that's what wishing and dreaming is all about!  Let me know what's on your wishlist, and if you'd like to see what's on my dream high-street/budget shopping list right now! 

Friday, 15 August 2014

Harry Potter Studio Tour Mini-Haul

So a few of you were asking to see what I bought in the frankly incredible shop at the Warner Bros Studio Tour (see my post and photos here), and as I aim to please, here we are! I know I said I went a bit cray, and it doesn't exactly look like I bought a hundred things, but if you've been to the tour yourself you'll know that the shop isn't only incredible, but incredibly expensive, so I did have to really restrict myself. I had my heart set on a Weasley jumper, but discovered that they were £70, so yeah, that didn't happen. I did however pick up plenty of equally unnecessary but fun bits and bobs, so let's have a peek. 

Harry Potter studios haul scarf unicorn

Once I'd had a little internal sob over the price of Weasley jumpers, I decided I still wanted to get some full-on Harry Potter clothing, and the sporty jersey t-shirt presented itself to me within moments (the t-shirt chooses the wizard, Mr Potter). I bought it purely because it had a big number seven on the front, and my class will be seven once term starts in September, so I figured this was perfect PE attire. It says Potter on the back, to make me feel extra cool. Annoyingly, the white bits of the numbers have peeled off a bit when I ironed this, despite the fact that it didn't say anywhere that it couldn't be ironed. Not too impressed with that. 

The next thing I spotted was the unicorn, which was an admittedly ridiculous purchase. Not for the reasons everyone else laughingly pointed out to me (e.g. 'you are an adult', and 'where will you keep it?'), but because it's not as recognisably Harry Potter as say, a Monster Book Of Monsters or a Pygmy Puff might have been. It's a standard unicorn. But I loved it, and had a moment of madness. Maybe I'll get the Monster book next time? 

I had to pick up a little something for the boyfriend (if only to soften the blow of having a girlfriend who returns home bearing a big fluffy unicorn), so bought him a Chocolate Frog. I love the packaging of these, and the frogs are huge, almost the size of my hand. He ate it before I could take any photos, but I loved that there was a card inside, to make you feel like a real wizard. I got Helga Hufflepuff, and the photo on the back is holographic so really moves!

On the way to the till, not content with the money I was already burning, I spotted the house scarves, and pretty delirious by this point, literally just picked up a Gryffindor one without thinking. I have no idea when I will wear this, but the perks of working in a primary school include being able to get away with this kind of nonsense from time to time. It's actually really nice quality, and feels snuggly and warm! 

I also picked up a photograph of myself, riding a broomstick. I have chosen not to share this with you all, as it is highly unflattering. I am hoping to go back again at Christmas, and much as I'd like to say I won't be so silly and spend too much money on more nonsense, I know in my heart that I will be buying a wand and possibly another ridiculous toy. I just like to have these things. I just hope my poor little heart can rest without a Weasley jumper in my life. Maybe I'll have to find someone who can knit, and get them to make me one...

Have you been on the studio tour? What did you buy from the shop? If you are planning to go, you definitely need to factor in an hour or so in the shop, as it is just a treasure trove of all things Harry Potter, and you'll want lots of time to marvel at everything on offer. It is super expensive though, so either be prepared to break your own heart being strict with yourself, or be prepared to break your own heart spending all your wages. Choose wisely!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Out and About in Brighton

Brighton pier sign
Brighton beach and pier

We used to live in Brighton, and it is a place we just love to return to as it holds so many happy memories. I booked us a couple of nights there recently, and we were so lucky with the weather, enjoying the sunshine on the beach and warm evenings perfect for sitting outside with a few drinks. Of course I also insisted on a quick go on the 2p machines on the pier - it has to be done!

Brighton Carousel with seagulls on beach
brighton beach seagulls and carousel

 Once you learn to sleep through the sound of Brighton seagulls, you can sleep through anything. I have such a love/hate (or maybe, affection/fear) relationship with them!

frozen yoghurt with berries and honeycomb from lick
brighton pavillion through the trees

Old favourites like fro-yo for breakfast from Lick in the North Laines, a stop-off at Dave's Comics, and admiring the Pavillion were a must. I always loved the Pavillion, especially when we got engaged right in front of it one cold December night. 

la choza brighton
la choza brighton quesadilla
la choza brighton specials

 There's always something new to discover in Brighton, and we tried out some great places. Meat Liquor was too dark to photograph, but I did try to capture some of the flamboyant fun at La Choza. It was packed when we stopped off for lunch, so it was hard to take as many photos as I would have liked (there are so many fun trinkets and accessories in there, I was itching to get snap happy!), but I really loved the colourful Mexican-themed decor. Think sparkly skulls and garishly bright pictures of Mary in every corner, coupled with seriously delicious (and reasonably priced) burritos, tacos and quesadillas. 

brighton beach west pier

We had such a great couple of days, wandering around, popping into quirky little shops and catching up with old friends, that we almost forgot that we don't really live there any more. Every time I go back to Brighton, I just want to stay forever, and one day maybe we will. 

Monday, 11 August 2014

Manicure Monday: Summer Blues

Blue Nail Polish Swatches Models Own Beetlejuice, Maybelline Uptown Blue, Barry M Gelly Blueberry, Barry M Pure Turquoise and Crabtree Sky
Blue Nail Polish Swatches Models Own Beetlejuice, Maybelline Uptown Blue, Barry M Gelly Blueberry, Barry M Pure Turquoise and Crabtree Sky

One of my favourite nail colours has always been blue, which surprises me in a way, as I tend to gravitate towards more neutral colours for most of my make-up and clothing. It makes sense though, as blue goes with most colours, and I definitely see navy as a pretty neutral shade. Oh how I love navy nails in the Autumn and Winter! But I am getting ahead of myself - today I want to show you the blue shades I reach for in the Summer months. 

Last year's big obsession was the Barry M Gelly nail paints, and Blueberry was my absolute favourite. The bright shade, the glossy finish - it's such an all-round winner for me. Another Barry M shade I love, particularly on toes, is Pure Turquoise, which looks fantastic with a tan. On the lighter end of the blue spectrum, we have a couple of new purchases that I've been wearing lots this year. Crabtree and Evelyn Sky* is a perfect baby blue shade, and I really love the formula - I keep meaning to pick up a few more of their polishes. Another formula I have been loving is the Maybelline Forever Strong in Uptown Blue, which I picked up after Amelia Liana raved about the finish. It is fabulously glossy, but sadly does not last 7 days on my nails, more like 3 or 4. Last but not least, if a darker shade is more your thing, Model's Own's sparkly duo-chrome Aqua Violet, may be for you. From their shimmery and beautiful Beetle Juice range, this little gem shines a little violet when it catches the light. 

Do you love blue nail polish too? What shades do you recommend?

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Books to Read On Holiday

Books on a beach towel with sunglasses

Sun, sea, sand and books. Lots of us like to use a Summer holiday as a chance to catch up on reading, even those who don't read a great deal the rest of the time. I always think the best beach reads are the ones that manage to be page-turningly gripping whilst also being an easy read; with the smell of sun cream, the heat and the cocktails to tempt you into a nap, books that are less-than-exciting, or just hard work, might be better saved for a cosy Autumn afternoon at home. With these criteria in mind, I've put together a little selection of books I think would be perfect to pop into your suitcase if (unlike me) you're jetting off somewhere fabulous in the next few weeks. 

The one that goes hand-in-hand with travel is the beautifully written The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke. The vivid and beautiful descriptions of the coastal landscapes visited by free-spirit Mia bring her story to life, as her older, more sensible sister Katie reads her travel diary entry by entry, following her journey around the world. The bond between Katie and Mia is explored as Katie visits every place her younger sister did on her way to Bali, the place where her apparent suicide took place. The author's love of travel and the sea shines through in this book, and it was just meant to be read on the beach, with the sun on your shoulders. 

The one that will make you laugh has to be my current obsession Mindy Kaling's book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? Mindy is smart, hilarious and so likeable, and her book is an easy-to-read mixture of memories, essays and lists that will make you feel like you're having a good old chat with your funniest friend. 

The thrilling mystery that everyone loves is Gone Girl, the Gillian Flynn bestseller that is as gripping, surprising and full of twists and turns as you could possibly hope for. If you haven't read it, you need to get on with it before the film comes out. It really does live up to the hype. If you have read it, try Sharp Objects, Flynn's debut - the characters in this make Nick and Amy seem normal. 

The one that's not really chick-lit is disguised with a fluffy title and pastel-coloured cover, but will definitely make you think. Dorothy Koomson's Ice Cream Girls switches between two narrators who surely can't both be telling the truth about their teacher/lover's brutal murder. The papers portrayed them as teen seductresses, Lolitas eating ice-cream on the beach, but no one wanted to hear their side of the story. This one kept me guessing until the very end, and explored some sensitive but really important issues. 

Have you already been on holiday this year, and if so, did you read anything exciting?

Friday, 8 August 2014

Orange Lip Obsession: Bellapierre Lipstick in Mandarina

Bellapierre mandarina lipstick swatch on lips

This is the year that I went from orange-lip doubter to convert. I had always been convinced orange would make my teeth look less than pearly, but either that's not true, Pearldrops has been working or I'm just more confident these days, because I have become obsessed with the shade. I mentioned my true love MAC Morange in my July Favourites, but needed to share with you another shade that I've been falling for.

I received this lovely Bellapierre mineral lipstick in the shade Mandarina in a Glossybox a while back, and have been loving it ever since. Bellapierre is one of those brands I've just never paid much attention to, despite having tried and really liked one of their eyeshadows in a beauty box a while ago. I think maybe their branding has never called out to me, and I don't hear much about their products on other blogs. They are certainly not cheap - at £20 this lipstick is definitely in the high-end price bracket, and I have to say, the packaging does not reflect that at all. It looks like a product you'd find at a stand in Boots, not something you'd pay more than MAC for.

That said, the product inside is fantastic. Smooth and balmy, this is really comfortable to wear and easy to apply, giving a slightly glossy finish. I'd say it was like a really bright Cremesheen. I find that with a lip liner, I get a good 5 hours wear, including drinking, and the colour fades pretty evenly too. Considering it's both bright and long-lasting, I've been pleasantly surprised by how low-maintenance Mandarina is; there's no clinging to dry patches here. I find the best way to apply lipsticks with this kind of hydrating formula is to apply a coat swiping normally, blot with tissue, then dab on a second layer. The colour looks even and lasts for ages. 

Bellapierre mandarina lipstick
Bellapierre mandarina lipstick

This lipstick has been used in rotation with MAC Morange, and as the swatches below show, they are pretty similar in colour. It's hard to see in the photo, but Morange is lighter and brighter, and Mandarina leans redder. Formula-wise though, they're pretty different. Morange is an Amplified Creme, meaning it has a very vibrant colour and a slightly matte finish. Morange is a creamier and longer-lasting formula, though requires a little more prep to avoid obvious dry patches if you often get chapped lips as I do. 

Bellapierre mandarina lipstick and MAC morange swatch

Do you love orange lipstick? Which shades have you been reaching for this Summer?

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Travel Inspired Etsy Prints

I've been looking for a few bits to fill up some slightly boring walls, and we all know what it's like to get sucked into the vortex of Etsy. I've especially been loving travel-themed prints, probably because I've missed out on a Summer holiday this year. It's just lovely to have reminders of beautiful places you've visited and loved, or places you dream of seeing, dotted around the house. 

Canal Houses Amsterdam print - Lauraamiss (£23.33)
Paris Typographic Print - Happy Letter Shop (£13.20)
Peter Pan Big Ben Print - StudioTypeFace (£3.61)
London Print - Old English Company (£21)

There's also lots of gorgeous prints that are more about the theme of travel and adventure in general, rather than focusing on just once place. 

Map of the World from Old Sheet Music - artPause (£11.99)
World is Your Oyster print - Old English Company (£12.50)
Not All Those Who Wander print - Fancy Prints for Home (£9.62)
Take Me Away Wanderlust print - Ink Paper Print (£10.00)

I love so many of these, especially the ones with maps, and that Paris print would look really pretty in my bedroom. What do you think of my picks? Do you love art and prints that remind you of travel?

Monday, 4 August 2014

Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stains

revlon colorstay moisture stains in cannes crush and la exclusive

When it comes to lip products, Revlon seem to be nailing it these days, and in my book they can do no wrong. The latest addition to the Colorstay (I really, really don't like the missing 'u' in colour!) collection are the new Moisture Stains, liquid lip colours with a glossy finish and a balmy, non-sticky consistency.

 I absolutely loved the look of the packaging, which is sleek and handily shows the colour of the product inside, and just had to pick a couple of these up on Saturday, in the shades LA Exclusive and Cannes Crush. They didn't disappoint, and are so hydrating and comfortable to wear - I would say even nicer than the YSL Glossy Stains. The pigmentation isn't super strong, but very much buildable, and the glossy finish is so pretty. I love that the colour fades evenly after a few hours wear, leaving my lips feeling really soft. Fleur de Force suggested in her review that the product can apply looking gloopy, and the best thing to do is use the wide doe foot to really work the product into the lips for an even coat of colour, then add a second coat. I would agree that LA Exclusive particularly needed to be applied in this way, so don't be alarmed if they don't look perfect in one swipe. 

revlon colorstay moisture stain swatches in cannes crush and la exclusive

 LA Exclusive is a cool-toned, slightly lilac-ish pink, which contains very fine shimmer (it's barely noticeable unless you look very closely). 

revlon colorstay moisture stain la exclusive swatch on lips
revlon colorstay moisture stain la exclusive swatch on lips

Cannes Crush is a shimmer-free coral pink, and is more pigmented.

revlon colorstay moisture stain cannes crush swatch on lips
revlon colorstay moisture stain cannes crush swatch on lips

I am so glad I bought these, and they have become instant favourites. The consistency is so lovely to wear, and unlike anything else I own. They are exactly what I wanted Benefit to make when they turned their tints into lip products. Have you tried any of the Moisture Stains? Or will you be picking one up?
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