Wednesday, 14 February 2018

I tried a Full Face of Make up for less than £12

I have often found that some bargain, cheaper than chips, make up products can be better in lasting power, coverage, pigmentation and of course value than similar items that you can easily pay ten times the price for. Case in point is Collection Lasting Perfection concealer that I always feature in my empties. £3.99 for the best concealer I have used for concealing spots and redness. It's creamy, long lasting texture, which doesn't sit in fine lines is a dream.

Natural Collection  is a really affordable range from Boots that I have often walked past but never bought anything from because, to be honest, I thought the shades and range was a bit meh. But during a recent lunchtime mooch I splashed out just shy of £12 to get a full face of make up, to see how the products faired under my critical eye.
Tinted Moisturiser - £2.99
The range does include a foundation but I opted for a tinted moisturiser because I didn't have my glasses with me and so couldn't really pick the right foundation shade. I also thought a tinted moisturiser would be a good option for saturday morning walks when I wouldn't normally wear any make up. Just to take the edge off.

This has no coverage at all, as is the case for tinted moisturisers, yet does give a very, very subtle blurred effect. I like the cream, it sinks in quickly and leaves no trace. This would be great for holidays when you've got a bit of tan on your face.
Powder Blush in Rose Blush - £1.99
This is the wrong shade for me, I should have gone for the more bronzy/peach shade but as a blush it's fab. Pretty ok pigmentation, lasts all day and looks nice on the cheeks. This shade has the merest hint of glitter which lifts the shade when applied and is a real dupe for Nars Orgasm blush. I'll definitely get a more suitable shade and a bronzer as well.
Sheer natural lipstick in Power Pink - £2.49
Another duff shade for me. I hate to say this but the shades I picked up in the blush and this lipstick are too young for me. It's because in my head I am still 26!
But again a really nice not so sheer lipstick which has camomile in to sooth and protect lips. It's hydrating and feels comfortable on the lips. This is an easy to wear daytime lippy.
Eyeshadow in Copper Blush - £1.99
Similar size to the recent single Bobbi Brown eyeshadow I bought for £19 (!!). A nice, easy to blend, good pay off powder shadow. More applications of this really brings out the copper, foil like look. It's lovely.
Length Mascara - £2.49
This is the wettest mascara I've ever used, for the first few uses. Although that said it doesn't smudge everywhere. It's now started to dry out a little but there is still a lot of product on the wand, which you have to take off on the side of the tube. All that said it's an alright mascara, even better than just alright. I've used worse for much more. It does lengthen and separate lashes. I like volume so only for that reason, I wouldn't re-purchase this one but the range does do a volume specific mascara, so I'll definitely try that.

Apart from my own user error of not picking shades that suit me, I'm really quite pleased with the quality of the items I've tried and will definitely be trying more. And there's a lot more in the range, so maybe take a look next time you are in Boots. 



Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Is Glossier make up just for Millennials?

First things first - what is a millennial? It's someone who was born between the early 1980's to early 2000's. I'm from generation X, the generation before these blush pink wearing, staying in, healthy eating bright young things.

Glossier started shipping to the UK last year and launched to great excitement and expectation as here was a make up and skin care range that was affordable, with really cool packaging that promised you a no make up make up, fresh and glowy look. Surely what we are all aiming for?

Well no actually. Being of generation X, gone are the days when I feel comfortable going bare faced. I need make up for my face but more importantly for my confidence and because I love the ritual of applying make up.

Glossier's website has photos of young models with the freshest, clearest, glowing skin. And that's what you're buying in to surely?

But for those of us who either need or like wearing foundation with actual coverage, to brighten dull and tired skin and add a base that lets you face whatever the day throws at you.. Glossier is not the one.

It is a lovely line and looks so pretty on your dressing table but for me, it's not got the X factor I'm looking for. Who I do think it would be perfect for are teens plus who want the confidence that make up brings but without caking it on. Glossier's Skin Tint is just that and would suit young, taut, line free skin just to add a very subtle hint of dewy coverage. And that's the thing at 40+, I do not want dewiness. I don't want to look sweaty or shiny, I want a matt coverage to detract and take attention away from my lines and wrinkles, open pores and uneven skin tone.

One of Glossier's best sellers - Cloud Paint, which is a liquid gel type blush colour clung horribly in the open pores on my cheeks. The colour is so pigmented, I'll give it that, but the texture does nothing for my skin and sits in all the worst places and looks like I've applied it with a spatula. With no blending in.
Another product I tried is the Stretch Concealer. This is a nice texture and applied with your finger does blend it well under the eyes but at best it lifts the darker under eye area slightly but has no real coverage. By the end of the day, all of the concealer has disappeared and I am shocked to see a dark eyed ghost looking back at me from the mirror!

I received a sample of the Milky Jelly Cleanser. This does not remove make up effectively at all. And I've seen more and more reviews referring to this as a lovely morning cleanser. And it is a really nice texture but for a morning cleanse only. Maybe it's because Glossier users wear such minimal make up they don't need a really hard working cleanser?

I definitely fell for the Glossier hype and that's ok because I don't feel any make up range is age relevant but this is a range definitely for people with either near perfect skin that needs minimal coverage or if you are happy to just wear a dot of blusher and slick of lip gloss. That's not me.

What I do absolutely love from Glossier is the Boy Brow pomade. This coloured brow mascara has a perfectly sized tiny brush, is a great shade and most importantly has real holding power for unruly brow hairs but with absolutely no stickiness or crustiness. I am just about to order my second tube.
Like all make up ranges, there's some things I love and others I'm not fussed about and whilst I do love Boy Brow, my older generation X skin just needs more.


Wednesday, 31 January 2018

January 2018 Favourites

Sweet heaven above, thank my giddy Aunt January is over. The month that felt like two, the month of fifty shades of grey skies, enough rain to grow webbed feet and the wind.. oh the wind.
Anyway people, we made it. We can look forward to lighter mornings and evenings, spring bulbs and day light!

Favourite things from the last 84 days of January have been:

Nude by Nature Natural Glow Loose Bronzer
I did feature this loose powder bronzer in one of my beauty advent posts and I haven't put it down since. It's almost replaced my Benefit Hoola. This powder is the perfect shade which I have been using as a contour and in these pasty faced times, it has added the definition shadow I need to not only bring some warmth to my face but a hint of cheekbone. £18.00 for 10g pot from Debenhams.

Bobbi Brown Eye Shadow in Toast
I can't remember where I heard what a versatile perfect shade Toast was from Bobbi Brown, so when I popped in to a store in the new Oxford Westgate Shopping Mall, I threw caution to the wind and blew £19.00 on this one, single, lone, solitary eye shadow. However, it is a great colour that I have been wearing often as either a single sweep wash of colour just to cover veiny eye lids and awaken my eyes or layered up for a more intense mid brown.

John Frieda Original 6 Effects Serum
I raved about my first discovery of the John Frieda Frizz Ease shampoo and conditioner in a recent favourites and how they had really transformed my hair to be practically frizz free and certainly 100 times less static. This serum, which you add to washed wet hair, goes further to ease the frizz, heat protect, smooth and hydrates. And it really does all of these things. My hair feel silky smooth and I've only used it a handful of times. £6.99 from Boots (or on a 3 for 2).

Phil Smith CocoLicious Hairspray
I picked this up in Sainsbury's because it was on offer for a few pounds (can't remember the exact amount). I only use a squirt of hairspray to control flyaway hairs so I've never spent much on it. I lucked out with this one though as it smells so fresh and coconut-y, it does give a firm hold and no stickiness or crusty residue. I'd be happy to pay twice the amount I did for this.

Monica Vinader Signature Ring
As a January cheer up treat to myself I ordered this simple 18ct gold ring from Monica Vinader. Here are better pictures from their website. 

I love the design of this ring and it's so comfortable to wear. There's not one piece of Monica Vinader jewellery that I wouldn't love to own, so if you've not heard of them before, do take a look at their website. My ring arrived quickly and beautifully packaged.  I also ordered another ring and sent that back and got a refund really quickly. 


Saturday, 27 January 2018

Homeware Haul

Maybe because during the winter months I spend all my time indoors, I start to look around and want to revamp a few rooms. Of course this can turn in to quite a costly exercise so I decided to buy just a few new pieces to freshen up my home without the expense and effort of a full re-decoration.

Large round mirror - Ikea (£60.00)
Ikea Round Mirror
I'd seen this mirror on the website but it wasn't until I saw it in real life that I realised what an utter bargain it was. It's huge and if I can say this, doesn't look like it's from Ikea (no offense Ikea, I do love you). This sturdy mirror with the shelf feature brings so much light in to my living room and there were so many other places I could have put it. I'm still wondering if it should go above my console table in the hallway...

Neon cactus light - Homesense £24.00
Homesense Neon Cactus Light
I had actually been planning on getting a neon light which was four times the price of this one but I was also toying with the idea of whether I would use it, was it a waste of money etc. And then whilst Christmas shopping in my beloved lunchtime haunt, Homesense, I saw this one for only £24.00 (and I have seen a few even less amongst the dregs of the sale if you're interested). I am so glad I bought this one and not the more expensive one because actually it is a novelty piece and I don't switch it on that often but I do love the quirkiness it adds to this little space in my kitchen.

Here's a bad picture of it on. Honestly it does look much better than this in the flesh.

Pink palm trees print - Fy £44.00
My bedroom needed a bit of colour. I mean to be honest it needs more than colour but here is not the time or place..
My bedroom is muted grey with duck egg blue upholstered bed and lampshades. Although I am well past the age of a millenial, I do love pink and the warmth it brings to any colour scheme. I chose this print from Fy in the sale and with frame it was £44. Personally I think that was too much. The print is nice but the frame is quite flimsy and although I did order A2 size, I didn't realise it wouldn't be big enough to go over my bed. But it looks nice here above my bedside table.

Pink velvet(ish) cushions - Primark £5.00
Despite my daily visits to Homesense, I couldn't find the right pink cushions. I wanted plain ones but didn't want to pay a fortune, or more than £20 each! Primark came up trumps (need to stop using that phrase as Trump implies a beneficial good thing..), anyway I got these two rectangular cushions and they are just what I wanted. Really good shape for supporting the back of your neck as well.

Lamps - Dunelm £10.50
I've been in a debate with myself over replacing my bedside table lamps. I have two, one is never used and doesn't even have a bulb in it. I don't need two, I am single. But do I then get rid of the two and replace with only one, because only one is needed and then I can spend a bit more on the one. But does having only one bedside lamp just shout "I AM SINGLE"? You can see the turmoil over this I've been going through.

Dunelm came to the rescue when I saw these two gold and grey lamps, on sale, at £10.50 each!! And they are touch lamps. They had other colour shades as well. The gold base adds the warmth I've been lacking in this room and because the shade is plain, I'm going to go a bit crazier on the main ceiling shade, when I can find that.

I still have no bulb in the second lamp..



Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Five ways to avoid the winter blues

How to avoid the winter blues? Question not statement.

Honestly does anyone thrive in the colder, darker months where all you seem to do is go to work in the dark, and come home in the dark, stay in, with the heating whacked up and covered in blankets? And whilst the thought of that in September seems really nice and cozy and in December is classed as feeling "christmassy". Come January and February, it's just downright miserable. Things you may have planned to do are dampened by the cold and wet weather (as I write this it has literally not stopped raining for two days). 

As we all try to cope with the lack of sunshine and on some days, daylight, what can we all do to avoid getting really blue at this time of year? 

This is what I do, to keep myself going..

1. Book a holiday
or at least start researching where to go. There is nothing like looking at pictures of sunnier climes to cheer you up. I swear you can get some of your lost vitamin D just by viewing and Villaplus!
In January a lot of sites have sales, Easyjet have had some great flight deals recently. 

Here's some vitamin D for you..

2. Plan some day trips or events
it doesn't have to be a summer holiday. Planning a day trip with friends somewhere, such as a day out shopping, a spa day or a theatre trip can give you something to look forward to and keep you focused on fun things ahead. 
Check out deals on Groupon.

3. Take up a new hobby or interest
getting interested in something that takes your mind away from the drudge of this time of year makes such a difference. It keeps you motivated and looking forward to what you can achieve with your new hobby, however big or small - it can be taking up jewellery making or what I've done, which is sign up to one of Cancer Research's hikes. Myself and a group of ladies are doing a 20.5 mile hike in June along the Jurassic Coast. Not only do I love dinosaurs, I love buying new clothes. I am literally that person who has "all the gear, no idea". Currently I am spending all my time researching walking socks and back packs. I've already bought new walking boots and jacket and started the training and it's really helping me through these winter months as my end goal is (hopefully) sunny June.

4. Get out
and even though the idea itself is not appealing, if you wrap up warm and can keep dry-ish, getting out for a walk really lifts the mood. It's difficult and not practical at night but for those cold but bright, sunny days - go out at lunch time. Walk to the shops or around the block to get a coffee. And at weekends, if you can and even if it's only for a drive, get out for an hour. The daylight will make you feel so much better and will mean that you can then..

5. Allow yourself some self indulgent time
at least in winter, with the rain filled cold days and nights, you are almost forced to not do anything. There's no other time of the year when you can spend the whole weekend watching a whole box set, hours of Youtube videos or reading magazines or a good book without that nagging doubt that you should be doing something productive. I've been through so many box sets lately - People just do nothing (BBC iplayer and Netflix - hilarious), The Sinner (Gripping drama - Netflix), Hard Sun (was ok - BBC iplayer), The Crown (stunning drama - Netflix).

Warm baths-I bought some Lush bubble bars recently and after getting home from work, there is nothing like a warm bath with either some music on in the background or as I've been (riskily) doing, propping my ipad at the end of the bath and watching some make up tutorials!

Book yourself a massage or facial. There is something so indulgent and treat worthy to having an hour long massage or facial, away from everyone and everything. 

Don't feel any guilt, do as the bears do and hibernate.


Sunday, 21 January 2018

How I style my Graham and Green Coffee Table

Now I'm old enough to remember when coffee tables were in fashion the first time around. Large, chunky dark brown wooden monstrosities that were more practical than stylish. Used to house the remote control, the TV Times, discarded cups of coffee and as your Dad's foot rest. Over time this coffee table became scratched, stained from cups and glasses and as a dumping ground, such to the extent that you forgot what material the table was made off.

Gone are those days and now the coffee table is regarded as a piece of art in your living area, a stylish nod to your grander interior goals and woe betide  anyone who actually puts a coffee cup on it!

I've been looking out for a coffee table to make a centrepiece to my living room and take away the main focal point of the TV. It was only when I visited the Graham and Green Outlet in Chippenham (as featured in my October Favourites) that I spotted a discounted Detroit Coffee Table. It was well hidden but I knew at once it was absolutely perfect.
With geometric black and gold metal legs and a solid marble top, this coffee table is not only very "of the moment", the materials and style are not going to date. The marble top is light enough to add an amount of light to the room and the open framework of the legs make an interesting feature rather than standard four block legs.
How you style your coffee table is of course completely up to you. The pieces I have picked to display on my own table are bits I want to show off and that add different heights and textures to the table. And I do plan on changing what I display seasonally, to keep my interest up and almost as a changeable design detail. I have also applied the 'rule of thirds' to display the items by having three columns of items. I don't want to make the table top too busy and I want an order but I also want to use as much of the top as I can but without cluttering.

I've also used materials that compliment the coffee table itself. 
The geometric gold coloured tea light holder was from Primark for something ridiculous like £3.00 and this sits inside a Oliver Bonas gold and glass mirrored tray (£12.00 link here). This tray is lovely and sometimes I sit a plant inside it. The refection from the glass also adds a nice touch.
I can't be trusted with any living plants so this succulent from Marks & Spencer is perfect as it requires very little attention. It comes all ready to go and planted in the glass jar which I sit on another Primark piece - a copper coloured small dish coaster. I like that the green of the succulent adds a contrasting colour to the proceedings and when I eventually kill this, I will make sure I always have a plant or flowers on the table.
I can't remember how much these Primark coasters were, but literally a few pound. I have two and the other I sit candles on. I always make sure I have a candle on the go on the table. I mostly pick candles up from the sale shelf of Homesense or from Asda or Sainsbury's, both of which do nice smelling candles.
No coffee table is complete without at least one coffee table book. Not for reading and solely for display purposes only and because the covers go well with the rest of the top but they are both interior inspo books.
And whilst I would never intentionally invite anyone to put their drink down on my coffee table, I do have a couple of marble and wood coasters just in case of an emergency situation. These are from Tesco. A pack of 4 for £12.00.
The Detroit Coffee Table from Graham and Green is £195.00 but I did get mine from the outlet for £136. I've seen some really cool coffee tables on Habitat and Wayfair sites, so they might be worth checking out as well.
Graham and Green Detroit Coffee Table


Thursday, 11 January 2018

The Coats that see me through Winter

Like most people, I love coats and jackets and living in the UK, they are an essential wardrobe item to see you through the continuous chilly to cold to downright freezing winter days. I've never spent loads on coats but after many years of wearing them, I feel I now know what style of winter coat I prefer, so maybe it's time to invest in a really good one. And for my next purchase, I will be paying more attention to the materials used, particularly the wool content. Coats with more than 40% wool will not only feel a lot warmer but will hang better.

I want 2018 to be the year I really think about what I am buying and buy less but more quality pieces. Hopefully keeping a look out for a wool or wool blend coat will be a good place to start.

The Work Coat
This black knee length coat was from H&M a few years ago. I love this coat with its asymmetrical zip and high collar, which is perfect for keeping winter winds out without having to wear a big scarf.
This is my work coat but I also like how it looks with jeans. As with most black coats, I need to regularly give this a once over with a lint remover as it does attract any little bit of fluff. The wool content of this coat is 33% but I have always found it so warm due to the high collar. The pockets are deep and there is an essential back vent to help the coat hang nicely.

The Parka
This parka got me through a trip to New York in February when it was the coldest I have ever experienced. This was from Uniqlo and is a mix between black and very dark green. There is a detachable fleece lining which covers the main body but not the arms, which I like so I can wear big jumpers and still get this parka on. 
There is also a drawstring at the waist to pull the coat in and give a bit more shape, as well as a drawstring on the hem.
The hood is a good size with a detachable fur rim.

The Puffer Jacket
This is a fairly new jacket from H&M and they come in a variety of colours. I went for black because I felt it would go with more and be less "stand out". Being a puffer jacket, it is bulky but very warm with deep pockets and popper buttons.
As you can see, the hood is huge which I really like as it acts like a big padded collar.
Now because this jacket is quite bulky (and I've got it in a small), I like to wear it on the wonk. I just pop up one of the buttons with the one above it and I really like this look.

The Aviator Jacket
I got this sherling lined aviator jacket for my birthday last year from New Look and luckily they are still very much 'in' and you can get this style in most shops. As you can see I have this in khaki green with black lining and although I can only wear a thin top underneath, that's fine as it's so warm and snuggly.

Here it is zipped up.

The "leather" Jacket
This must be my 4th or 5th pleather (pretend leather) jacket and I really just need to commit to buying myself an actual leather jacket. And it would be a biker style. Leather or pleather jackets go with everything and are a wardrobe staple. They go with jeans, dresses-both casual and smart, trousers, jumpsuits, skirts. There is nothing this style jacket won't go with. Which is why I need to get a proper one!
If you like this one, I did get it this year from Asos, it's from the brand Pimkie.

The Longline Bomber Jacket
I love a bomber jacket and have such a useful thin one from Zara which I always wear when travelling. This longline bomber was an absolute bargain from Primark earlier this year and I have worn it so much. It's lightly padded, so warm but not overheating warm.
The longline bomber is a casual, effortless jacket.

The Leopard Print Coat
I would never have bought a leopard print coat/jacket so I pinched this from my daughter who bought it last year in the Sainsbury's TU sale. I was a bit scared initially to wear it (yes I had Bet Lynch images in my head). But what I've discovered is clash it and wear it proud. Or wear it with black to down play the jacket.

I recently teamed the leopard with a gold and black sparkly dress, and I loved how it looked.
I am missing a snow/ski jacket though..

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