Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Mary-Lou Manizer review

Meet Mary-Lou Manizer, a seemingly innocent honey hued luminiser that catches everybody’s eye. This highlighter, shadow and shimmer diffuses light so your skin looks softer and younger while adding a subtle glow. Layer it on your lids for luxe-looking lashes, sweep it on your check for a sexy sheen, or use it as an all-over finishing touch before you head out for the night.

TheBalm’s Mary Lou Manizer Luminizer is a fine powder highlighter encased in a sturdy but lightweight  silver compact with a generous sized mirror. The powder is very finely milled and gives a warm glow with little to no fallout. It gives an incredibly subtle look if you apply in natural daylight to avoid overloading your skin. It can look quite sparkly in bright sunshine, but sure when do we ever get that in the UK?!? It lasts most of the day on my (dry) skin and the fact that the tiniest little swipe is all you need means that the 8.5g of product will last you forever. So far I’ve only used it on my cheekbones but I’m looking forward to using it as an eyeshadow over Christmas.

I bought this for £12 during one of Feel Unique’s summer sales but it normally retails for £15 which I’d be happy to pay. 

Monday, 7 October 2013

Manic(ure) Monday - Nails Inc Saville Row

This is one of the first polishes I tried from Nails Inc and it has remained one of my favourites. It's a rich, deep plum colour that is just perfect for these Autumn days.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Bobbi Brown Rich Chocolate Palette - first impressions

Last week House of Fraser held one of their regular “brand events” where they discount entire brands by up to 25% (10% for beauty).  I’ve had a gift voucher lurking in my purse for a while now and was hoping to lose my MAC virginity with it, but alas MAC was not one of the brands included in the event. However, Bobbi Brown was, and (after frantically emailing my local store to make sure they had it in stock as it doesn’t seem to be on their website at all) the Rich Chocolate Eye Palette was soon in my possession.

 It’s absolutely stunning.

Seven shades, 5 matte and two shimmer, of the most gorgeous chocolatey eyeshadows you could imagine, each one good enough to eat (tip: don’t). They range in the more subtle daytime shades to the left of the palette, blinging it up for the party season towards the middle and finishing up with a sinful dark shade that will be perfect as eyeliner.

From left to right the shades are:
Bone Eye Shadow 
Stone Eye Shadow
Frappe Eye Shadow
Caramel Sparkle Eye Shadow
Champagne Truffle Shimmer Wash Eye Shadow
Cocoa Eye Shadow
Rich Chocolate Eye Shadow

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Eye Makeup Remover Mini Reviews

I’ve had a run of bad luck with eye makeup removers recently, but I don’t really want to focus too much on negatives so I thought I’d give you a quick review of each and then (attempt to) forget about them. 

First up is the first I tried – the L’Oreal Paris Dermo-Expertise Absolute Makeup Remover Eye & Lip. It was fine right up until I used to it take off Benefit’s They’re Real mascara and then my eyes burned like crazy, and they have remained slightly sensitive ever since. I used the whole bottle but it meant I had to be careful about what makeup I used on my eyes until I finished it.

Nivea Visage Extra gentle Eye Make-up remover: So gentle it removes absolutely nothing. It moves your mascara about a bit, but just succeeds in making you look like a panda. I think I used it twice before breaking into my emergency travel stash of No7.

L'Oréal Paris Skin Perfection 3 in 1 Purifying Micellar Solution: And now I come to the bit I didn’t want to write. I was so so looking forward to using this, but unfortunately it’s a mixture of the previous two removers combined. It takes off my mascara and eyeliner ok on my top lashes, but will not shift what’s on the bottom lashes without a lot of effort – and you don’t want to be too vigorous around the delicate eye area. Added to that is the fact that it leaves me with one specific area of redness and irritation on my right eyelid.


All in all I’m not a happy bunny and am very glad that all three were cheap! Have you tried any disappointing products lately?


Monday, 30 September 2013

I am officially in love

This was actually a hard post to write! I found it quite difficult to articulate just how much I adore the L'Oreal Paris Glam Shine Stain Splash that I bought last week, but I'm gonna give it my best shot. Where to begin??? The colour (Lolita) is absolutely divine - I know many people will think "but it's just your lips...but better" but it just makes them look SO GOOD. The effect can be really subtle, or can be built up for a stronger look without being too in your face. It's perfect for both minimal makeup days, or days where you maybe want to focus more on your eyes but can't quite leave your lips totally bare.

The lasting power: I was not expecting anything great, despite the "stain" part of the name. I saw gloss and thought "easily wiped off." No. No no no. The first time I tried it, I had something to eat after about an hour of wear, looked in the mirror and it had only come off slightly where my lips meet - a quick press/rub together and it was good as new. It barely leaves a mark on cups/glasses when drinking also.

I was honestly not expecting both colour payoff and staying power, I really thought I'd get one or the other and now have a craving to check out the other colours in the range - I might need to flog a few more non-essentials on ebay first though!

Monday, 16 September 2013

Manic(ure) Monday - MUA Amaretto Crush

This is a brand new purchase which has become a firm favourite. MUA's Amaretto Crush is an absolutely gorgeous pink that is not too bright and in your face, but still extremely summery and pretty. It's been on my nails for four days now and has only worn off slightly at the tips. With a decent top coat you should be able to extend the wear even longer.

And just look how dinky the bottle is! (As a somewhat dinky person, I occasionally get over excited about similarly petite products. You should see me in the travel toiletries section of Boots)

Monday, 9 September 2013

And this is why wish lists are a bad bad thing

So it turns out that selling stuff on ebay + Feel Unique/Boots sales = happy blogger. It's been way too long since I had a little splurge, so without further ado let's get to the swag.

Skirt: I got this in a 50% flash sale on Asos a couple of weeks ago and it's become my new favourite item  already. It looks great with ballet pumps or low ankle boots and I can't wait to wear it wih slouchy jumpers when we get properly into Autumn.

L'Oreal Paris Skin Perfection  3 in 1 Purifying Micellar Solution: I totally bought into the hype and caved, just as I ran out of eye makeup remover. Replacement items don't count as a splurge, right?

The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer: Um...it fell into my basket on Feel Unique? It would have been cruel to tell it that it wouldn't be coming to live with me, honest.

L'Oreal Paris Glam Shine Stain Splash in Lolita: I'm not even going to try to justify this. I'd sleep with it if I could, I love it that much.

Real Techniques Setting Brush: I needed something to apply the Mary-Lou with. Needed.

Leighton Denny Small Crystal Nail File: This I wasn't even going to buy, but then I spotted the Boots "buy one get one half price" sale and well...I was getting the Real Techniques brush anyway, so I had to take advantage of the offer, it would have been rude not to.


Manic(ure) Monday - tools of the trade

Why does Monday always come round so quickly? In order to brighten up the most dreaded day of the week I'd start a little nail polish series, featuring my favourite shades and brands. Before getting to the pretty stuff however, I thought I'd start with the basic tools I use in order to get my nails into tip top shape for painting.

Leighton Denny Small Crystal Nail File
I've been wanting this for so so long, and finally caved last week when I had some spare ebay profit lying around doing nothing. I'm incredibly fussy when it comes to nail files, I'd rather gnaw my fingers off than put an emery board near them, and my cushioned file had just died a death on me. The texture took a bit of getting used to as I was expecting it to be uber smooth, but it's so quick and easy to use. A couple of swipes over your nail and you're done. And all it needs to keep it in perfect condition is a quick run under the warm tap :D

Boots 4 way buffer
This is the handiest thing to achieve neat and shiny nails in an instant. One side is the dreaded emery board, which is obviously ignored. Side 2 gets rid of ridges, while side 3 creates a smooth finish, and side 4 buffs your nails to subtle perfection.

Cuticle care
Depending on time (and generally laziness) I use either my No7 Nourishing Nail and Cuticle Care cream, or my Avon Green Tea Nourishing Cuticle Pen. Both products work to soften and neaten the cuticle before pushing it back if necessary.

Cuticle pusher
This particular product is no longer available in Boots/Superdrug, however there are a million similar pushers out there. I prefer ones with rubber tips as you can see, but you can also buy wooden hoof sticks - I think the rubber just feels a bit gentler on the cuticle.

No7 Stay Perfect Nail Base & Top Coat
I bought these ages ago when I found myself with several No7 vouchers to my name (does anyone else find the thought of just not using them utterly horrific??) and they work really well. I've never had my nails turn yellow from my nail polish when using this base coat, and top coat keeps them chip free for days - especially if you're a bit obsessive and do several coats over those few days :D

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Nivea Daily Essentials Light Moisturising Day Cream for Dry and Sensitive Skin

I found myself out of my comfort zone a few months ago when I realised that the moisturiser I've used for the past decade had been discontinued and that I'd have to pick a new one. I actually hadn't got much further than checking a few reviews on the Boots website when I bought Nivea's Daily Essentials Light Moisturising Day Cream for Dry and Sensitive Skin. Maybe I'd been brainwashed by the length of the product name? Or maybe it was on offer in Tescos and I vaguely remembered that it had got good reviews on Boots. I'll leave it up to you to decide.

Although the product is a fairly light cream it definitely does what it says on the tin. It doesn't feel heavy or greasy, it just leaves the skin baby soft. It also has just a hint of that classic Nivea fragrance that evokes images of beautiful old women with perfect skin that they put down to 50 years of nothing but water and Nivea creams. It feels incredibly nourishing on the skin and sinks in really quickly so you don't have to wait too long before applying your makeup - something which is essential for me as I don't have a lot of time to spare in the mornings.

It also contains spf 15, which I actually found somewhat hard to come by when I was researching which moisturiser I was going to go for.

It retails for £4.99 which is an absolute bargain given that it performs just as well as mid-range products and although I missed having a pretty jar sitting on my shelf at first, the squeezy tube is really handy as it doesn't dispense too much product at once - a little really does go a long way with this product.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

A more realistic wish list...

Top Row  
MUA Undress Your Skin Foundation
Mememe Seventh Heaven Moisturising Face Base
L'Oreal Paris Skin Perfection  3 in 1 Purifying Micellar Solution 

Middle Row
L'Oreal Paris Glam Shine Stain Splash
Real Techniques Setting Brush
The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer

Bottom Row
Bourjois Intuitive Liner
Leighton Denny Small Crystal Nail File
Bourjois Paris Colour Boost Lip Crayon

Monday, 26 August 2013

An unexpected use for the Real Techniques Contour Brush

I have been cursed with skin that is dryer than the Sahara, and as a result I always seek out foundations and skincare that claim to be super moisturising. The downside to these products, however, is that my eye makeup often slides southward during the day, and as I have no plans to become the next Alice Cooper this is obviously a problem.

Earlier this year I'd bought the Real Techniques Core Collection, and as I don't use bronzer I had been at somewhat of a loss as to what I could use the contouring brush for. I hadn't even taken it out of the case, so when I packed my brushes before my holiday earlier this month it ended up coming along by default, and that's when I first used it to apply powder under my eyes. I seriously haven't looked back since - the shape is perfect for applying powder exactly where you want it and it just picks up the right amount of powder so you don't look super-caked.

Unfortunately it has made me look at other brushes I had dismissed as useful...this could get expensive!

Monday, 19 August 2013

What's my face worth...with a twist

This is an interesting take on the What's Your Face Worth tag...what's it worth vs how much you actually paid for it..

Diorskin Eclat Satin: I was lucky enough to find a genuine bottle of this on ebay for £9.50. I have recently discovered that it has been discontinued but you can still get it from places like Feel Unique for £31 (which I believe was the price you would have paid in Debenhams etc).

Accessorize Sweetcheeks Cream Blush 1 Rose: I bought this recently in Superdrug, using £2 worth of Points, leaving me with a balance of £1.95 to pay

No7 Perfect Light Pressed Powder: I rarely use powder except for under my eyes to stop the dreaded mascara smudges so I'm ashamed to admit that I've had this for so long I can't remember what I paid for it. The Boots website states £11.50 which sounds about right so I'll stick with that.

Le Volume de Chanel: I got a free sample of this from Stylist magazine, RRP is £24

Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner: This was on offer recently (buy one get one half price) so this worked out at £3.14

Rimmel Glam'Eyes Trio eye shadow: I use the darkest shade in this trio on my eyebrows. I'm not sure exactly what I paid for it (e.g. if it was on offer or a part payment with points) so I'll just list the full price of £6.49

Revlon Lip Butter: Repurchase along with the eyeliner, I paid the full price of £7.99

I've been using two of the Real Techniques Core Collection recently, I bought them from Amazon using a £15 gift voucher that I had which brought the price down to £5.99 from £20.99

So there we have it, to replace my daily makeup right now would cost £112.21, however bargain hunter that I am I managed to get it for less than half price at £46.56. Not bad eh?

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

High End Wishlist

High End Wishlist

I know what you're thinking...what's a wishlist like this doing on a budget beauty blog? Well, a girl can dream can't she? Especially when going through duty free...

Top Row
Urban Decay Naked Basics
Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow
Middle Row
Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup
Nars Sheer Glow
Le Blanc de Chanel
Benefit High Beam
Bottom Row
The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer
Lancome Hypnose Star Eyes Palette
Nars Light Reflecting Pressed Powder

Saturday, 10 August 2013

London Calling...

This post should have gone up last week before I went on holiday, but unfortunately time and my laptop conspired against me and I didn’t quite manage it. But we’re only halfway through the summer and lots of you are still going on holiday so here’s what I took to London with me...

Boring Practicals
Wet wipes and body spray, for on-the-go freshening up (came in handy in 31 degree heat!), anti histamines which also came in handy when I came out in a wicked heat rash, painkillers, tissues and savlon (no idea why, I just chucked it in on the off chance).

Shower Essentials
Mini Aussie shampoo and conditioner – I’ve had these for a few years and just top them up from my big bottle whenever I go away as hotel toiletries never seem to do the trick!
St Ives exfoliator – this was a free sample from the Boots website and is the perfect size for travelling.
Mitchum deodorant – if you’re spending the day traipsing round tourist attractions in the middle of summer you’re gonna need something heavy duty to keep you feeling (and smelling) fresh.
Johnson’s baby softwash – what??? I like having baby soft skin!
Venus Spa Breeze razor and spare blade – these are the handiest things for travelling, no need to pack an separate bulky bottle of shaving gel, and this razor is so quick and easy to use that your pins are fuzz free in no time – a must on holiday.

Sunshine Sundries
Sunglasses – a bargain £7 from Tescos. I normally find it really hard to find sunglasses that fit my pea-head, but these were perfect :D
Ambre Solaire Factor 30 suncream – Big enough to see me through a few days away, and small enough to carry around with me. Unfortunately I still managed to get a bit burnt, but it was 31 degrees after all!
Boots Soltan after sun – I actually bought this over there, after the aforementioned burning incident. I love Soltan products, they do exactly what they say on the tin without breaking the bank.

I received a gift set at Christmas full of miniatures of the exact skincare products that I use (someone did their research!) From l-r: No7 Cleanse & Care Eye Makeup Remover, No7 Soft & Soothed Cleanser, No7 Soft & Soothed Toner, Nivea Daily Essentials Light Moisturising Day Cream

Shower comb – to gently ease out any tangles while conditioning, clip for sectioning during blow drying/straightening, Aussie Take the Heat leave-in spray, Boots Essentials hairspray, Body Shop mini hairbrush

Brush Roll
L-r: No7 Crease Brush, (rather old) No7 Eyeshadow Brush, Elf Blending Eye Brush, Real Techniques Contour Brush, Real Techniques Pointed Foundation Brush, Real Techniques Detailer Brush, Real Techniques Buffing Brush

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Nails of the Day & Review

This week I've been wearing Nails Inc South Molton Street, with L'Oreal Color Riche Nail Top Coat Confetti. South Molton Street is one of my favourite colours from Nails Inc, but as it's part of their french manicure set it's not really designed to be worn on its own - it's far too sheer and the white tips of your nails will shine through. Luckily, the L'Oreal top coat offers the perfect disguise, as well as hiding any chips or messy bits. This was the first time I've properly worn the confetti top coat and it took a few minutes to get the hang of. I found that trying to paint it on like a normal colour didn't work too well, but if I just laid the length of the brush on my nail and wiggled it slightly it turned out much better. I then used the tip of the brush to manipulate the speckles so that they were more evenly distributed on the nail.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Boots Essentials 2000W Hairdryer

My old hairdryer recently gave up the ghost, and to be honest, when it came to finding a replacement I was a little bamboozled. There can’t be that much difference in machines that blow hot air surely? I didn’t want to spend too much so I had a look on the Boots website for lower priced ones, and came across this little gem with rave reviews, and after using it for a couple of weeks I can see why.

It’s incredibly lightweight so your arm doesn’t get tired holding it, but it’s also so quick you wouldn’t have time to get a sore arm if it was heavier! There are 2 speed settings and three heat settings, and all work independently – gone are the days when your only choice was between boiling hot and quick, or slow and cold. It’s so handy for those who want to dry their hair quickly, but not ruin the condition with heat. There’s also a cool shot button, which delivers a blast of cold air to smooth down the hair once you’re finished for an ultra smooth shine.

Oh, and did I mention the price? This little beauty can be yours for the princely sum of £12.99 :D

Sunday, 28 April 2013

What's on my desk?

Hand cream – this has always been where I fall short on skincare. No matter how many tubes of hand cream I have strategically placed I always seem to have a reason not to apply it. Either I just forget completely, or I make excuses such as “I’m going to have lunch soon, I don’t want to eating a sandwich covered in cream”. The tub of Atrixo that you can see has followed me to a few different jobs over the last few years and it’s still half full! However I am getting better and I think it’s due to Soap & Glory’s Hand Food as it sinks in so quickly, yet you can “feel” it on your hands for ages afterwards.

Lip balm – I literally don’t go anywhere without it so it’s handy to have one live on my desk permanently. I should throw away the E45 one because it is utterly useless, but I figure it’s better than nothing in an emergency. The Figs & Rouge is lovely and works really well, but the lid has a habit of getting jammed on quite tightly if it lives in my bag so now it stays on my desk 24/7.

Vitamins – especially useful during the winter months when I have a tendency to feel a bit run down.

Water bottle – cos as we all know hydration is the best skincare there is

Revlon Lip Butter in Pink Truffle – I am seriously bad at bothering to reapply lipstick during the day, however I am literally in love with this lipstick and have been reapplying it practically every day after every meal at work (that makes me seem greedy – I swear I only have breakfast and lunch at work. And an afternoon snack. Oh god, I’m such a hobbit :D)

What must-haves do you keep on your desk?