Monday, 31 August 2009

Beauty Product of the Month - August: Olive Oil

Before the month runs out, (honestly where has August gone?!) I wanted to post my products of the month. I haven’t really been spending recently which in a way is a good thing because it gives me the chance to recommend a product that I probably wouldn’t normally, but is a cheap and safe to use product. I’m sure there are plenty of people who have found efficient alternatives to using eye make-up remover, but I only started using olive oil to remove my make-up about 8 weeks ago. As you can see, in that time, I’ve only just used beyond the neck of the bottle which I think is brilliant for a two month period! One of the benefits of using olive oil over traditional eye make-up removers is the safety of the product. Not that eye make-up removers are dangerous, but you know that using olive oil, it’s 100% natural with no harsh chemicals. It’s also very effective in removing make-up. I tend to make the area around my eye wet with cotton wool first, and then apply a small drop of olive oil onto a cotton ball and just wipe. I was amazed at how little I actually need and made the mistake when I first used this of applying too much, and ended up with a stingy eye situation! I’ve since learned to ration correctly and find this as good, if not better than the more expensive brands I was using before. It doesn’t need to be a fancy brand of olive oil either, as you can see, I went for Morrisons own brand, which costs £1 for a 250ml bottle! It’s a great cost cutting technique and means you’ll have a few extra pounds to spend on something more exciting!

Make-up Product of the Month - August: Too Faced Brightening Blush

So here’s the second make-up product I picked up during my little birthday spree. You’ve probably seen it before because I don’t think it’s a new product, but I hadn’t and it was something that really caught my eye when I swatched it. It’s a “Brightening Blush” and comes in 3 different colours. You can choose from Pinch My Petals; a pink colour, Mocha Mi Amore; a brown; or the one I opted for Papa Don’t Peach; a soft peach colour (of course!). They are designed to be universally flattering which I honestly think Too Faced have nailed with the three colours they chose. Even the Mocha blush which is obviously darker than the other two would not look out of place on someone of pale complexion because these are sheer pigmented blushers which are really easy to build up if you happen to want a heavier application. You can’t really see how pretty the colour is until you swatch this product. The testers didn’t really look like they could deliver such a flattering, appealing colour, and if I’m honest it was the pretty packaging that drew me over to them. It comes in a box quite similar to the Benefit blushers and bronzers, square-shaped and made from cardboard. I love the retro design, built in mirror and polka dot pattern inside. Papa Don’t Peach gives my cheeks a lovely golden/pinky/peach glow which is just the right amount of shimmery without making my face look shiny. It gives me the exact effect I hoped and expected from MAC’s mineralise blushers that were released with the Colour Craft collection, but never achieved. This was definitely a good investment, is a product I know I will repurchase when I run out, and really want to recommend to you to go and check it out if you haven’t!
I attempted to do swatches for you, but it turned out better to just wear it! I've layered it on heavier than I would normally so you can see the colour better.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

No.7 Extravagant Lashes Mascara Review

I mentioned that I bought a couple of make-up products for my birthday. This was really reserved for me, I feel like I’ve been neglecting my wardrobe by buying so much make-up so wanted to buy more clothes than cosmetics. I will give reviews of the products I did buy though. First up, I chose this mascara because I thought it looked interesting. Extravagant Lashes Mascara has an innovative square shaped wand, which I was intrigued to see how it would work, I’ve only ever known mascara wands to be circular so was curious to see what effect a square shape would have on my lashes. At first I was not impressed with this mascara and would go so far as to say I hated it, now however, what started off as a negative review has turned into an actually this is ok review. My main reservation with this mascara is the fact that the bristles (I’m not sure you’d call them that but I don’t know what else to call them, I mean those rubbery bits!) are too far apart. As a result, you do get thick, long, curly, extravagant lashes, but you don’t get many lashes! To me they look too clumped together. The effect is even though, and I can see why some people would really like this effect because it does make my lashes stand out. Hopefully these pictures will better explain what I’m talking about.
One thing I have learnt with mascaras, perhaps rather belated of me, is that each one that is different in design needs a different technique to using it. I find some mascaras great at doing one job such as the lower lashes, and other mascaras horrible because they’re better on the top lashes. Extravagant Lashes Mascara I find to be rather difficult for the bottom lashes as well as the inner corner lashes, that’s mostly down to the sheer size of the brush, it’s pretty hefty! The first time I used this mascara, I had real difficulty applying it, hence why I was going to give it a negative review. But after realised I need to be extra careful when applying I’ve found a way to make it work for me. I really need to almost bury it into my lashes because if you can see it in the pictures, there are smaller bristles that help to separate and distribute the mascara. I think this is a flaw in the design, if the smaller bristles were closer to the top they would help to separate the lashes further. I’m not sure if I would recommend this mascara, or its’ £11.50 price tag. If you like your lashes blatantly looking like you’re wearing mascara then yes I would. I like the idea of extravagant lashes but if I was to recommend a mascara over this I would say Glam Eyes by Rimmel. It does Add Imageeverything, volumises, lengthens and separates beautifully. This mascara is by No.7 which if you spend a certain amount in Boots, you can get a £5 voucher for use on No.7, this is why I bought it, and think it is a more suitable price tag for the quality of the product.
Have a wonderful Saturday night :) xXx

Thursday, 27 August 2009


You may already have seen a picture of Layla I posted on Twitter, but I just wanted to show you a few more pictures. Layla is a four week old Lhasa Apso pup. She won’t really be my dog because I don’t live with my parents anymore but I’ll still feel like she is. I always wanted a dog growing up but we never got one because it wouldn’t really have been fair to leave her on her own during the day. Now my Dad’s retired, me and my brother have moved out, so it seems the perfect time for my parents to get a dog, to replace the kids! There were four puppies in the litter, three girls and a boy and I thought Layla had the nicest temperament, and she’s gorgeous. I can’t wait for her to come home, and I’ll be going back to see her as much as I can.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Birthday Weekend

Sorry I’ve been on the quiet side for the past week. I’ve been at my parents' house with my boyfriend. My birthday was on Sunday so I went back to celebrate with my family and friends. It was really nice to go back home to see everybody and breathe some fresh Midlands air. Saturday night was spent having a meal with my parents followed by a night out in my hometown. It was great to have a catch-up with everyone and my town is the kind that always feels like home, no matter how long I'm away, and I can’t argue with the cheap drink prices compared to London prices.

I did get some birthday shopping in too and wanted to show you a few things I bought courtesy of the bf, he gave me the money to choose my own pressies.
I actually spent most of my birthday money whilst I was still in London. I went to Bluewater for the first time a of couple weeks ago and LOVED it! It’s the most Americanised shopping centre I’ve been to in the UK which is a good thing because I love American malls, and I believe this is also the biggest one in the UK, I could be wrong, there’s probably an even bigger one by now, but it’s great all the same, definitely worth the travel out of London for the convenience of having everything under one roof. I love the fact it has a Hollister store too, this was the first time I realised we even stocked Hollister and it makes me very happy and nostalgic of my exchange year in Florida. Although the summery clothes have limited wear over here, there’s still some great pieces to layer. Unfortunately the price tags aren’t as I remember, I lived there during a time when I could just halve the price of everything to work out the price in £. Now things seem mega expensive! I only got this simple vest top in the end, I love the colour, and hopefully it should wear well, otherwise I can’t really justify spending £12 on such a top when I could have bought one for £4. Oh well, I love Hollister :p. Also in the picture, I bought another vest top from Topshop, love the lace detailing on the back, a couple of scarves from H&M, necklace from Accessorize, bangles from Muse, (a bargain jewellery shop which I’m pretty certain has the same distributors as Accessorize, Topshop and the like, very similar items), Too Faced Blush and No7 Extravagant Lash Mascara. I will probably do separate reviews on the makeup products because I am thrilled with one and disappointed with the other, can you guess which?!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

MAC Select Foundation Review, comparison to SFF

I’ve been using this foundation long enough to give a more in-depth review now. I originally changed to this from Studio Fix Fluid because it is easier to get lighter coverage from. I felt like SFF was too heavy for summer and although it doesn’t give you that caked on feel like a lot of foundations, it’s easy to feel cakey when the weather is hot and sunny, so I’m letting it breathe! Select is advertised as being “medium coverage” but in my experience I’ve found it easy to get a light coverage from it. The Mineralise Satinfinish foundation offers light to medium coverage, but I opted for this one over it because it’s more suitable for oily skin. Satinfinish offers a dewy glow, but I think us oily skin girls know this doesn’t really work for us.

The first considerable difference I notice with this foundation compared to SFF is the smell. Those that have used SFF know that the smell is not exactly desirable. Select smells less like Dulux, and more like how a foundation should smell. That’s not a major criticism of SFF because the smell does eventually fade, that or you just get used to it. With Select, I think I use a slightly bigger quantity than SFF, where a little goes a long way. I’m used to using one small pump full, but with Select, it’s more like one and a half. It is runnier in consistency and you have to blend it more to get the same flawless finish, but the matt effect is very similar. It holds my blusher or bronzer really well although I’ve noticed my tea zone looking oily after wearing this for the whole day, something that I didn’t notice with SFF. That’s not to say it’s the foundation, because I don’t, like a lot of people, set my foundation with powder, I don’t know why, it’s just a step I often miss out. Also this is the only liquid foundation I’ve worn over summer so it’s quite possible that SFF would cause me the same problem with oilyness. I think it is still a durable foundation, and maybe I am asking too much for a foundation to stay flawless and matte for a whole day. I’ve worn this on a night out and at the end of the night my make-up has stayed in place, and, blurry-eyed, I didn’t notice any oilyness which is impressive because I still must have worn it for at least 5-6 hours. Overall, Select has served me well over the summer, and I will continue with this into autumn where hopefully with less hot weather, it should prove even more durable. I have noticed slightly more breakouts since using this but I can’t say directly this is because of the foundation it could be a number of factors so I wouldn’t want that to put you off if you’re thinking of buying it. I’ve used SFF and expected an increase in breakouts since it’s chemically harsher, but my skin was just fine. I’d be interested to know if anyone else had that problem with this foundation though.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Why exercise doesn't make you thin...

If I had to choose between eating anything I wanted and exercising every day, or not exercising at all and eating an extremely healthy diet, I’d choose the latter every time. I feel healthy if I eat healthily and sluggish if I eat processed, fatty foods, even if I exercise to burn it off. Having said that, I was surprised to read in Time magazine an article entitled “Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin” and you can read it here.

The article starts by explaining that the concept of exercise being essential to lose weight is relatively new. In fact pre-1960, rigorous exercise was not recommended, particularly for older people who might injure themselves. Yet now, doctors encourage even their oldest patients to exercise because of other potential benefits of staying active, such as maintaining cognitive function.

It seems the reason why relying on exercise as a means to lose weight will not work is that the more calories we burn, the more we eat to compensate for the calories lost. To prove this, a control experiment was carried out with four groups of overweight women each undergoing different intensities of exercise. The control group did no more than their usual routine and the results concluded that the groups who exercised did not lose significantly more weight than the control group, some even gained weight. The reason behind this apparently is that whether exercise made these women more hungry than usual and so they ate more, or if a snack was eaten in reward for completing the exercise, more calories had been consumed in compensation and since we’re not designed to dispose of excess calories, it quickly turns to fat. It seems like the solution is simple, we just need to have more willpower, but the article counteracts this with a theory of evolution that we can’t for very long maintain willpower, the more we try the harder it is. Perhaps this is the reason behind so many yo-yo dieters.

None of this sounds very promising, but what I can gather from this article, is that there’s not much evidence to suggest that we need to do vigorous exercise, but simply keeping active throughout the day is enough. Another reason why strenuous exercising does not really help us to lose weight is the idea that if you were to go to the gym for an hour one day, you are more likely to remain sedentary for the rest of that day, and again another study supports this.
This is something I found easy to comprehend. I for one am guilty of eating more than usual after exercising. Does that mean I lack all self control? For me exercising is not about losing weight, it’s about keeping fit. I feel like the more I do, the more I want to do, and while I could just do simple things throughout the day like taking the stairs instead of the lift, I like the rush of endorphins I get after exercise and as long as it’s done safely, i.e. properly warm down the muscles afterwards, then I don’t see how my body is being put under too much stress. I certainly feel healthier if I’ve been for a jog and surely that’s important in actually being healthy? I thought the article over simplified the complex nature of humans and the fact that we’re all different. I know personally of people who have exercised, successfully lost weight and kept it off. I know changing their diet helped immensely but I doubt that simply walking more would be as effective as doing more vigorous cardiovascular exercise at shedding those extra pounds. Perhaps the key is to reward yourself with something healthy rather than calorific.

I did agree with the fundamental argument of the article and that was that we’ve moved away from leisure activities like walking and gardening, which used to be a big part of our lives. The point is we live in a world where it’s all too easy to not be active and have everything done for us. The most important thing is to remain active and enjoy what leisure activities you do. As long as shopping exists I think I’m pretty safe in keeping active.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Beach Chic

I'm not going on any beachy holidays this year. :( I'm not even going on a holiday of any description, or at least I haven't planned to. This summer has had it's good moments, a few hot sunny days here and there, but on the whole, a pretty dismal summer! I swear English summers never used to be this poor. I actually did this polyvore at the start of "summer" thinking that wearing an outfit similar to this on the beach would be a distinct possibility. Well it never happened, but I looked to it today to make me feel better and remind me of happy days spent on the beach. I love playsuits, and think a one piece outfit is ideal to slip in and out of on the beach, and I love the style and colour of this one, reds and oranges are perfect for the beach, complimented with metallic accessories.

Here's a breakdown of the items. I really want the sunnies!

Gold Snake Toe Post Sandals - Miss Selfridge, £18.00
Ditsy Frill Playsuit by Rare - Topshop, £25.00
Carved Oriental Flower Bangle - Accessorize, £6.00
Ethnic Sprial Cuff - Accessorize, £10.00
Baby Flower Cluster Earrings - Accessorize, £6.00
Straw Cowgirl Sun Hat - Miss Selfridge, £18.00
Aero Logo Tote - Aeropostale, around £3.00
Ring Bandeau Bikini - Topshop, £25.00
Saskia Rounded Oversized Sunglasses - ChloĆ©, around £213.00

Sunday, 9 August 2009


This was actually face of the day a couple of days ago. It was super hot today, so fotd quickly melted! Hopefully you can see the Patina eyeshadow on the lid here. The finish of MAC frost eyeshadows is quite subtle, but pretty, and I love the irridescent effect. I'm wearing Patina on the lid, Tempting in the crease, Hush as a highlight, and the darker shade from the Nars duo; Paris in the outer corner, Refined Golden as a bronzer and the lips are au naturel.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Accidental weekend shopping

I’m slowly growing my MAC eyeshadow collection and here are two more single eyeshadows I bought to add to my palette. These are both in the frost finish which I have to say look gorgeous in the pan and when swatched, but when applying, in reality, they are not brilliantly pigmented. I think I would get much better pigmentation using over a paint pot rather than my usual Too Faced Shadow Insurance. Having said that, I do really like these eyeshadows, and find the colours of each of them quite universally flattering. I’m not usually one for pink eyeshadow, and if I’m honest, when I bought it, I didn’t realise it was pink! I was looking at the eyeshadows specifically on the hunt for an every day golden/beige tone for the lid, and a lighter colour for the highlight. So this post is a little bit of admission to my stupidness really for not observing these colours properly in natural light! I thought they would both be a little lighter and totally missed the pink tones in Hush, when I left the shop I thought the assistant had given me the wrong shadows. In a way though, I’m glad because I would have automatically dismissed Hush on the grounds that it’s pink and I never wear pink eyeshadow, but actually I like it, both on the lid, and I’ve found if I apply it lightly, it works as a highlight too. I will at some point post a picture of the look I created with them. I will be more careful in future though, if I had seen the shadows in proper lighting I would have no doubt opted for completely different ones. I’m not sure if this is a problem many other people have with MAC stores, or if the one I visit just has terrible lighting! I’m thinking I will go to check out the new collections elsewhere just in case. I’m feeling quite overwhelmed by four new collections on the website! I think I’m leaning towards buying one of the Graphic Garden palettes or the Pearlglide eyeliners at the moment.
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