31 August 2015

Birthday Wishlist 2015

urban decay smoky palette, the malm mary lou manizer, topshop dungarees, longline duster jacket Misguided, ASOS skater dress, Zara leader boots, Michael Kors watch, ASOS backpack, paper chase journal and scrapbook, yankee candle

With my birthday just around the corner (8th September FYI), I decided to compile a list of things I would love to get. I'm not saying my any means that I expect my friends and family to buy these things but I know that if I get just one, I will be so grateful for the rest of the year. If not, then I'll just buy myself a birthday gift. As I was browsing, I noticed by list getting longer and longer. I didn't realise there are so many great things out there! Here is what I picked out:

1. The Balm Mary Lou Manizer Luminizer 
Everyone on the internet is raving about this highlighter, and I have to say that after testing it in a Debenhams store, I too have fallen in love with it. It provides the perfect about of highlight without making it look glittery and is perfect for this years whole 'strobing' trend. I also really like the vintage designs of The Balms packaging, theres something really cute and unique about it.

2. Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette
The latest addition to the Urban Decay Naked collection, the darker, smokey shades in this palette make it perfect for an evening look. It seems more bolder than the rest of the palettes and is clearly just as versatile. The packaging is also so beautiful, even more than the other palettes, which just makes it even more appealing!

3. Paris Hand-Stitched Journal 
I am a sucker for stationary so of course I had to include a beautiful notebook in my wishlist. Since I am going to Paris later this month, I thought it'd be fitting to have a little Parisian themed book to write everything I need to remember to take. Basically any excuse to buy another pretty notebook!

4. Yankee Candle Black Cherry Medium Jar from Clintons
There's nothing better than a lovely candle, especially when its coming closer to those cosy winter nights in. I have yet to come across a candle that smells as good as these, that is also not ridiculously priced either. I love this smell even though I hate the taste of black cherries! Its the perfect balance of fruity, refreshing and cosy. They have so many scents to choose from and it would make a perfect gift for anybody!

5. MOTO Black Denim Dungarees from Topshop
I am in love with the 90's trend, as you probably have noticed by my last Style Inspirations post. There's nothing better for a throwback to the era that saw the emergence of  Rachel Green than denim dungarees. For more of a modern twist, I would love to get my hands on these black ones. I love the fact you can wear them in so many different ways, from wearing them the traditional way to throwing a jumper on top to make it look like you're wearing jeans. This is such a versatile piece that is worth investing it.

6. Sleeveless Belted Longline Duster Coat Nude from Misguided 
Nothing says elegance than a duster jacket. I prefer the sleeveless ones as I think you can get more wear out of them. Either wear with a blouse underneath for the Spring season or change to a jumper for the Autumn time. I also love the nude colour, it would definitely be more of a mature addition to my wardrobe if I was to get it.

7. Sheer and Solid Crop Top Skater Dress from ASOS
I love wearing dresses all year round. I love this brightly coloured one from ASOS, particularly because of the crop-top style that makes it a lot more flattering than the usual skater dress for those who want to synch the waist in. The pattern is so great, and makes it a really beautiful piece.

8. Reclaimed Vintage Leather And Tapestry Mix Backpack from ASOS
With uni starting again very soon, I have been thinking of using a backback to lug around all my books in. Its quite difficult to find a good quality backpack that doesn't look silly for a 20 year old to wear. I love this one from ASOS, its pretty unique in design and you can just tell its pretty good quality which hopefully won't rip as I stuff everything I need for the day in there.

9. Square Map Scrapbook from Paperchase
Unfortunately the summer is nearly over so it may be a little late to start a new hobby but I would still like to attempt to have a go. I really want to start a scrapbook to document all of my travels and any other special days out that I'd like to remember forever. I think scrapbooking is a great creative outlet and perfect for anybody who is very sentimental about things!

10. Michael Kors MK5613 Blair Rose Gold Watch from House of Fraser 
Right now I am really into my rose gold jewellery, and with Michael Kors being the ultimate brand for their rose gold watches, I feel like I need it in my life (well, not really but it is pretty). It is the perfect size and has the right amount of bling but is subtle enough to wear with a casual outfit. The only problem with it is the price... o_o

11. Leather Boots from Zara 
These boots are gorgeous! Made from real leather, you can just tell the good quality of them . Most people prefer to opt for black but I am a sucker for the tan coloured boots. I think they look great with both black and blue jeans as well as teamed up with dresses for a more feminine touch.

28 August 2015

Dear Diary | Trip to Coventry and Watching Paper Towns

Coventry cathedral, childrens tv through the years, paper towns with nat woolf and cara delevingne

Currently Reading: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and I have to say that I'm really enojying it. Both the dark writing and the intensity of the characters is compelling, making you want to keep reading!
Currently Watching: American Horror Story and its getting good...
Currently Listening to: The Empire Soundtrack (I am in love with Jussie Smollett's voice)
Latest Movie I Watched: The Best of Me via Netflix. An adaption from a classic Nicholas Sparks' book, it was a soppy one but I did enjoy it. Although it is similar to basically every other book-based film of his.

With the summer drawing to a close, this week has been somewhat of an interesting one. My mum took us on a day trip to Coventry to see the exhibition of Children's TV through the years to evoke some nostalgia for all of us. Coventry as a city is one we've never really visited despite only living in Birmingham for the whole of my life, so it was nice to see the beautiful architecture. In particular, St Michael's Old Cathedral, which was left in ruins after the 9 hour Blitz in 1940, was breath-taking to see a piece of shocking history right before my eyes. I was surprised to see that the exhibition itself was right across the road from the cathedral, and so it was easy to see what everything we wanted to right in the same vicinity.

Me and my mum thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition and found seeing our childhood favourites an exciting experience while my brother being the teenager he is wasn't exactly interested. From the Tweenies gang to Rosie and Jim, I was in awe of the real life dolls we saw of my favourite childhood characters. My mum also pointed out some of her own memorable favourites including the original Humpty Dumpty! Overall it was a great place to go for the whole family and I would definitely recommend it if you're in the area.

Me and my friends decided to spend a day watching the highly anticipated Paper Towns film and go out for a lovely Costa afterwards. I read John Green's novel over a year ago so it wasn't exactly fresh in my memory. I was actually glad for my terrible memory because that way I managed to enjoy the film like it was a new experience, recognising some particularly memorable events that made me laugh.
I absolutely adore both Nat Woolf and Cara Delevingne so I was excited to see them both in action on the big screen. After Nat Woolf''s depiction of Isaac in 'The Fault in Our Stars' I knew I wouldn't be disappointed. I'm not sure if it is John Green's impeccable male characters or the actors who play them, but I just fell in love with Nat/Quentin as I did with Augustus in 'The Fault in our Stars.' They are both very cute and quirky 'geeks' (who, despite their characters lacking in sporty activities, happen to have 6-packs - although I'm not complaining!).
Seeing Cara in her first leading role however was really exciting and I couldn't wait to see how she played Margo. When I first read it, I imagined a character very unlike Cara but since she was announced to play her I thought she would be perfect. Although her performance didn't disappoint me, it didn't wow me either. The American accent was a little of, and I felt like I could see her being well out of her comfort zone. Her overall acting wasn't exactly brilliant but I'm just putting that down to her lack of experience. Hopefully, by the release of the Suicide Squad movie, she will be miles better, but until then I continue to applaud her for giving it her all and defying what everybody says about models and acting, instead she's doing what she truly loves.
I thought the movie itself was really good. With adaptions from books, it can often be a hit-or-miss situation but this one was definitely a hit. If you don't know what it about, the story follow the main characters (Quentin played by Nat Woolf) who has this amazing and unforgettable night with the girl he has unrequited love for (Margo played by Cara Delevingne). That is until she disappears the next day. Q makes it his mission to find her and tell her how he feels, with the help of his friends who come along with him on this journey. It is a real youthful film, that will make you laugh and maybe even cry. It is perfect to go see with your best mates or your boyfriend, and it will really remind you of your own teen years and the experiences you had in your last days of secondary school/  high school.

Its not been the most exciting of weeks but with weddings to attend, my birthday coming up and last-minute preparations for university, I'm sure the next few weeks will be getting pretty busy!

26 August 2015

Morning Skincare Products

Morning skincare products - Neutrogena sunscreen, witch face wash, witch blemish stick and simple moisturiser

Morning skincare products - Neutrogena sunscreen, witch face wash, witch blemish stick and simple moisturiser

Morning skincare products - Neutrogena sunscreen, witch face wash, witch blemish stick and simple moisturiser

My morning skincare was feeling a little neglected recently.Most of us focussing on cleaning our faces thoroughly before we go to bed but what about the morning time? I used to just wash my face with a regular face wash but having a nice skincare routine starts the day off right and gives a nice, clean canvas before applying make-up.

Naturally Clear Hazel Bursting Beads Face Wash £3.99 @ Boots
This is really refreshing to the skin and leaves it feeling clean & radiant.I  definitely can't use this everyday though as it can dry out my already dry skin but once a week seems enough to get rid of the excess oils that have built up throughout the week.  However, if you have normal/oily skin, this would be great as the Witch Hazel Extract removes excess oil, reducing spots and blemishes.

Simple Kind to Skin Replenishing Rich Moisturiser £4.50 @ Boots
Perfect for all skin types, this is a really light moisturiser which I find works well during Spring/ Summer. It also works well mixed into your foundation if your looking for a lighter coverage.

Witch Blemish Stick £2.70 @ Boots
If I see any breakouts appearing, I just apply a little of this to soothe the skin before any make-up. I'm not too sure if it provides any huge differences but I did find that it soothed the problem area nicely and reduced irritation.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen 99p at 99p Store (Bargain!)
I love this and for only 99p, it contains a good amount of SPF and doesn't leave you skin feelings greasy. It works really well as a base for underneath my foundation with looking to heavy or like I have multiple layers of products on!

Have you been able to master a morning skincare routine or do you just stick with what you know? I'd love to know your thoughts.

23 August 2015

Budget-Friendly Buy | MUA Blue Eyeliner Review

mua blue eyeliner review from super drug, budget friendly make-up product

mua blue eyeliner review from super drug, budget friendly make-up product

With coloured eyeliner being a huge trend this season, I wanted to join the bandwagon and go for something a little different. While making a few online purchases on the Superdrug website, I came across this Blue MUA Eyeliner, and at only £1 I just had to get it.  As I've not really tried a bright eyeliner before, I thought starting off with a cheaper option would be a good idea so that theres not much to lose if I end up hating it.

MUA are a brand sold at Superdrug and I've always been tempted to buy a few more products from there. The price tag on all of the products is pretty alluring and I have heard/ read a lot of bloggers seem to like many of their products including the famous 'Undressed' palette that contains similar shades to that of Urban Decay's Naked palette. A while ago my mum actually recommended me the Black MUA Eyeliner which was also £1 but I just laughed it off saying that it was probably rubbish.  A few months later, I found that I was wrong and it is actually quite a good product for the price! (sorry mum.)

Onto the actual liner. While the bottle is a lovely slim shape, I  like how it is the same colour as the liner itself so you know what one you're applying when in a rush and you own various shades. The applicator is an adequate shape, as yes it is pointed enough to give a nice line but for me it just isn't long enough and therefore it can hinder maneuverability  something which is particularly important if your an eyeliner-newbie.  When applying, the nib isn't the most pleasant either, especially if your funny with textures.

When I was applying the product, I was really disappointed with the lack of pigment in the colour. With one slick, you could barely see anything, and it was only until I applied around 3 layers or so did I manage to get the colour I wanted. The colour itself was a lovely light blue shades, with a slight glistening affect that looked really pretty when worn with layers of black mascara and a subtle lip colour. The lasting power of the product was't disappointing either as I found it lasted all day with colour fading slightly by the end. However, this was after applying multiple layers so I'm not sure if it is an achievement but I was actually happy about it. Now that I found that I really like to wear coloured eyeliner, I would like to invest in a better brand. But for only £1, it is great if you like to experiment with your make-up and try new eyeliner colours without breaking the bank.

21 August 2015

Bargain Beauty Buys | Collection Extreme Felt Tip Eyeliner & No Clumps Definition Mascara

Bargain Beauty Buys Collection Extreme Felt Tip Eyeliner & No Clumps Definition Mascara

I am definetley a fan of bargains from the drugstore and so I decided to purchase the Collection Extreme Felt Tip Eyeliner & No Clumps Definition Mascara in a bid to see if they are any good. After recently reviewing the Miss Sporty Liquid Eyeliner and Masacra, I was completely sold on the the budget-friendly drugstore brands that are so widely available.

Many bloggers have raved about the Collection eyeliner and at first I was a bit adamant to trying a felt tip applicator. At first I took an instant dislike to it as it just didn't work for my small eyelids. I was unable to get an even line all the way across and even at then I couldn't get the winged liner on both of my eyes looking the same. It was a nightmare and took some getting used to but now I am much more confident in using it and I have to say I'm enjoying it too! You can change the thickness of the line to however you wish and it has a sharp black colour within just one slick of liner.

I wasn't too pleased with the lasting power as for my watery eyes it did start to fade and crack after around 8 hours which is still a pretty good run for a drugstore eyeliner. I'm sure maybe with a primer it would have lasted a little longer but even then I am pretty sure it wouldn't last the full '12 hours' as claimed. I also love the variety of colours it comes in as you can choose to go a bit adventurous with teal or purple, or stick to a subtler liner in a brown shade. I probably will end up getting all of these for everyday use as they are undeniably great value as even the brilliant drugstore eyeliners can be £10+ so for £2.99, this isn't too shabby. 

The mascara is pretty good too. It had a nice pleasant application and it does live up to its name of having 'No clumps' which really pleased me. The volume was perfect for everyday wear which lasted relatively all day.

Collection are a really good brand for their makeup, and affordable too, but it can a hit-and-miss depending on what products you choose to buy. For such inexpensive products, both the eyeliner and mascara really are worth it. 

18 August 2015

This Month's Style Inspirations: Rachel Green and Kylie Jenner

90s style icon Rachel Green

90's Rachel Green from Friends
90's fashion is well and truly back, and what better inspiration than the beautiful Rachel Green. I know she's a fictional character but she basically epitomises all things 90's, providing throwbacks to the era that saw double denim and tartan, as well as scrunchies and jelly sandals. I have recently been drawn to anything that reminds me of my childhood and I just want to embrace this style while I still can because lets face it, its not going to last long!

Beautiful member of the Kardashian family, Kylie Jenner has a gorgeous style

Kylie Jenner
Not one to shy away from flaunting what she's got, Kylie Jenner has become the biggest style icon of the year, and its only July. She embraces her curves and looks hot doing it despite being just turning 18. Whether your a fan of the Kardashian / Jenner clan or not, there's no denying that Kylie can pull off any style she wishes: from glamour to grunge, she always seems to bring it with her fashion choices. 

14 August 2015

The Power Nails | Nails Inc London (+ Mini Review)

Beautiful Nail Colours by Nails Inc

My new purchases have consisted of some beautiful nail polishes from Nails Inc London, a brand that never seems to fail. Its actually surprising what kind of impact having your nails painted can have on your confidence and how you feel. Having a fresh manicure can make you feel feminine and lady-like, whilst having a bright colour on your nails can really give a lasting impression. Nothing says 'don't mess with me' than bright and bold nails (the same also actually applies to lip colour).

Whether your more of a bright and cheerful girl, or dark and broody, these colours are sure to make a lasting impression. Obviously, it is not all about your nails. Or you hair, make-up or dress. Its how you present yourself, how you work and your overall attitude. For most, how you look on the outside can really make you feel like you can achieve anything! We all need a bit of that motivation, so why not start somewhere and rock the colours you never thought you'd go near. Who knows, you might even realise just how much the colour suits you and you'll be wearing it everyday!

I'm not usually a Nails Inc wearer, but recently I took the plunge and purchased not one, but two new nail varnishes (or is it polishes?). At £11 each, they are quite pricey and I do think you can get other really good brands for half the price but for a bit of a treat, I just couldn't help myself just this once. The quality does pay off however, as even without a top coat they lasted a few days longer than my usual Rimmel ones would have. However, just like most drugstore brands like Rimmel and Barry M, you do need at least 2 coats, even 3 really, to get the desired bold colour as seen on the bottle which came as a bit of a surprise for me considering the price. I'm not sure if they are completely worth the money but saying that I do love the formula and the variety of shades the Nails Inc polishes come in. For now I'll just settle with the two that I have and see if I feel the need to add more to the collection later on.

12 August 2015

Travel Wishlist | Cities to Visit in Europe

One of my biggest goals in life is to travel the world and recently I've been thinking more and more about the particular cities I'd love to visit. There are far too many for me to write down in one post so I thought I would start off small and compile a list of European cities that provide a sense of great culture and adventure to experience. Now, I'm not sure if I'll visit all of these places in my lifetime even though I truly hope I do, but having it physically written down provides me with even more motivation to eventually experience everything these countries have to offer. Here it goes:

Europe city to visit and travel to - Berlin, Germany

Beautiful Cities in Europe - Prague, Czech republic

Beautiful Cities in Europe - Rome, Italy

Beautiful Cities in Europe - Vienna, Austria

Beautiful Cities in Europe - Zurich, Switzerland

Beautiful Cities in Europe - Budapest, Hungary

Beautiful Cities in Europe - Paris, France

09 August 2015

Banana and Raspberry Smoothie/ Smoothie Bowl Recipe

I've been on a little health kick recently in a bid to get fitter and increase my energy levels ready for when I go on holiday. One of the best places to start is obviously by eating healthier, so I made it my mission to start experimenting with healthy foods to create something delicious that doesn't fee like a chore to eat. After freezing some fruit in my freezer from when I went over-board with the healthy food shopping, I decided to create a smoothie using what I had already in the house. And it actually turned out to be so devious that I decided to share with you guys just how much!

As you can judge by the title of this post, it is simply a banana and raspberry smoothie which includes just that: Banana and raspberries.  The difference is however, I use both of these ingredients when they are frozen to give a real thick consistency without the need of ice. Whilst the banana provides the sweet and creaminess, raspberries give it a sweet tang to the recipe as well as providing a whole range of health benefits including a decreased rick in diabetes and higher energy levels.

All I did then was add a bit of almond milk, or whichever milk you choose depending on your taste preferences, and a touch of cinnamon for extra taste. I then blended it all together using my NutriBullet (which I bough to encourage my healthy eating, and I guess it worked because I now love it!). 

After blending it all together, I realised it was too thick to have as a smoothie but it looked so delicious! I had a spoonful and it lived up to expectations. So instead of making a smoothie, I decided I would turn this into a smoothie bowl by putting it all into a plate and adding any healthy toppings of my choice. Unfortunately I hadn't planned for this so I didn't have much in the house so instead I used by Fruit and Nut Flakes cereal and sprinkled it on top for a bit more bulk to the smoothie bowl. I am in love with this!

The great thing is that simply by adding a bit more milk, you can turn it into a delicious smoothie to have on the go when you don't have time for breakfast. And because everything is frozen anyway, it takes less than a few minutes to make, meaning you don't have any excuse for that early morning Starbucks run. 

For the Smoothie Bowl, great toppings could include, fresh fruit like raspberries and blueberries, nuts, toasted oats or granola for a healthy alternative to the sugary breakfast cereals we all know and love. 

This has been my go-to snack recently, and it has certainly motivated me to try out more healthy recipes as I have realised just how quick and easy it is to eat healthy!

05 August 2015

Beauty Chat | Which Eyeshadow Palette to Buy?

When it comes to eyeshadows, I have pretty high standards: I'm looking for something long-lasting, crease-proof (without the need of a primer), creamy textured and with good pigmentation. I have recently been on the search for an eyeshadow palette that provides all of the above, with the inclusion of colours that will take me through the day and for a variety of occasions. It should include mattes and shimmers as well as both neutral and bright colours. I want my own ultimate 'go-to' eyeshadow palette. The Holy Grail item in my make-up collection.

Now, such specific item (if it even exists) is likely to be quite highly priced but if it has everything I could ever need then I wouldn't mind paying more than I usually would because I know it will be worth it. This also begs the question, are drugstore alternatives not a better purchase? I mean, for around £40-50 I'm sure you could buy quite a few palettes from really good high-street brands such as L'oreal and Sleek. Heck, I could even buy one palette for my mattes, one for shimmers, another for colours and a final one for my neutral basics! Yet I have an itch to finally splurge on a product that I would feel proud to own, one that I could use over and over yet never fails to amaze me. Many people in the internet world do have such a product so I continue to hold hope, yet none of them have would choose a drugstore product over a high-end one. Therefore, there must be some reason for this.

I have researched many drugstore budget buys which I thought would tide me over until I finally splash out on my ultimate product. But as I go to buy them, I stop and think once again why I don't simply save all that money and buy one good product? Anyway, though much research and contemplation, I complied a list of the ones that stood out to me the most. I actually wanted to buy each of these as they seem to have loads of good reviews and perfect shades which are often dupes of much-loved high end palettes.

1. I Heart Chocolate Eye Shadow Palette (£7.99)
2. W7 In The Nude Palette (around £4.99)
3. Makeup Revolution 32 Mermaid Eye Palette (£8)
4. Sleek i-Divine Eyeshadow Palette (£7.99)
6. Collection Eyes Uncovered (£3.99)
7. MUA Glitterball Eyeshadow Palette (£4)
8. Maybelline The Nudes Eyeshadow Palette (£9.99)

Now while all of these may be good, amazing even, for some people. But for me, I don't think they are quite going to cut it. While all of the shades may be magnificent in these palettes, in each one I find there is something missing. For example, the I Heart Chocolate Palette (brilliant dupe for Too Faced's Chocolate Bar palette) has a really nice mix of of mattes and shimmers but the pigmentation isn't up to scratch. The W7 palette is a beautiful dupe for Urban Decay Naked 3 palette which makes it ever more appealing to me but the lasting power is a let down. Of course, it should be fine with a good primer but again, that is an investment in itself as it could cost around £16 for Urban Decay's primer potion. This applies to most of the palettes above, and although the shades are beautiful or the pay-off is great, there is usually something letting it down.

Now don't get me wrong, I would buy any of these palettes in a heartbeat, because lets me honest its great having an option to suit your mood and all these certainly provide that. However none specifically stand out, and my mission is to find something I cannot live without. After much deliberation, I have chosen a select few that I am deciding between. After reading reviews, doing in person swatches (and maybe cheekily making a few purchases), I will soon hopefully share with you the one palette that I call my holy grail and that I take with me everywhere. For now though, I leave you with this little list of beautiful palettes that are all oh-so-good:

1. Urban Decay Naked Palette (£38)
2. Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette (£38)
3. Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette (£38)
4. Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette (£38)
5. Urban Decay Electric Pressed Pigment Palette (£38)
6. Stila Eyes Are The Window (£30)
7. Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita Luxury Palette (£38)
8. Mac Cosmetics x15 Warm Neutral Palette (£65)
9. Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette (£39)
10. Dior Backstage Eye Reviver (£42)

As you can see, Urban Decay have some great products on the market that many people swear by. I think these are definitely ones to look out for, but then the question is which palette of theirs would be 'the one'? The browns and gold of the original Naked, the grey tones in Naked 2, the beautiful pink shades in Naked 3 or how about the new contender in the form of the Naked Smoky palette? Of course, there are other alternatives, all of which are made from some iconic brands and often used yb make-up  artists. Do any of them have exactly what I am looking for though... 

I apologise for the ramble, I just felt I had to get all of this off my chest! As I have only recently started to really get into make-up and build my collection, I hope that those of you in the same position feel my confusion as I leap into the beauty world. With so much choice out there, it is easy to get lost in the technicalities of products and make-up brands. I look forward to leaning more about the good and the bad products, as well as which are worth the hefty price tag (and those that aren't).

So what do you think when it comes to eyeshadow palettes? Do you have any of the above, or if not can you recommend any that you think is definitely worth what you pay for?