Wednesday, 19 November 2014

So far I've found the month of November to be a giant blur. To me it seems to have whizzed by... how scary is it to think that Christmas is only 35 days away?! (*gasp*) I certainly find myself having a love-hate relationship with this time of year. Part of me does secretly love wrapping up warm and digging out all of last year's woolly jumpers, scarves, gloves etc. but at the same time I despise waking up and finding it pitch black outside, and getting out of a toasty-warm bed to face plummeting temperatures is extremely difficult. Oh, and another thing - attempting to somewhat smooth down my hair when it's cold and drizzly outside is a nightmare.. talk about frizz-city! Luckily I have a few products that I've been loving so far this month which is making this time of the year just that little bit more bearable for me. It is a rather random bunch of favourites this month but I figured it'd be a nice change to include a few things that aren't beauty or skincare related, so lets begin!

First things first, obviously I have to mention this baby. I did get this over a month ago but didn't get to fully appreciate its beauty as it took a while to transfer everything over from my old laptop (which is incredibly borrrrring) but my, it's SO BEAUTIFUL. It was expensive, but I find it so much more fulfilling knowing that I bought this out of my own money that I'd earnt myself, and who doesn't like a little (or in this case, rather big!) treat now and again?!

A lip product I've enjoyed using this month is the Calvin Klein lipstick in 'Henna'. I bought this from Fragrance Direct for the bargain price of £1.99 as I was looking for a fairly inexpensive, good-quality lipstick. It was a bit of a gamble as I wasn't sure of the exact colour (the swatches on the website aren't too accurate at showing the true colour), but it's a really subtle light-pink shade that I've found to be extremely creamy and blendable.

I know everybody seems to go crazy over berry-toned nail polish and lipsticks during this time of the year, but I still like wearing fairly neutral, muted tones on my nails and the Rimmel 60 Seconds polish in 'Little Bo Peep' is one of my favourites at the moment. Although I disagree about it drying in 60 seconds and only needing one coat (I had to use three coats), it's still a lovely pale grey colour which dries with a light shine. The brush is also a good size too; it's wide enough to coat the nails properly which means you don't have to go over and over the same area so you can avoid the horrible sticky feeling you get when the polish hasn't had long enough to dry!

As somebody who uses straighteners or curlers on a daily basis, the ends of my hair are often left feeling incredibly dry - not to mention I already have ombré hair! I popped into Poundland a while back and while I was down the hair and beauty aisle, this product caught my eye. I know argan oil can be terribly expensive online, so I thought i'd give this a go as, of course, it was only going to cost me £1. I only apply the teeniest amount to the palm of my hand and then smooth it through the ends of my hair, and it really does make it feel so much smoother and healthier - absolute BARGAIN!

Another hair-related favourite of mine this month is my beloved Tangle Teezer. This is amazing for smoothing down hair to eliminate tangles and best of all, it doesn't yank all of your hair out in the process! I'm sure we've all been there where you try and run your fingers through your hair and they get stuck, so you use a hairbrush as an aid to brushing out the tangly mess you've just made and losing a trillion hairs as a result. This, however, is so gentle on your hair - it just glides through effortlessly and saves so much time in the mornings.

This is a fairly new addition to my skincare routine after discovering the queen of  skincare Caroline Hirons talking about facial spritzes on her blog. This one in particular smells super lovely and fresh and can be used before or after makeup to freshen up your face. I've mainly been using this at night after I've finished cleansing my face but I'd imagine it would be more effective to use before applying makeup in the mornings to give your skin a little bit of a glow.

Since buying the Real Techniques Travel Essentials Kit, the 'Multi-Task Brush' has been my go-to brush when applying my foundation. This brush really allows you to buff the foundation into the skin and leaves your complexion looking completely flawless. It's also extremely versatile; it can be used to apply foundation, bronzer, blush.. basically any kind of product!

The 'Miracle Complexion Sponge' by Real Techniques makes applying foundation a dream. I do believe it'd drink your foundation if you didn't soak it under a tap first, but it's a relatively small price to pay for achieving an amazing foundation base. You can really build up the coverage by pressing the foundation into any problem areas, and I believe it would do the exact same job as the Beauty Blender for a smaller price tag!

I rediscovered this necklace earlier this month which was given to me as a birthday present from one of my friends; it's so pretty! I love the different coloured flowers all clustered together with the tiny silver sparkles in the middle - and the gold chain makes a nice change from the usual silver jewellery I tend to wear :)

In case you can't tell, this is the Collection 'Lasting Perfection' concealer. Ahh, this has definitely been well loved! I bought this a while ago but only just rediscovered it in my makeup bag, and it's made a nice change from the Soap & Glory 'Kick-Ass' concealer I usually use. The coverage is brilliant for such an inexpensive product and it lasts a lot longer than I would've expected it to.

Case: Nicole Miller

Case: Case-Mate
Another random favourite of this month are pretty phone cases. I recently splashed out on a shiny new iPhone, which of course means you have to get shiny new phone cases! I decided to get the gold iPhone 5s as opposed to the 6 (mainly to save a bit of money), although I opted for the 64gb one to make sure I had enough space to store all of my music, pictures and apps.

My last favourite of my month comes in the form of music and is, of course, the new One Direction album.. how could I not include it?! My favourite song so far has to be Night Changes, but i'm yet to listen to the whole album in full!

What are you enjoying so far this month?

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Since starting my job in July, it may be hard to believe but I haven't had a single weekend day off. I'm contracted to work both Saturdays and Sundays, however I wasn't put down on the rota this Sunday which left me with the perfect opportunity to catch up on an old hobby of mine - baking. I was in the mood for something sweet but nothing too sickly, which was when I remembered I had a recipe for some oat & raisin cookies that I'd left lurking in the middle of an old baking book amongst many others all crammed onto the bookshelf. These are what I'd describe as the perfect 'sweet treat'; they're super tasty and don't leave you feeling guilty for over-indulging. I believe I found the original recipe for these on the BBC Good Food website, however I did do a bit of tweaking and decided to tailor this recipe to meet my needs :)

To make 6 large-ish cookies, you will need:

  • 75g self-raising flour (I used wholemeal as it was the first thing i found in the cupboard, but any self-raising flour will do - even gluten free works well!)
  • 75g sugar (I lessened mine to 60g and found them sweet enough)
  • 75g oats
  • 75g butter
  • 1 tablespoon of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of Golden Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1 handful of raisins
  • Flaxseed (this is entirely optional - I just add a teaspoon or two to make them a little bit healthier!)

1) Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.

2) Line a baking tray with baking parchment (that's grease-proof paper to me and you).

3) Sift the flour into a bowl. Mix in baking powder, oats & sugar.

4) Melt butter, syrup & milk in a saucepan. Stir until heated through.

5) Add to the premixed ingredients dry ingredients. Mix well combined.

6) Spoon onto the baking tray & shape into rounds.

7) Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

8) Leave to cool for 5 minutes before removing from tray.

And voilà! There you have six, super-tasty treats that are perfect for snacking on during the day. If you decide to make some yourself, I'd love to know how you get on and what you think to them!


Saturday, 27 September 2014

When it comes to make up brushes, I always try and look for good quality ones that are also affordable -  a combination that is sometimes quite hard to come across (apart from Real Techniques brushes of course). A lot of the time it seems you have to make a compromise somewhere along the line by either paying a lot of money for a super-fancy brush or making do with a bog-standard, mediocre one to save a few pennies. This is where the Coastal Scents brushes come in. I first discovered these last summer when I was looking to start my brush collection. I hadn't owned any makeup brushes at this point so I was a bit sceptical about buying a complete set for under £20, but I decided to give them a go nonetheless.

Honestly, i'm so glad that I took the risk of buying these brushes because they are AMAZING. The quality is excellent and in my opinion they look and perform just as well as more expensive brushes on the market. The set consists of 12 brushes with both synthetic and natural hair bristles which all fit into the case provided. The case fastens with magnets and each brush has its own little pouch which keeps them separated and makes it easy for you to select which brush you want to use at a glance. The case also means that this set is perfect for travelling; it's roughly the same size as a small/medium sized clutch bag and it's fairly flat - definitely not bulky in the slightest.

My only teeny-tiny issue with these brushes is the amount of bristles I seem to lose from the powder brushes when I wash them, but in all honesty I don't consider this to be much of a problem and it is to be expected with the bristles made from natural hair. Both the synthetic and the natural hair bristles apply makeup effortlessly and are not scratchy in the slightest, which of course is a huge bonus when so many other brushes around this price range seem very artificial and feel rough on the skin.

In order from the picture above, the brushes included in this set are:
  • Lash & Brow Comb
  • Blush Brush (natural hair)
  • Angled Blush Brush (natural hair)
  • Foundation Brush (synthetic)
  • Doe-foot Blending Brush (synthetic)
  • Pointed Blending Brush (natural hair)
  • Medium Shadow Brush (synthetic)
  • Small Concealer Brush (synthetic)
  • Pointed Detailer Brush (synthetic)
  • Rounded Detailer Brush (synthetic)
  • Small Angled Liner Brush (synthetic)
  • Angled Liner Brush (synthetic)
As I mentioned above, this set is currently priced at £19.95 with free p&p and is available  from my ultimate go-to site for all things beauty and brush related!

What are your favourite, must-have makeup brushes? 

**Disclaimer: This was not a sponsored post, I just wanted to share my genuine opinion on how fantastic these brushes are :) **

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

For those of you who are familiar with my blog, it'll come as no surprise to you that I am quite obsessed with popping into my local Boots and having a little nosey around at all of the makeup and skincare products that they have to offer. Last Sunday was no different - the minute I finished work I just had to go in and suss out the latest offers (and of course have a little rummage around in the clearance section!)

In my mind I had an idea of what I wanted; I was looking for a facial wash to replace my moisturising one from Simple that I've had for literally years. I'd heard great things about the Neutrogena 'Visibly Clear' Facial Wash and read many really positive reviews about it, which persuaded me to go ahead and buy it. But my spending didn't stop there - I decided to get the moisturiser from the 'Visibly Clear' range too as there was on offer on which meant you could get two Neutrogena products for £5, what a bargain!!

As you could probably guess from the names of the products, both the facial wash and the moisturiser smell like grapefruit. The scent is subtle and clean-smelling - definitely not strong or overpowering in the slightest. I like to use the facial wash first thing in the morning to remove any of the moisturiser and spot treatment products that I used on my skin overnight and follow on with the moisturiser. I particularly like that it's oil free as I feel my skin is normal-combination and my T-zone is the one area that gets particularly oily during the day. I've only been using these products for around a week and I feel like my skin is clearing up already - for weeks I've suffered with spots around my nose and chin and have tried so many different products to try and combat them... I even tried products containing natural plant extracts from the Nelson's Pure and Clear range but they had little to no effect on clearing up my skin.

While I am still on the lookout for a super-effective, instant spot-zapping miracle treatment, the Neutrogena products have made my skin look considerably clearer than it was a few weeks ago which i'm verrrrry happy about and so for now, I shall continue using both the face wash and the moisturiser to combat any remaining spots and blemishes until they decide to pack their bags and leave the surface of my face (those little blighters owe me weeks' worth of rent!!)

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Hey guys :)

It has certainly been a while since I last found myself sat behind a laptop screen writing a blog post, but I can assure you I have quite a few (fairly plausible) excuses! 
First of all, I managed to get myself a job... hurrah! I am no longer sporting the 'poor unemployed student without a penny to her name' stereotype, though this unfortunately does not mean that I have all of a sudden become Britain's richest teen earning megabucks *sad face*. 
Secondly, my laptop was becoming verrrry sluggish in its old age, and it was a nightmare trying to upload photos and write blog posts on a machine that took around 10 decades to load anything. After seeing footage of many successful Youtubers and bloggers tip-tapping away on their shiny MacBook Pro's, I took the plunge and decided it was time for me to upgrade - which hopefully means more frequent blog posts!

Anyway, as the title suggests, I wanted to do a little review on a few of the Real Techniques brushes that I currently own.

The contour brush is definitely one of my most-used brushes from my ever-growing Real Techniques collection; you can use it for so many different things! Aside from contouring the cheeks, I like to use this brush to set the concealer that I use under my eyes, and it's also the perfect size for powdering around your T-zone.

Next is the buffing brush, another strong favourite of mine. This works really well with liquid foundations as it enables you to achieve a perfect, streak-free finish. The bristles are slightly less dense than those in the expert face brush, which is why I prefer to use it on foundations of a slightly runnier consistency.

The blush brush has tapered bristles which allow you to apply blush to precise areas on the face. While it is a great brush, I don't use it as often as some of the other Real Techniques brushes which is probably down to the fact that I very rarely use blush... although I have used it with bronzer before and was pretty happy with the way it turned out :)
I remember buying the powder brush and thinking "wow, it's bloody huge", but it's honestly one of my favourite brushes EVER. You can apply powder to your entire face in seconds and it also works great with bronzer if you're looking to achieve that perfect all-0ver, sun-kissed look.

The stippling brush is another of my absolute favourites. It works brilliantly with BB creams or foundations of a runnier consistency and can even be used with cream blushes.

If you haven't yet purchased any of the Real Techniques brushes but you fancy giving one a go, you really cannot go wrong with the expert face brush. The bristles are super dense which makes blending foundation into your skin a whole lot easier, especially foundations of a thicker consistency that are otherwise quite difficult to blend.

The pointed foundation brush is one of my less-used brushes from those that I own mainly due to its size; I find it a little on the small side for applying foundation. However it does come in very handy for applying concealer under the eyes as it's the perfect shape and size for getting right into those pesky inner corners.
Last of all is the tiny detailer brush. In all honesty, I've only used this once or twice when I was applying lipstick but it does have other uses. I'd imagine it'd work really well with concealer to hide any unwanted blemishes or to conceal any dark circles under the eyes :)

What do you think of Real Techniques brushes? I'd love to know which one is your favourite! 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Over the past few weeks, us UK folk have experienced surprisingly warm weather... who would have thought it, being summer and all?! But of course, it wouldn't be Britain without a few storms and rainy days. On these duller days, I like to revert back to 'winter mode' by wearing a full face of makeup, but typically during the summer months I prefer to stash the away the heavy foundations and look out my small collection of BB Creams. Believe it or not, this collection was actually unintentional... I started off by simply buying the Garnier BB cream, which led to buying one from Maybelline, then another from Rimmel and last of all the BB Cream by Dr Jart. Out of these four products, I definitely like some more than others.. which you'll soon find out if you carry on reading!

First up is the Garnier 'Miracle Skin Perfector' BB Cream. I believe this was one of, if not the first, BB creams to come onto the market, and I remember there was a huge amount of hype about it. I love the smell of this product and its consistency is smooth and very easy to blend. The coverage is enough for those days when you don't want to wear a lot of makeup but you don't want to go completely bare-faced, and the finish is very dewy. I do like the  healthy glow this product gives me but I think you'd definitely have to use a powder to avoid it slipping off your face!

Next is the Maybelline 'Dream Fresh' BB Cream. I bought this in the shade 'Light', though when applied to my face it tends to leave unsightly orange marks despite me spending a couple of minutes to make sure it is all blended in properly. Unlike the Garnier BB cream, I don't find the finish particularly dewy and the coverage is extremely light - to me it looks like I haven't even bothered putting anything onto my face! Despite not being very keen on this product, I did decide to take it on holiday with me this year mainly due it containing SPF 30, which saved me from buying a separate SPF to use on my face. But since arriving back in England, this product now spends most of its days chilling at the back of a cabinet along with an assortment of other beauty products that, quite honestly, fail to impress me.. *sassy hair flip emoji* 

This is the most recent (and priciest) BB cream that has become part of my unintentional collection: the Dr Jart+ Platinum BB Cream. This is available from Boots and retails at £22 for 50ml.. eesh. I've used this less than a handful of times - not because it's a bad product, more so that I forget I even have it. That could be enough to tell you that I personally don't think it is anything special that you should all rush out and buy immediately, but as far as BB creams go, it does the job. Compared to the others, the consistency of this one is very thick, and a little definitely goes a long way. You're in luck if you have pale skin, as this is a very light shade and doesn't turn orange after it's been applied. For some reason this appears to only come in one shade, and it's even lighter than the shades of the previous two BB creams.. ideal if you're super pale but not so great if you've developed a tan over the summer. It contains SPF 30 which is a definitely bonus if you're looking to let your skin breathe while still being protected from the sun, but overall I do think the price is a little steep for a product I see as fairly average!

Lastly I have the Rimmel Matte BB Cream (again in the shade 'Light'.. surprise surprise!) This appealed to me as many BB creams seem to have quite a dewy finish - something that isn't too great if you already have oily skin. In general it's only my T-zone that seems to get oily throughout the day, so I thought i'd try this product out to see if it really did give a mattifying finish. As with the Maybelline BB cream, this product left my skin looking orange in places and despite its runny consistency, it didn't feel too lightweight on my face; it's more of a foundation than a light BB cream. As for the finish, I can't say I noticed it was particularly mattifying so it still left me reaching for my trusty Rimmel Stay Matte Powder. It claims to 'control shine all day' but I'm afraid I'd have to disagree - even after powdering, my t-zone began to get oily again 1-2 hours later :(

So there you have it, 4 BB Creams well and truly tried and tested. If I had to name my favourite and least favourite of the bunch, I'd crown Garnier my favourite for giving me a dewy-yet-healthy glow and name Rimmel's BB cream as my least favourite for giving me a patchy orange face, cheers!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

As you can see from the title, this post is going to be pretty self-explanatory. Usually when I finish a jar of Nutella, I get rid of the jar as quickly as possible and rush out to buy another. Only this time I decided to give it a purpose, and turned it into a cute makeup brush holder! This is super easy to do and requires no level of skill whatsoever, so I thought i'd share it with you guys :)

It really couldn't be simpler, all you need is a clean, empty Nutella jar! I left mine in soak overnight and then washed it out the following morning. 

It's quite surprising how many brushes this can hold, and it definitely makes a change from those plain, rather boring brush holders you see in some shops!

I'll admit this is probably not to everybody's taste, but personally I think it looks quite quirky and has a retro feel to it :)

What do you think? I'd love to know your thoughts! 


Friday, 18 July 2014

First off this is NOT a sponsored post, I just wanted to share my honest opinion of Graze with you :)

Just two days ago, I received an email from Graze telling me that my first ever Graze Box was in the post. This excited me massively, it's something I've been wanting to try for a very long time as the whole 'healthy snacking' idea really appeals to me. I think it's fair to say that in this day and age, when the majority of us feel peckish, we reach for the nearest, most convenient foods to satisfy our hunger, and often stop to think about what is actually going into our bodies. 

It requires a whole lot of willpower to steer your trolley past those aisles in the supermarket that are crammed with cakes and biscuits, and it can sometimes feel impossible to break those pesky sugar cravings. However there is a solution, and it comes in the form of a cardboard box that is only slightly bigger than A5 size. 

Upon signing up, you're free to select which box you'd like to receive from a variety of different types that contain snacks ranging from sweet to savoury. I opted for the 'nibblebox' which essentially means you get to try a little bit of everything. Within each box there are always four different portions of food, all packaged individually to allow you to simply pop them into your bag if you're on the move. I was particularly impressed with the amount of thought that must have been put in when designing the packaging. Not only is the box perfectly sized to fit through your letterbox, but the personalised welcome booklets that are included really make you feel like a valued customer and it makes each box feel especially tailored to you and your needs.

From the four snack packs I received, I found the 'Graze's Chocolate Orange' pack was by far my favourite. It included a mix of orange chocolate raisins, milk chocolate buttons and jumbo raisins... it was SO yummy.

As a lover of all things sweet, I would have to say that my second favourite was the 'Rhubarb & Pear Compote'. This pack included tiny bits of chopped up rhubarb along with dried pear and cranberries. I felt that the flavours all complemented each other really well and it was a perfect snack to  satisfy my sweet tooth.

If you're more of a fan of savoury snacks, you would probably really enjoy the 'Jalapeño Hot Chips', which contained flax tortilla chips and a jalapeño jam dip. I'm a bit of a wimp with anything hot and spicy, so I ended up finishing the tortilla chips before the dip... oops. On the plus side, I would definitely say that this snack is a perfect alternative to the saltier, unhealthy tortilla chips out there. There's no need to feel guilty afterwards as surprisingly this pack only contains 68 calories!

Last of all were the 'Black Pepper Pistachios'. The portion size is very generous if you're a fan of nuts (ha ha) but unfortunately I'm not too keen on pistachios, and adding black pepper to them didn't really appeal to me. However as with the rest of the snacks mentioned, this is yet another really inventive snack that has been well thought out and I feel that the whole 'nibblebox' in general definitely has a little something for everyone. Even those with allergies or intolerances can choose from a variety of snacks and you are given the option to 'bin' anything you don't want to try.

Graze also provide nutritional information with each of the snacks you receive which is both interesting and essential if you're on a calorie-controlled diet.

All in all I really enjoyed receiving my first ever Graze Box and think that anybody who is currently trying to watch their weight or simply wants to find healthier foods to snack on should give one a go. Instead of depriving yourself from snacking, Graze encourage you to do so by sending you these healthier alternatives that taste just as good (if not better) than those regular snacks that are loaded with hundreds of calories.

If you haven't signed up for a Graze Box before, I have a code which entitles you to receive your first box for FREE (It isn't one of those sneaky scams, I promise!) The best part of all is that you don't have to pay for any more than one box if you don't want to, you can cancel at any time. It does sound too good to be true, (which is exactly what I thought at first) but I can assure you that you don't have to pay anything for your first box :)

Although if you do decide to try more than one box, the code below also allows you to receive your 5th box for free!

Code: C53NC4RHP

Chloe x

*This post is NOT sponsored in any way, I just wanted to share my honest opinions of Graze with you guys :)

Monday, 7 July 2014

I'm sure we all know how important it is to regularly keep our makeup brushes feeling fresh and free from the many products we paint our faces with on a daily basis, but when you have more than a handful of brushes to wash, it can turn into quite a monotonous task to say the least. 

I'll be the first to admit that I don't stick to a strict brush-washing schedule.. in fact, the majority of the time I just look at my brushes and think, "oo-err, these could do with a good wash". But in a bid to be more organised, I'd like to commit myself into washing my brushes every Sunday to keep any bacteria at bay.

Washing makeup brushes using shampoo and conditioner is my preferred method; believe it or not it can be rather satisfying seeing the  foundation-coloured lather make its way down the plug hole. Simply squirt a small amount of shampoo into the palm of your hand and swirl your brush around in small, circular motions. After it has started to lather up, place the end of the brush under the tap to rinse away the shampoo - being careful to avoid getting the ferrule wet (the metal bit containing the bristles, to put it simply!)

After rinsing away the shampoo, I like to use a small amount of conditioner to soften up the bristles and to make sure all of the makeup is thoroughly washed out of the brush. If you've used your brushes less than a handful of times, this step probably won't be needed, but I always like to give mine a through deep clean (and they smell amazing afterwards).
Voilà, the end result!

..You could say I'm quite the fan of Real Techniques brushes!
Once washed, your brushes are ready to be towel-dried and left to dry out. 
Top tip: If possible, it's best to leave your brushes in a vertical position to avoid any water getting into the ferrule and weakening the glue that holds the bristles together :)