Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Review: Real Techniques - Powder Brush

I've seen and heard so much about Real Techniques brushes recently but I never thought I'd end up getting one. I've always been quite satisfied with my current brushes (Lily Lolo, bareMinerals) and they've worked well for the mineral powder that I use. 

However, I recently got myself the bareMinerals Ready Foundation (review here) which is a compact version of their mineral foundation. I figured that a kabuki brush would be a bit too harsh and unnecessary  I've never used a compact powder without one of those old-school flat sponges (what are they called?) so I figured I should get myself a decent brush. I wanted something quite full, soft, but dense enough to give good coverage. So hello Real Techniques!

The first thing that immediately caught my attention upon arrival was the size of the brush. It was much bigger than I expected it to be. I originally intended to buy the blusher brush to use as a powder brush but I was worried it could be a bit small. When I received this in the post, I was worried that this would be a little big. 

My worries were soon put to rest once I started using it. It's actually the perfect size in my opinion. It means I can get my mineral foundation on quickly and get a good coverage. Mineral make-up works via warming up the minerals, and you can't do that too easily with a small brush.

When I used this, I loved how soft it felt. The bristles were dense enough for buffing in my mineral foundation, but soft enough to blend everything in without hurting my face! The bristles feel so light yet they're so dense. The only complaint I have here is that the bristles do smell a little synthetic and I can still smell it now after using it for a couple of weeks.

I love the design of this brush. It has a sleek copper coloured handle and the tips of the brush are white. This definitely looks like a high quality brush and it's definitely one of my favourite brush designs.

Overall this is an amazing brush. It is fit for purpose and it looks great. I am definitely considering getting the Real Techniques blusher brush at some stage.

Do you own any brushes from Real Techniques?

Monday, 28 October 2013

Introducing: Sugarpuss London

Images on collage are taken from sugarpusslondon.com

I was recently introduced to a brand called Sugarpuss London, an online store selling beautiful, high quality jewellery. Being a huge jewellery fan, it didn't take much to draw me in!

Sugarpuss London is special in the fact that they source the best materials and gems to use for their jewellery, so you're sure to find something unique and worthy of attention on their website. Every piece is either a one-off or a limited edition, which is definitely a good thing because you don't want a swarm of people wearing the exact same piece as you!

Some of you may already be familiar with Sugarpuss London as they have been featured on several magazines including TatlerVogue, and Glamour. Surely that alone tells you how fabulously stylish they are. 

From bridal jewellery to children's jewellery to birthstone jewellery, there's bound to be something for every occasion. As Christmas is approaching, this is the perfect time to check out their website and treat your loved ones. Or do what I do (too much) and treat yourself. If you love jewellery as much as I do, you'll be like a child in toy shop!

I've had a long look through their website and I've found some amazing pieces that I love. Being very much a necklace and bracelets girl, I adore their gorgeous selection of pearl bracelets and all their dainty necklaces, particulary their Pearl & Aqua Quartz Bracelet and their Peach Sunstone Necklace. Honestly, I could just stare at photos of them both all day. There's something about precious jewellery that fixates me. I actually used to collect precious stones as a child...

I'll be reviewing a product from Sugarpuss London very soon so keep your eyes peeled!

Introducton post prior to review for Sugarpuss London

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Review: Simple Skincare - Kind To Skin+ Moisture Boost Hydro Mist

I'm a massive fan of Simple Skincare because I have sensitive skin, so it was an easy decision to make when it came to buying this product. Simple have recently launched a new range of products and this is one of them. The Kind To Skin+ Moisture Boost Hydro Mist.

This isn't one of those make-up setting sprays. The purpose of this mist is to give your face an instant hydration boost. It contains Lotus Flower and multi-vitamins so it's definitely good stuff for your skin!

When I bought this, I was a little unsure about what exactly this product would do for me but I love the brand so I knew I had to give it a go, especially as it was half price and I actually paid for it using gift vouchers. The bottle was a lot smaller than I expected it to be so, straight away, I knew it wouldn't last for very long. As I didn't really pay for this, I wasn't too bothered. 

As soon as I sprayed this mist onto my face, I felt an instant cooling effect and it was quite refreshing. Although the cooling sensation was nice, it lasted for about 10 seconds before wearing off. I guess it does what is says on the tin though, so to speak. It definitely gives an instant hydration boost. 

This product claims that it also gives you naturally dewy skin, and it really does make my skin look dewy! You can spray this on top of make-up as well. If you have oily skin though, I probably wouldn't recommend this. I definitely wouldn't use this on a hot, sunny day because even though it gives a little cool mist, the after effects would not be a pretty sight.  I get the feeling that it would just add to the humidity and make you look more sweaty...

This mist sometimes takes 10 seconds or so to completely soak into your skin. You have to test it out a few times in order to spray it at the right distance. If it's too close, your face will just drip with mist, and if it's too far away then it's hardly going to touch your face. The spray mechanism isn't that strong so don't try using it too far away from your face. 

The big negative is the smell. I was expecting it to not smell of anything really because that's what the Simple Skincare products tend to be like. But this one had a very distinct odour. It's not exactly overpowering but it's definitely noticeable. It actually smells a bit like the Miss Sporty bronzer that I used to use, not sure if that is of any help to anyone?? Basically, it just smells a little like chemicals. I'd be wary about using this mist in public. I did initially think that it would be great for when I'm on a train journey, but I probably wouldn't use it if someone was sat next to me. 

Overall, I do like this product but I'm not totally loving it. It's great for an instant hydration boost and it's also good for your skin, but I just wish it was scent-free. It's quite faint and it fades away super quick but I can smell it. I might use this for spraying on at night before bed as a lighter alternative to using moisturiser. It'll also be good on cold days if I feel like my skin is drying out. At a price of £5.99 for a 50ml bottle though, I'll definitely only be purchasing this if it's on offer.

Have you tried any of the new products from Simple Skincare?

Monday, 21 October 2013

Review: Macarons Galore

I'm excited to share another food post with you all. I was recently sent a bag of macarons from a company called Macarons Galore*

Macarons Galore makes fresh macarons daily and they also offer a bespoke service. All of their macarons are free from preservatives and additives. 

I've actually never tried macarons before but I've always wanted to. The bright colours usually draw me in and these were no different. When they arrived, part of me just wanted to keep them on display because they looked so pretty! 

They arrived in a small clear bag with a gold tie around it. This was packaged inside a large cardboard box with plenty of bubble wrap to stop the goodies from being damaged. The sides of the macarons were a little squished but, as you can see from the images, it wasn't anything major. So I guess it would be better if they packaged these in little boxes rather than little bags because, despite the amount of bubble wrap, the delivery men probably don't have the time or the effort to delicately carry every single parcel. The bags are really cute though, so maybe put the bag of macarons into a small box? Just throwing out the ideas here....

The most exciting part was, of course, eating them. The word delicious doesn't even come close to describing these. They were so good! They tasted fresh and the outer shell was crispy, just as it should be. The filling was soft and creamy, and the whole thing was just one little sugary delight! My favourite was the Cappuccino flavoured one. I could have easily eaten a whole bag of just the Cappucino ones. I was also lucky enough to be sent the Pumpkin one, a special edition for Halloween. I loved it!

This is the first I've heard of macarons being delivered fresh to your door. I'll definitely be using this service in the future because they taste amazing and I think it'll be a lovely little surprise for my family & friends during their birthdays or at Christmas. 

You can find Macarons Galore on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Review: bareMinerals - Ready SPF 20 Foundation in Medium Beige

I've been using bareMinerals for years now and I've always loved the weightless but flawless feel of it and, of course, minerals are meant to be good for your skin. I've used both of the loose powders: Original and Matte. However, loose powder isn't the easiest thing to carry around and use on the go, so I was very pleased when I heard they were releasing a compact version of it called Ready SPF 20 Foundation.

I've actually had this for a while now but I've only just got round to using it. I love how cute and compact it looks, it even has a mirror inside the case. This is definitely a lot more practical to be carrying around than the loose powder. The outside of the case is pretty simple but it looks sleek.

In terms of colour, the shade seems to differ from that of the loose powder form. The Ready Foundation in Medium Beige is darker and has more of a golden tone to it, whereas the loose powder foundation for both Original and Matte is much lighter. Surprisingly, both forms actually work fine for me but I guess that is the beauty of minerals - they blend really well so you can get away with a shade that isn't an exact match. This one is definitely more suited to me though.

The texture isn't as fine as the loose mineral powder so if you are prone to dry skin, make sure you moisturise your face first and/or apply a primer to get a smooth base. Otherwise you may find that the powder settles in all the wrong places. 

After watching a few Youtube tutorials of this, I was under the impression that you needed to take one swipe of the foundation using a brush. Do not do this. You end up getting so much excess powder coming up and there's not exactly anywhere for it to go since it's in a compact case and not a pot. It will just cause a mess. The correct way to use this foundation, as I read on the instruction leaflet (which I should have done in the first place rather than going off Youtube tutorials) is to just tap your brush on the foundation and then buff it into your skin. 

I absolutely love this product. It's so much easier to use and you don't end up wasting loads of it since you don't have to swirl it around in a lid. I was worried about how it would apply on because it's not as fine as the loose powder but it goes on so smoothly for me. It gives a really pretty finish.

I've been blessed with good skin (or maybe I just have a good skincare regime!) so I can't comment too much about the coverage since I don't have any major blemishes to cover up but it definitely gives a "natural skin" finish. Similar to many mineral products though, the coverage is unlikely to be as good as what you would get with a liquid foundation.

I use the Real Techniques powder brush with this product (review coming up soon) and it works brilliantly. No need for a kabuki brush anymore.

I definitely recommend this product to you all. I don't wear foundation every day but when I do, this is my go-to product. My loose mineral powders have well and truly taken a back seat. This is actually cheaper than both the Original and Matte loose powders as you get more for the price you pay.

Have you used any of the bareMinerals foundations?

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Top Tips For Staying Happy During The Darker Months

The shorter days and darker nights are well and truly upon us. Many of us will have started to feel the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder, better known as "feeling SAD" or "winter blues". The lack of sunlight causes a change in your mood and can result in various symptoms such as fatigue, lethargy, anxiety, and a drop in concentration levels. 

I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder when the days get darker and, sometimes, I could almost just lie in bed all day. But over time, I've learnt little techniques to overcome it and to make Autumn/Winter a much more pleasant time. Besides, it's the lead up to Christmas!

Seasonal Affective Disorder can affect anyone, but there are ways to lessen the effects and perhaps even get rid of them altogether. I have compiled my top tips for staying happy even when the weather is dreary.

Step outside. Being outdoors helps your body to absorb Vitamin D from the sunlight. You may not see the sun, but it's there and it will help to boost your mood.

Sleep well. The dreary weather can easily make you feel groggy so it's vital to get a good night's rest to ensure that your body is alert and refreshed for the day ahead. 7-8 hours is the recommended number of hours for sleep at night. Put down the mobile phone, or anything else with a backlit display, an hour before bed. The light can affect your melatonin levels and make it difficult for you to fall asleep.

Get moving. Exercise releases the feel-good endorphins which will make you feel much happier. It will also warm you up and help you to keep fit.

Have some Vitamin C. Fruits that are rich in Vitamin C, such as oranges and kiwi, also produce feel-good endorphins to boost your mood.

Dress up. When it's cold and you're feeling down, it's easy to spend all day in your pyjamas or sweatshirt. However, if you make an effort to look nice, you'll feel a whole lot better. So the next time you're feeling down, put on your best clothes, style your hair, and smile at yourself in the mirror. If you dress like you're happy, you're halfway there. 

Ditch the caffeine. It's pretty normal for people to reach for a caffeine kick whenever they're feeling tired but this will only mess up your sleeping patterns. Also, too much caffeine can affect your nervous system and make you feel anxious.

Socialise. There's nothing worse than sitting at home feeling sorry for yourself. So call up your friends and arrange something, even if it's just a DVD night. Being around others and having a good old chat will help you to relax and it will ease the tension that's been building up inside of you.

Buy some jumpers. These are essential during the colder months and you're more likely to want to get out of bed, or out of the shower, and leave the house if you know you'll have something snuggly and warm to wear. 

Watch a comedy. Go through your DVD pile and pick out something funny to watch. Laughing always helps to brighten up your mood. Switch off the news, crime dramas, soaps, or anything that is just too serious and draining. I love watching shows like The Big Bang Theory to cheer me up!

I hope you liked this post and found it useful in some way!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Shoes, Glorious Shoes!

Unlike many people, I actually don't own many shoes. I find it so difficult to find shoes that i like and shoes that will actually fit me well. Comfort before style - ALWAYS. These shoes satisfy both of these things!

I saw this online from the Dorothy Perkins website and I loved them straight away. I never buy shoes on impulse, and especially not if I haven't tried them on, but I've been looking for some comfy heeled shoes for ages so I figured it would be sensible enough to take the plunge and purchase them. 

Retailers would hate me if I revealed to you how many pairs of shoes I've returned in the past, even shoes that I've tried on in store. I honestly thought that, with my track record, these would end up going back as well.

To my surprise, these were just as amazing as I hoped they'd be. They feel like trainers but they look so smart and stylish. These will be great for work because I'm not a fan of shoes that make loud click-clack sounds on the ground when I walk. Also, as much as I love the look of trainers, converse etc, I always feel that they don't suit my style and look a bit too casual. So these shoes will be fab for keeping my day-to-day look quite smart as well.

The sole is made from good quality rubber and it gives a good grip when you walk. The laces are long enough to be tied, but not so long as to dangle on the ground like some trainers do. I always wonder why some manufacturers offer such long shoelaces. Luckily, these are just right.

I'm so glad I purchased these because I have a feeling that I'll be wearing them a lot. They look so chic but feel so comfortable. This is my first ever successful online shoe purchase! I wasn't even looking for shoes! I just so happened to have a few gift vouchers that I needed to use pretty soon.

It's true that you always find things when you're not looking for them!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Review: The Body Shop - Wild Rose Hand Cream

Having obtained a voucher code for a free 30ml Hand Cream, I headed straight to The Body Shop at the end of last month. I opted for the Wild Rose Hand Cream, mainly because it had the prettiest colour on it! I didn't want to do my usual routine of hanging around in a shop deliberating for half an hour, so this was a good approach!

I wasn't actually expecting much from this product. I've used a lot of hand creams before and they're all pretty much the same. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this. It left my hands feeling silky soft after just one use. Also, unlike a lot of hand creams, I felt like this one actually got absorbed into my skin as opposed to sitting on it. Normally when I wash my hands, I can feel the hand cream slipping off like oil but, with this one, there was nothing. It was already fully absorbed into my skin. The effects are long-lasting as well.

When you first squeeze this out of the tube, it does look like the consistency will be quite thick. It is not at all though. It's extremely light and glides on smoothly.

This hand cream contains rosehip oil and has SPF15The smell is quite strong so you'll love this if you're into floral smells. Otherwise, you'd be better off purchasing one of the other hand creams. I'm not a massive fan of floral smells when it comes to perfume, but I'm all for a bit of floral when it comes to beauty products!

I know that a lot of people love this packaging but I don't particularly like it. I'm sure that The Body Shop were aiming for a unique look when they designed this but it reminds me of a squashed toothpaste bottle.

Luckily, the product itself is fantastic so I would definitely consider purchasing this in the future. 

Have you tried any of the hand creams from The Body Shop?

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Review: yu! Healthy Snacks

I'm always excited to share food posts with you guys. I'm a major foodie so I love anything new and tasty, but I love it more when it's tasty AND healthy. This is exactly what you get from yu! Healthy Snacks. They kindly sent me a selection of their tasty snacks to try out.

As I've recently started a health & fitness kick, these couldn't have arrived at a better time. The fact that these snacks are both delicious and good for you has been so useful for helping me to eat healthily. I've been adding one yu! snack to my lunch every day rather than having anything unhealthy like crisps, not that I really eat crisps anyway (is that weird?).

The fruit bars* were the first yu! snacks that I tried and I was actually a little skeptical. I've tried various fruit bars before and have always found they either taste too sweet or they taste artificial. These ones, however, were delicious! It kind of reminded me of a cereal bar but a lot more scrumptious. I liked the fact that these are one of the few snack bars I've tried that have got the sweetness just right with the yoghurt coating. 

Next, I tried the fruit chews*. I didn't enjoy these as much as I enjoyed the others but this is definitely a good snack substitute for sweets. All the fruit chews are 100% fruit, but it's worth noting that it is not necessarily 100% of that particular fruit. For example, the mango fruit chews are made from 45% mango, the rest of it is made from things like apple and apple juice, hence the unique taste.

Finally, I tried the Granola and Strawberry packet* and this was by far my favourite! I wasn't expecting much from this initially because I think that granola tends to taste quite dry. This was not the case at all though. Again, these are coated in a lovely layer of yoghurt and contain little fruit pieces.

I definitely recommend these, especially for anyone who is trying to get fit and healthy but doesn't want to give up snacking. Even if you're not on a health kick, why would you not try something so tasty? Everyone loves a good snack!

These are available from Tesco stores and would make a great addition to any lunchbox. 
Have you tried anything from yu! before?