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Leather and Glitter

Badass, with a bit of bling!

My Face Base

Hello readers. Since my last post was a skincare post, I decided to go to the next level and share with you my favourite base makeup products and how I apply them to get a flawless finish to set me up for the rest of my makeup look. As I mentioned before, I have oily skin and rosacea; which means makeup is always a struggle for me. But yet again, as with my skincare, I’ve managed to get my makeup base application down to a great routine.

Now before I start, I will just say that this is the base for a full face of makeup. I don’t wear this every day, because there is no need for a full face unless you really need it; and also, who has time for a full face every day? I will probably share my fast, everyday makeup routine in another post. Some great ideas to look flawless on a time limit – I’ve been practising because I know when I’m a mum, my makeup time might be a little sparse. But without further ado, keep reading if you want to know how to get a flawless makeup base that will last all day, even with oily skin. I am sure that all of the products except the first one I mention have been previously talked about on my blog, both here; and here. There’s a reason I raved about them so much then, and why I’m still using them now. They’re just so good; however this is a slightly more in-depth post about the way I apply each product and why I love them.

Step 1 – Primer

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I’m a firm believer that a primer can make or break your look. There’s a bit of a science to it. If your foundation is oil-based, you’ll need an oil-based primer. If your foundation is silicone-based, you’ll need a silicone-based primer. And if your foundation is water-based, you’ll need a water-based primer. My foundation is silicone based, so I opt for two different primers. The first primer is the No7 Airbrush Away Colour Balancing Primer in green. I apply it with a damp sponge using a dabbing motion (The AOA Wonder Blender from Shop Miss A is my Favourite sponge currently) to the areas that are in need of some redness neutralizing – usually my cheeks.

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Then I go in with the Max Factor Facefinity Primer; which I apply with my (clean!) fingers, all over my face. It’s a really great mattifying primer that doesn’t feel too heavy on the silicone which means that the foundation doesn’t slide off. It also has some serious staying power; which is what I look for in most of my base makeup – because my oil usually makes it slide off within hours if it’s not a long-lasting product.

Step 2 – Foundation

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I freaking LOVE this foundation and have yet to find anything better. You should have guessed it by now, but in case you haven’t, it’s the Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation. For oily skin types this is so good. It’s not full coverage but a couple of coats nicely covers everything I need it to; and if you’re using concealer anyway (Which I do) then it won’t matter. I apply a few drops to the back of my hand (usually 2-3 pumps) and dab it on with a damp sponge (the one I’ve used for the primer is totally fine to use).

For info, I use the shade 2C3 – Fresco

Step 3 – Concealer

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When I’m done with the foundation and happy with the coverage, I go in with the concealer. My all-time favourite concealer to date has to be the Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer. It’s supposedly a dupe for Tarte Shape Tape – but since I haven’t tried it yet I can’t say how it measures up. This has a doe-foot style applicator, so I paint it onto my face in the areas that need extra coverage – usually my forehead, under my eyes, my nose, lower cheeks and chin; plus any blemishes. I then blend it out using the same damp sponge in dabbing motions. The dabbing is important because if you wipe or sweep the sponge, all you’ll end up doing is pushing product around your face and wiping off what’s underneath; making you look streaky. This concealer is such a good, full-coverage concealer that by this stage I usually look like I’ve had all my features erased. When I paint them back on, my “second skin” looks so flawless.

For info, my shade is C3 (I used to use C5, but found I looked a little too tanned)

Step 4 – Powder

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Now, I love having flawless, matte skin; but I don’t want to look flat. It needs to have a little bit of dewiness to it in order to look like actual skin. So the setting powder needs to be the product that does that. And a trick I like to use is to mix a very small amount of loose highlighter pigment into my loose setting powder to give that gorgeous healthy glow.

The base powder that I use is the Maybelline Fit Me Loose Powder. It’s not yet available in the UK directly from Maybelline (despite so many beauty influencers begging them); but you can get it on eBay at a reasonable price. For info, I use the shade 05 Fair (I used to use the shade 10 Fair / Light, but it was a bit too yellow for my skin)

The powder highlight I mix with the setting powder (in a ratio of approx. 1:5) is the Makeup Revolution Pearl Lights Loose Highlighter in the shade “True Gold”. When I’ve mixed the two together I use that same damp sponge (I know, it gets a LOT of use) to pick it up and press it into my skin. Dabbing again; I pack it all in, all over my face. A lot of people bake at this stage, pressing it into the oily areas and under eyes then gently and dusting off any excess, adding a sheer dusting to any areas that haven’t been covered; but I tend to just push it right into every part of my face; because I have such bad oil that the powder helps to keep it under control.

Once I’m done with the powder, then I’m ready to go on with the other parts of my makeup routine, including the bronzer, blusher, highlighter, eyes, brows and lips.

Step 5 – Setting Spray

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The final part to a good base is actually the last step in the routine, but it takes all that powderiness and turns it back into flawless-looking skin. Normally I use two setting sprays. One to give me a little bit of extra glow; and one to seal everything in and make sure it all stays locked in place. The first spray I use is the BarryM Mist & Fix Dewy Finish Setting Spray which I shake vigorously to release all the shimmery particles; then spritz on. Before it dries I use my sponge (again!) to dab at any chunky spots of shimmer so it doesn’t look like I have sparkly freckles. Then I use a fan to dry it.

The second spray is the famous All Nighter setting spray from Urban Decay. I spritz it on once my face is dry and then fan again.

And there you have it. My steps to a flawless base for creating looks that will stay in place all day long, even with oily skin; that looks smooth and matte, without looking cakey.

Do you have any other steps? Any products you would recommend? Would you use these products / techniques? Drop me a comment below. And don’t forget to follow me if you want to see more of these posts. Your following really makes me happy!

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My Skincare Regime

Hi Guys! Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I have to admit that since going on maternity leave, the nesting instinct kicked in, and I have been so busy with preparing the house for our little arrival! Now It’s March! Where has that time gone? Little one could arrive at any moment now as I’ve reached early term. February was also a really busy month because it was my birthday, and I literally had people visiting all the time. I’ve never felt so popular or so loved.

So anyway, I thought I’d share with you my skincare regime with you guys because after a lifetime of trying products and not quite getting in quite right, I feel like now, I have my routine perfected. I have found products that are perfect for my skin type and the order in which I put them on has made such a huge difference to my skin that I feel totally confident going makeup free most days now. In all fairness, it’s probably just as well, since I probably won’t have much time to do my makeup when baby girl arrives.

Before we begin, let me tell you a little bit about my skin type, so you’ll have some idea why I use the products I do, in the order that I do. I have a very oily skin type with fairly visible, sunken pores; and rosacea. I also have dark circles occasionally too. I very rarely breakout, but when I do, the blemishes are usually hormone related and appear in clusters of huge, nasty spots. So, here’s how I manage my skin and make sure it stays radiant and (ideally) blemish free:


Morning Routine:

Cleansing:

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I love to exfoliate; but unfortunately, due to my rosacea, I used to find that exfoliation left my skin very red and sore. The granules in most facial scrubs were far too abrasive and gritty, meaning that I was only exfoliating maybe once a week; when really, because of my oil, I should have been scrubbing much more regularly. That was until I found the holy grail of facial scrubs. Over a year ago, I went into a lush shop, and as usual, the friendly staff were more than helpful when I griped about abrasive cleansers and my awful, aggravated red face. They let me try their “Herbalism” Cleanser. Made with almonds (the nuts, not the shells), and chloroform water (which gives it that funky green colour) it was a match made in heaven. You take a pea sized blob of the powdery substance, mix it with a couple of drops of warm water to make a paste, the slather over your face and rub in circular motions until you feel thoroughly buffed. The almond is so gentle – because it’s the softer part of the nut that’s used as opposed to the hard, abrasive shells – that it works on sensitive skin, and the green pigment really helps with redness. It also contains a lot of other skin friendly ingredients that help with oiliness too. I’ve been buying pots of this stuff for, like I say, over a year now and really believe this was the first step in being confident in my skin.

Toning:

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Now, toners were something I used to use to suck the oil right out of my skin before I put on a moisturiser. I now know that this was where I was going wrong. If you suck out too much oil, your skin is going to overcompensate, and by the end of the day, it will be slick with lots of shine. Not. Good. I went to a beauty masterclass one evening with Arbonne, and learned a few things about humectant spray toners. Best invention ever. Up until recently, I used this rose water as a toner in a spray bottle; but then about a year ago I was reading up on some good skincare ingredients, and found out about the wonders of hyaluronic acid. It hydrates your skin deep down, penetrating the epidermis (outer skin layer) and moisturising the dermis (second skin layer); which in turn, prevents excess sebum production (makes you less oily). So now, I use the B. Hydrated Hyaluronic Acid Facial Spritz. Not only do I use it as a toner (about 7 sprays each morning usually works for my whole face), but I also spray it over makeup to keep me feeling refreshed throughout the day – especially in the summer. I used it on my wedding day to stop my makeup from feeling too heavy; and it make me look and feel radiant right up until I went to bed!

Moisturising:

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Now, dependant on my plans for the day, I have 2 different approaches to moisturiser. If I know I’m going to be indoors all day, or if I plan on wearing makeup, I’ll use the Garnier Skin Active 3 in 1 Hydrating Aloe Water Jelly – which is made from ingredients that are 96% natural origins, contains soothing Aloe Vera for my rosacea and is silicone free – which stops my makeup from sliding off.

Afterwards I go in with my favourite oil reducing serum – Soap and Glory The Fab Pore Oil Control Serum. As you know, I’ve raved about this in the past and I still to this day have not found anything better! So I apply sparingly to my oily areas and the shine stays under control all day.

My other approach is for no makeup days, when I plan on being outside, or if I want a little bit of a glow. I’ll start with the serum, instead of the moisturiser; and then I’ll go in with E.L.F. Beauty Shield Tinted Moisturiser. It is the best tinted moisturiser I have ever tried. It doesn’t leave you orange, and gives a lovely, radiant glow. It also has an SPF in it, so if I plan on going out on a non-makeup day, I know I’ll be protected. On the days I do wear makeup, I always make sure my foundation has an SPF in it too.


Evening Routine:

Makeup Removal:

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So in the evening, I always take off my makeup if I’ve been wearing any. I like to use good old fashioned coconut oil for slightly thicker, more stubborn makeup; and for less stubborn everyday makeup, I’ll use Micellar Water. Personally I favour Simple’s Micellar water because it’s nicer on my sensitive skin. I’ll use these products on a soft microfiber flannel or a bamboo fibre washcloth as it’s much more environmentally friendly than using cotton pads and the fibres actually get more makeup off per swoop.

Cleansing:

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I cleanse my face after makeup removal, just to make sure I got every last trace of makeup; because moisturising right after could mean pushing any makeup left on the skin into the pores and that’s not really going to help with breakouts. Also, if I’ve used coconut oil, it will eliminate that too. Coconut oil is good for some skin types (hello dry skinned ladies) but not for us oily gals. I like to use Garnier Skin Active Micellar Gel Wash for Combination & Sensitive Skin. I foam it up on a flannel with warm water and cleanse away any traces of makeup & dirt that’s left. It’s amazing that when you think you’ve got it all, there’s still makeup on the cloth after cleansing. A runner up product which I also like to use if I don’t have any of the gel cleanser is the good old fashioned dove crème bar. It’s great value for money and since they can be bought in multipacks, they’re great to have in the cupboard as a backup in case you run out of cleanser.

Toning:

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Now, I feel like when you’re winding down in the evening, spraying an invigorating spritz on your face is only going to wake you up. It’s fabulous for a morning routing but for the evening I prefer to put the toner on with my hands. I also like something super hydrating, so I opt for B. Refreshed Essence Lotion. It’s got more of that lovely Hyaluronic Acid in it and it feels silky smooth. It’s a liquid, so I just pour a few drops onto my fingertips, then massage into my freshly cleansed face.

Facial Oil:

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Yes, oil for oily skin sounds crazy right? But it really does work and since I started using oil on my skin at night, my skin condition has never been better. There is a catch though. Some facial oils are no good for oily skin as they are made of a different composition and are better suited to dry or combination skin types. The better oils for oily skin types are jojoba oil – which is very close to natural sebum – Argan oil and Rosehip Oil. These are antibacterial, and very lightweight, so perfect for those of us with oily skin. Personally, I use Boots Botanics Organic Nourishing Facial Oil with Rosehip. It also contains sweet almond oil which has sebum dissolving properties; and Argan Oil. I massage it into my face until it’s almost absorbed and leaving me looking a little bit greasy. But as I’m going to bed, it doesn’t matter, right?

Moisturising:

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The last step in my evening routine is to put on a deeply nourishing moisturiser. My personal favourite is Lush’s Vanishing Cream. It sinks beautifully into the skin, and contains antibacterial Lavender – which means you also get a really great mini aromatherapy session before bed, and gets you all nice and relaxed.

Masks:

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Once a week I like to give myself two different types of mask. A clay mask, and a deeply moisturising mask. I do the clay mask after cleansing and before toner. Usually I do this of an evening because in the morning my skin looks even more radiant, but also because I have more time in the evenings to relax with a face mask on. Currently I’m favouring the B. Detox Clay Mask; however my other favourites include the L’Oréal Pure Clay Detox Mask, and Lush’s Rosy Cheeks Mask (which is also great for rosacea and smells a-maz-ing!). The best way to apply these masks is with a brush, as it’s so much easier and less messy than applying with your fingers. I use an old foundation brush which I wash after every use; but you can buy specific brushes for face masks.

The deeply moisturising mask is just a thick layer of my moisturiser, left on for 10 minutes or so before wiping of the excess with a dry flannel. I tend to do this mask as the last step in my routine; and again, it works better for me if I do it in the evening as I have more time to relax.


So there you have it. My fairly simple skincare regime for oily, sensitive skin. Do you have oily skin and have any product recommendations I could try? Do you have a simpler or more complex regime? Drop me a comment below! And don’t forget to follow my blog if you liked this post!

5 Things – The Pet Peeve Edition

Hi Guys! I’m well into my third trimester now (32 weeks! EEK!). I’ve also left work for Maternity leave, which means I have a bit of free time I didn’t have before. I’m going to enjoy it before all my time is taken up with nappy changes and feeding.

These last few weeks, my hormones have been playing with my moods (not much change there!). I’ve been decidedly more irritable and the pregnancy rage is real. Very real. Anyway; I’ve always had a few pet peeves, but figured since I’m a bit grumpy right now, it’s the perfect time to have a good old rant; and where better to vent my frustration than my own personal slice of the internet? So, here come my top five pet peeves. Be prepared for some very grumpy writing; which I don’t tend to do very much of here on my blog; so this is new. If you’re offended by any of this; I’m not even sorry. There, I said it.

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1. Leggings as Trousers

They are NOT trousers! They are footless tights, designed to keep you slightly warmer on those in between days; whilst allowing you to wear ballerina shoes without looking like a granny; or sandals without looking like a tourist. They are also more versatile than tights in the pattern department; so you can wear leopard print or florals on your legs (provided you do it correctly). The only time it is socially acceptable to wear leggings in public without a dress that completely covers your arse is when you are working out. Even then; you should be wearing sports leggings which are made of a much less see-through fabric. Nobody wants to see your VPL. Nobody wants to see your camel toe. At the very least, put on a longer top so you’ve concealed everything nicely. If you want to wear something with a skinny fit that’s not jeans, look for the word TROUSERS on the label. If it doesn’t say Trousers, then they’re likely to be leggings. Stay classy, ladies. Wear leggings as they were meant to be worn. As footless tights.

2. Indicators!

When you approach a turning, and the driver in front of you suddenly turns into it with no warning and you have to slam your brakes on to accommodate for their stupidity. When you’re waiting at a roundabout, thinking the driver to your right is going straight across in front of you when, in fact, they turn left and you could have gone. F*cking indicate! I mean, it’s a little stick on the steering wheel, that moves the same direction as the one you’re turning. How hard is it? Usually when I see people do this you could hear me about three miles away, yelling at them. I may actually over-use my indicators; because when my husband is in the car with me, He quite often says: “Why are you indicating? There’s nobody behind you.” To which my reply is “just in case”. If everybody had that mentality there might be less road rage, fewer prangs and a lot less anxious drivers – myself included.

3. Poor Table Manners

Where did etiquette go since I became an adult? Am I the only one who eats with their mouth closed now? When you eat, you should NOT open your mouth. If you can’t breathe, you should take smaller mouthfuls so you can swallow them before opening your mouth again; not sit there chomping a huge mouthful with your mouth wide open making the most disgusting noises imaginable; and letting everyone see your half chewed food going around as if it were in a cement mixer. This one has REALLY got me riled up whilst being pregnant. So much so that if there’s someone eating with their mouth open, I’ll likely leave the room so I don’t end up smacking them. Not. Even. Sorry.

4. Being underestimated

I am female. And proud. But I hate to be underestimated because of my gender. I don’t consider myself a feminist, because of the bad connotations that go with it; but I do agree that women should be equal to men on at least some things – their knowledge base and understanding of the world being one of them.

When you’re talking to a man who doesn’t like what you have to say; but then your husband/ male boss/ father/ other significant male in your life; makes the same point, and said man agrees with him over you? Well it makes your blood boil.

When you go into a shop that is considered “Manly” by society (Hardware shops, computer shops etc.) and the male sales assistants assume you have no idea what you’re looking for. This is a favourite pastime of mine; because I love to see their faces when I reel off a list of item specifics that often leave them dumbstruck. You can see the cogs start turning. It’s a woman? Who knows what she wants? Good Lord No! It works even better when you look extra “feminine” (Heels, pretty dress, lipstick etc.)

So yes; I am female. And yes, I know some sh*t. Deal with it.

5. Then & Than

So, I don’t know when or why this started. I started noticing it about three years ago. At first I thought it was just a couple of insignificant, possibly innocent, grammatical mistakes. No big deal. But then it became more “popular” if that’s the right word. People using the word “than” instead of “then”; and the word “then” instead of “than”. Can somebody explain to me why? I mean, it’s not like anything extra needs to be typed. It’s just plain idiocy at its finest. In case you need re-educating because you didn’t pay attention in Basic English classes in primary school or you have just lost the ability to be grammatically correct in the age of social media; let me give you a little reminder:

  • Then – adverb – commonly used to detail a specific time; usually after another event.

“There was lightening flashing all around; and then came the thunder.”

  • Than – preposition – commonly used for the sake of comparison.

“The thunder was much louder than a jet engine.”

Get it right people! Or I may have to start correcting your grammar!


So there you have it. A totally new side to my blog – having a good old rant about stuff. Don’t forget to comment your pet peeves and let me know if you agree with mine. I promise I’ll write a less grumpy post next time.

Happy 2019!

What a year 2018 has been! Looking back, I have to admit it was certainly a better year than quite a few in my adult life. While 2018 was not without loss, I feel like I gained so much from the year that the good outweighed the bad.

In January, since waiting for six previous months, we got an offer on our house, which we accepted. We started dolling out our wedding invitations, and used this as an excuse to build some bridges, and encourage connections with family and friends. It felt so good to start the year with a clean slate, so to speak.

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February through to April were spent wedding planning and getting all the necessaries sorted for the move. We had a lot of fun choosing our wedding playlist, and not so much fun with the packing.

Not forgetting the two rounds of snow we had in March which broke up the craziness for a while. It was so much fun to take the dog out, take some photos and play around like kids.

 

At the end of April we moved house, and had a bloody brilliant housewarming party. It was really where our year truly began. Finally we were in a place we could call home.

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The fun didn’t stop there. My hen party was a week after we moved; which meant my friends and family got to fill the house and I tuned it into a pink palace for the weekend. I will never forget the hen party, which I did on a budget so my hens didn’t have to spend much. The first thing was a day trip to a wildlife and dinosaur park. I think the girls were a little dubious at first but they seemed to absorb my enthusiasm and the day was incredible. The girls even surprised me with a meet and greet with a sea-lion! The evening was a girly night in with DIY pizza, party games, plenty of chocolate and some cheesy pop songs. We did the cha-cha slide in the new dining room at midnight. The Sunday was a chilled out morning, with pancakes for breakfast in the garden (the weather was beautiful basically from the moment we moved in); then afternoon tea at a local hotel, where we all dressed up like it was ladies day at Ascot.

Of course the next big event in May was a wedding (and not Meghan and Harry’s)! I’ve written about it a lot but since I’d been waiting for it to happen for 9 years, it was an event that made my year. The fact that it went without a hitch (aside from getting hitched) was fantastic.

Unfortunately, my wedding was the last day that I saw my granddad. In early June, less than two weeks after my wedding, he passed away. Despite this, we still managed to make the most of the glorious weather, with regular BBQs and al fresco dining. Our new garden was something we were really starting to enjoy, with a rocking bench, some fun signage and a paddling pool.

July was much the same, and as the grass turned brown, my skin went a little red.

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In late July, just before our honeymoon, I started to feel weird. Exhaustion crept up on me for no reason and I had a craving for olives one Friday night that drove me slightly insane. Took a pregnancy test the next day and boom! Baby on the way! The honeymoon wasn’t quite what we expected, what with me not being able to eat certain foods, or drink alcohol. And I was starting to get nauseous. Still, we went to Italy and I ate real Italian food – a bucket list item.

The rest of the year was baby, baby, baby. It’s been quite a ride through this thing they call pregnancy so far, but it was news I was so happy about; despite the timing and the fact she was not at all planned!

Christmas this year was awesome; despite me missing baileys, brie and paté (no, not all at the same time). I was waited on hand and foot, and a plate full of food was never far away. I wasnt judged for eating all the mince pies or napping whenever I felt like it. There’s something to be said for being pregnant at Christmas time.

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So, for 2019, I’m a little nervous, as I’ll be a mama before long! The first quarter of the year (the third trimester) will be as much about me as possible before my baby girl arrives in March. I’m booked in for a mani/pedi at my local salon; and plan on sleeping in as much as possible when my maternity leave starts.

So, what does the future of my blog hold? Well, you can expect more posts between my maternity leave starting and baby’s arrival; and then, who knows? Maybe more content when I’m awake at 3 in the morning because baby is hungry. Maybe less, because I’ll have no time to sit and type. One thing is for sure though; when I do have the time, I’ll be writing about being a new mum as much as I can, because I want to share my experiences with you.

So anyway, that’s the end of a personal post; get ready for some fun posts to come in the next few weeks!

Wishing all of my readers a healthy, happy 2019!

What was your 2018 like? Did you achieve goals? Reach targets? Have fun? What are your plans for the new year? Any resolutions?

Drop me a comment below.

5 Things – The Christmas Edition

First of all, let me apologise to any of you reading this that have seen my Instagram and were expecting a makeup related post. December has become increasingly exhausting for me as I approach the third trimester – who knew growing a human was so tiring? I naively thought the tiredness didn’t start until after the baby was born! Anyway, I digress. I felt like a festive post was necessary, and I wanted to write about the festive makeup looks I’ve been creating of late. They’ve been really fun, and it’s something I can do to relax; but having to write about them afterwards was mentally draining and I simply couldn’t be arsed to do so. Forgive me? Good. Let’s continue with five things I love the most about Christmas. (P.S. Number 5 will include some of my makeup looks, because I couldn’t just leave them out completely.)

1. Christmas Food

I mean, I’m living for food right now. And so is my growing girl – she goes nuts about half an hour after I’ve eaten, and I can see her movements. So exciting – I had to throw that in. But Christmas is particularly special because the flavours that explode from everything at this time of year are so much more delicious. There are the festive coffees (decaf for me, of course) like gingerbread and cinnamon. Christmas menus at all our favourite cafes and restaurants – usually involving some kind of twist on turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, which I am totally here for! Then if you walk into the supermarket, there’s all the festive favourites – mince pies, I see you. Unusual crisp flavours, and more often than not, a whole aisle of festive party food that you just don’t get any other time of the year. Not to mention that most years, I love to cook some amazing festive recipes. Last year I made the most awesome mint chocolate cake which I decorated with mint humbugs and peppermint candy canes. This year I made some chocolate orange cupcakes, which were so amazing; and we’ve just now eaten our fourth roast turkey dinner this month (I’m having a bit of a gravy craving phase at the moment, so any excuse to get my gravy on is fine by me). The one thing I’m a little sad about is the cheeses and the cured meats (Smoked salmon and brie, I miss you!) Along with my usual baileys hot chocolate that I have every year; these are things I’m not really allowed, but next year I’ll be indulging in these like there’s no tomorrow!

2. Christmas Music

Let me get one thing straight here, I F*cking LOVE Christmas music. There’s something about having to wait a whole year before you can hear a song; so I, unfortunately, am one of those people who drives everyone else nuts by having a Christmas playlist on repeat throughout December. Christmas music is usually so damn cheery – even the depressing stuff has little jingly bells in it so it’s hard not to smile when you hear it. I also love carols. I used to wait all year to go to my local carol concert in the village hall just so I could sing descant in “O Come All Ye Faithful” when I was younger. I still sing; just not in the carol concerts like I used to. This year, my top 5 Christmas songs have been:

  1. Lady Gaga – White Christmas
  2. Shake Up Christmas – Train
  3. What’s This? – Nightmare before Christmas Soundtrack
  4. Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End) – The Darkness
  5. Thank God it’s Christmas – Queen

3. Downtime & Family Time

It’s the one time of year when I have the time to do all the things I enjoy – crafting, writing, sleeping, eating, spending time with loved ones. Having time off work doesn’t happen for everyone, I know – I’ve done my fair share of festive work too; so I feel blessed that I have time to indulge over Christmas. I usually make a list of projects I want to start or finish over Christmas time; along with all the friends and family I want to see. I sometimes don’t get around to doing everything on my list, or seeing everyone I planned to; but I get a lot more done and spend a lot more time with my people than I would if I was working. Last year, all of my downtime was spent sewing and crafting for the wedding. I had so many needle punctures in the New Year after a Christmas spent finishing my dress.

4. Christmas Decorations and Lights

If there’s one thing that turns me into an excited child at Christmas time, it’s the lights. There’s something about them that instils excitement and wonder. I love going out in the car at night time over Christmas time. You never know what you’ll see – some people do some really crazy stuff to their houses and it makes me squeal with glee when I see a house lit up like Blackpool illuminations; giant inflatable light up Santa included. Unfortunately, as of yet, I haven’t been able to do this to our house. The last place we lived was a bit awkward to put lights up. And our first Christmas in the new place sees me unable (and also too lazy) to climb ladders to put up outdoor lights. I’ve put some in the window; and that will have to do until next year; when the neighbours will probably have quite the surprise come the 1st December – at least, it would be nice to have some pretty lights up. I also love decorating the house; but this year, as we are in a bigger house, I found the decorations were a bit sparse as I’d d tried to spread them across more space. But I will be getting some more decorations in the January sales (who actually pays full price for decorations anyway?) so that next year will not only see more lights, but more decorations too; especially as I want my baby girl to have some beautiful things to look at, so she too delights at all things sparkly and shiny.

5. Christmas Makeup

As promised. I mentioned earlier that I loved having downtime. This is one of the reasons why. I get to have a real play with makeup. Halloween is a time for experimenting with special effects and unusual colours; but as there’s no time off for it, I don’t get to play around as much as I do at Christmas. At Christmas, I will look like a glitter ball most of the time; usually with a bright, festive colour palette to boot. Part of my Christmas morning routine is doing my makeup – not that anyone but family sees it, it’s just nice to get my glam on. So, here’s four of my Christmas “looks” that I created for a Blog post that is sadly not going to happen now. If you do want to know how I did anything; or what products I used; don’t be afraid to drop me a line or tweet me.

 

So that’s it from me this year. I’ll be chilling out and eating my baby’s body weight in chocolate (and probably gravy too) for the next few days until the new year. To all my lovely readers, I just want to say Merry Christmas. Hope you all have an amazing time!

What are your favourite Christmas traditions and indulgences? Do you agree with my list? Comment below!

Every Sulphate-Free Shampoo I’ve Used, Ranked from Worst to Best

Hello lovely readers! How is your December going so far? If you’ve seen my instagram, you’ll know I got my decorations up at the weekend and despite it being a tiring job with this growing bump, I’m rather proud of my decorating skills – if I do say so myself. I have a few Christmas themed blog posts lined up; but in the meantime, I thought I’d share with you my favourite (and not so favourite) sulphate-free shampoos. As someone who colours their hair; I have read a lot about the benefit of going sulphate-free. Sulphate-free shampoos are less drying and a lot less damaging over time; but they also have the added benefit of being less harsh and therefore more preventative of fading on colour-treated hair. Which is great for me, because when my brunette colour fades; it leaves behind a coppery undertone that washes out my skin tone. Before anyone asks, my natural colour is so close to the colour I usually dye it; but as it grows out it does the same thing – goes copper. There’s nothing wrong with copper hair if you can pull it off; but my more cool-toned skin and dark eyes lend themselves to a nice dark brunette. Anyway; I’ve been experimenting with sulphate free shampoos for about a year and a half now; and I have finally found what I believe to be “the one”. Keep reading to find out how my testing has gone over the months and which one I rank most highly.

L’Oréal Elvive Colour Protect Low Shampoo – £6.99

L'Oreal Elvive Colour Protect Low Shampoo 400ml

When this came out, I was thrilled, because it was the first drugstore shampoo that contained no SLS, which meant it slowed down the coppery effect that washing had on my hair and prevented fading of the dye. I had been looking for an SLS free shampoo available in the shops (So I didn’t have to buy online) for ages. Unfortunately, despite it’s ease of access and good price, it wasn’t for me. It protects coloured hair, yes, but it has a TON of silicone in it. It felt more like a co-wash – and for someone with greasy hair, co-washing is not something I make a habit of. Due to the heavy silicone content, the more you use it, the thicker that layer of product film gets on your hair, making it lank and greasy looking. Eventually a regular shampoo is needed to wash off the residue. Not good. On a side note, if you don’t struggle with greasy hair and your strands are lightweight, this stuff is great, because it will tame your flyaways and protect your colour. I know someone with fine, blonde hair who swears by it as it stops her hair from going really brassy.

Score: 2/10

Roots Double Effect Shampoo for Coloured Hair – £9.99

Again I was thrilled when I heard about this release as it is available in Superdrug stores. Unfortunately, though, it too contained silicone. It was a very small amount, but the formula wasn’t all that nice either. It was kind of thick and jelly-like, I couldn’t get it out of the bottle particularly easily and it made showers a bit of a faff if I’m honest. As far as price goes, it was a lot for the quality of the product; and I wasn’t all that thrilled.

Score: 3/10

eSalon Classic Shampoo – £13.00

Classic Shampoo

This was a lovely formula which felt just like a regular shampoo; but without the sulphates. The ingredients are derived from sulphates to give the foaming effect everyone knows and loves; but the chemical compounds are much less dying / damaging / fading to hair. But aside from feeling nice and clean, and preventing colour fade, this really didn’t do all that much for me; and I certainly wouldn’t pay £13 for it again! It was a bit “meh” if I’m being honest. And also, points deducted for containing silicone, again!

Score: 4 / 10

Roots Double Effect Sensitive Shampoo – £9.99

Tying in score with the eSalon Classic, is this. It contained no silicone – a first for this list so far. The formula was better than the colour protect version; but the results, again, were a bit “meh”. I also didn’t like the really strong smell of tea tree. I like tea tree, but when you want to incorporate aromatherapy into your shower routine as I often do, it’s hard to smell certain scents when the aroma of tea tree is fogging out everything else up. Maybe I’m too fussy; I don’t know.

Score: 4/10

eSalon Repair Shampoo – £13.00

Repair Shampoo

I have to say, I really liked this one. I actually thought it was “The One” until I read the ingredients only to discover yet more silicone! How do I escape this madness?! The formula was a bit less runny than the last 2, which made application easier. It lathered up nicely and I felt like it was actually helping my hair. But I learned of that nasty ingredient, and it made me realise maybe it was just the silicone building up on my strands.

Score: 6 / 10

Aveda Shampure Shampoo – £14.50

This is a beautiful shampoo. It nourished. It strengthened. It didn’t fade my colour. It smelled awesome; and is made with lots of natural goodness. It did, however, lose points for containing silicone AND a sulphate which was not SLS but still a sulphate all the same. I naively thought that because Aveda market themselves as a natural company who use the power of plants in their ranges; that they would contain no harsh chemicals. Alas, I was wrong. But it was a great shampoo all the same. The only downside is the price – the most expensive on this list so far.

Score: 7 / 10

Kind Natured Colour Care Shampoo – £4.99

Image result for kind natured colour care shampoo boots

Yes. Yas. YASSS! Holy Mother of haircare! This is the BEST Shampoo I have EVER used. Ever. No sulphates. No Silicone. No Parabens. Vegan. Cruelty Free. 97% Natural. AND Available at boots! It smells awesome; and as it says on the bottle, cares for my coloured hair very well indeed. It wins extra points for all the good stuff but also for the price! This is now my regular shampoo; and I challenge you to find me one that I can pop into boots and buy, costing less than a fiver with all the natural benefits and free of all the nasty chemicals. If they ever discontinue this without a comparable replacement; I will actually cry!

Score: 10 / 10

So there you have it. A pretty extensive, tried and tested list. I will definitely be trying out more from the “Kind Natured” range; and should there be any newbies that I spot; I’ll be giving them a go too. I’m also thinking of writing a silicone-free conditioner post. Let me know if that’s something you’d like to see. Have you gone sulphate-free? What are your thoughts? Drop me a comment as usual. Don’t forget to follow me and give this post a thumbs up if you enjoyed reading!

Shop Miss A

Hello Lovely Readers! I’ve been waiting to write this post for a while now! I was supposed to upload it last week but due to some issues with my cloud storage, I’ve only just been able to get it done. If you’ve seen my instagram lately you’ll already know that recently I bought a few items from a site in America called “Shop Miss A”. It’s a website that has hundreds of makeup items for sale that are $1 each! Yeah, you read that right! Now I’d always been told if something seemed too good to be true then it probably was, but after hearing some positive reviews from some of my favourite youtubers, I thought it was worth a shot. So, here’s a detailed list of each item I bought (I got 19 x $1 things in total), what I thought about it and how it performed when swatching / wearing. I’ll add some more thoughts of the site in general down below.

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AOA POW-Lighter – Galactic

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A cute little pot of loose highlighter with a pink/blue chrome tint; that was much smaller than I’d imagined. Beautiful highlight – it was a perfect colour match for me with my favour of cool tones. There were also some more warm shades available too. Very bright and pigmented – you definitely don’t need a lot. It was a mix of very finely milled highlighter which gave the chromatic finish, and a slightly chunkier powder which made me sparkle like a goddamn unicorn! There was quite a lot of fallout so again, a little goes a long way. It wore well and stayed in place throughout the day. I reckon this could easily be used as eyeshadow or eyeshadow topper for that extra bit of shimmer.

Rating: 8/10

AOA Wonder Matte Lipstick – Tease

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This was a nice big tube, so you get lots of product. It dried down very quickly, and felt a bit too dry for my liking; and went a bit cakey. Unfortunately, it didn’t last very long either. Colour-wise it was gorgeous with a really good pigment, so it’s a shame that it didn’t wear so well. I did find that it worked well with a lip balm to turn it into a vinyl finish lipstick rather than matte, and this actually helped it to last a bit longer.

Rating: 5/10

AOA Wonder Liquid Liner – Black

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Basically, I’m in love with this eyeliner. It’s SO Good. REALLY black – the pigment is darker than I expected and gives my current rimmel liner a real run for it’s money, thanks to it’s superfine applicator just like the rimmel Glam Eyes Liquid Liner. The application is smooth and the wearability is awesome! It lasted through my tears during a hormonal pregnant cry; and it came out the other side looking untouched!

Rating: 10/10

AOA Starlet Eyeliner – Superstar

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A metallic eyeliner with a gorgeous blue colour. Unfortunately though, the pigment isn’t all that good and it doesn’t last. You have to layer it up to get a good colour but then as it dries it can go a bit cakey. It also takes a long time to dry. Disappointing to say the least.

Rating: 3/10

Polka Dot Ears Headband – White

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These are the cutest things since fluffy puppies! They’re soft and fleecy and really good quality considering the price. My only tiny complaint is that they are a little tight on me, but I do have a big head!

Rating: 9/10

AOA Wonder Blender – Black Teardrop

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This really is a wonder blender. I wonder how they make it for $1. I wonder how they get it so soft. I wonder if the beauty blender is as good as this. I still don’t have a beauty blender. Someday I’ll invest in one I’m sure, but when there are blending sponges out there that give a smooth even finish and great coverage for only ONE DOLLAR, then why would I bother spending a stupid amount of money on a sponge, I wonder.

Rating: 10/10

AOA Studio Lashes – Alexis

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These looked, on the site, like Ardell Demi Wispies. I Love the Demi Wispies, but when I tried these AOA lashes on, they were MUCH longer. I have small eyes, so sometimes lashes can look huge on me. These were no exception. In all honesty, though, they were really comfortable to wear; and I’d imagine on larger eyes they would look great. They don’t come with glue but I use the Duo Dark lash glue. They stayed on all day and looked great when I figured out how to make excessive lashes work for me. You can see the look I created down below. I have noticed though that the site offers a handy size guide for all AOA lashes, so maybe I can find something a little shorter. Fingers crossed, as they’re much cheaper than Ardell!

Rating: 8/10

Princessa Tru Fusion Blush – Peach

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The packaging looks cheap, but this is actually a really nice formula. It’s buttery soft and really highly pigmented. Not much fallout and buildable colour. Not bad for $1.

Rating: 7/10

Rose Cheek Pop Blush – Peach

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This one has some shimmer to it and it’s a really pigmented blush. You don’t need very much and it lasts all day. The packaging looked cheap, but the rose pattern pressed into the powder along with the sponge applicator are actually quite nice.

Santee Blush Me – Toasted

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The packaging of this one again looks cheap; but the product itself is actually really nice. The formula is buttery soft and the pigment is perfect. It’s a matte finish and the colour suited me really well.

Rating: 6/10

Rose Matte Blush – Dusty Rose

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The packaging on this one looks more expensive with a sliding lid and a nice big mirror on back. There’s also a hidden compartment where a brush is stored, although the brush is cheap and nasty. There’s a pretty rose pattern pressed into the powder again with this one. The product is buttery and buildable, but not overly pigmented like the others. The cool neutral shade is a great one for everyday wear; especially at the price!

Rating: 7/10

LA Colors Tinted Cheek & Lips – Blushing

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When I placed the order, I was pretty sure I ordered the shade “cheery”, Even though that’s not what came through on the order confirmation. Despite that, I kind of like this shade. It’s got a lot of shimmer to it which I was not expecting. It also feels quite tacky. I used it as a lip balm and it’s really great as it adds tint and shimmer without feeling sticky like a gloss. I probably wont use it as a blusher but I will likely get some more shades to use as lip balms.

Rating: 8/10

Loose Eyeshadow Pigment – 19

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This is a beautiful coppery glitter. I love the little pot that is comes in which makes it look quite expensive. The only problem is it gets everywhere! You’ll need a good quality glitter glue or eyeshadow primer to hold this stuff in place.

Rating: 7/10

AOA XL Shadow Stick – Matte Mellow

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I got this with the intention to use it as an eyeshadow primer and for cut creases, but it’s not that great. It doesn’t apply well, dragging a lot. It was the perfect skin tone colour for me and it wears really well but because it’s quite dry and waxy I wasn’t a fan of the application.

Rating: 4/10

9 Colour Eyeshadow Kits – Colour 1, 2, 3 & 4

YASSS QUEEN! This is what we came for! These are gorgeous. Cannot believe they were only $1 each. In my opinion they are so worth it. They are a beautiful buttery formula with a really good pigment for the money. There’s not much fallout either. The metallics are SUPER bright and the Matte colours build well for a gorgeous colour finish. The packaging looks a bit cheap, and was quite scratched and battered, but the product quality is way above what my expectations were. I’ve basically fallen in love with the warm neutrals and have been wearing them as part of my everyday makeup since I got them. These will be regulars in my kit from now on.

Rating: 10/10

LOL Crème Glitter – The Joker

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These are a bit like Vaseline mixed with glitter. They’re not all that great but still better than I expected. They do sink into creases and longevity s not a strong point for these glitters, but for use on the face (as opposed to the eyes) at festivals and the like would be ideal.

Rating: 3/10

So, with all these products I’ve created two great full face looks so far, which means I have managed to use everything and do a couple of wear tests:

Here are the important details about buying with Shop Miss A. The carriage to the UK is just under $10 for any orders under $40 which means for my order I paid less than £7.80* for shipping. One thing to bear in mind is the duties and taxes. The more expensive your order is, the more you’d have to pay. If you keep the goods value less than £15 – which I did, just – you wont have to pay any duties and taxes, which is definitely worth bearing in mind. I ordered on the 28th October and my order arrived on 6th November; so not a bad delivery time. I was expecting a much longer wait. The tracking was brilliant and I was able to track my order right up to delivery. I also loved the little freebie they threw in – some pure cotton squares. Pretty handy to take off all that makeup when you’re done playing!

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So, would I buy from Shop Miss A again? Absolutely! Some of the products will be making my regulars list and I love trying new products. When each item costs less than 78p each* there’s certainly no harm in it. There’s also no harm to animals either as all their products (as far as I can tell) are vegan and cruelty free. I think at some point I’ll be trying out some of their more expensive items too. They just recently released a new collection of eyeshadow palettes which I’m dying to try!

So, would you buy from Shop Miss A? Have you ever bought from them? What are you’re thoughts? Drop me a comment!

*Conversion correct at time of publishing.

It’s Update Time

So I was planning on posting a blog post about Shop Miss A this weekend, since my order finally arrived and I have quite a few thoughts. But this post is a bit more personal; and the Makeup post can wait for a little while.

We had our 20 Week scan on Thursday, and after telling our families and announcing it on Facebook this weekend, I can now proudly say that hubby and I are expecting a baby girl!

I’m so excited!

To be honest, I’d be just as excited if we were due to be having a baby boy, but I’m really looking forward to having a daughter!

I wanted to do something really creative with a pink babygro or something for the social media gender reveal but we ran out of time and I couldn’t really figure out what to do! So I just thought I’d update everyone on that before I get back to rabbiting about makeup again.

Cheers all.

5 Things – The hearty food edition

Winter is fast approaching – some might say it’s already here – and that can only mean one thing. Hearty food. Now this year, I feel pretty good about the fact that I can enjoy many a hearty meal without feeling guilty – because I’m feeding a growing baby! Normally I eat fairly healthily, so my hearty foods are not always guilty foods; but since I’m very much a hot food kinda gal (salads, eugh!), this time of year is my favourite. So today I’m going to share with you five of my favourite foods to eat at this time of year.

1. Bangers and Mash.

I’m talking juicy sausages, fluffy mash, sweet peas, and buttery onion gravy, all served in a giant Yorkshire pudding. It’s my all time favourite comfort food and is a regular in our house. To make it less guilty I use turkey or chicken sausages to reduce the fat content without skimping on flavour. Turkey sausages are really damn tasty!

2. Apple Pie and Custard.

So, so, so damn good! I love it made without sugar, and then sprinkling cinnamon sugar over it before pouring the custard. Everything needs to be seaming hot, and the pastry can’t be soggy. A fluffy, crunchy shortcuts suits me fine, and a really thick filling. I can’t be doing with these pies that are all pastry with a tiny amount of filling. What’s the point? This always reminds me of my nan, who makes the best Apple pies! She prefers hers with good old Cornish clotted cream, but in the winter, a warm custard is definitely my go-to option.

3. Stews and Casserolles.

Give me gravy. Give me dumplings. Give me big chunks of tender meat and a rainbow of seasonal vegetables. Food that all comes in one pot is a win-win for me, firstly because it’s delicious, and secondly because it saves on washing up. Score!

4. Toast and Jam.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but is this not the ULTIMATE comfort food? Breakfast? Toast and jam. Snack? Toast and jam. Dessert? Toast and jam! (If you haven’t had jam on toast for dessert, you’re doing something wrong!) Of course toast is, in itself, a wonderful comfort food; but topping it with a sweet, fruity jam (Or even marmalade) of your choice takes it to the next level.

5. Roast Turkey with ALL the trimmings.

So it’s no secret to those that have ever spent Christmas with me that I LOVE roast turkey. Preferably with a big dose of trimmings like stuffing, Yorkshire puddings, pigs in blankets, cranberry sauce and heaps of golden roast potatoes, absolutely drenched in gravy. I can’t say I particularly like the Brussel sprouts, but if they’re done with bacon and chestnuts they’re pretty much edible.

So, those are my favourite 5 comfort foods t eat in the winter. Would you agree? What would you choose differently? Let me know in the comments!

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