Sunday, 20 April 2014

Urban Decay Naked Basics: how to make the most of your palette

Sometimes, the best things really do come in small packages. The baby sister of the cult Naked palettes may be dinky, but the stripped back and streamlined Basics palette is capable of big things. It's six essential matte shades can create countless looks - from fresh faced minimalism to sexy smoky eyes. The no frills approach means you won't find any sparkles or metallics, just basic fail-safe shades that are guaranteed to blend seamlessly to create the perfect eye make-up for any occasion. 

Here's the palette low down: 
VENUS: opalescent off-white shimmer
FOXY: pale yellow-toned cream matte
WALK OF SHAME: pale pink-nude shell matte
NAKED 2: soft taupe matte
FAINT: warm mid-brown matte
CRAVE: almost black with very slight shimmer

Playing around with the palette can create endless possibilities, and here are just some of my favourite ways to mix and match the six shades... barely there, bright eyes, classic and smokey.

This minimalist look is ideal for those days when you want to look like you haven't made an effort. I simply swept foxy across the lid and up to the brow bone, with a touch of naked 2 in the crease for a bit of depth and definition. Add a coat of mascara, pair with nude glossy lips and bed hair and you're good to go.

This one is great for disguising tired eyes and faking a fresh, bright eyed look. I used the palette's only shimmer, venus, on the brow bone and in the inner corner of my eye, and blended a mix of foxy and w.o.s over the lid. Then with the ecotools highlighting eye brush (fluffy and sparse bristles) I dusted another light coat of venus over the whole eye to blend it all together, and with a small angled brush, took it under the eye. I also lined my waterline with the shimmery end of my Youngblood Eye Illuminating Duo.

This is my favourite, daily go-to look - classic shadow with cat eye flick. For this one I start by sweeping naked 2 across the entire lid for a darker, velvety base. Then I add depth by pressing faint into the crease and outer corner, and highlight with w.o.s in the inner corner and brow bone - which blends all the shades together. With a small, angled brush, I take a bit of crave under my waterline, then I use a liquid liner to create the flick. To finish off the look, I like to use a tiny bit of crave on the top lid with a small smudging brush to soften out the look of the liquid liner.

Lastly, a dramatic smokey eye. I like this for chilled night out (dinner and cocktails maybe) where full on glitter and false lashes might be a bit much. I start by dabbing crave into the outer half of my eye and crease. I just press it on with a soft angled eyeshadow brush rather than sweep, so that I can control where it sits. Then I press some mid-brown faint onto the inner half of the lid. Then with a bigger blending brush, I place some naked 2 into the inner corner, and on the brow bone, before blending all the shades together gently. To finish, I use a petite shading brush to add a bit more crave  along the top and bottom lash lines, before adding dramatic liquid eyeliner and mascara. 

If you don't already own the Naked Basics (or have it on your wishlist) I hope I've persuaded you to go and get it immediately. It's a real investment which will remain a core piece of your make-up collection all year round! 

(PS - not sponsored or an affiliate link etc etc, I just think this is a must have palette for every woman in the world!)

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Coral round up

Ah Spring is here, and isn't it wonderful? This time of year brings many things that make me feel happy - sunshine, flowers, mini eggs, but most of all... It's time to whack out the coral! I personally think that coral shades are those most suited to me and so do a little happy dance as I stow away the plums and crimsons of winter to make way for a plethora or peaches, nectars and melon hues. Yippee! 

Benefit Fine-One-One: Generally, I'm not one for cream blushers (yes, yes I know - who am I?) but this little stick of magnificence wins me over. With two gorgeous shades of watermelon pink and coral orange, combined with a champagne highlighter, Fine-One-One is the ultimate power product for a gorgeous Spring fling. In stick, the colours look a little daunting, but on application they provide the prettiest sheer flush that blend together seamlessly for a three dimensional, soft peachy glow. As we all love a multi-tasker, Benefit doesn't let us down with this one- the shades work fabulously as lipstick too, providing gorgeous creamy matte coverage. Only, it's annoying when the corals wear away faster than the highlighting stripe and you're left with an uneven stick. #beautyproblems. 

Too Faced Summer Eyes: I can't tell you how happy I felt to dust off this precious little tin of mine for it's second season. I was smitten for it last summer, and love it just as much this time around. I had to include the Summer Eyes palette in this ode to coral due to its vibrant, golden-glittering 'Coral Crush' shade. Click here to see my review of the palette, which includes a photo of Coral Crush in action. It's truly stunning. 

Mac Frost lipstick; Costa Chic: I owe my adoration of coral to this old favourite. Purchased a few years ago for a wedding and worn every sunny day since, Costa Chic is my perfect lip shade. A flawless. Lend of pink and orange, combined with Mac's Frost formula, which gives a subtle shimmer and shine.

elf Mineral Moisturising Lip Tint; Guava*: This is like a pared down version of the above - a pastel peach with a frosted finish, which is ideal for creating a fresh-faced, nude lip look but without looking like my school friend circa 2004 who used a Collection 2000 concealer as a lippy. Lolz. If you missed it, here's the full review and swatches

Korres Lip Butter; Pomegranate: These buttery pots of deliciousness almost feel too nourishing to be classed as make-up, instead feeling like an intense skincare treat. But, the colour pigmentation enable them to create a bold lip worthy of a make-up status. Pomegranate is a lovely coral pink, scented with (you guessed it) Pomegranate. I always get compliments when I slick this on; it's such a pretty shade.
Mavala; Fresh Melon*: I will never tire of how cute the mini Mavala bottles are... Fresh Melon is a pastel candy orange with a slight shimmer that twinkles in the sunlight. Obviously, pastels are the only choice for Spring nails, but if you're not keen on blues and greens, and want something a bit less twee than baby pink, orange is the way to go. See here for swatches. 

Models Own; Tropical Sun: The Beetlejuice collection is sooo two years ago, I hear you cry! Correct, but how could I pass up rediscovering something so pretty? Tropical Sun is quite a punchy orangey peach, fused with a metallic gold and flecks of silver glitter. 

Do you get your coral on as soon as Spring arrives? What are your most loved coral items? 

Saturday, 12 April 2014

The Nail Files: Between The Sheets

Is one Radiant Orchid inspired nail polish enough? Of course not! Butter London's Molly Coddled is a pretty, sugary sweet take on the Pantone Colour of the Year, but I also wanted an amped-up version. After some intense research on the topic, I decided there's no point in doing these things by halves, and popped Deborah Lippman 'Between The Sheets' on my birthday wish list.

When it arrived (with thanks to Matt's mum xx) it was even more beautiful than I could've imagined. The perfect punchy orchid hue - not pink, not purple but definitely 'radiant' and definitely gorgeous! It's going to look gorgeous with a tan, and this year I'm going to suck it up and get a St Tropez Spray Tan at The Beauty Shed. I've always felt too self concious too strip off and have someone paint me orange, but two stone lighter - why not!

With two coats of 'Between The Sheets', you get a solid, vibrant colour with a glossy finish (made even glossier with a coat of Seche Vite - my friend thought I'd had a shellac... that's the power of Seche Vite ladies!) and as with all Deborah Lippman polishes they're free from chemical nasties that weaken your nails. The one thing I would say is that, for the price, I'm a bit unimpressed with it's longevity... but, perhaps I'm just working too hard. I should invest in a dishwasher. 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Introducing Raw Gaia; natural skincare

I'm becoming increasingly aware of what's in my skincare. I'm trying to stay away from products full of chemicals that I can't pronounce and instead, feed my skin with natural goodness - which is exactly what Raw Gaia's products do. The local Brighton brand are 100% organic, natural, raw, vegan and cruelty-free! I love their brand philosophy - it's all about cherishing your skin by nourishing it for long lasting, natural beauty, rather than slapping on products full of rubbish in the hope of a quick fix. They're devoted to purity and making you feel like a goddess - Gaia is the Greek Goddess of the Earth.

I tried one of their carefully put together skincare Combination Sets - product duos and trios that work together to achieve specific results on different skin types. I went for the nourishing combo for normal skin - made up of Lavender Floral Water and Floral Rejuvenating Cream.

The Lavender Floral Water* is a multi-use product (yay!) which can be used to cleanse, tone, refresh and aid relaxation. I've been using it as a toner (applied via a cotton pad) to soothe my skin after exfoliating, as well as spritzing it onto my neck before bed to help me drift off into a deep, peaceful sleep. 

As much as I quite liked the floral water, I loved the Floral Rejuvenating Cream*...

It's not a conventional cream, but more of a waxy balm that turns into an oil when heated between your hands and applied to the skin. It smells absolutely incredible, kinda like Turkish Delight! The oily consistency feels lovely as you apply it, and unlike other oils I've used that sit greasily on top of the skin, my skin absorbs this instantly (almost like a thirsty plant) leaving behind a gorgeously velvety complexion. It acts well as a primer too, by creating such a smooth base for make-up, and I've noticed my make up staying in place for longer when using the Floral Rejuvenating Cream in my morning skincare routine.

But it works deeper than just giving me lovely soft skin. It's natural ingredients aid skin cell regeneration to improve the appearance of imperfections and promote a bright, healthy glow.

Whether you're fussed about your skincare being natural or not, if you're looking for products that do what they say on the tin (or the pretty, colourful, frosted glass jars), you should try out Raw Gaia and I bet you'll become a convert like I have! 

Sunday, 6 April 2014

SS14 Hair Trends from Trevor Sorbie Brighton

The Trevor Sorbie Brighton team are always on hand to let us Brighton blogging gals know exactly what to do with our hair each season. A couple of weeks ago, we were invited along to learn all about colour and styling trends for Spring & Summer 2014...

In terms of colour, they reckon red and copper tones are moving away from being a typically autumnal look, and fiery redheads will be topping the style stakes this season. Blondes and brunettes should look for natural looking, multi-tonal highlights achieved from a new technique called Balyage (more on that later). Art Director, Anna Chapman, gave us the low-down on styling hot off the Paris Fashion Week catwalks, which was pretty cool. It's all about deep side partings, low ponytails and braids, braids braids.

My hair is in need of a bit of a spruce up, and the trends I think I'll be trying this Spring & Summer are...

Bronde: I've had the whole ombre thing going on for a while now, and I like it. Although it is super low maintenance, it could do with a bit of TLC to bring it back to life. Enter my new obsession - Balyage. I love the 'Bronde' colour trend - a bit more natural and multi-tonal than the half and half dip-dye effect. Kate (the salon's incredibly talented Technical Director who did this for me last year) showed us the Balyage effect - a method of hand applying highlights to create a soft, dimensional, sun-kissed finish.

Pastels: The heads walking down the SS14 catwalks were awash with pretty pastel streaks. I don't think the MD would be too impressed if I turn up to work with lilac princess tresses, but wash-in, wash-out hair chalks are a fun way to mix things up a bit and will be great for festivals and garden parties. I tried a pink 'colour bug' a few months ago (see this post) and the shade was a bit too red for me, but I think I'll be experimenting with a peachy pastel pink and/or a vibrant lilac when I go to Wilderness Festival (aka paradise).

Braids: I love braids and tend to weave my hair into some kind of plaited creation as soon as the sun comes out. So good news for me that they'll be the main style to be wearing this coming season. The best part is, Anna says that the messier the braids are the better! Milkmaid braids, french plaited fringes, braided headbands... I love them all and can't wait to get creative. Entwining flowers into them perhaps...? Or chalking one strand so that it weaves in and out...? The possibilities are endless.

The lovely ladies and gents that make up the Trevor Sorbie technical team really are a talented bunch, and I always leave their blogger evenings feeling inspired to try something new. The good news is, they're now on twitter, so you can follow them @TrevorSorbieBTN to keep yourself in the know!

Thanks to lovely Sophie for the photos, and Lauren for being a gorgeous model of halo braids. All other images from Pinterest - links to original sources on my boards.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Spring Beauty Edit

It may not be warm enough to ditch the super cosy tights just yet, but once evenings get lighter and the daffodils start to make an appearance, it's time to switch up the old beauty routine, wave goodbye to the heavy coverage and berry tones, and welcome some new additions to my make-up bag.

For me, Spring time is all about being fresh faced and glowing... natural make-up and an illuminated complexion, with peachy pops of colour.

Urban Decay Naked Basics: The baby sister of the much talked about Naked Palettes contains all you need to create a fresh-faced, minimalist look. It's five, neutral matte shades and one subtle pearly shimmer blend together effortlessly, and it's surprising how many looks you can create for such a dinky palette. Combining shades from the lighter end of the palette creates a bright-eyed look, the other end of the spectrum is perfect for a wearable smokey eye, whilst those in the middle are just right for a really classic, natural look. I've ditched the liquid liner in favour of a softer effect, using my ecotools smudge eyeliner brush to line my lids with the pure black shade 'Crave'.

Glo Minerals Blush in Papaya*: This beautiful peachy pink is my most reached for blusher at the moment; just a light sweep across the apples of my cheeks gives such a pretty flush of colour. The matte finish keeps things looking natural, just creating a fresh, healthy looking glow. I use a big fluffy brush to keep it sheer, but the powder is highly pigmented and could be built up for a stronger look. Aside from how pretty it looks, another reason to love this blusher is that the ingredients contain vitamins and antioxidants, doing good for the skin and helping to keep a natural healthy glow, rather than clogging it up with junk! I find my skin tone is best suited to peach and coral tones and I know I'll be favouring this all summer.

Revlon Colourburst Lacquer Balm in Demure: Possibly the prettiest lip colour ever? I'm quite a lot in love with the shade, the finish, the feel, the packaging, everything! It's a beautiful sheer, peachy, pale pink with a very subtle sparkle and high-shine finish that looks really groomed and polished. It looks stunning worn alone, or layered on top of Benefit Posie Tint for a bit more punch. It's super low maintenance (no mirror required) and easy to slick on throughout the day for a top-up of shine and moisture. 
Bourjois Java Rice Powder: Aside from looking incredibly lovely on my dressing table in its little vintage mint green pot, the Bourjois Java Rice Powder is the perfect glow-inducing setting powder. It can be applied to the brow-bone and cheekbone as a subtle highlighter or dusted over the whole face to smooth, set your make-up and awaken your complexion. 

Bare Minerals Stroke of Light Eye Brightener: So much more than just a concealer, the Stroke of Light Eye Brightener works to conceal, illuminate and revive dull and tired under eyes. A few dabs in the corner of my eye, blended outwards and buffed into the skin immediately brightens my eyes for a well-rested appearance (yeah right!). The sheer coverage is enough to cover dark circles and awakening my complexion, but on particularly bad days, I do require a heavier duty concealer underneath (Benefit's FakeUp being my weapon of choice) with just a touch of Stroke of Light on top for extra radiance. If you're thinking this sounds similar to YSL's Touche Eclat you wouldn't be wrong, and similarly to it's cult counterpart, Stroke of Light can also be used pretty much anywhere (browbone, cheekbones, bridge of nose, Cupid's Bow etc...) to highlight and sculpt.

Impulse Be Surprised*: With lighter mornings and warmer weather, I've started walking to work, and a can of Impulse is a total life-saver to refresh after my 2.3 mile uphill power walk! The new fragrance from Impulse is far more grown-up than the sickly sweet scents that conjure up memories of the year nine girls' changing rooms, 'Be Surprised' is an exotic blend of red fruits and violets with depthy undertones of cedarwood and patchouli. The reviving and uplifting fruitiness is just right for Spring, whilst the sexy musky notes keep it sophisticated.

Butter London Molly Coddled: Of course, no Spring line up would be complete without a pastel nail polish. Butter London's Molly Coddled has to be the obvious choice for this Spring in particular, as it's a sugary muted version of the 2014 Pantone Colour of the Year. (Click here for my full review and swatches)

What are your favourites for Spring?

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Mother's Day Gift Guide + Win £50 to spend at Ask Her Friends!

This month the Ask Her Friends Panel was all about Mother’s Day, and we had to choose a wishlist of gifts for our lovely Mums.

My Mum loves shabby chic and rustic French inspired pieces, and is also a bit of a nature lover. So I chose her a special Mother’s Day Cake in a Can (how CUTE?!) that she could take out to the countryside and eat on this gorgeous wool picnic blanket. (Sorry Mum, if you’re reading this, but you haven’t got the blanket this year. Wait until I’ve made my first million...) She’d love the Burt’s Bees and Divine Chocolate Gift Box – natural skincare and organic chocolate in one box?! I can’t think of anything more perfect! She’d also love the beautiful roses made from the pages of a book – her husband is a writer and these would make such a personal gift.

The marketplace for girly gifts has so much to choose from- whatever your Mum’s style or taste, there WILL be something she’ll love (to earn you some extra brownie points). If you’re stuck for inspiration, you can even use the idea map to suggest some perfect pressies based on a short quiz. (See this post I wrote a while back, to see what the idea map suggested for me! It’s a bit freaky how well it chose!)

So how can you win the aforementioned £50 to treat your own mummy dearest (or, just yourself) to some gorgeous bits and pieces? Head over to the #AHFPanel and vote for your favourite blogger’s set (read: mine). There are loads of ways to be in with a chance of winning... and if my set receives the most votes, I win too! Win win!
Me and my darling mamma :-) (a long time ago!)


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