Recent Favourites!

My last blog post feels like forever ago so in the absence of monthly favourites I thought I'd do a round up of the many beauty things that I've been loving recently (sorry if the photos are looking a little bit dodgy, my camera sensor has decided to go on strike so I've had to use my phone!).

Soigné Nail Polish in Chou-Fleur Violet* (£11)
I received this polish in this months Harper's Bazaar
Birchbox and I was so thrilled to see it because I absoltely love this colour. My whole polish collection is a ménage of bright pinks and purples so this one fits right in, and have you seen the packaging? It's very Chanel-esque and I don't think I've ever had a nail polish that's been packaged in anything more than just a bottle. Wear time is about average for this polish but its rare for me to find anything that lasts a long time on my flaky bendy nails. 
This month's Birchbox is one that I'd really recommend- there's a mini size Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish with muslin cloth (so perfect for travel/overnight stays if you already have a full size), a Philip Kingsley mini, and a certain well known product from Benefit among others, so I'd definitely pick up a subscription even if it's just for this month!

Revlon Colorstay Foundation for Normal/Dry skin in Buff (£12.49)
It took me forever to try this foundation, but since buying it I really haven't been wearing anything else. I much prefer the version for dry skin even though mine is super oily, and the staying power and coverage from one layer is unrivalled in any other foundation I've tried. 
I use shade Buff which oxidises a bit from the colour in the bottle and matches well when I'm lightly tanned, but I need to hit the bronzer when I've got a darker tan as the next shade up is a bit too pink for my skin. I like to apply Colorstay with a flat or angled top kabuki brush and then pat in where needed with a complexion sponge. 
The only thing that really gets my goat about this foundation is that Revlon really need to put a pump on the bottle- the dry skin version is very liquidy and it's so easy to pour out too much, while the oily skin version is so thick that you really have to bang it on something to get anything out!
Mac Pro Longwear Concealer NC20 (£15.50)
I'm not too keen on this concealer under my eyes as it makes me look a bit wrinkly before my time, but I really love it on the face for redness and blemishes. It lasts really well on the skin, doesn't look cakey, and I don't know if I can ever see myself actually finishing the bottle as you only need a tiny dot for each blemish. I also really like using a couple of pumps of this concealer mixed in with BB cream for a more natural looking base that still has good coverage.

Beauty UK Baked Blush in Halo (£3.99)
I first read about this blush in a post by Gemma at Miss Makeup Magpie (go follow, that blog is the shizz) and knew instantly that I had to have it! Not actually a blush, but a highlighter- It's a lovely champagne-with-a-touch-of-pink shade that sits really well on my skin tone and gives much more of a sheen than a glittery sparkle. 
The cardboard box packaging is very lightweight and does well to contain any fallout as swirling a brush across the marbled powder can kick up a bit of shimmery dust. I think this is actually the only highlighter I've used all month and it's taken pride of place among my affordable favourites!

W7 City Slicker Eye Makeup Remover* 140ml (£4.95)
If there's one thing that made me really want to crack open this bottle it's the colour of the liquid, I really love the bright blue shade! The colour isn't the main reason I love this bi-phase makeup remover though, it's more the fact that I can use just one cotton pad to remove not only several coats of waterproof mascara but also the makeup from my entire face. 
The City Slicker uses oils to break down and remove eye makeup pretty effortlessly, but even on the rest of my face it doesn't break me out, and after a cleanse over the sink my skin feels really smooth and soft. I'm so done with face wipes that are either not wet enough or too rough, and I'll definitely be purchasing another bottle when this one runs out.

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish 100ml (£13.25)
I thought this hot cloth cleanser was all blogger hype, but my skin actually seems to really love it. I first tried the Cleanse and Polish as par of a Twitter gifting promotion but have since bought a full size tube and was also thrilled to see a mini in my Birchbox. 
Since starting use, my face has been smoother, less dry and I've generally had less breakouts (ignoring the one that erupted a couple of days ago). Rubbing cleanser onto dry skin took a bit of getting used to, but I really regret that I didn't try this sooner as it's now a firm staple in my skincare routine.

W7 Super Pout in Mady (£2.99)
Are you on the hunt for a gloss with a really weird shaped applicator? Well look no further, I've found it for you! I can't wholeheartedly say that a bent spoon shaped wand applicator makes application all that much quicker or easier, but I can say that this gloss has great pigmentation, genuinely makes my lips look bigger, and is really moisturising but non sticky. This milky brown-pink is a nice subtle nude for me, and I also have the shade Molly, a brighter pale pink, which I love in almost equal amounts. The tube says 'one swoop volume lips' and even though it might need more than one swoop, I can't disagree about the volume. 

Manhattan Intense Cheek and Lip Balm in First Class (Limited edition, sorry!)
Manhattan are a German highstreet brand and if you haven't checked them out you really should. Their Intense Effect Eyeshadow in Dusky Pink (which I annoyingly missed out of this post) makes a gorgeous cheek and eye highlighter, and they also have some lovely lip products. 
First Class is a medium to deep purple with pinky tones, and I'm thrilled to find a purple that I can really wear with confidence. This colour is striking but really wearable (although, in all honesty I haven't tried it on the cheeks, and probably wont). If it wasn't for the creaminess I would have thought that this was a lipstick rather than balm as it's so pigmented, but unfortunately doesn't last all that long on the lips so needs two layers with some blotting inbetween when applying. 

I didn't realise this product was limited edition when I included it in my favourites, but watch this video from Manhattan showcasing their Lollipop and Alpenrock collection, it will definitely cheer you up about not being able to get your hands on the balm!

Manhattan Long Lasting Gloss Glide in 56G (£3.99)
Generally I'm not a fan of sticky glosses, but when they promise me good pigmentation plus staying power I think I could learn to get along with them. If you're not a fan of banana scents you might not like this product, but for me it has the two things I really want in a lipgloss, plus its a lovely nudey pink colour!

HD Brows Eye & Brow Palette in Foxy (£25)

These powders are really pigmented and it was a bit of a learning curve when I ditched my previous palette in favour of HD Brows, but they make filling and defining the brows really quick and easy. I use the darkest brown on my brows and the black to line my eyes, and each is lovely and smooth with barely any fall out from the black. The other shades make lovely matte eye colours that blend easily and aren't chalky.HD Brows have recently redesigned their palettes but I don't think I'll be trying the new Foxy out soon as I've barely made a dent in the current pans and I can see them lasting well into next year.

Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara in Dark Brown (£4.99)
This doesn't have the most cementing hold of all the brow gels I've tried, but my brows are pretty unruly and this does an acceptable job of keeping them in place. What I really like is the tint, which isn't too much but really starts off the brow filling process so I feel like I need to spend less time going over with eyeshadow/powder. The colour is a tiny bit lighter than my brows but its very ashy so matches them well. 
I can't think of any other tinted brow gels from an affordable highstreet brand, so I think this really fills a gap in the market quite nicely.

Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan Dark 100ml (£6.99)
If you read my review of the original 1 Hour Tan on LBQ from last year, you'll know that I love the formula and even though I've tried other tans I keep coming back to Cocoa Brown. The problem that I had with the original was that I'd need two coats to get my perfect colour, not a big problem but a bit of an inconvenience. In comes the Dark shade, in an easier to use bottle but with the same brilliant quick drying, moisturising and easily blendable formula. This one is darker than two coats of the original but needs only one hour on the skin, genius! My only gripe is that 100ml doesn't last me very long, so the bottles could really do with being a bit bigger!

Saleya Organic Argan Oil* (£14-£24)
I've been loving this oil over the last few months and my skin and hair have too- I use it for dry legs after shaving, to soften knees and elbows and prevent fake tan grabbing, and 2 drops on damp hair has really done wonders for my ends. I've said before that I can get quite straw-like ends after growing my hair out, but even though it's now down past boob length my ends are looking pretty smooth, they've got a bit of a shine and they're not too straw-like if I do say so myself. Plus, this bottle has lasted me months and months and I'm not even a third of the way through!

Surgical Spirit 500ml (~£3.50)
Honourable mention goes to this massive bottle of surgical spirit for saving my purse and also killing evil stray bacteriums at the same time. I was previously using No7 Brush Cleanser which I was pretty pleased with, but I went through it at an alarming rate (Revlon Colorstay is a bitch on my bristles) and I felt like it was leaving my brushes a little oily. I'd read a lot of recommendations for surgical spirit and I'm so glad I gave it a try. 
I picked this huge 500ml glass bottle up from my local pharmacy and it contains 95% alcohol. I feel like it moisturises my brushes just enough while the alcohol kills any bacteria and removes makeup with a gentle rub on a paper towel. Best bit? This Surgical spirit is £3.56 for 500ml compared to No7 Brush Cleanser which is £8 for 185ml. 
I honestly like the surgical spirit better for cleaning my brushes, it has a bit of an odd smell but it doesn't leave such a greasy residue, it cleans my brushes quicker, and also only has 4 ingredients. It's also used to disinfect hard surfaces so is good for acrylic drawers, makeup packaging and anything else that might be holding spot causing bacteria. It may not be the most exciting buy, but its definitely one of my best from the last few months!

Have you tried any of these products? What have you been loving over the last few months?


Adders & Asps

In ancient mythology the serpent represents transformation and force of life, and we still use the snake as a symbol of healing in the Rod of Asclepius emblem which denotes medicine and healthcare. Whether you have Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) or a love for the scaly creatures, you can't deny they're one of the most curious looking creatures in our world.

I've always thought of the snake as a symbol of strength and protection- to wear jewellery depicting a snake gives me hope that I'll have the poise and purpose that snakes possess even in the face of danger or uncertainty. 
But underneath mythology and symbolism there lies a beautiful reptile, and sometimes we don't need metaphors to uncover the beauty in natural forms. From a wrist cuff to a finger wrapping ring, a snake makes a captivating statement, and is the perfect outfit embellishment to shine in the summer sun.

Shown above: Persis wrist cuff (£7.50), Cobra ring (£6.50), Serpentine drop earrings (£5), Xanthe two finger ring (£8.50)


Pantone Radiant Orchid Inspiration

Pantone's Colour of the Year 2014 has received an explosion of interest compared to previous years, with the evocative purple popping up in fashion, beauty and even food. Beautiful Radiant Orchid themed wedding photos have surged onto Pinterest and beyond, cementing the nuptial-worthy shade as one of the most captivating trends of the year so far.
But what is it about Radiant Orchid that makes the colour so compelling? Is it that it 'emanates great joy, love and health' as Pantone claims, or maybe that it offers an edgier alternative to a traditional feminine bright pink? Whatever your reasons for loving the shade of the moment, the exotic purple is easy to work into your wardrobe and home. 

Radiant Orchid pairs well with blue, so try incorporating the shade into your shoe collection to wear with denim jeans, or invest in a bright purple bag for a pop of colour against pastel summer dresses. While not many of us have the bright blonde hair required for a full purple dye, hair chalks make it easy to achieve a relatively radiant dip dye or streak effect.

Radiant Orchid enlivens the skin and suits many tones with its warm and cool undertones, so is a beautiful shade for lips, eyes and subtle blush, or try working the colour into your manicure for a less scary way to keep on trend.
Finally, incorporate Radiant Orchid into your home by using accessories such as throws, cushions and curtains to liven up a neutral palette, or pair with red, blue or green to enliven your space. And if you're feeling really creative why not bake in colour and try this Purple Ombre Mini Cakes recipe from Glorious Treats?


Rita, Fearne, Cara & Kelly Spotted in Cora Ear Cuff

You're nobody at the moment if you're not rocking an ear cuff and there's no better way to get a piece of the action than to take inspiration from some of the greats- Rita Ora, Fearne Cotton, Cara Delevingne and Kelly Osbourne have all been spotted sporting the Cara ear cuff and looking gorgeous while doing it.
With stunning clear crystals and pearls this edgy accessory demands attention and is bang on trend. Wear with hair up to create the full effect!

Shown above: Cora ear cuff (£12)

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