Archive for ‘General/Unrelated’

August 5, 2012

Juicy Red Lips for Summer

The beauty brands/fashion houses may all be bringing out their autumn collections, but here in the UK summer is only just kicking in. One thing I love to wear during the summer is a really fresh, juicy red lip – and I was desperately hunting around for a gloss that was just the right texture (something like a Lancome Juicy Tube) with enough pigment to be a proper red, that didn’t cost as much as – well, a Juicy Tube. My search was in vain.

Until I opened my cupboard and realised that I had it all along! My YSL Volupte Sheer Candy in no. 6, a gorgeous red, with the sheer juicy effect but with enough colour to balance out natural summer eyes. It is exactly what I was looking for – I’m so silly 🙂

That’s the danger of having more glosses/lipsticks/makeup in general than I really need (but we all know I can’t help myself)!

image from uk.ozcosmetics.com

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July 1, 2012

Trying To Breathe Calmly

Oh my goodness, I am so scared.

My degree result comes out tomorrow and I’m terrified! I really, really, REALLY need to have done well!! I’ve been waiting so long…all my Facebook friends in the same year as me have all got their results already, some as early as two weeks ago!

My skin’s been going mental because I’m so nervous. I’ve been trying to calm it down with Vichy, but there’s only so much I can do.

The worst part is the result doesn’t come out until 5pm or even later – and I have to go to college to get it, as they post them on a piece of paper on a noticeboard in the department!

Sorry. Nervous rant over. Now I just have to turn to my beloved Revlon Colourstay to cover up my nervous skin…and paint the confidence on my face that I don’t have in my head!

June 11, 2012

Getting Away With Pulling an All-Nighter!

I possibly should have written this during exam season and not after…oh well! Last night I got very little sleep and I had to be up pretty early for a meeting, and as I was desperately doing damage control on my face, it occurred to me to write about it! Everyone misses out on sleep now and again, no matter how virtuous you usually are – and I am pretty nocturnal, so it can be hard for me to get enough.

Skincare

The first thing I do in the morning, regardless of how much sleep I’ve had, is to use my Botanics Rosewater toner to gently clean my face. My skin is super duper prone to going bright red if I wash it with a flannel; unless I’m in the shower, I try to avoid it in the morning as it takes ages to calm down again. My toner makes my skin feel fresh and clean while also reducing redness – winner!

Next I’ll reach for the most effective eye cream I own – Origins GinZing. Clearly, the name is a play on ‘ginseng, and according to the website, “Origins proprietary complex of Caffeine from Coffee bean, Panax Ginseng, Magnolia Extract and natural optic brighteners rapidly wakes up, refreshes and restores radiance to tired eyes”. Not too specific, but it sounds clever!
It really does do a good job of brightening up my eyes. I don’t actually own a full size version of this; I have a little tester, which I carefully guard and save for the most shocking of morning dark circles. This morning I looked like a panda that had been in a bar fight; I think I was dehydrated, which really does not help matters!

Once that’s been patted in, I’ll go in with my moisturiser. I only have pore-refining serums at the moment, and those tend to make my skin look more dull – definitely not what I’m after in my sleep-deprived state, so I’ll skip it. I used my Botanics Sweet Gale Oil-Free Moisturiser first, with about 1 and a half pumps less than usual (I’d normally use 3 to 4!) as I was planning on double-teaming my products. This is a very light gel, which feels lovely and liquidy on the skin but disappears quickly. It smells like absolute hell though, just a warning.

My star product was my Origins Brighter By Nature moisturiser, which really does brighten remarkably well and totally saved my face this morning. However, if you value your eyes, keep it well away! And I mean don’t go near them! You might think you’ve kept it away from the eye area, then about 1 minute later…the burning starts, and doesn’t stop until your eyes are red and watery and seriously unattractive. Really, no matter how much I love this cream (and I do) this has always been a major downside to it for me.
However, I knew that already, so I did keep it well away. The result was skin that upon close examination may not have been 100% perfect, but looked one heck of a lot better than the awful apparition that was staring at me from the mirror 5 minutes before, and definitely looked like I’d managed to hit the pillow for more than 2 hours.

Makeup

I had to keep my makeup fairly low key as I was going to work, and that was fine by me as I was a) yawning hugely and b) aware that more makeup would not necessarily make me look more awake. So I concentrated on brightening. As the Origins moisturiser and eye cream left my face looking quite dewy, I wanted to go with that but not look quite so…moisturised. So I used some MAC Studio Finish concealer liberally all around my eye area; this completely obliterated the dark circles and brightened up the area. Its creamy formula also blends really easily, and doesn’t diminish the fresh look I was after. I stuck a little bit on other areas too, but it was mainly the eyes which made the difference.

I did that first because I was planning to use a powder foundation. I know that sounds a bit odd, if I was after fresh skin, but I apply MAC Studio Fix Powder + with a light hand and a soft brush – this mattifies and perfects my skin without ever looking cakey. Forget the sponge it comes with though, unless seriously in an emergency situation. That way cakefacedness lies.
My technique for applying this foundation quickly but lightly has been perfected over several years of waking up 10 minutes before I was supposed to leave for lectures. I use the e.l.f. Studio Complexion Brush (NOT the deadly Powder Brush – see my comment about the sponge) and whack it on all over. This brush breaks up the application enough that it looks natural and pretty rather than powdery.
One reason I really like this powder is that it seems to come up fairly light. On me this translates as brightening and nice rather than too pale (seriously, I swear I could use the white Face and Body) and so it’s brilliant for looking awake in a flash.

One of my new favourite products ever is my Pixi blush/highlighter duo which I bought from All Cosmetics Wholesale. I have the palest one, and the blush seems like it’s going to look really unnatural and pastel-y, but it doesn’t at all. The texture is beautiful and the highlighter, though sparkly in the pan, is ever so subtle. This is my new favourite thing to wake up my face! I apply it with a small MAC dual-fibre brush – can’t remember the number but it’s the baby cousin of the 187 – which makes sure it’s sheer, but gorgeous.

For my eyes, I didn’t want to look overdone for work so I just put some brown eyeliner pencil on the outer half of my upper and lower lashlines and waterlines. Brown is obviously more forgiving than black, especially at that time of the morning! A hasty swipe of shimmery peach eyeshadow on the inner corner of my eye, a coat of Maxfactor False Lash Effect and some Revlon Lip Butter in Peach Parfait and I was out the door. I did then get rained on for a good 20 minutes but I’m sure I still looked a lot less miserable than I would have done otherwise!

It’s not that hard, or that time-consuming, to fake sleep! (But don’t do it too much, you can only push yourself so far!)

🙂

June 6, 2012

The Touche Éclat Conspiracy

I used Touche Éclat wfor the first time when I was probably around 15, and back then it was just ‘nicking my mum’s concealer’ – not a big deal, as my mum loves YSL and so pretty much anything I borrowed would have been too expensive really to waste on a teenager! Of course, now there’s so much hype around it, it has achieved mystical status – something which I think is a little over the top. Don’t get me wrong, I love the shiny gold highlighting magic pen as much as the next person, but I think that in terms of actual results, it can be done for less.

image from johnlewis.com

I first thought this blasphemous thing a few months ago, when I finally tried out the Collection 2000 long-lasting concealer (I forget its name because it’s such good quality that all the writing on the tube immediately rubbed off as soon as I bought it) – it’s fairly light in shade, not at all too light but enough that it really brightens up my eye area as soon as I put it on. In fact, it does a much better job of brightening than my mum’s Touche Éclat (I’ve never bought my own!). Of course, it has a matte finish, and sets extremely quickly – great if that’s what you want, but if you like the light consistency of Touche Éclat, it’s not going to do. Another alternative which I have also tried is the Clinique brush/pen concealer (again, can’t remember the exact product name but they only make one I think!). This is obviously the same format as the Touche Éclat and I found it quite comparable. Light coverage, and has a highlighting effect – especially if you buy a shade which is fairly light on you, as I always do anyway.

There are also several cheapie versions of highlighting pens springing up. Collection 2000 have one for the low price of £4.99, called ‘Illuminating Touch’ I believe, and L’Oreal have their Lumi Magique Highlighting Pen which is under £10. Given that I find simple concealer to do the job, I’m sure these are quite effective; I’m going to try the Collection 2000 one soon, but haven’t yet.

Basically, my point is, obviously the Touche Éclat is a beautiful and luxurious thing to have – but from my own experience, I am not convinced that it’s necessary to shell out £25 if it’s the product and results you want, rather than the packaging!

May 24, 2012

Oh My Gosh It’s Summer And My Legs Look Like This

…yeah, no, there’s no way I’m putting up a picture of my legs! But figuratively speaking, my legs look like *this*. Ie., awful. Last week it felt like the depths of winter and there was absolutely no motivation to start preparing for summer, and then BAM. Sunburn and shorts all round.

I’ve always had a thing about my legs; I just don’t like them. They could be as slender as you like and I’d probably still worry that someone was looking at me and thinking “ooh, she should NOT be allowed out in shorts”. Some of this is down to my mother’s eager encouragement of ballet when I was a little girl, and my own eager cycling habits; my calves are irretrievably muscular. Anyway, the point is, if I want to wear shorts without feeling self-conscious I have to work HARD. So this is what I do!

For four weeks, I follow this set of exercises for my legs. This is basically the only thing I’ve ever done where I’ve been able to see visible and encouraging results from exercise, so I know it works (at least for me – don’t sue me!) – it’s just a combination of squats and heel raises:

1. 20 squats with my legs about hip-width apart.
2. 20 heel raises, as above.
3. 20 squats with my legs close together.
4. 20 heel raises with my toes turned inwards about 45 degrees in order to work the outside of the calves.
5. 30 squats with my legs as wide apart as is comfortable and sensible(!) – this works the inside of the thigh.
6. 30 heel lifts with my toes turned out as far as is comfortable (in ballet this would be 1st position).
7. 20 squats with legs hip-width apart as #1.
8. 20 heel raises as #1/2.

This only takes a couple of minutes to go through and, if I do it every day, does significantly improve how my legs look and feel. Obviously, if anyone feels like trying this or something similar, don’t hurt yourself, don’t do anything that feels weird, and don’t blame me – goodness knows I don’t know what I’m talking about. There, disclaimer disclaimer’d.

The reason I do 30 of a couple of them is because they are the most effective (I feel) and so I want to get the most out of them.

I also try and run as much as I can, but when it’s this hot it’s hard..!

All this plus some Garnier body lotion with self-tanner stuff in means I actually managed to leave the house today in something shorter than knee length! Hooray for summery weather!

What do you guys do to prepare for summer? Or are you all perfect all year round? 😛

May 24, 2012

Aaaand…I’m Back!

Oh my goodness, I am SO sorry. I disappeared so rudely and for so long, haha! However, it’s the same old reason – EXAM TIME. I am revising until my eyes hurt and my nose becomes sore from being pressed to the page! It’s so unbelievably intense…these are my finals, the exams that my whole academic career has been leading up to! (And don’t think my father will let me forget it!) However, on June 1st it will all be over. I will be propelled, kicking and screaming and slightly dazed, into the Real World, outside education. Scary stuff!

So that’s my excuse. Also, the dog ate my homework.

Anyway, excuses and apologies aside, I am back. Although my exams are still in full swing, I’ve been missing blogging so much that I’ve decided to allow myself to return – during my set study breaks, of course!

I’m going to write a proper post in a minute – I wanted this to just be my apology post without sticking a load of other things in too.

Also, isn’t the weather LOVELY?! (That’s mainly addressed to my UK friends, though I hope it’s sunny for everyone else too!)

😀

April 25, 2012

It’s Getting Scarily Close To Bikini Weather

image from Google Images

As I live in the UK, it is really easy for me to forget that summer is on the way, as what passes for Spring here is one long rainfest. (Summer is often not much better!) This means that when we do get a bit of proper sunshine, no-one’s expecting it and we all immediately strip off.

This is a bad thing for me. I am not quite the svelte goddess who can just happily shed the layers and look as fabulous as I did with them on. (I don’t look fabulous with them on either a lot of the time..!) I’m not an elephant or anything but, like most girls, I wouldn’t mind shedding a few pounds before it becomes too warm to hide under jeans and jumpers!

I’ve felt stuck in a rut for ages now – literally years – where I don’t put on weight, but I don’t really lose it either. But this year, I really feel like I can do it! These are the steps I’ve taken to try and get myself going and really sort myself out, so that I can face the shorts and sundresses weather with confidence:

1. Bought a new pair of trainers. It sounds basic, but my only trainers before that were really unsuitable for running as they were court shoes for squash or badminton. Buying something new, yet useful, provides motivation, whether it’s “Yay, shiny new thing!” or “Well, I’ve spent the money, might as well use them..!” Even if that’s how it starts, soon I’ll be in the swing of it!

2. Started buying my shopping online. Again, sounds pretty basic, but going online means that I have the time to consider what I’m buying before I actually hand over the money – the number of times I’ve clicked “view basket” and realised that I really don’t need both those packets of biscuits, or that Coca Cola, or whatever unhealthy thing it is that I’ve clicked in a moment of weakness! I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but doing it this way really helps me. I’m also more likely to feel virtuous and put healthy things in – I don’t have to carry them home, which is one of my major considerations when shopping. (I’m not just lazy – it’s a really long way and there’s no bus!)

3. Started looking at healthy recipes when I’m hungry. Once I’ve bought that healthy food, I need to make it really appealing so that I won’t regress! I currently have a butternut squash in my cupboard, and I’m actually excited about making something delicious and nutritious (yay for rhyming) with it. If I’m at my desk working and realise I’m hungry, I’ll take 5 minutes to look up something delicious to cook – it means that when I go to the kitchen, I know what I want and I won’t reach for the cake or whatever. (Not that I bought it, because of step 2…right?!)

4. Told someone that I’m trying hard. My flatmate is also doing her best to shed a few pounds, and so it’s helpful that we can chat about it, or perhaps indulge in some friendly competition…

5. Bought some incentive clothing. I don’t mean a dress that’s 3 sizes too small or something – I don’t think that’s at all helpful. I just have a pair of jeans or two that I can wear fine now, but I know would look way better if I was just a little lighter. This is also a good way to measure weight loss – rather than neurotically weighing myself twice a day, I judge by how I feel or how well my clothes fit. There’s no real way for me to know exactly what my body thinks is my ideal weight, and setting an arbitrary one that I want isn’t necessarily the best thing for me. When I feel healthy, energised, confident and comfortable in my own skin, that’s when my body is happy and that’s what I’m aiming for – not a specific number on the scales!

What do you think? How are you gearing up for summer – and does it include trimming an inch or two? 🙂

April 18, 2012

Have Boots No. 7 Done It Again?

So I see that Boots have brought out a new anti-aging line for their No. 7 brand, “Lift and Luminate”. Intended for users of 45 years and older, they say it contains high levels of the same ‘miracle’ ingredient that caused the publicity & shopping sensation for their “Protect and Perfect” serum – I’m sure most people remember that! This seems like an attempt to whip up another storm like the previous one in my opinion as No. 7 already have countless anti-aging products in their several separate lines. If it gets any more confusing I can imagine people just buying at random.

Anyway, I’m only 21, so I can’t test this out; I can only wait and see the response among the ladies and gents that use it.  I’m just hoping that all these miracle ingredients lead to some actual miracles pretty soon – come on cosmetic/pharmaceutical researchers, you only have about 14 years until I become a willing customer! And heck, I’m already buying eye cream.

If you want to check out this new line, click the pretty picture:

image from mirror.co.uk

April 17, 2012

Tea, Glorious Tea!

This is a slightly off-the-cuff random post as I am procrastinating – I should be writing my dissertation, but I just don’t want to knuckle down and do it! So I’m having a lovely cup of tea and watching bad daytime TV instead.

We all know how important it is to stay hydrated, and I really do notice how much better my skin looks and how much better I feel when I drink enough. It’s always better to have great skin than great makeup, in my opinion! But we also know that the 8 glasses of water myth is just that – a myth – because we get most of our daily water needs from our food, right? Well, that’s going to depend on the kind of foods we eat, and at the moment, I’m eating fairly badly and not eating as many vegetables as I should, which means that I’ll need to drink more to make up the amount. It’s always good to be conscious of these things – I’m trying hard at the moment, because I’ve not been very good at it in the past.

One way I like to do this is to drink black tea. It has recently been found by the US Department of Agriculture that the levels of antioxidants in black tea are actually very similar to those found in green tea, which so many health junkies swear by. Plus, black tea is good for your teeth and heart, and contains much less caffeine in one cup than coffee does. It’s warm and comforting, and quenches thirst much better (in my opinion!) than other hot drinks or even flavoured squashes, which aren’t so great due to their high sugar content.
The only thing is that, like green tea, it should be enjoyed without milk to make sure that you’re getting the benefits. I love my tea like this, as my family like it this way too and so I’m used to it, but if it tastes too thin or bland, try adding a squeeze of lemon juice.

My favourite types of tea are citrusy Earl Grey, delicate Rose Congu, spicy Chai and delicious Darjeeling!
I love tea so much that I have to have an especially huge (and happy) Paperchase mug to drink it out of:

Are there any other tea-lovers out there? 😀

April 14, 2012

I Kind Of Want Some Lip Tattoos…

…temporary ones, of course!

I can’t deny that I used to be a bit of a goth kid when I was younger, and I still have a special place in my heart for slightly too much black eyeliner and slightly-too-loud metal music. So I definitely wouldn’t mind combining the two on a night out, going the whole way and wearing some of these scary lip tattoos from the brand Violent Lips!

These are amazing.

image from hqhair.com

And these.

image from hqhair.com

These last ones might be a bit far even for me, but I love them all the same!

image from hqhair.com

For Halloween or something these are ace! Would any of you dare to go this bright?

🙂

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