24
Apr
2014

Smashbox Full Exposure Palette

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I feel like the purchase of the Smashbox Full Exposure Palette was inevitable for me both due to the endless rave reviews and my love of a good neutral eyeshadow palette.  I think every beauty blogger is always on the look out for that perfect neutral palette. Maybe the thought of neutrals doesn’t set your world alight, but for me, the idea of a do-it-all palette is the stuff dreams are made of.  Imagine a palette that housed the right shades to create a matte no-makeup eye look, an everyday defined eye, a summery bronzed look, a glam smokey eye, whilst also containing the right matte shades to fill in just about any eyebrow colour.  Sound good? Well let me introduce you to my new best friend…

exposure1exposure2 “Shape matters! A set of universally awesome neutrals, including how-to’s for 6 eye shapes. It’s essential, effortless and enhanced for your shape!

• Essential: 14 must-have neutral shades—from nudes to blacks, long-wearing shimmers to velvety-smooth mattes.

• Effortless: With shimmers in the top row and mattes along the bottom, it’s easy to turn up or tone down the luster. Remember, when using the shimmer shades, be sure to apply by pressing down, rather than sweeping across lids.• Enhanced for your eye shape: Breakthrough eye shape chart to get your most gorgeous look.”

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I have a few neutral palettes in my vast makeup collection but this offering from Smashbox is the only one that allows me to create numerous looks AND the perfect defined brows in one fowl swoop.  It contains more matte shades than any other palette I own and I think that’s what really sets it apart and makes it the most versatile out of the lot.  Not only does the palette contain 7 matte shades and 7 shimmery shades but the colours range from cool to warm, offering something for everybody.  It even comes with a fantastic double-ended brush that actually does the job.  More often than not, palettes contain sub-standard brushes that are routinely tossed aside in favour of something that’s more suited to the job in hand.

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The palette also comes with a mini Full Exposure Mascara which, in my opinion, isn’t much to write home about but it’s certainly not a bad product. After reading so many great reviews, I couldn’t make up my mind whether to buy the palette – mainly due to the fear that it was another over-hyped novelty. In a moment of weakness last week, I placed my order on the Boots website and patiently awaited it’s arrival! However, once I had it in my hands, I could see for myself the quality of the eyeshadows and the beautiful range of shades on offer. I didn’t notice any fallout from the shimmery shades and they aren’t full of chunky glitter either.

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* I wasn’t quite able to pick up the intensity of the shadow applied with a damp brush on camera*

The matte shades in this palette are beautifully buttery, so well pigmented and blend like a dream! The shimmery shades feature some lovely warm tones for summer, the palest shade is the PERFECT inner eye highlight and the cooler shades on the right are great for building up a smokey, sultry eye.  I use the matte taupe shade second from the right to fill in my eyebrows and it’s just ideal! I’m rather excited by the thought of a palette that I can chuck in a bag for a weekend away and know that it contains everything I need for my eyes and brows!

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This palette is very versatile in the respect that you can go for that matte daytime look, add a little shimmer over the top for a pretty look or use the shimmer shades damp and pack them on for a really intense appearance. The darker matte shades are fabulous as a softer, more blurry alternative to eyeliner on the lower lash line. That’s a great option if you’re a little scared of applying eyeliner on your lower lash line because you can go as subtle as you like and it really helps to define and open up the whole eye.

Dare I say it…I prefer this palette to the Urban Decay Naked 3 one because it just offers more. It’s priced at £36 and is available in larger Boots and on their website.

I will be filming a couple of tutorial videos on my YT Channel using the Smashbox Full Exposure Palette showing you how to create a matte daytime look and also something a bit more glam.  Subscribe to my YouTube Channel here to see the videos when they go live!

23
Apr
2014

Overnight Hair Treatment

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When it comes to all things hair, I tend to lean towards products or techniques that are quick but effective.  I’ve never been that skilled in the hair styling department so anything that helps my hair to look more presentable with little to no effort gets a thumbs up from me. I also get bored quite quickly and don’t like to faff around too much with my barnet – something which is only set to become worse when I’m a new mummy!

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So when I was sent the Charles Worthington Salon at Home Secrets Collection Moisture Seal Overnight Ultimate Hair Healer I was intrigued as to whether it would make a difference to my hair.  Now for the record, I have fine hair which tends to get greasy at the roots and dry at the ends.  I only ever apply hair treatments from the mid lengths to the ends as applying it too close to my roots is a recipe for disaster and also to very flat hair!

“Charles Worthington Salon at Home Secrets Collection Moisture Seal Overnight Ultimate Hair Healer is recommended in the salon for hair suffering from dryness, frizz or damage, this silky light-weight crème acts as a healing mask during your beauty sleep, leaving no residue on your pillow. Its advanced formula contains nourishing Argan Oil and a Night Shield Complex with penetrating actives that reinforce the hair from root to tip.”

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Although my hair has become much thicker in pregnancy (yah to that!), I still sometimes suffer from dry ends between trims so it’s important that I look after the ends.  The aspect of this treatment that really appeals to me is that there’s no waiting around.  I get a bit impatient waiting for treatments to do their thing before I have to wash them out.  However, this hair mask is designed to be applied to dry hair and left overnight to work it’s magic.  You wake up, wash your hair as normal and then enjoy the benefits of the nourishing treatment.  It left my hair feeling super soft, silky, extremely shiny but most importantly, it didn’t weigh my hair down or make it static or lank.

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I have been using this hair treatment twice a week for the past month and my hair feels incredibly healthy.  Earlier in my pregnancy, the ends of my hair felt really dry whereas now my hair looks and feels great from root to tip.  I especially love the fact that it’s so convenient to just slap onto your hair, tie it up, go to bed and ta-dah! You’re hair is lovely and easy to style in the morning.  This product soaks into your hair without making it feel greasy so you don’t have to worry about it soaking into your pillow overnight or leaving a mess.  It has a delicate fragrance that’s not overpowering and has a gel-creme like consistency.

This is definitely a product that will come in very handy when I’m a busy new mum!  You can find it in Boots priced at £14.99 for a 200ml bottle.

*PR Sample

22
Apr
2014

A Drugstore Gem!

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I’ve never been that hot on L’Oreal foundations so I always tended to swerve them during my visits to Boots and Superdrug.  However, one of their foundations has been gathering momentum in the rave review stakes within the blogging world and it peaked my interest enough to pick up a bottle from Boots recently.  After a quick look at the shades available, I picked out Rose Vanilla shade as a good match for my skin tone.  Granted the Boots I went to didn’t stock all of the shades so I would definitely recommend going to a larger store to make sure you get a good look at the colour range available.

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“Following research into the skin-tones of women from around the world, the L’Oréal Laboratories have developed a unique palette of 23 skin-true shades in L’Oréal Paris True Match Foundation.The result for L’Oréal Paris True Match Foundation is a natural looking, skin-true colour without tide-marks and outstanding coverage without caking. L’Oréal Paris True Match Foundation has a micro-fine, creamy texture that contains 3 light, non-greasy oils. You can build up layers of L’Oréal Paris True Match Foundation coverage for a made-to-measure finish. L’Oréal Paris True Match Foundation gives outstanding coverage without caking.  L’Oréal Paris True Match Foundation conceals imperfections, without caking : its micro-fine, creamy texture blends perfectly with the skin’s texture.”

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This foundation has been labelled as a dupe for Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk both in texture and finish and I can definitely see why.  They are after all owned by the same company and chances are, they’re made in the same factory too (albeit with a difference in the quality of ingredients). First off, lets just take a moment to congratulate drugstore foundations for, more often than not, packaging their foundation with a pump applicator. We all know this is the easiest, least messy and most hygienic way to house a foundation! Some high end brand could take a leaf out of their book!

The consistency of this foundation is lightweight and very easy to blend into the skin, leaving a really natural skin-like finish. I would say the coverage is medium and it hides any uneven skin tone or minor blemishes. I was actually pleasantly surprised when I checked out my skin in a mirror a while after applying this.  It just has a really nice brightening effect – not too matte and not too glowy…just a really great everyday base product at a very reasonable price.  It lasts pretty well too – I have dry skin and it lasted for around 8 or 9 hours.

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The colour range is split into 3 categories - warm, neutral and cool. Despite the True Match label, you may find you have to mix a couple of shades to get the right mix for your skin tone.  However, considering these foundations are so affordable at £9.99, it won’t break the bank if you have to buy two! Also, Boots have their nifty 3 for 2 deals on regularly so you could always take advantage of that.

This foundation is definitely in my top 5 drugstore picks!

 

18
Apr
2014

Video: My Top Tips For Flawless Foundation

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One of the most frequently asked questions I get from readers is how to achieve that perfectly flawless look to your makeup.  Most people want their skin to look smooth, even and glowing so that means building an application routine that accentuates your natural features without piling on a truckload of makeup.  Over the years I have perfected my routine and there are a few aspects which I wanted to chat about as well as some tips that may come in handy.  Enjoy watching and remember to subscribe, give the video a thumbs up and leave me a comment with any tips you’d like to share!

18
Apr
2014

Bump Update: 32 Weeks

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You know how I said in my last Bump Update that it had been the worst week of my pregnancy? Well scrap that! This week has been the worst! I could deal with all the little annoying symptoms of carrying a baby but the one that has been completely debilitating this week has been the trapped nerve/sciatica in my lower back.  I have been couch-bound for most of the week which left me on a bit of a downer and meant that I couldn’t really get much done. All I can do is take it easy, keep a hot water bottle on my lower back when I can and hope to god that it starts to go away soon!

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Total Weight Gain – 22lbs – once again another steady bit of weight gain. Baby will be packing on that fat!
Maternity clothes? The buying of maternity clothes has officially ended. Now that I only have about 8 weeks left, I don’t see any point in buying anything else.  Any clothes that I buy from this point on will be strictly for post-baby body! I have been looking at those Belly Bandits thingy-mi-bobs because everyone seems to think they make a huge difference in getting your waist back!
Stretch marks? Not much has changed here – they have maybe got slightly longer but I couldn’t care less at this point.  I have much bigger things on my mind like…labour!
Sleep: Funnily enough my sleep pattern has actually improved slightly this week despite the horrific back pain. I’ve found that if I use a hot water bottle on my back just before I go to bed, it eases the pain enough for me to get to sleep.  I have only been waking up a couple of times in the night to go to the toilet but other than than, I’ve managed to get a bit more sleep than usual.  Happy days!
Best moment this week: Going to our first couple of antenatal classes at the maternity hospital. I wasn’t sure what to expect and Chris was dreading any kind of show and tell type scenario with graphic pictures of birth etc! ha ha.  Luckily there’s nothing like that and it was actually a really good laugh and a good opportunity to chat to other couples who are expecting.
Miss anything? I really, really miss having no severe pain. I can deal with round ligament pain or pelvic pain…it’s just this trapped nerve that’s killing me!
Food cravings: No cravings as such this week but my appetite has definitely increased a bit.  I find myself getting much more hungry nowadays.
Anything making you queasy or sick? Nope.
Gender: I’ve been swithering this week about telling you the sex of the baby so I can do baby clothes hauls and a nursery tour but I just don’t know if I want to put it out there…
Symptoms: Lower back pain is the devil! It trumps any other symptom I have had so far. The heartburn is still there and I can get headaches quite regularly but other than that, everything seems to pale into insignificance because of the trapped nerve/sciatica.  Ouch!
Happy or moody most of the time: I have been a little bit down this week because of my back. It’s something that really affects you psychologically and I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a condition like that all the time. I try to just deal with things day-to-day and not worry about how long it’s going to last for. Chris has been fantastic though and has been looking after me while I’m suffering. It’s so true that pregnancy brings you even closer as a couple!
Looking forward to: Easter Sunday! NO ONE can say anything if I want to eat my body weight in chocolate! ha ha.

I am still planning on filming a maternity lookbook video for my channel. It was just out of the question this week with my back and all.  I’m determined to get it done though!