Sunday, 15 December 2013

Touche Eclat



Touche Éclat is one of these wonderful finds that as soon as you try it for the first time you know will stay in your makeup bag forever. Being a typical student there are many late nights and early mornings in my life and I - like most people - suffer from dark circles under my eyes. I've tried all kinds of concealers: some I've loved, some I've thought were rubbish but I've never found that one that works perfectly. My mum has been using Touche Éclat for years so I always knew it was good but my student budget has never allowed me to purchase. I recently splurged on lots of makeup and Touche Éclat was amongst the bundle. 

It acts as a highlighter and counteracts the darker areas, for example circles under or around the eye. I also like to use it around my nose and underneath my eyebrows just to give them a bit more definition. 

It works almost like a pen, with a button on the end that you click to release the product into the brush at the other end and you can then brush it gently where you need it. I use my fingers to gently pat it in but a small brush works just as well. 

Retailing at roughly £23-25 Touche Éclat is a little more expensive than your average concealer but it does last really well. I'm trying to use it sparingly, only when I want to make a real effort and want my skin to look super flawless, but I really find it hard not to use it everyday as it works brilliantly. 

Overall a really good buy and something every girl should own. 

Life Decisons

It's been a while since I last posted anything on my blog but recently I've had a bit of a reawakening concerning makeup. Basically that means I've spent lots of money on products that I've wanted for ages. I feel compelled to start blogging again to share my findings! 

Like most people my age I've struggled with knowing what I want to do with my life. I panic sometimes and think 'oh my god I'm 20 years old which is halfway to 40 and have no clue what I'll be doing in 5 years' however there are moments where I realise I am ONLY 20 and that is no where near old. I'm very jealous of these people who know exactly what they want from life and who go out there and grab it. I've always been undecided. 

That's when I thought about what I enjoyed and what I was good at. Two things sprung to mind. Literature and makeup. I am currently studying English at university and I'm in third year so I really should be getting my skates on in terms of thinking about my 'career'. After spending 4 years at university studying books is jumping to something completely different a ridiculous notion? After all, to be a qualified makeup artist it takes time and experience and a lot of passion. But you don't need to go to university. 

My parents weren't best pleased when I announced that I wanted to study makeup after uni. My dad has convinced himself I am going to write a bestseller that means he can retire early. As much as I want to believe that too I am trying to be realistic. Why not combine the two? Writing and beauty are my two main interests so it makes sense to link them. They just brushed over the subject as if I wasn't being serious. And maybe I wasn't. But in ten years time I want to be successful and at the moment... playing to my strengths is the best plan I've got.


Monday, 27 May 2013

Isle of Islay

This post is going to detail the wonderful island that I class as my home from home: Islay.

My father was born and brought up here so we visit frequently and I would always spend a few weeks here each summer. The island itself is known as the 'Queen of the Hebrides' and this is evident if you stroll around the towns on the island. I've always stayed in Port Ellen or just outside it, and its here that most of my childhood memories lie.

Islay is home to many distilleries and they are famed for being very smoky tasting as they are heavily influenced by peat. Most people will either love this, or hate it. As I now work within the whisky industry I can appreciate how special Islay is in terms of this. The whisky from Islay is completely unique and instantly recognisable, even by people who don't know very much about whisky at all.
Laphroaig Distillery

Two healthy drams of Laphroaig Quarter Cask
The distilleries on Islay are Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Caol Ila, Kilchoman, Ardbeg, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain and Bowmore.

Lagavulin, Ardbeg and Laphroaig are situated on the south of the island and these are the most intensely peated whiskies and arguably the strongest tasting whiskies in Scotland. A lot of the barley malting takes place on the island as well with both Laphroaig and Bowmore malting a percentage of their own barley, and the maltings in Port Ellen catering for the others.
Caol Ila Distillery


There are two ways to get to Islay: by ferry or by plane. You can get over to Islay by travelling to Tarbert and catching a Caledonian MacBrayne ferry to either Port Ellen or Port Askaig on the island; alternatively you can get a flight from Glasgow airport to Islay.

Singing Sands beach
The scenery on the island is wonderful and it is home to a number of fantastic beaches. My favourite beach is called the Singing Sands, it is very secluded and on a warm summer's day, you could be fooled into thinking you are abroad. The island is beautiful in terms of scenery; it has picturesque beaches, rolling hills and an abundance of wildlife and this has long attracted tourists. There is a certain magic in the air on the island; the locals are so friendly that everyone who visits feels welcomed, wanted, and with the wonderful food and hospitality services, well looked after!

Carriag Fhada lighthouse, The Oa














Friday, 10 May 2013

Hendricks Gin - A Most Unusual Gin...

For all the gin lovers out there, most women that I know, Hendricks Gin is something that I had never tried up until last year. I started working at Glenfiddich Distillery as a Tour Guide; The distillery itself is owned by the overarching company William Grant & Sons - technically still the founding family - but they own many other brands - one being Hendricks. This gin is ridiculously good. All you need is a generous measure, a splash of tonic water and garnish with a piece of cucumber and you are ready to be blown away. It is distilled in small batches which essentially means less than 1,000 litres per distillation. It can be used in cocktails and also drunk neat. A wonderful, wonderful gin owned by a wonderful traditional company.

Benefit Brow Zings

I am in love with this product. Even more than the Tom Ford Eyebrow sculptor. For £22.50 this product is such good value for money. It has completely changed the way I go about filling in my brows. 

Firstly, you start off with a wax which holds your brows in place and gives you idea of the shape you are after. This brown wax is put on with a small angled brush which gives you just the right amount of an arch for the brow shape itself. You then use a highly pigmented shadow to fill in the rest of your brows and covers any sparser looking areas. I don't think I could actually go a day without it. It keeps your brows looking defined and full all day long and is a complete steal at £22.50.

It comes in three shades: light, medium and dark, and the set also contains a guide on filling your brows in and a handy pair of mini tweezers! 


Friday, 25 January 2013

MAC Shadowy Lady Eyeshadow

My first ever MAC eyeshadow - for someone as obsessed with beauty products it's taken me a while to catch on - but I am seriously in love. The colour is gorgeous; highly pigmented and it blends so well! I am absolutely delighted with this and am going to add to my collection. Definitely worth the money in my opinion. Shadowy Lady is a very rich dark purpley plummy brown colour that could easily be worn lightly for daywear and heavier for nighttime or going out. Absolutely gorgeous! I love the packaging and how the eyeshadow comes in a little black gossamer bag!






ISWAI

Being a Made in Chelsea fan, or at least a huge Caggie Dunlop fan (I love her quirky fashion sense and think she is absolutely beautiful!) I was very excited when I heard that she was designing her own collection for her website ISWAI (it stands for It Starts With An Idea). When I saw Caggie wearing the hand harness on Made in Chelsea I knew instantly I had to have it... or at least something similar. I went through multiple hand chains from ASOS all of which I ended up breaking on nights out. The one that Caggie wears in Made in Chelsea is from Urban Outfitters but it has sold out. Possibly available on eBay. However as it's a look she's become quite associated with she designed one for ISWAI. It costs £19.99 and is the sturdiest one I've had so far. I have worn it so much and it's shown no sign of breaking. The only thing I could possibly criticise is that it has tarnished but I think this adds to the look. It is perfect for dressing up and down and is so eye catching. I've had so many people compliment it and ask me where I got it from. Because it's something you don't see very often people's eyes are drawn to it. Overall, a brilliant buy and something I will have in my accessory drawer for many years to come.



Thursday, 24 January 2013

Charlie Simpson Young Pilgrim Album Review

Most of my Facebook friends and Twitter followers will know that I have a huge obsession with Charlie Simpson. Most of them are a probably sick of the amount of lyrics of his I post. I'll admit I have a huge crush on him, and his music. Aside from the fact that he is impossibly good-looking, his solo music is something to behold.

Most people still think of him as 'the tall one from Busted with the eyebrows' or from his band 'Fightstar' that he started after Busted. His solo music couldn't be any more different from the commercial teen music of Busted or the heavy guitar driven rock of Fightstar.

I discovered his solo music when iTunes offered the single 'Cemetery' as the free track of the week and I've been hooked ever since. His debut solo album entitled 'Young Pilgrim' was released in August 2011 and reached No. 6 in the UK Album Charts. We all know that great music doesn't seem to chart well in the UK so I wasn't too upset he didn't hit number 1. To have a number 1 these days all you have to do is win a TV talent show, be Rihanna or duet with Flo Rida.

Charlie Simpson is a breath of fresh air in this sense. The album begins with a track called 'Down Down Down'. Fearne Cotton chose this as her Record of the Week on Radio 1. The song itself is acoustic and has a folk feel to it that intersects beautifully with Charlie's lyrics. He is a wonderful songwriter as well as a multi-skilled musician.

'Parachutes' is another standout track for me; it's very piano driven and such a melancholy feel to it that you can't help but stop what you are doing and listen. His husky voice calls out the lyrics "I'm so sorry for the pain, sorry for the ache, sorry for the moods I'm swinging. But I don't need your hand, I don't need your heart, I don't need a parachute' which could refer to a breakup or something entirely different. It depends on your perception.

My favourite track is 'All At Once'. This song has a similar feel to 'Down Down Down' in the sense that it is very folky. The lyrics in this song are very solemn. "It feels like I'm walking down my last mile, and my god it just feels so long." Charlie himself said that he was inspired to write this after watching the film The Green Mile so it has that sense of hopelessness and losing everything you've ever had.

'Sundown' is by far the softest song on the album and is very vocal driven. Charlie's voice really comes through on this song as we hear him pining for someone who is lost, or someone he is trying to forget. "I don't think I drank enough to make your face go away" being a standout phrase for me. This song is very haunting; the whole album is driven by big harmonies and Charlie said he was inspired by The Eagles (another favourite band of mine) and the American singer Jackson Browne.

I saw Charlie Simpson live in March 2012 and was lucky enough to meet him before the show and watch his soundcheck. He was a really lovely guy and took the time to have pictures taken with everyone. He even signed setlists for us. I was so nervous meeting him - trying not to sound like a One Direction fangirl here but his music means so much to me and has really helped me through some tough times. I hope that someone who reads this will be inspired enough to give his music a listen. It might just help you through some rough time too.

Maybelline The Falsies Mascara

As promised a little review of the Falsies mascara by Maybelline. I heard Tanya Burr (YouTube beauty sensation) talk about this mascara a lot in her tutorials and she said it was amazing; I tried it out for myself and I find myself inevitably agreeing with her. It is amazing. My lashes are quite long already but they lie flat and have zero curl to them all. I spend about five minutes each morning heating my eyelash curlers up with my hairdryer to achieve the effect of beautifully curled, long eyelashes. This mascara has a spoon shaped brush - if you look at it side on - and two different types of bristle. Flat, shorter ones and longer ones. The finish is one that is rare for a mascara so low in price. The flared version of the mascara gives your lashes a gorgeous flick that lasts all day and they don't droop. People have always said the the Maybelline Great Lash mascara is really good, but I find for me the Falsies wins hands down. It stays put and doesn't flake off like a lot of other inexpensive mascaras. This mascara is around £8 from Boots. I've used Maxfactor False Lash Effect for years and this one is definitely up there in terms of application, quality and effect on the lashes.



Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Red

I've been listening to a lot of Taylor Swift lately. Her latest album 'Red' is the reason for this post. I've always loved red nails. Red is bright, eye-catching, classy and totally timeless. It has that Marilyn Monroe feel to it and there is nothing more ladylike than having finely filed blood red nails. These colours are some of my favourites: Rimmel Precious Stones in the shade Ruby Crush that I did a post on earlier in the month, Maybelline Forever Strong Pro in the colour Midnight Red - this colour is one I've used for a long time as its a twist on the typical bright red and slightly darker and therefore more subtle. The middle colour is Rimmel 60 Seconds in the shade Rapid Ruby - this dries ultra quick and doesn't chip for a few days (plus it's very cheap!) the last two colours are Maxfactor Nailfinity in the shade Red Passion and Rimmel in the I <3 Lasting Finish collection in the colour Double Decker Red. These two are really quite similar but have a different finish. The Maxfactor is slightly pinker, only a touch, and is glossier and feels smoother on your nail. These colours are bound to pick you up out of the snowy weather and add some pizazz back into your beauty routine.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer

The concealer to match the foundation is equally as satisfying. It does more for your under eye circles than it does for covering spots. It works well on blemishes. A good concealer in terms of that however for spots I've found that the Witch concealer works really well. It has an anti inflammatory in it which reduces spot size. For spots, like most things, prevention is better than cure but one of the best products I've discovered in my quest for clear skin is the Neutrogena Spot Stress Scrub with cucumber extract. This stuff smells amazing and does wonders for your skin. It clears spots within a couple of days.

Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation

I bought this foundation a few weeks ago and I have to say its one of Rimmel's better ones. The texture feels a bit sticky to begin with but mixed with moisturiser it becomes a lot easier to go on your skin. You can either buff it into your skin with a brush, or use your fingers. Using your fingers warms the foundation up nicely which makes it easier to blend. Using a brush is equally as good. The finish is a glowing, radiant complexion which does what it says on the bottle: wakes you up! If you are feeling under the weather or have a few spots this foundation is brilliant for making you feel better. A definite wintertime product as it's a little heavier on the skin but one of my favourites so far.

The colour I am using is True Ivory.

3D Nails

3D nails are taking over the nail industry so it seems. Nail art is changing; drawing designs on your nails with stencils and such like is becoming a thing of the past. Pearls, gems, and caviar beads are fast becoming a fashion staple. Professionally done they look beautiful - for example Anne Hathaway's pearls at the Golden Globes - but they can be copied at home very simply, and cheaply. All you need are the beads themselves, they can be bought on eBay for hardly anything at all, nail varnish or glue so that the beads stick down then a top coat. It is a cool yet elegant way to stand out from the crowd and be unique.







Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Zara Taylor Jewellery Designs

I have recently discoverd Zara Taylor and have pretty much bought her whole website. She is a jewellery designer that specialises in vintage style jewellery. Her designs are quirky and original and so inexpensive! The picture above is of her Turquoise Silver Vintage Matrix Ring. The link below isn't the exact same one because it has sold out, its a larger version but essentially the same ring and equally as pretty. Her jewellery has been worn by lots of celebrities - particularly the girls from Made in Chelsea (Millie Mackintosh and Caggie Dunlop) - and has been featured in many of the top women's magazines. Her flair for design is evident throughout all her pieces; they are aesthetically beautiful and have a real 'old world' feel to them that harks back to a different era. I love how her pieces are reasonably priced which allows us normal girls to purchase them and the high quality means they will last forever. A true talent in the industry and I could not be more happy with this find!

Tom Ford Eyebrow Sculptor

I am a very big fan of eyebrows. A very big fan indeed. Now most of us aren't blessed with natural Keira Knightley-esque beautiful brows so we need a little help. My life has been saved, quite literally by this product. It's Tom Ford's Eyebrow Sculptor and it has changed my life. I use the colour 'Espresso' but you also get 'Blonde', 'Taupe', and 'Chestnut'. I hate seeing pictures of girls on Facebook or Twitter with ridiculous eyebrows that look unnatural and 'drawn on'. It looks so tacky and cheap. Tom Ford is a hero in this department. For those of us who need an extra hand with our brows to get them looking gorgeous this sculptor does the trick. It has two ends, one is an eyebrow comb to tidy up stray hairs and the other is the calligraphy pencil end. You twist it so only a small portion at a time comes out. Soft strokes with the pencil will fill in your brows and you can create a slightly bigger arch if you like, but don't go too wild. Crazy big brows are never a good look! The sculptor is quite expensive, retails around £32. I got mine from House of Fraser but I know that Selfridges stock them too. All in all, a great product. I used to use the Rimmel Eyebrow pencils but the Tom Ford sculptor beats all other competition hands down! A cheaper alternative is to use brown eyeshadows to fill your natural brows in. This does a good job of darkening them however creating arches is quite difficult to do without the use of a pencil.

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

This a book review on one of my favourite novels of all time by an author called Philippa Gregory. As suggested by the title this book follows the famous Boleyn family of the Tudor era and their struggle for power throughout the reign of King Henry VIII. It focuses on Mary Boleyn, the youngest - this is disputed by historians and the book has been criticised for its historical inaccuracies - daughter of Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire and Lady Elizabeth Howard, Countess of Wiltshire. It is told from Mary's perspective and illustrates her relationship with the King giving birth to two of his children but being unable to hold his attention long enough to make her his queen. Mary's older sister Anne is then thrust in his path and is much more cunning than Mary; she is able to make the King fall so madly in love with her that he seeks a divorce from his current wife, Catherine of Aragon, breaks from the Catholic church and in turn begins the Reformation. He marries Anne making her Queen of England. Her inability to give him what he wants above all else - a male heir - makes the King question her allegience and he eventually has her accused of witchcraft. Like many of Henry's wives Anne ultimately loses her head to the axeman's sword however her strength of spirit is well shown in this text and also in the film adaptation released in 2008. Blonde and meek Mary is portrayed by the lovely Scarlett Johansson, dark and brooding Anne is played by the beautiful Natalie Portman and the handsome but troubled king is played by Australian actor Eric Bana. I am a complete history buff and love the Tudor era for its formal customs, fancy dress and courtly reputation so anyone with the same interests would really enjoy this book.

Rimmel Glam Eyes Day 2 Night Mascara

I plan on this blog holding real opinion and discussion so I'm not just going to review things I like. I bought this mascara by Rimmel recently as I loved the tube - the black and pink together are extremely eye-catching - and thought the whole concept of the 2 way brush was a really good idea. The first part of the brush is the volume. You twist off the whole cap and the brush is really full of mascara and this makes your lashes really thick; however I found it quite clumpy and not very defining at all. The second part is for length, so you twist off the top part and it goes through a tighter squeeze when coming out of the tube and this wipes off most of the mascara on the brush so that your lashes get lightly coated and separated. This is supposed to make them look longer. The second part is focused more on the brush than on the mascara itself. I was not impressed at all with the result. I have went back to it a few times to give it another chance to see if I changed my mind but I didn't. I have been told that Maybelline The Falsies mascara is a really good one to buy so that will be my next purchase and I'll post up a review of it soon!

Rimmel Precious Stones

Just bought this nail varnish by Rimmel. It's called Precious Stones. It makes your nails look fabulous! Shiny, sparkling and shimmering. However the downside is that - like most other sparkly glittery nail varnishes - it is a nightmare to take off! It helps if you use a base coat and I found that it is not so hard to come off if you have nail varnish underneath. I used bright red nail polish by Rimmel 'Double Decker Red' in the I <3 Lasting Finish range and this pretty much solved the problem. This varnish is in the shade Ruby Crush.



Breaking Free

This is a great mantra to have in your life. I need to start following my own advice.

Maxfactor Xperience

I began using this foundation a few years back. I had been using loose mineral foundation but felt I wasn't getting enough coverage, went into Boots in a rush before work, saw this and just grabbed it on a whim... you should never buy foundation on a whim. However this is one of the few times where it turned out okay. I was hooked and have used it ever since. It's relatively inexpensive, retails around £8-10 depending on offers. Usually Boots and Superdrug do good deals on make-up with 3 for 2 deals and suchlike. It smells great, is non sticky and gives amazing coverage on spots and blemishes. As the picture shows I use the colour Raw Beige. The tube looks really small but it lasts for ages and should do you for a good 4 or 5 months minimum. I feel it evens my skin out and all you need on top is a light dusting of powder - I generally use Stay Matte Powder by Rimmel - which is a great powder! It stays put takes away shine instantly. I really am a massive fan of this powder and Rimmel in general. I would class Maxfactor Xperience as a foundation for the warmer months; when I say warmer months I mean from around May to October. I live in Scotland. It's never warm here apart from the odd freak day you get in the summer! I would recommend using a heavier foundation in the winter time to really treat your skin. What I've been using this winter is Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation. I'll do a review on it soon but it is definitely something that I will be continuing to use. Again if you have any comments or opinions I would be delighted to hear them.

Vera Wang 'Princess' - Fragrance

My first review is of something that I have worn for many years and something I don't think I could live without! 'Princess' by American fashion designer Vera Wang was launched in 2006 and remains a popular seller to this day. It has notes of waterlily, apple, dark chocolate, vanilla, musk and amber. A sweet but sensual fragrance, it is definitely 'my' kind of perfume. Fragrance is a great thing to give you a boost. If you get up and aren't feeling particularly glamourous a quick spritz of the right perfume can lift your mood instantly and make you feel more girly and lovely. My other favourite perfumes include Dolce & Gabbana 'The One' and especially 'Rose The One' which smells very similar but has lovely notes of rose and is a lot more feminine. Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue is another staple in my beauty routine but this perfume is very heavy and musky and one that I tend to save for special or formal occasions rather than everyday wear. It will definitely get you noticed and people will always tell you that you smell nice or ask you what kind of perfume you are wearing! It has been proven that smell and memory are heavily linked; our brains link smells to events, places and people so when we smell something we have smelled before we are instantly reminded of that particular person or place. For me, my mum has worn the same perfume for years - Hugo Boss 'Woman' - and one sniff of that makes me feel really close to her! I find it lovely when you have those moments when you smell something that pulls you back to your childhood; my grandparents owned a farm so the smell of manure isn't completely horrible to me, it reminds me of running around their farm as a small child skinning my knees and playing in the dirt making mud pies - I suppose for most other people it smells completely disgusting! So there you go, my first rambling review. I hope that these become better the more I practise. The point of this blog, aside from all these ideas inside my head becoming fully flegded reviews, is to connect with like-minded people so if you read this and have any comments or ideas to contribute please do let me know by just dropping me a few words below.

Beginnings...

My very first post. This is quite scary. I want to create this blog to share with people my experience and interpretation of beauty and what the term 'beautiful' really means. Like most girls I've struggled with my self esteem. Comments people have made in the past tend to stick with you and letting them go and accepting yourself for who and what you are is the toughest thing in the world to do! Some people see make-up as a just a tool to cover your imperfections. This is true, it is designed to cover our flaws and make us more 'beautiful' but I see it as something much, much more. I see make-up as a way of expressing ourselves just like art and fashion. By reviewing make-up and beauty products I hope to inspire you to become what you've always wanted to be. You are only restricted by the walls you build yourself.