Friday, 9 May 2014

You Beauty Discovery Box May 2014

I've been really tempted by beauty boxes for a while now. I always love getting sample size products in gift-boxes and magazines, but I was put off by the lack of choice given to you by other boxes. Also the price. For some reason going over £10 and paying P&P was always a bit of a deal breaker for me. Jumping around blogs I stumbled upon the You Beauty Discovery Box and thought I'd give it a try. There's two things which are different about this box: you can choose the two products you are sent; and it's £6.95! They also send you some packet samples and a healthy snack so for me it was a no brainer. 

The best part is whilst you have to sign up for a monthly sub you can also cancel whenever you want meaning that you can cancel, wait for the next month and then decide if you want to spend another £6.95 depending on what products are available. One downside however is that some of the products you can choose from go out of stock so it's best to order earlier in the month.

Click read more to see which products I received in my box! :)

Monday, 5 May 2014

Mini Haul Part II

Here is the continuation of my first haul post to round up some more products I purchased recently!

Benefit Boi-ing Concealer (£17.50)

Ok so I actually owned a sample of Benefit's Boi-ing concealer for a while in their How to Look the Best at Everything collection. It is pretty much the only concealer I own and I normally dab some under my eyes and on the odd blemish before applying power. It is pretty solid as a concealer, lasts long and blends in to my skin tone (I'm shade 01). To be honest I loved my sample a lot more than I do the actual full-sized product; I think when I only had so little I put a lot less on and I've noticed it has a tendency to create creases under my eyes even despite my best efforts not to use too much!

Clinique Long Lasting Lipstick in All Heart (£17)

I was very lucky to receive this Clinique lipstick using an offer code when I last ordered with them. I must admit I don't normally wear lipstick (I have quite dry lips and always seem to rub it off!) so this colour was rather bright for me. However I was pleasantly surprised by how it looked on. It applies a little lighter than it looks and doesn't look horribly unnatural. It says long lasting and it does last longer than my other lipsticks, but unfortunately I still find it disappears before the end of the day - often when I drink wine… perhaps I need to practice my technique - until I've got that down I won't be shelling out!

Smashbox Wondervision Eye Set (£35)

This one is cheating: I bought this set a while back in America as a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing (pretty packaging!) and only just opened it so I'm including these products. The set includes the Cosmic Eyeshadow Palette, Full Exposure Mascara and Limitless Waterproof Eyeliner in Onyx (not pictured oops!). Let me begin with my favourite: the eyeliner! I never quite grew out of that heavy layer of dark eye-liner phase from my teens. I think it's because I wear glasses pretty much all the time and so really my eyes often don't show up well without a heavy dose of eyeliner. This eyeliner is amazing, I didn't realise until actually looking on the website that I had to sharpen it and thought that you only got the tip to use and would still recommend it! (I'm so used to those ones which wind out). It applies really smoothly without irritation and most importantly stays put for a long time which is important because my L'Oreal alternative would give me panda eyes by the end of the day.

I have been using the Mascara to compliment the eyeliner and it is also becoming a favourite!! The brush is really thick and separates the lashes well to apply an even coat. I rarely every get any clumping and it makes my eyelashes look long. Once again it lasts long and is durable where other mascaras would irritate my eyes and cause me to rub them.

Finally I adore this eyeshadow palette and it was the main draw in buying the pack - I just thought it looked awesome. Sadly it is only available in this set and appears to be out of stock on the Smashbox website. I love doing a smokey-eye with a light colour in the corner and a darker colour blended over the lid. This set was perfect for that! I am always scared of matching blue shadow with blue eyes (and pink lips) but this is a really complimentary set and it blends nicely. I like to use these shadows for evenings out, but there is definitely room in the matte shades to create a neutral look for day-wear too.

If you can get your hands on this set I 100% recommend it. The products in it are worth somewhere in the £50+ range and the limited edition silver packaging is a nice touch! Otherwise I already have my eye on their Try it Kit which looks cost-effective for anyone wanting to try out their range.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

My May Wishlist

My May Wishlist is a day early! I'm looking forward to getting my monthly allowance on the 1st but I've got to study so anything I do buy will have to be a revision treat. Without further ado here is my first wish-list post!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Mini Haul Part I

So I haven't yet really posted about any products I use; this is my first official haul post! But since I enjoy shopping for beauty products so much you know it won't be my last. Being that it's my first post I think a little history is in store before we start: I am a massive fan of bargains, it's not to say that I don't splurge, but being student I have a moral obligation not to get ripped off. That doesn't mean I always buy the cheapest products, but I certainly take a long time considering splurges and testing out cheaper alternatives if I think a products is too risky. So bearing that in mind I hope you understand that I do my best not to be frivolous!!

Products above:
  • Max factor Facefinity Compact £11
    • Remember how I was saying I very rarely made frivolous purchases? Well this was one of them. I was in need of a powder compact since the last one I bought is about 4 years old and the current one which I use for setting my makeup and touch ups is the Hello Flawless powder which comes in Benefit's How to Look the Best at Everything Kit - not practical for handbag usage! In comparison to my old L'Oreal True Match powder this is amazing; it doesn't clump and applies evenly with both a brush and the little sponge provided. I haven't really noticed a difference between this one and my Benefit Hello Flawless powder which is a bonus considering that one will set you back a whopping £25! Not to mention the gold case is really attractive and slim - it's what made me splurge in the first place!
  • Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation (£11)
    • I admit I didn't intend to pick up the 'Serum Gel' version of this foundation and so can't say if it's any better than the ordinary foundation (£2 cheaper), but I can tell you one thing: I am in love!! This foundation has completely revolutionised my skin care routine, I have had so many compliments on how fresh-faced I am, and also on how good I look without make-up on! (I wish it were true!) It is a light weight formula which you can't feel when on and it lasts for hours.
  • Bourjois 123 Perfect Colour Correcting cream (£10)
    • So after the success of the Healthy Mix Serum Foundation I wanted to try some more Bourjois products - sadly this one left me disappointed. It doesn't really provide enough coverage to use on its own, but using it underneath foundation seems pretty pointless (however it does have an spy 15 which the serum foundation lacks). Also there are only 5 shades and the lightest shade for me is unfortunately just a little bit too dark.
(I'll save the Smashbox Eyeshadow Palette for another post with the Smashbox Mascara too - I didn't know I could talk so much about make-up!)

Hope you have a lovely Easter and I look forward to sharing more recommendations in my next post! :)

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Travels: Donegal [Ireland]

Donegal (Dhun na nGall), located on Ireland's upper-left-most corner, overlooking the North Atlantic, is an area of the world I have always been interested in. As a Brit I have always felt incredibly guilty that whilst I've ventured across the Atlantic many times I have never really been to any of the countries on my back door (Scotland, Ireland, N. Ireland) so finally being able to rectify that was important to me. Also have studied Brian Friel's Translations for A-Level (which is set in County Donegal) I was interested to get out and see a part of the world I had read about. It most certainly didn't disappoint.

We flew into Belfast and drove across the border and I was surprised at how quickly cityscape fell away into sprawling countryside. We bypassed Derry and headed north for Rathmullan and Milford where half of my boyfriend's family comes from. The scenery was breath-taking. Motorways end shorty after leaving Belfast, but the slower pace was nothing to be disappointed about. I never realised how rural Ireland still remains (in comparison to the 'countryside' where I live in the South East), and being a lover of country-side, sea and rain at heart this gave me some real hope for one day finding somewhere to hole up and be a hermit. 

In this instance however, hermitting was strictly prohibited as I was travelling with my boyfriend, his mother and grandfather to visit family. We stayed in a holiday home in Rathmullan, a beautiful seaside town overlooking Lough Swilly (a channel of the North Atlantic which runs inland; in the summer you can ride a ferry between Rathmullan and Buncrana, but in March most attractions (including restaurants) are closed. We spent a lot of time in the Milford Inn where there is a live band and dancing every saturday night. We also took a tour along the Atlantic Drive (where most of my photos were taken), and spent a night at club Voodoo in Letterkenny with Leigh's younger brother and girlfriend who were responsible for opening the new Letterkenny CeX.

Sadly I'm shy and what with the nature of this holiday being so family orientated I often didn't lug my camera with me which conveniently calls for another holiday.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Taking Stock

I found this idea on Aisling's blog and thought it would be a great idea to borrow for the beginning of the month when I'm feeling a bit scatterbrained and trying to get myself on track, but also as a great way to chill out and just think about now rather than fretting about tomorrow and the next day!

  • Making: I have this idea to start a project life album. All my supplies are currently in a draw, I might get round to that one day.
  • Cooking: Aha I feel sick cooking is not a good idea right now! But I'm thinking healthy dinner later ;)
  • Drinking: Assam tea Twining's <3
  • Reading: The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle (ibooks).
  • Wanting: Time to do everything; to update here more, take some photos, do Uni notes, finish a chapter I'm writing; get myself organised!
  • Looking: Out the window - it's grey I love bad weather and my boyfriend just got a fire going!
  • Playing: The Last of Us online, I'm an addict :)
  • Wasting: The day! I should be doing something more beneficial than trying to blog.
  • Wishing: I had a month off just to sort my brain out; but when I do have time off I hate it.
  • Enjoying: I've been reading so much more lately and it has really rekindled my love of a good book. I waste so much time on the internet and staring at screens, it makes a great change to want to read and to be looking forward to the next story.
  • Waiting: I have a book-buying addiction so waiting for a bunch of old books I bought from ebay to arrive.
  • Liking: This sort of lazy contentment with ignoring life.
  • Wondering: If I will ever get myself organised!
  • Loving: My boyfriend and our fur-baby! That I am so lucky; I can sit here and type and have no major stresses at the moment (Uni is just sort of a given constant). I've been feeling very blessed recently with the life I have. 
  • Hoping: That one day I will feel like an adult!
  • Needing: Lots of sleep!
  • Smelling: My J'adore perfume a birthday present I tidied away and forgot about until just now!
  • Wearing: Primarni - Lovely rose top I just bought great duvet-day clothes!
  • Following: A bunch of beauty blogs and IGs and ugh I could drown in this stuff!
  • Knowing: I'm somewhat apathetic about this whole blogging thing even though I really love sharing stuff so I hope I can keep it going and thing of more things to write about!
  • Feeling: Very tired, but a nice kind of tired where you're almost serene because you could go to bed if you wanted.
  • Feeling: A little bit ill, but that's ok. I've got a whole day to lay around, tidy my room and perhaps take some photos :)

I think this was good for me to fill out - it has made me anxious to get on with my day and do something even if it is only tidying up a few odds and ends.

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Friday, 31 January 2014

2014 Reading Challenge: January

Well I wanted to wait until the end of January to see if my new-years resolutions actually panned out - and whilst my writing has hit a wall (I challenged myself to write 500 words a day - hah!) I am actually on top of my Goodreads 2014 challenge to read 50 books this year! I'm a total bibliophile, but sometimes it's hard to get myself to make time to sit down and read when there's well, the internet. I've noticed I am so much better at keeping track of things when I have some kind of public/online record so I actually got my act in gear on Jan 1st and started reading.

Here are my January books!

Airframe by Michael Crichton

I am a massive Crichton fan - how could I not be? I wanted to be a palaeontologist or hacker or hacker-palaentologist for most of my childhood because of him. I love the consistency in his stories; the attention to detail, awesome characters, believability and style. His stories are always well paced, like you're 'watching' the book which is always good for a thriller. Being an Aircrash Investigation fan this book was perfect for me, and most importantly it has corporate espionage and an awesome straight-talking female lead. Fast-paced and definitely worth a read - just not when you're flying!

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

To be honest I haven't really got on with Austen since I was 13; whilst I appreciate her style and wit as a nice way to relax this story never really got me into it. Maybe because it never gets going. They don't get to the Abbey until 70 pages from the end of the book! But it still has some of my favourite Austen quotes and I find Charlotte to be a really lovely character. Entertaining and light, but don't expect any amazing twists.

The Trial by Franz Kafka

To be honest if I had known what this book was like before I picked it up I might have been more apprehensive about reading it. That is not to be negative because the story most certainly had an impact on me, but it takes a while to get into and sadly is unfinished so leaves one feeling a little lost. My copy also seemed to neglect paragraphs, but perhaps that is the style it is written in anyway! The story follows K who is convicted of a crime which he has no knowledge; as a law student this was an interesting commentary on human rights, but the story has so much more substance than that! Really feel like this challenged my comfort zone when it comes to books and enjoyed every minute of it.

The Iraqi Christ by Hassan Blasim

Another book which I chose to broaden my mind and challenge myself. Ironically good to read after Kafka, though unintentional as it follows a similar fantastical style of story telling. The book is a collection of short stories centring on the recent history of Iraq and the torments suffered by its citizens and refugees. It will make you think.