Who is the Fairest of them All?

20 July 2014 · 28 Comments


In the superficial world of beauty products, what you look like, counts - and if your shell isn't pretty, the harsh reality is that no-one is going to buy you. We all try not to, but at the end of the day, if the packaging of a product is beautiful, it will make us want it even more, and if not, it can be the final push in the wrong direction. I try not to make too many decisions based on packaging alone, but there are a fair few in my stash that I know I probably wouldn't have purchased if not for that shining exterior. 

Few beauty packages excite me as much as the casing of a lipstick. At the time of writing, my YSL Rouge Volupte Lipstick is currently lost somewhere - probably in my handbag somewhere *cries* - but no doubt the icy gold, intricately carved, heavy and satisfyingly clicky tube would have to come absolutely top of my favouritely packaged lipsticks. Second place is hotly contested by the gorgeous rose-y plastic Dior Lip Glow case, the unique top gives it that extra special feel, and the stunningly sheek black and gold of the Chanel lipsticks

But it isn't exclusively the high-end stuff that holds my heart when it comes to pretty packaging. The Revlon Lip Butters are one of my favourites, I love the cute quilted effect, and the fact you can see exactly what it is by the colour on the outside of the tube. It maybe a little more childish than that of its more expensive counterpoints, but also a lot more fun too. Another would have to be the L'Oreal Rouge Caresses, where the simple design teamed with gold details makes them look really expensive, in my opinion. And finally, the middle man, MAC, which kind of bridges the gap between the two markets. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with these, because, whilst I love the shape of the packaging to look at, they are such a pain to store whilst being able to tell which colour is housed inside and it not toppling over - I'm still undecided as to whether they should be here or not. 

So there you go, a run down of my favouritely packaged lipsticks, and a depressing insight into how obsessed I am with beauty that I actually make lists of this kind of thing. Do you do the same, are there any products that you really love the packaging of?

P.S Don't forget to check out my featured advertiser this month, Project Rattlebag, you can find out more about advertising with me here - and quote SUMMER to get 50% off . 

Summer Reads.

19 July 2014 · 30 Comments



I love reading, really I do, but naturally during term time when everything gets busy, it kind of takes a back seat. This summer, I have set myself the goal of reading lots more books, because it is something that really relaxes me, and that I really enjoy, yet seems to be something I neglect to do a lot of the time. It's been going well so far, I've already finished a couple of books during my commutes to and from London for work experience, and by the end of the summer I'm hoping to have ticked every book off my book bucket list - but we'll see how we go with that one. Oh, and there's that reading list the size of a small library I have to complete for school. I'm not looking forward to tackling that one quite as much...

Currently Reading // To Read: 

Kindle: Gone Girl // Virgin Suicides

Book: The Maze Runner // Looking for Alaska (second time but I love it so much!) 
// Fangirl // Eleanor and Park // More than This //

What are you reading at the moment? Anything that you would recommend?

P.S Don't forget to check out my featured advertiser this month, Project Rattlebag, you can find out more about advertising with me here - and quote SUMMER to get 50% off . 

Alexa.

15 July 2014 · 33 Comments


When your dream handbag has a cost upwards of £1,000, and you have no serious source of income - it seems unlikely that it will ever come into possession of its beautiful self. However, there's always eBay to turn to in search of a sneaky look-a-like, and perhaps although not 100% ethical, it is sometimes worth it to make your dreams come true (in some small way). Ever since I first clapped eyes on the Mulberry bag dedicated to Alexa Chung - which must have been at least two years ago now - I knew that I was going to have an obsession with it for a long time to come. The perfect mix between a handbag and a satchel, it is perfect for so many different occasions, teams gorgeously with a whole host of outfits from preppy to boho, and is the perfect size for carrying around on an everyday basis. So when, by chance (or hours of trawling eBay - you decide) I came across an almost exact replica I was ecstatic. 

It arrived - but to a disappointed me - for the leather was of a much poorer quality than I had expected. So after the initial sadness, I hopped back onto my laptop in search of bigger and better things - can you tell how obsessed I had become at this point? The second arrived - this time to a much happier me - the leather, although fake is almost real looking, and of such high quality, that at a glance you wouldn't even be able to tell the two apart. The eBay seller was really friendly and helpful, and it arrived just two days after my purchase - impressive stuff. Plus, at just over 10% of the original price, it is a win-win all round really. This bag has been out with me on every possible occasion since I got it, and I couldn't recommend it more to anyone who is looking for a similar bag, with a better price tag than the original. I'm in love. 

What do you think of this bag? Did you love the original as much as me? 

Lip Sticks.

13 July 2014 · 37 Comments



Since the introduction of Clinique's chubby sticks a couple of years back, it seems like every brand has created their own version of the lipstick/balm hybrids in stick form. The hype doesn't seem to be anywhere near to dying down yet, with more versions and finishes seemingly being launched everyday, so after trying a number of them out, I thought I'd report back on the best of the bunch. 

Now I haven't tried the original, the holy grail of lip pencils - Clinique Chubby Sticks (although they are on my foot long makeup wish list) but out of the couple that I have tried, it looks to me like Clinique should be worried for their crown. For everyday colours, I love the Zoeva pencils - pictured is the shade Second Chance*. A sheer colour on one swipe, which can be built up to full opacity by the time you use two, this has a lovely glossy sheen, is moisturising on the lips and lasts a really long time. Plus, the pretty peachy pink is one of those colours that just goes with every makeup look, so it is so easy to just chuck on in the morning. If I'm feeling something a tad more bold, but still want to keep it fairly neutral then it's the Collection Lip Butter in Vintage Rose that I will turn to. I'm not so sure on the name of this, I feel the colour is a little too bright to be classified as 'vintage' but the almost neon pink is great at livening up your face, without being too much for everyday wear. It's only fall down - it's not particularly long lasting, but it's easy to reapply, even without a mirror, so it isn't something that tends to bother me too much. 

One of the new ones on the scene, Seventeen's Lip Crayon* - this, unfortunately doesn't have a name - is one of those instant face perker-upper shades that is perfect for brightening up your face when you are feeling a bit tired or worse for wear. Super smooth formula, and it leaves a stain after it has gone, it really reminds me of the Revlon Lip Butter in Sweet Tart - one of my favourites. This formula is definitely one to try and get your hands on. Sometimes a sheer wash of colour isn't enough though, and that's when I turn to the NARS Lip Pencils - the only ones that truly bring it when it comes to a full opacity pout. The shade Amsterdam* - a hot pink/red is my favourite from the line up, but there are shades to suit everyone, and the satin finish means that they will stay put on your lips through anything - always a necessity for such pigmented shades. Finally, for a truly matte finish, the Revlon offerings are the ones that float my boat the best. Pictured is the shade Complex, a gorgeous peachy nude, but there are about 10 colours in total throughout the line up, something impressive for a drugstore drop. 

So, that's the best of the bunch in my opinion, the easy maintenance lip product that keeps leaving me wanting more. There are little niggles with all of them, and I haven't found my holy-grail version yet, but one things for certain - I don't want this trend to stop anytime soon. 

Travel Brushes.

10 July 2014 · 27 Comments


As I sat doing my makeup the other day, reaching out towards my brush holder, it suddenly hit me how little of them I actually need. Now, I know I've done a post on the essentials before, but I reckon that I actually need even fewer than I mentioned there, and with the addition of a few new ones into the stock - not again - I decided to have a rethink about what I actually need, well, on an everyday basis at least. I've whittled it down to just four, and although I won't be forsaking the others just yet (#makeupbrushaddict - plus having spares just means less washing, am I right?), I've decided that these can become my makeup bag picks, whilst the others sit at home. 

For the Base - It's handy - and maybe a little preplanned - that the four I have chosen all come from the same brush set from Zoeva, but they really are that good - plus the prices are pretty much unbeatable. For a light, everyday base I love using duo-fibre brushes like the 125 Stippling Brush, because they help blend everything in, whilst not giving too heavy a coverage, a real issue that I have with other buffing brushes. It's a great multitasker; foundation, cream bronzer/blush, highlighters all go on beautifully with this, so it is great for getting the majority of your 'base work' done with. For powder products, I always find something fluffier goes down a little better, so the 128 Cheek Brush is perfect for this. It's a great shape for carving out cheekbones, or applying setting powder all over, and as soft as a million feathers tickling your face. 

For the Eyes - The 228 Crease Brush is a near identical dupe of the MAC 217, and we all know how much that one is loved in the beauty community, don't we?! It performs well as an all-over colour washer, as well as blending out all harsh lines with ease, and it even manages to make me look like I have some kind of skill in the eyeshadow department - wondrous. 

For Precision Work - Pinpoint concealing, a bold lip colour or detailed eye work all need something a little smaller, so in comes the 237 Detailer Brush. Small and accurate, this will be the brush to make sure I can create whatever look I have in mind - definitely an essential. 

It may not be complete minimalism yet, but I'm getting there (at least on a travel basis)! Do you also hoard brushes? 

P.S. Did you know, you can get 50% off of any ad package on UNSTITCHEDD. for the entire month of July? Simply use the code SUMMER.

Base Routine.

08 July 2014 · 21 Comments


I think I forgot for a long time how much of a difference having a flawless base can change the whole appearance of your makeup, making it look so much more perfected, yet natural at the same time. I've been really working hard to get my skin back into tip-top condition - things slid a bit recently - and I'm slowly getting there (more about that another day) but until I have the natural flawless base that I have always lusted after, there are a couple of products that I am using to get me there a little less naturally. 

To start off with, I apply a generous layer of moisturiser to my skin - currently, I'm using the b:liv Soothe and Splash Daytime Moisuriser - to add a burst of hydration to my skin and help minimise the dry patches which lead to the caking of other products on top - never a good look. Having combination skin, I find that this is a really important step for me, and although I used to stay away from anything remotely moisturising as I thought it would lead to more greasiness I can't stress enough how this is just a myth. By using a light moisturiser, you give your skin the hydration it needs and anything you put on top looks a whole lot more natural - although I would still recommend to stay away from anything too heavy if you have oily skin. After that comes primer - another step that I used to completely ignore, and what a fool I was for doing that. It's not a strictly necessary step, Lillian describes it 'like flossing before brushing', but a good one. The ARK Anti-Ageing Primer not only contains helpful properties like an SPF of 30 which is really important in protecting your skin from sun damage, and is silicone free which means no clogging or breakouts, but smooths over your skin, filling in pores, wrinkles and controlling oil as well as injecting a bit of radiance to help provide the perfect canvas for your foundation. 

It could be left there, and most days it is, with the addition of a little concealer if I feel I need a little more coverage, but for times where I want to look a little more flawless, I will then go in with a foundation. My one of choice - and actually the only one I own now after it showed me how awful the rest are - is the Revlon Nearly Naked foundation in Shell. It provides the perfect amount of light coverage for everyday wear, whilst evening out any red patches that I may have, and once buffed in well with a buffing brush such as the Real Technique's ones, it blends seamlessly with the skin, becoming practically invisible to the naked eye - see what I did there? If I still need more coverage on top of that, I will pinpoint conceal with my Maybelline Fit Me Concealer, so as to use as little as possible,  but this is a gorgeously creamy concealer that I doubt could cake if I seriously tried. Finally, to set it all down, and make sure it lasts the day, I will use the Bourjois Rice Powder with a big fluffy brush, which I love as it doesn't completely mattify the glow of the skin.

Et VoilĂ ! An unnaturally natural and flawless look. What are your favourite base products?