Saturday, May 31, 2014

Nicole x Missguided White Midi Dress

Last Wednesday I sat my final exam for my Psychology degree, and on the Thursday I attended my graduation ball! Because the ball was literally the day after I finished studying, I hadn't had a proper chance to shop for a ball dress and had just about resigned myself to the fact I was going to be wearing one of my old dresses whilst my friends had all bought beautiful new ones for the occasion. On the Wednesday night I decided to have one last look online to see if I could find something to have delivered the next day. I came across Nicole Scherzinger's dress collection on Missguided and totally fell in love with it. After much deliberation I decided on the Mesh Panel Midi Dress in White. I also picked up another dress from Missguided's own range to wear on nights out, which meant I qualified for free next day delivery (on orders over £40).

(Apologies for the background/quality of the last photo - I could not get a decent photo of the back of the dress without taking it myself and I hadn't quite finished putting my bed sheets on haha!)

My parcel arrived at around 11am the next morning (with plenty updates from Missguided via text to let me know where my parcel was and when it would be delivered). The dress completely exceeded my expectations. The quality was brilliant, the fit was perfect and the style was beautiful. Backless with crisscross straps, the dress also features a high neck and mesh panel detailing. It really achieves the sexy but sophisticated look that people have come to associate with Nicole and for only £35.00, it is a total bargain!

Since the dress speaks for itself, I paired it with simple and delicate accessories - some Swarovski crystal studs, a silver bracelet, my Fossil watch and a Pandora ring, as well as some heels from Carvela. 

I would 100% recommend the Nicole x Missguided collection and I'm actually planning on picking up one or two more of her dresses myself since I was so impressed with the quality. You can check out the dress modelled by Scherzy herself below (she looks a million per cent better in it than I do ha!)

Nicole x Missguided Mesh Panel Midi Dress in White - £35.00 - link

I thought I'd add a few photos of me and my friends at the ball:

Have you tried anything from the Nicole x Missguided collection?

Holly xo

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Back to Blogging // Recent Favourites

Hi everyone! It's been a while. Firstly, sorry for the blogging hiatus - I've been finishing my Psychology degree and have had a non-stop stream of work for the last few months. But I'm back and ready to pick up where we left off. I thought I'd start with a rundown of some of the products I've been loving recently. Ranging from highstreet to high-end, here are my current favourites:

The Tresemme Texture Style Divine Definition Spray (£5.49) has been a welcome addition to my (admittedly lazy) hair routine. I'm the type of girl that likes the messy, tousled look. I tend to avoid even brushing my hair if I can help it and 'styling' normally consists of a scrunch here and a zshush there (real word?). This spray adds some much-needed texture to my fairly straight, thick locks. I tend to brush out any tats, spray in the texturising spray at arms length and then style using my fingers (scrunch/zshush/twist etc). It really helps to achieve that lived-in, 'I woke up like this' look. I tend to pick this up in bulk from Superdrug/Boots with their 3for2 offers (I think both shops are offering this at the minute actually!).

I've really stripped back my skincare routine recently as my skin is fairly sensitive and I feel that using too many products does me no favours. So I tend to just use my Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Cleanser and a good quality moisturiser (occasionally throwing a hydrating face mask  into the mix - specifically my trusty Origins Drink-Up Intensive Overnight Mask). My moisturiser of choice since Christmas has been the Clarins HydraQuench Cream (the normal-dry version - £35.00). Packaged in a blue-tinted glass jar (which always adds a bit of luxury to a product), this cream is silky smooth, lightweight and does a great job of making skin feel hydrated and rejuvenated. Like most Clarins products, it also smells amazing. I know that's probably not a key selling point for a moisturiser, but it definitely makes me more likely to buy it, I don't know about you? I always buy Clarins products for special reduced prices at Escentual - link.

(L-R: YSL Rouge Volupté Shine 15, Urban Decay Naked, Chanel Blush Creme Revelation)

It's probably obvious what my favourite lipstick/blush shade is right now. Although these three products appear to be similar colours in the swatches above, they're actually very different. 

The YSL Rouge Volupté Shine lipstick in 15 Corail Intuitive (£25.00) is one of my favourite lipsticks in my collection. I now own two of the YSL lipsticks and they are the most beautifully packaged products I own. Encased in a sleek gold tube, each lipstick shade is clearly shown by a coloured strip emblazoned with the YSL emblem that corresponds to the shade inside. The Rouge Volupté Shine lipsticks are extremely glossy, shiny lip colours with great pigmentation. They are comfortable to wear and feel very hydrating on the lips. My only qualm is that, due to their glossy formula, they don't have much staying power and definitely won't hold up against eating/drinking. Corail Intuitive is a beautiful peachy pink shade which compliments any makeup look. 

The Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Naked (£15.00) is probably my favourite lipstick of all time. A bold statement but this lipstick definitely earned the title. The formula of these lipsticks is different to any others I own - they're very moisturising and have a slight shine but they also have an almost waxy feel that helps them to last longer on the lips. Naked is a rosy pink and is just such a wearable shade. It looks great with both subtle and dramatic eye makeup and for daytime wear or nights out. The packaging is also beautiful; the lipsticks come in a shiny gunmetal grey casing with the standard Urban Decay dark purple lining. I've never finished a lipstick before but this one is on its last legs due to frequent use since Christmas - I will definitely be repurchasing.

I was so excited about the launch of the Blush Creme de Chanel (£28.00) range last year and I knew straight away that the shade Révélation was for me. A warm coral pink, this shade can be applied lightly for a subtle wash of colour or built up for a more intense blush. The cream-to-powder formula applies like a dream with fingers or a stippling brush and I think I will get a lot more wear out of this in the Summer (when I favour cream blush). The sleek black compact decorated with the Chanel emblem is simplistic but stylish and I love pulling this out of my handbag for touch-ups.

I've always maintained that YSL mascaras are the best I've tried, apart from their one downfall  - they dry up far too quickly. Their latest offering, the YSL Babydoll Mascara (£24.50), is my favourite yet. It's blacker than black, lengthens, volumises and curls as well as giving lashes that multiplied, spread-out look. It's also endorsed by Cara Delevigne which definitely makes it more appealing (sucked in by marketing tactics). Like I said, this mascara is brilliant but it does tend to dry up after a couple of months which is the only thing that puts me off repurchasing (though I am now on to my third tube, so obviously not that offputting).

My recent favourite nail polish is the L'Oreal Perfection Color Riche Nails in 851 Nouvelle Vogue. It's a beautiful milky lilac shade and is opaque in two coats. It only comes in a small 5ml bottle so I can see it running out before long but I'll definitely repurchase as I get a lot of wear out of this shade. I can't really comment on lasting power or chip-resistance as I haven't found any nail polish lasts that long on me - I work in a shop so my hands are constantly in use, so I normally see some tip wear after one shift!

Finally, my favourite single eyeshadow right now is Mac Cork (£10.00), which is described on their website as a 'muted golden brown' and is part of the Satin range. Cork is a smooth, matte shade and works really well as an all-over lid colour. I tend to apply this all over using a flat brush and then blend into the crease and out at the outer corners using a fluffy blending brush. It takes less than a minute and really amps up my eye makeup look. This shadow has great pigmentation and staying power and is great for daytime wear or even for evening wear if you wanted a more toned-down look.

That was a very long post so if you made it all the way to the end, well done! It feels good to be blogging again and I can't wait to get some more posts up for you all.

What is your favourite product right now?

Holly xo

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Daily Brushes

Good quality brushes are essential for almost any makeup look. This time last year, pre-beauty blogging, I was a total novice when it came to makeup brushes. I think I owned about four brushes from the likes of Bodycare, Avon or discount makeup stands. Good quality brushes were so expensive I just couldn't justify buying from the likes of MAC or Bobbi Brown. Then Real Techniques hit the UK, offering amazing quality, cruelty-free brushes for extremely affordable prices.
All of the face brushes that I use on a daily basis are from Real Techniques, starting with the Buffing Brush from the Core Collection (£21.99). This flat-topped brush totally transformed the way I applied foundation. The bristles are densely-packed but soft and it buffs in cream or liquid base products to create a flawless finish. Also from the Core Collection, the Contour Brush is a great multi-use brush. I use this small tapered brush every single day to blend in my concealer. Paired with my Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer, this brush helps to cover any and all of my blemishes, without looking heavy or caked-on. The Contour Brush can also be used for precision application of highlighter, blush or to define the cheekbones. The Core Collection is a great starting point if you're yet to try Real Techniques - it also contains a lip brush (which I sometimes use) and a pointed foundation brush (which I never use) - but for the Buffing Brush and Contour Brush alone, the £21.99 is so worth it.
I also use the Real Techniques Powder Brush (£12.99) every day for a light dusting of setting powder. This brush is huge and the bristles are so soft and fluffy that powder never looks overdone or cakey. Though I used to think that the Real Techniques Blush Brush (£9.99) was too big to be used for it's assigned purpose, I've actually started using it every day to lightly dust powder blush onto the cheeks. It's slightly tapered and again very soft and fluffy so you need to build up the colour if you like stand-out cheeks, but for an everyday subtle flush of colour, this brush works perfectly. Some people also use this brush for contouring, but since I have quite a small face, I prefer to use a smaller, more precise brush for that purpose. If I'm using cream blush products, I swap the Blush brush for the Stippling Brush (£11.99), which works amazingly well with cream/liquid products, but for Autumn/Winter I've rediscovered my love of powder blush.

If you're going to pick up a few of the Real Techniques brushes, can I make a suggestion? Don't buy them from Boots/Superdrug. There's an American website called iHerb - link, where I picked up most of my RT brushes and more recently a huge order of EcoTools brushes, for A LOT less than they cost in the UK. For example, the Core Collection (which retails for £21.99 in the UK) costs only $17.99 on iHerb - that's £11.26! And the Powder Brush (£12.99 at Boots) is only $9.99 - which is £6.25! Even the shipping from America costs only $4, so you end up saving a lot of money. Also you can use this code 'QCG185' to save either $5 or $10 off your first order, depending on how much you spend. (This isn't sponsored content by the way, I genuinely shop on iHerb and have saved myself a huge amount of money so wanted to share that with you) :) 

For eye makeup, the two essentials necessary to create a basic or smoky eye look are a base shadow brush and a fluffy blending brush. For applying my base eyeshadow, I use the Crown Chisel Pointed Fluff C209 (only £3.09) which is great for packing on colour. The slim shape also makes it easy to get right into the corners and crease of the eye. This brush is dense enough that it doesn't take several layers to build up colour and the sleek matte black handle and silver ferule are reminiscent of MAC's brushes which are about £15.00 more expensive. Finally, the one MAC brush that I couldn't be without is the famous 217 Blending Brush (£18.00). This is THE brush for creating the perfect smoky eye. It's fluffy, dense bristles make blending shadow into the crease and outer corner of the eye completely fool-proof. I can create so many different eye looks with these two brushes alone. 

*Use code 'FINNO2013' and follow this link: for 10% off at Crown Brushes throughout November - I'm just full of discount codes today aren't I!*

All of these brushes are staples in my collection. They wash really nicely, hold their shape and do their individual jobs perfectly. 

What are your top three must-have brushes?

Holly xo

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Monday, November 4, 2013

October Favourites

It seems like only a minute ago I was feeling guilty about missing out on September Favourites (sorry about that, was feeling a little uninspired that month), and now it's November and time for the October installment. Sorry to be cliche, but this has to be the fastest year of my life so far. For me, October was a month for settling into my final year of uni and convincing myself I like drinking green tea. It was also a month for trying out berry-toned lips, matte nails and rose cheeks, amongst other products. 

As you can see, I mainly favoured highstreet makeup this month, which my bank balance certainly appreciated. The elf blush in 'Blushing Rose' (£3.75) is a mauve, almost plum-toned pink with great pigmentation. The shade has cool undertones but adds a lovely flush to the apples of the cheeks. This is a beautiful shade for Autumn and looks great applied lightly with the Real Techniques Blush Brush. 
The L'Oreal False Lash Telescopic Mascara (£9.35 at FeelUnique) has been in my collection for years. Though it doesn't occupy the top spot of 'best mascara ever' (which I thought I had filled with the YSL Faux Cils Mascara, but have decided otherwise), it is definitely in my current top three. This mascara adds incredible length to the lashes, lifting and coating them root to tip. The slim plastic wand makes it easy to reach even the smallest corner lashes to create a fanned-out effect. I'm fairly sure I'll repurchase this mascara when it runs out (as it's sold on those discount makeup stalls for around £2.99 - who could resist that?). 
The start of a new academic year also means a few weeks of incredible student discount offers and student nights at large shopping centres. I attended the Student Shopping Night at Eldon Square, Newcastle at the beginning of October and saved myself a ridiculous amount of money. That was the night I bought my Topshop Aubrey Boots (post here) and the night I entered a competition to win a Fenwick giftcard - which I later found out I won! As a beauty blogger, I was of course very excited by the discounted high-end makeup available that night. MAC were offering a very rare 10% off so I decided it was the perfect time to start building a 15-pan pro palette. The first eyeshadow pan that I picked up was MAC All That Glitters (£10.00 for pan alone), an extremely popular shade which MAC describes as a 'beige with gold pearl'. I find that this shade leans quite peachy on the lids. It does a great job of brightening the eyes and it works especially well paired with a slick of my other discounted beauty purchase of the night - the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Demolition (£14.00). This is the softest crayon-style eyeliner I've tried and the shade Demolition is a great matte dark brown which is a slightly softer alternative to black. The staying power is good, and the pigmentation is insane but my main problem with this eye pencil is how quickly it's running out! Because the liner is so soft, it needs to be sharpened after every use as it disappears so quickly. I've already used almost half of this eyeliner in a month, and I don't even use it every day. At £14.00, that's not a great investment. I probably will repurchase this but I'll always have a cheaper brown liner at hand for everyday use, and use Urban Decay's offering sparingly. 
Barry M released two new collections for Autumn this year, a glitter collection and a matte collection. I picked up the shade Vanilla from the Matte collection (£3.99) which is a really unique colour. Its a silvery grey with lilac undertones - a great Wintery neutral shade. Although it's not what I'm used to wearing on my nails, I actually really like the finish of these polishes. I'd say they're more semi-matte as they have a small amount of shine, thought they're definitely not glossy. You could always apply a glossy topcoat over the polish if you love the colour but aren't a fan of the finish. I'll pop up a full review of this polish at some point so you can see the finish :).
Finally, what would an Autumn monthly favourites post be without the ultimate Autumnal lipstick - Rimmel Kate Moss Matte 107 (£5.49). In the bullet, this lipstick appears to be a dark purple, but on the lips it can appear either dark fuchsia or dark red, or a mix of the two! It's a seriously gorgeous shade and the semi-matte finish makes the colour even more intense, thought still completely wearable. It's very comfortable on the lips and as it's not a glossy lipstick, the staying power is great.

What have you been loving throughout October?

Holly xo

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

YSL Rouge Volupté Shine Pink In Confidence

Finally. After almost a year of wishing, swatching and almost buying one - I finally own one of YSL's Rouge Volupté Shine lipsticks. I was so so lucky last week to win a £200 Fenwick giftcard and the first thing I picked up was this lipstick in the shade 08 Pink in Confidence.
Isn't that the most beautifully packaged piece of makeup you've ever seen?
These lipsticks, like most YSL products, are so luxurious. Each sleek and shiny golden bullet has a coloured strip, emblazoned with the YSL emblem, that corresponds to the colour of the lipstick inside. Pink in Confidence is actually a stunning pale rose pink - though it looks a lot darker and almost fuchsia in the photograph of the bullet above! I promise it's nowhere near that dark in person. The colour of the strip around the centre of the lipstick is a much closer representation of the lipstick's actual colour. 
These lipsticks are incredibly glossy and comfortable on the lips and they provide pigmented colour in one swipe. The glossy finish does, of course, reduce the wear time as the lipstick tends to slip around and will not stand up to eating and drinking. But would anyone honestly mind pulling this lipstick out of their handbag to reapply? The Rouge Volupté Shine lipsticks also give the appearance of fuller, plumper lips thanks to the fine shimmer particles and high shine finish. 
At £24.00, these luxurious lipsticks don't come cheap, but as a beauty junkie they're so worth it. I still have my eye on number 15 Corail Intuitive (I love the shade names!) which is a gorgeous pale peachy pink. That one's definitely on the Christmas list. 

You can pick up the full range of Rouge Volupté Shine lipsticks from YSL counters or from FeelUnique with free delivery here - link.

Do you own a YSL lipstick? Which shade is your favourite?

Holly xo

Monday, October 28, 2013

Recent Beauty Additions: Bourjois

This month was a five-week pay month which can only mean one thing - a bit of a splurge on the highstreet products I've been eyeing up for the past four weeks. Bourjois were definitely the brand of the Summer for me and a lot of other bloggers; they really upped their game this year. A string of excellent products has cemented their position as one of, if not the, best UK drugstore brands so I couldn't wait to try out some of their new releases, an established product and of course a repurchase of my favourite foundation. 

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation is my go-to base for daily use as it's so comfortable to wear, easy to blend and gives the most beautiful glowing finish that I just can't get enough of. I even banned myself from using it so often over the last two months so I could use up (get rid of) some of my less-favoured foundations. I also love Healthy Mix for nights out as it's really buildable so I can add another layer for more coverage without the dreaded caking that some foundations create.I wear the shade 52 Vanilla which is quite yellow toned but is a great match for my skintone once blended. 'Healthy' is the perfect title word for this base as it really does give skin that lit-from-within, 'I get 12 hours of sleep a night and never eat naughty food' kind of glow. This is currently £7.99 down from £9.99 in Boots and I can't pass up a saving.

Nail polish remover pots are not a new concept to me, as I've been using the cheaper Pretty Quik Instant Nail Polish Remover for a while now, but it's such a small tub that it gets very dirty and grungy pretty quickly. No one wants to dip a digit into a dirty nail polish remover pot to find they have last week's watered-down Essie polish all over their finger. Ick. The Bourjois 1 Second Magic Nail Polish Remover is the polish remover of choice for all of my favourite bloggers/youtubers so I thought it was time to upgrade. This 75ml pot is over twice the size of the 30ml Pretty Quik version so I'm hoping it will take a lot longer to get all gunky. I hope it lives up to its 1 second claims!

Over the last few months, Bourjois have been rolling out the new releases and generating a lot of excitement in the beauty blogging world. Their new Happy Light Serum Primers which are available in Matte and Luminous versions are said to be great at controlling excess oil production and adding a touch of radiance and luminosity to the skin respectively, as well creating a smooth canvas for makeup. As my skin is normal-dry, particularly at this time of year, I opted for the luminous serum primer which comes in a cute peach 15ml bottle with a handy little pump for dispensing product. I do love a product with a pump. I'm really looking forward to trying this out as I only have one other primer in my collection (Clarins Beauty Flash Balm) so this is definitely a welcome addition to my Muji drawers. (P.S. the serum primers are on an introductory offer for £6.99 until 30th October when they go up to their permanent price of £10.99 so snap one up quickly!)

Finally, I picked up one of the new Autumn-appropriate shades of the Summer favourite Color Boost Lip Crayons. I already own the shade Peach on the Beach which is a gorgeous peachy pink shade and the formula is glossy and hydrating so I'm really excited to wear Plum Russian which is a beautiful berry shade. I really love that name too! The color boost lip crayons also offer SPF 15, which although not something I actively look for in my lip products, is a nice extra benefit. The only other berry-toned lipstick I own is Rimmel Kate Moss 107 which is a deep matte colour, so I'm looking forward to trying out a sheer, glossy purple lip. 

Have you tried any of these products? What is your favourite Bourjois product?

Holly xo

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Aubrey Boots

Topshop Aubrey Boots - £75.00

I remember the first time I spotted these beauties on a friend's instagram. It was love at first sight. 
I've owned many pairs of black boots over the years, but none that really stood the test of time in terms of fashion and durability. This year I decided I should invest in a really good quality pair of ankle boots that would last and would look great with anything. I knew I wanted them to be black and chunky with a small heel and preferably buckles and when I tried on the Topshop Aubrey boots, I had to have them. 
The gold hardware on these cut-out boots is what really makes them unique. I love how the gold buckles pop against the black leather. They're also pretty comfortable, though they do feel quite heavy on your feet but I did want them chunky! 
The Topshop Aubrey boots look stunning with literally anything - jeans, disco pants or with tights and a tartan skirt which was my chosen pairing when I wore them out the first time. 
The only problem with the Aubrey boots is their availability - they are so hard to track down. I haven't seen them on the website at all yet and my size was sold out in every store I rang - and I rang every store in the North East. However, if you really have your heart set on them like I did, you can try asking a member of staff to order you a pair, which is what I did (and they arrived at the store two days later for me to collect). I also managed to get them during the 20% off for students offer at the beginning of this month so saved myself a lot of money, but with the year-round 10% student discount, you could still pick these up for £67.50!

What do you think of the Aubrey boots?

Holly xo

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