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Thursday, 31 October 2013

Monthly Advertisers | October & a Little Advertising Update...

Evening fellow birds - and a HAPPY HALLOWEEN to you! I hope you've all had tremendous amounts of fun carving pumpkins and such-like... I can't say I've done an awful lot aside from sit in lectures for 5 hours. Riveting.  The end of the month can only mean one thing - it's time for my monthly advertisers! It's a fabulous way to discover blogs that you may not yet have stumbled upon and introduce to you the lovely folks who have been sitting in my sidebar since the beginning of October.  Don't forget - I have even more fabulous bloggers advertising with me this month so don't forget to head on over to my sidebar for even more potential reading list additions! I shall hand you over to this month's exclusive advertiser Becki - over at Bow's, Beauty and Becki...

Becki | Bows, Beauty & Becki 

Hello Lovelies, I'm Becki and I have a beauty blog called Bow's, Beauty & Becki.  I mainly do beauty themed posts but I also like to add some fashion posts and share my thoughts.  You can expect to read TAG'S, product reviews, hauls, OOTD's and Whats on my face posts as well as my general ramblings.

I've been blogging on Bow's, Beauty and Becki for over a year and I am looking forward to my wee blog growing, I love blogging and I like to put time and effort into my posts so that they are the best they can be.  I would love for you to go over and check out my blog, you may just like it!
 Bryany | Bryany Ellen
| Blog | Twitter | Bloglovin' | Tumblr | Instagram |
Hello, I'm Bryany a twenty year old blogger swapping between studying at uni and blogging about things I love.  I post about snippets of my life, all things beauty (good or bad) and any shopping spree's I go on.  So you've guessed it, my blog is a Lifestyle, beauty and fashion(ish) kinda blog.  I post OOTD posts and I'm going to start doing some FOTD's too (if the spots stay away!). I hope you'll like my little space on the internet, come say Hi. :)

Joy | Jay-Ann
Blog | Twitter | Tumblr | Bloglovin'
Hi lovelies. I'm Joy and I write over at Joy-Ann rambling about anything in relation to beauty, lifestyle and just random things in general.  When I was a little girl, I always begged my mum to buy me the magazines that had those little palettes so that I could use it when I was attempting to apply makeup :) (I'm sure we've all done that at one point) I really was horrendous at it but that passion seems to have stayed with me for a very long time and after reading and adoring tons of blogs, I decided to start my blog. 

Chloe | Chloeabelle
Blog | Twitter | Instagram | SheSaidBeauty | Email: |

Hello, I'm Chloe & I'm the blogger behind Chloeabelle.  I've just turned 21 & I'm from Scotland - Glasgow to be precise.  Chloeabelle started out as a wee hobby but became more of a huge passion since November - I can't believe I've been writing my blog for just over two years - blog birthday last & I have loved every minute of it - it's hard to think what I would be doing if I didn't have my blog! - boring.  I have been a lover of make-up since I bought my first black eyeliner inspired by Avril Lavigne & decided to take a Make-up Artist course in 2011 for some extra tips & tricks.
Chloeabelle is mainly about Beauty & my lifestyle - who doesn't love to have a nosey into other's lifes ;) but I do throw in some fashion OOTD's for a mixed variety.  Blogging has dusted off the cobwebs on my photography & artistic skills & also improved my writing skills too. Chloeabelle has given me some amazing opportunities with blogging events where I have met some amazing people, who I can call my friends & the brilliant & friendly blogging community over on Twitter - you are all the best!  I adore my followers & would love to say thankyou for sticking around :) Thankyou for taking the time to read this & visit my blog, I love finding & reading others, so don't hesitate to leave a comment or a tweet with your blog link or even a Hi :) I love talking to new people.

I hope you've managed to find some new blogs to read - pop on over to my sidebar and say hello and do let me know if you've found yourself a new favourite (don't forget there's even more blogs to be found in my sidebar that haven't been featured here so don't miss out!)

ADVERTISING UPDATE: Unfortunately, due to final year university commitments, I am temporarily suspending my advertisment feature at the end of December.  It won't be forever, and I will still be blogging every week as usual (fear not, no matter how snowed under with work I get I will never ever quit Bird's Words-ing!) - but I just wanted to get back to basics for a while and re-start once I've completed my main assignments and projects.  I shall be sure to let you know when I begin again and will do a quick update post once my spaces are back up and runnin' (I'm guessing it will be around February/March time).

This said, if you want to advertise with me in December and grab a space before I take a rest for a couple of months, please do get in touch! You can find more about my prices (from £3) and stats over here.  Don't hesitate to email me at or just drop me a tweet and I shall sort it all out in a shake of a puppy dog's tail for you :)

Which blogs have you been loving this month?

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

A Little TARTAN Addiction...

Oh crikey - photographing items of clothing is a right task and a half sometimes, isn't it? Fashion bloggers - I don't know how you do it. You deserve a medal.  I often throw a clothing post into the mix... As obsessed by beauty as I am, I also have a love for retail therapy and at the start of each season I do tend to add to my overflowing wardrobe with some new bits and pieces.  This year,  I have a little bit of an obsession for tartan - clearly.  I must admit I do find it quite hard to style sometimes and I have to be 'in the mood' to wear it - but I've become quite drawn to it since I've seen it popping up in shops.  It's won me over.  I thought I'd give you a little insight into my tartan collection and how I'll be styling these pieces through Autumn/Winter.  I've written about them in order of how they appear in my photograph so hopefully you can pick and choose certain sections if you don't wish to trawl through my dribble. Without any further rambling, let's get cracking!

1 | Scarves / White Tartan - Primark / Black & White Snood - Tesco / Red Tartan - PrimarkOne of the first things I bought when I knew tartan was going to be 'in' this season was a tartan scarf.  I've wanted one for quite some time as I think they look amazing with a parka style coat and a simple outfit.  I usually just wear mine thrown loosely around the neck and I like them to be quite long in length - the warmer and snugglier the better.  The white tartan one is perfect for those days when red looks a little 'clashy' - and it's the thicker of the bunch making it perfect for the colder weather.  The black and white snood is perfect for wearing with my leather jacket and is perfect for those days when I'm feeling a little 'monochrome'.  I'm currently on the lookout for an oversized, wooly version of my red primark one - It's served me well up until now but now that the clocks have gone back, I know I'll be in need of a thicker one.  I have my eye on an oversized one from Urban Outfitters... Oh dear - someone has a scarf-buying problem.

2 | Pyjama bottoms / Purple Shorts and Red Tartan Trousers - both PrimarkOh Primark you little devil, you.  Every year you get it spot on when it comes to cosy PJs and I find myself at the till with a basket full to the brim of new-news. Okay, so the purple 'cheeky' shorts aren't exactly practical for the winter but I really, really loved them and I thought I'd get my wear out of them somehow?  I'm completely in love with the red tartan pyjama bottoms though - they're slightly fleecy and are just so unbelievable soft and comfortable.  I've been wearing these around the house to lounge around in and l love them to bits.  They even have a little holly pattern on the inside of the waistband - if that doesn't scream 'festive cosy-ness' to you then I don't know what will.

3 | Skater Skirts / Red Pleated - New Look / Black and Grey - Primark
You can't beat a skater skirt! They're perfect to throw on with simple black and white tops and camis and for tucking jumpers in to. I've been wearing these with my fluffy white jumper and a simple black belt and they look lovely - they cinch you in at the waist and just look so girly and simple. The red pleated skirt is a classic tartan print - and the pleats around the front give it a bit of structure.  I've been wearing the black and grey version with slouchy jumpers and simple black and white cami tops - it also looks nice with my blazers.  It was a complete steal at £8 from Primark and gives that 'school geek-chic' vibe without being too OTT. The shape of it is also lovely - it's not to flouncy or bulky and I find it so flattering to wear - I sometimes struggle to find skater skirts that I like the shape of - but these two are just right.

4 | Collared Smock Dress - River Island via ASOS
If it has a peter pan collar and a cute print - I'll 'av it! This dress is from River Island's 'Chelsea Girl' range and sold out pretty quickly to say the least! Apologies for not getting a full photo of it but hopefully you get the jist of how pretty it is.  It's a babydoll/smock dress but it isn't so loose that it doesn't create shape - it's possible to grab a belt to cinch you in at the waist should you fancy a more fitted shape.  The colour of it is beautiful - a reddish purple hue with lines of yellow, white and deep purple making up the tartan print.  It falls an inch or so above the knee and is the perfect length for wearing both with and without tights.  The white peter pan collar just makes it for me.  So cute and girly!

5 | Tartan Shorts - River Island via ASOS
I bought these a while back and I must admit I haven't actually worn them yet.  They're harder to style than I first thought due to the length! They're quite...cheeky, shall we say? At 23 I can't really get away with short-shorts of a daytime any more. However, never one to give in, I'm planning on styling them with my trusty opaques and a slouchy top/jumper to contrast with the slightly tighter fit. I will probably 'business' it up a little with a black or white blazer as well. Shove a blazer over any outfit and you'll go from casual to office professh in seconds...

Have you been loving tartan as much as me this season? How have you been wearing it?

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Top 5 Autumn/Winter Reds

Swatches Top to Bottom | Rimmel Kate Moss '107' / Collection 'Prohibition' / Mac 'MAC Red' / MUA 'Shade 13' / Revlon 'Red Laquer' /

Autmn/Winter is the perfect time of year to really experiment with berry tones and statement reds.  A red lip is timeless and classic - and once you've found 'the one' (or in a beauty blogger's case - a fair few) you'll never look back.  A pop of red on a dreary winter's day always looks striking, and the whole build-up to Christmas is the perfect excuse to get festive with your lip colour.  Berry tones and pillar-box reds are my preference for the winter months, and I tend to lean towards orangey-reds in summer.  If you're a 'red lipstick newbie' it's worth baring in mind that what might look amazing on you in winter, might look a bit dull on you in summer and vice versa. So, this in mind, I thought I'd give you a run-down of my current Top 5 'wintery reds' in no particular order... I have worn the majority of these in different posts so I've linked those into the mix as well if you want a more in-depth look at the shades.

Rimmel | Kate Moss '107' 
Ohhh Kate Moss. Your lipsticks sent beauty bloggers across the globe into a berry lipstick frenzy last year. A year later and I'm still addicted to the infamous '107'.  This is the darkest shade of the bunch and is a dark berry red with hints of purple.  It's very much a gothic twist on the classic red, and although it appears scary in the tube, it looks beautiful once on the lips.  It very much reminds me of Topshop's 'Beguiled' (post here) and is amazingly pigmented.  It's quite matte - so it isn't for the faint hearted but it's a lovely colour all the same.  Want to see what it looks like on? You can find my previous post on the shade here.

Collection | Deluxe in 'Prohibition'
I have written a whole post on this little beauty including a snap of it on the lips here if you want to read more.  This shade is my most reached for lipstick at the moment and has to be my current favourite.  I actually prefer this to '107' - although almost identical in shade, this one is a touch lighter and is much more glossy - although it's still strongly pigmented.  It's just the perfect consistency in my opinion and I find it so easy and comfortable to wear. I don't find it drying in the slightest (107 has a tendancy to be a bit drying) and I've been wearing this in both the day and at night - it looks lovely with a simple, neutral eye and a slick of liquid liner.  It's the lipstick I'm wearing in my current Twitter picture, if you're interested! I shall be doing some sort of post on the look soon so keep your eyes peeled!

Mac Lipstick in 'MAC Red'
This lipstick is an absolute classic in my eyes.  I love it.  It's a true 'pillarbox' red shade and looks so striking when worn. It's quite a bright red and looks amazing on the lips as it makes such a statement.  The satin finish and vivid colour it provides are just the perfect combination.  It leans slightly blue without being overly cool in tone, and instantly makes your teeth look whiter.  It applies like a dream and stays put for ages - it looks so classy and timeless. If you're after a classic, true red - look no further than Mac's 'MAC Red'.  I have to say Mac's Red lipstick selection is second to none. There's something there for everyone.

MUA | Shade '13'
THIS little beauty is my red staple and has to be one of my all time favourite reds.  I wear this in the day (I even wear it to Uni) and on nights out and every single time somebody will ask me what shade of red I'm wearing.  Every time I tell them it's a £1 special from Superdrug their little eyes light up with delight (I should really stop telling them shouldn't I? - I'm giving away my MUA secret!) It's extremely pigmented - probably the most pigmented of the bunch - and is so soft and creamy to apply.  It's a lovely, instense bright red and I like it because it isn't too orangey - it suits me in both the summer and the winter time without fail and if MUA ever discontinued it I would bulk buy a lifetime supply quicker than you could say 'product rave'.  True love right there.

Revlon | Red Laquer
This shade is perfect for those days where you don't want to be too 'OTT' but fancy a little pop of colour.  Similar to Revlon's 'Candy Apple' lip butter but slightly brighter, this shade is such a lovely, subtle orangey-red that is just perfect for every day wear.  You don't need a lip liner to wear it, you don't need to spend 5 minutes in the mirror pulling your 'concentration face' and you don't need a special occasion to pull it off - it's just the perfect understated red.  The orangey tone brightens the complexion without looking too sickly - and it feels glossy and smooth to apply.  I think of it as a watered down version of Mac's 'Lady Danger' with a glossy, buttery finish.  If you're interested as to what it looks like on, I wore it last Christmas in this FOTD.

You've got to love a red lipstick, right?  I'm addicted to buying them! My collection must house an entire spectrum of crimson shades now and one day I shall have to sit down and photograph them all because that would just be extremely satisfying....  I shall be sure to keep you posted if there's any more additions - I currently have my eye on Mac's 'Hang Up' but I reckon I might pop that on the Christmas list...

What's your favourite winter red? Any of these tickle your lipstick taste buds?!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Anxiety Relief & Relaxation | 5 Products for a Calmer Mind

If you've followed my blog for a while or have had a delve and a rummage through my older posts, you may know that I suffer with panic attacks.  From time to time, I can feel a little bit edgy and although it's impossible to take it all away completely, there are some products on the market that I have found to be very good at helping me to relax and soothe my mind a little more. I know there's a lot of people out there who suffer with panic attacks and thought I'd share with you some of my favourite products that I reach for when I need a bit of calm in my life.  If you're going through a bad patch, you'll be amazed at how much good a little bit of 'me time' will do and hopefully you will pick up some tips and tricks from this post.  Even if you don't suffer with anxiety, you may find some of the products of interest for those days where you just need a little bit of a pick me up... Because we all need a little bit of TLC sometimes, right?

Elemis | Spa Home: Quiet Mind Relaxing Bath Elixir | £19.00 | Link
There's nothing like a relaxing, hot bath when you've had 'one of those days'. It's amazing what a difference they make and I always find that I fall asleep so much easier if I've had a bath of an evening.  Just recently, I decided it was about time I treated myself to a new bath soak and Elemis came to the rescue! This bath elixir has the most relaxing, luxurious scent which lingers on your skin once you've stepped out of the bath. I simply pour a little bit into running water and let the fragrance do it's thing.  Blended with cocoa butter and rich in aromatic oils,  it leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth afterwards. I always find myself feeling really sleepy and relaxed once I've used this! Totally worth the money in my opinion - it would make a lovely Christmas present for a friend or relative who's been going through a bit of stress recently.  Elemis also do a matching massage oil which I have on my wish-list! The scent is unbelievable and it's without a doubt one of my favourite fragrances when it comes to 'stress relieving' products.

Bach | Rescue Remedy | £9.99 | Link
I won't say too much about this one since I did a full review a while back (you can find that here if you're interested!).  I always have a bottle of this with me.  In fact, I have 2 bottles on the go at the moment - I keep one on my bedside table and one in my makeup bag for on the go.  I've used this since I did my GCSE's and I've always find it helps me along a little bit if I'm feeling a bit panicky or stressed out.  I prefer the 'dropper' version, but if you're not fan of the taste then they also do pastilles and spray versions to try.  I couldn't live without this stuff - it just takes the edge off a panic attack and helps me to feel more calm if I'm having a stressful day. I used to keep a bottle in my locker at work! Honestly, I leave a trail of these things everywhere I go...

Badger | Sleep Balm | £3.99 | Link
I've known about this stuff for years! I remember I used to use it when I first started secondary school (a bloomin' long time ago) and I've recently re-discovered it's benefits.  I'm not great with flying and I always try to sleep through the journey if I can - so there always used to be a pot of this in my flight bag!  It's a solid balm which comes in a handy pot (also - how cute is the badger?!) and is perfect for travelling or keeping by your bed. No mess, no fuss and all natural ingredients. I simply rub a little on my temples, wrists and neck before bed and the scent helps me drift off to sleep a little easier - it has a very subtle warming effect too which only adds to it's soothing properties. As with most products meant for relaxation, it contains that familiar hint of lavender - it really is such a lovely scent and has a certain 'spice' to it.  They also do a 'Yoga and Meditiation' version which I'm thinking of getting soon and a sleep balm for little ones if you have a small child who struggles to drift off.  For under a fiver each, they're worth a try and I'm so happy that Feel Unique stock them as they used to be difficult to get your paws on! They do all sorts of pots - oh they're so cute I just want to collect them all...

The Body Shop | Deep Sleep Dreamy Pillow and Body Mist | £10.00 | Link
I've had countless bottles of this stuff and I remember hearing that they'd discontinued it and feeling utterly lost! Luckily, it's still on the shelves and I will always recommend this stuff to people who really do struggle to get to sleep at night (If you're reading this, The Body Shop, please never ever discontinue this stuff - my sleep pattern depends on it!).  With camomile and blended essential oils the spray feels gentle and soothing on the skin and I always spritz it on my pillows, pyjamas and chest area before going to sleep.  It works a treat for me, and I always find I fall asleep much better once I've used this! It's perfect if you've been tossing and turning for hours - breathing the mist in deeply and taking a few calming breaths really does help relax and empty the mind if it just won't shut off.  I took a bottle of this along to London for a week with me as I knew I wouldn't sleep well with the noise - it seemed to do the trick the majority of the time! I've even been known to pack the stuff in my suitcase. Yep. Addicted.

Dermalogica | Stress Relief Treatment Oil | £16.90 | Link
The most recent addition to my anxiety army! I've recently been going for massages at a local spa/salon and I never realised just how much difference they make! I've always been a little sceptical about them but I've been proven wrong - I always leave feeling completely relaxed and ready for bed (I go at 7.30 at night and driving home afterwards can be a bit of a task if you're not careful!).  If you suffer badly with anxiety, you'll be surprised at just how much tension you hold throughout your body, and you can literally feel the 'knots' and tense-ness just disappear. Amazing. The 'undone' feeling instantly transfers to your mind-set and i've never experienced feeling so completely relaxed before! Anyway,  after my massage last week, I asked the receptionist about the oils they use - they smell gorgeous, leave the skin feeling silky smooth and warm up the muscles slightly so that you're left feeling like you're drifting on a little cloud of relaxation afterwards (I will do a little post on the massages I have if you're interested as I feel as if I'm rambling off on one now...) She wrote down the name of this one and I promptly went home and ordered myself a bottle.  The spa used the 'Dermalogica Professional' which smells a little stronger and works a little deeper (you can't buy it on the market unless you're a registered spa/salon I believe), but this one is just as good and is virtually the same.  I haven't used it much yet but I simply rub a little in around my shoulders and neck before bed and often rub a little onto my wrists during the day if I'm feeling edgy. I'd really recommend something like this if you're after a really good multipurpose relaxation oil.

And there we have my anxiety-busting army! I know this is a bit of a different post for me but hopefully you've found something of interest and feel inspired to try and relax your mind a little more! A lot of people simply ignore their anxiety and don't realise just how much difference a product or two can make - even just a relaxing bath now and again helps keep your mind at rest.  I'm looking to expand my little collection in the near future so I'll be sure to keep you all posted...

Have you tried any of these products? What's your favourite product for a relaxing treat? 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Mac False Lashes | The '35 Lash'

Mac False Lashes in '35' | £10.00 | Link

For me, false lashes are always a must for special occasions.  They photograph beautifully, add definition to the eye and enhance your natural peepers like no mascara on the market ever could.  I have my graduation coming up in November and will be having lots of photographs taken... as well as having my Dad video 'my bit' on stage - yup - as if I wasn't feeling a bit iffy already about taking a tumble on stage and faceplanting the principal - my Dad decides to nudge the tension up a notch and I'm now facing a lifetime of replays on 'You've Been Framed' should the unthinkable happen.  Anyway, graduation-fears aside, I wanted some eyelashes for the occasion that looked fairly natural, but also ones that would add thickness and length - a little like the effect of lash extensions.   I was browsing around my nearest Mac store the other week, and decided to have a look at their false lash selection.  I really loved the look of the '35 lash' and swiftly took them to the till.  At £10, they aren't the cheapest of lashes but I really wanted to break out of my 'Eyelure 101' comfort zone and try something a little new.

Now then, I apologise for not showing the lashes on both eyes with the right sort of makeup, but if you wear false lashes then you'll know there's nothing like wearing them for the first time and they can quickly get 'gloopy' if you're not careful - so I wanted to preserve their new-ness as best I could for my graduation (hence why I've only photographed one).  I know the photographs of my 'few hours old' makeup don't show these beauties up to their best potential - but hopefully you can get a good idea of the length and fullness they give.  The Mac website says that the lashes provide 'dramatic length and eye-opening fullness to the centre of the eye' and I have to say, they really do give a lenthening, naturally full effect.  I love that the lashes have a partly invisible band - this only adds to their 'natural' look and when you look down, you can't see the tell-tale 'line' that a lot of false lashes seem to have.   They're also not completely black which only adds to their appeal for me - they have a mix of dark brown shades mixed in so that they don't look completely false.  They are undeniably long - almost a little too long and when I put them on I wasn't sure I'd picked the right ones, but I reckon with the right makeup and a toned down neutral eye (without the lashings of mascara I'd obviously put on here!), they will look lovely and 'swoopy' without being too much. When you turn to the side they do look rather lengthy to say the least, but the fact that they look so natural and light means that you can sort of get away with it - they look very much how lash extensions would and don't have that 'plastic' look that a lot of falsies tend to have.  They feel and look like natural lashes. We will see how I feel on the day about wearing them - but even if I don't decide to rock them for my graduation I will surely be using them for a Christmas party sometime soon (yes it's October and yes I've just mentioned Christmas #sorrynotsorry).  I did read somewhere that they're easily re-shaped and it's possible to trim a tiny bit of the length off - so I shall see what they look like with my makeup on the morning... Watch this space!

Overall, it's so far so good.  I will be sure to post some sort of 'face of the day/night' when I do decide to wear these out and hopefully I will have a bit of spare time before my graduation to take a few photos of my makeup.  If you're after something a bit different when it comes to lashes, I'd recommend checking Mac's selection.  They have a little bit of everything from natural to full-on 'drama' and they're also really nicely packaged and well made.  I have to say that I found them incredibly easy to apply - I found the length of the band to be just right for my eyes (I usually have to cut a small amount off) and they didn't feel too heavy or uncomfortable on first impressions either.  

Have you tried Mac's False Lashes?

Sunday, 20 October 2013

ELF Brush Haul | Powder, Stippling and Eyeshadow Selection

First off, I'm really sorry if these photographs look a bit grainy.  I realised that my camera has been on the wrong setting for a while and I hadn't even noticed until I opened the photos up, saw that they didn't look quite right and checked over my camera for signs of damage!  Ugh. Such a photography novice at times! Anyway, moaning and grumbling aside, ever since I started blogging, I've built up quite the collection of makeup brushes.  I could never ever go back to basics and 'make do' with just a blush brush, sponge applicator and my fingers ever again (anyone else realise how clueless they were before they started blogging?!) I really began to realise just how much difference a brush or two makes, and I now have a rather full plant pot of them in my bathroom (yes...that's right - a plant pot - it's one of those decorative white ones from IKEA and I've had it for a good 2 years now - get yourselves to IKEA for all your brush storage needs!) Elf are a brand I've ordered from before, and I really love their stuff.  I find their products to be incredibly pigmented and easy to use, with fabulous colour choices and all at an affordable price. They're great for a little treat now and again and I've always found delivery to be prompt (such an important part of an online company in my opinion!). I decided it was about time I tried some of their brushes since I've been looking at them and umming and arring for a good while. I noticed recently that I actually don't have a lot of eye brushes, even though I do my eyeshadow daily - therefore,  it was about time I hit that order button. Here's what arrived on my doorstep a few days later...

Elf Studio Powder Brush | £3.75 | Link
This fluffy little devil is from Elf's studio line.  With their sleek black handles and soft bristles, they're really good for the price and look the part as well. The brush has a flat top, so is a little less fluffy and 'bulbous' than my Real Techniques Powder brush - meaning that it offers a slightly heavier coverage and picks up more product for any areas that I want to sculpt or powder over a little more.  So far so good with this one - I use it more for nights out when I really do want to mattify the skin and keep any shine at bay.  

Elf Studio Small Stippling Brush | £3.75 | Link
Again, this brush is from the studio line - to be honest there isn't too much difference between the two lines aside from the slightly softer bristles (synthetic Taklon) and the black exterior.  I bought this brush because of how much I love my trusty Real Techniques Stippling brush - and I thought a smaller one would be great for use with cream highlighter.  The shape allows for more precision in application and is the perfect size for applying a highlight. I noticed that it doesn't pick up as much product as the Real Techniques offering so it often takes a little more time to build up colour. It creates a very subtle effect, and I often find I have to use small sweeping motions instead of 'stippling' to get the desired effect but it works really well with blending out my Benefit 'High Beam' and similar products. 

Elf Studio Angled Contour Brush | £3.75 | Link
This brush has a flat, angled top and is perfect for applying contouring shades to the eyes.  I find it a little big sometimes so if you need a precise application then you might wish to opt for something a little more smaller and fluffier, but it works well at applying colour in and above the crease of the eye.  I seem to be using the 'blending' brush a little more as I find it suits my preferences more when it comes to eyeshadow application but it's a good brush to have in my collection nonetheless.

Elf Blending Eye Brush | £1.50 | Link
This little gem cost me £1.50 and it's honestly become one of my favourite eyeshadow brushes in my collection It fits the eyelid perfectly and allows for seamless blending and application of colour.  I've found it works really well in the crease and for building up colour on the lids to create more depth.   This has to be my favourite purchase of the bunch and I actually prefer the bristles on this one to those from the Studio line! They're still just as soft, and although admittedly probably aren't as smooth as a high-end equivalent (don't expect too much for a budget price!), are still really good value for money and I have no grumbles about the quality at all. I half expected the bristles to be plasticy and irritating to use on my eyes but I was completely wrong - elf have got it bang on the mark!  I love the length of the bristles, the way the brush is shaped and how smooth it makes my eyeshadow look. It just makes blending a doddle.

Elf Smudge Brush | £1.50 | Link
I realised I didn't own a brush like this so I swiftly added it to my basket.  HOW I've lived without a smudging brush in my life for all these years I will never know, but it was just what I needed.  I use this for applying shadow under the lower lash line - and although I've used similar brushes before, I find this one is much more precise and works well at getting a good colour pay off.  It also works well at smudging out kohl pencil for a classic, smokey look and is good for use in the 'outer v' of the eyelids if you want a precise bit of definition.

Overall, I'm really impressed with Elf's brush line and will certainly be ordering more. In fact, I might have to hop on over this week and grab a few more! I have my eyes on their fan brush and Kabuki Face brush next.  The prices are ridiculously cheap, so don't expect Mac 'top notch' quality, but they're just as good as any other brushes on the highstreet and actually better than other brands I've picked up in drugstores.  If you just want some cheap little additions to your collection and fancy trying out some new shapes and sizes, then I really do recommend them.  Each brush comes packaged with a little instruction card and in it's own little pouch (which I've kept for when I go abroad - I can never fit them all in a brush roll!).  The handles are also really nicely shaped and the brushes are all very lightweight which only adds to their appeal for me.  AND - I picked up all 5 of these for barely over a tenner. What's not to like?! Well done Elf... *hiigh fives*

Have you tried any Elf brushes? Which ones do you like to use?

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Love Me Beauty Box | October

Love Me Beauty Box | Monthly Subscription Box | £10+P&P* | Link

Every month, I look forward to receiving my Love Me Beauty Box* (formerly Beauteco).  I'm sure you've all heard through the bloggery-grapevine about the concept now, but just in case you haven't, you can read my first ever post about it all here.  I can honestly say that each month I always manage to find at least two or three products that I absolutely LOVE - it really is such a fabulous little monthly treat for a beauty fanatic and I thoroughly enjoy getting my mitts on my own personalised choice of beauty treats every month!  October's box has to be one of the best one's yet (for me). Lord & Berry have fast become one of my favourite beauty brands and I've not been disappointed with any of their products I've tried - so I was jolly well chuffed to see the brand make an appearance in the box!  I was spoilt for choice with the menu's this month, but I thought I'd give you a quick run-through of what I chose for my October box...

Lord & Berry Smudge Proof Eyeliner (Full Size) | RRP £7.50
Oh how happy I was when I saw this little beauty.  I've gone a little bit crazy over kohl pencils of late - so to see a full sized eyeliner sitting pretty in my box - well - it made my day! I received the shade 'Smoke' - a gorgeous slate grey colour.  I've been pondering over grabbing a grey eyeliner for ages - much more natural than black but still providing definition. This one is a very welcome addition to my collection! I shall report back once I've tried it a little more, keep your eyes peeled!

Lord & Berry Scuba Mascara (Full Size) | RRP £12
This mascara promises thicker, longer lashes at the same time as being waterproof. Yay! I always wear waterproof mascara - I find it helps prevent any smudging and panda-eyes! The brush for this is lovely - just my cup of tea. It's not massive, but it has a good bit of bristle on there and smooths through the lashes really well.  Again, I shall report back once I've given it a good go.

Balm Balm Detox Bath & Shower Oil (Full Size) | RRP £6
I was really looking forward to receiving this product this month.  I've really gotten into aromatherapy after recently having an Indian Head massage and realising just how much a scent can make a difference to your mind-set! I chose 'Detox' - as that's just what I need currently.  I'm trying to drink more water, have suddenly developed a 'thing' for green tea and am trying to relax my mind a little more before bed to reduce stress.  This little teeny-tiny bottle is a welcome addition to my bathroom shelf and I cannot wait to hop in the bath and soothe my stress away! 

Weleda MILLET Nourishing Shampoo (Sample Size -18ml) | RRP £8.95 for 190ml
I'm always up for trying and testing new hair care.  I reckon a good half of the posts on my blog relate to some form of hair product so a shampoo or conditioner is always a winner for me.  I'm looking forward to trying this actually - it contains macadamia nut oil so it sounds like it's going to be nourishing!

Amie Skincare Morning Dew Moisturiser (Full Size) | RRP £4.95
I've always heard good stuff about this brand and was really excited to see a daily moisturiser in the mix this month! It's gentle enough for everyday use, provides the skin with the moisture levels it needs but also helps to control shine and mattify your skin ready for foundation/makeup.  Sounds good to me!

So there we have it. Another month. Another fabulous box!  I really do think the Love Me Beauty box is worth the money - and it's something I'm considering subscribing my mum up to soon (christmas is coming, don't you know?;)) With FOUR full sized products, you really cannot grumble, and for £10 + P&P*, it's really good value once you tot up the RRP's!   Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for some in-depth reviews of these products once I've given them a good whirl! I've had a few Love Me Beauty box products pop up in my monthly favourites, so I'm excited to see if any of these make the cut this month!

Any of these products take your fancy? Are you subscribed to Love Me Beauty?

Sunday, 13 October 2013

LUSH Skin Care | Tea Tree Toner Water

Lush Tea Tree Toner Water | 100g (small) [Link]

When I head into LUSH, I usually make a bee-line straight for the lip scrubs or the bath bombs (the Babybot to be precise...oh how I love his calming, bubbly influence).  However, a couple of months ago, I decided to branch out, be a bit devilish and give one of their skin care products a whirl after a recommendation from my lovely friend Emily (you can find her blog here).  She's become such a good friend of mine over the past half a year or so, and she is the first person I go to for skin care advice or if I want to know about a certain product - she knows quite a bit about certain brands and she's always telling me about the latest face mask she's been trying, or the latest products she's been using at work.  When she mentioned the Lush Tea Tree Water - I was sold instantly.  I'm a big fan of tea tree - I've used it since I was a teenager and I find it works a treat for my skin.   Just for reference, I don't suffer with acne.  I do, however, have sensitive skin that is prone to breakouts around my chin if I'm stressed, if it's the 'time of the month' (i know a lot of you will feel my pain with this one - literally), or if I've had a few late nights. I mostly have fairly clear skin but it is combination - I really do have to watch what I use on it.

I use this toner water mostly at night - after I've taken my make-up off for the day and cleansed and washed my face.  I simply pump a couple of sprays onto a cotton pad and sweep it across my face and down my neck to remove any nasties that have been left behind when cleansing and to freshen up my skin before bed.  I've also used it in the morning for a quick 'spruce' up - and I've also used it as a refreshing mist throughout the warmer weather we had a couple of months back.  It really is a versatile little product - a toner and a facial mist in one. It doesn't smell overly powerful - those of you who are familiar with tea tree will know that it often has the power to knock your socks off a little bit - but this smells really nice and fresh, with just a light scent of tea tree that's both gentle and calming.  It doesn't sting - it feels really nice to apply and 'sweep' across the face and it removes any trace of makeup or dirt left on the face.   It says on the bottle that it's suitable for those with oily skin types.  I actually have combination skin and I haven't found it drying or harsh on the slightly more dry areas of my face, and I've actually found it to help balance out my skin.   It gets rid of any oil around my t-zone and helps to soothe any redness.

If you suffer with spot-prone skin or feel a little bit 'out of balance' - I'd really recommend giving this a go. Even if you don't suffer a great deal with spots but want a refreshing toner/face mist then I'd still say it's worth a try - I reckon most skin types would get on well with this little beauty (it's received really good reviews on their website and also on a lot of blogs).  The ingredients are really gentle on the skin and I find they have a real calming influence on my complexion.  The spray nozzle makes it easy to disperse just the right amount as opposed to a 'tip and spill' sort of bottle that can often result in a bit of a kerfuffle if you're not careful (also saves on wasted product!) For £3.95 for 100g, it really is affordable and totally worth the money in my opinion - I've had this small bottle for a good couple of months or so now and I still have plenty left!

Have you tried the Lush Tea Tree Water?  Are there any other Lush skin care products you'd recommend?

Friday, 11 October 2013

The Perfect Blow-Dry? | Ego Professional & Schwarzkopf OSIS+

When it comes to my hair, styling starts right from the shampoo and conditioner I use.  I am most definitely not your 'wash and go' type. Oh no. I'm much more fussy and like to get everything 'just so'.  If I haven't got time to blow-dry my hair properly, then heaven forbid - it's going to be a bad day to say the least.  Blow-drying my hair is a delicate operation - I have a certain 'routine' and technique I use every single time without fail and I like to experiment often with new products in order to get the best possible barnet.

Ego Professional Hair Alter Ego* | Link
As hairdryers go, this one is pretty swish.  It's superly duperly lightweight - which makes it the perfect companion for those of you who take time blow-drying your hair like me - my hair takes an age to try so I like to avoid 'dead arm' whenever I can.  The design is also really satisfying (waheyy the design student in me is coming out...) - it's really smooth to the touch, easy to grip, buttons are easy to access and the 'nozzle' (not pictured) is very easy to whip on and off.   I also love the whole 'red to black' thing it's got going on.  Visuals aside, the actual performance is really good.  It has 8 speed and heat settings which is fabulous for a fussy little urchin like me, and also has the much needed 'cool' shot for setting in the style.  The best aspect for me, and what sets it apart from a lot of dryers on the market, is the 'HW2' technology - making your hair feel softer and smoother to the touch and generally increasing hair manageability and quality afterwards.  I can honestly say that my hair felt so smooth after using the dryer - even when I blow-dryed my hair upside-down (i do this to get volume in the roots).  I found that I had to use less hair serum the next day to tame frizz, and my GHD's glided through like a dream. I did find I had to read the manual a couple of times to get the best out of it - at first I found it didn't dry my hair as quick as I'd have liked but a quick gen up on the controls and I found it pretty speedy.

The downside? It's by no means a cheap addition to your hair tool collection.  At £109 it really is the crem de la crem of the hairdrying world and if you're a 'blow and go' kind of girl (scrap your filthy minds....) then this won't be for you.  If you're like me and are absolutely hair-care bonkers then it's worth a look if you're in the market for a new dryer - but it's worth shopping around.  You can find it on BeautyBay currently at full price, but a couple of weeks back I found it on Amazon for a great deal less.

Schwarzkopf OSIS+ 'Blow & Go' Volumising Blow Dry Spray* |  Link
Those of you who read my hair-related posts are probably well aware of my love affair with hair mousse. I flippin' love the stuff. If I blow-dry my hair without a dollop or two then I certainly know about it.  After trying a few volumising sprays in the past, I've always converted back to my trusty bottle of the whipped stuff. I often find sprays leave my hair crispy, or looking dull, and often don't provide as much volume as a mousse.   This little offering by Schwarzkopf has probably been the most successful in swaying me in the 'spray' direction so far.  I actually use this for my fringe.  I either like my fringe pushed back slightly, or sweeping across my forehead - and I always like it to look like it has volume. There's nothing I hate more than a flat, gappy fringe (fellow fringe fans will know what I mean here! Jeez, how many more times do I want to say 'fringe' in this paragraph? >>FRINGE!<<) I simply lift the section of hair up, and spray at the root a couple of times from a bit of distance and then blow-dry for a few seconds in the opposite direction, before drying and setting it into the position I like.  I find that it always looks much more glossy afterwards, and doesn't have any crispy bits that the mousse can tend to leave - the 'Blow & Go' doesn't leave any sticky residue whatsoever and leaves your hair looking polished and feeling light as air.  It also helps my fringe to stay pretty 'swoopy' all day.  Result. I can totally see why this little spray is a bestseller... At just under a tenner at £9.75 (you can find it for around £7 on eBay) it's well worth a try if you're struggling to inject a bit of volume into your barnet but don't want to pay a fortune.

Have you tried any of these products? Are you a blow-dry obsessive like me?! If so, recommend me some stuff!! :)

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Perfect Autumn Glow | Clarins - Liquid Bronze

I'm partial to having a bit of a sunkissed glow.  It's no secret that I'm most certainly a 'fan of the tan' and although i don't like to be too brown, I do like to keep a little bit of a glow to my skin all year round.  I haven't got the palest skin in the world, but in winter it can tend to look a little dull, and generally a little lifeless unless I give it a bit of a boost.  However, fake tan for the face is one thing I struggle with.  Most fake tans I've used to far have either been too dark, too patchy or too pore 'cloggy'.  Not a good look I'm sure you'll all agree - especially in winter when it's quite obvious that you haven't simply popped over to the Bahamas overnight - I like a natural, effortless glow.  Enter 'Clarins Liquid Bronze' - my new go-to facial tanner.  It's basically become somewhat of a 'cult product' amongst the beauty blogging world of late. It's easy to see why.

Clarin's Liquid Bronze is not your average facial tanner.  It's subtle, it takes a bit of building up and it certainly doesn't give you that 'just stepped off the plane look' - but that's why it's perfect for this time of year.  I won't pull the wool over your eyes - it will not give you a massive colour difference - it is extremely subtle and if you have an olive or dark skintone then this won't be for you. This being said, I don't have the lightest skin in the world (but it's fair to say I can look like a bit of a pale face at times) and I can see a noticeable difference after using it 2 nights in a row.   What I love about it is that it gives such a natural hint of a summer glow - it looks unbelievably smooth and gives your skin that slight 'olive' undertone and inner radiance that you might get when you've been out in the sun for a while.  You could easily use this every evening for a little moisture boost and never look like you've gone 'over the top' with the fake-bake when you wake up in the morning.  

It comes out of the bottle as a white liquid/cream which is fairly thin in consistency.  I simply smooth it onto my face and neck before bed using a cotton pad and let it work it's magic overnight. I find it sinks in really quickly - and leaves the skin feeling moisturised and smooth afterwards instead of sticky and 'heavy' like other fake tans I've used. It also doesn't have that dreaded biscuit smell; a lot of bloggers have said how nice this product smells and I have to agree - it's really fresh and fruity.  It actually reminds me of Fruit Salad sweets - anyone remember those?!  It contains Aloe Vera and Vitamin E to help soothe and soften the skin - so it does have added benefits and isn't merely 'just a facial tanner'.It's also worth pointing out that I have sensitive skin that tends to break out if I use products that don't agree with me - and although Liquid Bronze is fragranced, it hasn't caused me any problems whatsoever and I find it to be very gentle on the skin.

I bought my bottle of Debenhams online when they had free delivery and 10% off (link) - so it's worth shopping around as I often see this product discounted by a couple of pounds. Liquid Bronze retails for £18.00 - which isn't the cheapest of facial tanners out there but it is worth it if this is the type of thing you're after.  This product isn't for everyone, and if you're looking for a tanner that provides a deep colour this won't be for you.  But if you're after a subtle, even colour, have a very light, pale skin tone or are a bit of a 'novice' when it comes to facial tanning - this might be worth a shot. 

Have you tried Liquid Bronze? What were your thoughts?