Sunday, 29 September 2013

Empties #1

On regular basis I buy a lovely little of haul of beauty goodies, but then I get so excited to try them out that I forget to take any pictures before I rip them out the packaging. And more often than not I'm halfway through a product before I realise "I meant to blog about this!" Well, there's no need for that product to go unshared - I rounded up a few of my used up, or nearly used up, beauty products to share with you.

Dr Brandt. Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner: sample size
I actually received this sample in my first order from Beauty Bay. It's a great service, they offer free standard delivery but if you pay £1.50 they'll pack a couple of extra samples into your order before they ship it off - even if you only order one thing like me. After using this several times I still have mixed feelings about it. You are supposed to apply a thin layer to anywhere you suffer from blackheads and enlarged, wait for it to turn blue and wash it off - supposedly taking away the dirt and shrinking your pores. The first time I used it I was waiting for it to turn a bright, smurf shade of blue when it reality it's more a pale blue-grey. I'd like to think my skin looking smoother and cleaner after each use but not enough for me to fork out £31.64 for a full sized tube. I'll stick to nose strips thanks.

Rimmel Fix and Perfect Pro Primer: £6.99 from Superdrug
This is my go to drugstore primer. Cheap as chips and it really works. I bought this one after I used up my sample tube of Smashbox primer, I was umming and ahhing over whether to shell out nearly £30 for Smashbox (which really is an amazing primer) or just to pick another. As much as I'd love to have picked up the Smashbox one there wasn't really a spare £30 in my budget at that point. This primer really is a good budget alternative, it tackles shine, blurs imperfections and really helps your make up to stay in place for longer. I currently have four primers in my make up stash and I always like to mix and match them but this one will always have a special place with me.

Benefit The Porefessional: £24.50
You can read my full review of this amazing product here. This was the first full size Benefit product I ever bought and I have not been disappointed. I bought this tube back in February when I was getting my brows shaped and despite the fact that I have used it nearly everyday I am still managing to squeeze a little bit out of the tube everyday. So although spending £24.50 in one go on one product may look like a lot, it's definitely made it's money back from the amount of uses I've got out of it. This is hands down the best primer I have ever used, it feels silky soft when you apply it, it blends away enlarged pores, imperfections and oiliness and provides the perfect base for any foundation or BB cream. I can't wait to buy my next tube.

Bourjois Express Eye Make Up Remover £4.99 from Boots
I've always struggled with eye make up remover, no matter how sensitive the formula it just seems to dry my eyes out. I even find the Simple one too harsh sometimes as it completely dries out my eyelids and leaves them sore and irritated. This Bourjois has been slightly better because it has more an oily consistency. Okay, that doesn't sound very pleasant, but rather you shake to combine two formulas and you get a formula which is lighter than normal eye make up removers. I do like this one from Bourjois but I do think I will be exploring other brands to try and find a gentler one. If you have any recommendations let me know!

Have you tried any of these products?

Beth xx

Mini haul #1

I've missed blogging this week! On Thursday I had my first lecture as a third year - otherwise known as the "scare the crap out of you" lecture where we heard all about final year project and dissertation deadlines, not to leave anything to the last minute and if you haven't got any ideas by know... well... *gulp*! On the bright side, on Friday I found out that my job application for a part time job in a cookware shop was successful and I'm starting next Sunday. So between uni, my job and running this blog this year will be jam-packed but I'm still looking forward to - albeit with a few nerves
It seems now that I can't even make a quick trip to Asda without picking up some beauty products. All I popped in for was a few food items and some toothpaste but a few other goodies made it into my shopping bag as well.
(L-R) vanilla shower scrub, vanilla bath and shower gel and vanilla body mist - priced at £3 each from Asda

First up is this trio of vanilla scented bath time treats from NSpa. I am addicted to body scrubs, but unfortunately I just go through a tube so quickly because I like to use one every other shower! I intended to stick to using exfoliating gloves instead this year - my housemate picked me up some the other day - but when I saw this scrub I couldn't resist. It's got a nice strong, vanilla scent without being overpowering or sickly sweet. Seeing as Asda were running a 3 for £5 across the NSpa range it seemed silly to just pick up one item so I went for the matching shower & bath gel and body mist as well.

(L-R) chocolate masque £1, glacial clay spa - clay infsued fabric mask £1.48, blemish mud argule anti-imperfection £1 and manuka honey peel off mask £1 (all from Asda)
Now a facemask was on my shopping list this week because my skin is having quite a bad breakout at the moment - especially around my mouth - so I wanted to find something to calm it down a bit before tomorrow. I love Montagne Jeunesse masks and Asda were running a 4 for 3 deal so I picked 4 new ones I hadn't tried before: Argile Anti-Imperfection, Manuka Honey Peel-Off, Chocolate Masque and Glacial Clay Spa which is a clay infused fabric mask. They're all designed to deep clean your pores and help with problem skin - perfect for me. The only problem I'll have is trying to work out which one to use first.

Hope you're all having a great weekend.

Beth xx

Monday, 23 September 2013

Mani Mondays: The nail care basics

Apologies for being absent over the weekend but my best friend came to stay at my new house so we were busy catching up. It was a proper girly weekend: shopping in Southampton, tapas and cocktails at La Tasca and a spa day at Bournemouth Marriott Leisure club. Okay we didn't actually have any treatments but we had a lovely, relaxing few hours swimming in the heated pool, sitting in the jacuzzi looking at the seaside and first time tries of the sauna (which I wasn't keen on) and the steam room (which I loved).
This week's Mani Monday's post isn't technically a nail art design for you, but rather taking things back to basics and properly taking care of yours nails - after all we all need a good base for any nail tutorial whether it's a simple French manicure or going made with dots and stripes.
I've been researching some top tips for keeping your nails in good condition as part of an assignment for Black Box Beauty - where I work as a beauty writer - so I thought I would share some of the best ones as well as my current favourite products.

Models Own 4-way nail buffer (very well used)

Filing and Buffing
Most people are split when it comes to buffing but I love it! One of my favourite products has to be my Models Own 4-way nail buffer. It comes with a nail file and then 3-stage buffer so it's really handy to carry in your handbag. Buffing removes the top layer of the nail bed to get rid of any ridges or bumps, so if you have weak or brittle nails you might want to avoid it altogether.

Nail Shape
This varies for everyone, my housemate keeps hers short and square where as I grow them long and file them into an oval shape. Even when I cut them off I still keep them rounded, I just think it looks nicer and also makes your fingers look longer and slimmer.

Some of my favourite shades for Autumn: Polishes from Barry M, Rimmel Lycra Pro, NYC Nail Glossies, M&S, Max Factor Nail Effects, Bobby Pin and Acessorize.

This winter is all about deep, berry shades which look amazing but do lead to stained nail beds - as I've found out the hard way. My favourite base coat is Save the Nail by Nails Inc, but recently I've been using Rimmel Nail Nurse which you can use as base coat and top coat - great for lazy girls like me.

Soap and Glory Hand Food: Hydrating hand cream

Winter is on it's way and it's definitely getting colder, which means dry, sore red skin. To keep this at bay I've been using Soap and Glory Hand Food. I also suffer from quite weak nails at times. I always seem to be bending them back, and then ripping the top part of my nail off, though only on my thumbs or ring fingers! It's really  painful but not exactly something you can make a fuss about so, when I remember, I like to apply a strengthening coat. It's also helpful to cut off any nicks as soon as you notice them to prevent them catching on anything.

What are your favourite hand and nail care products?

Beth xx

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Premier model skin toner

Premier Model Skin Toner created by Monu - £11.69 (in Look Fantastic Sale)
This toner featured in my Look Fantastic Haul last week and you may think this is a bit soon to feature the product but it's quickly become one of the favourite steps in my morning and evening skincare regime.
I'd been looking for a toner for a while when I stumbled across the Premier Model Skin toner in the Look Fantastic sale and bought it on a whim really. According to the website it promised to revitalize skin and tighten pores, I really struggle with and oily t-zone and enlarged pores by my nose so I was sold.
I've been using this toner twice a day since it arrived and I can say, in combination with my other skincare products, it really has started to help my skin tone, quality and acne.
The toner by Monu Skincare contains sodium hyaluronate to plump up the skin, vitamin C for radiance, aloe vera to soothe and vitamin B5 to help promote moisture balance - it's also paraben free which is always good for any beauty product. Because of the mix of gentle an natural ingredients I think this would be suitable for any skin types, even you sensitive ones.
This unlike any toner I've used in before in the fact that it's a bit like cleanser. You can either warm it between your hands and apply to your face, or use a damp cotton wool pad - which is the option I usually go for - and it foams up a little bit on your face. I love it because it makes my face feel so clean after! You'd think after using make-up remover and a cleanser that your face would be free of make-up, but sweep the cotton pad across your face and you'll still see the faintest traces of foundation. It does make you think how clogged up your skin must be after several days of wearing full make up.
The only problem I have had with this toner is the bottle. I can never seem to do it up tight enough, meaning it leaks and has now ruined the cardboard box it came in - you can probably see the watermark in the picture above.
While I am really impressed at this product paying £11.69 in the Look Fantastic sale was enough for me. I don't think I'll be paying out the usual price of £20.95 but that's only because I rarely spend over £20 on any beauty product.

Have you tried any of the Premier Model Skin range yet? You can buy the toner in the Look Fantastic sale here or on the Monu website here.

Beth xx

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Collection 2000 lasting perfection concealer



My little sister actually introduced me to this concealer after seeing beauty vloggers rave about it on Youtube. Personally, I think it's nice to see beauty bloggers raving about a drugstore product. Everyone is so caught up in high end beauty pieces that they forget that there are some really good high street products out there as well. At £4.19 this a concealer that everyone can afford, and one that actually works. 
Now apologies for the bad picture, I wanted to take some of my own but unfortunately the black writing on the tube has already started to smudge with continued use. It's quite disappointing, considering I've only had the concealer for about 3 weeks, but that is the downside sometimes of high street beauty products - the packaging isn't as always a good quality as some of the more expensive items.
This liquid concealer provides good medium coverage that can be applied directly to problem areas with a foot applicator. This concealer is best at covered up dark circles and red marks rather than spots, as too much coverage can make it look cakey. I prefer to use my Revlon Photoready concealer, which is a thicker stick consistency to cover up any raised blemishes. I've also found that this concealer really does last, with some you can find them slipping after only a few hours and revealing the imperfections you wanted to hide, but with Collection 2000 I don't need to worry. I can apply my make up in the morning and go about my day without worrying if my blemishes are on show. This has also been excellent at hiding my dark circles, an unfortunate by products of late night studying at uni.
There are four shades available, light, fair, medium and deep. I usually class myself as fair skinned but even I found the light and fair shades fare too pale for me so I went for medium instead. Again there might not be as many shade choices as some higher end brands but if you are looking for a good basic concealer that can actually, well, conceal then this one will do the job for you without breaking the bank.

Have you tried the Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer?

Beth xx

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Beauty Wishlist #1

Beauty Wishlist #1

Beauty Wishlist #1 

There's rarely a time where I am not lusting after new make up. A new season means new trends and my wish list growing ever longer. I have to admit I don't follow trends too passionately, I prefer to stick with what suits me, I don't believe you should wear something just because it's "in". Here's a few beauty pieces which I currently have my eye on.

Nails Inc Autumn Winter Collection feat: Old Bond Street (violet), St Martins Lane (deep wine), Oxford Street (toffee nude) and Regent Street (glossy grape): £25.00
Okay, so I really don't need any more nail polishes but I can't help myself. I really need to invest in an acrylic stand soon, my storage box is pretty but it's a right pain to try and find the right polish. This autumn is all about rich, deep colours which I just love for nails. I think my favourite is St Martins Lane because I adore berry shades and this would take you all the way through winter. I've never tried Nails Inc polishes but I love the range of shades they offer so I think a bottle could should make it's way into my collection soon.
Benefit Rockateur: £23.50
The latest in Benefit's famous box-o-powder range. Rockateur is a gorgeous shimmery rose gold which I think will be incredibly flattering.It's only recently been released but already the blogsphere is a-buzz with positive reviews. I'm not one to follow the hype but I genuinely think this is beautiful, I'm a bit worried the shimmer will look bad on my combination skin but luckily my cheeks aren't oily.
MAC Rebel: £15.00
I've have been driving my friends insane telling them I want to try a plum lipstick but it's just trying to find a flattering shade which is the difficult part. I'm quite fair skinned so I don't want something super dark, but I have quite full lips so I can pull off a statement colour. I saw Rebel on another beauty blog and thought how stunning it was, I was able to see from the swatches it was the perfect in-between shade I was looking for to start autumn.
Pixi Lip Blush in Energy: £12.50
This Lip Blush is a light coral apricot, which seems completely at odds with the MAC shade I picked but I genuinely do think this is a lovely colour and something which is much more wearable everyday. It's a lip stain which means the colour will sit on your lips, usually, for much longer than a stick or gloss.
ARTDECO Illuminating Shimmer Cream in Golden Glow or Bronzed Glow: £10.25
Just because summer is over doesn't mean we have to say goodbye to gorgeous glowing skin. I prefer golden based highlighters myself as I think they look more natural so I would go for Golden Glow. I used to love the highlighter from Benefit but now I find it's just a bit too glittery for me so I would love to try out this ARTDECO one instead.
Clinique Superprimer: £20.00
Last but by no means least on the beauty wishlist is the new Superprimer form Clinique. I tested this out in Boots a few weeks ago and it was lovely. So soft and silky, it glided on like a dream. I love trying new primers, they're probably one of the only beauty products, along with foundation, that I don't mind splashing out on. There are several in the range but most are designed for colour correcting, because my main problem is an oily t-zone the lady at the Clinique counter recommended the universal shade.

What beauty products are on your wish list for autumn?

Beth xx

Monday, 16 September 2013

Mani Mondays: Shades of purple

So I'm not very creative when it comes to nails, I have loads of colour but not enough tools to create the amazing nail art you see on other blogs. So while I wait for student loan to come in and my part time job to start I'm trying to create budget looks with whatever I have to hand. This week is a different shades of purple look which is really easy to create and can be mixed up to use different hues of the same base colour.
I used Barry M Prickly Pear to create a pale purple base and then used a darker purple from Accessorize to draw a different design for each nail. It's not super neat because I did this freehand rather than using a nail pen but purple polish is what was in my box so that is what I used.

You will need:

  • Barry M in Prickly Pear £3.99
  • Accessorize dark purple polish (I got this as part of a gift set but you can buy a similar shade here)
  • Rimmel Nail Nurse 5-in-1 base & top coat £4.49
Next steps
  • Prep your nails: make sure they clean of any old polish and apply Rimmel Nail Nurse
  • Apply two coats of Barry M in Prickly Pear
  • Grab your darker nail polish and go crazy on the designs, as you can see below I went for a different design for each nail but you can do whatever you want. Lines are the hardest with because nail polish brushes are quite wide and it can be difficult to get them straight.

Just realised how strange my fingers look when photographed individually

Beth xx

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Look Fantastic haul

To be honest with you I'm not really sure how I ended up on the Look Fantastic website. It was the first day alone in my new house and one minute I was browsing Amazon for bedding and decoration to make my room a bit more homely and the next I'm browsing hundred of beauty products with at least 50% off! What was a girl to do but buy a few pieces!
What really drew me in though was the promise of free samples, all you had to do was spend £25 on products included in the offer and you get given an Editor's Pick.

Alpha-H Liquid Gold Prep and Prime: £15.29 (RRP: £25)
I'm a bit annoyed with myself because I actually meant to buy the Alpha-H Liquid Gold which can be used to treat acne as well as fine lines and wrinkles, but I added this one to my basket thinking it was a primer. What I didn't realise until I went to cancel my order is that if you place an order and your products is labelled as "Product in stock, usually dispatched within 24hrs" then it is pretty much impossible to edit/change/cancel your order and now that I have it, I really can't be bothered to send it back. This product is designed to brighten the skin, with chamomile and thyme to help reduce blemishes and redness. However it's also designed to help with fine line and wrinkles, something I'm too young to worry about yet, but I'm going give it a try for a bit and see if it will help my acne and redness around my mouth and nose.

Premier Model Skin Toner: £11.69 (RRP: £20.95)
I have been looking for a toner for so long and this one just kind of just jumped out at me - I think it's the red packaging! But when I read it helped remove traces of cleanser and tighten your pores without drying it then I was sold. The facewash I've been using recently has really dried out the skin around nose which doesn't look great when you apply foundation. This bottle contains vitamin B5 for moisture balance, Aloe Vera to soothe, Vitamin C for raidance and Sodium Hyaluronate to plump skin. 200ml for just over a tenner isn't bad and I can't wait to try it.

Free Stuff!
Who doesn't love free samples, I swear I would save myself so much money if beauty companies didn't offer free samples with a certain spend amount. My Look Fantastic order came with 5 sample sized products.

Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil Pure Treatment Oil (RRP: £20.50 for 50ml)
 I'm definitely up for trying anything that promises to banish frizz and leave hair looking silky and shiny. The fact that it's paraben and other nasties free it a brilliant bonus. You can use this as a styling aid or a intensive treatment
Australian Bodycare Tea Tree Oil Hand and Body Lotion (RRP: £21.70 for 500ml)
A nice enough inclusion but nothing I'm particularly excited to try compared to the other products.According to the packaging, beauty therapists use this an aftercare treatment to help with ingrown hairs to perhaps it will help with razor burn as well?

Alpha H Micro Cleanse with Glycolic Acid and Rice Bran (RRP: £24.50 for 100ml)
Another exfoliant to go with the one I ordered. This one is designed to clear pores of dirt and debris (great for me) and help with fine lines and wrinkles (no so great). I think this one is slightly stronger as it is designed to be used twice a week so I will be alternating it with the Liquid Gold Prep and Prime.

Gatineau Defilift 3D Eye Contour Lift Emulsion (RRP: £46.50 FOR 15ml)
Considering a full sized 15ml tube costs nearly £50 getting a 5ml tube for free after spending £25 is pretty good going! This is not a product I would pick out myself and eye creams always seem to irritate my eyes, but I'll give this a go and report back!

Wella SP Luxe Oil (RRP: £24.99 for 100ml)
I'm a bit confused as to why an editors pick would include two hair oils, I would have preferred a different treatment but never mind. This one claims to make your hair up to 10 times smoother and to transform your damaged hair, so I'm still pretty much sold as my hair is always crying out for some TLC.

Have you ordered any products from Look Fantastic? What are the best free samples you've got with any beauty order?

Beth xx

Friday, 13 September 2013

Steam Cream

I first saw Steam Cream tins on the ASOS website and immediately thought how pretty the tins were. Now I've finally got my paws on Mademoiselle* a limited edition tin of Steam Cream 3-in-1 moisturiser. Mademosielle comes in a copper coloured metal tin, with purple, green and yellow stripes. Steam Cream is stamped into the top and it is adorned with a hand drawn image of a woman wearing a summer hat - it looks lovely on my bedside table.
Steam Creams are handmade in the UK and Japan using natural ingredients, fused together with a shot of steam. The moisturiser has quite a strong lavender smell which I'm not very keen personally on but I've found that disappears once I've applied it, though if you are using it to moisturise your hands it probably sticks around a little longer. But it's also packed with lots of other goodies such as oatmeal infusion, orange flower water, almond oil, cocoa butter and organic jojoba oil - wow that's a long list.
I was quite surprised to find my face gets on well with Steam Cream. Not because it's a bad product but because it's quite a rich moisturiser and suffering from an oily t-zone I was expecting to look super-shiny. But while it's a rich moisturiser it certainly isn't a heavy one and sinks in well to the skin. I'm still only using this as my night time moisturiser at the moment though, to replace my Eurcerin one, because I'm worried it will make my make up slip earlier.
I've also found that it's actually helped my acne a bit. I must stress that Steam Cream does not claim to be an anti-acne moisturiser and I don't know if it's just the cream or that in combination with my face wash, but I have found the little under-the-skin-bumps around my mouth and chin have gone down. Super plus points for Steam Cream from me.
A little goes a long way so I have feeling this 75g tin will last me quite a while, but I will do a little blog update once I run out to see how I am getting on. Steam Cream is priced at £13 a tin which isn't bad for multi purpose product which can be used n your face, hands and body and which is packed with fab, natural ingredients.

Have you tried Steam Creams? You can buy a tin online from Steam Cream or ASOS.

Beth xx

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Mississippi Mud Pie

I introduced my housemate Sophie, who blogs over at Sophie Says, to the Great British Bake Off this week and she loved it. So we decided to spend Wednesday afternoon making a Mississippi Mud Pie (seeing as it was Pies and Tarts week). This recipe is literally like a brownie in a pie crust topped with a mountain of whipped cream - delicious but a bit of a naughty treat!
But it turns out cooking in a student kitchen is not so easy as cooking at home. We realised we didn't even have a mixing bowl so we made a quick trip to Asda to pick one up - along with a rotary whisk. Then after making the pastry and leaving it chill for an hour we realised we didn't have a rolling pin either - a highball glass makes a very good substitute though!
Our first bake in the new house was a great success and I wanted to share the recipe with you all. Like the Scandilious Chelsea Buns these do take up a lot of your time, what with making the pastry and the two stage cooking process, so I recommend you try out this recipe when you've got a free afternoon to yourself.
Oh. And make sure you have all the equipment before you start the recipe!

For the pastry

  • 260g plain flour
  • 110g butter or Stork cubed

For the filling

  • 150g dark chocolate cubed
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300g soft brown sugar
  • 300ml double cream whipped into stiff peaks

Ready to bake

  1. Combine the butter and plain flour in a large bowl until it resembles breadcrumb, then slowly add a tablespoon of water until it comes together loosely. Be careful not to use too much water or you will end up with a sticky dough, we used about 4 tbsp. 
  2. Wrap the ball of dough in clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge - this will make it easier to roll out.
  3. After the hour is up roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about the thickness of a pound coin, carefully pick the dough up and lift gently into a buttered, fluted 23cm loose bottomed tart tin.
  4. Put a sheet of greaseproof paper over the dough and fill with baking beans (or rice) and partially blind bake for ten minutes, then remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 10 minutes.
  5. In a heatproof bowl over a saucepan melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup together until smooth. Take off the heat and leave to cool slightly.
  6. Whisk the eggs with the brown sugar and vanilla egg extract until they are well combined, then pour in the cooled chocolate and beat together until smooth. Make sure the chocolate mixture isn't too hot or it will scramble the eggs!
  7. Pour the chocolately mixture into the pie crust and bake in a pre-heated oven at 170C for 30 minutes. You want it to be set with just a slight wobble.
  8. When the pie is cooled top with the double cream and add some chocolate flakes

This pie is very rich so will serve 8-10 people, make sure you eat it quickly because it's topped with fresh cream. But I doubt it will be in your fridge for long!

Beth xx

Monday, 9 September 2013

Mani Mondays: French Manicure

Hello beauties, I hope you are all well. I'm settling into my new house and I've got job interview tomorrow morning so I decided to give myself a French manicure in preparation. I always think french tips look so elegant and classy so they are the perfect nail art to wear to a interview.
I know some people like to draw a straight white line across the top of their nails but because I keep mine long and oval shaped that doesn't look write and is better suited to square of squoval shapes. I'm not very good at French tips however, my hand isn't steady enough, so I do cheat by using stencils. I picked up Nailene Perfect Tips from Superdrug this morning for just over £3 - and the pack contains 96 guides - and they seemed to have worked well. I will mention though be careful when peeling them back otherwise you will remove the polish underneath.

I used

  • Rimmel Nail Nurse nail base & top coat £4.49
  • Barry M in "Nude" £2.99
  • Barry M in "Matte White" £2.99
  • Nailene Perfect Tips
  • Prep your nails by making sure any polish is thoroughly removed, you don't want any traces showing through your manicure
  • Apply 2 coats of Barry M "Nude" and leave to dry
  • Apply the nail strip - if using - to the tip of nail, leaving the gap you want to paint white.
  • Apply Barry M "Matte White" to the nail, above the strip, or paint on in a curved or straight line depending on which look you want to go for.
  • When the white is dry remove the nail strips carefully, if they have been used, and apply another coat of Rimmel Nail Nurse.
Do you like French tips? Have you come across any interesting ways to jazz the look up?

Beth xx

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Stress Free Sundays: Hair masks

Welcome to another new weekly feature on my blog, Stress Free Sundays. To me, Sundays can seem like the most stressful day of the week. Not because I'm particularly busy on that day, but because it marks the end of a busy week and the start of new one.
I've always been a person who worries, I can remember getting stressed out over my Year 6 SATs, but last year I tried to be a bit more laid back and this year I'm trying even harder. I don't think there's anything wrong with a little bit of stress now and then, it keeps you on your toes, but worrying all the time - especially about things that can't be helped - is awful. It's bad for your health, disrupts your sleeping and eating patterns and - at least for me - leads to a nasty acne break out. With all that in mind every week I'm going to spend my Sunday evening doing something relaxing and sharing it with you guys.

Tigi Catwalk Oatmeal & Honey Intensive Nourishing Mask*

I've just moved into my new house for the final year of university. My dad and sister stayed with my for the first night to help me get settled in, but now they've gone and everything's been unpacked the house is very quiet and I've got a lot on mind about workload for this uni year.
I've decided to treat myself this evening to a hair mask. They are a great once-a-week addition to your bath/shower routine when you're running short on time, giving you an excuse to the enjoy the warm water for an extra five minutes. However if you have part of your evening to spare then apply to damp and hair and settle down with a good book or catch up on some TV (an old episode of True Blood for me).
My current favourite is Tigi Catwalk Oatmeal and Honey Intense Nourishing Mask. It smells amazing! I'm usually not that keen on honey scented products but this one has the balance just right and it smells a little cinnamon-y as well. This mask is great for anyone with dry or damaged hair. I regularly use a hair-dryer and straighteners on mine so this masks helps to add some much needed moisture, especially at the ends.
If your coloured hair is in need of some extra care then John Frieda do a great range of masks, and the Aussie 3 Minute Miracle range is great for when the clock is ticking. Not only will your hair thank you for the TLC but it also gives you some time to forget about the stresses and strains of the week.

How do you like to relax on a Sunday evening?

Beth xx

Friday, 6 September 2013

Sally Hansen No Chip Acrylic Top Coat

A top coat was never something I really bothered with, I mean I only recently got in on the whole base coat act after being fed of having stained nail beds. But having a top coat really does help your nail polish last the whole week so on one of my visits to Boots a couple of months ago I decided to pick up this top coat by Sally Hansen.
Now there's a reason why I've waited so long to post this review, because I really wanted to give this polish a chance but unfortunately it just isn't working for me. Every time that I've applied this top coat it has made my polish crack which just makes it peel off easier. Not at all what I was expecting from an Acrylic Top Coat. I actually dithered between this and another Sally Hansen top coat for a few minutes, knowing me I probably walked round the store with both bottles and then made an impulse choice between them at the checkout.
I have tried this polish over Barry M, Models Own and Essie nail polishes and nearly every single time it has made the polish crack and completely ruined the look. My housemate tried it out over a Models Own polish and was also disappointed to find her nails ruined.
Like I said, I waited to post this review because I really wanted to make sure that the top coat wasn't working. I checked my nails were fully prepped, the colour polish was completely dry and tried several brands but the same problem keeps happening. Perhaps it's only meant for Sally Hansen polishes, but I do wish it had said that on the box!

Have you tried any better top coats? Or is there somewhere I'm going wrong with this one?

Beth xx

Leibster Blog Award

The lovely ladies over at 20/30 GLAM very kindly nominated me for a Leibster Blog Award. I've only recently discovered this fantastic blog, run by Ashley and Julie, after they left me several lovely blog comments so I encourage you all to head over to their page and start reading!

So what is the Leibster Blog Award?
It is a German word meaning favorite, dearest or beloved. The Liebster Award is a great way to raise your blog's profile and is perfect for blogs which are new or small. This helps blogs get new followers as well as helps you to find new and interesting blogs to nominate! 
The rules:

You have to link back to the person that nominated you.
You must answer the 11 Liebster questions given to you by the person who nominated you.
You have to nominate another 11 bloggers who have under 200 followers to pass the award to.
You have to come up with 11 other questions for your nominees.
You have to notify the bloggers whom you have nominated.
Some bloggers can also include 11 random facts about themselves but this is optional.

Here are my questions from 20/30 GLAM

1. What made you want to start blogging?
I'm currently at university doing a degree in journalism, so a blog is good place for me to practice my writing and also build up my portfolio. I'm also a huge beauty junkie so here I can ramble on about everything I love and get to meet lovely like minded people in the process
2. What are your top 5 fave blogs?

Picking just five blogs is so hard! But at the moment I've enjoyed reading What I Heart Today, LLYMLRS, The Nailasaurus, Tattologist and Vivianna Does Makeup
3. Who is your hero and why?

My parents! They've done so much for me and my brother and sister. They've always supported us and encouraged us to aim high. I appreciate them so much more now that I live away from home.
4. Favorite Actor/Actress?Ryan Gosling - because he's beautiful - and Keira Knightley. 
5. Favorite 3 movies?

Gangster Squad, The Green Mile and Bridget Jones. Although I did see "About Time" in the cinema yesterday which was amazing and I encourage you all to go and see! But I don't think it counts seeing as it's just come out.
6. What is your fave makeup brand?

I love Benefit, the products are always great quality and the packaging is so pretty. Sometimes it's a bit out of my student price range so drugstore wise it would be Bourjois or Maybelline.
7. Describe your style in three words.

Constantly ever changing! I can never stick to a style a like for very long, I'm always swayed by my friends' beautiful clothes of blog lookbooks.
8. Married or single? If married, how long?

Single and have been for a year now.
9. Fave place to vacation?

We don't do a lot of vacations but we did have a lovely holiday in Cyprus so I'd love to go there again.
10. What are your hobbies/Interests?I love to write and I'm a constant reader. On holiday I read a 300 page book in 24 hours. You'll usually find me with a book in hand and sometimes reading two books during the same period. I love socialising with my friends, going for a drink or a nice meal out and I like to keep fit - usually doing exercises classes. One of my favourite hobbies is cooking. 
11. What is your fave "thing" in the world?

Workwise - my laptop. It has everything on it and I've nearly had a breakdown when it's died on me (twice in the last three months). Sentimentally - my photos. My grandma, who passed away ten years ago, always kept loads of photo albums and I hope to do the same. (hope I interpreted that question right!)

My nominees!

Luscious Lane
Gingerly Pale

The Beauty Blogger
Rainbow Crush
The Human Mannequin
Locked in a Bow
Hester Lierre
Drained Beauty
Life of a Make Up Junkie
Chesire Cat Chats
She Wore Chic

My questions

1. What is the one beauty product you couldn't live without?
2. What's been the best thing about starting your blog?
3. Favourite book and why?
4. Top three things on your beauty wishlist?
5. Favourite memory?
6. Summer or winter?
7. What's the best thing been about summer 2013?
8. Top blogging tips?
9. Where is your dream holiday destination?
10. Do you have any tattoos/ want any tattoos?
11. Early morning person or night owl?

Can't wait to see the answers
Beth xx

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Benefit creaseless cream shadow

Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow - My Two Cents *

I love Benefit products but unfortunately they're often out of my price range, that's why I was so pleased to find this eye shadow in my work experience goodie bag.
The creaseless cream shadows are part of the new Colour... by Benefit range, which also includes longwear powder shadow, ultra plush lipgloss and hydra-smooth lip colour.

My Two Cents is a soft, bronze colour which is perfect for everyday wear. I've worn it a few times now and find that although for a cream shadow it has good staying power, it lasts much longer when paired with an eye primer - I like to use Urban Decay's eyeshadow primer potion. The cream shadow is also great for creating a smoky eye I also like to layer the cream shadow with other neutral and dark brown shades from Sleeks' palette. I always think brown and bronze smoky eyes are much easier to pull than a harsh black and white. Plus a brown smoky eye is much more casual, taking you from work to bar without looking over or under done.

Prehaps my favourite thing about the Colour... By Benefit range though is the beautiful packaging. I love the little round box that my eyeshadow came in with it's green, blue and chocolate brown pattern. The eyeshadow itself comes in a lovely round pot, with a glass top which makes the eyeshadow look suspended in the middle and a ridged, plastic bottom.
There are ten shades n the creaseless cream shadow range, all of which are very wearable for any skin tone. Next on my wish list are Birthday Suit - a light creamy pink which would look great dabbed into the inner corner for a wide eyed look - and Bronze Have More Fun - a dark burnished bronze which would work well in the crease of the eye.

You can buy My Two Cents online here or at any Benefit counter for £15.50 

Beth xx

Decadent brownies

If you watched the Great British Bake Off on Tuesday you would have seen the bakers whip up some delicious dessert. My favourites were the petit fours that made up the Showstopper challenge but nothing says dessert to me like a decadent chocolate brownies, generously studded with milk and white chocolate chunks, served warm with a big dollop of vanilla ice-cream.
Making brownies hasn't always come easy to me. My first attempt was during a school cooking lesson where I added a tablespoon of baking powder instead of a teaspoon and then they exploded all over the inside of the oven. The next attempts created brownies that weren't rich and gooey, were too cake like in texture and, on one peculiar occasion, came out of the tin a reddy, brown colour.
This recipe has taken some perfecting but now it never fails to make the most gorgeous, squidgy brownies. I even took a box with me when I moved into uni halls and they really helped to break the ice.

You will need
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 180g unsalted butter or Stork
  • 85g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 275g caster sugar
  • 100g each of white chocolate and milk chocolate 
Try to get the best quality dark chocolate and cocoa powder you can afford as these give the brownie it's rich, deep chocolate flavour. If your budget is tight you can skimp a little on the milk and white chocolate and they are just extra bits. You can remove them completely if you prefer or replace them with the same amount of chopped nut - walnuts would work well

The next steps
  1. Put the cubed butter and broken up dark chocolate into a bowl over a saucepan on boiled water and make sure the bowl isn't touching the water. Leave the pan on a low setting (mark 2 for electric hobs) and leave the chocolate and butter to melt together. The trick is do it over a gentle heat so the chocolate doesn't split. Stir occasionally.
  2. While the chocolate is melting I like to prepare the other ingredients, so measure out your flour and cocoa powder and seive them into a small bowl. Chop up the milk and white chocolate into bitesize chunks, taking care not to let the knife slip on the chocolate.
  3. When the dark chocolate and butter have melted together to form a glossy dark brown liquid, take off the heat and leave to cool.
  4. Crack 3 large eggs into a bowl, add the sugar and whisk on the highest setting until it is thick, creamy and doubled in volume.
  5. When the dark chocolate mixture is cool, pour into the sugar and egg mixture and gently combine together. Then sift in the flour and cocoa and combine until you have a thick, unctuous batter. Sprinkle in the chocolate chunks and swiftly combine.
  6. Pour into a greased and lined tin and spread into an even layer. Bake in the middle shelf of the oven for anywhere between 25-35 minutes. It varies from oven to oven and from batter to batter. You want a brownie that is just set and starting to come away from the edge of the tin.
Enjoy warm with double cream or ice cream of cold with a cuppa. Anyway you like.

Beth xx

Monday, 2 September 2013

Mani Mondays: MUA Nail Constellations

MUA Nail Constellation in Pisces* and Rimmel Salon Pro Britpop*

Unfortunately I missed last week's Mani Mondays because I was away in North Devon for the bank holiday weekend. But never mind, I'm back this week with a really simple nail design thanks to MUA.
My friend gave me the Pisces Nail Constellation bottle as part of my birthday present back in May but this is the first time I've actually gotten round to using it. It's similar to Ciate's nail caviar but a lot more affordable at £3.00 a bottle. The tiny beads create stunning three dimensional nail art, I used them for an accent nail on each hand but with a steady hand you could draw a line of beads down the centre of each nail or place beads at random for a unique look.

Pisces is made of shiny silver, green and pink balls so I decided to pair them Britpop, from Kate Moss's Rimmel range, it's a dark teal colour - a cross between blue and green - so perfectly matches the green and silver balls. What I love about Nail Constellations is that you will never get the same look, even with nails done at the same times, because of the mixture of colours.

I will warn you they can be a little bit fiddly and messy so be sure to do this over a tray, I used an upturned box lid so I could easily tip the beads back into the bottle. Also this look won't last forever, the nail beads will drop off as time goes by so you might want to save the look for a special occassion. Luckily unlike glitter and sequin nail polishes, the beads are pretty easy to remove!

How to achieve this look

1) Prep your nails with a clear basecoat before painting on Britpop from Kate Moss's Rimmel range
2) Remove the cap from the Nail Constellation bottle and fill with the beads, while the polish is still wet take off the white cap and gently squeeze the beads onto your nails
3) Press the beads gently into your nail polish and then tap off the excess (it's best to do this over a tray so you tip the beads back into the bottle)
4) Finish off your other plain nails with another coat of Britpop and then a clear topcoat

If you like the Nail Constellations you can buy them online here or in your local Superdrug store

Beth xx