Organisation is the Key to Success

Last month was a sad, sad time for me. The privilege of having a graduate bank account was revoked by the HBSC and certain events, such as my trusty gold Rover 25 breaking down, forced me to accept the dire state of my financial circumstances.

It was the car more than anything that forced me to drag my head out the sand and face things. I commute to Rochdale from Liverpool every day (80 mile round trip) for work, so there was no way I could keep my job without having a car. So I had to bite the bullet and sort myself out, money-wise.

After writing everything down and sorting out my monthly expenses, cancelling any payments of unnecessary things in life (I’m still holding on to the Birchbox and GlossyBox subscriptions though), I feel so much better. I’ve been able to get myself a gorgeous Fiat 500 called Flo and I’ve also just booked a holiday for Florida next year. I don’t know who I think I am but I’m convinced this will give me the motivation to get out the vicious cycle of bank charges (how unfair are banks?!) and go on my jollies with enough spends that I can rinse Victoria’s Secret and the MAC counter of all their goodies.

Leaving uni can be hard, and if you’re in a similar situation then just talk to someone and write everything down such as how much you owe, how much you need to spend each month, what you can cut out, and things won’t seem half as bad afterwards.

So to help me keep on top of everything from now on, I’ve invested in a Filofax. It’s something I would have needed for work anyway as I’ll be travelling back and forth to France for the next two months and will need to keep organised so I know exactly where I’m going and when! I also want to use it so that I can plan when to blog and what on as my posts are a bit sparse!

After browsing for ages on the internet, I found that there’s no end to the choice of Filofaxes and there’s definitely something for everyone no matter what your needs. I finally decided on the Personal Saffiano in Aqua, available here from Staples for £30. I chose to buy it from Staples because they offer next day delivery for orders over £30. Also, the Personal seemed perfect for me in terms of size and what it comes with.

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I want to personalise this Filofax as much as possible so I visited my new favourite store, The Range, to buy some filofax accessories. Seriously, if there’s ever a zombie apocalypse this store is the place to be, it has everything! I bought some pens to colour code everything, gorgeous heart shaped paperclips, stickers and highlighter tabs. Everything, apart from the pens, was under £1, so a proper bargain!

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There’s also a lot of places online to find some really cute and pretty personalised accessories for your Filofax, such as page dividers, month-to-view planners etc. The best ones I’ve seen so far are on Etsy and Instagram. Just search for “filofax” and, for a decent price, you can make your Filofax as pretty as you want it to be.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Kohl Kajal in 012 Bronze

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I’m not one for wearing much make up during the day and I like to keep it basic with just a slick of mascara as far as the eyes are concerned. But lately I’ve been wanting to make a bit more effort and add a bit of definition to my eyes during the day. As I’ve only ever owned black eyeliners (Rimmel and Lancome being my favourites) I was on the market for a reasonably priced eyeliner in a colour that I would feel comfortable wearing day to day.

Step in one of my new favourite beauty products: Rimmel Scandaleyes Kohl eyeliner. I opted for shade 012 Bronze, a gorgeous bronzey-brown shade with a bit of shimmer. Despite the shimmer, its so wearable and exactly what I wanted.

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Buttery in consistency and soft, its a dream to apply. Light pressure gives a decent application and obviously the more pressure, the heavier the liner. Its perfect for adding definition to the eye during the day, and its become a firm favourite to use with my Naked pallet during a night out.

In terms of how long it lasts, it is so impressive. I have been wearing it for work and its still going strong by the time I get home (that’s usually a good 10-11 hours of wear) and I have a bad habit of rubbing my eyes throughout the day.

The only problem is that it melts really easily so it’s used up and becomes blunt very quickly, and sharpening it takes quite a bit of product away, but for £3.99 its not an item I begrudge buying again and again.. However, I’ve read that putting it in the fridge for a few minutes before sharpening helps to harden the product and therefore you don’t lose as much. Win! I will definitely be trying this technique.

Its definitely my favourite eyeliner now and has replaced my beloved Lancome is lying at the bottom of my make up bag and I doubt it will be coming out any time soon. The price is amazing as well. I would definitely be willing to pay a little more for this item, it’s just so good.

If you’re looking to replace an eyeliner or try a new one out then I definitely recommend this line! I’ll be buying the black to use when my eyes get smokier during the winter!

Wish List: Nasty Gal

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When I lived with my housemates during final year of uni, my good friend Sara (have a read of Sara’s blog here) introduced me to this American website, Nasty Gal and I’ve been grateful ever since.  Hours can easily be spent browsing their gorgeous items and I almost always want everything on it. I like to think of it as a Topshop meets Urban Outfitters so it’s the perfect place for me to find something I’m convinced I can’t live without.

The best thing I’ve ever bought from Nasty Gal has been my trusty Jeffrey Campbell Lita boots. I decided to go for the floral tapestry version and two years later they’re still my favourite shoes ever. They’re so comfortable and well worth the $120 dollars I spent on them.

If ordering outside the US you will have to be a little patient. I have been made to wait quite a while as items are accidentally sent to Australia instead of the UK, but it’s always worth the wait and we can’t blame Nasty Gal for that, just the awful postal services in this world. Also, you should expect extra customs charges once the items arrive, although I’ve only ever experienced this with footwear but I have known people to order a dress and be smacked with an extra £15 to pay once their order arrives.

The picture above is my current wish list and I hope to God someone sees this and buys me all of them (HINT HINT). At the moment they have free international shipping on all orders over $150, and seen as its quite expensive this might only take one item but if you’re looking at the bargains it would well be worth it to bulk buy now and save on the expensive extra charges!

Oh and another tip, whatever you do, do not mix gal up with girl. Those images are forever burned in my memory.

Hey Mrs Carter

A few years ago I went to V festival and I promised myself I would never go again. Glastonbury is the only other festival I’ve been to and, as it was my first, I really think it’s ruined every other experience I could have at any other festival. It’s really the best place in the world and if you’ve never been then you should go. 

But this post is about V. I really hated everything about it: the commercialism, the majority of the lineup, the site, the people. I’m a bad music snob and this was like hell. I’d only agreed to go because Kings of Leon were headlining and I regretted that after I realised that not everyone loved them like I did and the majority of their fans now are only there for Sex on Fire.

But I digress, let me get to the point of this post. A few weeks ago, my friends bought last minute tickets and one of them offered to get me a ticket on her credit card. Recent events have taught me that you really only do live once and it’s times like these with the friends we love that we need to make the most of, so I agreed and fully expected to have a nightmare weekend. But I loved every minute of it (Mostly. Unfortunately I couldn’t tune out the moronic chavs for the entire weekend) and it was a perfect example of how its the people you’re with who make the best memories for you. 

But there was one highlight. The entire weekend led to one moment and I couldn’t wait. It was the main reason I’d agreed to go. This highlight was Beyoncé. 

The woman’s unbelievable. I would never have said that I was a huge fan but seeing her perform live has completely converted me and now I’m slightly scared by my obsession of her. She was perfect and put on amazing show. 

If you ever get the chance to, whether you’re a fan of her or not, then go and see her. She was so good I cried actual tears. And thank god she’d had some hair woven into that pixie cut. 

I’ll just come right out and say it now. I’m crazy in love with Beyoncé Knowles (see what I did there?)

 

Accessorize Intense Colour Lipstick in Smitten

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A couple of weeks ago I was in Accessorize looking for a keyring for my brand new car keys, and the gorgeous packaging of the make up next to the till caught my eye. I’d promised myself that I wouldn’t buy anything else because I don’t really need it, but how can anyone resist these beautiful floral patterns?!

I knew a lipstick was the way to go and, after seeing that they only cost £5, I was convinced I needed one. I swatched the available shades and decided on the coral shade named Smitten. I was so, so excited to try it out. The shade was quite similar to an Yves Saint Laurent lipstick I have, but is softer and more light pink in its tone.

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I’ve had an awful experience with my lipstick. When applying it for the first time, the entire bullet broke away from the packaging, making it entirely useless (unless I want to apply it by holding it between my fingers and I’m not a fan of lipstick brushes). But I tried my best to see if it would be worth repurchasing one that could actually be used. As far as I can tell, it is quite thick when applied so even if I hadn’t have been working with a massacred lipstick then it would have been very difficult to work with.

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On the other hand, it has very good pigmentation and the colour is beautiful. It has a nice matte finish that I’m a massive fan of lately. I haven’t been able to properly wear it because of the state it’s in so I can’t really comment on how long lasting it is but because of its thickness I can imagine it to get everywhere easily.

As for the packaging, after my initial attraction to its beautiful pattern, its really flimsy (proven by the lipstick actually making a break for it) and it’s also made of cardboard so I imagine it would get very grubby quickly.

If it hadn’t have broken I think I still would have loved it because of how nice the colour is. But, in truth, I’m gutted I’ve wasted £5 on it. I’m also fuming with Accessorize. Nice work guys.

Brow Envy

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I’m often very envious of how amazing celebrities look, but it’s not usually because of their brows. Step up Lily Collins. How gorgeous is she! And those eye brows are amazing.

I’ve been trying to grow mine thicker since Lily was cast as Snow White in Mirror Mirror and those brows grabbed my attention. With the help of Benefit Brow Zings, I think I’m almost there (not really, but here’s to being optimistic!)

Lee Stafford Hair Growth Treatment

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So, about four years ago I walked into my hairdressers and asked for my hair to be cut like Frankie Sanford’s, the style where one side is cropped short and the other side is still like a bob. My hair looked great, unfortunately my face didn’t look like Frankie’s afterwards, and I loved my hair cut. A few months later I went back in and had the longer side cropped short as well. Now, I loved my hair short, but after 2 years I got a bit bored and around the time of my Graduation I decided to grow it.

Soon after commencing Operartion Grow Hair, I realised this would be one of the most awkward and hardest things I would have to do with myself, style wise. It was horrible. There wasn’t much I could do with it as it was growing out and by the time it got to the really awkward stage, I was considering getting it all chopped off again. But, my friends encouraged me to keep with it.

Around this time, I was browsing in Boots (can you tell I’m obsessed with that place), and noticed the Lee Stafford Hair Growth range. At the time there were three products on offer: shampoo, conditioner and this treatment. Recently they’ve added a leave in treatment to the range, which I bought yesterday and can’t wait to try. At the time, I decided to only purchase the treatment (available for £7.99).

Now, it’s impossible to know how my hair would have grown without using this treatment as it grows pretty quick anyway, but I’m certain that this helped to get my hair looking longer and more lovely a lot quicker. At the start I would use it every time I washed my hair and I’d also leave it on for an hour or so once a week and rinse it off. Nowadays, I prefer to use it once or twice a week as a treatment on my roots (I use Superdrugs Coconut Oil as a treatment on the ends of hair). The only way I can judge how quick my hair grows is with my handy full fringe. When I take a break from using the treatment, I need to trim it every 2-3 weeks, but as soon as I start using the treatment again it speeds this up by about a week. It’s definitely helped my hair to grow in a healthy condition as well. In two years, my hair has gone from having the clippers on the back, to being about three inches below my shoulders. I’ve had about four inches off in haircuts during this time as well.

The product smells gorgeous. Its quite strong though so may not be to everyone’s tastes. Its easy to get carried away and use a lot, that’s why I ended up just using it on my roots to save having to repurchase it so often. But this and my trusty coconut oil are the only parts of my hair care routine that I don’t change. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve repurchased this. I don’t think my hair has suffered either from not using it with the shampoo and conditioner either. I’m curious to know how fast hair would grow though if I had used all the products.

On the tub, Lee Stafford promises that the product will:

  • reduce hair loss
  • improve follicle health,
  • reduce irritation and moisturise the scalp
  • address hair ageing
  • improve the strength of hair
  • improve the volume and feel of the hair

I can’t say that I’ve experienced more volumnious hair, but I bought this treatment to encourage my hair to grow in good condition and it’s definitely done that. So if you’re considering growing out your short hair, or you just want a bit more length quicker, then buy this product. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

At the moment, Lee Staffords Hair products are on offer at Boots for 3 for £12, so stock up while you can!

Benefit Stay Flawless 15 Hour Primer

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Stay Flawless 15 Hour Primer is Benefit’s latest offering in their choice of primers. And, as you can tell from it’s name, this promises to keep your make up looking flawless for 15 whole hours.

Now, I had been using Porefessional before this primer was released and I was loving it. It does a great job at mattifying my slightly oily skin but the promises of 15 hours of flawless looking make up was just too perfect for me, so instead of repurchasing Porefessional I bought the new product instead, and boy did I have high hopes for it.

This primer promises to act like a make up magnet to lock in your foundation for 15 hours. But does it work? If you were to watch QVC, Lisa, the head make up artist for Benefit UK, demonstrates an impressive little trick using the primer, foundation, a bottle of water and a white flannel. After applying the primer and foundation on some models face, she sprayed the woman with the water (she more or less soaked the poor cow) and then dabbed the white flannel over her face. When she showed the flannel to the camera there was nothing on it. Absolutely nothing! It was as clean as if it had just come out of a bucket of Vanish. “No!” I hear you cry, “a made for TV trick, not possible”. I was with you. So convinced was I that this was a load of bull, I ran upstairs to test it out myself and I promise you it worked. My mum would be pleased to find out that her perfect white flannels came out of this experiment unscathed.

Now, down to what I actually think of the primer. I like to think of this as a Pritt Stick for the face, and whilst the styling of the packaging would fit in well in a Topshop Make Up section, I like the look and feel of it. I love the application of the product, its so simple and easy. You just rub the stick on your face in circular motions, which is meant to activate the Make Up Magnet. It applies translucent, so is definitely suited to all skin tones, and feels quite tacky, a bit like actual glue on your face. I like to then apply my foundation with my fingers and blend them in together.

So, does it do what it promises? I’m yet to experience a full 15 hours of my make up looking lovely, but it definitely does make it last longer. I’d say I get around 8-10 hours before I look at myself and think I need to reapply. But, lets not forget we’ve been having the most amazing summer ever for a change here in the UK, so maybe these hot and humid days aren’t the best to judge the primer on, although they are a great test (Hello sweaty face!). Saying that, in my opinion is does seem great for my slightly oily skin because of its solid stick formula. Maybe that’s just the psychology of applying liquid to an oily surface though.

My only other issue is that it doesn’t seem to lasting long in my make up bag. Its definitely dwindling away quicker than I expected it to and, with its price tag, it’s not something I can afford to be shelling out for constantly. Maybe when I repurchase, which I suspect I will do, I’ll keep it as a treat to use during nights out and special occasions.

Stay Flawless is available here from Benefit for £24.50.

Vaseline Spray & Go Body Moisturiser

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During an after-work browse in my local Boots, I came across the new Vaseline Spray & Go moisturiser. I’m coming to the end of my beloved Soap & Glory Body Butter so decided to pick it up and give it a go. 

I chose the Pure Oats version as its usually the moisturizer I fall back on and I love the scent. I gave it a go that night and my Soap & Glory is now among the other forgotten about products in the bathroom cabinet (I’m sorry Soap & Glory, forgive me!). 

As I’ve said I already loved the scent of this version, but the application is so easy and useful. I’ve been wondering ever since how this type of application for a body moisturiser isn’t already standard for everyone of us. I’m sure Vaseline aren’t the first to create a product like this but it seems so obvious that it’s almost ridiculous that every moisturiser isn’t sprayed on! 

It does exactly what it says on the tin: you literally spray it on, give it a quick rub in and go. No greasy marks, no time wasted sitting waiting for the cream to soak in, and it is an excellent moisturiser. The spray applicator is excellent at all angles and makes those hardly ever moisturised parts of our bodies a doddle. Be honest, how many of you actually moisturise your back? It also dispenses just the perfect amount of product. 

I can this being an indispensable part of my daily beauty regime now, it’s just so good, and it will be perfect for those of you going on holiday if you happen to burn slightly and can’t bear the thought of touching those tender parts!

I’ll definitely be repurchasing. It’d also excellent value for money as well and is currently available here for £4.99 at Boots. 

My Favourite Things: Foundation

IMG_1052[1]Lipsticks are my new obsession but foundations have still got to be one of my most favourite beauty items to buy. I often get bored with the one I’m using and find there’s nothing worse than spending too long in Boots trying to pick what to try next for it to be a huge disappointment. I have a make up bag full of foundations that I just haven’t fallen in love with, and so won’t consider using anymore.

So I’ve rifled through my massive collection and picked my top 5 favourite foundations at the moment:

5. Rimmel Stay Matte in 103 True Ivory, £5.99 at Boots

This foundation is in the list as a bit of a fluke to be honest. I bought it when I was going to Glastonbury and needed a foundation to take with me in a bottle that isn’t glass as they don’t allow glass onto the site. The reason I picked this one up, other than the plastic packaging, was the price. I didn’t even test the shade as I had spent so long trying to decide which one to get and just wanted to get out. Its lucky that the shade turned out to be such a good match to my skin tone.

The coverage is light which has been perfect during this hot summer we’ve been having as I haven’t wanted anything that’s too heavy on my face during the day. It also has a nice texture and does a good job at mattifying my face, again perfect during these humid days! It isn’t that long lasting though and I do need to reapply throughout the day when I wear it.

4.Revlon Colorstay in 220 Natural Beige, £12.49 at Boots

I love Revlon make up. Their products are usually more expensive than others you’ll find in a drug store but I think they’re well worth it  and the shades are perfect for my skin tone, especially when I’m not fake tanning and embracing being pale.

This is the heaviest of the foundation I’ve picked in my top 5 and it’s the first foundation I ever loved so much that I re-purchased once I’d ran out. It is heavy but that means a little goes a long way so the bottle lasts an eternity. I’ve found the best way to apply is with a damp sponge.

The great thing about this foundation is that it comes in two different formulas one for normal/dry skin and one for combination/oily. I chose the oil free formula for oily skin and it was perfect. Its very long lasting (although not 16 hrs like the bottle promises). I should mention that for me long lasting usually means that I get to dinner and my make up looks acceptable. Dinner is usually 5-6 hours after I’ve applied my make up in the morning.  Its very rare that I get to the end of the day and think my face looks okay!

The biggest con with this, and I think its a biggie, is that there’s no pump to dispense the liquid. You just have to pour it out and try to control it, which can be quite difficult.

3. Revlon PhotoReady in 004 Nude, £9.99 at Boots

Another Revlon product! The coverage in this one isn’t as heavy. Its also not as long lasting, even when I use a primer so I wear this during work when I don’t mind reapplying throughout the day, if I’m in the mood to. I find that this foundation, though, highlights just the right parts of my face. Also it has a pump, yay!

2. Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow in “Cheers to me” Champagne, £25.50 at Debenhams

Benefit is a brand I’ve recently become obsessed with. And I mean obsessed. I tested this foundation out after I bought the How to Look the Best at Everything set  and this is the shade that was provided in the Light kit that I bought. At first I thought it was going to be too dark for me, but thankfully I caught the sun at Glasto and the shade was perfect. I haven’t stopped wearing it since and I’ve ended up buying the full size bottle.

The foundation gives a gorgeous, dewey finish and even though I have oily skin it seems to be quite long lasting when used with a primer. I find it best to apply this with my fingers as its very much a liquid. Its also not too heavy but can easily be built up.

1. Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation, £27 at Debenhams

I have this foundation in 2 shades: 1.0 and 2.0. It’s by far my most favourite foundation I’ve ever used. Throughout the winter I was loving my pale skin and found that this gave me the most perfect complexion. The amount of comments I got about my skin when wearing it was unbelievable. For me there are no cons at all for this foundation. As I was spending so much on a foundation for the first time, I went to get a colour match done to find the correct shade and the girls at the counter were so helpful. I was easily enamored and ended up walking away with the Naked BB Cream and the Good Karma Optical Blurring brush, which I’m glad I did as its perfect for using to apply this make up. It gives a lovely matte finish and I’ve found it to be medium-heavy coverage. Its so easy to build up though, and it still feels so light no matter how much I built it up. Its oil free, fragrance free and paraben free. I love the packaging as well as it feels really high end. I love, love, love this foundation.

What are your favourite foundations?