Thursday 30 March 2017

March Favourites

It excites me on a high level to have brought back the 'favourites' series to my blog; there's nothing that makes my beauty blogger heart flutter more than adding a product to the top of my Alex drawers in the knowledge that it's going to make it into this post. There's something about the little things like finding an item that works just right. Speaking of things going just right, there's definitely room on my blog for a chatty post in the next couple of weeks. Keep those eyes peeled.

Ever since I hit teenager status (almost six years ago now like what), my go-to face powder has been the cliché Rimmel Stay Matte. Aside from a traumatising drift over to a Max Factor alternative that smelled, well quite frankly, like crap, I've stayed faithful, mainly due to fear. In a sporadic moment of spontaneity I picked up the 'One Heck of a Blot' face powder from Soap and Glory, and holy moly this stuff is delightful. It doesn't have a strong scent (thank goodness), and mattifies my skin to a point that other powders never have. I like the sleek packaging, and I barely have to top up throughout the day. From start to beginning, this has been a dream. LOVE.
Obviously a periodic shoutout to the only moisturiser I trust on my skin is in order now and again - Olay Beauty Fluid you're an absolute gem and I'd be a little bit more lost in this world without you. No really, I do feel this strongly about a moisturiser. My Mum bought this for me a few years ago and I must be on my fourth bottle right now. If you want a light daily moisturiser but nothing that clings, this is your gal, and its so darn affordable as well.
Sticking to the theme of moisture, I've been loving my vanilla EOS lip balm, which has a seriously cool shape to it and a knack of completely reversing the dry state that my lips often find themselves in. I had an allergic reaction around Christmas and I did think for a while that this was the product to blame, but I've ruled it out so its back to business in my make up bag.
It will come as no surprise that the Colourpop lip glosses are on here; I've been using them every single day (I kid you not), and its becoming unfair on all the other lip products in my drawer. My top three are 'Sugar Lips', 'Fairy Floss' and 'Aquarius', with Aquarius being my favourite gloss of all time. I adore the non-sticky formula of these, and this particular one is the perfect everyday nude pink gloss. I will rave about these for as long as I possibly can, and they're definitely the top product in this post.
Lastly, I received a marble eye brush from Spectrum in a Birchbox last month, a brand I've known about for the longest time but have never tried. I love the design of these, the brushes are so chic and the ideal shape to blend shadow when I'm creating a smokey eye. I don't talk about brushes a lot over here, they aren't a product that necessarily excites me, but I'm 100% a Spectrum convert after trying this. It also didn't lose its shape when I cleaned it, which is a biiiig bonus. Nothing worse than a limp, lifeless brush.


Monday 27 March 2017

The Single Eye Shadow Edit

It feels so good to sit down and write this post; the last couple of weeks has definitely included neglect of my blog and social medias. Semester two of university has just come to an end for me, so things have been pretty crazy and its been difficult to find time to sit down and tweet/write.
When it comes to shadows, in the past year I've been completely converted to the world of single eye shadows, rather than relying on one palette. There are a few shades and brands that completely knock it out of the park when it comes to eye shadow (particularly building your own palette), so I thought I'd recommend my favourites. There's also a real variety of prices here; I don't think cost necessarily equates to quality in the world of single shadows.

My number one go-to brand for single shadows has to be Makeup Geek - as if you aren't tired of me harping on about this brand already. I think the formula of the shadows is faultless, if you want buttery eye shadow that blends easily and has high pigmentation, then you can't beat them. They also fit nicely into the z-palette, which is perfect. I get mine from Beauty Bay (£6 or £9.25 for foiled), and my top shades are Barcelona Beach, which is my holy grail shadow from any brand ever, Charmed, and Homecoming. 
Next, it will come as no surprise to most people that the Colourpop Super Shock shadows ($5) are up there on the single shadow A-list. These are so beautiful as they apply like a cream to powder formula, and the pigmentation is intense. The shade 'Kathleenlights' is quite possibly the most pigmented make up product I've ever come across. I also love the shade 'Catnap', which is a shimmery dusty rose - I think its incredibly commendable for a brand to acknowledge the need to raise money for animal charities, so when I saw the campaign I had to pick one up.

MAC shadows (£13.50), whilst not being up there with the best, have a few shades that just get it spot on when it comes to formula and colour choice. 'Mythology' and 'Woodwinked' are gorgeous shimmer shades that I reach for time and time again. Another shimmer favourite is the Stila Cream Shadow in the shade 'Kitten', the ideal champagne lid colour that you can pop on in a rush for a quick and easy make up look. I always get asked what this shadow is when I wear it!
Lastly, the NYX single shadows (£2.50) that fit into a z-palette are well worth looking at when you come to building your own palette. Some of the shades can be a bit hit or miss, but I know I can rely on the neutrals, particularly the shade 'True Taupe', a taupe that I use for my outer corners.

Top to Bottom: Kitten, Barcelona Beach, True Taupe, Homecoming, Woodwinked

Top to Bottom: Mythology, Catnap, Kathleenlights, Charmed


Sunday 19 March 2017

The MAC Essentials

I've had this post in my to-write pile for a good couple of months now; MAC is a brand that I'm starting to feel nervous to talk about, due to the controversies surrounding animal testing, an issue that I'm increasingly thinking about these past few weeks. However, I do know that a lot of makeup lovers consider MAC to be one of the best brands out there, and I do own quite a few of their products, so I thought I'd collate my favourites that I would jump to recommend to anyone starting out with their collection.
Mineralise Skinfinish in Dark/Medium, £24.50
You're probably thinking, why on earth is someone as pale as me buying a face powder in such a deep shade, right? I saw on a couple of Youtube channels that the medium/dark shade of this powder is a great alternative bronzing and contour powder, and boy were they right. This powder is so smooth and blendable, and I use it to contour and to bronze up my temples and nose (I literally cannot get enough, I think MAC are unbeatable for their bronzing products.) This natural looking powder costs £24.50, which is a bit steep for a contour product, but you do get a lot of product since this was intended to be a face powder.
Blush in 'Harmony', £19.50
I've gone on and on about this blush in previous posts so I'll keep this short and sweet, but this "Muted rose-beige brown" really is my favourite contour product of all time. I featured this in my round up for 2016, and its my go-to for everyday, as its the kind of ashy brown shade that suits pale skin, especially on days when I'm not wearing much of a base.
Nutcracker Sweet Copper Face Compact, £29
Sadly, this face compact was limited edition for their 2016 Christmas collection, but I couldn't not mention it, since the highlight is one of the great loves in my make up collection. The packaging for this is everything, and the products are so beautiful. I actually did a full review of this here, if you want to take a look.


Pro Longwear Concealer, £18
This concealer is the one for tough blemishes that no other concealer seems to be able to cover. I bought this last summer in duty free and I was so impressed with the quality; its a very thick formula, which is amazing if you're looking for full coverage makeup. I do have to say though that this is too thick for underneath my eyes, so I wouldn't recommend purchasing it just for that purpose. My shade is NC15, and I love how the yellow undertone balances out the pink in my skin tone (full review here.)
Prep and Prime, Face (£21.20) and Lips (£14)
I absolutely love the MAC prep and prime collection - I've tried the face primer and the lip primer and they both work a treat. For some reason, primer is definitely the one item that I find most difficult to get right; a lot of face primers break me out, so when I come across a good one I hang on for dear life. The face primer smooths out any imbalance of colour in skin tone and adds a radiant look to your skin, which is really pretty, and the lip primer? Say hello to your new best friend. If you like liquid lipsticks but feel like they put your lips through a trauma, then applying this beforehand means your lips keep their moisture, and also keeps product on longer. This is definitely in my top three products from the brand, purely because its one of the most unique and useful.
Eyeshadow, £13.50
I'm pretty sure that the formula of these shadows in the make up world is iconic already, but I still want to mention them, since I have a couple of shades that I just wouldn't be able to live without. I buy these in their full packaging instead of just the magnetic pan, because I think the black outerwear looks so sleek and so 'mac', you know? I have the shades Woodwinked and Mythology, which are both shimmers, and I have to say that the shimmer formula is one of the most pigmented I've found. These are pricey, and I would still admit that Makeup Geek is 10x more cost efficient, but if you want to treat yourself, these are your gals.


Lip Glass in 'Myth', £15
I know this is expensive for a gloss, but anyone who's read this blog before knows that my guilty pleasure is definitely in the lipgloss spectrum. The formula of the lipglasses aren't my all time favourite because they are slightly more on the tacky side, but I do love the shade range, and the shade Myth is just a gorgeous nude gloss with a slight shimmer, perfect for everyday wear or over the top of another lipstick. Word of warning though: don't wear this when you have your hair down on a windy day.
Lipstick, £16.50
How could I not mention the MAC lipstick range? I haven't bought any new shades in the past six months, but I do have quite a few shades (check out my collection here, minus a couple of new additions) and the formula is second to none. My absolute go-to is Patisserie, which is a "sheer, creamy neutral pink" in a lustre finish, perfect for applying in a rush since it isn't too heavy. By now you've probably gathered that I gravitate towards a glossy finish in my lip products. Another firm favourite in my collection is Spirit, a "Muted pinky-beige brown" in a satin finish, which looks almost matte but without the drying texture. This shade reminds me of my 18th, which is why its a special one in my collection.
What's your favourite product from MAC?

Wednesday 15 March 2017

The Kathleen Lights Colourpop Collection

If there's one beauty blogger that I trust regarding make up products, its Kathleen from KathleenLights, so when I finally worked up the courage to order from Colourpop a few months back, it was obvious that I'd pick up some things to try from her collaboration with the brand. So far there isn't anything from Colourpop that I haven't loved, meaning it was safe to say that when these products arrived at my flat, I was practically dancing around my bedroom. 

The shade Aquarius (a soft nude pink in a crème finish) has been developed into a lippie stick, ultra matte, and ultra satin lip finish, but the ultra glossy lip has changed my life. That's not even an exaggeration I promise; this lip gloss has perfected the non-sticky gloss formula, and is just the right amount of pigmentation. I wear it to university every day, and have even ordered a back up, which isn't something I've ever done with a lip product before. If you ever get the opportunity to order from the site, definitely pick this up, its the ideal pink-nude gloss and for only $6 you can't really go wrong.

The next product I wanted to try was the 'Lumiere' Lippie Stick, since I've never tried a Lippie stick before and this shade is such a pretty dusty mauve pink. I'm wary at the moment of matte products, so I appreciate the creamy formula of this on a high level, and the shape of the product means its easy to apply without a liner. The colour doesn't fade for a good few hours, with only a slight need to reapply after eating, something I would usually do regardless so isn't a big deal. This one is $5 - even better.
Last year Kathleen released three new shades in the ultra satin lip finish, which is my second favourite following the ultra glossy lip. I picked up the shade 'Point Zero', a cool toned grey brown which lasts nicely on the lips and is a comfortable formula. I love wearing this on a night out with a sheer gloss over the top, and the shade reminds me a lot of 'Stone' by MAC, but in a more wearable formula. The other shades in that release ('Alyssa' and 'November') looked completely beautiful too, but I'm yet to try those out. Again, these liquid lipsticks are $6; I'm consistently amazed by how reasonable Colourpop prices are, and considering how expensive some beauty blogger collaborations are, this one is good one to get your hands on.

The other product I was excited to try was her collection of Super Shock Shadows, an eye shadow formula that I've completely fallen head over heels for. They're an almost creamy consistency, meaning that they blend like a dream, and the pigmentation (particularly of the shimmer or glitter shades) is intense. The 'Where the Light Is' collection is $18 and includes:
  • Glow - A creamy matte vanilla shade that I use as an overall lid colour to even out the skin tone on my eyelid before I go in with other shadows. This one is super creamy.
  • Cornelius - A warm matte caramel shade that I haven't had much chance to play with yet, but when I've swatched it, it looks gorgeous. I think this would be an ideal crease shade.
  • Blaze - A "coco bronze sprinkled with multi-dimensional glitter", doesn't that sound amazing? I'm a big fan of bronze shades, and of glitter, so you can't go wrong with a combination of both.
  • KathleenLights - This is my favourite, even though it's so bold that I'm almost afraid to use it. It's described as a "bright golden copper", and is without a doubt the most pigmented shadow I've ever used (see the swatches below.) Such a beautiful shadow, and it reminds me a lot of MAC 'Amber Lights', which is also a lovely shadow but is a lot more expensive.
From the items I've trialled, this Colourpop collaboration is a real winner. I'm definitely going to pick up a couple more items when I next order.

Top to Bottom: Lumiere, Aquarius, Glow, Cornelius, Blaze, Kathleen Lights, Point Zero

Sunday 12 March 2017

Loreal True Match

I'm writing this up on a train on the way back from  a weekend in London. I read a quote that said you should aim to do something that scares you every single day, and walking for eight hours around London on my own was definitely on that list, so I'm sat here feeling a little proud of myself. It won't seem like a big deal to a lot of people, but I'm a seaside girl!
A couple of months ago I bought Loreal True Match, after years of sticking to Rimmel Wake Me Up, and this foundation? Life changing. If you have skin that's pretty much snow white level (like me), then this foundation comes in the fairest of shades - the shade range is so wide that I'm pretty sure there's a shade for every skin tone, which obviously is a big plus when choosing a foundation. I got mine in the shade Rose Ivory; my skin tone is pale with pink undertones, so this is ideal. I tend to go for yellow concealers to counteract the pink/red, but with foundation I would always gravitate towards the pink end of the spectrum. 
This product is entirely buildable. The foundation is on the runny side of things, which means that you can distribute it evenly across your skin and you don't have to commit to a thick layer (something I spend forever trying to avoid with other foundations.) The coverage that you get with only a small amount of product is highly impressive! I've been having a bad time with my skin lately due to a new primer, so when I applied this foundation I was immediately impressed because I could literally see the difference it was making. It looks so natural and flawless, and the packaging is perfect as it comes with a pump - I can't be doing with foundations that you have to pour, it feels like an accident waiting to happen.
The one thing I will say is that if you have drier skin, you're going to want to apply a moisturiser prior to this product. I have mostly dry skin, and if I don't apply it beforehand then the foundation clings to dry spots, but that's an issue easily fixed and it doesn't put me off using it in the slightest. I'd rather have that than a super dewy foundation, but it you're a fan of super dewy looks then I'm not sure this would be up your street.
I use the Real Techniques foundation brush to apply this, but I can imagine that it would look dreamy when applied with a sponge. I honestly can't convey how much I love this foundation to even out blemishes and balance my skin tone, for a drugstore price I think you get a lot more than what you pay for. I've been using this non stop for two months now and the bottle doesn't look anywhere close to becoming empty; the consistency of the foundation means that you really don't need much, making it cost effective. In fact, I think you should all go out and buy this ASAP.


Wednesday 8 March 2017

Printiki Photo Printing*

When it comes to memories, I've always been a sentimental kind of person; I struggle to delete any photos from my camera roll, and I spend a lot of time flicking through the 'memories' section on snap chat, reminiscing. My polaroid camera is my pride and joy, but often it annoys me that I'll capture a moment on my phone and not on my camera - this is where photo printing services come in.
When Printiki contacted me to ask if I wanted to try out their service and order 30 square prints, I jumped at the chance. University accommodation can seem quite bare when you initially move in, but now my walls are covered with photos of my family and friends! When I completed my order, I had the option of black or white borders, a full page image, or polaroid style prints. I thought the white border looked so chic and retro that I couldn't help but order all my prints in that style. I was also very impressed that you could select your photos to be printed in matte finish; I think matte photos look beautiful and so unique.

This service would definitely be a good way to print out photography if you wanted to create your own portfolio, or if you just wanted to print out some sentimental snaps to flick through or stick into a scrapbook. If you're stuck on gift ideas I think this would go down a treat - the photos arrive in perfect condition in an envelope, and I think anyone would appreciate this as a thoughtful gift. I'm so impressed with the speed in which my photos arrived, and £6.50 (including shipping) is a reasonable price for 30 photos. You can order your prints here, and check out the variety of options that are available to order. If you want to add an even more personal touch, you can choose to display text on the photos. I think it would be such a cute idea to put the date of each photo on the prints, particularly if you're making a scrapbook or photo album.
In a society where almost everything is documented online, I think these services are a wonderful idea. I used to spend so long looking through physical photo albums that my parents had created, and I'm glad that the idea of physical photos isn't going out of style. I know that I'll continue to print photos for as long as I can; holding memories in your hands is such a special concept. Thank you to the people at Printiki for letting me trial the service, you can also get more information through their instagram here.
*These products were sent to me to review, but all opinions are my own.


Sunday 5 March 2017

Pixi X Aspyn Ovard

Pixi is not a brand I've dived into before; I've heard people rave about the Glow Tonic and other various products but nothing has ever caught my eye enough to purchase. That was until Aspyn Ovard released a range (why am I such a sucker for special collections nowadays?!) Many of the Youtubers I've watched for years have brought out a lot of collaborations in the past few months or so, and I'll never begrudge supporting the people I like watching on Youtube - girls gotta look out for one another, you know?
I was tempted by the cheek powder in 'Rome Rose', which looked like a gorgeous shimmery rose blush, but in the end I had to be practical since I don't wear blusher often enough to justify it, and I went for a highlighter. Given my skin tone, I probably should have been drawn to the shade 'London Lustre', purely because it was the lighter highlight, but in the end I couldn't resist the darker shade in 'Santorini Sunset', because it is perfect. Slightly controversial beauty statement, but I'm not the biggest fan of the Mary-Lou Manizer by TheBalm (too much texture, not a good look for me) and this champagne-gold highlight is exactly what I wished it would have looked like. Win win. 

£14 is what I would consider to be a brilliant price for a good quality highlight; I've paid much more for highlights that I know I would never wear as much. This one in 'Santorini Sunset', aside from having the cutest name since Santorini is where Aspyn got engaged, has a finely milled formula that just glides onto the skin and I'm telling you, a little goes a long way. I'd love to try the other shade in the collection now that I've fallen in love with this one, although white highlights don't hold as much of a space in my heart. I would put Santorini Sunset into the same category as 'Whisper of Gilt' by MAC - it doesn't look as golden in the pan, but when applied has a similar effect, and Pixi is cruelty free! I've popped this straight into my uni make up collection, quite the privilege considering I only take a couple of make up bags with me. I've switched out my Sweet Copper Compact for this in my everyday make up routine, so if that doesn't tell you its earned a good review then I'm not sure what will, considering I'm addicted to that compact.
I have to admit, in the past I've been put off the brand by the packaging (I really need to stop doing this, I know), because it seemed like it was targeted towards an older audience, and the pale green is a little on the plain side for my taste. I completely take that statement back now after trying this range, Aspyn's collaboration has made me look a little closer, and although I'll never be a No1 fan of the pale green, the product underneath, and even the detail on the packaging for this collection, is worth checking out.



Thursday 2 March 2017

The 100 Book Goal

Happy World Book Day!
Gone are the years when my Mum and I would sit on the carpet and twist pipe cleaners into my hair so I would look like Pippi Longstocking at school for World Book Day. It doesn't matter how much time passes though, I will always be at my most content flipping through pages, or walking up and down the aisles at Waterstones trying to narrow my choices down because my parents offered to treat me to a new book.
This year I've kickstarted my Goodreads page again (here), and with that arrives the chance to set a reading goal. I was probably a bit over-excited, but I've always been a perfectionist so here I am, placed in the middle of a 100 book goal. It's definitely going to be tough, but with a three month University Summer I think I might just be able to do it. Today seemed the perfect day to recommend some books I've raced through lately; I think I've finally found the genres that work best for me, so I rarely pick up a book now and immediately want it to end.
13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough - I cannot get enough of the mystery/thriller section of the bookstore, and this one had me completely spellbound. Natasha wakes up is hospital, after being temporarily dead for 13 minutes, and although she's suffering from amnesia she begins to suspect that it was her best friends that put her there. If you like Pretty Little Liars/ The Girl on the Train type storylines, then I think this would be right up your alley.
The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry - I have nothing to compare this to, its such a beautiful read surrounding the different relationships that you encounter throughout your young life, and what efforts you would exercise to protect them.  I adored the writing style, and its a completely unique read for me in that it has a religious aspect to it, and explores the idea of parallel worlds. I'm not even sure what genre this would fit into, it has a little bit of everything and I guarantee that you won't be able to put it down.
Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover - Colleen Hoover is up there with my favourite authors; I think she handles issues so brilliantly and makes even mundane events seem captivating. I devoured this in a few hours on an afternoon when I should definitely have been essay writing (oops), and I loved the theme of loyalty that ran throughout this. Its a novel about betrayal, and how cheating is not always carried out with malicious intent, like is portrayed so often in other pieces of writing. I fell in love with Sydney's character, so torn apart by wanting to do the right thing and also accepting that sometimes you have to just follow your heart.
Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall - This was so eye opening for me. Louise paints a vivid image of what its like to suffer from agoraphobia, and I couldn't help but feel my heart break a million times for Norah throughout the book. I've read a couple of storylines similar to this one in the past, but have always felt like the illness wasn't at the forefront of the writing. Here, its so intensely spoken about that the focus is in the right place, and although it has all sorts of other elements to it (a lil bit of romance here and there), its predominantly a book about mental illness, giving a misunderstood topic the recognition it needs.
Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino - This is your typical 'one that got away' storyline, but I loved it immensely. As I grow older I relate to characters at different stages of their lives - reading about young adults in University is so identical to my life in many ways that I can visualise the story down to a tee. I like that this spans over a significant proportion of the lifetime; Grace and Matt have such strong character development throughout the years, and its moving to read about. If you're a fan of romance, then I have a feeling that you won't be able to get enough of this book/author.
What books are you celebrating this World Book Day?
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