Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Beauty | Mom's Travel Make Up Bag

What's in my Mom's Make Up Bag3-1199

  1. MAC Alluring Aquatic Extra Dimension Eyeshadow in Sea Worship 
  2. MAC Studio Finish Concealer
  3. Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Liner in 01 Black
  4. GOSH Long Lasting Brow Pen in 004 Wheat
  5. Revlon Eyeliner in 02 Earth Brown
  6. MAC Prep and Prime Face Protect
  7. MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in More To Love
  8. NAKED 2 Palette
  9. Sleek True Colour Lipstick in Mystic 783
  10. Sleek Face Contour in 886 Dark
Last Friday I took the day off to tidy my flat in preparation for a visit from my mom*. She stayed all weekend, we ate lots of good food, drank lots of red wine, made a bunch of cake, did a little bit of shopping and had a generally great time. Before she left,  I managed to wade through hundreds of inch-long eye pencils and empty MAC shadow pots (can you believe it?!) to snap a shot of the products that she actually used during her visit. Although mom has worn a bit of make up for as long as I can remember, I think her real interest began with mine about 5 years ago-- it's catchy, this make up stuff.

As you can see, the Naked 2 palette takes pride of place in the centre of my photograph as it does in my mom's make up bag. I bought this for her last Christmas and she has gotten a whole lot of use out of it since, with her favourite colours being Pistol, Snakebite and YDK. Another firm favourite of my mom's is her MAC Prep and Prime, which she swears by to help her Studio Finish last all day with minimal creasing. Finally, MAC's More To Love and Sleek's Mystic are both bright pink lip products that she has taken to recently. Pssst. Here's a not-so-secret-secret for you: when I was younger, in the 90s, my mom was all over that black eyeliner-come-lipliner trend. I know.

*I've said it once and I'll say it again: I dislike the British spelling of 'mum' and refuse to ever use it. Saying that, I recently learned that a preference for the US spelling runs rife across the Midlands where I'm from, so that's probably why it's so ingrained in me now! #themoreyouknow 

Friday, 24 October 2014

Beauty | Sleek Au Naturel 601 Eyeshadow Palette

Sleek Makeup Au Naturel 601 Eye Shadow Palette-0908

One of the very first makeup products that I ever bought was a Sleek eyeshadow palette; it was the 'Original' collection that had colours ranging from blues and greens to purples and bronzes. I was around 18 and very new to makeup at the time, but even then I understood that they were good shadows for the price that I paid. Those of you acquainted with Sleek will know that their palettes are brilliant quality and even better value, with the high pigment and buttery texture of their shimmer shadows in particular blowing some higher brands right out of the water. 

When the Au Naturel palette was released a while ago for £7.99 I was very, very excited but also interested to know whether or not the matte shades would hold their own against the famous metallics-- afterall, matte shadows in general can be notorious for having bad colour payoff and a chalky finish. After using this palette for a while now, I think it's fair to say that while the matte shadows are definitely not as good as the other textures, they aren't awful, either. Needless to say, however, the shimmer shades are as good as you would expect.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The Goods | Moleskines and Me

Moleskine 3

Ikea Skurar plant pot and yellow Moleskine all in one picture? On a scale of star tattoos to lens-less glasses, how many pairs of skinny jeans is this post? Moving on, I've been using Moleskine notebooks for a very long time now. My first one, a black hardback, was my diary for years and years until I eventually stopped using it because I realised that regurgitating every single thought I ever had in the form of writing wasn't actually as therapeutic for me as I first thought. I also used them when I was a teacher; to plan my lessons, to record marks and grades, to doodle in when the staff meetings became unbearable. I got through one book every term. My manager at my current job always jokes that I would be "lost without [my] little red book".

The newest addition to my collection is a ruled, pocket notebook in a jovial carnet. I'm slightly too nervous to taint its pages just yet, but when I do, I think this will become a place to dump lists, ideas and doodles. Moleskine notebooks are, of course, incredibly popular now and there's a good reason for that. They feel good in your hands. The paper, although some complain of it being too thin, feels smooth and inviting. You can open one of these notepads at to the central page and the book will lay flat. Whilst teaching, I carried mine around with me all day, leaving it on the hall floor during assembly, dropping it down flights of stairs as I tried to run to the toilet between classes in different rooms. And it still looked as good as the day I bought it. I have a soft spot for a good Moleskine.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Beauty | bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipgloss in Dare Devil

Bareminerals Marvelous Moxie Dare Devil-0809
I don't often wear lipgloss, but when I do... I end up looking like that creature from the Addam's family because half my head of hair has decided to MIGRATE TOWARDS THE FRONT OF MY FACE AND STICK TO MY LIPS. I'm afraid I don't have the solution here for you today, but I'm not one to turn down free make up, so when my friend Clare From Work (CFW) passed bareMinerals'  Marvelous Moxie in the shade Dare Devil on to me after receiving it as a free gift with her online purchase, I didn't pass up the chance to check it out for myself.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Beauty | No 7 Stay Perfect Lipstick in Sultry

V2 - No7 - Stay Perfect - Sultry-0034

Most UK shoppers will know that on visiting Boots, you are more often than not given vouchers for money off their own make up brand, No7. I have to say that before now I'd never bothered to cash in on my vouchers because there were always other brands that I was interested in. I decided one day recently, however, that it was about time that I gave No7 a go and that's when I found myself acquainted with their Stay Perfect Lipstick in Sultry. And I think it could be the beginning of a lovely little relationship. 

THE GOOD


| Sultry is a beautiful colour. If you check out the photograph under the cut, you can see that this shade is really quite flattering. I think I would describe it as a mature and muted cerise with fairly neutral undertones. The best thing, though, is the comfortable satin sheen finish.
| Holds its own against pigmented lips. My lips are naturally quite a deep colour and some lipsticks can't cope with that. I don't have to worry about that with Sultry because it has such great coverage without having to pile layers of it on.
| Super smooth, super easy to apply. The texture of this lipstick is such that it glides on like a dream. It applies evenly across the whole lip in one fell swoop. No fuss, no hassle.
| Fragrance and flavour free. Sometimes you just don't want your face to smell like a sweet shop/packet of Wrigleys Extra White chewing gum, so it's quite refreshing that Sultry doesn't smell or taste like anything.

THE COULD BE BETTER

| The staying power leaves something to be desired. For a lipstick that claims to 'Stay Perfect', I don't know that it does too much of that. I would say that, at best, this remains at full colour for about an hour before starting to fade from the centre of the lips outwards. It's so nice and easy to apply though, that you can't be too angry at it for this!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Review | Redken Extreme Anti-Snap Leave-In Treatment

Review Redken Anti Snap-0953

I'm not sure whether you know this or not, but my hair is actually very big and very curly [Exhibit A] and as a result of my inability to master it in its natural state, I straighten it to within an inch of its life about twice a week. Of course, my hair probably isn't in the best condition because of all the heat I use on it, so I'm constantly on the lookout for products that can make me feel a little less guilty about the damage that I'm causing. One of those products is Redken's anti-snap leave-in lotion. The idea behind this is that it's supposed to treat damaged hair showing signs of breakage, split ends or general tiredness, leaving it strengthened, protected and glossy.

As for HOW it's supposed to do that, the Feelunique website explains that this works by containing something called 18-MEA, which helps to restore the layer of protection and resurfaces the hair cuticle to help restore shine, while amino acids and protein enter your hair for targeted structural repair. So it all sounds quite clever and promising, but is this just your standard advertising spiel, or have I found any evidence that it actually works?

A couple of Saturdays ago, after using Redken's anti-snap bi-weekly for about a month, I visited my hairdresser (shout out to Chloe at Toni&Guy). I go to Chloe every single time but on drying and straightening my hair on that occasion she was surprised by how soft and manageable it was in comparison to my other visits. And the only difference in my routine that I could think of was the addition of Redken's anti-snap. Of course, I had noticed differences myself but to have Chloe comment on the condition of my hair helped to confirm that anti-snap had been having a positive impact.

So how do I use it? Before blow drying my hair I'll apply about 3-4 pumps all over, focusing on the ends with the most damage. I then often add another 1 or 2 products (usually including a heat protector) such as LabelM's Age Defying Oil (I LOVE this stuff-- I must review it soon) or Redken's Smooth Lock Stay Sleek leave-in cream. After applying all of that, I go ahead and blow dry my hair before using straighteners to smooth it out.

The results: Like I said, I have noticed differences myself when using this: my hair feels smoother and looks glossier. I don't think I have enough empirical evidence yet to say whether it does indeed help to limit breakage, but I feel as though if it's making my hair feel in better condition even after it has been washed out, it must be resulting in less breakage. Nevertheless, I'm going to say that I'm really quite happy with this product. It's not cheap, but it gives you some great results. 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Reflections | Making Friends as an Adult

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Making friends—or, keeping friends— has always been quite difficult for me, but I feel that this is becoming more magnified the older that I get. Admittedly, I’m a particularly special case on account of being an inherent loner, but after discussing this issue with a few people, I’ve come to the sweeping conclusion that this could be quite common with many adults. If I try to think of my own timeline of friendship, things started off quite well in Primary School before plummeting into the shadowy, Facebook-notification-free pits of friendship failure here in my 20s. Whilst manually (don’t ask) adding the telephone numbers of friends and family into my new phone and realising that I was finished in the space of 10 minutes, I began to contemplate why making friends as an adult can sometimes be dishearteningly difficult.

School: The Perfect Setting for Friendship?
When we’re younger, we often spend a lot of time in places and situations with people who are the same age as us and share very similar interests as a result of shared spaces and experiences. 99.9% of the time, you even all come from roughly the same place/street. Granted, I understand that some people hated school, but for a lot of people it’s the place where they pick up their Best Friends for Life. Being an adult in the workplace is very different. Although you are all generally working towards to the same goal and probably have similar career interests, it’s likely that you’ll be different ages, come from a huge range of different places and have wildly different upbringings and backgrounds. These things are definitely not problems in and of themselves and it’s entirely liberating to free yourself from the shackles of sameness that high school and college do often become. But you have to admit... it’s a lot easier to create a spark if there’s some ‘Lets-go-get-our-lady-taches-threaded-together-at-Priya’s’ common ground.

When being a grown up and having a job sort of gets in the way
I often try to tell myself that I’ve escaped the 9-5 rat race because I actually work from 8-4—but who am I kidding? I get up at 5:20, eat a rushed breakfast, walk to the station, sit on the train, get off the train, get on the bus, get to work, sit at my desk, type type type, spreadsheet, Word .doc, quiet lunch, get on the bus, get off the bus, get on the train, get off the train, get home, rinse, repeat. It gives me a dull ache in my heart writing that out. Dreary as this endless cycle is, it still leaves me too pooped to want to pursue anything else at the end of the day. Not to mention that nobody from work actually lives in the same city as me anyway. Such is the commuter life. Represent. Some of us may even have super-long-term partners, children and other adultx10 responsibilities that take priority over after work drinks in God knows where with the girls. Sometimes being a grown up makes you feel as though you don't have the time or the energy to nurture friendships. This is something that I really need to work on shaking off.

A hardened view of the world
With each birthday celebration that passes, I develop a more hardened view of the world and the people in it. I have a confession to make: I’m a bit of a misanthropist. When I was 18 I learned the hard way that sometimes people hurt you, and I lost a long term partner and all of my confidence in a lot of my friends at the time. I think we all know you shouldn't let a handful of experiences taint your entire worldview, but some blows are difficult to recover from. The pessimistic part of me understands that it's a dog eat dog world out there and this has created a 25ft wall between me and everybody else. I think we probably all have our fair share of betrayals in our pasts (and perhaps coming up in our futures) that can be incredibly difficult to face. I suppose the trick is being strong enough not to let them destroy relationships that come afterwards.

The reason why I call these posts 'Reflections' is because they're a round up of my thoughts on a topic. I should put disclaimers at the beginning of them warning you that I don't have answers to the issue I'm about to discuss. There are many days where between my medical issues, not knowing what to do with my life and general, long-term depression, that I need somebody to really talk to. Not an acquaintance who I have a superficial connection with. A real, proper, 'I am happy. Are you happy? I am falling apart. Do you want to go for a coffee?' friend.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Beauty | Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet: 07 Nude-ist & 09 Happy Nude Year

Bourjois Roughe Edition Velvet Nude-0737

Oops I did it again, dun dun dun dun dun. Did you just sing that sentence in your head? Are you doing it now? Anyway, the point is: I've only gone and bought two more Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet lips paints. Some months ago now when these were first released, I picked up 04 Peach Club and 02 Frambourjoise. I was perfectly happy with the two of these for a while and particularly loved Frambourjoise, but on seeing that Boots had a 2 for £14 offer on Bourjois make up last week I decided that I should check out the other colours that were on offer. 

This time around I went for two of the 'lightest' colours in the collection: 07 Nude-ist and 09 Happy Nude Year. Both are described as being 'nude' but I think they're actually fairly 'showy' pinks, particularly Happy Nude Year. The difference in colour isn't too distinct, but Happy Nude Year is the brighter, more vivid of the two, where Nude-ist feels a bit more comfortable to wear because it's slightly more muted despite being the darker shade. 

In terms of texture, these are exactly the same as Peach Club and Frambourjoise (check out my review here) but I feel that the staying power is slightly better with these two shades-- isn't that strange? I'm not sure whether it's the fact that these are lighter colours so you don't get such an obvious fade-ring (you know what I'm talking about, right?) but I definitely feel that I can get away with not topping these up for much longer than I can with Peach Club and Frambourjois. On the whole, these are objectively very nice products, as expected; though personally, I'm not sure that I'm going to get much wear out of Happy Nude Year because it's just a little too bubblegum for my tastes!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Blog Talk | Review: Anker T320 Keyboard -- Becoming more productive on your tablet

Anker Ultra Slim Keyboard iPad Productivity-0410

I have a bit of a habit of coming in from work and plonking myself on the sofa with a handful of almonds and a spoonful of Nutella, ready to watch Come Dine With Me. Unable to pull myself away from the goodness that is Dave Lamb, I rarely ever got the chance to head over to my desktop and put together the blog posts that I'd planning in my head all day. This saddened me, so I decided that I needed to take steps towards being more productive after work. Having retired my laptop years ago, the only portable device that I have now is my tablet, so I decided that it might be a good idea to buy a keyboard for it so that I could put together blog posts WHILST sat on the sofa watching The Best Show in the World. Genius!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Beauty | FoTD with MAC's Woodwinked and Diego Dalla Palma's #15 eye shadow

FOTD Diego Dalla Palma and MAC Woodwinked-0644

| Diego Dalla Palma eye shadow in #15 has been used on the outer third of my eyelid, but also along the crease
| MAC's Woodwinked was used as my base colour-- you can see it there on the first two thirds of my eye
| Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in 225 Sultry was used on my lips
| L'Oreal le blush in Sandalwood on the cheeks
| And on the rest of my face: the usual Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation, Dolly Wink eyebrow powder and Maybelline FitMe Concealer.

Following up from my September Favourites post, I decided it would make a huge amount of sense to actually put together a FoTD showing you what I've been doing with MAC's Woodwinked and DDP's #15 this month. As you can see, there's nothing new or outrageous about this look, and I'm very much within in my comfort zone... but these are just great quality eye shadows, so there's nowt wrong with that, surely!?

Related posts:

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Review | Knomo iPhone 6 Leather Folio Case

Knomo iPhone 6 Leather Folio Case-0664With my Samsung Galaxy S3 becoming slower and less responsive as the days went by, it was time for me to look into getting a new phone. After a lot of consideration, I decided that I would give the iPhone 6 a go and thus far I'm really, really happy with it. Being the Anxiety Monster that I am, I tend to buy folio cases for my phones, rather than covers that just protect the back. With the iPhone 6 still being incredibly new, however, it was quite the slog trying to find the type of case that I wanted. After trawling the internet for days before my phone arrived, I stumbled upon the Knomo London website and bought their iPhone 6 Leather Folio case in the colour Clay (which strikes me as a bit of misnomer really, because this case is definitely a dusky pink). Please click the link below for more info and lots of pictures!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Monthly Favourites | September 2014

Monthy Favourites - September 2014-0592
| Diego Dalla Palma Eye Shadow in 15
| MAC Eye Shadow in Woodwinked
| L'oreal le blush in 120 Sandalwood Pink

A very minimal list of favourites for the month of September, but these were the three standout items for me. I can't remember whether or not I've mentioned the Diego Dalla Palma eye shadow before, but it is honestly one of the best matte eye shadows that I've had the pleasure of using because of how buttery and easy-to-work-with it is. I picked this up from M&S when I was strolling through their Beauty section and fell for the colour, which is the perfect crease shade for my skin tone. 

MAC Woodwink's reputation probably precedes it so I won't bang on about it too much, but this is quite a nice my-skin-but-shimmery colour that works as a nice all over lid colour for me. I've been wearing Woodwinked  with the DDP eyeshadow a lot this month and have been given a couple of compliments on the combo-- result! 

The third and final component of my September ~triumvirate~ is L'Oreal's le blush in Sandalwood. This comes up in my favourites a lot because it's the perfect, soft pink for when you don't really know what else to wear, plus it's also subtle enough to wear with my Woodwinked/DDP eye makeup, so I don't end up looking too overdone!

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