Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The Uniquely You Challenge

The Uniquely You challenge is a blogger challenge set up by Mod Cloth.  Each week, an item from their website is selected as the item of the week, and bloggers have to style it with their own personal twist!  I have heard of Mod Cloth, but honestly it's not a site that I had visited prior to the challenge because it is based in America.  But, since carrying out the challenge, I've found that shipping to the UK is easy peasy, and they have some really nice bits in a huge range of sizes!  (My favourites are the graphic tees, but lordy they have some nice things!)

So this week, the chosen item was Bouquet of the Season dress.  In all honesty, when I saw this I was a little worried how I would style this to make it more me.  I'm not a major lover of pink or florals, and this is very girly with pink and florals.  Looking at the dress, I first thought it would be nice for a Wedding or maybe a day at the races - not something I go to, and Weddings I tend to stick to plain dresses.  But when I thought about how I would wear it...well I think it'd be the perfect base item for festival wearing.

The fitted bust, but floaty bottom is perfect for festival style and the colours are beautifully suited to beach sunsets, or lazing on the field.  I chose to team this dress with the Totally Boss Jacket, which is a light acid wash denim to give a girly dress a bit of an edge.  I really love this jacket, and it seems to have a slight crop to it which I think is perfect for a dress of this style - I wouldn't want the jacket to swamp over the dress.

Festival shoes are a tough one...for a casual day in a pub garden, I might put this outfit with some nice sandals or flip flops.  But festivals in England, where the weather is really unpredictable, I'd need a closed toe.  I've chosen some pretty grungey boots, which are the Long Strides Forward Boots, and would slip these over a nice pair of girly, frilly socks like the Dancing on Flair Socks.  I've not seen frilly socks this frilly in the UK - I really, really love the huge frill!  (Doesn't 'frill' look weird when it's been written so many times...frill...frilly...)

I love a good necklace, so when I spied the Bead Still My Heart Necklace, I needed to fit it into this outfit!  I was a bit unsure at first, but you know what, festival style is almost an anything goes.  I want to wear this necklace with this outfit, and I want to clash the cobalt blue with this dress.  I love how chunky it is, and the cord gives it an amazing boho feel.  To really finish the festival vibes, I've chosen the Safari Finesse Hat!  I probably prefer hats to sunglasses, because I find sunglasses that actually suit me really difficult to find, but hats...well I really love this big rim hat!

So that's my outfit!  I hope you like it; it's been fun doing a challenge!  You can find my outfit on Wanelo here!

How would you have styled the Bouquet of the Season dress?

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Avène Extremely Gentle Cleanser & Soothing Hydrating Serum

I am always on the look out for new bits to try, and a few months ago I was given the opportunity to try something from Avène - the Extremely Gentle Cleanser*.  It sat in my draw of spares waiting to be used, and when the Avène Soothing Hydrating Serum* made its way into my mitts, I decided to pair the duo up and finally give them some attention.

I have been using the Extremely Gentle Cleanser in the evening to remove my make up as my pre-cleanse.  It says you can use this both morning and night, but I don't feel comfortable, or clean, using a formulation like this to clean all my night grime from my face in the morning.  It is a gel like texture which you apply with your fingers, and wipe off any excess using a cotton pad.  I found that the cleanser often just disappeared into my skin, so I never found that there was too much to wipe off which is probably why I never felt particularly clean.  The gel itself though is really soothing, and does leave skin feeling really soft but it doesn't effectively clean eye make up and I'm often left with under eye smudges.

The Soothing Hydrating Serum on the other hand...well, that was amazing.  It absorbed ridiculously quickly into my skin, and left practically no residue.  My skin has been feeling a little dehydrated lately, and I really felt my skin was drinking this up.  I mainly used this in the evening over the top of my Effaclar Duo+ and underneath my chosen moisturiser.  If my skin was feeling particularly dry, I did a couple of layers of the Hydrating Serum to ensure my skin was properly hydrated!  What I really loved about the serum was being able to use it in the morning - it provided a perfect, even base for the days make up.  It isn't heavy, but leaves my skin feeling perfectly smooth.

I don't know if I would personally recommend the Cleanser, but I'd one hundred percent recommend trying the serum!  If you did want to try them, the entire Avène range is currently on offer at Escentual.

Have you tried any Avène?  Will you be trying the Cleanser or the Serum?
*PR Sample.  These Avène products were sent to me for review.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Beauty Comparison: A MAC Sumptuous Olive Dupe?

A few weeks ago now, I won a MAC eyeshadow on Katie's blog Sugarfixx Beauty.  I chose the shade Sumptuous Olive, as it is one I hadn't heard much about, but had once seen on a Youtube video and fell in love with the shade.  It wasn't until I had chosen it as my prize that I started to panic after seeing comparisons to Sumptuous Olive and a shade from the Wet n Wild Comfort Zone palette, which I already had...

I wanted my first MAC eyeshadow to be a shade that I didn't already own, so naturally I felt a little disheartened that I had unwittingly chosen something I supposedly already had.  Last week, my prize arrived with the postman and I was relieved to find that Sumptuous Olive is definitely not a dupe for the shade from the Comfort Zone palette.

Right...finger swatching, they do look pretty similar, I'll give you all that.  On the left we have MAC's Sumptuous Olive, and on the right is the eyelid shade from the right side of the Comfort Zone palette.  You can see though that MAC has a brown undertone to it, with a gold shimmer running through it - sort of an antique bronze?  Whereas the Wet n Wild shade definitely has a lot more green in it.

The real difference is when the shade is blended out a bit.  Believe it or not, the shade on the top of my wrist is the MAC Sumptuous Olive.  The shades are completely different when reflecting light.  In some lights, the MAC and Wet n Wild shades are similar, but what makes the MAC stand out is its ability to transform from your somewhat standard golden khaki, to a beautiful golden copper.  It's nothing like any other shade that I own, and I am so pleased with it.  If you were thinking that you would save and go for the Comfort Zone "dupe," don't - whilst I love my Comfort Zone palette, Sumptuous Olive is just perfect.

Have you been disappointed/relieved from any supposed dupes?  Does MAC or Wet n Wild get your vote?

Monday, 14 April 2014

MAC Sumptuous Olive

This...this is my first ever MAC eyeshadow.  I won a giveway over on Katies' blog, SugarFixx Beauty, where I won a MAC eyeshadow and NARS blush of my choice!  I wanted an eyeshadow that wasn't the standard 'everyone has it' and thought I'd try something I might not normally go for.  So I chose Sumptuous Olive.

Sumptuous Olive is a Veluxe Pearl eyeshadow.  I had to do a bit of research into the finishes seeing as this is my first venture, but it seems Veluxe Pearl finishes are similar to Frost finishes, but are more metallic, with a pearly shimmer rather than a full on sparkly finish.

It is described as a golden khaki, which I completely agree with.  In the pan, it looks pretty standard as a khaki shade, but once applied the colours really shine through and it's like nothing I already own.  I was so pleased, because I did have a panic after choosing it that I had something similar, but you'll have to check back tomorrow to find out what that was!

Swatched heavily on my finger, the colour seems to be a lovely metallic green with a slight golden shimmer, matching what's in the pan perfectly.  Once it has all been blended out though, the khaki green fades a bit to reveal a gorgeous brown, almost copper, undertone which reflects the green in the light!  It's so, so pretty and I absolutely love it!  The below photographs show the eyeshadow at a light intensity, as I would most often wear it, but the pigmentation is great and can be easily built up to the intensity of the swatches on my hand.  I'd most likely up it to this amount of pigmentation on an evening out, and team it with a bit more of a smokey eye to make it multidimensional.  

In the day, I'd also probably take a nice brown in the crease, but I wanted to keep my swatches simple so you can see exactly what colour you'd be getting!

The only thing I was a little disappointed in was wear time; it's not really any longer lasting than any of my other eyeshadows.  It does crease a little throughout the day, but I find that it's pigmented enough to be easy to blend back out again if that does happen!  I will admit though I don't use primer on a daily basis; I really ought to start introducing  primer into my daily routine as I do wear eyeshadow quite a lot!

What do you think of Sumptuous Olive?  What's your favourite MAC eyeshadow?

Friday, 11 April 2014

The In Flight Beauty Bag

At half past midnight tonight, I'm setting off on my travels to go to Milan.  You already know what I'm planning on wearing, so I thought I'd share what I'm taking in my bag beauty wise!  I'm only going to Milan for the day, and will be back very early Sunday morning, so all I need to take is hand luggage.  Even though my flight is only a couple of hours, my day is going to be ridiculously long - I want my make up to be in tact, and I want to be able to look fresh and awake when I land even though I'll have had pretty much zero sleep.

I'll be applying my make up last thing tonight.  It seems a bit silly really to even bother with make up that late, but I still want to look presentable when I arrive and I won't have time to be applying make up on the journey down, or in the airport, as I'll be hopefully sleeping!  I will need some touch ups though, so I've packed a small selection of bits to help me out.

First up, I've got my trusty MAC Mineralise Skin Finish in Medium.  It's got enough coverage to even out my skintone, so I won't have to pack a separate foundation.  I can also use this during the day to help get rid of any shine.  To give me a flush of colour, I've picked my Maxfactor Miracle Touch Creamy Blush in Soft Pink.  I got this as part of a gift with purchase ages ago now, and it's so handy for popping in your hand bag and gives a gorgeous, natural flush.

To make my eyes more awake, I've picked out Benefits Eye Bright.  I'll be applying this to my waterline tomorrow morning and maybe even throughout the day to help disguise the fact that I am so damn tired, and hopefully reduce any red eyes.  I've also decided to bring a mascara to lift my lashes, and open my eyes.  This one is the Covergirl Clump Crusher.

For my lips, I've picked my newest lip balm which I bought from Poundland, and it's the Blistex Orange Mango Blast.  I have the Raspberry Lemonade Blast, and it smells and tastes amazing!  Citrus scents are said to be uplifting, so I'm grasping at straws and hoping this will help me out.  It's also going to be my base for my newest MAC lipstick, Relentlessly Red.  But, more about that next week - I'm trialling wear time when I wear it tomorrow!

As my make up will be on for a lot longer than usual, I wanted to make sure I had something to take my make up off when I start my journey home.  Flights are notoriously bad for your skin, so I'll be removing my make up as soon as I get on the flight home.  I'm packing a sample of Bioderma Sensibio H2O (review here) and a few cotton pads.  As my skin will need some serious hydration, I've also packed the Bioderma Atoderm PO Zinc Creme and the Bioderma Hydrabio Serum.

I might also pop a small hand cream in my bag, but I always get worried with how much liquids I'm actually allowed on a flight...  We'll see how much room I have left in my bag!  Looking at these pictures, I've realised I'm missing one critical thing...a mirror!  Queue me running upstairs to track one down...

Are you travelling away this year?  What would you take in your In Flight Beauty Bag?

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Soap and Glory Scrubatomic Daily Face Polish

Soap and Glory is a brand we all love, and the latest addition to my ridiculous supplies of Soap and Glory is the Scrubatomic Daily Face Polish.  It is a facial exfoliator made with AHA fruit acids, moisturising Shea Butter as well as antioxidants from peaches and goji berries!  The peach definitely comes through in the scent; it is the same as the Peaches and Clean cleanser, almost a sickly sweet peach schnapps scent!

The scrub itself is quite sandy, and sharp.  I was a little worried when I first started using it daily, and feared it would irritate my skin or break it out because of how harsh it is.  If you have sensitive skin, I'd probably recommend skipping using this on a daily basis, and stick to using it just once or twice a week!  Luckily for me, my skin was fine but you do need to use it with care as too much scrubbing may leave your face sore.

The texture aside from the harsh granules is really nice - it's light, creamy and you don't need too much to exfoliate your face and neck.  My skin is left smooth, soft and feeling nicely cleansed!  I haven't noticed too much in the way of my skin miraculously clearing, but I will claim that my pores across my nose have been slightly cleared!

You can find Scrubatomic in Boots, and it's priced at £6 currently, but is usually £9.  If you want to try it, now's your chance!  I think I'd buy this again, but maybe only when it was on offer.  I'd like to try a few more exfoliators before I make a proper decision, but it was nice to use!

Which exfoliator should I try next?  Have you tried Scrubatomic?

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Wet n Wild Color Icon Comfort Zone Palette

Way back in December, you might remember that I took part in a spending ban which resulted in a prize swap after we'd all finished!  Luckily, my swap was with Hannah from the USA and she sent me lots of gorgeous bits, all of which I love.  One of the things I've been using practically on a daily basis is the Wet n Wild Comfort Zone Palette.

The first photograph was taken way back now when I first got the palette inside in the evening with artificial light, and the ones underneath is the palette more recently taken with natural light; the shadows come in a plastic case with a flip up, clear plastic lid.  It's so difficult to get open when you first get it - America seal cosmetics like nothing I've seen before and it's a mission in itself to try and get in the thing!  It comes with a light dual ended brush, with a sparse brush on one side, and  a sponge applicator on the other.  I have used the brush actually - I find it really useful for blending my shades together, as it isn't as hard and sharp as other brushes I've had that come with palettes.  That said though, you've probably got a softer, fluffier brush which will do the job better.  I have also used the sponge applicator on its side to kind of stamp on the definer shade before blending.  I wouldn't rate the packaging or the additional brush, but it's what's inside that counts...

The left side is just beautiful, by far my favourite and is the side that I have worn the most.  The shades are really earthy, natural shades with four colours; one for highlight, over the lead, in the crease and a deep chocolate with fine copper flecks for the definer.  These shades are so wearable, and look gorgeous no matter which way you layer them.  I most often just grab the second shade for the eyelid, as it's perfect for a quick wash and go.  All of the shades have a shimmer to them, which is really nice and pretty.  But, it's not often that I wear all four of the shadows together because I think it's a very dramatic evening look due to the shimmer.  I'd love a day version of this palette with some matte shades in.

The right side is one I've barely reached for.  I really like the shades, particularly the iridescent definer which is a gorgeous shade that reflects purples and blues, with an almost reddy undertone.  It's so difficult to capture it in a photograph, but it really is so nice.  I really ought to branch out from my neutrals and start using this side more...

All of the shades are so pigmented, really soft and are easily blendable.  The quality is amazing for a product that costs so little!  I do get a bit of creasing towards the end of the day, but it's nothing horrendous and for the price, I really don't care.  UK ladies, don't be sad because you can find the Comfort Zone palette on Amazon for £10 including postage, which is so reasonable for the quality!  I would one hundred percent buy them again if these ever run out, and I think that Walking on Eggshells might have made its way onto my wishlist...

Have you tried anything from Wet n Wild?