New In: Beauty Basics

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I’ve mentioned many times before that I tend to be a bit of a creature of habit when it comes to beauty and skincare. However, every now and again I go a bit crazy and try a whole host of new things – with varying success levels, it has to be said. After a bit of an unsuccessful dabble with new beauty buys at the end of last year, I think I can say I’ve had a little more luck with my latest beauty haul – and the reason why? Some of these purchases aren’t technically “new” at all…

I was a huge devotee to the original Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation for years and years – I loved the low-to-medium coverage and the dewy finish, its build-ability and its price point. When I ran out of my last bottle last year, and my local Boots didn’t have any more in stock (it appears I’m not the only fan!), I took a chance on the Revlon ColorStay foundations instead. You can read my review on those here – basically, good but not great, and I had to mix two formulas to get anywhere near the kind of base that I like. Not ideal. When I heard that Bourjois had reformulated Healthy Mix, I was dubious about it – but with my patience running out with Revlon, I decided to give it a go.

And? It’s actually even better than the original! That same level of coverage, to hide tired skin and even out the complexion, without masking the skin underneath – I have always loved that my light freckles are visible through this foundation. But somehow, skin looks fresher and dewier, and I found that the base lasted all day long. My previous bugbear with the old formula had been that it tended to oxidise slightly if worn all day, but so far, no such issues. I am sold, all over again! I’m the lightest shade, no 51 Vanille Clair for reference.

Along with a lighter base for Spring, I wanted to try a lighter concealer too. I’m a lover of Collection’s Lasting Perfection Concealer, and while I can’t see that changing any time soon, I prefer to use something a little more hydrating on the eye area when the warmer weather rolls around. This concealer is like a blanket, totally smothering dark circles, redness and blemishes – perfect for a heavier foundation but perhaps too much on a dewy, glowy base. Once I was convinced by the Healthy Mix foundation, I thought about reverting to the new-formula HM concealer too (loved this years ago, before full-time work gave me darker eyes than my uni days!) – but then I spotted the sleek packaging and alluring name of the Radiance Reveal concealer. It was love at first swipe, dear readers – blended with thermal spring water and hyaluronic acid, it’s seriously hydrating, very fluid and just so light. I have used this a few times now and it’s everything I look for in a concealer. There’s no creasing, no caking, no fading away – just luminous, bright-looking skin all day long. I picked Ivory and it’s perfect, slightly lighter than my foundation for a really perky, bright-eyed finished look. I wouldn’t use this on blemishes or obvious redness (Lasting Perfection is always my weapon of choice for those kinds of issues) but for creating fresh, glowy eyes it’s ideal.

Of course, for any base, primer is an essential. I absolutely love L’Oreal Infallible Mattifying Base, so it’s no surprise to see a new tube in this haul, to replenish my nearly-finished tube in my makeup bag. If you like that silicone-type of primer, like the renowned Smashbox primer, you’ll love this. It’s perfect for making sure makeup sticks all day. But (kind-of) new to the stash? L’Oreal’s Lumi Magique Pure Light Primer. I say kind-of new; I last used this primer back in around 2014, so it’s been due a restock in my beauty arsenal. Sometimes I really like to ramp up the radiance, and this pearly-white primer is pure glow. It actually does a pretty good job of keeping makeup in place, but I’ll likely be mixing this with the Infallible primer for a glistening base that sticks fast.

Mascara-wise, I have been forced to try something new in this haul, and so far, so good – although I’m still wary of singing its praises too much. I went to repurchase my beloved L’Oreal Lash Architect mascara, but found that it had sold out (do we sense a theme emerging?), so after a long process of analysing each one in the stand, I went for the False Lash Superstar Red Carpet. Terrible name, great mascara. I’ve always quite liked those double-ended ones, with the white primer and the black topcoat, and this is definitely one of the better ones I’ve tried. One coat of white and two of black creates thick, fluttery lashes, and the flexible formula makes it really easy to reapply; plus it doesn’t flake or smudge, despite not being waterproof. So far, so good – hopefully it stays flexible and non-flaky as the formula dries and thickens.

My final new beauty purchase is one that I’ve invested quite a lot of optimism into; I’m really hoping that this product does what it promises to. After years of rave reviews and wondering, I’ve hopped on to the bandwagon (about five years after every other beauty blogger) and purchased La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Duo +. My reason for lateness? I’ve never really suffered with spots before; I’d always been lucky that my skin was clear and besides the occasional hormonal blemish, nothing really caused me a problem with my skin. But for the last few months, I’ve been suffering with those horrible under-the-skin blemishes on my chin that won’t disappear, and I know they’re down to nothing but hormones. I’ve heard that this is one of the best products for dealing with those kind of spots, and I’m really hoping this is the case. After only a couple of uses, smaller bumps have disappeared and the larger ones are much less red and angry – so keep your fingers crossed for me!

Have you tried any of these items?

Monthly Favourites: February 2017

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MY FAVOURITE THINGS

SKINCARE

With my brother’s wedding only around ten weeks away now, I’m really starting to think about my skincare, and how to ensure I have a clear, blemish-free and glowing complexion in all of the photographs. To combat those pesky hormonal breakouts, I was recommended to try adding some acids into my skincare routine, and after some research, I decided to take baby steps and start with Nip+Fab’s Glycolic Fix Extreme Pads. Packed with AHAs and BHAs, these pads are designed to decongest skin and create a more even, brighter complexion. After two weeks of use, I have definitely noticed the difference in the texture and look of my skin – and while they haven’t necessarily prevented breakouts, they have dried out the blemishes and evaporated them in record time. If anyone has any recommendations to quash hormonal breakouts I would love to hear them!

I’ve also been loving a new facial oil to add some moisture back into my routine; Ermana’s Renew Face Oil* is seriously impressive and feels like a real treat to use. I’ve been adding this into my evening skincare routine post-acids, to boost moisture and generally give my skin a bit of a lift. It’s a really luxe, silky oil and is completely natural too – it gets a very big thumbs-up from me!

BEAUTY

I don’t want to keep harping on about this wedding, but it is shaping so many of my decisions at the moment! My bridesmaid’s dress is red, and when I initially tried it on, I was wearing red lipstick. My soon-to-be sister-in-law loved the two together so I’ve set about trying to find the perfect matching red to last me through the day – and I think I’ve found it. NYX’s Soft Matte Lip Cream in Monte Carlo; a bright, vibrant, blue-based red that has a seriously glamorous feel about it, in a velvety formula that sets matte and lasts for DAYS. I’m just trying to ration it so I don’t use it all before the big day…

NEW PURCHASE

Zara’s sale didn’t hold much wonder for me this season, but I did manage to snap up one of my favourite purchases of the season before they sold out… These white leather heels are just perfect. Chunky wooden heel, pointed toe and unbelievably comfy – I know I’m going to get so much wear out of these, once it warms up in Edinburgh! The best bit was that they were reduced to just £12.99 down from £50-ish. They’re sold out online but you might have luck in store! I also purchased the Instagram blouse of the season – this unbelievably fun and frivolous floral embroidered blouse. It is Spring personified and I am so excited to wear this!

ITEM OF CLOTHING

Honestly? My Gap merino sweatpants. It’s been a cold month, and an expensive month, so we’ve been staying in most nights and trying to stay in at least one day at the weekend, to save money. So while my fancier clothes aren’t getting much of an airing, I am basically living in these sweatpants in the evenings and/or on a Sunday, and they are the comfiest things I have ever owned. Gap usually reissue them every season so keep an eye out – I got mine for £15 in the sale last year and they are one of the best purchases I have ever made. Who needs pyjamas when you have these?!

SHOP

I had spied Life Story in Broughton on a few Instagram accounts of late, and I kept meaning to pop in, without properly knowing where it was – so when we stumbled across it while walking through town a few weeks ago, we just had to pop in. It is the most beautiful shop – especially if you’re into your interiors and that effortless Scandi style. The boutique is packed with stationery and homewares that are meticulously chosen and beautifully presented, so if you don’t leave with a wishlist spiralling into the hundreds, you’re doing something wrong.

TV SHOW

We have become a little bit obsessed with the brilliant BBC One drama Taboo. Created by and starring Tom Hardy (swoon), it’s a really dark, Gothic drama that holds you in suspense throughout. I won’t say much more than this for fear of ruining it, but Tom Hardy plays James Delaney, the presumed-dead son of a trading magnate who returns to London after his father’s death and proceeds to do whatever the hell he wants to do. It is dark and twisted and so, so good. The entire series will be on the BBC iPlayer for a while yet and I urge you to watch it. “I have a use for you…”

MUSIC

After saying last month that Lianne La Havas’ ‘Blood’ on vinyl was on my wishlist, Lewis went and bought it as my Valentine’s gift, and I have been playing it ever since. It sounds just as gorgeous as I hoped it would. Highly recommended!

FOOD & DRINK

I’m still on a bit of a journey to shift some extra pounds, and while I’ve lost over half a stone so far (go me!) there’s still a little way to go before I hit the target in my head. One thing I’ve found really useful is Slimming World’s recipes, as you know they’ll be low in fat and packed with vegetables and goodness. I absolutely love the recipe for their Easy Chicken Curry – it tastes delicious and so authentic, and adding in some natural yoghurt at the end gives it the perfect finishing touch. Great for satisfying those takeaway cravings without the guilt, check out the recipe here.

READ

While we’ve been staying in this month a bit more than usual, it’s been a really good time to catch up on my reading and find some great new writers online. I’ve got Emma Cline’s The Girls on my bedside table for my night-time reading, but I also found Ella Risbridger and her fantastic column for The Pool this month. It’s beautifully written, so touching, sometimes devastatingly sad and at times so heart-burstingly happy – you can read the back catalogue here.

TREAT

A trip to Paris! A treat in the purest sense of the word. We’ve booked a weekend away in my favourite city in May, and this time we’re going with another couple. It should be so much fun and I’m really looking forward to some time away, just the four of us.

Revlon Color Stay Foundations – Velvet Matte vs Satin Finish

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It’s not often I’ll write a foundation review; I’ve enjoyed both the Bourjois Healthy Mix and 123 Perfect CC Cream for a couple of years now and felt no need to swap either one out of my daily routine. However, when I couldn’t buy either recently, I took a chance on a new base: the Revlon Color Stay Foundation.

This foundation comes in two variations – Oily/Combination and Dry/Normal. I was dithering over these choices and decided to go for both, in shade Ivory. The Oily/Combination formula is described as having a ‘velvet matte’ finish, while the Dry/Normal gives a lighter satin finish, both offering medium to full coverage.

Initially I was using the O/C formula; the liquid is thick and velvety, easy to blend generally but I had some trouble blending it into my nose and chin, which are usually the oilier areas of my face. I found that it was better tapping it into these areas, rather than blending, and following it up with a layer of the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer.

For the first few weeks of using the O/C version exclusively, I really liked the finish; it was more matte than the light, dewy finish of my previous Bourjois bases but looked nice once it was set. However, in the last week or so I just haven’t been able to get along with it in the same way – powder looks too heavy on it, it’s dried out my nose to flakes and even with a primer and setting spray combo that’s usually infallible, my face has just been eating it up so there’s nothing left by 5pm. For a foundation designed to combat oily skin, I can’t say that I’m that impressed, sadly.

Driven to distraction by my suddenly-flaky, dry complexion (not sure if this is being caused by the weather, heating or something else at the moment!) I decided to delve back into the drawer and try the Dry/Normal formulation.

This is a much thinner, lighter formula – definitely more of a satin than a velvet! It’s far easier to blend too, but I don’t feel like it gives any less coverage than its heavier sister. Concealer and powder seems to sit better on top of the N/D formula, and so far, it seems to outlast the O/C version too. It’s definitely more hydrating but something still wasn’t quite right for me.

I’ve not been blown away by either formula, which is a shame as the shade match is so perfect. But in the last few days I have found a little hack that seems to make a world of difference – mixing the two formulas together and applying with a brush has created a base with medium-full coverage, a slightly glowy but velvety finish and absolutely no dryness at all. Perhaps Revlon should just release a one-size-fits-all formula and have done with it?!

A Stylish New Accessory

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It’s safe to say that, when I was unwrapping my Christmas presents a few weeks back, I certainly wasn’t expecting to see this! My darling Lewis had already totally spoiled me with most of the items on my wishlist (purchased before I’d even written that post!) so I thought I’d had my fill. But a Kate Spade watch? Totally not on my radar – but I’m so glad it was on his!

Blush pink leather, gold hardware and a gently shimmering mother of pearl face – the three dream components for a watch in my opinion, so the Metro watch was the perfect choice.

I’ve been wearing this basically every day since Christmas; the pale blush tone goes with absolutely everything in my wardrobe and makes it a gorgeous option for a daytime watch (see here and here for examples!). It’s sleek and chic and so feminine – and the little details, such as the tiny spade at the ’12’ space and on the arm, give me all the heart-eyes!

Do you wear a watch?

Bedside Beauty Must-Haves

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frocks and flowers edinburgh beauty blog edinburgh lifestyle blog edinburgh blogger bedside beauty must haves body shop serum review pure spa serum review this works pillow spray review

My bedside beauty routine is something of a finely-honed art; it’s taken much experimentation to get to the point where I’ve found those products that just do the job, without costing an absolute fortune.

The first of those is of course, my trusty The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum In Oil, which I’ve now been using for about two years (and have mentioned here, here and here before!). Whether my skin is feeling dry, irritated or blemished, this oil is always the one I reach for. It’s incredibly lightweight as an oil but its results are so strong – whenever I use this, I wake up in the morning with glowing, soft and plump skin. I’ve been increasing my dose of this recently as the wintry weather here in Edinburgh has meant my skin has dried out more than usual, but a few drops of this and a good five minutes spent massaging it in, works absolute wonders. It’s delicate on sensitive or irritated skin, and while it doesn’t stop or prevent blemishes, it does help the scars to fade much faster.

I might only be 25, but prevention is better than cure I feel, so I’ve invested a fair bit of time into finding the right eye cream too. My eyes tend to really show if I’m not hydrated; I get these tiny crepey lines that makeup settles into, and they are so annoying and unflattering. The best thing I’ve found to combat these (along with upping my water intake!) is PURE Spa’s Regenerate & Boost Eye Serum*, which is absolutely packed with argan oil. It’s a fairly heavy oil which is unusual for eyes, but this definitely does the job – a single drop is enough to use on both eyes, and I just pat it gently under the eyes, around the edges, and over the eyelids for maximum hydration. After a couple of weeks’ use I really noticed the difference, under my eyes especially, so I now use a drop every night. You can check out what I thought of the rest of the PURE Spa skincare range here.

Finally, I have become a recent convert to a cult classic – This Works’ Deep Sleep Pillow Spray. I had always been intrigued by the idea, but never wanted to part with £20 for something I wasn’t sure worked – so when I got my mitts on a mini sample I was excited to try it out. Suffice to say, the hype is well-deserved, and every night that I’ve used it, I’ve noticed a real difference in the quality of my sleep. I don’t use it every night, but on those nights where I feel a little tense or more awake than I’d like to be, I spritz it a few times on my pillow and prepare to slumber down! I’ll certainly be buying the full size when this little mini bottle of magic runs out.

What are your bedside beauty must-haves?

 

 

 

 

 

Revlon PhotoReady Insta-Fix Highlighting Sticks

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The worst thing you could say about my complexion? “Matte”. It’s a no-go area for me. Matte is flat, matte is crap.

What I love is a fresh, dewy, healthy glow – anytime of the year, for any and every occasion. My look just isn’t ‘done’ without it. And while I’ve been in a long-term love affair with No.7’s Instant Radiance Champagne Crayon for around three years now, there’s always room in my stash for another stick of glowy goodness to try.

Such space was made for the new-ish release of Revlon’s PhotoReady Insta-Fix Highlighting Sticks, which piqued my interested immediately. This collection currently comprises two shades – Gold Light and Pink Light.

I received Gold Light as part of a GWP just before Christmas, and while the shade is a little too dark and golden for my porcelain winter skin, I really loved the creamy formulation. One quick swipe of this stick, quickly smudged in with fingertips, creates a soft-focus glow that catches the light beautifully, without being at all glittery or sparkly. It takes a fair bit of smudging to get this shade to look natural on my skin, but I imagine that in the summer, or on a more olive-based skintone, it would work beautifully to create a really healthy, sunkissed radiance.

I ordered the Pink Light version this week to see how it would compete with the golden version, and this is much more suited to my winter skintone. This soft, pearlescent pink is really subtle on my pale skin and creates a beautiful soft glow. It’s subtle (it needs a few swipes to get a noticeable effect), and while it’s definitely sparklier than its golden sister, there’s still no obvious glitter particles. It just radiates. 

Overall, I really like both of the PhotoReady Insta-Fix highlighters; Pink Light is definitely more suited to my skintone but both shades are flattering and easy to blend. Creamy, velvety and perfectly radiant, either would be a sensible addition to make to your highlighter stash.

Have you tried the Revlon PhotoReady Insta-Fix Highlighting Sticks?

Monthly Favourites: January 2017

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MY FAVOURITE THINGS

SKINCARE

This month, my skin’s really been suffering from the effects of the chill here in Edinburgh; it’s been so dry and flaky, meaning my makeup’s been looking pretty darn rough too. For that extra dose of moisture every morning and evening, I’ve been reaching for the Hyasoft moisturiser from The Hero Project. This oil-free moisturiser is packed with hyaluronic acid and works to just add an extra injection of hydration underneath your regular moisturiser. It’s been a lifesaver for my flaky nose and chapped cheeks!

BEAUTY

Beauty-wise, January for me has been about taking it back to that retro 60s aesthetic that I adore. Every now and again I find myself straying and becoming the sort of person who wears a bronze smokey eye – and then I remember that I’m definitely not that person, and hastily reach back for the black eyeliner. Big lashes are a key part of this look for me, and my new favourite mascara find comes courtesy of Revlon’s new mascara range – in particular the Dramatic Definition mascara. Two coats of this results in thick, black fluttery lashes to rival Twiggy, and while it’s not waterproof, it lasts really well, with no smudging and just a tiny bit of flaking after a few hours’ wear. For the price, it’s a great purchase.

NEW PURCHASE

Ok, so technically I didn’t purchase this, it was a Christmas gift, but it’s still one of my new favourite things. This beautiful Zodiac Journal from Anthropologie caught my eye the second I spotted it and now it has pride of place on my bedside table, perfect for jotting down my thoughts and ideas. It’s vegan leather, so perfect for everybody, and comes in this metallic grey, rose gold, blue and white variations depending on your starsign, with the constellation embossed in gold on the front. It also comes with a rose gold pen tucked into the side which is super stylish and makes quickly scribbling down ideas too easy to resist.

ITEM OF CLOTHING

As I mentioned above, this month has been all about getting back into that vintage vibe that I love. One of my new year’s resolutions was to have fun with my wardrobe again, and abandon the tidal wave of jeans and jumpers currently coursing through my closet, so I’ve been making sartorial choices that embrace the sixties look I prefer. This gorgeous pale blush blouse from La Redoute has a concertina-style frilly collar and cuffs, and makes me feel like I’m cycling through Paris circa 1964. Ticking all the boxes, then.

SHOP

La Redoute is firmly back on my radar this month, it has to be said. Their sale was amazing, and I managed to pick up a few pieces that otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to stretch to, like the blouse I mentioned above. After payday I’ll definitely be logging in again to snap up some homeware too, ready for a spring update in the flat.

TV SHOW

The Crown is my new obsession! I knew I would love it and yet it still surpassed my expectations. If you haven’t watched it yet then I am firmly urging you to do so! It’s just such a lavish production, beautifully made and a stellar cast – the perfect thing to watch on chilly January evenings.

MUSIC

This month there isn’t a particular favourite music-wise, as we’ve spent the month rediscovering old favourites! We came home from a family Hogmanay with a new (old) record player in tow, and finally we have a proper setup for music. We had a few records lying around but now we can start collecting proper; my first purchase was AM (because why not?) and then I ordered Souljacker as part of Lewis’s birthday present too. Next on my shopping list (aside from all the albums ever) is Lianne La Havas’s album, Blood. It’s the most lush sound, really full and just gorgeous, so I’m looking forward to hearing what it sounds like on vinyl!

FOOD & DRINK

Despite going on the wagon this January and joining in with the typical losing-weight-getting-fit saga that’s wending its way throughout the country, we’ve had some pretty fabulous meals this month. Mostly because it was Lew’s birthday, and we travelled back down to London for it. My favourite meal was his birthday dinner at The Ivy in Covent Garden, where we enjoyed crispy duck, chicken liver pate, roast chicken, swordfish and even a little platter of salted caramel truffles at the end. Plus, the most delicious rose and hibiscus champagne cocktail that was utter joy to drink!

TREAT

My treat this month was a foodie one too, I have to be honest. On the morning of Lewis’s birthday I booked a cosy corner at Dean Street Townhouse for breakfast; it’s one of my favourite spots for something special and I knew he would love it. We got a great table, tucked away from the hustle and bustle (and, as it turns out, it was the table next to a certain Andrew Garfield and a certain Emma Stone…) and enjoyed the most indulgent of birthday breakfasts. It was pricey, as you’d expect, but it was definitely a real treat that we both enjoyed. The poached eggs were perfection – I’m still Instagramming them weeks later!