Sunday, 14 December 2014

Makeup: When To Splurge and When to Save

We are often led to believe that if a product is expensive, it's going to work well and perform just how we hope. Of course, this isn't always the case, especially with cosmetics. Sometimes a product is expensive because it's of a high quality and contains decent ingredients, but other times you are paying a hefty price for a brand name and fancy packaging. While it's nice to treat yourself to premium products and have them sitting pretty on your dressing table, it's not always necessary to splash out on the entire contents of your makeup bag. Over the years I have tested many high-end makeup items, and while some I find worth the price, others you can get away with cheaper alternatives. Here is a list of products I don't mind splurging on against those I tend not to ...


Foundation. Despite owning a number of drugstore foundations that I really like and continue to repurchase, I tend to favor premium brands when it comes to achieving a flawless base. I find more expensive foundations last longer, contain better ingredients (particularly important if you have sensitive skin) and are just generally of a higher quality. Pricier brands will also have a much more extensive collection of shades, and if you purchase your foundation from a counter an MUA will usually offer to colour match you so you won't have to guess for yourself. 
Favourite product: Estee Lauder Double Wear is my HG foundation, I always come back to it. It provides the perfect amount of coverage without looking cakey and lasts all day on my skin. 

Bronzer. I was always happy enough to use drugstore bronzer until I decided to treat myself to Nars Laguna. It certainly lived up to it's positive reviews and made a huge difference to my makeup. While I still use cheaper bronzers when I'm on a budget, I find some of them can make you look a bit orange/patchy. Pricier alternatives tend to come in much more natural shades and will give that healthy, sun-kissed appearance we all crave. 
Favourite product: Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder in Golden Light. I purchased this on a whim a few weeks back and I've been really enjoying using it. It's completely matte which means it's perfect for contouring and creating the illusion of a natural tan. The formulation is so smooth and it blends effortlessly with the rest of my makeup - I love it! 

Eye shadow. I can't stand it when shadow wears off my lids during the day, so I like to invest in good quality palettes. I find eye shadows from brands such as Estee Lauder and Stila are beautifully pigmented, with little to no fall out and fantastic lasting power. 
Favourite product: Stila Eyes are the Window palette in Soul. This palette contains 12 gorgeous, butter-soft shades that blend smoothly without a hitch. The rose gold packaging also adds a touch of luxury to my makeup bag! 


Powder. I remember purchasing Mac's Minzeralize Skin Finish Natural a few years back and being bitterly disappointed with it. It cost me £22 and quite frankly did diddly squat. Since then I've stuck to drugstore powders as I find they're not much different to their high-end counterparts. A lot of beauty gurus I watch also swear by cheaper brands when it comes to setting their makeup, so it must not just be me! 
Favourite product: Rimmel Stay Matte. This has served me well for almost five years - it adds the finishing touches to my makeup and keeps shine at bay. The packaging is a bit rubbish but at £3.99 I'm not complaining!

Concealer. While there are some fabulous high-end concealers on the market, I don't believe you have to spend a fortune when disguising blemishes/dark under-eye circles. Brands as affordable as Collection and 17 do amazing concealers for well under a fiver. I'm sure you've all heard the hype surrounding Lasting Perfection! 
Favourite product: Vichy Dermablend Corrective Foundation. Marketed to mask tattoos and scars, this does a wonderful job of covering blemishes. I dab a bit of it under my eyes and on my spots before applying the rest of my makeup. As it's a foundation, it contains 30ml which means it lasts ages. 

Blush. I don't usually feel the need to go for high-end blush as drugstores have such an extensive offering. Sleek, Rimmel, Elf and Soap and Glory are just a few brands that sell beautiful yet affordable blushers. 
Favourite product: Rimmel Lasting Finish Colour Blush in Santa Rose. Another Rimmel product I've been using for years, this compliments my skin tone really well and provides the perfect amount of shimmer. I love the compact packaging too. 

Mascara. While I know many people sing the praises of Lancome and Benefit, I'm personally yet to be blown away by a high-end mascara. I was actually really disappointed with both They're Real and Bad Gal as I found the super wet formulation just gave me panda eyes. On the other hand, mascaras from the likes of Rimmel and L'Oreal have served me well for years.
Favourite product: L'Oreal Volume Million Mascara. I always repurchase this - it makes my lashes look longer and thicker and doesn't transfer onto my brow bone/under-eye area during the day. I'm a big fan of the entire Million Lashes range in fact - the Luminizer mascara is another favourite.

This post was a little longer than I expected but I hope it was helpful in some way! What products do you think are worth investing in? Let me know in the comments below x

Thursday, 4 December 2014

New Caseapp Phone Case and Giveaway

I love the idea of a customized phone case, so when CaseApp approached me and asked if I'd be interested in making my own, I of course said yes. The site gives you free rein when it comes to the design, and you can personalize your case however you wish - your favourite picture, drawing, piece of text or collection of photos. I customized mine with a selection of Instagram pictures from my trip to Disney Land the other month. It's a real conversation starter and always makes me remember my holiday with a smile.

CaseApp have also generously offered another case to give away to one of my readers - the winner will be able to design their own phone case completely free of charge. To enter, all you have to do is complete the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway will last for a fortnight (ending on Thursday the 18th of December at 12am, UK time) and is open internationally. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 1 December 2014

Coping with a Breakup

Source: Pinterest

The majority of people will go through a breakup at some point in their lives. Every couple is different, but at the end of a relationship - regardless of the situation - we will usually be left feeling sensitive, distressed and exhausted. I've had a few break ups in my time, and while some were worse than others, they all made me feel incredibly low to the point where I was at a bit of a loss of what to do with myself and not even tea could make me feel better (yes, really). I thought I would write a post on how to cope during a painful breakup - these pointers are all things I made myself do when I was upset and they definitely made me feel more hopeful. 

Remember why you broke up. Whether or not it was your decision, at the end of a relationship it is normal to question your motives and wonder what you could have done differently. For example, you may be thinking 'What if he was perfect for me and I was just being picky?' or 'If I had done this instead of this, he probably wouldn't have ended things with me.' When we love someone, we are often blind to their flaws, and this doesn't bode well during a breakup. You may be focusing on your ex's good qualities rather than what caused you to be unhappy which makes the grieving process even harder. Whether you were treated badly or you simply grew apart, chances are once you're over the initial shock you will start to realise that the breakup was probably for the best. 

Cut all ties. I find one of the best things to do when trying to get over someone is to avoid all contact with them, at least until you're both in a better place. Of course, this is easier said than done, especially if you work/go to Uni with your ex or have the same group of friends. However, try your best not to initiate a conversation (unless you absolutely have to for practical reasons). Get rid of his number, unfollow him on Twitter and delete him on Facebook (or at least block his posts from your news feed). Although it's tempting, calling him after a drunken night out or searching social media for evidence that he might have moved on isn't going to achieve anything and will probably just make you feel worse. 

Remember it's okay to feel upset. No one wants to feel sad, but after the breakdown of a relationship you will need time to grieve. And that's fine. Chances are you'll feel a bit better after some time alone and a good cry.

Focus on the positives. One thing my mom always used to say to me when I'd had a particularly nasty breakup was that my ex wasn't put on this earth to make me happy. And that's completely true. As stale as this saying is, there isn't a hole in your life that needs to be filled by this particular person - you were happy before him, and you can be happy after him. Focus on everything else good in your life, such as your health, hobbies, friends and family. 

Keep your mind busy. Although it's healthy to spend some time alone, it's also good to try and keep your mind occupied. Whenever you feel tempted to text your ex, call your best friend instead and arrange to go for a walk or a coffee. Make plans so you have other things to think about and look forward to.

Know that things will improve. Lastly, the most important thing I would suggest to do is to remember that it's not the end of the world. Although it may seem like you're never going to feel better, I can say from experience that you will move on. I can look at my past relationships now and not regret anything, knowing that I learnt something from each one and that I was right to walk away when I did. Whether you're with someone for five months or five years, it never gets easier to let go of the one you love, but from each experience you do become that little bit wiser and of course, stronger. Although it seems like all you want to do for now is scoff your weight in Ben & Jerry's/curl up in a ball/move to Peru, you will see a light at the end of the tunnel and will return to your usual, fabulous self in no time.

I'm no relationship expert and this post was probably full of cliches, but I do hope some of what I said was helpful or at least made an interesting read :) If you'd like to see more personal posts like this around here please let me know as I really enjoy writing them.

What are your tips for surviving a break up? x

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Weekend Scenes

On Friday I decided to head back home for the weekend and had the nicest time - I hadn't seen my parents or my sisters since August so it was lovely to spend a few days with them. On the Saturday my sister Amy and I went to Stratford-Upon-Avon for shopping and afternoon tea. I used to visit Stratford a lot when I was younger so it always reminds me of my childhood. If any of you live in the Midlands I'd definitely recommend a day out there if you haven't visited already - it's such a pretty town full of old Tudor buildings and quaint tearooms. Perfect if you're an old woman at heart like I am ;) 

On Sunday I was lucky enough to attend the Fabb Birmingham Blogger event at The Custard Factory. I came across so many amazing brands and left with bags filled with complimentary goodies! I wasn't there long due to the fact I arrived quite late, but I still able to make the most of the afternoon. Little did I know that Tanya Burr and Zoella (amongst others) were doing their first Amity Fest at the Institute just a few doors down. I walked past a mile-long queue of screaming girls and wondered what was going on! 

Amy and I decided to go for tea again before she dropped me off at the train station yesterday. We visited The Winding House in Bridgenorth. It's tucked out the way of the town centre but I'm glad we found it as it's so pretty and the food was delicious. We both had bacon and brie toasties followed by apple cake and a pot of tea. As you can see, we were really lucky with the weather so we decided to sit outside - the terrace had beautiful views of the lower town and river. 

No amount of tea and cake could have prepared me for my train journey back to Southampton however, it was awful. The coaches were absolutely baking hot and so busy. What's worse, the train was delayed due to trespassers which meant we came to a stand still just before my stop. I'd got on the train at half 4 that afternoon and didn't get off till 9pm! Fortunately my boyfriend met me at the station with a bouquet of flowers to cheer me up which was a lovely surprise - I felt miles better :)

How was your weekend? 

Monday, 27 October 2014

Wishlist: Black and Yellow

Boots, New Look. I prefer my boots to have a heel as I always think they look a bit more stylish! These are a great price and look so comfy.

Skirt, Topshop. How gorgeous is this skirt? I was ooming and aahing over buying if for days after watching Corrie's Autumn Lookbook. However, when I finally thought 'sod it' and decided to treat myself, it had sold out! Sod's law eh? Hopefully it'll be back in stock soon!

Gilet, New Look. I've been looking for the perfect faux fur gilet for a while - I love this one from New Look. I'd pair it with black skinny jeans, a pretty blouse and a black fedora. 

Bag, Zara. Zara always get it spot on with handbags. This design is simple yet so chic - it's going straight on my Christmas list!

Lipstick in Rouge de Venise, YSL. Berry lips are a must for A/W. This is such a beautiful shade and I love the luxe packaging.

What goodies do you have on your wishlist at the moment?