27 September 2011

Touched Down in London Town, Finally Naked.

Last night I touched down at Heathrow Airport and I am now officially done living out of a suitcase for a while! I've finally got myself to a room that I can call my own for the next year, here in Central London :) (I know, my wallet is quivering at the thought!)

I am so excited to be settled down again, especially in a new place with a new life - the boy is now a working man, and lives on the other side of London, and I am starting my masters degree in a week's time :) I do love my family, but I'm not one for homesickness so that part's never been an issue luckily :) I've also missed being able to blog and YouTube in a routine kind of, pattern-y way, and as much as I enjoyed trying out products I don't see on the blogosphere (keep your eyes out for Japan haul :)), I'm also thankful for the cheaper high-end prices and being able to get my hands on hypes that I couldn't access in Japan!

So yes, I'm glad to be back! :)

So this is where the blogging and YouTubing will be from now on (bar December, when I'll be back in Japan - again!), and with the great big window I know photographing/video-ing will be a lot easier! I've also got 2 closets, a full-sized mirror and the fashion inspiration of the whole of London so I may even venture into OOTDs :)

Now to explain the last half of the title - yes I'm finally NAKED!

The boyfriend was an absolute babe and accepted parcels for me while I was away :) He also got me the Marie Claire and InStyle from last month, so I've got those nailpolishes to try out too! So while I did feel quite bad here are the bits I just couldn't resist! ;P

Top Left: NARS Dogon
Centre: Urban Decay Naked Palette
Top Right: Clarins Lip Perfector

I wore the Naked Palette today and I can say it's really quite nice! I still need to experiment more before I find something I really like, but for now I've got Toasted all over the lid with Hustle in the outer corner :)

The Clarins Lip Perfector is love. It's a perfect balmy gloss, that evens out your lips and makes them look polished and lovely :)

I haven't tried NARS Dogon yet but I may after I have a full cleanse today!

Those are the views from my room :) Not bad ey?! (Spot the angry woman on the park bench lol)

Anyway today I'm going to try and unpack, meet some people around my halls and hopefully get out to Oxford Street to do a bit of essentials shopping - Liz Earle, MAC and Boots are sure stops :)

Hope you guys have all been well - if you know any great spots in Central London, please let me know! I am still a Warwickshire country bumpkin at heart! ;)

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22 September 2011

Refreshing LUSH Soap Loving :)

I get really OCD with soap - I love having ones that match my mood. For example, one fruity one for refreshing feelings or one sweet one for cozy feelings. Recently with the heat still going at me with full force, I've been opting for 'refreshing' but leaning towards more the citrus scents :)

Because of how easily sweetness can turn into sickliness in the heat, I felt the Body Shop ranges (one of my faves!) were a bit too sweet. So naturally, I turned to my other favourite bath/shower shop - LUSH, which I kind of see as a similar type of brand with good ethics and good products but with a twist of creativity, a sense of humour and an offering that's very different from the BodyShop!

The soap that I'm using now is called Sandstone which you can see above. It has a citrusy scent to it, and the soap itself has some tiny sandbits that help exfoliate your skin (and it's small enough that it doesn't clog your bath!)

I really like this soap, and find it a good middle between a soap and a scrub and don't mind using it everyday. The scent is really refreshing and unoffensive (which I find is kinda rare in LUSH soaps!), and the scrub slowly gets rid of bumps and spots. However, the lack of soapy bubbles makes me wonder how much cleansing it's actually doing.. but it leaves your skin feeling clean and leaves no residue or unnatural squeakyness and leaves your skin feeling like it should - not too dry, but not waxy/greasy - which I absolutely love! :)

The soap that I used before the Sandstone was the Sexy Peel soap (above), which also falls under the category of citrus, but it has a bit of a marmalade-y sweetness to it too. It's still very refreshing and leaves your skin clean, albeit with bit less perfection on the aftertouch than the Sandstone. However, I found that this soap was more suitable for humid weathers as the finish keeps you having fresh skin for longer! Would recommend this for those who play sports or the like :)

The bits of orange peel occasionally falling out and the less bubbling up compared to some other soaps on the market are just tiny blips of a product that does what it says on the tin and smells absolutely amazing! Definitely a must have for the summer!

So which would I prefer? Probably the Sandstone, as while Sexy Peel is better for a soapy cleanse and for humid weather, there are other soaps I like for that! The Sandstone's gradual exfoliation and aftertouch is pricesless, and I would say is the solid version of the Simple Exfoliating Gel - AMAZING stuff! I feel like with both soaps bumps/body spots have gradually gone away. I'm sure if I looked I could find soaps that do it faster - but maybe not necessarily as gently.

What's up next? I recently bought this set off my mom - as my mom runs a charity store, she gets loads of donations, and while this was a great donation she has a policy against cosmetics so I offered to donate some money to her cause in exchange for this set :) I love the little "YOU CANNOT EAT THIS" paper that comes inside the box lol!

I was SO happy when I saw what was inside (I bought it off her without taking a look, as I never mind donating to her cause) - two products I'd considered getting: a 100g bottle of Happy Hippy (which contains pink grapefruit) and a bar of Bohemian soap (which is primarily lemon and is probably the simplest/gentlest soap LUSH offers).

I'm really excited to try these out next - I LOVE LUSH! :D But I'm not sure how much I'll crave refreshing citrus in England's weather at the moment! :P My favourite 'sweet' LUSH soap is Porridge, although I really want to try Miranda too!

What are your favourite 'refreshing' body soaps?
Any favourites from LUSH? :)

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19 September 2011

Vanity Girl vs. Make Up Bag Girl?

Today I went through a thought process that made me think about the differences of being a Vanity Girl (who chooses make-up from her vanity) or a Make Up Bag Girl (who chooses from her make-up bag). It ultimately led to this post being about reorganizing make-up to fit your needs - a bit of a rambly post, but I thought it may help some girls out so decided to post it up :)

I remember when all my make-up fit into one make-up bag, and all my choices were contained in that little space - oh how long ago it all seems ;) And when my collection really started expanding I invested in the infamous WHSmith drawers as a make-shift vanity until I really settled into a home, and since I've got them I've loved how I can scan over my whole collection and pick out of all the possible candidates - as well as never forget about owning a product. I was a Vanity Girl through and through!

I looove the look of this vanity! :) (Image from JPM Design)

However, when I look around blogs, I've realised people write things like "this has been living in my make-up bag the whole month!" or "it replaced x that used to live in my make up bag" - at first I was quite startled. This suggests that some people use both a vanity and a make-up bag to choose their make up from. It took me a while but I realised - some people pick out products that they like from their vanity to their make-up bags, and choose from there. I was like.. "WHAAAAT!" and also a little bit like "WHY?!" (and a little bit concerned at how long it took me to realise..)

Personally I would die from OCD if I knew that not 100% of my collection was in my vanity and that there was even a slight chance I would miss out on the perfect lippy of the day. I firmly stand by the belief that choosing from my vanity allows me to use all my make up - I have never once forgotten I owned a product or not used a product because I forgot it was buried in the depth of my collection.

But then I read a post by Adrienne which made me think - using a make-up bag may not give you a full scope of choice, but it would let you focus on selected products and would really help with 2 things - to really test those products out, or to use them up - both of which I have severe issues with (oh the numerous PR's that have bared with me on this, bless them)! You wont be tempted by other products you are more familiar or comfortable with because you wont see them! Enlightenment.

So I'm starting to think I wanna change the way I choose my make up, simply because my goals are changing - I used to want to get to know my make-up and experiment with what I have. Now, there are quite a few things I'd like to hit pan on/use up, and there are a few items I haven't tested enough to give it a fair judgment. There's also the matter of wanting to change things up once in a while! I have also heard rumours that I will be having a few deathly 10AM classes (I know, lazy student) so I undoubtedly should focus on getting more sleep/doing more work than on choosing my face :P

Really what I'm saying is that changing things like this is a great way to re-organize, both in terms of how you choose your make-up and how to address what you're not liking about your relationship with make-up (yes you may call me the Dr. Phil of make-up.. lol what am I on about). It's so easy to get stuck in a rut or do things that isn't conducive to what your goals are - and reorganizing how you choose and organize your make-up can really help!

So after I write this post, I will be filling up this make-up bag from Glitzy Glam to give this new thing a try :) I'll miss having a different face everyday, and I'll miss having to choose between a pink and a bronze when I really want to wear a peach blush - but I'm sure I'll learn with time - until my goals change again :)

I realise this is quite a rambly post and that I've had a few of those lately, but I quite like posting up internalized make-up debates that take place in my brain from time to time.. any feedback for that would be great :) I also have a hard time resisting posting when I'm really really thinking about it :P So anyway..

How do YOU choose to choose make-up? And why? :)

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15 September 2011

FOTD: MAC Studio Moisture Tint & Maybelline Hypercurl Mascara

I've recently been going for a dewy, sheer, no-foundation look (you'll see why at the end :P) so have enjoyed using my MAC Studio Moisture Tint, and wanted to show you guys what it's like because I feel like it doesn't get much attention in the beauty blogging world - and I really like it! :) It smoothes out the texture slightly, roughly evens out any light discolourations, and generally lets my skin show through really nicely. I just pop some concealer on to cover up the blemishes to give a fresh and healthy look :)

I also thought I'd show you guys the Maybelline HyperCurl Volum' Express Cat Eyes Mascara (mouthful!) in action that I raved about in my other post :) The longer, thicker, curlier lashes just makes it so easy to feel girly! Click the image to see them up close :)

Here's what I'm wearing..

MAC Studio Moisture Tint in Medium Dark
Bobbi Brown Correcter in Peach
MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NC35
Bourjois Compact Powder in 73 Miel Dore

MAC Blush in Melba
CANMAKE Shading Powder in 02
Dior Amber Diamond

MAC Paint Pot in Soft Ochre
MAC Eyeshadow in Honesty
MAC Eyeshadow in Woodwinked

K-Palette Real Lasting Eyeliner
Maybelline HyperCurl Volum' Express Cat Eyes Mascara
Clinique Superfine Liner for Brows in Deep Brown 03

Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in Nude Delight 700

What do you use for a no make-up looking base? :)



Been inspired by LookBook these days.. sadly the inspiration doesn't transfer much into practice..

LOL. Lollipop26 I am not.
Anyway, I was on my way to 3hrs of this..

I know. SUCH FUN!
(who doesn't love Penny? :P)
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14 September 2011

Maybe It's a Maybelline Haul!? (& a bit of a mascara rave)

Lol I couldn't help myself with the title there :P

Personally, Maybelline isn't a brand I often turn to at the drugstore. A lot of their stuff are pretty, but just not the style I enjoy.

However, their mascaras are a different story - to me, they are THE go-to mascara brand in the drugstore, and while not all their mascaras are amazing, I'll still be surprised if a girl's never tried a mascara from them! I can already think of 5 I've tried. My first ever mascara was the Volum' Express Turbo Boost, and I think I went through 3 or 4 tubes before I started exploring.

Anyway, does anyone else remember how AMAZING mascaras seemed when you first ever applied one? I remember realising what a big difference it could make, and absolutely LOVING that difference. But it was all downhill from there, and I never quite felt the same about a mascara - the one that came close was the Maybelline Colossal or MaxFactor False Lash Effect..

Until today :)

After my disappointment with the MAC Plushlash (which you can read about here) I was on the search for another mascara to use for the time-being, and the Maybelline Hyper Curl Volum' Express was the one I went for - and boy, I really did feel like I just popped my mascara cherry all over again.

I love the packaging, how it's slim - my MaxFactor False Lash Effect was not so loved by my stressed out make-up bag! I also adore the tiger print and the metallic pink, yom yom yom. And it's so SHINY!

When I first took a look at the wand I was like 'eh'. I have always been SOOOO skeptical about these kinds of wands, as I usually use big fat chunky fibre or preferably plastic wands and found them to work. I felt like these wouldn't separate enough or apply enough. But I thought I might as well find out when the price is less than a tenner (which seems to be a find in the mascara world these days!).

Ohhh how glad I am that I did! On first impressions, I find they make bottom lash application a lot easier, and apply a lot of product and clump a few lashes together which adds volume without making it look too clumpy, so it's absolutely amazing if you want spider lashes - like these!

I have never, EVER seen my lashes like that - EVER. You can see what my eyelashes look like w/o mascara here. They stayed this curled for the whole day, and  the volume and length is perfect. There was no excessive wet formula like with MAC Plushlash so it was great to use straight out of the box. I also never thought I'd like spiderlashes on myself, but I find it balances out my relatively small eyes!

To be honest, this is completely holy grail status and I haven't said that in a REALLY long time! I may have days where I will prefer a fluffier/lots of lashes look, but that's what my other mascaras are for :D

Apparently there's two kinds of HyperCurl Mascara as you can read about on this blog - and this one is limited edition. Is it true? I also checked on the Maybelline UK website, but can't seem to find it - does anyone know if it's available in the UK? Do I need to stock up like a madwoman?

Aaaand this is what I picked up when I was paying for my mascara.. it was less than £3, but I hate it when they leave stuff on the till, it's SUCH a good marketing strategy. I haven't used it yet but I read that it was good in somebody's blogpost (so sorry I've forgotten who :() so I picked the colour and smell I liked most - thank God cuz if the two weren't in one I would've stood there forever trying to decide. This one is Sweet Cherry, and I want to eat it.

So yeah.. I thought my perfect lash quest would be pretty long but it looks like it's coming along quite quickly :P

What's your favourite mascara?
Any from Maybelline? :)

If you are from the States, there are some vouchers you could use to save on Maybelline products from K-Mart here* :)

*Sponsored link.
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13 September 2011

FOTD: Back With MAC Eyeshadows :)

I really have missed wearing eyeshadow (as I haven't shut up about since my previous post) so I decided to pop a FOTD with a combination I wore today :) I've also missed doing FOTDs - it's just so difficult as a lot of days I don't wear make-up, or because I have limited products with me I haven't been very adventurous!  Ironically, I've dropped my MAC 15 eyeshadow palette twice today - ever so graceful. Anyway, enough rambling now, on to the FOTD! :P

What I'm Wearing..

- MAC Studio Moisture Tint in Medium Dark
- Bobbi Brown Correcter in Peach
- MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NC35
- Bourjois Compact Powder in 73 Miel Dore
- Rimmel Sunshimmer Bronzer in Medium Matte
- Dior Shimmer Powder in 02 Amber Diamond

- MAC Paint Pot in Soft Ochre
- MAC Naked Lunch Eyeshadow (all over the lid)
- MAC Tempting Eyeshadow (in outercorner and socket)
- MAC Brule Eyeshadow (brow highlight)
- K-Palette Real Lasting Eyeliner 24hrs
- MAC Plushlash Mascara in Plushblack
- Clinique Superfine Liner for Brows in Deep Brown 03

- Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in 700 Nude Delight
- Dior Addict Lipstick in 343 Miss Dior

I think my favourite parts of this look is first the polished-looking eye - it makes SUCH a big difference to have a really good brow highlight in my opinion, and both Naked Lunch and Tempting are gorgeous colours! I've also gone back to using eyeliner - although I still haven't winged it out as I used to always do :) The second is using Dior Amber Diamond as a blusher - it's very subtle but gives a lovely glow that really tones down your look.

My least favourite is the lippy - I usually wear my Dior Addict on top of a light layer of concealer or foundation, which brings out the peach more. I thought I'd experiment because I'm not particularly a fan of putting face products on my lips, but I think I'll be going back to that from now on!

Thanks for reading guys, hope you liked it :)

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11 September 2011

Bloody Lashes.

I wish I was blessed with decent lashes - I wont ask for TiffanyD, Lollipop26, long, spider eyelashes, but the least whoever made me could've done is to make sure I have longer eyelashes than my boyfriend.. (His lower lashes are probably about as long as, if not longer, than my top lashes.. I know. What the eff.)

So I thought I'd document the point at which my lush lash search is on - which isn't a very good one to say the least. The products I've been dabbling with are..

MAC Plushlash Mascara in Plushblack

First off, this is not a proper review as I've only been using the Plushlash for a few days since my MaxFactor False Lash Effect ran out, and I already did a review on the Shu curlers (link above!).

To lay out the facts, my lashes are short, straight and stubborn. What seems to work for me are big plastic brushes and volumizing formulas - I think my favourite mascaras to date are the aforementioned MaxFactor False Lash Effect and the original Maybelline Volum' Express. But as MAC mascaras are the same price as drugstore mascaras here, I bought the Plushlash hoping it'll turn this..

into.. well, Cheryl Cole lashes, to put it mildly.

Sadly, what you see below are the effects. The top row shows my lashes just with the Shu curlers - amazing right? The bottom shows my lashes with Plushlash :/

Soooo not exactly Cheryl yet, am I? The application is really uneven with one coat and I can feel my lashes being weighed down. The effect above is 'okay' but imagine that with eyeshadow/eyeliner - it wouldn't show! I also hate how no matter how many times I run the brush through my lashes, it looks the same! The effect is actually really good when I let it dry and recurl and reapply, but lashes aren't exactly what I wanna spend precious morning minutes on!

At this point I'm having serious deja vu, and remember the Benefit BadGal Lash. I was heavily disappointed with it for about half a year - and then I randomly gave it another chance and I adored it!

Moral of the story? I'm just going to have to wait until the Plushlash dries up a bit. So the search goes on for the meantime!

What's your perfect lashes routine? :)

On a lighter note, I stocked up on my favourite eyelashes.. for 70p each :)

Now I just need some DUO eyelash glue, and I am sore-ted.

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10 September 2011

Haul: Back From Kyoto :)

Before I start my post, I just wanted to say thank you to all my readers - I've reached 1,000 while I was away, and it was the best thing EVER to come home to! :) My blog means so much to me, and to know people want to hear what I have to say means the world! So thanks to every single one of you :)

So I got back yesterday from my 5 day holiday with my mom to Kyoto & Nara. They are located in Western Japan (Kansai), and are also the two previous capitals before Tokyo - and as usual, I picked up some local beauty goodies :) (I would say exclusive but these lot have branched out quite a bit - however their reputation as a Kyoto brand is still very much alive!)

This time the products are from a brand called Yojiya that started in Kyoto in 1904. They are famous for their blotting papers (pictured above) that initially became very popular amongst 'maiko's (apprentice 'geisha's) in the 20's, but today they're probably the best known blotting sheets in the country! These were originally made from the paper that is left behind when stamping gold-leaf onto art and other fancy things, and have been developed/improved since then :)

The brand has loads of make-up items too, but I decided to purchase the 2nd and 3rd most popular products: the mini-sized handcream made from silkworm.. stuffs? (left) and the full-sized lip balm made with 'yuzu' (right), which is a type of citrus.

I've only tried the lipbalm as of yet, but it smells LUSH and does a really good job as far as I can tell :) Not the cheapest of brands, but these two weren't too bad - the two tub set was about £10 and the blotting sheets for one booklet of 20 sheets is about £3. But what kind of a beauty blogger would I be if I didn't think illogically at times? :P

Here are some of my favourite shots of Kyoto and Nara :)

Arashi-yama station

Fushimi-Inari: torii gates built as gifts to the gods by those who want their wishes to come true :)

 Inside Tenryuuji - those signs telling people not to roll around was definitely aimed at me.. how tempting does it look?!

Gardens of Tenryuuji


Todaiji Entrance in Nara - with lots of wild deer :P 

Being bullied by a deer into giving her some food lol. 

 Toji Pagoda (and a pretty white bird.. very picturesque/cliche :P)

A very Kyoto-ey lunch! :)

Some goodies I picked up while I was there - I know, the hippo is probably the most pointless thing I've bought in years but she was too cute to not get! :P

Most of my mom's side of the family is from this area of Japan and to be honest - I have no idea why anyone would pick to live in Tokyo over Kansai - to me, it's much more chilled out and interesting!

Also, the peaceful elegance of old Japan never ceases to impress me. I only wish I knew more about Buddhism and Japanese history so I could really understand the significance of the temples, the statues, the national treasures and the buildings that I saw!

I know those were a lot of pictures of travelling for a beauty blog but I couldn't help myself! :P

And thanks again for helping me reach 1,000 readers! :)

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4 September 2011

Eyeshadows, I Want You Back In My Life!

Does anyone else seem to go through a rough patch with their eyeshadows over the summer? Well, what do they say, "distant makes the heart grow fonder"? Yep, that's the one.

I started off in the make-up world only caring about eyeshadow - I had 1 blush, 1 powder foundation, 0 bronzer, 2 eyeliners, 1 concealer and about 20 eyeshadows. But as this year has been my first serious dabble into blushers, bronzers, foundations and powder, my poor eyeshadows seem to have been pushed aside.

I've also had some issues coming to terms with my eyelid shape - it's difficult to work with! But in the past week or so, I've had the sudden craving to look up gurus with similar shapes and go back to the eyeshadow girl that I once was (que DRAMAAAA!) So here are the lovely bits that I used this week :)

Top Row:
- MAC Brule
- MAC Patina
- MAC Mulch

Bottom Row:
- ARTDeco 34
- ARTDeco 208
- ARTDeco 45

Left Column: ARTDeco Eyeshadows
Right Column: MAC Eyeshadows

I did have a bit of a off relationship with MAC Brule, however I've discovered that it really works the best when used with your finger or a fluffy brush - atm it's my favourite highlighter which is no surprise as I have a very close shade in my 28 Neutral Palette that has hit pan ages ago!

Amidst my research on my eye shape, I've realised that most girls don't realise that you can wear non-browns without looking OTT - we see them in FOTDs of girls who have realised this but a lot of us never really do it ourselves! My fave FOTDs atm is from Amanda!

So I've made a massive list of coloured MAC eyeshadows to purchase when I am back. The one I'm most excited for? MAC Print or Scene, which are both matte greys :)

This has been my base of choice, MAC Paint Pot in Soft Ochre. Even if I don't have an alternative, I had a off relationship with this one as well which probably made the rough patch even rougher! However, I've now realised that I wasn't using enough of this, and now that I've got it down - I love it!

Speaking of eyeshadow bases, if you follow me on Twitter you may have noticed a sudden interest in the Urban Decay Naked Palette from me - I've bought it, thanks to Jade's discount code! :D So not only will I be able to try the legendary palette at long last, I'll also have my first dabble into the Primer Potion :) (Actually I lie, my bf's sister once gave me a teeny one.) It's actually the last item on my 2011 Wishlist besides the Sigma brushkit that I no longer want :)

As I'm in Japan all my recent online purchases have been sent to the boy's so I've got to wait another 3 weeks.. but can I just say I'm so excited for the NARS eyeshadow duo that's waiting for me?

(and a blush ho, and a powder ho, and a bronzer ho, and a foundation ho, blah blah blah sue me.)

What make-up ho are you? :D


P.S. I am off on holiday tomorrow with my mother! :) So will be away for about 5 days - I'll attempt to schedule a post during that time, so keep your eyes out, and take care! :)
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