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Birthday Wishlist + Back to Blogging

Sunday, 5 February 2017
Dior Monogram Scarf  |  Monica Vinader Friendship Bracelet  |  ASOS Chevron Jumper  |  Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer  |  Byredo Tree House Candle
After a long hiatus from posting on here, I thought I would kick start things again with a trusty wishlist. It's my birthday next weekend, and so I've a few things in mind that I might treat myself to in celebration of turning another year older - you've got to spoil yourself sometimes, right?

I've liked the idea of the whole 'scarf wrapped round the bag handle' trend for a while now, and the Dior monogrammed scarves are just too beautiful to resist. I also feel like the grey and blush tones in this one would be perfect for spring.

Sticking with the pastels - I'm a fan of anything and everything Monica Vinader, and this mint coloured bracelet is super cute. I've quite a few pieces from the brand now, and really like the fact that they offer free engraving, hence I'd quite like to take advantage again and get something 'personalised'.

Make up wise, I've spent the last few months trying to use up/whittle down what is in my substantial stash, and so it's been a while since I've tried anything new in terms of base. There has been so much hype around this new offering from Clinique though, that I am dying to give it a try. The fact that is claims to be both a foundation and concealer in one is the obvious draw, though I'm most intrigued by the giant applicator! It looks so convenient!

One of my favourite things that I got in the Liberty advent calendar I had this year, was a Byredo hand cream in the scent Bal D'Afrique. I had never tried anything from the brand before, and so I was very pleasantly surprised. I had been tempted to invest in one of their scents, however, my perfume collection is overflowing at the moment and so I thought I might check out one of their candles instead. I've heard quite a lot about Tree House, and the top notes of bamboo and pimento sound right up my street.

And of course, no February birthday could be complete without a jumper to cosy up in. I love the block colours of this ASOS offering!

What's at the top of your wishlist right now?

Sarah x

THE DUPE: GIORGIO ARMANI LIP MAESTRO V MAYBELLINE VIVID MATTE LIQUID LIPSTICK

Friday, 5 August 2016
Apart from the infamous Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, I must admit, I am a bit of a novice when it comes to the brand. When I was browsing the counter one day a few months back though – focussing, unsurprisingly, on the liquid lipsticks they had on offer – the shade 500 Blush in their Lip Maestro’s caught my eye and I picked it up on a bit of a whim. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s not often that you'll go wrong with a liquid lipstick. Some are better than others, but in general they have good staying power and unless they are ultra drying they normally turn out to be worth your hard earned pennies. ‘Blush’ is, as you might expect – a warm, rosy pink – vivid enough to brighten your complexion a little, but nothing too in your face. There are 23 shades available in the range, with most of them quite bold - reds, purples and a few brighter pink shades the prevalent colours amid the bunch. There are only three that I would consider to be real neutrals - Blush being one of them, Casual Pink another, and lastly Dolci (which if you’re into you’re 90’s brown hues might be the one to try). And so, although I think the shade range could be expanded upon to cater to a wider clientele, this didn't put me off as the thing that really made me fall in love with these was their formula. 

Yes its matte, or at least the appearance is on the lips – but it is actually incredibly creamy and feels beautiful to apply. They are marketed as being 'the first matte lip lacquers' and are by far and away the least drying ‘mattes’ I have tried. They may not last as long as the likes of the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks, but they do still stick around for a fair few hours and fade nicely when they do eventually start to wear away. They are not dissimilar to the theBalm Meet Matte Hughes Liquid Lipsticks that I talked about a couple of posts back, but much creamier and with less of a scent. If you’re into your high end make up then I would definitely recommend checking these out as I’m quite surprised at how they haven’t yet (at least not to my knowledge) gained more of a cult status within the beauty world. 
If you’re after a high street/drugstore counterpart though, look no further than the Maybelline Vivid Matte Liquid Lipsticks. I had seen these pop up on the shelves some time ago – in fact it must have been pretty soon after they were released. I had cast my eye over them a couple of times, yet for some reason I didn’t pick any up until quite some time later (I think perhaps because I had been unable to swatch in store and it’s always a bit of a gamble when that’s the case). I bit the bullet last week though when I had a little Boots splurge (let me know if you’d like to see the rest of the spoils from that little excursion) and the shades ‘Nude Thrill’ and ‘Nude Flush’ ended up coming home with me. Again, I was predictable with the colour choices – the former being on the beige-y nude side and the latter it's pink equivalent – not at all unlike the Giorgio Armani 500 shade. But that is not where the similarity ends. 

I can honestly say that shades aside (despite the similarity of six of the eight Maybelline shades still sitting firmly on the bold side of things with not a lot in between), the formula of these seems to me to be practically identical to the Giorgio Armani Lip Maestros. They are creamy, super pigmented and give you that soft matte finish without any resultant dryness. As with the Lip Maestros, the applicator itself is a little longer than your standard doe foot and has a little bend to it which I find is great when it comes to ensuring ease and accuracy when applying. As a direct comparison re what it is you are getting for your money, the Lip Maestros weigh in at £27 for the 6.5ml of product provided, where as for £6.99 you are getting 8ml from the Maybelline Vivid Mattes

I really love both products, but unless you have plenty of cash to spare and are a high end make up fiend, then I would definitely recommend Maybelline over Giorgio Armani in this instance. If the shade range had been more extensive on either side then that may have pipped it for me, but as things stand it’s a win for the drugstore dupe in the battle of the liquid lipsticks! 

Sarah x    

MAKE UP FOREVER: MINI HAUL/REVIEW

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

When I strolled into my local Debenhams a few months back to see that my beloved Burberry counter had been replaced by Make Up Forever; I have to say I was a little disappointed. Though I’d heard a lot of good things about the brand, I had never really felt particularly drawn towards any of their products. However, after seeing a few of my favourite ladies online testing them out, I found myself in there browsing one lunch time, and before I knew it, had picked up these three.
One of the things I was most impressed with in there was the customer service. The lady that served me was lovely and did a great job of matching me for both the foundation and the concealer. More often than not, I get told I am a much darker shade than I actually am thanks to my ruddy cheeks! But this time she got it spot on and I had no hesitation investing and knowing I had walked out of there with the correct shades. Since then, and I must admit, somewhat to my surprise, I have found myself reaching for all of these products on an almost daily basis with them becoming a permanent fixture in my make up bag. And so, I thought I would share my thoughts on them today.

Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation

Don’t let the name fool you with this one. It has decent coverage but isn’t nearly as thick or as full as I’d have imagined from the impression the name gives. I find it gives a very 'lit from within' look as opposed to the matte finish you might expect. The consistency is very smooth and quite thin in that it moves around easily when you pump it out on the back of your hand. It is also easy to apply with your fingers (in fact, this is my favourite way to apply it), and doesn’t leave your skin feeling suffocated like some foundations with a little more coverage can have a tendency to do. I wear the shade R210, and as I’ve said previously, it is a great match for me – probably the best of all the foundations I own and that’s no small feat. As with most Make Up Forever products as well, the colour range available is quite vast and so I should imagine there would be something there to suit most skin tones. I can’t claim that this is of holy grail status yet, but it has certainly been my go to recently and has (for now) replaced my NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint that I had been wearing non-stop previously.


Ultra HD Invisible Cover Concealer

At the time of purchase, I had managed to misplace my trusty Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer, and so I thought I would pick this up as I had seen it used both as a blemish cover up and under eye brightener and it seemed from what I could tell to be a good all-rounder. As per, I told the lady on the counter that I like to go a shade lighter with my concealer and she obliged matching me with the shade R20. Again, I have been using it on a daily basis – perhaps even more so than I had originally anticipated due to the fact that the foundation didn’t cover as much as I was expecting it to. Despite being of a relatively thick consistency though, is it still very creamy and I don’t find that it cakes. Neither does it crease under the eyes for me (though I do tend to always set my under eye concealer so maybe that has something to do with it). A little goes a long way with this and though I don’t find it quite as good for pinpoint concealing when compared with my Estee Lauder Double Wear, it still does a pretty decent job and definitely leaves a more natural finish when it comes to the general concealing of redness and slightly patchy skin that I tend to suffer with. I think if I was having a particularly good skin day and feeling the no make up make up look – some careful application of this minus any base, and a light dusting of one of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders, would easily suffice. Definitely one to check out if you’re after a ‘does it all’ product that will serve as a useful make up bag staple throughout the day.

Smoky Lash Mascara

As this seems to be one of the most hyped products by the brand, I felt I had to give it a go. I’ve been really into trying out different mascaras lately, and have found a couple that I have really fallen in love with – namely the Dior Iconic Waterproof Overcurl and the LancĂ´me Hypnose Volume-a-porter which I have spoken about previously here. If I’m honest though, I don’t think this one quite compares. I have still been using it on a daily basis and it does a decent job of achieving a nice balance between voluminous and lengthened lashes – separating them just enough to avoid the clumpy look (something I am not necessarily against – but would prefer to avoid during the day). I can’t comment on its being able to hold a curl as, as I have mentioned in previous posts – my lashes have  a natural curl to them anyway and I have never had any issues. I can however, say that it doesn’t transfer and is relatively easy to remove which is always a plus. I am keen now to try out the brown shade as I have heard good things and am yet to try any mascara that isn’t black during my long term make up love affair.  

What are your best picks when it comes to Make Up Forever? I’d really love some more recommendations as from what I have tried so far they've really surpassed my expectations! 

Sarah x

3 STEP SUMMER SKIN PREP

Saturday, 30 July 2016

When it comes to summer skincare I like to keep things as light and simple as possible - especially in the mornings! Something I don't like to skimp on though, is making sure my skin is prepped and ready to face the day. 

For me, this means being hydrated and protected, and lately I have been absolutely loving these three products used after a quick cleanse in the morning and underneath make up to ensure smooth application and preservation all day long.


I think we can all agree, that when it comes to sun protection (especially for the face), what we are after is something that sinks in quickly, is non-greasy and isn't overly fragranced. It may sound like a simple ask, but no matter what I've tried in the past, it has either managed to break me out, or has, despite initial high hopes eventually left me looking like a caked, shiny oil slick. This stuff though is truly magical.

It sinks in like no other SPF I have ever tried - the texture is more liquid like as opposed to cream and it applies like a serum. There is a very slight scent to it (though this isn't noticeable once it is on the skin), it is moisturising, and yet when you go to apply your base on top, it is completely undetectable! It doesn't make me oily throughout the day (any more than usual anyway), in fact I think it may even help to keep me mattified - is there anything more you could ask for?

Crucially, it contains UVA (PA ++++) and UVB (SPF 50) protection, which means not only will you be protected from short term damage but from longer term damage more likely to accelerate the process of your skin ageing as well. I have been using this every day without fail over the last month or so and am already thinking about picking up another tube as I am starting to run low. It is without doubt, one of my favourite discoveries of the year so far and has already earned a permanent place in my hall of fame. 


Recently I had an unfortunate accident with my beloved Aesop Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Eye Serum which involved a broken bottle and some severe spillage. Luckily, I had this little guy lying around as a back up, and so instead of repurchasing I thought I would give it a go (in truth, not really expecting to love it as much). I've been very pleasantly surprised though, in that it has given me exactly what I look for in an eye cream - no bold claims promising to banish lines and prevent me ever ageing, just a good bout of hydration that sinks in quickly and leaves the area around my eyes feeling soothed and refreshed.

It contains beautiful ingredients that help it achieve this, including cooling cucumber, soothing rosemary and energising ginseng, along with green tea extract. And, the pies de resistance - it works wonderfully under make up. 


I've lost count of the number of lip balms I own. I certainly have a few faves, but I seem to be constantly switching them up without being loyal to anything in particular. I will normally use a balm as and when I deem it necessary but when it comes to this one, I've only had it a couple of weeks yet I've found myself reaching for it multiple times daily and have already made quite a large indentation! It's not a thick balm, but it is very hydrating and is perfect for day to day use. 

I like to pop a little bit on in the morning, allowing it to sink in whilst doing the rest of my make up before applying my lip colour of choice (sometimes I'll just wear it on it's own). It has the most divine peachy scent, gives your lips a natural pink tint by reacting with their pH and also adds a little shine to help plump and smooth. Even better, as it is in stick form, no fingers are required, and so it is the perfect product to sling in your handbag (especially with the super pretty packaging) and you can slather it on throughout the day whenever you wish to without any fuss.

What are your favourite tips and tricks when it comes to low maintenance summer skincare?

Sarah x