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TWO LANCOME LOVES

Monday, 29 February 2016

Lancome is a brand that until recently I had never really dabbled much in. There was a whole lot of hype surrounding their Hypnose Drama mascara a while back and so I gave it a go, but it all honesty wasn't that impressed - the formula was a little too dry for my liking and if I remember rightly, tended to flake on my lashes - it wasn't horrendous but it wasn't something I would go back and repurchase either.


Since then (and I might add - not intentionally), I haven't picked up anything else from them - that is until the other day when I saw a friend of mine wearing one of their 'Rouge in Love' Lipsticks in the shade 'Rose Tea' 200B or 'Rose Thé' as it appears to be called online (this caused a lot of confusion when it came to purchasing I can tell you!). It looked incredible on her and so I knew immediately that I would have to snap one up for myself. It's a gorgeous nude with a brown tinge that I have been enjoying pairing with Charlotte Tilbury's Lip Cheat Pencil in 'Pillow Talk' on an everyday basis. The formula is creamy and leaves a sheen to the lips but nothing too glossy. It is well pigmented and its diddy size and cute packaging make it the perfect handbag companion. 

Whilst waiting for the sales assistant to grab this for me, I found myself drawn towards the other mascaras that were on offer and one in particular grabbed my attention. The Hypnose Volume-a-porter Mascara - it's wand with short plastic bristles and tapered end, had me intrigued. And, if I'm totally honest, the shiny gunmetal packaging also made it stand out (moth to a flame and all that). I picked it up on impulse but am so glad that I did.

Unlike the Hypnose Drama mascara, the formula isn't so dry. Though neither is it so wet that you run the risk of transfer during application. As the name suggests the product gives your lashes plenty of volume, but it does a whole lot more than that in addition and helps to lengthen and separate at the same time. It is easy to layer and does so without clumping in order to create a more dramatic effect, and it manages to hold a curl like nobody's business. The first time I wore this it was for 12 hours straight - it didn't smudge or transfer and there was no flaking - which are both things I tend to suffer with thanks to my slightly hooded lids. A bold claim, but I think this might have just shot to the top of my 'high end' mascara pile.

I'm excited now to try some more bits from Lancome and to find out exactly what's on offer. If you've any recommendations, then please send them my way! 

Sarah x

THE REPURCHASES

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Getting bored of a product and the wanting to try the latest talked about release in the world of beauty, is something that I all too often succumb to the temptation of. However, there are a handful of products, that no matter what alternatives I try, I always end up returning to and when I do I realise exactly why it was that I loved them so much in the first place.


If you read this post that I wrote a few weeks back, you will remember that I had been testing out the new Blue Moon Cleansing Balm from Sunday Riley and in light of this, had neglected to pick up another bottle of my usual firm favourite from Oskia. As soon as I saw myself nearing the end though, I headed over to Cult Beauty and stuck another one in my basket without pausing for thought.

I liked the Blue Moon cleanser and despite it being a little harder to work with in terms of needing to warm it up in your hands before application, it smelt amazing, worked well with my skin and provided definite competition when it came to my another favourite - Emma Hardie's cult classic - the Amazing Face Moringa. As soon as I got my hands back on the Oskia cleanser though, it just reinforced to me how nothing else can compare. If ever there was a product that was worth the hype then this is it. It feels so luxurious to apply and the way it morphs from what is essentially more of a balm into an oil with the faintest scent of rose, means that more often than not I spend far longer than I need to massaging it in as I enjoy the process so much! It leaves my skin feeling soft, smooth and spotless and is here to stay.


Most of the time, the effort it takes to tan is something that I'm not willing to waste my precious time doing. On occasion though, when I do feel like a little bronzing is required, there is nothing else I reach for. I don't think I've ever worked my way through an entire bottle of tan before this stuff entered my life and so the fact that this is now my third speaks volumes. I love how the express mousse absorbs so quickly, goes on with a hint of olive green (which disappears after while) so that you know you haven't missed any spots, dries quickly and develops in no time.

If you aren't already au fait with how it works - the tan can be left one for between 1 to 3 hours, dependent upon how dark it is you want to go. Personally I find that I like to leave it for the full three to gain maximum effect. If I am in a rush before going out though, the glow that is achieved in the hour before is also just enough to eliminate the gleam from my snow white pins.

It has a slight scent to it as is the case with most fake tans, though it's nothing too overpowering and once washed off it doesn't linger. I shan't be straying away from this little gem any time soon.


The quest for the perfect brows (or in my case - brows that aren't so minuscule it takes a magnifying glass to see them (never trust a 15 year old with a pair of tweezers) - is something I am constantly chasing. At the moment I am trying out a new growth serum which seems to be doing some good and so with continued use and a good brow tint I am hoping to have more substantial face framers back in my life before too long. In the meantime though I have settled on the Anastasia brow range to help ease my woes.

This is my second Brow Wizz and having originally gone for the 'Dark Brown' shade (not a bad match at all but perhaps a little harsh), I have now opted for the shade 'Medium Brown' which creates a more subtle effect and with my now lighter locks looks a lot more natural. The fine nib which allows precise strokes and lack of waxy wear throughout the day, are definitely the two biggest plus points to this product, and in conjunction with the Dip Brow Pomade creates the perfect duo. This definitely sits at the top of the brow taming tree for me.

What beauty products do you find it hard to live long without?

Sarah x

THE DUPE - ROSIE FOR AUTOGRAPH V BY TERRY

Saturday, 27 February 2016
Left to right - Sparkle & Magic, Feline Fox, Movie Star Crush, Almond Eyes.


Marks and Spencer's
offering when it comes to beauty has improved significantly of late, with them now stocking brands including Pixi, Stila, Nails Inc, Emma Hardie - but to name a few. Up until now though I had never paid too much attention to their own make up line - Autograph. However, when I saw that they were teaming up with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to create the Rosie for Autograph range, I became intrigued and was drawn in by both the beautiful rose gold packaging on offer and the whispers of Chanel-esque comparisons. The verdict? I wasn't disappointed.

There are a number of stand out products in the range - the lipsticks and the cream blushes being two of my faves (if you want a quick review of these, there's one over on my Instagram page). Today though, I wanted to concentrate on what for me are the stars of the show - the cream eye-shadow sticks. Though the shade range isn't as extensive as the sought after By Terry Ombre Blackstars, the staying power and blend-ability are just as good if not better. And the shades that are available are particularly beautiful.

If you're a fan of the cult favourite 'Misty Rock' then 'Movie Star Crush' is a must have as it bears striking similarities as does 'Feline Fox' to the shade 'Bronze Moon'. My two favourites amid the bunch though, are what I would consider to be the more unique shades - both with a golden shimmer but at either end of the spectrum. 'Almond Eyes' - the lighter shade of the two provides a subtle wash of pale gold, perfect for day to day wear, where as 'Sparkle & Magic' is much darker combining what I would describe as being a hint of gunmetal iridescence to it - suitable for more of an evening make up menu.

When I swatched these originally - three hand washes and a rather lengthy bath time later, the remnants could still be seen - some impressive wearability right there! And, at less than half the price of the Ombre Blackstars, this offering provides some stiff competition.

Have you tried anything from Rosie's range - what were your thoughts? If not, is there anything you fancy getting your hands on to trial run?

Sarah x

RASPBERRY MARSHMALLOWS

Sunday, 21 February 2016

It was my Sister's birthday dinner party last night and as far as the food situation was concerned, it was a bit of a free for all with everyone pitching in and bringing along a few dishes of their own. I was put on dessert duty and fancied trying something a bit different out so opted for these sweet, gooey, cubes of goodness - homemade raspberry marshmallows.

I found the recipe whilst flicking through this James Martin recipe book and though I was a little sceptical to begin with about whether or not I could pull it off, I ended up very pleasantly surprised with the results so thought I would share them on here.

Ingredients

455g granulated sugar
1 tbsp liquid glucose
9 sheets of gelatine
2 large egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
Oil (for greasing)
125g fresh raspberries (coated in icing sugar or cornflour)
Icing sugar (for dusting)
Cornflour (for dusting)

Method

Place the sugar along with the glucose and 200ml of water into a saucepan. Bring this to the boil and allow to simmer. The books recommends using a sugar thermometer and to wait until the mixture reaches 127°C, however, I didn't do this and it didn't seem to make a difference overall to how the marshmallows turned out 

As the mixture is heating, soak the gelatine in 140ml of cold water and beat the egg whites until stiff. Once the mixture has heated, slowly pour in the soaking gelatine sheets along with the water. Once dissolved, pour this mixture into a measuring jug.

Continue to beat the egg whites whilst slowly adding in the mixture. As the mixtures starts to thicken and become shiny - add the vanilla extract. Keep whisking for as long as it takes for the mixture to become stiff. After lightly oiling a brownie tray, dust this with the cornflour and icing sugar to ensure the mixture doesn't stick. Spoon half of the mixture into the brownie tray and spread evenly. 

Sprinkle over the raspberries and once finished, top with the remaining marshmallow mix. Then all you have to do is pop it in the fridge and wait. A few hours later and voila - light, fruity, fluffy little squares of deliciousness to enjoy!


Sarah x

FINDING TIME

Saturday, 20 February 2016


The last seven days have been the first full weeks holiday I've had since June and boy did I need them. Sometimes, even if you've nothing big planned - taking time for yourself - just to be, to do very little other than indulge in some 'me' time, is exactly what you need to help press the reset button.

On Tuesday, I took myself off into Chester for a lengthy look around all the boutiques and beauty counters. I spent hours perusing, stopping off for a flat white and a slice of red velvet at my favourite independent coffee shop (The Jaunty Goat FYI - if you lust over copper interiors and homemade delights then this place is for you). I ended up in a quaint little tavern where I arrived early for lunch with some old work colleagues and indulged in a large glass of blush by myself before a lovely catch up. It was blissful.

I've spent time with my Sister whilst she's been off work on half term, I've worked on the blog, I've spent more hours than I would care to admit watching episodes of my new obsession - The Good Wife and this weekend I've embarked upon a lengthy wander with my two labs and spent the afternoon attempting to conjure up some homemade marshmallows (i.e. attempting to hone my domestic goddess skills to a higher level). And you know what? I feel totally refreshed.

So the moral of the story is - find time to do what it is you love. There are always going to be jobs that need doing, places that you need to be, people that you need to meet - but sometimes - to spend some time alone, to enjoy your own company, to be totally selfish - is ok. In fact it's more than ok - it's necessary.


Sarah x

BURBERRY BEAUTY BITS

Monday, 15 February 2016

My Burberry beauty obsession all started when I laid my hands on their eyeshadow in 'Pale barley'. The perfect everyday shade - a washed out taupe with a very fine shimmer to it, that works well on it's own if it's just a slight wash of colour that you're after, or is equally as good used as a base for something a bit more fancy.

From there I moved onto lipsticks - the latest addition to my collection being the shade 'Rosewood' from their Velvet Lips line. I was a little hesitant at first as I ordered this online without the chance to swatch and had heard a lot of comparisons with MAC's 'Mehr' (which I love but don't need more than one of!). I needn't have worried though as this has a pinker tone to it, and on my skin-tone at least is a lot more brightening. The formula is also incredible as it's matte without being at all drying - the most moisturising matte lipstick I've ever tried by far.

The most pleasant surprise among the bunch, has been the Light Glow blush in 'Tangerine'. Despite the name having 'I've been tangoed' connotations, it is in fact a beautiful muted matte peach shade. A little goes a long way as it is well pigmented, and works perfectly as one of those blushes that works both on an everyday basis and also paired with a bold lip where you don't want too much focus to be paid to anything else.

And finally, the most recent extension to my stash - the Fresh Glow BB Cream (Fair 01 FYI). Recently - both in light of the colder weather and the fact that my skin seems to have dried out/taken a  bit of  a battering as a result, I've been aiming for more of a glow when it comes to base than I would do usually. I had heard mixed reviews, including some that referred to the 'ultra dewy' finish this has as being overkill when it comes to trying to obtain that radiance so may of us are after. However, I am inclined to disagree. The coverage is, as you would imagine with a BB cream - relatively light, but has a lovely finish and when teamed with a little of my favourite Clarins concealer is perfect for day to day wear. It also lasts a good 6-8 hours on me without the need to re-powder - which is pretty good going as an oily t-zone so often turns out to be my nemesis! A little more trialling is undoubtedly in order, but for now a solid contender when it comes to replacing my beloved Dior Nude BB Cream.

Have you tried any beauty products from Burberry of late? If so, what would you recommend? Take note too, that if you do feel like dabbling, Feel Unique are currently offering 10% off, so strike while the iron's hot!

Sarah x

FOUR CURRENT FAVOURITES

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick - Lolita II


Unable to resist the hype surrounding these, I succumbed and snapped one up as part of my latest Sephora order. The formula is gorgeous - thin but easily layered - which I'm guessing is how they manage to live up to their name and be super long lasting. Lolita II is a beautiful terracotta nude that could easily be worn day to day, but which I like to pair with a copper eye and lashings of mascara for more of an evening look. It's the first product I've tried from Kat Von D  and now I can't wait to give some more a go - her tattoo eyeliner and contouring palette are at the top of my list, not to mention getting hold of a few more lip shades!

NARS Duo Eyeshadow - Isolde

I'd forgotten just how much I loved NARS eyeshadows since having gifted my well loved Nars-issist palette to my Sister a few months back. The copper eye I mentioned that I like to pair with the Kat Von D lipstick is easily achievable with these two - buttery and blend-able, they apply like a dream and with their gorgeous earthy tones - suit my brown-eyed, fair skinned complexion to a tea.

Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara

When it comes to mascara, it's definitely volume that I look for over length as my natural lashes seem to serve me well enough in that area. So when I saw the 'major volume' claims combined with the super black pigment this one contains, I knew I had to give it a go. If you're not into the spidery 'false lash' effect then this might be one to swerve, but personally I love the dramatic look it gives. The formula itself is quite dry though it manages to stick around all day on me without smudging or flaking, with the added bonus of being easy too remove without too much effort at the end of the day.

Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick - Pepper

Again, I was a Bite Beauty virgin before picking this up, but something tells me I might be a seasoned purchaser before too long. These lipsticks are incredibly moisturising and comfortable on the lips, they glide on but don't move around and leave a subtle sheen without looking too glossy. I went for Pepper as it falls into my failsafe dusky rose category and it is beautiful. I'm keen now to try out some of the bolder shades too - 'Quince' in particular - a stunning deep magenta, is calling my name...

What beauty bits have you been loving lately?

Sarah x