Category Archives: Beauty

Super Drugstore Stocking Fillers for Ladies

If you’re anything like me, you’ll find it increasingly difficult to come up with ideas for stocking fillers as each year goes by. It’s really important to me that people don’t receive presents for the sake of just having a present; it should always be something people might want or like, or don’t even know they might want!  
My Mum, Nana and I contribute to a great big stocking for each other every year, so it can be hard to think of new ideas. Yesterday, I took a trip up to Superdrug for a bit of a stocking filler smash and grab (without the stealing) and I thought it might be helpful to share with you some items which make great stocking fillers but wouldn’t necessarily be traditionally considered for a Christmas present. 

  
This is something I’ll probably put in my own stocking: the B. Eye Shadow Brush, which looks lovely and soft, as well as big enough to blend out your shadow. It would probably be great for concealing too. At £3.99 and with good-sized packaging, it ticks the stocking stuffing box, whilst being a great present.

 

Imperial Leather; Stocking Filler Ideas
Imperial Leather Shower Gel
 
Shower gel is another great filler product. Most people use it, and they certainly know someone who would use it even if they themselves have a bath every day. It might be a bit of a boring present, but it will at least be useful (which, let’s face it, we start to appreciate as we get older) and if you can find an exciting scent or texture, even better. 

 

Superdrug Stocking Fillers
Superdrug staples
 
Beauty staples….I happen to know my Nana can’t be without this Vitamin E Intense Moisture Cream and my Mum keeps complaining about having dry elbows so I’ve picked a pot up for her as well. 

Nail polish remover pads are so handy for anyone who might ever wear nail polish, so a great, cheap little thing to throw in there. I always seem to be running out!
This GOSH Eyeliner was for me to replace one which has stopped sharpening, but you can’t really go wrong with a kohl liner as a little extra, and it’s always an intriguingly shaped present to open. And you currently get a free smoky eye palette when you spend £10 on GOSH in Superdrug (one present for you, one present for me….)!

Makeup Stocking Fillers
Makeup Revolution Palettes
 
I have to admit that eyeshadow palettes are a bit of a guilty pleasure for me just now – so many pretty pigments. However, I’m a big believer in sharing the love, so if you’ve bought something and loved it, why not buy one for someone else?  These are getting towards the pricier end of stocking filler territory but there’s still a 3 for 2 in Superdrug so it sort of evens out. The Makeup Revolution Beyond Flawless palette is one of my favourite things just now, but the Flawless palette has a slightly broader range of colours for people who might not be so comfortable with the concept of 50 shades of nude. 

I also picked up the Makeup Revolution Iconic Pro 1 palette for my Mum, as she tends to wear a lot of purple shades so I thought this might introduce her to the 21st century and no make-up make-up. Plus it comes with a brush, and it’s in that crucial £5 bracket. 

Other things I’ll probably pick-up at some point or which might be suitable for a sister or friend:

  • Hair bobbles 
  • Hand cream
  • Face masks
  • Hairspray or dry shampoo
  • Bath bombs/bath salts/bubble bath 
  • Body lotion 
  • Vaseline or lip balm
  • Nail polish
  • Lipstick or lipgloss
  • Blusher, bronzer or highlighter 
  • Your favourite primer or setting spray 

I wouldn’t recommend gifting a concealer or foundation (no matter how badly you want to share the wonder of Collection concealer) as you are very unlikely to be able to correctly match their skin tone!

Let me know if this has helped any of you out or if you have any ideas for me!

Empties

This is the first empties blog I’ve done, so please bear with me! I seem to take ages to get through some things, whilst using others like they’re going out of fashion. 

   
Firstly, a moment of silence for my fallen Benefit Dandelion. This has been a constant chum, giving the prettiest pink blush flush, but finally I’ve rubbed the pan clean. Sad, sad, sad. I can’t decide if I’m going to buy another one or if I’m too old for it now, but either way it’s too pink for Winter so I’ll try to find something new for now. Any suggestions welcome! 

  
I’ve also finished a tube/bottle (?!) of this old workhorse. I’ve been a big fan of Max Factor Colour Adapt for many years, after s friend suggested it whilst we were out shopping. I always buy it in Creamy Ivory, which is the palest shade they seem to stock in Boots, even though it isn’t all that fair so really pale ladies would struggle with this range. Nevertheless, it’s good value, fairly long- lasting if you prime and set, and it has the most glorious velvety texture which was the reason I fell in love with it in the first place. It can be quite gathers over dry skin if you combine it with a concealer, but that doesn’t bother me too much as when my skin is as winter dry as it is just now, there’s no getting around that for my eye area. 

  

 Moisturiser. I can’t get enough of this stuff. I think I’m going to keep using the night cream above, at least in the winter, as although it’s not as thickly moisturising as I’d like it to be, it’s the best moisturiser I’ve found so far that doesn’t sting when I have really dry, irritated skin in the winter. Not a nice wake up call!
Although I’ve used the Replenishing Rich Moisturiser for years, I’m not convinced it’s doing all that much for me. Basically I but it because it’s usually quite cheap and I know there are no perfumes in it to irritate my skin, but I think I should be doing better at my age! Recommendations welcome! 

  Shower gel isn’t something I’m too loyal to. I like buying and trying out new ones, and browsing the aisles to see all the new colours, scents and textures these guys are trying to flog us. I’m quite lucky in that my skin (apart from my face) doesn’t seem to respond positively or negatively to whatever I choose to wash with so I generally have my pick. Ok, I generally pick what’s on offer. I prefer something citrusy or somehow zingy, and always a gel rather than a cream or a milk; far too namby pamby for the working week. The bottle I’ve just finished up is a basic Radox “feel revived” mandarin and lemongrass shower gel. Inoffensive, but not particularly exciting.

  
This, as you may know, is a range I’ve been struggling to get my head around (boom) since I started using it. I never seem to use up shampoo and conditioner at the same rate, so I’m on my first shampoo and second conditioner (they’re crafty, those 3-for-2s). I love the scent and the creamy way it applies to the hair, as well as the generally feeling that avocado oil and Shea butter must be good for your hair. This morning is the first time since using these that I’ve thought that might be true, as my hair has been so so dry with no sign of a comeback, even after switching from Frizz Ease. I probably won’t buy these again, but they were worth a shot, and they do give your hair a lovely scent. 

November Favourites 

November welcome in the cold, and with it, a big old cold for me! Not to worry – we should embrace what life throws at us, right? If life gives you a cold, enjoy your warm bed, scarves, soup and plenty of cups of tea.

  
I was thinking of running separate beauty and lifestyle favourites posts but I’m not a fan of scrambling around to force favourites which aren’t necessarily favourites just to fill up a post. So the combined post was born…

So, in no particular order, here we go…

 

1. Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser

I’ve been using this for about 5 or 6 weeks now. I can’t comment on its ability to erase pores, as it’s so darn dark in the morning that it’s impossible to tell. However, I really love the formula of this primer. It’s velvety soft, without being powdery, and as it’s quite thick and siliconey it really does feel like you’re giving your make up a good thick base, whereas creamy primers can sometimes feel a bit thin and toothless. 

However, because it is thicker, it isn’t very easy to spread as far so I feel like I’ve been using more product meaning it’ll be used up more quickly and be poorer value for money than a sheerer primer. On the other hand, it is in a tube so it’s going to be easier to squeeze out the last traces than would be the case with a pump. Overall, a great everyday base; even better if there’s a deal on!

  
2. Vaseline Lip Therapy (Cocoa Butter)

This is more of an essential than it is a favourite. I always have at least one of these kicking around, and I have real trouble getting through a winter workday without one of these in my handbag. I’ve actually gone out to pick up a new one at lunch time before, it’s just that necessary (I should really keep one in my drawer….).

Anyway, like many, I really suffer with dry skin when the weather gets cold and the heating comes on. Particularly when it comes to my lips and eyes. I primarily larger this onto my lips throughout the day, and it’s the only product which has ever worked for me in terms of coming even close to being in any way moisture repairing. Some people hate petroleum jelly due to it being so greasy, but that seems to be necessary for me!

I have very sensitive skin and some really odd allergies, so I’m quite fussy about moisturising products. In terms of the scent, I prefer the cocoa butter or the crême brûlée (although I think it was limited edition) as I had an allergic reaction to the rose and I find the original and aloe vera to smell crude oily and a bit unpleasant – the cocoa butter makes it feel a but more like a lovely girly product. 

When my skin in general is really dry, I also use this to help give it a boost, anywhere I have set patches such as my undereyes, eyelids and elbows, as it’s much better for rescuing skin than an ordinary moisturiser, and can also be used sparingly just before you apply your make-up to give your dry areas a fighting chance.

  
3. MaxFactor Creme Puff Blush in Gorgeous Berries 

I mentioned this blusher in my recent Superdrug haul, as I picked it up as a deeper berry shade for the winter – farewell pretty, peachy pinks! It is a beautiful colour which goes into the skin as the darker of the two shades in the pan. It’s pretty matte, as far as I can tell, so it’s perfect for an everyday autumn/winter look. 

However, it is a drugstore brand blush, so it was always going to fall a little flat for me as I’ve used Benefit blush for years, and have recently fallen for a MAC Mineralize product so the quality is a little disappointing. It goes onto the cheek in a very pigmented but uneven way, but seems to buff off rather than in, meaning that you end up with only a slight flush at times. It doesn’t seem to have much longevity either, and you definitely need a mirror to apply it. I’ll keep playing around with it though as I may just be using the wekmg brushes. The Real Techniques Blush Brush is too soft for buffing but a Kabuki is perhaps too harsh. The colour is too beautiful to give up on!

  
4. Bicycle Jumper from Gap

I bought this jumper at an outlet sale towards the end of summer. It’s the perfect smart casual weekend jumper, layered over a shirt. It’s great quality snd was an absolute steal. I don’t think you can buy this particular one anymore, but there are lots of similarly shaped jumpers in the sale, which I’ve linked above. 

  

5. Miss KG Spitfire Tan Boots 

I’ve finally had to concede that my favourite River Island pixie boots are letting in water. My Nana bought me some great Moda in Pelle ankle boots last Christmas, but they have a 4 inch heel and I was in dire need of something comfortable, warm and waterproof for a trip to Newcastle at the start of this month. 

Solution found after about 5 minutes on the Debenhams website. A £68 impulse buy but really they’re cracking value. They are smart, comfortable, cushiony in the inside, with a hardwearing sole and they’re waterproof, with the uppers made from beautiful tan nubuck. I wore them all weekend (including standing up at a gig for about 5 hours) without breaking them in, but with no pain. Very lucky find!

  

6. Twinings Lady Grey Teabags 

Lighter and fresher than my old favourite Earl Grey (although I’m pretty sure Twinings changed the formula for their Earl Grey a couple of years ago and I’m not quite over that yet), so I’ve switched to this guy. A godsend in the cold evenings, and all day when I was ill. 

  

7. Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles Strawberry & Blackcurrant

Fruit Pastilles, only better!

  

8. Revival by Stephen King 

I’ve been a Stephen King fan for as long as I can remember. His writing is perfection, his plots have me hooked, and every story is totally different. I’m still reading this one actually, but it’s a good’un, and I would highly recommend it if you like a thriller. It’s supernatural but I’m not sure I would call it a horror. Not yet at least! Almost looking forward to the 75 minute train journey tomorrow morning just to have plenty of time with this bad boy. 

9. Live Music and New Adventures

I’ve told you already that I had a great weekend with Mr Brooker at the beginning of the month, seeing some really great bands (Truckstop Honeymoon, Beans on Toast, Will Varley, Skinny Lister and Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls) all of whom are represented by Xtra Mile Recordings (apart from Truckstop) who I’ve linked above. 

It was the first time I’d spent a weekend in Newcastle and it was pretty eye-opening! Even though the weather was miserable and I got a bit grumpy thinking we might miss our train and then again re the start of the gig because we couldn’t get a table for supper, I really had a great time. Just not enough down time with Mr B for my liking!  

10. How to get Away with Murder 

A great new drama on Netflix with some great twists and turns. I was a bit disappointed with where they went with the season finale, but I’ll reserve judgement for the next season!  

That’s us for another month! What are your favourites this month?

The 5 Best….Christmas Party Essentials (Collab.)

I’m so excited about this post. It all started a week ago, and here I am putting together my first ever collaboration post. It’s all thanks to Beautyandthelook for getting us all together, so thanks Siobhan! She basically gave a shout-out to anyone who fancied joining in and she was kind enough to include me. 

We’ve had some great Twitter chats as well; it’s been a pleasure to (virtually) meet you girls and discover your lovely blogs.  Anyway, we’re all posting right now on the same theme: top 5 Christmas party essentials, with office parties just around the corner. I’ve linked all of their blogs at the end of my post, so please check them out; it’ll be so interesting seeing everyone’s take on the same theme. And then there’s the glitter…..

  

 1. Metallic/Sparkly Nail Polish 

  

I always seem to find myself planning for Christmas parties at the last minute. I ordered some dresses online on Thursday in the hope that at least one of them will do, as I did last year, and the year before. So much stress. Anyway, once you have your clothes, shoes and accessories sorted, my first bit of game time preparation is to spend time filing and painting my nails. I’m one of those people who never leaves enough time then either chips their polish or falls asleep when it’s still tacky and wakes up with dents. 

Anyway, a glitter or metallic nail polish is essential for a Christmas party in my opinion! As I dont know what I’ll be wearing yet, I thought I’d share my favourite polish from last winter, which is the Barry M Aquarium Collection Nail Paint in Persian, which is a beautiful irradescent purple/bronze, which turns more bronzey if you add a clear top coat. It gives you a really beautiful metallic sheen which moves with the light. Perfect for a party!

  

2. Your Best Deodorant 

This is sort of self-explanatory, but I think deodorant/anti-perspirant is an under-reviewed area of beauty. I suppose it does tend to be cheap enough to warrant buying without research, but even if your wallet doesn’t feel the pain of a bad product, I reckon the embarrassment factor of being let down by your deodorant should really warrant a bit of research!

In my experience, office parties tend to either start straight from work, or give you a short amount of time to get ready before go time. My employer’s head office is in Edinburgh, so we all get shipped through there for the Christmas party. Normally we get to finish work at about 3 to meet the taxi to leave at about 5. I only live 10 minutes away from the office now, so I have the luxury of going home to shower and change, but I’ve had many experiences of fighting with the other girls for time in the loo to change, straighten my hair and reapply my makeup. In those cases, you need your deodorant to hold up all day as well as all night.

 

This one is my favourite, the Soft & Gentle 48 Hour Protection Anti-Perspirant Deodorant. I’ve used this for years and years. I’ve just noticed that it also has an anti-white mark formula, which may have been added somewhere along the lines after Sure started pushing their white and black situation. Anyway, I love this deodorant. I always pick up the Wild Rose and Vanilla scent, but I think there are around 4 to choose from. This gives me good day-long protection with a really natural scent. It doesn’t feel too powdery and it doesn’t really smell like a deodorant. It’s a big win in my book, and essential to keep you feeling and smelling fresh until you crawl home in the small hours. 

3. The Perfect Blusher 

The obvious inclusion in this post would be the perfect sparkly eye shadow. I’m going to be controversial and miss that out of my top 5, as I don’t necessarily think it is an essential for everyone. Depending on your look and what you’ll be wearing, you might feel more comfortable keeping your eyelids subtle and neutral. Provided you line your eyes well and choose a bombshell of a mascara, the shadow isn’t all that important.

What us essential, however, is a good blusher to give you a healthy, just in from the cold flush about the cheeks. Blusher is also a great product for dialling up your make-up from daytime functional to party time glamorous. 
  

This MAC Mineralise blush in Petal Power is just beautiful. It’s the perfect peachy pink, plus it has the most beautiful goldy shinmer to dial it up for Christmas, meaning you don’t necessarily need to highlight as well (although I’m pretty sure I will). 

4. Good Mascara

So even if you haven’t gone all out on the glittery shadow, you really need a bit of drama about the eyes for your Christmas party. This is a slight cheat, as I’m including 2 products here as one item, but given they’re both from L’Oreal, the price of 2 is still less than a lot of single high end mascaras. 

The two I recommend are L’Oreal Telescopic and L’Oreal Voluminous, both in extra black. Day-to-day, I’ve been using the voluminous on its own, for a great daytime look which gives plenty of frame to your eyes. However, trust me, the Telescopic really makes all the difference when you want to take it up a notch. It’s unbelievable at adding length to your top lashes, I was sold the first time I tried it, but it does leave them looking pretty leggy, so the voluminous is great for plumping them out. Use a couple of coats of each on your top lashes, but go slowly if you don’t like clumping. I haven’t been using the Telescopic on my lower lashes though, as I already have pretty long lower lashes and that would just be bizarre! 

 

The only problem here is that apparently the Telescopic has been replaced by the Telescopic Falsh Lash Effect, so we’ll have to see how that goes down when it’s time to replace this one.

5. Make-up Setting Spray 

Now what’s the point in spending all that time perfecting your make-up if it’s going to wear off by the time you get your Christmas dinner? That’s where setting-spray comes in. Use this one by MakeUp Forever if you’d like (but it’s £18 for the full-size) but Urban Decay has a couple of great ones as well. They are both pretty pricey though so I’m trialing the new MUA Pro-Base Fixing Mist (£5) today. Fingers crossed it holds!   

So there we have it! My 5 best Christmas Party Essentials. Hopefully you’ve got the bug now and will enjoy reading my fellow collaborators’ posts as well! Have a great Christmas party! 

Read these ones now!

https://beautyandthelooksite.wordpress.com/

https://manikui.wordpress.com/

https://karmabeauty87.wordpress.com/

http://jenniwren7.wordpress.com/

https://jessinthecrowd.wordpress.com/

https://thefreshwabisabi.wordpress.com/

https://bunniesblanketsandbandanas.wordpress.com/

https://50shadesofvanity.wordpress.com/

https://paigealiciabeauty.wordpress.com/

https://jessicaelizabiz.wordpress.com/

Unfortunately, Becca-Louise wasn’t able to get her post up for reasons outwith her control, but please check out her blog anyway!

https://beccaalouise.wordpress.com/

Double Superdrug Haul

Superdrug has had a pre-Christmas 3 for 2 on all cosmetics for the last couple of weeks. And I’ve tried so hard to be good…yet failed….a little. I went in to restock my Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer and a new blusher but of course they had sold out! So I just had to buy some new things instead…and then go back again the next day (and I still haven’t managed to get my hands on that concealer!).

  
I can’t give you a first impression of a few of these products yet, as I’ve been feeling under the weather and just haven’t found the time or energy to try them (Rimmel Glam’Eyes Professional Liquid LinerMUA Pro-Base Fixing Mist or “Wave Creating Sea Foam“) but I figured I might as well share in case any of you have tried them and have any thoughts.

I’m slightly scared to try the fixing spray or Sea Foam on a working day because I like to get ready in the morning, fix everything in place, then not touch anything until I get home (unless I have a client meeting) so I don’t want to risk losing longevity on my face, or ridiculously bad hair for the time being. And I don’t wear liquid eyeliner to work. 

      

My MaxFactor Colour Adapt foundation is my true love. I’m sure I’ve told you this before, but I just love how velvety it feels on my skin. Whilst it can look quite orange on your cleansing wipe at the end of the day, I’ve never noticed it looking orangey on my skin. I use Creamy Ivory, being a pale Scottish girl, and have always felt it to be a good match.

My only criticism is that the way it is packaged makes it very hard to shake up, so you inevitably get left with a thick, dryish paste as you get near the end. When that happens, I just mix in some heavy moisturiser or primer to sheer it out a little. 
  The eye is immediately drawn to this little beauty, again by MaxFactor. It’s called Creme Puff Blush and the colour is called 30 Gorgeous Berries. It looks like it’s trying to be a MAC Mineralise blush, but it is nevertheless beautiful. I picked this up because I was looking for a deeper berry shade for the Autumn and Winter. 
  
Whilst the colouring of this doesn’t disappoint, it’s definitely not as long lasting as higher end blushets, and it doesn’t really offer that gilded sheen you get from MAC. It’s a good budget option if you’re happy to reapply throughout the day. 

    
On that note, it applies as though it is really pigmented when I put it on with my Real Techniques Blush Brush, and it’s very hard to blend out with such a soft brush, so I tend to use my Lottie Kabuki to buff it in. 

I picked up a Collection Illuminating Touch because they had the colour I wanted and figured it would tide me over. I don’t normally like these click through brush style concealers, and I’m still not convinced, however the product inside is acceptable as long as you dab it on with your finger after squidging it onto your face. It does seem a little sheerer than the normal tube, which it probably needs to be for this packaging, so I probably won’t buy this again once I get my hands on the real deal (plus a spare). 

  
The final item I’ve actually been testing regularly is the L’Oreal Lumi Magique Primer Pure Light. To be honest, I’m not getting much from it, and don’t think it justifies it’s full-price price tag of £9.99. 
  It looks really glowy when you pump it onto your hand, but it just doesn’t seem to be doing anything for me once it’s made it onto my face. I’ve tried it both as a pure primer and mixed into my foundation and I don’t feel it’s giving me the dewy glow I was after. Has anyone else had any success with this guy?

That’s all from me today – let’s see if any of these make it into next month’s favourites!

October Favourites

I can’t believe we’re a whole month into the proper Autumn/Winter season already. It seems as though we’re skipping right past the gorgeous coppery Autumn though and straight to the dark chill of winter. Never mind! All the better for cosy jumpers, good coffee, boots, Netflix and beautiful shimmery make up. Here’s a quick run down of what I’ve been loving most this month. 

  
Make-up wise, I haven’t been using many new things, but the products I have tried have been massively successful. Also, I’m really into these mini squashes right now for decorating the kitchen. This guy is a Munchkin Pumpkin from Tesco. I won’t eat it…but I think there’s something cool shout having pretty vegetables hanging around. 

So, first thing’s first. I bought this Simple Kind to Skin Protecting Moisture Cream to take on holiday because it was a nice size and contained SPF 30, which is a good backstop for those Autumn European days when the weather turns out better than expected. I’m actually really impressed with this. It has a really thick, creamy formula which makes your skin feel really hydrated. I’ll probably buy it again over the usual Rich Moisturiser. Currently £3.45 in Superdrug. It’s on offer just now, but Simple products tend to be on offer more often than not. 

  

  
I had a voucher for Debenhams so I treated myself (at last) to a travel sized Make Up Forever Mist & Fix setting spray. I was dubious of the £8 price tag, but it really helps your make up to stay on all day, and it’s nice to have a light spritz in the morning, especially now it’s getting colder and your skin is getting drier. You don’t need to put down the setting powder!

These Rimmel Salon Pro Nail Polishes are really good quality, but the range is quite limited and you really need to use a base coat and top coat. The “Lycra” included doesn’t really prevent chipping so it isn’t the most long-wearing product. That said, the Nail Base and Top Coat is really impressive, especially with Barry M polish in between. The colour I plumped for is 402 Urban Purple, which applies quite reddish, but builds to a really lovely burgundy on the third coat. 

  
I have three of these Rimmel London HD 5 Pan Eyeshadows and I’d give them a mixed review. I first bought Goldeneye about a year ago and loved the idea of a smoky grey look with that beautiful goldy mustard on the inner two thirds. I’m still in love with that one actually, but then I bought Pinkadilly Circus and found most of the colours to be far too bright and glittery so I hardly ever use it. This one, Brixton Brown, is autumnal perfection. I’ve swatches the colours above so you can see for yourself! £6.99 in Boots. 

  
Finally, I have a couple of lifestyley things to throw into the mix. I bought a 10 book Harlan Coben collection from The Book People last year and have been gradually working my way through them, sandwiched between other books. I think I’m just over halfway through them now with Promise Me. He’s a great writer if you like an easy, thrilling read with likeable characters.

The Book People is a really great company actually, which I remember being catalogue only when I was a kid. They’ve transitioned really well into the online world and offer great deals, especially on their sets and cookbooks. Big recommend!

Mr Brooker and I went to IKEA a couple of months ago and they had this weird food tasting sort of event on which twisted my arm into picking up these biscuits. They are the best jammy sandwichy biscuits ever, and the chocolate ones are delightful too. Only 80p!

  
Finally, I’ve been hooked on Halt and Catch Fire. There are only two seasons on Amazon Instant Video at the moment but it has, thank goodness, been renewed for a third season. Thanks to Mr Brooker for finding this gem – he always makes the best recommendations. You kind of have to watch it to understand it, but it’s basically about the tech boom at its most exciting. Even if you don’t really get tech (like me) you’ll love this series if you like a good American drama. Plus, there’s an actor in it called Scoot McNairy plus the guy from Pushing Daisies. It just made me a bit sad that I don’t have a vocation to get them excited about.

See you soon for some baking recipes!

Superdrug Autumn Bargain Haul

I actually shopped in Superdrug the day before I filled up my Boots Haul basket, but I wanted to try a few of the products out a bit more before I shared these with you, and they were all bought with autumn in mind! 

  
I actually came out with what I went in for (sort of) which has to be a bit of a win! 

1. Makeup Revolution Beyond Flawless Palette – £8.00 

This guy is my biggest autumn success story so far. 

  
So many pretty, blendable shades (32 in all). There is quite a bit of fall-out, but I’d say if that’s the worst problem with it you can totally deal in exchange for this ridiculous range of pretty shades, in shimmers and mattes. I particularly love Zorba, Spice and Brunette, but the range of looks you can achieve with this is mad. I’m wearing a combination of Cocoa, Teddy and Immaculate today and think it might be my new favourite subtle plum neutral. Buy it! 

2. MUA Glitterball Palette – £4.00

  
I’m not really reaching for this pallette as much, although I really love the two green shades and the plum. At £4 it’s worth having, even if you just want to pick out the odd colour to blend with other products. Use your own brushes though!

3. Collection Sheer Loose Powder in Translucent – £2.99

   
This is a hardly pigmented sheer loose powder. It’s light and fairly finely-milled, so it’s great for setting your foundation without adding colour. I’m still working on the best way to get it onto my brush though – the packaging doesn’t work very well. It comes with a flat puff applicator but powder needs a brush!

Oh and apparently it contains vitamin E!

4. Maybelline Colour Tattoo 24hr in Pink Gold and Metallic Pomegranate – £4.99 (but on buy one get one half price)

 
Whilst these are beautiful, they’re a little glitzy to use every day. That said, they are great in a hurry. The key is not to overthink them. I chose these two colours because they effectively give you a crease colour and base colour which compliment each other really well, and they work perfectly in that way. I’ve seen a lot of Youtubers using these as a base for an overall smoky eye (using On and On Bronze, which I just can’t get my hands on!) but they are gel-cremes so blending in dry powder shadows is beyond difficult. Still, they get a thumbs up!

5. MUA Undress Your Skin Shimmer Highlighter – £3.00

  

This is another lovely low-cost find. It’s very well-pressed so the powder is lovely and creamy and doesn’t give you fall-out. Whilst it appears very pale in the pan, it gives a beautiful goldy shimmer on the skin. I’m still working out the best way to apply it, but a finger and a brush seems to be working for me. The only question is longevity – you may need to reapply through the day or night.

6. Collection Precision Colour Lip Liner in Clover Pink – £1.99

This wasn’t expensive, but don’t waste your money. It is so hard and dry that it’s almost impossible to apply. 

  

7. Gosh Velvet Touch Eye Liner in Rebellious Brown – £4.99

I was slightly disappointed in the quality of this but I am still using it fairly regularly. It’s only subtly brown which is nice for the autumn but it’s slightly dryer and harder than I’d like whilst still being prone to smudging despite being waterproof. That said, as a water line liner, it has great staying power and is a gentler contrast to a neutral eye than a cold black kohl. It’s not really worth the money though. 

Let me know your favourites this autumn!

H&M Autumn Staples

I went a little bit crazy in H&M, but you know what, every now and then the season changes and you remember how relieved you were when summer came around last time because you were so sick of your warm clothes, and then you have to go and buy some new stuff. At least with H&M, you know their prices won’t make you feel too guilty!

  
I was primarily looking for some basics – jumpers, jeans, tshirts – and was pleasantly surprised because although I’ve had some real gems from H&M in the past, I have also been massively disappointed in their ranges. Luckily, this was a good shopping day, though I did spend £108. But when you consider how many garments I ended up with…meh. 

I apologise for the photos coming up – I took them all when I was trying everything on after a long day at work. My hair is a total mess, but the makeup you see was applied about 10 hours before and held up relatively well. 

To provide some context, everything here was in a UK size 12, or medium where they decided not to use dress sizing.

  
First up, a pair of £14.99 skinny jeans and this £29.99 jumper. It’s really cosy, and contains a very small alpaca content which should mean it stays soft and holds its shape. The jeans were a keeper at that price. The fit isn’t startling but they’re skinny so it isn’t so crucial especially as they aren’t mid rise.

GAP jeans are my favourite jeans of all time. However I’ve been disappointed in them recently as they seem to be favouring jeans of the mid rise persuasion, which do nothing for my short frame, and they replaced their line of jeggings with a 4-way stretch jean which loses its elasticity after a couple of months. Jeans with stretch marks…not good! I’ve tried one pair of H&M light coloured skinnies and have been pleasantly surprised. Although they were a little tight over the upper thigh when I first got them, they’re grand now. 

  
I did opt to return the jumper though as it was doing this funky swing thing at the front and was generally quite boxy. 

Next…….

  
This is a cheap as chips £3.99 tshirts which has a slightly marled texture. I wanted the grey/black one but it was ridiculously thin and see-through so I picked this lovely maroon/burgundy colour, thinking it would be nice for the autumn. This is a medium and it does actually fit when I’m standing up straight! It is pretty cheaply made, but lovely and soft.

These beige trousers describe themselves as slim rather than skinny, so they have a bit more substance and a little less stretch. Being a beigey colour, they’re a little bit smarter too she would look awesome teamed with a shirt and jumper combo.

  
 Next, a denim shirt dress which may be the softest thing in the entire world (please excuse the nobbly knees). I thought it would be too long for me but it actually gathers really effortlessly at the waist when you tie the belt.  It’s not bad at £29.99. This is part of the “H&M Comscious” range and is made of Tencel Lyocell, which is s fabric made from recycled wood pulp. Which is sort of unbelievable. 

 

Lastly, black skinnies for £14.99 which are almost a dupe for my old style GAP black skinnies but they are a bit stretchier. The hoodie was pretty thin but a good bargain. (I actually ended up returning this one as I found a cracking deal on a navy GAP zip-up at the outlet store).

So that’s us! Let me know if you have any current H&M or other autumn clothing favourites!

End of Summer Boots Haul

I’m so excited to finally own a couple of Real Techniques brushes. I actually went in for a Seventeen blush brush (which I think was £2.99) for setting my undereyes and found these guys on ‘buy one get one half price’ so I had to (HAD to) invest in the Expert Face Brush and the Blush Brush. Though I am slightly convinced I’ll go back for both of the Core Collections. I won’t tell you how much they cost in case my fiancé is reading this and it loses me some wife points but 25% justifies it!

  
I also picked up this cheap little angled brush from Seventeen, which is soft but firm and has a lovely angled point for precision work. 

  
To be honest, although these look gorgeous, I found them slightly disappointing on their first trip out. They are rusticity soft, but I wonder if they’re too soft. The face brush isn’t quite buffing as hard as I’d like. Saying that, they’re still pretty dry and unused so I’m hopeful that I’ll slowly fall in love. Either way, I wouldn’t have been happy until I bought them.

Thankfully, I still have a use for my trusty old Benefit Foundation Brush (paintbrush style) as it’s perfect for getting between my shadow abs eyebrow (I’m weird, I know, but I feel like adding some base in that gap really defines the edge of my shadow, so it’s blurred out but also contained).

  
I also picked up some moisturising nail remover pads because I go through them almost as quickly as I go through Haribo Roulettes (in the ducking braved aisle in Tesco – trust me). They’re just so much more convenient than a bottle and cotton pads, although they’re not very good at handling glitter polish. 

 
Finally, I found these guys on 3-for-2 at £2.50 each, and at that price you can’t really say no. I won’t claim to be an expert on hair care, but I’ve been using John Freda’s Frizz Ease for as long as I can remember and found it to be a tiny godsend for my ridiculous mess of hair. However, I’m increasingly finding my hair to be drier than an old tortilla wrap, so I’m going to try something new. 
I’ve never used a Garnier shampoo before but I used to be a big fan of their moisturiser just because it smelled so good, and I think they make Fructus, now that I think about it, which Mr Brooker swears by. Anyway, they offer various different formulas which are made up of differing ‘natural’ extracts. For obvious reasons, I opted for the “nourishing repairer” for “very dry, damaged hair” with avocado and shea butter. I can’t pretend I’m not excited about trying this. It smells lovely in the bottle. And my conditioner just ran dry so I can start on one of these bad boys tomorrow. Hurrah!

Happy weekend everyone!

Summer Favourites and Failures

The biggest failure of this summer has to be my phone breaking. Frustrating. Very frustrating. Or as they say in “In the Loop”: ‘difficult, difficult, lemon difficult’.

Whilst my favourite moment of the summer was seeing one of my best friends get married. Tears. Lots of happy tears. But lovely all the same. 

  
At the beginning of July, I shared some of the products I picked up in Boots in an attempt to try some new things and get our of my rut. As usual, some of these worked and others have me a hefty dose of buyer’s remorse. I’ve also been using other products for awhile longer, and have bought a few more things since. So here’s a summary of what worked for me and what would be in the bin if that wouldn’t waste even more money!

  
Simple has given me a game of two halves lately. I’ve been a loyal customer for a number of years, simply (see what I did there) because I have pretty dry to sensitive skin which can flare up at any time. Whilst I love moisturisers which offer a fresh scent, facial moisturiser is just something I can’t really risk. I usually use the replenishing moisturiser for both day and night, though I occasionally by the day any night creams which come in the plastic tub. They are so heavy for travelling though so the bottle of replenishing has done me fine over the summer. However, these were on 3 for 2 when I went to a Boots to stock up, so you have to try something new and something pricier, right? I’m not sure if my logic is flawed, but if something’s going to be free, it might as well be an expensive something. 

The age resisting night cream is miraculous – I didn’t realise how un-moisturising the replenishing cream was until I met this guy. The green tea extract is refreshing too. I’m not convinced that it’s helping me to resist any form of aging, but I wake up with a soft face and need much less product than usual. It comes in a pump action container, so I’ll report back about how difficult it is to squeeze the last drops out when I get there. 

The day cream, however, well, it’s like night and day (I’m on fire today). I’m not having a great time with the day cream. It isn’t as nourishing, although perhaps that’s because it doesn’t deal too well to being immediately applied to freshly washed skin and I think it might also be irritating my skin, although that may have something to do with the primer I’ve been trying (see below). I’ll keep trying because I don’t like waste (maybe I’ll try it as a night cream if my quasi OCD will allow it) but I’m not convinced! 

  
One of you lovely ladies commented that you would be interested in my review of Dove Summer Glow. It may be because I chose fair to medium, being Scottish of the skin, but I simply haven’t noticed this giving me any colour at all. It smells good though, and leaves dry calves smooth, so for £2.99 it isn’t bad. 

This Frizz-Ease Oil Elixir is another story though. I bought it after being wowed by argan oil. Unable to find more of the pure stuff, I gave this a shot (again on a 3 for 2 with my shampoo and conditioner). Do not buy this, unless you like sticky, heavy hair. In fact I think it dried out my hair more than not using it. The one thing it is good for, though, is smoothing fly-aways once your hair has been styled.

  

Maybelline Master Sculpt is pretty good for the money, letting you easily create a subtle powder contour and highlight, but it won’t be for you if you want to be really bronzed and glowy.

  
This Barry M Gelly Shine Nail Paint in Sugar Plum is a luscious pink glossy polish however it’s lasting power is pretty feeble. You’ll probably be fine with it for a day, but it will chip fairly readily after that, which makes for high maintenance nails. 

The Max Factor Colour Elixir Lipliner is beautifully creamy and smooth, however the colour range is pretty limited to very dark shades or pale baby pink shades. None of which do it for me. However I may yet play around with blending this with a more nude lipstick or gloss to see if I can make it suit. 

This Collection Lasting Colour Tafetta Rose lipstick is almost the colour I wanted it to be – perhaps still a shade too dark but it works. It’s a great bargain at £2.99, but it can be a bit drying so you might want to apply some Vaseline or lip balm over the top, if you don’t mind a bit of shine. 

  The Porefessional from Benefit offers so much but delivers little really. It’s a sticky formula which is hard to blend around your face and I think I might be allergic to it. A very pricey primer. 

The next two, on the other hand, are delightful! The Seventeen Eyeshadow Brush is £1.99 and is as soft and fluffy as you’d like it. They have a range of different sizes so it’s likely I’ll try se more of these, but this one is really designed for crease and transition and for carefully blending out. 

The Collection Lasting Colour Concealer is a godsend at £4.99 with plenty of coverage. I bought this in Cool Medium (shade 2) and have used it pretty much every day (as you can see by the state of the packaging). I’ll be buying it again instead of the Maybelline FitMe Concealer, which was about £7.99 and hasn’t impressed me. 

The Maybelline Age Rewind roll on gives good, even coverage. I bought this a shade too dark but it’s fine once blended in with the Lasting Colour guy and set with powder. This was £9.99 but I feel a lot of the price went into the packaging. 

  
Finally, the king of all things: St. Ives Apricot Scrub. I actually bought this in tesco and use it about 5 times a week. It’s gentle enough to feel like you’re getting a really good face wash and exfoliate without causing too much redness about the face. And it smells glorious. And (touch wood) it has kept my skin much clearer that normal. This is a welcome addition to my skin are routine. 

If you have any favourites or fails this summer, I’d love to hear from you!