Monday, 12 December 2011

November Favourites

Deary me, even for me this is a late monthly favourites!

No time like the present...

NYX Nude on Nude Palette
I really want to do a proper, in-depth review with swatches of this palette (most likely after Christmas when I should hopefully have the infamous UD Naked palette to do a comparison with!), so in the meantime I don't want to say too much other than in my opinion it is the best Naked palette dupe/alternative I have yet to come across. The shades are a mixture of warm and cool tones making it more accessible to different skin tones, and it's the perfect palette for day an night.
I got mine for £15 from TKMaxx.

Primark Blusher
I recently reviewed this gorgeous little tub of lovliness here, which I think speaks for itself, but I will say that other than appealing to my girlie side with the heart-shaped blusher 'beads' this is a beautiful light shade of pink that adds the perfect amount of colour and highlight to your cheekbones without being overpowering or too 'sparkly.'

W7 Nailpolishes
If you hadn't guessed from my earliest post on these beauties, I am obsessed with these nailpolishes from W7, which I picked up for £1.99 each from Savers. The staying power of them is not particularly amazing, but I'm blown away by the stunning colours/tone/depth of each one, and think they are amazing shades to add to your winter collection!
Watch this space for individual NOTD - i've already featured Metallic Mars (see link above)

17 BB Cream
Another product I was fully intending on reviewing before featuring it in my November favourites (and still plan to at some point!), I am again not going to let too much out the bag, but I will say I love this product for giving a really healthy glow to my skin, and you're likely to love it too if you like the Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint - from sampling the skin tint i'd say the products are very similar in consistency and coverage.

False Eyelashes (Any kind)
I've never really been into falselashes (and now i'm obsessed, I can't for the life of me think why not); maybe it was the fact I couldn't figure out the proper way to put them on, i'm not sure, but anyway I had ordered a pair from ELF a little while ago, and on Saturday while I had some time to myself I decided to make the effort to try them out. LOVE. Now i've got the technique nailed down, I've been confident in wearing them even on a daily basis, and have recently stocked up on loads of other pairs to try.
They make such a difference to your makeup look, and make me feel so glam!

Primark Boots (current stock)
I've only had these a matter of weeks but i've been wearing them to death as they're so versatile and go with practically anything.
A snip at £15, they're also available in dark brown and are still in stock so grab them while you can!

No7 4 in 1 Facewipes
A product I would NEVER buy at full price (a stonking £7.00 for 30 wipes), I recently picked these up for £2 using my £5 No7 voucher I had languishing in my purse.
I've been pleasantly surprised with these: they're larger than your average facial wipes, and are uber wet, which is what you need to 'properly' (if that's possible) remove make-up using a wipe.

Collection 2000 Cream Puff Matt Lip Cream in 01 Cotton Candy
You always know if Lisa Eldridge gives a product the thumbs up it must be a good 'un, so when she mentioned this product in one of her tutorials I knew I had to try one out.
Cotton Candy is a lovely matt pink shade, which doesn't dry out your lips and stays put for a long time. I've loved wearing it on a daily basis for a pretty, natural look.

Favourite blog:
I am constantly amazed at this lady's ability to unearth clothing/jewellery/accessory etc jems in jumble sales, car boot sales, ebay, charity shops (you name it). She updates her blog daily, and will astound you with her vintage finds and bargains!

Favourite book
The Hunger Games is part one of a triology of Hunger Games books (there's Catching Fire which i'm reading now, and also Mockingjay, the third book), and introduces sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem where the United States once existed. This is where a government working in a central city called the Capitol holds power. In the book, the Hunger Games are an annual televised event where the Capitol chooses one boy and one girl aged 12 to 18 from each of 12 districts for a massive televised battle in which only one person can survive.
It sounds brutal (and it is somewhat), but it's totally gripping and an idea which I am totally fascinated by.

What have you been loving this month?


Saturday, 10 December 2011

Review: ELF Dramatic Lash Kit

I am so hungover today. And in an attempt to make myself feel better (other than stuffing myself with junk food) I decided to go for all-out glam and put on some falsies:
I'd got these in my ELF haul a little while back for a bargain £1.50 (well actually 75p since it was the 50% off event), and never really got round to trying them out (putting on false eyelashes is a rather footery, time-consuming task for me), but since I had all the time in the world this morning, I thought i'd give these a bash.

(Please excuse the fuzzy photos. Like I say, I was hungover and slightly shaky in the hand. You get the jist.)

For being the 'dramatic' version on offer by ELF, I really like these for providing a really pretty, wide-awake look without being very obvious. I was really chuffed that even my Mum didn't notice them as fake eyelashes, and she hates eyelashes of the faux variety!

I put them on using DUO lash glue (wasn't even going to attempt using the glue that comes with them), and so far they've lasted all day without attempting to escape and crawl down my face*touch wood*.

I think I might make the effort to wear falsies more often - even if it is to make myself better through a self-inflicted hangover!

What lashes do you recommend?

Melanie x
Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Top Tips for Primark Shopping!

Now that we are in throes of the Christmas period, shopping can be a rather crazy/stressful process, and Primark (which can be a hazardous shopping environment as it is), can become even more chaotic than usual.

Shopping is meant to be a pleasureable experience (it's not called retail therapy for nothing), but some shops like Primark (and TKMaxx) are just asking for trouble: clothes on the floor, piles of shoes everywhere, massive queues....

After my most recent outing to Primark (during which time I ended up in a foul mood and only bought a couple of items - usually unheard of for me in Primark!), I came out thinking that it is a shop that definitely has to be tackled with some sort of strategy for optimum shopping results, hence this post!

So here's my guide to shopping in Primark - feel free to add your own tips in the comments section :)


1. Make sure you're in a good/neutral mood. There is nothing worse than trying to tackle people with pointy elbows, mums with prams, and often jumble sale-like conditions whilst in a bad (or emotional) mood, and it's likely to ruin the rest of your day (or at least the part of it spent shopping).
2. Find a primark near you of a good size, simply because the smaller ones are, well, crap. I'm quite lucky my nearest store is a split-level one, not too big, not too small, and if I want a MEGA primark I can travel a little further afield and go to either the Primark stores in Braehead or in Glasgow city centre.
Saying that, the biggest ones can also be a bit overwhelming, so maybe medium sized is the way to go!

3. Go first thing in the morning or midweek, simply and obviously because the store is far quieter, all the produce will be neatly set out, you'll get first dibs on any new stock, and the hangars should have the correct sized clothing on them (my pet hate)!

4. Go to Primark first - don't want to be hauling round other bags (unless you have someone to hold them for you - see point 5!) when both hands are needed!
5. Take someone with you - I always find that sometimes a second opinion is needed when it comes to Primark clothes, particularly when trying them on. Ideally this 'helper' should NOT a boyfriend/partner/fiance, as if my experiences are anything to go by, they'll generally just traipse round after you looking miserable and will say anything to get you out the shop!

6. Take a shoulder/across body bag so you can keep your hands free to rummage through the rails and hold your giant Primark basket.

7. Wear whatever you class as sensible, comfortable shoes that can easily be removed/put on to try on primark shoes, as more often than not you'll go to try and sit on the (frankly rubbish) seating provided in the store, and find that they are either covered in a mountain of shoes, or will have various individual's grans/mums/boyfriends/children sitting waiting there. If you wear (for example) ballet pumps or pull on boots you'll find trying on shoes standing up a bit easier.

8. Wear leggings, as they're not as bulky as jeans and you can try most things over the top without having to change out of them.

9. Wear plain tops (such as a white t-shirt or neautral vest top) and a nude coloured bra (ideally) so that, similarly to the leggings, you can try things over the top whilst still getting an idea of how the item of clothing will fit/look. With the nude coloured bra you can try on sheer blouses, for example, and see how they fit/look without having a big black bra staring out at you!

10. Similar to above, try and wear layers of clothing rather than just a top and a coat, so that if you get too warm, you can slip off a cardigan or scarf rather than having to haul about a big bulky jacket. The only disadvantage to this is that it can add to your time when trying stuff on, but i'd rather that than looking like a frizzy haired, heat-rashed crazy person as I often do!

11.. Take a bottle of water and a small snack in your (shoulder) bag - it may technically be 'prohibited' by Primark, but I personally have been prone to fainting, and sometimes with all the lights, central heating, crazy changing rooms and hauling a heavy basket round I feel a bit light headed, and so a drink of water and a nibble of a snack in the changing rooms gives me a boost and stops me leaving the shop before i've even bought anything.

In the thick of it...

12. Don't use the classic 'primark head' - i.e. buying everything because it's cheap, for which I am often guilty as charged. If you get there early you've got all the time in the world to consider if it's something you'll really wear/use, and if you've got someone with you, you can ask their opinion. Primark might still be cheap compared to the likes of Topshop, but the prices have definitely increased, and so the cost of any unwanted/unused products will definitely add up.

13. Try everything on (unless you don't mind returning items), even if the queues are mahoosive and you can't face it, as Primark sizes vary crazily, and literally from stock to stock. I generally am a 10/12 but often find myself buying size 18 jumpers and cardigans. Doing this can also save you money, cause if you're like me you might buy something, find it doesn't fit, but by the time you go to return it you discover the returns period has ran out. oops.

14. Try and shop in a particular order. So for example when I first enter Primark and pick up my basket, I immediately look for clothes that can't be tried on out in the shop floor and must be tried in the changing room (i.e. jeans), and put these in my basket and go to the changing room. Then after that process,  I search for things that can be tried on over my current clothing - cardigans, jackets etc. Last but not least I have a look for accessories/jewellery/shoes/bags.
Doing it this way means when I go to the changing room i'm not weighed down with shoes, jewellery etc that I have to trawl through to find the stuff I want to try on!

15. Look at labels stitched into clothing and NOT at the sizing on the hangars.

16. Never assume that just because you’ve bought this exact item before, that it will fit the same as your last one did.  Sizes are more of a ‘guide’ than a definitive rule. Relates to point 13.
17. Never assume that all the garments on one clothing rail will be the same as the one on the front.  Dig deeper for the things nobody else has found!

18. Remember to look in the menswear department! I have found some amazing t-shirts, jumpers and accessories here, and women shopping in this area seems to be more commonplace nowadays (largely in part due to Barbara at The Persian Babe ha).

So there you have it, my definitive guide to Primark shopping. Like I said earlier, please leave me any of your shopping survival tips - the more the merrier!

Melanie x

Review: Sally Hansen Gel Cuticle Remover

Evening all, first of all apologies for the recent drought in blog posts.
It's not that i'm lacking in post ideas (I literally have tons to come), but it's just time that seems to be against me - I feel like i'm literally doing my 'monthly favourites' post, and before you know it, it's time to do the next month's faves all over again!
However I'm determined to make the time for my blog/YT channel, as it's something I genuinely do enjoy.

Anyway, i'm back with a review today.
I'm not a fancy nail-artist or alike, but I do like having neat and tidy nails, and literally for the past few years i've been going to get them professionally done by the lovely Lee-Anne.

However she unfortunately has taken seriously ill (get well soon!) and has had to obviously cease carrying out her nail magic, and therefore (out of loyalty/laziness/need to save cash) I have been let loose on my own talons.
Generally I would not find this a problem (I'm rather nifty with a nail file and buffer), but it's the cuticles that get me every time. I have cuticles that keep growing back really quite far over my nails (my middle finger nail in the picture below is a prime example) and they take quite a lot of work to keep in check.
 I'm quite particular with my finger/toe nails (ESPECIALLY toe nails) in the sense that the thought of anything happening to them (i.e. heaven forbid, getting torn off) gives me the serious heebie jeebies, and even Lee-Anne clipping/trimming my cuticles makes me wince - therefore me trying to maintentain my cuticles myself by trimming them is totally out the question!

Enter stage left Sally Hansen Gel Cuticle Remover:
The box blurb describes it as:
  • Fast-acting Formula with moisturising Jojoba extract, antioxidant Kiwi extract and nourishing Wheat Protein.

  • Deeply conditions delicate cuticle skin and loosens excess cuticles

  • Reveals a clean surface to apply varnish

  • I had actually been searching for the Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover, but for some reason is only available in America, and from what i've heard is rather industrial in strength (apparently it can even be used on calluses...!), therefore when I happened across this (what I presumed was) similar cuticle remover gel in Superdrug for around five pounds, I thought i'd give it a go!

    The instructions on the box state:
  • Apply a thin strip around your cuticle and wait for 1-2 minutes (Do not exceed 8-10 minutes)

  • Using the flat end of the pusher tip, gently loosen and push back the cuticle

  • Remove residue with warm soapy water

  • Now i've used this product several times since I purchased it, and at first I was very good and strictly adhered to the instructions, removing it after about 3 mins but to no avail/effect. Since then i've actually been a bit of a daredevil (ha), leaving it on for about 10 minutes (the scandal), and although when I first remove the product I do initially think that my nails look neater and tidier, it becomes apparent that my cuticles haven't actually changed at all!

    I'm rather disappointed in this product's performance, especially given that it's sister product (the American 'instant' cuticle remover) gets such rave reviews. I know that other people (such as Viviana) really like it, so maybe it's just my stubborn cuticles and i'll have to get them professionally tended to!

    Have you tried this? And more importantly, do you have any tips to help me and my cuticles?!

    Melanie x