Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Review: Boots essentials 3-minute clay mask (cucumber)

I'm a big fan of face masks: not only can they do wonders for your skin but I find them really soothing and relaxing to use :) I have quite a few now, and I'll be doing a bit of a series of reviews for you over the next few weeks.

I like to apply face masks with a synthetic foundation brush (I use the e.l.f. one) which is great as the product doesn't get stuck between my fingers, the mask is applied more evenly and none is wasted. I remove masks with a dampened facial loofah (Boots Botanics) giving my skin a nice bit of exfoliation as well :)

I got this for my sister a while back (which is why you've not seen it in a haul post) but I think I've used it more than her now! It's available at Boots for £2.03 (50ml) and is often on their 3 for 2 offer.

It has a very delicate cucumber scent (it's not even as strong-smelling as real cucumbers, so I think you'd still like the smell if you don't like real cucumber!) Surprisingly (!) it is a thick white clay which applies easily (I like the squeezey tube, as you can control how much you squeeze out) it feels really nice on my skin; very cooling and soothing.

It only takes 3 minutes (though I often leave it on a little longer) which is great as I'm pretty good at making a mess if it's on my face too long! Once it's 'set' it doesn't have that horrible too-tight feeling (like someone has shrink-wrapped your face) but it certainly feels like it's done something :)

This mask claims to 'draw out impurities and excess oils from the pores leaving skin clean and toned' and whilst it's definitely not some kind of miracle cure, my skin always feels clean and refreshed after using it. As always, it's worth noting that I have dry and sensitive skin (which isn't irritated by this mask) so I'm not sure how it would work for someone with oilier skin (I'll get my sister to try it out properly!)

I really recommend this to everyone;  it's a great (and very cheap) mask which is suitable for everyone, providing clean and soothed skin.

What's your favortite face mask?


Monday, 29 August 2011

Tag- Make up Firsts!

The lovely Melanie of AdoraBeauty has made up a tag post and I'd thought I'd post mine.

For many people (me included) the first dabble in make up was courtesy of mums make up drawer. I have really fond memories of watching my mum getting ready, and marvelling at all the stuff she put on her face! I did quite a few dance shows when I was young, and that was probably the first make up I ever wore (overdone stage make up, love it!) but it wasn't until I was about 13 or 14 that I actually started wearing make up properly (I use the term properly quite loosely, as I'm sure I looked terrible on many occasions!)

1) 1st Foundation.

I'm not really a foundation wearer, and I never have been, so I think my first foundation is the one I currently own- the e.l.f. mineral foundation. I quite like it, it gives a fairly good coverage and doesn't look cakey, but I think it is slightly too yellowy for me.

2) 1st Powder.

I'm not sure about this actually, but I have a feeling it's a Natural Collection one. I've used up quite a few pressed powders, and I think all of them have been Natural Collection- as far as I'm aware pressed powders are pretty much all the same- why pay more then £1.99!

3) 1st Eyeshadow.

I have three single eyeshadows that were given to me by my mum. I hate to think how old they are now, but at least the two silver eyeshadows aren't too much of a make up crime! (the blue, probably not so much...)

Avon Making Eyes in Pure Silver, Revlon Custom Eyes in Silver Lace, Images (by St. Michael) in Indigo

4) 1st Mascara

I know my first mascara was from Avon's colour trend range (I think they've probably stopped making the particular one now) but it was most likely something like this one:

5) 1st Eyeliner

I'm fairly certain it was another colour trend product- most definitely in a harsh black colour!

6) 1st Blush

I didn't really use blush until very recently (when I saw someone write that people who didn't wear blush were letting down all the hard work they did on the other parts of their face) So actually, I think my first blush was an e.l.f. one, probably this one in Glow

7) 1st Concealer.

This one I have absolutely no idea about, sorry :(

8) 1st Lip Colour

This might not count as a lip colour, but this was definitely my first lip product- if you were a child in the 90's I bet you'll recognise them!

I love hearing about everyones make up firsts, I tag all of you to post yours! :)


Sunday, 28 August 2011

Review: Sleek Pout Paints.

If you've read any blog posts over the past few weeks I'm sure you will have heard about these little beauties- everyone is talking about them, and when I went to Superdrug with my birthday money (resulting in this large haul post) I could see why! There are 12 shades available, and (from what I learned from playing with them all instore) they are all super-pigmented.

Sleek is a brand well known for providing really good quality products for reasonable prices, (somehow I don't have any other Sleek products yet, not sure how that happened!) and these are definitely no exception. They have been compared a lot to the OCC Lip Tars, but at £4.99 each for 8ml
(currently 3 for 2) they are both more affordable, and more easily accessible (from the Sleek website and Superdrug stores).

They are designed to be mixed together to create your own custom shades and there is a white (Cloud 9) and a blue (Peek-a-Bloo) in the collection to help lighten or deepen your colours. I do find mixing them a little difficult, simply because you need so little to cover the lips (like, a teeny tiny dot, see below) that it's hard not to end up with too much product.

I (eventually) chose these three shades:

Rosette, Cloud 9, Milkshake
Looking at this too long makes my eyes hurt
They are all so pigmented, I still can't really believe it... notice in this picture that there is so little difference in colour between the dots of product and the smudged out swatches.

Rosette, Cloud 9, Milkshake

I've played around with these quite a lot, I'm like a child in an art class :)  The possibilities really are endless with these (I can't imagine how much fun I could have with even more shades!) so everyone can find a colour they love! Here are just some of my creations using my three shades in various quantities (and using a side plate as a palette...)

My hand, the paint palette :)

Sleek say that 'The intensely saturated formula provides outstanding colour pay-off in just one tiny speck, and dries to a long lasting satiny finish.' and I have to say the Pout Paints really do live up to those claims: they are super-pigmented, and you really only need a teeny-tiny bit to cover the lips. I really like the finish, they're not super shiny or glossy (which I don't generally like much), but they leave a nice sheen and they feel quite nice, more like a lipstick than anything else I think. Despite the fact that it's a stain, my lips don't feel dry until several hours later (and as a bonus they have no taste.)

This teeny dot will cover your lips! It's magic :)

They last rather well, and provides a nice stained effect even when the satiny finish has worn off. It lasts several hours without reapplication, even through coffee and a Pineapple and Coconut Cupcake, and even when it does wear off, it fades nice and evenly so it doesn't look horrible :)

These are not the most practical for on-the-go application, whilst they are small and handbag friendly, you really need a mirror and a lip brush to apply them neatly (unless you are some kind of make up goddess) but they are definitely worth a look, I recommend these to absolutely everyone :)

Do you have any Pout Paints? What are your thoughts?


Saturday, 27 August 2011

Super-Simple Cupcakes :)

This is by far the simplest and most foolproof cake/cupcake recipe I know- it's really great for beginners and children (I've made these with 7 year olds on many occasions, and I was making these single-handed when I was about 12) and the best part is that once you know the method you don't need to remember measurements!

You will need:

Caster Sugar
Butter (I usually use Stork)
Self Raising Flour
Vanilla Extract

The number of eggs you will need depends upon how many cupcakes you wish to make.

As a general guide 1 egg will make about 6 cupcakes, and you'll need at least 2 eggs for 1 half of a Victoria Sponge cake. (I used 3 eggs in this case, but as I filled the cases quite sparingly I made 24)

1) Weigh your eggs (in their shells). This weight will serve as the measurement for your butter, sugar and flour- my eggs happened to weigh 201g (Why not an even 200!? Silly eggs) 

2) Weigh out the butter and sugar, and place into a bowl. Beat them together until light and fluffy. Crack in the eggs and add a few drops of vanilla extract, then beat again until the mixture is smooth and well combined.

3) Sift in the flour and gently fold into the eggy mixture (draw figures of eight into the mixture, this will help keep all the air in the mixture, so they will rise nicely!)

4) Spoon your mixture into cases and bake at 180c for approximately 15/20 minutes- until golden brown on top, and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Icing! What cupcake is complete without some sugary goodness on top?

You will need:

Icing Sugar (approx 200g, but I generally just guess!)
Food Colouring

1) Sift icing sugar into a bowl and add a few drops of food colouring (naturally I chose pink!) and about a tablespoon of water.

2) Mix! Add water or icing sugar to get the right consistency. I think a slightly thicker mixture is better, as it doesn't run everywhere, but will still spread itself evenly over the top.

3) Spoon over your cupcakes, and add sprinkles immediately (if you give the icing time to set they won't stick)

See? Super-simple :)

You can easily alter this recipe- replace 2 tablespoons of self raising flour for 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder for chocolate cupcakes, or add coffee essence for coffee cupcakes- and once you learn the method you'll be able to make these in about 1/2 an hour! (perfect for cupcake emergencies!)

I'd love to hear if you make these (or any recipes that I post) Happy baking everyone!


Friday, 26 August 2011

Nail of the Day: e.l.f. Rosy Raisin and Twinkle :)

After poring over many hundreds of pictures of e.l.f. polishes for my e.l.f. polish review on Wednesday, it took me quite a while to decide which polish to use. Eventually I settled upon Rosy Raisin, as I've not used it before and I wanted something quite dark, but fun :)

I used two coats of Rosy Raisin (one coat gave quite a nice, paler pink effect too actually) and I'm really glad I chose this, it's fast becoming a favorite of mine (I keep staring at my nails while I type!) it's a lovey shade :) However, as always, couldn't leave it at that and decided that Twinkle would be a good accent colour for my ring finger- love it!

Rosy Raisin and Twinkle

Because I'm camping at the moment I have a feeling that my polish will have ben destroyed by now- putting up tents is not nail friendly...

Whats on your nails?


Thursday, 25 August 2011

What's in my travel make up bag? Take 2, camping!

I'm off to a little music festival in Cheltenham today (I may already be there as this is published actually) it's a Christian festival, and although I'm most definitely an Atheist, a lot of my friends go and I can easily avoid all the religious rubbish, and just see the fun bits :)

I know I've already done a travel make up bag post I think my camping version is quite different- there are far fewer products (as I know I won't bother with much make up) and warrants it's own post :)

Here are all my make up items, pretty much everything here has been featured in a favorites post before (no surprises really) and it's the usual essentials: eyelash curlers, e.l.f. Cream Eyeliner in Coffee (with brush), e.l.f. Eyelid Primer, 17 Lash Defining Mascara, e.l.f. concealer, Benefit PosieTint, e.l.f. Concealer (-highlighter) e.l.f. Cream Eyeshadow in Dawn, e.l.f. Duo Eyeshadow Cream in Coffee & Cream, e.l.f. Brightening Eyeliner in Coffee, a black eyeliner (of unknown origin, probably 17 or similar, but I sharpened off the logo!) and a little spooley for eyelashes.

At the last minute I decided some lip products might be fun, so I grabbed my e.l.f. Candy Shop Lip Gloss in Cherry Bomb, and e.l.f. Lipstick in Classy.

Skincare-wise I've also kept things pretty basic, I have my face wash (Neutrogena blackhead eliminating daily scrub) in the bottle, Neutrogena hand cream (silver tin- I'll be needing a lot, hand sanitiser is great at festivals but it kills my hands!) Moisturiser (white pot with M painted on) Vaseline (white pot) e.l.f. mirror, Boots essentials cucumber eye gel and Boots SkinClear Quick Clearing Spot Gel (camping often means worse hygiene which means more spots)

I forgot to photograph my Carmex and some boring things like deodorant, hand sanitiser and my toothbrush!

An absolute essential for camping is face wipes, I use them to remove make up (and to wash my face if I'm feeling lazy) and for all over my body if necessary- I find them a lot more gentle than baby wipes or wet-wipes :)

Another essential is dry shampoo, this is a 50ml in Tropical :) I have also brought some real shampoo (this is Herbal Essences Fresh Balance) as there are some indoor sinks (I'm camping at Cheltenham Racecourse, so there are buildings as well as fields) that has actual hot water that I can hopefully use to wash my hair in at least once (I usually do!)

What are your camping essntials?


p.s. This time I'm a little more organised and I've scheduled posts for you every day while I'm gone :)

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Review: e.l.f. Nail Polish (many pictures!)

Now I'll be honest, I've been putting off this review for a while- simply because I have so many e.l.f. polishes and there will be a lot of pictures (sorry for being a lazy blogger) but obviously I couldn't put it off forever, especially as I love these polishes so much!

e.l.f. is a brand I really love, it is cruelty free, very budget friendly and really good quality. Their nail polishes are free from Toluene, Formaldehyde, and Dibutyl Phthalate (none of which are good for you, but they still get shoved into a lot of polishes) and are only £1.50 each (from the e.l.f. website) for 10ml of product- which is a fantastic bargain. Plus because e.l.f. have had a few 50% off sales recently (join their Facebook page!) I've gotten quite a few polishes for just 75p!!! In fact, by my calculations, there are only about 5/6 e.l.f. polishes that I don't own!

Now, prepare yourself for a lot of pictures. I'm sorry I can't show you swatches of each polish (if I had 5 extra hands, I would) but the photos below show the colours pretty accurately :) I'm sure that lots of them will be popping up in future NOTD posts, and I'll link to e.l.f. polishes I've already shown at the end. If there are any that you are desperate to see, let me know and I'll show you asap :)

White, Fair Pink, Innocent, Nude, Light Pink

Gum Pink, Fire Coral, Light Red, Punk Purple, Mod Mauve

Champagne, Coral (old school drippy decoration!)  Passion Pink, Berry Pink

Dark Red, Medium Red, Rosy Raisin, Sunset, Purple Pleaser

Lilac, Purple Dream, Royal Purple, Party Purple

Plum, Chocolate, Blush, Mango Madness, Dark Navy

Mint Cream, Teal Blue

Desert Haze, Smoky Brown


Clear, Twinkle, Glitter Glam, Golden Goddess

Pearl, Moonlight, Pearl Pink

Now onto the actual review! 

The formula is very similar to that of Barry M, as they are quite thin and liquidy which makes them quite easy to use. Some offer more coverage than others, but they all look great after either 2 or 3 coats (with the exception of the really pale and creamy shades like Lilac and Mint Cream which are a lot thinner and require 4 coats) 

They last pretty well on my nails, it's usually at least 3 or 4 days until tip wear forces me to repaint my nails, though occasionally the polish can flake off in one piece after a day or two (this happens with other brands of polish too, I think it's more my fault than the polishes)

Some of the colours are quite similar to each other (like Medium and Dark Red) so for less nail-polish-addicted-people there may be some polishes that are redundant. But for me (a total addict) each shade is different enough that I can justify having each. Plus this can work in your favor, as the polish shades go very well together, and can be used in all sorts of fun combinations :)

I think my all-time favorites are: Sunset, Glitter Glam and Twinkle (great for adding a glittery accent nail) Mod Mauve (quite a unique shade) Nude (my-nails-but-healthy) and Passion Pink. Really I could go on, I love them all- they are all wearable and lovely :)

The brush is another selling point for me, it is a pretty basic/standard brush, perhaps a little on the longer side (like the revlon brushes) but the top is a really nice shape (kind of a rounded rectangle) and I find it very easy to hold, even in my left hand.

I really cannot give these polishes enough praise, they are really good value for money, they wear well, are easy to apply and come in a huge range of shades. I love them! Go buy some! :)

What do you think of e.l.f. polishes?


p.s. Here are all my e.l.f. NOTD posts:

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

If money were no object #2

As you may remember it was my birthday recently and although I'm useless at deciding what I might like as a gift, I do like to dream about things that are not really within my price range (birthday or not...)

First on my list is actually a possibility for purchase, I still have birthday money left over (despite my recent spending spree); I'm just trying to track down the cheapest place to buy it (any tips?) China Glaze For Audrey (a beautiful Tiffany blue shade) was a real love at first sight polish, I first saw it quite a while ago now, but because it's so hard to get hold of in the UK (making it quite expensive) I've never bought it- perhaps I will now (realistically it's only a matter of time.)

I'll direct you to this lovely cherry blossom nail art by OMG! Polish 'em to see this shade in all it's glory :) A close contender is the Eyeko Vintage polish- a lovely green shade (sold here) :)

Next up is Angel box sets- I have all the Buffy box sets (I love anything made by Joss Whedon- like Firefly, Dollhouse etc.) and I'd quite like to be able to watch all the Angel episodes all over again. Mostly because I really love the show, but I guess partly because David Boreanaz is so much fun to look at :p (seriously, if you don't know what he looks like- google image search!!!) I generally really enjoy having box sets- I have all the Sex and the City series, and my sister has all the Friends- I think it's partly because I hate having to wait a week between watching each episode on TV, I'm far too impatient (I sometimes even wait until a series is finished to watch it so I can watch all the episodes together!)

Something that is firmly on my 'when I finally get a proper job and can afford to save up for things' list is laser eye surgery- I wear glasses most of the time and I don't really like them... I would love to wear contacts all the time but I am a bit too lazy, and they are quite expensive for me as I have an astigmatism- so instead I am waiting patiently until I can afford to have my vision corrected permanently (I'm also thinking that the longer I wait the better and more effective the technology will be) It might seem really expensive (probably somewhere between £600-£1000) but if I add up the cost of all the pairs of glasses and sets of contact lenses I wont have to buy, I think it'll work out well :)

And finally, although I'm perfectly happy with my standard Samsung phone I think an iPhone would be super fun- it has all sorts of stuff to play with and I'd never have to be away from Facebook or Blogger (may or may not be a good thing really) but realistically I've never really been able to work anything made by apple (I hate iPods- I love creative mp3 players- and I practically cried when I had to use an apple computer once, they are SO confusing!) and they are just so expensive, I'm not convinced they are worth it.

What would you buy if money were no object?


p.s. I think the MUA Heaven and Earth palette has completely satisfied my desire to own the Urban Decay Naked palette, I love it! :)