Friday, 30 May 2014


It's just like when they say the movie title.. IN THE MOVIE!

But for real, storage. Sounds boring. Kind of is. Now, I'm not talking about those fancy pants acrylic storage systems or a dedicated set of drawers for those of you who actually have the commitment not to chuck all your cosmetic possessions in to one collective heap. Cos, you know.. that's my style. But man, if I'm not just a total sucker for a fancy make up bag. My long term favourite is a little Catseye number, which are lovely, but not particular cheap for a thing to put other things in. So let me introduce you to a little place called Artscow. On the surface, a resource for people to get photos of their little munchkin printed on a mug or mousemat* for all the family. In reality, a glorious wealth of infinite make up bag possibilities. Now, look at those prices you say! BUT WAIT! There is literally no need to pay more than $0.99 for any of the shit on that site. NO JOKE. 60p BAGS FOR DAYS. A cursory Google should stump up an available code for you in next to no time.

I found out about these little delights though the MakeupAddiction sub over at Reddit, where everyone and their nan is boasting one. Check out this link for a selection of people's past designs if you're after a little inspiration - the possibilities are endless, and frequently hilarious. Mine hasn't come through yet (they come from Hong Kong, so in addition to having to wait for your individual design to be printed, delivery is definitely on the slow side), but I went for a little Adventure Time themed number - because I'm a child, and Princess Bubblegum is my homegurl.

*Nowt wrong with mousemats, by the way. I use a glass desk which doesn't compute well with optical mice, so I went for an Archer themed number to replace my current nail polish stained monstrisity. 60p, why the heck not eh.

So whether you're actually in the market for a new makeup bag or not, there's very little excuse not to jump on this train. Go on, folks..

Wednesday, 28 May 2014


Top coats - a fairly vital component of the nail polish experience. Boring, yes (why would I want to shell out on a clear polish when I could have ALL THE COLOURS?!), but it's a purchase that definitely feels worthwhile when it actually does what it promises on the bottle.

From L-R; Seche Vite dry fast top coat, Sally Hansen super shine, Sally Hansen insta-dri, OPI RapiDry.

First up - Seche Vite. Purchased after seeing it's praises sung by lacqueristas across the land, Seche Vite was my first foray in to a nail products which wasn't just based on 'oooh, pretty!', but rather some genuine research. A poor tactic it would seem, because I ain't gonna lie, I don't love it. I don't even really like it, but used the majority of the bottle in desperation of making it work (and probably would have finished it had the remaining contents not solidified in the bottom. Why do I still have the bottle?  No clue). While it does provide a high shine finish, the nature of this top coat makes it prone to shrinkage - i.e, it's gonna pull the polish away from your nail edges, and that looks pretty naff yo. This is avoidable, but really I'd rather it wasn't an issue in the first place. I also feel that it doesn't actually dry all that fast, nor does it's significantly preventing chipping (only for a couple of days, max). For me, there's just way superior products for less.

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat retails at £9.00

Next, Sally Hansen Super Shine. Not gonna lie, I'm not even sure this is available any more, though the Mega Shine and Diamond Shine top coats are, judging by the names, pretty much the same deal. This stuff is basic, but if you're just starting to get creative with your claws, it's a good'un. It makes no wild promises, but certainly adds shine and some longevity sans shrinkage, which puts it a step above Seche Vite in my books. It doesn't dry particularly quickly though, so patience is required. 

This only appears to be available on Amazon at current, where it retails at £5.95

Now, it's time for the main event. It's my one true top coat love.. SALLY HANSEN INSTA-DRI. Yeah, it's the kitties titties. The only top coat I've actually had strong enough feelings about to make me repurchase it. It can do no wrong - does it dry fast? HECK YES IT DOES. Does it make them talons all shiny shiny? AWWW YOU KNOW IT. Is it actually going to keeping my glorious nail art looking all purty for more than a day? DING DING DING, THREE OUTTA THREE. Although the main selling point for me is the fact that it does actually dry very quickly (I tend to do my nails before I go to bed, which has resulted in waking up with a very sloppy looking mani on several occasions - alas, no more!), I can get a good three or four days wear with this top coat too, which is definitely a bonus. It's a very reasonable price too at £5.99, so this would without doubt be my recommendation in terms of top coats.

Finally, it's the OPI RapiDry. I don't generally go for OPI polishes, but I received this as part of a gift set at Christmas, so it was certainly worth a try. Another fast-dry offering for the impatient amongst us, this top coat is pretty comparable to the Sally Hansen insta-dri. It provides the same shine and extra longevity, though I don't feel that it dries quite as quickly. Given that it's more than twice the price of the Sally Hansen alternative at £13.25, it really doesn't seem like a worthwhile purchase. HOWEVER, this and all the other OPI polishes have got one thing going for them over the majority of other nail products. In addition to having a nice wide brush (though whether this suits you or not is going to depend on you and the shape of your nails), the brushes actually REACH THE FRIGGIN BOTTOM of the OPI bottles! It shouldn't be such a surprise, but I despise getting about 3/4 of the way through a bottle, desperately tilting it to try and fish out the remainder, and them giving up and buying a replacement. Wow, much waste, very uneconomical. So yeah, good job on that point OPI, but your prices still make me sick in my mouth.

And so, to summarise;


Tuesday, 27 May 2014


As a perpetually skint person, wishlists and internet window shopping feature fairly heavily in my life. In fact, this has only gotten worse since I regularly started following various blogs, and suddenly my wishlists started leeching off of other people's wishlists - not that this is particularly problematic, as I still don't have a pound to my name to actually buy any of these things. It's just super duper miserable.


On that fairly dreary note, I am going to start this list with something that's been riding high at the top of my wishlist for many moons now. After months of lusting and fruitless searches for a bargain bin dupe, I caved in to my first mid end lipstick purchase in several years (love me them high street goodies). It's the one, the only..

#1 It's.. MAC Heroine.


I'll endeavour to add some swatches when it's not 10pm and I'm wearing something other than my fluffiest jimmy jams, but you don't have to do a lot of Googling to see just how popular this shade is, and why. A gorgeous true purple shade that seems to compliment any skin tone, this is a matte finish lipstick which applies smoothly, appears opaque in one coat, and (cue fanfare) ISN'T DRYING! This is all truly wonderful given that I had a love affair with Revlon's matte balm in Shameless prior to purchasing this, and as much as I adore it, it is most definitely patchy (though certainly not the worst offender in the matte balm range), and seems to suck the moisture from my lips in no time. It is half the price of MAC's offering, but given how hooked I am on this shade, I have no qualms about dropping £15. Plus, after weeks of uhmming and ahhing, I ended up getting the last one in store. So, meant to be. True luv, 4eva and alwayz, etc.

#2 New Barry M Gelly and Matte nail polishes.

Alright, so the Barry M polishes probably make up the bulk content of about 90% of beauty blogs across the land (no exaggeration. For realisies). But, in good reason. Nothing beats the Gelly polishes for me in terms of quality to price ratio, particularly when they're inevitably on offer somewhere (3 for 2, GET AT ME). But while I am pretty keen for the new Gelly shades (Almond and Elderberry in particular), I'm super pumped for the new matte shades. Their current matte range is limited to very muted tones, so it's really nice to see a pop of colour being injected. I'm all over the two shades on the left (Rhossili and Waikki), which I think will look great together for some insanely summery nail art. PUMPED.

#3 Maybelline Lasting Drama Black Shock Gel Liner Pen

This is not something I actually have any need for, given that I am well and truly devoted to Maybelline's gel liner in the pot. However, it's caught my attention as the only current alternative to the brand spanking new  Benefit 'They're Real Push-up Liner'. Both are silicone tipped gel liner pens, potentially bringing together the precision of pen liners, but with the intensity and smooth application of a gel liner. Potentially. In theory. There's no way I'll be shelling out for the Benefit offering (I feel that as a brand they're severely overpriced for the quality of their products.. though I am a total sucker for their box blushes), so I'm intrigued to try the Maybelline version. Who knows, it could be an eye liner revelation (but, realistically, probs not).

After a spell of life in monochrome, my wardrobe is crying out to its roots and demanding some lurid shades again. While I'm not sure that PVC is an entirely summer appropriate material, I am totally in love with the colour and texture of this skirt. Plus, I feel like this in combination with the much loved MAC lipstick mentioned above, plus the new Barry M purple matte shade is a sure-fire winner. Total eyesore? Well yes, probably - but that's my jam. 

Apparently I have unacceptably specific requirements with regards to denim shorts, given that the only pair I actually like on the entirety of the internet are SOLD OUT. But man, they're just the right length - full coverage of the buttocks and that scary bit of upper thigh, but without encroaching in to mum short territory. No irritating extra details - rips and patterns and sparkly shit. Got that sweet little turn up that I'm all about. Not abysmally priced (I refuse to pay the same or even more for shorts than I would for an actual full pair of jeans). But alas, they're not meant to be, leaving me to battle forth in this strange world.. sans denim shorts.

And so, this post comes full circle, to a place of misery and unobtainable desires.


Monday, 5 May 2014


I have a genuine problem with Boots. I walk past and find myself being drawn in, and I quickly start racking my brain - do I actually need anything? Toothpaste, shower gel? Probably, but the chances are I'll completely forget about them and find myself immediately drawn to the skincare and makeup aisles. 'I'll just have a browse', I tell myself. 'Just see what's new'. Turns out I'm a pathological liar because I rarely leave Boots empty handed and seem to come up with all sorts of wild justifications for my purchases. BUT, this time, I done good. I stuck to my intended purchases and EVEN PUT SOMETHING BACK?!?! Whack. My purse is pretty grateful though.

As it goes, the Clarins sunscreen wasn't actually a recent purchase, but something I received for Christmas and hadn't used till now. It's a lightweight and easily absorbed sunscreen offering SPF40 protection, leaving the skin feeling soft and moisturised with a matte finish - but at £31 a pop, it ain't cheap. I love this product, but I'll probably be giving the La Roche-Posay Anthelios range a go next, which seems to be very well rated but around a third of the price of the Clarins offering. Price regardless, use of a good daily sunscreen is one of the best things you can do to protect your skin and minimise the effects of aging, particularly if you use products which increase the photosensitivity of your skin, such as retinols, benzyol peroxide and AHA's..

..which brings us nicely to my next product! This was the reason I finally got round to incorporating a sunscreen in to my routine - Nip+Fab's glycolic fix serum. In turn, the reason I even bothered to include a serum in the first place is due to a recent interest in Asian skincare products and routines. >>This page<< offers some great information about all the extra steps that an Asian skincare routine can incorporate, the purpose for them and the order in which they should be applied. Their routines can typically include up to 10 steps, but for now i'll just stick with an extra one! I opted for this serum as it contains 4% glycolic acid, a great little chemical exfoliator which doesn't irritate my rather sad skin. It retails at ~£15, but it's frequently on offer in Boots and Superdrug. I apply this after my toner, gently pat it in to the skin, and leave it to absorb for a few minutes before applying moisturiser. The packaging says to allow 2 weeks before results are visible, but I find that this immediately makes my moisturiser glide on much more smoothly. Can't gripe at that.

Next up is the 'PapayaGold Paw Paw Payaya moisturising balm'. Long name for a little tube. I didn't actually set out to buy this but I've seen this mentioned on various blogs, and I'm always keen for anything marketed at dry, chapped skin. It contains manuka honey, which is something of a trendy ingredient in skincare at the moment, though the evidence for its claimed benefits are still somewhat up in arms - its antibacterial benefits have been shown in vitro but with minimal clinical evidence. However, honey in general (not just the manuka variety) is known to have antimicrobial properties (hence its use in acne treatments), and to be very good at retaining moisture - the reason this pipped my interest. It has a very thick consistency with no particular odour, and feels very nourishing on the skin without being too greasy (it's essentially jumped up vaseline though, so it's not absorbed particularly quickly). It's great for odd dry patches (I like it round my eyes at night), and a very handy little size to chuck in you bag day to day, plus a little goes a long way. It's £5.99 for 25g, available at Boots and Superdrug.

Finally, the Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix body lotion. I've gone pretty mad for 2 things lately - Nip+Fab products, and AHAs. Can you tell?! I bought this lotion to use on my legs in the hope that it'd help to clear up some keratosis pilaris (AKA 'chicken skin'). I haven't been using it long enough to comment on any improvements yet, but it's easy absorbed and has something of a fresh, citrusy scent - not actually something I like in my skincare goodies, but I'll live with it! I was torn between this and the Avene Akerat10 lotion, though I was swayed by the lower price tag of the glycolic fix (£7.99 vs. £15). Both contain lactic acid (an AHA) and salicylic acid (a BHA) to exfoliate, though the Avene lotion contains urea also - another keratolytic ingredient. Keratosis pilaris is caused by an overproduction of keratin (a protein of the hair, skin and nails), which in turn plugs hair follicles and causes those little bumps many of us are familiar with. So, theoretically, keratolytic ingredients soften that keratin build up and put us on the road to smooth, bump free skin. Theoretically. Time will only tell on this one!

Hopefully after this little spluge i'll be able to reel in my spending for a little while. Though, I have had my eye on some makeup brushes.. and some Sleek blushes.. and a tonne of Asian skincare products.. holy hell. SOMEONE HELP ME.

Friday, 2 May 2014


I'll preface this by saying I have THE MOST ridiculous lashes. They're short, uneven, patchy, and generally do very little to benefit my face. Same goes for my brows.. I have hair issues. So when people say they could never live without mascara and that its possibly the most vital component of the makeup arsenal, I'm all 'lolwut?' because nothing made my lashes look respectable. NOTHING. If anything, mascara only ever highlighted that the disaster zone.

Now, I've tried all manner of mascaras over the years, including the super popular offerings (including, but not limited to, Lancome Hypnose and Benefit's They're Real and BadGal - yeah, remember way back when BadGal was the big thing? Such nostalgia). All manner of products at every price point and NOTHING. EVER. WORKED. Clumpy ass lashes and brushes that either threatened to blind me or just left a black smudge all over my lids. Bleugh. I mostly chose my products based on reviews, because holy shit do I LOVE a review. Or several. No purchase of mine goes without lengthy study of all available reviews. And so this adoring love of a good review ended up drawing me to an unlikely contender - the Natural Collection mascaras.

For the unaware, Natural Collection is a Boots brand offering a basic selection of dirt cheap makeup and toiletries which have only ever outperformed my expectations. They also do a collection of body sprays which were the big thing to have back in my late middle school/early high school days - perfect for concealing that sweaty, pubescent stench post PE lessons. Mmmmm, delish. Back to the mascara game however - at the unmissable bargain cost of £1.99(!!!!!!!!), it would surely be stupid to not at least give this stuff a go. God damn, am I glad I did. These mascaras come in 5 different offerings - Lash Care, Lash Build, Lash Length, Lash Curl and Water Guard, and don't make any bold promises beyond the name. Infact, it's like they're not even trying. The packaging, as with the rest of the collection, is super plain and probably does itself very few favours. I imagine the simplicity helps to keep the price down, but it probably means it's often overlooked next to the flashier offerings of the makeup aisles. Poor little Natural Collection.

So, what does it do? Let's be honest, it's a mascara. There's not a huge number of things you can want a mascara to do, but for me I always struggle to avoid clumping. Alas, no such problem with Lash Length! As a bonus to the much desired separation, I find it to be nicely buildable, a good consistency (not too 'wet' is the only way I can think to describe it.. I hope somebody understands what I mean here), and it certainly delivers some length as the name would suggest. The only other mascara I've ever really had a soft spot for is Clinique's 'High Impact' offering, but at a cost of £16.50, it's just not good enough to tempt me away from this bargain babe yet.

Moral of the story? Don't dismiss the cheap brands. Natural Collection has some great little products all around the £1.99 mark, a price even my miserable bank account can cope with.