Sunday 28 October 2018

Highlighter Heaven With The Revolution Ultra Pro Glow Highlighting Palette

Now it's no secret that I haven't been the best blogger lately but I promise I am going to try and make it up to you in the last few months of the year and going forward into 2019. Although posts have been a bit thin on the ground I've still been photographing and thinking about posts and whilst searching through some of the folders on my MacBook recently I found some pictures of a few products that I'd always intended to review and never got round too, and this was one of them

I originally bought this palette way back in 2017 and like the "good blogger" that I am (deep down inside anyways) I photographed it when it was all new and pristine, shared a quick pic on Instagram and then promptly never mentioned it again on social media - slaps wrists! Anyways despite the lack of online love I pretty much started using this palette straight away and despite the ridiculous number of highlighters that I have in my make up collection, I've used it pretty consistently ever since, so I thought that I'd share it with you and tell you just exactly why I love it so much  

I've been a fan of Make Up Revolution, or Revolution as they're now known since day 1, I know they have their critics due to their sometimes blatant copies of higher end products, but you can't deny that they do what they do well. Although there are now some higher priced items in the range they've remained largely affordable, and purse friendly. In my opinion they do a lot of things well but for me the palette is where they truly excel. I love make up generally but palettes just make things easier, colours tend to go together, and you're adding multiple items to your make up collection with just one purchase, I have lots of their eyeshadow palettes, a blush palette or two and of course I have this one, the Ultra Pro Glow Highlighting Palette.

My highlighter collection is pretty ridiculous, I have way more than I could ever wear but I absolutely love them, and the subtle nuances, and variations in each one that I own. I own budget friendly ones, and high end luxury ones, and whilst I love them all I keep coming back to this palette.  The reason is that this particular palette give you pretty much every warm toned shade of highlighter that you could ever need all in one place.

The packaging is basic but the powders inside are anything but, the shades in the palette range from pale yellows, and champagnes, to peaches, a warm peachy pink, and coppery bronzes. All of the shades in the palette are gluten and cruelty free, and they are vegan friendly to boot.

The powders inside are super smooth and they so finely milled that they almost feel like creams rather than powders. They don't feel dry or chalky, and since they are shimmers rather than glitters, the fallout is virtually non existent. 

As you can see from these swatches the pigmentation is superb, and depending on your skin tone, some of the deeper shades would make fabulous shimmery blushers and bronzers. Obviously you can use these as out and out highlighters to emphasise your cheekbones, your cupids bow, your brow bone, and the the bridge of nose, but what I love about this palette is it's versatility as I say you can use some shades are blushers or bronzers, and of course you can use them as eyeshadows too.

We're entering silly lighting season at the moment, so the lighting hasn't really been conducive to decent, natural face shots but I've taken a few in different lighting condition to give you an idea of just how smooth, blendable and wearable this palette actually is.

This first picture is taken with the flash and it's probably one my favourite ways to use the paler colours in this palette. Here I've used one of the pale champagne colours to highlight my brow bone, I've just used it very simply alongside MAC Smoke And Diamonds eyeshadow and a little bit of black mascara, a very easy shimmery eye that works equally well when worn day or night.

Annoyingly this photo that's taken again with the flash didn't come out as well as I'd hoped, but you can just  about see a hint of the warm, shimmery pink shade worn as a blush. On my pale (ish) skin tone it makes a really pretty and subtle cheek colour.

At last we had sunshine so I managed to take a few pictures in natural light. I'm a huge fan of nude, and neutral eyes, my Naked palette is my best friend and I love a bit of shimmer on my eyes so I've had a play or two and some of the bronze, copper shades are pigmented and strong enough to make excellent eye shadows in their own right. Again I've just teamed them up with a coat or two of mascara for a really easy autumnal eye look.

Again I'm not really that happy about how this one has photographed, because I'm quite pasty in the picture it looks very daring and quite strong but in real life it was definitely a little bit more subtle and wearable. This is lovely almost metallic deep champagne, bronze shade, that just made my face and skin pop. As I say it looked way nicer in real life, but if you have darker or tanned skin then I think this particular shade would be even more beautiful

As I say I've struggled a bit with some of my photographs but hopefully alongside the swatches they give you an idea of both the quality and the pigmentation, and of course the versatility of this palette.

Not only is this palette amazingly versatile but as you would expect from Revolution it's also a bit of a bargain. For just £8 your getting 8 fabulous, versatile and wearable shades, with a total weight of 20g, so that's basically just £1 per shade. Obviously if you're a highlighter obsessive like me then you need this but it you're new to make or to the whole concept of highlighting then this is an excellent product to start with and if your not a fan of cooler toned highlighter then this couple be the only highlighting product that you would ever need. I love and I'm so pleased that I picked it up. If you fancy picking one up for yourself then it's available from Superdrug and from Revolution Beauty. Are you as obsessed as I am with highlighter? Let me know in the comments x

Saturday 27 October 2018

AD - A Laptop Love In - Top 3 Budget Laptops And Buying Electronics On A Budget*

I still remember my first, my first computer that is! Way back in the late 80's or early 90's I had a Sinclair ZX Spectrum +2, it didn't do much, games were loaded onto a cassette, and to be honest I didn't get it, I just wasn't that interested in computers, I played the Oregon Trail at school and Donkey Kong at home and that was it -mehhh. By the time I started university though in the late 90's computers were starting to become something of a necessity, assignments had to be word processed, research need to be done, and there was no escaping it, I needed a computer, my first real computer was a Compaq Presario - a huge pile of cream metal and plastic, and do you know what I loved it. From blogging, to chat forums and of course online shopping, the Internet became my life and my escape.

Looking back now it's quite laughable it, and it's subsequent replacement were huge, big monitors, cables everywhere, and these huge tower units, that took up half the desk. I didn't mind though, I looked at laptops and I just didn't feel the same love towards them, it took me years and years before I gave in and switched to something more portable and do you know what I've never looked back. My first love was a tiny little net book, quickly followed by an ACER or two, and do you know what? I've never ever missed my hefty, cumbersome desktop, they're small, powerful, and portable and basically everything that you could want and need in one tiny (ish) package.

A few years ago I took a big step and left the world of Windows behind and I got myself a MacBook, and again, embracing change paid dividends I love it and I'm a totally Apple convert. Lets be realistic though, they are super expensive and if I'm being really honest I could have bought something a bit cheaper and it could probably have done the same job. When it comes to laptops, I don't think the majority of us really need to spend a fortune, obviously if your a graphic designer, artist or a gamer, then you may need something a bit more powerful but for the majority of us, you can get something with all the latest technology without spending silly money.

Seeing as we're coming into what for a lot of people is the most expensive time of the year, the thought of shelling out on a laptop either for yourself, or for someone else as a gift can been pretty terrifying, but there are ways and means to make both finding that perfect laptop and paying for it easier, If you're looking for a great laptop at a budget price, then the UK market has plenty to offer. There are a staggering number of laptops out there, but here's a look at 3 that you will definitely want to take check out:

1. ACER CB3-131 11.6 Inch Chromebook

This little beauty is made for those who want to step outside of the Windows world and step into the world of the Google Chrome operating system. The ultra sleek unit is 11 inches wide and has 2GB of RAM and as well as looking good it weighs less than 1kg. It is tailored to students for the most part because it's easy to transport and carry. The hard drive is only 16GB but as well as being able to store information on the Google Cloud, you also expand your storage with a USB drive. Compact and powerful this particular ACER Chromebook currently retails at around £199

2. ACER Aspire E15

If you're looking for something just that little bit special and with a lot more storage then the ACER Aspire E15 series could be right up your street. This specific version is ultra light, allowing you to use it just about anywhere. With a 1 terabyte hard drive and 4Gb of RAM, the Aspire E15 has plenty of power and acres of storage space, and if you're into gaming or photography, or if you want to use your laptop to watch movies, then you have a 15.6" screen for that inclusive, full colour viewing experience. Giving the size and the features this one is a little bit more expensive at around £349 but for the features and the technology it's still excellent value for money.

3. ASUS Chromebook Flip

If you can't decide between a laptop and a tablet then this one could be for you. With a full rotatable sleek metal body and a back lit keyboard, the laptops in the ASUS Chromebook Flip series have a full HD screen, and 2 USB ports, as well as a 64GB hard drive and 4 GB RAM. Whilst anyone would love to own this beautiful laptop, the look, feel and finish ideally suits professional and it would fit perfectly into any office environment. Price varies depending on the model but one of these beauties would set you back at around £400.

These are just some of the excellent value laptops on the market at the moment but if you're looking to buy a new one either for yourself or for someone else, and whether you're on a budget or even if you're not, then there are ways to not only find the best deals and offers, but also to help you stagger those payments by using a site like Want Gadgets. As well as hints and tips on what laptop to buy they also offer information on buying new, and second hand products and even renting laptops and various other electrical items including televisions, games consoles, tablets and even mobile phones.

Buying a high price electronic item is a considered purchased for most people, so the more research that you can do the better, but it is good to know that there are so many sources of information and advice out there to make that decision making just that little bit easier, from product information, to price comparisons, offers, and finance plans, the world really is at our fingertips and where would we be without a computer? It's amazing how things have changed even in my lifetime!

*AD / Sponsored Post 

Saturday 6 October 2018

Trimming My Stash And Life Lately - September 2018 Edition - Empties And Mini Reviews

Okay guys we're in the final straight now! There are now less than 3 months of 2018 left! How did that happen? When did that happen? Crazy times! It's taken nearly 10 months but finally I seem to be getting my head into gear and getting some stuff done! Maybe it's the fear factor and a desperate attempt to stop 2018 being a complete fail but better late than never I guess. Home and health wise nothings changed, shit is still happening on a regular basis but maybe I'm dealing with it better and channelling my stress into something more useful. I've been planning some videos and blog posts, I've started a mass sort and tidy up and I've been sorting out my beauty stash (again!)

It's funny I still probably have way too much of everything but I'm actually starting to find space in drawers and boxes and within the next of month or so I'll need to buy some body scrub, yes need! I won't be buying something because it's on offer or because I feel the urge to buy something I'll be buying something because I need it. It just shows that I am starting to make a little bit of progress in Trimming My Stash particularly when it comes to body and hair care products.

Tea Tree Daily Use Cleansing Facial Wipes - 25 x Wipes
Soap & Glory Heel Genius Amazing Foot Cream -125ml
Biotherm Anti-Drying Body Milk With Citrus Extracts - 400ml
Dead Sea Spa Magik Salt Brushing - 50g
Decleor 1000 Grain Body Exfoliator - 50ml
Maria Nila True Soft Shampoo - 100ml
Josh Wood Radiant Shine Hair Treatment Oil - 28ml

Total - 7 Items

When it came to body and hair bits September was another good month, out of the 7 products that I finished 6 were body and hair related. Although I was pleased that I finished 7 items I really need to try a bit harder when it comes to skin care and make up. The thing is though I do know where I'm going wrong; When it comes to skincare i seem to have to many bottles, jars and tubes open at once, so I never seem to use anything consistently. That's got to stop, my new plan is too finish whats in the bathroom and then try something new, rather than just trying something as soon as I get it. I often wonder why my skincare doesn't do what I want it to and that's probably why! Make up is another obvious one, I own way to much of it when you consider what I actually wear. Unlike a lot of people I don't wear make up every day and when I do I get a bit lazy and always use the same stuff. That's got to stop too, I need to wear make up more often, I need to switch up what I do wear, and again I need to finish some of those half used bottles and tubes! Sounds easy enough but as per usual we'll see what happens over the next few months x Before I start painting my face and removing make up, every three seconds though lets take a look back and see just exactly what I did manage to finish in September.

1. Tea Tree Daily Use Cleansing Facial Wipes - 25 x Wipes

I've talked about cleansing wipes a lot on the blog, and whilst I firmly believe that they shouldn't be used as part of an everyday skincare regime, I do believe that they can play their part in well, this blogger at leasts, everyday life. I use them for everything from cleaning up swatches, to wiping sticky hands, and cleaning down make up palettes,  I swear by them and the ones that I always turn to are Primark's tea tree based wipes. Although the packaging and the name has recently changed, they are the ones that I always stock up on when I'm in store.

Primark trips have been a little bit thin on the ground though this year, and in the 3 or so month gap in between visits I ran out of wipes. On a recent trip to another bargain haunt though, B&M Bargains I saw these tea tree based wipes and thought that I'd give them a try. They were the same price as the Primark ones at £1 for 2 packs of 25 wipes but unfortunately that was the only similarity. These are actually tea tree and peppermint wipes, so instead of the traditional tea tree scent that I was expecting these actually had a very strong almost minty, menthol type scent. As I say I don't use wipes that often on my face (I prefer micellar waters when I'm in a rush) but I did try these out on my face once, and to be honest once was enough. The scent made my eyes water, and I did find them to be quite drying. In the future I'll definitely stick to the Primark wipes, and despite the fact that these are also readily available in Poundland, I don't think that I'd buy them again and I'll probably use the remaining packet for my hands and for swatch clean up.

2. Soap & Glory Heel Genius Amazing Foot Cream -125ml

When it comes to foot cream I can completely understand why people like mint or tea tree based products, whilst it's true that they are perfect for deodorising and refreshing tired feet, I can't help it they just aren't my favourite scents. I love lavender, floral or fruity scents and this foot cream from Soap & Glory falls perfectly into the latter category. With a fruity fresh scent, this isn't the thickest of foot creams but thanks to the high concentration of fruit acids that it contains, with regular use it makes a big difference.

Although I suffer from poor circulation, and my feet can often feel like blocks of ice, I can't standing having hot or over heated feet so wearing socks overnight is a big no no for me, instead I apply this (or any other cream) all over my feet after a shower, then I put on a pair of socks and let the cream do it's thing. This particular cream sometimes tingles a little bit on application but it's not uncomfortable it just feels as though it's doing something. I normally leave the socks on for 2 or 3 hours if I can and when you remove them you're left with much better looking, softer feet. I've used this product a few times before after getting in a few of the Boots Soap & Glory Star Gifts and I would definitely consider repurchasing.

3. Biotherm Anti-Drying Body Milk With Citrus Extracts - 400ml

I don't know whether it's because I'm getting older or whether it's down to the noticeable change in the weather but the skin on my body is definitely feeling a little bit tighter and drier at the moment, so I'm trying to be good and applying a body lotion or body cream every day rather than just when I remember. I love thick creams and butters in the winter but at the moment lotions are my go to for daily use and this particular product is without a doubt one of the best body lotions that I've ever used. I was first introduced to this product over 10 years ago now when I won a huge bagful of Biotherm goodies in a magazine competition and I've used it and love it ever since.

Push down the pump action dispenser (not pictured - sorry!) and you're introduced to a slightly unpromising looking milky lotion, get past the initial appearance though and inhale the fresh orange,  citrus scent, and slather a small amount all over your body. Given the texture it absorbs quickly and easily with no stickiness, tackiness or roll off, and it leaves the skin feeling silky soft in seconds, and surprisingly considering the texture, it's a feeling that lasts for hours.

In my opinion to put it mildly this is fabulous stuff, and it's something that despite owning pretty much a store full of body products that I would definitely repurchase. The brand isn't that easy to get a hold of in store in the UK now but you can buy it online from sites including FEELUNIQUE and allbeauty. 

4. Dead Sea Spa Magik Salt Brushing - 50g

Earlier in this post I did say that I was starting to run a little bit low on body scrubs and as a result I've been using a few minis, and smaller products before I move onto my last 3 Christmas themed scrubs from The Body Shop, and this is the first of them. Now as you know I love salt and sugar based scrubs and as the name would suggest this one is crammed full of Dead Sea Salt, combined with coconut oil, and vitamin E. It is apparently Dead Sea Spa Magik's best selling product and it's easy to see why. It has a lovely scent, and it's very scrubby. It works best when it's applied to dry skin, simply massage it in to the limbs and problem areas and rinse away. It rinses off really easily and the high oil content left the skin feeling really smooth. The only thing I would say is that don't use this on broken skin, I accidentally used it on an area that had a cat scratch, and to say it stung was an understatement. Despite that though this was a great scrub and it's definitely something that I would consider repurchasing.

5. Decleor 1000 Grain Body Exfoliator - 50ml

Next up a scrub from high end French aromatherapy skin and body care brand Decleor. The big selling point of this one was definitely the smell, it contains real grapefruit essential oil, and with every use you got a yummy, zingy, refreshing hit of grapefruit that really revived the senses. It had a sort of oil / gel consistency which transformed to more of a milky consistency when you added it to water. It was a nice enough product and as I say I loved the scent but it just wasn't scrubby enough for me so I probably wouldn't repurchase.

6. Maria Nila True Soft Shampoo - 100ml

The final two beauty products that I finished in September were both hair products, and this shampoo and the matching conditioner, which I haven't quite finished yet, both made in appearance in the May 2018 edition of Glossybox. (You can watch my original unboxing video below or via this link). As you know I love trying out new brands and this brand is a new one to me. Hailing from Sweden, Maria Nila is an environmentally conscious brand, that is leaping bunny, PETA, and Vegan Society certified and after using this product I have to say that both myself and Mummy Lou are fans.

This is a gentle shampoo that is designed specifically for drier hair types, it contains argan oil, seaweed extract, and Maria Nila's exclusive colour guard complex, and it's also both sulphate and paraben free.

Despite the lack of SLS it still foams really well and it has a lovely fruity, floral scent that reminds me a little bit of the original Giorgio Armani's Acqua Di Gio, which is one of my favourite fragrances of all time. The scent is obviously a huge plus point for me but this shampoo is so much more than that, both me and Mummy Lou loved how it made our hair feel, and the ethics behind the brand. The brand isn't that easy to get a hold of in the UK but it goes without saying that I would definitely consider repurchasing both this shampoo and the matching conditioner.

7. Josh Wood Radiant Shine Hair Treatment Oil - 28ml

The final empty from September is another hair product and it's a product that I discovered in one of the M&S beauty advent calendars. I've seen a lot of stuff written about beauty advent calendars lately including one comment that the only people that buy them are bloggers who aren't on press lists? WTF?  and here's my two penneth, you pays your money, and you takes your choice, if you want one then get one, some are better value than others so have a look around and choose the best one for you. Personally I love them, I've quite a few beauty ones now and like beauty subscription boxes they give you a great opportunity to try something new, a new product or a new brand, or they give you a chance to stock up on minis for holidays and travel. I've got the Glossybox one on pre order this year and personally I can't wait to start opening up the doors. Why do people need to be so grumpy, critical and judgemental all the time - let people do what they want! 

Anyway enough of the rant, I discovered this product in an M&S calendar and for me and many others it was love at first use. Marks and Spencer previously collaborated with celebrity hair colourist Josh Wood to produce a range of root cover ups and hair products, but like so many things the entire range has now been discontinued and sadly Josh Wood doesn't sell anything simililar in his own salons. It's a real shame because this product in particular still has a lot of fans.

I love hair oils, you can use them as a pre shampoo treatment to add moisture and you can also use them to detangle wet hair, and on dry hair to add shine and tame frizz. I've used a lot of them and I've loved a lot of them too and this one was one of the best. Enriched with kukui and pracaxi oil it had an expensive almost designer perfume, inspired aromatherapy type scent which gently lingered on the the hair. It was slightly thick in appearance yet it felt surprisingly felt quite lightweight on the hair. It was a really nice product and I'm so sad that the range has disappeared, bar a few ridiculously priced bottles on ebay - please Josh Wood and M&S bring this one back! 

So they were my September beauty empties as I say I'm definitely going to try harder on the skin care and make up front in October, so fingers crossed I've got a few more things to show you then but if in the meantime you have any questions then please leave me a comment and if you have any hair oil recommendations I'd love to hear them too x