Saturday, 28 February 2015

February in Instagram

  1. After one year of blogging Annie Writes Beauty hit 2000 followers on Bloglovin!
  2. Southampton finally saw some snow. Even if it did only last til midday.
  3. My best blogging pals adopted me a penguin for my birthday.
  4. I found the perfect dish in TK Maxx to store my Lush massage bars on.
  5. The best brunch was demolished in Cargo, Southampton.
  6. Valentine's Day was a day full of roses and love hearts.
  7. My box of polaroids arrived from Polabox ready to hang in our bedroom a la Pinterest. 
  8. Viva Glam Miley Cyrus arrived in the shape of a hot pink!
  9. The most difficult decisions - deciding what bath bomb to use.

Friday, 27 February 2015

February Empties

  • Johnson's Baby Powder 
  • Original Source Mint & Tea Tree
  • Batiste Original 
  • Hotel Chocolat Body Butter
  • Phil Smith Argan oil
  • Cloud 9 Magical Remedy 
  • Weleda Almond facial cream
  • Heel Gel
  • Christion Dior Pure Poison 
  • Eve of St Agnes Hydrating Cream


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Charlotte Tilbury // Glastonberry

I have been meaning to post this since December as Glastonberry was the only lip coloured that graced my lips for a number of weeks after I bought it. I went up to London before Christmas to spend the day with two of my best friends, Selfridges was my first stop and I went straight to the Charlotte Tilbury counter, I didn't browse or swatch anything else, I just asked for Glastonberry and went on my way. Serious self control was needed for that otherwise I would of walked out with a few more lip colours and the Filmstar bronze & glow.

Glastonberry is from the Matte Revolution range, a cashmere cream texture with a soft matte finish. If you've been reading Annie Writes Beauty for a while you'll know I'm only really interested in matte lips so I had to try this line of lippies. Glastonberry has been doing the rounds for quite a number of months, a rich berry shade, it was the go to shade this Winter. Containing Papaya and Orchid to hydrate it was not like any matte lip I've tried before. My lips were left smooth and hydrated instead of crying out for moisture like they do when I wear Ruby Woo. 

The lipstick is shaped with a precision tip to make applying this a doodle, almost mimicking a lip brush for the perfect berry pout. I'm pretty rubbish at creating a cupids bow on my lips but found it much easier with this. It's cased in the most beautiful, rose gold packaging and has a satisfying click when the top is placed back on. Glastonberry also smells pretty good too! 

My only gripe is that it's long lasting abilities aren't very long lasting. I like a matte lipstick to last for hours and last through food and drink, I have some that do just that but this didn't. I've read numerous reviews on this on its incredible staying power but unfortunately I cannot report any of that here. I've used this with moisturised lips, without moisturised lips but nothing seems to make it stay and for a lipstick that costs £23 I was pretty unimpressed, I at least expected it to last from 9am - 12pm but alas, it didn't. As I said at the beginning I have used this non stop but I've definitely used more of it because I have to keep reapplying. Maybe Matte Revolution isn't for me but I'm not about to spend another £23 to see if a different shade makes a difference.

Have you tried Glastonberry? What did you think? I'd love to know your thoughts.


Monday, 23 February 2015

Viva Glam Miley Cyrus

When a new Viva Glam rolls around I'm there with my dollar waiting to snap it up. All proceeds of the RRP of Viva Glam goes towards helping women, men and children with HIV/AIDS so if that doesn't sway you enough (why wouldn't it?!)  then maybe that paired with it's hot pink shade and new ambassador will. Miley Cyrus is the queen of cool at the moment, whether you love her or hate her, you have to admit anything she touches right now gets phenomenal exposure and that's exactly what Viva Glam should be getting. 

Cased in MAC Cosmetics iconic black bullet with the logo in hot pink, Viva Glam Miley Cyrus is everything I expected it to be. It's pink, girly and the amplified finish gives the vibrant, pink shade that extra bit of wow. When the first photos started circulating I thought it was really similar to Girl About Town but it's a much lighter fuchsia, really wearable and would suit most skin tones. It keeps the lips moisturised and lasts a good four to five hours through food and drink but does leave subtle staining on the lips.

MAC Cosmetics and Miley Cyrus have come up for a winner for this years Viva Glam collaboration but you need to grab it the next few months as it's disappearing July 9th. 


Sunday, 22 February 2015

Brunch at Cargo // Southampton

A lazy Saturday morning brunch is sometimes the only way to start the weekend and a couple of Saturdays ago that's exactly how I spent mine. Cargo is in Oxford Street in Southampton, right down by the docks. It's known as Southampton's trendy cosmopolitan and it's a great place to eat and drink. 

I'd only ever been in Cargo in the evenings before but noticed the menu one night and made it my mission to drag Arran along to sample it. We went quite late one morning and it was pretty empty, we were greeted by a lovely waitress who served us fresh coffee and gave us a few moments to decide on what to eat. Arran went for the Lord Nelson continental breakfast and I chose the Eggs Benedict. The food came out within good time and I could barely wait long enough to take photos before I tucked in. Arran said his was pretty good but he didn't like the pastries with jam. They couldn't of been that bad though as they're my favourite and he wouldn't let me have one.

My Eggs Benedict were good too but the muffins could of done with a bit more toasting and the Hollandaise sauce was poured on a little heavy handed but the eggs were perfect which was the important bit! We stayed for more coffee after our food and it was so nice to just sit and waste the morning on us. If you're ever in Oxford Street then I would definitely recommend Cargo for food or a few wines in the evening, we're already planning on going back to try their evening menu soon. 


Friday, 20 February 2015

Urban Decay Vice 3

I've wanted the Vice 3 since Urban Decay first started posting sneak peak pictures on their Facebook page. The silver case, jewelled name and green theme caught my eye and it was one palette that was definitely being added to my collection. Arran kindly bought this for me for my birthday and waiting to take photos of this before using it was extremely difficult, I just wanted to get stuck in.

The Vice 3 comprises of twenty shadows and a double ended eye brush inside a squarish, mirrored palette. On the front, Vice is written in a 3D, jewelled green with a splash of colour through the middle. There is also a full sized mirror inside and the palette is hinged so it stands by itself, making it really easy for touch ups on the go or just doing your make up at home. Urban Decay eye brushes are some of my favourite and the one inside the Vice 3 is brilliant. The short end is perfect for the lid, crease and under eye whereas the fluffy end works wonders for buffing. The Vice 3 also comes with a pouch to store it in but I've been using it to protect my tablet when travelling. 

The first four shades down are Truth, Undone, Downfall and DTF and are known as their Naked shadows as they represent the matte shades in UD Naked palettes so well. They do all have a slight shimmer to them even though they're meant to be matte which is a little annoying! The second row down gets a little more colourful with Dragon, Freeze, Heroine and Brokedown. Dragon and Freeze remind me of Mermaids and Heroine is a beautiful, rich blue. Brokedown is a copper, shimmer that I've been using non stop. 

The Third row down starts with Vanity, a metallic wine shade, Lucky, a bronzed gold, Reign, a rich brown and Bobby Dazzle, a silver, white shimmer which I've been using on my brow bone. It's also my favourite shade name. The fourth row down starts with a Alien, a blush pink, Alchemy, a fuchsia pink, Bondage, a rich burgundy and Sonic, a cranberry shimmer much like MAC Cosmetics own Cranberry shade. The last row down is my favourite. Can you tell I'm a neutrals girl at heart? Last Sin is a champagne shimmer, Angel is a taupe shade, Defy is a chalky brown and the final shade, Revolver is a soft, shimmery black.

Each of the shadows are quite buttery and apply to the lid smoothly with no creasing. The pigmentation of the coloured and neutral shimmers are really great although not all are, I've found the darker shades such as Revolver and Bondage a little lacking in the intensity department which is such a shame as they're beautiful in the pan. I haven't used them wet though so maybe that may make a difference. As with all Urban Decay shadows there is significant fall out but it's easily blown away and it's not something that puts me off their shadows. 

I see the Vice palettes as the perfect way to have a play around with some out there shades, the greens, blues and pinks in these palettes are shades I wouldn't usually go for but mixed with some of the more wearable neutrals they work really well. Helen Anderson of posted a video a few weeks back which you can watch here of a few different looks using the more colourful shadows which I found really helpful. If there was one palette to get your hands on right now the Vice 3 would be it. 


Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash Mascara

Benefit's hotly anticipated new mascara, Roller Lash had everyone hot under the collar at the end of January, mainly because we all rushed to our nearest newsagent to make sure we bought the latest copy of Elle with the exclusive free gift of Roller Lash. Arran picked up mine for me as I was unwell and then I had a surprise parcel arrive from the babes at Benetowers with a beautiful vanity case and another copy of Elle with the free mascara which went straight to my sister so she could try it too.

The packaging is cute but sleek and the wand handle on the full size version is made to look like rollers which is what Roller Lash is inspired by, 50's style rollers for your lashes. It's as simple as that but oh so genius. With it's hook and roll brush that leaves you with beautifully separated and curled lashes. The formula also helps set the lashes and leave a curl for 12 hours so you can flutter those pretties all day long. The mascara is only available in black which seems to be the same for Benefit's other masacaras too but it does coat the lashes perfectly leaving even colouring and no bare lash showing.

I'm not a fan of They're Real so I was expecting big things from this and Roller Lash definitely delivered. The size and shape of the wand makes it really easy to use and it fits my lashes perfectly. I find They're Real clumpy and difficult to layer whereas Roller Lash is the complete opposite, the more I've layered the better it has looked on my stumpy lashes, lengthening them and adding more volume. Also it doesn't flake during the day or smudge as it's water resistant yet it's still really easy to get off unlike They're Real.

There's been no official release date for this although I have heard early March. You do seem to be able to purchase it on the website already and it is retailing at £19.50. Have you tried Roller Lash yet? What do you think of it?

PR Sample

Monday, 16 February 2015

Lancôme Haul

Every now and then I find myself in Debenhams browsing the counters for hours which eventually ends with me leaving with new beauty products I definitely don't need. This doesn't happen too often as Debenhams is quite out the way in Southampton and I forget it's there. A couple of weeks ago with a day off and birthday money still to spend the counters were browsed and products were bought. Namely from Lancôme, a brand I haven't used too much of other than their Juicy Tubes in my teenage years.

I'd originally gone in for the Dior Star foundation but was talked into trying the Teint Idole Ultra 24H by a friend who works on the Lancôme counter. I had my make up completely re-done using this foundation and lots of other products including the Blush Subtil Palette which I'll be treating myself to in the not too distant future. Aswell as the foundation I bought the Grandiôse mascara which I've wanted to try for so long. I read so many reviews when it was first released, some loved it and others hated it and I was totally drawn in by the swan like wand. I quite like the mascara but it isn't groundbreaking. I need to use it for a while longer to gage a thorough opinion of it. 

I was also given their current free gift because I bought two full size products. There are five products included inside, the Advanced Génifique, Bi-facil make up remover, Crayon Kohl, Classic Hyponose and a lipstick. So lots of new Lancôme products to try and depending on how I get on with the foundation and mascara I might post a review up. Have you tried much from Lancôme?


Saturday, 14 February 2015

REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask

My Sunday treat is a long, hot bubble bath with a bath bomb from Lush and a face mask. Recently I've been reaching for the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask* as the below zero temperatures of late have been wrecking my skin. My foundation isn't sitting right, my skin feels dry and I'm running out of products to fix this seeing as Summer is not yet in sight.

I've used a few different REN products in the past from their normal skincare range and have always loved the difference in my skin yet I just never get round to repurchasing as I'm always trying something else. One thing that will not be forgotten to be repurchased is this face mask. REN is renowned for their paraben free products, natural fragrances and products that do exactly what they say on the label. It comes in a 50ml tube with a pump action dispenser and the product is held in a suction bag much like Liz Earle's Cleanse and Polish so you get every last drop. It is advised not to be used on sensitive skin but I've had no issues with it.

Used as a weekly face mask the Glycolactic Radiance Renewal mask is designed to remove dead skin cells, renew the complexion and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps with congestion, blackheads and blemishes. The texture of the mask is quite thick and sticky but settles nicely on the skin, you just leave the mask on for ten or so minutes then wipe off with warm water and a muslin cloth. The scent is the only thing I'm not sure on. I don't hate it but I'm also not loving it. With extracts of Passion Fruit, Grape, Lemon and Pineapple you'd think it would smell more fruity but it really doesn't which I find odd. 

That hasn't put me off though because the benefits to my skin really out weigh the scent. After first use my skin felt softer and looked clearer and with every use since then my skin really has looked the best it has in a long while. I rarely get spots or blemishes but my skin can look a little dull at times and this has completely sorted that out for me. I have never reached for a mask more so than I have with this and it's one I'm not going to be falling out of love with any time soon. If your skin has been really suffering the last few months then you definitely need some REN in your life. 

*PR Sample

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Glo & Ray Balloon Pop Lasting Silky Eyeliner

Glo & Ray have featured on Annie Writes Beauty a few times in the past after I came across them on Instagram last year. Glo & Ray have been around since 2012 but I've only started seeing their products featured on different blogs towards the end of last year. I've been using the Silky Lasting Eyeliner for a good six months now. It's long lasting, smudge proof and the deepest black kohl. 

The Balloon Pop Lasting Silky Eyeliner* limited set was released just before Christmas and retails at £28. Each individual liner costs £5.50 so you save £5 with this set. There are six shades in the set, two of their most popular shades and four new shades including the exclusive Rose Candy. They come in varying finishes from matte and metallic to shimmer and sparkling pearl. The set also comes with a mini sharpener to keep the liners in tip top condition. 

Each of the liners apply so smoothly and leave an intense line of colour. They're smudge proof after 30 seconds and last for hours. They really are a work to bar liner with no touch ups required. With the liners being so long lasting they do need a little extra work to remove but with an oil based eye make up remover such as Lancôme Bi-Facil, it's really easy. I'm yet to try the Rose Candy and Summer Sky as they're a bit too out there for me but if I'm feeling a little daring then I know I have options with intense, bright colours on hand. If eye liner is your thing then you really need to try Glo & Ray. You will not regret it. 

*PR Sample

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Valentine Bouquets with Debenhams Flowers

With Valentine's Day being just around the corner the shops have been filling up with cutesy heart shaped gifts and beautiful bouquets. I was contacted by Debenhams Flowers in the run up to the day of love with the opportunity to receive an oh so beautiful bouquet of roses. Who would say no to that? I even treated myself to a new vase from Jasper Conran to house my new flowers. 

A few days later my beautiful Red Rose & Freesia bouquet* arrived in a protective and easy carry box. I did wonder how they would arrive and I'm pleased to say no roses were damaged in delivery nor was there any embarrassment when a large bouquet arrived as they were delivered to my work place. You know the type I mean, where everyone gathers round dying to know who they're from.

I've had the flowers in their new vase for the last week and the Roses and Freesias have opened up beautifully, they smell divine and they've really brightened up the room. Valentine's Day is as good a time as any to treat someone or even yourself to a flower bouquet. With Debenham's Flowers you can get 25% off their flowerS excluding their 'Flowers by Post' range with the discount code DFBLOG25. 

*PR Sample

Monday, 9 February 2015

Merumaya Hydrate & Protect Hand Cream

I was introduced to Merumaya last October after the lovely Lekha came to present their products at the Southampton Blog Meet. Since then I've been using their products almost daily and I'm a huge fan of their Melting Cleansing Balm so when rumours started about a new product launch in the new year my ears were well and truly pricked up. Confirmation arrived in the form of an email and a surprise package of hand treatment goodness to my delight.

The Hydrate & Protect Hand Cream* is launched today and will retail at £12.50. It seems pretty pricey for a hand cream but with their integrative effective formula that they're renowned for, it's worth every penny. It's silky to apply and non sticky which is a big pet hate of mine when it comes to hand cream and half the reason I don't usually use it as much as I should.  The Hyaluronic Acid moisturises and firms the hands while the SPF15 protects the skin from further sun damage. 

If you've used Merumaya before then you'll be familiar with their signature scent which is what this hand cream carries too. I find it soothing and quite relaxing so if Merumaya could get the hint and bring this scent out in a candle, I would be their number one fan. You can purchase the Hydrate & Protect hand cream now in Merumaya's online store or in John Lewis.
*PR Sample
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