Sunday, 31 May 2015

May In Instagram

1. The first bank holiday of May was spent with the girls in Southsea eating cake at The Tenth Hole. If you haven't been, you need to go. The Wild Berry Cheesecake is incredible. 

2. The weather in Southampton has been beautiful and I've spent most afternoons sat down Ocean Village with friends. Pitcher & Piano is in the most perfect location and the flatbreads are pretty good too! 

3. After this months Birchbox Free Your Mind came with pencils for a colouring session I ordered some adult colouring books. I completely forgot how relaxing it is to just sit in your own world with some pencils.

4. I mentioned briefly last month that I'd been following Slimming World and I've just been given my stone & a half award! I'm so proud of myself because I've had a crazy couple of months, my life has changed a lot but I'm so determined to keep this up as I feel so much better for it. 

5. Also in the grand scheme of changing things I've chopped my hair off, I'm having a new colour done this week and then I may having another inch or two chopped off again. Change is good!

6. My lovely friend Jess put on a fabulous event for the Solent Fashion Graduate Show, an evening full of drinks, friends and fashion! Read the post linked above for me details. 

7. The beginning of the second bank holiday of May started with a Luau party for Jess' birthday. Blow up palm trees, dolphins and cocktails made the perfect night in 'Hawaii'.

8. With the sun shining on the South Coast again Jess & I headed down to Southsea again to see Amy for more cake at The Tenth Hole and a walk around Southsea Common and a go on the pedalos. 

9. My favourite photo of my blogging bestie and I :) 


Friday, 29 May 2015

Creamy Coconut Face Treats

My skin has been really suffering recently and now I've finally worked out what the problem is I can finally get it back to it's usual happy self. With the help of an incredible facial oil I'll be posting about soon, I've also been using the Creamy Coconut face mask from Montagne Jeunesse. I'm forever picking up cheap face masks from Boots and I've really liked using this one. 

The Creamy Coconut face mask is for dry and tired skin, containing ground cocoa, pulped coconut and pressed shea nut. With hydrating coconut water it's a real treat for your face. I applied this for twenty minutes then laid back in a huge bubble bath to let it work it's magic. The mask smells good enough to eat and it left my skin feeling smooth and subtle. My make up also seemed to go on easier the following morning as my skin just felt so much better. I'll be heading to Boots to stock up on these, I just wish they came in a handy tube! 


Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Smashbox Primer Love

Up until a year ago I couldn't even tell you what primer was let alone have any in my collection, fast forward to now and I'd be lost without it. I'm your typical shiny in the afternoon sort of girl so primer has completely changed my routine, keeping my foundation in place for however long I need it to be. I've tried a couple of high street primers, namely Rimmel but it's Smashbox that have stolen my heart in the primer department.

The first one I tried was their renowned Photo Finish primer, this has a huge fan base and I'm right there with them, it really is as good as they say. It's a bit pricey at £25 but I do feel sometimes you get what you pay for and I'd happily pay out for this again and again. Photo Finish smooths onto skin leaving a silky base, my foundation sits so much better and it doesn't crease into any fine lines. You just need a pea sized amount as a little really does go a long way leaving you with flawless make up until you're ready to take it off.

My latest Smashbox product is the Pore Minimizing Photo Finish* primer which is £28. Carrying the same idea of the original photo finish primer this primer reduces and blurs the appearance of pores, much like Benefit's famed Porefessional. Again, all that is needed is a pea sized amount to help control shine for eight hours which I can confirm that that is exactly what it does. It's also sweat and humidity resistant. It's everything I'd want in a primer if I wanted to make one myself.

I can't choose between the two of these, I love them both equally, they both do what they're meant to and I find the packaging quite satisfying too. Make up that looks sleek on your dresser is always a winner. I'd like to try the Color Correcting one at some point but I'm pretty set with these two for the minutes. Have you tried Smashbox primers before? Do you have a favourite?

*PR Sample

Monday, 25 May 2015

Solent Graduate Fashion Show 2015

Last Tuesday myself and the blogging girls descended on St. Mary's Football Stadium in Southampton for an evening of Fashion in association with fashionshowdiaries. The Solent Graduate Fashion Show was organised by Jessica Duke and Shannon Diment, two students from Southampton Solent University. The event was showcasing the final collections from Solent's Fashion Design students with a catwalk show and the opportunity to also view collections from other fashion courses in another show room.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Smashbox Wishlist

Smashbox Wishlist

Towards the end of last year I got really into Smashbox Cosmetics after adding their Photo Finish Primer and Full Exposure palette to the ever growing make up collection. Fast forward to this year and Smashbox are a pretty large part of my collection. After attending the Smashbox Southampton Event a couple of weeks ago, I now have even more products on my wishlist, mainly some of their new products as they seem to be releasing new things every month at the moment. First up are their Contour Stick Trio, super creamy contour sticks, with a bronze, contour and highlight shade. I was shown how to use these at the event and I need to buy these as soon as possible. Total game changer. 

I had my make up done at the event using the Liquid Halo foundation and a dusting of the Photo Filter powder foundation and I was so impressed with the results. It left my skin looking really dewy and healthy, a complete change to my usual high coverage. I've heard lots of great things about the Photo Finish primer water and as I've never got on with MAC Cosmetics Fix+, it's about time I branch out with this. It smells incredible and settles on the skin really well, drying quickly. 

The last product is from their Be Legendary lipstick line in collaboration with Donald Robertson. I tried the shade Mauve Pink and completely fell for it. It's such a beautiful dusty pink and I don't have anything like already which is a surprise! It's a pretty pricey wishlist but there's no doubt about it that I need all of these products. Are there any Smashbox products you've been loving or have bought recently? 

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

2000 Follower Giveaway - CLOSED

At the end of January, a year after I published my first blog post, Annie Writes Beauty hit 2000 followers on Bloglovin'. I still can't believe that one of you hit the follow button, let alone 2000 but now that you are, maybe I should start believing. The last year has been pretty incredible and I genuinely had no idea what this little blog would bring me. I've worked with some of my favourite brands, been to some awesome events and set up Southampton Bloggers with Amy from I've also made seven friends for life, girls I can message for help and advice or who talk me into making that purchase I don't need. I couldn't imagine not having them there now. 

I'm not going to go on and on because I don't want to bore you. Just know that I am so, so grateful for each and every one of you who reads, comments and follows Annie Writes Beauty and as a huge thank you I wanted to give you the opportunity to win a beauty bundle of my favourite products. I've done a bundle giveaway in the past and I didn't want to go down the MAC Lipstick or Urban Decay palette route, as much as I love both brands I wanted to throw a load of stuff together for one of you to win. All you have to do is enter via the Rafflecopter widget below filling in the mandatory options. Terms and conditions are below the widget, please make sure you read them and please leave your blog link in the comments below so I can have a nose at where you're from. Thank you and good luck! 

- One winner will be picked at random using Rafflecopter.
- This is an international giveaway.
- If you are under 16 please get your parents permission as you will need to supply an address.
- I will be contacting the winner by email if there is no response after 72 hours then I will be picking another winner at random.
- There is no cash alternative.
- I will be checking all entries and any false or duplicate entries will be removed.


Monday, 18 May 2015

Redken Color Extend with Rush Hair

I really struggle finding hair products and treatments for coloured hair that actually work so when Redken came along with their Color Extend range I had high hopes. My hairdresser uses Redken on my hair and I always come away with a big swish in my step so I couldn't wait to get this on my mane, Redken have a large following of hair fans and I'm definitely one of them. I've been using the Color Extend Treatment Set* and it's completely revived my dulling hair colour. I'm due for a refresh next week so this little set has been seeing me through the last few weeks. The shampoo helps smooth and soften the hair while the conditioner de-tangles and locks in the colour. I'm thoroughly impressed, my hair feels healthy, my colour not as dull and it just feels more manageable.  

For an added treat I've also been using the Color Extend Rich Recovery* which is a protective treatment containing Cranberry Oil to help maximise vibrancy. It also has UVA and UVB filters for anti-fade protection. The treatment mask is designed to keep hair strong and healthy while preserving your fabulous colour. After shampooing just comb through damp hair, leave for five minutes then wash out. And the best bit? It smells incredible, you know I'm a sucker for a good smelling hair product. The masque is quite a thick consistency and you don't need to use much so a 250ml tub will see you through a fair few washes.

Redken Color Extend has saved my hair this month and once my highlights have been re-done, I'll be making sure my hair is kept smooth and soft afterwards with Color Extend plus an extra intense treatment thrown in for good measure. If you have coloured hair then you need to give this range a whirl, you owe it to your hair, ladies!

*PR Samples.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Stella McCartney Nail Varnish

I'd never used a Stella McCartney nail polish before and to be honest I was expecting it to be pretty good quality. Safe to say I was thoroughly disappointed. I can't tell you the name of this one as there is nothing on the box or the bottle in terms of name. I love the colour, berry shades have always been my favourite even though they're techincally out of season and on the nail it is a nice colour but the formula is terrible. 

Applying this was really difficult due to the stubby brush, it seemed gloopy and however many times I shook it up, I couldn't get an even colour on my nails. You can see on the above photo where it's just not even in places and just basically looks crap. After one day it started to chip and come off in flakes so off it came pretty swiftly with the help of some Cutex. Stella McCartney... never again. Let's hope you never bring out a make up range as disappointing as this nail polish. 


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Birchbox // Free Your Mind

It's Birchbox time again and I am LOVING this months. I'd seen a few sneak peaks on Instagram and seen that Liz Earle's Cleanse & Polish was making an appearance again so I wasn't holding out much hope, there's only so many times you can chuck Cleanse & Polish in a beauty box but I was so glad to see it wasn't in my box! Liz Earle, Caudalie & Philip Kingsley seem to be repeat offenders for Birchbox this year! Now my little gripe is out the way, let's get down to the box! 

This month's theme is Free Your Mind!* Birchbox have had a little make over, by having all the information in a sleeker, little booklet and letting you design your very own box! Pencils at the ready! As you can see from mine, I got stuck in with some felt tips and had a huge colouring session and it was genuinely the most relaxing day I'd had in so long, so much so that I've now ordered some adult colouring books! Don't judge me. 

May's 'Pick Your Sample' is brought to you by WAH London, I had the press on nails in my box in Going Up/Going Down. I'm going to be wearing this at an event next week so I'm hoping these live up to the reviews and don't ping off! The No.4 Reconstructing Masque is very much needed. With Soy proteins, shea butter, sunflower seed and jojoba seed oil, this little pouch of goodness is meant to transform hair into luscious flowing locks. Going on with the hair theme, there is also a Sea Salt Spray from Parlour by Jeff Chastain. I LOVE sea salt sprays and have a pretty large collection of them but this is so handy for travelling, holidays and just on the go! It also smells incredible. 

The first make up related item is the Caudalie Radiance Tinted Moisturiser. I love their Vinoperfect Serum so had high hopes for this and even though I've only been using it a few days, I'm really liking it. It gives just the right amount of coverage with the added bonus on SPF 20. It also has that familiar Caudalie scent, subtle enough to notice but not too much to put you off. Next up is Mirenesse, which I've never heard of before but this Mattifinity Lip Rouge is never leaving my lips. Matte plus extra moisture without leaving a shine? I'm in love. It's a beautiful berry shade, it doesn't move and it's so pigmented! Lastly to make sure all that new make up comes off is the RMK Point Make Up Remover. With it's double layered squalene infused formula (yup, I had to Google it too) it makes removing make up so much easier, waterproof mascara eases off and it's lovely and moisturising. 

This months box is such a good'un! You need to get yourself onto Birchbox and order yours now!

*PR Sample

Monday, 11 May 2015

Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Daily Treatment

I've been having real hair issues recently, it's dry, unhappy and I really don't know what I'm doing wrong. Thankfully, with the help of some fantastic smelling Paul Mitchell products I may have found my solution. I have long, thick bleached hair so it needs an extra bit of love and care every now and then. I'm also terrible for remembering to put serum or protection spray on my hair, I'm my own worst enemy. I have however cut down on the use of my hair dryer and straighteners so it's not being frazzled so much anymore. 

Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Daily Treatment* is the ultimate smoothing fix in a bottle. I must admit, I'm not a daily shampoo girl, I hate washing my hair and probably use dry shampoo more than I should but I've been making extra effort with this to really see some results. Pouring a small mound into the palm of your hand, you just work the shampoo in as you would any other. It smells so fresh and the scent reminds me of juicy apples. The shampoo lathers up really well and unlike some, it's not difficult to wash out. I find that my hair gets really tangled before conditioner but didn't notice it as much with this. 

The conditioner smells just as good and combed into the mid lengths of my hair, it left my hair super smooth and soft. It's definitely a winning duo. After towel drying my hair, I used a pump of the Super Skinny Serum*, again worked into the mid lengths of my hair and then I left my hair to dry naturally. The Super Skinny Serum helps to tame frizz and adds shine to hair. It's lightweight and didn't make my hair tacky which is half the reason I'm not really into using serums and hair protection sprays. If you're looking for something lightweight and super smoothing for your mane then the Paul Mitchell Super Skinny range is for you. There's lots of different sizes and different treatments with the option of free gifts on the HQHair website so make sure you check them out too. 

*PR Samples 

Sunday, 10 May 2015

The Tenth Hole - Southsea

Posting about coffee and cake is becoming a regular occurrence this year. Myself and the blogging girls seem to of taken it upon ourselves to sample as many cakes across the South Coast as possible and our stop this time was at The Tenth Hole in Southsea. The first bank holiday Sunday of May seemed the perfect time to head down to Portsmouth and sample some cake. We had to wait to be seated as it was so busy but the staff gave us all menus to look at first and we were seated much quicker than I thought we were going to be. Most of us opted for cake, coffee or their Raspberry Infused Ice Tea.

The cake selection was unbelievable, if I had the stomach for it, I would of given it a good go at trying the full selection. From Oreo Brownies, Fruit Pieces and Banoffee Pie to Honeycomb Cheesecake and Wild Fruit Cheesecake, the selection truly was incredible. I went for the Wild Fruit Cheesecake and had the largest chunk brought out to me. After filling up on sugar and pouring over the menu again, a few of us ordered some more bits of cake to take home with us. If you haven't visited The Tenth Hole yet, you really must! You will not be disappointed, just make sure you go on an empty stomach!

Friday, 8 May 2015

Smashbox Southampton Event

Last Thursday I was invited to the Smashbox Southampton event with six of my favourite blogging girls to be shown quite a few of their new releases including the hotly anticipated Contour Sticks. Jo and Katie ran the event, laying on yummy cakes and drinks while we sat and learnt all things contour.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Bee Good Daily Hand Cream

I am the worst for keeping my hands moisturised, I have so many tubes of hand cream that they're going to need their own draw soon. Soap & Glory, Merumaya, The Body Shop, you name it and I probably have it stashed away somewhere. The latest addition to the ever growing collection is from Bee Good. The Honey & Crambe Daily Hand Cream* is packed with skin goodness to help soften hands and cuticles. Coming in a handy, squeeze tube, it's the perfect size to just chuck in your handbag, something I've been doing so I actually make the effort to use it. I work in medicine so my hands are always dry due to the continued use of antibacterial hand gel. Not the nicest thing to use ten plus times a day. 

The Honey & Crambe Daily Hand Cream contains lots of skin loving products to really keep your hands subtle. British wild flower honey, British propolis, Crambe oil and Vitamin E oil are a few of the ingredients, all known for their super soothing skin uses. The scent of this isn't too over powering, it has a subtle, natural fragrance thanks to the beeswax. I'm really not a fan of products that are over powering, it puts me off. I'd much rather something that gives subtle hints throughout the day and this ticks all those boxes for me. 

For once in my life I have actually used a hand cream daily and having now used this one for around two weeks, my hands already appear much more moisturised and softer. You can purchase Bee Good from online and also in Waitrose stores so next time you pop into Waitrose make sure you check out Bee Good. 

*PR Sample


Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The Perfect Base Duo

Glo & Ray are one of favourite new make up discoveries after reading about them on another blog back last Summer. I've tried a few different products of theirs now from the Silky Eyeliners to the La Amo lipsticks and I'm yet to come across a product I dislike so it was only natural to try their base make up. Glo & Ray have two foundations, the Nebulae Fluid Foundation and the Colour Correction Luminous Base Foundation* which is what I have. The CC Foundation is velvety soft and has a long wear finish, designed with Micro Shine particles to help disguise pores and brighten the skin tone. It's described on Glo & Ray's website as having 'Water in Smoothie Gel Emulsion System' meaning you only need to use the smallest amount to get an even finish. 

I use my Real Techniques buffing brush to work this into my skin, leaving a smooth finish. It covers blemishes much easier than I thought it would and it really does last for hours. I'm a full coverage girl through and through, I've been trying my hardest to lighten up a bit and this product is the perfect way for me to do so. Paired with the Lumincent Setting Pressed Powder*, it really is the perfect base duo. I've had the powder longer than I have the foundation and as you can see I've hit pan on it quite well. I apply it using a large fan brush just to set the foundation and keep me going all day. If you're yet to try Glo & Ray then I urge you to do so, they really are that good! The Colour Correction Primer is next on my list!

*PR Samples
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