Friday, 29 January 2016

UD X GWEN Eye Palette






Urban Decay are one of my favourite beauty brands, their products are out of this world and I love their ethics so it was only a matter of time before I owned this little beauty. I have all the Naked palettes including the basics so when this was first released I tried to convince myself I didn't need it. That was until my sister received it for her birthday and I fell in love with the design and the shades. Fast forward to my birthday a few weeks later and I unwrapped this palette of fifteen must have shades for myself.

Urban Decay and Gwen Stefani worked closely together on this palette to give us what is essentially my palette of dreams. The quality as always, is out of this world and each shade I genuinely love and will use. I was a little skeptical of Harajuku and Danger at first but these two blended in with the matte nudes truly look incredible. I wish I could've included fabulous swatches but alas the lighting was rubbish but if you head over to Hayley's blog, Tea Party Beauty then you can have a nose at hers which are millions times better than what I would've given you. 

As I said, I was given this for my birthday at the end of December and I can hand on heart say I have not touched another palette since. I have used this every single day, it's 100% love. My most used shades at the moment are Skimp or Stark all over the lid followed by Zone in the outer corner and crease then Baby pressed onto the inner corner, these shades together make my blue eyes pop and I love the end result so much. Reckon I could say love anymore in this review?

The packaging is also something to shout about. I like a sturdy eyeshadow palette and this does not let me down. The palette was inspired by Gwen's love of black and white graphic prints and antique gold accents and also includes a quote from a No Doubt song in the corner of the mirror. The palette opens out wide which is perfect for me as I hate palettes that stop moving at a certain angle. Most of the shade names were inspired by songs and also hand picked by Gwen. The palette also comes with samples of the Gwen Stefani lipsticks which launched last week. Rock Steady, a dark red has to be my favourite of the samples and one I'll be buying on payday as long as it's still in stock. 

You can buy the UD X Gwen palette online for £40 now. It is 100% worth every single £ and I'm honestly considering buy another for when I run out. It is limited edition after all. 

Have you bought anything from the UD X Gwen range? What is your favourite piece?

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Thursday, 28 January 2016

Studio Fix Fluid // MAC Cosmetics





MAC Cosmetics Studio Fix Foundation is hands down my favourite foundation, I recommend it at every opportunity I get but I've never once reviewed it on here. I'm quite lucky with my skin having never suffered with acne, my skin is relatively clear so I don't need a high coverage foundation as I've been told on numerous occasions, I just love the finish of this and how it lasts all day. Studio Fix Foundation comes in a glass bottle and retails at £22 but it is an extra £4.50 for the pump which I really insist that you buy. You end up wasting so much foundation without it. For a higher end foundation, the price is pretty average. I've bought this more times than I can remember and think it's worth every penny. 

Studio Fix comes in a range of shades, I'm shade NW13 which is suited to warmer toned, pale skin. If you're looking into MAC foundations for the first time then make sure you get a colour match because their shades can be a little confusing! The liquid, silicone based, foundation is described as a medium coverage, it's pretty buildable so you can definitely achieve a high coverage look if desired which I sometimes do for a night out. It also contains SPF15 which isn't always great for photos with a flash but it does leave your make up looking flawless. Swings and roundabouts I suppose. 

Wear time depends on your skin type, I have combination skin and this sits beautifully on my face, I get a little bit of shine in the afternoon but nothing some Agent Zero Shine can't fix and the finish pretty much looks the same at 7pm as it did when applied at 7am. If I know I'm heading from work to a cocktail bar then I know this will see me through until the early hours. There are so many mixed reviews on this, a lot of people love it and just as many also hate it. I think it very much depends on skin type, how heavy you want the coverage and if your skin is prone to breaking out when using silicone based products but I'm firmly in the love camp.

Have you used Studio Fix Fluid before? What did you think?

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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

My First Step into Jo Malone London






Back in October, I went into my local Jo Malone for a consultation. I'd been in a few times previously for a good sniff but I always felt a little overwhelmed so I'd walk straight back out again. I found that a consultation helped so much as I was talked through the fragrances by what I would usually wear and also shown what ones were best for layering. I settled on Wood Sage & Sea Salt and Mimosa & Cardamom as they're both as beautiful on their own as they are when worn together. 

I didn't splurge there and then because I get shopper's guilt but fast forward to Christmas and my birthday when I unwrapped both scents I'd chosen during my consultation. Wood Sage & Sea Salt is fresh and light with top notes of Ambrette Seeds which exude sophistication, heart notes of Sea Salt which gives it, its airy feel and base notes of Sage. It immediately transports me back to bright sunny days by the sea. Mimosa & Cardamom is a little different, it's warm, spicy and instantly makes me feel a bit sassy. The top note of this is cardamom with heart notes of mimosa and base notes of tonka bean. Both fragrances are perfect for me and they're ones I'd buy again in a heartbeat. 

Jo Malone can be a bit pricey, a 30ml bottle is £42 but I honestly think they're worth it especially as a treat every now and then. I was given a sample of Earl Grey & Cucumber in one of the bags and I've fallen head over heels for it so I'll be buying that one next. 

What are your favourite Jo Malone fragrances? Have you tried any before?

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Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Mandara Spa Bali Santi Bath Range





With a new year, comes new bath products and I've been spoilt rotten the last few months. Even though we're only just in January I'm already excited for this set of products getting me in the mood for brighter days and balmy beaches. The Mandara Spa Bali Santi range is an exotic beach in a bottle minus the hefty flight price and hours of flying. Each product is infused with either softening coconut oil or almond oil with lotus flower milk also in some of the range. 

I've been using the bath & shower oil*, body milk* and glistening body oil* the last couple of months and have been so impressed with the range, I just want to book myself into a spa for the week and the Mandara Spa in London is a pretty strong contender. Each of the products leave my skin smelling and feeling gorgeous, especially the glistening body oil which I'll be keeping for the summer months. The island paradise range also sounds pretty amazing with hints of grapefruit and lemon, I'd just feel like I was on a permanent holiday. If you're looking for something a bit special for bath time then it's worth looking into the Mandara Spa range, prices start from £5 and there are plenty of different products and ranges to choose from. 

What are your favourite spa products to use at home?

*PR Samples.
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Monday, 25 January 2016

Blackcurrant // Barry M Cosmetics






I'm probably Barry M's biggest fan when it comes to nail varnish, I have so many and I'm always switching up my nail colour but for the first time in forever I haven't worn anything but Blackcurrant on my nails. I bought this on a whim back in October when it was brought out as part of their Halloween collection (I think). I'm not usually into wearing black on my nails but this has such a beautiful finish that I am full on in love with it. 

Blackcurrant comes in the Gelly Hi Shine range which gives such a glossy finish to the nail. I'm not sure if they've changed the brush on just these or the whole range but the new, wider brush makes it so much easier to apply, less coats are needed and I have less smudges. The one thing I do find with the Gelly Hi Shine range is that they last so much longer without a top coat which I love as it's less work for me. I've tried Blackcurrant with a top coat a couple of times now and it just chips within days. There is such a huge range of nail varnishes from Barry M Cosmetics and they're super cheap which makes a nail varnish addict like me very happy. 

What are your favourite shades from Barry M?

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Sunday, 24 January 2016

The New Coat




I bought the coat of my dreams last week so I just had to pretend I knew what I was doing and pose up a storm in some old streets in Southampton, let's face it, I'm never going to be a fashion blogger. I am fully aware of that fact but in the meantime there's no harm in trying.
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Friday, 22 January 2016

Lush Cosmetics Haul






A new year means a quick stop in my local Lush to pick up some bits to top up the basket. I was given lots of Lush bits from my sister for Christmas and I bought The Comforter last week so the basket was pretty full but what's a few more bubble bars and some melts anyway?! I have been without Blue Skies for a good few months, it's my favourite bubble bar EVER so I have no explanation as to why I wasn't stocked up on it. Whenever I've had a really crap day, I just crumble a chunk of this under hot water and close myself off from the world for an hour or so. It's really uplifting and always works a treat. 

The second bubble bar I bought was Big Bang, I've never used this one before but it smelt so good that I just had to try it. Big Bang is zesty and contains avocado oil to keep your skin soft so I have a feeling this won't be my last. The final three products I bought were bath melts, You've Been Mangoed, Floating Island and Razzle Dazzle. All the bath melts are £2 each so I don't feel as guilty spending a lot of money for a bath this way. I love You've Been Mangoed and Floating Island and have used them both before but Razzle Dazzle is a new one for me, it's so pink and sparkly that I had to buy it. 

What have you been buying from Lush recently?

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Thursday, 21 January 2016

January Birchbox X Pinterest




I'm not going to lie, I was pretty bummed when I opened my first Birchbox of 2016. I thought the first one of the year was going to be awesome then I saw they had teamed up with Pinterest and became even more excited. When I received said box, I promptly closed it again. Birchbox are the creators of the original monthly beauty subscription boxes so the sooner they brought back some sass and showed this in their boxes, the better. 

I'm bored of seeing the same products by the same brands, month in month out. I'm sick of receiving shower gel, shampoo and conditioner and if I see one more Caudalie product I may scream. Although I'll give Birchbox some credit, there wasn't a perfume sample this month. I am intrigued to see what the Benefit Cosmetics Tinted Primer is like but an Eyeko Fat Liner? Again?! We had that in October. There is so much on offer on their website to buy with Birchbox points, I just feel that could be reflected so much better in the boxes. 

I also fail to see what exactly this month has to do with Pinterest. Yes we had some lovely postcards inclosed and I may have already sent one to someone but if that is ALL that Pinterest have brought to this month's box then I'm thoroughly disappointed. I usually love Birchbox, I have sung their praises on countless occasions plus the boxes and bags come in handy for storage so I WISH Birchbox would bring something spectacular to their boxes again, something that sets them apart from everyone else, something that feels like the good old days when Birchbox ruled the sub box roost. 

*PR Sample.
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Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Catfight by Urban Decay





I bought my first Urban Decay lipstick last year in the shade Naked, a beautiful blush, nude and fell in love with the formula, colours and packaging. Fast forward to Christmas when I unwrapped this hot pink beauty from Tanya, (who has a pretty awesome blog btw). I don't own many hot pinks but it's one shade I do love wearing when it's sunny so Catfight is a welcome addition to the old lipstick collection. 

Catfight is described as a pink fuchsia with red undertones. I have to admit that when I first took the lid off I thought it was red but when you apply it, you get this intensely creamy pink shade on the lips. The Urban Decay Revolution lipsticks are known for their insane colour pay off thanks to the Pigment Infusion System, leaving you with a beautifully, creamy sheen of colour. The lipstick doesn't drag on the lip and you only need one coat to get the shade you want. 

This is a big statement but I actually prefer the formula to these more so than my MAC Cosmetics lipsticks. Each of the Revolution lipsticks contain a blend of jojoba oil, avocado oil, cocoa butter and shea butter so your lips are completely moisturised and soft while you're wearing your favourite lip shade. The packaging is pretty on point too, cool gunmetal casing with a shock of Urban Decay's signature purple for the lipstick lining. Urban Decay have just released the lipstick range in Matte Revolution and you know I can't say no to a matte lippy or five so I naturally have two shades in my online basket already. Urban Decay lipsticks are £15.50 so if you're looking to step away from MAC Cosmetics make sure you check out this range, you may fall in love. 

Have you tried Urban Decay Lipsticks before? What's your favourite shade?

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Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Candle Belle Haul & Discount Code




(All candles in photos were gifted for this post)

Candles have always been my thing, from tealights to hunking great jar candles, I always seem to come home with something. I usually bulk buy in Next home or pick up melts when Yankee Candle have big sales, that's until I came across Candle Belle, an online candle shop which have a huge variety of fragrances in Mega Melt or Twin Wick Candle form. Plus it means I can now shop for my addiction from the comfort of my sofa. 

I recently placed an order with Candle Belle and chose nine of the Mega Melts and three of the Twin Wick Candles. My box of fab smelling goodness arrived last week and it took everything not to start burning and melting things before I had a chance to take a photo. Blogger problems. Each of the candles and melts are made from natural soy wax, highly fragranced oil and dye. The design of the candles are simple but sophisticated and will looking gorgeous in any home. I've started burning my Twin Wick Clean Cotton Sheets candle the last few days and it just makes my home smell so clean and homely. Each candle has a burn time of 50-70 hours and I love how there is just one size. It shows a company cares about the product, I sometimes find if there are lots of choices and fuss, companies seem to forget about the quality of the product and Candle Belle have stuck to their guns and created something that's pretty fabulous. 

The Mega Melts are what I'm most excited about. Each melt is £2 or you can buy a bundle of nine for £12.50. There are so many fragrances available that you would be hard pushed to find something you don't like. The Mega Melts are also twice the size of standard melts so you get so much more for your money. My favourites are Lemongrass, Vanilla Chai and Balmy Beaches. Each melt is a huge 50g and have a burn time of 16-19 hours on a tealight burner. I really want to try some others so I'll be making another order next month for sure. 

If you're also a little addicted to buying candles then you can get 20% off your Candle Belle order when you use the discount code ALICE20. Let me know if you pick anything up as I'd love to know what you've chosen.

Gifted PR Items.
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Monday, 18 January 2016

The Dirty Girls Guide to Good Hair






Some of you will either love or hate this post, if you're one of those girls who love washing their hair and styling it then you'll probably be the latter because I've got news for you, I HATE washing my hair and if I can get away with it, it's a once weekly occurrence. I don't think I've ever liked washing my hair, it's thick, heavy and I feel like it's a chore. Since I've had it all chopped off it's a hell of alot easier to manage but I still rely on my trusty dry shampoo 100% of the time. 

My absolute fail safe dry shampoo is Batiste. They're cheap, they smell good and they work. I've tried the majority of brands you can get your hands on and I always go back to Batiste. Word of advice, don't even waste your time on Aussie dry shampoo. My other favourite is Bumble and Bumble Pret-a-Powder. It's pretty pricey at £22 but I would never be without this. It's equal parts dry shampoo and style re-boost and it does exactly what it's meant to. I use this on clean hair to give it a boost after washing too. One thing you should always do with dry shampoo is use it at night, I've used it this way for years and would never use Batiste as I'm about to run out the door. Using it at night allows it to soak into your hair, meaning you can bounce out of bed with voluminous locks. Trust me, it'll change your life. 

One thing I do find with dry shampoo is that my hair can sometimes look a little dull and that's where the Schwarzkopf Gliss Shine Tonic comes in. An elderly customer of mine swears by this and would buy one every two months so I bought one to see what the fuss was about. It really is amazing and gives hair an instant boost of luminosity. It doesn't leave hair sticky or tacky and it smells really fresh too. A good hairspray is also my secret weapon. My hair is a long bob now and the dry shampoo gives me great volume so a quick spritz of hairspray keeps everything in place. L'OrĂ©al Elnett is one I've used for many years, I always have a couple of cans of this lying around somewhere. I also love the GHD Style Final Fix spray. I wouldn't say it's any better than Elnett, it's just as good, they're just my two favourite hair sprays. 

Lastly, is a Tangle Teezer. If you don't have one then you need to buy one immediately. It just glides through my hair, dry or wet, it doesn't tug or pull and you can use them in the shower. I have three or four I think and I wouldn't buy or use anything else now. Complete life changer. If you're like me and a huge dry shampoo lover then the above products will change your life. Let me know if you have any tips yourself. 

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Sunday, 17 January 2016

Interracial Relationships & Everyday Racism.


    

I quite like just rambling on here and it seems you do too so I thought I'd finally bite the bullet and write or more appropriately rant about something that I've wanted to for a very long time. I've been in an interracial relationship for almost four years now although we just call it a relationship. You see, love doesn't have a colour but for many ignorant people in this painstakingly racist world we live in, it does. I'm white and my boyfriend is Asian. I've lived in a predominantly white area for most of my life and didn't experience any racism until I moved to Spain and was referred to as a 'Gringo'. Even then I didn't see it as racism and just shrugged it off, I couldn't give a toss what they called me. 

I come from a very multicultural, loving family, race has never, ever been an issue and my parents have brought me up to see everyone as equal so I find it astounding that in this day and age, people have a problem with OUR relationship because we're of a different race and colour. We had been in a relationship for six months when we first experienced interracial discrimination, we were walking along, holding hands by a very busy, local shopping centre when two woman stopped, looked us both up and down, tutted then spat at our feet. I was fuming and he had to stop me from saying something. To him, it was  normal and something he had experienced all his life. 

We've had the usual "Why are you stealing our women/men", very obvious stares from people being anything but discreet and comments made very loudly. I can't believe I've even used the term usual but that's exactly how it feels. We've experienced things like this on and off throughout our relationship, I think I just notice it less now. The discrimination doesn't just come from one race, we've experienced it from Asians and Caucasians. I've had to grow a thick skin to it quite quickly because calling people out on it every time was just draining and a waste of my time. Those small minded individuals are never going to change and they'll never see the world for what it really is. 

According to a study, my generation believe that we live in a post racial society, believing it is a problem that lies with the older generations and this is 100% not true. We experience casual racism on a weekly, if not daily basis from all generations. We are told what adorable children we will have because they would be mixed race, we're asked if his specialty in the kitchen is certain types of food and if his favourite beer is Cobra. Neither myself or him follow a faith, it's not like we're bringing shame upon a family and who gives a shit if we are, it's 2016. Love doesn't have a colour, race or gender. The only thing that is important is that the two people in the relationship are happy, in love and having the best time of their lives. 

Due to recent events, if anything the UK is getting increasingly more racist which in turn causes more problems in a country that we will one day bring children into. I don't want to have to worry about our children experiencing racism but it'll no doubt be something they and us will have to deal with. Racism doesn't just happen, it is taught. It is picked up on by children and young adults by the people that have raised them or guided them poorly in life. I read an article in Grazia by Lucy Dartford that you can read here, a couple of years ago where she spoke about her own interracial relationship and it struck a chord with me, I ripped out the page and have kept it in my bedside table ever since.

Interracial discrimination is sadly something we just have to face in our relationship, more often than not we ignore it, we don't want to give some idiot the satisfaction of knowing we've noticed them. I will occasionally say something because I do like seeing their shocked face when I pull them up on their disgusting behaviour but would you really expect anything different from me? It's disappointing that this is still a part of the world in 2016, but what we experience is a small fraction of what others have to deal with. It should be spoken about more, it should be shouted down and those who condone interracial discrimination should be made to look the fool. 

Our relationship is our relationship and no one else's. 


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Friday, 15 January 2016

THE Best Burgers in Southampton


We're pretty lucky in Southampton to have so many great places to go for food, 7 Bone is located in Portswood, Southampton and is THE burger joint you have to try this year, whether you're local or not, it's worth the travel. There is also another branch in Bournemouth so either way you have to make a trip down to the South Coast to enjoy the aged patty goodness.
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Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Cover FX Bronzing Powder





I'm a bronzer obsessive, NARS Laguna will always be my first love but I do like to dabble in some different brands every now and then so I've been using Cover FX Bronzer and The Balm's Bahama Mama recently. I'd never tried Cover FX before as I wasn't sure where it was available from but after some investigating I found it on Beauty Bay. The Cover FX Bronzer comes in three shades, Sunkissed, Suntan and Sunset. I have Sunkissed which thankfully doesn't make me look like mud as I'm incredibly pale skinned. 

Cover FX Bronzer* is a matte, pressed powder. It's so finely milled and soft to touch. This particular one is suitable for all skin types and is enriched with vitamins and nourishing products including Green Tea. It's also free from mineral oil and talc, which I try and avoid. When applying to my skin, I use my Nanshy Contour brush in the hollows of my cheeks and then I dust it lightly down my T-Zone to give myself a flushed, sunkissed look. It's so easy to over do it with bronzer so make sure you use it lightly to prevent yourself looking like a puddle. The Balm Bahama Mama is the perfect dupe for this if you don't want to spend £25 on a bronzer but the Cover FX bronzer is so good that I'd happily repurchase it.

What is your go to bronzer? Have you used Cover FX before?

*PR Sample.
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Tuesday, 12 January 2016

The Comforter // Lush Cosmetics






You can't go wrong with a Lush bath can you? Some of my favourite products are their bubble bars with The Comforter being a close runner up to my all time favourite, Blue Skies and Fluffy White Clouds. They're big hunks of bubbly goodness, that you just break up and crumble under running hot water. You can easily get four baths out of one of these, five at a push so they're more than worth the £4.95 price tag. 

The Comforter is laden full of delicious ingredients with Cassis absolute giving it the familiar blackcurrant smell. It also contains my good old friend bergamot which adds an uplifting scent to it. I've said before how I can sniff bergamot out in Lush products like a bloodhound and 95% of my lush stash has bergamot in it somewhere. This bubble bar is the one to use when you just want to shut yourself off from the world for an hour and slip back into a hot bath of silky bubbles. Just be sure to give your bath a good rinse down after, the pink occasionally gathers at the bottom and can stain your bath.

What is your favourite bubble bar to use from Lush? 

 
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Monday, 11 January 2016

MAC Soar Lip Liner






I've spoken of my love for MAC Cosmetic lip liners a few times now and one shade I was lacking was a multi use nude. When I buy their lip liners, I try and buy shades that I can use with different lipsticks instead of sticking with one shade for each lipstick. It lessens the blow of spending £12.50 on what is essentialling a colouring pencil for lips. I was bought Soar for Christmas and I haven't stopped using it. It works with so many different lipsticks from Brave, Private Party and Enchanted One to Urban Decay Naked and YSL Beige Charnel. 

I always go for their standard lip liners rather than the pro longwear ones. I find the standard ones are soft but firm and easier to apply, plus they give a better line and definition to the lip. Pro longwear are too soft for my liking and seem to go everywhere although that is probably me being crap at drawing the perfect lip line. Soar has quite a cult following after it was apparently responsible for a certain Jenner's plumped lips which I think is partly why I'd avoided Soar up until now, I'm not interested in hyped products but I'm so glad it is now a part of my collection. I can honestly say that when this runs out I'll be purchasing another one right away.

What are your favourite lip liners? Have you tried MAC lip liners before?

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