Monday, 27 January 2014

94. Fashion // Valentine's Day Outfit Ideas

With February 14th approaching, I couldn't not do a Valentine's Day post. Despite not being a romantic (and definitely not having a romantic boyfriend!) we always do something to celebrate the day.

This year, we're heading to a local Italian for a tasty meal together, and I can't wait. I'm a strong believer that you should tell the person you love that you really do love them every single day, if not several times a day, and not just on Valentine's day. But it's still a lovely opportunity for you to spend some quality time together and it's also a brilliant excuse to get dressed up...

I have metaphorically fallen head over heels for this gorgeous sunflower print tea dress as it reminds me of a dress that I had as a child, and I think it's such a playful and feminine print, perfect for a meal out and could be teamed with a blazer for that smart, office look, or with a denim jacket and sandals for the summer. 

These chunky boots from New Look are also perfect for the current weather. I think they'd go great with the dress as they'd add a bit of edge to an otherwise very feminine outfit, plus - at £27.99 - they're a total steal.

Now, this beautiful watch is slightly completely out of my price range at a whopping £185, but I absolutely love it. I love the braided strap, it's elegant and also very unique and I think it would compliment the dress perfectly as they both have an almost folk-y sense. 

Saturday, 25 January 2014

93. Lifestyle // The Watch Gallery Competition

I'm a big fan of competitions, I'm also a big fan of Italian food, oh, and Jamie Oliver. Not sure where I'm going with this? Well, the lovely people at The Watch Gallery are currently running a fantastic competition where you're in with a chance of winning £50 worth of Jamie's Italian vouchers to use for a delicious - just in time for Valentine's day (yay!). 

All you have to do, is choose from their extensive range of luxury watches, one watch that you would pick for a loved one and write a blog post about it. I've chosen to select a watch for my dad who - if I had the money - I'd love to treat, as he really deserves it.

Over the last couple of years, since my parents separated, my dad has looked after the four of us wonderfully and I couldn't be more grateful. He has also set up his own business and, although he's doing very well, he can't ever afford to treat himself to a little bit of luxury. Before checking out The Watch Gallery's huge selection of watches, I asked my dad what sort of watch he'd own if money wasn't an object, and then - after longer than you'd think scouring through the men's watches section - I found this little (but not cheap) beauty.

The Breitling Navitimer is, I'm sure you'll all agree, an absolutely gorgeous aviation watch. One of my dad's 'requirements' when discussing his dream watch, was that it had 'chronograph dials' - now, I'm sure I'm not the only one here, who doesn't really know what that means? But I think it's the three little circles (or dials, duh) in the centre of the watch's face. 

Not only is the incredible detailing, beautiful crocodile leather strap, and rose gold casing, just to die for - the watch is also practical too. My dad owns and runs his own tree surgery company meaning that he spends the majority of his time bracing the elements outside, come rain or shine, clambering up trees and using lots of dangerous machinery. But fear not - this watch is both scratch and glare resistant, as well as being water resistant to 30 metres.

All in all, this is a beautifully crafted luxurious watch that I think my dad would absolutely love. Now, although my budget doesn't quite stretch to the £17,520 that I'd need in order to purchase this little beauty, I'm sure my dad would be more than happy with a delicious meal at Jamie's Italian! *drools* mmm, pasta. 

Saturday, 18 January 2014

92. Beauty // What's On My Face?

I'm ridiculously nosey, let's face it, so posts about bloggers' beauty essentials or their everyday face really intruige me. Give me somebody else's make-up bag and - oh yes - I will root through it. No shame. So, after months of snooping on people's blogs, finding out about their favourite products, watching YouTube videos of people literally just applying make-up (you beauty bloggers know what I'm on about, it's awesome!) I thought maybe I would share my everyday make-up routine, and my beauty essentials in a post I have aptly named What's On My Face.

So, what is on my face?

I have fairly oily skin but I'm prone to dry skin on my forehead and nose. I start off by applying Rimmel Fix & Perfect Pro primer which is my holy grail of primers; I've tried Nivea's primer (good), Collection 2000's (horrendous) and Benefit's Porefessional (nothing special) but this primer really stands out for me. I squeeze a pea-sized amount into the palm of my hand, rub my hands together and then apply it all over my face, getting into all the nooks and crannys. It's a lovely smooth and almost silky texture, and it helps my foundation to stay in place all day - plus, it's super cheap.

I then apply Max Factor Colour Adapt in shade 55, Blushing Beige, with a foundation brush to even out my skin tone. Again, I've used a million and one foundations, but this gives me a fantastic medium-high coverage and lasts all day. Under my eyes and on the dreaded spots around my chin, I then apply 2013's must have high-street product: Seventeen's Phwoar Paint with my finger tips. It's similar to Benefit's Boi-ing concealer in both consistency and effectiveness, but it's a fraction of the price. I finish off my base with Max Factor Creme Puff pressed powder in shade 05, translucent, and I apply this with my Real Techniques powder brush to get rid of any shine and ensure my make-up stays put.

Once my base is complete, I use a couple of amazing products to contour, highlight and add some colour to my face. When I first bought the Sleek Face Form palette in shade 373, Light, I slated it in a review after I felt it left me looking very shiny and almost metallic. Since then, I've learnt how to actually use it and how much I need to apply (about 0.0000037% of how much I was previously using). I use the blusher everyday as it adds colour and some sparkle to me cheeks - I apply it using my Real Techniques blush brush - and I then use the highlighter on the top of my cheeks, on my cupids bow and one quick sweep across my forehead.

I personally find Sleek's contouring powder to be far too dark my skin tone, and it leaves me looking like I either haven't washed my face, or have side-burns... Not a good look. Instead, I've been using Benefit's Hoola which is a brilliant bronzer that can be used for contouring also. I apply a quick sweep beneath my cheekbones, then around my hair line and under my jaw. Since I've started contouring, I have noticed a huge difference in the overall shape of my face once my make-up is applied. 

I picked up this GOSH brow kit on a whim after spotting it in Superdrug, around the time that everyone was going crazy for Benefit's Browzings and the whole HD brows shabang. Being a cheap skate, I bought this for under a tenner, and I've used it just about everyday since. There are three shades to choose from inside and, although I'm fair haired and light skinned, I tend to use the darkest shade and finish it off with the gel and then my bargain MUA eyebrow pencil in brunette, for natural looking brows.

I'm not a big eye shadow gal, in fact I barely ever wear it, despite owning numerous palettes. However, when I clocked eyes - excuse the pun - on MUA's trio eyeshadow in Pink Sorbet, I had to have it. The three shades are absolutley gorgeous, each of them being beautifully pigmented with a wonderful shimmer in there too. Perfect for building up a wide-eyed look. I also use Benefit's High Beam around my eye area and beneath my brow bone.

The final stage of my morning make-up routine is my eyes. I've done my eye make-up exactly (and I mean exactly) the same since I was 15. I go for the classic feline flick - however the thickness and length of said flick does differ massively depending on how awake/much effort I put in - using Collection 2000 Fast Stroke eye liner. Again, I've used so many different eye liners, but I always come back to this one. Not only is the price fantastic (it only costs a couple of quid) but it's so easy to apply, the brush is the perfect shape, and it always comes out jet black rather than the watery grey that you sometimes get with liquid eye liners.

For my lashes, I use both Max Factor's False Lash Effect and Benefit's They're Real. I've got to admit, I'm not completely bowled over by They're Real (I think I must be the only person in the world who wouldn't repurchase it) but I find it works really well on my bottom lashes, due to the size and shape of the brush. I've been using Max Factor's False Lash Effect for years, and I still love it today.

The only thing left to do after all is said and done, is a pop of colour to my lips using one of my numerous lipsticks, glosses and balms, but as the colour changes daily, I couldn't choose one to share today. However, I will be posting My Top 5 Lip Products very soon.

As you can see, all of the products that I use are available on the high-street (apart from Sleek's palette which I ordered online) and the only ones that cost over £10 are the Benefit products, which I bought as part of their Best Of... set as a Christmas present to myself.

My whole make-up routine takes roughly 10-15 minutes but leaves me feeling good, with clear skin and bright eyes, what more could you want?

Sunday, 12 January 2014

91. Beauty // Love Your Drain Campaign* & Skincare Routine

I was recently contacted by Northumbrian Water about their new Love Your Drain campaign. The Love Your Drain campaign aims to promote awareness of the negative effects of flushing beauty products down the toilet.

In an age where we are all too aware of how eco-friendly we should be, and when we have no excuses of "not knowing" how we are damaging the environment around us, and - myself - living in an incredibly beautiful rural area, which I'd hate to see suffer as a result of ignorance and laziness, this campaign really caught my eye.

As a beauty addict, I use cotton buds and face wipes (sorry guys! I know this is the cardinal beauty blogger sin) on a daily basis to remove make-up at the end of a long day, when I'm too tired to go through my more thorough skincare routine.

When I'm in a rush, I tend to remove my make-up with either a Simple or St. Ive's face wipe - which I personally find very refreshing to my skin - and then use Nivea's cleanser and toner, applying it with cotton pads . Depending on whether I'm removing my make-up in the bathroom or the bedroom, I'll either flush the remaining buds and wipes down the loo, or chuck them in the bin.

Little did I know - and this may surprise a lot of you ladies too! - that the damage flushing face wipes, cotton buds, pads, etc, down the toilet is huge. Below is a really interesting infographic that details some facts and tips about why you should - as Dwayne the Drain says - "make the bin part of your routine."

If you can't see this infographic clearly, please let me know and I will send you a copy!

Before this campaign, I had no idea how damaging wipes and cotton buds could be to our drainage systems. From now on I really will make the bin a part of my routine and refrain from flushing anything other than - sorry about the crudity - pee or poo, down the loo!

If you'd like to find out more about the Love Your Drain campaign you can use the #loveyourdrain hashtag on twitter, or follow @loveyourdrain.