Thursday, 27 August 2015

Zoeva Brushes

After using a selection of Zoeva brushes for a couple months now, my opinions of them are pretty much formed. I can't tell you how the quality fares over years of use, but if I'm still blogging in the future, I'll let you know!

Zoeva, as a brand, looks and feels high end, but the price point is affordable. The Detail Liner and Brow Line Brushes (first and second from the top) were £5.95 each. The Rose Golden set was £56.95, which is a large chunk of money to spend at once, but each of the eight brushes works out to be around £7.12, and you also receive a good quality case. For reference, the Silk Finish and Powder Brushes are £11.50 individually, and that's for the silver hardware, not the rose gold.

I'll go through each brush I have and comment on all the different aspects. I don't have the Soft Definer Brush from the Rose Golden collection because I sold it, and I haven't used the Luxe Petit Crease brush either (which is still available in my blog sale). This is only because I don't wear eyeshadow, and have no other use for them in my current routine.

312 Detail Liner | This brush is teeny tiny, and great for getting right into the lashes and inner corner. I don't use it as much as I'd like to, though, because I'm used to the brush which comes with the Maybelline Gel Eyeliner. It takes no skill to apply eyeliner with that one, and no steady hand, because you can simply 'pat' a line across. This one, however, does require more skill. Most people will be fine with this, but I still need some practise.

322 Brow Line | This is now the brush I use on my brows daily. It's wide, but it's also thin, so not too much product is picked up. Thicker brushes tend to get clogged, but this one doesn't. I've found it works well with all formulas, too. The ELF Studio Small Angled Brush picked up slightly too much of the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade for my liking, but the 322 Brow Line manages to make everything look natural.

102 Silk Finish | This is for foundation, and has been used the most. It's soft (they all are), and while it's dense, the hairs are slightly longer and more rounded than the likes of the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush. Even after everything it goes through, it's maintained its shape.

110 Face Shape | Not one I thought I'd get a lot of use out of, but I've been using it almost daily to do some kind of contouring. It's just a good size for what it's intended for.

106 Powder | This has replaced my Real Techniques Powder Brush because it's slightly smaller. It's also softer, but I think that's because my Real Techniques one is a couple years old. I have to swirl it more than stipple, which took some getting used to, but I'm fine with it now.

127 Luxe Sheer Cheek | This is the one I have mixed feelings on. It's super soft, and is the perfect shape and size for applying powder blusher, but the quality isn't as good as the others. I experienced some shedding in the beginning, and I can already see that the shape isn't holding as well as the others. I think it's because it's made of natural goat hair, so maybe this is to be expected? It's still a good brush, don't get me wrong, but I'd have preferred synthetic bristles.

142 Concealer Buffer | There's nothing wrong with this brush, but I rarely use it because I apply my concealer with my fingers. It could also work with highlighter, but I also use my fingers for that, unless it's a powder.

317 Wing Linger | I don't like using this for eyeliner because it's not thin and precise enough for my liking. It's great for eyebrows, though.

All of them wash well, and the white tips have yet to become stained. If I need any other brushes, Zoeva will be the first brand I go to because of the quality and variety to choose from. I like the look of the Rose Golden Vol 2 Set, but only really want three of the brushes, so it wouldn't be worth the money. What do you think of Zoeva brushes? And the brand in general?

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Beauty Changes

I wrote a post similar to this a couple years ago, titled beauty changes I've made in the last year, so thought it was time for an updated version. Looking back, it's hard to believe I didn't do some of these things, and I'm sure it'll be the same in the future.

The biggest change has to be wearing foundation. I used to just wear concealer, but as well as the eye area and blemishes, I had to start putting it on the bottoms of my cheeks to cover redness, and on my nose because my freckles make it a lot darker than the rest of my face. I thought it'd be more cost effective to buy a foundation, even though I hadn't got on with them in the past. I also liked the prospect of trying an entire new category of makeup. Comparing my recent passport photo to my driving licence photo taken four years ago, you can see a huge difference. This is the only good before and after I have, since I avoid having my photo taken!

I used to wear liquid/gel liner on the odd occasion, but started wearing it daily towards the end of last year. I got into the habit of pulling my eyelashes out (yes, I know), so started tightlining to disguise this. I then started drawing a thin line along the base of my lashes, and now I wear it to a medium thickness. I rarely add a wing/flick, though, because it's so much effort getting both eyes even, and they tend to smudge on me more.

I used to smudge eyeshadow out on my bottom lash line. It was always a taupe, and I did this for years. Since wearing gel eyeliner, and looking back on the few photos there are of me, I decided to stop applying it. I feel like my eyes look bigger without it.

I never used to bother with lip products, but then when I did, and for a long time, it was about tinted balms, stains, and lipsticks. I associated lip gloss with the cheap, glitter-filled gloopiness you'd find when you were younger. They've come a long way since then, though, and now the formulas are a pleasure to use. I've bought a handful from various brands in the last year, and I've yet to be disappointed (one swatch in store and you can separate the good ones from the sticky, unpigmented ones).

Although I've yet to master the contouring of my cheeks (it's difficult when you have no cheek bones whatsoever and rosacea), I've started doing so under my chin and along my jawline. I'll also do my forehead, but tend to use a bronzer over a cooler shade here.

Highlighting was another thing I'd do on the odd occasion, but it's become a regular part of my routine in the last few months. It's quick and easy to do, and can really brighten your overall look.

I can't imagine going to bed without slathering my lips in lipbalm now, but I used to. I can feel the remnants of toothpaste drying them out by the minute, and unless I moisturise them, my lip products the following morning won't apply in quite the same way.

I don't know if perfume is considered a beauty item, but it's part of my routine like any other product. I rarely wore perfume in the past, just fruity body sprays, but my sense of smell has matured since then, and I now spritz myself with a scent every morning before I leave the house.

I'd love to know of any changes you've made recently, and why. Have you started using a new product/technique, or even stopped doing something?

Friday, 14 August 2015

Apple, Raisin, Cinnamon, & Walnut Crumble Loaf

I bake a lot of cookies and shortbread, which are great, but I've been wanting to try other things recently. I baked a lemon drizzle loaf at the beginning of the week, and because that went down so well, I decided to try another. This one was also demolished in a matter of minutes, so thought I'd share the recipe. I began following this one, but changed a handful of things.

You'll need:
140g butter
140g brown sugar
3 eggs
250g self-raising flour
1 large teaspoon cinnamon
120g raisins
2 apples, chopped

(for the topping)
20g butter
20g demerara sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
40g flour
40g walnuts, crushed

1. Turn the oven on to 180C and line your loaf tin.
2. Combine the butter, sugar, and eggs.
3. Add the flour and cinnamon.
4. Mix in the raisins and apple, and spoon into the tin.
5. For the topping, rub the butter, sugar, and flour together with your fingers until a rough crumble is made. Then add the walnuts.
6. Sprinkle the topping over the mixture, and then finish with the extra demerara sugar.
7. Place in the oven for 1 hour-1 hour 15 minutes. To prevent the top from darkening any more than you'd like, place some foil over the top. I did this around 45 minutes.

This loaf has an autumn feel to it, which is perfect for this week's gloomy weather!

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Tresemme Platinum Strength Deep Conditioning and Stay Soft Leave In Treatments

I was skeptical when the Platinum Strength range was first released. The shampoo and conditioner bottles were smaller, more expensive, and had big claims. I still don't believe the range can repair up to two years damage, but it's becoming a favourite of mine anyway. I loved the shampoo so much that I dedicated an entire post to it. It builds up and weighs your hair down after a couple weeks use, so I have to have a break from it, but it leaves your hair incredibly soft. I'd been meaning to try the Deep Conditioning and Stay Soft Leave In Treatments for months, but would always forget to add them to my basket. They're currently £2.97 down from £5.99 at Superdrug, though, so thought now was the perfect time to give them a go.

I wasn't expecting much from the Platinum Strength Deep Conditioning Treatment. I've used a lot of intense conditioners in the past, and my hair has become used to the effects they have. I didn't use much of this the first time I used it, so while my hair was left feeling soft, it didn't blow me away. Then I generously coated my hair in it, and was left with the softest hair I'd had in a long time. What sets this apart from other conditioning treatments is that I could still feel the effects on my hair after a couple washes, when I wasn't using it. Others will make my hair feel soft, until I wash it. They then seem to wash right out with the shampoo. I've since finished this bottle and bought two more.

The Platinum Strength Stay Soft Leave In Treatment has a similar effect to the conditioner. What I love about it is the fact that it doesn't leave your hair feeling greasy in the slightest, no matter how much you apply. Many leave in conditioners make your hair feel soft in a silky smooth way, but this makes your hair feel soft in a fluffy way. It looks freshly washed and like you don't have any product in, but it feels really soft. It says to apply to wet or damp hair, but I've found it works in dry hair just as well. It's an impressive little product.

These products have left me hoping they'll extend the range. I don't know what could be added, but I'll buy it, whatever it is. Have you tried any of the Platinum Strength products? If not, I'd recommend you do!

Monday, 10 August 2015

Gravitating Towards Nude Pink Lip Products

Revlon ColourBurst Balm Stain in Honey, Maybelline ColourSensational Elixir in Blush Essence, Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Crayon in Bashful, Bourjois Colour Boost Glossy Finish Lipstick in Proudly Naked, L'Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in Julianne's Nude

It's hard to believe that I've only been regularly wearing lip colours for a couple years. It was the step I used to skip, but now find it pulls the whole look together. One of the first products I started to wear on a daily basis was Revlon's ColourBurst Balm Stain in Honey. It's a combination of pink, mauve, and brown, making for a natural, easy-to-wear shade.

Since then, though, I've been all about the corals, reds, and berries. Every shade in my 2014 favourites was bold and eye catching. I didn't wear them to their full intensity, mind you. I'd sheer them out, so they were appropriate to wear to work. I wouldn't even notice the nude, natural pinks on the stands. For some reason, though, this has changed recently. I've been favouring the shades above over my usual ones.

I only had a few of these shades in my expansive collection, so it was the perfect excuse to go shopping. I ended up buying the Bourjois Colour Boost Glossy Finish Lipstick in Proudly Naked and the L'Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in Julianne's Nude the other week.

The Bourjois Colour Boost Glossy Finish Lipstick in Proudly Naked is more nude than the others, but is still in the pink spectrum. I'm liking this more than Peach on the Beach, and it's making me want more shades from the range, even though I should probably stop buying lip products. I liked Peach on the Beach, but it settled in the lines of my lips ever so slightly. I think this was because it's one of those shades which is mixed with white pigment to make it lighter and brighter. I thought every shade in the range was similar, so was pleasantly surprised when I swatched Proudly Naked. It's balmy, sits on the lips nicely, and fades evenly.

I already own L'Oreal's Colour Riche Lipstick in Julianne's Red, and love the shade, so had been eyeing her nude shade for a while because we have the same colouring. Julianne's Nude is a peachy pink. It's not as balmy as the other shades, understandably, since it's in the form of a lipstick, but it's still one of my favourites. It's not heavy or drying, and probably lasts the longest.

The other two products in the photos above are the Maybelline ColourSensational Elixir in Blush Essence, and the Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Crayon in Bashful. They're both extremely balmy and lovely to wear. I personally think the Maybelline Elixir packaging could be improved, but I don't mind too much because I really like the formula. The Soap & Glory Gloss Crayon is the least pigmented, and more of a tinted lip balm, but it feels the nicest on the lips. I have three different shades of both, so I'm clearly a fan!

What lip shades are you wearing at the moment?

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Flamingo Candles The Melt Crowd | August 2015

Look what arrived on my doorstep yesterday! It's the Flamingo Candles August Box of The Melt Crowd. I'm going to put it out there and say I much preferred July's box. It was lighter, fruitier. So, what do you get in this month's box? I'm going to go through each scent. Some of them have descriptions, which are in italics, but some don't, so bear with me!

Pomegranate CiderEnergetic and fresh Pomegranate Cider is a fruity, pomegranate fragrance with further fruity hints of raspberries, juicy strawberries, ripe peach and nuances of vanilla. I love this one! It reminds me of some kind of ice lolly or sweet I had when I was younger.

Ginger & Lime | I can't find this one online, but thankfully it smells just like the name suggests. It's very fresh and zingy. I'm a fan of anything with lime in.

Strawberries & ChampagneRich and sweet Strawberries ‘n’ Champagne is a blend of fruity strawberry juice with green top notes and a sweet, malty, champagne base. You can smell the berry notes in there, mixed with the sparkling champagne. I like this one, but it's not one I'd want to repurchase straight away.

Fresh Cotton (The Melt Crowd Exclusive) | This smells like every other fresh cotton wax melt. I like it, but it's nothing new.

Kir RoyaleSweet and spritzy, Kir Royale is a fruity creme de cassis fragrance, lavished with notes of sparkling wine. I'm glad this one has a description because I wouldn't have been able to describe it to you. It's deeper and warmer than I prefer, but I'll still burn it.

Green ApplesFresh and zesty, Green Apples is the ultimate feel-good scent. Inspired by the Granny Smith apple it blends leafy green accords with citrus notes of lemon, mandarin, apple and melon. A fruity delight! This doesn't smell fresh and zesty to me. It's heavier, like a load of apples have been left in the sun for a couple days. Again, it's warmer than I prefer.

Dahlia (The Melt Crowd Exclusive) | I'm not a fan of this one. It's a heavy floral, which is not my cup of tea at all. It could be nice in small chunks, though.

Circus Doughnuts (The Melt Crowd Preview) | I've saved the weirdest one until last. I appreciate trying a scent before it's released, and I'm intrigued to see the rest of the collection, but it's not really working for me. It does smell like doughnuts, cinnamon doughnuts maybe, and I love eating them, but I prefer to fill my home with fresher scents. Again, it's the warmth which ruins it for me. Just a personal preference.

Although I've yet to burn any of these, last month's smelt the same when melted as they did in their wrappers, so I can see these being the same. This month has been very hit and miss for me, but that's the subscription box game. I'm still looking forward to next month's.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Recently Purchased

Another month, another collective haul.

I really like the Tresemme Platinum Strength Shampoo & Conditioner, so thought I'd try the Deep Conditioning Treatment and Stay Soft Leave In Treatment from the same range. They're currently £2.97 down from £5.99 at Superdrug, which is a great price. I have a review of these products coming up, so look out for that.

The Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Extreme Pads were also from Superdrug, and were £7.45 down from £14,95. I've been enjoying the original pads in the range, so thought I'd give these stronger ones a go.

I'm only half way through my current pot of Lush's Ultrabland, but bought another (£11.50) because I like to have back ups of the products I absolutely adore. It removes my makeup like no other, and leaves it feeling moisturised.

I've been choosing natural pink lip products over other shades recently, and because I only had a couple in my collection, it was the perfect excuse to buy more. I picked up the Bourjois Colour Boost Lip Crayon in Proudly Naked for £7.99 and the L'Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in Julianne's Nude for £7.99. They're both going to be featured in my upcoming post about natural pink lip products because I've really been liking them.

Lisa, from Golden Glow, is currently having a blog sale, and I bought the NARS Copacabana Illuminator and Clarins Summer Bronzing Compact for £10 each (usually £23.50 and £30). Unfortunately, the Clarins bronzer lid arrived broken, but the powder is fine. I'm just going to have to think of a way to store it.

Topshop and River Island both had some jeans in their sale. I bought the Topshop acid wash ones for £20 down from £38, and the River Island dark acid wash molly jeggings for £17 down from £40. I absolutely love the River Island ones, and so does my sister (she bought them for full price and has just bought another pair in the sale).

I've also just remembered that I bought two Topshop Cheek Jellies in the sale as well. I bought Sibling and Beep for just £2 each. I already own, and love, Reign, so was happy to add these to my collection.

The dolly shoes are from Primark, and were £5 each. I've been loving the light grey ones because I didn't have a grey pair of shoes before, so they've filled a void.

The Joules Olive Dog Wellies were £19.95 down from £39.95, and I also had a code, so had a further couple pounds taken off. We live just up from a woods and river, so that's where we go to walk our dogs. Wellies are a must, and I just think these ones are really cute. I'm actually tempted by another pair, but think these will do, for now...

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