Thursday, 24 October 2013

NYX Blush in Taupe - the perfect contour

If you haven't heard of Estée of Essie Button then I'm not sure where you've been. She is one of my all time favourite beauty YouTubers not least because she's a porcelain princess and has some really good recommendations of products that suit us pale gals. Quite a while ago in one of her videos she mentioned using this NYX Blush in the shade Taupe as a contour, and I ordered it immediately!

Contouring isn't something I have always done. If you're a long time follower of Bee's Knees, you might know that I'm a relative newbie to the world of make up and concepts like contouring were things I found a little bit scary to start with! Thanks to YouTube and brilliant gurus like Estée I now understand contouring but this is the first product I bought to try it out with!

Packaging-wise I have to say, this is pretty cheap looking. I didn't pay over the odds for this and I'm aware that in the US NYX is a drugstore brand and the quality of the packaging reflects this. In practical terms it does the job and closes securely in your hand bag or make up bag, and I do quite like the pyramind print in the powder.

Taupe is the subtlest matte cappuccino colour and absolutely spot on for girls who have pale and almost-transparent skin, like me! I find this is exactly right for contouring because once it's applied and blended properly, it gives a really natural look and to the untrained eye it doesn't look like I'm wearing anything! I apply this using my Real Techniques contour brush and blend with the blending brush. 

It's quite hard to photograph this but I tried! Honestly if you're the kind of girl who is too pale for the more popular contour products and bronzers, I really recommend giving this a try. I picked mine up from a seller on eBay (£7.00 HERE) but you can also find NYX on Amazon (£7.99 HERE). Unfortunately it's not very widely available in the UK at the moment so we are limited in where we can buy it from. You lucky girls in the US!

Have you tried NYX before? What did you think? What's your go-to contour product?

Sunday, 20 October 2013

The Body Shop Rainforest Moisture Hair Butter

Well this is embarrassing. I bought this product absolutely ages ago and put it away in my basket of toiletries and then completely forgot about it until I moved house and discovered it hiding! It's the Body Shop Rainforest Moisture Hair Butter.

I am quite partial to a hair mask every week or so - because my hair is curly it can be prone to breaking and looking frizzy so keeping it moisturised and healthy is one of my biggest concerns. I picked up this hair butter because it's a concept I haven't tried before and I had a discount code to use. What stood out to me the most about this product when I bought it was that it's free from parabens and silicones, which can build up in your hair and cause damage.

Packaging-wise, this is almost identical to The Body Shop's regular body butters, and it smells really similar to them too. It's quite thick and firm in consistency (as you can see in the photo below), and it does feel a little bit strange applying it to hair because it truly seems to all extents and purposes to be a body butter!

I tend to use this when I'm taking a bath, so I can give it a good 15-20 minutes to soak into my hair before washing out. I have to say my least favourite thing about this product is the smell - it smelt nice at first in the tub but once you've got it on your hair and have to leave it there it does become a bit overpowering and not in a good way! In fact I almost stopped using this because I don't like the smell. As for how well it works as a hair butter, I'm also not completely won over. It does leave my hair soft to the touch and it feels moisturised, but it can take a while to wash out and even when it is completely gone my hair doesn't feel quite right.

Overall I am disappointed and don't think I would buy this product again - using it just isn't an enjoyable experience for me and I have tried other treatment masks that I much prefer. I intend to finish up this tub but once it's gone, I'll be looking forward to moving on to something different.

200ml of The Body Shop Rainforest Moisture Hair Butter is £8.49 from your local Body Shop or online HERE.

Are you a fan of The Body Shop? Which is your favourite product?

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Autumn Primark Haul

Hi everyone! Today's post is a little overdue - I lost control in Primark a couple of weekends ago and bought a few bits and pieces that I'm sure will be staples in my autumn wardrobe..

First up is this incredible statement spiked necklace. This necklace has so much going on it definitely needs to be worn with an understated jumper or top, but it's pretty amazing and adds that little extra something to most outfits! I think this was about £4 which is ridiculously cheap compared to other high street stores (TOPSHOP!)

Another necklace, this one is slightly more toned down but still adds a particular edge to a plain oversized jumper (i.e. all I ever wear in the winter). It has three different shades of metal which I love because mixing metals is one of my favourite ways to wear jewellery and I can tell I'm going to get a lot of wear out of this all year around. Again I think this was around the £4 mark.

On to oversized jumpers, I bought the big black fluffy Primark cardigan that pretty much everyone owns a couple of months ago and I love it! I wear it far too much and so when I spotted this jumper, my cardigan's fairer and snugglier sister, I couldn't resist popping it in my basket! I don't often wear white/cream but the texture of this jumper is amazing and it's so soft and comfortable on. I've been wearing this with a black skirt and polka dot tights, with one of the statement necklaces I bought worn over the top. It's simple but bang on trend and oh so warm and snuggly for those colder autumn days! Plus this was only £10 which is CHEAP.

By far my favourite jumper already, this royal blue beauty drew me to it like a magnet when I saw it in the shop! It's actually got full length sleeves but I find rolling them up gives it a nicer shape and a bit of structure. This is quite a fitted jumper with a round neck, which I'm not so keen on, but worn with some patterned leggings and statement boots it looks great! And the best thing? This was only £8 - SO much cheaper than similar jumpers I've seen on the high street.

On to shoes and statement boots! I spotted these gorgeous lace up boots absolutely ages ago but they didn't have them in my size. I kept checking back at my local Primark but after a couple of weeks I gave up hope. And then I saw them in a size 6 - bear in mind that I'm usually a size 4 or a 5 in boots (space for socks!) - so I picked up some insoles and they fit fine! The insoles actually make them even more comfortable. These are by far the comfiest heeled boots I own and I've worn them loads already. They're definitely worth the wait, and the £18 I paid for them!

Last but not least are these cut out flats - I saw some very similar to these in Topshop but when on closer inspection I discovered the Topshop ones were made from leather I was heartbroken! So imagine my delight finding these in Primark! I think these were £8 or £10 which is far cheaper than the Topshop alternatives. I've worn these already to a gig with black frill top socks, tights and a black jersey dress and leather jacket. They're surprisingly comfy and sturdy to wear and I'm looking forward to styling them in all sorts of different ways over the autumn months.

Have you had any spending sprees recently? Where did you splurge?

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

October Magazine Freebies!

Hi guys! Today is a post letting you guys know/reminding those of you that already know to get down to your local newsagent pronto! October magazines are all about the FREEBIES!

I picked up Marie Claire and InStyle at the weekend but I know there are a few other magazines with freebies too this month! I'm planning on heading out to get Red magazine tomorrow because they have a free This Works product.

With Marie Claire this month you can get a free L'Occitane hand cream - with four different fragrances to choose from! I opted for Shea Butter Subtle Violet and will let you know how I get on after a few weeks - I've never tried anything from this brand before but it's obviously a firm favourite with a lot of other beauty bloggers. This is a really good deal because Marie Claire only costs £3.90 and the hand cream retails for £8!

InStyle are giving away this set of miniature products from Ren - another renowned brand I have no experience of! I always like getting mini skincare products because I find they last much longer than you expect, and I'm really excited about giving these a whirl - the pack contains the Ever Calm Gentle Cleansing Milk, the Vita Mineral Active 7 Eye Gel and the Ever Calm Global Protection Day Cream. InStyle is reduced to £2 this month so if you're keen to try Ren products then grab it before the end of the month!

Two other magazines giving away freebies this month are Cosmo (free San Tropez Face & Body Instant Tan) and Company (two free nail polishes). I don't fancy either of these but if they sound like your cup of tea get yourself to your nearest newsagent, supermarket or WHSmiths now!

Have you picked up any of the freebies this month? Which is your favourite?

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Fabulous Nails #53 - Jacava London*

Hi guys! Today is another Fabulous Nails post but featuring a different and new brand for me - Jacava London*. I was lucky enough to be sent a polish and top coat from the lovely people at Jacava, so read on for my thoughts!

Jacava nail varnishes stand out from most other brands because they are '8 free' - this basically means they don't contain DBP, Camphor, Formaldehyde, Toluene, Cellophane, Parabens, Phthalates and Animal Ingredients and they're also vegan friendly! I was very intrigued to try a natural polish to see what it would be like...

My first impressions of Jacava were good - I like the bottles because they're different to other brands. They remind me slightly of the Bourjois polishes because of the long handle but really they're much prettier, classier and look beautiful sitting on my dressing table. 

I chose the colour Blueberry Muffin because it looked so unique and unlike anything I own already (which is no mean feat!) It reminded me a little of a Barry M polish I love but I was delighted when I actually received the polish in the post to see that it really isn't the same at all.

Blueberry Muffin is the prettiest, most true purple shade I've come across. It's a classy creme colour that strikes the right balance between bright and pastel and I can tell already it's going to be a favourite of mine. As for the application, the Jacava brushes are really easy to use because of the long handle and they apply the polish onto the nail well. The formula of the polish reminds me of Barry M Gelly Hi Shine because it's quite thick and creamy, but this dried much quicker. I was impressed that after only two coats my nails were opaque - in fact I think you could probably get away with one thick coat if you're in a rush. I followed two coats with one coat of the UV inhibiting top coat, which was also thick in consistency but again dried surprisingly fast. I think this is one of the quickest manicures I've done for a while!

As you can see on my nails, the finish is very glossy and reminds me of a gel manicure (in fact several people have stopped to ask where I got my gels done!). The longevity is what really seals the deal for me though, this just lasts and lasts and lasts! If you read Bee's Knees you'll know I don't do too well with chip free nails but I am currently typing this after having Blueberry Muffin on for 48 hours and my nails remain perfect, which is nothing short of a miracle for my flakey dry nails! I am seriously, seriously impressed with this polish, especially because my initial expectations of a 'natural' nail polish were that it wouldn't apply well or last at all.

Overall I think you can tell I'm blown away by this nail varnish, which doesn't happen often to a seasoned nail gal like me! I think this combination of colour and top coat from Jacava is a winner and I'm so pleased I have this gorgeous shade to add to my collection! I will definitely be asking for another colour for Christmas.

The only downside for me is the price, because Jacava polishes retail for £14.50 each which is out of my usual price bracket. But if you're looking for something really special that will be a firm favourite in your collection I definitely recommend giving this a try. You can pick up Jacava nail polishes direct online HERE or from Feel Unique HERE.

*PR sample

Friday, 11 October 2013

Nip + Fab Coconut Latte Dry Skin Fix Body Butter

Hi guys! Today's review is a product I received in my first (and last) ever Glossybox way back in April (blog post HERE). I had heard of Nip + Fab before but this is my first time actually trying a product. I guess that's the great thing about beauty boxes, you get to try things you wouldn't necessarily have bought before.

The Nip + Fab Coconut Latte Body Butter is much thicker than other body butters I've used. It's almost solid when it's fresh out of the tub but melts a little when it gets warm. This makes it a real delight to use when you're fresh out of the bath and warm and toasty.

I'm usually the kind of girl that picks out more floral scents, and I love the way the Soap and Glory body butters smell so I wasn't sure how I would find this coconut scent. But it's a real winner for me, especially in the summer! It's just the nicest subtle coconut scent and actually lasts on the skin for a good 4-5 hours after you've applied it. It keeps your skin soft all day though!

My only negative is that my tub didn't last very long - I only had a small 50ml travel size and although I didn't expect it to last months and months it's almost finished and I've only been using it consistently for a few weeks. But if you're looking for a really nice smelling body butter that's a little bit different to everything else on the market, I really recommend giving this a go!

You can pick up the full sized (200ml) Nip + Fab Coconut Latte Dry Skin Fix Body Butter for £8.49 from Look Fantastic HERE.

Have you tried Nip + Fab before? Are you a fan of the brand?

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Sleek Face Form Contouring and Blush Palette

Hi everyone! I am so excited to share this product with you today - it's one of my all time favourite make up purchases and was a complete impulse buy at the time...

It's the Sleek Face Form Contouring and Blush Palette. Before I bought this palette I'd heard of it from a few beauty bloggers but it wasn't a very raved about product so I wasn't really tempted to purchase it.

I'm a fan of Sleek lipsticks but never really paid much attention to the other products on the stand in Superdrug - until I saw this. It's BEAUTIFUL!

This palette has a contour shade, a beautiful cream highlight and a rose gold blush. I didn't own a palette like this one and only had eyeshadow palettes, but I was dying to get my hands on this as soon as I saw it - just for the absolutely stunning highlighter and the amazing blush colour (which I've heard is a dupe for Nars Orgasm). 

I already own a rose gold blusher in Dainty Doll  You Are My Sunshine and I love love love it! So you might say that I don't need another one! But the highlighter in this palette is something else, it's absolutely beautiful. When I came across this palette for the first time I was actually on the market for a pretty powder highlighter so it was almost fate! As soon as I swatched the highlighter I knew I had to have this palette in my life...

I can't say I've ever used the contour colour because it is way too dark for my skintone, which is a shame but I'm not bothered because of how much I use and love the other colours. The blush is incredible quality, easy to apply and blend and the gold shimmer particles are just subtle enough to wear every day to work. I have been wearing this so much throughout the past couple of months and I've barely made a dint in it!

The Sleek Face Form palette is £9.99 which I think is spot on price-wise, it's a complete bargain to get two amazing products for under £10 and if you're lucky enough to be able to use the contour then it's even better value! I really recommend this to other pale skinned girls like me, but I reckon the medium and dark palettes would suit pretty much any skin tone. You can pick up the Sleek Face Form Contouring and Blush Palette for £9.99 from your local Superdrug or online HERE.

Have you tried this palette before? What did you think?

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Philosophy Purity made simple

Hi guys! Today's review is a product I've been using for a good few months now, in fact it's very nearly empty! I bought this mini Purity (90ml) from Boots in the January sales when it was reduced to a mere £2.50 because it came in Christmassy packaging even though the same sized product that wasn't packaged up was still on sale full price. So obviously I couldn't resist snapping it up...

Purity is a cleanser I've heard absolutely loads about over the years I've been reading beauty blogs. It seems to be a love/hate product - people either absolutely love it and rave about it's Holy Grail properties, or absolutely hate it and blame it for break outs, or point the finger at the ingredients list. I will put my hands up now and say I don't know a great deal about ingredients, but what I do know is that this 'pure' cleanser from Philosophy is far from a natural product. But I can live with that. What I'm more interested in is what it can do for my skin.

After months of using this I think it's safe to say that my opinion sits right in the middle of the extremists. I'm a bit disappointed I don't love or hate this cleanser, but I simply feel indifferent about it. I haven't noticed any real positive different in my skin since beginning to use this in place of my old Liz Earle and Soap & Glory Hot Cloth Cleansers, but at the same time I didn't break out or notice any negative effects. In terms of the consistency of the product itself, it's quite an opaque, gloopy substance that doesn't lather or sink into my skin, and it smells incredibly chemical-y. This did put me off to start with but I've come to get used to it - however for the purposes of this review I wouldn't recommend it to anyone with a sensitive nose. I don't think I would repurchase this even if it was at a bargain price, because it's just not that ground shaking and I don't particularly enjoy using it. For the price (£8 for 90ml) I think you can find much better cleansers.

You can pick up Philosophy Purity from Boots - £8 for 90ml HERE. The full size 471ml is a whopping £28.50 HERE.

Have you tried Purity before? Are you a Philosophy fan?

Friday, 4 October 2013

Fabulous Nails #52

Hi everyone! So it's been a while since my last Fabulous Nails and I thought you deserved something really special!

This is Maybelline Color Show Polka Dots top coat in blue - it really is unique and special! I picked this up a good few months ago when it was on sale in Boots (along with the monochrome and the green versions which I'm sure you'll have seen on the blog before). Unfortunately it's no longer on sale because it was a limited edition product but I do see these popping up on eBay every now and again.

This top coat is out of this world - it's so different to anything else I've seen from high street beauty brands and seems more like something an indie brand would put out. It's just a show stopping royal blue base with lighter and darker different sized pieces floating around. It can be difficult to apply and get an even spread but if you take your time you can manage it. As you can probably guess it's a complete biatch to remove and that's about the only downside, but well worth it to have such unique nails!

Have you tried this topcoat before? What's your favourite topcoat?

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Superdrug Haul

Hi guys! Another haul post because my spending has been out of control! I really need to reign in my spending and I'm hoping to start up my SAVE don't SPEND series in October and regularly keep a spending diary. But until then, on with the show!

As you can see this was a bit of a random splurge! A couple of things that I actually 'needed' and then some extra indulgences.. as per usual.

I plan on dedicating a whole post to this, but to cut a long story short I have some marks on my face that I want rid of and I picked up this B. Even Skintone Corrector in the hopes that it would do just that! This was £9.99 HERE.

Since moving in with my boyfriend I haven't really spent very much time pampering and relaxing - I made a decision to change this and invested in some face masks to start me off! I really like Superdrug's face mask range as they are all cruelty free, very reasonably priced and I often get two uses out of one sachet. These were 99p each HERE.

Since I went blonde (full post on this coming soon I promise!) I have been using silver toning shampoo regularly to keep the brassiness out of my hair. It's quite bad for my hair and tends to make it dry so I popped some VO5 hot oil treatments into my basket to use after I've washed the silver shampoo out. I've been doing this for a few weeks and it's already making the world of difference. These were two for £7 but are usually £4.29 for four HERE.

And of course no Superdrug or Boots haul would be complete without me adding some new nail polishes to my collection! I have been hankering after Barry M Gelly Hi Shine in Lychee for months so it's no surprise I now own it! I have also wanted to try the red Gelly Hi Shine and since these were on offer (although I can't remember what offer) I persuaded myself to buy them. These aren't online but are available in your local Boots or Superdrug.

Do you always end up with more than you'd gone in for at Superdrug? Let me know what you've been buying in the Comments.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Tuesday Tales #14 - Meet Marcel and O'Malley

Hi guys! A long overdue Tuesday Tales post today - I think my last one was way back in August! If you follow me on Twitter you will know that my little family grew by two in September when kittens Marcel and O'Malley arrived! Of course this wasn't a impulsive decision and was the subject of much deliberation and planning for months and months, but now they're finally here and we have been so busy keeping up with them - I've only just thought to introduce them over on Bee's Knees. So ladies and gents, meet Marcel and O'Malley...

(Marcel is at the back, O'Malley is at the front)

They are brothers from the same litter, although Marcel is the 'runt' of the litter and much smaller than his littermates! They are pedigree cats - a breed called Ocicats which I came across almost ten years ago when working in my first job in a cattery and kennels. Ocicats are a really special breed, they're so different to regular cats! They're much bigger and have distinct colours and patterns - you can see that both Marcel and O'Malley are spotted but it is possible to get them in different patterns. Ocicats come in a range of colours but the most special ones to me are silver, lilac and chocolate. Marcel is lilac spotted and O'Malley is chocolate spotted. They grow to be between 1.5 and 2 times the size of regular moggies, and have a really athletic and sleek shape to them (pretty much the opposite of my little chunky monkey Clem!)

The most special thing about Ocicats is their temperament - they are much bolder, boisterous and demanding than regular cats and in many ways behave like dogs. O'Malley has recently learned how to play fetch and it's his favourite game! As cheesy as it sounds, ever since I met my first Ocicat all those years ago I have been desperate to share my home with one. Although I am a massive advocate of rescuing cats and kittens, Clementine and my old cat Jerry are both rescues, having Ocicats has been a dream and one I could only achieve by adopting kittens from a breeder. Selfish, yes, and I do carry guilt with me because of my decision. But I do not regret bringing these beautiful boys home with me one bit.

So as soon as I knew when I would be moving back to Leeds I got in touch with some Northern breeders to see if they would have any litters around August/September. We decided to get two boys because we already have Clem and she is a complete primadonna - we weren't sure we could cope with any more madams stalking around ruling the roost! I've had a lot of boy cats over the years and I've generally found them to be more laid back and easy going. 

The breeder we spoke to had a litter that would be available in July but agreed to hold them a little longer for us until August when we would be all settled in to our new house. We visited them and completely fell in love - as mischievous as they were it was impossible not to! We made the decision after we'd met them, and seen their home and their mum (important if you're buying from a breeder) and then the countdown began! By the time we brought them home in August they were 12 weeks old but they weren't any less kitten-y or snuggly than they had been at a younger age. I actually think being able to spend that extra month with their mum and littermates has made them more settled and confident cats. We decided to get two brothers from the same litter because we thought it would be easier for them to adjust if they were already best friends, and also easier on Clem because they'd entertain each other rather than jumping all over her!

Although I've had many cats in my family over the years, I've never had kittens (pretty much because they've all been rescues!) So I was really excited to see what they would be like and how our lives would change because of bringing them home. Well nothing could have prepared me for how things have been. My life with these little monsters is a perfect balance between tearing my hair out at their naughty moments and having my heart warmed by their adorable personality quirks. It's madness and mayhem but I really feel like my life is full to the brim with things to be happy about!

As you can see from the photos - they are little monkeys! Their personalities have really started to shine through in the past month. O'Malley has grown so much and is already dwarfing poor Clem who is a fully grown cat! He's quite demanding and does like to get attention all the time - if I'm stroking Clem he doesn't think twice about strutting over to butt her out of the way so I'll stroke him instead! He's also incredibly playful and athletic, one of his favourite games is when we dangle a toy in the air above him and he leaps up to get it. He's so agile he can now jump about one metre off the ground! O'Malley loves snuggles and sitting on knees but doesn't like to be held so much (which is just as well because he's so big!)

Marcel on the other hand is a complete cuddle bunny and loves being held and carried around. When he's feeling particularly snuggly he'll shout at you until you pick him up for a hug. But he isn't the biggest fan of sitting on knees for cuddles - so they are both completely different personalities but put them together and they're perfect! Marcel is a really food-orientated kitcat and we have to put him (and O'Malley otherwise they get sad) in the hall when we're eating. If we don't he will climb all over whoever is eating to try and get a bite! It's quite funny how much he eats given his size, although he's grown lots since we brought him home.

So now the boys are almost 6 months old - the time has flown by! We're going to have to book them in for their op (neutering) soon, which Neil is dreading but I've heard it can calm them down a bit which would be a relief. That said, they are such wonderful little monsters to come home to and I wouldn't change a thing about them. They've settled in perfectly and are pretty good pals with Clem, which was something we were worried about in the beginning. She was a little sceptical of them at first but has come around to them, albeit with lots of swipes to keep them in their place when they try and play too rough!

This has turned into quite the mammoth post, apologies! I probably should have posted this a good few weeks ago but I hope you don't mind the delay (and overload of photos)! I think it's clear to see I am smitten with my kittens, and I hope you are too!