27 November 2016

10 Beauty Products To Buy From The Drugstore?

The Drugstores are bursting with so many inexpensive beauty brands, sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start, there are quite a few undiscovered gems out there. So I thought, to save you a bit of time, I would run you through 10 of my favourite "Drugstore" products that you can easily pick up in your local Boots or Superdrug, this festive season and best of all, they all cost under £10. So grab a cuppa and a pen, because you're gonna want to add a few of these products to your collection.

10 Beauty products to buy from the drugstore

I'll be honest, my skincare wardrobes consists of mostly products on the higher price spectrum, however I always have to have a bottle of this Micellar Water in my stash. It's even replaced Bioderma as my go to, pre-cleanse makeup remover. It literally does what it says on the bottle, gently removing all traces of makeup, without drying out your skin. Not only is the price as cheap as chips, you also get so much product, especially considering Bioderma costs around £15 a bottle. Garnier also have a few skin specific formulations available, my particular bottle is for combination skin, but there's also both a dry skin and a normal version available.

This particular mascara has been mentioned on this blog more times than I can count. As the "Beauty Bloggers" say it's my "Ride Or Die". It's natural enough for everyday wear, by making your lashes look extra long and luscious while holding a curl, but it can also be layered up for a more dramatic look. One stipulation I always have when it comes to mascara is it must not flake, and this one, I am happy to say passes my oily eyelid test! It's my makeup bag staple.

A picture of NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream Liquid Lipsticks

These soft, incredibly pigmented lip creams were my first foray into the whole "Liquid Lipsticks" trend, little did I know what I was getting myself into. I currently have 13 shades in my collection, purely because I love how easy they are to throw on and most importantly, they are incredibly comfortable on the lips. My favourite shades are "Morocco" a bright orange red and "Zurich" a gorgeously wearable pinky nude. If the regular liquid lipsticks formula fills you with dread, I definitely recommend trying these out, they might change your mind, plus they are so inexpensive and have a huge colour selection, there is literally a shade for everyone.

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge £5.99
10 months ago I had never applied my foundation with a sponge, I was strictly a Buffing Brush kind of gal, I always though it was a faff having to run it under the tap beforehand ( I know, what a lazy bum) but I'm so gad I got up off my bum and gave it a go because it's revolutionised the way I apply my makeup. It really does give your skin that flawless, airbrushed finish. I also find the whole "bouncing" action quite therapeutic, I honestly don't think I'll ever go back to my foundation brush.

10 Beauty Products To Buy From The Drugstore?

This radiance balm is great at adding an extra glow to your skin, you can use it as the last step in your skincare routine, before your foundation or alone on a bare skin day. It really is the perfect morning skin pick me up. This balm is actually in a similar vane to the Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow, just without the glitter, oh and it's about 90% cheaper. Not bad for something that costs less than a cup of coffee huh.

This has been my top coat of choice for over a year, I never paint my nails without it. Unlike it's Seche Vite counterpart this top coat doesn't get as thick  and gloopy as quickly, so the bottle lasts much longer, leaving you with a glossy paint job, that dries in minutes.

A picture of the Loreal Paris Colour Riche A Lhuile Nail Polishes

Sticking with the "nail" theme, if you're looking for some new nail polishes that have a creamy opaque formula, wide set brush and great staying power? Look no further, not only are these polishes stunning to look at, Loreal nailed (hehe) their packaging, but they have so many gorgeous colours. The shades 668 Bleu Royal and 440 Cherie Macaron in particular are beautiful.

I think this creamy pink toned, iridescent highlighting stick was made by angels, it just beams atop my cheekbones. It sits comfortably between soft and natural and "wham" #highlightonfleek. The lasting power, considering it's a cream product, is outstanding too.

10 Beauty Products To Buy From The Drugstore?

This cream contour stick seriously upped my "contour" game. Again, it's a product I've mentioned many times since Maybelline generously sent it to me, but it's just the prefect cool toned shade for girls with pale skin, a la me. It just melts into the skin to create the perfect amount of definition.

Lip liners have done a complete 180, they're no longer thought of as old fashioned, but are at the tippy top of the trend ladder. These lip liners from Rimmel started it all for me, they are creamy, pigmented, have amazing staying power and are cheap as chips! My favourite shade is most definitely "Eastend Snob" which coincidentally is also a dead ringer for the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk, just a bit of food for thought there, if you fancy saving a few quid.

Obviously there are a tonne more amazing products I could mention, but I thought I would just keep it to 10 for now, if you like this type of post I could easily do some more. Though I did do a similar post a few months ago, 10 Beauty Products To Buy From Space NK if you're looking to add something a little more luxurious to your Christmas wishlist.

What are a few of your "Drugstore Beauty Must haves?"

XOXO Claire

13 November 2016

My Weight Loss Journey: 5 Years On

Today's post is a little bit more on the personal side, don't worry I still have lots of beauty filled posts in the works, but today I'm discussing the difficult subject of weight loss. If you're a long time reader of this blog you will know that I've struggled with my weight all my life, but I really started piling on the pounds when I went high school, I was the definition of a comfort eater and my vice was sugar!

It's true what they say about sugar being as addictive as crack (not that I know, just putting it out there). I could polish off a whole packet of biscuits secretly in my room, then head down for dinner. I also suffered and continue to suffer with depression, which made things 10 times harder, as it's just a vicious cycle, and one I still struggle with to this day. By the time I was 16, I weighed 19 stone at my heaviest (I know, even now I can't believe it got that far) and had tried every diet under the sun.  5 years ago I decided enough was enough and started looking into Weight Loss Surgery, specifically a Gastric Band.

Why I Decided To Get A Gastric Band, Weight Loss Surgery

I explain my decision a little more this blog post: Why I Decided To Get A Gastric Band but ultimately, the decision was one I thought long and hard about, and in the end I decided it was the one that would benefit me the most. If you're still a bit unsure about what a Gastric Band actually is and what it's used for, just read this article, it explains everything in a lot more detail. 5 years on I thought I would give a little insight into how I found the experience and if I think in the end, it was worth it.

So, how much have I lost? Well, currently I've lost 5 1/2 stone, like most people my weight does fluctuate, but right now it's at a bit of a standstill. For me personally my mental health does have a huge impact on my weight, and I'll be honest, I'm not doing so great right now (but that's a whole other issue) my motivation is waining. But lets rewind back to a few weeks after my actual surgery, it was definitely not all plain sailing, people who think "Weight Loss Surgery" is the easy option, are seriously mistaken. For two weeks afterwards I had to have a purely liquified diet due to all the swelling in your stomach. My mum actually cooked a roast dinner (just chicken and vegetables for me) and put mine in the blender, actually as gross as it sounds it didn't taste that bad haha, though having your surgery a few weeks before Christmas certainly took its toll.

About 3 months after my initial surgery I went back to the doctor for my first "fill" where he injected saline into the band, which is where the restriction comes in. It's such a strange feeling, if you eat too much food you feel a tightening in your chest and need to be sick. It really is a learning curve, discovering your limits, what you can eat and what you can't eat. I'm not gonna lie, I've had to visit restaurant bathrooms way more than I would care to admit. It's not as simple as eating less, food textures also can create problems. Even now 5 years on, it's still a struggle, I recently had 2 mls of saline taken out, as I've been having issues eating protein and carbohydrates, so a bit of weight has crept on, but as my mum keeps telling me when I feel down, where would I have ended up without the surgery?

Why I Decided To Get A Gastric Band, Weight Loss Surgery

This picture was taken in Spain last year, you may have seen it before if you read my Plus Size Fashion Lookbook, which was a huge moment for me. No, I may not look like a "Victoria Secrets Model" or have the perfect "Thigh Gap" but it was a turning point for me, where I would finally allow full body photos. Do I feel 100% comfortable? Absolutely not, there are still a tonne of things I would like to change (one of which I will mention in a minute) but I think my friends and family would all agree that my self confidence has come a long way, and I can only attribute that to the surgery.

The band played a part doing 50% of the work, but I have to work hard at the other 50%, even to this day. It's still a process and struggling with pretty serious depression doesn't make it easy, but I will continue to work at it. At the beginning of this whole process I never thought I would ever be able to fit in size 16 jeans, and I'm currently sat typing in a pair of ripped, size 16, skinny jeans, so it is doable. So if you've thought about Weight Loss Surgery, I say go and inquire about it, talk to your doctor, and most importantly don't let anyone else sway your decision, your happiness is what's important.

However one of the things people don't tell you when you lose a lot of weight is there are a few repercussions, for me that was saggy skin (sorry if this is tmi, but you know #keepingitreal). One of the reasons for me posting this update is that next week I will be undergoing another procedure. Now I know that everyone has their own views on plastic surgery, but for me, I believe if it helps your own personal well being, be it physical, mental or emotional, you should do whatever you need to do... So, next week I am finally getting a breast reduction. They have been a huge (no pun intended) drain on my body, both physically and mentally, and I really need a self confidence boost, so Wednesday is D Day (pun intended!) Instead of keeping it secret I wanted to again, share my experience because I'm sure a lot of women are in the same boat.

I apologise for the length of this blog post, but I actually found writing it quite cathartic, especially as it's not something I would have initially talked about publicly. I really want to erase the stigma surrounding "Weight Loss Surgery" it's definitely not taking the easy option, it takes pure hard work and determination, you just have a bit of added help.

If any of you have any questions or need a talk to someone, you can definitely tweet or email me, I am more than happy to help.

XOXO Claire

12 October 2016

Autumn Beauty Haul & Reveiw

Even though I may have been a little quiet on the blogging front over the last few months, that doesn't mean I haven't been indulging in a few new beauty purchases, lets just say my postman has been kept pretty busy (ahem). I'll admit it, I've been exceptionally naughty as you will see below, but I like to think about it as "important beauty research". I'm sure you fellow bloggers understand, right? As I've had most of these products a while I thought I would let you know my first impressions with a few miniature reviews, instead of just your standard "Haul" so lets get started... grab your pumpkin spiced latte because this might be a long one.

A picture of some new beauty products.

I always fall victim to beauty hype, but thankfully with this texturising spray, it really is well deserved. One mist of this fine, lightweight spray manages to hold my curls without leaving them crunchy or sticky, plus it injects a tonne of volume. I have to say it, I think this spray may even beat Orbie and you know how much I love that stuff, hell I even bought the full size, so you can imagine how happy both me and my wallet are.

I promised myself after falling in love with the Luna Oil that I would try to watch my pennies when it came to skincare, but after trying a few samples of this pricey treatment I knew I had to bite the bullet and order the full size. This Lactic Acid based treatment has been a permanent fixture in my routine over the last month and I've certainly noticed a difference in the condition of my skin. It's brighter, I've had fewer breakouts and the ones I have had, have cleared up so much faster, even my pores look smaller, I'm really impressed. Considering I've had my Luna Oil over 10 months and there's still a quarter of the product left, I expect this one to last just as long.

Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist $48
Ok, this miniature bottle came in a special Sephora skincare set, which I may have bought purely so I could try this hyped up face mist, I know, I have issues. Though to be honest, I've not been that impressed, it does add a little "dew" to my skin but that's about it. It claims to be a mist moisturiser, that gives a luminous glow to the skin, but I was very underwhelmed. It didn't set my makeup or enhance it in anyway. Maybe this mist would work better for extremely dry skin, but for me this was average, definitely not worth the high price tag.

Mascara's are one makeup product that I think you can never try enough of, you get my drift, so I was intrigued to try this offering which on one end has a "Supersizing Primer" with a "lengthening Topcoat" on the other. I've always been wary of white mascara primers as they can be hard to cover, but this one was pretty good. I can't say it gave my lashes added volume, but it was ok as mascaras go, a little clumpy but decent. I'll continue to work with it, as sometimes mascara formulas change as they dry out over time.

Another day, another lip liner added to my very saturated lip product collection, but you know what? I don't care hehe. You all know how much I love the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipsticks, well when I discovered they had come out with a whole new range of lip liners, I had to pick one up, in a standard "Claire" colour of course. It's a gorgeous pinky mauve shade, similar to Mac Soar and the smooth texture is very reminiscent of the Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liners (which I also love).

Colourpop Ultra Matte in Times Square
I made another Colourpop order a few weeks ago, (you can read my "Shipping Colourpop To The UK Post" to find out how) and I timed it perfectly as they had an offer on where you got to pick a free Ultra Matte Liquid Lipstick for every $10-12 you spent. So I picked up two colours along with my order, one dark berry shade and this cool toned grey nude, which I have become obsessed with! It's not normally a colour I would go for, but I love it. As long as I apply lip balm beforehand it sits pretty comfortably on my lips and stays around for a good - four hours. Not bad for a free lippie huh, though I have a feeling this shade could possibly be limited edition.

Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Celestial

When you literally wait two months for a product to come back into stock you're obviously going to be excited when it finally arrives at your door, even more so when you swatch said product and realise how absolutely stunning it is. The words liquid gold really do come to mind with this beautiful cool toned, metallic highlighter. One drop leaves your skin shimmering like a beacon. They're definitely not cheap, but I can't imagine anyone using up this whole bottle, I think even the most hard core #highlightonfleek strobers would struggle.

Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Lipstick in Sexy Sienna

Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Lipstick in Sexy Sienna £23
I'll let you into a secret, way back in 2006 when I first started reading fashion magazines I became obsessed with Sienna Miller, when she was still with Jude Law, before #nannygate. She was my boho/hippie style icon, so when I discovered that CT named a lipstick after her I just had to pick it up. The fact that it turned out to be a gorgeous warm coral shade just happened to be a bonus.

This highlighter has such a unique texture, is it a cream? Is it a powder? It definitely sits in-between, but when it's applied to the skin it has more of a satin feel. The finish is more subtle than the Cover FX, highlighter but it's still all kinds of stunning.

Colourpop Supershock Eyeshadow in Weenie $5
I added a few more Colourpop eyeshadows to my collection, this is the only shade I've tried so far but I absolutely love it. It's the perfect metallic rose gold shade, created by the lovely KathleenLights and named after one of her three dogs. I've been wearing this shade over the top of 'Salted Caramel' from the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette, and they really do make the perfect autumn colour combination.

L-R Colourpop Lunch Money /  Colourpop Weenie /  Cover FX Celestial / Charlotte Tilbury Sexy Sienna / Colourpop Times Square / Stila Zinfandel

Hopefully you liked this more detailed account of my most recent beauty purchases, let me know what you've bought over the last month or so?

XOXO Claire

11 September 2016

August 2016 Beauty Favourites

I never thought I would say this, but this beauty blogger may be turning into a creature of habit. I found it harder than usual to pick my stand out beauty products over the last few months, I don't know whether that's down to feeling a little uninspired in the general blogging sense, but I'm just feeling a little blurgh... Hopefully the start of Autumn will reignite my spark, but until then here's my end of summer, beauty favourites round up, featuring a few golden oldies and some new routine staples.

A picture of my August 2016 Beauty Favourites
Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Body Butter £27
I've mentioned this line many times before, but the lizard like skin on my arms and legs were crying out for some marzipan scented hydration. It's super moisturising without leaving your limbs feeling greasy or sticky, it just melts into your skin. As for the scent, I'm not normally a marzipan scented fan, I can't stand the stuff, but for some reason the ratio of almond to coconut is just enough without becoming sickly.

Briogeo Rosarco Milk Leave In Conditioning Spray £18.50
Considering how temperamental my hair is, I can seriously resemble Monica from Friends if I use the wrong combination of products, my hair is very "High Maintenance" I even did a whole post about it. So finding a good leave in conditioner that de-tangles, reduces frizz without weighing my hair down is tough, but this one is a real winner, it does all that while still leaving my hair hydrated and soft, plus it smells damn good too. I bought this from Sephora as it came in a miniature set (hence why it's so small), but I recently found this brand is now sold on Look Fantastic, which is well... fantastic!

A picture of the Zoeva Cocoa Blends Eyeshadow Palette
Zoeva Cocoa Blends Eyeshadow Palette £18
I've really pared down my eyeshadow lately, if I wear any at all it's been from this stunning Zoeva Palette. I generally just sweep "Substitute For Love" through my crease for a bit of definition, or if I'm feeling a more warm look I'll add in a bit "Freshly Toasted". Just look at all these shades, gorgeous colour selection, buttery, smooth, pigmented, what more could you want? Now I'm coveting their Nude Spectrum Palette (uh oh).

A picture of my August 2016 Beauty Favourites
Colour Wow One Minute Transformation Styling Cream £9
I like to call this cream my "Frizz Fixer". When I apply it to my freshly dried hair it really helps tame all my fly-aways leaving behind a smooth, sleek base. It certainly does "Transform" my "Monica" barnet into a more manageable style. It's quickly becoming a hair staple, which is funny considering it's been sat in my drawer for over a year untouched. I really should go through my sample draw more often, there could be some hidden gems just waiting to be discovered.

A picture of my Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk
Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk £16
Ok, I know, I know, I've mentioned this lip liner more times than even I can count, but it's simply That good it deserves to be a member of every monthly beauty post! If I can't decide what lip colour to wear I always turn to this one, the soft, creamy, pinky nude colour literally goes underneath everything. Plus it gives the illusion of gorgeous juicy lips, without the risk and expense of lip fillers.

A picture of the Maybelline Matte Lipstick in Clay Crush
I never thought I would be sat here raving about a "Brown Toned" nude lipstick, but here I am, stranger things have happened. Whenever I fancy an easy to wear nude lip combination, I pop on the CT Lip Cheat and then apply this lipstick over the top. It's a fuss free, low maintenance combo with the lipstick formula being smooth and creamy, and best of all, so in-expensive.

A picture of the Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask
Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask £22.99
Not to brag, but my skin has been pretty well behaved lately, mainly blemish free, apart from a few small hormonal spots. I have quite the large collection of face masks, but when I fancy something a bit more natural, yet still hydrating and detoxifying, this one is just the ticket. It really soothes my skin, especially if it's a bit red and blotchy. Though the intoxicating vanilla scent does make me want to eat it, just to clarify I don't, but it does smell good enough to eat.

A picture of a small fan makeup brush made for highlighting
The Vintage Cosmetics Fantail Bush £11.99 * 
Gone are the days of highlighter being "just for special occasions",  now it's become a daily staple, I want my highlight to glow like a beacon, that's my goal when I wake up everyday hehe. Luckily for my non-existent bone structure I was recently sent this brush from Makeupbrushes.co.uk to try out and it's the perfect partner in crime for my Becca Champagne Pop Shimmering Skin Perfector. The soft bristles deposit just the right amount of powder and can we address the pretty in pink handle,  so cute, as is the shabby chic, floral packaging each brush comes in. This website also does free 1st class shipping, which is amazing because I know one of my biggest bugbears buying online is having to pay for shipping.

Binge Worthy TV:  Arrow
Thanks to discovering Arrow on Amazon Prime, my Netflix account has stayed pretty much untouched over the last month (apart from "That" Pretty Little Liars Finale, not going to lie I saw the end coming a mile away, but it was still great, gotta love bad-ass Hanna!). Wow, I have no idea why I waited so long to start Arrow, but I've devoured two seasons in around three weeks and I'm hooked. It's all about a very gorgeous billionaire playboy called Oliver Queen who after being presumed dead in a boat crash, returns home 5 years later, a completely changed man, who makes it his mission to protect his city. It's like a superhero version of CSI. Oh and who ever thought archery could be so hot... you're welcome!

What have you been loving and more importantly watching over the last month?  My watch lists are getting seriously low so give me some autumn TV inspiration.

                                                                                                 *PR Sample
XOXO Claire 
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