2 April 2017

Current Beauty Product Favourites 2017

Long time no speak fellow beauty lovers, it's definitely been a while. A hundred heart emojis if you're still here reading my rambles, I'll try not to leave it so long in future. While I may have been a little absent from the blogging world, it doesn't mean I've not been adding to my already spiralling beauty wardrobe. I've got a bunch of new (to me) beauty products to share with you, so lets delve in shall we?

Makeup review of the Too Faced Sweet Peach Eyeshadow Palette

NYX Lip Liner in "Nude Pink" £3.00
I never thought I would cheat on my beloved "Pillow Talk Lipliner" but I may have been having a small, tiny fling with this gorgeous shade from NYX. It is in the same colour family as the CT one, I certainly seem to have a specific criteria when it comes to lip liners, but it's so creamy and comfortable on the lips, not to mention how inexpensive they are. I'm actually surprised no one has discovered them sooner, what a bargain!

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in "Sexy Sienna" £24
To accompany said lip liner, I've been applying this "sexy"lipstick, which is literally Spring in a tube. I don't think I really have to explain my decision regarding Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks, you all know how I feel about those. Though I have posted a picture on my Instagram, if you fancy a look at this lipstick on. Also while you're there, why not give my account a little "Follow" #shamelessplug.

Makeup review of the Too Faced Sweet Peach Eyeshadow Palette

Too Faced Sweet Peach Eyeshadow Palette £39
I know, I know, yet another blogger singing the praises of this now infamous eyeshadow palette, but as someone who was once very sceptical, "Can something really live up to so much hype",  I can certainly say it's warranted. As a girl who would once upon a time never go near peach toned shades, I can now say I'm a convert. This palette has been my go-to over the last three months, I have barely touched anything else, with Georgia, Puree, Caramelised & Luscious being my most used shades. A tap in the pan is all that's needed, as the formulation is so smooth and buttery, I just can't get enough.

Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara £24.50
Don't you just love when complementary beauty samples get slipped in your online order, and then they turn out to be a star product? Well, that happened to me with this mascara. I think, no, I know I've mentioned before how picky I am when it comes to my lashes, I'm all about the length, and this mascara makes my lashes look so long and defined. It's definitely not going to impress those who like volume, but if you're trying to achieve long separated lashes, this one is for you.

Makeup review of the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation Stick

IBeauty Skin Brush 21£22
The Beauty Blender is what I had been using exclusively, to apply my foundations, up until last month. I had never really understood the whole "Artis" foundation brush "thang", to me it just looks like an expensive tooth brush, however while searching Cult Beauty (a regular occurrence for me) I found a slightly cheaper alternative, and thought I'd give it a try. Plus I needed to bump up my order to get free delivery, just me? I was honestly so surprised.

Not only is this brush, which originates from South Korea incredibly soft, it also applies my foundation seamlessly and strangely enough, quicker than my beauty blender. I team it with the Hourglass Stick foundation, (which I'll get into in a second) and this brush just glides across my skin. It's also the perfect size, especially considering I have a face the size of a watermelon hehe.

Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick £42
This foundation is definitely not for people who prefer a light coverage, it's quite on the full size, but it just covers everything and because of the creamy texture it doesn't feel drying on the skin. I do always use a hydrating primer underneath and a setting water as a finishing step, just as a precaution as it's quite a thick formula. Using a Beauty Blender does sheer the formula out a little, but if you're after a Kardashian esk base this foundation might be the one for you. Though I will say if you suffer from very dry skin, I would probably run for the hills, just a note.

Product reviews of my favourite beauty products

Japonesque Kumadoru Contour & Highlighting Brush £24
No your eyes aren't deceiving you, this brush is indeed an amazing dupe of the very pricey Nars Yachiyo Brush. I'll be honest, it's the only reason why I bought it, but I'm so glad I did. The soft tapered bristles fit perfectly into the hollows of my cheeks making this the perfect powder contour brush. You could literally use this brush to apply any kind of powder product, sometimes I use the domed tip to pop a hit of blusher on the apples of my cheeks, it's truly multipurpose. So if you're pining for the Nars one, I definitely recommend trying this one, oh your bank balance will thank you too.

January Labs Restorative Tonic Mist £18
One of the constant members of my ever evolving skincare routine over the last 3-4 months has been this toner, which I again came across though a Cult Beauty sample and love it so much, I bought the full size. Most toners I've used in the past alway left my skin feeling tight and parched, but as this one is alcohol free it doesn't strip my skin, it actually leaves it feeling hydrated and quite refreshed. It also contains Aloe Vera and Which Hazel which are great for helping spots. I haven't heard much about this brand before, so if you've tried any more products, definitely let me know, I may have to try more  considering how well this toner's performed.

I'd say the last few moths have been pretty successful in terms of beauty products, wouldn't you say? Which products have been sat at the top of your beauty radar over the last few months, let me know I'm always adding recommendations to my wish list.

                                                                   XOXO Claire 

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
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