Thursday, 27 April 2017

The Perfect 'Grown-Up' Sleepover

Ok, so I'm going to level with you here.
You. Are. Never. Too. Old. For. Sleepovers!! - in case you had any doubts.
In fact, girly sleepovers in your adult years are even better. And not just because you can have wine (...ok, a lot of it is to do with the wine).

Sometimes, we just need that down time. In our busy lives we can't always find time to connect with our friends as often as we would like. Instead of scheduling in endless individual, expensive and sugary coffee dates, I like to get as many of my close girls together at one time as possible.
Here's how we throw the perfect 'grown-up' sleepover!

Presentation, presentation, presentation.
Get out the table cloth, kitsch it up with some tea cups, vintage bowls and sweeties!
You don't have to spend money on this stuff either. Borrow your nan's, use mismatching stuff from your house, or even hit up a charity shop.

Retro sweeties, party snacks and crisps - call it a flashback for your tastebuds. 
We had popcorn, pink pick'n'mix, cheesy nibbles, Walkers Sensations and Haribo Star Mix (Poundland is LIT for this kinda thing!)
The 'grown-up' part is what you decide to put in your cup! We went for Echo Falls summer, fruity wines, and later... cocktails!!

No sleepover is complete without pampering.
We got Black Head pore masks from eBay, of all places. They are like the classic 'insta-famous', peely black masks. They weren't amazingly skin cleansing, but they were great fun to peel off.
We also cracked out the nail polish collection and gave each a hand (because no one can do BOTH hands neatly...)

We also used the Oh K Cucumber Sheet Masks, they were super slimy but very moisturising. 
No hangover faces on us! Plus, they were worth it even just for the laughs.

We used the Cathy Doll Super Girl Charcoal Nose Strips, I got these in Thailand - but they are available on Amazon or here.
Super painful to peel off, make you look like you've got a broken nose but boy do they pull those pesky blackheads out!

After many drinks, cute chats, face packs and nibbles - we all headed to bed.
And how do you keep the fun continuing? BREAKFAST!

Lucky for us, the weather was gorgeous. We showed off our sparkly skin and kicked the cobwebs of our hangovers away with a few coffees, reminiscing and a bit of egg porn.

And there you have it! The perfect 'grown-up' sleepover from the BTW squad ;)

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Can we just talk about POP Beauty eyeshadow?

For work, I love wearing bright and light shades that illuminate my eyes and make me look awake. When I opened my latest Birchbox I was ecstatic to find this Pop Cosmetic Bright Up Your Life Eye Shadow Trio in Peach Parfait. It is absolutely stunning!

The first colour is a champagne shimmer, the second is a peachy pink and the third colour is a molten bronze. All three are incredibly pigmented, but it was the butteriness that struck me! These babies are thick and creamy and just absolutely delectable!

You can see how gorgeous the champagne colour is for an inner eye and under brow highlight. If you're not into big highlight, maybe this isn't for you. But for all you need this bad boy.

To keep it subtle, here I just blended in the peach colour into my crease and added a very very light sweep of the bronzey colour across the lid.

Honestly, so stunning! These swatches on my arm show how pigmented these shadows really are!

These three colours were taken from the Naturally Bare palette, but I got them via my June Birchbox subscription.

If you'd be interested in seeing Birchbox reviews/hauls, then please comment below!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Skincare Regime: Liz Earle, Clinique, The Body Shop and Simple

Over the years there have been MANY, and I mean MANY, changes in my skin-care routine - and there probably will be many more. But certain products stand the test of time and hold their own through Christmas's, birthdays and regrettable splurges. For me, these are those products!
I have really irritating skin, I must begin by saying. Mostly I have very dry skin - during my teenage years I could use body-butter as a moisturiser and still be flakey. 
However, as I've progressed through my 20's I have developed the most fickle skin ever!
I'm really dry between my eyebrows, around my nostrils and across my jaw. I'm oily across my central forehead and nose. I'm spotty in my temples and on my chin.

Due to this oil vs. flakiness problem, I knew I needed to exfoliate. BUT it couldn't be too harsh on my dry areas, whilst being oil stripping at the same time. 
I was reaaaally late jumping on this band-wagon but boy I'm glad I did! Being all natural and oil based, Liz Earle's Hot Cloth Cleanser is perfect for removing make-up and as an everyday face wash.

I use my cleanser in the shower, usually. I lather up my face with 1.5-2 pumps of the product, paying particular attention to my eyes. Once I've washed my body or faffed about for a few minutes, I go in with the muslin cloth. When you first use these they can feel a little harsh - I found scrunching them up a few times under the hot water tended to loosen them.
I go in circular motions all over my face - lightly in my oily areas and a bit more vigorously in dry areas to really exfoliate.

Once I'm out of the shower I try and remember to tone with my Liz Early Instant Skin Boost Tonic. If I'm going to miss any step of my skincare it's this!!
Usually I squirt a generous amount onto a cotton pad and sweep this over my entire face and down my neck. This step usually only occurs in the evening.

Now my favourite part, moisturising!! As soon as I've washed my face it starts to feel tight. I've used loads of different moisturisers over the years but Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion lives up to the hype. I have the large bottle for dry skin. It makes me super shiny but it's so hydrating. I use this every night without fail and sometimes in the morning if I'm not going anywhere and can wander round looking like a waxed apple.

But, if I am going somewhere and need to put my make up on relatively quickly after washing - I use the The Body Shop beautifying oil. Sadly they no longer do the Brazil Nut scent, which is honestly the best smelling beauty product I've ever owned!
I sweep a SMALL amount of this over my face and leave it to sink in for a few minutes. This is quite a dry oil and it comes out very slowly so don't be scared to give it a go, though I understand oil on the face doesn't sound fantastic! It is!!

Finally, a little nod to my drunk skincare regime. Yup, you HAVE to take your make-up off, even if you're a bit trollied. If I know I'm going to be drinking, I try and leave baby wipes (fragrance free) on my bedside table so I can't forget to remove my make up.
If I'm feeling really clever I will also messily use my Simple Refreshing Facial Wash Gel over the sink you get the sweat and make-up residue off my face. I won't lie to you.... drunk Stephanie forgets to moisturise.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Review: HD Healthy FX Foundation by SmashBox

Annoyingly, I can not find this foundation on the SmashBox site, but have been reliably informed it is out of stock BUT never fear. I've added a host of other sites that stock it at the bottom of this post.

So a little background, I was the make-up artist (and bridesmaid, phew!) at a wedding this weekend. When searching for products for bridal make up, there is one thing you need to watch out for. Flashback! This is the lightened effect on the face in photos caused by SPF. Ever had a photo taken of yourself where your face looks lighter than your neck? This bad boy is responsible!

Obviously this would be a total nightmare on your wedding day. So off I went in search of a photo-ready foundation. SmashBox are renowned for their photoshoot make up, especially their Photo Finish Primer (which I also used on my lovely ladies).

Add caption

Not only did it blend brilliantly in to 3 slightly different skin tones, but as you can see from these photos, no flashback!
I would say the coverage is fairly light as you can still see my freckles but evens the skin tone. It's perfect for events such as weddings when you don't want to look overdone or cake, which is easily done when you're in daylight.

Overall, thoroughly impressed with this product. It may be slightly on the yellow side (I have shade L2) but this was easily solved with some powder.

So brides out there, get down to Smashbox for  flashback-free-festivities!

Where to buy:
(Primer mentioned: Smashbox)

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Review: Define and Conquer by SEVENTEEN

I think we are long overdue a blog post! I've now finished university for the summer (YAY!) and the usual summer influx of blog posts and videos is upon us! 
So I've decided to kick off with a new favourite of mine - the Define and Conquer palette in Medium from Seventeen at Boots.
Contouring has definitely kicked off big-time in the last year and now highstreet make up brand have picked up on it. Chiselled cheekbones and nipped in noses are no long just for the Kardashian's!

The packaging for Seventeen is super sleek and simple, this particular compact reminds me ALOT of the Nars bronzer/blusher packaging. I imagine the writing on the top would probably wear off if you chucked it in your handbag but it's been in my make up case with loads of other compacts for a couple of weeks and has faired pretty well.

In terms of the actual powders themselves, the contour colour is matte - which is a MUST for contouring. Glitter, shimmer or sparkles are going to totally ruin the illusion for you. The colour pay off is pretty good, as you can see from the swatches, it is perhaps a little on the orange side but that's just personal preference. The highlight is, again, very pigmented. I think I should have gone for the lighter kit, maybe, purely because the highlight colour isn't that much lighter than my skin. However, I've been using it to blend the contour powder in at the edges to great effect.

To apply, I like to use an angled brush in the hollows of my cheek to apply the contour, then a fluffy blusher brush to dust the highlight above and below to blend it in seamlessly.

In terms of price, for £5.99 you can't really complain! Plus it's one of the only reasonably priced contour kits I've seen on the highstreet. 

On the theme of contouring, I've order the Make Up Revolution Conceal Kit which rages from super light to very dark and has been recommended for the cream contour techniques you've probably seen all over YouTube. So stayed tuned for more cheekbone chat!

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Review: Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation & Concealer

I've never been a huge foundation user, having been thankfully blessed with 'ok' skin, but in recent years I've been exploring getting that flawless look - mostly just on nights out.
I'd been using Bourjois Healthy Mix for a while (when I felt like I needed extra coverage) but recently it's been 'lifting'.
Lifting is that annoying predicament when you're applying your foundation and it just won't, well, stick!! I get this a lot, I presume because I have dry skin and I use very thick moisturisers.

THEN, I got a sample of the Clinique Beyond Perfecting foundation in You magazine (Mail On Sunday) and decided to try it. It was a particularly dark shade (neutral I believe), so I slapped on the fake tan and got applying. I was shocked. With the first stroke the coverage was amazing! I wore it under my Laura Mercier powder and it stayed put all night - the proof was on the make up wipe!

I decided I needed to investigate, so off I went to my local Clinique counter.

The lovely ladies there colour-matched me and explained how to perfectly apply their new product. You take the wand out of the beautifully stream-lined glass bottle and dot the foundation on your chin, nose, forehead and then wipe the excess off on your cheeks. They recommended applying with your fingers, which I'm never keen on, but it did look good.

Sadly, I think my shade may be a tiny bit dark, but if I keep up my tanning regime that won't be a problem. 
I'm trying in incorporate the Clinique products I already have back in to my routine, including the mild facial wash and toner. More updates on my new skincare routine to come!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

University: Tips, Tricks and Tesco Value Vodka

At this time of year many sixth form students start to hear back from their universities of choice. Speaking from experience, this is a truly sucky portion of the year. You are either in a state of constant suspense or elation, depending on how far along in the process you are.

For me, I was in the former camp and I was deferring my university entry- not recommended unless you're sure you will get the grades for your chosen university. Having applied to 4 top universities (class case of uni-snob-disease) I was shattered when only one got back to me with an offer. To make matters worse, I received the news while I was travelling Australia solo!

This leads me neatly to tip number one:
1) DO NOT stress it!
You're either going to get in, or you're not. Sitting in your room eating Malteasers and quietly rocking back and forth will not change anything. So, get on with your life until you get your responses. After that you can of course, PANIC!
Cue first embarrassing university photo to make you feel better.


Never fear! You're all in the same boat! And the likelihood is you're not going to be the shyest person there anyway! Just be friendly, say hello and be yourself.
I'm now in my 2nd year at uni and I live in a house with 1 girl that was in my flat in halls and one girl that was in the flat above! These people are going to be your companions throughout university but it doesn't mean you have to get on with all of them. I didn't click with most of the boys I lived with, but it didn't stop us having a good time and making other friendships that have withstood the stress of studying.
Which leads me to tip two:
2) DO make a big effort with your new flatmates, it will be reciprocated and pay off in the long run!

Freshers ball, again, looking very 'mortal'.

Once you're feeling cemented in your halls, it's time to knuckle down. But first year isn't as scary as they make it out to be! For most courses this is experiment time! Usually your freshers year does not count towards your degree so it's the perfect time to express some individuality, experiment in your work style and test out new revision and studying methods (not Netflix is not one of these).

Having said that, do not shoot yourself if you miss a few lectures. The social side of first year is very important and society nights out enable you to meet and network with people you will no doubt want to be around in the future. One of my closest friends at uni is a girl I met in the English Lit society and I've had some amazing times with her that I wouldn't have had if I hadn't stepped out into the university social scene.

So that bring us to tip:
3) DO NOT waste your first year! It's a time for experimentation, finding yourself and finding new friends!

My VERY FIRST night out at uni!

I'm going to end this post with the boring bit. Finances!
Everybody knows that uni is expensive and your loan covers your rent and a loaf of bread a week. I can not recommend summer jobs/Christmas jobs and temp jobs enough!
Having money saved up before I started uni meant that I could relax and enjoy myself more than I would have otherwise been able. I have a friend that went into her overdraft buying stuff for her uni room and hasn't gone into plus figures since! Don't be that kid!

To round up:
4) DO keep track of your finances and DO buy everything from Tesco Everyday Value (yes....even vodka...sigh)

Maira Gall