Monday, 9 November 2015

What to buy a blogger - Stocking Fillers

Do you have a blogger in your life? Are you wondering what would be the best present for someone that is always on top of the latest trends? Or are you a blogger thinking about treating themselves to a few things?

I will be putting together a series of posts about blogger gifts and I'm starting it off with the perfect stocking fillers!

Giftcards! While they can be seen as the lazy present in some circumstances, giftcards are a great idea for bloggers as they often have very specific products in mind that they would like to try out. It can also be tough to know exactly what a blogger does or doesn't have as they are often the owners of rather extensive collections! If they are food or travel bloggers, you could even pop in a gift card for a meal out or an activity somewhere!
Bloggers are often on the hunt for little accessories to add to their photos and will always welcome some extra knickknacks they can use. Pretty little dishes and trays, delicate rings and large sheets of card in different colours for backgrounds are all great ideas. The nice thing about these particular types of presents is while they are great for blogging, they are also a lovely present in their own right.

Notebooks and blogging planners will always come in handy whether you have a brand new blogger on your hands or a complete pro. Coming up with content never stops so it's really useful to have handbag sized notebooks that you can jot down ideas in and planners help to keep everything running smoothly.

Books about blogging or their main subject area are a great go to and will help a blogger to improve their skills. Blog, Inc is a particularly popular guide for setting up and making the msot of any kind of blog but that is just one of many. If you have a food blogger on your hands, pick up some recipe books that feature new techniques to broaden their repetoire or choose magazines like Elle for your fashion blogger. As a (mainly) beauty blogger myself, I would be a very happy girl if someone picked up Makeup: The Ultimate Guide by Rae Morris for me!

Products to review! A huge part of blogging is obviously talking about products. Whether thats a handbag or the latest children's toy or the sparkliest nail varnish you have ever seen. So naturally adding to a bloggers collection is going to be a plus for them! As I mentioned earlier it can be tough to work out what exactly they might not have but a bit of investigation work into their stash or some casual questions should give you some ideas!

If I have done my job right, I hope you are already pulling up websites to kick off the Christmas shopping for the blogger in your life! I'd love to hear any other ideas you guys have or what you are hoping for this Christmas!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Beauty and the budget - Freedom makeup haul


Although I use a fair number of high end makeup products, I think I get far more satisfaction from finding great products that don't make me wince when I get to the till (I'm looking at you MAC). Given this, whenever a new low cost brand is launched I am often first in line to try it out! When I heard that Adam Minto from Makeup Revolution and Neil Phillips from Distribeauty UK (The people responsible for bringing e.l.f. to the UK!) were teaming up to create Freedom Makeup I was immediately interested.

This brand has been described as a low cost makeup brand for professionals, an affordable MAC if you will so I was excited to see how they would measure up. With lipsticks for £1, brow kits for £3.50 and eyeshadow palettes from £2.50 they certainly have affordable down but can a brand that is so low cost really deliver a line suitable for professionals? I was more than happy to investigate by purchasing a number of products across the line. My haul of 16 items came to a cost of just £17.75 thanks to an amazing deal of getting £15 worth of makeup for free if you spent £15. Over time I have noticed that they have great offers on a regular basis which makes them even more better value. In fact, they are currently running a 3 for 2 mix and match across all products!

Admittedly the vast amount of this cheeky purchase had been left untouched until very recently when I suddenly remembered my little stash of goodies! After rediscovering them, I have been thoroughly testing them out and wanted to share my thoughts with you all!

From Left to Right - Sugar Fix, Jammy Dodger, TGIF, D-ream
The first products I tried were the Pro Melts, a collection of liquid lipsticks that come in an amazing array of colours. From nudes to brights to berries, there is certainly something for everyone and at only £3 they are an absolute steal. As you can see in the picture above, the colours are incredibly pigmented and the formula is really smooth. There was no stickiness like you normally get with cheap liquid lipsticks and for all but D-ream, they lasted an impressive amount of time. Unfortunately while I loved the colour of D-ream it didn't set in the same way as the other three and wore off fairly quickly. However if you are happy to keep it on hand, it's easy enough to top up if you need to!

From Left to Right - Adorn, Sooner or Later
As with the pro melts, there are a huge selection of lipsticks and even some great sets that can save you a bit of money. Amazingly they are just £1 each so I initially didn't hold out that much hope. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was completely wrong! The lipsticks are pretty sheer but the colours build up really nicely and they are silky smooth to apply. I absolutely love both of the colours I bought as they are so wearable and have a gorgeous sheen to them.

From Top to Bottom - Pro Conceal and Correct Light, Pro Matte Foundation 02
These were probably the only products in my haul that I wasn't overly impressed with. The foundation had a really sticky consistency and didn't really blend well at all. Similarly, the concealer just kind of sat on top of my skin rather than giving a nice finish, not to mention the fact that it was extremely yellow toned. I'd give these a miss to be honest unless they decide to reformulate.

Pro Blush in True Loved

The blush I received in True Loved was a lovely peachy pink colour that was nicely pigmented and blended out really well. It also lasted all day so it was amazing value for only £1! I'm definitely planning to pick up a few more of these in a couple of different colours as the quality is lovely.

Pro Eyebrow Kit in Light-Medium
This was a lovely little treasure that was one of my favourites out of the whole selection. The eyebrow kit costs £3.50 and has 3 different shades of powder that can be used to create the perfect shade and some wax. In addition, it came with a mini brush and pair of tweezers (apologies for not including them in the photo!). Now I'll be honest, the brush wasn't particularly usable and I have a bit of a hatred for mini tweezers (why make something like tweezing extra fiddly on purpose!?) so I wasn't really a fan of the extras. However the powders were really great to use andit's easy to use the three colours to create an exact match to your eyebrow if needed. As an added bonus, I've discovered that the lightest colour (top right) is also a fantastic contouring colour for fair skin tones!

Smoulder Eyeshadow Palette

When you are presented with a 10 eyeshadow palette for just £4 you'll be forgiven for not expecting much. Yet this little palette and some really great eyeshadows included that I was genuinely impressed with. The first two colours on the right reminded me alot of Urban Decay Thirteen and Combust which are possibly my favourite base and transition colours. 

The pigmentation isn't quite as strong but they build up really well. I particularly loved the shimmers, especially the gorgeous blue green shade second in from the left. While they aren't the best eyeshadows I've used and certainly wouldn't be a professional standard, they are none the less a nice little addition to my makeup stash.

A selection of  Gilded Mono Eyeshadows
From Left to Right - 216, 218, 217, 219
These four eyeshadows are by far my biggest surprise and my favourite products out of the whole selection. They only cost £1 each and yet are so amazingly pigmented and blendable. The swatches above are only after one application and they are such gorgeous colours. 219 really reminds me of Mac Old Gold which is one of my favourite pigments ever so I was really happy with this cheeky little find. There is a fair selection of mono eyeshadows already but I would love to see more, especially from the gilded section.

I think it's easy to see that I have been really impressed by the Freedom makeup line. Their prices and quality are a truly fabulous combination and I can't wait to try out some more products from them. They have recently released a strobe cream and what looks like an Anastasia Dipbrow dupe so those will definitely be my first choices on my next order!

Have you tried Freedom Makeup yet? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Glam Werewolf Tutorial - Simple Halloween Makeup #6

 I know this post is a touch late but even if Halloween has just about passed us by, I felt the need to represent the werewolf. I am after all Team Jacob so it's only I was far too happy with this look to not share it!

To create this look I used Urban Decay Naked Smoky and their 24/7 eyeliner in Perversion along with NYX Milk, an eyebrow pencil, a glue stick and my normal foundation and concealer. Pretty much all normal items that will be available in most makeup bags (and houses in general) or that can be easily substituted.

Since this is going to be quite a glam look, start off with creating a flawless base. I used Estee Lauder Double Wear and Benefit Boi-ing concealer as both of these are particularly long lasting and quite full coverage.

Next it's time to contour again, both to create some pointed wolfey looks but also to provide areas that we will turn into fur a little later on. As for most of  the Halloween looks I have created, we need to ramp up the normal contouring by using darker colours than might normally be used. In this case I used UD's Password and Whiskey but any matte greys or browns that you have to hand will work.

I decided I wanted to be a silver wolf so the colours I have chosen lean mainly on the grey side but you could easily change that up if you wanted to.

First things first, lets get some wolf brows going on! I was inspired to create this look by a well known makeup artist on Youtube called Chrisspy (check her out if you haven't come across her before, she's amazing!) so I mainly followed her steps for the eyebrows. I took a brow pencil and essentially traced the line of my eyebrow and carried it on in a straight line rather than following the arch. Use small feathered strokes here to create the illusion of actual hair. Take a spoolie brush and really fluff up your brows with quick upward strokes. If you like, you can also enhance your eyebrows by drawing in little hairs coming out of the top of your brow to give a wispy effect.

We then want to hide the tail of our real eyebrow! This took a fair bit of patience and time and is probably the fiddliest part of this entire look. The best thing to do is to use a glue stick (ensure it is non toxic) and brush it over the tail end, both against and with the hair. Once the hair is stuck down, give it a little time to set and then take a white eyeshadow or NYX Milk and some concealer and apply it to the area. You may need to do this a couple of times before the brows are completely hidden.

 To create the eye look, the idea is to try and give the illusion of slightly more oval shaped eyes. This can be achieved by pulling your eyeshadow up to a point that follows the angle of your eyebrow. Use an eyeshadow primer such as Urban Decay Primer Potion first to make the colours really pop. 

Then brush a shade close to your natural skin tone (I used UD Combust) all over the lid and up to the brow. This will serve as your transition colour once you add in the darker shades. Next take a light grey shade (I used UD Password) and brush it all across the lid and up to a point. I then went into the crease and up to the point with a darker grey (UD Dagger) and again with a black eyeshadow (UD Black Market). 

Using NYX Milk or a white eyeshadow on a small angled brush, create a pointed shape in the inner corner of your eye. This will make your eyes appear larger and more pointed.

To add a little more definition to the lid, apply either a white cream eyeshadow or NYX Milk all over it. Then pack on a grey eyeshadow with a shimmer (UD Slanted and Armour) over the top.

At this point, take the same grey and black eyeshadows under your eye and up to the side of the light coloured point. Also use a black kohl eyeliner on your water line and smudge it across your top lashes. To finish off the eyes, add some fake eyelashes if you are planning on using them and then layer on a volumising mascara.

Now it's time to add the fur! Using a grey shadow on a firm brush, draw in little hairs along your cheek contour and all around the edges of your face.

For the lips I wanted to create a silver ombre effect to go with my silver wolf look. You could easily choose a different colour though if you wanted to mix it up a little. To create the lip, I applied NYX Milk as a base and then a silver eyeshadow all over. For the ombre effect, I used a black eyeliner and applied it as I would a lipliner and then gently blended it using a lip brush to drag the colour out.

I felt a bit of glamour for my hair would work well with the intensity of the makeup and of course a fur wrap seemed like the ideal choice!

I hope you've enjoyed all of these Halloween looks that I have created this week and that you've had a great Halloween! Let me know what outfit you chose in the comments, I'd love to see what everyone came up with!
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