Origins Skincare: First Impressions

Last week I turned 22. Yep, I promise you I really am 22 years old. As has become tradition now, in the weeks leading up to my birthday I started browsing some of the beauty hotspots online (Space NK, Origins, Feelunique) and listed some of the products that I've been wanting to try for a while but haven't been able to without sacrificing the money I'd done so well to save for a car. Origins was my first pit stop and I managed to narrow down my choices to a couple of blogger favourites as well as some of my own 'just give them a go' choices.

Original Skin Renewal Serum | £15 Now that the sun has well and truly nestled itself away for the winter, it was time to invest in some skincare that would keep my skin healthy and moisturised in the face of the cold weather. It is designed to de-stress and smooth skin as well as helping it to keep it's glow and shrink pores. I've been using this under my moisturising in a morning and evening and I love how smooth my skin feels lately. 

Make a Difference Plus Rejuvenating Moisturiser | £35 This is the moisturiser that I've been using on top of the serum. It's got a bit of an odd smell, quite medicinal. It's easy to get used to though and after a while I stopped noticing it. Despite the smell, this might just be the best moisturiser I've ever used. A lot of the time I struggle with combimation/dry skin but my skin has been relatively well behaved since using this moisturiser and my makeup sits really nicely on top of it too. It's a winner in my book.

Mask Marvels | £30 Face masks are a really simple and easy way to give your skin a bit of a pick-me-up. I couldn't decide which mask to go for but found a set that had four of the best Origins masks, each 50ml. I've tried the Active Charcoal mask and really liked it. My skin looked and felt really clean afterwards. Hopefully after a few more uses there will be more of a noticeable difference. I've always tried the Out of Trouble 10 minute mask but I didn't like that one so much. It stung slightly (which is usually a good sign) but I didn't think that it did all that much. I might give it another go but I don't hold much hope for it. I am looking forward to trying to Ginzing Refreshing face mask and the Drink Up overnight mask. I'll let you know how I get on with those! 

Have you tried any of these Origins products? What are your skincare must-haves? 

New Reads: October

I have a mass of unread books in my bookcase. Probably enough to stack a whole other shelf or two. But my list of 'To Be Read' books increases every time I go on Bloglovin and read a glowing review of some weird, wonderful and obscure book that I'd never have heard of otherwise. The point of this post is not to tell you all how big my collection of books is getting but to instead tell you that I'm really weak willed and went and bought even more books at the weekend. So I'm going to share them with you! They're all completely different genres and moods so it's quite a mixed bag.

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham | I've never watched Girls but I've seen Lena Dunham on TV a few times and every time I see her she makes me laugh. Like when she did the lip sync battle on Jimmy Fallon. You know when you catch yourself smiling at your computer screen? That. I spotted her book in Waterstones and decided to give it a go. Why not? I love these type of books that are just a collection of stories/advice/anecdotes, it makes for easy reading. I started reading this one first and so far I'm really enjoying it! If you liked Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? then you'll probably like this one too.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki by Haruki Murakami | I was intrigued by this one because it had black pages. Why would a book have black pages? What does it mean? The novel sounds like a bit of a mystery, one that is based around Tazaki whose best friends, all of which have a colour in their name, stop speaking to him one day. Why? Why? Why? He eventually meets someone named Sara who reveals all. I read the first page while I was browsing and I was hooked straight away. I can't wait to read more! 

New York by Edward Rutherford | I went through a phase of being obsessed with all things New York. Well, I wouldn't really call it a phase since it plagued my whole life. I'm talking framed photographs, notebooks, pens, tshirts, Everything! I still obsess now. I thought going there this year would get the obsession out of my system but if I see anything New York related I still feel like I have to have it. Anyway, I spied this book on the bottom shelf of Waterstones and I was intrigued by it for two reasons. First, it's New York. Obviously. Second, it's historical fiction. The history nerd in me did a little happy dance when I picked it up. The book starts somewhere in the seventeenth century and continues through until the present day. It's fictional but it's based around real, historical events from the civil war up to the events of 9/11. 

Now that the temperature is dropping and nobody wants to be outside, it's the perfect time to buy a few books to read on the long, dark evenings. I can't tell you which book I'm most excited to read. Have you bought any new books lately? What books would you recommend? 

The Perfect Evening Scent: Si by Giorgio Armani

It's not often I do fragrance posts. Mostly because I just wear the same perfume every day - Cheryl Cole's Stormflower which is light and sweet and, despite the name, isn't overly floral. It's the perfect scent for day-to-day wear. If I go out on an evening I like to wear something a bit different, something that's a bit richer. Which is why I always reach for Giorgio Armani's Si fragrance.

The scent: 'It combines an inflection of three accords: blackcurrant nectar, modern chypre and light musky wood. The fragrance opens with notes of Sicilian Bergamot, Mandarin oil and blackcurrant liqueur which is supported by a heart which bursts with Rose May, Neroli and Egyptian Jasmine. Warm undertones caress the unique chypre base notes of Patchouli oil intertwined with Blond Woods, amber and musky undertones known as OrcanoxTM. Finished with a sweet animalic accord of Vanilla which gives this fragrance, longevity and unforgettable sillage.' -, £47 for 30ml.

Again, this isn't an overly floral scent, which is why I like it. It is very intense though, the complete opposite to my signature daytime scent. I generally go for one spritz on my wrists which is enough and it lasts all evening too. It's strong and classy and perfect for a night out. There's not much to say about the bottle really. It's Practical. Simple. Elegant. Very much unlike Stormflower which I often find without a lid in my toiletry bag because it's huge and impractical and just plain irritating. 

The only thing about this fragrance is that is has a very mixed bag of reviews. Some people love the strong scent, others hate it. I do think that it's important not to overdo it with this one but if you're sparing with it, the scent should linger without being overpowering. 

What's your favourite evening scent?

Makeup Revolution Blush Lacquer

Blusher is the easier way to add colour to a makeup look and generally requires little skill or practice. Just dab a brush in the pan and apply to the apples of the cheeks or cheekbones. The trouble is that the simplicity of applying blusher doesn't extend to liquid colour. I've tried a few cream blushers and found them quite difficult to use but I'd never tried a liquid blusher before. This lacquer from Makeup Revolution was no different, if anything is was actually harder to use. 

When Makeup Revolution first popped up, I was intrigued by their products. They were cheap and the quality was and still is comparable to higher end brands. This Vivid Blush Lacquer was one of the first products I tried from Makeup Rev but it's one that I don't particuarly love. I did quite a bit of research of these products as I was writing this review because I wondered whether I was the only person to not get along with it. Turns out that a lot of the issues I had with it, others had too.

The colour is amazing, I'll just say that. 'VIVID' is definitely the right word. The deep pink/red nature makes it a perfect autumnal colour. It comes with a handy pump but a not-so-handy portion is released if you press the pump all the way down. It only needs a tiny pump for you to get enough colour for both cheeks so you have to be really careful otherwise you'll end up wasting a lot of product. The formula also dries really quickly, making it hard to blend out and hardly suitable for those with dry skin. I'd say that the easiest way to blend this product is with a buffing brush. Ideally you need something that is sturdy and is quick to work with. If I ever use this product (on occasion I give it another go hoping that it will be the day I finally fall in love with it... Never happens) I'll apply three small dots of product on the apples of cheeks and blend around with my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush. The good thing is that when you do master the art of applying this product, it has a finish like a stain so lasts all day!

It's such a shame that the product is hard to use because the colour is beautiful. It just feels like too much to contend with when I'm applying my makeup. I want a blusher that's as easy as swirling a brush in the pan and swiping across my cheek bones. I think I'll be sticking with my powder blushers from now on. I can only find a few of the shades online on the Superdrug (£3) and Makeup Revolution (£1) websites.

Have any of you tried this product? What is your take on the Liquid vs. Powder Blush Debate?

Seventeen: Base, Lips & Cheeks

I'll be honest, I haven't tried many Seventeen products until recently. The vibe of the brand is quite young and it seems like a brand I'd have been drawn to when I was thirteen and just starting to wear makeup. Also having worked in Superdrug for over a year (hello staff discount) I sacrificed sampling Boots brands for Superdrug brands. I'm always open to shopping around brands, especially for good items that are a bit more budget friendly. Seventeen is a brand that you should check out if you're on a student budget or just want to save a few pounds here and there. The Boots beauty team were kind enough to send me some items from the brand to check out and I really enjoyed giving them a test drive.

Cheek Stamp | £4.99 This was the first product I tried because I was so fascinated by the packaging. It comes with a handy little mirror on the lid which you twist off to find a sponge on one side and the actual blusher hidden inside the lid. The basic idea is that you just stamp the circular sponge on the cheek but by doing this you run the risk of looking like coco the clown.  So it's best to go in with a lighter hand and swipe across the cheekbone. I thought the stamp concept was good at first but quickly changed my mind about it. In the future I'll probably even opt for just dipping my blusher brush in the lid.

Wow Skin Primer | £5.99 I wasn't so sure about this one when I first saw it. It looked a bit too shimmery. But I actually really liked this product. It's thicker than other primers, more like a cream in consistency. As soon as I put it on I noticed that my skin looked a lot brighter. If your comfortable in your skin I'd say this was good enough to wear on it's own, for a healthy glow. I wore it under foundation and found that my complexion looked a lot brighter even then. This one gets a thumbs up from me.

Stay Pout Lipstick | £4.49 This is by far my favourite from the bunch. My main issue with lipsticks, usually, is finding one that won't dry out my lips. When I first applied this and it almost immediately started to dry, so I worried. I was also concerned about the colour (shade: Just a Fling). As you can see it looks more like a brown/nude colour, one that I immediately thought would end up in my mum's hand bag, not mine. It actually wound up being really comfortable to wear, not drying at all. And the colour was lovely too. It looked more pink/nude on the lips than it does in the bullet so it ended up being a good colour match. The staying power of this is unbelievable too, I've never known a high street brand to last like this one does.

Let me know if you've tried any of these products and what you thought of them! I'd also love to hear more Seventeen recommendations if you have any.