American Beauty: Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush

I do love a good blusher and one that claims to be long-wearing, especially in the warmer weather, certainly fits the bill for a good summer makeup staple. 

Tarte claim that Amazonian Clay has all kinds of skin benefits; nourishing, hydrating and oil minimising so whatever skin type you are (supposedly), Tarte have you covered. Another bonus is that it's free from parabens too so if you're concerned about what goes into your beauty products, there is no need to worry.

I wear mine in Natural Beauty and I absolutely love it. It also has the Mum Stamp of Approval (I brought my mum one home and she loves it too.) I'm not convinced the lasting power stands the 12-hour test but it lasts long enough to get me through a day so I don't have any complaints in that area. You have to be quite careful as it's incredibly pigmented so a gentle hand with your blusher brush is a must. If you're curious, I use the Avon brush (£4) which is lovely and soft.

The great thing is that you can now buy these in the UK from QVC for £25. If you're in the states, you can get in from Sephora for $28. There are less shades available in the UK but there is still quite a good selection.

If you want to see some swatches, Essie Button did a lovely post at the beginning of last year using about eight of the shades.

Have you tried these products? What did you think?

I've been resisting the urge to mention packaging in any posts recently but I couldn't help it with this one - how pretty is it!? The safari/jungle-esque print makes it stand out from any other blushers I own. The outer packaging also reflects the colour of the blush which makes for easy grabbing on busy mornings. Well done, Tarte. I'm impressed.

Review: Superdrug Hair Therapy Oil with Coconut

Hello again everyone! I hope you're all well. Welcome to another Superdrug Insider's post. In case you don't know about my Superdrug Insider role, you can read a bit about it here. This month we were sent some lovely shampoo, conditioner and hair oil and I was super excited to try them. But I have a confession. I'm a hair oil nut. There are not a lot of high street hair oils that I haven't tried but I have to say that this is one of my favourites. It is designed especially for dry hair, formulated to 'wrap the hair in a delicate moisture protective film' so your hair looks shinier, feels healthier and is soft to touch.

First of all, it smells divine. Only slightly like coconut, much more fruity and very sweet. Very tropical too. My mum kindly volunteered to be my hair model for these photographs so I could demonstrate what the hair oil looks like in action. As you can see, after the hair oil was applied her hair looks shinier and it felt really soft too. And that's just after the first use!

The fab thing about this product is that you can use it in a variety of ways, depending on your preferences. You can use it after you wash your hair (when it is towel dried and damp as it will help hold more moisture that way), after you've styled your hair or before you wash it (for either the whole night or just an hour) for extra conditioning. My favourite way to use it is to put a small amount on my hair after I've styled it every day. Then once a week I massage some into my roots and then run some through the ends of my hair and leave it on for a night, washing it off the next morning. When I did this and then used the new Superdrug Coconut Water Shampoo and Conditioner afterwards, my hair felt amazing! The scent really lingers and lasts all day too. So it can at least smell like summer all year round!

You can buy the Shampoo and Conditioner (400ml) for £3.99 and the Oil (50ml) for £4.49. 

Have you tried this product yet!? 

Books to Love: Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

I love short stories. I like having something that I can get emotionally invested in without the commitment of a 500 page novel. And every now and then I come across a book or an author that sparks up my love of writing again. Cheryl Strayed did just that within the first few pages of her book Tiny Beautiful Things. You might be familiar with Strayed if you've read/watched Wild recently, the story of a woman's long trek of self-discovery after the unexpected death of her mother and her divorce. And not only does Strayed have a memoir under her belt, but also a series of essays and a novel too (Torch) which is next on my reading list. 

Tiny Beautiful Things is a collection of advice columns written by Strayed under the pen name 'Sugar.' It sees questions and worries on life, love, friendship and family answered and soothed by the poetic advice of Strayed. Her anecdotes make the book that much more personal and Sugar almost becomes someone that you start to root for too. And not only that but her strength and faith kind of make you want to  be a better person too. She's often witty and her writing is so lovely it'll make you want to devour everything she's ever written. 

I can't recommend this book enough if you're looking for something uplifting and easy to read!

What have you been reading lately?

American Beauty: Marc Jacobs The Lolita

When I was at school and people would ask what I wanted to be when I was older, the words 'fashion photographer' would always slip from my mouth before they'd even had chance to finish the question. Marc Jacobs was my favourite designer. I was one of those cut-and-stick everything from the magazines into notebooks and on my walls kind of girls and I remember having the most beautiful pink Marc Jacobs handbag stapled to the front of my favourite notebook. Needless to say, I no longer want to be a fashion photography but I'm still more than impressed by Marc Jacobs.

Marc Jacobs Beauty has been going for less than two years but it has made big waves in the blogging community. I'd have my eye on it for quite some time but I could never justify spending so much money on one item. But eventually I caved (being in America and feeling on top of the world probably had something to do with it) and I decided to go for The Lolita eyeshadow palette which contains seven shades, some matte and some shimmer, but all very wearable. The mix of shades make it easy to turn any look from daytime to night time so it's a good palette for on-the-go. There are currently eight different palettes, each with a little something different so there's something for everyone.

The only issue I have with this palette is that the fall out from the glitter shadows is insane. I've only used this palette twice since February (I spent the majority of that time staring at it and not wanting to put an eyeshadow brush anywhere near it for fear or ruining it's perfection) and I had to give it a pretty good wipe down to make it suitable for photographing. Other than that though, I don't have a bad word to say about it. The pigment is good, the lasting power is good, the colours are good, the packaging is on point. That's all there is to it!

You can buy this palette from sephora for $59, steep but would make a wonderful treat for yourself or someone else.

Have you tried anything from Marc Jacobs Beauty?

Blogs I'm Loving #1

I hope you're all having a lovely Monday so far. If you're not, don't worry. I'm about to share with you some of my favourite blog reads at the moment in the hope that they will all brighten up your days and teach/entertain/inspire you. 

1. The Beauty Department
TBD is run by makeup artist Amy Nadine and hair stylist Kristen Ess. This website is my go-to if I need hair/makeup inspiration for a night out or special event. They have tutorials for every occasion plus industry insider tips and tricks. Lauren Conrad has been known to make an appearance on the site and who wouldn't want to know the secrets behind her gorgeous hair!? So go give it a look! 

2. Southern Belle in Training
'Miss ALK' is a university student studying in North Carolina. She's a Christian and not only does she post inspiring reads about her faith, her style and lifestyle posts are great too. She's one of the lucky ones in that her writing is really witty, she often makes me chuckle with some of the stories she tells. Give her a read if you want something to cheer up your day!

3. Aspiring Londoner
I've been reading Farzana's blog for the shortest amount of time out of the three (literally, weeks) but it quickly became one of my favourites. The main reason it stuck with me in the first place is because she posts really good stuff on how to promote and market your blog. So if you're just starting out with blogging (like me), there are loads of useful tips  of how to run your blog, manage and improve it and get word out there about it too. Not only that, she does really good product reviews too!

Which blogs have you been loving lately!?

American Beauty: Too Faced Melted Liquid Lipstick


I had a real moral dilemma in Sephora, between spending too much money or buying everything because I might regret it later. I went for the former. Good, Jess. But I wish I'd have gone for the latter! Point of the story is, I wish I'd have bought more shades of the Too Faced Melted Lipstick. 

They claim that you 'get the staying power of a stain, the intense color of a liquid lipstick and the high shine of a gloss in one long-wear formula.' It is long lasting, the colour is intense but I'm not sold on the high shine front. I don't know if it's because I have naturally quite dry lips but the finish seemed quite velevety to me. I don't mind that though and I love that it will see me through a shift at work, even in the extreme heat or under cold, drying air conditioning.

I love the colour of this, the pink is a lovely shade and I'm a fan of the sponge applicator too. It just makes the lipstick glide on perfectly. Sometimes I dab a bit on my lips and blend in with my finger and put a bit of the coco Vaseline on top for a more sheer look. Otherwise I apply straight from the applicator, you control how much product comes out by gently sqeezing, so you can use the sponge to blend as little or as much lipstick as you like.

Debenhams stock Too Faced and you can find this shade, as well as others, on the website here. It's £15.83 at the moment, down from £19.00 and I'd definitely recommend giving these a try if you're looking to treat yourself to something a bit higher end. 

Have you tried these before? Would you like to? 

Review: B. Sweet Popping Candy Illuminating Serum

A couple of months ago I was chosen to be a Superdrug Insider. This means each month I get sent a hamper of Superdrug products to test run and then I get to share my thoughts with you all! So in case you were in two minds about buying the B. Sweet Popping Candy Highlighting Serum (oh what a mouthful!), here's what I thought!

As the sun starts to show its face a bit more, having a glowing complexion compliments the weather perfectly. But I'll be honest and say that I was slightly underwhelmed by this product. I was expecting great things considering the price point and what I really got was a just okay product, good at best. In case you can't see from the picture, the ball formula is sat in a clear serum and once it's pumped out, the balls are transformed into a liquid which mixes with the serum. 

Let me start with the things I liked about it. Firstly, there are so many ways you can use it; under your foundation, on the top of your foundation or mixed in with your foundation. So you can find a way which works for you best. Secondly, the packaging of the whole B. Sweet range is on point. It's so cute and girly, I love it!

I've tried using it each way and I just can't get on with it when I put it over my foundation, whether it's just on my cheek bones or over my whole face. It just seems to rub off my foundation and leave a gaping hole of my uneven skin tone. But I like it when it's mixed with my foundation because it gives a little bit of brightness to my whole face. But the best way to use it, I've found, is to put it on underneath your foundation. Or, if you're having a good skin day, use it on its own. It gives a lovely, subtle glow - perfect for those days where your skin is threatening to give away just how tired you are.

I do like this product but the price point puts me off. You get 30ml of product for £14.99 which is a bit steep for a high street highlighter in my opinion. But if it was on offer I'd definitely consider repurchasing!

Have you seen the new B. Sweet range? What do you think of it?

Books to Love: Paper Towns by John Green

It's bank holiday Monday and I've been up since 6am getting ready for work, anyone else feel my pain!? But if not then I hope you have a lovely day, whatever you're doing, wherever you are! Do any of you have plans to sit in the garden in the sunshine with a good book? Oh, you are. Great! Why not give Paper Towns a go? (Smoooooooth transition!)

Young Adult fiction seems to be all the rage at the moment and there are people everywhere screaming the benefits of reading this kind of novel no matter what age you are. If you're not convinced, read this BBC article by Adam Eley. 

Summary: One night Margo Roth Spiegelman climbs through Quentin 'Q' Jacobsen's bedroom window and they run off for a little adventure, the morning after which Margo goes missing. Quentin and his friends then try to find her and soon enough another adventure ensues! It's a bit of a mystery/coming-of-age tale about people and love and friendship. It's a lovely read for almost any age! 

Why I love it: As with a lot of other YA novels, this is such a feel good book. It makes you fall a little bit in love with Quentin and his friends and then want to devour everything John Green has ever written. It made me chuckle to myself, say 'awwww' way too many times and then want to send virtual hugs to Q. It also made me want to read Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (and I don't even like poetry!) 

Read if you loved: The Fault in our Stars, Eleanor & Park, pretty much anything by John Green or Rainbow Rowell (and let's face it, what's not to love?)

This is definitely one to watch before the film comes out in August! Have you read it already? Did you like it?

Those Weekends at the Train Station

I won't lie, I didn't enjoy sixth form. In fact I kinda hated it. I made good friends but they are the only fond memory I have from those two years, I just couldn't get on board with anything at all, even photography, the subject I thought would define my future career. Boy was I wrong. But the last project I ever did for my A-Level was my favourite and I'd even go so far as to say that I enjoyed it (typing that actually hurt a little bit... ouch.)

My final project was 'Travel & Transport' so there were many a weekend spent at a local train station taking candid photos of travellers. Here are a few that I took. Only the last two did I end up using for my exam but the others just show all the weird and wonderful people you see on public transport. I'm aware that they're not brilliant photos and they're certainly not well edited but I felt quite fond of them when I found them on this old computer of mine. It actually makes me miss doing photography! 

American Beauty: Fresh Sugar Lychee Perfume

You'll be glad to know that I've moved away from Tarte products (for the time being at least!) and onto a brand called Fresh. They do all sorts of fragrances, skincare and haircare products but it's the fragrances that bloggers seem to adore! I'd heard good things about this brand in the past so I knew it was something I didn't want to miss.

Anyway I ended up buying the rollerball in the scent Sugar Lychee. I opted for the rollerball because it's handy to have in a handbag. I do have a atomiser but once it runs out it always takes me a while to get round to filling it up again (I'm also pretty terrible at it, I always end up with more perfume on my hand than in the bottle!) But with this you can just pop it in your handbag, no fuss.

It's a very fruity scent and I think it's perfect for spring.. it's fresh, sweet and very lemony. It has notes of grapefruit, Italian lemon and lime blossom, lychee, mango flower, freesia, sandalwood, tonka bean and amber. So If you love sweet, fruity scents then this is one for you. And a good time of year to give it a test-run too. 

You can get this product here for $22 from sephora.