Makeup Revolution Baked Highlighter

Although we may never be on par with the Queens of Contouring (a.k.a Kim K and her sisters), we can certainly try to pass for at least halfway acceptable. I've tried a few different highighters and I really do think the best place to start out with contouring is to buy the Sleek Contour Kit. It's fairly cheap in comparison to others and you get a countour, highlighter and a blusher in the same palette.

That being said, my favourite highlighter has to be the Makeup Revolution Baked Highlighter. Even in the pan it looks beautiful, right!? It comes in three different shades - Pink Lights, Golden Lights, Peach Lights. I bought mine in Peach Lights and it's perfect. Pink Lights seems to have more of a violet/purple tone to it and Golden Lights is almost colourless which I think I might actually purchase at some point too (don't judge, they're that good).

The colour payoff is good, you don't need too scrub your brush in the pan to transfer the product.  There is just enough shimmer in there without it being too much, it just gives off a nice sheen look. Normally I just apply to my cheekbones to brighten my complexion but sometimes apply down the bridge of my noses, middle of my forehead and chin too. You can be slightly less generous in those areas as you want it to be subtle. Nobody wants to look like a Christmas bauble in the middle of summer. Or at anytime of the year for that matter.

I don't get on too well with cream blushers/highlighters. I can't seem to apply them without scrubbing off half of my foundation too. So if, like me, you're partial to a powder highlighter, give this one a try. It only costs £3 too and you can buy it from Superdrug here.

What's your favourite highighter to use?

Homemade Gifts & Crafts

Just a quick post today to share something cute I made this week. Since I finished uni I've had a lot more spare time to do bits and bats that I used to love but haven't made time for in a while. I posted a piece a couple of weeks ago about getting back into photography which you can read here. But I've also been doing some painting and some craft work too. I've forgotten how therapeutic it can be to sit down and put all your concentration on a painting or a craft.  

To make these I bought some wooden letters on amazon for next to nothing, you can find them here. For less than £2, you can't go wrong. Next it was simply a case of painting and designing something cute. I used a couple coats of acrylic paint, letting them dry completely between coats. I also finished them off with PVA glue to make them stronger, seal the design and add a shine too. I think something like this would make a perfect homemade gift for a friend or family member and the great thing is that you can personalise for each person/occasion!

What are your favourite things to do in your downtime?

Five Minute Makeup: Basic Everyday

Good morning! I hope you're all having a good week. It's been a week of good news in my world. I found out I'll be graduating in July with First Class Honours (phew!) and my boyfriend has managed to bag an incredible job so we're all smiles over here. For today's post I wanted to share with you my most basic makeup look for those days when you're just meeting a friend for coffee or running some errands and you just want something quick, simple and barely there.

Base: I don't often use a primer but I think that's because I haven't found one that really works for me yet. And using it everyday when it's not doing anything seemed like a wasted step in my routine. So after moisturising, I go straight in with my Avon Ideal Flawless Foundation, using my Real Techniques Expert Face brush to blend it out. Next I use my Rimmel Match Perfection concealer under my eyes and on any blemishes. I use powder most days but not always and if I know I won't be out long I don't tend to bother.

Eyes: For my eyes I use a neutral Maxfactor Wild Shadow eyeshadow in Definite White, which is a little bit shimmery but it's not overly noticeable. After that, I put on a couple of coats of my Tarte Lights, Camera, Flashes mascara. I've found I can get away with not using an eyelash curler quite so regularly if I'm generous with my mascara.

Cheeks & Lips: Next I'll just dab a little bit of blusher from my Ambient Lighting Blush Palette on the apples of my cheeks. And as much as I love a bit of lip colour, on a day-to-day basis I just use a bit of the Cocoa Vaseline.

There you have it. Good to go in five minutes. No fuss. What does your day-to-day makeup include?

Cheap Full Coverage Foundation from Avon

Avon are very hit-and-miss with their products. Some of their stuff is brilliant and innovative and sometimes unusual and are a great alternative to some of the more expensive brands. But others aren't so good and  are probably a good example of 'you get what you pay for.' 

Foundation is hard one to get right at the best of times and buying from a catalogue, with no way to test the colour or consistency, is risky business. To find the colour, coverage and finish that you want in just one product is hard but the Ideal Flawless Foundation from Avon ticks all the boxes for me. 

Colour is a good match, I don't have to worry about unblended marks on my jaw line. Coverage is the best aspect of this foundation. With others that I've tried and tested, I've always had to put concealer and powder over the top to achieve the desired coverage. But with Avon's Ideal Flawless Foundation, I can apply and go without having to worry about that extra bit of coverage, maybe just a little under my eyes to brighten them. The finish is quite dewy which I usually don't like but if I'm having a good skin day, I can get away with it with this product. That being said I do usually dab a bit of powder across my t-zone where it's a bit oily. Old habits die hard, you know?

It comes in eight shades. I bought mine in Light Pink and I have very fair skin. A little goes a long way with this one too. To say it only costs £6 it lasts for ages because you can get away with using less product while still getting good coverage.

The only issue I'm having, with any foundation I use at the moment, is the method of application. I tend to blend this foundation using my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush but it leaves brush marks that I end up blending out with my fingers anyway. I'm not a big fan of using a sponge either because it just seems to eat the product and I end up using more than I really needed to. So if anyone can recommend me a good foundation brush I'd really appreciate it!

Have you ever tried a foundation from Avon?

Baked: Vanilla Cupcakes

Having recently acquired a whole new batch of baking tools, my boyfriend and I wanted to try our hand at using a piping bag. We decided on a simple vanilla cupcake recipe and a vanilla buttercream to go with it. Not our finest work, admittedly, but they tasted really good. Using a piping bag is much harder than we thought. Our first batch were horrendous, who knew there was such a knack to squeezing icing through a nozzle. If anyone has any tips, please share! Here's the recipe if you want to try them out. Also, the silicone cupcake cases are from asda if you were curious.

Cupcake Mixture 110g Butter, 110g Self-Raising Flour, 110g Caster Sugar, 2 Eggs, 1 tsp Vanilla Extract, 1-2 tbsp Milk

Quick Step-by-Step
- Preheat oven to 180C
- Cream butter & sugar together until pale
- Beat in eggs a little at a time
- Stir in Vanilla Extract
- Fold in flour
- Add a little milk if necessary
- Spoon into cases until just over half full, bake fr 10-15 minutes

Vanilla Buttercream 140g Butter, 180g Icing Sugar, 1-2 tbsp Milk

Quick Step-by-Step
- Beat butter until soft
- Add half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth
- Add remaining icing sugar and a tbsp of milk if necessary

Orginial recipe here.

Sometimes we ditch the vanilla extract and put chocolate chips in the cupcake mixture instead and are perfect little afternoon treats.

Bourjois Beauty'full Dark Kol Mascara

Sadly, my beloved Tarte Lights, Camera, Flashes Mascara has passed the three month mark and although it's still usable, it's starting to get a little bit dry and flakey. So it was time to hunt down another and I fancied trying something new. The only mascara I've tried from Bourjois in the past was terrible. It was in a purple tube and had a brush that bent outwards so it was near impossible to use. I'd tell you the name but I can't find it online anywhere (probably for the best!) So for a while I was put off trying any of their eye makeup but the Dark Kohl mascara intrigued me.

With the promise of more volume and a dark colour, I was lured in. I'll be honest, I was in two minds about the shape of the brush,  I didn't think it was something I was going to get along with but in the end I decided I'd give it a go. And I actually really like it. I generally lean more towards plastic in the bristle vs. plastic brush debate anyway and if I didn't like it I could always pass it on to my mum.

The only promise this mascara doesn't fulfil is the volumising part. With the right technique I tend to get a lot of volume out of a mascara anyway, even if it doesn't claim to be volumising. But there's only so much you can do with a brush of this size and shape. That being said, it is brilliant at getting the tiny lashes in the corner and also brilliant at coating your bottom lashes. I'd say for lengthening, it's spot on and with a couple of layers you can build up the volume slightly but there are other mascaras out there that do a better job.

My one bugbear with this mascara is the mass of product that collects at the end of the brush, you can see it in the picture above. I have to wipe it off because, let's be honest, I can only just manage to get the mascara on my lashes at the best of times. If I start going in with all that mascara formula on the end, you know I'm going to end up with the post-mascara sneeze look.

And still, nothing beats my Tarte love. 

What do you think of the mascaras that Bourjois have to offer? You can buy this mascara for £7.99.

Photography: Taking Back my Mojo

I think having a bad experience doing photography at sixth form put me off for a while. For years I never picked up my camera, it sat gathering dust in my draw for such a long time, and I didn't even bother taking any pictures with my phone. A few holidays and outings and nights out have gone by without any documentation because I didn't want to be behind the camera. Or in front of it for that matter. Seriously, I have about four photos from my 21st birthday. Oops!

Lately, however, I've really been enjoying playing about with my (ahem* my boyfriend's, much better) camera. As well as experimenting with different compositions and backgrounds for the photos on my blog, I'm also trying to pick up my photoshop skills again, it's surprising how much I've forgotten. I've also been trying out my skills on my favourite subject - people. 

Now just to set up some context for these photos - I've been helping my boyfriend, Callum, out with promoting his music. Callum and his friend Lucas play in a band called Strung to the Sky and they are amazing. I'll leave all their links at the bottom of this post so you can check them out. Anyway, for a while Callum has been playing about with logos and designs for his band so I thought I'd try my hand at it too. 

So on a warm evening last week, Callum kindly obliged to my request and took to the garden to play some music while I took some photos. I'm actually really happy with how they came out and although there were a lot of dud shots, there were a few charmers in there too. I tried a few with the initials for his band too and it has actually sparked a few ideas for something else I want to try. If I ever get chance to try it out I'll be sure to share it with you!

Tom Ford Matte Lipstick in Pussycat

Guys, it's love. Seriously. Where has Tom Ford been all my life? Trying to find the perfect 'my lips but better' colour has proven quite the struggle but I think I've narrowed it down to a dusty rose shade. Anything too light and it washes me out, anything too dark and I look like a vampire. But the point is, this TF matte lipstick in Pussycat is the one.

My efforts to find my perfect lipstick have tripled in the weeks leading up to graduation. I wanted something pretty that would last all day too and the highstreet options just weren't cutting it. Graduation was also how I justified spending so much money on it. A graduation gift to myself, if you will.

The first time I tried it my lips ended up a bit dry afterwards but I think with the right prep than in should be fine. I'll be using my Lush Popcorn Lip Scrub beforehand and I'll also keep a tin of Cocoa Vaseline on me just in case. Lasting power was spot on. I only applied one layer but it lasted a good few hours, even through eating and drinking. I was really impressed with it. And for the price I'd expect nothing less.

I'll also be using it alongside my trusty lipcote for extra lasting power.

Have you tried any of the lipsticks Tom Ford has to offer? What did you think?

Books to Love: The Time Traveler's Wife

If I was banished to an island and could only take three items with me, this book would definitely be one of them. You know when you love a book so much and you've read it and re-read it a thousand times and you've dropped it in the bath so the pages are wrinkled and the edges are dog-eared and some of the pages are coming away from the spine... That kind of love? Yeah, that's The Time Traveler's Wife to me. Thankfully the copy in the picture is one that my boyfriend bought me for my 21st birthday and believe me, it is cherished. 

Blurb: This is the extraordinary love story of Clare and Henry who met when Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-two and Henry thirty. Impossible but true, because Henry suffers from a rare condition where his genetic clock periodically resets and he finds himself pulled suddenly into his past or future. In the face of this force they can neither prevent nor control, Henry and Clare's struggle to lead normal lives in both intensely moving and entirely unforgettable. -  Audrey Niffenneger

Every time I read this both I find something else to love. It's packed with so much academia, science, arts and languages, as well as the deep stuff; love and tragedy, family and friendship. It's so well written and there are so many people and parts to love it in. Plus Henry and Clare's relationship is something to aspire to and definiely worthy of being stamped with a 'relationship goals' tag. It's funny and sweet and incredibly moving. I urge you to read it if you haven't already.

If you've seen the film and liked it, I promise you'll love this 100000x more. 

Have you read The Time Traveler's Wife yet?

American Beauty: Inglot Freedom System Palette

I'm not the biggest eyeshadow fiend. Usually I stick to wearing a nude colour to brighten my eyes  so they don't look too overdone. And on a night out I always opt for black eyeliner and a bold lip. So I always think twice before I buy an eyeshadow palette. Especially because I know it's more than likely that there will be a few shades that I just won't wear and it makes it seem like a waste of money. 

Enter Inglot.

Inglot is an American brand that allow you to create your own eyeshadow palettes. I went for just two shades, mainly because when I was in NY it was only half way through the week and I was still watching my money. Also because I felt bad for holding my boyfriend hostage in a makeup shop for too long whilst I chose which shades I wanted. But you can chose from bigger 5 or 10 piece palettes and also palettes that have a mix of eyeshadow and blushers.

The way it works: you chose the palette size you'd like and purchase those alongside the palette. The eyeshadows fix in the palette magnetically and also have a magnetic lid (swivelling it to open the palette is weirdly satisfying). So when you run out you can just purchase the single shades without having to repurchase the packaging.

I bought shades 12 (sparkly brown) and 312 (pinky/peach). 312 is slightly less vibrant than it looks in the pictures and paired with 12, they make a perfect daytime subtle smokey eye. They are super pigmented and are really easy to blend out. And even without a primer they last all too so they get a big thumbs up from me.

You can visit their website here and see what they've got to offer.

Have you put together your own Freedom System Palette? I'd love to see if you have!

Review: B. Sweet Whipped Blushers

Bottom Left: Strawberry, Top Right: Peach
When I was about 13, I used to sneak into my mum's bedroom before school and rifle through her makeup bag to see what treats I could find (sorry mum!) I remember blusher being the first item I dabbled with, overdoing it by a large margin and leaving rosy streaks down either side of my face. Not a good look. But I soon outgrew dipping into my mum's makeup supplies but I didn't outgrow my love of blusher.

The two latest editions to my collection are from the new Superdrug B. Sweet range. I received these in one of my Superdrug Insiders packages (which you can read about here if you don't know about it already) and I was so excited to try them! First of all... Cute packaging, non?

Now for the nitty gritty. They're lovely little pots with a screw top so they're very handbag friendly. The colour is incredibly pigmented so you can go in with a light hand at first and build it up in layers if you want a bolder colour. They blend out really well too so they're really easy to use. The wear time is good if you've built up your layers. I only noticed fading throughout the day whenever I put less on in a morning.

There are only two shades in this range but they're both wearable and will make a lovely addition to anyone's makeup collection.

I've been wearing mine on the apples of my cheeks for a pop of colour, then adding a touch of the Makeup Revolution Peach Lights highlighter over my cheekbones. My new favourite summer duo.

They cost £7.99 each and you can buy them exclusively from Superdrug.

Have you tried anything from the B. Sweet range yet? If you're toying with the idea, you can read my review of the B. Sweet Popping Candy highlighter here.

Highstreet Guide: Brow Kits

I thought it was about time I put the knowledge I've gained working at Superdrug to good use. After working there for a while I started to notice that a lot of the general questions were the same 'have you got any brow kits?' or 'which is the best matte lipstick?' or 'will you recommend me a good concealer?' So I decided to do a series over the next weeks containing my answers to the questions you're asking the  makeup experts in the shops. Without further ado, here is my list covering the top five high street brow kits, ranging from more expensive options to something a bit cheaper for those on a budget. 

1. L'oreal Brow Artist Genius Kit - £9.99
This is the newbie on the scene and also the most expensive on this list. Like all of the other kits, at the very least it includes a wax to shape brows and then a powder to set it. Inside you get a little plastic cover that tells you how to use the product, so if you're new to the brow game, then there's no need to worry. Also included are a pair of mini tweezers and double-ended brush, one side with a spooley and the other with an angled brush. There are only two shades available but this little kit includes everything you need if you're just starting out.

2. Sleek Brow Kit - £8.49
Another more expensive option by Sleek. Like the L'oreal kit, it also includes a wax, setting powder, tweezers. and angled brush. Instead of a spooley, this kit offers a blending brush with it. The packaging is bulkier than the L'oreal option (which is definitely more of an on-the-go option as it's tiny and will nicely in any purse). But this is one of, if not the most, popular of the brow kits. It now comes in four shades so you should't have any difficulty finding a shade for you. 

3. Barry M Eyebrow Kit - £5.99
This kit includes all the essentials - wax, powder, double-ended applicator and tweezers. Unlike the others it includes a highlighter which you can use to highlight your brow bone, or anywhere else that you think needs an extra touch of highlighting. Unfortunately the kit only comes in one shade (and it's most definitely not a 'universal shade') so it's only one to go for if you're looking for a darker shade. 

4. Rimmel Brow This Way Eyebrow Kit - £3.99
For something that won't break the bank but is still a quality product then anything from the Rimmel Brow This Way range is really good. It includes a wax, powder, double-ended angled brush and a spooley. The packaging is slim so it's good for on-the-go. The issue with this one is that, like the Barry M kit, there are only options for mid-dark brows and only two shades at that. If you're fair, you might want to consider the MUA kit. 

5. MUA Pro-Brow Ultimate Brow Kit - £3.50
This is a great alternative to the more expensive options for the budget beauty buyer. Each kit includes a wax, as well as two brow shades and a highlighter. You also get a double-ended applicator and a mini pair of tweezers too. For the price you pay there's no real fault with this product. It comes in two shades; fair-mid and mid-dark. 

Which is your favourite high street brow kit? Have you tried any of these yet?

Review: Origins Ginzing Eye Cream

My eyes are the first to give away when I'm tired. They look dark, feel heavy and watery and they're a real pain to contend with on early mornings. I've been on the hunt for a good eye cream for a while now, specifically an eye brightening cream. I tried one from simple which I didn't hate but I didn't love either and I've tried ones from multiple other high street brands that didn't cut the mustard either.

I've been hearing about Origins for a while but I've always filed them into the 'can not afford' category and skimmed over them on other blogs. But I did a massive amount of research around this product to make sure that I wasn't splurging on something that I would ultimately hate. But it's good news: the use of ginseng, caffeine and optic brighteners make this product the perfect cover up for dark circles and tired eyes!

Let me just say I love this product. I've never used an eye cream that has yielded results straight away but as soon as I put this on, my eyes looked brighter and I looked less tired (enough to pass off that I had a couple hours more sleep than I actually had.) The pearlescent/shimmery nature of this cream make it perfect for morning application, before you apply makeup. The only issue I had when I first started using it was that after a couple of days it started to sting the outer corners of my eyes. However I think that the new eye makeup remover I was using might have caused that. So I avoided that area for a few days and used a different eye makeup remover and the stinging subsided. 

Despite the stinging dilemma, I'm more impressed with this product than I have been with any other. This was definitely worth the money and I think I might have found a lovely life long partnership.

You can buy this from Origins or Feelunique for £23.

Have you tried this gem yet?

Baked: Chocolate Lollipops

Just a quick post to for you today to share some sweet treats! Since my boyfriend moved out of his mum's house last summer, we've made the most of having a kitchen that we can destroy in an attempt to made something at least half-edible. We've had some disasters (think Jonathan Ross on Comic Relief Bake Off) but we've also done alright from time to time. These chocolate lollipops have become a favourite for when we want to make something quick and easy.

The green silicone mould that we used is from asda and only cost a couple of quid. The lolly sticks come with it and are also re-usable. 

Quick Step-by-Step:
- Melt 3 bars of chocolate over a saucepan
- Spoon melted chocolate into moulds (if you use three bars there should be just enough)
- Place lolly sticks in the moulds
- Cover with topping of your choice (crushed maltesers were a real winner with us)
- Pop them in the fridge for half an hour or so to set

And there you have it! Beautiful looking treats made in less than 10 minutes. 

What are your favourite treats to bake?

If you're curious, I bought the mason jars from Showerella on Not on the High Street. You get  four jars for £15 and straws/lids are also included in a design of your choice.