Topshop Makeup: 'Stripped' Eyeshadow

It's been a while since I've dabbled in Topshop's makeup collection. I think I bought a lip crayon a few years ago and didn't love it so never went back to buy anything else. However lately I've had a bit of an obsession with highlighting products and I'd seen the Topshop Glow pot on a few blogs and I knew it was something wanted to try. So while I was in Topshop gifting myself with a new highlighter that we all know I didn't really need, I also bought a single eyeshadow cream and and an eyeshadow palette. I thought I'd love the highlighter more than the others but it turns out than the eyeshadow cream was the winner for me.

I bought it in the shade Stripped and it's a lovely pink colour. It's one of those shades that you can get way with wearing through the day because it's fairly neutral. I gave it a test drive when I was in Amsterdam at the weekend and I really liked it. I've been wearing it on it's own through the day and then spicing it up a little bit in an evening with a bit of a darker colour in the crease of my eye and a bit of black eyeliner too. Everyone loves a diverse product, don't we?

The only issue I had with it was the creasing. When I went without an eyeshadow primer, by the end of the day there wasn't much colour left on my lids. But I'll just point out that I had been wearing it 12 hours and it was a hot day in Amsterdam so I don't really blame it for melting off a little bit. That being said, it does obviously wear better with a good primer. I've been using one from Smashbox and just applying the eyeshadow with my finger over the top. One sweep over my lips is enough for a light wash of colour but I usually go in with another layer so the colour is a bit more intense.

As for the other products I bought - I haven't had a go with the eyeshadow palette yet and I'm in two minds about the highighter. I'll update you when I make up my mind about them both.

Have you tried any of the Topshop makeup? What are your favouite products? 

A Red Lip for Everyone

Everyone has a lipstick preference - everyone loves a different shade of red and everyone loves a different finish. Whether it be a bright red with a sheer finish or a deep red with a matte finish, there's a red lipstick to suit everyone. Today I'm sharing with you some of my favourites and hopefully there's something for everyone in this bunch!

First up - the brighter reds. The Revlon lip butter in 035 Candy Apple is a favourite for a moisturising, sheer cover. Perfect if you're just starting out with a red lip and don't want to go too bold. It wears really nicely but obviously doesn't last so long due to it's balmy consistency. It's much better for daytime wear too! If you want something equally as bright but with more intense colour and a longer wear time, try the Rimmel Provocalips in 500 Kiss Me You Fool. This is a two step /double-ended system - colour first and balm second (to lock in the colour and add shine). This is great because it lasts as long as matte colours but with added shine! Bonus! 

For a deeper red, try  Rimmel Apocalips in 402 Across the Universe. This lip lacquer really makes me wish I went more places that require a red lip (along with places that require giving my Kurt Geiger heels a night out). It's a beautiful colour and lasts forever. If you forget to take it off before bed, it will still be there in the morning. It just doesn't budge. It does dry quite matte after a while but the shine should last long enough (at least long enough for you to spy a bathroom and do a quick touch up!) Also along the deep red route is the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in 08 Grand Cru. It's a matte colour and a really deep red, almost burgundy. If you prepare your lips well, yeah you know the whole scrub and moisturise palaver, then it should wear well. One warning though: don't leave the cap off. Mine dried out pretty quickly whilst I was taking these photos, when I went to swatch it on my hand the product came out clumpy and uneven. Pretty disappointing!

The most average lipstick of the bunch is probably Eva's Pure Red from the L'oreal Color Riche collection. If you want an ordinary lipstick with good colour, then this is the one for you. It's wear time is average and it's neither moisturising nor drying. It's average. But it's a lovely colour! It's one of those staple products so if you're just starting to dabble in the reds, try this one.

What are you favourite red lipsticks? Do you prefer a bright red or a deep red? Matte or shine?

End note: I completely didn't realise how much I loved the Rimmel Apocalips range until I wrote this post. Honestly, I have nothing but good things to say about this lip lacquer and now I just want to go out wearing it every day and also purchase ALL the colours in the range. Every single one. But I won't... Probably. Maybe. We'll see.

The Last Days of California by Mary Miller

I usually entitle these posts 'Books to Love' and I so badly wanted to love this book but I just didn't. I first heard about it over a year ago and it's been on my 'To Read' list for all that time. In true book hoarder fashion, I had so many other unread books on my shelf so I never bought it. Then one day as I was wandering around Waterstones, my favourite way to kill time, I spotted it straight away and because I had a gift card, I picked it up and headed straight over to the tills. I didn't even think twice.

What's it About? Jess is from a Christian family who are embarking on a cross-country road trip to witness the rapture. Over three days the family get themselves into all kinds of situations, as you can imagine when there are four people in a car driving that kind of distance. Jess is only 15 years old and her only sibling, Elise, 17 years old, is her only real companion. Their parents seem to be in their own little world. Together they deal with religion, family, boys, drugs, alcohol, all the issues you would expect teenagers to face.

It wasn't a bad book. It had it's funny moments and it definitely had it's relatable moments. But I think I assumed it was going to be more serious than it actually was. It didn't really resonate past a 'been there, done that' kind of feeling. I just didn't feel connected to any of the characters and I didn't feel that much really happened, certainly not enough to get invested in it in any kind of way. Neither of the parents were particularly likeable, both Jess and Elise seeemed to swap and change personalities at any given second. I like a character I can root for but I just felt disconnected the entire way through this book.

I didn't love it but I didn't hate it either.

It was an easy read, one of those read-in-a-day holiday books. And who knows, maybe I'm just past the age of reading those kind of teenage angst books now. Have you ever read The Last Days of California?

If you have any recommendations, leave them in the comments below. I'd love to know what your favourite reads are!

Where to Find Your Favourite Brands

When I was working in Superdrug, a lot of people would come in asking about makeup from brands that we didn't sell. Some brands sell exclusively through particularly stores which means that the stuff you want to get your hands on isn't sold everywhere. Don't worry though, I've compiled a list of the biggest brands and where to find them so your next shopping trip will be a little bit easier. We're talking strictly makeup in this post ladies and gents but if you'd like a skincare/bodycare/etc then I'll do one of those for you too! 

Boots | As well as the usual big brands - Maybelline, Rimmel, Collection, Maxfactor, L'oreal, Revlon, Bourjois, Barry M, Sleek - you'll find exclusive brands such as Soap & Glory, No7 and SEVENTEEN. You can also gets your hands on some of the higher end brands in Boots too such as Clinique, Benefit, Estee Lauder and Smashbox.

Superdrug | Here you'll find all the usual high street brands - Maybelline, Rimmel, Collection, Maxfactor, L'oreal, Revlon, Bourjois, Barry M, Miss Sporty, NYC and Sleek. Exclusive brands include Gosh, MUA, Beauty UK, Tanya Burr Cosmetics, Makeup Revolution, Models Own, 2true, Lottie London and of course B. 

Debenhams | This is one for the higher end brands. So you'll have Mac, Benefit, bareMinerals, Tom Ford, Estee Lauder, Urban Decay, Too Faced, Bobbi Brown, Chanel, Make Up For Ever, Dior, Clinique, theBalm, Illamasqua and Thierry Mugler (basically all the brands I wish I could afford but can't. Sob.)

Space NK | This is another for the higher end brands and usually stuff that isn't sold elsewhere. So  have a browse through Space NK for brands such as Hourglass, Laura Mercier, Nars, Becca, By Terry and Beauty Blender.

I think that covers the most popular brands and where you can hunt them down! Also, if you're in doubt then all of the websites have a brand list and also a list of which brands are exclusive. If I've missed anything off then let me know and thank you always for leaving such lovely comments on my blog. You all make my heart happy.

Rimmel '45' Kate Moss Nude Lipstick

You may have noticed a lot of focus on nudes on my blog lately (strictly of the makeup variety, of course). I've always thought understated makeup was the best direction for me, especially for daytime wear. My makeup, nail varnish (example: here and here) and a lot of my clothes are all very neutral, nude tones. So when I saw Kate Moss's new nude lipstick range for Rimmel floating around twitter I knew I had to check them out.

It took a while. I went in and out of a couple of Boots and Superdrugs and while they had a couple of the shades left, they didn't have the one that I wanted. The one that I thought would be perfect for me - we're talking that muted mauve/dusty rose kind of colour again. When I did eventually find it and took it home to try, I loved it. So did my mum too, apparently, who saw it lying on my bed while we were on holiday and decided she'd give it a try. Sneaky! 

Rimmel have a reputation for good lipsticks. Everyone loves the autumnal 107 shade and it's a staple in many girls' makeup collections. They have good wear time, they apply nicely and there's a good range of shades too - even better now that there's a nude to suit everyone (so they claim). There are five shades in the nude range each adapted to suit cool/warm/neutral skin tones and cost £5.49.

For a high street lipstick I often recommend Rimmel for quality and price point. Even if nudes aren't your thing, stop by the Rimmel stand if you're looking for a new lipstick! 

Have you tried any of the Rimmel lipsticks? What is your favourite nude?

Baked: Swiss Roll

Callum and I saw this on Bake Off last year and immediately took to the kitchen to give it a go. Now that Bake Off is back (wahoo!) we decided to bake another classic Swiss Roll! The good thing is, it's really easy to make and looks pretty fancy. Here's the recipe if you want to try it out:

75g Self Raising Flour
75g Caster Sugar
3 Eggs
Double Cream
Jam (we went for strawberry but whatever takes your fancy!)
Icing sugar

What To Do
Preheat oven to 200C
Grease/line baking tray with greaseproof paper
Whisk eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy
Fold in flour
Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 7-10 minutes
Whip up your double cream
Take the sponge out of the tray and spread jam and cream
Roll up your swiss roll
Sprinkle on some icing sugar and serve it up!

Have you ever tried making a Swiss Roll? We've only made it twice and each time Callum has been the one to do the fun bit i.e rolling it all up. Next time, it's my turn! What are your favourite things to bake?

Tip: if you roll your sponge up while it's still warm, it takes the curved shape without falling apart. Then you can unroll it, add your fillings and it will be easier to roll it all up at the end.

Original recipe: BBC Food

My Favourite Core Makeup Brushes

I don't do a lot of fancy artwork with my makeup so the extent of my makeup brush collection is tiny. For me, it basically comes down to getting the perfect base so my favourite and most used brushes are face brushes.

Real Techniques Duo-Fiber Face Brush | For a long time I used a really thick, heavy brush for applying powder. Then I learned that using such a heavy duty brush was displacing the foundation and concealer I'd so carefully applied underneath. This Powder brush from Real Techniques is perfect from loosely applying powder to stop shine or set foundation/concealer in place.

Avon Blusher Brush | First of all I love this brush because it's really soft. Second of all, it's shape is tailored to make blusher application incredibly easy. It's a bit cheaper that some of the other blusher brushes from other brands but it's quality is still top notch.

Real Techniques Cheek Brush | Again, another super soft brush. This one is a bit thicker and I often use it to either 1) blend in some blusher if I've been a bit over generous or 2) apply highlighter. It's a thick-headed brush so it holds a lot of product too which makes it perfect for applying a bit of colour whether it be blusher, highlighter or bronzer.

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush | I used to apply my foundation with my hands and it was a sticky, messy way of going about it. I eventually bought a sponge but I just felt like it ate the product and I didn't get much of a finish. Then I went and bought the RT Expert Face Brush and it transformed my foundation game. I squeeze a bit of foundation onto the back on my hand, dab my brush in it and then apply by 'buffing' in small circles. It gives a lovely even finish.

For a flawless base, I don't think you can go wrong with these brushes. Avon's brushes are really good quality to say they're pretty cheap and you know you can't go wrong with Real Techniques!

Nude Nails: Maybelline 'Rose Poudre'

Last month I shared with you one of my favourite nude nail varnishes from Lottie London. To continue with the Nude Nails series, today I'm sharing my ultimate favourite from Maybelline. It's called 'Rose Poudre' and it's the most perfect nude/slightly mauve colour, you know that dusty rose shade I love so much? It's just the perfect me colour. 

This has been the only nail varnish I've ever owned that I've repeatedly repurchased for years. But it's not just the colour that I love either. The quality is great too. Anyone that knows me will know how much I moan about not being able to make my nail varnish last more than a day. The picture above was taken on day three and there is only one chip! Which is nearing miraculous, if you ask me. So the lasting power is good too. 

The whole Super Stay nail range is lovely. I know that summer is pretty much coming to a close but they do some really nice pastel shades as well as some darker autumnal/winter shades. And of course, a few great nude shades too. You can find this shade on the Superdrug website here. They cost £4.99 which I think is worth it for the quality and the good range of shades.

Have you tried any of the Maybelline Super Stay nail polishes? Which is your favourite nude nail colour?

New Forest & English South Coast Mini Guide

Going on holiday to the New Forest every year was my favourite family adventure. As I was growing up, my grandparents would take me and my brother down South for a couple of weeks at the beginning of the summer holidays. Then my mum and dad would come down a week later so we could all spend time together. It was near six hour journey but my brother and I would always occupy ourselves playing silly car games and writing stories and eating ham sandwiches in the back of the car. Because it was a camping holiday, we'd visit various places through the day and then go back to the campsite in the evening and play games of rounders and hide & seek with the other kids on the camp (complete with camouflage clothes and glowsticks, I recommend this to everyone). We stopped going a fair few years ago but this year we decided it was high time to go back to our favourite holiday spot. Although the weather wasn't as good, we had a good time travelling along the South Coast and visiting our home away from home. So I thought it was about time that I shared a few of the New Forest and South Coast gems with you!

Lyndhurst | If you're in the mood for a spot of shopping and some really good ice cream, Lyndhurst should be top of your list. It's a tiny little place but there are a lot of family-run cafes and one-of-a-kind homeware stores filled with lots of treasures. It's not very big so it's good for a day where you just want to spend a couple of hours out and about.

Christchurch | As well as having a busy centre filled with high street shops and restaurants, there's a boating lake and a really big, beautiful church with a lovely courtyard. There's also a river running behind it so when the weather is nice it's a lovely walk. I snapped this picture of my grandparents sat by the lake while we were there. You can just see the church in the background but it doesn't do justice to how lovely it really is!

Mudeford | There isn't a whole lot to do in Mudeford but go fishing. It's a very short walk along the sea front and there is a little pub at the end but other than that there isn't much to do. If you just want a day to sit out and enjoy the rare British sunshine, have a drive to Mudeford. We went because we wanted to give crab fishing another whirl. The first time we did it none of us caught anything, except my brother who caught five! This time was no different, we had no success, but it was nice to just sit on the edge of the water and watch the boats go by and relish is everyone else's crab fishing successes.

Southsea | This was always my favourite place to go when I was younger. At the time it just seemed to vibrant and full of life and people! It wasn't quite the same when we went back (blame the weather, as always) but all the same things were there that I loved when I was a kid - arcades, fish & chip shops, cafes, castles (for the History nerd in me) and pebbled beaches. If the weather is good, it's a lovely long walk along the sea front to the big pier at the other side. There's something for everyone in Southsea!

Bournemouth | This time around, it was Bournemouth that I enjoyed the most. There's a big beach with bouncy castles and zip wires and a big pier with arcades and fairground rides. We went on a pretty windy day so we quickly escaped into the town to grab some food and do a bit of shopping. The great thing about Bournemouth is that it's so easy to go from city to sea and back again so if you want to spend some time at the beach you can but you can just as easily walk through the town for a more urbanised vibe. The best of both worlds.

Have any of you every been to the New Forest or explored any of these places along the South coast? I think these places will always be places I hold dear to my heart! Too soppy, alright, I'll leave it there.

The Body Shop Bouncy Sleeping Mask

There are some products that hit the shelves that all beauty lovers grab at straight away. As soon as I caught wind of The Body Shop Drops of Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask (oh, what a mouthful) I knew it was a product that deserved first class seating in my drawer of skin care goodies. 

So what is this unnecessarily long-named product, I hear you ask. It is an overnight gel mask that claims to leave skin looking smooth, refreshed and replenished. It employs the help of Edelweiss Stem Cells (for cell renewal) which I can only imagine aids the 'youthful' and 'restorative' aspect that this product claims to provide. 

I needed to invest in a good night cream, or something similar, and I like the idea of a product that does the hard labour through the night. I feel like it makes my morning skin care routine that much easier by providing me with a base that is already moisturised and smooth. And I am in love with this product. 

It's an odd texture, which will be the first thing anyone tells you about this product. If you've ever had a memory foam mattress or pillow then think about that.. only in gel form. Did that make sense? No probably not. But all you need to know is that you get a little spatula inside the box as well as a massive 90ml glass jar of product so it makes application a thousand times easier. Scoop a little bit of the product, with the spatula, onto your finger tips and massage into the skin. Don't worry, it's meant to feel a bit tacky until your skin soaks it up. The Body Shop website do a lovely guide on how to make the most out of this product with a good massage technique. You can find that here.

The Drops of Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask has glowing 5 star reviews on The Body Shop website and I can promise you that it's worth the investment. You can find this product in TBS stores or online and it costs £24. It's a steep price tag but with the 90ml jar it will last you forever (okay, maybe not quite forever but a very long time at least.) Like I say, it's the price you have to pay for helping your skin look it's very best.

If you need anymore convincing, this product is Caroline Hirons approved (the Queen of skin care) so give it a go if you want a product that genuinely fulfils it's promises.

Have you tried this product? Did you love it as much as I did?

Nivea Daily Essentials Day Cream

If you're looking for a new summer skin cream, let me be the one to tell you that this cream from Nivea is probably one to be avoided. Nivea is not a brand that I normally opt for. My few skincare items are higher end (the price you have to pay for better looking skin!) so I don't often dabble in high street skin care. That being said I have tried one of the Nivea primers before and the heavily perfumed scent of it put me off straight away. So already I don't have a good track record with Nivea products. 

While I was browsing the shop shelves, I thought this product was just what I wanted. It claims to be light, perfect for the day, and contains SPF, which was the main thing I was concerned about. It also claims to be for normal and combination skin (another check!) So why didn't I like it?

I don't often do negative reviews but I didn't feel there was anything good to say about this product. To say it's a day cream, it's incredibly thick and quite dry. I didn't feel like the formula soaked into my skin very well and it didn't leave my skin feeling soft and moisturised. Instead it made it a tiny bit more difficult to work in my foundation on the top. It's not a comfortable wearing moisturiser and it's definitely not one I'd describe at 'light.' Safe to say it is now floating around in one of my makeup/skincare draws and I'm back to using my trusty Origins moisturiser.

It's always a shame to have a disappointing experience with a product but maybe I'll go back to this one day and give it another go. If you want to check out prices and reviews (which are a very mixed bag!) you can do here.

Have you tried any of the Nivea moisturisers?