Friday, 19 December 2014

Honest Burger Review

I’ve been meaning to share my thoughts on this little burger joint since discovering it whilst working in London over Summer. Restaurants specialising in burgers seem to be cropping up all over the place at the moment, and Honest Burger is the best I’ve sampled so far (controversial, I know).

When I first visited Honest Burger in Oxford Circus, I wasn’t aware that it was part of a chain, but it would appear that these little restaurants can be found in Camden, Brixton and Portobello to name but a few. There is a no booking policy, so the process involves giving your name and number on arrival and receiving a text when your table is nearly ready. This has worked well in my experience, and I have only had to wait around 20 minutes maximum before being seated by the friendly staff.

The simplicity of the name of this restaurant is reflected in its no-nonsense approach, with an unpretentious menu offering a choice of 7 burgers. I went for the simply named ‘Cheese’ option (costing £8.50), which consists of a beef patty, red onion relish and lettuce with a choice of cheddar, red Leicester or stilton. As you can see from the photos, the burgers are cooked medium pink served within a small shiny bun. I do not profess to be a food critic, but this was a good burger, with the combination of succulent beef, gooey cheese and tasty relish making it a real winner. Despite the burger’s triumph, the star of the modest paper lined bowl were the rosemary salted fries, which are crispy on the outside, soft in the inside, and a general taste sensation. 

My only little nitpick of Honest Burger was the cocktails. Me and my friend Charlotte opted to try 'Honest' and 'Kaam and Ting', but they had quite a peculiar and sour flavour which we didn't appreciate as your average fruity cocktail drinkers.

If you find yourself in the vacinity of a HB joint whilst wandering around London, I would definitely recommend popping in if you are after a humble, tasty and honest meal.


Monday, 10 November 2014

Autumnal Lips

MAC Amorous Givenchy Gloss Interdit Velvet Purple

MAC Amorous Givenchy Gloss Interdit Velvet Purple

Givenchy Gloss Interdit Velvet Purple

Swatch MAC Amorous Givenchy Velvet Purple

So…I know I’ve been slightly MIA recently, but now summer is over and I  have moved back up to Uni, I'm aiming to post weekly and finally get back into the swing of blogging!

In this post, I want to share my two favourite Autumn lip shades, as when the leaves begin to fall and the woolly scarves and hats are donned, I feel a compulsion to dig out my darker lip colours. One of my favourite makeup looks for autumn and winter is natural dewy skin with lashings of mascara on the top lashes and a vampy berry lip shade. However, the darker lip shades come with the looming possibility of smudging, particularly for those of you like me who tend to stick to low maintenance, natural shades in satin formulas.

I think that my chosen autumnal shades are a nice compromise between comfort/ practicality and looking suitably festive by sporting a safe, yet striking berry shade. 

Mac Lipstick in Amorous:
This pick is described by MAC as a 'lovestruck cranberry', but I consider it to be more of a deep mauve, plum hue. This lipstick is one of MAC's matte formulas so a drawback is that it can be a bit drying, however this can be easily avoided by using a lip scrub and hydrating lip balm first. The main benefit of matte shades is definitely their longevity, and the drier texture means less chance of smudging, so it's a definite win all round.

Givenchy Gloss Interdit Ultra-Shiny Colour Plumping Effect in 15 Velvet Purple:
Tongue twister name aside, this lipstick is the most beautiful deep berry, fuchsia shade with an abundance of very fine glitter. As the colour is a purple hue, it has a blue undertone, meaning that teeth look whiter, which is always a bonus! I normally tend to avoid lipglosses because of their notoriously sticky texture, however this formula is very comfortable and easy to blend but doesn't feel gloopy. Another common association with lipglosses is that they are disappointingly sheer, but this Givenchy offering is very opaque but can easily be patted on and sheered out or painted on for a more dramatic look.

What are your favourite lip shades for autumn/ winter?


Saturday, 9 August 2014

Philip Kingsley Elasticizer

Having been dealt the life card of frizzy and thick hair, I’m always on the market for a product that is going to make my hair feel and look silkier and more nourished. Philip Kingsley’s Elasticizer is a hair product that I’ve had my eye on for a while, as it’s such a cult product that I’ve read many a rave review about over the years.

As well as being well known for its hair softening qualities, Elasticizer is notorious for being a pricey addition to any hair care routine. 150ml of this product will usually set you back around £28, however I managed to snap it up when it was on offer to celebrate 40 years of sales and I also had a £5 discount code to use. The limited edition gift set I bought included a 250ml tube of Elasticizer and a towelling wrap to cover the hair while the treatment is on.

The product itself is a thick white cream with no scent that is to be used as a pre-shampoo treatment for dry or heat damaged hair. This cream is to be applied to damp hair, so I wet all my hair in the shower, towel dry it and then comb it through before applying a generous layer all over, from root to tips. I then wrap my hair in the towel provided and leave it on for anything from 30 minutes to a few hours and I like to use this time as a pamper session on a Sunday (I’m talking nail painting, fake tanning, eyebrow plucking, the works).

After the treatment has been on my hair for as long as possible, I wash it out and then shampoo and condition my hair as normal. Whilst washing out the cream, my hair doesn’t immediately feel any softer or silkier, however, as I wash it, the texture changes and my hair feels much softer and less thick and coarse. When I move on to drying, my hair does feel significantly more moisturised and more bouncy and light in texture. I was slightly disappointed that Elasticizer made little difference to the frizziness of my hair, as I expected that the flyaway frizz would have been more smooth after the treatment, however I didn’t notice it to be any less frizzy than when I use my regular conditioner.

Overall, I have enjoyed using Elasticizer, and definitely felt a difference to my hair after use, however I’m on the fence as to whether I would repurchase it at full price, as it didn’t make quite as much difference to the appearance of my hair as I’d hoped.

What are your thoughts on this cult hair treatment? Can you recommend any hair masks to calm frizz and add moisture?

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Origins Super Spot Remover Review

This tiny bottle of spot treatment has got a lot of attention over the past few years, and, having taken the plunge a few months ago, I thought it was high time to review Origins’ answer to blemishes. This tiny 10ml bottle costs £15, which, considering it looks small enough to be a sample, felt like a very extravagant buy (especially considering it was £12 just two years ago!)

Anyway, the gel itself is clear and quite thick, which means that very little is needed, and for each blemish I just use a tiny dab. Because of the salicylic acid in this treatment, when the gel is applied, the spot stings for a few seconds until the gel sets in. Oddly enough, I actually like that there is a sensation on application, as it feels as though the gel is actually doing something and contains active and effective ingredients to tackle the blemish.

If I put the treatment on before bed, when I wake up in the morning, there is the usual dryness that is associated with blemish treatment, due to the ingredients drying out the spots. However, the dryness can be easily remedied by a layer of moisturiser before applying makeup. I do find that if I use this product regularly and target a breakout, spots do appear much less red and smaller in size after repeated use.

In general, I don’t think that there is a miracle gel or cream out there that is going to truly banish blemishes, however there are products that will minimise the redness and size more quickly than Mother Nature, and the Origins spot treatment is certainly one of them.

Have you tried the Origins spot treatment? What do you find the best treatment for blemishes to be?

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Simple Summer Nail Art

Nail art has never been a strong skill of mine, as, being left handed, I can create intricate designs on my right hand, but when it comes to replicating them on my left hand, the result looks like a toddler has been let loose with a felt tip marker. However, since buying the black Barry M Nail Art Pen a few months ago and getting the white one at the same time (buy 1 get 1 half price), I’ve used the black pen quite frequently, but I managed to lose the white version at the back of a draw. I really enjoyed using the black pen and created a leopard print glitter design (blog post here), so thought it was time I attempted a design with the white pen.

Because of my inability to create anything more adventurous than dots or dashes using my right hand, I tend to stick to very basic patterns with nail art pens, and what could be simpler than random short lines? Despite the extreme simplicity of this nail look, I think that the faint white lines look suitably summery over Essie’s Bikini So Teeny, a beautiful shimmery pastel blue shade.

I found the pen itself to be easy to use, and, despite the lines looking quite faint on my nails, if pressed harder, a more opaque line can easily be created. My only slight criticism with this nail art pen is that occasionally a lot comes out in a blob at the top of the nib, but this can be rectified by keeping a tissue nearby and dabbing this away before applying the nib to the nail. These nail art pens aren’t the cheapest at £4.99, but Barry M nail products are often on offer, so I'd recommend waiting for a 3 for 2 deal (a.k.a the classic beauty addict's justification for buying more makeup than they need).

What's your opinion on DIY nail art? What designs have you attempted?

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Peach Cheeks

Having always gone for the same pink toned blushers, I felt it was high time to try a more peachy shade, so when I spotted this little number I had to add it to my basket. The blush in question is one of the Bourjois Little Round Pot Blushers in the shade ‘Healthy Mix'.

The colour of the blush is a warm peachy coral and I would describe the finish as satin, as it contains no shimmer or glitter, but gives a subtle glow to the skin. The finish and shade of the blush mean that it creates a really healthy look (as the name would suggest), because it looks very natural, but adds warmth to the complexion.

The blush itself has a floral, fresh scent which can be detected in the pan, but this doesn’t linger on the skin for long, which I consider to be a good thing. Although this isn’t the most pigmented of products, it gives a natural flush which will suit all skin tones, perhaps aside from very dark skins, as it may not show up too well without needing to pile on multiple layers.

I love the packaging of the Bourjois Pot Blushes, as the casing is the exact shade of the blush inside, and there is also a tiny mirror in the lid, which could be used in desperate mirror-less situations. Although the pot is quite small, Bourjois have managed to sneak a tiny applicator inside, but does anyone find any use for these teeny doll sized brushes?

Which peach toned blushes would you recommend?

Friday, 4 July 2014

Back to Basics

Recently, I have found myself reaching daily for my battered, or to put it nicely, ‘well loved’ Naked Palette. Although it may not be the shiny, pristine beauty it used to be, it remains a palette of complementary shadows, meaning that any makeup beginner can create a successful smokey eye or natural look by combining any of the 12 shades.

When the hype for this palette first emerged, I disregarded the concept as a gimmick, however, I quickly changed my opinion when I found that, rather than being simply a palette of ‘naked’ shadows, it actually contained a variety of rich and pigmented shades. The most attractive aspect of this palette to me is that a ‘barely there’ look can be created, but, due to the range of shades, so can a dramatic smoky eye, meaning that many looks can be created for your £37.

Since every blogger and their mum has reviewed one of the 3 ‘Naked’ offerings, I won’t bore you with a detailed description of each shade, but just put in my tuppence that I do rate them. Because of the quality and wearable nature of these shades, you’d have to try pretty hard to create a disastrous look when using these shadows!

The time that I am most thankful for the existence of this palette is holiday or travelling situations, as it really does contain all you could possibly need for your eye makeup (minus mascara). The shimmery shades are perfect all over lid, the darker shades can be used as eye liner with an angled brush, and the matte shades (‘Naked’ and ‘Buck’) can be used through the eyebrows. I will certainly be taking this palette along to T in the Park festival when I head there next week (but whether I fit in using it amidst the fun and festivities will be a different matter).

Which is your favourite eye shadow palette?


Thursday, 26 June 2014

Review: Butter London 'Knackered'

Butter London has always been a brand that I have had my eye on, even back when it was only sold in the U.S and I envied the shades I saw featured in countless American NOTDs. So when I spied a Butter London stand in my local Boots, I couldn't resist picking up one of the most unique shades they have to offer. Knackered was the obvious first choice for me, as any iridescent, chameleon-like shade that surprises me with a different colour when the lighting changes has my name written all over it.

This choice definitely didn’t disappoint, with the colours visible ranging from silver to teal to lilac, always with pretty micro glitter running through. The only single negative to this is how difficult it was to photograph! However, the effect is beautiful and has a galaxy look about it, with the tiny glitter particles and metallic shine.

The application of this polish is a dream, with a chunky brush meaning effortless nail painting. The only slight drawback is that around 3 coats are needed for full opacity, however, because of the streak free application, this takes no time at all and is definitely worth it. To create a more dramatic look, Knackered can be used as an iridescent topcoat over darker polishes, however, for the summer months, I love the look of a sheer iridescent hue.

Do you own any Butter London polishes that I should add to my wish list?


Sunday, 22 June 2014

Favourite Summer Scents

Perfume is, for me, a luxury limited to Birthday and Christmas presents because of the extravagant price tags they come with. However, it is the rarity of owning a new perfume that makes them one of my favourite things to lust after and consequently make me incapable of walking through a beauty hall without spraying myself with so many that I can longer differentiate between them (we’ve all been there).

Out of my small collection, I find that I reach for different perfumes according to the season, and in summer, I tend to reach for girly, yet sophisticated scents that aren't too overpowering. Chanel’s ‘Chance’ in ‘Eau Fraiche’ and Stella McCartney’s classic ‘Stella’ certainly fit the category of light, yet feminine.

‘Chance Eau Fraiche’ by Chanel: This delicate green perfume is the perfect refreshing scent on a hot summers day as the name 'Eau Fraiche' would suggest. I am no fragrance expert, however, I can detect the topnotes described by Chanel as lemon and cedar, and the basenotes of amber and patchouli. When first spritzed, the scent is rather sharp and citrus-y, however, when it has been sat on the skin for a few hours, the more woody basenotes really begin to come through. For this reason, this perfume is perfect for a summers day, as by the time evening comes around, the fragrance has more of a demure and heady feel. This perfume is around the £55 mark for 50ml, so definitely one for a Birthday list or a student loan day splurge.

‘Stella’ by Stella McCartney: The first thing that attracted me to this perfume (after the hundreds of blogposts I’d read) was the bottle design. These little 30ml bottles are known for their pretty prints, which are updated annually with new themes and motifs. As well as looking eye-catching on my dressing table, the perfume within the quirky packaging is my idea of the most beautiful summer scent. The fragrance is a blend of florals, with topnotes of rose, mandarin and peony and with basenotes of amber. It is the amber and the mandarin tones that set this perfume apart from any other simple floral scent as a sophisticated and multi layered fragrance. This perfume is fairly priced at £40 for 30ml, and is a great choice to throw into the handbag for those long summer days out.

What are your favourite summer scents?

Monday, 19 May 2014

Lip Rescue: Lush's Bubblegum Lip Scrub

The Lip Scrubs that Lush brought out are a range of products that I've had my eye on since they first appeared, but have never got round to giving them a sniff and buying one. I seem to suffer from dry lips all year round, so last time I was in Lush, I thought it was high time that I picked up one of their much talked about dry-lips remedies. The Lip Scrubs come in 3 other flavours to the one I chose: Mint Julips, Popcorn and Sweet Lips (which smells of vanilla chocolate). However, being a fan of the sweet Lush scents like Snow Fairy and Melting Marshmallow Moment, I naturally went for the Bubblegum offering to satisfy my sweet tooth!

The scrub itself works well, as the particles are not too large so as to hurt your lips, but they're big enough to slough away any dead skin. I find that wetting lips before applying the scrub works best before you rub it in and then lick the edible candyfloss sugar off (definitely the best aspect of this product!) I like to finish off my mini lip pamper with a good old fashioned lip balm or lotion, and find the Blistex Intensive Moisturiser works wonders on dry and dehydrated lips.

Lip scrubs are never a necessity and I probably won't repurchase after this one runs out, but it's a nice gift idea or little pick-me-up during revision and essay period.

What are your favourite lip care products?

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

'They're Real': Worth the Hype?

The search for the perfect mascara is a seemingly never ending one, however, having finally given into the hype, Benefit's 'They're Real' comes close to providing everything that a mascara should.  I often feel that Benefit products are rather 'style over substance' and the high price labels reflect the ornate and frivolous packaging rather than the product that is hidden deep within it. However, 'They're Real' seems to be the exception to the rule, with a pretty (and still practical) tube packaging, but with the effective and no-nonsense product within.

Throughout the years, I have tried and tested countless mascaras, all claiming to have the perfect formula and brush type, but they nearly all fail at one requirement. 'They're Real' delivers on what I consider to be the three requirements of a mascara: length, volume and curl. The formulation is quite wet which means avoidance of the clumpy, dry lashes that many mascaras unfortunately give. The brush is medium sized and plastic and has bristles on the tip as well as the top which is effective in catching the very outer eyelashes. The photo above shows the effects of one coat of They're Real, and I'm sure you'll agree that they do not look fake (as the name suggests), but definitely longer and more luscious than when they were makeup free.

The price of this mascara is quite a step up from the usual £7-£10 drug-store mascaras, however, if you have a little extra cash after pay-day/ student loan, I'd definitely recommend giving it a go!

Which is your all time favourite mascara?

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Speckled Egg Nails

As soon as Illamasqua came out with these speckled nail polishes in their 'I'mperfection' collection last year, I fell in love with them and couldn't resist buying one.
Choosing one out of the collection of beautiful Spring candy colours was no easy task, but I eventually went for 'Scarce', which is a beautiful muted candy pink. Since Spring has sprung, I dug out this polish again to add a cute Easter touch to my nails.

In the bottle, I was worried that the pale shade may result in streaks galore, however the formulation is thankfully the usual Illamasqua quality, with two coats giving a completely opaque finish.

I always keep up (from a distance, given my student budget) with the Illamasqua collections, as the concepts behind them are always so interesting, and I love the focus of the idea of 'imperfection' in this one. When I wear this polish, I can't stop looking at my nails, but, be warned, as this can lead to a craving for mini eggs!

What's your favourite Spring nail polish?


Wednesday, 9 April 2014

NOTD: Neon Orange

As I was in Boots on one of the few sunny days we have in England, a neon orange nail polish caught my eye and I added it to my basket to interject some colour into my predominantly nude nail varnish collection. The polish in question is Rimmel's 'Orange Your Life' (shade 200) for the small sum of £2.99

Despite the colour being a rather in your face shade, it adds a nice dash of colour to any otherwise plain or monochrome outfit. The consistency is the usual 'Lasting Finish' quality, it was almost opaque after just one coat, but after the mandatory second coat, the colour really intensified. I found the finish to be quite matte, so a shiny top coat was necessary (I like Sally Hansen's Insta-Dri) to create the shiny finish that I prefer.

All in all, I am please with my first bright/ neon nail polish and may have to invest in a few more, so if anyone has any suggestions of bright shades I should try, let me know!

What's your opinion on in your face nails?

Monday, 31 March 2014

Estee Lauder Double Wear: Love or Loathe?

Finding the perfect foundation to match the needs of your preferred finish, shade and consistency seems to be a never-ending search for most of us. However, at least for the moment, Estee Lauder’s Double Wear is one of the foundations I find myself reaching for daily, as it meets most of my (many) foundation requirements. This product is notorious in the beauty world, and is quite the Marmite pick, as people seem to be firmly on one side of the foundation fence or the other for this renowned little product.

My skin does not fall into one of the simple ‘dry’ or ‘oily’ categories, but seems to be the definition of ‘combination’ with an oily t zone but with dry areas on the surface of the same area. This makes finding a foundation particularly hard, as a base that controls oil, whilst also nourishing dry areas is surely non-existent. However, Double Wear is the nearest foundation I have found to mattify, whilst also not intensifying and making the dry areas more noticeable.

This Estee Lauder pick unsurprisingly doesn't come cheap at £27.50, however this is a comparable and competitive price to similar offerings from the other high end counter brands. A notable advantage of this foundation over its drugstore alternatives is the large number of shades available, with over 30 to suit the palest pink and yellow toned skins to the darkest complexions. The packaging feels luxurious, in a matte glass bottle, with the only improvement being the addition of a pump, but as a frugal student, I make sure to stand the bottle upside down when it nears its end to savour the last dregs.

One of the main complaints of Double Wear is that it is too heavy, however with a good moisturiser and stippling brush (Real Techniques buffing brush is my firm fav), it is possible to achieve a natural, non-cakey finish.

Overall, I would recommend this foundation mainly for those with oilier skins, as dry skinned gals are not going to find this foundation to be particularly moisturising or nourishing. Despite the ideal skin type for this product being oily skins, with a good skincare routine consisting of a good exfoliator and moisturiser, combination skins (thankfully, like myself) can still enjoy this fabulous foundation too.

Do you love or loathe it? 

Monday, 20 January 2014

Review: Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish

Though it is probably the most highly reviewed beauty product on the internet, I wanted to give my tuppence worth on Liz Earle's Cleanse and Polish, as it has been the only cleanser on my bathroom shelf for a few years now. Despite the price of this classic product putting it in a category slightly above those found in supermarkets and pharmacies, I am an advocate of using a good quality cleanser, after being guilty of the crime of using baby wipes as my main method of removing makeup for years.

Skin type suitability: I don't usually buy into products claiming to be 'suitable for all skin types' and, with this cleanser being a thick, rich cream, I originally thought it would only be suitable for dry skins. However, after trying it, I found it to work effectively on my oily skin and it does not intensify the unappealing shiny look, but makes my skin feel unbelievably soft and moisturised.

How I use it: I apply this cleanser onto dry skin in the morning and evening and the thick texture makes this feel like a very luxurious process. Because of the plant based and gentle formulation, the cleanser can be rubbed into mascara loaded eyelashes, producing attractive temporary panda eyes without the risk of irritation from harsh chemicals. The second step, as the name suggests, is the 'polish' step with the muslin cloth and I run it under the hot tap and gently remove the makeup or general daily grime with it (like an expensive baby wipe). If it has been a specially heavy makeup job, I repeat this process and then splash water on my face to close the pores.

Packaging and scent: The appearance of the casing this cleanser is packaged in is a classic duck egg blue, matte tube with a pump, so the annoyance of squeezing the last dregs from a tube is a distant memory. The cream itself has a beautiful subtle plant smell, and as the picture shows, I was given a limited edition version as a gift from my mum, which is grapefruit and patchouli; a herbal and spiced scent (the only difference to the original). The cloth that comes with the '100ml starter kit' (£14.75) is worth the extra few pounds, as it is gentler than a flannel, but textured enough to have a slightly exfoliating effect.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this cleanser, as I haven't come across better results from any other and it creates a smooth and nourished base ready for makeup.

Friday, 10 January 2014

NOTD: beginners nail art

Nail art has always been an aspect of beauty that I have steered clear of and just admired from a distance on Instagram accounts and other blogs, despite being an obsessive collector of nail polishes. However, this changed when I was recently lured in by a 'buy one get one half price' offer on the Barry M stand and decided to invest in a black and white nail art pen. For my first attempt I went for a simple black leopard print pattern on a neutral base (Essie's Chinchilly), with a bit of glitter (Nails Inc's Rainbow Street) added in the markings for good measure.

I found the Barry M pen to be very easy to use and would certainly recommend it for other beginners, as it resembles a thin nib permanent marker pen, meaning the application feels more like a doodle on the nails than fiddly artwork.The nib applies just the right amount of polish in the perfect thickness, and has excellent longevity; well outlasting the nail polishes underneath, so, overall a must have for those in awe of nail art designs.

I will report back when I have spent more 'should-be-revision-time' trying some more designs using the white pen too, and having probably made a wishlist of more nail arty bits!

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Hello and welcome

Being a reader of many beauty, fashion and lifestyle blogs, as one of my many New Year's aims, I have finally taken the leap and set up my own. 
I study English at Newcastle Uni and write for the beauty section of my student newspaper The Courier, but am excited to have my own 'space' to ramble about my makeup obsession as a perfect way to put off  take a break from my degree work!
I'm going to keep this post short and sweet, but if you are reading then 'welcome!' and I hope you enjoy the posts to come and share my love for the beautiful unnecessary!
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