Friday 29 November 2013

Roadhouse Weekend

Hey! Today I'll be blogging about something a bit different: Flair. Flair is the art of bartending while using tricks (including flipping, spinning, and juggling tins and shakers) to entertain customers while making their drinks.

This year at university I joined Flair Society (which I believe is the only one in the country), and I can honestly say it has been the best society I've joined in all my two-and-a-bit years of being a student! That is however, not to say that I am any good at Flair myself (yet)

Last weekend, I had the most AMAZING time at the Roadhouse World Flair Finals. Dancing, cheering, drinking cocktails, and generally partying hard! The level of skills these guys had was INCREDIBLE. The first stage of heats was 5 minutes of a 'working flair' routine (different levels of liquid in bottles, and 'flat' throws), and then the six finalists went on to perform an 8 minute routine of 'exhibition flair' (less than 60ml of liquid in each bottle, specifically for flipping).

And as if THAT wasn't enough, there was also the Tandem Finals (multiple, usually two, people flairing together), which were super impressive to watch, as it's difficult enough to know where to catch a bottle when you throw it, let alone when someone else has!

But enough rambling and onto some pictures of the event!
(Warning: there's a lot.)

And finally here are a few things I got from the weekend:

The book (a collection of stories from bartenders around the world), and the floral patterned tin were prizes given out during the event, and the Roadhouse tin and flair bottle were purchases of my own (keen).

Oh, and of course I couldn't resist having cocktail-themed nails for the weekend!

How was your weekend?


Saturday 23 November 2013

Everyday Haircare

Hey! Today I want to talk about hair. It's something I have quite a lot of, being both long and thick, and it takes a far bit of looking after to keep in good condition.

After having ombré hair for about 10 months, the ends of my hair were very dead, dry and damaged so I decided to return to my natural colour (albeit with a few cheeky highlights) and have a few inches chopped off, to improve the health and appearance of my hair.

Since then, I have made sure to regularly use conditioning and strengthening products on my hair to maintain it in its refreshed, healthy condition. The following are the products I like to use pretty much all the time!

After I've washed my hair (usually every 2-3 days), I like to apply a couple of serums to the ends of my hair - preventing them from splitting and/or looking thin. The combination I have been using regularly for a good few months now, which I've found works for me is the Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum and Argan Gold Hair Vitality Oil (full review here). These are really good at nourishing the ends of my hair, without weighing them down too much as you only need a really small amount of product each time.

The next product I like to use when my hair is still damp, is the TIGI S-Factor Body Booster Plumping Spray. This adds a bit of volume to my roots even when I don't blow-dry my hair (although it works better when I do), and also smells incredible; like strawberries and cream - I'd like to try other products in this range just for that reason alone!

The Paul Mitchell Super Strong Liquid Treatment has helped keep my hair in a healthy, non-damaged condition and helps my hair dry a little faster too, as I apply it all through my hair. Unlike other strengthening sprays I've used, this one doesn't leave a sticky residue either. I also find it helps to prevent breakage when I'm brushing my hair.

Something else which does this, is quite frankly my new miracle hair brush. The Elite Models Professional Detangling Hair Brush (at least I think that's what its called, I can't find it online!) has very thin, flexible bristles which glide through the hair without pulling. I picked it up in TK Maxx the other week for an absolute steal at £3! Hair-brushing is now a pain-free experience for me - this brush has even brushed out my back-combed hair without too much hassle! I've previously had the Tangle Teezer, but after using it I always felt like my hair still needed a proper brush through (if that makes sense?) with something like a regular paddle brush. The Elite Detangling Brush leaves me feeling like my hair has been properly brushed.

The final product I like to use as a fortnightly treat for my hair, is the Philip Kingsley Elasticizer. This is a pre-shampoo treatment which at first I found a bit strange, but actually makes it an easier part of the routine. Every time I use this, my hair is left feeling super soft, silky and has a lovely shine to it. I got this 40ml size free with a magazine a couple of months ago and only now has it almost run out so it gets a thumbs-up for lasting!

Quite a few of these products are fairly high-end (almost all of them in fact), so I'd love to know if you have any high street recommendations!

How do you keep your hair in good condition?


Wednesday 20 November 2013

No More Pores!

Hey! Today I want to share with you a selection of the products I love for minimising pores and evening out my complexion.

I wouldn't say I have massive pores, but some days I do look in the mirror and think 'hmm I could really do with using something to smooth out my skin'. I do also think that it's important not to clog your pores during the process of trying to improve the appearance of them.

The following products are the ones I have found to work for me (I have combination skin):

The first product I've included is a face wash I've been enjoying using: Neutrogena Visibly Clear Pore & Shine Daily Wash. It gets my face nice and clean, removing any dirt and rubbish from my skin, while not being too harsh and completely stripping my skin. I have also previously used the Pink Grapefruit range from Neutrogena, and for the price tag, they are great products! 

When my face is looking a bit oily, I like to switch up my skincare routine to include this Rare Earth Pore Refining Tonic from Kiehl's. I find a little drying on my skin for everyday use, but when I do use it my skin always feels softer, smoother, and pore-free. This contains Amazonian White Clay, which means you have to shake it every time you uses it to make sure everything is all mixed, and I think this is one of the key ingredients which helps, since I often like to use clay-based face masks to improve my skin.

The next product is Benefit's the Porefessional, which I will add to my makeup routine if I think my pores are particularly noticeable. I don't really rate this as a primer, since I don't think it makes any difference to the lasting time of my makeup, but it sure does make my skin lovely and smooth! (And I like to use a makeup setting spray anyway.)

Finally, I have what I consider to be high-street version of the Porefessional: in the form of The Body Shop's Tea Tree Pore Minimiser. I would say this isn't quite as effective as the Porefessional - but it does indeed minimise the appearance of pores and at a fraction of the price you can't really complain! I'm not a huge fan of the smell of tea tree, but the smell doesn't last on the skin and it does feel more refreshing.

Do you find yourself with unwanted visible pores? What products do you use?


Sunday 17 November 2013

Weekend Wishlist #4

Hey! Since I haven't done a wishlist in a while, I thought that with Christmas on the way it would be an appropriate time to do one! So, here are the things I'm currently lusting after:

1. Christmas Jumper
I am very much lusting after a Christmas jumper after missing out last year, but I'm having a bit of an issue in that everywhere I look there only seem to be tacky-looking ones with light up parts or pom-poms sticking out. I've included a few jumpers I'd be happier to find on a hanger and purchase!

2. Smashbox Smokebox Palette - £32 here
After having a nosey at the Smashbox counter the other week, I really like the range of eyeshadow shades they have, and this palette caught my eye as being a perfect wintery eye palette!

3. MAC Fix+ - £14.50 here
I have a feeling my Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray is going to run out soon, and this version from MAC is actually slightly cheaper so I thought I might give it a go. Also MAC have their Back-To-MAC scheme, and Urban Decay don't have anything like that.

4. MAC Brush Cleanser - £10 here
Now that my collection of brushes is getting larger, I figure it's time to invest in a proper brush cleanser (At the moment I wash my brushes with my regular face cleanser). Also it means I could (at some point in the future) take advantage of the Back-To-MAC scheme, as with the Fix+.

5. Kevyn Aucoin Fan Brush - £48 here
As I said before, I'm now looking for a dupe for this fan brush, but there's no harm in having the real thing on my wishlist right?

6. Black Heels
Earlier this year I mastered being able to walk in heels (finally!), and now I am after some classic black heels which are comfortable, not too high, not too expensive, and will obviously go with everything.

7. Smashbox Photo Op Eyeshadow Trio - £21 here
Probably not as good value as the other Smashbox palette, I really like the combination of these colours together and the compactness would be ideal for travelling  (not that I have anywhere to go at the moment).

8. Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner - £14 here
I'm pretty unimpressed with my current eyeliner. It's a felt tip one, which dries out really quickly when I open it, is a bugger to apply, and then smudges off within only an hour or so of wearing. I'm hoping Urban Decay's offering will be much better.

What's on your current wishlist?


Saturday 16 November 2013

Bloody Mary Makeup

Hey! Just a quick post today, as I wanted to share the makeup I did for a fancy dress bar crawl I went on last night. The theme was drinks and cocktails, so I went as Bloody Mary (a cocktail I actually love anyway).

I kept the outfit simple: a red skater dress (only a fiver from Primark!), black waist belt, suspender tights and black ankle boots. But for the makeup, I made a little more effort and went for a 'I've cried so much my eyes bled' look (I wouldn't recommend it for everyday!).

To create the look, I first primed all around my eyes with Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion, then liberally applied MAC Cranberry all the way up to my brows, and quite far below the eyes. I then used Urban Decay Blackout blended across my brows and down into the Cranberry, and also down the sides of my nose for a hollowed look.

With a black eyeliner, I added details above my brows for a sad expression, and lined my waterline and lashline (all the way to the inner corners of my eyes). I applied mascara to my top and bottom lashes, and then dripped fake blood down my face.

While waiting for that to dry, I applied concealer to my lips (I don't own a nude lipstick - blogger fail) as I didn't want to detract attention from the eye makeup, and I back-combed my hair for a messed up effect.

What do you think? Would you wear this for maybe Halloween next year?


Wednesday 13 November 2013

Nail Art: Owls!

Hey! Today I've got another nail art tutorial to share with you, and I feel like this one is a bit overdue, given my own love of owls. Seriously. I have owl jewellery, owl print clothing, owl cushions, an owl doorstop, owl print mugs, owl phone case, owl twitter background... you get the idea.

And right now I have owls on my nails; want them on yours? Here's how:

1. Apply base coat, and then a dark brown all over the nails.

2. Apply a pigmented nude or light brown to the inner section of the nail (if that makes any sense at all).

3. Add large white dots for eyes, using a white nail art pen or dotting tool.

4. Use a black striper to add a criss-cross pattern to the nude/light brown area.

5. Add final details of pupils and a yellow beak (again with nail art pens or a dotting tool) and complete with top coat.

And there you have cutesy owl nails! Sorry for the bad lighting, I keep forgetting how dark it gets so much earlier now...

Any particular nail art you'd like to see next?


Sunday 10 November 2013

October Favourites

Hey! I know this is a teeny bit late for a favourites post (sorry!) and I think this is actually only my second ever favourites post, since I tend to rave about products I like as and when anyway. But lately there have been a few things I've been loving and using consistently and I feel the need to rave about them all at once!

The first thing I need to mention is the Urban Decay b6 Vitamin Infused Complexion Prep Spray; I use this almost every day at the moment as an incredibly lazy primer - just a few quick spritzes (if that's even a word!) and I'm all primed up! This has a great deal of claims: absorbing oil; minimising pores; reducing redness; hydrating, softening, and refreshing the skin. I have to say I don't 100% agree with all of these, but it DOES help with any redness and is certainly the lightest and most refreshing of all the primers I've used.

The next couple of things go hand in hand really, as recently I have getting into contouring my face to stop it looking quite so one dimensional. I have been using Benefit's Hoola Bronzing Powder and lightly brushing it under my cheekbones (and even more lightly in a 3 shape down the sides of my face) with MAC's 168 Large Angled Contour Brush. I only bought this the other weekend, but I am so impressed with the ease of application it gives, and to be honest it puts some of my other brushes to shame!

My next October favourite is the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer (I have the shade 15). This is perfect for concealing both blemishes and dark circles (not needing two separate concealers is a win in my book) and has a lovely creamy-but-not-too-thick consistency. I actually rate this higher than the coveted Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer (*gasp*) for it's formula, colour range, less cakey-ness (making up words again...) and generally being a better concealer.

And finally for beauty favourites, is one I really didn't want to fall into the hype of... and that's Benefit's They're Real! Mascara. This is every bit as good at lengthening and volumising lashes as you've read everywhere else, and despite being more than double the price of my previous go-to mascara (Maybelline Volum' Express The Falsies) and not having a curved brush (which I tend to prefer with mascaras) I am absolutely won over by this mascara.

A couple of other favourites I want to quickly mention for this month, are my current top 5 songs I have been listening to basically non-stop. I thought I'd share them with you all now before my playlist becomes entirely Christmas songs... (now it's November that's entirely acceptable right?)

1. Capital Cities - Kangaroo Court (listen here)
2. Work Drugs - Digital Girl (listen here)
3. Bastille - Of The Night (listen here)
4. Smallpools - Dreaming (The Chainsmokers Remix) (listen here)
5. The Magician (ft. Newtimers) - When The Night Is Over (listen here)

What have you been loving this month?


Thursday 7 November 2013

Kevyn Aucoin Makeover

Hey! Today's post is all about a Kevyn Aucoin makeover I had last week at Space NK.

Kevyn Aucoin is a brand I hadn't previously heard of, but while I was in Space NK the other weekend, I read a sign saying one of their makeup artists would be visiting for one day and offering complimentary makeovers, so of course I said sign me up!

So this is the look Beki gave me! Sorry for the bad lighting, I forgot how dark it would be when the clocks went back...

When I arrived, I was offered a complimentary glass of champagne (making me feel pampered already!) and we discussed what kind of look I wanted to go for. Since I was planning on going out that evening, we opted for a glamorous look.

She started with  a combination of the Sensual Skin Tinted Balm (£38 here) and Sensual Skin Enhancer (£38 here) as a base. These gave a very natural finish to my skin, which I liked but would usually prefer a higher coverage for a night look.

For my eyes, I had a jade smokey eye (which has photographed greyer unfortunately) using Eye Pencil Primatif (£21 here) in Defining green all over the lid and blended into the lower lash line, and then Black Matte Eyeshadow (£24 here) and Loose Shimmer Shadow (£23 here) in Jade lightly dusted over the centre of the lid for depth and definition. Finally for my lashes, she used the Essential Mascara (£26 here).

Then it was onto blusher and bronzer, to add definition to my face. Beki contoured my cheekbones first using the Celestial Bronzing Veil (£38 here) in Tropical Days. The blusher was a cream one in the shade Liquifuschia, which looks terrifying in the pan but applies lovely (she also applied it to my lips, I love a good multi-tasking product!). I can't find it online so I have a feeling it may have been discontinued, but potentially still available at some counters? And to complete the look, a light dusting of the Celestial Powder (£34.50 here) in Candlelight, across the tops of my cheekbones and down the centre of my face using the Large Fan brush (£48 here).

I mention this brush particularly, because I basically fell in love with it. The shape is just so different to anything I had seen before, and had what I swear are the world's softest bristles. I can imagine applying powder with the to be an absolute dream.

Apparently all of Kevyn Aucoin's brushes are handmade so I guess this explains the hefty price tag, but I still simply can't justify so much on one brush! And so I'm on the lookout for a dupe; maybe this one by Laura Mercier, or this one by Smashbox - but I'll have to see what their bristles are like first!

I managed to restrain myself from making an extravagant (and expensive bankrupting) purchase, but I definitely picked up a few new makeup tips!

Have you ever tried Kevyn Aucoin?


Saturday 2 November 2013

Halloween Costume & Makeup (Not for the Faint Hearted)

Hey! So Halloween was a couple of days ago and I thought I'd share with you what I went as! I know a couple of weeks ago I shared some simple makeup tutorials, but for my own costume I opted for something a bit more extravagant!

I decided I wanted to be something a bit different, and after finding inspiration online, I went for being a zombie Disney princess! The question then was: which one? Being brunette narrowed down my options and I chose Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Personally I think that works out perfect, because I told my 'backstory' of how the 'real' ending was just that I got attacked by the Beast, instead of the happy ending we've all seen in the Disney film!

Anyway, here's the whole look:

And here's a close up of the makeup:

Ouch. The makeup took just under 3 hours in total, and I used this (and this) video on Youtube as inspiration.

I had a house party on Halloween night, and it was quite funny watching peoples reactions as I opened the door! That said, I hope I haven't traumatised anyone! (Or scared away any of you lovely readers, I promise my face will be back to normal next time!)

What did you do for Halloween?