Friday, 4 December 2015

Dealing with grief at Christmas

This is a subject really close to my heart. As someone who has been through a great loss in their life, I understand that such occasions as Christmas can be an extremely difficult and trying time. No matter how many years pass, I don't think I will ever not miss seeing my Mum's face on Christmas morning. Don't get me wrong I miss her every single day but Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries are particularly distressing. The last 10 Christmases have been a mixture of incredible happiness watching my two nephews understand more and more each year, sobbing while listening to Westlife (her favourite band) and more often than not eating an entire Terrys Chocolate Orange for breakfast accompanied by a bucks fizz. One moment I'll be with my family feeling fine and the next I'll want to lock myself away in my room. That's the thing with grief, it can take over you at any time and without warning. Pain in the backside. But anyway, I didn't intend on such a ramble, I just wanted to share a few tips if you're feeling the same and let you know that you're not alone.

1. Acceptance- It sounds silly but accept that the person isn't there and it's ok to recognise that. Cry if you want to. Don't say 'I can't cry it's Christmas'. I don't give a shit what day it is, my tears are free flowing and quite therapeutic. Don't expect that the day will feel the same, it'll be different and thats ok.

2. Don't dwell- Despite what I say in number 1, once you've had your cry move on! Try not to let an emotional wave ruin your entire day.

3. Company- Surround yourself with people that you love and love you. They can act as a great distraction but also allows you to reminisce about that person if the mood takes you there. I particularly enjoy spending time with my nephews throughout the entire Christmas period, there is nothing that makes me happier than seeing them happy.

4. New traditions- Don't be afraid to bring in new traditions. It doesn't mean that you love them any less or have forgotten them. It means that life goes on, which is the cruel truth. It might seem daunting but it could create memories that you will always treasure and bring light to a shitty, shitty situation.

5. Don't be scared to laugh- Laughing is ok. Being happy is not disrespectful to the person you are missing. They wouldn't want you to wallow.

6. People mourn in different way- If a family member is dealing with it in a different way to you, accept that thats what they need to do for themselves. Everyone is different and cope in different ways. In their head they are just as distraught but probably feel that they have to put an act on. Let them.

7. Commemorate them- You can do this in your own way. Personally I visit my Mum's grave on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and put down a wreath. Which is something that I was used to doing with my Mum for my Grandparents. Plus we always put out a Father Christmas ornament that my Mum bought and I now can't imagine Christmas without it. I find great comfort in seeing it propped up against the TV. It's strange how something so trivial can mean the world to you.

8. Don't be afraid to ask for help- Whether this be from a friend, family member, your Doctor or a councillor, speak to them about how your feeling. The phrase 'a problem shared is a problem halved' is so true in my opinion and experience. Just getting it off your chest can help. If you can't bare the thought of doing your Christmas shopping thats fine, it can be overwhelming. Ask a friend to pick you up a few things while they're out doing their own shopping, order stuff online. Whatever way you decide to do it, theres a way of avoiding the commercialism of a 'perfect Christmas'.

Ultimately you can't be sure how you're going to react but take your time and take a step back if you feel the need, the people that you're spending it with will understand. If you're feeling overwhelmed and have the feeling that you can't cope please speak to someone. Tweet me, email me. We might not have chatted before but I know how you feel and I might be able to help, please don't struggle in silence.

I also find that a couple of glasses (bottles) of wine help! :)

Sunday, 11 October 2015

My Makeup Geek Eyeshadow Collection


I'm a full on makeup addict, so I have tried a sh*t tonne of different brands and they are honestly better than the majority of other in my stash. Marlena from Makeup Geek has done an absolutely incredible job creating this brand and truly have incredible products to offer. When I first heard the US beauty girls say that they were better than Mac eyeshadows I was like 'dayum girl, you crazy!' but seriously, I think they actually might be! When you consider the quality, colour range and price; I'd definitely say Makeup Geek pip them to the post. Don't get me wrong I still love my Mac palettes and will forever repurchase shades such as Woodwinked, Coppering, Sumptious Olive and more, but they're not the be all and end all anymore. I love the brand even more for the fact that it was created by a YouTuber, I'm sure she never imagined this would happen when she began filming 15 minute videos on how to blend eyeshadow like a pro. Crazy. You can tell that she is super passionate about having a brand that produces high quality products that would please anyone and everyone, I think she's nailed it. They are constantly bringing out new shades and finishes, I feel that there is even more exciting things ahead!

I have a few of the different finishes and all of them are buttery, highly pigmented perfection in a pan! They also blend out with great ease, all reasons why they are currently my go to shadows. My collection is growing and I can't imagine it stopping anytime soon. Just take my money Marlena, take it all.

I simply couldn't pick favourites but these are a few looks I've been doing a lot recently;

  • Peach Smoothie and Chickadee in the crease and lower lash line, Flame Thrower on the lid and Shimma Shimma on the inner corner.
  • Cupcake in the crease and lower lash line, Grandstand on the lid and Bitten in the outer corner.
  • Cocoa Bear blended out within an inch of it's life all around the eye for a totally worn in on-trend 90's look.

(L-R) Shimma Shimma, Peach Smoothie & Creme Brûlée  

 (L-R) Cupcake, Cosmopolitan & Mango Tango

(L-R) Chickadee, Bitten & Cocoa Bear 

(L-R) Flame Thrower, Grandstand & Showtime (NEW FOILED EFFECT) 

(L-R) Homecoming & Corrupt

At the moment they're only available directly from the Makeup Geek website but thankfully, they have international shipping! I've not actually shipped to the UK so I can't comment on the service, as I ordered them to my hotel when I went to New York and picked up more when my friend Liz recently visited the US. They range between $6.99-$9.99 plus tax which is an absolute bargain for the quality that you get in return.

Have you tried anything from the brand before? Which shades do I need to pick up next?

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Review: The Warehouse Cafe, Birmingham

I'm quite an adventurous person when it comes to food, I pretty much like everything except tomatoes . However, when I venture back to the homeland that is Birmingham I tend to stick to eating in the Bullring which is just full of chain restaurants. Don't get me wrong, I love a Nando's every now and then but after getting to know some foodie bloggers in Birmingham I've had some great recommendations for unique places that really have a lot more to offer. The lovely Tasha arranged a little meet up back in January at The Warehouse Cafe and I've been back a few times since, I just can't get enough. It is a vegetarian restaurant located in an old converted warehouse, hence the name. It's just down the road from Moor Street station, so really close if you're perusing the Selfridges beauty hall.

The menu has a tonne of incredible dishes that would satisfy even the hardest to please taste buds. The specials board is beyond amazing too! The goats cheese burger that I had appears on there often and thank god! You can tell that they are super passionate about food and equally about fresh, healthy produce. The staff create a super chilled out, friendly vibe which combined with the incredible food, has created a loyal customer out of me!

So what did I have?

I ALWAYS get the elderflower cordial. Always, always. For the simple reason that I bloody love elderflower.

I chose the hummus trio as my starter, which is what I have pretty much every time. The beetroot offering is probably my favourite, it's such a fresh flavour that I could never get tired of eating it.   Saying that, all of them are a taste sensation. Any hummus lover will be obsessed with this dish. They even manage to make the crudities taste amazing and don't even get me started on the homemade bread!

Can we take a moment to appreciate this goats cheese burger. I'm actually struggling to write this part because I am salivating so much! I don't really like beef so I always opt for chicken or veggie when having a burger and this was definitely one of the nicest I've ever had. The base was a homemade patty made with a blend of spinach, beans, wheats and peanuts which creates the perfect texture. Beyond delicious on it's own. It was then topped with breadcrumbed goats cheese that just melts in your mouth. They finish it off with caramelised onion, pesto and the most gorgeous grilled bun. Served with a beautifully dressed salad and some delicious sweet potato fries that are just heavenly. I'm an absolute sweet potato fiend and these are up there with the best.

I then chose the Kreissler Pudding for my dessert. I was so full that I wanted something quite small, I'd usually have the brownie which is amazing but I don't think I could've handled it! It's a sugar free raw food mousse made from banana, avocado and chocolate. It's not a traditional light, fluffy mousse. It's beautifully creamy and is well complimented with the topping of spiced fruit. This would be a good dessert for people that don't like dessert as it's not overly sweet. Also, how cute is the presentation?

Have you tried The Warehouse Cafe before? Also if you have any other Birmingham city centre restaurant recommendations, please let me know :)

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Speedy Review: Boscia Black Magic Giftset

My trip to New York seems like a distant memory *sobs*, but I am still thoroughly benefiting from all the amazing beauty bits that I picked up during my travels. Being the beauty obsessor that I am, I managed to rack up a good few points in my Sephora VIB card. This is one of the sets that I picked when redeeming my points. Boscia was already on my radar from hearing all the American vloggers and the well travelled Brits raving about it! I have combination-oliy, blemish prone skin so this range sounds perfect for me! I saved it until I got home, which was torture! So what do I think of it?....

It's a bit of a mixed bag to be honest! There's one really amazing standout product, but then there's also a product that stands out for all the wrong reasons! 

The Detoxifying Cleanser is the star of the show for me! It's a perfect morning cleanser for my skin. I wear facial oil to bed most evenings so I need quite a thorough cleanser the next morning to remove any residue that might still be hanging about. It leaves my skin feeling squeaky clean without feeling tight and dry. I would definitely only recommend this one for combination or oily skin types (actually that stands for the whole range). I will probably be purchasing the larger bottle when I place my next Sephora order. 

The hydrating gel is pretty nice. I find it most effective when i apply it before any type of evening facial oil. It just adds that extra layer of moisture. It kinda acts like a serum. I would consider buying this one again. 

I'm not really a fan of nose strips anyway, but I tried it just because it came in the set. I regretted it. When it came to peeling it off, I felt like I was being tortured. It was that stuck to my skin that it actually hurt to remove and left little grooves on the sides of my nose where you could see how much I had to pull my skin to remove it. NEVER AGAIN. My dislike for the Luminizing Black Mask is for quite similar reasons. It's a peel off mask, but I seriously thought that I was going to lose a layer of skin. Which would be great if you saw the benefits of a new layer of skin but I saw absolutely no results in any of the four uses. I was so disappointed and the peel off mask is one of the most satisfying products in existence, but I prefer to feel relaxed rather than tortured when pampering myself. 

Have you tried anything from Boscia before?

Sunday, 13 September 2015

September Love List

I've been trying to get my blogging mojo back for a while, but I've just not found the motivation or inspiration. That all changed when I watched Victoria from In The Frow's new video. Today she posted her 'September Love List' and I loved it! Like a favourites video, with more structure and a bit more personal. I like that it's not beauty related, if you have read my last post then you'll know that I wanted to branch out a bit and this format seemed perfect! She started it back in August I think, but that one snuck by me. She's done them mid-month and they're just things that she's been loving for the last 4 weeks or so. I don't watch that much YouTube anymore but I really like Victoria, she seems really nice and down to earth so definitely go and watch her video.

What I Watched
I have been far too obsessed with House MD on Netflix. It's about a group of Doctors, focusing particularly on a team of diagnosticians. Basically the people you'd want to see if you didn't know what the heck was wrong with you. Hugh Laurie has become an addiction. I don't know what it is about him! His character is negative, a tad sadistic, drug addict, yet so frigging hot! I've fell in love with him, he's a messed up sweetheart. I CAN CHANGE HIM. 

What I Snapped
I went to the reopening of Cocktail Cosmetics on Sutton Coldfield High St. They used to be located in the Custard Factory in Birmingham and I loved it there, but this store is bigger and better! I popped this picture of a few of my favourite parts of the shop up on Instagram. They stock a lot of hard to get brands and it's even better because you can see and swatch before you buy. The owner are so nice too! 

Who I Loved
Beth from Beauty In Beta is babe and I think everyone knows this. She's one of the kindest people in Twitter and life in general, she's never to busy to help anyone. I've been lucky enough to meet her a couple of times and my love for her just grows stronger! I also get to see her in a few weeks and the excitement is real. She's just starting an exiting new venture called The Olive Foxes with the lovely Suzy. I am so excited to see what they have to come. Good luck with it, Ladies!

What I Wore
I've been a little obsessed with this lip combo! It's fun yet wearable and I've had so many compliments on it! It's Mac Soar lipliner, Colour Pop Lippie Stix in Tootsi and a bit of Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid lipstick in Requiem on the centre. I repeat, OBSESSED. 

What I Did
I joined Slimming World a month ago which has completely changed my life already. I have lost 23 and a half pound, from pure determination and killing myself at the gym. I'm working out 3/4 times a week and actually enjoying it. Being able to run on the treadmill and feel comfortable is a wonderful thing for me. I've got a new mindset because of it. I've become a lot more positive and I really hope it lasts. 

What I Ate
London. Why you give such good food, huh? A few weeks ago I went to The Diner in Covent Garden at it was a pure delight. Sarah and I couldn't decide what to have so we split two dishes. Best choice we've ever made. We had poached eggs and avocados on sourdough and red velvet pancakes. Food coma all round. I think it was April that recommended the place and for that, I am eternally grateful. It was probably the nicest sourdough I've ever had and pancakes are just FIT. I totally recommend this place, it was quite reasonably priced as well for London.

What I Drank
I am a total tea freak! In my 24 years of LIFE I've loved tea and hated coffee but things are changing people! It all started with Starbucks bringing back their iconic autumnal Pumpkin Spice Latte, I randomly thought I'd try it and absolutely loved it! I got a little excited and ordered a Hazelnut Latte at a local cafe, again it was love. Turns out I bloody love a milky flavoured coffee, who knew? I feel like my horizons expanding as I speak.

Where I Went
Vanessa, Sarah and I trundled off to Solihull with our makeup cases under our arms and turned up on Liz's doorstep (she knew we were coming, I think). She'd put on a lovely spread, such a babe. We basically spent our evening sipping Prosecco/Ribena, eating, chatting, laughing and playing with makeup. Plus I made a cookie cream pie which was spesh. Pretty much a dream night. We spread out our makeup across Lizs dining table and it was pure chaos, but the best kind. We all came away with huge shopping lists and foundation streaks from the tears of laughter. These are my people.

What I Heard
Heres just a few songs I've been loving recently.

What I Used
I'm a bit late to the whole Snapchat thing but I'm totally into it now! My username is aimeejmaguire CHEEKY PLUG. Some of my faves on there are Stacey: stadybelle (amazing makeup and Dubai shots), Em: mypaleskinblog (loving seeing Em's personality), Nikkie: nikkietutorials (best makeup artist ever) and Callie: callietlondon (her and her fiancee are hilarious). 

I hope you liked this post and I'm sorry for the dodgy iPhone photos!

Monday, 31 August 2015

Catch Up & Random Ramble

So my attempt at being a blogger has been pretty pathetic recently, my passion for it has just kinda faded if I'm being honest. Sometimes life takes over. Priorities get muddled up, you worry about things that genuinely don't matter, you worry about things that actually do matter. I've generally been quite distracted. I wish I was naturally the kind of person that doesn't worry about things but I'm just not. I've had quite a tough year personally, but I'm not going to bore you will the details. So I'm just going to use this post to have a catch up and have a little ramble. 

What have I been up to?
Within the last month I turned 24, left my old job, went to New York and started a new job. It's been a bit of a whirlwind and at times it's become a tad overwhelming. I'm a creature of habit and I know where I feel comfortable. That sometimes stops me from doing the things that I should be doing. I'm not one to 'take the bull my the horns' as they say. I was unhappy in my last job for several reasons and there was one day when i thought to myself 'you are the only person that is forcing you to be here'. So I decided I HAD to do something about it, so I did. I've not got my weekends back, there is nothing better than a Monday-Friday job in my eyes. The work-life balance has began to restore itself, whereas before it was pretty non-existent. Turning 24 came with a bit of a 'SHIT WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE' moment, I no longer feel like I'm in my early twenties which scared the life out of me. New York was one of the most incredible experiences of my life and to have shared that with my oldest and best friend is something that I'll always cherish. I was care free for 5 days (other than airport nightmares) and got to experienced the city that I've always dreamt about visiting. I also went to London to meet up with some of my favourite bloggers, which was lovely. Sarah, Laura and pancakes, what more could I want?

I've joined Slimming World! I've lost 15 1/2 lbs in 2 weeks, which I'm incredibly happy with. I've become obsessed with the gym. CRAZY RIGHT? I go maybe 3-4 times a week and actually come out feeling amazing and so proud of myself. Weight is something I've struggled with for many years, particularly since losing my Mom. I've experienced extreme sadness and anxiety on and off since losing my Mom at the age of 13. There are some days when I can't breathe through the heart wrenching pain of losing the person closest to me. Grief is a funny thing, it can hit you at anytime and anywhere. The smallest trigger can ruin your mood. Whenever I miss my Mom, I get sad. Whenever I get sad, I eat. I've come to the realisation that food isn't going to fill that hole in my heart. It's more likely to harm me than make me feel better! Of course I will still enjoy food, I'm a massive foodie and love cooking, but I'm going to have a different relationship with food. It will be something  that I enjoy, rather than something that I depend on to distract me from sad times. 

Upcoming plans
I've got a bloody exciting couple of months planned! I'm the type of person that needs something to look forward to, so I'm pretty excited right now. I've been invited to the Bloggers Blog Awards in Leeds, I've got a spa break at Hoar Cross Hall and I'm going to London for a couple of days. That's all within the first week of October! Visiting New York last month has made me want to experience so many things. It's a really exciting concept for me, because it is forcing me to get out of my comfort zone and enjoy life. The most exciting upcoming event is that my big sister Kelly is getting married next August!!! I'm one of her bridesmaids (which also contributed to weight loss motivation). I can't wait for the moment when I see my sister walking down the aisle towards my bother in law because I know that it will truly be one of the happiest moments in her life. Seeing her happy makes me happy. I already know that I'm going to be spending the day as a blubbering mess. At the moment she's in the worrying stage of planning but soon enough none of that will matter and she will live her life with her husband and two beautiful children, I couldn't be happier for her.

Blog Plans
In the past my blog has been pretty much just beauty, with the occasional baking post. I got really bored of it to be honest. Don't get me wrong I still bloody love all things beauty, but it's not the only thing that I love. So I'm going to branch out a bit. I plan on incorporating some healthy lifestyle posts, some weight loss updates, maybe a fashion post or two (totally not a trend setter btw) and whatever the heck I like really. I want my blog to become more of a record of my life kind of thing so that I can look back on it in a few years and be able to think more than 'I liked that particular lipstick at that particular time'. I want to meet more bloggers that I've got to know on Twitter and catch up with ones that I've already met. I basically need more hours in the day.

My last decision is to be happy.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Review & Swatches: Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipsticks

(L-R) Milkshake, Sorbet & Blush

On my recent trip to New York, the Anastasia liquid lipstick were at the TOP of my wishlist. When every single blogger, YouTuber, Intsagrammer raves about a product it's worth investigating, surely. The only place I could find them was Macy's and the stand looked like it had been raided! Obviously the most popular place in the entire beauty hall. Pretty much all the shades that I initially wanted were out of stock. No Sad Girl, no Pure Hollywood, no Potion, I was devastated. So I picked Milkshake as I thought it would be a lighter alternative to Pure Hollywood. Big mistake but I'll get onto that shortly. I was then trying to decide between getting Sorbet and Blush, my friend Becky told me to get both and I didn't really need much more convincing. 

Milkshake- Let's just address the obvious first- IT'S TOO DAMN PALE! I honestly don't understand how this works on anyone. I'm pretty pale! I found it so unflattering. I looked like an early 2000's concealer-lipped chav, which to be honest isn't generally the look that I go for. I don't know whether it's the tone of my skin, the warmth of my hair or what, it simply just doesn't look right. Also, after a little wear time it went really patchy and I'm talking like 10-15 minutes. So disappointing. Pale colours are obviously quite hard to formulate and I think they've just missed the mark with this one.

Blush- This isn't usually my kinda colour. I feel that pink makes me look like an overinflated Barbie, but this one I actually like! I think that the shade works really well with my skin tone and makes my complexion look brighter. It's described as a pomegranate pink, which I don't really see myself. It's a perfect mid-toned pink that I think would suit everyone.

Sorbet- Time for the star of the show (in my opinion anyway!). This is the perfect Summer shade. Personally, I would describe it as coral but the website says a milky cantaloupe hue. I mean, what the hell? A tad strange. The formula is so opaque and goes on very smoothly, it's an absolute dream to apply. Opaque within one swipe, this is a real winner that I can see myself wearing a lot.

Generally I'm really impressed. I just think that a shade like milkshake is hard to pull off and I will bow down to anyone that can rock it. However, I do only recommend them if you love a matte lip, if you're a gloss lover you will hate them! As someone who has tried their fair share of matte lipsticks, the application and formula is definitely up there with the best of the best. Really comfortable, great opacity and amazing shades. This range really is worth the hype that it's received and I can't wait to get my hand on more of them!

Thursday, 6 August 2015

New York City Haul: Sephora, Macy's, Bloomingdales and more!

So if you follow me on Twitter/Instagram them you'll know that I've just got back from New York. It was the best trip of my life! It has always been a dream of mine to go there and I'm already craving a return visit, it truly is as incredible as everyone says it is. Being the person that I am, I did a tiny bit of shopping. I could've been a lot more naughty, but I tried to reign it in a little, which I think I succeeded in. I'm sure a lot of you would disagree! Other than a sh*t load of food, touristy stuff, a few clothing items (Forever21 in Times Square has the best plus size range I've ever seen)... this is what I spent my money on.

This is a mixture of Sephora, Macy's, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdales, Walgreens, Duane Reade and online orders with Makeup Geek and Colour Pop. It's only a really short post. If you want to see a post on anything in particular then pop it in the comments.

Kat Von D Shade & Light Eye Contour Palette, Tarte Lights Camera Lashes mascara, Anastasia Brow Wiz in Medium Borwn, Loreal Infallible eyeshadow in Amber Rush, Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation in Fair Honey & Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Bronzing Veil in Tropical Nights.

Essie Saltwater Happy, Anastasia eyeshadows in Sangria, Glisten, Sienna and Pink Champagne, Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Requiem, Loreal Infallable eyeshadow in Bottomless Java, Sephora Formula X polish in Radical, Makeup geek eyeshadows in Flame Thrower, Peach Smoothie, Chickadee and Cocoa Bear, Z palette and MUFE Smoky Extravagant mascara.

Anastasia liquid lipsticks in Sorbet, Blush and Milkshake, Kat Von D Tattoo liner in Trooper, Kat Von D Metal Crush eyeshadows in Raw Powder and Synergy, Colour Pop Ultra Matte Lips in Midi and Tulle, Sephora Supreme Cleansing Oil and Covergirl Clump Crusher mascara.

These are the items that I picked up from collecting points as VIB member at Sephora. The Nars lip duo was because it was my birthday month :)

Anastasia cream contour palette in Light.

Rebecca Minkoff Ear Climbers and Michael Kors Jet Set Travel Large Crossbody in Clementine.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Sephora Wishlist

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram then I'm sure you'll already be aware that I am going to New York on the 31st July with my best friend Becky. I actually can't contain my excitement, every time I think about it I have to let out a little squeal of joy. It's ALWAYS been the one place that I knew that I'd have to visit, mainly from being obsessed with Friends from the age of 8! As I grew up and my obsessions moved onto beauty, I of course lusted after the brands that are available over there. I know that Sephora now ships to the UK, but it's just not the same as going into store and having the best swatching session of your life! This is just a small collection of things that I intend on buying, I'm sure it won't just stop there. I have no willpower. However, I am planning on only buying things that I can't easily get my hands on in the UK. I'm sure once the spendy bug has bitten me, there won't be any going back. I might have to hitchhike back to JFK.

I bloody love Kat Von D, always have. Her makeup range excites me greatly. I mean look at it! The Shade and Light Contour Palette $46 is me in a palette. I love matte eyeshadows and the shades are absolutely stunning. Vanessa has it and seeing it in person made me want it even more. I have also been perving on the new Metal Crush eyeshadows $21, the shade Raw Powder especially. I love how red eyeshadows look against my green eyes. The metallic finish of this range looks incredibly gorgeous. The final thing from Kat Von D is the Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita $20. On my pale skin I think this is going to be quite a deep mauve and I CANNOT WAIT! Like eyeshadow, I just move a matte finish and this range is supposed to be super matte without feeling too drying.

Every blogger/vlogger that has been to America recently has been raving about the Elizabeth James fragrances. From the descriptions I think that that Nivarna Black is going to suit my taste more, but I might be tempted to pick up the rollerball set $25. We shall see.

Boscia is a brand that has been on my radar for a while, mainly from watching Amelia Liana and EssieButton hauls. While perusing the Sephora website, the Charcoal Deep-Pore Cleansing Stick Treatment $28 caught my eye. Who doesn't want their pores deeply cleansed? This product has huge claims, hopefully I will be able to get my hands on it! 

A while ago, everyone was raving about the Sephora Formula X polishes and now is my chance to finally get hold of some. I tried one of Vanessa's a while ago and was really impressed with the lasting power. I don't specifically want this shade, just all of them really :)

What else do I need to pick up? If any of you have any tips for New york I'd really appreciate them.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

What Spending Ban?

So saving up for New York has meant that I've had to put a little spending ban in place recently. However, I'm weak. You know that! If you're looking for a voice of reason and willpower then you've come to the wrong place. I like pretty things and pretty things cost money, a lot of money. Back to the fact that I am weak....SO THIS HAPPENED. 

LA Splash has had a regular spot on my Instagram feed for a while and you'd be insane not to see why. The colour range and pigmentation of these tubes of absolute glory is incredible. So after constant swapping of screen captures of our favourite shades Vanessa, Sarah and I decided to place an order via their website which wasnt the best to be honest- pricey delivery charges and customs fears, you know the deal. I tried to be sensible and only picked two- Charmed and Vampire. Then on a recent trip to Cocktail Cosmetics in Birmingham I discovered that they had started stocking LA Splash, you cannot imagine my excitement. Sarah and I did a little squeel of joy. So of course had to pick up a few more. The shades I chose this time were Malevolent, Ghoulish and Rose Garden.
 I have two different textures- smitten lip tint mousse and lip couture. They're both matte, like seriously matte. The smitten lip tint mousse is a slightly thicker consitencey, which means you need to be really careful with how much you apply, the tiniest bit too much and you could end up with flaking lipstick on your chin and no one wants that. The lip couture is a slightly thinner, more liquidy consistency which makes them a little easier to work with. Two thin layers of this bad boy and you're set for the whole day! I've worn them to work and didn't have to re-apply, not even once. I am ridiculously impressed with this brand, well what I've tried of it anyway. I've not been disappointed with a single shade, all of them a really unique shades that brands sometimes try to pull off but don't quite hit the mark. Think Limecrime, without the bad name.

Vampire- deepened purple toned red
Charmed- slightly grey toned muted pink/mauve
Malevolent-dark purple
Rose Garden- a pretty mid-toned pink
Ghoulish- a darker version of Charmed

(L-R) Vampire, Charmed, Malevolent, Rose Garden & Ghoulish

It's a quick 'look how incredible they are' post today, I will try to feature them in future posts so you can see what they look like on.

You can purchase them from the LASplash website and Cocktail Cosmetics (in store and online). 

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Bathroom Empties

This here shall be my very first empties post! Which seems crazy to me as they're one of my favourite posts to read from others. I feel that you get someones true opinion of a product, rather than their initial thoughts. What I don't understand is when bloggers review a skincare product after using it once or twice! I mean, HOW? Yeah, you might see an initial difference but is that where the magic ends? The true testimony of a product is whether it passes the repurchase test. Also, I struggle to finish products because as soon as I get something new I have to try it, which results in a million cleansers open at one time. So a couple of months ago I set myself a task that I thought would never be possible. USE SH*T BEFORE I BUY MORE SH*T. Well I've only gone and done it haven't I?! Look at all these empties. They kinda all happened at the same time as well. Typical that they run out when I need to pay for a flight to New York, luckily I've got a few more in my stash! So, what do we have here then?

Pretty much the best hair mask/conditioner I have ever used in my entire life!!! I had a brief stint as a hairdresser back in my youth so I have tried a LOT of hair products and this beats even the high-end brands hands down. So a fair few months ago I said to Sarah, 'why are you not bald?'. Her hair is white and has been for years, that takes a lot of colour treatment and strain on the hair to upkeep. So when she suggested the Bleach London Reincarnation Mask, it was in my shopping basket the very next day. I have been dying my hair since the age of 14 and having had highlights, ombre, black, bright red, purple and god knows what else over the years- my hair needed a little TLC. I now use this every time I wash my hair, which is usually about every 3 days, give or take a few last 5 day stretches every now and then. I know, absolute filth! This is a strictly mid-lengths to ends  kinda thing, you do not want this bad boy on your roots unless you have hair like an old man's foot. I whack it on for anywhere between 5 minutes to a couple of hours if I want a really deep conditioning. 
Tip: When doing a deep conditioning treatment, apply the conditioner and wrap your hair in cling film (yes, cling film). Then sit with it on for as long as you can! You might look like an absolute nutter, but the results are worth it. 

Repurchase? Absofrigginlutely.

Oh Origins, you are probably one of my favourite skincare brands. The Out Of Trouble Mask is designed absorb excess oil, get rid of dead skin cells, tackle pesky blemishes and clear pores. This is no groundbreaking mask, but it's nice, it does something. It leaves my skin feeling smooth, calmed and blemish size visibly reduced. 

Repurchase? Yes, but not in a hurry.

When the Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil launched a couple of years ago, it was raved about by everyone and I mean everyone! I can totally see why. It removes every scrap of makeup, including my 10 layers of mascara and thick slick of black liquid liner. It is so gentle, even on the eyes. No amount of rubbing the product in to breakdown the makeup seems to irritate my eyes or skin and my skin can be a little sensitive at times. I've found the most effective way to use this is to apply it to dry skin, massage in for a minute or two, add a little water, massage for another minute and then wipe away with a warm damp flannel or muslin cloth. Which leaves me with totally clean, smooth skin. 

Repurchase? Yep, already have.

Is there anything better than a Space NK gift with purchase goody bag? I think not. Especially the one I bagged while attending Anna & Lily's Beauty Chat Live back in February, it was actually incredible. One of my favourite discoveries from the stash was the Anthony Glycolic Facial Cleanser. This stuff is seriously good! It's designed to cleanse and buff away surface cells, which it actually does. This acid enriched cleanser leaves my skin feeling totally renewed and as fresh as a daisy. I've really noticed a difference in my skin since this ran out and not for the better, unfortunately. 

Repurchase? Definitely! Probably on a spendy Space NK trip. 

Another two cleansing oils? You can certainly tell what my favourite method of removing my makeup is. The Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Oil is a beautifully simple product. It does exactly what it says on the tin. Gentle, effective, but does exactly what the Body Shop one does. At more than half the price, I kinda favour the Body Shop. Still a nice product though. I received the Shu Uemura Anti/Oxi Cleansing Oil at a blogger event a few months back and I really enjoyed it! The smell is kinda off-putting, almost like cigarettes maybe? But the effects are worth the slightly weird scent. I know that my lovely friend Liz has a love affair with a Shu oil (not sure which one) and she has impeccable skin!

Clinique- Probably not. 
Shu- More than likely.

Being an avid Vivianna Does Makeup reader/viewer, I would've had to be blind to not have had the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel on my radar. I like this as a second cleanse of an evening, it removes any scrap of makeup left and gives the skin a really deep, effective cleanse. The pumpkin enzymes are said to deeply cleanse pores and removes dull skin cells. In my experience, it does just that. It leaves my skin noticeably clearer and brighter. 

Repurchase? This is my second bottle of the stuff, so it's already a firm favourite.

RMK is a brand that more people need to try! The skincare is absolutely stunning, not to even mention the makeup. The RMK Cleansing Balm is a beautifully  rose scented solid balm that turns to a silky luxurious oil when massaged into the skin. I love this as a makeup removed and as a second cleanse, it's a does all kind product. The tester I received is a pretty generous size, as you only need to use a tiny amount.

Repurchase? I'm already craving it back in my life.

I love a good bath. There are two kind people in this work. The kind that like a bubbly bath and the kind that like a bath oil. I definitely lean more towards the oil (occasionally dipping a toe into the bubbly world). I find them far more relaxing and really notice the benefits to my skin. A good quality oil will fill the whole room with a relaxing, luxurious scent and atmosphere while nourishing your skin. My absolute fave of late has been the Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath and Shower Oil. This is only the sample size that I got in a gift set at Christmas and this was by far my favourite scent of the lot.

Repurchase? Yes, when I've finished up a few more of the samplers. 

Finally we have yet another cleanser! Clarins is one of those brands that if all else fails, I can depend on. It has real standout products that frequently appear in my daily skincare routine and always will. The Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel is a similar texture to the Oskia, a gel that transforms to a bit of an oil on contact with the skin. Once you've massaged in the products, a little splash of water transforms the formula to a milk. So this goes from a gel to an oil, then to a milk? Yeah, you heard me right. It's a good'un! It's a good makeup remover, including heavy eye makeup and full coverage foundation. What more could you ask for? 

Repurchase? Yes, I think this is one that I'll always have in my stash. 

So that kind went from an Empties post to a skincare essentials. Hey ho! There probably won't be another one of these for a while, but let me know if you'd like to see it when it finally does come around.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Aimee Makes: American Pancakes

Ingredients- Makes 6 pancakes
225g self-raising flour
300ml milk
2 eggs
1 egg white (whipped)
30g melted butter and extra for frying
Half a tsp of salt
1tsp of sugar

1. Whisk together the eggs, milk and melted butter.

2. Then add the flour, salt and sugar. Whisk until you have a smooth batter.

3. Gently fold in the whipped egg white until just combined, you DO NOT want to over-stir. We want dem fluffy pancakes!

4. Add a knob of butter to a small frying pan on a medium heat. Once the butter is foaming, add a ladle of the batter. Then flip once bubbles appear on the surface, which usually takes about 1-2 minutes. The second side will need less time.

5. Get yourself a big old stack, add your favourite toppings and enjoy!

Monday, 20 April 2015

Aimee Makes: Nutella Stuffed French Toast with a Cherry Compote

On a recent trip to the Wilson household, I decided to whip up some breakfast for Vanessa and Sarah and something including Nutella was an obvious choice. I had a sous-chef in the form of my little white haired, cat t-shirt donned friend- it was eye-opening to say the least. She cracked an egg like nothing I've ever seen before and ran into Vanessa's bedroom with a bread knife. It was traumatic. That being said, the end product was worth it.

Ingredients- Serves 2

For the French Toast:
2 large eggs
60ml milk
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
4 slices of brioche
Butter for frying

For the Cherry Compote:
200g pitted cherries
60ml orange juice or port
2tbsp sugar
2tbsp cherry conserve

1. Add all of the ingredients for the compote to a saucepan on a hight heat and bring to the boil. Then leave to simmer on a low heat for approximately half an hour or until the mixture has reduced. 

2. Mix together the eggs, milk and vanilla in a wide shallow dish. Soak the slices of brioche in the eggy mixture on both sides and place in a large frying pan on a medium heat with the melted butter for 2-3 minutes either side.

3. Then my favourite part! Add a generous helping of Nutella to one slice to create the best sandwich ever made and spoon over the gloriously glossy and thick compote.

4. Enjoy and pretend that Nutella is fat free!

Lush Loving

Last week I was kindly invited to Lush Solihull's Beauty School Party Blogger Event. I went to another of their events last year, so knew that it was going to be a good night and this one was even better! We got a chance to get stuck in and help make our own products. The whole focus of the night was their beautiful skincare. I've tried a few things from the range, Ultrabland cleanser being one of my faves, but this event gave us the opportunity to explore more of what they have to offer. It was quite a small group which I liked, it meant that we had more space and got to interact with the whole group without shouting across the room. So what did we get up to?

We started the evening off by making the Angels On Bare Skin cleanser*, which is something that I've never tried before. It was nice to see how easily the products are made and how few ingredients they have in them. Some of the ingredients include almonds to gently exfoliate, lavender oil to calm and balance and Kaolin to cleanse and absorb excess oils. I've already tried it a couple of times and I'm actually really enjoying it. To be honest I'm slightly surprised as I'm usually a cleansing oil or balm kinda girl, but this is really nice and effective. 

We also got to help make some of Lush's infamous fresh face masks. I decided on the Cupcake mask*, purely for it's name obvs! Turns out I made the right choice as this mask is targeted at blemish prone skin, which I unfortunately have. Its contains Rhassoul mudd, which absorbs excess oils and draw out all of the dirt and impurities to provide a really deep cleanse. Other ingredients include fresh mint and cocoa butter to stimulate and moisturise the skin.

Sarah thinking she was 'cooking'.

Looking gorgeous Sam!

Next we learnt how to use the the Dream Steam tab*, which main purpose is to open pores, soothe the skin and allow all of the essential oils to absorb the skin. All whilst being ridiculously calming and spa-esque. We also had a hilarious time learning how to do a facial massage using the Full Of Grace serum bar*. Watching Sarah prod and poke Vanessa's face is one of the highlights of my life. 

To end the evening, we got to have a one to one skin consultation to determine our perfect Lush moisturiser. The lovely Kyle paired me up with the Imperialis*, as this is targeted at combination skin.

They also kindly popped into our goodie bags the 9 to 5 cleansing lotion* and the Tea Tree Water toner* . The 9 to 5 is so gentle yet effective, which makes it the perfect morning cleanser. I'm yet to try the Tea Tree Water, so I'll try to keep you posted.

*- All products were kindly gifted to me by Lush. All opinions are my own. 

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