Monday, 29 June 2015

The Library of Fragrance | Amber

It takes a lot to seduce me in an olfactory kind of way. I have very specific thoughts on scent, and not enough words to describe them. In essence, I like what I like. And lately I’ve been liking something very much. The Library of Fragrance, Amber. That’s it. Nothing fancy. Just Amber. And it is all kinds of sexy heaven. I officially heart it. It’s that little bit of sexy within many fragrances that I have that I just wish I could amplify. And guess what? Now I can! This is perfect to deepen the mood of other perfumes, to wear alone, or to really create a bit of scent alchemy with!
My tastes tend to be dark and deep, but can venture to sugary sweet on the occasion, but this one captures the rounded sexiness. All in all, I’m terrible at describing this, so let’s throw the gauntlet over to The Library of Fragrance themselves, who have a more complete, and terribly accurate description.

“Envelop yourself in our version of this exotic and alluring scent.
Amber is fossilized tree resin that has taken millions of years to form - in fact, most of the world's amber is thought to be between 30-90 million years old. The scent of this aromatic resin is recreated in perfumery by blending vanilla, benzoin and labdanum and it is used to add a sweet, woody and creamy depth to fragrances. Labelled an aphrodisiac with mystical powers, this rich, honey-like, scent is gently dusted with earth and sensual oriental hints. Warm and aromatic, it evokes a subtle, spicy atmosphere of twilight.”

If you like deep, sensuous scents, this is the one for you. If not, I’ve a review of Moonbeam coming very soon.

Much love, Ani x

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Joy | Sculpting

In make up terms, nothing gives me more instant gratification than those days when I pull of a master contour. The true story is that I do contour every day – I love it beyond words – with a variety of different products from fairly subtle (I don’t go too subtle) to full on how’s your father, in your face type contouring. Now, every day I do a fair job of the contour game – but every so often, maybe once a week, it just looks spot-on. The mix of products, a little patience, and a beautiful brush all come together, and all the planets align in order to gimme those cheekbones I so covet!

The products.

Topshop Cream Contour in Swerve
I love this. To be honest, I love Topshop make-up: such beautiful quality at lovely prices that include a student discount. Truth be told, I wanted both colours of this contour cream, but the second was out of stock – but never fear, that will also be mine. A little swirl of this cream, and a direct brush-tip application right under the cheekbone never fails me. Blend up for subtle or add more for pow, and you’re contour base is done.

Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Medium
My second of these. That’s love right there. Just a wonderfully soft, grey-toned powder that can be built up right from the softest of a shadow-kiss, up to the harsh drag-style lines that I can’t pretend I don’t favour sometimes! An investment, but one that lasted me around 2 years the first time.

Make Up Revolution Eyeshadow in Delicious
This is the one I turn to for that little added pop of drama. Super soft, super blendable, but highly-pigmented, this cool-toned brown is perfect for creating extra shadow.

The Brush.

So, bold claim coming up, but I do believe this is the best contour brush ever. A 99p dupe of the Nars Mie Kabuki Brush. Beautifully tapered, but chubby on the sides, wonderfully light, and brilliant to use with all of the above. After writing this I will go straight onto the seller’s ebay page and purchase firstly another of this brush, and then some others I have had my eye on!

Much love,
Ani x

Monday, 15 June 2015

On returning | And empties

To be honest, I don’t really know what happened. I suppose I got busy. I suppose I didn’t make time. For blogging. But now I have supposed to be back. Or, what I should really say is that I want to be back, and therefore I am! I thought I’d start with a little look back at the things I’ve finished, and my thoughts on them.

Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment

I liked this, I really did – a retinol in a super soothing base, with pretty good results. But I won’t be repurchasing, only because another retinol has stolen my beating heart. We’ll get onto that at a later date. Definitely a brilliant purchase for those of you with sensitive skin, but pigmentation and wrinkly issues that you want sorting. Definite results within about a month.

Alpha H Liquid Gold.

My old love. Such a staple in this household, used by all three women here, of 2 different generations and 3 slightly differing ages! Basically, a sting-ish feeling liquid, wiped over the visage with a cotton pad (you can go back over stubborn issues), almost like a toner. Note the almost: it is definitely not a toner. Used every other night, or 3 times a week it helps to heal the skin, giving it back some firmness and a generally clearer look. Used any more, and you’ll start to notice your skin looks a tad stressed. Already repurchased. One in a 100ml, and one in a 50ml. The 200ml was out of stock. Best place to buy? QVC.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish.

Once upon a time I hated this stuff. I could have quite literally sworn an oath saying it did nothing for my skin. But once upon a time, my skin was just complete of out whack. Fast forward about 5 years, and after a heavy night out, this came to my rescue at my wonderful friend Rach’s house, and I was hooked again. Beautiful in the morning. Beautiful in the evening. Thick, luxurious. Good for a super quick cleanse. Good for a prolonged massage-with-cleanse. Perfect for removing the layers of make up on both my every day and occasion-wear faces! Already repurchased in the full size pump, and a teeny 30ml for any visits I may partake in.

La Roche Posay Toleriane Fluid.

Purchased exclusively for it’s soothing benefits, I have to say I didn’t like it. It didn’t soothe any of my eczema, nor did it feel like it was compensating for anything. Finished, but I think I might go for the Hydraphase next time.

Good Things Cleansing Oil.

Actually a beautifully thick cleansing oil, that emulsifies perfectly, taking with it all of the make up around my eyes (I use a flannel to take everything off). Not repurchased, but only because I managed to get the Shu Uemura one super cheap on a blog sale. 

Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Addiction.

Used down to the very nub. These liners have been my favourite for about 5 years, and I don’t think that favour is being transferred any time soon. Super creamy, perfect for wearing along, but also acts like an adhesive for any lipstick that you fancy following it with. This colour is a soft nude, leaning slightly brown. Definitely need another.

Soap & Glory Peaches & Clean.

I have been eeking this bad boy out like you wouldn’t believe. At some point, and this is true of every bottle of this I have ever had, about 2/3 of the way down, the pump no longer likes to pump. This then involves unscrewing the lid and slapping it on the fleshy pad of your thumb until the magic formula emerges. After a while, even this doesn’t work, and water must be added to make a concoction that will pump again! Today I got myself a new one (hard work, it’s been out of stock everywhere), and it’s a larger size! Time shall only tell if the pump action is any better.

And that, as they say, is that! See you (hopefully soon) around these parts for another installment!

Much love,

Saturday, 28 February 2015

The Quick | Empty and Review

It’s been quite a while since I’ve attempted an empties post – mainly due to my inability to remember to keep the actual products once I’ve finished them! But seeing as quite a few things seemed to run out at the same time, I thought I’d give it a bit of the old “finish and review” treatment.

Rimmel Lip Liner in East End Snob – I cannot even attempt to tell you how many of these I have had over the years: it is my daily, go-to lip liner, can be worn alone, under a pink lipstick, under a nude lipstick – the uses are endless! I was so panicked about finishing this that I went out straight away and tried to repurchase, but shock, horror, it was out of stock! A retry will be happening soon!
Alpha H Liquid Gold – my saviour some years ago when I randomly started breaking out a few years ago, the same has happened so I returned to my trusty Glycolic buddy. Already ran out, already repurchased. A complete staple!
L’oreal Oil Extraordinary Oil - This was to replace The Body Shop Sumptuous Cleansing Butter, which I believe was an agitator and slight cause of my breakouts in the beginning – the Shea Butter seems to just block my pores ridiculously. I’m actually pretty fond of this oil, I’ve used the 15 second L’oreal one before, and to be fair, they seem like the same product. I always need an oil in my life, so will probably pick up one of these again, or have another bash at The Body Shop Chamomile Silky Cleansing Oil.
La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo
Another staple in my skincare rotation, but lately I’m not so sure that I used it regularly enough for it to have the desired effect. In the past it has been a bit of a skin saving grace. I will probably repurchase and get back to using it regularly.
Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Medium - My true love when it comes to contouring (not pictured). Expensive, but lasted me about 2 years. Already repurchased.
Much love,

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Running Like a Girl | Review

It appears that I may have turned into the furthest-removed type of person from myself. One who is starting to enjoy exercise. One who is starting to like to run. Granted, running in the warmth of my own home, but running nonetheless. The first few times, I really had to push myself to do it, and then one day a miracle happened. After a few hard runs of about 20 minutes, I pushed myself over the barrier and it just got easier. At the same time I started to read Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Hemingsley, and everything started to make sense. 
The initial fear of actually trying to run. The block that you have to come at around 12-20 minutes. The sense of achievement after a run. And how it genuinely makes you feel good. The book is superb – one of the better, focused, but real accounts that I have read. Hemingsley doesn’t sugar coat, doesn’t patronise, but simply tells it how it is. A wonderful book for anyone wanting to run, thinking about running, running and wondering what the future holds – this book helps you know what to expect from running. The read itself is brilliant, it flows, tells a story, so much so that I read it in one sitting, the day after my treadmill broke. And right now, all I really want to do is run. An inspiring read that makes me feel like I want to run a million marathons. 
Have you read this?
Much love,
Ani x

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Return to | MAC

I haven't been a lover of Mac for quite some time. Once upon a time, like a beauty obsessee's right-of-passage, I was quite infatuated. But like all infatuations and dalliances, it's time came earth-crashingly to an end, and I realised there were very few things I truly loved from the range, In fact, up until that fated night last Thursday, I think the only Mac in my collection were a handful of lipsticks (Snob, Angel, Innocence Beware, Honey Love and Sinister), alongside Teddy Eye Khol (incidentally, I need to find it, I wish to wear it tomorrow), and a limited editions Villains blush. Now, last Thursday was payday, and I 100% did not wish to buy any make up, in fact, right before (I'm guessing 5 minutes before) the fated incident, I had just said out loud "I'm so happy with my make up collection." And with that, I guess I tempted fate.
Because I walked out of Mac, not just with a Mac foundation, which I had earlier lambasted as the source of all evil just a few hours before, but also a concealer AND powder. A full face of Mac (you can see above how it looks when I apply it all myself). Hai. But do I regret it. Weirdly not. The combination, which I will get on to in just a little second, has gleamed me compliments on not only the flawlessness of my skin, but also the wonderful colour match. 
So, today I introduce you to the Pro Longwear Concealer, Pro Longwear Foundation, and Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation. Now, for someone who hadn't planned on a base-shop, I certainly knew exactly what I was looking for - I suppose that's what comes from being a beauty obsessee. In terms of concealer, I needed something to conceal the ridiculous cyst-like breakout that seems to be haunting me, that would stay in place at least a working day. Foundation needed to be flawless, super long-lasting, and control oil to an extent. Powder needed to set foundation in place, then to be used as a top up throughout the day if needed, or after work if going out. And boy did they get it right this time. 
I explained that I normally get matched too dark, that the oils on my skin oxidise any foudnation anyways, and that Mac foundations just didn't seem to sit well on my skin - and that's coming from trying out almost all Mac has to offer. Now, I've used this full get up twice, only twice mind you, but the amount of compliments I've had has been astounding. Not only that, but my twice-a-day powdering habit has been reduced to the grand old amount of ZERO. Unheard of with my skin. I will keep you updated, but for now, oily skin ladies, the concealer provides medium-to-heavy coverage, the foundation a good medium, built to heavy, but could be sheered, and the powder is definitely one for a flawless look. 
For reference, I have the NC35 in concealer, the NC30 in foundation and NC25 in powder (a couple of steps down from the NC40-42 they used to match me to! I'm so glad Asian skintones are finally being understood!) Find the products here: Pro Longwear Concealer £17, Pro Longwear Foundation £25 and Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation £21.50.
Much love,
Ani x

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Lush | Unicorn Horn

Baths are something that I heart. I heart them completely (and I can now legitimately heart them as "heart" was the most used "word" last year). I find them ultimately relaxing, deeply comforting and a wonderful part of my day. But add in a little Lush, and #POW, you've got yourself something a little more than special. I tend to splurge on Lush once a month, and like to think of it as helping my overall mental and emotional well being. Or, in simpler terms, it makes me a happier Ani! On my latest trip, I just had to pick up the beautiful Unicorn Horn. 
Multicoloured, glittery, starry: this is my brain in a bubble bar. Of course, I actually don't like a copious amount of bubbles, so I can make this bad boy last a good number of baths. With scents of neroli and lavender, this is super relaxing and warming - perfect for these freezing winter nights. A definite repurchase :). Find it here for £3.25.
Much love,
Ani x

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Forever Learning | Working Out

Exercise has never been my thing – if I’m honest, it is universal activity that has not once been my thing. At primary school I would use any justification I could to not be in PE lessons, to not be in the playground. I was that book girl – you know the one. That was me. And really, I am still that book girl, but I am no longer that 18 year old book girl who could eat 2 dinners and put on not an ounce. I am now that 27 year old book girl with curves and a propensity to be a little soft around the edges. Now I like a bit of softness, I do think women should look like women, but I could do with a little toning, maybe a little weight loss, and an overall upturn in fitness. So, I’ve started. I actually started a little last year, kept it up for a month and felt magnificent, but the cold weather came along and evidently I just wanted to hibernate like a bear. Now, I am not, and undoubtedly will never be, a gym bunny – or that gym girl, so knowing that, a little while ago I invested in some little dumbbells, a hula hoop, a gym ball, and I am also lucky enough that we have a treadmill at home. I hate the treadmill. It is literally my nemesis. I like a good walk/ jog outside in the summer. But the treadmill is evil. I can get off when I want, which is generally after 2 minutes. But 2 days in a row now, I have done a mile on it. One day going a little hard, and one day going slightly slower. I am also doing the P90X ab workout, which I love, another little workout by someone I know, and the 30 day squat challenge. Add in a little hula hooping, and hopefully, within no time (some time!) I will be toned and fit!
Much love,
Ani x

Monday, 12 January 2015

Unveiling | Illamasqua

Illamasqua is a brand that I have coveted for a silly amount of time - for some reason I read about it, admire it, but never buy it. Until one crisp winter's morning when I received notification of their annual after-Christmas sale. And the rest, as they say, is history. It has always been the bases and the palettes that have intrigued me the most, but as a little bit of a base connoisseur, I was not going to be buying any of those without being matched in person. So enter the palettes and their wonderful discounts: Liquid Metal Palette, Multi Facet Palette in Aura and Reflection Palette.
On first glance, what beautiful palettes - plastic but sturdy, shiny, and just ultimately sleek, Upon opening the palettes, just wow. Beautiful colours, textures, arrangements - Illamasqua just seem to nail the palette issue. 
First up, the Liquid Metal Palette - quite literally does what it says on the tin. Foil-like, creamy, and beautiful colours - bronze, gunmetal, silver and gold - that will make it onto my lids for many a night out! The second palette, the Aura Palette contains shadows, blush, contour and liner not just a multi-use palette, but more of a multi-multi-use palette! I have made up my face with just this palette, and the result was a pretty, natural face. Lastly, the Reflection Palette, which I am starting to adore. The texture of the shadows is reminiscent of pressed pigments, but feels almost like water on the skin itself. The shade range: a pearl, taupe, bronze and gunmetal, all with shimmer, reflection, and warmth to them, cover all bases from day to night.
All in all, a great first impression from Illamasqua!
Much love,
Ani x

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Most Used | Base Combo ft. L'oreal, Clarins & EX1

I have, am, and always will be a sucker for a good base - laying the perfect (excuse the pun) foundation always helps my day to start a little more brightly. I like to think my beloved Kimmy K and J. Lo feel the same way, and experience these little true but shallow emotions. Creating a flawless face helps the exultation of confidence, and lets me stand that little bit taller. Now, when it comes to picking that perfect base, I have the ultimate plethora of foundations, concealers and powders - quite literally 3 drawers full, and not one I would part with: but I find myself reaching most for the following almost instinctively everyday.
For the purposes of this post, let's assume I've already moisturised (La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, L'OrĂ©al Paris Triple Active Fresh Ultra-Hydrating Gel-Cream), SPF'd (Obagi) and primed (Max Factor Facefinity), and let us move onto the world of concealer. Now I tend to mix a few together, dab a little here and there, use one for highlighting etc etc - but these two are the most reached for. EX1's Delete Concealer is a lovely, dense, cream-in-a-pot type concealer that I used with my Sigma F82, and buff all over the parts of the skin that need some help - you might call it my generalised, large-area concealer. This ends up cancelling any redness, reducing the appearance of scars, and generally evening out the skin, and helping me to apply less foundation. Next up, Clarins Instant Concealer, which I use to stubborn the more stubborn blemishes and scars. Blending a little of this over my already slightly-concealed base just helps to cancel the prominence of the leftover high-colour. For foundation, the True Match Foundation is one of the best on the high-street: buildable from medium to full coverage, seamless application with a beauty blender, and the ability to last a good few hours on my once set with my beloved True Match Powder, which incidentally I carry a second of in my handbag for powdering duties throughout the day. 
Just as a little aside, I am already on my second bottle of the foundation, 3rd compact of the powder, and have made a considerable foundation-sized dent in the EX1 concealer: they are that good!
I hope you enjoyed a little look into my daily face base.
Much love,
Ani x