Wednesday, 2 September 2015

High End | Hourglass First Look

I happened to acquire 2 things from Hourglass - the Ambient Lighting Palette, and the Mineral Veil. It is full-on love. Both are exquisite - from the outer packaging, to the make-up housing, through to the actual products themselves. And this is a little sneak-peek before I present my full-on reviews.

Currently, I have a lot of opinions forming - firstly, beautiful. Secondly, the products are actually wonderful - so much so, that I think I would probably repurchased at the extortionate prices that they are sold for (I also realise why they are extortionate).

Much love,
Ani

Monday, 31 August 2015

The converted | Liz Earle Add-ons

Any skincare junkie worth their weight in gold knows not only the benefits of a regular, basic routine, but the inherent value of the add-ons. There are a plethora of reasons why one would need add-ons - take this week, for example, and the flare up of my eczema, which brings with it the need for a slathering of coconut oil on the skin. Dehydrated? How about a little hyaluronic acid? Spot issues - salicylic acid for a thorough to-the-root clean. And so the list goes on, never-ending.

After my wonderful (re) experience with Liz Earle's Cleanse and Polish, a little deal on their website spurred me on to purchasing the Gentle Face Exfoliator and the Brightening Treatment Mask, both of which, I have to say, have earned their place as add-on (or slightly more frequent than is needed) treatments. 
First to the Gentle Face Exfoliator - I'm normally all about the regular acid exfoliation, but for some reason, I've been slacking, and the turnover of my skin has therefore not been so efficient, leading to the need for a good manual exfoliation to allow the preparation of the skin for a good old chemical exfoliation that I plan to embark on! Containing eucalyptus, cocoa butter and fine jojoba beads the combination of which gently buffs away dead skin cells and impurities. The scrub itself it housed within the creamy cocoa butter base, and the particles are super fine, and not in the least bit scratchy (yes, they have made their way around my eye area and I can attest that my eyes are fine!) The beads themselves provide such a gentle, yet thorough exfoliation, that the skin feels soft to the touch, and almost brand new in its texture. It is recommended that this is used as often as needed, and to be honest, I have been using it approximately every other day - beautiful product that does just as it says.

Now let's move onto this little hero product - the Brightening Treatment Mask with aloe vera, witch hazel and purifying white clay for a reviving, fast acting mask for instant radiance. The instructions say to leave on for 30 seconds to 2 minutes - me being the sceptic that I am, I tried 30 seconds and oh my goodness, the results were rave-worthy. I did actually rave about this. Skin instantly was brightened, slightly tauter, and provided the perfect base for make up. I loved it so much that I actually used it every morning for a week. The thing is, I just love this - I have calmed down on my usage, but anything that calms, nourishes and brightens all at the same time is a little miracle.

I am really looking forward to trying more Liz Earle products!

Much love,
Ani

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Triple Threat | Lips

I love me a good lip. Mine are pretty good, albeit they have had a little bit of injectable help! I do adore the plump, defined, slightly pillow-esque lipped look that is currently doing the rounds. Thankfully I have found the most fail-safe combination of products to easily achieve this.
Line
Fully line the entire lip area with Rimmel’s East End Snob. My liner of choice for nigh-on five years now, it is the perfect mix of edgy and ladylike.
Lippy
Mac’s Snob wins every time for me. Not quite Barbie, not quite classiest woman in the world, this definitely puts the pout in your lips.
Gloss
Newest, most favourite find – L’oreal Paris Infallible Mega Gloss in Protest Queen. A milky, but creamier version of Nars’ Turkish Delight. Just try it. 

Much love,
Ani

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish | Revisited, Reviewed

I tried this, once upon a time. Things did not quite end happily ever after. Then I tried it again, recently, and the angels sang a little bit. What changed? Well, quite a lot, truth be told. In the first instance, I used this at a time when my skin was in a volatile phase. I imagine, therefore, that the Cocoa Butter, and plethora of essential oils just didn’t sit well with my skin. Fast forward a good five years, and this substance is the bee’s knees. Thick, unctuous, substantial, sumptuous, this is everything I envision in a cleanser. The mere experience of pumping the dense cream, distributing between both hands – a quick snuffle before the mechanics – and the sensation as it hits the skin, is just delightful. Massaged in, it delivers a circulation boost, eliminates super-heavy eye make-up, as well as a whole face of make-up, sunscreen, and daily pollution.


As a second cleanse, equally as wonderful on my oily skin. The consistency segues into the perfect facial, with skin left purified, plump and hydrated.

In my eyes, a multitude of use for this lovely green bottle. 

Much love,
Ani

p.s. in further news, I love the stuff so much that I've repurchased twice, and also managed to get my hands on the limited edition triple tin and am currently using the Grapefruit & Patchouli, as I thought this would be my least fave - but for a least fave, it's pretty darn good!

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,
Ani 

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,
Ani


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