Sunday, 30 August 2015

Making a House into a Home

It's coming up to a year now since my partner & I moved into our first real home together. We lived together while at uni, but always with friends, so having somewhere that's just the two of us is definitely different & the longer we live here the more of an urge I have to start nesting.

When we first moved in, everything was kind of rushed. I started my first graduate job just a month later, so after the obligatory IKEA trip, not much else has really changed & there are still parts of our flat that feel quite impersonal. 

Because we're only renting, we don't have a lot of scope for major changes, so I'm always on the hunt for little things that can add a bit of character & I thought today I'd share my current wishlist with you.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Q&A: Can I get away with using makeup wipes?

It's no secret that makeup wipes aren't the optimum way to cleanse your face, but what if you're tired? Or drunk? Or travelling? Can you get away with it?

As with most beauty questions, there's no easy answer. The impact of using makeup wipes depends on a whole host of factors, which I'm going to discuss below, but the reality is that wipes will never be as good for your skin as a dedicated cleanser, so it's up to you to decide whether the potential negative consequences are worth it.

So, what determines whether or not you can "get away" with using makeup wipes?
  • How well you use them - The biggest problem with makeup wipes is that although they're marketed as an easy cleansing option, they actually make cleansing well more difficult. Next time you use a wipe, follow it up with a damp cotton pad (focusing on areas like your hairline, your neck & the sides of you nose) & you'll likely be horrified with what you find. To genuinely clean your face, you'll need between 3 & 5 makeup wipes, & if there's still makeup residue coming off then you know your face isn't clean so you need another wipe (suddenly makeup wipes don't look so easy or cost effective).
  • How often you use them - As with all things that aren't so good for us, moderation is key. Using a makeup wipe one night because you just need your bed, or your chronic pain has flared up, or whatever isn't a disaster so don't beat yourself up over it. However, if you're using makeup wipes on a regular basis (teen me used them on a daily basis, with no follow up cleanser) you can guarantee they're having some kind of negative impact on your skin.
  • Which brand you use - There a loads of makeup wipes on the market now & if I'm honest I tend to just buy whatever is on offer, but if you're after a good quality wipe that will actually be effective then it's definitely worth paying attention to the label. Olay, Bare Minerals, & L'Oreal are all quality brands, & I prefer to buy basic wipes rather than those which claim any skincare benefits as I find they can irritate my skin.
  • How heavy your makeup is - The reality is that if you're wearing heavy duty makeup, no makeup wipe is ever going to remove it. I wear Estee Lauder's Double Wear on a daily basis & most wipes can barely make a dent in it, but if you wear lighter makeup - for example, a BB cream with light eye makeup & a tinted lip balm - then makeup wipes are more likely to be able to effectively cleanse your face.
  • Your skin type - There will always be people who can use makeup wipes on a daily basis & wake up with glowing skin, but if your skin is more easily irritated or if you're prone to blemishes, then you're more likely to see the negative impact of their use. Last night I came home a little worse for wear, apathetically dragged a makeup wipe around my face, & then flopped into bed. This morning I woke up with the biggest white-head just under my lip. Cause & effect.

So, that's it. The hard truth is that no makeup wipe can replace a dedicated cleanser, so it's best to keep their use to a minimum & if you're one of those people who can get away with using them without any negative consequences then make sure you thank your parents for those damn good genes.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Review: Topshop Trigger Lipstick

It's no secret that I love a bold lip & I'm also a big fan of Topshop's beauty range, so when I spotted 'Trigger' (RRP £8) online I couldn't resist.

As with all of Topshop's products, the packaging is really cool but it's not all about appearances; the tube is also super sturdy, meaning it's a great lipstick to travel with.


In terms of shade, Trigger is a cool-toned red, with the pink/purple undertones becoming more prominent as it fades. The finish is described as velvet matte, but I find it takes quite a while to dry meaning in practice it's closer to a satin.

I find Trigger does fade quite quickly especially in the centre of my lips, but thanks to the creamy texture re-applying isn't an issue. 

Topshop's lipsticks aren't incredible but they're definitely good value for money, & the range of shades helps them stand out from other highstreet brands.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

OOTD: Casual Summer Stripes

We're currently experiencing what passes for Summer here in Edinburgh which means I've been trying to find outfits that can keep me comfortable, & this definitely passes the test.

This over-sized stripe top (unfortunately now out of stock) is a great versatile piece. It's easily long enough to be worn as a dress or beach cover-up, but I like to tie it up at the side for a shorter, slouchier look. I think it would look great under dungarees too.

These jeans are the ASOS Ridley jeans in a 70s blue wash & they're currently in the sale for just £18, which is a total bargain. I love the skinny fit of the Ridley style & this colour is perfect for lazy Summer weekends.

The shoes & necklace are from ASOS too. I've not been loving their new collections lately but they're still my go-to place for wardrobe staples & accessories.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Instagram Round-Up // August 2nd-9th

I've been super active on Instagram recently so I wanted to share a few of my favourite shots (& maybe a bit of insight into what I've been up to lately).

1. After weeks of rain, it's finally starting to feel like Summer here in Edinburgh  //  2. One of my favourite meals at the moment is this Jamie Oliver classic: cajun chicken, sweetcorn salsa, sun-dried tomato mash, bacon & loads of avocado  //  3. I celebrated #WorldCatDay by reposting this collage of Sesame & I  //  4. Speaking of Sesame, we finally bought new bedding (after around 3 years) & she's been loving it  //  5. My skin has been looking super healthy lately, thanks to Paula's Choice  //  6. This week has also marked the beginning of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival which means lots of scoping out new corners of Edinburgh  //  7. I recently rediscovered Kat Von D's Studded Kiss lipstick in the shade L.U.V. & I love pairing it with a neutral smoky eye  //  8. I'm constantly trying to find interesting packed lunches for work & this caesar salad, toasted panini combo was a winner  //  9. One of my favourite looks with the Laura Mercier palette (which I reviewed here) is a basic brown wash with gold accents

Thursday, 6 August 2015

5 Perfect Summer Nail Polish Shades from Topshop

My natural instinct with nail colours is to go dark - I love black, deep plums & navy blues - but come Summer darker shades can look a bit odd, so I decided to buy a few brighter shades which would work well if the sun ever decided to shine here in Edinburgh.

I've tried Topshop's nail polishes before & while the formula isn't always the best, at £5 for their basic formulas and with discounts aplenty on sites like, I'm not complaining. The packaging is also really cute & easy to use, even with freshly painted nails.

Causing a Stir is a bright coral/tangerine shade which looks great with a tan or darker skin tones. It may not be the most versatile shade but it's definitely a mood-booster on rainy days.

Birthday Suit is a pastel duck egg blue which is subtle enough to be fairly neutral, while still feeling light and summery.

Keep Me Sweet is another pastel shade, this time a green. This is a really fun shade & gets bonus points for reminding me of both pistachios & avocados, two of my favourite foods.

Aurelian is a metallic cool-toned gold. I feel like a lot of people discount metallic nail polishes for being too brash, but I think they look super chic & in a classic shade like gold, they're basically neutral. 

Port de Bras is a cool-toned pinky-lilac, perfect if you're looking for something that's just a little more bold than a nude but still want the colour to be subtle

In terms of formula, as I mentioned above, they're a little hit or miss. I found a couple of the shades to be quite streaky, which meant applying a few layers & then inevitably smudging them (see above).

In contrast, Aurelian applies beautifully, although as with almost all metallic shades it does emphasise the nail's natural texture, so a base coat is a good idea.

On the bright side, I've found all five shades to be long-wearing, with minimal chipping even after a week's wear, which is pretty good going for me. Basically, you get what you pay for & if like me, you just want a few bright shades to use for a couple of months in the Summer, these are great options.

What are your top Spring/Summer nail shades? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Laura Mercier Artist Palette Review & Swatches

I've been on the look out for a new eye palette for a while & when I spotted the Laura Mercier Artist Palette (RRP £45) I knew it was the one. 

I wear eyeshadow on a daily basis but prefer neutral shades, so in the past I've stuck to my trusty Naked palettes (I own 2 & 3), but having now - just about - perfected my morning routine I've been keen to try some more interesting looks & the Artist Palette seemed like a great option.

There's no denying it's pricey, but having been impressed with the quality of Laura Mercier's eyeshadows in the past (I actually own Kir Royal from this palette already in the Sateen formula) & loving the colour selection it was a commitment I was ready to make.

For makeup nerds, or just for those of you who would like to find more reviews before parting with your hard-earned cash, it's worth pointing out that this is actually a re-release of the super popular 2013 Holiday Palette which sold out almost immediately, so there's lots of swatches & tutorials available online.

For me, the packaging is the only downside to this palette. I prefer a hard case with a sleek design (think NARS), whereas the Artist Palette comes in a softer, slightly padded, cardboard case with a floral design in black & bronze. It's fine, just not really my style, plus as you can see, it holds fingerprints like nothing else.

The contents of the palette more than make up for the packaging though with 12 pans of purple (on the top row) & brown (on the bottom) based shadows. 

As you can see below, all the shadows are fairly pigmented, super buttery, & with minimal fallout even from the matte shades. I love the versatility of this palette, with a range of finishes & shades, I can easily see this being the one palette I take with me for a week away & being totally happy.

The palette also comes with a good size mirror & although I don't tend to use palette mirrors, they can definitely come in handy whilst travelling.

The twelve shades are as follows:
  • Sparkling Dew is a super light peach shade with a faint frost finish, perfect for highlighting on lighter skin tones.
  • Guava is a peach with strong golden undertones. This is a beautiful lid shade & could also work as an inner corner highlight on darker skin tones.
  • African Violet is my favourite shade from this palette; it's a cool-toned violet with a gold sheen that reads as duo-chrome when exposed to direct light - really beautiful & not a shade I've seen elsewhere.
  • Plum Smoke is a matte, grey-ish lilac shade which could work on the lid or in the crease.
  • Kir Royal has been my go-to shadow for a smoky eye since I bought the full-size sateen version six months ago, so I can't wait to try it out in a new formula. The shade is a deep burgundy-brown colour in a satin finish.
  • Violet Ink is a deep aubergine shade in a matte finish, perfect if you find black too harsh against your skintone or eye colour.
  • Vanilla Nuts is slightly darker than Sparkling Dew & is also matte. The shade is a pink-tinged beige & will work well as a blending colour on lighter skin tones.
  • Primrose is a peachy beige with a light frost finish, another beautiful lid shade.
  • Fresco is a peachy, medium brown, perfect as a transition or crease shade.
  • Bamboo is a golden brown with champagne shimmer, & reminds me somewhat of Factory from the Naked 3 palette, although it's definitely lighter.
  • Truffle is a warm chocolate brown in a matte finish, again perfect for the crease in a brown smoky eye.
  • Espresso Bean is a blackened brown & would look beautiful used to line blue or green eyes.

Buying this palette was definitely a commitment (I'm now on a spending ban for the foreseeable future) but I know I'll get my use out of it & I can't wait to start experimenting with some of the more unique shades.
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