Sunday, 25 October 2015

Review: Benefit's Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Foundation

When it comes to foundation I have a serious case of the grass is always greener. I love my Estee Lauder Double Wear - it's far & away the best foundation I've ever tried - but what if there's a better, cheaper formula out there that I'm missing out on because I don't want to take the risk? 

I know it's ridiculous, but that's how I ended up picking up Benefit's newest Hello Flawless foundation (RRP £26.50).

Benefit Hellow Flawless Oxygen Wow Foundation

I really like the packaging - it feels a lot less kitsch than Benefit's usual style, with just small accents of pink to make the black & white pop (it really reminds me of Topshop's packaging, which I love). I also like that the foundation comes in a pressurised tube with a pump for minimal product waste as this is one of my biggest complaints about Estee Lauder's Double Wear.

My foundation came with a little blister sample of the Stay Flawless primer, which is great, but I wasn't a fan. The primer was rock solid & had an almost waxy consistency. I know that it normally comes in a stick form, & it's possible that the warmth from your skin could help soften it, but applying directly to the face isn't exactly hygienic.

Benefit Hello Flawless Foundation I'm Pure 4 Sure
L-R: No product; foundation; foundation & concealer. I'm wearing the shade I'm Pure 4 Sure which is around NC15.

When I was testing this I did have some fairly dark acne scarring around my chin, & with Hello Flawless being marketed as light to medium coverage I didn't have high hopes, but I was impressed by how well it disguised even some of the more noticeable marks (you can only see a few of the darkest scars in the second photo).

In terms of application, I found the formula to be a little difficult to work with simply because it's very liquid & buffing it in with a brush resulted in a streaky finish which I ended up evening out with a sponge. It was relatively easy to build coverage without it becoming cakey, but I did notice it clinging to some of my drier spots.

I also had some issues with the finish, which ultimately are what made this a thumbs down from me. 

Firstly, despite being described as "natural" & "luminous", I found it to be incredibly matte with an almost powdery finish. I have super oily skin but this foundation seemed to make me look dull & lifeless, which isn't great, especially as I was hoping this could be an option for when I didn't want to wear a full face of makeup. 

The second issue is that this foundation just WILL NOT SET. By the end of the day, pretty much all the coverage had gone, having transferred onto every surface my face had been remotely near: my hands, my clothes, my boyfriend's clothes, my cat... To be clear, I set this with powder at the beginning of the day but it seemed to make zero difference.

Even with a shit ton of highlighter I feel like my face still looks flat & there's some noticeable flakiness on my skin which just doesn't happen with Double Wear. As someone with acne-prone skin, the coverage just isn't quite their either, although I can see this working for someone with clearer, combo (not too dry, not too oily) skin.

If you've tried Hello Flawless, I'd be interested to hear about your experience - please leave me a comment below.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

OOTD: Simply Be Shaggy Fur Jacket

Simply Be Shaggy Fur Jacket

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you've probably already seen me talking about this shaggy fur jacket from Simply Be - I've been obsessed with it ever since I first spotted it & basically haven't taken it off since it arrived (lovingly wrapped) a couple of weeks ago. 

It's the perfect combination of sensible Winter coat & statement piece. The fact that it's faux fur & fully lined mean it's super warm, but the shagginess of the fur & the ombre make it feel really #luxurybitch. It's a total compliment magnet too & who doesn't love compliments on grey Winter mornings? 

My only real complaint about this jacket is the lack of pockets - I get that it's not supposed to be super practical (I imagine it would be hell wearing this if it rained) but Edinburgh is already getting chilly & I like having somewhere to shove my cold hands.

I also want to give a shout out to these tassel zip ankle boots from New Look. I'd been on the look out for some new ankle boots for a while & when I accidentally bought this exact pair in two different shades (black from the New Look website, light brown from ASOS) I took that as sign I really did love them. Because they're wide fit they're really comfortable, & the heel height is practical without being dull. Win.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Review: Kyloe Gourmet Steak Restaurant & Grill

The first time my partner & I went to Kyloe we were celebrating his graduation with his parents (& thankfully not footing the bill). It was incredible & we kept saying we'd go back but always found something else to spend our money on, so when I spotted Kyloe on the list of locations taking part in the Edinburgh Restaurant Festival nothing was going to stand between me & a return visit. I was so committed I even booked the afternoon off work so I could properly enjoy it.

For those of you who live within travelling distance of Edinburgh, the Restaurant Festival is not to be missed. For ten days (it finishes this Sunday - the 18th) restaurants across the city are opening their doors & offering super affordable set menus for both lunch & dinner. The standard lunch menu at Kyloe runs to around £11 for a main, but my partner & I had a three-course meal for just £15 each - pretty sweet.

From the outside, Kyloe doesn't look like much - it sits on the West end of Princes Street surrounded by fancy hotels & bars. The entrance itself is through the Rutland Bar, & the restaurant is upstairs so it feels quiet despite being on a busy road.

The interior is subtly expensive with leather, wood & cow-hide. It feels luxurious but still warm & comfortable, something that expensive restaurants often lack. It's definitely not the sort of place where you feel awkward or embarrassed.

A big perk of the location are the fantastic views: along Princes Street, down Lothian Road & up to Charlotte Square. It's prime people-watching territory & obviously my new Simply Be jacket goes great with the grey skies.

The food more than lived up to my memories of it. Despite Kyloe being a steak restaurant I wasn't really feeling it yesterday, so instead I went for wild mushrooms on toast, followed by smoked salmon risotto, & a cookie sundae. It sounds like a lot but the portions were perfectly sized & we both left feeling content but not overly full.

Last but not least I want to give a shout out to the service. All the staff were super attentive & although it was clear that other guest were paying full price for their meal, it didn't feel like we were treated differently because we were eating off the set-price menu.

If you're ever in the market for a special meal out in Edinburgh I would always recommend Kyloe, & if you can make it to the city before the end of the weekend definitely check out the Restaurant Festival. There are over 30 restaurants taking part, & with £15 lunch menus & £25 dinner menus you can't really go wrong.
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