Ciate Advent Calender

Being a winter born baby, means that the Christmas period is really the most important time of the year!! I treasure every minute of it, and love sticking to Christmas traditions. One of my favourite traditions whilst growing up was the Advent Calendar, although considering that all you get is one small chocolate each day, the excitement on the first of December is kind of ridiculous and absurd. Over the years I've kept up the advent tradition,  but the last couple of years I've been trying to make more of an effort to “eat clean, stay lean.” This doesn't mean I shun chocolate out of my life, sadly however, it means having one a day would probably through me off track... This is where I introduce the alternative Calendar!!
Ciate Mini Mani Month

Last year I was very fortunate to receive the Ciate Mini Mani Month calendar from my mummy, (she is the best!) Chocolate addicts BEWARE, this calendar is not edible, however you can pick up a cheap chocolate calendar in Tesco’s for less than a fiver, so if you can’t stand parting from the sugar, why not have both!!

You've probably heard of Ciate, through their creation of the caviar manicure, (a 3d manicure with colourful balls.) If you haven’t tried their nail varnishes, then I really recommend checking them out. The brand creates amazing pigmented colours and come in super sweet packaging, with little bows around the neck of the bottle. 

The calendar opens each day to reveal a new  mini polish, caviar pearl or glitter, last year I decided upon opening each day of the calendar, I would wear whatever polish I was given for that specific day.  This meant I spent a whole month of changing my nail polish, slightly tiring but so worth it!! The amount of comments I received on my nails was insane. It just seemed like fun to incorporate my favourite thing (beauty) into my favourite time of year!  The pictures I've included are of last year’s calendar and I tried to locate as many of the polishes and caviar pearls as I could, to give you an idea of the colours involved, (seemed to have lost a large amount booo.)

This year’s calendar contains:
19x5ml mini paint pots
1x13.5 paint pot
2x 10g caviar pearls
2x5g sequins/glitters

Priced at £42, which does sound pretty pricey for an advent calendar, however if you think about it, you receive 24 nail polishes/pears/glitters and also a way to have fun with your nail polishes, by changing it up every day for the Christmas period!! Personally this calendar rocks…. I definitely found it more exciting to find a gorgeous nail varnish behind the door instead of chocolate. 

You can buy the Ciate Mini Mani Month calendar online  here.

Make sure to buy it in advance of the 1st of December as they sold out last year!!

Did you buy the Ciate Mini Mani Month calender last year? What did you think?
If you have any questions please comment!


English Rose

After spending a fabulous lazy afternoon in bed flicking through magazines for new beauty trends, I came across this look, reminiscent of an English rose that was featured on the catwalk at the Burberry show for spring/summer 2014. It immediately reminded of my childhood, rummaging through my mother’s makeup bag and applying her Chanel pink lipstick, not so carefully to my lips, eyelids and finally drawing two pink army stripes across my cheeks. I know what you’re thinking, that kid had style and whilst I may have looked bonkers to my family, it seems the look is back in, although in a matured sense.

Unlike the masterpiece I created 15 years ago, the pink I used was less dramatic, as I wanted to create something that would be befitting for a ballerina. I used Maybelline, Color Sensational lipstick, in Summer Pink, as its fresh, pretty and has a slight shimmer to it which helped to achieve a glowing complexion.

Lighter shade is Maybelline Color Sensational in Summer Pink. Darker shade is an example of the type of colour I stole from my mothers makeup bag 15 years ago to create my princess in pink look!
My everyday makeup normally consists of contouring my face and wearing a nude lip, (boring, but me!) I choose nudes over pinks, out of personal preference; my skin tone is better suited to brown hues. Being a beauty enthusiast means that you've got to try new things and pink eyes and lips was apparently was one of them!

Step by Step Instructions

1. First apply a glowing foundation, or just conceal areas if you are blessed with flawless skin.... (Lucky cow.)

2. Next take a gel/cream eye shadow in a light pink shade or the lipstick you are going to use and apply all over the lids, making sure to blend fully, applying a little at a time, building up to the desired shade. It's better to have too little product and build then apply too much at once and end up looking like a clown.

3. Apply a lengthening mascara being careful to avoid clumps.( this is a very delicate,  natural look.)

4. Apply a moisturising lip balm, then chose a lipstick that best matches the colour used on your eyes, or use the lipstick you used on your lids. Apply this lipstick with your finger to create a stain and not a perfect lined lip. 

5. Finally use the same shade of lipstick and apply onto the apple of the cheeks, blending with your fingertips, (remember a little goes a long way.)

You should be left with a healthy glowing complexion that is pretty and subtle. Although I'm not used to wearing pinky shades, especially on my eyes, I’m impressed by the overall effect, I look awake, healthy and my makeup appears natural. I’m still in amazement that you can use one product, costing £7.19, for 3 different functions, to create one beautiful on trend look.

What do you think of this trend?
Do you use any other products in more than one way?
If you have any questions comment below and I will get back to you ASAP!


My experience with Topshop

I try and stay clear from high street fashion brands that have dipped their hands into beauty as a quick and easy way to make profit. The reasons for my disapproval is because they are created by fashion brands who don’t specialise in makeup, unlike brands such as Mac or Nars which were created for makeup professionals. Makeup is a second thought for these large fashion cooperation’s, therefore it is not their top priority. Their aim is to deliver to the masses and in my opinion they tend to fall short on their formulas, longevity, pigment and overall wear ability, plus I’m somewhat of a makeup snob! 

The exception to this rule is Topshop,  I’m sure Topshop’s primary motive for creating makeup wasn't their extreme passion for makeup, most likely they saw an avenue for making money, however I have warmed to their reasonable prices and all round good products  over time. My first purchase from Topshop was about a year ago now in the form of a fantastic highly pigmented highlighter in crescent moon, (sunbeam is better suited to darker skin tones), a beautiful shade that lasted and looked amazing dabbed into the inner corners of the eye. It would probably appear a bit full on for winter and better suited to accompany you on a night out, however at £10 it was totally value for money.

Since then Topshop makeup has blossomed and become even more popular with the masses and fellow beauty bloggers. So I decided to try some more products to make sure my purchase a year ago wasn't just a fluke.  Trawling through the endless pushing and shoving crowds at Topshop in Oxford Street really tested my patience, however I always recommend going into a store to buy makeup instead of online purchasing (unless you are buying a replacement/refill) because you can’t get a sense of the texture or colour of a product via a picture on the internet, in my opinion it’s best to see it in the flesh. After spending god knows how long in the store I finally decided  on Nevada (£8), a pale nude lipstick and a metallic eye shadow quad (£12.50) in Game On,  spending just over £20, (pretty reasonable for 5 products.)

I will whole heartedly say that the metallic eye quad in Game On is one of the best makeup products I have ever bought for £12.50!!  To this day I am completely mesmerised by the gorgeous intense metallic shades, which are ideal for the festive period. In fact the metallic blue shade was used on the catwalk at Topshop  AW13 show to help create a modern look, by teaming a juxtaposition of colours and textures together, overall this looked incredible and screamed attitude! 

I've always admired Kate Moss for her brilliant nude lip, effortlessly cool in my opinion. Searching for the perfect nude however is somewhat uncool especially in a sweaty packed store at rush hour, however I was intrigued by the lipstick in shade Nevada and it instantly reminded me of Mossy so for that reason alone it has to go in the basket. After reaching home somewhat drenched in sweat and looking like a five year old had decided to paint a bizarre rainbow all over my hands I sat down in my boudoir (small, cramped bedroom) to play around with my new buys!

I was warmly surprised by how well these products complemented each other. By keeping the lips nude it helped draw attention to the powerful gold eye that I had created with the palette. Unfortunately my excitement did not last long, in fact it lasted roughly an hour. I was not impressed by the lipstick in Nevada, instead angry and humiliated by the state of my lips. The lipstick had congealed and had turned into a line of thick sludge in the middle of my lips, (not hot,) rather disgusting. I must have appeared to the outside world as if I had some sort of  mouth disease and overall was very embarrassed that I had been walking around university head held high under the impression that my lips looked  extremely kissable in my new lipstick!!  Although I had a bad experience with the lipstick my eyes on the other hand still looked fabulous In fact the eye shadow stayed on for over 10 hours!! So, massive thumbs up for the eye shadow quad.

As for the lipstick I decided a couple of days later to give it another try!! This time I made sure I had spent an hour prior to application with a hydrating lip balm on and had exfoliated my lips thoroughly, I also applied a hydrating lip gloss under the lipstick to stop it from drying out. This process did work however I still felt the need to reapply lipstick every hour and I had to keep checking that the dreaded sludge lip hadn't returned to haunt me. Overall the lipstick is a fantastic shade and complements any skin tone; however the experience has left me somewhat unimpressed by this product and a tad scared to use it again!! With the winter weather approaching I feel a hydrating lipstick is more appropriate, so am still in the lookout for a perfect nude! The eye shadow palette however is an incredible purchase and I have used it on many different occasions to create a dramatic eye, I much prefer gel and cream based eye shadow to powder as they create a fresher more youthful look. I truly praise this product as a cheaper option for a gel/cream metallic eye quad.

Lipstick-Nevada buy online here!
Eyeshadow Quad-Game On buy online here!

Let me know if you love/hate Topshop makeup?
Anyone had the same problem with the lipstick?
If you have any questions please comment below and I will get back to you ASAP!!

Makeover at Nars with Benoit....

Like most women I am under the impression that there is something I am missing when it comes to makeup. I flick through the glossy magazines and see flawless glowing skin with huge perfectly lined eyes staring back at me and I feel like I'm being deceived, as if the beauty industry is keeping their treasured secrets under lock and key. Whilst the truth is yes, some makeup artists have their own tricks and tips when it comes to makeup application, they are certainly not hiding them from us instead most are extremely willing to share them.Wondering how you can be in the presence of a makeup genius? Well the answer is having a redeemable makeover at a department store.  I know I go on and on about redeemable makeovers, but I swear they are the best way to learn about makeup. STOP buying makeup from department stores without having one, if you need a new foundation or fancy a new lipstick find a time when you have an hour free and take advantage of having your face painted by true artists.

 My latest redeemable makeover, was memorable for all the right reasons! I have to say I don't think i have ever learnt so much information  in one hour (which is depressing bearing in mind how much money I spend on my university degree!), I truly felt like I was in makeup heaven. Somehow I managed to walk into Selfridges, without an appointment, on a friday at 5pm, (Rush hour in makeup land) and found myself in the world class hands of Benoit Dumont. Benoit has worked all over the world from prepping models for the catwalk to applying makeup for Film and TV and now works as a Nars national makeup artist.  I am certainly no model or movie star however Benoit treated me like one, he understood my request  to look like a goddess, to obtain a glowing complexion and give the illusion of bigger eyes and  lips, (the wish list of every girl).

Benoit got to work quickly  and I was extremely impressed with the Nars skincare range which was applied  prior to the makeup. The skincare products included  no unknown ingredients and Benoit assured me it was ideal for all skin types, ranging from dry sensitive skin, to  my oily spot prone skin. The Optimal Brightening Concentrate (a radiance boosting serum) helped the foundation look  flawless and stopped it from sticking to  dry patches (a sign of winter approaching.)

I applaud Benoit he was incredibly patient with my spot infested skin and treated me like royalty!!  What was so exciting about this makeover was the way Benoit explained every single thing he did, why he was doing it and accompanied by an invaluable tip. 

Benoit's top 5 tips (MUST READ)

1. Apply foundation onto the palm of the hand, warm it by rubbing onto the Palm and then apply using fingertips. I hear you screaming at the thought of not using your new Shu Umera foundation brush, but this  technique is something you really should try. It is way more hygienic for acne prone skin and allows you to be more precise with where you want to apply coverage plus you will use far less product (saving you money).

2. Matt vs glow was something in which Benoit was extremely passionate. He believed that you shouldn't make everything matt nor  should you attempt to  make everything glow (you will end up looking like you've been dipped in grease, ew.) The tip is to leave the cheeks  and eyelids glowing by using a liquid blush, cream eye shadow and illuminater whilst powdering along the t-zone. This will make you look super healthy and create a natural canvas.

3. Apply powder with a puff rather than a powder brush!! Powder brushes disturb the carefully applied concealer and foundation. Instead use a powder puff and press the powder into the skin, this will stop your powder from sitting on the skin and will completely set your makeup in place for the whole day.

4.  To create a healthy glow, apply a highlighter before your foundation, this way it looks more natural and doesn't just sit on the surface of the foundation.

5. Apply lip gloss under lipstick, I know it sounds crazy but it makes you look less like a wannabe barbie and more like a Victoria secrets model!!

 I have included the face chart Benoit created for my makeover which lists the products he used to create my look. During the makeover I fell in love with The Multiple in shade Copacabana and simply had to have it! This retractable stick, can be used for multiple uses from highlighter to lipstick and can help create dimension to your face on a dull day. The formula was creamy, bendable and easy to apply, when worn under the foundation it melted into the skin and created a gorgeous glow. If you are not already sold on this product you will be when i tell you that it contains Vitamin E and Accai oil for antioxidant benefits. This product is now firmly in my makeup routine and truly has made a massive difference in my overall appearance, (thank god.) Since I've started wearing this highlighter I have had an array of complements about how well rested and energised I look, (they must have missed the huge dark bags under my eyes.)

 Overall I really recommend a Nars redeemable makeover, after all it's free with a £30 pound or over spend on Nars makeup. It left me looking and feeling like a million dollars, whilst having learnt invaluable tips and tricks that I will treasure for life. 

You can buy Copacabana highlighter online, however I do recommend going into a department store and having the free makeover, it's an hour long and you won't regret it!  If you are impatient like me and can't wait to purchase this product buy it here !

Do you enjoy redeemable makeovers?
What brand would you go to for a redeemable makeover?
Do you love Nars multiple?
Any tips or tricks you couldn't live without?