Sunday, 26 January 2014

My Top 5 Vampy Berry Lipsticks for Winter

I may have a small problem when it comes to berry toned lipsticks, I literally can't get enough and when I see a shade that's even slightly different to one I already own I generally have to make it mine.  With a habit like this you can probably imagine that I'd have a lot of colours to choose from (and I do!), but here are the ones that make my top 5 list and that I usually wear at least once a week

Lipsticks: L-R MAC Dark Side, Illamasqua Shard, Nars Palais Royal, MAC Rebel & Illamasqua Magnetism
L-R MAC Dark Side, Illamasqua Shard, Nars Palais Royal, MAC Rebel & Illamasqua Magnetism

MAC Lipstick in Dark Side (currently £15.00) - Definitely the darkest of these lipsticks, Dark Side is a lovely deep plum/burgundy.  As Dark Side is one of MAC's Amplified shades the colour pay off is already excellent to begin with but also layers well so you can get some serious depth to the lipstick.  I really like the formula of too, it's very velvety to apply and has a slight sheen but I like to blot it slightly to make it touch more matt.

Lipstick: MAC Rebel and MAC Dark Side

Illamasqua Lipstick in Shard (currently £16.50) - Out of all of the lipsticks I've ever tried, I think I can quite happily say that Illamasqua do my favourite matts and Shard, from the Sacred Hour collection, is no exception.  I love how this applies, it's super smooth and beautifully matt, but not even slightly drying.  It lasts on the lips for hours too, I've worn it for several nights out and it takes a lot to move it.  Illamasqua describe the shade as a rich mahogany but I'd say it's more of a deep red mulled-wine colour on the lips.

Lipstick: Illamasqua Shard and Illamasqua Magnetism

Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Palais Royal (currently £17.50) - Described by Nars simply as 'sangria', this lip pencil is definitely on the brighter side of berry shades I have, making it perfect for day or night (or at least in my opinion).  When I'm in the mood for something with a bit more gloss I will always reach for this pencil.  The formula isn't as long lasting as the other picks in this post, but it's so lovely I can look past that!

Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Palais Royal

MAC Lipstick in Rebel (currently £15.00) - My first ever berry lipstick, and one I have repurchased many times; Rebel has been a long time favourite amongst bloggers and with good reason.  The colour is so versatile, it can be pressed into the lips to make an almost fuschia stain or layered up for a darker more plummy tone.  The satin finish glides on like a dream as long as your lips are well moisturised and once on it very rarely needs to be reapplied or touched up.  I can imagine I'll continue to buy this for as long as MAC keeps making it.

Swatches L-R MAC Dark Side, Illamasqua Shard, Nars Palais Royal, MAC Rebel & Illamasqua Magnetism
Swatches L-R MAC Dark Side, Illamasqua Shard, Nars Palais Royal, MAC Rebel & Illamasqua Magnetism

Illamasqua Lipstick in Magnetism (currently £7.50 in the Illamasqua sale) - Illamasqua have it spot on with their description of this lipstick, as a deep raspberry pink.  Initially when I bought this I thought it was identical to MAC's Rebel, but on wearing I found it to be lighter in colour, creamier to apply and much glossier in finish (although it's not a full on gloss).  The only downside to a softer formulation is that this shade isn't as long-wearing as the others on this list, that doesn't stop me reaching for it on a regular basis though, in fact this is often the lippie I wear to work.

MAC Nightmoth Lip Pencil

An honourable mention in this post has to go to MAC's Nightmoth Lip Pencil, I mean every lipstick addict needs some good lip pencils!  MAC call Nightmoth a blackened plum, which is a fair description, but whatever the shade it works very well under Dark Side, Shard and Rebel, stopping any colour from bleeding and making my lipstick last even longer.  Sometimes I wear it on it's own too, just line and fill in my lips then finish with some lip balm so they don't dry out.  I'll always keep a Nightmoth Lip Pencil close at hand.

Here endeth the the post on my favourite vampy berry lipsticks for winter.  What are you favourite picks?

Sharon x

Monday, 20 January 2014

The Blogger Made Me Buy It Tag

Oh how I love a blogger tag!  It's been ages since I've done once so I was very excited when I saw Danniella from Famous in Japan had created 'The Blogger Made Me Buy It Tag' (her original post is here), and I got tagged a couple of days later by Kelly from Adventures in Tea and Cake.

Most of us probably freely admit that other bloggers can be a huge influence on what we buy, I can spend literally hours trawling reviews and if I see an exciting new product reviewed by someone I love I find my behaviour becomes rather obsessive until I can get my hands on said product.  Very attractive I'm sure you'll agree!

Anyway, let's get on with the questions shall we?

If you do this tag, feel free to use the image but link back to Danniella at Famous in Japan

Who are your most influential bloggers?  Who are the ones that you really rely on for reviews and swatches?
Ruth at SweetPBeauT and Evelyn at We Were Raised by Wolves make me want to buy lots and lots of skincare, I want to try all of the tea shops that Kelly at Adventures in Tea and Cake is making her way to, Ashleigh at Quintessentially Me makes me want to be healthier and live cleaner, and Sam at Honey Go-Lightly makes me want to stock up on beautiful makeup!  Although she's not a blogger per se, I adore pretty much everything Claire Marshall posts on her Youtube channel from fashion to make-up she could make me spend a fortune!

Do you buy a product solely as a result of one review from your favourite blogger, or do you look for more reviews from others?

It depends on the product to be honest; if I know someone has very similar taste to me when it comes to lipsticks or foundations I'll generally trust their reviews - if it's something like skincare however I'll potentially read dozens of reviews before making a decision to purchase.  I've learned this the hard way as I've had some horrible experiences with skincare.

What is your most favourite item that you have ever bought as a consequence of blogs?
Definitely Nars Sheer Glow Foundation.  I can't remember where the hype started for this product but I quickly bought into it and haven't looked back.  I've gone through three bottles of it so far and I can't get enough!

What is your least favourite item that you have ever bought as a consequence of blogs?
I'm going to go with quite a few people on this one and say the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm.  I don't outright hate this like I know some people do, but this cleanser just hasn't worked well for me.  It's not bad for a deep cleanse now and then but if I use it every day like some well known bloggers suggest I break out terribly.

I'd add MUA lipsticks to my list of least favourite items too, I just don't get what people see in these, I know they're cheap but the formula is awful to me.

Name 5 products you have bought recently as a result of blogs.
L'Oreal Micellar Water, B. Lip Glosses from Superdrug, Revlon Lipstick in Black Cherry, the Urban Decay Naked Palette and finally a selection of OPI Nail Varnishes.  Nothing has really been a disappointment out of this lot either!

Have you ever given into blogger hype?  If so, which hype?
Oh yes, to so many things and with varying degrees of success!  The great ones have been Bioderma, Nars Satin Lip Pencils and the Real Techniques brushes.  Not so great hyped products have been the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm and the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains.

Have you ever avoided blogger hype?  If so, which hype?
I've avoided quite a few recently actually, including the Rimmel Apocalips and Maybelline Baby Lips, they just didn't do it for me.  I'm also giving the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette a miss, I just don't know what I'd do with a whole palette of rose-toned eyeshadow!

Is there anything you buy based on blogger reviews or are there some items you buy without checking reviews?
Honestly it varies for me - for items like skincare I'll read lots and lots of reviews before making a purchase, with makeup though I'm more likely to go to a counter and have a play to decide what I think will work for me.

Well that's it for 'The Blogger Made Me Buy It Tag' from me; if you're reading this I tag you!  Leave me a link if you do a post!

Of course I'd like to tag some of my favourite bloggers specifically too; I tag Ruth, Sam, Ashleigh and Beth for this one!

Sharon x

Monday, 13 January 2014

Nars Satin Lip Pencils in Palais Royal and Luxembourg

Those of you with long memories may remember that many, many moons ago (also known as July 2013) I posted a haul featuring the Nars Satin Lip Pencils - you can check it out here if you like.  With the exception of the Rio MSF from MAC (oh how I love this...) these lip pencils were my favourite purchase.  So what did I do with them?  Why, I wore them once or twice and stuck them in my lipstick drawer of course.  Well these babies have been back out in the general population of my lip products for a good few months now so I thought it was high time I got around to the review a number of you had asked for.

The packaging?
I've never really got into the whole chunky lip pencil trend that's been around for the last couple of years, but in my opinion Nars packaging of the Satin Lip Pencils is nicer than most I've seen.  It's the usual black and white affair you'd expect from Nars, with the individual colour of the pencil at the base, and feels very sleek.  The only problem I have with the packaging of these pencils is that the lid feels a bit insecure, I almost feel like it's going to pop off in my handbag so haven't taken them out with me as much as I might with another lipstick.  I'd kind of want more from a high end brand like Nars

Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Palais Royal
Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Palais Royal

The formula?
With a name like Satin Lip Pencil you'd expect a product that was very smooth and glides onto the lips, and that's exactly what you get here.  The pencil is very easy to use and you get great colour payoff with one quick swipe; the colour can have a tendency to move slightly though so it's important to either prep your lips first with a lip liner, or perhaps use some concealer and a detailer brush to clean up the edges once you've applied.  These pencils are really quite glossy too, but I find blotting very gently with a tissue gives a bit more of a subtle sheen.   A word of warning though, once the Satin Lip Pencils dry down slightly, and if your lips aren't perfectly exfoliated and moisturised, you can find that the colour clings to any dry patches you might have.  It doesn't look pleasant but is easy to manage if you prep your lips before wearing these.

Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Luxembourg
Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Luxembourg

The colour?
Palais Royal is the first shade I picked up when I found these at the Nars counter.  It's a really beautiful deep plum/berry colour, and has easily made it into my list of favourite lip colours this winter.  I've found it looks great with a strong smokey eye, but works equally as well with just a hint of mascara and a hint of complementary blusher (I've chosen Nars Sin quite a lot to work with this).

Luxembourg was a bit of a different choice for me, I normally stick around the purple end of the colour spectrum but there was something about this stunning mix of pink and red (described by Nars as vivid watermelon) that I was really drawn to.  I wore it to couple of events in the late summer with just a wash of bone coloured shadow and slick of black liner on my lids and it worked a treat.  I'll definitely be bringing this out again when spring finally arrives.

Nars Satin Lip Pencil Swatches
L-R Palais Royal and Luxembourg

Would I purchase a Nars Satin Lip Pencil again?
You know, I probably would.  There may be a few negatives but they are far outweighed by the positives for me.  The colour selection alone means I'll very likely be heading back to Nars to get some more at some point soon.  I imagine I'll be picking up some of the Velvet Matte Lip Pencils while I'm there too.

What are your favourite Nars lip products?  Have you tried the Satin Lip Pencils?

Sharon x

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

My Health and Fitness Goals for 2014

In the past I have generally failed in the most epic fashion when it comes to any New Year's resolutions relating to health and fitness, but seeing other bloggers' posts about their goals for this year (not necessarily fitness related) has made me feel pretty motivated to set some for myself.

To give myself every chance I can to succeed, I've decided to keep my health and fitness goals for 2014 pretty simply, so without further ado here they are!

1 - Get back to the gym
I joined my gym, Emperors in York, in the early summer of 2013.  I started out with so much enthusiasm, got a training plan designed for me by one of the Personal Trainers, and was slowly but surely starting to see some progress.  Unfortunately, when I had an accident on my bike in September I had to put my exercise plan on hold for a good few weeks, and after that I just sort of lost my motivation to go at all.  I'm determined to start going back from this week, I'll start my plan from the beginning again, and in a few weeks book a few more sessions in with Mark (the PT who designed my plan).  Expect to read more about how my training is going over the coming weeks and months.

A picture of the weights section at Emperors Health Club and Gym
Image courtesy of Emperors

2 - Start meal planning
I've never been a big eater of ready meals but as my work schedule has gotten busier and winter has been drawing in my diet has gotten progressively worse, particularly at lunch time.  It's all too easy to go into one of the many sandwich shops in York and get something that's full of fat and salt and just generally really bad for me.  One of the ways I've started to combat this has been preparing lunch for work for a few days at a time, this way I know when hunger strikes, I've got myself something healthy to eat.  In 2014 I plan to continue this into my other meals, planning out breakfasts, dinners and snacks, to go along with my lunches.

Some of the lunches the Mr and I have prepared this week. I'll keep posting these on my Instagram

3 - Drink more water
The last of my health goals for 2014 and the most simple.  Or at least you'd think it would be simple, but somehow I can manage to go an entire day at times barely drinking more than a couple of glasses of water.  We all know by now how important it is to keep hydrated and when I haven't managed it I really feel the difference, my skin feels dry and I'm pretty lethargic.  This year I've decided no more!  I'm going to carry a bottle of water with me at all times and make sure I'm drinking regularly, I've also downloaded an app to help me monitor my intake (it's called Water Balance and is actually quite handy so far).

I do have some other smaller goals for 2014, including mixing up my exercise a bit, but I'll probably include these in an update at a later date.

Leave me a comment if you've set yourself any New Year's Resolutions that relate to health and fitness.

Sharon x

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Mini Reviews - My Current Everyday Makeup

It's been quite a while since I've posted a review of any kind, and I thought what better way to get back on the horse than to post a handful all in one go.  So here it is, my current everyday face, featuring all of the makeup I tend to wear on a typical work day, with a mini review of each product.
A picture of high end makeup on a handmade paper background

Nars Sheer Glow Foundation - despite my burgeoning affection for Armani's Luminous Silk Foundation, Nars Sheer Glow has remained a consistent favourite for me, and is still the bottle I reach for almost every day.  Although the name would suggest something very light and luminous, I find that Sheer Glow is a nice medium coverage foundation.  Whilst it does have a hint of a glow, it really just looks like good healthy skin, something I don't mind in the slightest!

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer
- at certain times I find myself a bit indifferent about this concealer, but right now I'm head over heels with it.  It's working nicely under my eyes, it's brightening, doesn't crease and has really good coverage. As a bit of a bonus it's rather good on blemishes too.

Maybelline Colour Tattoo 24 Hour Eyeshadow in On & On Bronze
- one quick sweep of this eyeshadow across my lids and a little under my lower lash line makes me look like I've made loads of effort but takes hardly any time to do.  If I'm feeling particularly fancy I might go for a bit of black liner smudged into my lashes and on my waterline, but when I'm in a mad rush to get to work on a morning that's a rare occurrence.  Incidentally I'm almost out of my current pot of this so need to get myself another one soon.

Oriflame Very Me Extendalash Mascara
* - I'm pretty fickle when it comes to mascara; with the exception of Benefit's They're Real I haven't really purchased any one more than once for quite a few years.  There are a few reasons I can definitely see myself purchasing this one when it runs out though.  Firstly it's an absolute bargain at less than half the price of some high street mascara, secondly it actually does a great job at lengthening and curling my lashes, and extra bonus it doesn't smudge.

Nars Laguna Bronzer
- the ubiquitous blogger favourite, but with very good reason.  Laguna is a superb contour shade for my skin tone, definitely not too orange, it's also great for warming up my complexion when I have to get up horrendously early (and so look like death warmed up).

Illamasqua Blusher in Ambition
- I don't know what I did before I had this blusher, next to my Nars Sheer Glow foundation this was easily my most reached for product of the last year.  The shade looks like a dusty pink in the pan with a good dose of gold shimmer, but blended onto the skin looks somehow more fresh and neutral, like a healthy glow.  I'm a big fan of the shimmer too, it looks like it could be overwhelming at first glance but is actually reasonably subtle.  I've experimented a lot with this shade and haven't found a single makeup look so far that this blusher hasn't worked with.

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Rio
- when I first got this MSF over the summer I said it was my favourite makeup purchase of the year.  Do I still think that?  100% yes!!  The deep bronze mixed with the bright pink pearl are a wonderful pick me up for the skin on miserable days.  The one small gripe I have with this is that it was limited edition, and I didn't manage to get myself a backup.

MAC Lipstick in Plumful
- this is my most recent lipstick purchase from MAC, it's by no means my favourite shade, but as a lighter berry/plum colour, it's a good option for work.  As it's a Lustre finish it's not too much of a hassle to put on either, a quick swipe and I'm good to go.

Have you used any of the products I've mentioned in this post?  I'd love to hear about your current everyday makeup routine.

Sharon x

*PR Sample

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Hello 2014 and my blogging resolutions

Happy New Year everyone!

A suitable New Year image
Look! These lanterns could represent my resolutions for 2014, look at 'em go!
Ok, ok, so I was a really crap blogger for quite a good chunk of 2013.  I didn't mean to be, in fact sometime earlier in the year I really thought I'd hit my stride, I was going to events, getting some great feedback on my posts, and the poof, life stuff got in the way!  You know how it goes, it's all too easy to get overwhelmed by everything going on; work, family, etc, etc...

Anyhow, now 2014 has arrived I'm determined to find some balance in my work and personal life, and I'm totally getting my blogging mojo back.  What does that mean exactly?  Well, I'm glad you asked, I happen to have set myself a couple of blogging resolutions and I reckon that by posting them here, I'll actually have to keep up with them.  My resolutions are:

  1. In 2014 I'd like to get myself into a regular posting routine - at the moment I know I can't commit to blogging every day, but a few times a week would be completely doable
  2. Carry a blogging notebook - I used to be so good at doing this, I'd often think up some great new ideas whilst I was out and about and could get on with writing them the next time I was near my laptop
  3. Get a new blog design - the layout right now is very simple and easy to navigate but is maybe a little bit bare.  I'd like to change it as soon as possible, I just need to work out what I want!
  4. Get to events - last year was great for this in that I met some really lovely Yorkshire bloggers - I'd like to continue that this year so plan to go to as many events as I can manage
  5. Be a bit more active on social media - I've been a bit pants on the social media front in the last couple of months too.  I really miss having a good natter with everyone, especially on Twitter, so I need to do more of this
Well I think that's enough for me to be getting on with for now.  I might schedule myself a post in for the end of January to see how I'm getting started on my resolutions, I've gotta tell you though, I'm feeling good about this year!

Here's hoping you all have a fantastic 2014!  Leave me a comment or your link if you've set yourself any resolutions, blogging or otherwise.

Sharon x
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