This Week’s Most Loved… #78.

posted on: 30 March, 2014

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It’s that time of week again! Not a very inspiring photo there, but I promise this week’s selection will just blow you away.

First up, a new addition to my everyday routine – the Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Eyeliner in Bronze (£20). While I’m really getting in to wearing liner at the moment, I opened this, saw the colour and immediately named it my new favourite eyeshadow. The creamy formula means it blends and smudges so well, you can use a finger to really work it in and create quite a soft finish. I think the best way to wear it is smudged in to the lower lashes – it’s such a flattering colour, not too harsh and with a slight warm, copper hue to it. I’ll be doing a full Tarte roundup in no time, I absolutely love everything I’ve tried so far.

Next, another new addition. The NUXE Anti-Imperfection Care (£12.33) is something I spotted on the shelves of City Pharma in Paris – despite being quite the NUXE fan I had never heard of it. It’s basically a light moisturiser for blemish-prone skin, it aims to regulate oil and balance the skin while helping to keep the skin hydrated. It also minimises pores and helps to clear up blemishes – I feel like it works really well when I apply it, either morning or night. After application my skin looks a little clearer, spots seem less noticeable and my skin has an almost matte but slightly glowing look to it.
It doesn’t dry out the skin at all which is ideal too.

As for makeup, I’ve been using the NARS Blush in Deep Throat (£22.50) constantly lately – this is an old favourite of mine so I do seem to work in cycles here to be honest. I haven’t really been interested in powder blushers in ages but I can’t say no to the flawless NARS formulas, these are just perfect. I love the soft, shimmery coral tones of Deep Throat, it always applies seamless and looks gorgeous with whatever makeup I opt for.
Finally, another old favourite. MAC MSF in Lightscapade (£22) is such a lovely product that I’ve promised myself I will wear more. When I first purchased it I thought it was a limited edition release so I was careful with it (it’s so, so pretty) but it’s been on the MAC website for years so I guess I can be a little more liberal with it.
This is a soft face powder, I want to say highlighter but it’s really so subtle so I wear it all over to perk my skin up and give the complexion a boost. It looks beautiful and really awakens the skin. I definitely recommend giving it a swatch when you’re in store next, it leaves my skin looking so flawless.

Have you tried any of these products?

Some of these products may have been sent to me for review. For more information, see my disclaimer.

5 Things: Finding Your Dream Apartment.

posted on: 29 March, 2014

I’m definitely scraping the bottom of the barrel here, but if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s flat-hunting. I like to think I’m quite wise now because I’ve lived in my own place since I was 16 (seven years – sob!) which has spanned four cities and two countries now I believe. In that time there has been a crazy amount of flats, and flat-hunting. It’s truly obscene. But, I know what to look for when it comes to the dreaded flat-hunt and I often get asked for tips are as our current (rented) flat is so nice.

In truth, we were really lucky with this flat as it was just one of those things that was meant to be. A lot of people like to think my parents pay my rent (must be the Porsche I don’t drive or all those holiday’s in the Maldives I’ve never had) but tragically, Jordan and I pay it all. I’ve always paid my own rent (except when I was studying at uni, but even then I worked 25 hours a week because I didn’t have a loan or bursary) and I know how much of a bummer it is, so I know it’s not worth it to go for a really expensive, modern flat because it will  just eat your salary. There’s also things like bills and council tax to cough up so keep this in mind.

Consider Going Private
I never, ever go with letting agents when looking for flats. They’re a waste of money with their “admin fees” before you even get near the apartment and the deposit which you will NEVER get back. When I’m looking for flats, I do keep an eye on rightmove etc. but usually I go through Gumtree or word of mouth. I know a lot of people  think Gumtree is a scam when it comes to flats, but obviously if you are safe and tell someone where you’re going, take a boyfriend or flatmate or whatever, how can it be? Don’t sign anything or hand over any money until YOU ARE IN THE FLAT ON THE DAY OF THE MOVE. I remember a girl I used to follow on Twitter got scammed out of something like £500 because she met a potential flatmate in the street to hand over  money – ridiculous. Use your common sense, if you’re moving in to a flatshare, go for coffee with your new flatmates and make sure they’re reasonably normal. If it’s a brand new flat, use your initiative and make sure everything checks out.
Our current flat had one small photo on the Gumtree ad – I would never usually go for this but it was of the window seat and the view over Glasgow from the kitchen, something made me want to go with it and it worked out.
If you are going to go for an agency flat, take pictures of any damage and things that are already there when you move in and upload to a private Facebook album as evidence incase they try to do you for it later.

Take In All Costs
While our rent here is pretty cheap, we live in the centre of town, the ‘up and coming’ area (lots of rainbow flags) so council tax is a bit of a bummer. Any flats I look at, I make sure to find out their post code (a simple google search of the street name and house number usually does it) and then check out the council tax band and also what kind of broadband services you can get. Yup, I’m crazy but it’s worth it. We’re still band C I think so not too bad, but if it was band E we just wouldn’t be able to afford it. Also, make sure you’re both ready to pay council tax – not that you have a choice, but remember if you’re not a student anymore then you’ll have to so keep this in mind if you’re getting a flat now but finish uni this summer! Also, if you’re about to live with a student, be warned – you only get a 25% discount as far as I know so be prepared to pay a good chunk of it on your own.
It’s worth mentioning that you should sign up for council tax as soon as you get in the property, this is your responsibility and there’s no way of not paying it. If you put it off for six months and they catch up with you, you usually have to pay a fairly big amount in one. Not worth it.
This also goes for bills – always check for central heating and double glazing. Admittedly our flat doesn’t have either which means it can get quite cold and it’s also very pricey – we always knew we were only going to be here on a temporary basis so it doesn’t bother us too much but it’s definitely worth making sure you have these! Ask about the boiler too,  you will want hot water.
The best thing to do is to make a list of your monthly allowance, your outgoings (rent, council tax, bills, food, travel) and really see how much you can afford for the month. You will need some for going out and having a life so don’t pick the most expensive flat going, be realistic and stick to a budget when flat-hunting. Also, make sure to go over costs with the landlord – confirm the rent, how it will be paid, how much bills are, the council tax band, whether or not there’s a phone line etc. There’s also the deposit to keep in mind, usually a months rent but sometimes more.

Think About What You Need
I usually make a checklist before I go view a flat – it sounds completely unhinged but it’s a must. By now I know exactly what to look for, but if you’re new to this whole thing you’re likely to forget things. I usually want the following: double glazing, parking, central heating, a bath, pets allowed because we have a cat, any floor but the ground floor, a good shower (test it, no one wants a pathetic shower that feels like someone’s having a pee on your head), neutral colours, semi-furnished (we own most of our furniture by now so make sure to get furnished if you own almost nothing), a good-sized fridge, at least one storage cupboard and kitchen appliances.
There’s other things like, no nightclubs nearby and a secure entrance to look out for too. Always make sure the flat looks safe.

Take Photos When Viewing
Usually with a nice rented flat you have to be really quick, as they go that day. What I usually do, as I know to be quick by now, is take a lot of photos of the place and then tell the landlord or whatever that I’ll let him know as soon as. Express an interest, so he or she knows you’re keen but give yourself a moment to gather your thoughts and talk it over with your other half. Go to a nearby cafe, make sure it has everything on your checklist, you can afford it, look through the photos to confirm and then if you’re both agreed, call the landlord or whatever and let them know you’re interested. Hopefully it will work out! It’s a good time to start praying.

Other Things To Remember
Make sure there’s a set move in day – ideally you will sign the lease and hand over the deposit on this day. Also, make sure your new landlord isn’t a shady looking character, our landlord is pretty easy going and comes to collect the rent every month just so he can touch base with us. He’s a big fan of Mouse (who isn’t) and when our bathroom flooded because of a leak upstairs, he got it fixed quickly. These things matter!
Also, you can ask to sign a six month lease at first – we did this. This means if the flat really doesn’t work out, you only have to live there for six months. You can also ask for a rolling month contract after this, which means you give a month’s notice if you want to move. Otherwise they will probably keep your deposit (usually a month’s rent) so keep this in mind.
Keep the flat in good condition and remember your deposit when you consider throwing a party!

Remember, you’re probably not going to find an amazing flat on your budget unless you’re already in a really great job or whatever. We weren’t even sure about this flat when we moved in, but we quickly made it our own by buying a few nice things – I always think as long as the colours are quite neutral and you have enough space, you can do anything. Painting is a bit far and you will probably have to check with your landlord so avoid this if you can.

Hopefully this helps you to find your own perfect flat! I wanted to write this now as we’re currently looking to get our own place so this is what I’m thinking about every waking minute of the day!

Some of these products may have been sent to me for review. For more information, see my disclaimer.

Spring Skin in Five Minutes.

posted on: 28 March, 2014

Now my skin has cleared up (three cheers please), I’m a bit happier to use lighter products that conceal well and look natural and dewy. My skin still has a bit of scarring and blemishes yet to fade, but luckily I have a pretty perfecting routine in place to keep me in check – I really swear by this lineup at the moment as it’s the perfect way to conceal imperfections but get a really natural finish.

I start by applying the Erborian CC Creme HD (£15 for the smaller size), this has become an everyday product for me. You guys will know how much I love the Origins VitaZing Moisturiser, and this is quite a similar product in that it gives a really light ‘post-holiday’ kind of glow rather than lots of coverage. It completely enhances the complexion and looks heavenly when applied – it’s more of a colour-correcting cream than a base though as it has a really subtle but flattering tint. I use it to even out my skin, so I often wear foundation over it – but honestly I find it so flattering that sometimes this isn’t even necessary. It’s also amazing for evening out a blemish-prone skin tone and giving this perfecting glow that manages to conceal redness and scarring. Incredible stuff.
I mix it with a little of the MAC Pink Rebel Lustre Drops (£18), I love this mixed in with moisturiser. Such a natural way to get a no-fail natural glow, they always look so flattering. I probably would only wear them mixed in with something like moisturiser or primer to be honest – I find that patted on alone they look a bit much.

Next up I tap a little of the Maybelline Fit-Me Anti-Shine Foundation Stick (£8.99) on to any areas that need a touch more coverage. I am loving this stuff at the moment, it offers the ultimate coverage yet kind of just becomes one with the skin? It looks incredibly natural and yet covers so well – I probably wouldn’t use it all over my skin but rather I touch-up areas that need some help. It’s so dreamy – I also love it underneath my base for an even more natural result.

Finally, I finish off with a light dusting of the Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder (£22.05), a lovely natural translucent powder that sets makeup in place and helps to conceal imperfections and pores in one. Probably one of the best powders I’ve tried as it feels lovely and looks incredible, I really rate it. Just a small dusting really hides bumpy skin and any signs of pores while keeping makeup fresh for the entire day. Lovely!

Do you have a lazy everyday makeup routine?

Some of these products may have been sent to me for review. For more information, see my disclaimer.

Diptyque Vetyverio Eau De Toilette.

posted on: 27 March, 2014

Meet my one true love. I asked for this for Christmas and my wishes were granted – I actually wished for it the year before too but it wasn’t on the John Lewis website so it’s been a long time coming. I’m not a huge fan of the Diptyque scents, I love the packaging and one of the candles (pretty much smells the same as this scent) but I more than make up for that with this fragrance.

Diptyque Vetyverio Eau De Toilette (£50) is a sensual hybrid of two vetiver plants, one earthy, one delicate and musky. For reference, I like quite musky, sexy floral scents – I think that kind of sums this up. In all honesty, I can’t describe perfumes to save my life (well, if it really came down to it I would give it my best) but here goes. I guess this is the ideal all-year-round fragrance, but that may be because I wear most of my perfumes throughout the year so it doesn’t matter much to me. I think this is refreshing enough for the winter months, especially as it has spicy notes of nutmeg and clove but also mandarin, grapefruit and bergamot in there too – it has quite a citrusy base to balance everything out. I do get a slight hint of floral in there, it’s not too earthy but I like the masculine/feminine balance – it’s not sickly sweet, which makes it a lovely everyday choice.

I find this incredibly long-wearing, not just on my skin but also my clothes. Scarves I haven’t work for a week will still have the delicate scent lingering. I was a bit wary because it’s an eau de toilette rather than a parfum but I’m impressed. I have used quite a lot already (since Christmas) but after only using my other perfumes sparingly and getting bored of them 3/4 through, I’ve changed my attitude and I tend to use it more liberally.

Overall, a delicious, reviving scent that is just right for Spring – and in my opinion, throughout the entire year too.

Have you had a try?

Some of these products may have been sent to me for review. For more information, see my disclaimer.