Saturday, 29 November 2014

♥ Budget Brand: MUA

Being a student means never having the money to buy the things you want to. I'm yet to start on a MAC eyeshadow palette because I'm in constant fear of dipping into my overdraft and to be quite honest, I'm too sensible to do that. I've never been one to spend on things that are over priced or won't be worth the price I pay, so my desire of having a high end make up collection is on hold for now.

Luckily, for the savers upon us, there are a few budget brands making really good names for themselves in the beauty world. High street favourites like Rimmel, Max Factor and Revlon have a lot of competition now and while they've pulled their fingers out and have started releasing amazing products one after the other... but they're still not quite as cheap as Make Up Revolution and Make Up Academy/MUA (I hate that name). 

Before I purchased my Naked 2 palette I was so desperate for a nude eyeshadow palette and opted for the MUA's 'Undressed'. Like the Naked palettes it's a twelve shadow collection of nude colours that can be played up and down. They work fabulously for both smoky eyes with the darker shades on offer and really natural looks with the paler pink shades. They're a great brunch of shades and come together perfectly as a collection and though it lacks in matte shades, the colours are amazing for both day and night. 

I then needed something different for more exaggerated looks. I love a purple smokey eye and 'Starry Night' is a palette that MUA hit the exact spot with. It's a bunch of silver, blue and purple shades and though I don't feel I will ever get much use of the bluer shades, I think they'd be incredible for those of you with blue eyes that they could work really well with. 

The lipsticks that are available are really good too. While I don't think the staying power or total colour pay off is very good at all, I'm not too fussed as I only parted with £1 for the product. I picked up the shade 'Wild Berry' as it's a perfect autumnal shade and I will admit I brought a lip pencil at the same time, in a similar shade, because I suspected it might need a little help - and boy was I right!
I'm also going to point out that the little swatch at the bottom twists off the stick - this is probably just for a genuine, true to life swatch, but it would be brilliant with a lip brush to line the lips with, don't you think?!

'Undressed' - £4

'Starry Night' - £4

'Wild Berry' - £1

I am really impressed with everything that MUA have to offer and I hope to trail many more of their products and figure out if they're all as amazing as their palettes are! If you have any suggestions of any other super cheap brands I'd love to hear from you!

Em x

Sunday, 23 November 2014

♥ Introduction to Skincare

Recently my skin has been awful. Acne just won't clear up and I'm suffering with awfully dry skin. Although I have my eyes on a Clinique anti-blemish set, I can't get it just yet. I'm waiting until I'm back at work and earning until I spend too much on items I don't really need. I have loads of specialist face washes lying about, including tons of samples that I should give a go, but I wanted something different - I wanted to start a routine and stick to it before I invest in more expensive options.

The Boots Botanics range has been on my radar for a long while. It's really cheap and they have loads of different types of products on offer. I was in desperate need of a new moisturiser and while I usually go for moisturisers in bottles with pumps, I've taken a chance on this little tub that cost me £2.49 as it was on offer. It's so good I don't think I'll be going back my usual Simple moisturiser any time soon. The Botanics All Bright Hydrating Day Cream is quite oily, it claims to be brightening because of the hibiscus and it does make my skin look much better than it does without. The oily nature doesn't bother me too much, it vanishes as soon as I apply makeup and does leave my skin looking good and free of dry patches all day long.

I also wanted to invest in a creamier cleanser. I'm deep in the habit of not removing my make up every night and in the morning I'll reach for micellar water which isn't very moisturising so I wanted a cream cleanser like the ones I'd reach for when I was much younger. This was also on offer, it's the same range, the All Bright Gentle Cleansing Cream, again with brightening hibiscus, and is so lovely at removing traces of makeup you can't even see. I use this with big, thick cotton pads before moisturising and after properly cleaning my face. These two products together have really improved my dry skin and I love how cheap the Botanics range is - there's a product suited to most skin types, that each promise different things and I definitely think I'll be going back for more very soon.

Boots currently have up half up to half price off selected Botanics items so it's worth a try if you're after something new on a tight budget!

Em x

Monday, 17 November 2014

♥ Have You Heard...

The Internet and my social media time lines have been blowing up over the reveal of the new face of Estée Lauder. They've opted for nineteen year old Kendall Jenner - one seventh of the somewhat infamous Kardashian clan. Now, when I saw the news I instantly associated Estée with the older woman, something they're apparently changing up. Looking at past campaigns, you may link actresses Liz Hurley and Gwyneth Paltrow (mature 'mother' figures) and it makes you wonder where this massive transition came from. Now, when you Google Estée, the top link is 'Kendalls Faves' something that is highlighting the issue completely - they are trying to branch out to a younger, hipper, consumer and the language they're using perfectly reflects that.

I believe that it's a desperate attempt to introduce a classic brand to a new, younger consumer. This is something I don't think Estée Lauder should really be doing. Under their company are other brands like Clinque, Smashbox and Bobbi Brown - which are more open to a younger audience (despite the still large price tags) and much more appropriate to have Jenner in their campaigns. So why do they feel the need to drag ridiculously young girls toward their very luxurious and expensive line?

I've seen bloggers and friends rave about Estée  products and I am lusting after their double wear foundation, because I feel like if I opt for any luxurious beauty product it would have to be their foundation. The reviews of their products on Boots are mostly from the older age range and I don't think it's okay to market a £30 bottle of foundation to a 'tweenage' audience. It just highlights the issue of young, impressionable, girls being forced to think that makeup is the be all and end all - when in reality a bottle of foundation that costs £5 from the Miss Sporty range is made for younger skin that doesn't need the coverage older skin may need... If a younger teenager even needs to wear make up - at all - that is.

But alas, I'll add that you simply cannot lump Kendall into the same likes as her older half-sisters. Kendall is the only one of the bunch that has made a name for herself without managing to cause a scandal in the process. I mean, even Kylie has us all talking about whether she has or hasn't had her lips done! Kendall had a goal - to be a high profile runway model - and she achieved it. Yes, it maybe helped that Kim Kardashian is one of the most famous women in the world and Anna Wintour has took a massive liking to the family, but Kendall Jenner has made a name for herself in all the right ways and I'm sure she'll continue to do so for many, many years.

Em x

Sunday, 16 November 2014

♥ Looking Up

The past few months haven't been great for me, but as expected, things are starting to look a little bit better. The first term of my second year at university has caused me nothing but grief - work I'm not happy with, essays I fear I've failed and a general misunderstanding of why it is I'm here. Sometimes I feel as though a Creative Writing degree won't actually help me to where I want to go, other times I sit in seminars and realise just how valuable the things I'm learning about writing are. It's been tough. There have been too many novels to read and too much riding on things I don't enjoy (eighteenth century literature, I'm looking at you). There's been drama within our household and I've gone through a pretty vile break up... All of this while I've been living on twenty quid a week. But I guess it's all part of the experience, right? This was never going to be easy and I shouldn't let myself get so down. I guess I need to start looking at all the incredible things happening in the weeks to come, my brother visiting, dad picking me up and taking me home, seeing my best friend and getting back to the city right in time for Christmas and the famous German market! 

I suppose I just wanted to say that if you're having a rough day, week or month, things will eventually begin to look a little brighter. You can get through anything, you just need to put yourself back into a positive mindset.

Em x

Saturday, 15 November 2014

♥ Haircare Routine

I've never been too dedicated to keeping my hair nice and healthy. I often go years without having it cut because I've never been happy with a haircut. I find hairdressers can be quite rude towards you if you dye your hair yourself, or if your hair isn't in pristine condition - and it's never going to be perfect so I avoid the bad attitude of hairdressers like the plague!

Over summer (after two and a half years without a cut and bleaching my ends) my mom forced me into getting my hair sorted. It was long, ombre and I really loved it. The ends were getting pretty gross though and just as I assumed, the hairdresser demanded she cut off inches and inches to get it 'healthy' again. I hated it. I hadn't had short hair in so long and still when I look back at photo's from this time last year I really miss having longer hair - even if the condition of it wasn't great.

After the chop, I decided to try and really start looking after my hair. I ditched the blonde and went for more of a natural brunette colour so I could avoid dying it for an extended period of time. I'd known about Tangle Teezer for a while but I didn't quite understand paying over the odds for a hairbrush - but bleaching my hair and never tying it up for bed meant I always woke to a birds nest and awful knots and I really needed one. I needed something that could tackle my unruly hair and it's been so worth the money. It's perfect to chuck in the bottom of your bag and takes up barely any room in a suitcase so it's travel friendly. I'm now desperate to get myself an Aqua Splash teezer.

Conditioner is also a best friend of mine after having damaged hair for such a long time. At the moment I'm obsessed with Garnier's Ultimate Blends range, I use 'The Marvellous Transformer' which uses a bunch of oils 'for beautifully nourished, supple feeling hair with a glowing shine.' I really do love the stuff and how soft it makes my hair feel. I definitely need to invest in the mask from the range. 

I add a Herbel Essenses mask into the mix, once a week. Usually, I apply to damp hair and stick in a bun while I shave and shower, just so it sits on the hair for a few minutes, I'll rinse it out like normal and finish up. I also tend to put Herbel Essenses leave-in Bee Strong conditioner onto my ends once a week.

Because I know that my hair isn't in the best condition, I always let it dry naturally. I don't own a hairdryer but I do straighten my hair a couple of times a week. I try to use a heat protection spray - at the moment I'm using one I picked up in a pound shop!

Obviously, this brings up the questions of how often you should wash, or even brush, your hair. I think this completely differs from person to person - my thin hair can go two to three days at most without a wash and then it starts to get oily. Thicker hair usually stays oil/grease free for longer and it also depends on how much product you tend to use on a day to day basis. I never use products like styling spray, wax or serums, so it's just playing with my hair that puts me down. I don't believe washing your hair every single day is necessary or good for your hair, but if your hair is getting greasy too quick it's probably down the to products you're using, not your scalp giving you grief!

Are there and holy grail hair products you use that might be of interest? Let me know as I'm desperate to update my stash!

Em x

Saturday, 8 November 2014

♥ How To: Cope on Your Own

I'll let you in on a massive secret... I never actually wanted to go to university. My childhood was far from normal and we never had much money so the cost of university seemed silly. The summer after secondary school, I took part in The Challenge - a government funded project that let me experience university halls, different ways of teaching and it let me meet people from very different backgrounds - I loved it and it made me want to carry on with education.  It wasn't until looking at universities that I discovered Falmouth University. It was still a University College when I started looking and has since been granted full university status - making it Cornwall's only university. I'd been holidaying in the nearby St.Ives for most of my life and my dad had worked in the area for a few years so I had a good idea about life in Cornwall. I knew that this was were I wanted to be and was absolutely chuffed to be given a place. It didn't ever occur to me that I would be moving three hundred miles away from home, with no friends close by, no family and no where to turn if things got rough. It seemed really easy to do but there are times when I would love nothing more than going back to the city, best friend and my parents.

The hardest thing for me is undoubtedly being away from my parents. I have a little bit of an issue because for a massive chunk of my childhood Mom was in hospital and the only time I would see her was for an hour every other night - even when she was in a coma and unable to do anything. I thought I'd be used to not seeing her, but it's really hard! I phone her all the time just for a chat when I feel a bit stressed or to check that she's okay and taking all her medicine. My friends don't phone home as much but I speak to my parents at least once a day.

Being away from my best friend is horrible. We still get teary when we see each other for the first time and when I'm leaving which is weird because you'd think we'd be used to it by now. We both have great friendship groups but being apart isn't ever easy. She's still the person I turn to when I'm going through something tough and I wish that she was around when there are issues we're facing. I recently went through a break up and there is nothing you need more than your best friend when that happens so it was a new kind of awful.

Food is a massive part of my life. I love the stuff. I love cooking and I'm a massive Jamie Oliver fan and try to be adventurous with my food while I'm at uni and free to cook as and when I like. The kitchen is my favourite place and it's definitely something I got from my Mom as she was a chef before she took ill. The massive downside, though, is having to buy food. It's costly and when you're living on a tight budget it isn't any fun to spend twenty quid on food! It's also really time consuming and sometimes it's such a pain to do the washing up.

Getting to and from uni is a chore. With almost three hundred miles between my home town and the place I now live, it's time consuming and costly to travel between the two. This means that I avoid it at all costs. Luckily, my dad loves Cornwall and comes down to collect me whenever he can. The Megabus is a brilliant way to travel between the two places. It's super cheap though it does take me around ten hours to get from Falmouth back to Birmingham this way!

At the moment I'm suffering with a cold. The absolute worst thing about being so far from home is feeling so helpless when you're ill. There's nothing better than staying in bed and Mom bringing you cups of lemsip or tea and cooking your favourite comfort food but that's near impossible when you're away. It makes you feel ten times worse having no one to look after you!

I by no means at all want to scare anybody who is applying to university. It's much easier than you expect it to be and friends and family are only a phone call away. Like most things in life, it's never going to be really easy so it's an experience you just have to grab with both hands!

If you're applying to university, how do you feel about moving away from home? Let me know in the comments! Also, I'd love to hear any coping strategies, because I think I'm going crazy and I can't wait to be at home for Christmas!

Em x

Sunday, 2 November 2014

♥ My Perfect Nude Lip

I've done it. I have found my perfect nude lip colour. It's the  shade Just a Fling in Seventeen's Stay Pout collection. It's my  second purchase from the line and I am so pleased I decided on  getting this colour. I was lusting over the MAC shade Twig but as I am an unemployed student for eight months of the year I just can't part with the fifteen pounds it would cost. I obviously picked this up in a three for two deal in Boots, and I still only spent around ten pounds.  Three items for a third less than one MAC lipstick!

The packaging is nice and sturdy and reminds me of Nars packaging ‐ matte black and a little detailing ‐ and the formula is just as impressive as a high end offering. It's so pigmented and creamy so it doesn't feel drying and the colour stays for a decent amount of time without smudging. I'm really in love with the Stay Pout collection, and with each lipstick costing only £4.49 each I'm pretty sure i'll end up with a few more.

The reason I think this colour works so well for me is because I have a quite dark natural lip so these dark nudes are much better suited to my skin than dusty pinks or lighter shades! You could say it's my lips but a little better!

What's your ideal nude lip shade? Let me know if you've ever tried anything from the Seventeen counter, because it's becoming a favourite drug store brand of mine!

Em x

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