July 21, 2014

and other stories cotton care range

The brand 'and other stories' are mainly known for their fashion section but what I've discovered is there are so many gems amongst their beauty range too. I'm a huge fan of the face contour cream which is by far the best that I've ever used. Onto the bath and body products and recently I've been trying out the cotton care range, all of the products have a beautiful light scent of fresh cotton sheets which makes them perfect to use in summer. The Nainsook Body Oil is my top pick of the collection, it's by far the best body oil that I've ever used due to it being so light feeling yet it gives the skin a healthy glow too. The Flannel Body Lotion is similar as it feels equally as lightweight but also nourishes the skin too, I'm a big fan of any body lotions that come in a pump bottle. The Madapollam Body Scrub has won a fair few beauty awards and if I was a magazine I'd give it one too, it's thick and grainy meaning it gives the skin a proper good scrub but it also doesn't leave any residue and washes off in an instant, plus it smells wonderful too. 

As you have probably gathered by now I'm greatly impressed by the range, I'm also in love with the packaging and think it looks so chic and understated on a bathroom shelf. 

July 19, 2014

jo malone pomegranate noir candle

Jo Malone candles have been a favourite of mine for around a year or so now, there is just something about the packaging and variety of scents that conveys refined elegance which makes any of their candles an investment piece for the home. My first very own Jo Malone candle was the Fig and Cassis version which I received as a Christmas present, I absolutely loved the scent and it truly made winter evenings feel so much more cosy. Ever since then I've been craving the Pomegranate Noir candle as when I first visited the store it was my next favourite scent just after the fig so was over the moon when the brand kindly sent one over. I know that pricey candles can be seen as unnecessary to a lot of people, but in my mind they are so much more than just a pretty flame to look at. Jo Malone candles fill the entire room with such a beautiful uplifting scent that it improves my state of mind instantly and any stress from the day just melts away, I always find they help me start to drift off to sleep too. I like to save lighting mine just a few nights a week and that way I find it lasts a month or two. If you're looking for an uplifting yet calming scent then go for the Wild Fig and Cassis candle but if you want a more woody and deeply relaxing scent then the Pomegranate Noir will be the one for you, though I'd personally happily own both.

July 17, 2014

how to be a blogger | photo editing

I've been blogging for over four years now as a lot of you will know, yet I'm still constantly picking up new tips and tricks on how to run and design my blog. I was initially one of those people who fully believed that buying a fancy camera would instantly give me great product photos, oh how wrong I was. All of the gear with no idea. Whilst a top of the range Canon camera is pretty foolproof when it comes to taking outdoor shots, you really need to get to know all of it's settings and functions when it comes to product photography. I still haven't read a single manual or how-to guide, everything I've learnt to this point has been through brief googling and my own practising. Once you've cracked a good understanding of how your camera works, you have good lighting and have practised on photoshop then you are well set up for good photos as a result. If the thought of photoshop scares you, don't worry, just have a play around with it and discover what works for you. 

Pixelmator | If you have a Mac then just go through the app store to download this straight to your computer for £20.99. It's by far the best user friendly and easy to use photo editing software that I've ever found, I've also used it to create all of the graphics on my blog too. It's worth every penny and more.

Levels and Curves | I don't know the specifics of exactly what these are and what they do but I just have a play around with them both until my image has been brightened and looks more vibrant. You can see the different between the first and second image, it's subtle with this photo but with many of the examples included within this post having a play around with these is what has made the biggest difference. 

Luminance | If you are just a beginner and are wanting to use the most simple of editing functions, try out the luminance button. It instantly brightens up a dark image and is so quick and easy to do.

Edges and Sharpness | Images very rarely come out absolutely crisp and sharp which is where these two tools help out. Again, having a play around with them is the best way to see what works for you, though don't sharpen your images too much as it just ends up making them look unnatural. 

As you can see with all of the outcomes above, my personal preference is to end up with a bright and radiant image that sparkles with vibrance. It is impossible to get these kind of results purely based on them coming straight from your camera, trust me I have tried. Believe it or not all of the before images were taken against a white background, using studio lights and I had adjusted all of my camera settings for optimum results. I have a lack of natural daylight in my house as the windows are quite small and my photographing desk is never in direct sunlight but natural daylight is definitely your best friend when it comes to product photos if you are lucky enough to have it, otherwise you will have to just cheat it. Please do let me know if you have any tips and tricks and what kind of look you like product photos to have.

July 15, 2014

barry m gelly nail paint in blue grape

This has been my go-to nail polish for months now, this bright cobalt blue is my favourite colour and it's just so perfect to wear in summer with a tan. I get compliments near enough every time I wear it too as it's such a bright vivid shade. The formulation is also a winner for me, it applies so well that you could even get away with using just one coat, and it leaves a great shine too. The Gelly polishes from Barry M are my favourites on the lower end of the budget scale and I will soon be buying more shades from the range.

July 13, 2014

boots precision grip tweezers

A review on tweezers is about as dull as blog post gets, but hear me out. I'm a complete snob when it comes to tweezers and always have been, ever since I started getting my brows waxed at the age of 10 (they really did used to be that untamed) I've had a pair of Tweezerman's in my make-up bag. Cheap tweezers really used to be so terrible back in the day that I got it into my head that nothing would ever match up. That was until I was tweezerless (new word) recently when leaving the country and picked these up from Boots en-route. They are sharp and pluck hairs with ease but the real deal lies in the silicone coated handle and the shape of the tweezers which is what makes them work so well. I've found it so much nicer to use these due to the soft rubbery handle than those that are just metal. There's only so much I can write about tweezers but these are just so wonderfully designed that I will never spend a fortune on a pair again. Please do leave me a comment and let me know what your favourite pair of tweezers are, I'm nosey like that.

July 11, 2014

embryolisse lait-creme concentre

Say hello to my favourite moisturiser in the whole world. I bought myself a few a couple of tubes back in Paris a few years ago after hearing Lisa Eldridge was a big fan and have been using it religiously ever since. I have dry/dehydrated skin so a good moisturiser is an absolute must, both in the morning and at evening, but I also can't stand my skin to be left feeling greasy with product. I find that a small amount of this goes a long way get it absolutely never feels thick of heavy on the skin, it just sinks straight in and instantly you are left with a radiant and healthy looking complexion. It never interferes with my foundation either and acts as the perfect base, it also has a mild milky scent which makes it feel even more soothing. I was also once staying overnight at a hotel and stupidly forgot to bring any make up remover which is when I remembered this doubles up as a cleanser too, it worked remarkably at that too and whisked away my make up with ease. Whilst it's ideal to take with you on overnight stays to use as both a cleanser, moisturiser and as a masque if you apply more product than usual I wouldn't recommend using it to remove make-up on a regular basis as it feels like a waste to just get washed off. After using this daily for a few weeks my skin looks much healthier and as if I have actually been drinking as much water as I should be doing, it's a miracle worker in a tube and I defy anyone with dehydrated skin to not become a huge fan too.

I managed to get a pack of two for just £14 in Paris two years ago, but sadly it's far more expensive over here. You can buy three in Paris for the cost of what just one tube is over here, cry. I'm going to put it out there and say that it is still worth the hefty UK price tag and I will happily buy it for that price once mine runs out. I would even go as far as to say if I was only allowed to use one skincare product for the rest of my life then it would have to be this, it really is that good.


July 09, 2014

current favourites | (02)

One thing is for sure, and that is I need to start doing more current favourites posts. I tend to get caught up in doing so many individual product reviews that I actually forget to let you all know about all of the products that have stayed firm favourites of mine. Well, here I am to do just that. First up is this pineapple candle from Ikea, it fills the room with the scent of sweet juicy pineapples, 'nuff said. In the shower I've been using the It's Raining Men shower gel by Lush which smells of honey and makes my skin feel super soft, and for my hair I've been loving the Dove Hair Therapy Conditioner which has been leaving my hair looking healthier than ever before. My current favourite perfume is without a doubt Jo Malone Wild Fig & Cassis, it's both a comforting and uplifting scent and the bottle is so sweet too. I recently stocked back up on my all time favourite foundation, Illamasqua Skin Base, it's bloody expensive but damn it is just so perfect both in colour and coverage. Bourjois 1 Seconde Volume Mascara (still not a fan of the name) has been the only mascara that I've been using lately, it's my second favourite to Benefit They're Real and does the job nearly as well. Talking of Benefit, I've become a huge fan of Posie Tint, it gives the most delicate natural looking pink flush to my cheeks and I haven't gone near a powder blusher in months thanks to this baby. Last but not least is the Finishing Touch Topcoat by Rimmel, believe me when I say that it is better than Seche Vite.

I tried to keep this post as short and sweet as possible so I could just give you a quick insight into each product without ranting on. Please do let me know what your favourite type of blog posts to read are before you go!

July 06, 2014

clarins summer scents

Although I have a vast (bordering on the ridiculous) perfume collection I was yet to try out any from Clarins until these three arrived through my door all at once. The design of the bottles is fairly dated looking in my opinion but I've come to like that about them, they have their own sense of style compared to most perfumes on the shelves. Moving on to the scents, my favourite is Eau Ressourcante which is a light and serene scent, it's pretty much a fresh summer day in a bottle. My second favourite has to be Eau Dynamisante, a deep woody scent which reminds me of the grown up Chanel perfumes. The first version I mentioned is perfect for daytime wear whereas this one is perfectly suited to the evening, they'd both be absolutely perfect to take on holiday. Last up, Eau des Jardins, if you are a fan of fresh floral scents then you will love this but for me it just isn't my cup of tea. I tend to prefer fragrances with layers of notes and this one is very much floral with not much else going on, it's still a lovely daytime option nonetheless if you like a simple scent. The fragrances have an affordable price point and at just £32 for 100ml are much better value for money than most, if you haven't thought to check them out before I'd highly recommend giving them a go.