Monday, 30 June 2014

What I've Been Reading #1

  1. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
  2. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
  3. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  4. Look Behind You Sibel Hodge
  5. The Accident by C.L. Taylor
  6. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ranson Riggs

Despite the hype, I really wasn’t a massive fan of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I found it frustrating to read and couldn’t connect with the characters. Dark Places and Sharp Objects were entirely different. I couldn’t put either of them down. I love the complexity of the characters and I love how many unpredicted twists there were. I’ll definitely be looking forward to any future books by the author.

Lolita was one of those books that I always wanted to read but was worried that it would be a bit too heavy. The book was wonderfully dark and well written, although be it a little close to the bone at parts. I definitely understand why it’s considered a classic but if you’re easily offended, it might be one to avoid.

After reading Sharp Objects and Dark Places, I am well and truly going through a thriller phase. Look Behind You and The Accident were easy reads and perfect for commuting to and from work. Although they were a little predictable at points and not very memorable, they were both page turners. These would be great for taking on holiday. 

I LOVED Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It’s so dark and quirky - reminded me a lot of Tim Burton. Apparently they’re making a film out of it - fingers crossed he’ll get involved. It’s a horror/thriller/mystery based around a 17 year old trying to find out more about his family history with some bizarre goings on. It’s in the Young Adult category, but it’s by no means another Twilight/Divergent type of story.

What have you been reading lately?

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Finding My Inner Benebabe - Benefit They're Real Push Up Liner

I caved. I’ve been hearing so much about Benefit They’re Real Push Up Liner that I had to go out and see what the fuss was about. I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews. For the most part people have been singing the new Benefit product’s praises, speaking about the ease of use and staying power whereas others have noted the dryness and how it drags along the eye. When I first saw the packaging I did think it was a little gimmicky, but then that is the Benefit way. This is by no means a bad thing, the marketing department at Benefit are absolutely amazing. They’ve turned Benefit into an extremely dynamic and well rounded brand which is entirely different from other premium brands - they sell this youthful, fun brand which people find approachable. Their strong position on this brand personality is evident in all aspects of Benefit from their cute packaging, their perky staff and of course, their marketing campaigns on social media and the likes of the Gabbi’s Head pub which has recently opened in London. It is this personality which has lead to their massive success in global cosmetics market - people want to be a part of Benefit which is why everyone wants to try their products. I do like Benefit products but if I’m being perfectly honest I think they’re packaging is more attractive than the product itself. Until now - I am in love with They’re Real Push Up Liner. I’m once again a Benebabe. 


The liner itself is a new concept where it’s a gel formula coming from a pen. Although I shouldn’t say pen, it’s an Accuflex tip (rubber angled tip). This tip is flexible enough that it makes it easy to control but rigid enough that it gives a straight line without much effort. I usually use a gel liner with an angled brush which despite years of practice, I still find to be a bit of a hit or miss with how straight the line is and how neat my flick is. For me, this is the perfect solution. I managed to get a pretty neat line and well positioned flick in record time. It’s easy to build up too so if you prefer a thin line the tip hugs the lash line making it easy to get a more natural look, but then if you do like something a bit more dramatic its easy to build on. 

I do agree that the product itself is a little dry but this isn’t a massive issue for me. I find that due to this it doesn’t smudge and is extremely long wearing. Normally when I put eyeliner in the inner corner of my eye it ends up smudging really quickly but I didn’t have any issues with the Benefit liner at all, even without going over it with black eyeshadow like I normally do.

While I was picking up the liner, I was also given a little sample of They’re Real Remover as I was told that the liner was pretty tough to get off. The makeup remover was nice enough and did get the liner off without nipping my eyes or leaving me looking like a panda. But then, so did my usual makeup remover of choice, Origins Clean Energy Cleansing Oil. If you’re in the market for a new makeup remover the Benefit They’re Real Remover is a good option but I think I’ll be sticking to an oil.

Have you tried They’re Real Push Up Liner yet? 

Friday, 27 June 2014

Barbie Pink nails - Essie’s Lovie Dovie

I picked up Essie’s Lovie Dovie on a bit of a whim - you know the feeling, you go into Boots, you see your favourite nail polish stand and you just have to get something. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, sometimes it just happens. I’m Nikki and I’m a nail polish addict. Lovie Dovie is however, unlike anything else in my collection. As much as I am a girly girl, I’m more about pale pastel pink or something a bit brighter (think Watermelon), but for some reason this colour just spoke to me - maybe the Woods comma Elle in me is coming out. Or I’m just getting into the Summer sprit.

This colour did go on a little streaky at first. It was 3 coats before I was happy with the overall colour which is something I’ve heard other people speaking about but since Essie changed to the larger brushes, it’s not something I had ever experienced before. I don’t think it will put me off wearing this colour in the future but if you’re in a rush to get ready or if you’re painting your nails before bed, drying time is sometimes something that needs to be considered. I’m not entirely sure Lovie Dovie will be my new go-to pink nail polish but I do like it for a little change.

What do you think of the colour? Are you a fan of Barbie pink?

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Kiehl’s Summer Shopping Event (28th and 29th of June)

On the 27th and 28th of June (this Friday and Saturday) Kiehl’s will be offering 20% off when you buy 2 or more products in store or online with SUMMERSHOPPING. This offer is available in all Kiehl’s boutiques although I noticed that a couple of places in London have slightly different dates. I’ve never tried anything from Kiehl’s before so I’m looking forward to picking up a few things. I’ve put together a little selection of products I’ll be looking out for when I go in on Saturday.
The Midnight Recovery Complex and the Dark Spot Correcting Serum are at the top of my list. They were featured on my first Wish List post and I’m pretty interested to try them to see whether they’ll help even out my skin tone. 
Skin Rescuer - a daily moisturiser which promises to help dull looking skin and skin tone. I would need to feel the consistency of this moisturiser as my skin is pretty fussy and reactive but certainly from the description it sounds lovely and ticks all of the boxes for what I would be looking for in a new moisturiser. 
Ultra Light Daily Defence SPF 50 - an oil free facial SPF. SPF 50 is always welcome in my books, I have typical Scottish skin. 
Overnight Biological Peel - I love liquid exfoliators. This sounds quite similar to Alpha-H Liquid Gold in the sense that it’s used more as a treatment than a typical exfoliating toner. I have about a third of a bottle of Liquid Gold left but it certainly would be interesting to see whether this would be an alternative. 
Pineapple Papaya Facial Scrub - a gentle manual exfoliator with fruit enzymes. If my skin is feeling a bit rough and bumpy I find a manual exfoliator more effective than a liquid one. As this contains fruit enzymes too I wouldn’t image that this would be overly harsh on the skin as the fruit enzymes will help dissolve (I know, eww) dead skin too.
Rare Earth Pore Cleansing Masque - you can never have too many clarifying face masks! This mask contains Aloe Vera so it looks as though it would be a good option for those who are looking for a clarifying mask but have slightly sensitive or reactive skin.
Creme De Corps Soy Milk and Honey Whipped Body Butter - I’ve only had a play with this product in the shop but it feel beautiful. It’s a lovely rich texture and would be perfect for dryer skin. 
Deep Micro-Exfoliating Scalp Treatment - this promises to promote a healthy scalp as it loosens flakey build up and stimulates skin turnover on the surface of the scalp. I psoriasis on my scalp and have found that shampoos which mention exfoliating properties seem to help. I’ve never tried a scalp mask, so this could definitely be interesting. 

Have you tried any Kiehl’s products? Do you have any other recommendations? 

Monday, 23 June 2014

The Shopping List #1

I've heard so much about these powders but the price has always put me off. Having combination skin means that despite loving the dewy foundation look, if I want my foundation to last longer than a couple of hours I do need a bit powder and these seem like a good option to set foundation while adding a bit of glow. The fact that there are 3 powders in 1 would let me try them without having to pay £38 for one. 

When I get a blemish it scars like nobodies business. I've tried so many products but still haven't found anything that's really made much of a difference. Liana spoke about this product along with the Midnight Recovery Concentrate here, so I'd love to try them to see if they work as well for my skin.

I bought the Redken Diamond Hair Oil for coarse hair around christmas time and I love it. I'm almost at the end of my Macadamia Deep Repair Mask and although I do really like it, I fancy trying something different.

I'm not the most adventurous with fashion but I think this would be the perfect addition for summer to add a touch more colour to my wardrobe

George Clooney - do I need to say more?

I love Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair, but I do think it's a bit expensive especially when you use it every night. This is a similar type of repair product which is slightly more affordable. And it was mentioned in a Liana's even skin tone post.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

This Week #2

Domino's and football - Lunch in Kelvin Grove Park - Kings of Leon at The Hydro - Skye enjoying the sun

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Essie's Fifth Avenue

I love the orange trend and although I’m certainly not shy with colour, orange scares me. An orange/red nail polish seems a lot less scary than the likes of Mac Monange, so I thought Essie’s Fifth Avenue would be the perfect baby step into orange (or almost orange). Essie nail polishes are without a doubt my favourite, the colour range is second to none and the staying power is fab.  

essie fifth avenue

Are you embracing orange?

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

London Purchases

Although we didn’t have a lot of time for shopping in London I managed to pick up a few things that aren’t as readily available in Scotland. The Pixi shop just off Carnaby Street was my first stop to stock up on Pixi Glow Tonic. This toner is amazing and has made a massive different to my skin over the past year. While I was in, I also picked up a Shea Butter Lip balm in Coral Crush and a Tinted Brilliance Balm in Pretty pink. Both feel quite similar on the lips, they’re hydrating but don’t feel to heavy. The Shea Butter Lip balm isn’t curved at the top which makes applying it quite difficult. I think I’ll be using a lip brush and taking the product from the edge to help it along otherwise it’ll just end up at the bottom of my lip drawer unused. The colour payoff from the Brilliance Balm is surprisingly strong. It feels like a lip balm but looks like a lipstick. I can see me investing in a few more soon. 

Aesop Parsley Seed Mask from Liberty was another repurchase as it’s quite possibly my favourite face mask of all time. It’s cleansing but not dehydrating, so it’s perfect for popping on as a mid week up-me-up. 

Selfridges was the next stop and I picked up Charlotte Tilbury’s Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk. I have a lot of freckles around my month so I thought that this would be perfect for giving my lips a bit more definition when I was wearing a neutral lip colour. 

What have you been buying this week?

Sunday, 15 June 2014

This Week #1

Harry Potter Studio Tour - Wicked - Justin Timberlake at the O2 - Shopping 

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Serious bargain alert - The Body Shop Body Butters

If you’re like me have have incredibly dry skin, no doubt you will have tried Body Shop Body Butters. Although I certainly enjoy using luxury body lotions, I use them like they’re going out of fashion - I can quite easily go through a big tub in the month - so I’m always very aware of the price and always on the hunt for good deals. The Body Shop regularly have their Body Butters on offer, I was passing today I noticed that they had some down to £5 so I went in to stock up. I picked up 2 and went to the till only to be told that I could get 5 for £15. Yes 5 FOR £15! That’s £3 a body butter! 

body shop body butter

I always pick up ones specifically for dry skin. I have psoriasis on my elbows and knees and for me, these are one of the best body moisturisers I’ve found that don’t aggravate my skin but keep everything well hydrated. I wouldn’t say they’re absorbed into the skin instantly but you’re not left feeling sticky. And they smell amazing!

The promotion did appear to only be on a few - I picked up 3 Papaya and 2 Passionfruit but I noticed Blueberry was also available. Now I can’t see the 5 for £15 online for some reason so it may only be in store. So if you’re passing a Body Shop, the do have a lot on sale so it’s definitely worth a look. And 5 Body Butters for £15, you just can’t go wrong!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Prom Makeup

This time last year I was celebrating finishing University and getting ready for Graduation and Grad Ball. This year it was my sister’s turn. My baby sister (she’s 17, so I probably can’t really call her a baby) has just finished high school and last week it was her 6th year Prom. I’ve done my fair share of prom makeup through working on makeup counters but it was very different getting ready to do my own sister’s makeup.

Rachel’s dress was a gorgeous bright red, floor length dress which really complimented her pale completion and black hair. Rachel told me she wanted a red lip which I originally tried to talk her out. I think a red dress can be a little awkward makeup wise as it’s already a statement piece but in the end we opted for a slightly more subtle red lip with a light smokey eye, that way we would have a well balanced look.

Concealer - Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer in Porcelain and Estee Lauder Ideal Light 01(now discontinued)

I used Clarins Instant Light Base as a primer to give the skin a glow and to balance out the slightly heavier foundation. Rachel is a massive fan of Estee Lauder Double Wear, which I mixed with YSL Touche Eclat foundation and buffed into the skin using the Real Techniques Buffing brush. I love mixing these foundations, I think the coverage to radiance ratio is spot on, especially for a night out. These foundations aren’t great for photos with the type of SPF they contain but for Rachel, her biggest concern was coverage. I used a liner brush (Mac 209) with Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer to cover any little blemishes then using the Real Techniques Setting Brush, I buffed Ideal light to cover any darkness under her.
Eye Primer - Nars Primer
Shadows - Mac Patina, Copperplate & Naked 2 Booty Call, Pistol and Blackout

First I primed the eyes using the Nars Eyeshadow primer then using a small paddle brush (Mac 239) I patted Booty Call in the inner corner of the eye and on the brow bone. Patina was then patted all over the lid then lightly blended using a Mac 217Pistol from the Naked 2 palette was blended into the outer third of the eye then Copperplate was used for the crease. I then we lined the eyes using Blackout and blended out gently using a pencil brush so it wasn’t a harsh line. As we hadn’t had a trial run, it was all about building the colour until we were happy so I added the colour with the 217 then buffed out any harsh edges with a Mac 224 until we had the right colour intensity. Rachel naturally has the most amazing eyebrows so all we had to do was brush them into place (I hate her).
Sculpting and Blush
Blush - Nars Orgasm

I blended the Sculpting Powder under the cheekbone, under the jaw then round the hairline then buffed away the harshness with a big fluffy brush. Nars Orgasm was applied to the apples of the cheeks then Double Wear Powder was lightly dusted over Rachel’s forehead and over her chin. Although it is a really matte powder, I still haven’t found anything that beat it for staying power. Then using the Contour Brush from the Real Techniques Core Collection, a tiny tiny bit of Mary-Lou Manizer was dusted over the cheekbones for an extra bit of glow.


Benefit’s Benetint is perfect for the subtle red colour Rachel was after, so we layered on some Benetint for the staying power then used Benebalm for the lovely finish.

How gorgeous does little sister look! The fact that my little sister is heading off to uni in September doesn’t make me feel old at all…

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Liebster Award Tag

Thank you lilliputianrose for tagging me!
Facts about me
1. I have an old english sheepdog called Skye
2. I used to work for Benefit
3. I originally went to uni to study English but switched to Marketing and Media
4. I'm allergic to guinea pigs 
5. I was nominated for biggest geek in high school (I was so disappointed that I didn't win!)
6. I love superhero films
7. Purple is my favourite colour and has been since I was a little girl
8. I still have chocolate from Easter hiding in my cupboard
9. I find clothes shopping stressful
10. I get far too obsessed with TV programmes. Right now, it's The Good Wife
11. I can't whistle


1.Who are your favourite 5 bloggers? 

The Sunday Girl
One of the first blogs I started following a long, LONG time ago. She’s always the first to know about fab new launches and I love how you can just tell she loves blogging. Adrienne regularly updates her blog, so there's always something new and exciting to read.  

We Were Raised By Wolves
Such a great mixture of posts. Evelyn writes about such a great range of products and I love how it’s not just hyped up blogger products. Always very creative with her posts and her book recommendations are always on point - I tend to find myself on Amazon when her monthly book lists goes up.   

Jenny’s photography is always absolutely stunning and her posts are honest and beautifully written. One of my favourite posts is Jenny’s 5 Skin Care Rules - I wish I could have handed out copies of this when I worked for Lauder - it would have saved me a lot of frustration! I love how honest Jenny is, and I find that fact that her blog is only 1 year old and already so successful extremely inspiring. Jenny's definitely my blogging role model 

The Private Life of a Girl
I wish I was as stylish as Sophie! Her makeup and fashion posts are beautiful and inspiring without being fussy. I love how Sophie knows her own style – something I definitely need work on.     
I sometimes use Kate’s blog to make shopping lists. I love Gh0stparties, my bank balance doesn’t. I seem to have quite a similar skin type to Kate, so I found quite quickly that the skin care products she recommends work well on my skin. So thank you Kate! You’ve definitely saved my skin on more than one occasion!

2.What's your favourite blog post you've written so far?

I've only written a handful of posts but so far my favourite is the one about my time at Estee Lauder. I probably did go on about the discount too much (it really is beautiful though) - but it's something I get asked about a lot and hopefully it might help someone who is considering their first step into working on a cosmetics counter.  

3.What's your dream job?

Working in the marketing department for Estee Lauder. 

4.What's your next blog post going to be? 

Prom/Grad Ball make up ideas. Earlier today I done my sister's makeup for her 6th year prom, so I thought it help be helpful to write about the products I used and some little tips. 

5.You are stranded on a desert island; name 3 people you'd want to be stuck with...

Hugh Laurie - the man of my dreams
Jennifer Lawrence - for the entertainment
A survivalist 

6.You're granted three wishes but whatever you wish for will disappear or change back in a weeks time, what do you wish for?

To attend Hogwarts. I don't really feel an explanation is necessary
To be able to eat what I want without gaining weight
To live with Johnny Depp

7. Favourite item in your makeup kit?

My mac palette. It's just so pretty.

8. What are you excited for summer wise?

Holidays! I'm off to Portugal in August. I'm really looking forward to spending a week just relaxing and drinking cocktails. 

9. Why did you create a blog?

I'd wanted to start a blog for a long time but I was never sure about whether I would actually be committed enough or if I would have the time to post regularly. I felt that leaving the beauty industry was the perfect time to give it a try as it would keep me active in the beauty community (And I was probably looking for an excuse to try more products).  

10. Who will you nominate? 

The blogs I've been reading today -

1. Why did you create a blog?
2. Who are your favourite bloggers?
3. What is your most repurchased product?
4. Who is your style icon?
5. Can you remember the first piece of make up your purchased? If so, what was it?
6. Skincare or makeup?
7. If you could only buy cosmetics from one brand, which one would it be?
8. Best piece of beauty advice?
9. Where is your favourite place in the world?
10. Do you have any blogging advice?
11. Who will you nominate?