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Review: Collection Eyeshadow Pencil in Vanilla Sky

Recently I ended up buying another one of my beloved Collection Eyeshadow Pencils. Having previously tried Hot Chocolate and Vintage Blush (reviews of which are here and here) I decided to give Vanilla Sky a try.

Vanilla Sky is the most glorious champagne-like colour. I bought this shade as it reminded me of my favourite eyeshadow from MUA's Heaven & Earth Palette, which I have used right down to the bottom of the pan. I used to wear the MUA shade as a base or just in the corner of the eye to brighten it up a little.
Like Hot Chocolate and Vintage Blush, Vanilla Sky is also in a crayon form which has a chunky nib to it. This makes it easy to cover the whole eyelid area but makes it slightly trickier when it comes to trying to apply it to the lower lash line. 

What Collection say about their Eyeshadow Pencils:
"Velvety, soft blendable eye-shadow pencil that's waterproof and long lasting."

As I've been using two other shades of Collection Eyeshadow Pencils, I know that the claims above are true to an extent. The pencil is incredibly soft and easy to apply; as soon as it touches the skin you get an opaque even colour without even trying. It's velvety to the touch and doesn't drag or pull at the skin and it is waterproof and extremely long lasting - it does not budge.

But, like any product, it does have a few down sides. If you make even a slight mistake with the Collection Eyeshadow Pencil you are kind of stuck with it, unless you take your make-up off and start all over again. Also I really don't believe that these Collection Eyeshadow Pencil's are blendable at all in the slightest as they are so resistant and durable on the skin.

In the photos above I've applied Vanilla Sky just to the inner corners of the eye which really brightens up the eye area and is a great alternative to using white kohl pencil.

Review: Real Techniques Brushes

What did we all use to apply our make-up with before Real Techniqes make-up brushes came out? Probably MAC or Sigma brushes. Or if you're poor like me, ELF brushes and those crappy ones you get when a distant relative buys you a make-up set aimed at 12 year olds.

Between my sister and I, we have quite the collection of Real Techniques Brushes. At some point I would love to own them all, something which I can achieve now that ASDA are selling them for nearly half the price of Boots, but at the moment, these three are my current favourites.

I swap and change what I apply my foundation with on a daily basis. I go through stages of preferring one brush over the other for a while then completely going off it for a couple of weeks before falling in love with it all over again so these three brushes get circulated quite often. At the moment I'm using the Real Techniques Foundation Brush but last week the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush was my BFF!

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush: "Ultra fine and broad for application and blending of cream or liquid foundation, the Expert Face Brush makes foundation look pixel-perfect even in harsh light; has ultra-plush, synthetic bristles which are hand-cut and 100% cruelty free; is self standing for easy storage; the extended aluminum handle is light and easy to use."

I found that out of the three brushes I own, the Expert Face Brush is by far the softest. It feels so beautifully soft on the skin and doesn't hurt or feel uncomfortable at all when in use, something which I struggle with when using the Stippling Brush. The Expert Face Brush is incredibly firm and dense which makes it perfect for blending out the foundation which ensures a flawless face with no streakiness at all. Out of the three brushes above, this is my favourite to use.

Real Techniques Stippling Brush: "This dual-fibre brush is the trade secret for creating airbrushed, high-definition results with all different types of make-up; has ultra-plush, synthetic bristles which are hand-cut and 100% cruelty free; is self standing for easy storage; the extended aluminum handle is light and easy to use."

This is the first Real Techniques brush I bought and for a good few months after I bought it, it was my go-to brush for apply my foundation. It isn't as soft as the Expert Face Brush, nor is it as dense so I find that my foundation gets absorbed into the bristles more than it does with any of my other brushes which is a little annoying. I find that when I apply my liquid foundation it can be a little streaky and I find the bristles can be a bit spiky and prickly on the face so if I do use this brush for my foundation, I then use the Expert Face Brush to blend my foundation together. One good thing I really do love about this brush is it's multi-use. Since I've bought it, not only have I used it for my foundation but I've also used it to apply cream blushers and for that purpose I find it works exceedingly well, although again, I do find the bristles to be a bit spiky on the face. I've owned and used this brush for goodness knows how long and it has remained in excellent condition since then.

Real Techniques Foundation Brush: "The angled cut lets you build the coverage you need for airbrushed, high-definition results; has ultra-plush, synthetic bristles which are hand-cut and 100% cruelty free; is self standing for easy storage; the extended aluminum handle is light and easy to use."

The one major reason I bought this Foundation Brush was due to the fact that it is angled so it would be perfect get around the nose, mouth and eye areas, which it is. The brush itself has nice and thick bristles and is lovely and soft but again, like the Stippling Brush, it isn't as dense so foundation does get absorbed into the brush. 98% of the time I get perfect results using this brush but sometimes I do find that it can be a little streaky but again, it's nothing that a little blending with the Expert Face Brush can fix. I agree with the claims that this brush makes it easy to layer foundation although it may be a little difficult with slightly thinner foundations purely due to it absorbing into the bristles, thus making it streaky!

I do believe in the hype surrounding these brushes and I do truly believe that everyone should at least try a make-brush by Real Techniques. They have completely changed the way I apply my make-up and at a fraction of the price of MAC brushes, which I imagine are just as good. I really truly recommend them.

Recipes // Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

I'm very fussy when it comes to cookies. For me to like a cookie they have a big criteria to stand up to. They have to be thick, not thin. They have to be chewy, not crunchy. I like my cookies to be nearly cake like, soft and chewy. A kind of cookie that you wouldn't dare try and dunk in a hot cup of tea in case of it breaking off and sinking to the bottom of your mug. What a waste of a cookie.

Earlier today I had a huge, strong craving for peanut butter which is strange considering I'm not entirely in love with the stuff. I once went through the stage of thinking I enjoyed a peanut butter sandwich but I did not. I couldn't stand it getting stuck to the roof of my mouth, it's a bit like toffee in that it sticks and it takes time and effort to scrape it off with your tongue. It is like a meal all in its self.

I knew I couldn't indulge in a jar of PB with a spoon due to the above reasons so I decided to hunt for a recipe that suited my cookie needs. Luckily I ended up stumbling across Completelydelicious' blog and, well, say no more. This recipe comes from Annalise at Completelydelicious using her Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Recipe but I did tweak it very slightly. (This recipe is also a perfect base for a soft and chewy cookie - take away the PB and add whatever you like!)

113g unsalted butter (at room temp)
200g peanut butter (I used Sun-Pat's Wholemeal PB which was chunky but you can use either types)
230g soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 egg
225g plain flour
3/4 of a teaspoon of baking powder
3/4 of a teaspoon of salt
OPTIONAL: 200g chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C or 170°C fan oven then line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper.
2. In a bowl mix together the sugar, the peanut butter and the unsalted butter together until creamed or until everything is incorporated and it has changed to a paler colour. This may take a few minutes using an electric mixer.
3. Mix in the vanilla extract and the egg.
4. Put the flour, baking powder and the salt into a different bowl and add that to the butter/sugar mixture in batches. Mix on a low speed until everything is incorporated. OPTIONAL: If you're adding chocolate chips, stir them in now. You should be left with a somewhat sticky dough. (It may be a bit dry and crumbly at this point. As long as you can roll it into small balls and it stays together then it should be okay - if not, add a little bit of milk so it becomes a little bit stickier.)
5. Using a teaspoon, scoop the mixture into little balls and roll using your hands, then place onto the greaseproof paper. I used two/three teaspoons of dough per cookie for the smaller cookies and three/four generous teaspoons of dough for the larger cookies. Keep rolling until you've ran out of mixture then press down with a fork slightly. (I managed to get 17 cookies out of my mixture. 19 had I not left mixture in the bowl to eat whilst they were baking!)
6. Put in the oven to bake! Small cookies: 8-10 mins. Large cookies: 11-13 mins. Or bake until golden but try not to overbake.
7. Leave to cool and then place in an air-tight container for up to a week.

I know peanut butter isn't to everyone's tastes and whilst I may not be digging in to the peanut butter jar with a spoon, these cookies are heaven. They are soft, chewy and comforting. I dare think about how many calories are in each cookie, I wouldn't want to depress myself whilst in peanut butter heaven, but each calorie tastes beautiful.

My mouth is watering at the thought of these cookies sitting in my kitchen. I admit and say a lot of these didn't make the cooling down stage as the smell was just too good to resist. They are equally as good just out of the oven as well as cold.

Oh, and whilst we are on the subject of peanut butter, is there nothing better than watching your pet try to eat some? Here's a snapshot of my Ted mid PB feast.

Review: L'oreal Paris Miss Manga Mascara in Black


L'oreal Paris Miss Manga Mascara - £8.99
No mascaras have impressed me as much as L'oreal's have. I've tried a few of their mascaras now and I have loved using each one but I think I may have kept the best till last.

I bought the L'oreal Paris Miss Manga Mascara as soon as it was released but I decided to use up my other open mascaras before I gave this one a try so it reluctantly sat in my bedroom for a few weeks before I opened it. I have to say that I don't know about you, but I find the cellophane wrappers on mascaras incredibly hard to get off. I've only ever seen this on L'oreal products but honestly, it is a little bugger to get off.

I really like the packaging of this mascara. Like the other L'oreal mascaras, Miss Manga is very distinctive looking by it's black and pink tube which I like although I have read some people calling it cheap and tacky looking. Maybe I'm cheap and tacky? I don't know.

What L'oreal say about their product:

"Mega volume from top to bottom lashes. Miss Manga creates bold volume with L'oreal Paris' first 360 degree flexible cone shaped brush that amplifies upper lashes and reveals lower lashes."

Onto the good bit, the product. Usually I manage to get my mascara all over my face when I try to apply it. Mostly I manage to get it under my eye which ends up ruining my make-up altogether but not anymore. The Miss Manga wand is fairly thin which tapers towards the tip which makes it incredibly easy to get into the corners of the eye and ensures you don't get mascara everywhere when you apply it to your bottom lashes. I found this wand to be so much easier to use than wands I've experienced in the past so already we're onto a winner.

In the photos above I applied one coating to my lashes in the photo on the left and two coatings to my lashes in the photo on the right. With one coating of Miss Manga I found that it separated my eyelashes wonderfully, made them look much more amplified and made them look really natural which is how I usually wear my mascara during the day. 
With two coatings of Miss Manga my eyelashes looked much fuller and thicker without looking spidery. They did feel a little tiny bit crispy but it wasn't bad enough to feel uncomfortable. They also looked much more amplified like L'oreal promised.

Overall, I am SO impressed with this mascara. It does everything that L'oreal promised: it separated my lashes, made them much fuller and thicker and much more amplified than before. Application was incredibly easy, even for butterfingers like me. Completely recommend.

Review: Rimmel London Moisture Renew Lipstick in In Love With Ginger

We all have a lipstick that we bought purely because of the colour and maybe with no intention of ever wearing it. I thought that this was that lipstick was mine. I bought the Rimmel London Moisture Renew Lipstick in In Love With Ginger a rather long time ago and never got around to wearing it, purely because of the colour. It is an intense, deep corally orange that can look quite intimidating in the tube. I also never found the right time to wear it.

Usually I don't comment on the packaging as what you see is generally what you get but I really liked the packaging this lipstick comes in. It's no Chanel but I think that if you took off the Rimmel indention from the tube and put it in front of me, I wouldn't have guessed that it came from them.

A couple of days ago it was an unusually warm, sunny Spring day so I decided to give it a little go to really get me in the mood for the upcoming warmer months. I prepped my lips beforehand with my Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub and a lip balm then used a couple of generous coatings of In Love With Ginger. I always have a niggle in the back of my mind that whenever I wear lipstick I always look a bit of a fool but not this time. I was actually pleasantly surprised.

I found the formula to be really creamy and easy to apply on the lips. One swipe on the lips would suffice as it is so opaque on the lips but I applied a couple of coatings out of habit. The lipstick itself was incredibly moisturising and I didn't find it drying at all. Usually I find that bright lipsticks can be a bit more drying than paler colours but this is lovely and moisturising and didn't feel uncomfortable on the lips at all.

I did find that this lipstick faded within a couple of hours, especially after eating and drinking which seemed to take the majority of it off my lips which was a shame but it's no big deal. 

Overall, I really enjoyed using this lipstick and now I want to give one of the other 20 shades a try. In Love With Ginger was incredibly easy to apply and moisturising on the lips. Unfortunately it did wear within a couple of hours, especially after eating and drinking but overall, it's a lovely bright lipstick that I will definitely be wearing in the summer!

Review: Model's Own Nail Varnish in Mushroom

This post has been saved in my drafts for a very, very long time. We're talking last year..maybe even longer. I don't know why I haven't posted it before as I actually really liked these two nail varnishes together. 

I chose to use Models Own Nail Varnish in Mushroom, which is a dark grey nail varnish and Barry M's Glitter Nail Paint in Pink Sapphire, which is a mixture of pink and silver holographic pieces of glitter which come in an array of different sizes. I really like the different colours together as usually I wouldn't think to put a pink glitter top coat on top of a dark colour, normally favouring lighter, paler colours.

As I wore this such a long time ago I can't remember if I used a top coat or how long they lasted without chipping but as long as it looks nice that's all that matters! (I tell myself as I re-paint my nails for the third time in a week)

I really love finding old photos of nail looks as it reminds me of nail varnishes that I forgot I ever owned. I must try and make the effort of re-using nail varnishes rather than buying new ones and only ever using them once or twice before letting them dry up in the back of my cupboard.

Recent Purchases: Primark Faux Fur Coat

Primark Coat - £15
I appear to be buying a lot of items from Primark at the moment which is strange considering I can go years without buying an item of clothing from there. At the moment I'm really liking what Primark is producing so if you don't usually step foot in there now may be the time to have a look as you might be surprised about what you find!

For months now I have been wanting a black faux fur gilet but the only nice one I could find in store was £60 and from Topshop. As much as I LOVED it, I couldn't justify it at all so set my sights a bit lower. 

In December, a couple of days before Christmas, I spotted this coat in Primark in Oxford. It had the furry body that I wanted from a gilet, it had the contrast sleeves that I adore.. Problem was, everyone hated it. I paraded around in it in the shop but my friends thought it was atrocious. So bad in fact that they banned me from buying it and made me put it, and it's affordable £25 price tag, down.

Then I couldn't stop thinking about it. I dreamt of wearing it. I dreamt about what I would wear it with. I had serious regrets. On Boxing Day my sister and I went to Bristol and again, I spotted it in Primark. This time it was in the sale for £15 - kerching. Bargain. Come to mumma. Problem was, my sister hated it. She thought I looked ridiculous. She then proceeded to tell me all of the bad things about it and I begrudgingly, put it back.

Fast forward to two weeks ago when I saw it in my local Primark. This time it was £25 again and I secretly kicked myself for not buying it in the sale. I very nearly tried it on for a third time but I was rushed for time and didn't want to waste 45 minutes stood in Primark uhmming and ahhing over it. In the end I went back to Oxford a couple of weeks ago and at long last, it was back in the sale and MINE. For £15. Yippeee.

It isn't it everyone's tastes. Hell, literally every person I know hates it but I like it. Love it, in fact. No, it isn't the same as the Topshop gilet. Yes it does feel a little cheap but I really love it and that's the main thing, right? 

I've worn it a couple of times, with a floral top and disco pants, and it has kept me surprisingly warm. I wouldn't want to wear it in the rain, lord knows what will happen to it if it got wet, so depending on the weather, you will now catch me wearing this badboy.

Review: Collection Work The Colour Nude Eye Palette

Collection Nude Eye Palette - £3.99
You know me, I do love a nude eyeshadow. I have used my MUA Heaven & Earth Palette down to the bone and was uhmming and ahhing over splurging on an Urban Decay Naked Palette to help satisfy my nude eyeshadow cravings. Whilst deliberating, I came across the Collection Nude Eye Palette in Boots for £2.99 when it was on offer. I didn't expect it to be up to Urban Decay's standards but I decided to give it a try to see what it was like. And unfortunately, I'm a bit on the fence about it.

I hadn't heard or seen anything about it before I bought it, nor had I seen anyone review it so I was a bit unsure about what to expect. The eyeshadows are encased in a cardboard box like case which has a magnetic opening so it won't open when it's in your bag which is good. There are 8 eyeshadows and 1 cream highlighter inside that are all a great size which ensures it's great value for money in that aspect. Also in the case is a little plastic foam eyeshadow wand which is no good to anyone and should be thrown away immediately.

The back of the case shows you ways you can use the eyeshadows together which is a great idea if you're a bit unsure on how to wear them together. Swatches: In each photo the eyeshadows go from 1 - 3, left to right, with the highlighter being in the first photo in the middle.

 All of the shades took an awful lot of layers before they became remotely visible on the skin. I found that the lighter shades were barely visible at all and the highlighter really wasn't noticeable at all. I liked the lighter brown shades, those are the eyeshadows I would most likely use on a regular basis. I liked the first and the second dark shades but I found the third one to be really lack lusture. My favourites are by far the eyeshadows on the second row but in all honesty, they don't compare to MUA's Heaven & Earth Palette
I'll use this palette as a way to build up stronger, bolder eyeshadows but overall, I found the majority of them to be really disappointing with one or two being a nice wash of colour, although you really will need to build them up to get a noticeable colour. For £3.99 it won't break the bank but if you wanted a nice nude palette you should pop in to Superdrug and buy MUA's Heaven & Earth Palette.

Review: Laura Mercier Foundation Primer

I've been meaning to try out some of Laura Mercier's products for a while as I know they go down well in the blogging world and I admit that I am a bit of a sheep in that aspect. One of the products I most wanted to try was the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer. Luckily for me, I spotted one on a blog sale and managed to nab it before anyone else did.

It was only when I was trying to find the original price for this product that I realised how many different versions of the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer there is. Hydrating, Radiance, Radiance Bronze... Luckily I think I managed to purchase the Original which is the best place to start when you're a bit unsure.

What Laura Mericer say about their Foundation Primer:
"Foundation Primer is a lightweight, creamy gel that creates the perfect canvas for make-up application."

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from this product but when squeezed out of the tube it is a thick, creamy gel like substance. I squeezed out the smallest amount onto my fingers then worked it all over the skin. When rubbed in I found the Primer much easier to work with and it settles into the skin nicely without feeling greasy or sticky.

I then applied my Estee Lauder Doublewear Foundation over the top. That in itself is a long lasting foundation but when paired with this Primer I found that it lasted literally all day without fading or wearing at all. I even tried the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer underneath a cheaper foundation which wears quite a bit throughout the day and again, when paired together my foundation lasted all day.

Overall, I really do love this Foundation Primer. It's really easy to apply and a little goes a long way so you only need the smallest amount for the whole of your face. It feels lightweight and silky on the skin and creates the perfect base for your foundation whilst making it last all day long. Once I run out of this bottle I will definitely be re-purchasing!