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Travel | Afternoon Tea at Ossiano Restaurant in Atlantis The Palm Hotel, Dubai

I recently went on holiday to Dubai, which, if you follow me on Twitter or Snapchat, you would know all about as you would have seen me gloating. I tried not to post too many photos of my beach view and share it to Facebook with the caption "Monday mornings don't get any better than this!!" but we all knew a week later I would be stood at Heathrow Airport in the pouring rain waiting for a taxi to take my jet-lagged ass back to my car before I could wearily drive 2 hours home, with my holiday a mere distant memory. 

This will be my first Dubai holiday post, with another coming soon sharing the real 'hard-hitting' facts about travelling to a very religious country in the middle east when you are a tourist and seem to stick out like a sore thumb, as well as a few other tips such as which Sephora store to go to, which hotel not to stay at and what sort of clothes to pack when again, travelling to a very religious country. But first, please let me share with you the highlight of my holiday - Afternoon Tea at Ossiano Restaurant in Alantis The Palm Hotel in Dubai.

All about the Atlantis:
The Atlantis The Palm Hotel situated on the iconic Palm Jumeirah Island in Dubai is a 5 star hotel which has its own water park, it's own nightclub and most importantly, its own aquarium. I knew the Atlantis The Palm Hotel was very luxurious so I didn't even bother looking up the price of a 7-night stay as I knew I would end up feeling not only disappointed, but also very poor indeed. That said, I still wanted to go there and visit the resort so I looked up the restaurants within the hotel (all 20 of them!) which is where I saw Ossiano. Ossiano is a seafood restaurant which overlooks the hotels Ambassador's Lagoon which holds up to 65,000 marine life. From just seeing the photos on their website, I knew I wanted to go there and as my friend and I are partial to afternoon tea, we hedged our bets, sent a quick tweet and before we knew it, they had booked us a table. It is worth noting that they only hold Afternoon Tea at Ossiano once a week on a Saturday for just 2 hours so if you want to go, make sure you book!

Dressing to the dress code which was reiterated in the confirmation email, my friend and I made our way from our hotel in Ajman to the Atlantis Hotel. It was a rather hellish journey due to a non-English speaking taxi driver unable to understand our destination, despite being told twice in the drivers native language, but hey, we got there. I knew the hotel would be beautiful but wow, it is eye-opening. Walking into the lobby and seeing the multi-coloured sculpture, the polished marble floor and porters rushing around to take new visitors luggage up to their rooms, as well as seeing the row of Bentley's and Ferrari's parked up outside... well, it wasn't like entering a Travelodge, that's for sure. We were nearly an hour early for our reservation so we walked down to the restaurant on the off-chance of them being open and ended up getting distracted by posing in front of the Ambassador's Lagoon viewing pane for photographs by the Poseidon Cafe. (Hint: for the best photographs, stand on the balcony above and try and snap your friend quickly before another load of sticky-fingered children run up to the window and ruin a perfectly fine Instagram photo).

We were still far too early after our photo session and after asking a member of staff, we were kindly shown to a cocktail lounge where we were asked if we wanted a complimentary drink due to having to wait, which was entirely our own fault but still, how kind. We said no thank you due to being polite and British but after opening the menu and seeing the prices, we kind of wish we said yes! After a little wait and a little time trying to look as if we belonged, we were shown into the restaurant and to our table and oh my goodness! It was incredible. Talk about a table with a view! Our table was wedged between two window panes which overlooked the Ambassador's Lagoon, a view which no photo can do any justice to. With relaxing music being played softly from the speakers and fish, sharks, stingrays and goodness knows what else gently swimming past, we could have quite happily stayed there all day long. Hell, given the chance I would still be sat there now.

About the Afternoon Tea in Ossiano:
Afternoon Tea at Ossiano comes in two varities With alcohol and without alcohol. If you would like a glass of champagne with your afternoon tea then you can expect to pay 385 AED which is £80.84, or if you forgo the alcoholic beverage and go for a tea-infused mocktail instead then you can expect to pay 285 AED which works out to be £61.94. Price-wise, as Afternoon Tea goes then this is perfectly reasonable and I didn't think twice at the price given that not only was it a meal but it was also an experience and a memory but of course, a few people I have mentioned this price to have recoiled in horror. I will quickly say that it is not just little cucumber sandwiches cut into triangles with the crusts cut off, oh no. In fact, there was no cucumber in sight!

Once seated with a lovely tea-infused mocktail in one hand and a camera in the other, the waiter first served us some canapes which featured watermelon and radish - something which I would never have put together but god, it was good! Next up was a caviar course which featured a little row of caviar, shallots, cheddar cheese, creme fraiche and other little toppings, all of which to go on top of 3 little blinis, or as my friend called them 'tiny little pancakes'. We were then handed a tea menu which was a hard decision I tells ya. Do you stick with what you know (English Breakfast) or go with something outside of your comfort zone? I uhmmed and ahhed and ended up choosing a Geisha Blossom Tea which was a green tea blended with fruits. It was really fresh and light, something which I can't see myself drinking at home but in that setting it was perfect. Then came the main attraction - the wheel of cake..

When the stand of sandwiches and cakes arrives, you think to yourself "wow, I am going to demolish each and every single one" but when it comes down to it, those little mini sandwiches are more filling than they appear. The savoury options were.. Arctic King Crab and Avocado Brioche, a Mushroom, Asparagus and Gruyere Profiterole, Lobster Eclair, Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese and Saffron Pancake and a Roast Chicken Caesar & Seaweed Baguette. They all looked so good! I loved each one of the above except from the mushroom profiterole as mushrooms are my most hated food and whilst I still tried it and gave it a go, it did nothing for me. 

Once we had eaten most of the above, we then moved on to sweet. The sweet options were Lollipop Carrot Cake, Opera Cake, Linzer Tart, Caramelized Apple Cake and a Vanilla Mille Feuille. Each and every one was utterly heavenly and I am ashamed to admit that I simply could not finish them all. If I had space in my teeny tiny handbag which looks good but holds no use whatsoever, I would most definitely have rolled them up in the finest cotton napkin and taken them home with me but sadly I watched them get taken away, presumably to be dumped in the bin. If that all was not enough, every now and then a waiter bought round warm scones with clotted cream, jam and marmalade. You can't have afternoon tea without scones and jam, can you?!

Finally, if we were not full enough already, a sweet trolley came round which was filled with tiny macaroons, biscuits, cookies, truffles, pralines, chocolate covered dates.. By this point I was ready to unzip my tight dress, get into my pyjamas and not move for a week but hey, I'm not a quitter so I ate a quarter of my body weight in chocolates. Not because I needed to consume more calories or because I was hungry, mostly because I had paid for it and I wanted my moneys worth! I was quite the little piglet but gosh, what a beautiful setting to be a right greedy cow. 

Afternoon Tea at Ossiano was worth every single penny. Everything was perfect, the food, the service, the setting.. It was so lovely just to sit and eat scones and sip tea whilst watching all of the fish swim by without feeling rushed to give up your seat. Bearing in mind it was 2pm on a Saturday afternoon and they only do Afternoon Tea once a week for two hours, I really expected it to be a lot busier than it was. That said, I am really glad we booked in advance as I would have hated to have gone all that way to be turned away at the door. 

I simply cannot recommend this Underwater Afternoon Tea experience enough and if you ever find yourselves on holiday in Dubai, this is most definitely a place you must go to. It is expensive but you're paying for a memory and an experience and it has been the one part of my holiday which I have not stopped raving about! Definitely the highlight of my holiday and sadly, the photos can do it no justice whatsoever.


Review | Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Contour Kit in Fair

Let's talk contouring, shall we? Has contouring always been around or is it a relatively new thing? I have been very late to hop on the contouring bandwagon. I think the reason why I have been so reluctant to try it out is because of the fact that I am guilty of a rather heavy hand. I don't want to go too OTT, nor do I think I am quite up to applying contour and highlighter a la Kim K and getting perfect results first time round. I know blending is key but there's some mornings where I just don't have time to stand in front of the mirror and blend my entire face with a beauty blender. That said, I want to be good at contouring. I want to be able to contour my cheekbones so that they look sharp enough to slice your finger on. I've never really had the tools to do so though, until now.

We all go through tough days, days where you get in from work and wonder what the point is. Where you wonder if you actually need a job after all. I can live off ASDA Smart Price Baked Beans, right? When I have days like this, I buy stuff. Usually make-up although I am prone to cheap tat from China via eBay and unsuitable shoes. Upon my recent down day, I purchased the Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Contour Kit and I have not regretted it since. Which is great as it is priceyy.

About the Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Contour Kit:
"Anastasia Beverly Hills' easy-to-use 'Contour Cream Kit' is comprised of six blendable shades with a smooth and creamy texture. Perfect to create the illusion of higher cheekbones or a softer jawline, these velvety formulas have a lightweight feel on the skin and impart a subtle, dewy finish."

Available in four different shades, the Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Contour Kit consists of 6 different cream shades which help to create a chiseled jawline or higher cheekbones. I purchased the lightest shade in the range which was Fair, although there is also Light, Medium and Dark on offer. The 6 cream contouring shades are described as being sheer-yet-pigmented and whilst I wouldn't say they were sheer, they are definitely pigmented! 

The shades within the palette are Soft Light, Lustre, Fair, Fawn, Shadow and Mink. The top three colours are the lightest, most suitable for highlighting, whereas the bottom three are most suitable for contouring. The first time you use the cream shades, you are taking off a thin waxy layer which is actually a different shade to the real shade below. This is most noticeable in the three bottom shades within the palette in the photos above, especially with Mink which is the furthest right on the bottom. Once you have got past the waxy layer, each shade is really light in texture whilst being rich in pigmentation. 

Palette shade wise, I am very happy I purchased this in the shade Fair. I am very pale so buy the palest shade in foundation then I have to add lightening drops to them in order to lighten them further and I think the Light palette would have been far too dark for me. The top three shades, Soft Light, Lustre and Fair are perfect for brightening and highlighting, especially the shade Lustre which has a bit of a shimmer to it. I find the darkest shade in the palette, Mink to be slightly terrifying in the pan but once applied to the face lightly and blended in, it is the perfect contour shade. The other two brown shades, Fawn and Shadow are also perfect for using in between the light and dark shades as a sort of transition shade. 

When used with either a tapered contour brush or a beauty blender, the cream contour shades blend perfectly. I was actually quite surprised at just how perfectly they blend together. Don't get me wrong, the first time I tried it I looked ridiculous and couldn't leave the house but after a bit of practice you start to wonder why you haven't done it sooner!

The Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Contour Kit may be pricey but it is worth every penny. Not only is the packaging made consumer-friendly with the magnetic close lock but it feels really sturdy. I wouldn't mind travelling with it, nor would I be worried about baggage handlers throwing it about and praying it remains in one piece. You get a lot of product for your money with each of the 6 shades containing 4.5 g and as a little goes a long way anyway, this palette will last you a while. I am so impressed by this product and whilst is may be slightly expensive at £39, it is definitely worth the money. It is long-lasting, creamy, pigmented and best of all, it makes you look like a slightly better looking version of yourself which is rather remarkable!


Review | KIKO 30 Days Extension Daily Treatment Mascara

I have a really love/hate relationship with mascaras. I am yet to meet one which I am utterly in love with. I don't think I've ever used one which has made me want to write to my sister telling her all about it and actually, I think a lot of people feel the same as I do. I am not very brand loyal at the best of times (if I find something better then I'm sure as hell going to use that over what I was using previously) but I am definitely not brand loyal when it comes to mascara. I don't think I have bought the same mascara twice. I usually buy any old mascara which is on offer in Boots, all of which give pretty damn average results.

I went to KIKO in Bath recently where they had all of their mascaras half price which was awfully inviting. Like I said before, I usually pick up any old mascara but goodness me, was there a lot of choice in KIKO. We're talking roughly around 30 different mascaras, all for less than £4. I was torn between a few different variations but in the end I went for a daily treatment mascara to see if it would actually have any effect on my eyelashes if I were to use it without fail for 30 days. There was also the same product but a night time mascara treatment which definitely sounds interesting but for now, I chose the KIKO 30 Days Extension Daily Treatment Mascara.

About the KIKO 30 Days Extension Daily Treatment Mascara:
"Black lash lengthening mascara which combines its immediate aesthetic performance with a special lash growth enhancer treatment. A new miraculous cosmetic with proven efficacy that acts on the natural development cycle of the lashes bringing them to new length targets. K² pro-growth complex acts like an out-and-out concentrated nutritional supplement containing substances that are quickly assimilated by the structure of your lashes. Thanks to a sophisticated "mobile" micro-encapsulation system, the valuable active ingredients penetrate into the lashes and move along them toward their roots, where they can undertake their action. The special highly flexible elastomer mascara brush coats the lashes with intense black giving them instant length and definition."

The idea of the KIKO 30 Days Extension Daily Treatment Mascara is to use it every day for 30 days in hope that your eyelashes will significantly grow. KIKO suggest using this daily growth mascara alongside the KIKO 30 Days Extension Night Treatment Booster to get the best results which I wanted to try as well but out of the 30 mascaras KIKO had in store, they didn't have that one. I was still looking forward to giving the treatment mascara a try, with or without the night time booster mascara.

The mascara comes housed in a lovely gold 8 ml tube which looks a hell of a lot more expensive than it actually is. It kind of reminds of the YSL Shocking Mascara, just ever so slightly cheaper. The wand has flat comb bristles which help to separate and define the lashes and whilst I usually prefer mascaras which have a big, fat, chunky bristles, I was really looking forward to trying this mascara to see what sort of results you can achieve from it.

The first thing I noticed about this mascara was how wet it was. After applying the first layer it immediately transferred underneath the eye and onto my eyelid so it is very wet. I applied the mascara by wiggling it from the root upwards and it immediately separated the lashes and gave them a tiny bit of length but it wasn't too noticeable with the first layer. I then applied a second layer slightly dubiously as I am not too much of a fan of spidery lashes and fortunately that didn't happen, nor did it clump at all. I usually only apply two layers so I left it at that and I actually much preferred this mascara on the bottom lashes than I did on the top. I much prefer my mascaras to give me length and volume rather than separate the eyelashes and I feel that this KIKO 30 Days Extension Mascara didn't really do that, not immediately anyway.

I continued to use this mascara for nearly two weeks to see if my eyelashes had grown at all and to be honest, I couldn't tell a difference. To me this is just a regular black mascara. It does the job well and makes your eyelashes nice and black but I prefer mascaras to give me more volume than this mascara gives so would I buy it again? No, but I would definitely try another KIKO mascara. There is 30 to choose from, after all.


Review | Philosophy Purity 3-in-1 Cleanser

I recently shared with you how I was very kindly sent a selection of Philosophy products and this, my friends, is my all-time favourite. Smelling good-enough to eat with words as beautiful enough to melt my icy heart, the Philosophy Purity 3-in-1 Cleanser can do no wrong in my eyes. Available in four different sizes varying from 90 ml to 720 ml, it is certainly one of the more expensive cleansers I have tried but in my eyes, it is a real treat. I have purchased this cleanser many times before, each time as a little pick-me-up, something to lighten my mood on a really miserable day. Let me tell you all about one of my all-time favourite skin care products, the Philosophy Purity 3-in-1 Cleanser.

The Philosophy behind the Purity Cleanser:
"Purity is natural. We come into this world with all the right instincts. We are innocent, and therefore perceive things as they should be, rather than how they are. Our conscience is clear, our hands are clean, and the world at large is truly beautiful. It is at this time we feel most blessed. To begin feeling young again, we must begin with the most basic step of all; the daily ritual of cleansing."

About the Philosophy Purity 3-in-1 Cleanser:
"Purity made simple is an award-winning, one-step daily facial cleanser that removes makeup, cleanses, tones and lightly hydrates the skin. this facial cleanser rapidly dissolves dirt, oil and makeup to deep clean pores while maintaining the skin's proper moisture levels. purity made simple is gentle enough for the eye area and even for the most sensitive skin."

To put it bluntly, the Philosophy Purity 3-in-1 Cleanser smells utterly incredible. It is slightly indescribable but it smells cross between citrus fruits and lemon sherbet. It is an incredibly fresh and clean scent, one which would be more than inviting if you had to apply it at 5 am in the morning before work, as well as at 11 pm in the evening. It doesn't linger too long on the skin unfortunately but if you are a fan of the scent of lemons then this will be a product for you!

Whilst I don't use my cleansers to remove my make-up, I do use them immediately afterwards to help remove any little scraps left over. I wet my face, squeeze a small pea-sized amount into my hands then massage Purity into my face for a good few seconds. It doesn't foam or lather like other cleansers, instead it melts into the skin whilst cleansing, toning and removing any final hints of make-up. When washed off it leaves the skin feeling so soft, fresh and clean without irritating the skin or drying it out at all.

All these years later, I still love Purity as much now as I did back that. It is definitely on the pricey side but I do believe your skin is something to invest in and whilst I am sure you can find a much cheaper dupe, sometimes there is products which are worth spending a bit more on. The Philosophy Purity 3-in-1 Cleanser smells wonderful, it cleanses, tones and removes make-up perfectly and a little goes a long way so a bottle will last you a very long time. In my eyes, it is worth every penny and I can't recommend it enough!


Review | Morphe 35 Colour Taupe Eye Shadow Palette (35T)

I think I may speak on behalf of everyone when I say that we are all guilty of owning too many eyeshadow palettes. Out of all of those palettes, how many eyeshadows within them do you actually use? Sometimes when I am doing my make-up, I will take a shade out of one palette before using another shade from a different palette in the crease before then taking a different eyeshadow from a third palette to use underneath the eye. That's 3 different palettes for just one pretty basic eye makeup look - don't get me started on how many different palettes I would need if I wanted anything bolder than that. If I stuck to that one look for a while and stuck to those three shades within those three different palettes, it will be pretty annoying travelling with three big palettes just for the sake of 3 eyeshadows within them. We all have one or two eyeshadow palettes floating around where, if we were honest with ourselves, we only really like one or two eyeshadows within so you have goodness knows how many eyeshadows sat there never to be used, which is why creating your own eyeshadow palettes using Z Palettes is such a fantastic idea. Creating a personalised eyeshadow palette filled with eyeshadows you know you will love and wear - because you picked them yourself. However, if you love neutral, taupe eyeshadows then I may have found the palette for you - and you will never have to reach for a different palette ever again.

Morphe 35 Colour Eye Shadow Palettes have suddenly become very, very popular. They sell out quickly, have a massive following and are, in my opinion, worth every penny. There are currently lots of different Morphe Eye Shadow Palettes out there, most of which are completely sold out and if you want the chance to purchase one, you've gotta join the end of a pretty long waiting list. I often used to wonder about the names to all of the Morphe Palettes. 35T? 35O? 35OM? What do these mean? Well, the 35 stands for how many shades are within the palette and the lettering stands for the shades within. For example, 35T is 35 Taupe (eye shadows), so 35O is 35 Orange (eye shadows) where 35OM is 35 Orange Matte (eye shadows). I have just signed up to the waiting list to purchase the oh so popular 35O and the 35F, which is the Fall into Frost Palette where all of the eyeshadows have a frost finish to them. Today, however is all about the Morphe 35 Colour Taupe Eye Shadow Palette aka, the 35T.

About the Morphe 35T Eyeshadow Palette:
"Astonishingly good value, Morphe Brushes’ 35-pan palette (35T) contains an array of dazzling shades for creating a spectrum of make up effects – from subtle eye-enhancement to dramatic, after-hours smoulder. The sleek, slimline palette is a favourite of professional make up artists (perfect for taking on travels), while the buttery powders blend together beautifully to achieve a seamlessy, photo-ready finish. With an array of matte, satin and shimmering shadows – from pink-toned taupe to blackberry, via gold, bronze, copper and rust – this is a whole wardrobe of beauty looks in one, convenient case."

The Morphe 35T Palette is filled with 35 gorgeous matte, satin and shimmery eyeshadows with each shade varying from deep plum to beautiful copper. There is not a shade within this palette that is not well suited to the shade next to it. Each eyeshadow compliments the rest wonderfully well and surprisingly, there is not a shade within the 35T palette which I would not wear. There is no rogue colours which have been dropped in there merely to make up the numbers, each eyeshadow is very pretty and most importantly, very wearable.

Before I divulge into the shades a little bit more, I just want to mention the packaging. The packaging to this eyeshadow palette feels so unbelievably cheap. Don't get me wrong, when I am paying just over £20 for 35 eyeshadows I would rather the eyeshadows would be the best they could be rather than lose quality down to having better packaging but even so, this packaging is lousy. I am pretty sure my £1.99 Natural Collection eyeshadow has more quality packaging-wise than this palette has. If you fall in love with the eyeshadows then you can see past the packaging but it is certainly a shocker when you first open the box and pull the palette out.

None of the 35 eyeshadows have a name to them so it is hard to talk about a specific eyeshadow but each shade is so pigmented, it is hard to believe that each eyeshadow costs just 62p. I thought that because this a taupe eyeshadow palette that all of the shades would be cool toned but there is a great array of colours within the palette, each with an array of different finish. Each eyeshadow is really easy to apply, easy to blend and stay put all day long when used with an eyeshadow primer.

Other than the pacakaging, I don't have a bad word to say about this Morphe palette. It is worth every single penny. For just over £21, you get 35 incredibly wearable eyeshadows, with eye shade within the palette holding its own against the other shades. Usually in a palette of this size there will be a few dud eyeshadows which have been placed in there purely to make up the numbers but not with this palette - each eyeshadow is perfect. I cannot recommend the Morphe Palettes enough. When your turn at the front of the waiting lists arises, make sure you get one!


Review | L'oreal Pure Clay Glow Mask

I'm ever so slowly becoming a fan of face masks. Up until recently I really didn't enjoying using them. Most of them smell strange, they take too long to dry and I hate the drying sensation on the face. I also didn't really find them too relaxing either.  I recently tried the L'oreal Pure Clay Purity Mask and I absolutely loved it. It smelt lovely, it didn't take too long to dry and my face felt much softer and altogether cleaner after just one five minute application.

Following on from my love of the Purity Mask, I wanted to try another mask from the range which focused on a different skin complaint - this time, it's all about the glow. After loving Purity so much, I was definitely looking forward to trying the L'oreal Pure Clay Glow Mask.

About the L'oreal Pure Clay Glow Mask:
"For the first time, the L'OrĂ©al Paris laboratories have selected three pure clays and combined them with red algae extract, known for its brightening properties. The beaded, creamy texture illuminates tone by exfoliating the skin's surface without drying it out. A powerful blend of 3 pure clays: Koalin - A highly effective natural clay, known to absorb impurities and excess sebum. Montmorillonite - Rich in minerals, a clay recognized for helping to eliminate imperfections. Ghassoul - A pure clay highly concentrated in minerals renowned to help clarify complexion. Instant and lasting, visible results. Immediately: skin is softer, smoother and brighter. Use for one week: pores feel tighter, skin texture is refined. After use: skin is visibly transformed, with an even healthy glow."

The L'oreal Pure Clay Glow Mask comes in similar packaging to the Purity Mask, the only difference is the colour within. For your money you get a 50 ml jar which is guaranteed to last you 10 applications, although I think that is fully dependent on how thick you apply the mask. The Glow Mask is muddy red in colour which really does look like clay. It has little tiny exfoliating beads throughout the thick and creamy texture to exfoliate the skin before the mask starts to dry fully and although I do prefer a slightly harsher exfoliant, it does add a nice little extra when applying the mask to the face.

I found the scent to the Purity Mask to be really light and fresh, whereas I am not too keen on the scent of this. It's not unbearable or awful, it is just indescribably strange! It smells slightly spicy, which is strange for a face mask. I applied the face mask all over the face using my fingers and I found that if you have long nails, it is so hard getting the product out of the rather shallow jar. I really need to find a face mask brush to apply face masks with as if you have long nails like me, it is awful having the product underneath your nails! 

Once applied, I left it on for about 5 minutes then I washed it off with warm water and my skin felt so fresh and soft. I love the extra exfoliation within the mask which makes it perfect to use on dry patches. I did notice a glow after use, although it is only after use and it doesn't last all day long, sadly. Overall, another really lovely face mask from L'oreal. If you haven't tried one of the three clay masks out yet then do! They do exactly what they promise to do and for that, you can't fault them.


Review | NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in Cherry Skies

Not another matte liquid lipstick review, I hear you cry. I have actually been really good recently and not featured them on my blog for a couple of weeks which I think is rather good going. As much as I love wearing matte liquid lipsticks in the summer, there is a slight bit of discomfort which comes to wearing them within the summer heat. That said, it is good to know that whatever the heat outside, no matter if my foundation is literally dripping off of my face, my lipstick will still be in tact. 

I know it is pretty basic but there is just something about Autumn/Winter which makes me want to wear burgundy. Do I want to wear the deep, plummy shade in Summer? God no. But come the end of September you can be certain that I will be wearing a deep burgundy lipstick whilst walking around with a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Like I said, basic!

The perfect Autumn/Winter shade for 2016 is most definitely the NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in Cherry Skies. This is the first NYX lip product I have tried which isn't a Soft Matte Lip Cream and so far, I prefer these a hell of a lot more to their ever-so-slightly cheaper step-sister.

About the NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick:
"Doll up your lips in plush and vibrant color! NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick glides on and sets into a striking matte finish. Velvety soft and waterproof, this long-lasting lippie creates a positively polished look with every swipe."

The NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipsticks come in 12 different shades, some of which are pretty 'out there' although there are a few wearable shades within the range. These lipsticks come in a chunky, tall tube which holds 4 ml of product within. If you were to compare this product to the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams, I would definitely say the latter were more fun-sized whereas this is its much older sister, size wise. Like most other liquid lipsticks out there, this product too comes with a thin doe-foot applicator within the lid which makes application fairly easy. The colour on the outer packaging most definitely indicates the lip shade within which I find very useful to have, although one thing I am not too keen on is the slight chemical scent which comes with the lipstick. That said, I would rather smell chemicals than the hideous scent of synthetic vanilla or strawberries & cream like what other brands use.

Cherry Skies is the most wonderful deep red which is the most perfect stereotypical Autumnal shade. The texture is very creamy, if not a little loose, and it applies just like a lip gloss. It feels really light when one layer is applied to the lips, just without the stickiness of a gloss and without the slightly weighted-down feeling of a regular matte liquid lipstick. I don't usually like layering up matte liquid lipsticks as I feel this can cause them to feel very drying and start to flake but I feel the best way to get the full colour out of Cherry Skies is to apply a couple of layers. One layer looks nice, but two layers looks even better!

It takes a few moments for the lipstick to dry down and when it does, it dries with a slightly off-matte finish, which I guess is why it is a suede cream lipstick. When applied it feels slightly wet (a feeling which never really goes away) so you have to be careful not to touch anything otherwise it will get messy and transfer. I would say that the NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipsticks stain your skin, not your lips. Goodness me, when they are on, they are on, but not as a lipstick. Lip stain, yes. Lipstick, no. Because it has a such wet texture upon application, I found Cherry Skies transferred ever so slightly upon eating and drinking but once it has been on for a while, it doesn't move too much. I wouldn't say it was particularly long-wearing, I wouldn't go out for the day wearing it and leave the tube at home, let's put it that way, but it really is a very comfortable liquid lipstick which is a dream to apply due to its velvety texture.

Overall, another nice slightly-matte liquid lipstick. In all honesty, I have tried so many now that they are all starting to feel very much the same but I do really love the colour to Cherry Skies. It is such a wonderful Autumnal shade and whilst it may not be the longest wearing, it certainly stains the skin afterwards and it is very comfortable to wear. It doesn't feel drying in the slightest and it is definitely one of the most comfortable matte liquid lipsticks I have tried. There's a few more shades in the range which I would love to try, just perhaps not the vibrant magenta! 


Other | A Philosophy Delivery

Is there anything nicer than coming home from a long, hot, tiring day at work then walking into your house and seeing an unexpected delivery? Well, I say unexpected. I knew it was coming but still - how exciting! A parcel! For me! I was recently contacted by a kind young lady who asked if I wanted to try out some Philosophy products and as the Philosophy Purity Cleanser is perhaps my favourite cleanser I have ever tried, I was definitely up for trying a few more products from Philosophy.

I have mentioned a few of their other products on here before but oh my goodness, if you love cinnamon buns then the Philosophy Cinnamon Buns Shower Gel is definitely something you need to try! I was very kindly sent the Philosophy Renewed Hope In A Jar Moisturiser*, the Philosophy Purity 3-in-1 Cleanser* and the Philosophy The Microdelivery Resurfacing Peel*. Cue an excited squeal! All of the products I was sent are a part of the Cleanse, Peel, Treat range which is the 3-minute skin care system which creates a beautiful and radiant complexion - something which I need all the help I can get with at the moment.

About the Philosophy Renewed Hope In A Jar Moisturiser:
"Our breakthrough all-day skin-renewing protective moisturiser shields skin from harmful UVA / UVB rays, while infusing skin with hydration for a radiant, healthy-looking glow each and every day. It delivers an even longer-lasting glow and continuous hydration benefits."

I feel like my skin is constantly dry at the moment and if it has been dry throughout the whole of the summer, god knows what it is going to be like through winter. So far this Philosophy Renewed Hope In A Jar Moisturiser feels really lightweight, creamy and hydrating, plus it smells wonderful too so I'm really looking forward to using it for a few weeks to see if it improves my skin at all.

About the Philosophy Purity 3-in-1 Cleanser:
"Purity made simple is an award-winning, one-step daily facial cleanser that removes makeup, cleanses, tones and lightly hydrates the skin. this facial cleanser rapidly dissolves dirt, oil and makeup to deep clean pores while maintaining the skin's proper moisture levels. purity made simple is gentle enough for the eye area and even for the most sensitive skin."

I have never loved a cleanser as much as I loved the Philosophy Purity 3-in-1 Cleanser. Like all of the other Philosophy products produced, this too smells incredible. It is such a creamy, non-drying cleanser which practically melts make-up away, leaving the skin feeling so fresh and clean afterwards. It is on the pricey side but a little goes a long way and you definitely won't regret it.

About the Philosophy Microdelivery Resurfacing Peel:
"Philosophy pioneered a next-generation microdermabrasion procedure that rapidly resurfaces the skin as it replenishes the skin with vitamin c. The treatment is known as the microdelivery peel and is light years ahead of traditional microdermabrasion."

Out of all of the products I received, the Philosophy Microdelivery Resurfacing Peel is the one I was most excited to try. Inside the pack is two products which, when mixed together, create a white foam. When the white foam is applied to the skin a warming sensation will occur which rejuvenates and exfoliates the skin, making it feel brand new. This product is light years ahead of traditional microdermabrasion and it offers immediate results. I think this is a very exciting product and I really can't wait to try it!


Review | L'oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil Nourishing Buttery Balm

Recently my hair has been in dire need of a litle TLC. I don't really have much of a hair routine other than washing it every other day and giving it a quick brush whilst wet before blasting with a hairdyer. My hair is very thick but very flat and lifeless. I would love to have thick, curly or wavy hair that looks as if I have just walked straight out of an Instagram photo but alas not. My hair is so straight and uncooperative that as as soon as I have curled it and sprayed it with hairspray to within an inch of its life, before I even have a chance to leave the room it is flat and straight again.

The last hair products I purchased were the L'oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner and I was a bit, well, underwhelmed. Because both products have oil in, they have the tendency to make greasy-prone hair even greasier. After one use of the shampoo my hair looked even greasier than it did before I washed it, which isn't really what you want from a shampoo. Fortunately the conditioner didn't give me same problem, although I think that was down to the fact that the conditioner was only applied to the ends of my hair and not at the roots, where the hair is most greasy.

At the same time when I was purchasing the shampoo and conditioner, I also bought the L'oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil Nourishing Buttery Balm, which is to be used just like a mask. After trying the shampoo and having to re-wash it due to the appearance of it being greasy when freshly washed, I didn't have the highest of hopes!

About the L'oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil Nourishing Buttery Balm:
"The “extraordinary oil” mask has a technology in conjunction with the shampoo for the driest hair. The selection of luxurious flower oily extracts conditions. The mask helps bring more conditioning and shine to the dry tips. For best results, use after Extraordinary Oil Shampoo. Squeeze out excess moisture and apply, concentrating on the lengths and ends. Leave in for 2-3 minutes. Rinses out easily."

The L'oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil Nourishing Buttery Balm comes housed in a 300 ml pot which has the same gold packaging which is stretched across the whole of the L'oreal Extraordinary Oil range. The first thing to hit you when you open up the tub is the smell, which I find quite fresh and pleasant. I have been reading a few reviews on this product and a lot of people have said that they don't like the smell but for once, I don't actually mind it! The product itself is an off-gold shade, just like the shampoo and conditioner. It is very thick in consistency, think conditioner but even thicker.

The first time I tried this hair mask, I applied it on dry hair and concentrated on the lengths and ends of the hair only. I left it on for about 20 minutes before rinsing off like L'oreal suggests and whilst my hair felt softer, it felt so weighted down by the product. I felt like I should have shampooed it off rather than just rinsing with warm water as it felt like it was still in there, which gave the greasy, un-washed feel to it. I then did the same again but this time I washed it off with shampoo (not L'oreal Extraordinary Oil!) and I felt that this product worked so much better. My hair felt much more enriched, softer and overall in better condition than before.

I think the best way to use this product is by rinsing it off with shampoo as otherwise you still feel as if the hair mask is still in there. I can't stand the weighed down, greasy feeling this product gives when it is only rinsed off with water as it makes me want to wash my hair all over again.

Whilst I really like the soft, enriched results this product gives you when washed off with shampoo, I feel like it is nothing spectacular and I would actually rather buy a hair mask which I didn't have to wash off with shampoo after use as I think it defies the whole point of it. I wouldn't buy this hair mask again, although if you had hair which wasn't so prone to go greasy as quickly as mine, maybe this product would be better suited towards you.


Review | Kylie Cosmetics Metal Matte Lipstick in Reign

I'm sure everyone is sick and tired hearing about the Kylie Cosmetics beauty range by now but I am still well and truly riding high on the hype of it all. I now have five Kylie Cosmetics Matte Lip Kits, four of which I completely and utterly adore. They are incredibly pigmented beautiful shades which would withstand the test of time. Man, are those lip kits are long-wearing.

Kylie has very slowly been bringing out more and more beauty products other than her matte lip kits, from lip glosses to eyeliner, but a product which intrigued me the most was the Kylie Cosmetics Metal Matte Lipsticks. How can a metallic lipstick have a matte finish? More importantly, is a metal matte lipstick something which I need?

About the Kylie Cosmetics Metal Matte Lipsticks:
"Liquid lipstick meets metallic. The Metal Lipstick provides bold metallic lips with a creamy feel and rich mousey texture. While this is a long wearing formula, it does not ever dry down on your lips, lips remain moisturized and comfortable with a shimmering metallic finish. For an ultra-dramatic look, layer Reign over the top of your favorite matte lipstick."

Before I mention the lipstick itself, I want to talk about customs charges. I have made three Kylie Cosmetics orders before this one in which two out of the three have arrived with the little added extra of a hefty customs charge. I have mentioned the subject of customs charges on all of my other Kylie Lip Kit posts and how whilst at first it appeared to be the luck of the draw, it now seems to be almost certain. That said, I do think it is dependent on how many products you buy in one order and its overall value as this one, lonely little lipstick arrived without a hidden charge which was an unexpected surprise.

Packaging wise, the Kylie Cosmetics Metal Matte Lipstick in Reign comes housed in a 3 ml tube which has a doe-foot applicator within the lid, just like the other Kylie Lip Kits. Also like the other Kylie Lip Kits, this lipstick has that awful synthetic strawberries & cream scent to it. I would actually go as far to say that this lipstick smells worse than the previous lipsticks I have tried. Why lipsticks have to smell so synthetic and sickly sweet, I do not know. But it smells bad. Fortunately it doesn't linger on the lips for too long but it is definitely noticeable.

The Kylie Cosmetics Metal Matte Lipstick in Reign is a gorgeous deep metallic copper/bronze/maroon. As it is a metallic lipstick it does have a sheen to it which somehow, don't ask me how, has a matte finish which is not drying in the slightest. The formula is so light and creamy, it doesn't feel like you are wearing anything at all. Unlike the Lip Kits, this matte lipstick doesn't come with a lip liner and as long as you have a steady hand, you don't need one. It is really easy to apply and as Reign is so pigmented, one layer is all you need. It dries really quickly also and I am yet to see it transfer or wear away all day long. It has just the same amount of longevity as the Matte Lip Kits and that is most definitely a good thing.

Sadly, this product does have one fault. A big fault, in my opinion. This lipstick came half empty. As you can see from the photos, it appears as if I have worn this 24/7 for a good few months but it has only been used a handful of times. This is so, so, disappointing. When you take into consideration how many of these Kylie's manufacturers must make each week, and how much money they must make from them, I expect to get a filled tube of product. Unfortunately there is no point in complaining about it as Kylie has been too busy doing.. well, whatever it is she does each day, to employ customer service representatives to answer complaints, queries and to take responsibility for their mistakes.

Overall, another great, pretty, metallic matte lipstick which is a wonderful mixture of bronze, copper and maroon shades which is very long-lasting without being drying or heavy on the lips. It is very wearable and very easy to apply which is wonderful but two things disappoint this product. The awful synthetic scent and the lack of quality control. Kylie Cosmetics is making a hell of a lot of money and I firmly believe they should put some of their profits back into the company to try and engage some sort of quality control before the products get packaged into their boxes. There is absolutely no excuse for giving their customers half filled products, especially when you have to wait so long for it to arrive and pay a lot of money in shipping and customs charges. I love you, Kylie Cosmetics, but you need to get your sh*t together!


Review | Seventeen Eyeshadow Brush

I was recently looking at the make-up brushes in Boots and uhmming and ahhing over yet another Real Techniques set when I saw that the make-up brand Seventeen had brought out their very own make-up brushes. I am currently still over the moon with my Real Techniques Bold Metals dupes which I paid less than £5 for for a 7 piece set and whilst they may be cheap and may have traveled all the way from China, they do work really well and for the price you can't really complain. I am also really enjoying using a lot of ELF eyeshadow brushes, especially for blending and contouring the hollows of the eye. Whenever I go to America I always stock up on some more ELF eyeshadow brushes as they are usually around $1 which works out at 75p each which is incredible, especially considering they are such great quality and last for years. I may not actually need any more eyeshadow brushes but I just can't stop buying them, mostly because it means I don't need to bother washing my brushes quite as often! Yes, I really would rather buy more brushes than wash the ones I already have!

So there I stood, now uhmming and ahhing over which Seventeen make-up brushes to buy. There was a lip brush, an angled eyeliner brush, an eyeshadow brush and a powder & blush brush. With prices ranging from £1.99 to £2.99, they were hardly going to break the bank so I bought one of each, minus the lip brush as I probably wouldn't use it. Today I want to show you the Seventeen Eyeshadow Brush which costs a whopping £1.99!

About the Seventeen Eyeshadow Brush:
"SEVENTEEN now introduces the tools to create the perfect make up look! Use with your favourite SEVENTEEN eyeshadow. Made with 100% synthetic hair, this brush is the perfect addition to your make up bag."

The Seventeen Eyeshadow Brush comes with a rather pretty violet handle with the other brushes within the range featuring other brightly coloured handles. The eyeshadow brush is nicely domed at the tip and is made completely out of synthetic hairs. Unlike most other eyeshadow brushes I own, this brush is rather dense and firm. It is still soft enough to blend other eyeshadows with and I find it is the perfect size for applying a darker eyeshadow colour into the crease of the eyelid. It isn't scratchy at all, nor do I find it irritating.

It is hard to gush about an eyeshadow brush but I do really like Seventeen's offering. it's soft but fairly firm and dense. It is the perfect size to use in the crease of the eyelid and for £1.99, it is something worth having in your make-up bag.


Other | How I Edit My Instagram Photos

I will say something rather controversial - I'm not that much of an Instagram fan. Don't get me wrong, I like seeing outfit photos and holiday snaps but the constant avocado on toast photos does get on my nerves slightly. I think another reason why I am not much of an Insta fan is that it is so hard to grow a following on there and in all honesty, my life isn't that interesting to share through imagery. I don't go out for brunch daily or go to Chanel weekly and sadly no-one would want to see my food shop in ASDA,would they?

I'm slowly trying to get into a habit of Instagramming but it is slightly tricky when you suddenly find yourself stuck in a very white & pastel theme. Remember those black boots you wanted to Instagram? Do they have a white background? Is there at least a small hint of pastel colours within the photo? No? Well you may as well forget about it then. We would all be lying if we didn't say this has come across our minds at least once! That said, I go on holiday soon and you will be sure to see my holiday photos with blue sea, blue sky, sandy beaches on Insta. Sod the theme, I've got to gloat about it somewhere!

I recently download everyone's favourite photo editing app, VSCO, to help me edit my Instagram photos. Before this I used to just use Instagram where I would change the brightness, saturation and sharpness but VSCO is completely different. It is just like Photoshop on your phone except it is free and about 100 times more interesting. There is so many different filters on there to play with, so many that I think I could just sit and play on it for hours. It can be slightly daunting when you first get the app so after a quick Pinterest search, I found so many helpful Pinterest users which shared which functions they used and to what degree in order to get a certain Instagram theme - I'm being serious. Type VSCO filters into Pinterest and there are thousands of different VSCO filters and their settings being turned into Instagram themes, so here is mine.

How I Edit My Instagram Photos on VSCO:
HB1 (+6)
Exposure (+4)
Temperature (-2)
Tint (+2)
Saturation (+3)
Then sharpen a little when on Instagram!

I think you will all agree just how cleaner, brighter and more vibrant the photos are than before, which I took just on my iPhone 6s. I am now utterly obsessed with the VSCO app and I can now fully understand the popularity of it!


Review | Estee Lauder Futurist Moisture-Infused Fluid Makeup in Cool Porcelain

Every so often a foundation will come into your life which will make you wonder why you ever used any other foundation before it. It makes you wonder how bad your foundation looked before you started using this holy grail product as nothing could ever touch the flawlessness of this new foundation. This is mine. And it is now discontinued. Which I think happened just to spite me, to be honest.

The Estee Lauder Futurist Moisture-Infused Fluid Makeup is everything I want from a foundation. It is medium to full coverage, it applies wonderfully well and most of all, it matches my skintone - a rarity. I found this foundation in a Cosmetics Company store a while ago and loved it so much that I bought two bottles, before going back again to find out that it was discontinued, they only had one bottle left and probably wouldn't be getting it back again. Now, whilst I let this sad news sink in fully, let me tell you about it. 

About the Estee Lauder Futurist Moisture-Infused Fluid Makeup:
"Moisture in every drop. Flawless with every touch. This hydrating makeup helps refresh and revitalize your skin for a lineless, poreless, youthful look. An infusion of purified ionized water and white water lily extract immerses skin in deep-lasting hydration. Skin looks luminous. Anti-oxidant Vitamin E helps resist future signs of ageing. Glides on ultra smooth and seamless for natural perfection. Medium to full coverage. For normal/combination and dry skin."

The first Estee Lauder foundation I tried was the Estee Lauder Doublewear Light and I wasn't too much of a fan of it. I got colour-matched at an Estee Lauder counter by a girl who liked the slightly orange look and unfortunately for me, the foundation oxidized so my face was bright orange. Granted, the coverage was full which is my personal preferance but is there any point in full coverage when it makes your skin orange? Sadly it has been sat untouched ever since which is a shame as it was my first high-end make-up purchase and back then, £33 on a foundation was very expensive. Especially when you only got £20 pocket money each month.

The Estee Lauder Futurist Moisture-Infused Fluid Makeup foundation is water based which made me originally think it would be very light and sheer coverage, although it claims to be medium to full. I would say it were more medium than full coverage as I find I have to apply more foundation on my cheeks to hide the rosiness. I also find that two small pumps is enough to cover the entire face and have some leftover for touch-ups and it applies wonderfully well with either a buffing brush or a beauty blender. 

This foundation features SPF 15 which is very handy to have included within the formula for the rare sunny days I may encounter. Another thing which I like is that it has been tested by an ophthalmologist to make sure it is suitable to be used around the eye area without causing harm or infection. The packaging is very similar to other Estee Lauder foundations with its frosted glass bottle and gold coloured hardwear.

This foundation is suited for normal/combination and dry skin which I do have, although my skin can be slightly oily at times. Luckily I don't find this to be much of an issue with it fading away during wear or it making my skin appear oily. In fact, I would say it has a dull dewiness/semi-matte finish to it which makes me love it even more which is a real shame when it is now discontinued! How will I find anything I like which equals this? The sales assistant told me that Estee Lauder would have brought out a similar product under a different name but I am yet to find it so if anyone knows which light, aqua-based, medium coverage foundation which has a semi-matte finish to it has replaced this foundation then please let me know!

Estee Lauder Futurist Moisture-Infused Fluid Makeup - £32.00