Saturday, 15 November 2014

Review: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette

Hi Guys!

I know, I know....she's a stunner! I am so in love with this blush palette it's unreal.
First of all let's look at the shades, from left to right we have Luminous Flush, a blue toned pink, my favourite of all three. Luminous Flush is extremely pigmented and rich, it has the stunning glow highlight that runs though all three but no sparkle or glitter at all. Be extremely sparing with this shade, it's easy to go overboard, I'd suggest using a dual fibre brush or really taking most of it off on your hand before applying to the face, build up slow.
In the middle we have Incandescent Electra, a warm coral with quite a white base, shimmer/glitter is detectable in this shade although it's slight. I think in the pan this shade looks most exciting but translates a little differently onto the skin, still a stunning blush but can come off slightly chalky if not blended well.
Lastly we have Mood Exposure, a purple/pink based bronzey shade with no shimmer/glitter, this shade can be used as blush or to give colour and structure all over the face (carefully).
All 3 blushes are rich and buttery with great colour payoff, they blend like a dream and give a radiant glow. I really can't fault this palette, the packaging is stunning, the blushes are encased in a bronze capsule style plastic pan with a large mirror inside and it has that satisfying "click" when closed. I haven't stopped reaching for it since I got it.

Have you got this palette? let me know your favourite shade.

Thanks for reading

Gem : )

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Wish List Wednesday - ZARA

Hi Guys!

I'm starting a new post series called Wish List Wednesday where every Wednesday (fingers crossed) I share my most coveted items from different shops or websites. I hope you enjoy! This week...Zara!! I am absolutely loving Zara at the moment so this was hard to refine. Links for each items are below.

Thanks For Reading!

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Winter Wooly Neutral Nails

Hi Guys!!

So sorry I have been MIA the last week or so, we are moving country and things can get a little hectic! Anyhoo I'm back with a Winter Wooly Neutral Nails post for you, here are my favourites I'll be sporting this season.

From left to right:

Essie Smokin Hot - A rich purple based grey
Rimmel Salon Pro in Chic and Cheerful - A Cool Toned Greige
O.P.I. Tickle My Francey - A warm Pinky Greige
Zoya Kendal - A Pastel Lilac
Essie Sand Tropez - A Milky Sand Colour
O.P.I. I Don't Give A Rotterdam - A Blue Grey With Silver Shimmer

Let me know your favourite winter neutrals!

Thanks For Reading!

Gem x

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Pop of Colour: Eye Makeup Look

Hi Guys

So it's sunday morning and my creative juices were flowing as I remembered my recent Kiko Cosmetics delivery. I thought I'd have a play with my favourite product from the bunch, Kiko Long Lasting Stick 8hr No-Transfer Eyeshadow (longest name ever!) in # 31, and create a fun but simple eye look for a night out, or in my case, a Sunday in. The Kiko Long Lasting Stick in 31 is a stunning cornflour blue with electric pink undertones that show through when the light hits it. Its such an unusual colour and I couldn't wait to try something out with it.

For base I used the This Works Perfect Look Skin Miracle to even out my skin tone and give myself a little colour, I took that over the face and down the neck.
To cover any redness (I have a rudolph nose) I mixed a little of the This Works Skin Miracle and some Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage on the back of my hand and used a large flat concealer brush to apply to areas that needed it.
I then used the Rimmel Stay Blushed Liquid Cheek Tint in 004 Sunkissed cherry for blush, blending that over the apples of my cheeks and up onto the temple a little to create some shape. For under the Eye I used the Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer. I then set the undereye with the Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder

I then moved onto the eye makeup. I started with the Kiko Long Lasting Stick and a pencil brush, coating the brush with the cream shadow stick I then applied it to the inner corner of the eye and out to the bottom lash line going about a third of the way across.
I then applied Eyeko Eye Do Liquid Liner to the top lash line all the way across finishing at the end of the lashes, no wing.
I then took the Kiko Cream Stick again and created a wing, continuing on from the Eyeko Liner, starting about a third of the way in from the outer corner. Be careful not to apply the Kiko Stick over the black liquid liner, you want to start it right on the line so the two join but do not overlap.
I then took the Eye of Horus  Goddess Smokey Eye Pencil in Black and tight lined the upper lash line and filled in the bare skin on the lower lash line, smudging out so it's not a sharp line. I also took a little onto the corresponding section of the water line and smudged with my finger to blend. I finished the look with lashings of Covergirl Clump Crusher Mascara and coated the outer corner lashes with Maybelline The Falsies Big Eyes Mascara for extra definition. You could apply false lashes to this look for extra wow factor, I'd recommend some half lash strips on the outer corner or some individual lashes applied only to the outer corner of the eye to keep that feline flick and elongated eye look.

I hope you like the look and let me know if you think you will have a go at recreating it! Follow me on Twitter and Instagram and send me pictures if you do!

Thanks for reading

Gem x

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Review: Neutrogena Hydra Boost

Hi Guys

I was so excited when I saw Neutrogena were releasing a Hydrating range, boasted to beat some of the higher end skincare products out there, I just had to give it a go. I have combination skin prone to dehydration so this range sounded perfect for me, lightweight, water based, moisturising etc...perfect! If you have read previous skincare posts of mine you will know Neutrogena is one of my favourite drugstore skincare brands so I had high hopes for this range. I decided to try the Hydro Boost Gel with SPF and the Night Concentrate.

I'll start with the Hydro Boost Gel. I have been using this in place of my regular serum and I'll say I haven't minded it. It sinks into the skin quickly and has enough slip in it that a small pump will do your entire face. It does have that slightly tacky finish due to the Hyaluronic Acid content but if you follow with a moisturiser that soon goes and leaves your skin feeling comfortable and hydrated. This range is quite highly fragranced so for those with fragrance phobia this is not for you, it also notes Alcohol Denat as one of the first 10 ingredients. I normally try to avoid anything containing too much fragrance and the nasty denatured alcohols but I wanted to try this range and it actually did not aggravate my sensitive skin at all. Its SPF of 15, while relatively low, is a great addition to the rest of my skincare layers. The largest portion of ingredients in this Gel after water (as it is a water based gel) are slip agents, silicone's and the alcohol denat, then a chemical sunscreen Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid, more slip agents, PH balancers and THEN your Hyaluronic acid and olive extract followed lastly by several fragrance ingredients. 
Overall opinion on this product is, it's ok, it's nothing groundbreaking and far from a "wow" product but if your skin lacks moisture and your bank account lacks pennies then perhaps it's worth a try. If i had the option I would sooner reach for something like Hydraluron if it's around the same price range in your country as it packs more of a hydrating punch, doesn;t contain the nasty fragrances or alcohol and the Hydro Boost Gel offers nothing more beneficial ingredients-wise in my opinion. I have combination skin so I find that the amount of moisture these products provide is sufficient for me but fear a dry skin sufferer will not get enough from the Hydro Boost range.

I'll just say the night concentrate is much of a muchness also, same deal, lightweight water-based gel moisturiser but with the added negative of pot packaging, adding light contamination and a hygiene breach into the mix. Again the cream leaves a slightly tacky feeling after application but it seems to go away after a 30 minute-ish period and then just feels soft and looks nice and dewy. 

I will most probably finish up these products in all honesty as they don't seem to be doing me any harm, but exactly how much good they are doing is questionable. I just hate waste! At the end of the day they do seem to leave my skin feeling comfortable and hydrated but I do have to question how much of that is down to the hyaluronic acid and how much is down to lots of slippy, film forming ingredients. 

One word to sum up the Neutrogena Hydro Boost range?........MEH! 

Let me know if you have tried this range and what your thoughts were on it.

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, 19 October 2014

My Autumn/Winter Lips

Lancome L'absolu Rouge in 131

Hi Guys!!

So I know I'm cheating a bit here as it is certainly NOT Autumn in Australia at the moment, although today you might  be fooled into thinking it is, we have thunder and rain and yesterday we had hail the size of marbles! Anyhoo, it's spring here but I'm getting myself all excited for my return to the UK in December and a cheeky little trip to NYC so I decided to have a play around with my favourite berry lips. 

From Left to Right: NYX Butter Lipstick in Hunk, Lancome L'absolu Rouge in 131, Nars Velvet Matte Lip pencil in Damned, Boots 17 Lasting Fix Lipstick in New Black, Kiko Ace of Diamonds Lipstick in 27.

From Left to Right: NYX Butter Lipstick in Hunk, Lancome L'absolu Rouge in 131, Nars Velvet Matte Lip pencil in Damned, Boots 17 Lasting Fix Lipstick in New Black, Kiko Ace of Diamonds Lipstick in 27.
First up NYX and Lancome are both a sheeny finish but still super long lasting on the lips. The coverage can take a bit of work to get even due to the slippy but highly pigmented formula but I don't worry that these colours will end up half way across my face by the end of the day. NYX looks a lot darker and more purple in the bullet but is a bright blue toned pink with a hint of purple and Lancome is a rich Bordeaux red.
Next up the only true matte in my berry collection and one that I went to the ends of the earth to get my hands on, Nars Velvet Matte in Damned. It seems this shade from the collection is limited to certain countries. I got mine from America in the end. It's a stunning blue toned purple that really makes green eyes pop and once this stuff is on, its on. It's pencil applicator makes it really easy to do corrections with no need for liner. It's not too drying on the lips but you do want to ensure they're in tip top condition if you plan on sporting the super matte lipstick as any flakes or lines will be accentuated.

Boots 17 New Black is a super bold colour to wear full strength so I tend to smudge this one out or dab on with fingers Lisa Eldridge style. Sheered out this colour is purply pink with black undertones so super striking and a nod to the inner goth. Again the formula is super long lasting and has a satin finish.
Kiko Ace of Diamonds Lipstick in # 27 is my most recent purchase. My biggest enabler Viviannadoesmakeup worked her magic on me again. It's another great shade for green eyed gals.

Boots 17 in New Black dabbed on with fingers.

Let me know your top Autumn/Winter shades in the comments below!

Thanks for Reading!

Gem :)

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Salted Caramel Blondie Slice

Hi Guys!

I know, I know, you're drooling right?

Get in the kitchen & make these immediately, you wont regret it....well you might if you count the calories, but who does that?

To make these deliciously chewy, chocolately, gooey goodies you need:

For the blondies - Recipe taken from Erins Kitchen
157g Plain Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda/Bicarbonate of soda
113g Butter softened
165g Brown Sugar
4 tbsp Granulated Sugar
2 Large Eggs at room temp
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
150g Dark Choc or Semi Sweet Choc Chips
For the caramel - used own recipe
120g butter
1 tin condensed milk
2 tbsp golden syrup
120g caster sugar
1 tsp sea salt 
For the chocolate topping - used own recipe
125g Dark Choc
125g Milk Choc

Directions for Blondie
Preheat oven to 170c
Grease 9in silicone baking pan
Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl
In a separate large bowl beat the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until fluffy
Mix in the eggs one at a time and then add the vanilla
Mix the flour into the butter & sugar mix by hand taking care not to overmix
Fold in Chocolate chips
Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan,
Bake for 25 minutes, taking care not to over bake.
Once base is cooled you can prepare your filling.

Erens caramel filling recipe looked a little too wet for me, I prefer a more chewy caramel that sets and can be sliced through neatly so I used a more traditional millionaire shortbread caramel filling recipe. See above for ingredients.

Directions for Caramel
Put all filling ingredients into a saucepan, heat gently on low low heat until sugar is melted then bring to the boil. Stir constantly to avoid the mixture catching on the base and burning. Boil for 4 to 6 minutes until a nice rich caramel colour. Allow to cool slightly and then poor the mixture onto the blondie base spreading evenly.

Allow to cool and set in the fridge. When fully cooled and set, melt the chocolate using a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water or in the microwave.
Pour melted chocolate over the caramel and pop back in the fridge to set.

Slice. Eat. Enjoy

Thanks for Reading!