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'Less Is More' Makeup*

I review a lot of makeup products on my blog, but every now and again I get a total makeup overload. When it happens, I'll often seek out a more natural look. It's all about 'less is more' for me a lot of the time - especially as I'm so busy these days. So, if you want to achieve a fresh, natural appearance but still highlight your favourite features then read on.

As with any makeup application, you'll need to make sure your skin is clean and clear from any previous makeup. For a perfect cleanse, you'll need to know what sort of skin you have. There's an excellent guide to skin type over at Paula's Choice.
If you want to go the whole hog with a natural look, you might want to skip your foundation application. I use a tinted moisturiser that will help me even my skin tone out and gives some protection from the sun. However, if you have any skin problems, you might feel more confident covering up a little more.  So use an unscented moisturiser and stick to your foundation. Oily skin may need a foundation powder to help dry things out.
A concealer is an excellent tool for hiding blemishes around your eyes. But go easy with it. Too thick and it could destroy the look you are going for, so keep things very basic and light.
Again, it's important to go easy with your bronzer. The idea is to use just enough that it gives your skin a slight glow, but not enough to give you a fake tan. It can be a problem for those with pale and fair skin. Of course, if you can get away with it and still feel confident, it is best not to use any at all!
If you have to use blush, try to use one that only just offsets your skin tone. Don't use it with bronzer, use it only as a substitute. Use creme rather than powder - not only does it last longer, but it also has a more natural effect.
OK, so here’s my golden rule for natural-looking eyes. Do not, under any circumstances, go for permanent eyebrows! I have seen plenty that have gone wrong - and a few that look great. But the risk is just too high, and they don’t seem natural. Also, avoid plucking, as they will grow back quickly, and that totally defeats the natural look. Think about hair removal product instead if you need to - here’s a great guide on what to expect. In terms of makeup, go easy. Smudge on a little eyeliner - a pencil is less natural-looking than gel or liquid.  Add some white liner or shadow in the corners to make your eyes look bigger. Finally, blend in a small amount of neutral-coloured eyeshadow from your lids to your brow.

Valuelights Makeup Vanity Mirror Review

In preparation for my new house I was looking to upgrade some of my dressing table accessories. Right now I'm using a magnifying mirror from Revlon that was a bargain in a sale. Unfortunately it's bulky, the mirrors are quite small and the bulbs don't seem to last very long. Wanting something a bit more sleek for my future house I was delighted to come across this mirror on Valuelights. 

It's a free standing mirror with chrome finish which looks much more expensive than £15! As a battery operated mirror you don't need to worry about it being close to a plug or using up a vital space in an extension cable. That's a problem I've had with my Revlon one, it's basically meant I've got 3 plugs instead of 4 as it's always hogging one. No worries about that now.

The mirror is two sided - magnified and regular - which is perfect for applying makeup, dying my eyelashes and plucking my eyebrows.  It's easy to spin the mirror from magnified to the regular side but it also stays in place well too. Don't need to worry about the mirror moving when you don't want it to.

The on/off switch is on the top of the mirror, it's really discrete and easy to reach. There's 8 LED lights which are all powered by the 4 AAA batteries inside. My only bug bear about this mirror is the bulb are really small and once their under the chrome lid they're not that powerful. It just means you need a bit of daylight too to help you out. I suppose I've just been spoilt by the power of my old mirror - I could do my makeup in a pitch black room, the bulbs are that powerful. I'll just have to hope my dressing table has good light or else I might have dodgy makeup.

Overall it's fantastic value for money, really high quality and looks really good sitting on top of a dressing table. A definite upgrade! Now that I've got my light up mirror ready I've got my eyes set on a Chandelier... that's an essential for a dressing room right?

Outfit of the Night - Birthday Dinner & Little Mermaid Musical

Dress: New Look
Jacket: Cameo Rose @ New Look
Flip Flops: New Look
Bag: Michael Kors
Floral Headband: New Look
Bracelets: Annie Haak

While we stayed in the Sol Principe Hotel in Torremolinos we were all inclusive, and we didn't really have any complaints, but we fancied doing something a bit more special for my Dad's birthday. We found a nice little restaurant a short walk away that suited all the fussy eaters - no fish was quite a struggle in the Costa Del Sol. I wore my new dress and jacket from New Look and wore my hair up for a change. Before our dinner we got watermelon shots which unfortunately turned out to not be alcoholic before I had a chicken caesar salad. It was huge and really good. I'd highly recommend the Tarik restaurant. After dinner we headed back to our hotel for Strawberry Daiquiris galore and to watch The Little Mermaid the musical - it was fab, and right up my street! 

Wish, Want, Need: Homeware

As the house hunt continues so does my hunt for homeware. With lots of the smaller stuff purchased and packed away in my "bottom drawer" (more like cupboard) I've started looking at some of the bigger stuff. I'm not sure if I'm going to have much more space to store it all so I'm hoping my dream house turns up soon!

One of my friends was showing me all the things she bought from the Range for her new house and I couldn't believe all the different furnishings and decor they did. I popped onto their website for a browse and the first thing that jumped out at me was the Nest of Tables. I really simple but practical item, I really want a set like this in my living room. 

As soon as I seen this George Home Toaster  I wanted to add it to my basket straight away. The colour is gorgeous, the only problem is will it match the rest of the kitchen? It's a lot more fun than a bog standard toaster. 

Another good shop for homeware is Matalan. I'm loving a lot of the grey colour scheme trends and this Heart Stool caught my eye straight away. The heart shape makes it a bit more  noticeable than the typical round foot stools. I'm not sure how convinced my boyfriend will be.

One of the storage problems that I've got at home is where I keep all of my shoes and that's going to be worse once I'm sharing with my boyfriend, especially with his collection of trainers. The Wilko Shoe racks  are quite cheap, simple and would be quite good to have near the front door. 

Another Matalan gem that put a smile on my face is this Duck Toilet Brush. Why get a plain toilet brush when you can get one in a duck shape! I wonder what Mark would say if I gave this to him as a birthday present!? 

 Last up is this Yorkshire Linen Duvet Cover Set. Yorkshire Linen has a huge range of duvet covers, with loads of different designs and I've fallen in love with this really simple embellished one. The ruffled roses are really girly but I think I'd get away with it. I might have to let Mark choose another colour and design for the spare room. At Yorkshire Linen's prices you can't really go wrong.

How long did it take for your to find your first house?

Visiting Gibraltar - Outfits & Monkeys

Dress: New Look
Flip Flops: Hollister
Sunglasses: Accessorize
Headband: New Look
Bag: Michael Kors Medium jetsetter Tote

It was my Dad's birthday when we were on holiday so we wanted to book something special. We found an excursion to Gibraltar that took us from Torremolinos, let us visit The Rock of Gibraltar including St Michael's Cave and the Barbary Macque monkeys. We also had time to go out for lunch and do a bit of shopping before heading back on the bus to Torremolinos.  It was a great day and even the 7.10am pick up and hour wait at customs on the way back didn't dampen our spirits... just might have left me with a bit of sun stroke!

River Island Sale Haul

When an email popped into my inbox about River Island's sale I couldn't resist a little peek. There was a few things that caught my eye in the "early look" pre-sale but it wasn't until the real sale started that I started making a few purchases. All casual clothes and things that I'd consider to be timeless, they won't be going out of fashion too soon!

 £17 down from £42
Whenever River Island has a sale I can never find jeans in it in my size. Being a shorty I have to get the short length ones and they always seem to be sold out. I tend to wear skinny jeans but I thought I'd give the Stevie Straight leg jeans a go. At £17 they're cheaper than New Look and really good quality. 

£10 down from £26
For work I wear loads of different dresses with a cardigan thrown on top. This cropped cardigan will be perfect for skater dresses and at £10 is really good value. You can't really go wrong with a classic piece like this.

£25 down from £50
Summer doesn't mean you can go out without a jacket in Scotland and I fancied getting one in lighter colour. I love my leather jackets and this one caught my eye in the sale. The light grey colour is lovely and the fitted shape is really flattering. I'm looking forward to wearing this for nights out and casual days. 

Not strictly a sale purchase but after trying on the Molly Jeggings in River Island in June, not buying them and instantly regretting it I made the purchase while they were finally in stock in my size. A bit pricey but River Island jeans are my absolute favourite and these ones are soft and comfortable - a complete staple in my wardrobe.

Did you buy anything in the River Island Sale?
Which high-street stores have you been bagging bargains from? 

Holiday Outfit & First Night Photos

Bracelets: Annie Haak
Flip Flops: New Look

In the middle of July I jetted off to Torremolinos in the South of Spain for a week with my boyfriend and family. We staying in the Sol Principe hotel right next to the beach. On our first night we explored the area, enjoyed the pic'n'mix at dinner and sampled the cocktail menu. The maxi dress that I was wearing is one of my favourites. The colours are gorgeous and the slit makes it easy to walk in and a bit cooler which was good for our first night in a Spanish heatwave.

What's your favourite thing to do on your first night?
What holiday cocktail can you not resist?

What To Expect When You Get Eyelash Extensions

I was recently given a voucher for a beauty salon and couldn't wait to treat myself. Being able to do my own gel nails I wanted to choose something that I couldn't do myself. With my holiday in mind I booked myself in for Lashes in a Flash. Being able to lie in the sun or jump in the pool without having to worry about mascara running down my face was enough to convince me to try out individual eyelash extensions for the first time.

Before I went to the salon I tinted my eyelashes using an Eylure at home kit. You can see from my before photo that I've got really light eyelashes and instead of spending an extra £14 to tint them I thought I'd do it myself. 

When I first went in the beautician commented on my fair lashes and said it would have been best to get them tinted first (little did she know I already had!) By the time the application was done she actually commented on how well the extensions blended and that in fact it hadn't mattered. I wonder if the same would have been said if I'd not made them that bit darker with my at-home dye.

The whole process only took about 30minutes. It started off with her asking what sort of length and curl I was looking for. I explained that it was for my holiday and so it wasn't anything too long or glamorous that I was looking for. You can go for something longer and fuller for a really dramatic look or something with less of a curl for something more subtle.

The next step is to put tape along the bottom of your eye. This was the weirdest part. I felt like I'd got botox or something. This was to stop any glue going where it shouldn't be and my eye getting glued shut. After that I lay with my eyes closed and she started sticking. During this time it didn't hurt - it didn't even feel all that uncomfortable. I could feel her adding individual lashes with tweezers but I was quite relaxed and unfazed. Every so often she'd prize my lids open gently just to make sure my eyes weren't glue shut. 

Before long I had about 60 lashes added to each eye and I was ready to open my eyes up for her to check there was no gaps. At this point she wasn't totally happy with my right eye so I closed it for her to add a couple of lashes. She used slightly longer lashes at the outside corners of my eyes and slightly shorter ones at the inside to help them look natural and feel comfortable. She'd done a fantastic job and she was ready to take the tape off my eyes. This is quite similar to taking plasters off and did make my eyes water ever so slightly. 

When I looked in the mirror I was delighted. For 30minutes work and £25 they looked fab. For the next 24 hours I wasn't to get them wet so no shower, no workout and no sad movies! I was told not to use oil based eye makeup remover and to just let the water gently run over my lashes in the shower. With that I was ready to go. The lashes are meant to last for 2-3 weeks but with a holiday in the sun (and waterpark) booked I was sceptical and looking forward to seeing the results.

What do you think of the results?
Would you like to see a review of the lashes 2 weeks down the line?

Quick Guide to Laser Hair Removal

Every woman has her beauty routine. It might involve applying a full face of makeup or just putting their hair into a ponytail. Whatever it is you choose to do, there are always some things that annoy you. You might be happy with the result. But that doesn't mean you always want to put up with the method for getting there. One of the things that I get fed up with is hair removal. Having smooth legs or keeping your bikini line neat is essential for a lot of women. But shaving, waxing and other methods are not fun. Laser hair removal is an alternative that some people consider. Yet not everyone knows much about it. I've got a short guide to help you decide if it's for you...*

What Is Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal is what it sounds like. The method uses laser technology to remove hair from your face or body. It targets the hair follicle to achieve results. Other methods cut the hair or remove it at the root, so eventually it will grow back. The word "laser" might sound frightening. However,  it's not something from an evil villain's lair. It's just a beam of light at a particular wavelength. It targets the melanin in your hair follicles. The method is often seen as superior to other types of hair removal because it lasts longer. Although it's not seen as entirely permanent, it's much more so than other methods.

Who Can Have Laser Hair Removal?
When it comes to laser hair removal, the process works better if your hair is darker than your skin. Melanin is what gives our skin and hair its colour. So if their shades are too similar, some lasers can get confused. You might think that it's not suitable for darker skin. But there is laser technology available for all skin types and colours. It's possible to have laser hair removal for Asian skin, black skin and other skin types if you use the correct laser. You can even have it if you have sensitive skin or you want to do an especially sensitive area.

Does It Hurt?
The main thing a lot of women want to know is whether laser hair removal hurts. If you wax, you're probably used to some pain. But "laser" sounds extremely painful! Most people say that it feels uncomfortable. But wouldn't necessarily describe the sensation as pain. Some clinics say that their methods are pain-free, but it's different for everyone. However, you certainly won't be screaming in agony!

How Many Sessions Do I Need?
It would be great if you could have one laser hair removal appointment and then be done. But you usually need to have a few to have the desired effect. It's usually at least three, and sometimes up to six or seven. As for how long each session takes, it will depend on the area you want to have treated.

Laser hair removal is more expensive than going for your regular wax, but you could save money in the long-term. Plus, it means no more waxing, shaving or epilating for a long time.

What do you think? Is hair removal that big of a problem for you?

Treat Yourself to a Little Retail Therapy...

We all seem to have a love/hate relationship with shopping. We love buying ourselves new stuff, but we hate the crowds and the stress of it all. If only there were a way to go shopping and have fun at the same time. Well, there is! Take a look at these three ways to make shopping more enjoyable*
Make A List
I love making lists, everyone should start making lists for everything they do! They’re a great way to get organised and make things less stressful. If you’re planning a shopping trip, write a list of things you’re looking to buy. It makes it a lot easier when you’re there because you know what you’re looking for. Plus, you aren’t spending ages wandering around a store trying to think if you need something or not. Which makes the whole trip so much more enjoyable for you. Also, it makes shopping almost feel like a scavenger hunt. You’re going from shop to shop trying to cross the things off your list. It’s extremely satisfying when you cross that last thing off your list, and very fun!

Become A Mystery Shopper

Becoming a mystery shopper is a great way to make shopping more fun. You get to go to shops and restaurants, finding out how good the customer service is. For example, you walk into H&M and see if any of the workers ask if you need help or not. You can look at how long it takes them to help you and if they’re knowledgeable with the store. It’s almost like you’re an undercover agent, so it makes shopping far more thrilling! The best part is; you can get paid to be a mystery shopper. If you want info on companies that hire mystery shoppers, look at this tomorrowstudio guide on ways to make money mystery shopping. It’s a good way to change a shopping trip into something a lot more fun and earn money while you shop too!

Shop With A Friend

Shopping is so much better when you do it with a friend. You aren’t stuck walking around shops on your own, which can get boring. With a friend, you’ve always got someone there to keep you company and talk to. It can make standing in long queues at checkouts bearable if you have a friend with you. Also, you get to have them on hand to help with your shopping decisions. They can provide a second opinion on whether something looks good or not. If you go shopping on your own, then it’s easy to get frustrated and annoyed with almost anything. I went the other weekend and left after about an hour because I couldn’t stand all the kids running about! But, if you go with a friend, talking to them will distract you from all the annoying things, making things a lot calmer, and you’ll enjoy it more.

NOTD: Holidays Nails

Before I jetted off on holiday I had to make sure I had holiday-ready nails. Shellac nails at home are really easy and didn't cost me a penny. I always go for a trusty French manicure - it's classy and goes with everything. As for my toenails I had a bit more of a dilemma. White toenails have been quite popular on Instagram so I thought I'd try it out too. The plain white was a bit boring before getting a tan so I added in a few hot pink gems to make it a bit more exciting. My pedicure isn't quite as neat as my manicure but it's not bad for an hour at home DIY style.

Do you go to a salon for holiday nails?
What colour do you always turn to for your nails?

New Look Haul

Just before my holiday I was having a girly day with two of my best friends. We went out for lunch, had a good catch up and did a little bit of shopping. I didn't really have much on my shopping list, just a couple of last minute things to get for my holiday suitcase. That didn't quite go to plan when I went into New Look. They were having an amazing summer sale and I seemed to be finding more and more things that I loved. All three of us ended up leaving with bags bulging, and totally ready for summer. White and floral seem to be the two trends for me. 

Floral Headband

Does any one else buy stuff from the teen section?
Does anyone have any outfit inspiration for the sleeveless jacket?