Saturday, 30 November 2013

Winter Acne

Up until last year I had pretty clear skin and the only concern I had was an oily skin type. Then last winter I developed red, sore, blemished skin on my cheeks. It was really itchy and never seemed to go away. Although I had knowledge of skincare, my immediate reaction was to use products designed for oily, blemished skin. This made my skin worse and it took the best part of six months for my skin to calm down again. I still get a lot of blemishes under the skin of my cheeks and some products make my skin flare up.

This past few weeks have been much colder and my skin has started breaking out into itchy blemishes again. These never seem to  come to a head or are burstable (gross, I know), so I decided to do some research into it. 

The reason skin gets prone to breakouts in winter is because it's dried out from the harsh winter, central heating and temperature changes. This causes the oil production to go into overdrive to compensate, producing excess oil which can clog pores and trap bacteria in your skin. 

I usually use products designed for combination to oily skin, as well as a pore cleansing scrub twice a week and a oil balancing mask. I've changed this for aloe based products designed for sensitive skin, which really has helped to soothe and calm my skin. Rather than exfoliating my skin twice a week, I use an scrub once every two weeks and use a buffer with my cleanser when I find my skin is peeling. It's important to keep your skin moisturised during the cold weather, so at night I use a rich cream when I don't mind my face looking greasy and a facial gel to give a lighter moisturisation during the day. I've been trying to find a moisturising mask to use once a week, but so far all the ones I have tried have irritated my skin and give a stinging sensation.

I personally chose using products for sensitive skin in the winter as my skin is slightly sensitive, which seems to be aggravated during winter. There are many cheap brands to choose from, such as Simple (here), who are well known and always have good reviews. One of my friends also swears by Boots Cucumber range (here), particularly the toner, to sooth and rid her acne.

Another product I have fallen in love with this winter is the Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Protective Base. I originally went to Clinique with the intention of buying the Superprimer, but after chatting to the girl on the counter I went for this. As well as covering redness day to day, it has ingredients which help to soothe sensitivity over time and stop the redness coming back.

Obviously there are other factors such as diet and drinking plenty of water, but I wanted to do a post on skincare as it's something I never considered, although that may have just been my own stupidity!


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Winter Warmers: Ecosse Candles

I've never been big on candles, but there's something about winter that makes me want them. When I saw The Sunday Girl's post (here) on Ecosse Candles (here), I immediately wanted some of my own. One that smells of shortbread and another like my favourite perfume? Plus, they're from Scotland? SOLD!

The website it beautiful and very simple, making it easy to navigate and select from options of what you want. There were only about 3 scents that I had no interest in, so it took me a while to decide which candles to try. I knew I definitely wanted the Homemade Shortbread and I was interested to see if Sweet Pea did smell similar to Viva La Juicy, so I decided to try both of them and also loved the sound of Woodland Walk. I bought the Votive glass candles for £4.49 so that I can give them a try, then buy the big glass jar versions if I like them.

Homemade Shortbread

"Our intensely rich and buttery aroma smells like it just came out of the oven (just don’t eat it!)."

When I opened the packaging the candles came in, this was the scent that came floating out. At first I was concerned that it was too strong and quite sickly, but after being in my room for a few hours the initial overpowering aroma faded to a gentle, comforting scent.
The scent is a lovely mixture of butter and sugar that makes me think of the smell of my mum baking millionaires shortbread. I like to burn this candle in the evenings when I'm chilling out and watching TV.

I chose the wooden wick for this candle as I was intrigued as to the difference to a cotton wick. It crackles slightly as it burns, which I find adds to the comforting feel the scent gives. There was no smoke with the burning which had been my main concern about choosing a wooden wick.

Sweet Pea

"A luxurious fragrance with layers of floral scents with subtle hints of sweet fruit. This one is a must try!"

As I said, I was curious as to whether or not this did indeed smell similar to Viva La Juicy. When I first smelled it I was a bit apprehensive as I think it's a lot more floral and doesn't have the same kick that I love in Viva La Juicy, but once I burned it for a while I liked the difference. It's a really calming smell, so I prefer to burn this candle at night before I go to bed.

Woodland Walk

"Close your eyes and take a walk through a beautiful wood in the comfort of your own home.  A fresh, aromatic and herbal aroma infused with pine and woody green notes."

This is my favourite out of the three. I love fresh, outdoorsy scents and they generally make me happy. Whenever I'm home during the day I burn this candle. It's more invigorating than the other two and it's perfect to motivate me into being a bit more productive with my day.

I've had these candles for almost two weeks and I burn one of them for a couple of hours every time I'm home and I'm about half way down the candles now. As much as I like all three, I've become a bit addicted to candles and can't wait to finish these and try another few scents. I've already decided that my next purchase will be 3 more Votive candles - Evening Rain, Fairy Dust and Thistle and Honey.

What are your favourite candle scents? Do you like invigorating, sharp scents, or softer, relaxing scents?


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara: First Impressions

As i've mentioned before, i've been on the hunt for a new mascara. One of my friends has amazing eyes and super long lashes, so I asked her which mascara she uses and she reccomended this one. For a couple of weeks I was trying to decide between the Max Factor False Lash Effect(here) or They're Real! by Benefit(here).

I went into Boots one day without any make up on and decided I'd try on the They're Real first before deciding if I want to splash out on it. I circled the stand twice trying to see a tester as the counter assistant was completely ignoring my presence and pretending to do work on the computer (when I walked around the back of her I could see she wasn't). I found this really offputting and since I couldn't see a tester to try it myself, I decided I'd buy the Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara instead. The one my friend bought was gold so I went for the same one, the only difference I can see is that the gold wand is larger and square.

The tube promises "Full Lashes, Natural Effect" and the Max Factor Website claims it "doubles your volume from root to tip," which for my lashes is a pretty easy claim! I've had the mascara for a month now and although it does make my lashes lovely and seperated, I can't really say they look like I'm wearing false lashes!


Volume 4/5
I would say this mascara is great for making my lashes look darker and thicker, which I like. I  haven't had any clumping issues thus far, which is always an added bonus!

Length 3/5
Although my lashes look long in the photos, they don't really look longer than with any other mascara.

Staying Power 4/5
I found most mascaras leave me looking like a panda after a couple of hours. At the end of the day I occasionally have a few black smudges, but nothing too noticeable.

Price 4/5
Most of the mascaras I've had are around about £10 so in my opinion it's a fair price. As it doesn't smudge or go clumpy I'd happily pay £10.99 for it again.

Packaging 3/5
Personally I'm not a big fan of fat mascara tubes, so I don't particularly like the packaging. The wand is large, which meant I poked myself in the eye a few times when I was getting used to it, but it coats the lashes well without any clumps which is what I look for in a mascara.

What do you look for in a mascara? Do you have an all time favourite?


Tuesday, 12 November 2013

My 21st Haul

Instead of doing a October Favourites post, I decided to do a birthday haul since I turned 21 last month. Most of the items I got I had asked for, but I got a few surprises that were absolutely lovely!

From my parents & brother

My main present from my family is going to be a dress ring, which I have chosen but will have to wait until late December to have it delivered and the size altered, so I shall update you guys on that later. 

Apparently when I came back from Leeds I told my mum I was jealous of all the girls that had been wearing Hunter wellies becuase they all looked really cute and cosy, so she bought a pair when she saw them on offer. I was so exhausted from the weekend that I don't remember telling her this at all, but I was recently thinking of buying Hunters so I was really happy to get these.

Since I've been building up a special effects kit, my family got me two stippling sponges, a stippling brush and a spatula. I'd been using my cuticle pusher from my beauty kit as a spatula so this was much appreciated!

I also got a Japonesque make up belt, which is so cute and will be perfect after I've finished my courses and start looking for work! It has plenty of pockets and brush spaces, all well as hooks for attaching hair brushes or combs which is really handy.

The last gift from my family was a pack of tea forte winter spice teas. One of my favourite cafes in Aberdeen is Cup, which uses this brand of tea. I thought this was a cute gift and i've already gotten through the top layer. My favourite is the hazelnut truffle flavour, it's not as strong as the others but it's perfect for snuggling up infront of the tv at the end of the night.

My mum also baked me this AMAZING minion cake. She's really into cake decorating and baking, but this is the first time she's made a cake with such a hard structure and I'm so proud - she even made it my favourite minion, Dave!

From Scott

One of the many things that make my relationship perfect is how practical my boyfriend is. Most of the presents we give each other are something we've asked for.

My main present from Scott was my Intro To TV make up course, which was a big help as I'm paying for the courses myself. As I mentioned before the course was amazing and a learned so much, so it was definitely worth it!

I've liked the smell of Viva La Juicy since it came out but I could never bring myself to splash out on a bottle, so Scott bought me the 100ml EDP. I love the design of the bottle, especially the giant bow on the lid!

I also got my Kryolan Supracolour Palette early as part of my birthday, which I use for all my special effects. It has both the flesh tone and theatrical palette in one, which I think is called palette N. As the colours are greasepaint, hardly any product is needed to cover even larger areas, so it should last me a long time.

From Jenyth and Louise

My two closest friends and I usually don't do presents on birthdays and Christmas, but since we're all turning 21 we made an exception. I was moaning that the bag I bought a few months ago has been awful as the shoulder strap snapped and the handles are connected by buttons that constantly popped, so Jenyth bought me a bag I had seen in New Look. I love satchel bags and this one has a rigid structure so my purse and tablet fit perfectly and don't move about too much.

Louise bought me a cute owl coin purse when she was over in Krakow. It's kitsch and well crafted, I love the detail on it! She also gave me a litre bottle of Absolut vodka which i've left at Scotts, so i'm sorted for pre drinks for the next while.

From Family &  Friends

Photographing my bracelets was SO hard, this is honestly the best of about 30 shots.
I was surprised by a lot of these presents as they were so unexpected. Most of my family gave me money, which to be honest i'm grateful for as it's so practical. The closest family friends are two twins who are the same age as my brother and their parents. From them I received this lovely bracelet from them fromTi Sento. It's purple, which is my favourite colour and I like that it's simple as I'm not the biggest jewellery person!

I also got a Fossil bracelet from my aunt, uncle and cousins. It's a simple band with a butterfly on it, which is perfect for wearing in formal situations.

From another close family friend I got Hunter welly socks, in the dark purple to go with my wellies. They look ultra cute together with the two shades of purple and I can't wait for winter to wear them!

At work we don't normally do presents on birthdays, so it was a lovely surprise when two of the girls, my assistant manager and manager all got me something! I got two kitsch necklaces with Brave and a Game Of Thrones dragon egg on them from Catherine, who even said "I know they're not exactly something you'd wear but I know you'd love them anyway." I'm planning on re-arranging my room soon so I shall find somewhere to display them! I got a bottle of wine from another girl Kerry, which was consumed before I went out for my birthday.

A few months ago I told my manager that my mum was baking a minion cake for me and she showed me her friend's minion phone socks. Little did I know she went and got me one! It's nice thick wool so my phone is safe and snug when I'm out and about.

My assistant manager always suggests blogs for me to follow and she knew I've been on the hunt for a new mascara, so she got me the Clinique High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara. I'm saving it until I've finished my current mascara, but it has so many good reviews that I don't know if I can wait that long!

I also got a Boots gift voucher from a third family friend. I can't decide if I want to splash out and use it on something from one of the high end make up stalls, or if I should save it for something I regularly buy from Boots (which is almost all my make up!)

When I turned up to the venue on my birthday, Scott and his friends had already been there to watch the football. His friends had all put money together and bought a bottle of champagne, which not even Scott knew about. I thought this was really sweet as I really didn't expect anything from them! I can't remember what brand it was, but I remember it was pretty expensive!

My birthday was amazing and I was so touched at how many people bought me presents and came along on the night out, I even had a wee bubble halfway through the night as I was so overwhelmed by how lucky I am.


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Review: Nimba Creations Gelatin Prosthetics

I know I've spent ages writing posts on different mediums to create special effects, but when I was on my course we used gelatine prosthetics, which I decided to buy for Halloween.

Nimba Creations (here) is the website I bought these from, which sells a butt-load of gelatine prosthetics. From tiny cuts and bullet wounds to full on zombie face prosthetics, there is everything you could ever want to stick on your face for a fancy dress party! There is a kit with the adhesive, gelatine bonder and remover in small quantities for £9.99, which I bought since the wounds were just for myself and Louise on Halloween! There are also kits available which are really cool, they have one for making yourself a zombie and even one for a zombie party, where up to 7 people can be zombies and victims! I've been eyeing up the full make up kit, which contains 31 prosthetics, make up brushes, cotton buds, hair grips and many other accessories that come in handy when dealing with prosthetics! 

I chose the large cut and Louise chose the bullet wound. They did take a little over a week to arrive, but as it was almost Halloween I can't fault that! When my kit arrived the adhesive had leaked out into the packaging, but once I emailed the company, they sent out a new one on special delivery which came 2 days later. I was really happy that they were so fast to send it out and I didn't even have to send the original back!

For Halloween I went as Babydoll from Sucker Punch and Louise was Sweet Pea. My wig had a fringe so I decided to put my wound on my jaw rather than my temples like I had first planned. I found my wound hard to blend as I stuck it down in a rush and didn't smooth the edges out properly, meaning it was wrinkled slightly. In the end it didn't look too bad expect for next to my mouth, as you can see in the photo. I used my Supracolor Palette to colour in the gelatin to match my skin, then applied the black into the wound. I then used my bruise wheel to add dark and bright red into the wound before stippling stage blood all over the area to help disguise the edges.

Louises wound was a lot better blended, but as we were at a house party I didn't manage to get a good photo. Again, I used my Supracolor Palette, bruise wheel and stage blood to colour the wound.

The wounds lasted really well throughout the night, which I was impressed by as we were in a hot, sweaty nightclub. I had also applied mine over my foundation which I thought was going to be a really bad idea and I thought it would start to peel off when I spoke as it was on my jaw, but it stayed firmly in place! When I got home I was so tired after having to wait an hour to get a taxi, I just pulled the prosthetic off rather than using the remover, which unfortunately caused it to tear in half. If this hadn't happened I would have definitely gotten a few more uses out of it before the edges became too thick to blend!

Overall I'm really impressed with the prosthetics and I think anyone wanting to be a zombie or victim should give these a go! The service was great and I couldn't believe how nice they were about sending another bottle of adhesive in time for Halloween.

Has anyone else bought prosthetics from a similar website? I'm interested to see what there is available to buy!

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