Autumn/Winter essentials

Of course as it's nearing the Christmas season - the best time of year in my opinion - it's time to get out the sparkle. I think it's fun to jazz up your makeup at this time of year with some eyeshadow that you wouldn't necessarily be brave enough to wear any other time of year. I like the warm/pinky tones of these eyeshadows and I often wear them mixed together for extra sparkle and shimmer. These are great all over the eye on their own as an everyday look with an extra something; or can be transformed into a smokey look with some dark matte browns and warm colours through the crease and some eyeliner. 

It's no secret that everyone loves a berry lip during the colder months. Recently I have been enjoying matte lips, which is rare as I am definitely a gloss girl! My favourites at the moment are this lip liner to make my lips look a bit fuller while making the colour last a lot longer - mentioned here and here. I have also been a bit late to the party in discovering the Revlon Matte Balms. These are lovely and creamy, easy to apply and wear really nicely on the lips. I picked up a more muted berry colour as I wanted something slightly more subtle. Although this combination can make my lips quite dry as long as you layer up with a lip balm you should be fine - making lip balm another essential!

With the cold weather also comes dry hair. Also, where I have previously used bleach and dye on my hair I need to take extra care of it to keep it in good condition. In the shower my favourite conditioner to use is the Herbal Essence Moisture Balance from the classics collection. Unless I need a more intense condition in which case I use the Tony and Guy Nourish Reconstruction Mask - full post here. After the shower while my hair is wet I spray the Aussie leave in conditioner all over  to lock in the moisture. This product also makes it so much easier to brush through my hair. I then put a couple of pumps of the Garnier oil onto the ends and lengths of my hair to keep them lovely and soft. The combination of these products help to keep my hair from looking damaged and dry. 
I would also like to add dry hair shampoo to my essentials...with wooly hat weather who can tell whether you have 3 or 4 day hair or not?! Am I right?

During the colder months I find using regular fake tan can be slightly too intense - and a lot more obvious that you're wearing it! Where I usually use the Rimmel Sunshimmer Instant Tan mousse, or the Rimmel Sunshimmer Instant Tan - mentioned here - which are both great self tanners;  they can be too dark to look natural in the winter. A great, more natural looking, alternative is the St Tropez in shower tan. This was released during the summer and received very mixed reviews. Many had said that it was a bit of a faff to apply as you have to stop the shower and stand in the cold for 3 minutes. However for me this was not a problem as this time flies if you're listening to music - having a good shower jam. I would recommend this for those of you who are more on the paler side, as I'm not sure it would make much of a difference on tanned skin. I did notice a difference after I had used this a couple of times. It gives a nice natural glow to the skin which is perfect during the dull weather!

What are your Autumn/Winter essentials?
~ Lucy xx

Current Favourites | #12

Jo Malone Cologne Intense ~ Dark Amber & Ginger Lily* | It’s no secret that I’m a big Jo Malone fan - who isn’t, right? - and recently Dark Amber & Ginger Lily has recently been my favourite fragrance to wear. With a top note of black cardamon, heart note of black orchid and a base of incense this fragrance is all kinds of sexy, dark and mysterious without being overly masculine. To me it paints the fantasy of sitting in a cocktail bar, in a swanky dress waiting for a handsome man to whisk me away into the sunset, a girl can dream. The cologne intense’ are slightly more expensive than the regular 100ml colognes at £105 and don’t come in a handbag size but they do last on the skin longer and use rarer ingredients so are worth the investment if you like deeper, sexy scents. Velvet Rose & Oud is another favourite from the collection as well.

Seventeen Mono Eyeshadow ~ Funfair* | This shadow is all kinds of beautiful. It’s a pink duo-chrome which in some lights will look either pink or iridescent however on the eye it doesn’t look overly pink or unwearable. This is also one of the softest shadows I’ve used from the highstreet and is incredibly budget friendly.

L’Oreal True Match Foundation | The L’Oreal True Match recently went through an update in both formula and packaging. I remember picking this up a couple of years ago and not liking it but I’m enjoying the new formula - full review here.

Fleur de Force x Eylure ~ Fleur Loves | I’m a big eyelash girl however I don’t like any which are hard to put on or incredibly noticeable when wearing them, I just want to look like I’ve naturally got perfect lashes. These lashes from Fleur de Forces range are not only incredibly easy to apply thanks to the clear lash band and the fact that they’re only 3/4 lashes but they’re incurably natural but still give umph. They have a new technology which tapers the tips so they easily blend in with your natural lashes and if you’re a winged liner girl, like me, the shape of these lashes will emphasise that slinky eye look.

Large Hair Grips | I recently picked these up from Boots instead of the normal sized ones and I’m wondering why I never got them before. If you have long or thick hair which doesn’t stay gripped very securely or you have to use about twenty pins at a time then you need these in your life. Pronto.

What are you current favourites?

~ Jade xx

My Most Used Makeup Brushes | Zoeva & Real Techniques

Makeup brushes are the tools of the face and you’re makeup is only as good as your brushes. That doesn’t mean you have to use the most expensive brushes in the world however some are definitely better than others. Personally, I like to use synthetic brushes. Not only because they’re cruelty free but they soak up less product, stay in shape better and decent ones are just as soft as natural hair brushes. Great brushes at an affordable price can be found from brands such as Sigma, Zoeva, Real Techniques and Crown. More expensive great brushes can be found from nearly every brand on the market but some notable ones being MAC, Charlotte Tilbury and Bobbi Brown. The most important thing though is to keep your brushes clean. Not only does this prevent bacteria building up but also the less product is on the brush already the more seamless your makeup application will be. Below is a few of my most used brushes.

Real Techniques Blush | My favourite brush for powder. Perfectly sized to get underneath the eyes but not so small it takes ages to powder the rest of your face.

Zoeva Luxe Sheer Cheek | The best face brush I’ve found for applying blusher or diffused contour and bronzer. For this reason, I have two of them.

Real Techniques Contour | To add some concentrated contour, particularly under the jawline or on the nose, this brush is the perfect size. It’s also great for blending under-eye concealer. This brush can only be found in the Core Collection however the other brushes in the Core Collection are also really great and make the purchase worth it.

Zoeva Luxe Soft Definer | I love this brush so much I have two. Perfect for blending but also adding diffused colour into the crease for subtle, everyday definition.

Zoeva Luxe Petite Crease | My favourite brush for adding that inner corner highlight that I can't go without. It’s  also the perfect size for adding controlled colour into the crease.

Zoeva Wing Liner | Perfect for emphasising a 60s cut crease, adding shadow onto the lower lash line or creating winged liner with gel or eyeshadow, see the full post here.

What’re your favourite brushes?

~ Jade xx

The Contouring Edit #2 | NYX Wonder Stick & Matte Bronzer

Contouring is a big step in my daily makeup routine. Although it definitely isn’t a necessary step, it’s my favourite part of doing my makeup as it transforms my face from a blob to chiseled within seconds. The trick is to use the right products. A powder or cream that isn’t too warm as you just end up with a muddy line on your cheek - been there, done that - but also not too ashy or you end up looking gaunt and slightly… dead, which is great for halloween but not generally for everyday. 

Recently, NYX landed in Boots and although NYX has been available in the UK for a while it hasn’t been that easy to get hold of so predictably I made a reasonable order online and have been testing out a few products. The products I’m enjoying the most at the moment are the Wonder Stick in the shade light and also the Matte Bronzer in the shade deep.

The Wonder Stick is beautifully creamy so is easy to blend but is also richly pigmented. Applied on it’s own it creates a soft and natural contour but it can be layered for more intensity.  It comes in four shades but from what I’ve seen the shade light is the only one that has a more taupe contour colour, the other look quite warm so would be good for bronzing but not so much contour. The highlight is also really great as it’s the same creamy texture. It doesn’t have any shimmer to it but perfectly attacks light to wherever you apply it.

The Matte Bronzer in the shade deep is the most richly pigmented bronzer I have ever used so when applying it less is definitely more. Although it’s a bronzer, the shade isn’t overly warm so it can be doubled as a contour shade. Personally, I don’t contour right in the hollow of my cheeks but rather just above so using the NYX bronzer is more of a contour/bronzer hybrid. 

What are your favourite contour products of the moment?

~ Jade xx

* View our first contouring edit here.

Gingerbread Biscuits | Sunday Bakes

’Tis the season to be jolly and as mentioned in my Autumn favourites post I love gingerbread anything but the best form, is of course, gingerbread biscuits. This recipe is pretty straightforward and quick but does require time to cool the dough before baking. 

I N G R E D I E N T S :

75g light brown soft sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp black treacle
1 tbsp water
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 rounded tsp ground ginger
95g butter
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
225g plain flour sifted + extra if needed

1 tube of white writing icing to decorate (or any decorations of your choice)

M E T H O D :

1. Add the sugar, golden syrup, treacle, water, cinnamon and ginger to a saucepan on a low heat and leave to combine. 

2. Add the butter to the syrup mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until everything is mixed together and all of the butter has melted - make sure the mixture doesn’t burn or bubble.

3. Bring the saucepan off the heat heat and mix in the bicarbonate os soda and the plain sifted flour to the mixture until a dough forms - you may need to add some extra flour to the mixture if your dough is quite runny.

4. Leave the mixture to cool in the fridge for thirty minutes. 

5. Pre heat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4 and roll out the dough - make sure your surface and rolling pin are dusted with flour to prevent any sticking. Cut out your gingerbread and place onto a greaseproof baking tray. Place in the oven for 10 minutes or until brown - they will be soft when they first come out of the oven but will set as they cool so be careful not to overtake them!

6. Once your gingerbread have cooled decorate in any manner you wish. Voila, perfect gingerbread for the festive season. 

What’s your favourite festive treat?

- Jade xx

A 70s Autumn | Outfit of the Day

Autumn is my favourite time of year, especially when it comes to fashion. I love autumn days when the sun is shining but there's still a chill in the air. This year I have found a love for coats and earthy tones, A-line skirts and 70s prints when it comes to putting together outfits. As I'm sure you can tell, Topshop and New Look have been my favourite places to find some great pieces this year.

What are your autumn fashion favourites?
- Lucy xx

What I'm wearing:
Trench coat ~ New Look
Scarf ~ New Look
Top ~ Topshop
Skirt ~ Topshop
Boots ~ New Look (similar here)
Bag ~ Rebecca Minkoff - Avery Crossbody (exact colour no longer available)

Soap & Glory | One Heck of a Blot Primer

“Instantly diminish the appearance of pores and all-day-shine control, 
helps hide imperfections, even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of redness. It also helps makes your make
 up last longer and, with vitamin E, leaves you good to glow.”

On a recent peruse in Boot I came across the Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot Instant Perfecting Power Primer. I’m always looking for new primers as having oily skin I need all the help I can get to keep my makeup on my face. 

When I first tried this I expected it to be a silicone-like primer - which I’m not the greatest fan of, see Maybelline Baby Skin Review - but it isn’t. It’s light pink in colour and is a beautiful texture - not quite gel-like nor cream, something in-between. I like to pat it into my skin and it leaves the skin slightly tacky. 

Personally I don’t suffer with redness, however I have noticed that the pores around my nose appear smaller under my foundation with this primer, I am less oily and my makeup lasts longer. I haven’t noticed it helping to hide any imperfections but I’m not too sure how an almost clear primer can hide imperfections? 

My favourite thing about this primer though is that it doesn’t make my skin super matte. It still lets your skin have a natural, semi-matte look rather than making everything look flat and dry but still stems any further oil. Usually in a day I’d need to top up my powder two or three times but when using this primer once is enough in a eight to ten hour day.

Do you have any primer recommendations?

~ Jade x

Favourite Things about Autumn & Outfit

Autumn is my favourite time of the year, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who loves, and I mean loves, autumn. The leaves change colour, the nights draw in and the temperature drops - not to mention it means Christmas is just around the corner. Today I wanted to encapsulate the things I love about autumn in one post and share with you all.

Autumnal walks | I love walking during the autumn months, I love walking in general but during autumn it’s extra special. Its cool enough to wear a coat but your fingers aren’t falling off and you get to experience all the leaves changing colour. If you live in the countryside like me you’ll also probably see a large amount of wild animals - pheasants & deer being the main ones. The photos in this post were taken at Westonbirt Arboretum which isn't terribly far from where we live and is a day place to just be for a while whilst looking at how beautiful nature can be.

Layering | I love a coat, I have a slight obsession with good quality, tailored coats - the one in these photos is from Jack Wills - and I always get excited when the temperature begins to fall because it means I can dig out all of my outerwear. The cooler weather is also a great excuse to wear every jumper you own, dust off the thick socks and of course, the tartan scarf.

Berry hues | As somebody you wears a uniform of monochrome autumn is great as it means I can introduce my berry, rust and brown shades into my wardrobe which I can’t get away with during the warmer months. I can also start to wear my berry and vampy lip colours again - above I’m wearing Charlotte Tilbury’s Bond Girl.

Lazy days | When the rain is pelting against the windows and you have no reason to leave the house I love to wrap myself up in my incredibly fluffy dressing gown and my pjs and do a whole lot of nothing. During summer you feel like you’re wasting the day - carpe diem and all that - but during autumn and winter there is no guilt, at all.

Gingerbread scented/flavoured things | Candles, cakes, biscuits, room sprays, coffee, I don’t care what it is but if it’s gingerbread, I’ll have it all, please.

Christmas songs | I’m not ashamed to say that I start to get excited for Christmas as soon as September comes around. I’m a big kid at heart, and the Christmas songs get cracked out as soon as I can get away with it. My top three favourites are: Fairytale of New York - The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl (the most anti-Christmas song which perfectly sums up my family), Have yourself a merry little Christmas - Frank Sinatra (I could listen to Frank all day, every day quite easily), Stop the cavalry - Jona Lewie (this is also my mums favourite Christmas song so inherently is one of mine).

What are you favourite things about autumn?
- Jade xx

What I’m wearing above:
Coat ~ Jack Wills (no longer sold)
Scarf ~ Topshop (old, similar here)
Jeans ~ Topshop
Watch ~ Daniel Wellington
Wellingtons ~ Hunter

Toni & Guy Nourish Reconstruction Mask | The Dry Hair Saviour

My hair often feels very dry and fragile form constant lashings of heat styling, bleaching and colouring which is especially highlighted when I rarely get my hair cut. To combat this my holy grail hair product is the Toni & Guy Nourish Reconstruction Mask. Over the years I’ve tried all manner of deep conditioning treatments both high end and from the high street with crazy claims of ‘repairing ten years worth of heat damage’ and the like but this is the only one that actually makes a drastic improvement to my hair - it also doesn’t feed you lots of crazy claims but rather says it deep conditions to which the statement is true. You only need a small amount to generously coat the ends of your hair so a pot will last you a while. I like to apply it after I’ve washed my hair first in the shower then I tie my hair up and leave it whilst I finish the rest of my shower before rinsing with cool water.

What’s your hair rescue product?

~ Jade xx

Current Favourites | #11

By Terry Ombre Blackstar Eyeshadow Stick ~ Blond Opal | I picked this up on a Sephora run on my recent trip to Paris - full post here - and I’ve used it nearly everyday since. A full review will be up soon but there isn’t anything I don’t love about this product. It’s a great base for eyeshadow but also works well on its own. For me it ticks all of the boxes.

L’Oreal True Match Touche Magique Concealer ~ Ivory Beige | I was in the market for a new under eye concealer and taking advantage of a 3 for 2 deal at my beloved Boots I picked this up to try and I love it. It’s really great at brightening under my eyes and around my nose as well as the high points of my face. With this type of highlighter I usually find that they’re far too pink for my skin tone but L’Oreal have both yellow toned and pink toned options.

L’Oreal Infallible Mega Gloss ~ 103 Protest Queen | I’d been swatching these on the back of my hand the past few times I’d been into Boots and finally picked up a colour on my last trip. These come in an array of colours across four different finishes - cream, dazzle, xtreme and matte. Protest Queen is part of the cream formula family and is a lovely milky nude colour which is great to use in the centre of the lips. These aren’t sticky but stick around a long time.

Clearasil Deep Action Deep Pore Treatment Toner | This was an emergency purchase when my skin was acting up and I needed something to put on my breakouts but my stocks were depleted. I picked this up on a whim and it worked a treat shrinking my breakouts almost instantly. I wouldn’t recommend using this full time though as it does get a bit drying.

Z for Accessorize Heart Pendant Necklace* | A friend gifted me this dainty chain and I’ve worn it pretty much everyday since. I’m not usually a big jewellery wearer but as this is so small and delicate its perfect. The rest of Z for Accessorize range is pretty great too.

Vaseline Intensive Care Spray Moisturiser | As I mentioned in my Lazy Beauty Steps post - which can be seen here - I’m really bad at moisturising my limbs. This however is life changing. Every night before bed I spray some of this onto my legs and arms, quickly spread it around and it sinks into the skin seconds later. It isn’t arduous and you aren’t left sticky for two hours after. Perfect.

What are your current favourites?

~ Jade xx

Product Rejects | #1

Very rarely do I like to to highlight products that I don’t think are worth spending your money on unless I just flat out don’t like it. However, when I was clearing out my makeup drawer recently I came across a few things that I regret ever buying and thought I would share them because no matter how much you love a specific brand, sometimes you don’t like a certain product they release.

The Bodyshop Tea Tree Flawless BB Cream | This was a product I bought when it was newly released last year. At the time I was struggling with bad breakouts - which I do still suffer with so any product recommendations would be greatly welcomed - but I wanted a slightly lighter base for summer. The shade range is awful as there are only three shades in total and they’re all fairly orange. Being a BB cream I assumed it would be fairly easy to blend in so if the colour was out slightly it wouldn’t be too bad, like with most products of this nature. However, this product is actually very thick for a BB cream and doesn’t blend in well at all. I found that it almost separates when blending no matter if I used my fingers, a brush or a sponge. It just wasn’t to my liking.

Bourjois Happy Light Matte Serum Primer | At first I loved this product - full review here - so when I picked it up again about a year later I expected to still love it. I’m not sure if the product has changed or if my skin has changed but it now sits differently and I found it not be as good at keeping my makeup in place as I remembered it to be. I also found that it could flake off in certain areas when applying a foundation over top.

Maybelline Dream Flawless Nude Foundation | This was just an all round no from me. I wrote a full post about this foundation - which can be seen here - but in summary I didn’t like the application and I didn’t like the product. It's okay on days if you just need to slap something on but in my opinion there are much better things out there.

Maybelline The Eraser Eye Concealer | I picked this up after hearing so many rave reviews about it however personally I didn’t think it was anything special, especially for undertake eyes - full review here.

Bourjois Chocolate Bronzer | I loved this product to death and still probably would if I still used it however, if you have sensitive or acne prone skin I’d recommend staying clear as I found this is be the number one cause of my breakouts. The Bourjois Bronzing Primer breaks me out instantly too, which I’ve so far put down to the scent as all other Bourjois face products I’m fine with.

Revlon Bold Lacquer Mascara | I’m a massive fan of the Revlon Lash Potion Mascara so when this launched I was really excited to try it. My main niggle with this mascara is that it has lash fibres in it - something which isn’t stated on the bottle - and as a contact lens wearer this made my eyes extremely irritated. It was also an incredibly wet formula which personally I really don’t like in a mascara.

Rimmel Wonder'full Mascara | Personally I found this mascara just didn’t really do anything to my lashes. It didn’t lengthen them and it didn’t volumes them either, is was a very nothing product for me.

What are some of your purchase regrets?

~ Jade xx

Paris | 2015

Paris is a city that I’ve always wanted to go to. Despite it being only a two hour train journey away I had never been to France before let alone its capital. Back in June Lucy and I took the trip for four days and long overdue, this is our travel diary.

On our first day in Paris we arrived late afternoon after spending two and a half hours on the Eurostar from London - much to Lucy’s annoyance as she couldn’t get comfortable to sleep on the train, a true first world problem. After checking into the hotel and freshening up we decided to wonder down to the Eiffel Tower to get dinner. I had never been to Paris before, or France for that matter, so was very excited to see the tall standing building. 
We stopped off for dinner at a small cafe/restaurant with a view of the tower on our way back to the metro - side note: the cheapest way to get around Paris is via the Metro, if you’re used to the Underground, like me, it can still take some getting used to though despite it being a similar deal mainly due to the lines not having directional points like the Underground. This quaint spot wasn’t the most luxurious place to eat in Paris however the food was nice, the service was friendly and if you’re more interested in the tourist side of Paris opposed to living the high life, its perfect and budget friendly, which its hard to find a budget anything in such an expensive city.

Brownies | Sunday Bakes

Chocolate brownies are a staple recipe that everyone has, or should have, down to perfection. Today I thought I’d share my perfect recipe for the best bitter, sweet, gooey brownies. 

I N G R E D I E N T S :

225g dark chocolate
110g butter
35g cocoa powder
3 eggs
150g light brown sugar

M E T H O D :

1. Preheat oven 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4 and prepare your tin. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. 

2. Once the chocolate and butter have fully melted sift in the cocoa powder and leave to the side to cool. Whilst the mixture is cooling whisk the eggs until frothy before adding the sugar and whisking further until the mixture is thick and mouse-like.

3. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture once the mixture is cool. Use a metal spoon to fold the mixture as this helps to add more air to avoid a stodgy mixture. 

4. If you wish to you could add 100g of walnuts, cherries, chocolate chips or whatever else you like to your brownie mixture at this point, personally though I like just plain brownies though.

5. Transfer your mix to your prepared tin and place in the oven to cook for 20 minutes turning the tin around halfway through for an even bake. Leave to cool before cutting into bitesize pieces.

~ Jade xx

Photography information

Canon 600D with 18-55mm lens, Canon 24mm lens or Sigma 70-300mm lens. Canon EOS M with 18-55mm lens or Canon 24mm lens. Any edited photos are edited using Photoshop CS6. Picture source is given for any photo used that is not directly ours.