Lifestyle, Travel

Hello 2017

It’s rather delayed (in fact, we’re nearly at the end of January), but it’s never too late to make a few resolutions!

Entering into 2017 was lovely. I spent it with some of my best friends eating loads of cheese and drinking all the champagne… always a good start. After midnight, we all sat round and decided to write down our resolutions and then share them with each-other. It was really motivating to see what others were going to try and be pro-active about and what they were going to make more time for in the year ahead.

I thought I’d share the ones that I made because not only is it a useful thing for me to be able to look back on, but it might motivate you as well!

1. Stop being so hard on yourself!

This is something that I’m really awful at doing. I over-think and over-analyse a lot of aspects of myself, which can mean that sometimes it really gets me down. Being in my third year at Uni, I knew it would be difficult and so before I had even started to get stuck in, I had that voice in the back of my head telling me to try harder and what I was doing wasn’t good enough. We’re told throughout our academic lives that we need to be the best and compete with loads of other people for what we want; whether that’s a job, a place at university or anything else we’re passionate about. It’s amazing to try your best, but it’s also vital to remember that you’re human and you’ll be faced with things that you find a bit difficult. Finding things difficult is NORMAL, it doesn’t take away from your intelligence or your worth so give yourself some credit.

2. Read more!

In this case, I don’t mean Uni readings… although, I guess that’s important too; I’m however referring to more recreational reading and reading for fun. I absolutely love the feeling of finding a book that you have to tear yourself away from. I’ve always loved reading and would make sure that I made time for taking that down time and getting stuck in. As of recent, I have definitely been slacking on that and so I’m going to invest some more time into reading books that I really enjoy.

3. Strong, not skinny

Over Summer 2016, I joined a gym at home and was absolutely loving the routine and the aspect of challenging myself. I liked to see the progress, not only in terms of my body changing but also how it mentally benefited me. Taking the time out of the day to just go to the gym, have my music on and focus on myself for an hour or so was really refreshing. I also started to become more familiar with equipment other than the treadmill – although it took time for me to pluck up the courage and just get stuck in with it. When I first walked in and saw all of the machines I felt so overwhelmed… but it’s okay to ask what’s what because everyone there has had that feeling before; ‘what the hell does that do?!’. Keeping the gym up was something I doubted when I came back to Uni, but I have joined a gym and have been loving it – so I need to keep this up!

4. Save money but don’t neglect yourself

This is a big one for me. I feel as if I have really up and down relationship with saving money. In Summer, I had two jobs and was saving the money really well, because I needed it for a trip to Canada. I would tell myself that I could treat myself whilst I was there and so to step back from the make-up and clothes. I was really happy because I managed, and I didn’t go mental buying everything in sight – this means it is possible. Despite this, I’m still a firm of believer of being able to treat yourself and this doesn’t mean splashing the cash on something massive, but instead allowing yourself some little treats such as a nice bath bomb from Lush when you’re feeling a bit down or going to eat at your favorite restaurant. Be mindful of money but don’t disregard the little things in life that you enjoy.

5. Be more consistent with my blog posts

Easier said than done when I often feel as if I’m drowning in work but, like the ‘read more’ point, I want to do it because I enjoy it. I absolutely love writing and always have done but all that I was really writing before were essays and other assignments and I mean, they’re not that enjoyable to write because they are structured and are marked against a strict mark-scheme. I thought I’d start writing a blog because it allows for that creative output and I find nothing more enjoyable than jotting down all of the ideas that I have. I also love photography and the photo side of blogs is essentially what people look at first before they get down to reading a post and so I’d love to practice my photo taking and perfect the art of flat-lay. Anyway, I’m going to try my best to make more time for writing as life ain’t all about essays.

6. Travel

In 2016, I was lucky enough to be able to visit two countries that I’ve always wanted to – The USA and Canada. In April, I went and met my dad out in New-York and had the most amazing time (Travel: New York Part 1. & Travel: New York Part 2.). I would love to go back some time in the near future because it’s such a beautiful, vibrant and lively city with so much more to experience. I went to Montreal in August and had the best time venturing around and meeting new people; it was so lovely to be shown around by someone who had experienced actually living in the city and by the end I really didn’t want to leave because I felt so at home. I’d love to see more of both of those countries, Inter-rail around Europe and also visit the beautiful white sand beaches of Bali, Thailand and Cambodia. We shall see.

So, these are the main things that I want to try and focus on and strive for in the new year. January is nearly at an end which is absolute madness and I end University in May so I’m praying it doesn’t go too fast! In the mean time, I’ve got lots of goals to focus on.

L x

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Beauty

Kylie Cosmetics: Lip Kits

First of all, Happy New Year!
I hope that you all had a lovely Christmas break, and don’t have the January blues just yet.

I wanted to write a post about Kylie Cosmetics, as I received a couple of the lip-kits as Christmas gifts. I had been ooh-ing and ah-ing to whether I should just take the plunge and order a few colours, however, the shipping and potential customs lurking at the end, really put me off.

However, with Christmas nearing and KC offering 20% off everything on the website at the time, I may have dropped a few, not so subtle hints. And so we here we are! Firstly, I asked the person who kindly purchased them for me, about the delivery and customs when they ordered. The website was offering free international delivery (when ordering over $60) and of course there was the additional 20% off, which saved a pretty penny.

However, the order did have additional customs charges, which added £22 to the order and so this isn’t particularly ideal when you’re already paying quite a lot for the product itself. However, I’d just advise anyone that is making an order to be cautious and just know that you are more than likely going to get charged customs when they reach the UK.

I have the shades Pumpkin, Exposed and Merry (a limited edition Christmas shade). I have swatched them all, but I’ve only worn Exposed out and so, I’ll be doing a post about the quality and wear of the lip kits after I’ve given them all a go. From swatching them, they do have quite a strong sweet smell, and this reminds me of the Lime Crime Velvetines which also have the same, sickly scent. It’s not something I’m overly keen on but it doesn’t seem to linger once the product dries so that’s a plus.

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Pumpkin & Exposed 

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Merry 

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L to R: Exposed, Pumpkin, Merry

I am a fan of the ‘lip kit’ idea, as in the liquid lipstick comes with the matching liner. When I swatched all of the colours, the liners were extremely creamy and reminded me of the Mac Pro-longwear pencils, which are a firm favourite of mine. As for the liquid lipsticks themselves, they are quite liquid-y… which sounds like the most stupid thing I could ever say. However, the Kat-Von-D Everlasting Liquid Lips have a sort of mousse-like texture, and so the change in consistency is something I’ll have to get used to.

I am looking forward to trialling all three shades and will update you on what I think of them!

L x

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Lifestyle, Travel

Montreal Diaries

Summer is over and by the time that this post goes up, I’ll be all moved in to my new University house for third year. Terrifying… but I’m excited. However, I’m not quite ready to forget about my trip to Canada just yet. Two weeks honestly just flew by and we managed to fit in lots of exploring and spend lots of time outside enjoying the weather (loved the sun… humidity not so much).

First of all, on our first day we decided to wander around and walk from Saint Laurent down to Old Port. It was a really interesting walk and there were plenty of murals to take in and to take photos of which we all really enjoyed doing. As we got further down we stopped in a vintage store called EvaB which was absolutely huge and filled with such a variety which made it just so fun to walk around. They also had a little cafe at the front of the store which I thought was really quirky.

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After we finally dragged ourselves away from EvaB, with less money than we’d entered with we carried on our walk to Old Port. We stopped at a coffee shop called Tommy which had the most beautiful interior I had ever seen. Definitely an Instagram opportunity. I got a Nutella Cronetto and fell in love. I then got my heart broken because the nutella went all down my white playsuit but you can’t win everything. This area was so nice to look around and we even got to see Notre Dame which was where Celine Dion got married, cute.

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Moving away from the first day we then went to the Biodome, Planetarium and Botanical gardens which was amazing. My favourite part was the Planetarium because I’ve never been to one before. It was really surreal but so beautiful and the Northern lights show almost made me cry, so there you go. Typical.

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Something that just has to be mentioned is food. It wouldn’t be me unless I had something to say about what I ate whilst I was away. A favourite was Fabergé for brunch, I had the most wonderful, calorific cinnamon french toast with caramelised pecans which left me in a food coma for the entire day, but the cinnamon sweats were worth it. La Diperie is a place that we all fell in love with. You get plain soft serve ice-cream, dip it into whichever hot dip that you want and then it’s rolled in a topping. I got the hot hazelnut praline dip, dipped in crushed oreo and it was as good as it sounds. The portions are also really generous; the one in the picture is a medium and it was giant, but on another day I got a mini (the smallest one) and it still had so much ice-cream. Another worthy mention is Ch’Chocolat which has the largest menu all full of amazing chocolate *cries*. It took us a good half an hour or more to decide, but in the end I went for ‘Nutella sushi’ which is banana wrapped in a crepe like little sushi rolls with dark melted chocolate. SOS. Me and my friend Rosie also got a smoothie to share and added some tequila shots in there, beautiful. O’Noir restaurant was also such an amazing experience. It’s basically a blind restaurant where your waiters are blind and you are sat in the pitch black darkness so you can’t see who’s around you and most interestingly can’t see your food. You get to choose what you’d like to eat in a posh little seating area before you go into the dark and the food was really fancy and gourmet. Juxtaposed with me sat there eating it with my hands because nobody could see me. It was around $45 dollars for me to have a starter and main, so it is quite expensive but definitely an experience that I would recommend.

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Finally, one of the best places for shopping was in Mile End. I mean, I enjoyed the other shops as well such as Urban Outfitters and Sephora but these shopping experiences can sometimes feel really samey. Mile End had loads of little independent boutiques that were so lovely to look around and one in particular called Vestibule was full of amazing interior pieces, cute clothing items and an adorable dog, a winner all round.

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I really hoped that you enjoy reading through some of my favourite things that I did whilst I was away, and I’m definitely going to take a trip back whenever I can because I’m definitely going to be needing some of that ice-cream again.

L x

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Beauty

The Skin Detox

I’d put it out there and say that masks are one of my favourite skincare products. I usually pop on a face mask when I’ve not had a particularly great day, and instead of sitting around sulking about life, I run a bath and decide to give myself a little pamper. I have two masks that I use on rotation which are both really amazing at clearing the skin, and making it feel super clean. They’re both different in terms of consistency and ingredients but both do an amazing job and so I’ll talk you through them!

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The first one that I absolutely love is Lush Cosmetics Mask of Magnaminty.  Firstly, I’ll start off by saying that Lush do the most amazing face masks full stop and there’s such a wide range that will cover any skin concerns that you may have, whether it’s dryness or acne. Most of those masks are fresh and so you have to keep them in the fridge and use them up quite quickly, this one however, has a fresh version and a self-preserving version. It’s vegetarian approved, contains peppermint oil to stimulate, marigold oil to nourish and even has little primrose and aduki beans exfoliate when you wash the mask off. It also contains honey, which is antibacterial meaning that it’s a great for tackling those spots that suddenly appear out of nowhere.

After I’ve used it, my skin always looks brighter and feels refreshed. It also doesn’t make my face dry and the exfoliating seeds don’t irritate my skin due to the marigold oil which protects and soothes. I leave it on for about 10-15 minutes and it doesn’t really ‘dry down’ in the way that some other masks do, which indicate when they’re ready to wash off, but 10-15 mins seems to do the trick. To wash the mask off I find that using a warm flannel is the easiest way to do it. I’ve splashed water on my face to wash it off but then all the water drips down my arms, there’s primrose seeds everywhere and frankly, I’ve ended my pamper session feeling pissed off and so I’d stick with the flannel.

It comes in two sizes, 125g which is £6.25 (This is the size I have and it’s lasted me for ages) and 135g which costs £10.95. It also smells great, minty as the name would suggest.

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Then we have the Clear Improvement Origins mask which is an active charcoal mask with a main focus to clear pores. Bamboo charcoal draws out all the impurities which are clogging your pores (clogging is a horrible word) and clay and Lecithin dissolve all of the bad stuff that’s lurking within. The skin can really easily become congested through wearing make-up and even being outside due to environmental pollutants and so by using this mask and having all of that drawn out, it makes the skin appear brighter. This mask is really powerful and I find that it can be quite drying in certain places such as around my nose and above my eyebrows and for that reason, I usually avoid those areas. I do however, love it for targeting any breakouts that I’m having because it seems to tone down redness and reduce the swelling of already existing spots.

I get a warm flannel, ring it out and then place it over my face for 20 or so seconds to open up the pores. Then, I use a flat, pointed foundation brush to evenly cover the areas I want to and allow 15 minutes for it to dry. This one is very different from the Lush one because you can definitely feel it drying and getting tight on your face, it also means that when someone talks to you whilst you have it on, you seem to do an odd robot voice to avoid moving your lips. Maybe that’s just me. To remove, I again use a warm, wet flannel to gently wash it away and then once it’s all off, I’ll splash my face with cold water to close the pores. I’ll also whack some moisturiser on afterwards so that the skin doesn’t feel too tight.

It comes in a 100ml tube which I much prefer to a tub because it’s easier to apply to your fingers or a brush and then apply. You can get it for £24.00 which isn’t the cheapest but it does do a fantastic job. I have however, seen that Loreal have brought out a Clay Detox mask which looks really similar and is a fraction of the price. I’ll definitely look into that one because if it’s as good, I’ll grin and bear the tub it comes in because who doesn’t love a bargain.

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Thank you for reading! Those are my favourite two masks for giving my skin a good ol’ detox, what are yours?

L x

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Summer Nails

When it comes to painting my nails, I’m super lazy, especially in the Winter. There’s literally no point in pretending that I’m that girl who always has her nails painted and quite frankly, has their shit together. That’s not me. However, whenever I do have a spare bit of money, I like to get Shellac nails because they last for ages meaning that they’re not an effort to upkeep. The best place I’ve found is Ragdoll Nails up in Leeds and this is where I’ll go when I’m at Uni. Laura is so lovely and such a perfectionist, so my nails always look lovely and neat. However, now I’m home for summer, no-one else really compares and so it’s back to little old me painting my nails again. That being said, I’m a lot better with my nails in Summer and this is because I love wearing brighter and more pastel colours. I also love the amount of colourful shades that Essie BarryM do, and this is why all my favourite nail polishes are from these two brands. In terms of cost, they’re both affordable with BarryM coming in at £3.99 and Essie on the slightly more pricey side at £7.99, but still cheaper than O.P.I (£12.50).

I would say that my favourite is BarryM and in particular the ‘Gelly Hi-Shine’ range because they’re all highly pigmented and really easy to apply. I use 2 coats with any polish but I think you could get away with just the one depending on which finish you prefer. They give such a smooth and glossy look to the nails and also have a gel-like finish and so they last longer than you’re average. I have the shades Rose Hip (a pastel pink), Prickly Pear (A lilac) and Coconut (a creamy white). I also love Eat my Dust (white based pastel blue) which is part of the ‘Speedy Quick Dry’ range. This range has a wider, and more flat brush than all the other polishes making it really easy to coat the whole nail and actually, they really remind me of the Essie brushes. I only use a top-coat with Eat my Dust as I don’t feel that the others particularly need one.

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L to R: Rose Hip, Prickly Pear, Eat my Dust, Coconut

The Essie shades I love are Bikini So Teeny (more of a blue but does have some lilac in there), Tart Deco (a pastel, pinky orange) and Sunday Sunday (a coral pink with hints of gold shimmer). Firstly, how cute are all of those names. I love it when brands really nail (pardon the pun) the shade names and Essie are pro at that. As I said, the brushes on these are quite wide and flat so it’s super easy to just swipe the colour on. The formula of Essie polishes are more variable in my opinion, for example, I love Tart Deco but on me, it chips a bit more easily than the other two and I’m not sure why. It’s still a lovely colour though and looks so pretty and summery and so I’ll forgive and forget.

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L to R: Tart Deco, Sunday Funday, Bikini so Teeny

Those are my favourite colours to sport in the summertime, I hope you enjoyed reading and I’d love to hear any of your recommendations!

L x

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Favourite MAC Lipsticks

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L to R: Diva, Russian Red, Lady Danger, Cherish

When it comes to make-up, I’m definitely a lipstick gal. Lipstick in my opinion, brings any look together and even the more affordable lipsticks don’t compromise on quality or having loads of colour choice (Rimmel ones are amazing). However, I remember buying my first MAC lipstick and instantly knowing why everyone raved on about them so much. Lipsticks are one of the most famous products to come out of MAC and this is because there is literally every shade you could possibly desire and there are 8 finishes to choose from – Matte, Retro-Matte, Cremesheen, Frost, Glaze, Satin, Lustre & Amplified. My favourites are the Matte & Satin as they are really pigmented and are much better in terms of longevity and staying power. For me, this is what I want from a lipstick and especially with the more bold colours such as reds which can be tricky to maintain.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do love a nude lip but I feel that so many brands can nail nude colours and that’s why 3/4 of my favourite MAC colours are brights as I feel they’re really unique.

Diva (Matte) – This one is absolutely perfect for the autumn/winter as it’s quite dark and it looks different on a lot of people. On me, I can definitely see the deep red, almost wine colour but on others a subtle purple/berry shows through which is so pretty. It’s really comfortable on the lips despite being a matte formula and I’ve never used a lipliner (I just bought a NYX one to try out which you can read about here) but it’s never been hard to apply. This would be a good one to try if you’re a bit intimidated by darker shades because it still has that red undertone giving it intensity but not making it really dark like something such as MAC media/sin.

Russian Red (Matte) – This was my first ever MAC lipstick and I decided to go all out and get a red shade because as I said, I feel like other brands do nudes really well and I wanted to try something different. Russian Red is a blue-toned red which when on the lips makes your teeth look so white and overall, it’s just a really vibrant colour. I have seen a lot of people comparing this colour with Ruby Woo (another famous MAC red shade) and saying that they much prefer Russian Red as it’s not as drying. I can confirm, that whilst Ruby Woo is a stunning colour, Russian Red wins hands down for me because although it’s a matte formula, it applies really creamy and doesn’t drag at all. It dries down yes, but never too much that my lips resemble the Sahara desert and no-one has hurled a chapstick in my direction as of yet, all good things. It isn’t as long wearing as perhaps a liquid lipstick would be, I’ve eaten a massive burger whilst wearing it and things did get a little messy but that was my fault to be honest, I just love burgers. It still remains one of my absolute favourites though.

Lady Danger  (Matte) – Another matte, what a surprise. By now you’re probably sick of me rambling on about how creamy and non-drying this formula is, but tough because it’s the same for this one as well! Don’t blame me, blame MAC. Lady Danger is described as a vivid bright coral-red and yep, it’s definitely a bright one. I love orange lipsticks, they look beautiful on every single skin tone and evoke all the summer vibes and so I love wearing this when I’ve gone a bit wild with the bronzer. It stays on for ages and won’t make you look like you’ve just chowed down on a big bowl of spaghetti… which is always good unless you want to look like that, in that case, get that spaghetti down ya.

Cherish – (Satin) – I did say I liked Satins as well! Satins are a bit more creamy than mattes but do give a ‘matte-like’ appearance without being drying. This is described as a soft muted peachy-beige and as you can see from the swatch photo, that pretty much hits the nail on the head. I’m a lover of all things peach and so I always love a peachy undertone in nude lipsticks. This pairs really well with a neutral look on the eyes but also can look just as good with a more golden/bronzed eye look and so it’s very versatile (I’ve loved wearing the Too Faced Sweet Peach palette with this one as well). As a nude, Cherish beats Velvet Teddy for me as it’s just a bit more soft and Velvet Teddy pulls quite dark on me which I do like, but I just find it not as wearable and not as easy to wear with a variety of other make-up looks and so this one has it in the bag.

The MAC lipsticks in tube form are £15.50 each, which is obviously not the cheapest, but in comparison with other high end brands such as Charlotte Tilbury or YSL, they are cheaper and fall into the middle price range compared with drugstore lipsticks and the higher end examples mentioned. You can also buy a pre-made lipstick palette from MAC which retails at £35.00. In the photos I have included the Editorial Reds palette which is actually my mum’s, but I wanted to show you that you can try out 6 shades without having to fork out 93 big ones which is what it would cost you to buy 6 tubes of lipstick. In palette form it’s also really easy to transport around and it comes with a variety of shades and finishes. In this palette the shades are Lady Danger (Matte), On Hold (Cremesheen), Russian Red (Matte), MAC Red (Satin), Ruby Woo (Matte) & Dare you (Cremesheen).

I hope that you enjoyed this post & I’d love to know any of your lipstick recommendations!

L x

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Mini Haul: NYX & Benefit

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Going into Boots is dangerous. I honestly only popped in to stock up on some basics (cotton wool etc) and as you may have gathered, I got distracted. I was just browsing through the aisles when I saw a stand that I didn’t remember being there… A giant NYX counter! I have never tried any of their products and so I picked a few to try out! I also nabbed the latest issue of ELLE magazine which comes with a free trial size ‘Goof Proof Brow Pencil’ (part of Benefit’s revamped brow line) and also a voucher for a free eyebrow wax* at the Benefit Brow Bar which can be found in Debenhams stores. (*Book a brow wax and then get a free one on your second visit).

The first thing that caught my attention was the High Definition finishing powder (£8), mostly because I had just run out of my bare minerals one that day. I didn’t want to fork out £21 for that one and I have always been impressed with other drug store powders that I’ve previously tried and so this really appealed to me. There are 3 shades – Banana, Mint Green & Translucent. I opted for the Banana shade as I thought this would be a really good colour to set my under eye concealer and brighten up the under eye area. Hopefully I’ll love this one and I will definitely report back on whether it’s a winner. Sticking with face products, I then got drawn to the High Definition Blushers (£5.50), I picked up the shade Bitten which is described as a ‘shimmery brick red’ which, I find to be quite an intimidating description. Instead, I think that it’s more of a deep pink with red undertones and some gold shimmer. I’m usually not a fan of glitters in blushers, but thought that with a light hand this would look really pretty on the apples of the cheeks in summer but also pictured it looking amazing with a dark lip on a night out or in the colder months.

In the ‘Eyes’ section, there were so many amazing looking products and I wish I could have thrown them all into my basket. I was torn between two products but in the end picked up the Slide on Eye Pencil (£5) in the shade Golden Bronze. I do tend to gravitate towards warm, golden colours as I personally think that these really suit my brown eyes and so when I swatched the tester on my hand, the decision was pretty much made. The actual formula makes me think of this product as more of a crayon than a pencil because it is so smooth and doesn’t tug at the skin like some Kohl pencils do. I thought that paired with a golden eye look (using my Naked palette) this would look amazing smudged along the upper and bottom lash lines to give a really smoky and bronzed effect. I can’t wait to try this out with a tan as I think it will look beautiful.

Something that really surprised me was the sheer amount of lip products that NYX has to offer. Having never seen the products displayed before it was really amazing to see all the different products with different finishes and colours. I picked up the Soft Matte lip cream (£5.50) in the shade ‘Cannes’ which is a really lovely muted mauve colour and I think that it will go with a lot of make-up looks because it is quite neutral. I did also want to try out the shades ‘Stockholm’, ‘Rome’ and ‘Budapest’ but these were sold out and so I’ll have to keep visiting to see if they come back in stock *that’s my excuse anyway*. Finally, I decided to pick up one of their Lip Pencil’s and I picked up the shade ‘Dark Red’. Looking back, it would have probably been more useful to get a nude shade so that I could test it out for everyday wear and maybe even with the lip cream but oh well, I do love a dark lip. This looked like it would be similar in colour to MAC Diva, which is one of my favourite darker lipsticks. I don’t have anything to line my lips when I use that and so I hope it matches!

The ELLE magazine that the Benefit Goof Proof pencil comes with is unfortunately packaged in a pink plastic cover and so you can’t try and pick the shade of the eyebrow pencil as you can’t see it. However, I managed to somehow pick up shade 2 which is in the light category and so I will be able to try it out and not look like the baby from the Simpsons, amazing. My go-to brow product is usually the Brow Wiz in Taupe which is more cool toned than this one but I’ll definitely give it a whirl and see how I like it!

Also, just a little hint that ASOS sell NYX & Benefit products (including the brow range) and if you’re a student you can use your NUS/Unidays code to get 10% off, which is a nifty thing to know!

L x

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