Tuesday, 5 May 2015

beauty | Sephora lip cream in 'Strawberry Kissed'

The one and only thing I bought when I was away in New York. Yep, I didn't even treat myself to a keyring or 'I Love NY' t-shirt. But you can't complain with a Sephora lip cream can you?!

I've heard a lot of good things about the Sephora cream lip stain - mainly from Lily Pebbles. So as soon as I touched down in America, I knew I wanted to head to Sephora to pick one up. As soon as I got to the counter I knew I'd have a problem choosing which shade to get - there's currently 16 shades to choose from so it was always going to be a struggle. In the end, I went for 'Strawberry Kissed', a deep-but-bright pink/red shade that's nothing like anything in my collection. This is matte, but there's also a selection of satins in the range too.

The product is described as 'high-coverage', 'long-lasting' and 'feels soft and comfortable' and I completely agree with each statement. You need the smallest amount to cover the lips, so you have to be careful as you apply it with the doe-foot applicator. It also lasts an incredibly long time - and you can easily eat and drink without it moving around. Once the product dries after a few seconds, it won't budge - so much so, you might find you have a problem taking it off! Finally, it's so comfortable on the lips. It dries to a matte consistency but isn't drying at all on the lips - mainly due to the avocado oil in the formula. I actually forget I'm wearing it and don't worry about it smudging, which rarely happens for me with a lip product!

As you can see from lip swatch above, the product settles into fine lines but doesn't cake up or clump - it simply just looks like natural lips with a little colour. It also doesn't settle around the inside of the mouth and leave that horrible line around the edges. It applies as a cream formula and then dries in a couple of seconds to become completely matte. The colour itself is flattering - you can either dab a small amount on for a pretty, deep pink or layer it up like I've done above to get a real punchy pink.

I'm blown away by this cream lip stain - I'm a huge fan of lip products that you can't feel on the lips and don't have to constantly worry about throughout the day. I'm definitely going to help myself to more shades from the range next time I'm near a Sephora or do an online shop - it'll just be difficult to choose which colour to get next!

The cream lip stains can be bought from Sephora here - some of them are actually currently half price at $7 each - excuse me whilst I try to restrain myself from buying the entire collection...

Have you tried these lip stains? I'd love to hear you what think!

Thursday, 30 April 2015

life | top 5 tips and tricks to New York

After coming back from my first holiday away in New York, I've got definite holiday blues. 
Over my week long trip in the city that never sleeps, I picked up a few tips and tricks that I wanted to share with you - they're stuff I'd have wanted to know if I was about to head to the Big Apple for my first ever holiday.

1. What to Pack
This one is by far the biggest tip for me. I'd say you have to be prepared for all kinds of weather in New York - no matter what time of year you're there. It was meant to be warm and sunny for our entire trip there, but the weather turned freezing cold half way through the week - so much so it actually snowed one day. SNOWED. IN APRIL.
Another biggie is pack comfortable footwear - I can't stress this one enough. And they have to be seriously comfy - there's a difference between comfy shoes for a few hours shopping and comfy shoes you can walk for genuine miles in. On our first full day in NY, we walked for more than 6 miles - and my feet were ruined already. Leading on to me telling you to pack plasters and blister patches - a god send!

2. Plan your Days
This one I'd say is pretty obvious. New York is a massive city - and chances are you'll only be visiting for a week tops. Which means you have to try and fit a LOT into a short amount of time. I found it best to plan days around different places you'll be within the city. So if you're planning on going to the MET or American Museum of History, plan it for the same day as going around Central Park as they're all really close. And if you're heading down to Lady Liberty, consider visiting the 9/11 memorial or Brooklyn Bridge whilst you're downtown. 
Find yourself a map, make a list of where you want to go and see, and try to make them match up.

Ernest Klein and Company deli

3. Research places to eat
In New York, it's obvious that you can throw a stone and hit a food place, but whether it's actually good is a whole other story. Lets just say that with the amount of tourists in NYC, it's easy to find yourself eating at really terrible places just because they're there. So I'd say Trip Advisor and Yelp become your best friends - if you have wifi or access to the internet, plan where you're going for the day and then check out places near that have good reviews. 
When we were visiting, we wanted to find fairly healthy places to eat - I'm not really a greasy burger kind of girl and much prefer some good old roasted veg and salmon. So for me, deli's became a god send - most of them do huge hot and cold buffets that you can just help yourself to. Two of my favourites were the Ernest Klein and Company deli, on 6th Ave near Central Park, and the Cucina Liberta deli, on Battery Place near Lady Liberty.
Also can't forget Dough - they genuinely do the best donuts I've ever tasted - I heartily recommend the cafe au lait one!
Other places needing a mention are Evergreen and Roxy's Diner for breakfast, and Roast Kitchen for healthy, filling warm bowls for lunch or dinner.

4. Be Prepared to Spend Money
Another obvious one. If you're in the heart of New York City, you should be expecting to spend a bit of extra money. For starters, you're obliged to leave a tip on all food and meals you buy (unless you go to a chain like McDonalds), and everything's pretty expensive in the heart of the city. Don't be surprised to spend around £10 for breakfast - but don't worry it'll be worth it if you go to the right places! And chances are you'll be buying all of your meals out - three meals a day over however long you're there for. Also, shop around for gifts for family back home - some places can be extortionate with 'I love NY' tops going for $25 - but you can find legit tops for $5 if you look around a little bit.

5. Exchange Rates
NEVER forget about the exchange rates when you're off on your holidays. Check them when you're changing your money to make sure you're getting the best deal. The dollar is currently averaging 65p, which is pretty good, but some places can charge you up to 75p instead - meaning you're losing out on valuable money. So keep an eye out on how it's going and make sure you shop around for the best deals.

And the biggest, best advice?
You're in one of the most amazing cities in the world - and every second you spend in NY counts. I have some seriously amazing memories from my holiday, and I know for a fact I'll be heading back at some point in the future.

So have you been to New York?
Do you have any tips of your own? Share them down below!

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

beauty | Spotlight on: Tropic make up

Tropic was actually created by one of The Apprentice's contestants from 2010 - Susan Ma. She basically created the collection from her kitchen and all of the products in the range are derived from 100% pure plant extracts. That makes everything brilliant for sensitive skin and work on all skin types. They don't test on animals, are completely vegan and made with natural plant extracts.
So far so good.

I was introduced to Tropic by my hairdresser, who's one of the ambassadors of the brand. I went to a Tropics party (like Avon parties) and was blown away with the quality and story behind the brand.

I decided to invest in the Flawless Complexion Gift Box in 'Barely Nude', which includes a mineral foundation, bronzer and perfecting powder. It also comes with the softest kabuki brush and a concealer brush for £49. The packaging is the standard for most mineral foundations - a twisting device that controls how much product you get so you don't end up wasting it or dropping powder everywhere (which is a massive ache to clean up!).

The foundation itself is very sheer and lightweight - but it's easily build-able as you buff it in with the kabuki brush. It gives skin a 'glow from within' finish that really perks you up and lifts the skin.

The bronzer is really warm toned and looks lovely blended over the temples and cheekbones. It isn't all that great for contouring though because of the colour of it!

And finally, the perfecting powder which is along the same lines as the Bare Minerals 'well rested' powder - it's a shimmery pink-toned highlighter that can be dusted under the eyes to brighten them.

These three products work really well together and last fairly well on my dry/normal skin - but I do find I need to touch up during the day as the 'glowy' foundation can sometimes end up turning shiny on my own skin, which definitely isn't the look I'm going for!

The foundation kit only comes in six shades though, so it might be a problem to find one to perfectly match your skin tone. I'm lucky that Barely Nude is a perfect match for myself - on the swatch below you can barely see the foundation on my skin.

I also picked up the Colour Click lipstick in 'Sweet Pea' which is a beautiful coral-pink colour. It's quite neutral toned so doesn't make teeth look yellow (one of my biggest peeves with lipsticks) and it's got a creamy consistency so doesn't feel dry or tugs on the lips. It does however really emphasize dry patches so be wary if you suffer from dry lips! I always apply a lip balm ten minutes or so before I apply to make sure they're in good condition.

Lipsticks cost £14, which is almost the same price as Mac lipsticks - but I do think this one is a lovely shade - and they're enriched with carmellia, jojoba, avocado and argan oil so they're moisturising on the lips. The colour also lasts for a while - I wore it through dinner the other day and it was still in place after three courses!

As you can see from the swatches, the perfecting powder and foundation are so sheer and lightweight on the skin you can barely see them! But as I said, they are build-able and look beautiful on the skin.

Overall I'm really happy with the make up I picked up from Tropic - I also bought some of the skincare so I'll hopefully get a post up about them soon! 

Have you heard of Tropic? Would you invest in their make up?
Tropic make up can be bought here.