The Ordinary Haul and Review

The Ordinary, a brand by Deciem, has been taking the beauty world by storm, and having seen some big bloggers talking about these products, I decided it was time to see what the hype was about.

Being the most talked about products, I picked up both the Coverage and Serum foundations, as well as the fluid primer. I would normally never order foundation online without having tested the shades for myself first, but thanks to the very clear shade guide on the website, I pinned it down to two potential shades – 1.1 and 1.2 – and decided to order each foundation in both shades, given that its only £5.90 a bottle. Yes, you heard me.

As well as having the shades based on a number scale, I also loved the fact that each shade was then split into three tones: neutral, yellow and pink. My skin tends to be on the pinkier side, so I got the Serum formula in pink and the Coverage in neutral, and both actually work very well for me.

Coverage Foundation

Right from the offset, Coverage became my favourite of the two foundations. The formula is much thicker, which I personally prefer, and as the name suggests, the coverage is higher than the Serum formula but despite both of these facts the product feels really light on the skin.

Serum Foundation

Like Coverage, Serum has a very lightweight formula and feels like you’re not wearing anything. As I tend to always stick to thicker formulas, I was a little out of my comfort zone with this one, and because of how quickly it blends into the skin, I was finding myself going over it a few times because I wasn’t always sure if I’d fully covered that area, plus the coverage is fairly light. I was also a little out of my comfort zone as Serum leaves more of a dewy finish, and I like to keep things matte.

Fluid Primer

As someone who isn’t really a fan of primers, this was a game changer. I’m not sure I can sing this product’s praises high enough. If I’m being honest, I added it to my basket so that I had something other than foundation, and so I could tip the basket total to get free delivery, but I am so thankful that I did. The formula is bizarre; its feels kinda gel-like at first but it spreads like a dream and dries within seconds, and once dry its practically weightless.

Part of the reason I’m not much of a primer person, and I’m nervous trying new foundation is that I rarely find anything that can contend with my skin, which can switch from dry as a desert to oily as a 2am kebab within a matter of seconds, and I normally end up regretting wearing foundation by lunchtime, but I did not have a single complaint with this. I tested both foundations both with and without, and both applied so much nicer and lasted the day without any issues when I used the primer.

But seriously guys, I bought 4 foundations and a primer for less than £30, which is what I would normally spend on my regular NARS foundation, plus they’re cruelty free!

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KIKO Perfect Gel Duo Review

I’m gonna say something that will probably shock a good percentage of girls and beauty bloggers right now: I have never had my nails done professionally. This is partly down to being awkward and the fact that I find making conversation with a hairdresser difficult enough when I’m not face to face with them, but also partly due to the fact that I have good natural nails and am skilled with a nail varnish, so the idea of having to pay for someone else to do what I can do a pretty good job of myself isn’t one I’m too keen on.

So instead I spend my money on nail varnish in every shade under the sun.

The problem I do find though is that I’m clumsy, and have a tendency to smudge or chip at least one nail within the first two days of a fresh paint, so when I recently discovered my love of KIKO nail products, and then they ran a buy 3, get 3 free offer, I decided to try my luck with an ‘at home’ gel manicure.

First impressions

I chose the shade Milk Mint, and its exactly what I expected it to be based on the online image. I’d describe it as one shade lighter than a Tiffany’s box, and I love it. The packaging is cute, but I worried that the lid was going to be a little bulky to hold while painting, but lo and behold, the silver cap actually pops off to reveal a less pretty but more practical sized lid – yay!

Application

This is genuinely no different to any other nail paint. Slap on two coats of colour, give it 2 mins then one layer of top coat and you’re good to go after a few minutes of air-drying. Simples.

Wear and tear

Like I mentioned earlier, the first few days are always the riskiest ones for me, but I didn’t have a problem at all; not a smudge, not a chip. I then road-tested it to the max as I then spent my weekend doing DIY.. I’m gonna be honest, they’re not intact, but they held up very well considering I was moving bulky furniture, painting, filling, sanding and all sorts. The clear difference I would note is that with the gel topcoat, rather than chipping like most nail polish, it tends to peel off in larger portions – an incident with some masking tape took of half a nail in one go, oops!

Had it not been for the DIY, however, I am really impressed with the results! Some nails did remain intact, and in comparison to my regular KIKO smart nail lacquers, they definitely lasted longer and kept cleaner and neater.

What I loved most was the fact I didn’t have to do anything special – no UV lights, no special remover, just straight foward nail care that just lasts longer! Oh, and they’re on sale at £5 at the moment, who wouldn’t love that?

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August Samples and Testers

Who doesn’t love trying new things? Sure, I hate social occasions with people I don’t know or doing things that are so far out my comfort zone that I can’t see it anymore, but new beauty and skincare products are definitely my jam.

And because its expensive to buy new products, I try to get my fix by collecting as many sample and tester products as I can so that I can give them a bash before I fork out my cash on them. I’ve talked before about ways you can get samples to try products on the cheap, and because I use these methods religiously, I’ve collected a fair stash of products which I’ve yet to try, hence a new series! I’m gonna be diving into my stores each month (and probably adding to them at the same time) and reporting back on what’s been fab and what’s been not so fab..

So here are my August picks!

IsaDora Nude Fluid Foundation

I will never buy a full-sized foundation without trying it out properly first, mainly because I can never get the shade quite right but also because I really struggle to find formulas that I actually like. This was very middle ground for me – while I didn’t hate it, which happens a lot when I try new foundation, it also didn’t blow me away, although I actually got the shade pretty close! It applies quite well (I used a flat foundation brush to apply and then a softer brush to blend), but while it claims medium coverage I found it was fairly light. I like the lightweight feel, and I will continue to use my little sample bottle, but I don’t know if I’ll be splashing out for the real thing.

Kiehl’s Creme de Corps

Despite all the hype from so many bloggers, I’ve never actually used Kiehl’s products before, but samples are often available on Feel Unique Pick’n’Mix so I’ve got a few in my stash. I actually had two Creme de Corps samples in my collection, so I figured it was time to crack one open! First impressions, it really does meet the description of a ‘whipped’ body butter – the consistency was practically that of buttercream, and it smelt amazing too. It was nice, but for the price tag that the full sized product comes at, I think I’ll be sticking to my regular moisturiser.

Benefit Gimme Brow

Every time I see a Benefit product on Feel Unique Pick’n’Mix I snap them up because you get a proper little mini product rather than just a sample and its such good value for money! Most of my brow products are Benefit, so I was excited to try something new, but while it is a good product, its not revolutionised my approach to how I do my eyebrows, so I don’t think I’ll be buying the full-sized version. Every now and then I’ll reach for it, but other products have my vote more.

Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil

While Gimme Brow was a no from me, I did like Goof Proof. I’m a bit annoyed that I didn’t check the shade and accidentally got one that was a tiny bit too dark, but I did give it a go before donating it to my sister, and I was pretty happy with the results. I’ve had pencils like this before where you have to apply so much pressure for the product to actually show, but that definitely wasn’t the case with this, and had I not got the wrong shade, this would definitely be one I’d use a fair bit so I’ll be keeping an eye out for any offers!

L’Oreal Pure Clay Masks

I’ve seen a lot of hype for these masks over the last few months, so when I saw this little sample pack in Superdrug and it was down from £7.49 to £3.50 instore the other week, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to try the three masks for a bargain price. First up, I was impressed about how a little product goes a long way – I’ve used the products 3-4 times now, and I still have some left! Secondly, I’m super impressed with how my skin has been looking since I started using these! The red ‘glow’ mask has been my favourite and has really helped clear up the awkward dry patch of skin that I get on my forehead, and I’ve tried a lot of things for that before now! I’m not normally one for face masks but I think this will be a repeat purchase.

Have you tried anything new this month?

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The £5 Clinique Highlighter Dupe

I never have and never will claim to be a real beauty blogger. When I do write about makeup, I write as a girl who just likes wearing it (and buying way too much of it), so while I might not have the expertise of most, I still like to give it a good go every now and then. The discovery of today’s dupe was purely accidental, and I actually owned and used the dupe before I came across the high-end equivalent.

I’m the first to admit that I have a problem when it comes to highlighters. I’d say they’re my weakness when it comes to makeup but I have many other weaknesses too so I’m not sure if it counts, but it was due to this weakness that I made this discovery. You see, when I wracked up enough points on my Sephora card back in February to claim some free gifts, when I was offered a free Clinique chubby stick highlighter, I snapped that badboy up without a second thought, but with so many highlighters in my collection, it was only recently that I actually thought I’d give it a go.

So there I am, sat in front of my mirror with that new product buzz going on, when I was struck with deja vu – have I used this before? I was questioning my sanity when I realised where I’d seen the same results before: from my Barry M Strobe Cream, shade Frosty Pink, which I’d bought months before for a mere £4.49. Now I know my chubby stick was a free gift, but it retails for £19.50 so that’s quite a difference..

Wanna see?

Left: Barry M, Right: Clinique

Top: Clinique, Bottom: Barry M

As you can see from the swatches, there’s hardly any difference in shade between the two. The Clinique does have a creamier formula, and possibly gives a little more shine than Barry’s, but I actually prefer the lightweight feel of the BM strobe cream, and its just as long-lasting.

If a £15 difference in price isn’t enough of a selling point, let’s not forget that Barry M is cruelty free and vegan friendly, and if Frosty Pink isn’t your jam, this is just one of four shades that its available in!

I know which one I use more often..

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Too Faced Sweet Peach Glow Palette

I’m gonna say something controversial: the Sweet Peach eye palette did not excite me. Aside from the peach scent, I couldn’t find any reason to justify the money for shades that I probably wouldn’t wear very often.

Now when they released the Glow palette on the other hand, it hit all the spots for me, and when I finally got to see it in person I knew that I’d be taking it home with me. Not a drop of regret.

The palette consists of a highligher, a blusher and a bronzer, and that peach smell every time I open the lid is just too perfect. The packaging is, of course, adorable, from the tin to the peachy pattern on the product itself. And speaking of the product..

Top – highlighter, Middle – blush, Bottom – bronzer

Oh. So. Creamy. All three are so buttery and soft, and blend so nicely – honestly I feel like its a pleasure to apply them, not to mention how nice my face smells with them on. The shades are subtle but buildable, and all compliment each other so well! Considering its a ‘highlight’ palette, my favourite product is actually the blusher; peachy shades are my faves so this ticked every box for me, and I prefer this one to the stand-alone blush from the collection. I also love the fact that the bronzer isn’t too dark, because nothing annoys me more as a pale girl than bronzers that look like war paint, but it does come out a little orange if over-applied. As for the highligher, its pretty, subtle and perfect for a more natural look, but also the golden undertones make it versatile for an evening look too.

I’m not a big eyeshadow person, so I’m really glad that Too Faced released more face products to the Sweet Peach range, and considering the individual blushers are £25, and this retails at £34 and includes two more products, so its more cost effective, right?

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Anastasia Beverly Hills x Nicole Guerriero Glow Kit

If you caught my Sephora haul post a few weeks back, you’ll have seen that my favourite purchase was this beauty of a glow kit from Anastasia Beverly Hills. I knew I wanted one before I set off for my trip, having lusted over all of the glow kits for a long time, but holding off for a slightly better exchange rate!This is actually my first ABH purchase ever, so I was praying that they would live up to the hype, but after swatching the hell out of the sample palette, I knew I was gonna be happy as a clam.

So this is the Nicole Guerriero collab glow kit – a palette of six beautiful highlighters in gorgeous pinks, peaches, and copper/golden tones. It was, in fact, the only glow kit that Sephora had in stock, but it didn’t bother me because it seemed absolutely perfect. I fell in love with the packaging, the shades and the product instantly.

What sets these highlighters above any other powder highlighter I’ve ever tried before is how gloriously smooth and buttery they feel; it’s almost creamy to touch. The pigmentation is, as I’d expected, amazing, with all of these swatches done with a single stroke.

The shades are super diverse, with Forever Lit being the brightest and whitest highlight I’ve ever seen and 143 being ideal for a summer bronzed look. My absolute favourite is Daydream as I’m a real sucker for peach tones! Generally, I use my fan brush for application, but if I want a more strobed feel then I actually use my fingers to draw down my cheekbones and blend it out!

Needless to say, I 100% recommend this for anyone who’s thinking about it – I really can’t find fault, and as a self-confessed highlighter addict, I know I’m going to reaching for this so often that it justifies the price tag for me.

If you’ve got the palette I’d love to hear your thoughts on it, drop me a comment!

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Sony A5000 Review

Sony A5000 review

I’ve had my new little Sony A5000 for a little while now, and I thought it was about time I shared my thoughts on how its working for me! I’ve always been a Sony person, so when I decided that I wanted a smaller camera for the days I don’t want to lug around my big SLR, I didn’t really want to change brands, and after comparing all the options, this little one came out top so I was pretty happy!

Its 20.1 megapixels, and the standard lens is 16-50mm, which for me is ideal for everyday use – blog photos, holiday snaps etc, and the flippable LCD screen is nice and big so you can see exactly what you’re doing, although I do prefer to have a proper viewfinder, so this bugs me a little sometimes! What I do like, however, is the pop up flash, because I very rarely use a flash and I like the fact its hidden away so it doesn’t ruin the aethestic of the camera, and you almost forget you have one, plus it doesn’t do the annoying ‘auto-flash’ thing that my SLR sometimes does!

But how is it as a camera?

I definitely think it takes its best photos when you know how to use it properly, and by that I guess I mean I’m not blown away by the Auto+ setting. Yes its ok for taking a quick shot without having to worry too much, but it definitely doesn’t give you the best shot you could get if you used a manual setting. I do LOVE some of the special features it has though, like the ability to pick out a single colour, apply a filter, or adjust brightness and vividness while in Auto mode.

Sony A5000 features

It does come into its own when I use manual settings. When I’m taking blog photos, I like to be able to fiddle with manual exposure and aperture, and while my SLR can take FOREVER to process those shots, this little beastie snaps them in seconds with no issue. The settings are also really easy to adjust using the dial on the back, and just generally, its really user friendly.

Blog Birthday

Other features that I love are that the screen flips up into ‘selfie mode’, and that as well as manually zooming using the lens, you can also use the toggle on the shoot button, and there’s also an extra zoom control on the lens. It’s also got built in wifi, which is brilliant although I often forget about it! I’ve also bought a second lens recently, the 55-210mm telescopic lens, which is AMAZING and can’t wait to get more of a chance to play with!

I’m still getting used to having a small camera, but this little guy is growing on me massively, and while I’ll never completely disregard my SLR, the more I use this, the more I love it and its taken some amazing photos for me.

boomf cake

Mainly of food. Not gonna lie.

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