Friday, 27 November 2015

The LORAC Pro Palette






I finally got my hands on the Lorac Pro Palette after months of searching and it's something I will never ever regret purchasing! This is a seriously hyped up product and after having it in my collection for a couple of months now, I can completely understand why. Lorac claims that the shadows are "ultra-pigmented", and they are - you can easily get around ten hours of intense shadow weartime without any creasing or fallout, especially if you use a primer (and they give you a mini one for free with the palette!).

You get sixteen eyeshadows (16x 0.02oz), with two different finishes, for $42. There are eight matte shades and eight shimmery shades. The shadows are buttery soft, extremely pigmented and have wonderfully long lasting power. They can be applied wet or dry with an even finish, and I don't have any problems with fallout on the eyes - but for some reason, the pans themselves can get a little messy after usage. In the palette you get sixteen warm toned eyeshadows - but Lorac have also released a Lorac Pro 2 which would be a more suitable choice for you cool-toned shadow lovers!


The palette includes both classic shades like a matte white and smoky black, as well as unique shades like pewter and deep purple - there literally isn't a single shade that I wouldn't use. My favourite shadows are sable, champagne, gold and garnet - I usually apply one of the shimmery shades with my finger on the lid and deepen the crease with a matter brown shade using my Zoeva Luxe Soft Definer Brush - it takes two minutes and (with some liner and mascara) I'm good to go!



The packaging reminds me somewhat of NARS, but slimmer and very travel friendly. Unfortunately, this does mean that it gets dirty very easily and as you can see, mine is already covered in fingerprints and makeup marks despite me wiping it clean before I took the photographs for this post! You get a long, slim mirror in the lid of the palette as well, which is excellent for makeup on the go. Overall, this is a beautiful palette - I highly recommend purchasing if you can get your hands on it (I know it requires a bit of a hunt to track one down!).  



Do you have any palette must-haves that you recommend? 

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Monday, 23 November 2015

My Winter Skincare Routine

With the dry winter months well underway, my skincare routine has been more important than ever. Maintaining a regular routine means that your skin will feel nourished and smooth - not only that but any makeup will go on much better!


In the morning...

I like to keep my routine quick, yet still hydrating, so that my makeup will sit on my face without flaking. I start with No. 7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Balm to wash my face. It has such a soft, pretty (yet not overwhelming) scent which is perfect to wake up to. I then follow with the Simple Kind to Skin Illuminating Radiance Cream which is a beautiful product to make your skin glow. It is filled with light reflecting minerals that capture the light and immediately make you look healthy and hydrated. It also has an SPF 15 which is always a bonus!
With a little EOS lip balm I'm all set to go with applying my makeup.

In the evening...

The evening time is where I like to have a routine that is a little more rich. Skin replenishes itself during sleeping hours and providing it with lots of moisture before bed means I wake up with smooth and supple skin. After removing my makeup, I reach for No. 7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Oil. It's hard to find a drugstore cleansing oil which is light and doesn't leave an oily residue and this one is just perfect.  I think No. 7 is an extremely under-rated brand - their skincare and beauty products are wonderful quality, yet are very affordable for a student like me. 

After rinsing off the oil, I apply The Body Shop Drops of Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask. This is a product which I find I can only use in the winter months as it is very heavy. It has the most interesting putty-like texture and a little goes a very long way. You have to let this dry for about fifteen minutes before going to bed as it can be quiet sticky if you've put on too much. However, I find my skin drinks it up and looks plump and healthy in the morning.

The last two steps are applying two dots of No. 7 Early Defence Eye Cream and a squeeze of Soap and Glory Endless Glove Hand Cream. That's all - then I'm all ready for bed!

What's your winter skincare routine? Any skincare products/brand you would recommend?

Ambar x


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A New Homeware Addition

I have been eyeing up the Kate Spade vases for a while now - but they come with a steep price tag! However, I found an amazing dupe on George Home at ASDA for a fraction of the price and I had to share. 






With such a huge difference in price, there are a few drawbacks to the cheaper version. I wouldn't recommend ordering it online - mine arrived very poorly packaged with some of the gold dots scratched. But, if you buy in store, you can examine before purchasing. The Kate Spade one is wider and can hold more flowers. The ASDA one is slimmer with smaller gold dots. However, if like me, you're just seraching for the the style, the ASDA one looks just as lovely for a ninth of the price! 

What do you think? Real or steal?
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Friday, 13 November 2015

Homeware: Mixed Metals

I have always loved home decor, adding accents and bringing a space to life. Particularly after moving to university, I have my own blank canvas of a room to personalise with pretty homeware. 

Of course, the copper craze has been around for a short while now, and more affordable (yet stylish) decor is becoming readily available as the trend grows. The best thing I have found, however, is to take this trend and mix it with other metallics for an even more eclectic feel. There is something fresh about mixing gold and silver with bronze and copper, and adding a whole new vibe against a neutral room.

Being a student at university means being on a permanently tight budget! However, I have managed to find ways to incorporate the copper trend into my space without denting the bank. Here are a few of the beautiful pieces that I have found.


One of the best places for shopping homeware on a budget is Primark. They have some wonderful mixed metal pieces from fairy lights to cushion covers. My local Primark has quite a small homeware section, but I did still manage to find some excellent bits!
The first thing that caught my eye was this copper travel cup - it seemed perfect for carrying hot drinks to lectures on a Monday morning. What's more, it was only £3.50, which is a fraction of how much you would pay for a similar style from Starbucks.


Naturally, when I saw this cute canvas next to the travel cup, I just had to purchase - and for £3, it was a stylish investment. As a simple, cream background with bright copper gold typography to perk up your day, I think this is definitely worth picking up next time you pop into your local Primark!


Photos are a great way of personalising your living space. In fact - shopping for photo frames is one of my favourite things to do when buying homeware. The copper photo frame pictured is one I found in Paperchase a couple of months ago, however, there are really similar ones available in store for their new autumn/winter range. 
The gold glittery mosaic frame is one that I found in Poundland! For £1, I was able to add some interesting texture and sparkle as well as a new tone of metal to my photo display. It just goes to show that you can find hidden gems in ANY store.


Last thing from Primark, I promise! But I was SO incredibly excited when I saw this in the press releases for Primark's Autumn/Winter 2015 Homeware range... it is just stunning - and only £10! Considering I have seen many places selling similar styles for £100+, this was the best bargain I have found. It is very good quality, and has a hammered dark metal frame, so it adds an edge to the space where it sits. It's battery operated and so is easy to put anywhere in your home. What's more, there are other designs - a bright red arrow, the word 'Love' and the word 'Star' spelt out in Hollywood bulbs, each only £10.


I couldn't write this post without including some stationary. I'm always in need of paperclips and binder clips to pin together essays and assignments so when I found these super cute rose gold ones from Paperchase, I had to buy. They came in clear plastic zip lock pockets and were £2.50 each. Affordable and stylish.

And that concludes my homeware finds.

Have you found any new pieces for decorating your living space this season?


Ambar x

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Monday, 9 November 2015

The Zoeva Rose Golden Luxury Set

I have been lusting after this set for aaages! After having done some very thorough research and looking through countless beauty reviews and videos on this product, I finally caved in yesterday and waited as patiently as I could for these beauties to arrive.
I don't regret it one bit - look at how stunning they are:


I placed my order on Beauty Bay as they offered free next day delivery with orders placed before 4pm. The whole set cost £56.95 for eight brushes and the most gorgeous pouch (which is such good quality, it can be double up as a clutch). Although it seems quite expensive at first, it works out at about £7.11 per brush, so actually it is excellent value for the quality you are getting. Each brush has a completely different purpose and so this would make an excellent brush kit for beginners who just need the essential tools. The eight brushes you get within this set are:

1. Powder Brush - this is brilliant for my MAC Mineralise Skin Finish Powder to set my makeup. It's not too big and so isn't like many other powder brushes which I find to be quite oversized. The handle isn't very long either so it's perfect for popping into your makeup bag to carry around for touch-ups.

2. Silk Finish Brush - this is my favourite brush from the kit! I would use this for foundation application as it works similar to the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush (another favourite of mine). However, this brush is a little softer and rounder than the Real Techniques one, which means it's easier to buff the foundation into your skin for a more natural finish.

3. Face Shape Brush - although I'm not sure what I'd use this one for (as I don't often use cream contour), this brush is designed to perfectly apply creamier bronzers to the hollows of your cheekbones and your temples. I can see this brush being nice for blending concealer as well, although there is another brush in this kit for that!

4. Luxe Sheer Cheek Brush - the bristles of this brush are made from premium goat hairs which means it's the softest brush of the lot! I think this brush is perfect for applying blusher to the apples of your cheeks as it is angled and so can evenly kiss your cheeks with the colour rather than popping it all in one place. I can imagine this to be a good highlighting brush as well, as the angled edge can be swept across the tops of the cheekbones in order to emphasise them.

5. Concealer and Buffer Brush - this brush is nicely rounded, soft and small which makes it perfect for applying concealer under the eyes and also buffing concealer into the skin over any blemishes to cover them up with a more natural finish.

6. Soft Definer Brush - this one is just like the infamous MAC 217, but in my opinion, is a little flatter. It is perfect for blending eyeshadows to achieve a seamless look when using different shades on your eyelids. Definitely another favourite of mine from this collection.

7. Petit Crease Brush - the bristles of this brush are densely packed which allows for precision when using darker colours in your crease. This one would be good for applying highlight to the inner corners of the eyes as well.

8. Winged Liner Brush - this one isn't as densely packed as I would have like but it would still work for a softer lined eye rather than dark black winged liner which I prefer. Probably my least favourite of the set, but it is still useful for filling in eyebrows or smudging eyeshadow below the lower lash line.



The chocolate brown leatherette clutch which the brushes come in is also stunning. It has rose gold hardware and another zipped pouch inside. The stitching is excellent and although it's just an add-on, it really doesn't feel like it! I'm going to use it to store all my beauty bits inside my handbag as it is just the right size.


I feel like these brushes will look really beautiful standing in some old candle jars filled with coloured beads. The rose gold handles on the matte chocolate brown really adds that sense of luxury and class which makes the whole experience of applying makeup really special. These brushes are such high quality, I know that I will enjoy using them for years to come.

   What are your favourite makeup brushes?

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Friday, 6 November 2015

My Top Three Drugstore Mascaras

There are three things that I usually look for when finding the perfect mascara; it has to lengthen my lashes and separate them whilst adding lots of volume. In this blog post, I share three close-to-perfect formulas that do all three things, but also have the bonus of affordability. As mascaras should be replaced every six months, it is especially nice to find an affordable one that does exactly what I need it to! 

Soap and Glory: Thick and Fast
This mascara is jet black and definitely is one for good volume, as it instantly plumps and thickens lashes to give a super intense look. Its the most expensive of the trio but its a good 10 mls of product and is very buildable (I usually use two coats of mascara as I love really dramatic lashes). The packaging is sleek and simple - I love Soap and Glory as a brand, and this mascara performs extremely well in making lashes thicker, faster. My tiny complaint with this mascara is that it did flake on me - but as that was only once, I'm letting that pass. 

Maybelline New York: The Falsies Flared Volume Express
This is honestly one of the very best mascaras I have EVER used. It adds so much length, whilst separating each lash at the same time - and gives a lot of volume. It definitely does give the appearance of false eyelashes, which is what makes it an absolute love in my book. Its also 10ml, so it excellent value for money whilst being an all-in-one mascara. The wand is curved, so it instantly picks up all the baby fine hairs that other mascara wands may not initially reach - and what's more, it adds a wonderful curl to your lashes that stays all day! No need for my eyelash curlers with this one.

Physicians Formula: Organic Jumbo Lash
I purchased this mascara in Canada as Physicians Formula isn't available in the UK (as far as I'm aware - please correct me if I'm wrong!). I'd heard a lot of wonderful things about this mascara before I purchased, so when I saw it in store, I felt obliged to give it a go. I don't regret that decision one single bit! It's excellent at separating the lashes as this wand is plastic with short spikes to coat each last. The formula doesn't flake and is a wonderful deep black. This one is another for adding an excellent 'false lash' effect. The only thing I would say about this mascara is it dries up approaching the end of its shelf life - maybe that's to do with the fact that it is natural organic ingredients which are friendly for your eyes. Other than that - this is in my top three for very good reason!


Mascara is the one make up item (along with concealer), that I just couldn't live without, so I'm very particular about which ones I like. I have loved all three of these for a very long time now, and if you are on the market for a new drugstore mascara - I highly recommend each of them depending on what you can get your hands on!


Which drugstore mascaras are your favourites?

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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

My Top Three MAC Lipsticks

I have loved MAC lipsticks for a long time now, and there definitely is a reason why they are some of the most popular lipsticks out on the market. They are amazing quality and have a fantastic colour range with several different finishes - whichever colour you may be looking for, you can be sure that MAC has it! 
I have found that these lipsticks are often ones that people like to collect, and even I have somehow built a collection of them overtime. But of course, there will be some that I reach for more than others and for this post, I have decided to share my three favourites. In order to cover all bases on the lipstick front, I have decided to include my favourite MAC nude lipstick, bright lipstick and classic red - so no matter whether you're brave with bold lip colours or you prefer a more subtle look, there is a colour in this post for you.  



Pictured Above:

- The Ultimate Nude: MAC Modesty (Cremesheen)
- The Bright Colour Pop: MAC So Chaud (Matte)
- The Classic Red: MAC Russian Red (Matte)

Priced at £15.50, MAC lipsticks sit in between being a drug store lipstick or a high end one. However, you get plenty in the tube and I would say that if you find a colour that you absolutely love, the price is totally worth it as it will become a staple in your make up bag. 



Not only are they beautiful colours, but MAC lipsticks smell delicious! They have a sweet vanilla scent which is not too overpowering, yet it still makes the experience of applying lipstick more pleasant... and if you refrain from licking your lips after application then the lasting power is great too!

What are your favourite MAC lipsticks? 


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Monday, 2 November 2015

Welcome

I'm finally doing it. I'm starting the blog which I have been putting off for a long while now. I have always loved starting new creative projects, and the idea of using this small space of the internet as a personal blog is one that I find both exciting, yet so very daunting at the same time! It is finally becoming a commitment. A place to share my thoughts, new finds and of course - the little things that I love. I'd like this blog to be a reflection of me - so whether it is new make up, pretty homeware or even a new recipe which I have discovered, it will be posted on here so that I can share them with you. I hope you love them just as much as me.

Here's to HLL!
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