Monday, 31 December 2012

Albums of 2012

Another year is drawing to a close and 2012 has definitely been a good year for music. On that note I thought I would share with you Top 10 albums of the year.

10 - Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny - Yours Truely, Cellophane Nose
Beth Jeans Houghton has a such a beautiful voice which is so different to other singers at the moment which really does make this album. Her lyrics are unusual and the songs are upbeat which makes the record put you in such a good mood. The perfect Spring time album.

9 - M. Ward - A Wasteland Companion 
I fell in love with M. Ward whilst listening to She & Him (his band with Zooey Deschanel) and had to include this album in my top 10. First off I love the title and the artwork for this album. The album itself is very relaxing which makes you pay attention to all the layers that are going on. There's a good mix of slow songs and upbeat ones with a true stand out for me being the song Me and My Shadow.

8 - Calvin Harris - 18 Months
Onto an album which is pretty different to everything else in this list due to it being a Dance record. Although i'm not a huge fan of Dance music I love putting this album on when doing boring jobs such as cleaning. It's full of hits featuring the likes of Rihanna, Example, Ellie Goulding to name a few. The true stand out has to be Sweet Nothing feat Florence Welch, that song is probably one of my favourite songs of the year.

7 - The Mars Volta - Noctourniquet 
The Mars Volta are definitely not a band for everyone, it took me a while to fully get into them and I think this album is definitely their most approachable yet. It still has that complex feeling too it like all The Mars Volta records but a lot more audience friendly. Cedric lyrics are definitely some of his best on this record and although it seems some people love this record and some people hate it; I personally love it and it's definitely one of my favourites by them.

6 - First Aid Kit - The Lion's Roar 
I had never heard of First Aid Kit until I saw them supporting Jack White in the Summer and they blew me away. One of my favourite things about this record is that is sounds just like they do live. The songs are both uplifting and touching and it is one that I can keep listening to over and over again without getting sick of it which to me is a sign of a great album.

5 -  Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
  This album was definitely a surprise for me, I honestly didn't expect to love it as much as I do. It's not the album I would normally listening to but there's something about Frank's voice and lyrics that I just so different to anything else. I love the guitar work on this album do and the fact that it doesn't sound like other rappers albums. I album worth giving a listen because I think it will surprise you like it did for me.

4 - Fiona Apple - Idler Wheel...
Fiona Apple is known for being a bit out there and this album is a great follow on from her other offerings, in fact it's one of my favourites by her. The lyrics on this album feel so honest and the way she sings you can tell she really means what she is saying. Anything We Want is a great example of this and is a stand out on the record for sure. I have listened to this album a lot and certain songs still get me the way they did on the first listen.

3 - Jack White - Blunderbuss  
Jack White offered up his first solo album this year and oh it did not disappoint. There's a good mix of classic rock songs and more mellow ones here and I love that there's a also a good amount of piano on this record as well as lots of guitar which is one Jack is known for. These songs sound timeless to me and were performed amazingly live. 

2 - The Shins - Port Of Morrow
This album sounds a little different to previous The Shins albums, this could be due to line up changes but also some influences from Broken Bells. Whatever it is I love the direction they have gone in. The lyrics have that moody feel to them like before but uplifting at the same time. The song It's Only Life is a stand out to me and definitely one of my favourite songs of the year.

1 - Dot Hacker - Inhibition
As soon as I heard this record I knew it was going to be my favourite of the year. Josh' voice is really is a stand out on this record and the way he slurs his words makes you really listen to the lyrics which are in some places dark and really touching. The bass playing on this song is also incredible and it definitely feels like each members is getting their chance to shine on this record where as they may have not been able to in their other bands. This album was a long time in the waiting and it has definitely excited me to see where they go with this band next.

So those are my albums of 2012. I can already tell that 2013 is going to be a great year for music and I can't wait! What was your favourite album of 2012?



Saturday, 29 December 2012

Beauty Products of 2012

This has been a hard post to do seen as though I feel like I have loved so many products this year that it was pretty difficult to choose a 'post exceptable' amount. After much thinking I think I have finally got a good set of products that really stand out as being my favourite products of the year. 
I thought it would be good to start with the brushes that have changed my life (bit dramatic?). Real Techniques are definitely my favourite brushes; especially the Buffing Brush which makes applying any foundation or BB Cream a dream.
Next onto the skincare; this was so hard to narrow down but a stand out for sure is the REN Glycolatic Radiance Renewal Mask (review). I've become a bit obsessed with products that have glycolatic acid in them because they make my skin looks so much brighter and have definitely helped reduce redness and scarring. Next is the Origins Out Of Trouble 10 Minute Rescue Mask (review); the is my go to mask to use when i'm breaking out, I love it so much. My favourite cleanser have been Soap & Glory Peaches & Clean (review) for the morning and Emma Hardie Amazing Face Cleansing Balm (review.) Both amazing and I wouldn't be without. Finally for the lips it has to be the Nuxe Reve De Miel Lip Balm (review); great for dry lips in the Winter and lasts ages. 
This year has been all about BB Creams and i've loved so many but a stand out has been the Dr Jart Regenerating BB Cream (review); does everything it claims and looks so natural on the skin. My favourite foundation has to be the Bourjous Healthy Mix Foundation (review); again this looks natural on the skin and last so well on my combination skin. A new favourite has been the Bourjous Healthy Mix Concealer; these two work great together and the concealer covers redness really well and isn't cakey.
Out of all the eyeshadow palettes I own my favourite has to been the Urban Decay Naked 2. I always go back to it and I use it a lot more than the original Naked palette. When in America in September I picked up the Wet N Wild Walking On Eggshells trio (review); these eyeshadows are so pigmented and definitely some of the best on the highstreet it's just a shame you can't get them in the UK.
Another purchase in America was the NYC Bronzer in Sunny (review); it's a great affordable matte bronzer which has been a stand out product for me in Winter for warming up my skintone. Next is my first ever NARS Blush in Deep Throat (review); I use this most days and because of that I think it deserves to be my favourite blush of the year.
For lip products Revlon have been on form this year; both the Lip Butters and the Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains (review) have been firm favourites of mine and a staple in my handbag. My favourite lip butter has to be Berry Smoothie and in the Balm Stains Honey is the perfect everyday shade. 
I think by now it is pretty clear how much I love Essie; their nail polishes have definitely been a big favourite for me this year and the shade Leading Lady (left) was my polish for Christmas day.
Finally onto some body products; my favourite scrub has definitely been the Soap & Glory Breakfast Scrub (review) it smells amazing and leaves my skin lovely and smooth. Sulphate free shampoos have become a bit of a must for me these days and my favourite has to be the Pureology Pure Volume Shampoo; it does exactly what it says on the tin and is definitely my favourite shampoo.

Few, that was a long one! So those are my favourite products of the year, I hope you liked it. I used my lovely new camera to take these pictures so I hope you like the improved quality, i'm still getting used to having on DSLR so bare with me! What have been some of your favourite this year?

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

December Beauty Favourites!

I've been so busy this month that I haven't really had time to try out many new products so I don't seem to have as many favourites this month but when having a think on what to include there was a few products that did stand out that i've loved this month.

I rediscovered my love for the Stila In The Light Palette, this is definitely one of my favourite neutrals palette. I've been doing a one shadow smokey eye with Gilded Gold (bottom row second from the left) and it is so quick and looks really pretty. Next is an eyebrow pencil i've been liking for a while now; the Collection Brow Definer in Blonde. I like that this pencil is a little waxy so easy to apply and looks natural, the colour is a good match for my hair too.

Highlighters are something I love but always forget to wear. One of my favourites is the No7 Vital Enlightening Highlighting Powder which was sadly limited edition but it is so finely milled and the perfect champagne colour. Next is NARS Deep Throat blush which is a lovely pink with gold shimmers and is the perfect everyday shade. I discovered a new favourite concealer in the Bourjous Healthy Mix Concealer which because it is slightly yellow toned so is perfect for covering blemishes and redness. It lasts all day and doesn't look dry or cakey.
I've been enjoying a lot of lip products recently but a great stand out one for everyday has been the Natural Collection lipstick in Raspberry. It's a lovely pink toned berry shade that isn't too dark to wear during the day.

Finally onto a few skincare bits, my skin has been very dehydrated this month and the Origins Make A Difference Skin Rejuvenating Treatment has saved my skin. It is so hydrating but not oily. Next is the Caudalie Cleansing Water which smells lovely, removes every bit of make-up whilst leaving my skin feeling refreshed. I think this product would be especially good in the Summer. Finally there is the Murad Blemish Spot Treatment which i've only been using for a little while but I really do like it and has been working at clearing up my blemishes. 

I thought I would end on some non beauty favourites, the book i've been reading is Perks Of Being Wallflower. So far i'm enjoying it and it is a really easy read and is set out as Charlie writing letters to a friend so is good to dip in and out of. Next is an album which i've been listening to all month; The Black Keys El Camino. I rediscovered my love for The Black Keys and this album is one of their bests, the songs are catchy and it is so easy to listen too.

So that's my favourites for this month, I hope you liked it. What have been your favourite products this month?

Monday, 24 December 2012

REN Starter Kit for Combination Skin - Reviewed!

REN are definitely fast becoming one of my favourite skincare brands and there are so many products I want to try but them. Since they do these great starter kits I thought it would be a good way to try a few products at once to see if I like them enough to get the full size. My skin has been very combination recently with still having an oily t-zone but with a few dry patches which is why I thought this kit would be perfect.
You can get these kits in 4 different skintypes, normal, blemish prone, combination and sensitive. The kit for Combination skin includes the T-Zone Balancing Day Fluid 15ml, Mayblossom Cleansing Gel 25ml and the Invisible Pore Detox Mask 15ml.
Although the samples may sound on the small side you actually get a decent amount of product and definitely enough to see if it is going to work for your skin. Starting with the cleansing gel this has a pleasant scent and definitely is a gel consistency. Although saying that it leaves my skin feeling lovely and clean and doesn't feel like it is stripping all the oil out of my skin like some cleansing gels can do. The Balancing Day Fluid is a thin consistency and creates a nice matte base to the face. I think this would be a great product the use in the Summer because it feels light on the skin but is still hydrating. Finally my favourite product is the Invisible Pore Detox Mask, I've wanted to try this mask for a while now and it is so lovely to use. It is a clay based mask so is great and clearing any dirt out of the pores and also leaves the skin feel smooth and thoroughly cleaned. Out of all three products this is definitely the one that I will be wanting to buy the full size when the sample runs out.
All in all I am very happy with this set, I really do like all the products and would consider buying the full size of them in the future; definitely the mask. I would recommend if you are new to REN skincare trying one of these sets because it is a great way to try a few things from their range.

What's your favourite REN product or the one you most want to try?

Saturday, 22 December 2012

NOTD - Essie Leading Lady

By now you all must know how much I love Essie nail polishes and when they released their Christmas collection it was so hard not to buy every shade. I justified buying this one because I had some Boots points and it's is just the perfect Christmas polish.

Leading Lady is a beautiful red shade with red glitter in it. It is definitely a pinky red, very similar to Deborah Lippmann Razzle Dazzle but more on the red side. 

Glitter polishes are always a pain to photograph and this definitely doesn't give it justice. It took around 2-3 coats to get it opaque which really impressed me. The shade looks just as amazing on the nails as it does in the bottle.

I definitely recommend getting this shade, I would definitely wear it everyday if it wasn't such a pain to remove which is a downfall with glitter polish but I think it's worth it with this one.

Essie Nail Polishes retail for £7.99.
What do you find the best way to remove glitter polishes?

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Dr Jart Regenerating BB Cream - Reviewed!

I am definitely a huge BB Cream fan, I love the coverage they give and how light they feel on my skin. I have of course tried a good few since they came popular but one brand I was a little late to jump on the band waggon with was Dr Jart. I thought I didn't need to try anymore BB Creams I got a half price off skincare voucher in Boots and I thought it was the perfect time to give Dr Jart a go.
Now Dr Jart actually do 4 different BB Creams for different ages and skin types so there should be one that fits your needs. I decided to try the Regenerating version which claims to 'Promote cell regeneration, sunscreen of SPF 30, cover redness and spots whilst being an alcohol free moisturiser.' 
I love the fact this has a high SPF making it a great product to use in Summer although it's good to wear SPF all year round. The product is actually rather thick but I apply it with my fingers and I find it blends easily into the skin like a moisturiser. I then buff it into my skin with the Real Techniques Buffing Brush to make sure it is blended evenly.
The coverage is very good, it is definitely more of a medium coverage and covers blemishes and scarring without looking cakey. This feels like you've just applied moisturiser to you skin and actually helps my skin feel smoother. I find it lasts well on my skin and it does fade evenly, it also doesn't cling to any dry patches on my face. The thing I love about this is how natural it looks on my skin; the colour is perfect for my skintone but it does only come in one shade which is a shame however I do think it would work for a fair to medium skintones.

This is definitely up there as one of the best BB Creams i've tried and it has been perfect for my skin in Winter which has been a lot more dry but I do think that it would also be good on oily skins. It something I definitely will repurchase when i've used it all up.

Dr Jart Regenerating BB Cream retails for £21.00.

Have you tried Dr Jart BB Creams?

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Boots Botanics Rejuvenating Bath Elixir - Reviewed!

I am definitely a bath person, even in Summer I still love having a good soak at the end of the day. Due to this I have tried so many bubble baths over the years that I can't even remember all the ones i've tried. When I was reading ViviannaDoesMakeup the other day I saw a post on this product I pretty much went straight to Boots to buy it.
When Botanics re-packaged their products there was not many product that I enjoyed mainly because they changed the ingredients (mainly their cleansing bar, don't get me started on that!).However they really have released some lovely bath products.
I do love the packaging of this product and the name really does sounds luxurious. They do two bubble baths but this one is definitely the stand out product. This scent is truely amazing, it definitely is a Winter bubble bath. It's has a spicey, Christmassy scent to it that feels a lot more expensive than it is. As well as scent and want my bubble bath do make a lot of bubbles! With a cap full of product it makes a lot of bubbles! Big thumbs up right there!

All in all this is an amazing products and a product I would never have bothered trying if I hadn't seen Anna's post on it. It is such a relaxing scent and the perfect Winter product. 

What is your favourite bubble bath? I'm always looking for new ones to try!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Soap & Glory The Breakfast Scrub - Reviewed!

I am such a lovely of body scrubs and i'm even going to try make my own soon, but today I have a review of my favourite body scrub that i've tried. 
I've mentioned many a time how much I love the Soap & Glory packaging and this one is so lovely. It comes in a big tub which is clear so it's easy to see how much product you have left.
It's full of lovely ingredients which includes shea butter which makes it really moisturising to the skin which is perfect for this time of year. A lot of scrubs can be drying to the skin but this one is the complete opposite. 
One of the best things about this scrub is that it smells of maple syrup! It's sweet but not overpowering. The scrub it's is a thick sugary scrub that leaves the skin feeling so smooth and not tight, it also doesn't feel too harsh or scratchy on the skin.
I love this scrub so much and if you haven't tried it you definitely need to try it! You get a lot of product and you really don't need a lot to give you skin a good scrub.

Have you tried this? What is your favourite body scrub?

Friday, 14 December 2012

MUA The Artiste Collection - Reviewed!

This palette has been out for a few months now but I never felt the need to get it since I have so many palettes. When Superdrug had a deal on (which is still running!) where if you spent £6 you got this palette for free and couldn't pass up such a good bargain.
 The packaging is pretty basic but feels durable and that it wouldn't smash if you went traveling with it. What I like about the palette is that it includes 6 eyeshadows, 2 blushes, a bronzer and a highlighter so it definitely saves space if you were packing light. 
The eyeshadows themselves have a marbled finish too them meaning they have a lovely sheen to them. A downside of this is that there is no matte shades.
Another problem with the shadows is that there is a lot of fall out, I find this mainly in the palette rather than on the eye. Also the marbled pattern seems to wear off after a few uses too.
The blushes have a little shimmer too them which doesn't look over top on the cheeks. Again these are a little chalky but nothing too bad. The bronzer is very pigmented and a little dark for my pale skin but it can be used as a eyeshadow. Finally the highlighter has a lovely pink sheen to it and looks very natural on the skin.
There's a good mix of shades to this palette but I would prefer to have more neutral colours because I don't tend to use blues and purples on an everyday basis but that's just personal preference. 
As you can see all the shadows and blushes are well pigmented and show up well on the skin. i find they last a good amount of time on me as well. I think this is a great palette especially for the price and I think it would be great for someone who has a small make-up collection because you are getting a good range of products for the price.

MUA The Artiste Collection retails for £6.00.

Have you tried this palette?


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Emma Hardie Amazing Face Cleansing Balm - Reviewed!

This is probably one of the most raved about products at the moment and it has definitely become a firm favourite of mine as well as being a must have part of my Winter skin essentials (post on that here). I've had it since the end of October and I thought it was about time that it get it's own post, because it definitely deserves it.
The first thing that catches your eye about this product is the amazing packaging, Oh I do love pretty packaging! It definitely reminds me of something you would find in a spa (not that I go to spa's that often but you get the idea).
 The product itself is a thick yellow balm that smells of lemony savlon in a good way. It's fruity, not overpowering and feels and smells very luxurious.
A little definitely goes a long way with this balm, you need the smallest amount which I apply with damp hands and massage into my face in circular motion for around a minute or so then removing using warm water and a muslin cloth. 
Unlike the Eve Lom cleansing balm (which I reviewed here) it doesn't have grains in it to exfoliate the skin but when used a muslin cloth I find that it gentle exfoliates my skin without feeling too harsh. You can buy an exfoliant to mix in with the balm which I definitely want to try in the future.
After washing the product off my face my skin feels lovely and smooth and moisturised which is why I have been loving it so much in these colder months because it is the perfect product to use if you've been out in the cold all day. 
I have no negative things to say about this product because it really is amazing and removes any trance of make-up without feeling stripping to the skin. I've had mine for about 2 months and i've only used about a quarter of the product. 

I would definitely recommend trying this cleansing balm no matter what your skin type because it isn't greasy at all and just feels so lovely on the skin. It's not the cheapest of products but I definitely think it is worth every penny especially in Winter.

Emma Hardie Amazing Face Cleansing Balm retails for £34.00 (Currently has 20% off!).

Have you tried this product? What's your favourite cleansing balm?