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With the last few parties for the festive season coming up, I thought I’d share with you my top desk to disco essentials; the things you need to take a look from everyday to evening chic – you could even apply them hiding behind your computer screen so the boss doesn’t know.

One thing which instantly transforms a look is a lip option, and for the evening I like to opt for a dark/bold colour or a pretty gloss, depending on my eye look. I really like Topshops Lipstick in Beguiled for an evening look, paired with a flick of liquid liner and lots of lashes.

You can quickly transform a daytime smoky eye into one suitable for evening with some black kohl liner along the water and tight lines, or blended into the lashlines. I love the Scandaleyes Kohl’s by Rimmel which you could pick up with Boots Advantage Card points during your lunch break. Winner.

Finally to freshen up your look it’s nice to refresh the base with a sweep of an illuminating powder like the Hourglass Ambient Light Powder in Diffused Light. This will smooth over any cakey concealer and give you a youthful radiance, so that nobody knows you’re straight from nine hours at work. I’d also add bronzer, and in my case lots of it. NARS Laguna Bronzer is a great one as you can’t really go too overboard with it, and it deepens the complexion in a not just rolled through the mud way. I’m a fan.

#blushandglow

This little palette has been doing the rounds in the blogger world of late, and because of this has been a nightmare to get hold of. I eventually picked it up with my boots points and was initially impressed by the size of the product and the size of the individual pans.

Blush and Glow is a quad of powder cheek shades, offering everything you need to bronze, sculpt, blush and glow in one handy compact. In regards to the packaging, I think the magnetic closure is a great addition however I would have preferred metal or plastic packaging over cardboard, as this can get ruined very easily. I like the see through panel so that I can see what colours are in there when I’m looking through my collection and the lack of mirror doesn’t bother me at all.

The shades are VERY pigmented, so much so that I ended up looking like I’d rolled in mud upon first application of the bronzer. It’s tiny price point made me go in hard with the brush and I ended up with far too much product for one or even several faces… a light tap will do the trick.

The bronzer is a nice universal shade with no shimmer, making it ideal for both bronzing and sculpting the face and reducing the need for two separate products which is ideal for travel. The blushes are both very wearable shades and can be worn lightly for blush phobes like myself or built up with the exceptional levels of pigment. The highlighter isn’t my favourite as I find the pink toned iridescence too much for my skin, but if you like a pinker highlight over something gold then this is a lovely buttery formula which you absolutely cannot fault for the price.

Have you tried this?

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It seems Collection are going from strength to strength as a brand since the massive hype over their pretty brilliant Lasting Perfection Concealer. They’ve gotten rid of their 2000 and rebranded as a modern, affordable brand for all ages and tastes.

I’m currently trying one million and eight (exaggeration) foundations in the search for the one, and on a recent trip to Boots with my favourite shopping buddy I spent some of my advantage card points on their Illuminating Touch foundation. Now, I didn’t have high expectations for this bottle of tint, I paid a mere £3.99 for it and it only came in a choice of four shades which all looked exactly the same. However I was more than pleasantly surprised with the application, look, feel and longevity of this product. It offers a no shimmer glow, medium coverage and blends just as well as if not better than it’s high end counterparts. The shade 3 is a pretty close match to me, just warming up my skintone slightly and making me look a lot less dull and a little less pale. The One? I don’t want to make that commitment, but it’s certainly slowed down my search and opened my eyes to a new drugstore gem.

Have you tried this?

fragraNCE

If I hadn’t already listed enough things I love about the colder months, here’s another: the scents. Fragrance gets darker, muskier, woodier and just better. If you like the sound of this but aren’t sure of the best smelling goodies then here I am, happy to help, as always.

It’s common knowledge that Jo Malone is fragrance queen, and with the vast range available there’s something to please everyone. My warming winter  picks are the infamous Wood Sage and Sea Salt and Pomegranate Noir. Delicious.

Diptyque are also pretty great when it comes to the old smelly stuff, and Eau Duelle HAS to mine by the end of the season. It’s vanillary but in a mature way – a certain je ne sais quoi, if you will. For those who don’t like the sweeter smells, Vetyverio is a bit more of a tree like scent and is fairly unisex so you could always get it for your boyfriend and wear it yourself. Subtle.

If you’re on a budget or have a thing for mixing up a unique scent, The Library Of Fragrance has you covered. They have over 100 individual singular scents which can be worn alone or layered and mixed as you please. I reckon Gingerbread and Marshmallow could smell like a dream come true, or perhaps mix Fig with Paperback.

What are your scents of the season?

Image

Note to self: if you’re going to insist on posting makeup pictures, take them in good lighting i.e. the morning.

A few days ago I posted my Classic Christmas Party look with golden eyes and a bright red lip, and today sees the landing of another option, this time playing up the eyes and down the lips.

Nine times out of ten i’ll go for a smoky eye over a bold lip, just because it’s a bit more fun to apply and there’s a lot of freedom with it. Occasionally I’ll sit down with a 15 pan palette and work to create something Picasso would be proud of, but sometimes, and in this case, I want to use as little as possible and have the work done for me.

For base I used the NARS Sheer Glow Foundation which I’m currently using a sample of in my search for perfection and concealed using the Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer. I set my concealer with the Hourglass Ambient Light Powder in Diffused Light like I always do. Then I filled in my brows with MAC Omega Eyeshadow.

For my smoky eye I scribbled a fair amount of the Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon Crayon in Amber Haze onto my lid up to the crease and along my lower lashline – channeling the Olsen twins obv. I blended that out with a clean MAC 217 brush to create a sultry look. You could leave it there and go but I added a little bit of Burberry Pale Barley eyeshadow onto the mobile lid for extra dimension and scribbled Topshop Kohl Pencil in Saddle along my upper lashline. I then applied lashings of Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara which is my current fave.

For cheeks I used NARS Laguna Bronzer as a sculpting and warming product (because even in party season i’m too lazy to contour) and MAC Soft and Gentle along the high points of my would-be cheek bones. I completed the look with Chanel Rouge Coco lipstick in Adrienne.

Would you wear this? Or are you more of a bold lip lady?

shadow sticks

If there’s one thing that has been my favourite product find of the past few years, it’s eyeshadow sticks. These crayons of creamy goodness make my makeup on the train makeup application a breeze and mean that a smoky eye is a case of scribble, blend and go. Gone is the need for varying shades of brown and a dozen different brushes, a shimmering shadow stick will glide on with a duo-chrome effect and blend out to perfection, leaving a result which looks like you’ve spent a good ten minutes considering shade options, but with so many on the market, at a range of price tags, which is the bees knees?

I came, I swatched, I considered, and the official winner of my shadow stick awards is the By Terry Ombre Blackstar . I have this in the shade Bronze Moon and if i’m completely honest I want it in every other shade it comes in. I’ve spoken about this before but this one really does glide on beautifully, has a few seconds blending time and then doesn’t budge all day. I love the silver shimmer in with the bronze shade as it gives a slight wet look to the eye in an iridescent non sweaty way. It deserves a medal.

Second place goes to the Bourjois Colour Band Crayons which are an unquestionable dupe for the By Terry guys, the only annoying this about these is that you have to sharpen them, whereas the By Terry one twists up. They also don’t last quite as long (but they are 1/6 of the price). It’s the small things…

Bronze award is a draw between Charlotte Tilbury’s Colour Chameleon Sticks and the No7 Stay Perfect Long Wear Shadow Sticks. These are similar in pigment and longevity (pretty decent) but because of this are a little bit stiffer and harder to blend. They can’t all be perfect.

Last place goes to the Eyeko Fat Stick. This one is a twist up (fab) shimmery crayon (fab) which unfortunately doesn’t offer the same pigment or longevity as it’s competitors (not fab).

Do you use shadow sticks?

foundations

So today’s post ain’t my usual thing. I usually fill out a few hundred words with fact and opinion but for once in my life I have a question, and I’m openly asking for your help.

Here’s the thing, I cannot for the life of me find my perfect foundation, and I’m really quite desperate to. I know that the perfect base is made up of a number of factors including the tools, primer, concealer etc but while i’m fairly happy with all of that, I just can’t find a foundation which I apply everyday and love the finish of, the feel of and is in an ideal colour for me… Is it just too much to ask?

I’ve been on the hunt for the one for around a year now, and I’ve thought I’d met my match many a time, only to fall out of love as quickly as I fell in. I’m looking for something of light to medium coverage, lightweight on the skin and with a dewy finish and in a pale yellow/olivey tone. Please help me.

I have a few more contenders on my radar, but I have wasted a fair amount of money on the stuff and so before I go out and splash the cash again I thought I’d ask you, my readers, for your knowledge and expertise.

I’m thinking that the possibilities for perfection are NARS Sheer Glow, Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder, Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, L’Oreal True Match (New Formula, the old one was too heavy) or the L’Oreal Infallible Satin. Have you tried these? Do you have any shade recommendations?

Comment below or tweet me @abgldwsn with any thoughts and help… desperate times people.

 

festive nails

It’s time for the seasonal nail edit, where I pick out perfect polishes for the upcoming trends and make you want to buy them all.

My polish game is so weak right now, hence this being more of a shopping list with the ones I’m currently sporting up in the top left hand corner. Similarly to Autumn, there’s a few of the deeper shades which we all associate with the colder months, but Christmas welcomes glitter with open arms, and if it was up to me I’d roll my fingers in the stuff while it’s sort of acceptable.

It’s absolutely no secret that I love an Essie polish, and this Christmas they’ve come out with a selection box of really great colours. You get five full size polishes for £25ish which is a bargain considering their individual price tag, and this range would have you sorted for the whole season. If you prefer to hand pick your colours, I’m into Sole Mate (a classic berry), Trophy Wife (deep green with shimmer) and Wicked (one of those is it red is it black shades).

Fashion brand Reiss have teamed up with Boots this year to create a range of luxurious beauty gifts, including this gorgeous nail edit. It contains a couple of the classic shades, a chic nude and a metallic silver which would be a beautiful accent nail.

From my own collection I’ve been opting for a festive red in the form of Nails Inc X Victoria Beckham Judo Red with a glitter tip by either Essie Summit Of Style or Nails Inc Snowflake.

Do you love glitter polish?

IMG_5093

The party season is well and truly upon us and out come the sequin dresses and most sparkly shoes. One of my favourite thing about this time of year is that anything goes; you can wear a glittery number out to the shops and nobody will judge. You can pop on a red lip without questions of who you’ve put in the extra effort for and you can pull out the most out there pieces and rock them at the office party. Now as an unemployed student I do not have a Christmas party, and so I chose to wear this look on a day out shopping with my friend (hence it looking slightly worn in, I didn’t have time to take pictures pre any wind/rain/scarf in face situations and so this is the real deal. I am so glam.

What we’re dealing with here is the super simple go to Christmas party look, with the golden eyes and a pillar box pout. To create my take I started with the Joan Collins Timeless Beauty Foundation, because I figured for a party you’d want a fuller coverage and something with little to no flashback, I then smothered on a generous helping of the Urban Decay Naked Concealer and set my creasy (not greasy) under eye work using the Hourglass Ambient Light Powder in Diffused Light. For a pick me up I added the Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer for shape and warmth and was unusually heavy handed with my application of MAC Soft and Gentle Mineralise Skin Finish. After all, it is Christmas. I filled in my brows with a teeny weeny bit of MAC Omega Eyeshadow. For my eyes I used the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette and begun with White Chocolate all over the lid up to the crease before blending in Milk Chocolate through the outer part of the socket. I then packed on a fair bit of Creme Brulee onto the lid to make me look like a golden goddess before applying Max Factor’s False Lash Effect Mascara. For lips I used MAC Ruby Woo lipstick.

Do you like this look? Make sure to follow me on Bloglovin to see my #Blogmas posts everyday at 9am (GMT) and to see the next installment of my Christmas party looks!

winter pamper routine

We all love a good pamper, and in winter nothing is nicer than having a hot bath and giving yourself some TLC. It should definitely be the other way around, but I much prefer to pamper myself in the chilly months (when nobody even sees more than my hands), I imagine it’s to do with my skin being drier and the longer hours of darkness.

To begin a pamper session one must always run a bath, and preferably drop in a bath ballistic or bubble bar from Lush Cosmetics AMAZING Christmas Collection. I’ve been loving Butterbear and Cinders and pictured below is Golden Wonder which was basically mermaid water. If you’re not keen on those then perhaps a drop of aromatherapy oil, I hear that Aromatherapy Associates do some fab ones and are available as pretty gifts at this time of the year. Of course following the running of the bath you should get in it, perhaps apply a hair or a face mask and give yourself a good scrub down. I like to give my face a light exfoliation using Lush Let The Good Times Roll cleanser and wash my body with something luxe like the Rituals Foaming Shower Gel Sensation. I also take this time to push back my cuticles, shave my body parts and do any other boring maintenance tasks.

After I’ve peeled my prune like body from the bath, I smother it in a thick body butter, like this one from Soap and Glory. I usually pamper in the evening and so am not forced to partake in the sticky getting dressed situation, I can dance around naked while it all sinks in.

After my facial skins good scrub, I like to refresh my about to fall asleep eyes with the Aloe Eye Gel from Amphora Aromatics before dousing it in a toner spray and applying a good night cream. Not forgetting the fingers, I care for my cuticles using the oil by Jessica Nails.

golden wonder

If i’m dancing naked for too long, I might get chilly and so I finish the routine by slipping on some cosy pyjamas and painting my nails. Aah…

How do you spend your me time?