Friday, 28 August 2015

The Cheerz Box.

It saddens me that in the midst of social media madness, we forget the way it used to be. Seeing as we can now upload our favourite photographs at the push of a button, we no longer seem to print out copies. I'll be showing my age when I tell you all that as a child, I loved it when my mum sent our camera film rolls off to get printed, and we had the excitement of getting the developed photographs sent back to us in the post.

As you all know, I came back from 3 months in the Caribbean back in June - I uploaded all my pictures to my Facebook and Instagram accounts whilst I was out there, and had planned on getting a few printed when I returned home. As luck would have it, within a few days of getting back, I was contacted by a new company called Cheerz...

The idea behind Cheerz is very simple - the company has a mobile app, through which you can quickly select photos you've shared directly onto your social media accounts (as well as ones you haven't) and get them printed, either as simple photographs, or they can be in the form of books, boxes, posters... the choices are endless. 

I went for the Cheerz Box* and selected 30 of my favourite photos from my holiday, using a mixture of pictures from my Instagram and personal Facebook accounts. I downloaded the Cheerz app, which accessed my social media accounts quickly and easily - I'd picked and ordered my box and selected my pictures within about five minutes. I loved that you could also select which part of your picture was to be printed - there's been all too many times where I've made a Snapfish order and, unable to check how my photos would come out, I've lost the top of mine or a friend's head during the printing process.

The box came super fast - the next day, in fact! All of the photos were Polaroid picture-sized and on high-quality glossy paper. I really liked the photos I'd selected from my Facebook account, but it was pretty easy to spot which ones I'd selected from Instagram, as the pictures weren't quite of the same quality which I suppose is to be expected, given Instagram compresses the photos you upload, anyway.

Whilst I love the polka-dot design of the box, I was a smidge disappointed at the lack of choices, as there was just a choice of polka dots or stripes... I, personally, think something floral wouldn't go amiss for us gals.

At £13.95, along with £3.95 delivery, I do feel the Cheerz Box is a little expensive for what you're getting, so maybe this isn't something you'd buy for yourself - mine was gifted to me, but I really do love it, and think it's nice to have a selection of my favourite memories from my trip, all inside a cute little keepsake box... it'd make for a really thoughtful gift for a social-media obsessed friend!

The Cheerz Box is priced at £13.95, and available online, or via the iPhone app.

*PR Sample
Wednesday, 26 August 2015

My Current Favourite Nail Polishes.

Whilst I love my new job as a junior doctor, the one thing I seriously miss is looking down at my hands and seeing painted fingernails. Whilst my toes are constantly lacquered, my fingers don't look quite so great during the week - before I started my job I had a couple of shades constantly slicked onto my fingernails... today, I thought I'd show you the ones that made the cut this summer.

From L to R: Suzi Shops & Island Hops, That's Hula-rious!, Lost My Bikini in Molokini and Aloho

I've been loving the OPI Hawaii Nail Lacquer Set*, which comes with 4 oh-so-cute bottles of OPI polish in a collection of gorgeous shades... with equally gorgeous names. As you'd expect with a professional polish, these last really well on the nails.

Whilst I love all the colours in the set, my absolute favourite is That's Hula-rious! a  bright, breezy pastel green, which looks especially great with a tan.

If, like me, you're a glitter fan, the Morgan Taylor Professional Nail Lacquer in If The Slipper Fits* will probably be right up your street. The brand brought out an entire range of polishes to celebrate the release of Disney's Cinderella, and this particular polish was created to represent Cinderella's glass slippers... and it does a bloomin' good job.

A gorgeous blue polish packed with delicate blue and silver glitter, it creates an almost holographic look to the nails - it does require a couple of coats to provide the dense glitter you can see on my nails (abovebut the finished result is nothing short of stunning. The only bugbear I have with this polish is it's an absolute nightmare to get off your nails.

If you fancy trying out the rest of the Morgan Taylor Cinderella Collection, there's a mini set available to include 4 of the limited edition polishes - check it out here.

A longtime favourite of mine is another polish my OPI - Thanks a WindMillion was a shade brought out by the brand in 2012 as part of their Holland collection (thankfully, it still seems to be available here)... after I spotted it on Lauren Conrad, it had to be mine.

The shade is a gorgeous dull green colour, which somehow strikes a balance between striking, without being in-your-face - I've described at length in my August Favourites 2014, (which, as a side, is a weird thing to watch as I haven't filmed in over a year... I'm looking to get back into it, but watch this space for now!).

My final pick was actually something of an impulse buy - about a month back, Boots happened to be doing an awesome 3-for-2 on Revlon products, and you also got a free Revlon Nail Enamel as part of the offer. I opted for the shade Privileged - this is a new addition to the core Revlon line, and is a very flattering orange-toned peach colour. I wore this on my graduation day, and needed about 3 coats for a streak-free finish... whilst it lasted all day on the day it needed to, it doesn't seem to have quite the same lasting power as other colours in the range, and chips after around 2 days, so I'd suggest taking the bottle  away with you if you fancied wearing it on holiday... it does look especially good when you're on the side of sun kissed.

*PR Sample

Ever since I cut my hair to a much more manageable length, I've been favouring the messed-up, minimally-styled, tousled look... unfortunately, the annoying part being this look often not quite so effortless as it looks - I've sat in front of the mirror for 20 or 30 minutes getting my hair to look 'minimally styled.'

Thankfully, I've found 3 products (yes, there's 4 up there... but 2 of them are part of one step, you see) that get my hair looking care-free... and without even trying.

First up, I've been using the TRESemmé Perfectly (Un)Done Shampoo followed by the Conditioner when I'm washing my hair. The Perfectly (Un)Done range is a new addition to the TRESemmé family, and is the perfect way to start your tousled hair prep. It's silicone-free, which means your hair won't be weighed down with product residue, and the Sea-Kelp enriched formula creates a nice amount of texture, all the while ensuring your locks are gorgeous, shiny and flowing.

Next up, I towel dry my hair, run my fingers through it to remove any large knots, and spritz the L'Oréal Paris #TXT Wave Creating Spray* through the lengths of my hair - my hair is pretty thick, so I use anything between 5 and 10 sprays depending on just how tousled I want my hair to look. This product creates the perfect amount of texture without a hint of the not-so-desired crunchy hair feeling.

I blast my hair with my ghd Aura Hair Dryer*, flipping my head upside-down to create bounce at the roots, with a little light scrunching action going on through the ends. I then flip my head back over, smooth out any kinks in the fringe and top layers with a paddle brush like this one, before finishing my styling with a light mist of the Charles Worthington Volume & Bounce Texturising Spray. This stuff was recommended to me by the lovely Georgina from Live Laugh Lipstick, and is completely amazing for completing the tousled look - it smells incredible, and gives that little hint of grit and somethin' somethin'. I spray a small amount through the mid-lengths and ends, before giving my hair a little ruffle 'n' zhush.

And that's it, effortless hair that is actually effortless.

*PR Sample
Friday, 7 August 2015

A Cheeky Charlotte Tilbury Splurge.

I've pretty much been watching the Charlotte Tilbury Amal Clooney Wedding Makeup Tutorial on repeat for the last few months, and had had enough of lusting over the Eyes to Mesmerise Cream Eyeshadows and the Cheek to Chic Swish and Pop Blusher Charlotte uses in the video... so last week before I entered the official working world as a junior doctor, I decided to treat myself to a little somethin' somethin'.

First up - the Cream Eyeshadow; I was stumped over which of the 6 shades to go for, but after much deliberation over the gold and bronze hues, I ended up plumping for something completely different... the shade Mona Lisa which I'm wearing on my 'lids in the photos at the top of this post.

True to Charlotte's high-end vibe, the packaging is super luxe, featuring a frosted glass jar and a rose-gold embossed lid to house the product in.

As for that product... well, the texture of this shadow is nothing short of perfection - dreamy, light and mousse-like, its consistency makes it an absolute joy to apply. I tend to apply a light wash across the eyelid with a brush and buff away the edges to create a sultry, yet daytime friendly, smokey eye. I like quite a strong-looking eye, so tend to add a little extra across the lid to intensify the shadow - but it really is only a little extra as the shadow is so pigmented, so a little really goes a long way.

I absolutely adore the colour, and am so glad I chose it over a classic bronze - it's a gorgeous wisteria-hued brown, with delicate shimmer infused into the formula. I think it really frames my brown eyes well, and gives my eyelids a gorgeous, glossy look - I've never seen a shade quite like it.

As for wear, it's a million miles ahead of the By Terry Ombre Blackstar (which I reviewed here), and after road-testing it on a long day at work, I'm pleased to report there was barely a crease in sight after almost 10 hours of wear... impressive, I think you'll agree.

I've worn the Eyes to Mesmerise Cream Shadow every single day since I bought it.... if that doesn't sell it to you, I don't know what will.

The Cheek to Chic Blusher is also a joy to look at - the luxurious burgundy case is finished with rose gold detailing... it's certainly a compact you'd have no shame in getting out of your handbag!

The blush is designed for foolproof application, with an outer ring of colour to Swish your brush around, before tapping off the excess and applying along the length of the cheekbone, followed by the inner Pop shade to apply directly to the apples of the cheeks. I like to think this means this is a couple of products in one, as you can pick and choose individual shades, wear them as directed or mix them together. The product is super finely milled, and features Light Flex Technology to capture and reflect light for a luminous, healthy looking complexion.

I bought the same shade of Cheek to Chic Blusher as used in the aforementioned Amal Clooney tutorial - Love Glow is a medium, warm-toned pink infused with the finest shimmer I have ever seen. On the cheeks, it's absolutely stunning (again, I'm wearing it in the top photo), and sits beautifully on the skin without looking cakey. Much like the Eyes to Mesmerise Cream Eyeshadow it is highly pigmented, so it's best to apply with a light hand. I've found some shimmery blushers tend to highlight my pores, but the shimmer in this is so delicate, it simply adds a beautiful glow to the face.

Wear-wise, it lasts around 7-8 hours on my oily skin, and even after that long a wear, it doesn't sink into pores or fine lines.

As with the Dolce Vita Palette and the Matte Revolution Lipstick, I'm super impressed with these products and can't wait to try out more from the range... doing everything in my power not to treat myself to an "end-of-the-working-week" Charlotte Tilbury splurge...

The Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerise Cream Eyeshadow is priced at £22.00, and the Cheek to Chic Blusher at £30.00.

I have to say I was never really into the contouring 'thing...' but that was before I realised I didn't have to use the super time-consuming Kim Kardashian method to get crackin' cheekbones.

Last year, I shared a couple of secrets to how I create my own contour product, but with my usual choice of L'Oréal Paris Glam Bronze hitting pan a few months ago, I've been forgoing the contour.

Going into Boots for my usual 'one thing only,' (I forget what that was, seeing as I walked out with a bag full of new beauty toys), but I found myself at the Maybelline counter, intrigued by their latest release - the Master Sculpt Contour & Highlight. 

This is one of the first convincing budget alternatives I've seen to high end contour products like the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder. The matte grey undertone to the Maybelline product was what sold me, as unlike the more orange-toned options in Boots, this one actually looked like it would produce a natural-looking contour.

I'm not going to lie, the packaging obviously doesn't look quite as nice as the Kevyn Aucoin option, but it's a pretty damn good alternative if you're not feeling all that flush, like me... roll on my first pay cheque at the end of August.

I'm actually rather impressed with the Master Sculpt contour powder (more about the highlighter in a second) - whilst it's not super pigmented, I've actually found this to be something of a blessing, as the product can be gradually built up to the desired look without fear of the dreaded stark stripe under the cheekbone.... it's particularly great if you're new to contouring, and want something to practice with.

The brush included in this set is not great at blending out the contour powder, and it's a little on the scratchy side... but if you can tolerate that it's pretty decent to use to deposit product in the hollow of the cheek - I tend to get a good amount of contour on the brush, tap off the excess, suck in my cheekbones and nestle the length of the brush along the hollows of my cheeks, before sweeping the it towards the hairline. I then go in with my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush to buff the edges and create a natural looking finish.

As for the highlight, it leaves a little to be desired. I find it rather chalky, and I don't think it actually does 'highlight;' more like leaves a dusty residue on the skin... then again, very little is going to live up to my highlight of choice, Benefit Watts Up! Highlighter (which I used on my graduation day). To be frank with you, I think I'd rather the Master Sculpt have been a 'one job' product with just the contour powder, rather than trying to be a 2-in-1 which does one of those jobs well, and the other... well, not quite so well.

A final note to add: if you're worried this colour will be a too dark on you, fear not, as I went for the Medium/Dark shade of the Master Sculpt - there's also a Light/Medium shade available to those with fair skin tones... so everyone can cheat their way to razor sharp Kim Kardashian cheekbones.

The Maybelline Master Sculpt Contour & Highlight is priced at £6.99, and available at Boots.

Check out my top tips for contouring here.
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