My Current Brush Rotation

Hello my poor neglected blog!  Sorry for the hiatus, been quite busy with life stuff at the moment and the trying to take advantage of the gorgeous summer weather we’ve been having.  Between a trip back to the states to visit family, house renovations (new windows and doors, replacing fascia, and a bathroom remodel) and starting driving lessons, I have been one busy lady!  So to get this blog rolling again, here’s my the makeup brushes that I am currently using:

2015-07-05 09.24.40Freshly washed as well!  Good job, haha!  Going left to right:

Real Techniques Duo Fibre Contour Brush-I’ve been mainly using this brush to sweep away fall out from under my eyes, but also occasionally for high lighting.

Real Techniques Buffing Brush-I opt for this brush for foundation application over my Beauty Blender when the foundation is more liquid-y.  I have been using this with L’Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream (watch for a review on that product soon!).

Sonia Kashuk Blush Brush-This brush is yonks old, but it is my softest and most favorite brush.  It also has held up very well over the years as it has to be at least 12 years old!  I use this for blush and bronzer application, which it is absolutely perfect!

ELF Angled Blush Brush-This is a recent acquisition and let me tell you, this picks up a lot of product!  Good for more defined contouring and sheer blushes that can do with a bit heavier application.

ELF Small Stippling Brush-Perfect for applying highlighter!

Real Techniques Powder Brush-One of the few brushes that I actually use for its intended purpose, powdering.

Real Techniques Duo Fibre Face Brush-This brush is absolutely great for cream blushes, also good for blush and bronzer for a lighter application.

ELF Eyeshadow Brush-I use this for packing on colour over the lid.

Sonia Kashuk Blending Brush-I use this for blending/ adding a mid tone.

So yes, I do need this many makeup brushes, haha!  It is a bit ridiculous when you think about how many brushes you need to do a simple face of makeup.  I don’t really notice until I have to wash them all.

How many makeup brushes do you use for one face of makeup?  What’s your favorite brush at the moment?

xx

My First Time Epilating

I hadn’t really considered epilating as process of hair removal ever.  I typically just shave, have dabbled in home waxing with fairly disastrous results, but typically it’s the trusty razor.  After watching this Lilly Pebbles youtube video about hair removal, I became intrigued.  Some of the attractive benefits of epilating are less frequent hair removal and your hair growing back thinner and finer than with shaving.  I started researching epilators and decided to give it a go.

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First off, I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on an epilator, some of them do range up to £100+ just in case I didn’t like it.  I ended up purchasing the Philips Satinelle HP6423/02, which had good reviews and was reasonably priced at £32.50.  It comes with a shaving attachment and comb attachment, which is fine for me.  Some of the epilators you can purchase have a ton of different attachments, but I didn’t really feel that was necessary for myself.  This is a dry use epilator only and it’s corded, but I haven’t really found that to be an issue.  It has two speeds, I always use it on the high speed, but you can use the lower setting if it’s too painful at first.

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And on to my experience using the epilator on my legs:

-I shaved my legs two days before using it, you won’t get all the hair on your first go, but it will be a lot less painful.

-Exfoliate before and after epilating, I use Lush’s Buffy Bar for this and it works great.  This prevents ingrown hairs, epilated hair grows back thinner and weaker and has difficulty coming through the skin so its important to exfoliate.

-Shower or take a bath before you use your epilator to soften the hair, but make sure your legs are completely dry before epilating.

-I just did my lower legs the first time I used it, I have a pretty high pain threshold and I didn’t really find it painful.  It was just more of an odd sensation?

-Some people do get really red and spotty after epilating so bear that in mind if you are going to be having your legs on display, you might want to give it a day or two.  My legs actually looked fine afterwards so your mileage may vary.

-I waited another two days and did my legs again (lower and upper legs this time) to catch the hairs that were too short first time around and now they are pretty smooth so will probably wait 4-5 days now to do them again.

Overall, I was really happy with how the epilator worked for my legs and definitely will continue to use it.

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Now onto underarms, this didn’t go quite as smoothly as the legs did:

-The first time I used my epilator on my underarms, I was pushing it way to hard into the skin and had really sore armpits because of this.  You want the epilator to glide over the skin, you don’t need to push it down.

-I tried again about two days later after I realized what I was doing wrong and it worked a lot better.

-You need to make sure the skin is really taut so hold you arm above your head to stretch the skin tight as possible.

-I found that it did miss a few hairs so I just plucked these out with a tweezers.

-Unlike my legs, my underarms were sore and red for about a day.

Overall, I’m really happy with how epilating has been going so far and will be continuing to use my epilator.  It’s is very satisfying to see all the hairs plucked from your body, haha!  Also, no more scratchy razor stubble and it should save money in the long run as well, not having to purchase razor cartridges, shaving cream, etc.

Have you ever tried epilating before?  How do you keep your skin smooth (if you choose to do so) for summer?

xx

Health and Fitness: What’s Working for Me

As you may remember, one of my New Year’s Resolutions (and probably almost every other person’s) was to be healthier.  And I finally feel like I have gotten into a really good exercise and health groove.  I gave up on the 30 Day Shred, sorry Jillian.  It just wasn’t fun, I didn’t look forward to it, I didn’t enjoy doing it and I think it was also a bit too hard on my joints.  It is a really high intensity program and I don’t think it is for everyone.

So what am I doing?

Zumba Fitness-On Tuesday and Thursday, I do Zumba for 20 minutes and 45 minutes on Sunday.  I bought Zumba Fitness 2 at the beginning of the year and its so much better than the first Zumba Fitness for the Xbox Kinect.  I really look forward to doing it, there’s a much better selection of songs and different Zumba instructors and backgrounds.  It also tracks how much time you have Zumba’ed, calories burned and your accuracy.  The songs will get stuck in your head and I often find myself dancing around while making dinner breaking out the Zumba moves!

Yoga-Zumba is great for cardio, but I wanted something to help tone and strengthen.  That’s when I started 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene after reading about it through Vivianna Does Makeup.  First off, I love Adriene!  Her videos are so easy to follow and she has a very go with the flow vibe, “find what feels good” is her mantra.  I do yoga on the days when I’m not doing Zumba.  Heels almost touching the floor for downward dog now!

namaste-yall

Healthier Eating-I have made two main changes to how I eat in my bid to be healthy.  My husband and I eat pretty ok anyway, we both enjoy cooking so we make almost all our meals ourselves.  My problem is mostly at work.

I don’t eat breakfast during the work week, I just am not a breakfast person and usually subsist on coffee and tea until lunch, not good.  So I have started bringing smoothies to work so that I can drink my breakfast.  My go to smoothie is one banana, 1/2 cup of orange juice and 1 cup mixed frozen fruit.  I use my Blend Active to make smoothies, which you can read about here.

Also for lunches, we have started buying chicken breasts, marinating in a bit of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and herbs to put in salads.  The key to enjoy salads I think is variety.  We also keep of plethora of salad “extras” to spice things up, beet root, picked onions, cucumber, seeds, hard-boiled eggs, avocados, cherry tomatoes, peppers, etc.  Pick from a few of those items, spinach, salad leaves, and a bit of dressing and you’re good to go, a nice healthy lunch.

So between the smoothie and my lunch, I at least know I’ve had two healthy meals for the day!

Healthy living has become a huge focus in the blogging world recently.  Have you tried anything to live a healthier lifestyle lately?

xx

DKNY Dreamsicle

I’ve amassed quite a large perfume collection, especially for someone who didn’t really “get into” perfume until 2 or 3 years ago.  My first proper perfume was DKNY Be Delicious, which is still my favorite of all the DKNY releases, but I have to say that Dreamsicle almost manages to pip it to the post.

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First off, the packaging.  Gorgeous.  And the light peachy colour feels so spring like and reflects the perfume inside perfectly.  I did try all 3 new releases at Boots, Cool Swirl was my least favorite, not quite as sweet as the other two, Tutti Rooty was nice, but a bit too sickly and Dreamsicle is a light and fruity peachiness that isn’t really like anything in my collection.

The description read as:

“The refreshing treat opens onto juicy mandarin and lush raspberry, dipped in mouthwatering blackcurrant for a vibrant splash of indulgence. The alluring journey lingers as exhilarating green apple harmoniously blends with dazzling accents of peach nectar and apricot sorbet. The background envelopes cedarwood heart and blends with a rich swirl of creamy sandalwood and balmy vanilla beans to create a blissful feeling of undeniable seduction.”

Which sounds lovely and poetic, but I mostly smell the peach.

I think this will definitely become my signature scent this spring, it’s such a nice and appealing scent.  I would definitely urge you to get down to the shop and have a whiff of all 3!

xx

Product Review: Maybelline Dream Flawless Nude Foundation

Purchasing the Maybelline Dream Flawless Nude Foundation was definitely influenced by quite a few different vloggers and bloggers raving about this product.  Foundation is definitely something that I like to chop and change as I haven’t found my Holy Grail formula yet, but this one is almost there except for one small issue.

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First off, this is a super thin formula, a little thicker than water.  I had just fallen in love with the Beauty Blender when I purchased this, but it is definitely not made for sponge application and you will literally just soak up all the product.  I like to dab some on the back of my hand with the absolutely ridiculous “dropper” (which I’ll get to in a minute) and then apply with the Real Techniques Buffing Brush.

The “dropper”, which isn’t really a dropper as you can’t suck up product with it, is a bit ridiculous.  You don’t need much of this foundation, but I still need to dip and dab like 5 times to get enough with the stupid little applicator.  I suppose I could pour it out, but then I’m afraid I’d get too much.  But still it is a nice foundation so this isn’t a deal breaker.

The one issue is that the lightest shade is slightly too dark for me which is a huge bummer.  I just wish they had a better shade selection.  Once its blended out and powdered, its not too made, but it’s just not a good match.

PicMonkey Collage

Bare skin on the left and foundation on the right, you can see it gives a nice even, natural looking coverage.  It really is a lovely silky foundation!

Have you tried Maybelline Dream Flawless Nude Foundation?  Thoughts on the dreaded “dropper”?

xx

Current Skin Care

I think I’ve finally found a skin care routine that I really like and have actually been repurchasing the core products rather than chopping and changing (although trying new things is always fun!).  So here are the products I’ve been using for my winter skin care routine:

Cleansing

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Soap and Glory Off Your Face Cleansing Cloths-Shame!  I know, the evil cleansing wipes!  But I promise I’ve actually been using these a lot less.  Now that I work out 3 times a week, I’ll take a shower after and remove my makeup with my daily face wash.  So these are just for in a pinch, but they are very nice as far as face wipes go.  I got these in my Soap and Glory holiday giftset, they’re very wet and sturdy, not sad little, half dry wipes.  They are alcohol free and contain glycerin so they moisturise as well as exfoliate.

Dr Jart+ Clear Away Gel-I received this little gem in my January Birchbox, I love Dr Jart+ products!  This is a gel that has tiny little exfoliating beads to smooth the skin and help refine pores, I use it about twice a week to get rid of any dead skin cells.

Olay Essentials Refreshing Face Wash-This is just a nice simple, no frills face wash.  Both the mister and I use it, it cleans your face, doesn’t dry out you skin, what more could you want?

Moisturizing/Toning

2015-02-08 11.45.50Simple Kind to Skin Soothing Facial Toner-This is the one product that I kind of bought on a whim and probably won’t repurchase.  I prefer the Boots Botanics All Bright Cleansing Toner, which is more of an exfoliating toner (its supposed be a dupe for the Pixi Glow Tonic), however the small Boots near my work doesn’t carry it.  So I picked this up instead, it’s alcohol free which is a plus, but not particularly exciting.  I do find it still makes my skin feel a bit tight.  I’ll use it up until its gone and then go back to my Boots Botanics toner.

Boots Botanics Skin Calming Day Cream SPF 15-If you’ve read my blog any amount of time, you will definitely have seen this before.  I love this moisturiser, this is probably like my 8th or 9th one.  It gives my dry skin the perfect amount of moisture with the added bonus of SPF, love this stuff.

Boots Vitamin E Gentle Eye Cream SPF 15-Can you tell I like Boots skin care yet?  This is a simple and effective eye cream and it’s cheap to boot!  £2.50 for this baby, you just need a small amount, I pat a bit around my eye area with my ring finger before applying my face moisturiser.  In the winter I also have been using this around my nose when the skin has been chapped there.

Have you used any of these products?  Is your skin care routine constantly changing or do you have your old stand bys?

xx

 

Earlybird Tastebox

I saw a promotion on Facebook a few weeks ago for Earlybird Tastebox, basically like a grazebox, except the Tastebox comes with 5 snacks, a dip, and tea.  They are currently running a promotion for £1 for your first box (or you can use my sharecode, mandy-2008, to get your first box free!).

Some other differences from grazebox are that you can’t look at what snacks come in the box before you receive it, so it’s kind of a crapshoot.  If you do receive something you like or don’t like though, you can rate it so you either don’t receive it again or receive it frequently.

2015-01-26 16.35.15Sorry for the rubbish photo, I really hate winter lighting!

As far as the actual snacks, I was really pleased with my selection.  Here’s what I got:

Minted- This was probably my favorite snack in the whole box, dark chocolate buttons, pecans, and mint sultanas, super yummy!

Seedy Surprise Crunchy-This one had a bit of weird flavour to it, won’t get it again.  It had apricot kernels, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.

Nutty Galore-I really liked the pistachios in this snack, it also had almonds and sunflower seeds.

Happley Appley-Another favorite, dried apple slices that came with a pot of almond butter for dipping!

Bollywood Sticks-Bombay, chilli cashews, and peas, this was spicy and satisfying!

Darjeeling Early Grey Tea-I wasn’t that excited about the tea, until I opened the pot up and saw it was Teapigs brand!

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The company is fairly new and from the sounds of it, has lots of improvements and changes in store for the future.  For example, I think a snack rating system may come into place and they are looking to introduce a healther gym snack box so I think we can expect good things from this company!

Although the packaging isn’t as pretty as graze, I think the snacks are on par if not better.  And you are getting an extra snack as you only get 4 with graze and the tea (especially Teapigs brand!) is a nice inclusion as well.

So if this sounds like something you’d like to try, go to https://earlybird.fm/ and type in my sharecode mandy-2008 for your first free box (can’t beat free food, haha!).

Have you tried a snackbox subscription before?

xx