Monday, 30 November 2015

MAKE UP PRIMERS



Top, Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, Bottom, Benefit The POREfessional Face Primer

Continuing on from my review of Urban Decay All Nighter Make up Setting Spray, there are 2 other products I credit with helping my make up last longer. In addition to improving its wear time, they also greatly improve my make up application. Clarins Beauty Flash Balm and Benefit The POREfessional Face Primer are two make up primers of cult status, and for good reason. It may be unconventional, but I use both of these on different parts of my face. I have used them for a while now, and couldn’t do my make up without either.

Benefit The POREfessional Face Primer, £24.50 

Benefit’s POREfessional is advertised as being the best selling primer in the UK. It’s supposed to minimise the appearance of pores and fine lines and help your make up last. This can be used all over the face; however I only use it on my T-zone, applying it to my nose and my forehead. The reason for this is that it helps with the pores on my nose, creating a smoother, more neutralised base to apply foundation. And I use it on my forehead to smooth it out and help prevent foundation from settling into my fine lines as much. Benefit say you can use this either under or over make up, however I have yet to try the latter. To apply under make up, you pat on a thin layer starting in the centre of your face and moving outwards. I tend to pat a little extra on to particular areas I feel need a bit more, such as my deepest lines or if my pores are more emphasised than usual on my nose. To apply on top, gently pat on a dab of it and blend over make up. It’s a very silky and lightweight balm, as described, with a nice consistency which is easy to apply. The best word I can think of to describe this is probably velvety. It’s a velvety texture that gives a smooth surface to apply your make up on top of. It’s an oil free formula and suitable for all skin tones. It doesn’t shrink pores the way some other primers are designed to do, but rather fills them in and evens out the skin. I also find it balances out some of the redness I get. I have used this for years and it remains a staple in my routine.

Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, £29

For the rest of my face, I use Clarins Beauty Flash Balm. As I’ve previously mentioned, I have very dry skin, and because of this foundation application is quite difficult. I can no longer use a foundation brush as I had done before becoming unwell. I instead have to use a sponge as it helps prevent foundation from clinging to dry patches and it gives a more even and nicer finish. Still though, application wasn’t great and I would need to be cautious, gently patting and dabbing foundation onto my skin especially on my driest areas. To combat this, I had been researching the best primers to use, as Benefit’s POREfessional, whilst amazing on the T-zone, wasn’t working the way I wanted on the rest of my face. Make up primers are now big business so there are an abundance of options available. The one most people seem to love and regard as the best is Clarins Beauty Flash Balm. It has a loyal following and over the years has won an abundance of beauty awards. I had a generous sample of it that my mum had gotten in a free gift with purchase which she had given me, and I decided to give it a try. I was immediately impressed and actually quite shocked at how good it is. The difference it made was incredible. It helps massively with foundation application, really smoothing and hydrating my skin. It creates such a good base and a lovely dewy radiance I’d never been able to achieve before. And on top of this it also made my make up last much longer. After just a week of using the sample I was blown away and ordered a full sized one. I’ve been using it ever since.

Clarins describe this as being the ultimate pick me up for tired and lifeless skin, providing moisture and erasing signs of fatigue by brightening and tightening. It’s a thick, creamy balm which contains Olive and Witch Hazel extracts to smooth the skins surface by tightening and firming to diffuse the look of lines and wrinkles, and it contains Bisabolol to soften and soothe which helps restore radiance. There’s sometimes confusion surrounding this product as it can be used in different ways.  I personally use this as a primer before applying make up, but some use it as a moisturiser and it can also be used as a face mask. It’s advised not to use this everyday as it will lose its effectiveness. However, I have been using this now for about 7 months, I apply it every time I do my make up which on average is 4 times a week, sometimes 5, and it still works as brilliantly as it did at first. I’ve also read plenty of reviews from people who use it as their everyday moisturiser and swear by it for that. To use as a face mask, Clarins say to use once or twice a week, leaving on for 10-15 minutes. I haven’t tried it for anything other than a primer, so I can’t comment on its other uses. I use it as described before make up application; however it says to use in place of your moisturiser after cleansing and toning. I can certainly see why many wouldn’t need moisturiser as this does do an excellent job at hydrating skin. For me though, my skin is so dry that I do still need it. What I do is cleanse and tone, apply my eye cream and a light layer of moisturiser, then I do my eye make up whilst it sinks in, and then apply this balm. It’s about finding what works best for your skin. You only need a small amount, which makes this last a long time. You don’t want to use too much as it’s not going to work as well. I squeeze out about a pea sized amount and dab some on each cheek and a little less on my chin and upper lip. I then smooth it out into a thin layer without rubbing or massaging, and follow by immediately applying foundation.  If you want to just use this as a moisturiser without make up, you still apply in the same way, and it’s suitable for morning or night. It is definitely best to do your foundation straight away for the best results rather than waiting for it to sink it. It has a light, pleasant fragrance and leaves skin feeling very soft and smooth. It feels almost a little tacky but that helps when you put your make up on top. It gives instant radiance and I do feel some tightening. Very much appreciated by my dull skin as it’s always fatigued since sleep is difficult for me and I suffer from terrible tiredness from having Fibromyalgia. This magical beauty booster is an absolute must have for me, giving me a more luminous complexion and extra wear from my make up. I love it and think it’s worth every penny.

Primers are certainly not essential, and for a lot of people their moisturiser is sufficient enough in preparing skin for make up. For me though, I find them extremely beneficial. Both of these work perfectly on top of my moisturiser which is a must for me, and a lot of other primers I’ve tried don’t do. These are very different types of primers with different textures and results. Benefit’s is lightweight and has a very silky, velvet finish which smooths out and reduces the appearance of my pores and lines. Whereas Clarins’ is a dewy, thick balm which hydrates, tightens and softens the skin and creates luminance. I use both because my face has different needs. They both create a smoother surface for skin and ease foundation application. And both primers do an excellent job at improving the staying power of my make up. I highly recommend both depending on what you’re looking for, and in conjunction with Urban Decay’s All Nighter Spray my make up is lasting much longer than ever before.

Katie xx
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Thursday, 26 November 2015

NARS GLOSSYBOX


I was one of the lucky people who managed to get hold of the limited edition Nars Glossybox when it was released here in the UK last week. I had been so excited for this to launch. I’ve never bought a beauty box before or subscribed to the services such as Glossybox or Birchbox, but I am a big Nars fan and love their make up. So, when I read about this very special box and the products it contained I knew I had to get one. The reason this was such a hotly anticipated release was due to the fact Nars has never been included in a beauty box before, and in addition one of the products was their brand new Audacious mascara. There had been a lot of buzz and hype surrounding it, doubtless you’ve seen it pictured on many beauty bloggers Instagram feeds. I already have quite a few things from Nars and a couple of products in particular that I really love. I also have a lot on my ‘to buy list’, but I never seem to get round to it. The problem for me is that there’s now a never ending stream of limited edition collections from every beauty brand you can think of, with the only real exceptions being some of the drug store brands. So I tend to spend any money I have for make up on those items I know I won’t have the chance to buy again. As a result, the permanent items I want end up being forgotten about. One item in particular from Nars is their powder blush in Orgasm, which has been very high on my list and I was considering asking somebody if they’d buy me it me for Christmas this year. When I found out this was one of the products in the Glossybox, it was game on!

There are 5 products included, and all are generous travel sizes. They are:
Nars Powder Blush in Orgasm, full sized price £23
Nars The Multiple in Orgasm, full sized price £29
Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien, full sized price £19
Nars Audacious Mascara, full sized price £21
Nars Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Via Veneto, full sized price £19

It arrived beautifully packaged. The box is a sleek, matte black soft feel material, very true to the iconic Nars packaging. It’s definitely a box I’m going to keep and use for something as it’s too nice not to. I couldn’t wait to open it and start using everything. I thought it was great that it came with a useful little card detailing each product and included tips on how best to use. Very handy for people who perhaps are not familiar with Nars make up, especially The Multiple which is a product I hadn’t ever used before. I’ve been trying them out over the last couple of days and overall I’m very pleased; I love 3 of the 5 products.

Outdoor Swatches
Indoor Swatches


Audacious Mascara

First up is the Audacious Mascara. I have to say I was excited to try this as I’ve read a lot of positive reviews online. Unfortunately though, this was a big disappointment for me. Nars describe this as a buildable mascara that simultaneously separates, lengthens and amplifies lashes. It has a plastic wand which is typical of mascaras designed to give maximum volume. The brush is made up of a mix of long and short moulded bristles, plus it has a tapered tip for hard to reach inner and outer corners and to enhance your lower lashes. I’m a one coater of mascara kinda girl, and I like an ‘all in one’ type which delivers the typical things such as length, volume and separation. This new Nars one sounded promising, but it was just not for me. My main problem was that it didn’t do any separating, and it was too clumpy. It was weird; it gave lots of horrible small bitty clumps all over my lashes. I applied exactly as directed, and in the same way I always apply my mascara, root to tip in a zig zag kind of motion. It coated the lashes well and gave ample volume but the formula was just a mess. I had to go in with my Mac 204 lash brush to try and separate my lashes afterwards and to try and disperse and get rid of all of the little clumpy bits. Still though I was not at all happy with it and was grateful I’d tried it on a day I was at home and didn’t need to go out anywhere. I didn’t even attempt to do a second coat to test its claim at being buildable, as I was sure it was going to make it even worse. Additionally, throughout the day I had a lot of fallout from it. I hate when my mascara gives me little black bits under my eyes that have flaked off. And this one did it a lot more than other mascaras I’ve tried. I was constantly checking in the mirror and having to wipe them away. I will say that it does do a decent job at lengthening. It was an intense black shade which was nice, and the formula itself was very fluid and almost glossy in its appearance. I found the fine spikes at the tip of the wand to be very helpful in reaching my outer lashes. The brush is quite big and I struggled to get it flat to do my lower lashes, so again the tapered tip is necessary to coat them. The few pros though are far outweighed by the cons I personally experienced. I actually much prefer a softer bristle brush as opposed to plastic ones like this. If you like a plastic wand though and are looking for a high volume mascara, I would recommend Benefits They’re Real Mascara over this one any day. I’ve tried it many times, and though it isn’t my usual mascara, it is so much better than this Nars one whilst doing a more successful job at delivering the intense volume and staying power that Nars Audacious promotes. 

Powder Blush in Orgasm

Now that the baddie of the bunch is out of the way, let’s get on with the good stuff. The Orgasm blush was what I was most looking forward to trying. As I suspected, I absolutely love it and am now kicking myself for waiting so long to buy it. I’ve swatched it countless times in store, but it’s so gorgeous on. This is one of Nars ‘cult products’ and I can certainly see why. It’s such a pretty pink shade with a beautiful soft golden shimmer to it. I’d describe it as being a warm toned medium pink, and its texture was very soft. It’ perfect for everyday for a natural, pretty flush of colour, but as with all Nars blushes it’s very buildable for a more intense look. The shimmer isn’t too noticeable and it’s appropriate still for day time, it just adds a nice soft glow. I already have a few Nars blushes and love them. Most of the ones I have or have tried are always a great formula with long staying power, and Orgasm was no exception. It’s going to be getting a lot of wear now that I have it and I will be buying a full sized one as soon as this deluxe travel size runs out.

The Multiple in Orgasm

The Multiple is the same lovely shade as the blush, as you would expect sharing the same name, but in a different yet complimentary product. The Multiple is described as being a multi-use product, something I usually shy away from. I guess it’s the old expression ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ type thing that puts me off. It’s a cream stick which you can apply either directly or use your fingers and dab it on, which is what I did when using it. I was actually very pleasantly surprised with this and how much I love it. I used it on my cheekbones for a glowy highlight. Again, you can build up its intensity, and it can be used in conjunction with Orgasm blush to create a more intense look. As well as being a highlighter, it can also be used as a blush for a soft colour, or on the eyes, lips and even on the body for a nice shimmer. It didn’t last as long as the blush did, but I didn’t expect it to with it being a creamy product. It lasted well though and I got a good few hours of wear.

Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien

The Satin Lip Pencil is something that I have been meaning to try for a while now. I really like Nars Matte Lip Pencils, so the satin ones were very appealing to me. The pencil included in this box is Rikugien, which is aptly described as a dusty rose. It’s a muted rose pink with warmer undertones. I can imagine it being a good ‘my lips but better’ colour for a lot of people. It seems like quite a universally flattering rose shade, and that definitely seems to be the overriding theme with this box. Nars have clearly been very selective in curating which products to be included. They’ve purposely chosen wearable colours which are likely to suit most people’s colouring as well as varying make up styles. These are all pleasing shades of rosy pink which can be used to give a natural make up look or intensified by building up and pairing with the eye products for a bolder option. I found the formula of the satin lip pencil to be really nice, and this shade was very buildable. It applied easily, and had enough control for me to get a more defined lip line, which is what I prefer and often my problem with pencils such as this. It gave a good amount of colour and was semi opaque with a nice sheen to it. I’d say satin is the perfect word to describe this product. And I was also impressed by its wear time. I didn’t expect this to last that long, but it lasted well and there was still product left on my lips after eating. I regret not trying these pencils sooner and I’m looking forward to trying some of the bolder shades.

Larger Than Life Eyeliner in Via Veneto

Finally, we have the Larger Than Life Eyeliner. Now, I personally don’t wear pencil eyeliner that often, and when I do it’s just a pale, nude shade on my lower water line to open up and brighten my eyes. I never wear pencil liner on my lids, I use liquid liner instead. I now and then will use a black pencil on my water line if I’m going for a darker eye, but that’s it. So I knew that this eyeliner wouldn’t be of any use to me. But I suppose it’s still handy to have. When swatching, I found it to be a good, creamy consistency. It’s a jet black shade, and I was able to draw a solid line easily. And it lasts! I kept the swatch of eyeliner on my arm for hours, and it didn’t budge. When it came to removing it, I had a hard time getting it off. I had a cotton pad soaked in my make up remover and I had to work to try and remove it, and even after that there was still a faint line left. I also tried it on my water line and it lasted a long time, and it didn’t cause any irritation to my eyes.

I’ve included photos of my make up using everything but the eyeliner. I apologise for the crappy lighting. The weather here has been awful the last few days. I went outside to try and take photos but it was too dark and gloomy and messed up the colouring of the make up in photos. I went round the whole house trying to find a decent spot to take a photo that showed their true colour, and this was the best I could manage. I’m wearing The Multiple on the highs of my cheekbones and the powder blush on the apples of my cheeks. I’m wearing the Audacious mascara, and the lip pencil. I’ve also used my regular contour which is NYX blush in Taupe which you might be able to see underneath the blusher. The lip pencil and cheek products all complement each other extremely well and are from the same rose colour family. These 3 products I know I’m going to get a lot of use out of, whether worn together or mixed in with other make up.

I think Nars and Glossybox have done an excellent job with their selections for this box. For major Nars fans it was seen as a must have collectible item with the smaller sizes of popular products. For those who perhaps haven’t tried anything from Nars yet, Glossybox have given people a nice little taster with 5 products that can be used to give a complete make up look on top of your usual base. They’ve purposely included products to cover all aspects: lips, eyes and cheeks. It’s a very well rounded collection. And they’ve carefully chosen universal and versatile shades to work well for the majority of people and equally can work for day and night. Although there are 2 products I’m not going to use, I’m still very happy with it. I love the other 3 and it’s allowed me to try different products from them without having to shell out the full retail price on products that I might not have liked. I’m very grateful I got to try the mascara before buying a full sized as I would have been mad to buy it and not be able to use it. That was the only let down for me and the only product I wouldn’t recommend. The rest are all amazing products which if you’ve been thinking of buying I would recommend doing so based on my personal experience with them. My favourite is definitely Orgasm blush, as I expected after having wanted it for such a long time. It also pairs beautifully with Nars Albatross highlighter, which is one of my favourites.

I’m sorry for anyone who missed out on this, but the products are all available within the permanent line, so I hope this review and my swatches may have been somewhat helpful to you.

Katie xx


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Monday, 23 November 2015

MOCKINGJAY PART 2 OUTFIT



On Saturday night, I went to see The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 at the cinema. I’m a huge fan of both the books and the movies, and Jennifer Lawrence can seriously do no wrong in my eyes. Mockingjay Part 1 was the first of the franchise I was able to go and see at the cinema because I wasn’t well enough when the first two came out. That was a year ago and it’s felt like torture having to wait a whole year for the second part of Mockingjay to be released. I read the books whilst ill too and couldn’t put them down once I’d started. Which wasn’t easy for me as for a long time I really struggled reading because of the side effects of my various medications, and from the ‘fibro fog’ I suffer from as a result of my fibromyalgia. The film was amazing! As much as I absolutely loved it I do feel quite sad that it was the last one and the story has come to an end, but the film did an excellent job at staying true to the book and its conclusion. Having read the books I obviously knew how things were going to end, and I had prepared by wearing waterproof eyeliner and mascara (if you’ve read the books or seen it already, you’ll know why that was a necessary step). I’m dying to go and see it again because I don’t think I can wait however many months it’s going to take for the DVD to be released to watch it again.

Anyway, I’ve included photos of my outfit. First up, I want to talk about my navy and bottle green checked coat. I got this a few years ago now, I still love it and it gets a lot of wear every autumn winter. It’s from Next, and is a wool material with a black velvet collar and cuffs. I actually bought it because it looks just like one of the adorable coats the young Mara Wilson wears in the 1994 Miracle on 34th Street, one of my favourite Christmas films. The only gripe I have with it is that hair and fur sticks to it like mad, and considering I have a long haired Chihuahua it’s not good. I noticed so many of her hairs when I was going through the photos, so I’m sorry about that. Since I got it I have yet to see another like it. I tried to find something similar to include here for you, and the closest I could find is a navy checked coat from H&M which I’ve linked further down. It’s a different shape and doesn’t feature the velvet details, but it’s a great coat, and I think it would look gorgeous worn with a faux fur collar which you can find at many high street stores at the moment.  Under my coat is a rust and cream printed shift dress from First & I. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to show you more of the dress, but it was absolutely freezing out! It snowed here Friday night and a little more on Saturday, so it was icy cold. Its loose fit and lightweight woven fabric make it very comfortable, and it has long sleeves with buttoned cuffs. As a result of the freezing temperature, I made good use of a pair of faux fur cuffs I got from the recent Charli XCX collection for Boohoo. These cream coloured ones matched the print on my dress and kept me nice and warm. I’m also wearing black suede lace up ghillie flats, which is a style of shoe I wore all summer and I continue to wear now. And finally, I used my black faux fur roll top clutch bag from Lamoda, it also has tassels attached to the zip but I’m able to put them inside the clutch when I prefer.

Overall, it was a very cold but very entertaining date night to the cinema. Hope you had a good weekend too!

Katie xx

Printed Shift Dress £22 First & I
Navy Checked Coat no longer available Next (similar here)
Black Lace Up Ghillie Flats now £20 Topshop (similar here, here and here)
Cream Faux Fur Cuffs no longer available Boohoo (similar here)
Black Faux Fur Clutch no longer available Lamoda (similar here)

Miracle On 34th Street

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Friday, 20 November 2015

URBAN DECAY ALL NIGHTER MAKE UP SETTING SPRAY



For my first beauty post, I thought I’d share with you a product I only started using recently but that has already become essential to my make up routine. Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray, £21, does exactly what its name suggests; it sets your make up and helps it last longer. I actually purchased this several months ago, but for whatever reason it ended up in the back of a drawer and I completely forgot about it. That was until a couple of months ago when we were painting our bedroom and I found it when sorting through things. I’d bought it after hearing so much about it and reading such favourable reviews. I’m all for anything that’s going to keep my make up looking good for longer, as I hate having to touch it up and reapply through the day. Despite this, I have to admit I was actually quite reluctant to start using it. Since my health problems began, my skin has become ridiculously sensitive and dry. With this product, it was the sensitivity that concerned me and I was worried it might make me break out or cause a bad reaction. But I decided to bite the bullet and start using it. Fortunately, my skin was absolutely fine and I haven’t had any reaction to it, which I’m very pleased about as I really love it. It truly does make a big difference. It sets my make up in place and it lasts a good amount longer than it usually would. Plus it keeps it looking freshly applied, which is surely what everyone wants.

Urban Decay claim this will keep your make up looking just-applied for up to 16 hours- without melting, cracking, fading or settling into fine lines. I personally can’t say it lasts for anywhere close to 16 hours, but it certainly does make it last a lot longer. It does prevent fading, and it seems to reduce the amount of melting and cracking, albeit not stop it entirely. Make up settling into fine lines is a concern of mine, and I do feel this helps a bit, although not as much as I would have liked. But that isn’t why I got it; I bought it to extend the wear time of my make up, and it most definitely does that. To apply, you shake well, and then hold 8-10 inches away from your face and spritz 2-4 times. It’s recommended to apply in an “X” and “T” shape, and be sure to close your eyes before spraying. The spray is a very lightweight mist which is refreshing and it quickly settles. It has an oil and paraben free formula which has been clinically tested, making it suitable for all skin types, even sensitive skin like mine. And it also boasts to having patented Temperature Control Technology, which lowers the temperature of your make up (who knew that was a thing?), keeping it in place regardless of weather conditions. Fancy, huh?

This is definitely a product I recommend, and if you’re someone like me whose make up tends to fade quite quickly,  then this is a must have.

Katie xx

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Monday, 16 November 2015

GEOMETRIC CO-ORD






Today’s outfit post features a print I’m kinda obsessed with at the moment and that is this amazing geometric print. This flared dress and matching slack pants are from H&M. I have this style of dress from H&M in a couple of different prints which I got in the spring time and wore all summer long, so I was very happy to find they had brought out new patterns for fall. I purchased this particular dress back in September and also got it in plain navy. I’ve already been wearing the dress a lot with black tights and I just love the colour combination. So obviously when I saw they had brought out the matching pants I had to get them. Now, some may view it as a no no, but I’m actually a big fan of dresses over pants. I think that done right it can work really well and be a new, interesting way to wear some of your dresses. Since the whole co-ordination thing is a big trend, I decided to go all matchy matchy and wear the dress and slacks together. If this style isn’t necessarily for you though, the pants also look great with a shirt or a knitted jumper. I have an oversized camel jumper that I’m planning on wearing them with, especially now that the weather has turned so cold.

With it being quite a loose fitting dress I added a suede belt in tan to match part of the print. I love having a cinched in waist as I find it the most flattering style for me. I’m also wearing my deep red velvet boots which I can’t get enough of at the moment. I wanted to incorporate some colour into the look and I love how they add a clash and a bit of a twist. They’re still out of stock on Asos at the moment I’m afraid, but if you want to try checking for them their product name is ‘Radio Star Boots’, or you can use the link to them below.

Katie xx

Geo Print Flared Dress £19.99 H&M
Geo Print Slacks £24.99 H&M
Damson Velvet Ankle Boots £45 Asos (similar here)
Suede Belt from Asos no longer available (similar here)

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Thursday, 12 November 2015

MAKE UP





I want to share with you something that really helped me when I was restricted to bed: lipstick. Yes, lipstick. I’ve loved make up since I was very young and like most young girls I always wanted to play with it and go through family members make up bags. I started wearing it at about 13 years old. I learnt pretty quickly (although not that well), and was soon a make up devotee; insisting on wearing it to high school every day, despite it not being allowed. It’s essential to me. I’m by no means a pro at applying it, but I don’t need to be. The fact is it makes me happy, it brings me enjoyment and helps give me confidence, which being a very insecure person is extremely important. When I became ill, this was stripped of me along with fashion, and only added to the depression I suffered from. I was lay flat in bed, and despite my best efforts, doing make up was too difficult. Obviously putting make up on probably seems unnecessary seen as though I was in bed constantly. But being such a large part of who I am and something I’m passionate about I wanted to still be able to do it, simply to make me feel normal. But it was too hard. I would struggle through it for special occasions or to cheer me up on particularly down days, but by no means was it something I could do regularly.

Lipstick, on the other hand, was a different story. As a teenager in the mid-2000s I was in a monogamous relationship with lipgloss, as were most girls my age. It wasn’t until 2007 that I started wearing lipstick and soon fell in love. Not only is there a whole rainbow of colour choices, but also an array of different formulas and finishes, each giving a different effect. I feel like it instantly adds glamour; even the most natural looking of lipsticks still makes me feel more complete as soon as I apply it. At the time I became ill in April 2010 my lipstick collection was pretty modest, only having perhaps 8 or 9 go to shades. But once I’d found that make up was too hard to do in bed, I simultaneously realised that lipstick was not. Lipstick was easy to swipe on. This little thing, the ability to still put on lipstick, was very significant for me. It meant I could hold on to that small piece of myself. It might not have been the full face of make up that I wanted, but it was something. I clung to it. It was making me happy, and making me feel that little bit more like myself.

After I discovered this, my lipstick collection quickly grew. I’ve always been an advocate for retail therapy, using any excuse to go shopping. So I knew that buying myself new things or people buying me presents would always cheer me up. My usual outlet was clothes, shoes and bags. Make up was normally my secondary choice. Now though I couldn’t enjoy any of those things. All I could enjoy still was lipstick. And I knew it was having a massive impact on my mood and how I was feeling. There were other things that helped me too that I would buy, and I’ll probably talk about them at a later point. But it was lipstick that helped me the most. As a result I put a lot of energy and focus on it. I have to admit it became a bit of an addiction.  When I find something I really, really love, or in this case that was helping me so much, I often get a little obsessive. My collection is now quite sizable and close to the 150 mark. Although now that I’m able to enjoy my other favourite things, namely fashion, and of course do my make up properly, I’ve definitely cut back on buying lipstick since I’ve needed money for other things instead.

Because of my affinity for make up, I’m a member of the beauty forum Specktra. I came across the site whilst ill when looking for reviews and swatches of make up online, because obviously I wasn’t able to go to counters to try it for myself. It’s a great place to discuss make up with people who love and appreciate it as much as I do. Along with beauty blogs, it was a huge help to me. I wanted to know about the latest beauty collections, what the newest lipstick shades looked like, what the formula was like, etc. It enabled me to get a good idea of what would or wouldn’t work for me, rather than ordering blindly online and not having a clue what to really expect. But what I also found was that the forum has lots of other members like me who use make up as a kind of escape. There are others who are going through difficult health or personal problems, and they too have found make up to really help get them through it. It lifts people’s spirits, it gives them something to focus on and distract them from whatever it is they’re going through. And I think that it’s amazing that make up has that ability. I was also glad to know that I wasn’t the only one going through hell and finding something as minor as lipstick to actually make a big difference.

I’m hoping to soon start sharing some beauty posts on here, with reviews and swatches. At the moment I’m eagerly awaiting for the Urban Decay Gwen Stefani eyeshadow palette to launch later this month. I love their eyeshadow palettes and obviously Gwen Stefani is just absolute awesomeness. The palette looks gorgeous with lots of neutral shades which I tend to favour, especially for every day wear. Definitely high up on my Christmas list. Hint, hint, Santa!

Do you find make up helps you? Any products you’re particularly looking forward to at the moment?

Katie xx

Lipstick Bag £35 Asos
Lulu Guinness Compact Hair Styler £13.50 Tangle Teezer
Marbled Ceramic Plate £6.99 H&M
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Monday, 9 November 2015

PINAFORES AND TARTAN




Pinafores. What does that word make you think about? For many, it brings to mind how you dressed as a little girl or perhaps renders images of a young Alice in Wonderland. For others, it’s a variation of an apron or a housedress worn by housewives back in the 1950s. For me, it has always been a go to style and represents the autumn when the weather turns chilly. It’s my seasonal transitional piece. Pinafores are finally being appreciated and are everywhere at the moment, much to my happiness. Usually I struggle searching for new ones and have to resort to old styles I’ve managed to find in the past, or even just settle on using a sleeveless dress worn in the style of a pinafore, but it’s never the same. This year, however, there are plenty to choose from. But they should no longer be seen as just a retro or childlike sartorial choice. Yes they are certainly girly, but there are ways to make this versatile piece more grown up and current.

One of the reasons I’m so fond of pinafores is that I find them perfect to layer with. They’re great to wear over a knitted jumper or turtle neck top. In addition, they can be made smart and work appropriate by wearing over a blouse or shirt. A pussy bow blouse especially pairs well as it complements the femininity of the look. Choosing a smarter piece like this also adds some maturity.

The denim pinafore I’m wearing here is from Asos. The fact that it’s denim along with the wide straps and chunky buckles makes this very modern and casual. Plus the big pockets are handy for me to slip my phone in when I actually need to put it down to use both hands. It’s also quite a flattering fit and shape. It’s basically the feminine, skirted version of overalls, perfect for me as I go for a more feminine style, and it still has all the wearability and comfort. With it being denim, it looks good and works with pretty much anything, in terms of colours, prints and fabrics. A great alternative to jeans and much more suited to my personal style.

I’ve worn this with a red and black tartan blouse that I got from Primark a few weeks ago. I have a bit of a thing for tartan at this time of year. I think I just find it quite festive. Primark have had a few really good tartan pieces in recently and this is one of the things I picked up. It has lovely black velvet detailing at the pretty ruffled neckline and cuffs. And it was only £10!

To finish off, I am wearing these gorgeous damson velvet ankle boots, also from Asos. The deep colour, pointed style and sumptuous velvet add an edge to my outfit. Velvet seems to be having a bit of a moment, especially for footwear. I’ve seen a long list of velvet styles I want and wish I could afford. I love these boots so much! I’m sure in the run up to Christmas they’re going to get a ton of wear. They’ve been sold out since I bought them, so I’ve included a link to some other red velvet boots from Topshop.

What do you think of pinafores?

Katie xx

Denim Pinafore £35 Asos
Tartan Blouse £10 Primark (similar here)
Damson Velvet Ankle Boots £45 Asos (similar here)
Black Saddle Bag £30 Topshop
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Sunday, 1 November 2015

HAIRSPRAY THE MUSICAL








On Friday, I was lucky enough to go and see Hairspray at The Palace Theatre here in Manchester. I was so excited! Firstly because I love the 2007 film, it’s one of my favourites. It came out when it was my 18th birthday, and I got my boyfriend, Lance, to take me to see it. I immediately fell in love and as soon as I got home I bought the soundtrack and played it non-stop. I was dying to see it on stage, then a couple of years later it was announced the West End show was touring and coming to Manchester in 2010. Even better, it was here for my 21st birthday. My mum and dad bought me tickets as a present, but unfortunately soon after I became unwell and disabled with pain. I was so upset I couldn’t go. Because I was confined to bed, I couldn’t really celebrate my 21st. My family came round to visit me, and I got the most amazing cake made. I’m a huge Marilyn Monroe fan, and I knew exactly what cake I wanted for my birthday. I’ve included a photo above, which I’ve gotta say makes me hungry just looking at it, it was far too yummy. Anyway, I spent the whole day in horrendous pain and upset over how I was spending my 21st birthday in bed. So, when I heard Hairspray was coming to Manchester once again I couldn’t wait to finally get to go and see it.

I absolutely loved it! I had such a great time and felt so happy that I’m finally well enough to be able to do normal things like this again. Although I did really struggle with the seats in the theatre, they were quite hard and uncomfortable for me. It caused me a lot of pain, especially in my back. But it was worth it, the show and the cast were incredible.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with it, Hairspray centres on Tracy Turnblad living in Baltimore in the 1960s. She’s a big girl with big hair whose dream is to sing and dance on her favourite TV show. It’s a musical comedy which deals with the issue of racial integration in America, filled with big musical numbers and catchy songs I can never get out of my head.

I wanted to share with you my outfit that I wore. I got this navy suede dress from Asos a couple of months ago. It was love at first sight. It’s got contrast white top stitching which just made me love it even more. These baby pink crushed velvet boots are my literal boot dream. Being a girly girl, pink is my favourite colour, and I’m all about pink everything. Although for some reason my wardrobe is seriously lacking in the pink colour department. But it’s a popular colour for A/W15, much to my happiness. I had seen these beauties in Asos magazine a while back as a preview and was checking constantly for them to launch online. They are just too beautiful. I knew I wanted to wear them to Hairspray and planned my outfit around them. The pink faux fur cuffs are from the Charli XCX for Boohoo collection that launched on the 26th October. If you’re anything like me and have a penchant for nineties fashion you have to check it out if you haven’t yet. I’m a huge fan of Charli XCX, her music, what she stands for, and most of all her style. Which is why I was very excited when this collection was announced. When the promo images started to come out and I saw all the furry cuffs, I was in accessories heaven. They’re exactly my kind of thing. I wore the baby pink ones to match my boots, but I also got them in a few other colours because I love them way too much, and for £8 I couldn’t resist. I’m sure you’ll see the others in outfits posts and Instagram pics very soon. My username is @katie_ainscough if you’d like to follow me.

Katie xx

Navy Suede A-Line Dress £80 Asos (sold out, similar here and here)
Pink Velvet Ankle Boots £38 Asos
Pink Faux Fur Cuffs £8 Charli XCX for Boohoo
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© The Style Blossom

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