Beauty | Lifestyle | Health

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Monthly Favourites: September

I had a surprising number of favourites this month, when I came to planning this post I thought I'd only have three at most. Come drafting time I have twice that amount...and, like last month I have a music favourite. Anyway, lets get on with it! 

Nars Laguna Bronzer - I highly doubt this cult bronzer needs much of an introduction. It's a lovely cool toned brown that's got a slight shimmer (which doesn't actually show up on the skin). It has a matte, build-able finish that looks very natural on the skin rather than showing an orange cast. It blends beautifully and lasts on the skin all day.

MAC Warm Soul Blush - This blush does indeed have a warm soul. It makes me look like I have a warm soul just by sitting on my face. It's the perfect colour for girls with yellow undertones - it looks very natural and subtle and gives a beautiful pearly glow without being "sparkly" (I'm not a fan of sparkles on my face...). I'm a total convert from coral blushes to reds and this wonderful shade now. Also, Sam from Batalash bought Warm Soul, so I  bought Warm Soul. I am 100% happy with that decision.

Anastasia Dip-Brow Pomade - I feel like this product is the makeup equivalent of how much I bang on about Frank. I've done a full first impressions/review which you can read here if you want something more in depth. This just goes on and stays on. It's just the right shade and is so easy to apply. It was also amazingly afforable - even with the conversion fee it was only 22NZD which is far better than what you'd pay for the MAC equivalent.

xoBeauty Brushes - I always love my xoBeauty brushes but these guys are new to the family (you can tell I love them because they're dirty...oops. It was the morning of brush cleaning day...). The angled blush brush which I use with my Nars bronzer is my favourite but I adore the crease brush for blending with my Naked 3 palette too. Great quality, afforable and fast service.

xoBeauty Pretty Ties - I am sorely tempted to buy more of these. The black one was in my hair while I took these photos and I took the black spotty one off my wrist to show you. I don't wear the spotty one in my hair because I love it too much and want it on my wrist instead. They don't snag your hair, they hold in place really well and they're so bloody cute I love them. Everything Shannon Harris touches is gold I swear.

Awesome Mix Vol. 1 - I love going to the movies, it's the one thing Jack and I often do for "date night." The movie Guardians of the Galaxy is the best Marvel movie I've seen by far and the music is even better. I've been listening to this CD in my car all month non-stop and I'm still not sick of it. My favourites include Hooked on a Feeling, Spirit in the Sky, I Want You Back and Come and Get Your Love. I bought it at JB Hi-Fi with Jack and he ended up getting it too. Every now and then I'll get a text with lyrics from one of these songs out of the blue. If you like classic 80s kind of music, give this a listen.

Moone Boy - If you've never seen this show, you're missing out. It's about an Irish boy in a small rural kind of town who's about 12 years old. He has an imaginary friend (Chris O'Dowd) and I have literally had tears in my eyes this show is so funny. There's three seasons so far I believe and season two is currently screening in New Zealand at the moment. It's a show you can watch each episode more than once because it doesn't stop being funny.

What have your favourites been this month? It's finally warming up here in New Zealand - can't wait for summer to arrive...!

Claire x

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Weekend Post: Bit of Orange

I had every intention of getting a lot of fun stuff done this weekend e.g. seeing Maze Runner, going to my favourite place - Newmarket and watching the All Blacks. Sadly due to a sick boyfriend none of that was possible so this post isn't going to be as "busy"as my weekend posts usually are. However, I did happen to get a photo of the outfit I wore yesterday. 

Do you ever have those days that are a "waste of makeup" if I've ever had one it was yesterday. However I have more xobeauty lashes, Nars sheer glow and another Lime Crime Velvetine on their way. After a long as shit week I was really looking forward to it. Instead I'll be sitting in, scrubbing with Frank and tanning my pale as snow bod and painting my nails orange again. Boss. 

Excuse the chronic bitch face and squinting. Anyway. Outfit components: 
Jeans - Levis Leggings
T-shirt - ASOS Petite T-shirt (also available in tall and regular fit) 
Shoes - White Leather Converse
Scarf - Country Road
Kimono - ASOS Midi Kimono
Watch - Michael Kors
Lipstick - Vegas Volt (MAC)

Been a little unmotivated to write this week - it's been a hell of a seven days but I do have a few posts lined up. Phew. Fingers crossed next week is a little better. 

Claire x

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Youtuber Induced Purchases

I think we've all been there. Watching that new video by one of your favourite YouTubers and you see a product. You think "I might like that" you happen to try it in store. Next thing you know it's in your bag/handbag/on your face. I have a lot of these purchases and there are some Youtubers in particular that I really love and especially trust their recommendations. I have two products from each of my favourites, if you haven't heard of them I'll link to their channels/blogs/etc. so you can have a browse.

Youtube | Facebook

Shannon Harris is the only Kiwi I subscribe to on Youtube at the moment and I've been subscribed to her for over a year now. She almost always uses Nars Laguna bronzer so naturally when I found my bronzer was getting low and given the Nars fiend I am these days I thought I'd try it out. I have a similar skin tone to Shannon and have never been dissapointed by anything she's recommended/anything Nars has produced so into my Mecca bag it went.

The other purchase Shannon particularly influenced me on was Saint Germain lipstick by MAC. It's such a wonderful "Barbie" kind of shade, it's the amplified formulation (which I love) and wears like a dream. It's also a very "Shaaanxo" kind of shade.

Youtube | Blog

Suzie is a great source of inspiration for me as she has an absolutely wonderful blog and amazing editing skills. She has very flawless but natural looking skin and always looks naturally gorgeous, so of course, I want what she buys. In this case it was the Nars Radiant Tinted Moisturiser and the Nars Creamy Concealer I've banged on about these products enough on this blog but they're a dream team for my face and are products I would definitely re-peat purchase.

Youtube | Blog

Sam, the founder of Batalash the blog and youtube channel is one of the most hilarious people I've seen on youtube. I frequently re-watch her videos for her sense of humour alone. That aside, she's got the most amazing makeup skills and her brows are the brows I can only dream of which is what prompted me to make my Anastasia Beverly Hills dip-brow pomade purchase *deep breath*.

Aside from her brows, Sam always amazing looking skin - and I'm all in favour of a good base. Her love for MAC warm soul blush/beautiful skin made me walk into two different MAC stores to get my hands on it when it was sold out at the first one.

Youtube | Blog

Sammi was the first Youtuber I ever started watching and I think that was about four or five years ago now. Her frequent use of Nars Sheer Glow and a new found disposable income when I was finally an employed graduate meant I tried it within a month of starting my job. I will never go back after trying this - it's my face's soul mate. Perfect amount of coverage, glowy without being shiny/a nightmare for an oily t-zone and long lasting.

The more recent purchase was a few months ago around my birthday, I'd seen Sammi using this in a favourites video I believe and I'm a sucker for pearly looking highlighter. I homed in on the Benefit counter and tried Watts Up and fell in love on the spot.

Anyone else as bad as me with things like this?

Claire x

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The Writing Process

I'm still pretty new to Blogger but I did start a beauty blog over on Tumblr over a year ago now. I think my "writing technique" and drafting/planning process has changed somewhat so I thought I'd write down a few things that help me find inspiration, expand ideas and actually get pen to paper...well...fingers to keyboard. You get me.

1) Read other blogs. This is the most common sense place to get inspiration, I don't mean copy other peoples ideas post for post but personally I love seeing how people write, things they include when reviewing a product (e.g. texture, what skin type it suits etc.) that I find particularly useful or relevant. Aside from that I think reading inspires writing. Some of my favourites are HelloOctober and TheLoveCatsInc..

2) Look at magazines/media. There's always plenty of inspiration for new makeup looks, products to try and new trends. Whether it gives me an idea of how to use a product I already have or find something new to try or even a new kind of beauty treatment/way to style an old classic I get plenty of ideas this way.

3) Keep a little notebook. I bought a set of three from the Wildlife Photography exhibition in August and ever since I've had the little mouse notebook in my handbag. If an idea strikes me at work, at home, whatever, I reach out and write it down along with any relevant notes which I find really important, if I'm too vague my brain can't remember why the hell I thought that was a giid thing to write about and it can get abandoned. Examples of extra notes would be what products to include, any particular comments to make, things like that. I find it helps keep me motivated and looking over old ideas often leads to the evolution of new ones.

4) Play with your makeup. Every now and then I "decorate" my face with makeup in ways I haven't tried before and it helps me to create a new look, or reminds me of how much I like a product. If I find there's something I'd like to try and do but don't have the product for it I look into what I can use instead/if I need to plan a shopping trip. Alternatively sometimes I'll find a new way to use/apply something that I feel is worth sharing. Often just being around new trends in Newmarket or purchasing a product gives me a new lease on my collection and gets me going with new plans.

5) Get creative. Listening to music, painting my nails and taking lots of photos of products/editing them and even just getting outside often leads to ideas. Trying a new kind of post is always good, I started doing a weekend post pretty quickly after I started and it gives me an outlet to just write what I feel like writing so the "beauty" part of my blog doesn't get stale.

The main things I've found is if I get an idea is to just start, once I've pressed that "New Post" button and written the title the rest sort of takes care of itself.

Claire x

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Eczema/Dermatitis - how to manage it

I say how to manage it because really, it's a skin condition and you can never fully get rid of it. It can resurface at any time with seemingly no cause. I've had eczema and/or dermatitis since I was a baby so I've had 22 years of trying various methods to try and get it to go away. There are a few ways to treat it: topically, environmentally and internally. I'll cover each, what I've used and why I think it's good. This isn't going to be a super exciting post as it's not all about a new product or anything like that, but I know a lot of people have skin issues like this so thought I'd pass on what I've learnt.

If you have any more ideas to add comment below - I'm always willing to try something new! Especially going into spring/summer here in New Zealand it's prime season for skin problems, eurgh. Anyway, lets get on with this post without any more preamble.

Topical solutions: 
By this I mean of course things you apply to your skin to soothe inflamed skin.

Steroid cream
This is the least natural albeit most effective way of quickly treating eczema/dermatitis. I have a very strong 75% beta cream which I was prescribed - it's not great for extended periods of use but if your skin is as bad as mine (it would essentially crack, bleed, heal then start all over again...) this may be a good option. There are of course lower doses available and these are just as good if your skin isn't as dire as all that.

If you read my blog frequently you're probably getting sick of hearing about this product. It smooths skin, gently exfoliates (depending on how hard you scrub!) and moisturises skin beautifully. I'm most partial to the coconut variety as it's the most hydrating. It really helps the dry skin on my hands especially.

Charity Pot
Generally, it's wise to use unfragranced products but that doesn't mean you can't use products that are NATURALLY FRAGRANCED. What I mean by this is, coconut for example naturally has a smell but this doesn't mean it will be reactive to your skin. Charity Pot by Lush has a beautiful chocolatey smell which has resulted in me using 4 pots consecutively over 2 years. It's so gentle, hydrating and doesn't sting my skin. I think moisturisers/body lotions are very personal but I'd tried other lotions and this was one of the few that really helped. Another lovely Lush option is Sympathy for the Skin - a slightly thicker lotion but wonderful all the same.

Burt's Bees Banana and Beeswax Hand Cream
This is the thickest and most luxurious hand cream I've ever used. Even in the worst days of my dry hands this has been such a relief to use. It smells beautiful, has very few unnatural ingredients and lasts a really long time both in the pot and on your hands.

Calamine Lotion
This can be a little drying but if you're desperate to stop that itch this will do the trick. You can get it from the pharmacy, keep it in the fridge and smooth it on it's or hot feeling skin and it really soothes it.

Environmental solutions:
Certain environmental factors can affect your skin in different ways, these are a few things that can help!

The sun is great for dermatitis, obviously you don't want too much but I always found the sun made my skin a little less tight and itchy feeling. I'm not sure if it's the vitamin D or what but ten minutes a day with your problem areas exposed can really help.

Salt water
This can be a bit painful if your skin is really bad but the more salt water exposure you can get the better. If you're miles away from the beach, you can always dissolve a cup of salt into a bath, let the water cool until it's just warm and have a soak.

Shower temperature
Too much hot water will irritate your skin. You know how your skin feels all soft and can go pruney in water? That's not good if you have skin problems! Likewise for the bath, by all means have a soak but a dermatologist once told me water is in itself an irritant - too much will make your skin worse. Don't stay in the tub too long.

Avoiding soap
Really foamy products like shower gels and bubble bath are especially rough on your skin. Trying a creamy soap with olive oil or something more neutral like QV wash is a good option.

Internal solutions: 
Some foods and supplements can do harm to, or benefit your skin. These are some things I've noticed.

Citrus can aggravate your skin
When I was a kid I used to drink lots of Raro (that citric acidy orange drink - with the powder you dissolve in water?) and ate a lot of tangelos and the like. There was often a trend between sugar/acid consumption and my skin flaring up.

Cod liver oil/krill oil
Of all the oils I've tried krill seems to have helped my skin the most. My hands flare up less often, my face seems to have less break outs and I can have more things that would usually be a bit irritating to my skin in my diet e.g. coffee.

Hopefully this very wordy post has interested/helped someone. Do let me know if there's anything you find particularly useful - it's always helpful to hear other peoples perspectives because I know how common a problem this is!

Claire x


Sunday, 21 September 2014

Weekend Post: Naked 3, Voting and the Chocolate Shop

This weekend I decided to stay up north rather than venturing back south into the city again. My much anticipated Urban Decay Naked 3 palette finally arrived Saturday morning. I've literally been dreaming about it arriving for a WEEK. Anyway seeing as I don't post a hell of a lot of photos of myself I thought I'd show you my experiments with some of the colours I used.

I absolutely love the colours in this palette - they're a tiny bit powdery but are very pigmented and blendable. I've played around with the dark colours too so presently I look like I've been punched simultaneously in both eyes...what I can say is yes, all the colours are lovely. I'll do a more in depth post soon! Weirdest thing is the pinks make my eyes look green when they're usually a very icy blue.

Side note: I'm all about that stupid face.

Jack was lovely and bought me lunch at one of my favourite local cafes - I'd already eaten the roasted veggie fritatta and was onto dessert before I realised I hadn't gotten a photo (I blame the fact that hunger distracts me). This cafe does the best brownies. After that I did the important voting thang for the 2014 general election.

After all that I also bought a few other "necessities" i.e. some yummy lollies and the latest Fashion Quarterly - the Spring edition. 

Pottered in the garden checking on my plants - a wee update for you. My kale is all growing well in both the ground and the little "green house"

Nail of the week this week is Hot and Spicy by OPI - I felt like something nice and bright - trying to induce more spring like weather since it's been shit here all of last week. Now I'm sat here drafting up posts like a mad woman so I have a few up my sleeve - next week at work is sales meeting time so going to be very busy! Following that it's "brush cleaning day" *sigh*

Will be back with my usual beauty related posts on Wednesday! 

Claire x

Thursday, 18 September 2014

All About That Bas(e) pt. 2 - Tools

So this is part two in my "All About That Base" little series. I may make a third about skincare/how to get your skin looking and feeling good for BEFORE makeup as well. These are the tools I like to use to help me get as good a base as possible whilst also looking natural and nicely blended out.

L-R Small Tapered Face Brush, Angled Top Blush Brush. T-B Blush Brush, Flat Top Face Brush, Eyeshadow Brush

xoBeauty Flat Top Face Brush + Foundation
I love this brush for buffing in foundation, it doesn't leave you looking streaky and the bristles are beautifully soft. I find liquid foundation (for me anyway) seems to apply best when I do a bit of blending with my fingers to spread the product then buff in for a perfect finish with one of these. You don't use as much product and get a better final look. 

Real Techniques Eyeshadow Brush + Concealer
I've bought a few Real Techniques brushes in the last year but this has been the only one to really stand out to me. It has very densely packed bristles that really work the product into your under-eye area without leaving marks or dragging the skin. 

xoBeauty Small Tapered Face Brush/Angled Top Blush Brush + Bronzer/Contour
As you can probably tell by now, I kind of use brushes for whatever the hell I think they'll be best for and these two work splendidly for contouring. I use the angled top to get a general bit of dimension going so I don't look so flat, this brush really disperses product nicely rather than packing it on too heavily to one area of the face. The tapered face brush is great for then doing some more specific work under the cheekbones with my taupe coloured blush. 

ecoTools Blush Brush
I actually use this one for what it was designed for. It's nice and fluffy, doesn't put too much product on and is about the right size - I find some brushes are a bit too small and specific but with blush I like a general wash of colour up/across my cheekbones. 

You can find the ecoTools and Real Techniques Brushes on FeelUnique and the xoBeauty brushes (which might I add, are my favourite brand) from xoBeauty Shop

Claire x

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Confessions of a Beauty Blogger Tag

Seeing as I feel a bit of a tit writing an about me page and don't really know what exactly to write about myself, I thought a tag would be a good way to do it. I'll be back to my "usual" posts tomorrow!
1. How many hours a week do you spend planning/writing/uploading posts?
Hard to say but probably around 4-6 hours a week? Maybe more? Including taking photos, editing and the like it does take a while even if it's only three posts a week!
2. Are you a spender or a saver?
Bit of both. I live at home so I can save more presently. I save about half my income and the rest is gas money, car repayments and of course the "fun stuff" too read as: makeup, clothes and food. 
3. When is it easiest for you to write your posts?
I think in the weekend, I have more time, I can take photos with daylight around (rather than after work when it's getting a bit duskier) and I can really relax and make it as perfect as I can get it. 
4. What makes writing posts comfortable for you?
I think knowing I have time up my sleeve to write, having new products or topics to write about and when I can just chill out with a chai tea and little or no makeup on...!
5. What’s your worst make up/hair habit?
Makeup habit - I don't think I'm actually terrible with my makeup, I never set my makeup though and I touch my face more than I probably should...oh and I don't wash my brushes enough! Hair...I never really style it. I let it dry naturally and that's it haha. Occasionally I'll french plait of sock bun it. 
6. What’s one quote you wish the world would live by?
I don't think I have a quote to "live by" as such more a reminder, I really like the quote "Nothing in permanent" because somehow I think that's quite a comforting thought.

7. How long do you spend getting ready everyday?
I think around 25 minutes? Including washing my face and doing my makeup, I'm pretty fast at it now. During the weekend I definitely take longer because I like to put more effort in/try new looks. 
8. What’s your favourite post on your blog?
To be honest I like all my posts, if I didn't I wouldn't publish them but maybe my First Impressions post on Anastasia Beverly Hills dip-brow. I put a lot of effort into that one especially. 
9. Who is a beauty blogger that you think deserves more subscribers that they have?
I think Sarah from The Beauty Break Down, she's a great blogger and YouTuberand I think she has the potential to get really big on the internet. And she's lovely and always replies to comments etc. 
10. What’s one this you’re excited about in the coming year?
I'm planning on having an overseas holiday next year, so that will be amazing. I've not been overseas in what feels like a very long time. 
11. What’s been your favourite blogging moment?
I think just when I started this blog and started getting views really. Obviously I haven't got a lot of traffic but the fact that some people seem to come back to read my posts on the days I say I'll publish is really lovely. 
12. How long does it take to prep for a post?
Prep as in to plan a post...? Including trying the product, photos and planning maybe an hour or so per post...? 
13. Are you wearing jeans/skirt right now or are you wearing pyjama bottoms?
I'm wearing my usual Levis jeans...
14. What are you most proud of in your life?
The fact that I have a job, have bought a car and finally got my license this year woo hoo!

Hopefully this little quiz has been of some interest to someone reading my blog, I'll be uploading part 2 of my "All About That Base" series tomorrow. 

Claire x


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

All About That Bas(e) pt. 1 - Makeup

Do you see what I did there with that title? Hilarious. That incredibly irritating song inspired a blog post, amazing. Anyway, what this post is going to be about is my perfect "base" which essentially means how to get your skin looking as immaculate as possible. I personally don't like very full coverage as I think I look a bit more "normal" with some of my natural skin showing through - so all the products I use will give you a fairly natural looking medium coverage finish. Of course you don't need all of these products specifically but these are my personal favourite for this look. I think having a good base sets you up for any sort of eye/lip colour and will make it stand out more and look more polished. Apologies for the slightly abused looking products - I like to think it just means you can tell they're well loved. 

Step one: Foundation. 
As you all know, I love Nars and Sheer Glow is like my soul mate foundation. I use the shade Gobi in winter/spring. The coverage is very natural, slightly glowy and lasts a while. I have oily skin but this doesn't make me too dewy/shiny. It glides on with a smoothness akin to moisturiser and feels like skin once it has settled. This gives a nice base, evens out skin tone and is a good canvas for your other base products. 

Step two: Concealer. 
Again, another Nars product but this is the best concealer I've ever used and I've used a fair few. I apply this under my eyes with the doe-foot applicator then blend out with a brush. This concealer doesn't crease and lasts all day without a worry, even through a gym workout. Sorely tempted to get this in a pink toned shade specifically for my under-eyes...

Step three: Contour. 
I use two products for this, the Nars Laguna bronzer and MAC blush in Honesty. I start by bronzing my face in the "3" configuration, temple, under the cheek bone and under the jawline. Then I go in with a more precise brush to contour with Honesty just under my cheek bones. This gives some dimension to your face as foundation alone can make you look a bit "flat" as such. This blush in particular I find good for this as it's very cool/taupe toned so doesn't have an orange cast to it so it looks like a natural shadow. 

Step four: Blush. 
I love a bit of blush, I used to use almost exclusively coral shades but with my skin colouring I'm now finding that more orangey and peachy shades look far better and a lot more natural on me. My latest blush to join the family is MAC Mineralise Warm Soul. It's a gorgeous peachy kind of shade and it's not "glittery" (which I can't stand...) but a pearly kind of finish that makes you look dewy and very healthy. It's also a very subtle option if you're just getting into cheek colour. 

Step five: Highlight. 
I love highlight. Pearly brightness on the tops of cheekbones makes anyone look healthy and more awake. My favourite highlight is Watts Up! by Benefit. It's a glow more than a sparkle and is great to apply straight from the stick. It's a cream to powder kind of finish and lasts all day. I use my fingers to blend this out as I think it looks more natural and doesn't wipe the product off like the sponge can. 

Step six: Eye primer. 
I think this step is actually quite important, it primes your eye for any eyeshadow you might be using and covers up the redness/veins you can see on your eyelids. I like MAC Paintpot in Painterly. I apply with my middle finger and apply directly under the brow and blend down. Not only does this highlight the brow bone and tidy it up but it makes you appear more awake - which when you have to work for 8+ hours is always a good thing! Aside from that it means your eyeshadows will last all day and won't crease. 

The next post in this series will be the brushes I use to accompany my base application and how I use them. All these products are on my daily makeup regimen - I love having a tidy looking base as you can get away with very little else e.g. just brows and mascara on top. 

Claire x

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Fix-all Smoothie

It's heading into party season regardless of which hemisphere you're in. Northern hemisphere ladies (and boys for that matter) will be going out to Winter Christmas parties, whereas those of us in the Southern hemisphere are heading back into summer (FINALLY). If you need something for recovery or to pep you up and give you a bit of a meal this is my favourite. I drink one like this pretty much everyday and I think it's really helped get me through that "sick" part of winter.

Honestly the best thing about this one is you can make a blender full then have half before you go out and the other half when you get back/the following morning. Being prone to colds, being a lightweight or needing something easy to drink on the go this is the perfect option.

OK, without anymore pre-amble here's my anti-hangover/immunity booster/recovery smoothie

All in a blender:

  • 1/2 - 1 cup of blueberries - these little berries have so many antioxidants in them, they're great for helping give your body an extra boost. I like to add a few raspberries too if I want something a little more tangy. 
  • A banana - a big one, not a tiny wee bobby one. These have potassium in them so if you're drinking anything alcoholic your potassium levels can get depleted. 
  • A cup of almond milk or soy milk - whichever you prefer. This helps make the drink more of a "meal" and will fill you up and line your tummy. 
  • LSA - this gives you some protein and good fats - it'll also help you feel full for longer. 
  • OPTIONAL: grated ginger and spinach or kale. The ginger makes the smoothie taste amazing with the blueberries and the spinach, well it's spinach. It's good for you innit? 
Blend it all up, serve in a nice glass with a straw and drink throughout the day/evening before you go out. 

Claire x

The Weekend Post: A Long Weekend

I don't often take leave (in fact this is the first day I've taken all year) so it was wonderful having Friday off last week for my boyfriends birthday. Unfortunately I didn't take any photos but it was a pretty quiet weekend with a spot of shopping, a movie, two home cooked dinners and the All Blacks.

To make up for the fact my usual Friday post didn't publish on schedule I'm going to have an extra one next week. Aside from that, I have a few exciting new "payday" purchases to share that I received either in the post or bought this weekend. (Does anyone else have a list of things they want to buy saved o their phone...? Just me...?)

xoBeauty brushes - left-right: tapered crease brush, lip brush, blush brush, small tapered face brush. 

I got these in the post on Friday morning (I ordered them on Wednesday). I love Shannon Harris and her brush line lives up to expectations. I already had several of these brushes and felt like splurging a bit so I added a few to my cart. These hair ties are also limited edition - they're the snag free variety. I can't bring myself to actually wear them in my hair because I don't want them to stretch - I've been wearing the black spotty one on my wrist as a bracelet (even Jack commented on it...!) If you've not heard of Shannon her youtube is here and you can purchase from her store (international shipping available) from here.

Jack and I were in the city, Newmarket/Queen Street, I bought him an extra fine merino cardigan for his birthday and a few makeup bits for me.

MAC mineralise blush in Warm Soul and Nars Laguna Bronzer

I'd been keen to get my hands on this bronzer for a while now, given that I love Nars and due to the fact that it has such a cult following. I can tell you now, it's worth the hype. On a side note, if you're in Auckland and are shopping for makeup, the girls at Mecca Cosmetica are amazing. They're so polite, beautifully made up, very approachable and very helpful.

On a side note, I can finally show you what my pint painted nails are - the inspiration behind my blog title. I painted them on Wednesday night so they're starting to chip already (d'oh!) but I can probably eek them out for a few more days. I'm madly drafting up some posts for the next few weeks for you all now. 

Mod About You - OPI

Wearing one of my xoBeauty hair ties - love them. Rings by Pandora

Sadly that's all I really have to report for this weekend - hopefully next weekend I'll have a new outfit post or something a little more exciting. The weather this weekend has been horrible - so cold and miserable. I may have something exciting on its way to me I the post as well, I shall update you on that when it arrives! 

Claire x

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Shellac - Yay or Nay?

So, last last weekend I made a post about how I went and got my nails done (if you're interested you can find the post here. Not sure why this didn't post on it's scheduled time (grr!) so I'm posting now...! Weekend post soon to follow. 

So I thought I'd write a little summary/review of my Shellac experience. it is quite an investment to get done and rather a faff to get removed so I thought I'd weight the pros and cons for those unsure about whether to adventure into this UV light and paint filled world.

 One day after painting - natural light
One day after painting - artificial light. 

How long did it last? I got it done on Saturday the 30th, and removed it on the 9th which was a total wear of eleven days. It was starting to peel a little bit around the edges and my self control can only hold for so long and peeling shellac is very bad for your nails. They were also starting to grow out a little - nothing noticeable unless you looked really hard but because I'm super picky about my nails it was getting to me...!

How to remove it? I didn't want to pay to have it removed as 25 bucks to have nail polish taken off seems a little steep for me. I purchased some acetone from the pharmacy for $6.99 and did it at home. It was pretty awkward and took a while to get right. Essentially I'd soak a bit of cotton wool in the acetone, put it on the nail and wrap the nail in tin foil. You need to let it soak like that for a few minutes and then scrape the shellac off with an orange stick. It was very messy and acetone is incredibly drying on your hands, especially if you have dermatitis like I do.

How does it affect your nails? My nails were fairly good after, however I had scraped one of them a little too hard and peeled the top layer of nail off which isn't good. Also, even with acetone there was still a bit of residue left on them. I was apprehensive about putting more acetone on them as I didn't want to dry the nail bed out even more. The strength of my nails was still the same though.

Nails - one day after shellac removal. As you can see - a little dry!

Shellac again? I think yes, I would shellac again but I'd probably prefer it on my toes rather than my fingers and I'd only get it done if I could afford to get it removed professionally. I'm not a huge fan of having to use really harsh chemicals to remove anything, I usually use an acetone free nail varnish remover anyway. Aside from that, I get kind of bored of my nails after a week and want a change of colour. Knowing you have to go through the whole acetone and foil rigmarole wasn't really worth it in my eyes. I think from now on I'll most probably just stick to my old reliable OPI!

By the time this post is up my nails will be back to their usual Pink Friday/Mod About You shade of pink! *breathes a sigh of relief*

Claire x

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

First Impressions: Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip-brow

Again, super late to the party but purely because of the whole New-Zealand-gets-everything-after-everyone-else. This still isn't actually stocked in any stores here so I bought it on Beautybay.

I'd been super keen to try this as with summer creeping up I'm all for anything that says it's water/sweat proof as where I work/my office can get pretty damn hot. That, and when I go to the gym I like to know by brow isn't going to slide off my face. 

First impressions of this one is immediate love - I'd heard a lot of people saying you only need the tiniest bit and you really do. This little glass jar will last me a lifetime at this rate. I apply it with an angle top brow brush from Eco-Tools. 

The colour pay off is amazing, it's quite a waxy texture and is very easy to apply and blend but once it's set, it really stays there. I've worn it through 9 hours at the office, the gym and then got home for it to still be in perfect condition. I got it in the shade Blonde, I sort of wish there was an even lighter shade but generally speaking I do like dark brows. If you're a very warm toned blonde you may want to go for the auburn instead - this colour is fairly cool toned, I have a white/gold cast to my hair but again still fairly "cool". 

As for swatches here I have it in natural light then a more shaded area. 

Natural light - Dip-brow in Blonde

Natural/Artificial Light - Blonde

Finally I have a few images to show you what it looks like after about 10 hours wear. Again in both natural and artificial light - the natural light one is a little dark because we're just coming out of winter. 

 Artificial light - 10 hrs wear. Dip-brow - Blonde
Natural light - 10 hrs wear. Dip-brow - Blonde

Personally I always like to read plenty of reviews on a product before I purchase it, so even though this has been around a while hopefully it'll be of some help. All in all, the verdict is I 100% recommend this product. For $22 New Zealand and free shipping for a product that will have a lot of use it it's definitely worth a try. The descriptions for each colour on the website and on Beautybay I believe are very accurate as well - you'll almost certainly see this in my September monthly favourites. 

Claire x

Monday, 8 September 2014

I'm now on Bloglovin!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

You can follow me here for easier reading - and you'll get an update when I post (always post on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday/Sunday but you'll get a notification when I do).

And apologies for the ever changing colours/theme and sidebar, I'm still trying to iron a few things out!

Claire x


Sunday, 7 September 2014

The Weekend Post: The First Weekend of Spring

After last weekend being an absolutely shocker (winter, you will not be missed) I'm so pleased with the stunning weather we're having now. I'm a huge sook with the cold and I'm amazigly wearing a crop top and shorts. Again, it's been a pretty quiet weekend seeing Jack, watching the All Blacks and gardening. My seedlings are about ready to be planted into the ground so I now have Kale for Africa and lots of little echinacea and bergamot still growing into existence.

For those of you that are interested my Shellac is still going strong one week on - I'll do a proper post on this once I eventually take it off. My nails are starting to grow out a little but thus far it's not noticeable.

As I work for an ice cream company there are a lot of these big 5 litre containers that go to waste - snagged one, nailed a few holes in the bottom for drainage and transferred a whole lot of kale into it.

Morning tea warranted some nice frozen raspberries -  very refreshing on a hot day.

The king of the garden a.k.a my cat enjoyed the sun too.

I eventually joined him and tried to make an early start on my ghostly white skin.

Next weekend will hopefully be a little more eventful - I'm having Friday off work and will be on the shore for half the weekend. Fingers crossed the weather will stay this beautiful...!

Claire x


Thursday, 4 September 2014

The Summer Wishlist

Now that it's spring, my summer wishlist is growing. New products, clothes and the "payday" list of things never seems to get any smaller. These are a few things on what I call the ~high priority~ section right down to if-I-ever-get-the-money/maybe-someone-will-get-it-for-me-for-Christmas *deep breath* kind of purchases.

Nars Laguna BronzerEssentially I want to see what the hype is about. That and my current bronzer has hit pan and if you read frequently you'll know I've never encountered anything from Nars I didn't love. 

Triangl Bikini - Black Neon Orange Burst
I bloody love the look of these bikinis and the prospect of something sturdy that can withstand west coast beach waves is impressive. Neoprene is tough stuff and LOOK AT THE COLOUR. 

Havaianas - Black with Gold
These aren't the exact ones I want but they're pretty close. I've never had Havaianas before and seeing as jandals are acceptable footwear at work and I always have my nails done to show off, why not? 

Frank - Coconut and the Cacao variety
I bloody love this stuff. I've just about finished my original Frank and I'm ready to try these ones too. They may or may not have already been purchased/on their way to my mailbox...ahem.

Kevin Murphy Hair Resort
I'm feeling the beachy waves idea with my slightly shorter hair, I love the current products I use from Kevin Murphy so this one is another on the list. Aside from that they're pretty natural, smell nice and are cruelty free.
Ray Bans - Clubmasters
I'm practically frothing to get my hands on these - they're the perfect counterpart to my Ray Bans Aviators, they're comfortable and amazingly actually suit my face shape too.
Hello Hair - Hair Mask
I love the beach and the sun, I even love how much lighter my hair gets but I don't like when it starts to feel dry. This treatment sounds amazing and I'm all for more natural alternatives to every-day kinds of products. 
Urban Decay - Naked 3 Palette
I know I'm super late to the party with this one but a) I live in New Zealand, shit isn't easy to get here and b) I don't like to commit to makeup unless I'm pretty sure I'm going to love it. These cool toned pinks and taupes have been calling me name however and I think I'm going to need to order one as soon as dip-brow is available in taupe on Beautybay again. 
Viktor and Rolf - Bon Bon
Urrghhh it smells so good. Sweet without being too "girly" and of course it comes in a beautiful Viktor and Rolf bottle - I always think their packaging is stunning. I'm a huge fan of more vanilla based fragrances but am very picky with them. This one is just gorgeous and actually sits nicely on my skin without ending up smelling "chemically" (does anyone else get what I mean by that...?)

Those are the main things gracing my pay-week list - no doubt some will be getting purchased and sent me way. I'll let you know how they all live up to expectation. As for the others...I shall have to keep my fingers crossed. 

Claire x


Tuesday, 2 September 2014

First Impressions: Nars Pro-Prime Primer

If you know me at all, you know I am seriously in love with Nars. I've bought a lot of products from them in the past few months and this is the latest to join the family/my makeup bag. I thought I'd do a little "first impressions" now that I've been using it a week.

As always with Nars, this primer has a very nice but delicate fresh smell - sort of citrussy. It's very liquidy but a little really does go a long way, I thought a 30ml bottle wouldn't go very far but the amount you need to use is so small I think this little tube will go a long way.

I apply mainly to my t-zone as this is where my pores are most obvious and where my makeup tends to wear off most easily. I apply a blob about...eeek can I say 1/2 a pea size? If that, and it covers the whole area. I let it really dry properly and make sure I'm not too heavy handed, otherwise it'll have the opposite effect and make your makeup slide around.

I noticed a huge improvement on the longevity of my makeup around my nose especially - it looked smoother and lasted much longer too. Really impressed with that. I've found my forehead is still often a bit shiny/loses it's coverage by the end of the day even with this primer. However I expect when I've got my beloved Nars Sheer Glow foundation back (hurry up Gobi!) that may well change as the tinted moisturiser I use is just that, a moisturiser.

Unfortunately for me the price dropped on this product literally less than a week after I purchased but even so it's 100% worth it so far. I've not had any adverse reaction and my skin is fairly sensitive and it cleans off easily at night too.

As usual, Nars lives up to its reputation again, though this isn't my all time favourite Nars product it's definitely worth the investment. We'll put it to the true test come summer...!

Claire x
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