Wednesday 29 January 2014

The Latest Lust: Benefit 'Lollitint'

 lollitint | £24.50 | Benefit Cosmetics

Now that we're heading towards that ever so exciting moment of turning over the (One Direction) calendar to reveal February my mind is fully focused on Spring make up- pretty pastels, fresh faced foundation and glowy cheeks galore! So I'm more than a tad excited about the brand new release from Benefit Cosmetics- 'lollitint' the 'flirty flush in a bottle'! It's no secret that I work in the marketing department at Benefit HQ so I've actually known about this product for a very long time, but as it actually launched last Saturday and Valentines is just around the corner now seemed the perfect time to share it with you... lollitint is the fourth member of the Benefit tint family which was started by their first ever product, Benetint (this was in fact originally used on stripper's nipples. Slight TMI there). lolli's got the same gel based formula as it's Posie and Cha Cha but comes in a really unique new 'Candy Orchid' shade. When I first heard about this shade I wasn't all that convinced because it looked like a bright- and rather scary- purple in the bottle, but after trying it on myself and many customers I can assure you it blends out to the most beautiful pinky lilac colour and as the magazines keep telling us, lilac is the shade of the season! This buildable colour adds a really pretty flush to both the lips and cheeks making it a super sweet perk up for a candy inspired complexion. The quick drying liquid gel formula can be a little daunting to work with, but if you stripe it onto the cheeks and blend quickly with a blusher brush before working it into the lips with your fingers then it blends like a dream and also lives up to it's am-pm long lasting stain claim. Although, as with all the tints I would recommend adding a lipbalm/highlighter over the top to add a bit more gloss and glow to the fairly matte finish and making sure you use a small amount as a little goes a long way and this will also help justify the price tag with cost per wear. Overall I've been so pleasantly surprised by how much I love lollitint and don't even get me started on how cute the packaging is...

Sorry I've been a bit MIA on the blog front lately, I've had so many posts/videos planned but been unable to get them up because my laptop completely died on Friday night and now I'm desperately trying to sort out another laptop as quickly as possible so I can get back into the swing of things! Despite that technical trauma I had an amazing weekend as my best home girls Faye and Lydia came to stay, it was so much fun and you can watch the vlog of the whole shebang here. I hope you've all been having a lovely end of January :)   

Have you fallen for this flirty flush?

Tuesday 21 January 2014

Revlon Colourburst Matte Balm in 'Audacious'

Revlon Colourburst Matte Balm in 'Audacious' | £7.99 | Boots

If there's one brand that knows how to cause a stir in the lip product department, it's Revlon. Their Lip Butters were the most talked about release of 2012 and then came the Kissable Balm Stains...having bought about eight shades of those babies it was no wonder my heart skipped a beat when I heard matte versions were heading our way. That was back in the Autumn of last year and I've pretty much been counting down the days until the UK release on January 22nd since... so you can imagine how excited I was to pop into Boots last week and see a shiny new stand of Colourburst Matte Balms (alongside their new sister lacquer balms) just waiting for me to get my mitts on a week early! They come in a gorgeous range of 10 neutral-bright shades but being greatly unprepared for the purchase as well as in a bit of a rush I decided to pick up the shade I was instantly drawn to, a beautiful orange toned red that goes by the name of 'Audacious'. 

First off let's get my love of the 'chubby stick-esque' colourful packaging out of the way- it's fun but still sleek and I adore how both the colour and matte finish of the product are mirrored by the tube. I also really enjoy the crayon form which makes a usually tricky matte and pigmented product super easy to apply. Now onto the actual formula- in winter matte is my favourite kind of finish, there's just something about the cold that makes me ditch the gloss and go for bold and these 'velvety matte' balms suitably impress in terms of buildable colour pay off and shine free statement factor. The only downside that comes with such a finish is dryness and oddly enough, even though this doesn't feel drying and glides on creamily as promised, it really does highlight every imperfection/dry patch on the lips and battling this with copious amounts of lip balm only defeats the object of a matte lip product in the first place. It breaks my heart to say this but despite it's positives the imperfection pick up will put me off wearing this product over others of similar finishes and shades such as No.7 'Gay Geranium' and MAC 'Lady Danger', plus the colour of 'Audacious' sadly translates to be less orange on my lips than in the bullet. Putting those drawbacks aside for a moment the lasting power is as, if not more amazing than the kissable balm stains which makes it a great all dayer/meal time lip choice with even fade and minimal transfer. So whilst I won't be queuing to collect the lot tomorrow, particularly as they're pitched at a slightly pricey £7.99, I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't give other colours in the collection a go as well as letting the Lacquers have some lovin'- fingers crossed a thrifty three for two comes our way soon...

Will you be buying into the matte balm madness?

Sunday 19 January 2014

Evening Skincare Routine

I'm not sure why but there's just something about Sunday that says 'skincare'- probably because it's the day I realise how badly I've eaten/neglected my skin all week and start slapping on the face masks like there's no tomorrow. This post isn't just about my extreme Sunday skincare rituals though, instead it's delve into what I put on my face every evening before bed (hence the teddy & eye mask presence). Have no fear I don't actually use all of the products pictured on a daily basis, in fact my face actually thanks me when I keep things consistent and basic so it's pretty much micellar make up removal, toning cleanser, moistorisier, spot saviours and lip lovin' with a mask or stronger treatment thrown in once or twice a week. It's a routine I've been perfecting for quite a while now, isn't too bad on the purse strings as the expensive stuff is less frequently used and one I think works rather well on my fairly normal 'slightly spotty and porous on occasion in the T-zone region' skin. If you'd like to hear more about this routine and the products I use, as well as watch me take off my make up whilst sporting pyjamas and a pineapple then please do watch my video and subscribe if you enjoy makeupless meg! And on that note I'd better head back to rectifying the skin damage caused by a weekend with the boy and all the popcorn consumed whilst watching 'The Wolf of Wall Street' yesterday...

What's your evening skincare routine?       

Thursday 16 January 2014

Shearling & Scarf

Mango Coat / Asos Scarf / Primark Jeans / Topshop Socks / Next Boots / Michael Kors Watch

If you've been following me on any social media platforms lately then you might be aware I have a favourite new coat and scarf combo for the new year- I've wanted a nice new coat for ages so as soon as boxing day hit I was on those sales faster than you could say 'more mulled wine' and was lucky enough to find this gorgeous shearling number on the Mango website at over half price for £20! At first I was worried I'd resemble Del Boy Trotter (a resemblance my Dad has been more than happy to point out), but after wearing it to work for the past couple of weeks I've actually fallen in love with it. The fur lining makes it super cosy, the neutral colour goes with nearly everything and it can be worn casually as I'm demonstrating in the photos or dressed up as I will demonstrate in a 'get ready with me' soon. Despite finding coat perfection I obviously couldn't stop shopping there as every new coat needs a new scarf to accompany it and I am actually overjoyed that I found this faded tartan beauty on asos. It wasn't in the sale but the cosiness, colour and coat compatibility makes it one amazing purchase. As well as wearing it like a normal person I also like to wrap myself up in it like a burrito and in the Summer it will make a great makeshift picnic blanket...Other items of note in this outfit are my perfect skinny jeans from Primark which are still going strong after a whole year of use and favourite Topshop dolly socks and Next boots combo, not forgetting my beautiful Michael Kors which brings a statement to every outfit. I don't know if you'll be able to tell but this year I'm all about investing in those more classic staple pieces and trying to dress a bit more classy (aka like Vivianna and Lily) and I hope you think I'm off to a good start! 

I've been a bit more absent than I'd have liked on the blog this week- I'm actually trying to get into much more of a blogging and vlogging routine but there's just been too much excitement going on. For starters I went for an amazing Covent Garden dinner at Shake Shack last night to meet the lovely Becca Rose- the food (and milkshake) was amazing and Becca was sooo lovely, in fact we ended up having a girly sleepover and now we've got London adventures and exciting collab content lined up so stay tuned for that and make sure your following Becca! I've also had a fun work night out, been given a Benefit event to social project manage and am currently in the process of packing for a weekend in London with the boy- best get back to that actually as I do love to pack everything including the kitchen sink...   

What are your current Winter staples?

Monday 13 January 2014

Chelsea Girl

If you've followed my blog for some time you may be aware I have a slight extreme Made in Chelsea obsession so when two of my best girls suggested our weekend plans should consist of strolling around London's classiest areas pretending to be posh I thought it was an amazing idea. Not to mention the perfect occasion to take the big camera out and get some lifestyle snaps...One of the best things about living in Chelmsford is how close it is to London so after donning my best 'Casual Chelsea Girl' look (Get ready with me video and outfit post coming soon) I hopped on the train and met Rosie and Laura for some serious Jamie and Proudlock stalking. Chelsea is actually sooo pretty and walking round all the big white houses with ridiculous cars and perfect floral arrangements made me super jealous. We met the cutest little dogs on our walk around the Chelsea Gardens too- as you can see from the photos above one little guy was very keen to make friends with Rosie! After all that walking, stalking and photo taking (the Instagram posts were out in force, obvs) we went for a delicious afternoon tea at Bluebird- oh yes we actually hung out in the same place as the MIC gang, then popped into Space NK for some serious swatching and luxurious lusting before finishing off the day by pretending to feel pensive/argumentative along the embankment. It wouldn't be Chelsea without some dramatic embankment action now would it...

What did you get up to this weekend? Do you like these lifestyle/photography posts?

Saturday 11 January 2014

13 Favourites of 2013

Good evening lovelies! Tonight I've got a little post and video to entertain those of you having a wild Saturday night in like me (I have been out pretending to be posh with the girls in Chelsea all day so that's my excuse...check out my Instagram to see these adventures & stay tuned for a 'weekender' post on them tomorrow), which are all about my 13 Favourites of 2013! I decided to pick out my 13 faves rather than something from every beauty category because that would have taken until next Christmas to compile and I quite like the challenge of narrowing down what I was loving last year into such a limited line up. I did find some absolute gems in 2013 so it was very hard to choose between them, but this does mean I am totally in love with/really recommend every product I've included. Some of the products are firm old favourites that also appeared in my 12 Favourites of 2012, but others such as the Maybelline Master Smokey Shadow Pencil, Benefit 'Watts Up' and Essie 'Fiji' are new beauties that only came into my life recently and I'm now totally obsessed with! If you want to know more about why I love the things ever so delicately laid out above (and fancy seeing my new hair in action) then please do watch my video all about them and subscribe to my YouTube channel while your at it. If you can tear yourself away from the likes of Splash and Take Me Out that is... 

What are your 2013 Favourites? 

Thursday 9 January 2014

Miss Dior Cherie

One of the best things about the otherwise rather gloomy month of January is getting to have a proper play with all your new Christmas presents and one gift I've very much been enjoying so far this month is my lovely new perfume, Miss Dior Cherie. My boyfriend very kindly surprised me with this beautiful bottle (amongst similar items such as minions and converse) on Christmas morning and I've spritzed it on liberally whilst getting ready every morning since! It's always a bit of a risk being bought a perfume you haven't tired before because fragrance is such a personal thing, but luckily I absolutely adore the scent- it's really fresh, floral and fruity with notes of Jasmine, Strawberry and Patchouli making it the perfect sweet yet sophisticated scent for every day wear, particularly coming into Spring and Summer. The bottle is beautiful too, again it's girly but still chic and subtle and it looks ever so pretty propped up on my makeshift muji dressing table- definitely one for the blog background I think. Dior scents are rather pricey, particularly during this time of year when everyone is tightening their purse strings, but you do obviously pay for the high quality and long length of time this makes people just have to smell you as you waft past, plus it would make a perfect Valentines gift... get hinting now girls.

What's your favourite scent of the moment? 

Tuesday 7 January 2014

Soap & Glory Dr Spot

Soap & Glory DR SPOT | £8 | Boots

A few too many Quality Streets, the daily glass (or three) of wine, seconds on the second roast dinner and only sales shopping for exercise...these are just a few things that cause the festive period to wreak havoc on your skin. Sadly Christmas didn't let me get away with anything this year and I've been experiencing some serious breakouts that required immediate action. Typically, as the bad skin started my Origins Super Spot Remover ran out and I was left with no choice but to take a mad dash to Boots to grab anything I could find to bring about some complexion control. I went for this Soap & Glory DR SPOT because I've been eyeing up their new skincare range for a while and it seemed the most similar thing to my Origins treatment, but for a rather lovely £6 less for 5ml more product! I've got to say I didn't know what to expect because I've tried many spot treatments that seemed to do nothing whatsoever, but this has absolutely blown me -and my blemishes- away! DR SPOT describes itself as a 'Super Strength Breakout Clearing Gel' and it really is just that as my festive breakouts have vanished along with 2013. The main ingredients are salicylic acid (just to worn you this is quite strong smelly stuff) and ginger which are not only supposed to tackle spots, but also shrink pores, clog clear, reduce redness, soothe and reduce oiliness. Sounds too good to be true right? Well, in this case I actually don't think it is...after applying this clear gel- the fact it's clear being a massive bonus as it prevents me from looking like Mr Blobby when I go to bed and can also be worn under make up- to several spots as well as an area of ominous red underskin bumps on my forehead every night all imperfections disappeared in just a couple of days. I'm pretty sure I never got such great results from my pricey Origins offering which is a big claim indeed. I like the new clean and clear skincare packaging too as it looks like something serious you can trustingly put on your face, however the gel does seem to spill out from the tube a bit when you take the lid off so it's good a little does go a very long way and it'll still last all year despite the wastage. Overall the effective fast results, amazing price tag, undetectable formula and portable packaging results in this being my favourite blemish battler to date and I highly recommend you pick this up next time you're in Boots. It's also on offer at only £6 right now- form an orderly queue please ladies...

Have you been wowed by DR SPOT?

Sunday 5 January 2014

Chop & Change | My New (Year) Hair

This week I've basically become a stereotype of January- I've made lots of resolutions, tried to change up my style a bit, planned out a health kick and last but not least got a 'new year, new me' haircut. To be honest a big hair chop and change has been in the pipeline for a while, but now seemed the perfect time to put my plans into practice and freshen up the barnett ready for 2014. If you follow me on Instagram then you've already seen a couple of results shots but this afternoon I took my lovely boyfriend out into the garden to capture some better photos for you. I've been heading back to my more natural roots (quite literally) since getting my previously platinum locks subtlety ombréd last summer. As much as I loved this look it was almost too subtle and faded in a couple of weeks back to bright blonde making my dreaded dark regrowth noticeable again. So this time I asked my salon 'Take 2' for a slightly bolder ombré colour contrast with a shade a touch darker than my natural brown roots placed through the top/mid lengths and a gorgeous ashy blonde blended through the bottom to freshen up my ends (these shades actually look even more nicely blended in real life). I also decided to go for the chop and cut off the ratty lengths that had come about from too many years of growing and not enough cutting, so asked for a middle parted collar bone skimming blunt cut with face framing 'bangs'. I've got to say I can't believe I didn't join the mid-length bob brigade earlier as it's made my hair feel instantly thicker, healthier and more manageable and the style just suits me so much more than long hair ever did! The top is a tiny bit darker/warmer than I originally planned but it's nice to have a bit of a bigger change and I do think it's quite similar to the classy Alexa Chung ombré look which makes me a very happy bunny, obviously. Plus, it should take a longer to fade and then match my natural colour exactly when it does- my hair is thanking me for the low maintenance already. All in all I adore my new do and people have even said I look closer to my 22 years of age now opposed to 16, maybe my days of having to show ID for matches is over!

I'm writing this post from the sofa in my Chelmsford flat which my parents brought me back to today after an amazing Christmas holiday at home. As much as I'm sad that Christmas is officially over and me and my boyfriend are long distance again, I am pretty excited to get my teeth back into work and all the challenges that 2014 has to bring. Particularly as I have new hair to tackle them with...

Are you going for the new year chop & change?          
Thursday 2 January 2014

Bourjois Happy Light Luminous Serum Primer

Bourjois Happy Light Luminous Serum Primer | £10.99 | Boots

As soon as January hits I make it my mission to remedy the dull winter skin that December has given me and Christmas has only made worse with all those tempting quality street tins and glasses of wine. Of course this should ideally start with skincare and I assure you I'll be slapping on the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal mask like there's no tomorrow over the next few weeks, but what every busy girl really needs is a quick brightening fix and I think I've found just the thing with the Bourjois Happy Light Luminous Serum Primer. I'm sure you've all heard lots about the Bourjois Happy Light foundation which came out a few months ago, but this primer is a fairly new addition to the blogasphere and isles of Boots. At £10.99 it's not the cheapest drugstore primer out there but I do think the results are worth the price tag...First of all the formula is perfect- lightweight, moisturising and silky smooth without feeling watered down or thick or containing drying silicon, this glides on like a treat and my skin loves it. Two pumps of this and my skin looks and feels instantly more hydrated, smoothed out and glowy. I think it's pink colour is what makes it so illuminating so don't be put off by that- I promise it doesn't give you a tubby custard tinge or Edward Cullen sparkle! This would be a nice product to wear on no make up days but it also works amazingly under make up as a primer because it makes foundation go on so much better and then last all day with a lovely subtle glow. For you more oily skinned lovelies afraid of adding extra glow Bourjois also do a mattifying Happy Light primer primer- oh yes they really have thought of everything (even the packaging is classy and glassy!). The only downside is how quickly the product seems to go down, so I'll probably need to make my way back to those Boots isles pretty soon...oopsie! 

Have you tried the Bourjois 'Happy Light' range?        
Wednesday 1 January 2014

Happy New Year | Highlights & Resolutions

spain with the besties / becoming a benebabe / four years with the boy / class of 2013 / model moment / meeting my beauty idols / my new blogging baby / living the glee life

Happy New Year lovelies! I hope you all had an amazing (and preferably drunken) night seeing in 2014. I hit the town with my boyfriend and a couple of my best home friends and had a really great time, despite my head being rather sore today...luckily I'm just having another relaxed family day now involving copious amounts of food that doesn't fit in with my new fitness regime and the sort of silly games that will sadly be put away for another year soon. But anyway, I thought I'd start 2014 on the Budget Boutique by having a little look back at my 2013 highlights, which I've put together in a little photo montage, and also look forward to the coming year with some New Years resolutions. Without wanting to bang on about it too much 2013 was truly the best year of my life- I had an amazing last semester at Sheffield uni living with the best housemates and doing lots of performing (and going out...) before graduating with a 2.1 in English Literature and Theatre and going on an incredible holiday in Spain with all of my best uni friends. I then landed my perfect job doing social media in the marketing team at Benefit Cosmetics HQ and I absolutely adore it, particularly as it's allowed me to move into a gorgeous flat close to London, spend a weekend in Dublin and meet some of my blogging idols. And throughout all this I've enjoyed growing my blog and YouTube channel so much and can't believe how many lovely people read/watch my ramblings or the amazing opportunities it's given me like taking part in a video shoot for Primark and I have to thank every one of you for helping this all happen! I can't forget my boy Dave either who has been the ultimate babe for the past four years now despite the long distance and I'm rather hoping this year might bring us a bit closer together geographically. I didn't do too bad in terms of resolutions either managing to achieve 7 out of 10 of the goals I made last January. Let's hope I can achieve even more of them next year and maybe even stop biting my nails for the last time...

2013 Resolutions 
1. Graduate from uni with a 2:1. 
2. Get out of my overdraft and stay out. x
3. Get a job that I love in the magazine or PR industry or at least get some great work experience. 
4. Make more time to read books and magazines cover to cover. 
5. Change my eating and fitness habits so I can feel great all year round. x
6. Save up for and buy an Olympus Pen camera that I can blog and do videos with. 
7. Grow my blog and youtube channel, develop their design and hit more milestones. 
8. Make sure my nails look gorgeous at all times. x 
9. Now my hair's longer get it cut and coloured the exact way I want. 
10. Have as many amazing times with my family, friends and boyfriend as possible. 

2014 Resolutions
1. Achieve all that I can as Social Media Intern for Benefit Cosmetics and make career progress in September.
2. Expand and improve my blog, YouTube and other social platforms in terms of content, design and followers. Aim to blog every other day and upload videos once a week. 
3. Save money each month and reach my September overdraft target as well as go on a Summer holiday.
4. Go to the gym twice a week, cook fresh nutritious meals most of the time, snack healthily and drink more water.
5. Get to bed earlier and make time to switch off the laptop and relax/read before sleep.
6. Find a good skincare routine that I can easily keep up and that works for my skin- also wash my make up brushes more often so that I'm not undoing all the hard skincare work.
7. Finally stop biting nails and get them into great condition!
8. Be tidier, more organised, helpful and on time- maybe even early! 
9. Make time to regularly see and keep in touch with all my friends and family. 
10. Worry less, enjoy the moment more.

I hope you all had an amazing 2013 and have an even better 2014 to come!
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