Another Catch Up

Hi everyone!

It’s been a good month and a half since my last post. I made sure to take some time off after exams to chill then ended up diving into part-time work in a slightly drastic change to my routine that took some time to adjust to. I’ve managed to get a little bit of balance back, so here is a rambling post about some of the things I was up to recently, with some photos of other things I did.

This lil cat from The Kitty Cafe in Nottingham represents me during the summer. And maybe all the time.

You all know I have a long list of hobbies and interests I like to switch and rotate between a lot. Makeup has fully fallen out of the rotation, it seems. I haven’t touched my box of new items in MONTHS and I wear the same casual lipsticks for work all the time, although to be fair I have rarely gone out to do anything else. So, as a result, I am kind of stuck for beauty content.

I have picked my reading back up again as well, although it seems my pace slows every time I do. I finally finished reading The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, and then I finished Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin, too. I particularly loved the latter, especially the second half. It’s very sweet and emotive, not romantic in the typical sense, and deliciously dark. I will be seeing Sarah Maria Griffin in an event in a few weeks, which I am really excited for now.

Books I read2.jpg
Some terrible doodled versions of covers of the books I read.

Just a few days ago, I finished Blade Runner, or originally ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ by Philip K. Dick – It’s a shorter read compared to my last two but I am enjoying it a lot so far. I’m only two chapters in, and the worldbuilding is done really… concisely, with lots of ‘show, don’t tell’. As much as I can deal with flowery prose, I really like this about this book so far. Gotta take notes.

Anyhow, my next pick will be Sabriel by Garth Nix. I have a goal to make it through as much of my current TBR this summer as possible!

This is Zaap Thai Street Food, also in Nottingham. I thought I had stepped out onto a street on the other side of the world! The details were amazing and reminded me of a night in Ho Chi Minh City, too.

I recently acquired a Nintendo Switch, so most of my days off have consisted of wandering Hyrule semi-aimlessly. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is so OPEN and I love it – almost everything can be interacted with. At some point, I am going to have to learn and actually remember some combat controls though because simply charging into the nearest enemy flailing a Boko Bat and panicking won’t work all the time…

My favourite part of the game beyond exploring is probably gathering ingredients and cooking food, as boring as that sounds. Autosaves in this game make me feel invincible even though I’ve gotten ‘Game Over’ at least nine times. I do like to dive into new areas but you know when it’s misty and I paraglide in only to have the mist reveal a bunch of Lizalfos that kill me in one hit? Sigh, yeah that kind of sucks.

The Warehouse Cafe is a nice Veggie Only place to check out. I wasn’t into this dish (the filo parcel) personally but I’d love to go back and check out other items on their menu!

I also bought Stardew Valley, which I really like because whilst I loved Harvest Moon DS, it was… tedious, for lack of a better word. Stardew Valley feels very similar… maybe better, though! I tend to like these no-pressure games a lot more. I also bought Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles, for another open-world like BOTW, but also no-pressure kind of thing. It’s okay so far. Can’t climb things though. Can’t even enter buildings or swim, so it’s not as open, and sometimes the movement and camera controls make me dizzy, but it’s a welcome change from Guardians and Lizalfos.

I feel stuck with my drawing. I’m finding it really hard to be happy with stuff I draw at the moment making it really hard to continue. I keep thinking every line and resulting picture needs to be perfect (I finally understand the idea of ‘meaningful lines’ my art teacher kept going on about in school but it’s hard!) and it’s so frustrating that I can’t put my ideas on paper/computer yet. I think I will start experimenting with brush settings and some other digital techniques beyond just sketching. I have actually gone back to dabbling in writing too, but like… actually writing stuff instead of just planning forever and never getting words down on the page.

Anyway, I am scheduling some long-overdue beauty posts from before the hiatus, and I hope to still be chatting to myself here afterwards. If I’m not grinding for money or still dying in games.

Until next time,

X

A Peek at my Skincare Diary #1: Short and Sweet

Gasp! A Saturday post? Yeah, I forgot to schedule some new posts whilst I was panicking over an essay. I have some time to get some posts up and scheduled now, though, so you all have something to read while I am contemplating the inner workings of the mind for my degree!

I initially planned to start this series two months ago, around the time of year I share my skincare wardrobe. Instead of presenting it all as a giant wardrobe last year, I thought it would be interesting to keep a diary and record what I was using on a day-to-day basis. But then I suddenly stopped taking care of my skin, going nights without bothering with a moisturiser, although I could never forgo my thick layer of lip balm. But it meant I stopped keeping track of my skin using my diary, too.

So very slowly, I’ve been reintroducing my skincare routine based on what I am feeling. I’m not sure how long it will last seeing as my exams are really quite fast approaching and I habitually tend to wreck my sleeping and skincare around that time…

But anyway, here’s what I have been reaching for when I actually did bother with basic self-care.

Morning

Dr Organic Hemp Oil Lip Serum

After using this in the morning for at least a year now, I think I am finally using up the last of it! This has an oily but also gel-like texture that’s quite unusual, but I do like it as I want something thin that won’t interfere with my lipstick. It’s only £2.49 from Holland and Barratt, too. I wear it in the morning as soon as I have washed my face, and it stays on mostly until I get to the lipstick stage, when I press it off a bit with the back of my hand before applying lipstick. Of course, the smell will take some getting used to if you’ve never used hemp before – it can be a little unpleasant.

Etude House Moistfull Collagen Emulsion

I think this is actually the first emulsion type product I have tried, and I really like it. It’s most similar to the Western ‘lotion’ although not quite the same thing to me. It’s basically a light moisturiser and sinks in super well which is great in the mornings when I need to layer sunscreen and makeup on top without pilling but also don’t want my skin to be too dry.

I’ve been meaning to write a full review for ages but now I realise there’s not much to say! I’ve been using this for months and I’m only halfway through the bottle, but I will finish this up. I probably won’t repurchase it in favour of something with more ‘wow’ to it.

Kose Suncut Aqualy UV Protect Gel SPF50+ PA++++|Full Review Here

Something about this sunscreen texture is super pleasant so I never shy from reaching for this. It also works really nicely under makeup without pilling which I am very grateful for. However, if oil is a major problem for you then this might not be the best option at all. I really liked using this over the last winter (I just… accepted my oiliness haha) although admittedly I didn’t wear sunscreen every day… I’ll look at other options because I’m a blogger, after all, but this will definitely be repurchased in the future. It’s been over a year of sporadic use and I’m finally getting to the last quarter of the bottle.

Evening

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser| Review Here

A very gentle and pleasant cleanser! For days of light makeup only. It will also make a good attempt at non-waterproof mascaras without stinging the eyes at all which is a nice bonus, and the rose smell is lovely. I actually don’t have many rose-scented products – for some reason the M&S body product sets that haunted my childhood come to mind – but maybe that can change! My only gripe is the price for the amount but honestly, for this lovely of a cleanser, I would not mind repurchasing it anyway.

Etude House Moistfull Collagen Eye Cream

Again, this eye cream actually isn’t anything special. But I’m twenty and only looking for a standard eye cream that isn’t too rich or too thin, and it doesn’t need to have anti-ageing ingredients at this stage. This is actually the perfect consistency – sort of buttery but not greasy at all – and the scent is actually quite minimal. All that means this is super pleasant to use for me and I’d happily buy it to use again. I’ve almost reached the bottom of my tub which means I need to stop buying new emulsions and essences and buy a new eye cream!! Any suggestions for products with a similar consistency?

COSRX AHA Whitehead Power Liquid

As I often lost track of my routine I have erred on the safe side and avoided my acids. I’m trying to reintroduce it starting weekly but even that is kind of a struggle at the moment! Besides the slightly funky smell which I am sort of used to now, there’s not much to say thus far.

Lanolips 101 Ointment|Review here

Dr Pawpaw Original Balm|Review here

One of my favourite combinations recently. I like to use a thin layer of Lanolips before applying a thick layer of Dr PawPaw, which makes my lips super soft in the morning and easy to exfoliate or even just wipe away the dead skin after morning cleansing. Both are slightly pricier options for lip balm and the PawPaw I feel could easily be replaced with Vaseline or Carmex. As you can see, I currently prefer products in tubes, even over stick-type products.

Overall, this routine takes less than ten minutes out of my morning and evening, and hopefully I can build it up a bit more over the next few months without going too heavy as the summer approaches.

I hope you enjoyed this snippet of skincare and hopefully, as this project develops, we’ll be able to see how my skincare routine evolves and adapts to change to all the seasons!

Until next time,

X

Review: NYX Intense Butter Gloss in Chocolate Crepe

Hi everyone!

It’s no secret that I have been loving glossy finishes as of late, so instead of rambling about it, let’s get straight to the snap review.

This was a birthday gift from my friend AT earlier in the year, swiped from my wishlist. I had tried the regular Butter Gloss in Praline, and it was great for a practically-clear gloss with minimal colour. I love layering it on top of nude lipsticks. But as you all know, my true love of glossies lies with really pigmented lacquers and stuff, so the intense version was on my radar.

The NYX Intense Butter Gloss costs £6.00 in the UK and is available at counters in Boots and Debenhams, and online at FeelUnique.

When I first swatched it on my hand it seemed a bit too dark and too cool-brown like Maybelline’s Brown Sugar. It ended up being a super nice shade on my lips, though – a slight warm pinkiness to it. A bit deep, but a great everyday shade.

It’s quite lightweight but you can still feel it on your lips because of the texture. Of course, being a gloss I don’t expect it to last at all but it will survive at least four hours without eating and with small sips of water during my work shifts. It does bleed more noticeably which is understandable as there is more pigment. But overall it actually doesn’t bleed that much. A lip liner is all that’s needed if that’s an issue. The pigment doesn’t settle into lip creases either and, as expected, it’s quite forgiving on flaky lips although those are still noticeable.

Yes, it’s a little sticky and my hair flies into it when I’m darting between shops with my siblings. But it doesn’t all adhere to my hair at once which is a little plus, I guess?

I’ve been wearing this an awful lot. Out of all the choices in my rotation this month, this one has been the most worn so far. I’ve just been loving the fact that I can wear this all day and have my lips still be plush and lovely by the evening. My mom, just before the aforementioned shopping, even made a comment on how glossy and nice they looked (so much so that she wanted to bite them, which I acknowledge is weird but I took it as a compliment so…). BASICALLY. I love this stuff.

I might not buy it in any other shade, though. This is literally the only shade that appeals to me in a gloss, as it would be the most forgiving. Bolder colours in a glossy finish are intimidating to me, especially the thought of them bleeding or wearing much more obviously.

Overall, this is a winner for me. I can imagine myself re-buying this a lot and it fulfils my need for a pigmented gloss perfectly.

Until next time,

X


Days since I last bought a lipstick: 116

Review: Eyeko Sport Waterproof Mascara

Hi everyone!

Yes, I’m back at the mascaras again and hoping to find my dream one. Today, it’s Eyeko’s Sport Waterproof ‘Catch & Curl’ Mascara.


Some details from the outer packaging:
The original tube mascara
Created in London
Made in South Korea
Against animal testing
From the Eyeko Website: 
“Make perfect lashes your goal with our ace brush to grab and catch every lash teamed with our winning fibre-enhanced, waterproof formula. Create dramatic lashes plumped to perfection that will see you through your morning workout and beyond.
 
With Sport Waterproof Mascara, you benefit from award-winning Korean technology creating a high-performance waterproof formula that promises no running, smudging, crumbling or flaking whether you’re hitting the gym or at the beach; caught in a downpour or sweating it out. And it’s all 100% cruelty free.
  • 100% Waterproof Thixotropical gel formulation repels water
  • Unique brush with curved edge to lift lashes and flat back to volumise
  • Fibre-enhanced conditioning formula with Collagen & 11 different fruit extracts
  • Contains fibres suitable for sensitive peepers

With all of these claims, I was really excited to try out this mascara!
Eyeko’s Sport Waterproof Mascara is normally in a compact 8ml tube that can be stuffed in a pocket or bag without difficulty. It normally retails for £19 for an 8ml tube.
However, I have the 4ml tube which I picked up for only £6.99 at TK Maxx, which normally costs £10.00 on Beauty Bay.
The brush is curved and with bristles. I thought the brush was quite large, but due to the curves I was still able to reach all my lashes without an issue. I could either use the curve facing inwards to get as many lashes as possible or use the curve facing outwards to aim more specifically for certain areas that needed more.
The bristles are a little dense so I found that it didn’t pack product on well, although it also meant that the lashes never looked clumpy or overdone. However, a lot of product accumulated at the end of the brush which is visible from the photo, and this had to be wiped away before I could do my lashes more precisely.

Overall, the effect on my lashes was quite natural and subtle. I found that due to the dense brush, I had to really push on my lashes to get product onto them and sometimes it meant that I ended up with product on my eyelid or underneath my eyes. What I did like was that even without a primer, this mascara holds a curl really well. I liked to use it when I wanted a natural look with a curl that’d last all day.

 

Damn the sudden weather changes in Birmingham! Sigh.

 

As usual, I’m not sure if I’d buy this again because I am always wanting to try something new – but this gets a solid thumbs up from me for now.

Oh, but in the end, I’m not sure about how a tube-shaped packaging benefits a mascara. I guess you could squeeze it to get more product onto the brush which helps with drier formulas. Let me know what you think if you’ve tried more tube mascaras!

Positives:

  • Holds a curl without primer!
  • Natural look
  • Lasts all day
  • Brush can reach most lashes quickly.

Negatives:

  • Can get messy due to brush.
  • Not a dramatic difference in lash length.

Until next time,

X

 

Books of 2018, #3: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Hi everyone!

I am slightly behind on my reading schedule of a book per month. A lot of the books I have are actually quite bulky or read slowly and with university studies and work, and the hectic week before Easter, March was almost completely devoid of reading.

I’d been making my way through the books in this post – books that I’ve started but were on pause. All my books sat on the spare desk until Derp came home for the holidays and Twerp refused to give his room back again, so he’s living with me and needed the spare desk. I moved my entire TBR pile back to a corner of my desk where it’s three books away from reaching the G-Dragon poster on the wall… again.

In the re-shuffle, A Thousand Pieces of You ended up right at the bottom of a 17-book reading pile because I didn’t think I would get around to finishing it. So when I suddenly felt like finishing it last week, I almost didn’t bother trying to move it from under the pile. On the other hand, it’d been bothering me that I’d only read half, and I needed my March book…

As I am sure I have mentioned eons ago, this was a birthday gift from my friend Nicole, picked from my wishlist and mostly on the list because of its delectable, breathtaking cover. I thought I knew not to judge a book by its cover but I’ve noticed – in the years since not having my school library and buying my own books – that a great cover really makes me scream ‘take my money!’ But alas, the proverb had to ring true sooner or later, and it certainly did for this.

Or rather, my eyes must have skipped over the romance in the description of the book. That would have made me run in the opposite direction.

My main opinion is that this was utterly and totally ‘meh’. The idea of jumping into alternate universes is super promising and seeing as it’s a romantic sci-fi YA, the story… wasn’t that surprising, if that makes sense? It was quite predictable, and I felt there was so much left to explore that I was a little unsatisfied at the end. It’s full of tropes and stuff that made me go urgh (it’s been a while since I read about a love triangle!) but that my younger self might have absolutely loved. Then again, Twerp has also read the book – she’s the same age of the ‘younger self’ I’m referring to and she doesn’t like the book much either. Maybe it’s just us!

Anyway, once I set my mind to it, this was a speedy read, not too complex, and I finished it in two days. We shall see how long it survives on my bookshelf, too… I’ve already started my April book as well so hopefully, I’ll stay on track now.

Until next time,

X

Battle of the Velvet Teddy Dupes #2: ft. the actual Velvet Teddy (LOL)

Over the last half a year, I have been really into nude lipstick shades. It used to be the bane of my life as I loved noticeable lipstick shades – I’d wear a red to Asda! But then I discovered shades that were just about noticeable but also really great choices for everyday wear. Namely, the medium-toned nudes.

Over the last few months, you might have seen me mention Velvet Teddy numerous times. For ages, I wondered whether it was the right shade for me and tried out a bunch of dupes and honestly, it works perfectly fine on my skintone. However, with my personal taste, I concluded that it’s just a tad too light. I always needed a darker liner to make them truly match my taste.

Then I remembered that Velvet Teddy came into the spotlight paired with the darker lip liner, Whirl. Not a mind-blowing realisation, sure, but it made me feel a bit better not loving the shade by itself as it was clearly not just me. Where possible, I’d rather use a lipstick by itself at the moment without all the primer, liner and topcoat stuff that is tacked on top these days. I do still love a good liner! But I love a lipstick that performs brilliantly by itself even more.

(I have totally been a lip brush convert, though, thanks to Lisa Eldridge. Who was I without one??)

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Anyway, I wanted to show you all some shades that I would put in that Velvet Teddy category of nudes for me – passable, but sort of boring. Nudes that always need that extra something to make me feel amazing.

I accumulated a few more nudes like this, and I wanted to do another comparison post, but I felt that it was a bit pointless without having the real Velvet Teddy on hand to swatch. Thankfully, Q let me borrow hers! *Sobs* I’m so grateful.

Wet N Wild Bare It All

Maybelline Clay Crush

Oh, you surely know about these already. I wrote a comparison post here comparing the two. The shades are almost identical with Clay Crush having a VERY SLIGHT peachier tone to it, but on the lips this difference is unnoticeable. I haven’t included full lip swatches for this post as I am already quite happy with the current ones on the previous post, so do check them out there.

Maybelline Unreal – this shade leans on the cool side, but lacks the very slight pink/mauve that Bare It All has, making it look almost greyish on my skintone. It’s a lovely lacquer that wears comfortably.

Collection Caramel – This is my least favourite of the bunch. It is only £2.99, but I also found it drying and generally not as nice as the others, which is a shame.

In this arm swatch, I included swatches of two nude shades I actually enjoy. They are there to demonstrate how deep I prefer my nudes to be, at a minimum. As I may have mentioned, Soft Spoken is literally perfect for my taste resulting in it getting a lot of wear before getting into lipstick rotations. I’d put NYX’s Intense Butter Gloss in Chocolate Crepe in as a ‘perfect’ nude as well although that’s not included here.

The takeaway from this post is hopefully, for me to stop lusting after lip shades that I know aren’t ones that I love, if that makes sense! While I love the nude trend now that ultimately hit the stage due to this lipstick, nude is a different thing for everyone. All too often, I fall for hype and community love although less so recently, and most persistently with Velvet Teddy.

Do you have a hype-induced lipstick that you just can’t love?

Until next time,

X

 

Lipsticks in Rotation – March 2018

Hi everyone!

March has been a particularly strange month with plenty of challenges and too much snow for it being this late in the year. However, the clocks have changed and the evenings are much lighter already and it’s already quite refreshing. It’s the Easter Holidays for pretty much all students now – what have you all got planned?

Let’s get right to the Lipsticks in Rotation for this month.

Read more about my lipstick no-buy here:

Starting a Year-Long Lipstick No-Buy

Lipsticks in Rotation – January 2018

Lipsticks in Rotation – February 2018

Maybelline Hot Vivid Lacquer in Unreal

This is the pick from my Box of New Things for this month! Since layering Bare It All with glosses I have discovered the glossy nude lip does wonders for me and wanted to explore it a bit more. The nude shade here is a bit too cool for me and I would definitely categorise it in the ‘Velvet Teddy’ type of colours in that it’s a bit bland by itself and probably needs a lip liner to make it truly WOW. But otherwise, I like this a lot!

Lancome 368 Rose Lancome

A really vivid bright pink. I remember Lisa Eldridge wore this to an awards show, and it looked fantastic on her, too! It is in a creamy finish that wears really comfortably. It does stain a little and therefore takes a bit more of a rub to remove.

Also, correct me if I’m wrong but I think Suzy is wearing this shade in this Insta snap (for a Lancome event) as well.

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick in Nude-ist

A cool, pinkish nude shade that is super comfortable and long-wearing. It’s often overlooked in my stash in favour of Beau Brun, though. I’m keeping an eye out for consistency changes in the product at this point as I have had mine a while. I don’t think I’ll repurchase it either because I want more room for other products!

Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquer in Aurora (discontinued)|Review here

I really love this lacquer. It somehow manages to be bright whilst still being a little understated. It’s a real shame I can no longer find this in stores. I have been really feeling the two lacquers that I have, and glossy finishes seem to be right up my street as of late – they’re youthful and very appropriate for spring! Maybe not for kissing, though(!!)

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Rimmel Lasting Finish Kate Matte in 111 Kiss of Life|Review/Swatches here

This is actually my only drugstore/budget red lipstick at the moment! It’s a pure red that is bright and because I always remember it as orange-leaning (although this isn’t noticeable) I seem to fall out of love with it a lot. Have I ever mentioned that I think the formula is very similar to MAC’s mattes?

Collection Velvet Kiss Lip Cream in Caramel

This is yet another ‘Velvet Teddy’ category colour. This was quite a recent buy and I didn’t have time to wear it a lot before launching into a no-buy with pre-scheduled rotations. I’m not a fan of the formula either as it isn’t that long-wearing and can be drying on my lips. For £2.99, I can’t complain TOO much but I’ll imagine I’ll either finish or toss it fairly soon.


Overall, I wore lipsticks a lot less this month compared to the last two months. I wonder if it is partly due to the particular selection for this month all being the kinds of products I’d only wear once in a while. It’s definitely mostly due to me going out a little less, but also because I’ve cheated a little and, two times, gone back to some bare neutrals that I was really feeling for the day – like NARS Rikugien, which I used to hate!

I was a little tempted to have all of the selected shades for next month be bold shades but based on this month I am going to have to make sure I pick at least one fall-back shade that I won’t complain about picking on those “bare-bones” kinds of days. But hey, nothing to complain about with a good neutral, right?

Until next time,

X


Days since I last bought a lipstick: 94

Lipstick added to wishlist: Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Colour in Telluride