Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Primers: Tried & Tested

Hello again lovelies! Until recently I never really thought of primers as an essential part of my make-up collection, however i've been using them a lot more regularly lately and I thought i'd share my thoughts on the ones i've tried so far. They vary in price, ranging from high street to high end and they are all slightly different in their formulations and what they aim to deliver, so i'm going to go through each one separately.
(From left to right: Maybelline Dream Smooth Primer, bareMinerals Prime Time Brightening Foundation Primer, Laura Mercier Foundation Primer, bareMinerals Prime Time Brightening Eyelid Primer and Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion)
The Dream Smooth Primer by Maybelline "smooths and perfects the skin to create a flawless canvas for effortless make-up application". It is a clear gel that reduces the appearances of pores, fills in any lines and essentially perfects the skin surface creating a flawless base for your foundations. I use this almost every day after applying my moisturiser and before putting on any make-up and I really love the way that it improves the finish of my foundation. It's the cheapest primer in my collection and I would definitely repurchase this again, especially as the tiniest amount is sufficient to cover your whole face as it smooths across the skin so nicely. The only downside is that it has a slightly odd smell which reminds me of those gooey alien toys that were the craze when I was in primary school! (google them!) 
You can pick up this primer for £8.99 at Boots or Superdrug

The Prime Time Brightening Foundation Primer from bareMinerals not only smooths out fine lines and minimises large pores, but also gives a healthy glowing effect. As you can see in the photograph above, when the product is pumped out it does look as though it has quite a strong colour to it, however when blended into the face this initial colour is barely visible and instead you are left with a glowy, ever so slightly shimmery look. One factor that I really love about this primer is that it has been formulated to "combat dry patches", which is great as I can occasionally get dry skin, particularly in the winter and some foundations accentuate this, so this product comes in very handy. This primer is quite expensive, with an RRP of £21.00, but you can find cheaper deals online such as on, where it is selling for £18.50.

I actually received this Laura Mercier Foundation Primer in this month's Birchbox (to read my full post on this month's box click here). The formula of this primer is slightly different to both the Maybelline and bareMinerals ones, as it is a creamy consistency. Laura Mercier claim that "just as a painter 'primes' a canvas, Foundation Primer - the original- was created by Laura Mercier in 1995 to 'prime' the skin." I'm actually really surprised to learn how long this primer has been around as I hadn't even heard of primers until a few years ago! This primer is excellent at perfecting the surface of your skin and increasing the longevity of your foundation, as well as containing vitamins A, C and E to protect the skin, which I feel justifies the price. 
A full sized 50ml tube of this will set you back £28.00 and can be purchased from Space N.K.

The bareMinerals Prime Time Brightening Eyelid Primer "provides a smooth, brightening base to maximise the colour intensity and staying power" of eyeshadows. It also helps to prevent creasing and generally helps your eye make-up to stay looking perfect for longer. Similar to the face version of this primer, it has a glowy sheen to it, however the shimmery golden champagne colour of this primer is so pretty that it can be worn alone, but generally speaking I do prefer colourless primers. Be warned as it's very easy to squeeze out too much of this as you really do need an absolutely tiny amount. The packaging has been changed since I bought mine though, so it could be less messy now! This product has an RRP of £16, but again have it cheaper for £13.95 (every little helps!).

Last, but by certainly no means least, is probably the most famous eyeshadow primer ever, the coveted Urban Decay Primer Potion. This product acts as such an amazing base for eyeshadows and dramatically improves their staying power. This version has a creamy consistency which dries clear, however there is now also a range of coloured alternatives that can be worn alone as well as as a base. I actually got this tube with my Naked Palette and considering I received that in February and i'm only just running out of this highlights what good value for money this is. Unfortunately i'm a poor student so will probably have to use up my other primers before I can actually justify repurchasing this, but it really is worth the hype. 
You can get it for £15.00 from Debenhams.

Have you tried any of these primers? Do you have any recommendations?

Sunday, 27 October 2013

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation Review

Hello again! Today i'm going to do a review of a product that i've been obsessing over lately and that is the famous Sheer Glow foundation from NARS. I was running dangerously low on my Benefit Hello Flawless foundation, so when ASOS had their flash beauty sale the other day it was the perfect excuse for me to finally give this raved about foundation a try.

I've been using my Real Techniques Buffing Brush to apply this foundation as the bristles are the perfect density to buff it into the skin for a really natural finish.
(above-wearing just NARS Sheer Glow foundation and Kiko Longeyes Plus Active Mascara)

Colour: I was a little anxious about buying this foundation for the first time online, but after using and temptalia's Foundation Matrix I eventually decided on the shade Mont Blanc, which is slightly more pink toned than the lightest shade in the range, Siberia. Luckily it's actually a perfect colour match for me and the shade range in general is great, with 20 different colours you're bound to find one that's perfect for you. If you struggle to find foundations pale enough I would definitely recommend NARS as they have a great range of pale foundations.

Formulation: Don't be misled by the name, this is not a sheer foundation! I would say this is a medium, but buildable coverage foundation. One layer of this gives sufficient coverage to conceal minor imperfections and redness but doesn't make you look like you're caked in foundation like some high end foundations do (i'm looking at you MAC!) This foundation is aimed at those with normal to dry skin like me, but i've read many reviews online of girls with even oily skin raving about this, so it seems like it works well universally.

Packaging: I have a love/hate relationship with the packaging of this product. The glass bottle gives a luxurious feel and the rubberised lid is in keeping with other NARS products, but the fact that there is no pump included is rather irritating. Although they can be bought separately, they're currently sold out on the NARS, Space NK and Selfridges websites!

Price: This foundation is definitely at the high end of the foundation world, retailing for £30.50. However, you genuinely need the tiniest amount of this to get a decent coverage so I know this will last me quite a while. 

Final thoughts: This foundation is extremely popular and this meant I had extremely high expectations. To be entirely honest when I first used it, after months of wanting to try it, I felt it was a bit of anticlimax, but after a week of using it i've definitely learnt to love it and the healthy looking glow it gives my skin.

Have you tried this foundation? I'd love to know what you thought of it!

Friday, 25 October 2013

October Birchbox Review

Hello again! I'd been interested in subscribing to a beauty subscription box for a while now and after reading far too many negative reviews about Glossybox I decided to bite the bullet and try out Birchbox. My October box arrived this week and i'm really happy with the things I received so I thought i'd show what I got and tell you my initial thoughts on the products so far!

Inside the box there were lots of helpful tips and tricks cards with advice on how to use the products inside, new product releases and even app suggestions. However, one of my favourite things about the box is that it comes with a card telling you all about the products and their regular RRP prices, which highlight what good value this box is, as the Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant for example usually retails for £67.00, so this is a great way of sampling high end brands.

All of the products came in this little drawstring bag, which is a lovely touch because it's a great way of storing your new samples.

Now, onto the products! 

The thing I was most excited about was this Laura Mercier Foundation Primer as i've never tried anything from Laura Mercier before and I tried it this morning and am really liking it so far. The little letter from the Birchbox team says that there will also be a Laura Mercier product in the November box, so i'm excited to try out more from the brand as i've heard such great things about it.

Next was this exfoliant from Dr. Brandt. Honestly i've never heard of this brand before, but considering the full size version is almost £70 I have high expectations and am looking forward to trying this out! 

Next was this Curl Up Wave Foam Mousse from KMS California. Apparently it should be worked through towel-dried hair to enhance waves and protect your hair from heat damage. I hate my naturally wavy hair as it's a bit unruly, so hopefully this will help!

The next product was this lip/cheek stain from theBalm cosmetics. I don't tend to buy these kinds of products as i'm so bad at blending stains into my cheeks and usually opt for powder blushes instead! Nonetheless, this is a lovely colour so i'll definitely give it a try, if not as a cheek stain, then definitely on the lips.

Here's a swatch:

Now the next product inside this month's Birchbox was a bit odd, as it actually started off life as a nipple balm! This Nipple Balm For Lips by Dr. Lipp "hydrates and repairs dry flaky skin". I tried this out this morning and as I suffer regularly from chapped lips i've become quite the connoisseur of lip balms and I can honestly say that this product is wonderful. I would definitely repurchase a full size version of this. 

As well as my five beauty products this month, I also received three sample sachets of the Egyptian Magic cream, which apparently can be used for a multitude of uses-even on the ends of your hair! I'm looking forward to seeing how this product can be used in different ways and i'm grateful for the free additional samples!

Finally, I also received a lifestyle extra, this pack of Chia shots, which contain omega 3, protein and fibre and apparently eating a tablespoon of this a day can improve your general health. I'm a bit sceptical and probably won't ever buy this, but i'm willing to give it a try!

I'm really happy with everything I got in my Birchbox this month and i'm really glad I signed up as it's a great way to try out products you wouldn't usually go for and for only £10 a month + p&p you really can't go wrong!

Find out more about Birchbox here.

Hope you enjoyed this post, are you signed up to any beauty subscription boxes? What did you get in yours this month?

Saturday, 19 October 2013

My Mac Lipstick Collection (So Far!)

Hello again! Brace yourselves, this is going to be a long, picture-heavy post! I have been shopping at Mac for almost four years now and one of the things that I keep going back for is the lipsticks. The combination of the mind-blowing array of colours, the sleek packaging and the fantastic finishes of the lipsticks themselves make for a winning formula and so inevitably I have accumulated quite a sizable collection. I've taken photos of me wearing each of the lipsticks, to give you a feel for how they actually look on and will let you know what I think of each one. Enjoy! 

(From l-r Capricious, Up The Amp, Girl About Town, Viva Glam Gaga, Viva Glam Nicki x2, Sandy B, Fanfare, Hue, Creme Cup,  Myth)


Mac describe this shade as a "fanciful rose plum" which is really rather accurate. It gives a berry tone to the lips making it the perfect colour for Autumn/Winter. A lot of A/W lip trends seem to be too dark for me and my pale skin, making me look washed out and ghostly, but this is a really wearable alternative. This is a Lustre lipstick, meaning it leaves a glossy finish on the lips and isn't drying at all. Overall, I love it and will be wearing it a lot over the next few months.

Up The Amp
Until recently I was a devout pink/nude lipstick fan, but I decided to branch out a little and Up The Amp is certainly different! Mac describe this as a "lavender violet" and as it is an Amplified Creme formula the pigmentation is extremely opaque, meaning the colour in the tube is very similar to the end result on your lips. I actually really like it, although as the colour is so bright and the formula is so creamy, I tend to use a lip brush to apply it and gradually build up the colour. This is a great lipstick to invest in if you're looking for a bright, but wearable colour. 

Girl About Town
This is probably one of my favourite lipsticks in my collection, which probably won't surprise you if you read beauty blogs as everyone seems to love it! It is a "bright blue fuchsia", with the blue undertones helping to give the illusion of whiter teeth, which is always a bonus! It is an Amplified formula meaning it has great pigmentation and is opaque with just one layer. I think the fuchsia shade is a really lovely alternative to the classic pink and I would definitely repurchase this again.

Viva Glam Gaga
First of all, I love the Viva Glam lipsticks in general as 100% of the proceeds go to aids charities which is fantastic. The packaging is also pretty special, with red detailing and Lady Gaga's signature scrawled across the tube. The colour itself is an adorable cool-toned bubblegum pink. As it is only semi-opaque the colour isn't quite as garish as it looks in the tube making it a really sweet, girly, everyday pink. The only downside is that it was limited edition!

Viva Glam Nicki
Sticking with the Viva Glam theme, next up is the original Viva Glam Nicki lipstick. In the tube it appears to be a vibrant, almost fluorescent pink, but on the lips you can see that it actually has a subtle coral tinge to it, making it a perfect summer colour. I wore this a lot over summer, so much so that I bought another one as I knew that it would soon be removed from the line as it was also limited edition. It is a Satin finish meaning it has great pigmentation and a natural looking glossiness. Overall, a really great choice for when you fancy a pop of colour. 

Sandy B
Sandy B is a light, peachy pink but the thing that makes this lipstick stand out is the formula. As a Frost it has an intense gold shimmer and a pretty sheer opacity. Unfortunately, as my natural lips are quite a dark pink, Frost formulas don't tend to have a high enough pigmentation to conceal the colour underneath so I find this lipstick very difficult to wear and so very rarely reach for it. I think it could look quite flattering with a tan, but considering I live in England I don't think that will be happening for a while! 

The ultimate "your lips but better" shade! This was one of my first Mac lipsticks and remains one of my favourites. It is very close in colour to my natural lips and simply enhances them making them a more uniform colour. As a Cremesheen formula it is extremely moisturising and doesn't cling to chapped, dry lips which is great as this can be a problem for me, particularly in winter. A perfect, sophisticated mauve pink that would suit everyone. I'd definitely recommend this to someone looking to buy their first Mac lipstick.

Oh Hue. This was the first Mac lipstick I ever purchased and i've gone through about three since, I simply can't live without it! The colour is a light, nude pink with a Glaze formulation, meaning it is pretty sheer, giving a really natural, subtle tint to the lips. It is such an easy lipstick to wear, you can touch up on the go without needing a mirror and you don't have to worry about it at all. It doesn't make an outstanding difference to the lips, but it is a wonderful, low-maintenance everyday colour and I would repurchase this a hundred times over. Definitely one of my favourites. 

Crème Cup
Crème Cup is a  Cremesheen formula like Fanfare, but is very similar to Hue in colour. As you can see from the photos of the lipsticks in their tubes though, it is slightly pinker, whereas Hue is a little bit more nude. I have been so impressed with the Cremesheen formulas as they are so easy to wear and I'm definitely going to opt for more Cremesheen lipsticks in the future. I think it would suit girls with any skintone as it is such a universally flattering shade and is a great, slightly more opaque alternative to Hue.

Inspired by my love of Hue and Crème Cup I decided to try out Myth, a true pink nude, but unfortunately I was left a little underwhelmed by this one. It's not that I don't like it, in theory the colour is great and the Satin finish offers a great colour pay off, but again I think this one comes down to the colour of my lips themselves. They're so dark in comparison that it's really hard for me to apply this colour evenly and the formula seems to cling to and accentuate any dryness which makes it even worse! However, i'm certain that this would work really well on someone with less pigmented (& moisturised!) lips.

Mac lipsticks generally retail at £15 and can be purchased from your nearest Mac counter or direct from

Phew! Such a long post, but I hope you enjoyed it! Have you tried any of these lipsticks? Have you got any recommendations?

Friday, 18 October 2013

Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside!

Hey lovelies, i've got another OOTD post for you today! The other day Motel Rocks had a 25% off discount with myunidays, so I decided to get this lovely red daisy print tea dress that i'd been lusting over for weeks. I love the pretty, feminine cut of this dress with the gathered waist and skater style skirt, when I first tried it on I couldn't stop twirling around in it!

As this is such a girly dress i've been teaming it with my trusty Topshop cut-out boots and tights, in order to "grunge" it up a bit! Here are a few photos that my boyfriend took of me  when we went for a walk by the sea the other day :)

This dress retails for £40.00 here, but you can get 20% off of this dress, or any other item from with the exclusive code I have for you guys: bethstrong

Hope you liked this post, talk to you soon x

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

The Infamous Zara Skort

Hello lovelies, sorry my posting has been so sporadic recently but second year is intense! I seriously have so much uni work right now that finding even a spare half an hour to write a blog post is proving difficult. But enough of my excuses, onto the post haha.

As far as I can recall I haven't yet done any OOTD posts, but I wanted to share one of my favourite recent purchases with you, this "skort" from Zara. Now if you read any fashion blogs you're bound to have seen this already as it is a bloggers' favourite. I fell in love with it when I saw it on the Zara website and despite having absolutely no idea how i'd style it, I knew I had to have it. Today I teamed it with a cropped jumper from H&M, my favourite cut-out boots from Topshop and kept accessories simple with just a silver Casio watch.

I love this skort so much and i'd really like to get the white one too as it is such a versatile piece. It can be worn casually like I have here, or dressed up for a night out with a sheer blouse and heels.

This skort retails for £25.99 and is available in orange, blue, white and black here.  

What do you think?
P.S. The Casio watch was very kindly sent to me by for free.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Blog Sale Bargains!

Hello again lovelies! Lately I have been really getting into blog sales. Despite the fact that I spend an alarming amount of money on beauty products, I still love a bargain and blog sales are a great chance to try out new brands and products for a really great price. I got all of these products from the Sophie's Beautique blog sale and I only paid £22 (including delivery) for everything which is amazing and means I saved about £70! I'm really happy with everything I got so I thought I would share them with you all.

First up is this beautiful Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in 493 Jade Rose. This colour was actually limited edition, so I was really lucky to get my hands on it. It is a classic, slightly peach nude which leaves your nails looking perfectly polished and sophisticated. In the bottle you can see some iridescent pink shimmer, although this doesn't really show up on the nails. This nail varnish does require two or three coats to achieve full opacity as it is rather sheer, but the final colour is so pretty that I don't really mind! 

Next up is another Chanel product- Le Sourcil De Chanel Perfect Brows Kit in the shade 20 Brun. I've been using MAC's Charcoal Brown eyeshadow to fill in my brows for months now, but I wanted to try something new. This beautifully packaged little kit comes with three different shades of powder, which can be used separately, or mixed together to create a perfect match for your natural brow colour. It also contains a little brush and teeny tiny tweezers, which actually work really well. The mirror inside is magnified too which is really useful. I haven't had the chance to use this yet so I can't go into too much more detail, but i'm really excited about trying this out.

The next thing I purchased was this MAC lipstick in Myth. It is a satin finish, meaning it gives quite an opaque, matte result which can sometimes be quite drying, but i'm sure that applying some lip balm beforehand will make it more wearable. Myth is a light nude, which usually I tend to shy away from as my natural lip colour is so pigmented, but as this is so opaque I find it a lot easier to wear. Cremesheen finishes are still my favourites at the moment, but overall this is a lovely nude and i'm glad it's now in my collection! 

The final thing that I purchased was this MAC 15 pan pro palette. It is one of the old style palettes without the clear lid, but I actually prefer this style as it comes with the pan inserts in it already, whereas with the new palettes they are sold separately. I only have two MAC eyeshadows as I rarely stray from my Urban Decay Naked palette (the original one), but I depotted them and put them in my palette and it has definitely inspired me to buy more! It will also work out cheaper in the long run, as now when I buy MAC shadows I can just buy the pro palette refill pans and save £2.50 on packaging each time.

(From top to bottom-Wedge and Charcoal Brown)

I hope you enjoyed this post, i'm really looking forward to trying out all of my new things! Have you ever bought anything from a blog sale?