MAC x Fleur De Force: My New Favourite Nude

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

In January, blogger, vlogger and influencer Fleur De Force announced that she was collaborating with MAC in an influencer's collection and before even knowing what the lipstick looked like, I knew I was going to have to buy it. Fleur described it as her 'perfect nude' and once I saw the shade swatched, I ordered it immediately. I have more nude lipsticks than a woman needs, but something about this one just seemed perfect. Since owning it, I have worn it everyday and thus have some opinions on it.

I think I'm mainly going to focus this review on the colour, as it's a Cremesheen MAC formula and I'm assuming most people will be familiar with the comfortable wear and creamy softness of Cremesheens. I've been wearing solidly matte lipsticks for months and my lips have been suffering for it so this is a welcome change. It's soft and feels very light on the lips. Unfortunately, it doesn't pass the sandwich test or the kiss test (much to Johnny's displeasure) but it's comfortable and flattering so who cares if you have to reapply after lunch?!

The colour is perfect. It's warm with undertones of browns and pink which I feel compliment my skin tone with the upmost flattery. My favourite nudes from MAC are Modesty and Faux, and Fleur's lipstick is a bit browner than both of these but the pink undertone is there - albeit a bit peachier - and they are exceptionally flattering. This lipstick reminds me, in a way, of a creamier, less brown version of Velvet Teddy which is also one of my very favourite MAC lipsticks. It's not a full-on 90s lip but it's getting there. 

Pigmentation wise, this lipstick is brilliant. One swipe and it's opaque. I think this lipstick is going to live in my handbag as you can almost apply it without using a mirror and you know it's going to look okay. As much as I love liquid lipsticks, the easiness of this lipstick is refreshing.

Overall, I think that Fleur should be incredibly proud of the lipstick she has created. It's truly a phenomenal shade and has raced up into my Top 5 MAC lipsticks ever. So, where can you get it?

Unfortunately, this lipstick is limited edition and exclusive to the UK. It was available on the MAC website but now is sold out, however it is available online and in store in certain Selfridges stores and in Brown Thomas if you're in Ireland. 

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Blogger's Guide To University: Studying From Home

Friday, 19 May 2017

Today's university story comes from Jay over at Comic Books & Yellow Ducks and she has a rather unique university experience, as she opted to stay at home while she studied. 

"University was such a great experience for me and deciding to stay at home was a difficult decision. I knew the area, I knew the people and I knew everything about my city so I decided to stay home. I wondered if I’d miss out on some experiences and being away from home but I knew that wouldn’t bother me. 

My class at University was relatively small of around 20 people so we all worked in a big group and we all got on with each other. Obviously I grew close to a few people, one I even ended up living with which was a fun experience. 

I’m friends with quite a few people from my class still and I made quite a few friends outside of my course too which I’m still in touch with. I have one best friend who I see all the time and she was on my course too so we have a lot in common and we like to reminisce a lot about our time at university.
I can see why there’s a worry with making friends at university but most of the people starting are in the same boat – they’re in a brand new city knowing nobody. That’s exactly what Fresher’s events and meet ups are for and you make friends very quickly and easily both on your course, in your building and most definitely the people you live with. Although I didn’t experience this myself, I saw it happen so often and I was one that people became friends with.

I think it was helpful me knowing the city, the clubs and where to eat so people relied on my help for directions and recommendations which they appreciated. I think everyone who goes to University makes friends with someone who has lived there forever – it’s a huge help!

Going to University was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I don’t regret anything at all. I made some amazing friends and I know that even now, we could meet up and I’d be like nothing’s changed. I occasionally bump into someone from my course or a lecturer and we always have a catch up and say how much we miss our class.

If you’re worried about feeling lonely or making any friends – really try not to, you’ll make friends within a day or two and I guarantee you’ll make friends for life."

Thank you so much to Jay for this post. If you have a university story that you would like to share, then please do not hesitate to comment below or drop me a DM on Twitter - I would love to hear from you.

My Two Saviours for Dry Skin

Saturday, 13 May 2017

All my life, I've had oily skin. I've bought matte foundations, blotting paper, countless mattifying powders and primers and they've all worked for me. However, I think oily skin might have just been a teenage phase. Over the last couple of months, my skin has settled down a lot. I get less spots (apart from around 'that time of the month'); my nose isn't dripping with oil by 5pm and overall it's just been clearer and more normal. While this is amazing, it means that my matte products have been far, far too drying and, especially on and around my nose, I've been suffering with extreme dry skin. However, over the last week I have managed to combat it slightly, and here are the (mostly) affordable products I've been using! 

Garnier Moisture Bomb Sheet Mask

This face mask had been doing the rounds on the internet, but I'd always avoided it due to it being for dry skin. When my skin started to feel like someone had sucked all of the moisture out of it, I decided a 'bomb' was definitely something I needed. I had heard a rumour on the internet that they were only 99p, but in Boots they were £2.99 which hardly broke the bank, so I picked some up. After just using it once, I noticed a severe change in my skin. My nose wasn't flaking and when I ran my fingers over it, it felt smooth. Needless to say, I've carried on using this mask (and the other one which is supposed to be good for pores, which is something I have issues with) and my skin has been noticeably different. It feels softer, healthier and is definitely far more glowy. Not to mention that the scent is gorgeous! I use this mask once a week and find that it really helps when my skin is suffering.

Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream

At Christmas, I received a £50 John Lewis voucher from my Grandma so that I could treat myself to some luxury face products. This was around the time that my skin was starting to really play up, so I decided to treat myself to a new skincare regime. This moisturiser was one that I'd had a sample of before, so I knew I liked it and that it wasn't going to break me out. It is expensive but it's not ridiculously pricy; ASOS have it on their website for £33. I use it twice a day; once when I've just gotten out of the shower and exfoliated and once after I've cleansed and toned my face at night. It sits on your skin and takes a few minutes to properly sink in but once it has my face feels soft and supple - rather like the back end of a baby. It has a very clean, subtle fragrance which is very pleasant and not too over-powering and five months of religiously using this moisturiser has completely transformed my skin from a flaky, dry mess to something silk would be envious of. 

The use of these two products has really helped my skin out, and I feel as though I'm no longer in a skin crisis. I'm so pleased that I could find these products and that they have worked so well for me. If you have any suggestions for great products for dry skin, then do let me know. 

Blogger's Guide To University: Friendships

Monday, 8 May 2017

Hi everyone. Today's post is from Fiona at 'The Traffic Jam of Life', who is currently in her last year at Southampton University. She's here to talk to you today about making friendships at university and her experience...

Here's Fiona!
"I’d like to emphasise the much-repeated phrase that university is not for everyone. I’m talking about the social and lifestyle elements of it – the type of course, the size of the uni and where you live in your first year for example, will radically make a difference to the people you meet without making much effort. However, the people you often meet in that crucial first year of study are rarely the people you’ll stay close to for the rest of your course!

In my case, I fell out with some of the girls I lived with in first year, which meant I had to look for new people to live with for second year. This might have crushed me had I not already made friends elsewhere in the first semester. This happens to a lot of people particularly in second semester or beginning of second year, so I can’t stress enough how important it is that you meet people from all over the university! 

It’s hard to believe, but it’s very common that people drop out in first year, because the lifestyle change really is quite different for people who haven’t had to put themselves out there to meet people before. University is always thought to be one big party where everyone knows each other, but it just doesn’t work this way. In the first few months, you will be met with numerous circumstances where you don’t know anyone, and you must push yourself however nerve-wracking it feels. 

I’m now in my final semester of university at Southampton, after four years which have absolutely flown by! I study French, Spanish and European Studies which has been a sociable course in the sense that the class sizes are mostly small and never have the same people in them, so you are constantly meeting new faces, even in final year. 

However, I would say the downside of this has been that I’ve made few very close course friends; most people by second year have formed into small groups even if you know a lot of people individually. This year I’ve met even less people, and in general, I’ve made few new friends given that it’s been hard enough to find the time to stay in touch with good ones! 

I honestly believe the best way to meet the broadest range possible of people at uni is through joining a few societies, but more importantly, sticking to them. Universities have societies for such a huge range of interests, hobbies and sports, so take advantage and get stuck in! You won’t make friends if you don’t turn up to socials or sessions regularly, so pick perhaps one or two and the friendships will blossom.

Whilst I made few proper best friends at uni, I made lots of friends who I have made amazing memories with; I wouldn’t have it any other way. Your time at university is short so make the most of it!"

Thank you so much to Fiona for collaborating with me on this post! In a few weeks I will be writing my own first year experience of friendships and this is such a different story to mine. 

Want to talk to me more about this post, and potentially write one yourself?  Find me on Twitter

Update: We're Moving!

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Don't let the picture deceive you; we are not moving to the seaside - but we are moving!

Since September, I've been at university in London and nearly every weekend, Johnny has been trekking up from Dorset or I've been trekking down so we can see each other. Economically and logistically, it doesn't make sense that we travel so much to see each other. Obviously, with my university commitments, I can't leave London so Johnny and I have decided to get a flat in London together, and he is going to transfer through his job. It's a big step, but we're very excited.

We had a lot of trouble finding a flat in the first place as a lot of letting agents won't let to students because they don't count the maintenance loan from the government as income, and therefore say we don't have enough money. However, we have gone directly through a landlady who has other properties she lets out to students and things seem to be going well. I don't want to jinx it, and we have been let down before, but we are in the process of reviewing draft contracts which is exciting and hopeful and I can't wait for our new life together.

I'm sure for both of us it will be very difficult to leave home. It's going to be especially hard for Johnny as I've been at uni so had kind of semi-moved out already, but I know that living full-time away from my mum is really going to be difficult for me as we are such good friends. However, as we've said all the way through this, we have each other and that's more than enough.

So, bring on trips to IKEA and fights about soft furnishings! I'm so excited for this new chapter in my life and I can't wait to tell you all about it!

Blogger's Guide To University: Hindsight Is 20/20

Friday, 5 May 2017

With some things, hindsight really is 20/20. Today, our post comes from Heather, who has two absolutely amazing blogs: a beauty blog for all your make up needs and a vegetarian food blog which makes me very hungry to read. She's been reflecting on her university experience and has these thoughts for you.

"I graduated from university almost four years ago now with a first class BSc Hons degree in psychological studies from the University of Huddersfield and I personally adored my time at university...well, I didn't enjoy presentations in front of everyone but the rest was pretty amazing!

I was based at a very small campus which is part of the University of Huddersfield so I could live at home as it was a short drive for me and there was no student housing anyway. I chose 'psychological studies' as I studied psychology at A Level and it was the subject that I was most interested in and that I succeeded in the most, if I do say so myself. 

My course didn't just cover all aspects of psychology but it also looked into child development, forensic psychology (which I loved!), statistics, health psychology, counselling and criminology so I loved all of it - I wish I could go back in time and re-live it all (again, apart from the nerve wracking class presentations which I always hated so much). I'm also one of those people who loves writing essays, I don't know why but I love it! 

However, as much as I adore psychology and academia (and I definitely still do), now I'm not so sure about my choice of degree as I don't think I want to pursue a career in psychology as I'm now much more interested in writing, social media, marketing and PR as well as history and photography and I wish I'd maybe looked into other courses rather than solely focusing on psychology and nothing else. 

I do love psychology and the sciences in general as I always have done even from a very young age but now I'm torn between having a degree which I'm so proud of (I gained the highest grade in the past three years of the course being open) but that I can't do much with it although it still does look impressive on my CV, in my opinion and I did gain a lot of transferable abilities and skills from it that can be applied elsewhere. 

With hindsight I wouldn't just narrow down my focus to psychology as it's such an incredibly competitive field that requires more training and qualifications afterwards; I wish I could go back and look at other topics that really interest me such as photography and history - I'd LOVE to have a history degree and be a history nerd for the rest of my life or to be a qualified photographer but I think it's a little late for that and it costs so much money although I'm still looking into courses that I can take part in. 

I think the biggest piece of advice I'd give to someone who is applying for university is to look at all of your options and don't narrow down your search; look into topics and degrees that you not only love but that you could have a career with afterwards. Also look at whether you'll need further qualifications or training to gain a job in that field."

Thank you very much to Heather for a fantastically written reflection on her degree and how far it can get her. Choosing a degree is a difficult decision so if you're in the process of choosing, hopefully Heather's post gave you some things to think about. 

Want to talk more about this post with me, and my guest writer? Come and find us on Twitter!

Honest Thoughts on the Morphe 12Z

Thursday, 4 May 2017

I am a big fan of the brand Morphe. I think that they offer such reasonable prices for great quality brushes and the majority of the brushes that I use on my face every day are easily 70% Morphe (with a few Real Techniques, Crown, MAC and Bobbi Brown thrown in there too!). I've seen everyone and their dog raving about their eye shadows too but it was actually something I'd never tried. I am well aware that everyone adores the 35O palette, and others of that ilk, but as I am on a budget I picked up the 12Z - Z standing for Zodiac in this case. The vibrancy of the colours really appealed to me and so I went for it.

I have a few thoughts on this palette and some are negative. But I'm going to start with the positives first:

The palette is very pigmented. The shades are almost always true to the colour in the pan. The vibrancy you see from the palette really translates onto your eyes which is something that doesn't always happen with cheaper eye shadow palettes. Also, I like the variety of colours in the palette. It's reminds me of spring and summer, and think it fits the theme of Zodiac very nicely. I also enjoyed the value for money that this palette provided. It was £13 for 12 shadows, which is pretty good considering with something like a Charlotte Tilbury quad you're paying £40 for 4! The shimmery green shade also makes for a great dupe to MAC's Club, so if you want to try out that shadow and get 11 other great ones then this palette is the way forward!

However, there are some negatives to this palette:

Understandably, the packaging feels cheap. It's very light and while it looks very expensive, once you pick it up you realise it's not. I'm fine with this - as obviously you get what you pay for with these things - but many other drugstore palettes manage to be of decent price without feeling cheap. The formula of the shadows is a little chalky - it kicks up a lot when you poke your brush in the pans and there is a lot of fall out, especially from the more shimmery shades so I'd advise leaving your concealer for after. The shadows also smell a bit weird. Too Faced have clearly brainwashed me into this smelling eye shadow hype but they smell kind of like kids make up. I've had a good sniff of my other similarly priced shadows (yes, this is what my life has become) and none of them smell this weird. It's not a massive drawback but it's something I've noticed. Also, the two grey shimmer shades in the palette are practically identical. While one looks darker in the pan, on the eye there is no real difference and I've found that these two shades are the chalkiest. 

On balance, for the price you're paying, I think this palette is very good. I don't think it compares to some other brands in the same price range like ColourPop or Sleek but there are some real gems in this palette. The sapphire blue shade is gorgeous and so wearable and the yellow gold shade is stunning as well. I'm definitely going to try some more Morphe eye shadows in the future but for now I'm going to continue to play with this little baby. 

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Blogger's Guide To University: Expectations & Realties

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Before I went to university, I had a few ideas of what it was going to be like from films, general stereotypes and university prospectuses. However, some aspects of university were completely different to how I imagined. In this post, I have collaborated with the lovely Hayley to stamp out those rumours and give you the no-bullshit guide to university. Here's what Hayley had to say:

"Hi everybody, I’m Hayley from! I am currently in my final year of uni where I’m studying photography, and let me tell you, it’s not been easy! Before I started uni, I was overwhelmed with excitement at all the possibilities and opportunities uni is said to bring. One thing everyone constantly told me was ‘You’re going to make so many friends and meet so many new people!’ so naturally, I believed them.

However, since starting uni I feel like I haven’t actually made that many friends. I started off moving into halls, which is where I thought I’d make the majority of my friends, but actually I made the least friends here. When I moved in, I was actually living with 3 boys and 1 girl. One boy never really came out of his room, and whilst I got on with the other two boys, they ended up dropping out of uni. The girl I lived with was nice enough and we went on a few nights out together, but we just didn’t click which meant there wasn’t really a meaningful friendship there.

So, what about friends on my course? Well, when I started, a lot of people got put together in halls so they already spent two weeks together before we started and had done freshers week together, so I felt everyone was in their little groups already. On top of this, I just felt I didn’t have anything in common with anyone and I’m naturally a shy person anyway so if someone doesn’t initiate conversation with me first, I’m pretty much screwed! I talk to people on my course whilst at uni, but it only happens at uni and not outside of it, so again, they’re not meaningful friendships.

If I were to do the whole university experience again, I would definitely apply to more societies and sports. The cheerleading club looks like a lot of fun, and there are plenty of societies to choose from too. I think another thing that doesn’t help is that I’ve had to have a job the whole time I’ve been at uni just to have enough money to get by, so when people have invited me out, I’ve been at work instead. In my first two years at university, I only worked night shifts at work as I thought this was most convenient and meant I had the whole day to uni work each day, but I think if I were to do it again, I’d rather do a couple day shifts so I am able to socialise too as I feel having friends to support you at uni is so important.

I have made friends through my job luckily, and a lot of us are students, but it would be nice to have people also doing my course that I can go to for help when I need it! Other than that, I have actually really enjoyed uni despite not having the typical experience of getting drunk every week!

Hayley x"

Thank you so much to Hayley for collaborating with me on this post! The Blogger's Guide to uni is a brand new series where I am getting Blogger's views to build up a resource for prospective university students to use to get the no-bullshit guide to uni. If you're interested in writing a post for this segment, please do contact me. 

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