Sunday, 29 July 2012

International Makeup Swap!

Last month I took part in a make up swap with American youtuber/blogger Liz which was really exciting!  We set a spending limit and a date for when we would send our parcels.  I had sent mine a few days before she sent hers so when it hadn't arrived over a week later I was getting really concerned, however they both arrived on the same day which was funny!

The sending process in America seemed so complicated compared to ours (whack an airmail stamp on it), there was a list of all the items in it on the outside, a couple of stamps, and Liz was asked for my phone number!

Anyway, on to the exciting part, here are all the items she bought for me:

I am so pleased with everything she picked out for me!  The only thing I have tried out so far is the eyeshadow quad which I used to create a really simple smokey eye, however I was in a rush and didn't use primer so by the time I got home it had melted off!!

I will do individual reviews of all the things once I've had a chance to try them out for a while.

If you would like to see everything I bought for Liz then click here to watch the video of her opening my parcel.

This was such a fun experience and I would love to do it again, it's just quite expensive because of p&p :(


Friday, 27 July 2012

NOTD: Formidable!

I'm afraid I've been super lazy again... I did my nails last night but only just took photos today, oops, please forgive me and excuse the tip wear!  I do have a good excuse though, I painted them half an hour or so before I had to leave, so definitely no time for photos!

Here I am wearing MAC Formidable! (not CF) which is from the Venomous Villain's Collection.  They had some really nice polishes with that collection, I have also got another one, Bad Fairy, which is a coppery pink sort of duochrome.  Formidable!, although it looks purple in the bottle, is a chocolatey brown colour with turquoise shimmer in it.  I do wish it was more purple rather than brown but never mind!  I have found the application of this to be rather tricky, it becomes patchy really easily, and as you can see there is a lot of tip wear after quite a short length of time.  I might try applying this over black to see what that looks like - if you don't see a post on that in the near future then it looks ugly!  In the photos I have used 2 coats.


Sunday, 22 July 2012

Keeping Fit

Although my blog is mostly beauty I do like to add in some different posts here and there just to mix it up a little!  Recently I've been doing a lot of exercise and I thought I would share with you some of things I have been doing and my thoughts on them.

Callanetics is quite an unusual type of fitness class I would say, I'd never heard of it and I've not seen anything else like it!  My mum said she used to do it when she was younger so I think it has been around for a while but is becoming quite popular again now.

The class is an hour long and it involves doing little pulsey movement but doing a lot of reps, so sometimes we will do a movement 50 times, or even up to 200!  Some examples would be putting your right arm over your head to the left and left hand on your hip, then doing tiny movements stretching your arm towards the left 100 times, then repeating this but after 50 placing your left hand behind your back, then again but after 50 holding your left arm out to the side - and of course doing it for the opposite side too.  Another one is that we do mini sit-ups, we'll do 100 normally, then 100 with one leg up straight, then the other leg, then both legs up.  I'm getting tired out just typing this!

I have been going to this class for about a year now, but not continually.  I really like it, you feel results the next day and if I miss a week, I will suffer haha!  It costs £5 but my friend pays for me every second week because she loves me - I also pick her up and take her there every week!!  

Pole Dancing/Fitness:
This one might seem a bit controversial, but honestly, I don't care!  I love it, and I'm not ashamed to tell people that I do it.  I first learned about pole fitness classes a couple of years ago as one of my friends in work did it and I thought it sounded great!  However I tried to find the class she went to later on and the woman who ran it didn't do it locally any more.  Luckily there was a deal on KGB deals for 2 people for 2 classes and it was only £7!  I have been doing it ever since then on and off, so I think probably for about a year.  So far I haven't actually had to pay for a class as I've just been buying vouchers when they come up, but I think they've cottoned on to this and now the vouchers are saying 'beginners only' - gutted!

At the classes I have been to there are different levels so you start at beginner learning basic spins, then building on that to do more complicated ones and to combine them.  You also learn how to sit and stand on the pole securely without holding on, which is a basis for more complicated moves at a later stage.  Intermediate - which is where I am currently - is where you start doing various inverts (going upside down).  I will warn you, you will end up covered in friction burn and bruises, but it's worth it!!

It is more of a muscular work out but if you are doing it for a long period of time, or if you are doing a routine it's also great cardio.  I noticed that my arms have become really muscular since doing it, whereas before I never had any upper body strength at all!

I went to two different places, one was £7 for an hour and the other was £10 for an hour and a half, they both did block booking discounts too I think.

Honestly, I don't love running, especially long distance (anything over 200m to me!).  I am definitely built more for sprinting and I was good at that at school.  But I am trying to get myself into it because it is a good work out and it's free!!  I have dodgy knees so investing in a good pair of running shoes were a must for me, and they make such a difference!  The main thing that puts me off - other than sheer laziness - is that I don't really feel safe running around my town by myself and it's annoying trying to organise times to do it with someone else.

I hadn't tried yoga until recently when my friend and I went to a block of 8 classes using a livingsocial deal.  It's a lot more hard work than you would expect!  Although there are some relaxation and meditation periods - thank god - there is a lot of hard work in between!  Again, it is more of muscular strengthening one but when you are doing sun salutations over and over again you end up sweating and out of breath!  It's also good for flexability, which I lack!  I would really like to find a local one and get back into it.  I think the prices are about £5 for a class.

I love zumba!  It's basically just a latin based dance class but you don't need to be able to dance, you just copy the instructor.  It's so fun and great for all ages, sizes and abilities.  The music is really good, there are specific zumba songs and they also use chart music, and lots of songs you will recognise from the past.  It's not particularly taxing if you are used to exercise but it's a good laugh and still a good hour of moving about!  I haven't been in ages and I really miss it!  The one I go to is really close to where I live so it's very handy, and it's £4 a class.

[Image via Weheartit - no copyright infringement intended]

So those are the exercises I have been doing recently!  I also would really like to try pilates and kettle bells, and apparently there is some sort of exercise class which is based on ballet which sounds interesting!

What do you do to keep fit?  Any other recommendations for me to try?


Thursday, 19 July 2012

My Current Favourite Highlighter

When it comes to highlighters I am a little bit obsessed...  I am just drawn to their glowy goodness!  However I have acknowledged and accepted this obsession and have stopped myself buying any more for the time being.  The one I am going to talk about today is a rediscovery, my auntie brought me is back from Florida a few year ago (yes, years, I'm not good with these make up use before things haha) and it just sat in my drawer for rather a long time.  In January I had a good look through all my make up and decided to start using some products that I had been ignoring - this was one of them - I sat it out with my brushes and things in an effort to make me use it, but it didn't really work until very recently!

The main thing that has put me off using this product is the packaging, it's got one of those horrid brushes on top which dispenses out an uncontrollable amount of powder.  Why it's got this brush I have no idea because I hope to god people don't use this all over their face!

The product I am going to talk about is Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Illuminating Veil in the shade Nude Glow.

With a lot of highlighting products I find that they have a heavy gold shimmer, NARS Albatross for example, which is really pretty, but it can be rather obvious if you are heavy handed and go over the top with it.  What I like about this one is that is has more sort of pinky/peachy coloured shimmer in it.  I feel that Nude Glow is quite an appropriate name for it, it just makes your skin look very naturally glowy!

With flash
Natural lighting, no flash

Instead of using the brush which comes with it I use a small tapered powder brush, specifically Sigma F35, I also have the Real Techniques Contour Brush which is a similar shape and would be good too.  However this can be quite messy as you need to unscrew the top and just dip it in!  It does have a filter but the holes are quite big and mine has a lot of powder sitting on it at the moment.  Then I apply it to the tops of my cheekbones and sometimes just under and above the arch of my eyebrows.

As a comparison I have applied it beside (from left to right) Illamasqua Powdered Metal in Ether and NARS Albatross, with Nude Glow at the end.  You can definitely see the difference in colour, although it does still have a slight gold element to it is more pinker than the other two.  It is also quite buildable which is good for if you were going out at night and wanted a heavier highlight!

I adjusted the highlights in this photo to bring out the colours in each powder
With flash

Unfortunately this was bought in America so it's not available in the UK, I think there is some Physicians Formula on Amazon but it is just silly prices!  Here is a link to the item on their website anyway, where it costs $12.95.  However, I think I will have enough to keep me going for a while, it's so huge!


P.S. If you are a follower, remember to enter my giveaway [link] - it ends on Saturday! :)

Saturday, 14 July 2012

NOTD: Minty + Update!

I painted my nails using Haymarket by Nails Inc, I have had this for a couple of years but I don't think I've ever actually used it which is a bit odd!  Clearly I have far too many nail varnishes!  It is a lovely minty colour however the formula is quite thick and gloopy, it had also separated and it took a lot of work to get it back into one solution!  Saying this, it was actually opaque in one coat which is fantastic!  However just out of habit I applied two coats.  They dried to a sort of semi-matte finish which I then Seche Vite-d to get them nice and shiny!  I really need to find out if Seche Vite are cruelty free or not, I will be sad not to be able to buy another one.

I did this last night and took photos tonight so excuse the chipping!  My nails are terrible for this, especially as I was at work today and that can be tough on them.

Feel free to stop reading now if you just want to see my nails haha, but I thought it would be nice to do a sort of chatty update of my life as I've not really done anything like that before.

I am in third year of uni at the moment studying maths, which I hate, don't get me wrong I do love maths (GEEK :)) but I'm just not getting on well with uni at all at the moment.  Last year I had 3 resits and only passed two, meaning I had to carry over a subject in the second semester of this year, so this semester was really tough. 

At my uni we usually do 3 subjects per semester and then because of my one from second year I was doing 4 in the 2nd one.  I ended up failing all of my subjects in the 2nd semester - although I did pass the one from second year, yay!  And I had failed one in the first semester, leaving me with 4 resits in August!  I genuinely did study a lot, but clearly there was something fundamentally wrong with my methods, or unis methods, or something! 

I am planning to sit, and hopefully pass, two of my resits in August and then go back to sit the other two exams next year with the students from the year below me.  I also have got a tutor to help me, and basically teach me everything haha!  So only having 2 resits is definitely taking the stress off a little bit.  The only thing is now that come September I will need to find some sort of full time job to pass the time, eeek, terrifying!!!

I want to go to college to do make up artistry, I tried to apply this year to do it but I somehow missed it!  I was raging!  So I just need to find something to do until next August if I managed to apply and get in next time.

Also I don't know if I mentioned this but I passed my Grade 5 Singing exam!  I was so pleased!  I did really well for my songs, like, surprisingly well, however I did really badly in aural and sight singing which brought me down a lot.  I am still so happy though because other than my singing lessons, I've never had any other musical training like at school, so the theory side of it I really struggle with.

Well done if you made it through that!  Remember if you follow me to enter my giveaway :)


Thursday, 12 July 2012

Urban Decay, make up your mind!

Well, I'm sure you all remember the palaver about Urban Decay deciding to sell in China to try to 'change them from the inside', and therefore revoking their cruelty-free status.  This lead to an outcry from the beauty community, particularly those against animal testing.

However they made a statement on the 6th I believe it was, saying that they had decided not to sell in China anymore, you can read this statement here.  They don't go into specifics about what exactly made them change their mind.  A lot of people have been really relieved and are so proud of their decision, for listening to their customers, the power of us all getting together and making a stand.   For example PETA have given a Courage in Commerce Award for deciding that animals are more important than profit.  Which I find rather patronising to be honest - sorry, I really don't like PETA!

But then there has been a lot of speculation about what really happened, what went wrong?  They were so determined to try and change the world then suddenly they were backpedaling.  Was it really the outcry from their cruelty free customers that made them change their mind?  I have even heard people talking about how perhaps it could just be an elaborate publicity stunt!

Personally, I will continue to buy from them but I definitely don't feel the same way about them as I did before.  The fact that they were willing to give up their Leaping Bunny status and have their products tested on animals still has a lingering effect on me.

I thought I would link in a couple of other cruelty free blogger's opinions on what UD have done:

Alex at The Modern Vegetarian's thoughts here
Karris blogging for Mindful Mum's thoughts here

What are your thoughts?


Sunday, 8 July 2012

Empties #1

 I've seen quite a few people doing 'Monthly Empties' posts and I've wanted to do it too but I don't actually finish anything quickly enough!  I will try do one every time I get to 5 empty products.  So to take a closer look at the first five items:

Boots Skin Silk Anti-Perspirant Deodorant
Thoughts: Trying to find a cruelty free deodorant is the bane of my life!  That and perfume!  I tried this Boots one because I don't like aerosols and thought I would try a roll-on.  I didn't really like it as it took ages to dry under my arms and I didn't feel like it worked all that well either.
Cruelty-free?: Yes.
Repurchase?: No, and I think I'll avoid roll-ons in future, I prefer sticks but they're hard to find!

Naked Colour Protecting Conditioner:
Thoughts: I bought this along with the shampoo which I have stopped using for the meantime.  I thought it was okay but I found that my hair was still quite tangly after using it when usually conditioner detangles!
Cruelty-free?: Yes.
Repurchase?: No, but I will try other conditioners from this brand instead.

Boots Acetone Free Nail Polish Remover: 
Thoughts: Really cheap, £1.25 I think, works well enough!  Only thing I dislike is the smell, it's bit sickly but I can deal with it!
Cruelty-free?: Yes.
Repurchase?: Yes, already have!

Gosh Long Lasting Lip Marker in Pink:
Thoughts: It is okay but it feathers out around my lips, so then I would need to use lip liner with it. However this clogged up the felt tip and stopped as much product getting out!
Cruelty-free?: Yes.
Repurchase?: No, but I do like the lip markers so I'll maybe try a different brand.

Avon Perfect Wear Eyeliner in Black:
Thoughts: It was good to start off with but it suddenly just became really watery and blue rather than black.
Cruelty-free?: No.
Repurchase?: No, but I do need to find a CF felt tip liner, they are my favourite kind!


Saturday, 7 July 2012

A Huge Thank You! [CLOSED]

I am so excited, I have reached 100 GFC followers!!!  I love blogging and getting feedback and interacting with everyone in our wee community just makes it so much better!

So to say thank you I am going to give away a Models Own nail varnish.  I love their nail varnishes and most importantly they are cruelty free :)

All you need to do is follow me either on GFC or Hello Cotton and just leave a comment below with which shade you would like from their website and some sort of contact method i.e. twitter or email!  It is open internationally.

I will pick the winner at random two weeks from now - 21st July at 7pm approx.

Good luck, and thanks again :D

Photo for reference, you can pick any! :D

Now closed. Winner: Leishasaurus

Friday, 6 July 2012

Not Like The Movies Vs. Silvery Lilac

Forgive me if I seem rather obsessed with this sort of colour!  Here is another comparison of O.P.I.'s  Not Like The Movies (not CF, from the Katy Perry Collection), this time with Barry M's Silvery Lilac which is one of their recent releases.  Previously I compared it to Knackered which you can see here.  However Silverly Lilac is much more of a dupe which is very exciting!

In the bottle they look very similar and fortunately this follows through when you apply it to the nail - or nail wheel in this case! 

It is Barry M on the left and O.P.I. on the right, this took a lot of concentration to make sure I didn't forget which was which between coats haha!  I used 3 coats of each to make sure they were opaque.  From the photos you can see that there is a slight difference but it's not all that noticeable!  SL looks a bit more green and NLTM looks a bit more silver.  They both have the subtle glitter through them but in NLTM it just looks like dots rather than glitter, you can really see the sparkle from SL in the out of focus middle photo.

I think that I actually prefer Silvery Lilac which is only £2.99 and cruelty free!  However I haven't actually tried it on my nails yet so when I do I'll show another quite comparison between them.  I am really pleased to have found this, especially as the O.P.I. is just a mini one so won't last for very long!

L-R: Barry M, O.P.I.
L-R: Barry M, O.P.I.
L-R: Barry M, O.P.I.


Thursday, 5 July 2012

NOTD: 'Summer' Brights

The weather in Scotland - and most of the UK I think - has been just horrendous recently, I think this is the worst summer ever weather-wise!  Dreich is such a good word to describe it right now haha!

So in order to cheer myself up I have painted my nails in really bright colours!

I applied Yellow by Barry M on all fingers except my rings fingers which instead I used Punki Pink by Ultra Pro.  The Ultra Pro colour was a naughty impulse buy and having researched it I can't actually find much info on the brand at all, so I am classing this as not cruelty-free and won't buy anything else by them in the future!

The formula on this Barry M one is not so good, some of them are amazing but this one is quite thick and hard to spread evenly.  

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