Friday, 28 February 2014

Recent Purchases

Over the past few weeks I have picked up some new products, I'm *trying* not to buy too much makeup, but I have failed a tiny bit. I have admitted to being a little bit (understatement of the century) obsessed with foundations, 99% of my foundations are liquid and I felt like trying out a mineral foundation. I had tried Bare Minerals years ago, when I was about 14. I can't remember exactly what I thought but I wanted to give it a try again as my skin has been pretty bad recently. At the moment I haven't really decided what I think, I keep seeing photos of women with really bad acne and it covers it all for them. However I can't seem to get good coverage with it, no matter which brush I use and I've used lots! I also bought a new blush from Nars, this one is "Douceur." This is a soft pink brown shade, it's a very natural and subtle shade which I really love! My love for Origins is slowly growing, I've had my eye on the Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask for months and I finally purchased it. I suffer from quite a lot of dry skin, at night I just apply this all over my face, usually about an hour before I go to bed so it has chance to sink into my skin. This makes my skin feel so much better in the morning, it also smells amazing, like all Origins products do! The final two products are hair products, my hair has been driving me crazy lately. In August I cut it all off so it was just hitting my shoulder, I then decided I wanted it long again but had forgotten how annoying it was to grow my hair and how much I hate it when it's mid length! If anyone has tips for stimulating hair growth, I would appreciate it! When it's this length I find it difficult to get volume so I purchased the Charles Worthington Body Booster Mousse, I've never really tried mousse before, it was always wary of and thought would make my hair look really oily and greasy but so far I really like it, it smells amazing too! I then picked up the Bumble and Bumble Dryspun Finish, I was in between buying this and the Thickening Hairspray (which I probably will still purchase) but bought this to try and create texture in my hair!


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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Blog Photography Tips


Photography is something I can talk about for hours, I've loved it for years and it's one of the only things I'm actually "alright" at! I've definitely learnt a whole lot more about photography since blogging and I thought I could share my tips for getting good photos as I think it is important to have great photos when running a blog. The camera I use for blog photos is the Canon 600D, although you don't need a DSLR, if you know blogging is something you definitely want to be doing or you use it for other projects, I would really recommend investing. If you're just starting out blogging, perhaps buy a more affordable camera, until you know that it's something you definitely want to do. Although there are other DSLR's that you can buy, I think it's good to stick with Canon or Nikon as it's so easy to find lenses for them, however if you buy another brand it may be slightly more difficult to find them and there may not be as many to choose from.

Camera settings 

 It's a good idea to play around with your camera settings to find which one works best for your lighting and set up, on my camera I often use the Creative Auto setting, this allows me to change a few things around. I also think it's a great setting to use if you're new to cameras as it is really simple. I change the setting to "brighter" which makes a huge difference to how my photos look. I also use the manual setting, when you use the auto settings it means that your camera is setting things like the white balance for you which can sometimes cause problems. I also tend to use the Manual Focus as you can't always trust Auto Focus, with manual I find it a lot easier and quicker to get a good shot. You need to remember that you can change the brightness on a photo but if it's out of focus, you really can't work with it at all.

Cameras
I genuinely believe that you don't need a fancy camera to get good photos, I use a Canon 600D because I bought it for photography and I use it for a number of things other than blogging. If you're not sure whether blogging is definitely for you or if you can't afford to shell out on a camera you can buy really cheap alternatives. One of my favourite bloggers uses her iphone to take her blog photos and they are still amazing! When I first found her blog I asked which camera she used as I fell in love with her photos and she said she uses her Iphone! I also need to point out that getting a fancy camera won't make you a great photographer, you can still get awful photos on a £1000 camera but great photos on a £100 camera! 

Flash
 I always say to never use flash, ever. I remember back in a photography class at college the first thing I was told was "flash is not your friend." I genuinely hate flash and never use it for my photos, it makes photos look terrible and can make shadows very visible.

Backgrounds 
A lot of people use backgrounds for photos, I've tried using a plain white background and didn't really like it. Some people use wallpaper as their background which looks nice. I just use the top of my Ikea drawers, I have some little trinkets in the background and usually have a shallow focus, so that the main products is in focus and the background is out of focus so it doesn't distract attention away from the main product. I think it's good to have a "style" of blog photograph, my setting is the same for pretty much all my photos and they are shot the same way each time. 

Editing 
 I never post photos that aren't edited, even if it's just the brightness, my photos can always look better. If you have Photoshop then that's a great programme to use however if you don't, a website like PicMonkey is great, it's what I do most of my editing on. Something I did when I first started blogging was over edit my photos, I got so excited by all the filters I could use, so I used them all! Now I pretty much only brighten images as it's so important to be able to see the colours of products, if you over edit them, your readers can't see what the colour actually looks like! When you are writing your blog posts and adding your photos, click on them and change the sizing. I make all mine "X-Large" so they are big and clear, there is nothing worse than a tiny little photo where you can barely see the product!

Rule of thirds 
The rule of thirds is taught in both photography and filmaking, if you watch any film you will notice it.  You basically have to imagine that your screen is split into 9 boxes and the screen is in "thirds." The way a shot looks good is if it's on the line. I often take photos so that products are on the line, this is generally more pleasing on the eye compared to putting a product right in the centre of the screen, although I still do this quite a lot! If you watch any film or TV show, you will notice this quite a lot.



Lighting

Lighting is so important, I think this is often where people go wrong with photos. The lighting can change the way a photo looks so much! Take your photos near to a window so you have lots of natural light, take your photos away from the light rather than towards the light. If I'm just using natural light, I take my photos between 12 o'clock and 3 o'clock because this tends to be when the lighting is at it's best. If you try and take photos at 6pm at night with natural lighting, you aren't going to get a great picture quality. As I mentioned, it is important to use natural lighting, don't use a lamp or normal house lights to light your photos, it will make your photos look very orange as it emits a warm yellow/orange light. You can buy studio lighting to make your photos brighter, this also helps if you want to take photos later in the day, for example if you're at work all day and only have time to take photos in the evening. You can get these from a number of different places including Amazon. I recently bought lighting from a company called Rotolight, I bought the Creative Colour Kit, I wouldn't say studio lighting is essential as I've used only natural lighting for about a year and a half, but if you struggle to find good natural lighting then I think it is a good investment.

Lenses

I also thought I would share my lenses, I own three currently. The first is the 70-300mm lens from Sigma, I don't actually use this for blog photography and taking photos of products, this is more of a general photography lens. It is a zoom lens and means I can take photos of things that are far away, with my old digital camera, I could zoom in lots, with DSLR's you need to buy separate lenses. The second is the kit lens, this is the one that comes with the Canon 600D, it does a good job and it was all I used for my photos, you can zoom in a little bit with this lens so it is quite handy! You can still get some beautiful shots with this lens so you don't necessarily have to buy a separate lens. Finally, my favourite lens. The Canon 50mm, this is Canon's cheapest lens but you get a great lens for the money. I bought it fairly recently but I love it already! This is a prime lens, so unlike the 70-300mm and the 18-55mm, it doesn't zoom at all. So, if you want to get a close up shot you actually have to move. This lens is brilliant and I think it's really worth the money if blogging is something you are serious about, I also have my eye on the 40mm lens which is about £50 more expensive, the 50mm retails at £75. 



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Friday, 21 February 2014

Skincare Routine


Origins Mega Mushroom Cleanser
This is my all time favourite cleanser, I've used it for a while and it's the one I always go back to. Unlike other cleansers I've used, it doesn't dry my skin out or make it feel tight. Although the name puts some people off, you really can't notice the mushroom in it, the smell isn't too strong or offensive. I use this in the morning and when I take my makeup off.

Pixi Glow Tonic
I bought this a couple of months ago on a whim and I'm so glad I did, it's amazing! This got rid of my acne scarring when no other product would, it worked so quickly! I apply it with a cotton pad after the Origins Cleanser.

Simple Replenishing Rich Moisturiser
This is the moisturiser I have used for years, it's great for dry skin. I am currently looking into buying an Origins moistuiser but this does the job if you are looking for an affordable moisturiser.

Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask
I only bought this recently but I really like it! I suffer from dry patches on my skin and recently it's been even worse! I apply this around three times a week, a few hours before I go to bed, so it has time to sink into my skin. It smells amazing, as do most Origins products and it makes my skin really really moisturised but not oily or greasy at all! It is on the more expensive side but as I only use it three times a week, I will get a lot of use out of it.

These are the main products I use in my routine, other products I love are the Origins Spot Remover and the Lush Grease Lightening. Both of these are amazing at reducing the size of spots, I usually apply at night and spots are reduced significantly when I wake up in the morning!

What are your favourite skincare products?


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Monday, 17 February 2014

Wishlist

1. Topshop Swing Green Coat
This has been on my wish list for weeks and weeks, it was in stock in every other size apart from mine and it still hasn't come back into stock! I absolutely adore the colour, apparently it's more of a mint green in real life, I just really hope it comes back into stock!

2. Beck Sondergaard - The Hambledon
I was having a mooch in The Hambledon the other day, if you're ever in Winchester, definitely check it out! I get a lot of glass jars and pots which hold makeup brushes and jewellery. They also have beautiful clothing and I found this bag in there and haven't been able to get it off my mind! It comes in a few different colours but I really love the classic black!

3. Grafea Camera Bag
I've been looking for a good camera bag for a while, all the ones I found were really boring and just plain. Then I found this one from Grafea, it's so pretty and I absolutely love the colour!

4. Bare Minerals Foundation
 I first tried Bare Minerals years and years ago, recently I've been wanting to give it a go again. I don't have the best skin in the world so I think it would be better for it to use minerals rather than liquid foundation! 

5. Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade
I recently bought the Anastasia Brow Wiz and fell in love with it, so when I saw that they had come out with a new brow product, I immediately put it on my wish list! I have read some blog posts on them and they look amazing!


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Friday, 14 February 2014

February Birchbox


Birchbox is a brand I have heard a lot about, so I was excited to be offered the chance to try out one of their boxes! I have to say, I really think they go above and beyond in terms of the packaging of their boxes, it arrived in a lovely bright green box and inside was the actual box, the products were in a drawstring bag and there were cards with information on each product as well as "how to master liquid liner" and some cards with nice quotes on them. I think the "how to master liquid liner" card will come in handy for a lot of people, especially as you get a liquid liner in the box, there is also a card with details of next month's box, a collaboration with Lulu Guinness so I am definitely going to be buying next months box! The theme of the box this month is style as it is London Fashion Week! So, here's the contents of my box:

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil £16
A nourishing hair oil that battles UV rays, heat and hair breakage. Works on all hair types, apply 1-3 drops to damp hair.

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner £12
A "foolproof" liquid liner to help you "create Alexa Chung-style feline flicks." I think this is my new favourite liquid liner, it is similar to the Soap and Glory one but I find it slightly easier to use and a lot blacker. It's great for winged liner and creates perfect flicks every time!

Urbanveda Radiance Exfoliating Facial Polish £8.99
A exfoliator containing superfruits for a radiant, youthful complexion. Apply 2-3 times a week.

Gilchrist & Soames The London Collection Shower Gel £13.75
A paraben free shower gel containing red tea, grape seed and milk thistle. This smells so lovely!

Leighton Denny Nail Polish in Meteor Match £11
A lovely, high performance polish. I've seen a few people get different colours so the shades may vary!

Green and Black's Dark Chocolate £2.29
Yum yum, chocolate, yum.

You can also repurchase products on the website, so if there is a product you particularly liked from your box, you can easily buy it from the website! I think you really get your moneys worth with the box at only £12.95 including postage and it's clear that they really put a lot of effort into the how the box looks!

What do you think of the box? You can check out their website here.



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Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Mac Lipstick Collection


I think Mac lipsticks can be quite difficult to buy, there are so many different shades and so many varieties of shades that it can be overwhelming! I thought I would share my Mac lipstick collection, I don't have that many but I absolutely love all of them! 

Lady Danger 
This is my favourite for a red lip, it is a very vivid red lip with an orangey undertone. The finish is matte so I do have to exfoliate and apply lip balm before I apply this as it can accentuate dry lips. It isn't a full on red lip which means I find it more wearable and more youthful than a classic red lip.

Vegas Volt 
This shade is more of a red coral, it is easy to wear and isn't as dramatic like Lady Danger. I love the finish of this, it is very creamy and easy to throw on and re-apply anywhere. It is an amplified creme, which is my favourite finish as they are very easy to wear and very moisturising.

Morange
Again, this is an amplified creme so it's one that I love wearing. The shade is very vibrant and definitely more of an orange shade. It can be a bit daunting to wear as it is a lot more orange than the other two shades, but it is one of my favourites!

Of Royalty
This is another one of my favourites, but *sigh* it was part of a collection and is limited edition. I found it in a CCO a while ago, this is a cremesheen finish. I would describe the shade on the lips as a light pink with blue undertones, if you like the look of this, I've read that Saint Germain is the most similar to it!

Please Me
This is a matte shade, so like Lady Danger I have to make sure to exfoliate my lips and prepare them more than usual although I don't find it quite as matte as Lady Danger. It's a really pretty and wearable medium pink colour that I think would suit a lot of different skin tones.

Up The Amp
This is another amplified creme lipstick and it's probably my favourite shade out of the ones I own. It's such a unique shade and can be toned down to get a more subtly colour, Mac describe it as a "lavender violet." The finish is so creamy and it's lovely to wear!

Which Mac lipsticks do you recommend?










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