Monday, August 3, 2015

What am I doing? The Blogger identity crisis

Over the weekend I had serious blogging blues.  Or was it post holiday blues?  Or cancer anniversary blues?  Anyway, whatever it was it sucked and I was seriously demotivated to blog. 

So I didn't do anything.  I was tired, I was a little grumpy all weekend and had a serious case of the 'can't be arseds' (official medical term I believe)

I was questioning myself constantly-do I really still want to continue blogging?  To be honest these thoughts have been bubbling away in my head for a good while now.  It's so time consuming and this is supposed to be a hobby.  A post that might take 1-2 minutes to read probably took between 1 and 3 hours to prepare.  Sometimes I don't feel relevant in a world of 20-something, ridiculously beautiful bloggers.  I am 35, have no discernible make up skills and look terrible in 90% of the photos I take.

And then there is the look of beauty blogs these days.  They all look so perfect.  Their photos are well thought out and the lighting perfect.  Everything is white.  White everywhere.  Crisp, pristine and dare I say it, starting to feel a little identikit.  Yet I am still envious of a beautiful, light, bright image and a snappy review to accompany it.  There is such great content out there from 'non youtube star' bloggers and I read as many blogs as I can when I have free time.

I would never want to be a full time blogger.  I don't want to have to force content and attend endless events.  I like to go to work, do my proper job and then fall into my own little blogging world when I get home.

Yesterday I had a word with myself and decided yes I will continue.  Fundamentally because I love make up and I like talking about it.  Everything I blog about I buy myself-I have been sent one PR sample this year (which I am currently enjoying testing!!).  I am a make up addict.

I think the crux of my feelings boiled down to a couple of things-a) I bought so much stuff in America it was actually overwhelming when I got home.  Lots of people expected hauls but I just couldn't bring myself to write a post about it all.  And then there is the old blogger problem of 'I can't use something until I have photographed it' and so, 2 weeks after I got home from holiday there is still a double bed in the spare room covered in new products.  I admit, I have been a little too spendy the past few weeks.  b) Work has been manic and I have a proper grown up job.  I was very tired from my trip to Cairo where I had meetings back to back from 9am til gone midnight each day.  I always have to put work first.  Because if I don't, I can't buy lipstick.  c) I was still suffering from jetlag and the bitchiest bout of man flu on the planet.

So I am going to stick around for a bit.  I may be the oldest blogger on the block and not be able to make my skin look flawless and beautiful but you'll always find honest, unbiased ramblings about beauty in this little corner of the internet.

I might relax my 'four posts a week' schedule though and be a little more spontaneous.

I know I am not the only person to have ever felt like this and that this post is in no means groundbreaking in expressing my feelings but I think everyone who blogs will recognise occasional feelings of demotivation. 

PS I know Monday is usually Lip Six day but to be honest I have just been wearing NARS Audacious lipstick in Anna all week!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Becca x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector Champagne Pop

Yes I know this is everywhere in the bloggersphere at the moment so this is a quick post with my thoughts and some comparison swatches to Beccas' other shimmering skin perfectors.

Jaclyn Hill-YouTuber MUA with over 2 million subscribers.  I'm going to fess up here and say I didn't know who she was until recently so this is definite 'bandwagon jumping'.  She has collaborated with Becca to basically produce the love child of 'Opal' and 'Moonstone' in pressed highlight form.  The guy serving me in Sephora Ceasars Palace in Vegas practically threw this at me telling me to buy it!  I heard this week that the first day this was launched Sephora online sold A THOUSAND EVERY MINUTE.  That is insane.

I am currently obsessed with highlighters.  Like obsessed.  I think I bought 6 powder highlighters in the States recently.  How many highlighters does one girl need?  All. Of. Them.

Champagne pop is a peachy warm highlight that can look more white gold in some lights.  The pan kicks up quite a lot of powder when I put my brush in (and I found flecks of powder all over my desk) but it doesn't flail around on the face and stays where you place it.  But it's not as creamy as my Opal and Moonstone versions.  It is quite frosty if you build it up but it's not glittery or chunky.  You can go subtle or full on.  It's really pretty on the skin and I would imagine would work well on a variety of skintones.  But if you own Moonstone and Opal, in theory you don't need Champagne Pop as if you layer the two that's basically this highlighter.  I say in theory but make up junkies are going to buy this highlighter regardless I feel!  Having said that, Opal is one of the most god damn beautiful products I have ever seen in my life and definitely worth checking out if you can't get hold of Champagne Pop.

I took twenty eight photos of me wearing this highlight but I just couldn't get one where I didn't look terrible so arm swatches is as good as it's getting!

Becca x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector Champagne Pop

Have you tried to get this highlighter? Tell me your favourite highlighter-am always up for being enabled!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Epic empties post!

Due to travelling I didn't do an empties post at the end of June so here is an epic two month empties post with tons of skincare worth talking about!

DEFINITE REPURCHASE-Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion

Love this mild exfoliating toner from Clinique.  Caroline Hirons spoke about it and I purchased it because it contains salicylic acid-great for hormonal skin like mine.  I have already repurchased and I spoke about this in depth here in my Hormonal Acne post.  It's very gentle so if you're new to exfoliating toners this is a great place to start.  It won't break the bank either.


Personally I do not use micellair water for cleaning my face unless I am a) on a flight b) very very very tired or c) very very drunk!  I use it only for removing eye make up and I really like Bioderma to do this.  It's really effective at removing even stubborn mascara and is a permenant fixture in my bathroom.  When I have used this to remove make up I find it very drying but it doesn't irritate my eyes at all.  But not for face.  No way José.

DEFINITE REPURCHASE-Rodial Dragons Blood Cleansing Water

My micellair water of choice for when I am travelling (and I mean for removing make up on long haul flights) is the Rodial Dragons Blood Cleansing Water-I use it to remove my make up as soon as I get onto the flight.  I feel like this one is really gentle but effective.  It doesn't dry my skin or cause it to break out.  'Dragons Blood' is the red sap from the Croton Lechleri tree and is used for medicinal and healing purposes. It is ideal for sensitive or stressed skin to plump out fine lines and protect from dryness.  No dragons are hurt in the making of the cleansing water.

One negative-it has terrible packaging and leaks everywhere.  I have to decant mine into travel bottles.  This is the second bottle I have had that leaks which is frustrating as this is quite an expensive product.


I've talked about this several times on my blog-read my full thoughts here about this wonderstuff.

DEFINITE REPURCHASE-Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel

My third tube of this slightly addictive, apricot scented, effective cleanser.  Great for removing make up, you massage the non sticky gel into dry skin where it turns into an oil on contact.  I then emulsify it with water and finally remove any excess with a wet flannel.  It feels like a really luxurious treat at the end of the day and feels lighter on the skin than the cleansing balms I have been using over the past year.  I always travel with one of these as I know it doesn't make my skin break out.

MAY REPURCHASE-Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip

My second bottle of this cult cleanser but I wasn't as blown away the second time as I was the first time when I used it.  Read my initial thoughts here

DEFINITE REPURCHASE-Clearasil Daily Face Wash

If my skin breaks out I turn to salicylic based products to aid and repair, and to stop further breakouts.  I felt like a teenager buying this but it really helped my skin and this is my third tube.  Read more thoughts here.  Thank you to Antonia from Mac and Cheese  for recommending this to me!

HAVE ALREADY REPURCHASED-Sarah Chapman Skinesis Rapid Radiance Cleanse

I reviewed this clay based cleanser from Sarah Chapman in full here and already have a back up stashed away.

DEFINITE REPURCHASE-Aveda Kinetics Exfoliant

I don't normally include samples in my empties but I was blown away by this exfoliating toner by Aveda.  It feels much stronger than the Clinique version and I don't use it every day but if my skin is starting to break out, I sweep this over my skin after my evening double cleanse and my skin definitely looks clearer the next day.  I want a full size!

WON'T REPURCHASE-Perricone MD Intensive Pore Minimiser

This is another exfoliating toner and it is very gentle on the skin and leaves skin clear and calm.  I really like it but it is ridiculously expensive for 118ml at £50.  The results aren't that good for that price.


This water based moisturiser is perfect for hormonal skin and I have just picked up a replacement.  It's the perfect light, cooling, hydrating pot of goodness that doesn't clog pores and is great for hot and humid environments.

MAY REPURCHASE-Japonesque solid brush cleanser

I really liked this goats milk solid cleanser for cleaning brushes-especially foundation brushes.  I wrote about it further here but it is quite expensive for what it is.  I still use Johnsons Baby Shampoo the most!

WONT REPURCHASE-Guerlain Les Voilettes Loose Powder and Lancome Grandiose mascara

Both of these products were in my recent The Undecideds and I still haven't changed my mine on them.  Both mediocre at best.

WOULD REPURCHASE (If it wasn't limited edition) Shu Uemura Shupette blush

A great cream blush from Shu Uemura-easy to blend, long lasting and the cutest packaging ever!

ALREADY REPURCHASED-Anastasia Clear Brow Gel

One of those every day staples I rely on but never really talk about!  I love the Anastasia clear brow gel-it keeps brows in place, doesn't go hard or crusty and lasts a very long time.

MAY REPURCHASE-Hourglass Brow Arch

This hard brow pencil from Hourglass lasts forever and is great if you have fairly decent brows that just need a little grooming.  It has an angled, retractable nib that makes shaping brows easy and its dry but almost waxy in texture.

MAY REPURCHASE-Estee Lauder Little Black Primer

Definitely an extra step but I really loved this new lash primer from Estee Lauder.  I wrote a glowing post on it here.  Unnecessary yet totally necessary yes?

That was a long one!  Have you tried any of these products?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

US drugstore disappointments

If you're a regular reader of my blog you'll know I mainly blog about high end make up over drugstore.  But I am not a 100% make up snob (maybe just like 99.7%) and I know sometimes the drugstore brands produce some amazing bits! 

In the States recently I went to Walgreens a lot.  I think Walgreens is amazing-you can literally buy everything there!

So I went a bit wild in the aisles in there and CVS.  I don't mean to be a negative Nelly, and there will soon be a 'drugstore delights' post coming but today I am sharing some of the products I picked up that have disappointed me.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer (or so I thought) $11.99 for the treatment make up/$9.99 for the concealer

I made such a cock up here.  I have heard such good things about the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind concealer and really wanted to try it and on our first night in Chicago I made Mike wander round CVS as this was high on my wishlist.

In CVS my first thoughts were 'there are loads of shades of this' and then 'there don't seem to be many light shades'.  When I got back to the hotel I tried it and I was at a loss how bad it was.  It felt oily and slippery and had barely any coverage.  I bought the lightest shade and it was almost an exact match to my skintone so didn't conceal or brighten my undereye area.  I was sure I had bought a dud.  And the packaging is just disgusting.  I knew this of course, that it had the sponge tip but it feels so dirty as soon as you use it.

So I started to google reviews when I got back to Dubai to try and work out why I was going wrong and that's when the penny finally dropped.  There are two versions of the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind-the concealer and the 'treatment make up' which is a foundation product and is I actually what I have bought.  I guess that explains why there are so many shades.

I'm pretty gutted I picked up the wrong item but I still wouldn't use this as a foundation.  The texture is very oily and watery and the coverage is minimal.  It doesn't seem to dry on the skin and the sponge applicator just feels like germ attraction central.  When I am next in the UK I probably will still try and pick up the concealer as people do rave about it.  Available UK and US but not Dubai.

Nuance/Salma Hayak-Dual Phase Makeup Remover $8.79

I needed a new eye make up remover and picked this up also in CVS on our first night.  Unfortunately it was really ineffective at removing mascara and left me with serious panda eyes.  The formula is gentle and doesn't sting, nor leave oily residue but I needed it to remove my mascara which it just didn't! 

CVS by the way is amazing for deals and their loyalty programme is worth signing up for even if you're on holiday.

L'Oreal Infallible Pro Matte foundation $12.99

I did a complete 180 on this foundation after a few days use.  Again it was something that was high on my wishlist and I picked up shade 101 Classic Ivory (the palest shade) in CVS.

I started using it straight away and I thought it was really good and I was raving about it to my friends.  However I have actually changed my mind on this.  Firstly it doesn't work well with all primers-it's fine with radiance primers but seems to split over matte primers.  That seems a bit odd to me-if I want a matte finish why would I use a radiance primer and then a matte foundation?  It does have a matte, almost flat finish to it and the matte finish does last-but I do find that this foundation settles into the tiny pores around my cheeks/nose, even with a primer underneath.  It's medium coverage but it's nowhere near as good as I expected it to be given several youtube gurus' glowing reviews.

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Shadow and Liner Nude $11.95

This is a really cute and well packaged palette of neutral shimmery tones which on the face of it is right up my street.  But the formula is so tightly packed that I struggled to pick up any colour at all on my eyeshadow brush.  I really had to dig into the palette for any colour payoff and the shadow on the lid was incredibly sheer.

If the texture was a little softer I think it could have been a really handy little palette.

Have you tried any of these products?  What are your thoughts?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Lip Six

lipstick swatches

Hello from Cairo!

I have an insane week ahead but I do love it here and I am currently in my hotel room pondering the room service menu.

I've never snapchat from Cairo before so I thought I would snapchat some of my week whilst I am here-you can add me 'Stadybelle' and send me your Snapchat name too!

Here is this weeks Lip Six, mostly neutral with a pop of red for the first day I was back in the office last week-jetlagged and man flu-ed up!

Top row (L) NARS Audacious lipstick in Anna (review coming soon!)  (R) Tom Ford lipstick in Cherry Lush (review!)

Middle row (L) Tom Ford Lips and Boys in James (LE but also a repromote of Twist of Fate-review) (R) By Terry Hyaluronic Sheer Rouge in 2 Mango Tango (review coming soon!)

Bottom row (L) MAC matte lipstick in Mehr  (R) Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G lipstick in Bitch Perfect (review!)

Which is your favourite?