Monday, October 13, 2014

Ten Little Things That Make Me Happy

♥ Fresh flowers.
♥ Beach walks on a Sunday afternoon. 
♥ Long conversations on the phone with friends. 
♥ The smell of fresh laundry. 
♥ Taking a photograph that I'm proud of. 
♥ Travelling and exploring new places. 
♥ Lazy duvet days involving Netflix and food. 
♥ Fully completing a 'to do' list. 
♥ Changing out of work clothes into comfy pyjamas and slippers as soon as I arrive home. 
♥ Waking up before my alarm and realising that I have hours left to sleep. 

What are the little things that make you happy?
Lots of love, Rachael 

Monday, October 6, 2014

How To Do Vampy Lips Ft. MAC Dark Side

Besides cosy knit jumpers, boots, open fires and pumpkin spice lattes, one thing I was really looking forward to coming into the autumn months was being able to pull out my darker lipsticks once again. I've recently come to the conclusion that wine and burgundy toned lipsticks suit me so much better than other shades (besides my fail safe nudes of course), and in light of this new finding I decided to go all out and buy the vampiest lipstick I could find. And that is how MAC's 'Dark Side' made it's way into my collection. If you told me a year ago that I would have developed a bit of a penchant for gothic lipsticks I definitely wouldn't have believed you, but this year I have really been embracing them and absolutely love the look of a dark lip and minimal eye make-up. And I don't think that the obsession is going to be ending any time soon. 

Now I'm no make-up artist, but I firmly believe that a vampy lip and a flawless base go hand in hand and for this make-up look I went with a combination of Dior Diorskin Forever Foundation and a touch of Laura Mercier Mineral Powder Foundation. The coverage is a little heavier than what I'm used to, but it's a nice change for this time of year. I kept the rest of my 'face make-up' completely minimal and just added a sweep of Benefit's Hoola Bronzer underneath my cheekbones for a little definition and warmth. There are no words to describe how much I love this bronzer - it's just the perfect shade of brown and looks completely natural on my skin. One of my favourite beauty purchases of 2014 for sure. To fill in and shape my eyebrows I went for my trusty Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade - this stuff has never let me down and has literally transformed the way my eyebrows look. People actually compliment me on my eyebrows now! Without wanting to state the obvious, it's important to keep eye make-up fairly minimal so as not to detract from a bold lip, and my go-to palette for when I want to keep things understated is the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette. I swept 'Naked 2', a light greyish-brown shade,  all over the lid and worked 'Faint', a mid-toned chocolate brown, into the crease for some definition. I also took the same shade underneath the lower lashline, and then lined my eyes with my Soap & Glory Supercat Liner. I love how quick and easy this is to use and *OMG* I think I even prefer it to my Kat Von D Tattoo Liner and Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner. I decided to wing it out slightly in an attempt to get that coveted feline shape, and finished with a few coats of my favourite L'OrĂ©al Telescopic Mascara. And now for what we're all undoubtedly here for - the lipstick. MAC Dark Side is by far one of the scariest shades I own, but when worn in the right way it's particularly striking and eye catching. I would describe the shade as a deep plum/burgundy, and it can be built up to full intensity or patted on lightly to give more of a stained effect. The amplified formula means that the pigmentation is intense, and so hardly any is needed to get opaque coverage. Ideally I would have used a lip liner with this lipstick, but I'm still looking for the perfect shade (I'm thinking MAC's Nightmoth?), so I just tried my best to stay within the lines and I think it worked out ok. And to finish things off I set my make-up with my Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray - as well as keeping my foundation intact for the day it also seemed to lock down my lipstick and prevent it from smudging half way across my face at dinner. Always a good thing. 

 Are you a fan of vampy lipsticks? Do you have a favourite?
Lots of love, Rachael 

Friday, October 3, 2014

September Favourites

I can't believe it has been a whole year since I published my first ever monthly favourites post, and here I am still rambling on about my most loved beauty bits twelve months later. I briefly contemplated giving them up in an attempt to switch things up a little and keep everything fresh, but then I thought no, I just love writing about the products that have gotten the seal of approval from me too much. So here I go again talking about the beauty products that made the cut in September, and let me tell you that all are a seriously good bunch. 

You may be wondering why I have included not one but two eyeshadow palettes this month, but the truth is that I have been loving both my NARS And God Created The Woman Palette and Charlotte Tilbury Golden Goddess Colour-Coded Luxury Eyeshadow Palette equally and just couldn't leave one out. Both palettes are incredibly versatile and contain shades that are suitable for both day and night - I have been alternating solely between the two over the past few weeks and have fallen head over heels for both. The NARS offering contains six neutral shades, all of which are completely up my street, but the one shade that I have been addicted to is Kalahari, a warm shimmering taupey-brown shade. I think I'm going to be hitting pan on this one soon, which is really saying something considering the obscene amount of eyeshadows I own. Galapagos, a rich bronzey-brown with golden shimmer has also become a staple for when I want to darken things up a little, and Alahambra, a reflective champagne, is the perfect highlight shade. The Charlotte Tilbury offering contains four of the best quality eyeshadows I have ever had the pleasure of trying out, and for that reason alone I think it was well worth the €50 that I splurged on it. My favourite shade from the quad is probably the 'enhance' shade (second on the top row) - I love how well the warm taupey hue compliments my brown eyes and makes them pop. The formula is so incredibly buttery soft and pigmented - probably my favourite out of any other eyeshadow brand that I've tried including MAC, NARS and Urban Decay (say what?!) - and all of the shadows have zero fall out and stay put for the entire day. I love it so much that I already have my beady eye on the Dolce Vita palette, but even I know that €100 is a ridiculous amount to drop on two quads from the same brand (but don't hold me responsible if I have a change of heart...). For base I have been opting for my Dior Diorskin Nude BB Creme for the majority of the month. This was a base that I had been sort of neglecting for the past while for the simple reason that the shade '001' was far too pale for me (that's what you get for ordering online), but I've found a solution... I've been pairing it with my Laura Mercier Mineral Powder Foundation (in the shade 'Real Sand') and the two work beautifully together. The Laura Mercier offering warms it up slightly and ensures a closer match with my natural skintone, and also adds a little more coverage to areas where I need it. But there were lots of days when I wore the Dior BB Creme on it's own too (with plenty of bronzer to warm things up), and everything about it is just perfect. It gives a little more coverage than a standard tinted moisturiser or BB cream but still looks completely natural and skin like, and melts into the skin like a dream. I'm kind of over the whole BB cream thing, but this Dior offering is one that I have made an exception for. 

I have been searching for the perfect night time moisturiser for months now, and I really wanted something good quality that was going to adequately hydrate my skin coming into the autumn and winter months. So a few weeks back I decided to invest in the Origins High Potency Night-A-Mins Moisturiser, and even though it's a little controversial to give the thumbs up to a skincare product after such a short amount of time, I'm going to go right ahead and say that I like it. I like it a lot actually. The formula is rich and thick, but not too heavy for my slightly oily skin, and is formulated with minerals that help to renew and refresh the skin overnight. It plumps up my skin and replenishes it with moisture lost during the day, but doesn't leave any greasy residue or oily film on my skin. Oh and it also has a wonderfully relaxing scent that helps me drift off to sleep, through I can't quite put my finger on what exactly it is. During the month I also picked up the Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Moisturising Stick, as I wanted a good quality lip balm for during the day and seeing as I got on so well with the original version I thought it would be a good choice. And a good choice it was indeed. It's not quite as thick and hydrating as the original, but it's so much more hygienic and convenient for carting around during the day, and it keeps my lips perfectly soft and moisturised. Ideal for a dry lips sufferer like me who can't be without a good quality lip balm, and it has turned out to be a bit of a staple for me over the past few weeks. And lastly is a nail polish that has become my go-to lately, the Maybelline Forever Strong Super Stay Gel Nail Colour in Uptown Blue. Yes, I do realise we are now into October and it is probably time to put away the bright nail colours, but while the sun is still shining I think it is acceptable to wear bright pastel blues. I love a good blue nail polish I do, and this shade is super pretty and eye catching, and the quality is insanely good too for the price - it dries to a gel like finish and lasts for the best part of a week without chipping or fading. At only €6.49 a bottle, it's an absolute steal. 

What were your favourite beauty products from September? Have you tried any of the products I've mentioned above?
Lots of love, Rachael