Thursday, 15 August 2013

A-Level Results Day

Hi all!

So, I know it's that time of year again: you finally have your exam results, you may or may not have achieved what you had hoped, you might even be on your way to Uni.

First off- if you didn't get the grades you wanted DO NOT PANIC. Or worry. Or assume you're just terrible at all things academic. It's not the end of the world. There are re-sits, apprenticeships, jobs, foundations years. All is not lost.

Take my group of best friends:

Example A- One of my Friends decided to do a foundation year first to see if she actually wanted to go to Uni. She loved it and starts at Uni in September.

Example B- Another Friend does drama, she is absolutely amazing at it. However, she was so busy with everything else she got low marks in her A-Level drama performance (crazy, she had never ever got low grades before) and she didn't get into the drama school she wanted to. Instead she went to Uni in a city near us, loves it and has just moved into her first house for second year.

Example C- A third Friend maintained she didn't want to go to Uni. 2 days after the UCAS deadline passed she decided she did, but she didn't want to go through clearing and risk getting non-ensuite accommodation (which is nowhere near as bad as people assume). So she waited a year and applied and got into the same University I go to. During this year she got 2 jobs at pubs in the area and realised that she loved it. Now she isn't going to Uni and is going to hopefully do courses which means she can manage/ own her own bar/ pub.

Example D- A fourth Friend carried on at the Senior School we all went to at the 6th Form with us. She didn't like it so started again at College the following September. She didn't get into Uni this year but is determined to try again next year, is looking for a job for the year and is currently volunteering in order to gain some experience to put on her CV.

Example E- (final one, I promise!) A fourth friend decided she wanted to do creative writing, in all honesty I have no clue why she decided she wanted to do creative writing, just one day I know her UCAS form was handed in and she was waiting to see if she was trotting off to London to study Creative Writing. (Yes, she left me and went all the way to London while I was going up North, how dare she!). Now, she claims it was the best decision she has ever made in her life, and she absolutely loves it.

I personally uhm-ed and ahh-ed over which Uni I wanted to go to. I first decided I wanted to go down south, then realised I never wanted to go south at all. I wanted to be close-ish to home and chose one uni that is 2 hours north from me and another that is 1.5 hours south-west from me for my final two options. I ended up at the one 2 hours north, and am so happy there. I also have family and family friends less than an hour from uni, which is reassuring in case I need them,

My point here is that we're all different, and different thing work for different people. I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do, all I knew was that I wanted to do law eventually, but I also wanted a degree in a non-related subject first. At A-Level I studied English Language, English Literature and Law, so you can see that my choices were somewhat limited. Thankfully I love English and chose to study English Language and Literature. I got into my first choice University even though I thought I had messed up my exams and didn't quite get the grades I would have liked. I then got the accommodation I wanted and I love my University. I volunteer at the Students Union and I couldn't ask for a better University.

I think it needs to be noted that I didn't get the grades I would have liked (in one subject), but I did get the grades to get into my first choice uni. I think sometimes we're too hard on ourselves, and you've done well for even thinking about going to College/ 6th form, never mind actually studying A-Levels and applying to Uni.

I've listed some really great websites for any advice of queries you might have. Also remember to talk to friends, family and teachers! It's what they're there for, and the can really help.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Review: Benefit H20 'Hello Flawless' Foundation.

Welcome to my favourite ever foundation. Bold statement, yes? A very true statement too.

'Hello Flawless' was the first (and currently only) liquid foundation by Benefit. It was also the first item from their Hello Flawless range, and it has now been joined by the Hello Flawless pressed powder and primer and was released in the UK last March.

I actually got my first bottle when I was in New York, the week before it was released in the UK. Prior to this I was using a M.A.C. Studio Fix. Unfortunately, it wasn't love, I think it oxidises too much and left me orange.

However, this foundation, oxidises very little (it's not even noticeable) and is fabulous. It's water based which is good for my combination skin, and irritate it at all.

I wear the 'I'm so Money' Honey colour, it's about the middle of the range. Sometimes I don't even need to use concealer with it which is great.

 The staying power of this is great too. I have a horrible habit of sitting with my head rested on my hand which obviously rubs my make up off, but this foundation seems to last. I also have a tendency to not check my make up all day, so it's nice to know that I still have some coverage when I've been rushing around all day.

I also love that this has an SPF of 25 in it. I know as I've gone through my teenage years Ive not thought about protecting my skin, and I know I've got sun damage, especially under my eyes so it's nice to know that I'm protected without having to think about it. It's important to protect your skin!

The best part is probably the fact that you get a tester size of 'The Porefessional' primer which minimises the appearance of pores. It's another Benefit product that I love so it's nice to get a small sample of it.

I buy this from Boots (I've repurchased at least 5 times) for £25.50. You can also buy it straight from the Benefit site here!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Humber Street Sesh

Last Saturday I went to 'Humber Street Sesh' in Hull.

I was due to go to the cinema with two of my friends and one asked if we would go with her to watch her boyfriend's band. Now, I've heard the singer before (he sings at lot at parties, no one ever objects, he's great) but I'd never heard the band. In all honesty, I wasn't expecting much from the whole thing. I knew my friends' band would good (more of that later) but I presumed it would be a small gathering of people with a few bands who were into that genre of music.

Oh how wrong I was...

The event was amazing! Seriously. It had been open since midday, and I arrived at about 8.30 pm and it was heaving. I didn't even know that there were so many people who knew about events like this. From the Facebook page I can see that there were over 40,000 people who had been 'clicked in' as they walked through the entrances.

We rushed down to see the band (we were running late, as usual) through the crowds of people down to the Fruit Market and entered 'Ruscadors' where the band, Chasing Athena, were playing.

First thing- it was still super busy in here.
Second thing- it was boiling.

Then the band started and it didn't even matter. They are so, so good. I know I'm probably biased as I'm friends with them all, but for real, they're so good. You should check them out, especially as they're releasing their single this week and their album in a few weeks. And you can download some of their songs off their band page here. And you can find them on their Facebook page here.

After the band finished we wandered into town a bit then back to the Street Sesh. It was still super busy after 10pm and it took forever to even get a drink, but with the whole atmosphere and live music blaring out of every other building it was the best warm cider I've ever had. We managed to catch the whole of Counting Coins' set. They're a fairly well known band in Hull and the surrounding area from what I gather and were so good. I can't even place them into a genre, you really have to listen to them, which you can do here.

The guy on the second from the left here is the drummer from Chasing Athena.

Shameless group selfies.

That's just a few of the pictures from Counting Coins. It was so odd, there were people crowd surfing and dancing and a mosh pit, all in an old Fruit Market.

The atmosphere was reminiscent of a music festival, with all the silliness and music coming from everywhere with people dressed up, on a much smaller scale. I didn't even realise that there was so much musical talent within Humberside, never mind Hull itself! It's definitely made me want to go to more events like this. It was so nice to just have a bit of a wander round with friends and meet new people, and it was so different to what I normally do with my friends.

I even managed a quick photo snap at the end of the night. Taken in one of Hull's finest car parks of course. I think I was part way through telling my friend that she is a terrible photographer (paired with my terrible posing) so please excuse the odd face I am pulling.

My top is from French Connection a few years ago with an M&S strappy top underneath.
My jacket and bag is from Internationale at around Easter time.
Jeans are Dorothy Perkins, current season.
And my shoes are Blowfish.

Here is the link to the Humber Street Sesh Facebook page if anyone would like to have a look.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Review: Clinique High Impact Mascara

I've had this mascara a few times, but always in the tester sizes (the ones you get with Bonus Time). And I have always loved it. I liked the brush and the thickness of the mascara. It worked really well for someone who likes a lot of coverage on their lashes.

As a huge Clinique fan I thought it was about time to buy the full version. I've practically been raised on Clinique. My Mum and Sister use it, and have for as long as I can remember. When I first started wearing make up I got bought stuff from Clinique, namely due to it being hypoallergenic and it's meant to be good to your skin. I personally absolutely swear by the 3-step, it's something I have continually repurchased for about 6 years at least.

The mascara comes in the usual colourful, floral box. I like the packaging of Clinique products, the cardboard is a nice quality and I think this is important. If the packaging is rubbish I don't expect much from the product.

As you can see, the actual mascara tube itself is fairly plain, but holds that dark green, classic Clinique body with a silver top.

The full size version of this mascara has a bigger brush than the travel size. It's a fairly big fluffy brush. 

In one word, I love this mascara. It does exactly what I wanted it to do. It builds up really well without clumping, gives great coverage and doesn't fleck off throughout the day. And it comes off really easily with some eye make up remover. I would definitely recommend this mascara, the only thing I would say is that it maybe needs a few days to 'thicken up' as I think it's a bit thin at first useage, but I think that about all mascaras.

You can see me wearing it in my 'Nighttime Smoky Eye post' here.

And you can purchase it from here. I bought this for £16.50 from the Clinique counter at Boots. 

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Nighttime Smoky Eye

So today I wanted to share with you my favourite nighttime smoky eye look. It's the look I generally go for when I go for a night out. It's fairly quick and very simple which is definitely what I need seeing as I seem to always be running late!

I start off using the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in 'Greed'. I've found that it really does increase the lasting time of the eyeshadow, and I get no creases either which is always a plus!

I then use my Urban Decay Naked 2 palette for the rest of the look:

I start with 'Bootycall all over the lid up to the brow and in the inner corner.

I then line the upper lid and outline my crease about halfway with 'YDK' and blend.

I finish the look with 'Snakebite' to create the final smoky eye here and blend. I find that I really need to buff it out so it doesn't look too 'drawn on'.

For the whole look I use the brush that comes with the palette as it seems to work well, and it means if I am away from home for the night I don't have to carry along extras brushes etc. 

After the I then use the Urban Decay 24/7 waterproof eyeliner  on my mower lash line and apply mascara and fill in my brows with my Clinique eyebrow pencil.

I hope you like this look! As I said, it's so quick and simple to do, you can't really go wrong with it. I love the smoothness of Urban Decay eyeshadows, and I know that the eyeshadows are what Urban Decay are renowned for.

I'm also planning a review of the Primer potion, so keep an eye out!

You can buy the eyeshadow primer here, and the naked 2 palette here

Monday, 29 July 2013

Motivational Monday #3

Here is my Motivational Monday for this week!

I've not posted in the last 2 weeks because I've had my tonsils out (so gross) and I've been a bit useless. However, I am hopefully back to regular posting from this week.

I think this post is quite relevant at the moment. Everyone worries and I know I am what with trying to organise moving into my new student house and trying to get myself sorted for September, it's insane how much reading I have to do!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Blue and Glitter Barry M nails

I reviewed the glitter Barry M nail varnish in a separate post last week. I love this blue, it's  a nice, bright summery colour but without being too in you face. You have to excuse the messy fingers, I was in such a rush to get the pictures before I smudged my nails!

Both polishes are Barry M, the blue is 'Cyan Blue' and it really does remind me of blue printer ink. The first coat was a little bit streaky, but the second made a full coverage. The glitter is Barry M's 'Amethyst Glitter'. I picked both of these up from Boots. The Cyan Blue was bought a few months ago and the glitter was bought about 2 weeks ago.

I have had so many compliments on these nails, it's always nice to be told you made something look good.

And of course, I used my trusty Seche Vite topcoat.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Motivational Monday #2

Hi all! Here's my 2nd Motivational Monday post!

I think this is a good thing to remember, sometimes you just need to take a deep breath and smile, it really does make you feel better.

Ps- apologies for the late post, I scheduled it for Tuesday morning! 'Motivational Tuesday' doesn't quite have the same ring does it?

Review: Origins' 'Zero Oil'

This is just a quick review today! I was wandering around The Cosmetics Store in my local Designer Outlet the other day and I came across Origins' Zero Oil. 

Now, I've looked at this product a few times, and I've picked it up a few times too. But each time I've always put it back assuming it wouldn't do anything then regretted it immediately afterwards. I was quite wrong...

I got this a little bit cheaper than it's RRP, the shop I got it from sells (I think) batch ends and products when the packaging isn't quite right. However, it's normally £13 for 18ml. Which sounds pricey but this is to be used so, so sparingly. 

I have fairly good skin, but it is combination skin so I generally get a bit oily around my nose which I am very self-conscious of. I wear glasses most of the time (because I can't be bothered taking them on and off, I sometimes wish those chains on the glasses arms that librarians always seem to have were fashionable) so I feel that the attention is brought to my nose area.

When it originally comes out of the box it has a clear-ish liquid inside with a white layer a the bottom of the bottle. It needs mixing really well in order to mix all the ingredients. This took my a good few minutes at first use. 

Now I wasn't expecting the liquid to be so liquid-y (I know, it sounds silly) but it is just like a cloudy water. I first dropped a little bit on the back of my hand to take a picture of it. And it ended up like this...

Not quite what I had hoped for.

I have read other reviews that claimed the product felt gritty when they rubbed it into their skin but I had nothing like that at all, it was just like rubbing a scented water into my face. 

I did try and apply this with my fingers but I would recommend applying it with a cotton wool pad or a sponge. I applied this under my makeup, instead of primer. 

I'm not going to say this is a miracle product because, quite frankly, I don't think it is. However, this doesn't mean that I don;t think it is a good product. It does seem to reduce oiliness on my face for an extra 2-3 hours compared to when I don't use it. And it does last longer than my primer seems to. This means there is less makeup application throughout the day which is always a plus. Also- this didn't irritate my skin or make my skin feel dry or dehydrated which is always a worry with products that claim to reduce oiliness. 

I would recommend this product to anyone who has problems with oily skin and I think when used in conjunction with other products it may well become a wonder product. 

You can find this on the Origins site here. Or you should be able to pick it up at any Origins counter. 

Saturday, 6 July 2013

I'm loving: Leopard Print Nails

I love leopard print. Leopard print clothes, leopard print phone covers, leopard print bedding. You name it, I love it. But what I absolutely adore is leopard print nails. It doesn't matter if they match your outfit because they're meant to look different. They add a pop of colour, bringing attention to my perfectly painted talons which look like I've spent hours creating works of art on my finger tips.

What I don't admit it that I can actually do leopard print nails quicker than a single nail colour.
When painting my nails one colour I like the coats to be smooth and even, devoid of any dents or smudges. However, the beauty of leopard print nails is that I can have dents, and smudges, and no one will notice because my nails look so busy and, quite frankly, beautiful.  I have now perfected the leopard print nail into a 12 minute job, from start to finish.

My favourite leopard print combo is either pastel, or neon. I don't think you can go wrong with either.
To create this luscious leopard print I use: Seche Clear Base Coat, Models Own 'Apple Pie', Models Own 'Lilac Dream', Models Own nail pen in black, and a top coat of Seche Vite.

I mentioned in my post last week that I really like Models Own nail varnish. I think the consistency is smooth and the colour is always a nice coverage after 2 coats, especially in the pastels like I used here. And of course no nail look is ever complete without my trusty Seche Vite.

From plain nails to Leopard Print love.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Review: Barry M 'Amethyst Glitter'

A couple of weeks ago I bought this Barry M nail varnish. I was walking through Boots with my friend when I saw it out of the corner of my eye. 

Of course I exclaimed that I loved it, and I needed it. 

To which my friend replied 'Do you actually need it Annabelle? You have glitter nail varnish'

I then had to explain why this nail polish was different, how the size of the glitter pieces were smaller and the colours used were different. 

So off I popped to the till with the Nail polish in hand, a smile on my face and a bemused friend behind me. 

You see, the thing is, this nail varnish is different. It's my first ever Barry M glitter shade. I have a love-hate relationship with glitter nail polish. On one hand it looks beautiful and sparkles and shines. But on the other it's a pain to get off and if every piece of glitter isn't flat it scratches. 

This nail varnish is beautiful. It's filled with purple, silver, pink and blue glitter pieces and reminds me of tiny little jewels in the bottle. 

It applied really well. I find Barry M nail varnishes a little bit gloopy but they're okay as long as you work quickly. I quite like this though as it means there's a quicker drying time, and I hate waiting for my nails to dry.

I used 2 coats. The first coat was nice and sheer but I wanted a fuller coverage. I had painted the nail underneath so this added a background colour. If you want a complete coverage I would recommend at least 3 coats.

As you can see, it really glitters and I've had some compliments on my nails since having the colour on. I would definitely invest in more Barry M glitter polishes, especially if they're as pretty as this one.

For a full blog post on how what look I went for with this polish check back next week!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

My Everyday Face

Don't you think 'Everyday Face' is such an odd phrase? Surely your bare face is your everyday face...? (Just a quick thought for you all!)

However, this is the combination of products that I use everyday in order to create my normal look. These are the pure basics, products that I use when I'm nipping to meet friends or running errands. When I go for a night out or shopping etc I add extra things in like a primer or eye shadow or bronzer.

Normally I like a basic look, with emphasis on lashings of mascara.

 As you can see I use a range of products including Benefit, Mac, Nars, Urban Decay, 17 and Clinique. My tools of choice are Real Techniques brushes. I'll start from the beginning...

I start with 'Boing' concealer by Benefit in 02 Medium. I've tried the erase paste by Benefit and to be honest, I was not a fan at all. Boing, however, is a completely different story. I originally bought this in New York in March 2012, and think it's fabulous, it has been re-purchased many times. I use it around my eyes and to cover up any pimples.  Unfortunately I come from a family who seem to show very clearly how tired they are around their eyes, but I am hoping my bags fade as I get older (my Sister doesn't have bags under her eyes).

Next I use my trusted 'Hello Flawless' Benefit foundation in Honey. I bought this in New York at the same time as the concealer just before it was released in the UK. It's so great and feels so lightweight on my skin. As you can see, my current bottle looks ready to run out so I may pop up a complete review of it in the next couple of weeks.

I then set this with my MAC sheer/ loose powder in NC5. I've used this since I started applying my make up properly. Although I've tried other products I always come back to this. I love the matte effect it gives yet it reflects the light off my face. The colour is meant to be 'transparent'.

After this I brighten my face with my beloved NARS blusher, 'Gilda'. I originally bought this after weeks of essays at A-Level and needed something to cheer myself up. I cannot even explain how much I love this blusher, I nearly cried when I hit the pan. It can be put on sheer for a subtle daytime look or layered for a more sophisticated nighttime look. 

Now, I spend more time on my eyes than the rest of my face. I line my bottom lids with my Urban Decay 24/7 waterproof eyeliner in 'Perversion'. I use waterproof because I have a horrible habit of rubbing my eyes and I like my eyeliner to last all day.

I start on my lashes with 'They're Real!' mascara by Benefit. I love this to separate and lengthen my lashes. I then finish with a coat of 'Falsifeye' by 17 to add volume. I think my eyelashes are quite short but since cutting them off twice after eyelash curler disasters I don't like to do much to them.

I finish with my Clinique 'Instant lift for brows' in Medium brown (my natural hair colour). I have only just started shading my eyebrows in so use the darker end very lightly shade in sparse parts of my brow. I don't take it right to the inner ends as the colour is slightly too dark and I end up with the dreaded slug-brows. I then use the highlighter just under the arch of my brow. This is the first brow product I have used and have seen some brow kits I'm interested in.

I use my Real Technique brushes for my everyday face. I use the smallest brush to buff my foundation in, sometimes I use a foundation brush to apply my foundation first. I use the big fluffy brush to apply my MAC powder and the blusher brush for the blusher.

So, there's a run-down of my everyday face. It's a long post but I like to see the products other people use, hopefully you like to see the same!

What products do you swear by? Do you have a favourite foundation?

Monday, 1 July 2013

Motivational Monday #1

I think everyone can be in need of a little inspiration sometimes, I know I can. I really think that motivational quotes can help, just as little things to tell yourself throughout the day.

This is the first of my motivational posts, it's a really great quote and I think it has an important message. There really is no one who is more like you than yourself and it's something that should be embraced. There are 7 billion people on this planet, and everyone is unique, that's pretty special. 

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All Dotty

I love painting nails, since doing GCSE art I have preferred swapping a paintbrush for a nail brush.
Last night my sister asked me if I would paint her nails. Since she works in retail she has to have plain fingernails, so she likes to have jazzy toes. A favourite design of hers is a bright red with white spots. It's so easy to do, even one of my flatmates from uni had spotty nails after a girlie night in.

To create this look I use the Seche Clear base coat, Models Own x Hed Kandi 'Hedonist', Models Own white nail art pen, and my beloved Seche Vite top coat.

I think Models Own nail varnish has really impressive staying power, and with the Seche Vite topcoat it's amazing. I painted my sister's toes before she went to Egypt in January and the nail varnish was still on, absolutely perfect in late February.

I love the bright colour, and the pop of the white; I think the whole design looks pretty and summery, perfect for on the beach.

From plain nails, to red and white spotty nails in 4 simple steps.

Clean and Lean loving

Since moving to University, it's become all too easy to fall back on quick, simple foods like pasta. Over the months I seemed to acquire the skills to make one huge meal a week and split it into meal size portions. By Easter I was so ready for simple fresh food, rather than the basic salad a couple of times a week when I ran out of my already prepped meal. There are only so many times a week I can eat spaghetti bolognese, right?
In an attempt at motivating and inspiring myself I bought a copy of James Duigan's Clean and Lean Diet book. I figured that something that promised a cleaner and leaner you in 14 days was worth a whole £8 on my measly student budget.
Now, I am not one to be dramatic (slight under exaggeration, sometimes I even surprise myself with my oscar-winning performances!) but this, this book, is the best food-type book I have ever bought. The lessened sugar, the fresh veg, the copious amounts of water, it was everything I had been doing just not all together.
Typical clean and lean meals
So I set out on a journey, one which resulted in some of the most basic, delicious food I have ever made. Steamed fish, curried turkey, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon? Fabulous.
I found that I have so much energy, and I love prepping veg for each meal. I find it so relaxing to just stand and cut up all these colourful foods.
Seriously, who doesn't love scrambled eggs?! And a fancy chicken salad? And a complete, homemade from scratch stir fry? Look at all the colourful veg!
And for those days when I wake up late, and have to rush to get ready for uni (a regular occurrence  beds always feel more comfortable on a morning), a favourite on-the-go breakfast of mine is a smoothie. Fresh fruit all thrown into the blender whilst I do my make up, into a travel tumbler and off it goes to uni with me.
Banana, black grape, kiwi and orange juice smoothie. (Hi Lord Byron in the background)
I ended up loving the book so much that I bought the cookbook. Now I find myself cruising the internet for any other tasty treat ideas. So my coconut flour cookies may have looked more like flat cakes, but they tasted good, well, to me anyway...