Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Lipstick of the Week No. 19 - MAC Girl About Town

Well that went well, didn't it? I have once again spent 2013 being rubbish at blogging. As usual, the day job is the culprit...but I've passed a massive deadline at work for the year and can start to get a little of my life back again. 

So, on that note, hello again! 

To ease myself back in to the swing of things, I'm returning with something I haven't done for ages: lipstick of the week! When I first started this blog (which is longer ago than I care to mention) I never really had the balls to wear bright lipsticks out of the house, especially during the day. When I went out to the cinema wearing this one, IN THE AFTERNOON, it felt apt to reflect on how far I'd come. 

MAC Girl About Town is one of their best known and best loved shades, and for good reason. It's a bright blue toned fuschia shade, one of their Amplified Creme formula, and the pigmentation is out of this world. Creamy but not glossy, long lasting but not drying, I love this lipstick and I'm pleased I took the plunge. 

While we're on the subject, I've amassed enough empties for two Back to MACs. Any suggestions? 

Monday, 29 April 2013

Follow thirtyminusone on Instagram

How has it been nearly two weeks since I posted, HOW?! Real life is taking over once again, and I've not had a lot of time for blogging. 

If you want to keep up with me (meh, who am I kidding), I have eventually caught up with the rest of the world and joined Instagram. Still pretty new to it and I definitely need more accounts to follow, send me your links! You can find me at thirtyminusone

I'll be back once again when work has calmed down a little. 

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Most repurchased

This little gang are my fall-backs, my fail-safes, my sure bets. I think most beauty bloggers would say that they're pretty fickle when it comes to trying out lots of different products, and I'm definitely no exception. But there are some old favourites I always return to. Strangely, I've only ever reviewed one or two of them, perhaps because I use them so much it just never occurs to me. 

A few of these are still sealed, because they're the products I stock up on in bulk every time there's a hint of a 3 for 2 in Boots. 

L'Oreal Casting Creme Gloss - 432 Rich Espresso
This is the closest hair colour I've found to my natural colour. I use this ever 4 weeks or so to cover grey (damn premature grey genes...) and it always leaves my hair looking glossy and shiny, and since it's a semi-permanent with no ammonia it doesn't damage it. It's easy to use, doesn't smell too bad and is frequently on 2 for £10 in Boots, Superdrug or the supermarket. 

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural

I seem to be getting through one of these every 6 weeks at the moment, so it's an expensive powder habit to have - but I just haven't found any others I like as much. It's great for setting foundation but also adding a little extra coverage, without looking overly matte or powdery. I have 3 on the go at the moment: Light, Medium and Medium Plus, depending on my current level of fake tanned-ness. Plus, I have a tidy little selection of empties waiting to be Back to Mac'd. 

St Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse 
Just, quite simply, my favourite fake tan in the world. I've been unfaithful to it many times, but always come home. I can be a bit slapdash about applying fake tan (tend to leave it till just before I want to go to bed and I'm far too tired to do it properly) but somehow, with this one, it always turns out ok. It gives a dark enough colour in one application, but without being orange. It also dries quickly, a bottle lasts me a long time, and the colour fades quite evenly so you don't look too patchy 5 days on. It stinks a bit and makes a mess of the sheets but I love it anyway. 

Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs
I always use this stuff if I'm going out bare legged (a rare occurrence, but it does happen occasionally). It's a sort of spray-on, long lasting foundation for legs (or any other body part really) that covers up scars, bruises and general uneven skin tone. It actually lasts really well, and takes a good wash with soap or shower gel to come off. The only major thing I don't like about this is the shade range. I use the 'light' one, and even then it's pushing it in terms of being a bit dark, even when I have fake tan on. Oh, it also smells a bit minging, but that doesn't last. 

Schwartzkopf Got 2 B Powderful
Hate, hate, hate this product name. It's just shit. But the stuff itself is really good, so I keep buying it. It's the best working hair powder (of the less than £5 variety) that I've used, and is fabulous for giving volume and texture, and combined with backcombing means you can create MASSIVE HAIR that lasts for ages. 

Carmex Lipbalm
This is always on people's lists of favourites, but that's because it's actually good. The smell is slightly plastic-y but it just works really well for me at moisturising lips without leaving them too greasy. Not a lot more to say really, it's lipbalm. 

Nivea Invisible Black & White Deodorant
Although the advert for this is a bit ridiculous (I mean who would wear that half-black, half-white dress, REALLY) it does actually work. It's pretty much the only deodorant I've used that doesn't leave me with those annoying black marks down my tops and dresses, and it also works quite well as an anti-perspirant too. 

Definitely my holy grail foundation. This is the only one that lasts all day at work for me, no matter how long that day is. I've reviewed it in detail before, which probably said all I need to say. I'm on to my fourth bottle now, which is practically unheard of for me and a foundation. 

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish 
Another one that I always come back to. I'm not actually using it right now as my skin was going through a ridiculously sensitive patch, but once it's back to normal I'll be coming back to this, as it's one of the few cleansers out there that leaves my face feeling properly clean, especially after a day covered in Double Wear. 

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Foundation Series 2: Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation

There have been a lot of reviews of this foundation out there recently, but most of those that I've read have been from those lucky sods with naturally glowing clear skin. I'm not one of those people. So here's my two cents, from the perspective of an oily skinned, tired-faced nearly 30 with acne scarring. 

My skin is just coming out of a really bad patch where I've been layering on Estee Lauder Maximum Cover, Double Wear and MAC Mineralize Skin Finish. Oh, and concealer too, for good measure. Right now, however, it's looking a LOT better so I took the opportunity today to go a little more au naturel and give Revlon Nearly Naked a good try. And somewhat to my surprise, I actually liked it. 

The photo below shows the foundation applied in natural light with no primer or concealer, and set with a little powder. You can see that I could benefit from concealer under my eyes and on some of my more obvious spots, but the foundation does an excellent job of evening out any redness and providing light coverage while still letting your actual skin (freckles etc.) show through. I used my fingers to apply it because I couldn't be bothered to clean any brushes, but something like the Real Techniques Buffing Brush would be great with this to build up the coverage slightly more. The finish is 'dewy' without being overly shiny, but since I generally can't handle dewy I still set it with powder. 

* Note to self: brush hair before taking blog photos. 

This photo was after a couple of hours wear; if you look closely you can see it's starting to slide a little on my nose but that's standard for me, and nothing a dab more powder wouldn't fix. It's not the longest-lasting foundation out there by any stretch of the imagination, but it wears well and I got a full day out of it with a few reapplications of powder. 

The bottle doesn't have a pump and the foundation is quite runny so you're at risk of pouring out way too much or spilling it all over the carpet (haven't done this, honest) but this is more of an annoyance than a deal breaker really. It does contain SPF which is either a good or bad thing depending on whether you're wearing it during the day in which case yay for sun protection, or at night when boo for ghost face in photos with flash. The shade range seemed pretty good to me when I was looking at it in Boots, although not leaning to either extreme I generally don't have too many problems finding a shade to match my skin. At £8.99 for a 30ml bottle, it's very reasonably priced too, and a good quality foundation for the price. 

Overall, I'm pretty impressed with this foundation for good skin days. Long may they last.

The most naked my face has been in a while: Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation (150 Nude); Bourjois Mineral Radiance Pressed Powder (04 Beige Medium); Bourjois Volume Glamour Mascara; 17 Blusher (First Kiss); Revlon Lip Butter (045 Cotton Candy). Still sounds like a lot of stuff, but by my standards that's practically a bare face!

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Project Stresshead: Week 2

So last week's Project Stresshead tasks actually went quite well. As you can see, I had A LOT of hair cut off, successfully stayed away from anything to do with work while I was at home 99% of the time (and guess what, the world hasn't ended) and went for a brisk walk round Leazes Park on Tuesday lunchtime (how much do I sound like my mother here?) and walked home on Wednesday instead of getting the bus. I wouldn't say I was feeling super relaxed and stress-free yet but, you know, onwards and upwards. 

This week I'm going to:

1. Cut down on caffeine

I'm a big coffee drinker. I started drinking black coffee a few years ago at work, when the milk fund wars and office fridge dramas became too much to handle. One day at work last week I found myself in the kitchen making my third cup of the day, at 11am. Considering I hadn't got to work until 9:30, that's a cup every half an hour. Which seems a bit excessive. And also explains why I go to the toilet about ten times a day as well - no wonder they're always accusing me of being pregnant. I'm not going to cut it out completely, but I'm going to switch at least every other cup for some kind of herbal tea instead, and try not to drink any at all after 4pm. 


2. Buy a clock 

I'm one of those people that can't stand not knowing what time it is. To the extent that if I'm stuck somewhere without a watch, clock or phone to check the time, it actually makes me a little bit anxious. As a result, I sleep with my phone on my bedside table, right next to my face so I can see the time if I wake up. The problem with this is, while checking the time it's too tempting to also check my emails, go on Twitter, check Facebook, read any texts and so on. I'm going to buy an alarm clock to go next to my face instead, and then my phone can be switched off and put out of sight. 

(I probably won't get a Lego Star Wars Yoda alarm clock, but you never know.)

3. Tidy up

This is my dressing room right now. Strictly speaking it's the spare bedroom, but nobody ever stays in it - ergo, it's my dressing room. It's fair to say it's a bit of a mess (and you can't even see the worst of it). As a rough estimate, I've probably spent an hour this week looking for things I couldn't find in here, be that clothes, a specific bit of a makeup, my watch (which I lose on a pretty much daily basis) and who knows what else. It's all because it's so messy. This week I'm going to tidy it up properly and get my storage sorted to hopefully keep it that way for longer than 10 minutes. 

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Project Stresshead

Brace yourselves, this could be a long one. The genesis for today's post came when I was lying awake at 5:30am this morning. I had absolutely no logical reason not to be able to get back to sleep (well apart from the fact the radiator was being a bit loud, and there was a seagull pissing me off outside the window) but my brain was churning away and I had to admit defeat and get up around 7:00. This is a regular occurrence for me. I'd say four or five nights a week I'll wake up at some point between 3:00 and 5:00 and lie awake for anything from half an hour to two hours. I'll think about work, money, the future, the past, anything and everything, and it keeps me from getting back to sleep. 

This is a symptom of the fact I'm definitely a bit stressed right now, and have been for a while. A good example of this came on Thursday night, when Mr E asked why I keep buying pineapples, not getting round to eating them and leaving them to rot on the worktop. I slightly flew off the handle and went into a protracted rant about how I'd been working so much and was so busy and stressed that I just didn't have time to do anything, including chopping up  a pineapple. I'm well aware I probably spent longer justifying why I didn't have time to cut up and eat said pineapple than it actually would have taken me to cut it up and eat it - I never said this was rational. 

Of course, a bit of stress is good. It's what makes me able to wing it in a meeting I'm not quite prepared for or come up with a way to solve a problem, and there's even some evidence that a little stress is good for your immune system. Too much stress is draining though, and I'm starting to feel that way. I realise this doesn't compare at all to what people who suffer with major anxiety disorders or depression go through but, to be honest, I feel a bit rubbish and want to nip it in the bud. 

My plan is to think of three things each week which I am either going to make an extra effort to do, or which I am going to stop doing because they are bad for me. I'm hoping over time some of these things will become habits, and I'll generally feel better for it. Well, that's the plan anyway. 

This week I will: 

1. Not log on to work emails at home

I have a love/hate relationship with this little token. This piece of plastic is what allows me to log on to my work network from home. That's a good thing because it means I can work from home every now and again; but at the same time it makes it all too easy to think "I'll just log in from home and finish this off..." Frankly, I'm not that important, and it can wait until I'm back in the office. 

2. Go for a walk in the park at lunchtime

I work in the city centre, so my default lunchtime activity to get me out of the office is a mooch around the shops. The result is, I buy way too much stuff, my wardrobes are bursting at the seams with clothes that are never quite right, and I stress myself out about the fact that I've still got my student overdraft at the age of 29. Except it isn't free any more. Being in the middle of town also means I'm five minutes away from the oldest (and probably the nicest) public park in the city. I'm making it my mission to go there instead, twice this week. If it's still freezing then I need to put a scarf on, man up and get out there. 

3. Get a hair cut

This one sounds slightly ridiculous, but hear me out. I love my long hair, I feel like it's a bit of a trademark for me and it's definitely a comfort blanket, but lately I seem to be spending an immense amount of time thinking about it, and yes, stressing about it. I've convinced myself it's so long it's a bit unprofessional (not sure where this complex started, but it's there now) and every time I look down, I'm confronted by a sea of split ends. So, I'm off for the chop this week. I'm not going short, by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm going to get a good chunk cut off. Also, at the salon I go to (Boilerhouse, if anyone's interested), they have vibrating massage chairs for while you're getting your hair washed. That in itself is enough to get this one on the list. And if I miss my hair being really long? Well it actually grows pretty fast and there's always extensions for nights out. 

(So much hair it won't even fit in shot)

These are three small things, but it feels like a start. 

And if it doesn't work, well I'll just start buying ready-prepared pineapple instead. 

Can you relate to anything in this post? What are your best ways for dealing with feeling stressed? Leave me some suggestions in the comments.