Sunday, 31 August 2014

Get the GLOW

When I first heard that Topshop had a makeup range I didn't imagine that it would be very good, however after trying a few of their products I take it all back. They have a great range of lipsticks, eyeliners and blushes just to name a few and I'm always looking to try new products from their range. My friend introduced me to Glow which is a lovely cream highlighter. I'd been looking for a highlighter on the highstreet for a while and I couldn't find anything that caught my eye in the likes of Boots and Superdrug so when she showed me this I was sold.

I got the shade Polished and it's amazing for highlighting cheekbones as well as under my brows and the inner corners of my eyes. It's not a product I use everyday but for when I want that extra something it's ideal. It blends in like a dream and gives a subtle glow. Polished has a slight pink/peach hint but I think this makes it look quite natural.

You can get other shades of Glow on the Topshop website here

Friday, 29 August 2014

Brows on a Budget

I already have quite thick brows but I like to add a bit of extra definition and keep them in place using these two products that are widely available and quite cheap too.

First up is the Soap and Glory Archery Brow Tint and Precision Shaping Pencil in Brownie Points. I like to use the pencil side and even though this is slightly too light for me as I have really dark brows it doesn't matter as it still gives that bit of colour where my brows are sparser. I'm not too keen on the brow tint but I know that some people prefer it, sometimes if I've over plucked my brows I'll use both of these.

Next for keeping my brows in shape I'll use the Maybelline Brow Drama in Dark Brown. When I first bought this and opened it I was surprised at the shape of the brush and wondered how I was supposed to use it but it's not difficult, I wipe the brush on the top of the tube to get the excess off and then lightly sweep it over my brows and they tend to stay in shape all day.

Have you tried either of these products? What do you use on your brows?

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Delicious Brownies

I've been making these brownies for years and after family and friends telling me these are the best browines they've had I thought I should share my recipe.

You will need:
90g Dark chocolate (milk chocolate doesn't work as well with this recipe)
140g Butter
125g Plain Flour
15g Cocoa Powder
160g Soft Light Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder

  • First heat your oven to 180 degrees C/Gas 4 and line a small baking tin (aim for something similar to 20cm/15cm that is a couple of cm deep) 
  • Melt your chocolate and butter in a heatproof dish over a pan of simmering water. Meanwhile mix your eggs and sugar in another bowl.
  • Once the chocolate and butter has melted pour it into the sugar/egg mix. 
  • Next measure in the baking powder, cocoa powder and flour (I tend to do these separately and then mix in well after each one so you know it's all stirred in)
  • Once all the dry ingredients are mixed in pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 20-25 mins. Allow to cool and then cut into squares. 

These are cute if you cut them quite small if you were having a party or meal and serve with other mini desserts or you can have them all to yourself, whichever way you chose I won't judge!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Seeing Double

I've been a fan of Soap and Glory's Thick and Fast Super Volume Mascara (the black one) for a good few months and when I went back to repurchasing I decided to try a different type so I got the Flash-Extensions Effect Mascara (the silver one) to see if it was any better, I think I can say that it's not. I prefer the formula of Super Volume, it's a bit thicker and the brush is huge which I love.

The Flash-Extensions mascara is quite thin and watery which makes my lashes stick together. I'm trying to see if this will slightly dry up and go thicker but it's been open for over a month now and it's still too thin for my liking, this makes my lashes go clumpy every time I use it. I've even tried it with other mascaras both before and after and my lashes always stick together. This could be because my lashes are quite short so this may be a great mascara for someone who has longer lashes but it's just not the one for me.

When I've used up a few of my mascaras I've got at the moment I will definitely be buying another Thick and Fast Super Volume Mascara, it makes my lashes look thick and long with only two coats and lasts all day. I'm yet to find a mascara as good as this one.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

The Perfect Base

I decided to try Instablur from The Body Shop and I haven't looked back since, I prefer this over the Porefessional and it's less than half the price. This primer gives a smooth base to put my foundation on, keeps my face from getting too oily which in turn keeps my makeup on longer. I can't imagine finding another primer that will do a better job.

After primer I put concealer on, I decided on Mac Pro Longwear Concealer when I was having a bad skin day and it is the perfect shade for me (NW20) and has a really heavy coverage which is perfect for spots and other blemishes. I like to dab this on with a small brush and because it's hard to get a very small amount of this out, the concealer's only problem, I mix whatever is left on the back of my hand in with my foundation.

My makeup drawer is full of different foundations after the search for 'the one' and I feel I've come pretty close in Benefit's Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow, it provides the perfect amount of coverage, that brightens my face up. I use the shade "I'm so money" Honey and even though I try to use my other foundations I always end up reaching for this one.

I get quite oily skin so I always powder my t-zone and sometimes the rest of my face depending on what I'm doing. I'm not too fussy with powders, if it keeps the shine at bay for a good few hours then it's a winner in my books. I usually go for a translucent powder such as One Heck of a Blot from Soap and Glory but Mac Studio Fix (NW20) adds an extra bit of coverage when needed and really keeps my face from looking shiny, I can do a 7 hour shift at work when I'm on my feet all day and only have a little shine that I can pass off for dewy skin.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Healthy Skin in Two Tubes

My skin had been having a bad time; spots arising and a mixture of an oily t-zone and dry skin on my cheeks and parts of my forehead. I began to search the beauty blogs in search of something to improve my skin and I stumbled upon La Roche-Posay Effaclar range. First the Effaclar Duo which is great with spots, as soon as I see one coming I rub a little of this on it and it tends to go away a lot quicker than usual and not be as bad either. I've been using this for a few months now and I'm loving it, the best thing is that you only need the smallest amount on and it soaks in quite quickly so you could put it on before you put your makeup on.

Next is the Effaclar H which is a moisturiser, on the back it says 'Oily skin weakened by over-drying treatments' I'm not sure that I've used too many over-drying treatments but I thought this would be perfect for my dry skin but seeing as it's for oily skin I thought it would be good for all over my face. Boy I was right, when I don't use this moisturiser my skin just doesn't feel the same. I still have slightly dry skin on my cheeks but it's much less obvious.

My skin at the moment is really good, the odd spot or two but much less than I used to get as well as nice healthy looking skin that isn't perfect but can be controlled now I have these two.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Helping Dry Hands Along

I've suffered with dry hands for three years now, it started when I was working on a deli counter and I thought it was the meat juices irritating my hands. I then quit that job before I went to uni and my hands got a lot better. Then around Christmas my hands got really sore again and I didn't know what it was so I ended up going to the doctors and she told me I had Dermatitis which is basically just really dry hands that need to be kept moisturised. I then got a job at uni in care work so I wash my hands a lot and every night I came back from work my hands were really dry so I smothered them in moisturiser before I went to bed. Back at home now and I have a job in a care home so once again my hands get really dry so I've had to find some products to help my poor hands.

First of all, if you have really dry hands and I mean cracked, red and itchy (it sounds as bad as it feels) then you need to speak to a doctor to get something to help it. My doctor prescribed me some steroid cream which is to be used when it's really bad and only in very small amounts. She also prescribed Cetraben which is really moisturising but also takes ages to sink in, I can wake up in the middle of the night after putting some on before bed and I can still feel it on my hands. I'm not keen on this feeling (although it does seem to work) so I had a look around at what I could find that wouldn't leave my hands feeling all greasy.

I decided to try The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector after seeing Essie Button saying it was really good. I do like this as a moisturiser but the smell really puts me off, I've never smelt hemp before but I'm guessing this is what it smells like and it's not very nice. I try to use this but I can't put my hands near my nose because the smell is so strong. However this is another one that sticks around and doesn't seem to settle in which I really don't like because I can't do anything with my hands so that limits to only putting it on at night before bed. After a day at work and my hands were quite sore I spotted Morrison's Intensive Moisture Lotion which my mum uses so I gave this a try on my hands and after only a few uses my hands have improved so much and I've still been working. I would guess that this lotion was pretty cheap and can be used all over the body and the best part is that it only takes a small amount and sinks in quickly so I can apply this throughout the day and still do things with my hands after using it.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Day I Fell in Love With Mac Lipsticks

Mac Lipstick

As probably many people know it was National Lipstick Day a few weeks ago and Debenhams were offering £5 off their lipsticks so I got online and looked at what Mac lipsticks they had to offer, at first I was only going to buy one but it was free delivery on orders over £30 and each lipstick was about £10 so I bought three of them... it was an early birthday present to myself I like to tell myself and if you think about it I got one free because they're meant to be £15 each.

The first choice was Patisserie which every beauty blogger seems to love, I've been wanting Patisserie for ages so it was a must. I then had a look on a few blogs at what people were loving and had a look at a few swatches and I decided on Peach Blossom, this is a gorgeous pinky nude and would be perfect with a dark, smokey eye. The last one I chose is Lustering, I saw a post on Lily Pebbles blog of this and I fell in love with the colour, I'd already chosen two nude colours so I thought I should get a bright colour. As soon as I opened Lustering I fell in love with the colour, I'm not usually a pink lipstick person but I adore this one, Lily sums this lipstick up perfectly - the colour of watermelon.

I never understood why everyone loved Mac lipsticks but now I can see why, they have a lovely smooth texture and I really like how they all have different finishes too, I have the shades Lustering and  Patisserie in Lustre as well as Peach Blossom in Cremesheen.

Have you got any favourite Mac Lipsticks?

Friday, 15 August 2014

Lemon Swiss Roll

Today I'm going to give you a really easy recipe for a Lemon Swiss Roll, there is a lemon curd filling which I didn't realise was so easy to make and a slightly zesty roll. If you don't like lemons you could change the curd to jam and miss out the zest in the roll. 

For the Lemon Curd you will need: 
1 lemon - juice and rind
70g caster sugar
2 eggs
50g butter

Whisk the lemon juice and eggs together. Add the grated lemon and sugar and mix together. Place your bowl over a pan of simmering water (make sure this stays on a very low heat) Stir regularly for around 20 minutes until it has thickened.  

 Whilst the lemon curd is thickening you can make the cake, for this you will need:
2 eggs
75g caster sugar
75g self raising flour
The rind of one lemon
Some extra caster sugar for decoration

First heat the oven to 220 degrees C/ Gas Mark 7. Line a small baking tin around 33x23cm or so but this doesn't have to be exact.
Next whisk the eggs and sugar together until the mix is quite creamy but light so the whisk leaves a trail - I would recommend using an electric whisk for this or else your arm will really hurt! Sieve in the flour and rind of the lemon and fold in with a spoon.
Gently spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth into all the corners so there is an even layer. Put in the oven for around 10 minutes until golden brown.
Whilst the cake is in the oven get a second piece of baking paper and sprinkle with sugar.

When you take the cake out of the oven leave it to stand for a short minute and then turn onto the sugared paper. Peel off the first paper but place it back on the cake, quickly but gently roll up the cake so it looks like a swiss roll without the filling, this will help to keep the cake from cracking whilst it cools.

Once the cake is cool and the lemon curd has thickened gently unroll the cake and remove the piece of baking paper in the middle, spread a layer of lemon curd all over and then roll up again keeping it quite tight. If your edges aren't very neat you can cut a thin piece off either edge (and eat this) so it will look a bit tidier. This cake is so tasty when eaten warm but is fine to be eaten cool too. I would recommend eating the cake the same day as you make it.

I left my cake in a bit too long although it still tasted fine!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The Perfect Bronzer

The Body Shop Honey Bronzer

I was looking through my makeup collection today and whilst realising that I have way too many products I also found out that the only type of makeup I have just one of is a bronzer. The reason for this is that I feel I have found the perfect bronzer and have no need to search for a better one, it's a subtle colour that works well for contouring as well as giving a beautiful warm glow to my face. The bronzer I am talking about is The Body Shop Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder and at £13 I think this is a total bargain as I haven't bought any others since trying this out.

I've been using this for around five months and I've hardly made a dent, only the slightest amount is needed to give a healthy glow and it works perfectly with the Real Techniques Contour Brush for giving me the look of actually having some cheekbones when they are always hiding behind my chubby cheeks.

As I'm quite pale I use the palest shade in 01 which is perfect for me and as long as I don't apply it too liberally I don't get the orange look.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Summer Wedding Outfits

I'm going to a wedding this weekend and I've been looking for a dress to wear for it, I've seen so many pretty ones that will be perfect so I thought I might as well show you which ones are my favourites that I've found and give you inspiration if you're also going to a wedding this summer.

Photo here

This one is from Miss Selfridge and is on offer for £30  I love the colour, it's so pretty and not a colour I would usually wear. I've always loved this style of dress but just never got one, I'm tempted to get this one but I'm not sure whether I want a long dress or not.

Photo here

This pattern and colours of the dress really drew me in, in my opinion this is the perfect style of dress for a wedding. This dress is not too short and even has a necklace type detailing which means you don't need to buy another necklace! This dress is also £30 an absolute bargain!

Photo here

This dress from BooHoo is only £15, I think this is perfect for summer with it's bright colour. This dress could be dressed up with heels and a clutch or dressed down for the day with a cute pair of dolly shoes. 

Photo here

I'm not sure whether I would wear white to a wedding but I fell in love with this dress from Dorothy Perkins, at £49.50 it's slightly more expensive but I've seen dresses for more. I love the detailing at the top of this dress. I also think this dress would be perfect for on holiday having a meal in the evening. 

Photo here
Could a dress be any more summery? I love this one and I love the price even more, it's only £15, I think that this could be the one I end up getting because it's so different but so pretty!

Would you wear any of these dresses to a wedding? Which one is your favourite?

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Harry Potter Studios

My boyfriend took me to London for my birthday this year and this included going to the Warner Bros Studios where there is a lot of things from the Harry Potter set. I absolutely love Harry Potter as well as London so this was the perfect present for me. This post is going to be very photo-heavy and if you don't like Harry Potter this probably won't interest you! I didn't take my DSLR with me because it was too heavy to carry around London, I would have liked to have it with me at the studios as my photos would have been a lot better quality but I still have the memories!

The castle was so impressive, it was so detailed and we were told that they used this to film the outside of the castle in most of the films.

 Dumbledore's costume from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban onwards.

 The transport used at Gringotts Bank.

The Burrow where the Weasleys live, you can see the knife that chops by itself and the washing up also does itself, I wish I could have that at my house! 

 Dolores Umbridge's Office - could there be any more pink?

We got some Butterbeer, can't say it was to my taste, I found it so sweet!

This was all the animatronics, I never realised how much work was put into all of these!

They made an animatronic head for Hagrid so he would be the right height, I never even realised they did this so you can tell they did an amazing job!

Me on Diagon Alley!

We managed to find quite a few of the cast members' names on the wand boxes, this is Daniel Radcliffe's

We bought a Chocolate Frog, luckily it didn't jump out of the window!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Spending in London

My boyfriend took me to London for my birthday for a long weekend and we had a great time, on the Sunday we went to the Harry Potter Studios which I seriously enjoyed and there will be a very photo heavy post coming up soon with all that in but for now you can see all the products I bought whilst in London. I would like to point out that because it was my birthday my family had given me some money so I spent more money than I usually would on makeup, I don't usually buy this much at once but I thought I would treat myself and buy some makeup that I can't get when I'm home.

The first thing I knew I wanted to do was visit the MAC section in Selfridges, I've wanted to try MAC for ages and I decided it was time to treat myself, I thought I might as well go with the basics first as I think they're the most important and I can get the most use out of them. I bought MAC Studio Fix powder in NW20 and then MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in the same shade. I decided on the powder because I get pretty oily skin and I need to get the under control with some serious powdering, I then decided that because I was having a bad skin day I needed a good concealer that had a very high coverage and this looked like it would do the job nicely. I doubt this concealer will be used everyday as sometimes I don't need much or any concealer.

I had forgotten to take a hand cream with me and my hands get really dry patches so after going into one pharmacy (and being annoyed at how many products they had that I can't get in the North of England) I decided to try the Paw Paw Papaya Moisturising Balm that says it works for irritated skin and chapped lips, both of which I had. I haven't used this enough to give you my opinion so I won't bother as I don't think first impressions are ever that good with skincare - especially for hands as nothing ever works that quickly with my hands.

A few days later I went into Kiko because I've heard Gabby from VelvetGhost talking about it and it sounded like a really good brand but I've only ever seen it being sold in London. I first picked up the Sun Lovers Blush is 04 Atlantic Camellia which has a marbled highlight and blush on one side and a lovely pink colour on the other side. I decided on two shades of the Long Lasting Stick in 38 and 25 (below) which are brilliant long lasting (as the name suggests) eyeshadows, they are so blendable and I find that 25, the paler shade, works well as a base all over with 38 in the outer corners. I had these on for a full day and they lasted a good 13 hours which is amazing in my books, especially as they are so affordable! At the till they had some cream blushes and I loved the colour 02 and I think it was around the £5 mark so I picked this up too, I've never tried cream blushes before and I haven't really used this yet so I'll get back to you on how much I like it!

Lastly I picked up the Smashbox Bestsellers Kit, this one was another brand that I've never seen being sold in England and it's one of those brands that has always interested me so I thought this seemed like the perfect thing, I could try out 5 different products without spending too much money. This kit includes a range of products including the Photo Finish Foundation Primer, Photo Finish Lid Primer, Full Exposure Mascara, Limitless Eye Liner and Lip Enhancing Gloss, I love how all of these products are the basics that will always be used, I hate it when kits include a few products that I really want to try but have some that I won't use or are a colour that won't work for me.

Have you tried any of the products that I bought?

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Happy Six Months

Photo here

I thought that it would be a nice idea to have some guest bloggers to celebrate my six months of blogging. I would really love it if I could have a good variety of posts on here, it could be some tips for blogging, a recipe, something you enjoy to do, whatever, I would like to hear about it and then you could appear on my blog. This would be a perfect idea if you're just starting up (I'm definitely no big time blogger) or if you don't want to have a blog but you want to write something. If you have any ideas or you've got a blog post written that you want me to post get in touch through email:, I'm also on twitter, my username is emhasrednails.

Also if you have any ideas for posts you would like me to do you can either comment below or get in touch via email or twitter.

I would love to hear from you! 

Friday, 1 August 2014

August Wishlist

Another month means more things I want to buy, some I might end up getting but others will be forever on my wishlist.

Photo here
I've been wanting the Mac Studio Fix Fluid for a while, I ended up getting Benefit's Hello Flawless foundation when I originally wanted this one because there isn't anywhere to get Mac locally for me. I've done the usual reading loads of reviews of the foundation and this one sounds perfect for me, it's supposed to be good for oily skin and has quite a heavy coverage which sometimes when I'm having a bad skin day I do need.
You can get the Mac Studio Fix Fluid here

Photo here
I've just got some more Real Techniques brushes and I'm starting to really build my brush collection up. I would love to get some luxury brushes and I think that the Bobbi Brown ones look really pretty but they also seem to be really good brushes too as I've seen loads of Youtubers using these brushes. The Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush looks like it could be used for putting foundation on as well as any powder product.
You can buy the Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush here

Photo here
As I mentioned that I was building quite a collection of brushes, it means that I'm going to need something to clean them all with, at the moment I use shampoo but this is such a long process and doesn't clean my brushes as thoroughly as I want to so I think it's time to invest in a proper brush cleaner. I'm not sure if I'll get the Mac Brush Cleaner or a cheaper version but it's one of my options.
You can get the Mac Brush Cleaner here

Photo here
I went to see Divergent in the Easter holidays and I loved the film, I thought it had a really interesting and different storyline that I really enjoyed and as soon as the film finished I wanted to go and watch it again.It also helps that one of the main characters isn't bad looking! I've been waiting for Divergent to come out for ages and it finally does come out on 11th August.
You can buy Divergent here

What are you wanting to buy in August? Have you got anything that I'm wanting?