29 July 2017

The Glowy Skincare and Makeup Edit


If there's one word that sums up my inclination to skincare and makeup recently, it's glowy. Even though it's the dead of winter here in New Zealand, I'm craving a look perhaps more suited to summer, but if you ask me- fresh, radiant skin is in year round. With that in mind, here are the products I've been using to achieve this look.

Bright and early

I might make a separate post on my new AM skincare routine, but for now here is my three favourites for achieving a fresh, glowy complexion.  It's something of a revelation to me, but making an effort to apply skincare in the AM before makeup actually makes a difference (shock horror). I've had The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 practically joined at my hip since I bought it, and is my first step after washing my face. I've mentioned it on my blog before, but in short it evens out skin tone, brightens and plumps when combined with a moisturiser. Speaking of..


A new-to-me product but a favourite all the same, the Ultraceuticals Ultra Hydrating Lotion is the perfect lightweight moisturiser to use in the morning. While I believe this is the tester/travel sized version, I can already tell I'll want a bigger one. I personally always struggle finding a good moisturiser because they're often very thick or heavy which leads to clogged pores and oiliness- not fun. This would be amazing for those with oily or combination skin, but something heavier would be required at night time.

I'm jumping the gun here a tad, but since we're on the topic of skincare first, I'll mention what I sometimes use to set my makeup. The Mario Badescu Facial Spray hasn't been my first port of call since I got it, but every now and then I've been enjoying spritzing it after makeup for an ultra dewy look, or alternatively it works great at pumping more moisture into the skin before applying your base.

Glow and go

A glowy makeup look doesn't have to take hours to apply and this routine is proof, as it's pretty much my every day look. I was going to include a different base product in this post, but in my heart I knew I wanted to stick with my faithful NARS Sheer Glow Foundation which I've clearly mentioned far too much on this blog. If I have any point to make here it's use a beauty blender with your foundation! It's ~life changing~. It gives you a more natural looking, fresh, dewy effect- in no way a bog standard brush can. While you're at it, you can use a super glowy concealer such as the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer, which is great for the under eye area as long as your dark circles aren't too heavy.

Recently I've been skipping eyeliner and heading straight for eyeshadow- most of the time just one colour all over the lid. While I haven't tried the entirety of the Natio Earth Eyeshadow Palette, my first thoughts are it's great for a more natural, sheer look- in other words it's very hard to get it wrong. The sixth shade from the left has been my absolute favourite applied on the lid and blended out. No, I don't follow that rule of only matte eyeshadows in the crease, and in my mind this sheer, shimmery eyeshadow results in an effortless look.


As for powders, I like applying highlighter and blush on the high points of my cheeks and I tend to skip the bronzer these days. The new Too Faced Love Light Highlighter in Blinded by the Light is as good as it looks- I mean let's get real, that heart shaped packaging is probably the best thing I've ever seen. The powder itself is a cool toned pearlescent shade which is easy to blend and is actually quite natural looking if you're not too heavy handed. As for blush, the Milani Baked Blush in Dolce Pink is the perfect finishing touch to the skin. I tend to skip powder because 1) I'm lazy and 2) the dewier, the better.

When it comes to my brows and mascara, I'm still using the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz and currently trying out the Wet n Wild Max Fanatic Cat Eye Mascara. Soon to be released in New Zealand, Wet n Wild is a makeup brand I don't know a whole lot about but I do know it's very affordable. This isn't my favourite mascara ever but it's a quick one to apply that gives you separated lashes with a touch of volume. Finally, with this glowy look I would definitely opt for a lustrous lip colour, especially because mattes aren't really my thing any more. The Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in 420 Blushed is a pink-brown colour that's the perfect 'my lips but better' shade.



Are you embracing the glowy look?

-Emma

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23 July 2017

The Best Film Soundtracks


It's no surprise that I enjoy films and the music that comes along with them. Although not exactly ground-breaking, there's a few film soundtracks which I've fallen in love with and I'm certainly partial to play over and over. Here's my favourites, all of which are fantastic as films as they are as music material.

Her - Arcade Fire
As well as being a visually pleasing and thoughtful film, Her has a great soundtrack performed by Arcade Fire. Made up of instrumental tracks, it's the perfect soundtrack to have in the background on a lazy Sunday, or make you feel all dramatic like you're in a film yourself (or something..) This movie follows a lonely and heartbroken man after his divorce, where he meets "Samantha", a revolutionary operating system designed to meet his every need.

Submarine - Alex Turner
As if I could compile a list of my favourite film soundtracks and not include Submarine. With songs performed by Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys, each track has a sad yet hopeful vibe that is the perfect backdrop for the coming of age film. Submarine is about a Welsh teenager, Oliver, who is trying to hold his family together, all while trying to lose his virginity to Jordana, a pyromaniac. More than anything I like how the songs are made specifically for the movie in a subtle way which is weaved in.

Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging - Various Artists
Surprisingly, this is actually another one of my favourite movies because it's such a guilty pleasure, and the songs that feature make it all the better. There are classic songs on here you'll definitely recognise- I think it's distinctly British and sort of very late noughties. Based on the best-selling book series, Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging sounds as cringe as the title suggests, yet I love it. Georgia is the perfect protagonist looking for love and learning that being a teen can be a real pain in the neck.

Love, Rosie - Various Artists
Many romantic comedies have great soundtracks and this one's no exception. I remember watching this at the cinemas and falling in love with it- including the songs. This movie is about two best friends as they try to keep in touch when one of them moves overseas. Letters, heartbreak and reunion follow, of course. As well as featuring a number of well-known tracks, it has music composed by Ralf Wengenmayr which ties the movie together.

Once - Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
This is a movie I stumbled upon on Netflix once and watched it without much expectation. With songs performed by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, it has a distinctly homemade feel (the film and the music)- and it's the charm about it that I love. The music itself is the perfect thing to play on a rainy, lazy day -as is the film. Once is a quiet and thoughtful Irish film about a street musician and a Czech immigrant who share a love of music, decide to collaborate, and all the while their love for each other blossoms.

Wes Anderson Films - Various Artists
If you have eagle eyes you'll notice I've featured a bit of Wes Anderson in this post's photo because I love the music in his films- whether it be a touch of French with Moonrise Kingdom, ala Fran├žoise Hardy or music composed by Alexandre Desplat in The Grand Budapest Hotel, I'm all ears. P.S- I.D have collated a soundtrack of Wes Anderson music you'll love if you're also a fan. You're welcome.



And as always I've put together a little playlist
featuring everything above.. happy listening!



What are your favourite film soundtracks?

-Emma

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18 July 2017

The Slogan Tee Edit


So anyone that knows me knows I've become enamoured with slogan tees in the last wee while. Even though this addiction's been going on for a while, it doesn't show any sign of stopping, so today I've gathered together the best ones I'm yet to buy- that I really don't need but I want anyway. Some are more expensive than I'd like (including the Alexa Chung tees I have no hope affording) while others are really budget-friendly and may make their way into my online basket.


You'll sense a theme in the above shirts: French, song lyrics, the colour red, a subtle nod to women's empowerment... and I suppose they speak for themselves, so happy shopping!


P.S I just ordered this tee from ASOS, which describes me absolutely to a T.



-Emma
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13 July 2017

New in Beauty: July


It's been a while since I've sat down to write a post about beauty products. I find that I'm blogging about other topics more and more instead. The truth is, I don't have the money to buy all the new releases and I don't really want to buy stuff just for the sake of a good blog post. This is a topic Tenneil touched on (or rather, went into depth with), so please check out her blog post because it resonates with me so much. That aside, it's time to talk about the new beauty products I've acquired recently, some new to the beauty world and some new to me- from a new drugstore foundation to that famous skincare from The Ordinary.

The new base

New to the beauty world, new to me. I've been trying out this base the past few days and it's sort of love at first use. Revlon Youth FX Fill + Blur Foundation (with SPF 20) is more meant for ageing skin, but that doesn't mean it doesn't do a good job at smoothing out my complexion and making it GLOW. While this is actually quite a high coverage with a thick consistency, I find it works well as a tinted moisturiser/BB cream type deal on lazy days. I tried applying this with a beauty blender and it was awful, but with fingers it's magic. I very rarely introduce new foundations into my life after finding my faithful NARS Sheer Glow, but I will definitely be incorporating this into my routine. It has a really smooth consistency you can feel just by swatching it on the back of your hand, so I can see how this would be good for wrinkled skin. If you love your matte foundations steer clear because this gives such a nice radiant result. Also, in something that's a bit of a laugh, one of the lightest shades, 130 Porcelain is a touch too dark for me (drugstore foundations are usually too orange for me) but I can get away with it, and maybe even have 'porcelain' as my summer colour (ha ha).

Brush alternative

As mentioned above, I've been using a beauty blender recently. Even if it's not great with thicker foundations like above, it is wonderful with more liquidy foundations like NARS Sheer Glow. My brush now feels rough and streak-inducing next to this soft sponge. While the original beauty blender is actually quite expensive, I think its well worth the price- at least if you can find a good way to clean it (still searching). I always forget to use my primer now because this makes my base go on like a dream- no clinging to dry patches, uneven coverage etc. I'm very late in the game to this one, but I'm glad I picked up a sponge at long last.

Cult skincare

Without a doubt, The Ordinary skincare has been one of the biggest beauty brands mentioned over the internet recently. Making waves for its focus on 'one ingredient' for each product, it means you're able to DIY your own skincare routine- adding in what you need most. It's also known for its really really cheap prices- the two items I got only cost me about $20 (NZD). At $8, The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution is a bargain. Salicylic Acid is designed for blemish prone skin (me to a T) and fights the appearance of breakouts. You can either dot this on pimples or put a thin layer all over the face/in concentrated areas. For the couple of weeks I have been using this, I can see it really does help to bring down pimples so they're not in that gross, gigantic crater state.

The other product I picked up, The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (only $12), has certainly been a skin saviour of late. Essentially, hyaluronic acid is known for its hydrating properties and makes your creams more effective. In this way, it works well after you've cleansed and before you apply your moisturiser because it will smooth out your complexion, making for a more even tone, and hydrate the deeper layers of the skin- as the moisturiser traps in everything. I have loved using this so far and it is a great alternative to oils or heavy serums (if your skin gets clogged up by these things usually). I'm desperate to try out more from The Ordinary, especially their foundation, but that's difficult to find and their products are notorious for selling out anyway.

The new mascara

Since my last Maybelline Lash Sensational dried up, I've been looking for a new mascara to fill the void. Out of everything in my beauty routine, this was the area I was severely lacking in- I absolutely hate my lashes sometimes -all I ask for is a clump-free formula that lifts lashes and provides decent volume. That's pretty much what every mascara on the market claims to do, but so many of them can be disappointing. A recent addition is the new L'Oreal False Lash Superstar X Fiber which has two sides- one is a primer and the other is the mascara. While I think mascaras with a primer can be a little gimmicky, in this case I do think it helps to get more lift and volume into the lashes. I think the selling point of this is that the little fibres on the mascara brush reach even the smallest of lashes, coating and lifting each one. I'm not sure if this is my ride or die yet, but this product is working well for me at the moment as I find some mascaras can be too clumpy, where as this gives a fluttery volumised look without being too spidery-looking.



Those are the products I've been trialing lately. Will you try any of these?

-Emma


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9 July 2017

Recently Read: June

Nostalgic reading month

You could call June the month I threw all my normal reading out the window and indulged in some nostalgic books. If you're around my age I think you'll appreciate a bit of a Jacqueline Wilson throwback, because aren't her books just amazing? No, I didn't cry at the end of Cookie - a story about a girl and her mum who escape their abusive father/husband and learn to love themselves - YOU did. It was incredibly nice to read something a bit childish while stressing and studying for exams. Here's what I read in June (albeit a little late)...

Cookie by Jacqueline Wilson
Random House Children's Publishers, 9 October 2008
★★★★

This is one of Jacqueline Wilson's newer(ish) books but I have fond memories reading this. As I touched on above, this is about a girl called Beauty who is bullied at school and constantly criticised by her father. She thinks her mum is the best person on the planet and she's her safe haven. But whenever her mum attempts to stand up for herself and Beauty, it doesn't work and she learns not to try again. The question is, will they find the courage to pack up and leave? This is such a fantastic book for young girls to read because the lesson learned is that you can get up and leave a situation if you want to, and you should accept yourself for who you are. This is a very heart-warming and cosy story that you'll appreciate even if you're not a child.


Girls Under Pressure by Jacqueline Wilson
Random House Children's Publishers, 6 November 2003
★★★★

First published in 1998, this is part of the classic Jacqueline Wilson series 'Girls' which is for older readers than the likes of Cookie. This is the second book but you can read them out of order - it doesn't really matter! Girls Under Pressure is all about dieting, eating disorders and body image - incredibly important topics. It follows three main characters, Ellie, who is concerned about her weight, and her two best friends Madga and Nadine - who in her eyes - are absolutely gorgeous compared to her. But Madga and Nadine have their own issues to do with their appearance. Even though Cookie takes the prize as my favourite Jacqueline Wilson book I've revisited, this is another great book for young girls which teaches them you are fine just the way you are.


Girls in Tears by Jacqueline Wilson
Random House Children's Publishers, 1 October 2002
★★★

The fourth book in the 'Girls' series has less of a theme than the above so it's not my favourite, but this one is about the same girls, Ellie, Madga and Nadine who are navigating the trials and tribulations of teen life. Ellie's boyfriend Russell is causing her trouble and to top it off, the girls' friendship is teetering on the rocks. I think this does teach you about the importance of friendship and that your friends are always there for you in the end. I didn't particularly like how Ellie and her boyfriend's relationship was portrayed, as the warning signs were there with Russell yet Ellie sticks by him in the end. Definitely don't pick this one up as your first foray into Jacqueline Wilson.


Night Owls by Jenn Bennett
Simon & Schuster, 24 September 2015
★★★

And for something a tad different... this one is definitely for older readers compared to Jacqueline Wilson. As I said at the beginning of the post, this month I only felt like reading 'easy' books and this definitely fit the bill. This didn't take me too long to read at all. This is your classic boy meets girl book - Beatrice meets graffiti artist Jack on the night bus in San Francisco. At first meet he's attractive, charming mysterious, and as she soon finds out he's wildly rich. But behind that persona is a person and a family who have their own troubles. This was by no means a revolutionary book but I didn't hate it. I gave it 4 stars so I must have a liked it when I finished!


I also finished Margot & Me in June and I thoroughly loved that book! Check out my review here.


-Emma

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2 July 2017

Soundtrack of my Life


Even if it is cringeworthy, it's always fun to look back on what music I used to listen to and what I listen to now. I'd like to think my music taste is a lot better these days, but there's no shame in getting down to an old Avril Lavigne song every now and then. I've seen this post idea on a couple of blogs recently and I thought this could be just the thing to send me in a downward spiral towards olden day anthems.. and I was right. But with the cringeworthy comes the music I consider 'cool' right now - so sit back and enjoy a trip down memory lane (and please try your best to detect the sarcasm).

My first album

From the select few CDs I remember owning back in around 2006, Hilary Duff was probably the first of the bunch from the pile. Her Most Wanted album was probably what every girl owned at the time. Strangely, I remember feeling a deep emotional attachment to the Someone's Watching Over Me song from her debut self-titled album.. probably something to do with the fact I also had the Raise Your Voice movie on repeat (and don't tell me the Lizzie McGuire movie wasn't as iconic for you as it was for me!) Inspirational. There was no way I was a cool ten-year-old.

Long term relationship album

I had a long think about this, as I did with most of the categories in this list, and I think The xx's first album has been with me for a while now. It's the type of album I listened to a good few years ago and I still love it now. I remember when I first started going on YouTube, I sifted through all of The xx's music videos and it felt like I was discovering something for myself for the first time - now they're very well known.. ah, the beauty of music and my never-ending #hipster desire to discover good bands first.

Song that makes me happy

Okay, so I feel like I mention it all the time, but I love the movie Submarine (so much so it's getting cringe to talk about it anymore, lol) and the song that makes me the happiest ever is the last one on the film's soundtrack, performed by Alex Turner (it's also an Arctic Monkeys song). I'm sure many people would pick an upbeat, dancey dancey song here but this is my favourite in a quieter way. Piledriver Waltz makes my heart burst with happiness and is best listened to for the first time while watching the movie..

Song/album that makes me want to dance

So there's really only one option for this section and it's The Power of Love by Huey Lewis & The News. Who doesn't love an 80s anthem? I love plenty of them. It's impossible to listen to this song without fist pumping or conjuring up images of Marty McFly sliding along on his skateboard. There could have been many of cringe options for this one such as Fergalicious or Promiscuous because let's face it, the mid 2000s we're the shiz... ahem.

First gig

This shows my age because my first concert was One Direction. A pretty good one for a first gig if I may say so. What can I say, I was a fangirl. If anything, this answer is proof that I am the least cool person on this planet, (especially circa 2014), if you hadn't figured that out already. I digress. The concert itself was apart of the Up All Night Tour in 2012 and in a pretty small venue. What a time to be alive.

Song I wish I'd written

There was no question whether this was going to be an Alex Turner song (he's quite the lyrical genuis), it was just a matter of what song I would pick. While his songs with Miles Kane in The Last Shadow Puppets' first album, An Age of the Understatement, are masterpieces, the song I've picked is Crying Lightning by Arctic Monkeys from the Humbug album. Don't tell me the second verse about all different types of sweets isn't amazing. I love the Suck it and See album, but there's something artful about the former. There's so many to choose from otherwise... Love is a Loverquest, Black Treacle, The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala.

Song that reminds me of being a teen

The artist that popped into my head was Lorde. I was obsessed with her debut album Pure Heroine in 2014. This was around the time that I was finishing high school and I have memories attached to it. I also went to her free concert in Auckland around this time and that was where I fell in love I suppose. Although, I'm probably a bad fan for not listening to Melodrama just yet. My favourite song from her first album is A World Alone, and as for the others, well I know all the words. As she's from New Zealand, her songs do resonate with me just that little bit more - you do get that sort of small hometown feeling from Pure Heroine.

Karaoke song

And back to the cringe. I knew without question I would find my answer to this, er, question.. by thinking back to when I played SingStar on Playstation one. Sk8er Boi by Avril Lavigne seemed like the most accurate answer, as I can belt that one out without a second thought. I just Googled the song and it was released in 2002? That's not okay?! My life is flashing before my eyes.

Songs that remind me of home

Having parents born in the 60s is more of a blessing than a curse because it means I know every single one of the greatest hits of the 80s (..probably). Talking Heads is the band that reminds me of home, and my parents, without a doubt - and I've chosen Burning Down the House as the song for all of it's ~iconicness~. Does anyone love the scene in 13 Going on 30, where this song plays, as much as me?

Ultimate desert island disc

Without exaggeration, I've had this album on literal continuous repeat since it was released in April 2016. I am still obsessed with Everything You've Come to Expect by The Last Shadow Puppets and it is without a doubt my Holy Grail. It's the type of album that makes you want to dance and listen to closely at the same time. It's under the baroque pop genre apparently, which means it combines rock music with classical elements.. and it's epic.



This was quite a different post for me, but a fun one to write! Let me know what are some of your old school picks or all time favourites.

-Emma
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