27 February 2013

The Real Techniques Blush Brush Reviewed

This is a review that is so long over due. I got the Real Techniques Blush Brush for my birthday in september but took a really long time making my mind up about it and its only in the last couple of months that I've come to the conclusion that I actually really like it.
The brush I used before this one was a fairly small, round brush that picked up a lot of product and applied heavily so you had to be sure to use a very light hand which I think is why it took me some time to adjust.
The Real Techniques brush is a fairly large, domed brush that is very densely packed. For this reason when I first started using it I expected it to pick up a lot of product just like my previous brush, but instead I've found that it is better for building up colour slowly as it picks up an amount that gives a subtle colour. I found this a little frustrating after my colour packing brush but over time I've realised that it actually works a lot better, giving you more of a chance to build up the effect to be just how you want.
The dome to the brush is a lot taller and shaped than on many blush brushes but this makes it so much easier to give shape to your blusher, shaping the cheekbones and fanning out rather than applying clumsy clown like circles to the cheek and I have to say that the shape is definitely what I like most about the brush. A little, totally unplanned feature that I like too is that after using for a while, even with washing, the pink from blusher colours the bristles a pretty pink shade like the handle :)

In summation, I have slowly fallen in love with this brush. It is the perfect shape to help you create beautiful, flattering cheeks, and doesn't pick up too much product, allowing you to build up your look gradually. The shape of the handle is also good for holding comfortable and is nicely weighted. Compared to blusher brushes I've used in the past there is no competition and if this brush does finally pack in in a few years time, I know I would rush out and replace it, and I'm fussy when it comes to my brushes!

Do you use Real Techniques brushes? Have you tried this blush brush? What has your experience with it been like?
Annie xx

25 February 2013

Being Brave, the First OOTD-This is me

I'va always thought of myself as someone that gets seen as "pretty face, shame about the body". I have a beautiful, slender best friend, a love for reading fashion blogs and magazines full of gorgeous, size 6-10 women, and a fiance who can eat whatever he likes and still keep his six pack. Over time, the huge focus size that is everywhere has really made me feel very conscious about being, what I don't actually think is huge, at a size 16.
So I think the time has come to take control of the insecurities and say to myself, yes, this is me, and whilst I may not look like a swimwear model, I am happy and thats what matters. Part of that process for me is to stop hiding away and start writing OOTD posts here on the blog because I need to stop worrying that strangers will judge me for being me. Haters gonna hate so go ahead :)
Blue top- Apricot/ white vest top- Marks and Spencer/ Leggings- Red or Dead/ Shoes- Topshop/ Handbag- Fiorelli/ Sunglasses- Accessorize/ Watch- Calvin Klein
Annie x

22 February 2013

Benefit Sun Beam Highlighter Review on Lighter Skin

Its been a while since I've blogged properly I know, we were away and now our house is full of stress because we're having our whole heating system replaced so it's been hard to find a quiet minute so sit and do some writing. But thats all pretty much over now so I'm back properly and todays post is a review that several people have asked me to post.

High Beam by Benefit is without a doubt one of the most loved highlighters on the market because it is easy to use, long lasting and flattering on almost all skin tones. The next addition to the collection was Moon Beam, another lovely, shimmering enhancer but what the collection lacked was a golden bronze highlighter and that is where Sun Beam comes in.

Sun Beam is the latest of the "beam" collection and is designed to flatter darker skin tones, olive shades and to  give a gorgeous summer glow. Now, being fairly pale, Sun Beam wasn't really created to be for my skin tone but I thought it was worth a trial and if not suitable, I could just use it as a cream eye shadow, BUT joy of joys, with the right makeup, this looks gorgeous even on fairly fair tones.

The applicator is the same as with the other Benefit highlighters which is oh so good for dotting the product in arches around the eye, along cheek bones or for a little sweep along shoulder bones. Because the product is fairly rich in colour as well as thick and creamy, you only need a small amount per use so this bottle lasts a looong time, I literally only use three dots on each side of my face per use so thats hardly anything making the  £18.50 price tag, which may at first seem a little steep, a whole lot more reasonable.

The swatch on my hand is one quick sweep with the brush. As you can see, the product is a lovely copper toned bronze that has a shimmer running through it. Now, I took this photo in Tenerife when my hand was a little tanned and at this point I think it had just about become a good colour match, so during the winter I wouldn't usually be able to wear this on my fair skin (I'm always the lightest foundation shades so I really am light) but as the weather warms up and my skin naturally tans a bit it becomes ok for me. My advice when it comes to skin tones it to, of course pop in and visit your nearest Benefit counter to swatch, but probably avoid if you are super pale and don't tend to tan at all. If like me, you tan easily, I would really recommend even on english rose tones for the summer as it gives such a warm, pretty glow and I think makes me look less "pasty".
My super heavy swatch from the 3rd photo left me with quite a yellow looking effect even when blended in but I had to show you how beautifully Sun Beam catches the light of the sun. It really does light up. On cheeks it gives you a lovely fresh glow and really enhances a tan. In Tenerife I wore this with Soap and Glory Solar Powder and Nars Orgasm Blush for a warm flush of summer colour.

So, my over all verdict? Yes Sun Beam can make a gorgeous highlighter, even on fairer tones, but I think that for it to work you need to have warm base tones to the skin and perhaps wait for the sunshine to come out before popping it on, paired with a little bronzer and a smoldering blush. Try before you buy fellow english roses :)

What do you think of Benefit Sun Beam? Have you tried it? How does it match up to your skin tone? What do you wear it with?
Annie x

18 February 2013

Home Again

I'm back :)
I had an amazing time in Tenerife enjoying a bit of sunshine and temperatures of around 25c but now its back to 5c and thermal socks to keep the chill off my toes.
I start my new job tomorrow and I'm all excited/nervous so I'm going to take a day off blogging tomorrow and normal posting will resume wednesday. I have a couple of outfit posts ready to go but its definitely going to take a bit of courage to upload those, even though I'm happy to show my face online, my figure is a different matter.
I also took the chance to take some lovely photos ready for some long over due product reviews so I have lots to show you in the next couple of weeks :)
But for now I'll leave you with one of my favourite holiday photos of Daniel and I full of sangria :P
Hasta Luego!
Annie xx

16 February 2013

In my Graze Box This Week #3

Another week and another yummy Graze box delivered straight to me at home :)
This week was a really good one as well, there wasn't anything in there that I wasn't keen on and all four snacks were put on my "like" list on the website.
So what did I get this week?

What really struck me first about this box is that it was nice and balanced with two sweet snacks and two savoury. One thing to note when you sign up to Graze is that there is definitely more sweet snacks than savoury so a quick look at what is on offer is a good idea if you're more of a savoury fan.

Basil and Garlic Pitted Beldi Olives- First up I had a pot of fresh basil and garlic marinaded olives which came complete with a little olive pick. I love love love green olives and the flavour of these was lovely. There were a good amount and they also weren't drowned in oil. Very yummy :)

Pina Colada- One of my favourite cocktails in snack form! This simple snack is a mix of dried coconut, dried mango and coconut flakes. I'm not the biggest fan of dried fruit usually, but I think I may now become hooked on dried pineapple, its so tasty and not too sweet either. The different components tasted really good together and because of the softness to the fruit, the coconut didn't leave the mouth all dry.

Nacho Libre- The other savoury snack in this weeks box, Nacho Libre is a mixture of salsa almonds, cheesy sombreros and jumbo chilli corn. Oh my goodness this one was good, I love a bit of flavour to my food so the little chilli and salsa hit from this snack is right up my street. There isn't enough chilli to make it "hot" but there is a little warmth. This snack is also rich in vitamins and minerals and super low calorie so all round yay!

Cookies and Cream- Last up and this weeks favourite, was the Cookies and Cream snack. This box contained a mix of sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, white chocolate buttons and mini chocolate cookies. I'm a big savoury fan but boy am I a sucker for a chocolate cookie haha. I'm not keen on sunflower seeds but when mixed with the other components they were actually pretty yummy, but the highlight of the litle box was the cookies which were nice and sweet and really yummy when eaten with the hazelnuts.

So over all this box was a really good one and left me excited to see what comes next time. Because I'm on holiday this friday I was able to tell Graze and cancel this weeks box so the next one arrives when I'm home again, definitely a good feature! If you'd like to try a box for free then there is a link in my sidebar that takes you to the Graze website :)
What do you think of this weeks box? Doesn't the cookies and cream snack look good?
Annie x
*ps, I'm away until 17th and this post is scheduled so if you comment and don't get a reply, I promise it's not that I'm ignoring you! <3*

14 February 2013

Roses Are Red Etc Etc

Feliz Dia de Saint Valentin Three Little Buhos lovers!
You probably know if you've been reading my blog for a while that I'm a member, and actually, recently was lucky enough to be added to the admin team, of Beauty Box Swaps, a facebook community for beauty addicts to trade and sell their unloved beauty items.
For Valentines day I took part in a box swap with a lovely lady from the group. We set a £10 budget and also added items that we already had and put together a nice box of valentines treats for one another. Because I'm not actually in the UK this valentines day Jemma was very nice and sent my box a little earlier so I could open and enjoy before going away, hence I am able to show you my valentines pressies today :)

Jemma totally spoiled me, as well as all the goodies above she also sent me a some bits and pieces that went straight in to my suitcase before I took these photos including a gorgeous scarf and another pack of Cath Kidston tissues :)
The combination of fluffy socks, Soap and Glory and shiny things is so me, and its clear that she really thought about what I've said I like :)

How pretty are all of my lovely treats? I loved everything that Jemma was kind enough to send me from the floating candles, to the Cath Kidston brooches, from the Benefit minis to the hair pins. There isn't anything that won't be used and loved. So thank you hugely :)
What are you up to this Valentines day? Dan and I are both in Tenerife with my family to celebrate a birthday so we don't have any special plans but are going to find a nice restaurant to have dinner in. Whatever your plans, I hope you're enjoying you day :)
Annie xx
*ps, I'm away until 17th and this post is scheduled so if you comment and don't get a reply, I promise it's not that I'm ignoring you! <3*

12 February 2013

A Cheeky Shopping Trip ;)

Lately I've been staying fairly well behaved when it comes to spending, what with christmas, then not having a job for a few weeks but when I found out I'd got my new job I went out on a little trip to celebrate and buy myself a few treats. In my defense I also bought most of Daniels valentines gifts on the same trip so I didn't JUST spend money one me :)
Here's what I bought myself, by the way, I apologize for the terrible photos, they were taken on my phone as I was doing some late night tidying.

My first stop was Space NK where I picked up this pretty Rococo nail varnish. It's the first varnish of theirs that I've tried and I must say I am impressed. I have a review coming up for you when I'm back from Tenerife :)

Next up I popped in to The Body Shop to take a look at their mineral foundation £15 because I've heard that it is a good comparison to the Bare Minerals version. I picked one up in the shade Natural Vanilla (not the lightest for a change!) and so far so good, again, review to come next week! Whilst I was there I was drawn in by one of their fab offers; if you spend £18 on makeup and/or skin care at the moment you get a full sized body butter worth £13 free. Don't mind if I do! To round my spend up a bit I picked up a travel sized cleanser and toner to try out since my usual Lush goodies are pretty chunky and wouldn't really fit in my over full suitcase. The lovely sales lady recommended the aloe cleanser to cool me off after a day in the sun and the seaweed toner because it's packed full of vitamins and minerals. When I left she also popped a few face cream samples in to my bag from the aloe and seaweed ranges too for me to pack which I thought was quite sweet even if she just wanted me to come back and buy more!

Next stop was WHS because I like to have a good snoop around the books and they tend to have some good offers on, as you can see from the BIG RED STICKERS on my new Mary Berry cookery book. Such a sweet little old lady. I love baking, I don't write about it often on here, but we do quite a lot of baking in this house (Would you like me to share baking posts more often?) As you can see, I got this book as part of a 2 for £10 deal and since Daniel won't see this before valentines day it won't ruin any surprises for me to say that the other book I bought was a yummy looking mexican cookery book for him to enjoy :)

Finally, being totally hooked on chocolate, I stopped off at the Thorntons outlet that we're lucky enough to have in Bath (sandwiched between Whittard and Ann Summers down near Southgate if you happen to be local) and managed to pick up this huge minty box of fabbyness for £7 down from £20ish. Being a complete old lady, after taking this I popped the mint humbugs in a little bag to keep in my handbag...old before my time I know *face palm*

So thats my little celebration haul. I also spent lots in Lush and Molton Brown on Daniels treats as well as his book and a heart shaped chocolate lollie for him to look cute eating :)
Annie x
*ps, I'm away until 17th and this post is scheduled so if you comment and don't get a reply, I promise it's not that I'm ignoring you! <3*

8 February 2013

Nivea Raspberry Rose Lip Butter Review

During thw inter, my lips get so dry and nasty so I'm always on the hunt for a good lip balm or butter, and I think I may have found something special in the Nivea Raspberry Rose Lip Butter.

There are others in the range, including caramel cream, vanilla macadamia and the plain original but it was the smell that really drew me to this scent. As you would expect from the cute pink packaging it has a light raspberry aroma to it, which to me smells just like raspberry yoghurt, yum! The tin holds a very generous 16.9g/19ml and because its a fairly large round it's nice and shallow so there's no annoying nail-in-butter situation which really grosses me out.

The butter is lovely and soft and actually buttery unlike some balms that call themselves butters. I find that buttery balms sink in a lot better because they really melt in to the lips. This is the case with the raspberry rose lip butter, it is really fast acting and leaves my lips feeling relieved and nourished. The swatch on my finger looks rather light and white in colour but it applies perfectly clear on the lips and doesn't make them look washed out.
My one slight niggle with this product is the ingredients. In my opinion there is no need to have paraffinum liquidum (mineral oil) which is a byproduct of crude oil in there however the combination of butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter and ricinus communis (castor) seed oil makes the butter incredibly nousishing, and the glycerin is humectant, locking moisture in to the lips.

Over all, I really like this lip butter; it gives the high level of hydration that you would expect from a Nivea product, has a yummy smell and taste, is generously sized yet still perfect for dropping into a handbag. It also has a pretty fab price tag at just £1.49 in Superdrug. I'll definitely be picking up the caramel scented one!

Have you tried any of the Nivea Lip Butters? What do you think of them? What flavour would you most like to try?
Annie xx

6 February 2013

In my Graze Box this Week #2

I was amazed how much of a response there was to last weeks Graze Box post, it seems a lot of you are interested in Graze and what they have to offer so I thought I'd show you for the next few weeks what I get so you can get a good idea of the variety of snacks on offer.

This week my box arrived a day late unfortunately, but to be honest, I'd be tempted to blame the post rather than Graze since I got my dispatch email on the thursday as is normal.
This week was a really good box, and I enjoyed all four of the snacks on offer. So what did I get?

Pear Tatin- First came a mix of pear, almonds, raspberry infused cranberries and yoghurt coated seeds. I was a little apprehensive of this mix because I don't usually like pear when its in its non-dried form but I actually really enjoyed this. Pear is so much nicer dried! But the highlight of this snack was definitely the raspberry infused cranberries, they tasted like sweeties but didn't make me feel like a fattie after eating them. Score!
Yaki Soba- The only savoury snack in this weeks box, which was a slight shame because I love savoury things. The mix was soba peanuts, edamame beans, noodles and chilli flavoured broad beans, so its packed with fibre. The obvious comparison to this snack is bombay mix, but I prefered the seasoning of the yaki soba because I love japanese seasoning and there was also a nice selection of textures to this snack and it kept me nice and full because of the beans and noodles.
Honeycomb Crunch- Oh my goodness this was a good one! A simple mix of almonds, raisins and chocolate coated honeycomb pieces, this did not taste like a healthy choice at all, and more like a treat. I love Crunchie from Cadbury so it was nice to be eating something so similar and knowing I was allowed to haha. The raisins were nice and plump too, not small and seedy so it really felt they were nice quality.
Toffee Apple- This weeks favourite! A very simple snack which is slices of dried granny smith apple with a delicious toffee sauce. The granny smith apple is lovely and sharp and the contrast with the toffee sauce is amazing. And this snack is super low calorie too at just 68! Can't complain about that.

Another good week for Graze, and I was super happy with my box. If you'd be interested in taking a look at Graze and trying a box completely free there is a link on my side bar that will take you straight to their website and hook you up with a free box :)

Do you like the look of this weeks box? Which snack do you think you would have enjoyed the most?
Annie x

4 February 2013

Makeup Mugshot: Minerals and Shimmer

Today has been amazing so far, I got offered a new job which I'm really excited to start, the sun has been shining and actually giving off warmth aaand I've been shopping (photos here). To celebrate such a fab day I'm going out this evening with my lovely mummy :)

Today I kept makeup pretty simple, going for subtle cheeks and lips, a little shimmer on the eyelids but lots of super black mascara, I just love the look of my lashes with the Soap and Glory Thick and Fast mascara *review here*
Lolly the Grumpy Kitty is having one of her clingy days and growls whenever I try to move her from my lap so she's in my mugshots too today haha.
Products used:

Bourjois 123 perfect foundation in light vanilla
Lush sheer face powder in emotional brilliance
Miners blush and bronze duo
Bare Minerals warmth all-over
Benefit High Beam
Topshop Brighten concealer pen

Bobbi Brown mahogany shadow on brows
Bobbi Brown baby pink shadow all over lid
Catrice Made to Stay cream eyeshadow
Soap and Glory Thick and Fast Mascara

MAC Brave lipstick

It always amazes me listing down what I've used just how much makeup it takes to look like you...only a bit better because I'd definitely call my very made up face a natural look. Madness eh what we do to feel confident :)
Have a good monday! I am!
Annie xx

1 February 2013

Looking Lush! Mask of Magnaminty Review

I've done it. I've posted a photo of myself on the internet covered in green. But I don't mind because it is showing you one of my very favourite beauty products and if my ugly mug tempts you to try this mask of amazingness then it's worth it :)

Mask of Magnaminty is one those Lush products that gets slightly overlooked and is totally under-rated. It is my go to whenever my skin is feeling dull and grumpy with me and is in general need of a wake up.

This face mask gets is lovely strong, tingly minty smell (just like mint ice cream!) from lots of peppermint oil and that is exactly what makes it so great for waking up skin thats feeling a bit sluggish. Peppermint is also incredibly good at drying up pesky spots, just pop a bit of the mask on when you can feel one lurking to beat it under submission again. It is actually advertised as a face and back pack and is designed to be used on even sensitive skin. There are two different tub sizes available, this one which is 315g and costs £8.75 and a smaller 125g tub which is £4.95.
When it comes to application, the mask spreads really smoothly across the face due to the combination of glycerin, kaolin, talc and bentonite gel that make up the base of the product. As you can see from the photo there is also a scrub to the mask that comes from ground aduki beans and evening primrose seeds which is nice and effective for making sure any grubbiness from the skin is scrubbed away as you wash off the mask.

Mask of Magnaminty leaves skin feeling super smooth, refreshed, clean and ultimately a lot healthier than before using it. I'm not the sort of person who religiously uses face masks but this is one that I do repurchase and another plus side is that if, like me, you struggle to use up the fresh face masks from Lush in the three week time slot, this mask keeps for 4 months and doesn't need refrigeration.

Personally I think its a must have, but what do you think? Have you ever used Mask of Magnaminty? What's your favourite mask for when your skin feels a bit dull?
Annie x