Friday, 31 May 2013

Monthly Mash Up #5

Work Hard, Shop Harder
Like last month, May has been a tale of two halfs. I finished my last exams and moved home from Uni, so I'm now back to living in Manchester. I'm so sad to have left Keele for good, but I'm excited to have a new start. Over the 3 years there has been so many highs and so much drama, we could easily have filmed a couple of reality TV series'. I left with the worst boy drama so this summer I'm having a nice break from all boy drama. If you follow me on twitter you will know I've been complaining of having a bad back. I think its my bed because I've never had this issue at uni. I feel old before my time. This month saw me finally get my paws on a Mulberry. Its true love with me and Bernard. Its my baby. Anyway, now I'm home I've spent some time relaxing. I've already been on some lovely days out and I have become 'one with nature' so sorry for all my nature-related instragraming. My parents treated me to the Ikea Alex (I'm a walking blogger cliche with my Alex and Muji storage) and organised all my products. I can safely say I am curbing my spending now I've seen how much I have. I want to use up all my existing products before I buy anything new, otherwise its just a waste of money really. Hopefully this will encourage me to start doing some empties posts!

Monthly obsessions
Now, I know this is limited edition and released annually around Christmas time but I've been adoring Lush's Snow Fairy Shower Gel, I got quite a few bottles of it because I love sweet fragrances and this has definitely been getting some love this month. More of a drugstore favorite, I have an obsession with the Natural Collection Vanilla Range. Their scrub is so lovely, and very heavily scented of vanilla so great for pairing with the corresponding body lotion. I bought quite a few new make up brushes this month, and I am in absolute love with the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush. I use quite a high coverage foundation so used to use either a firm flat foundation brush or a beauty blender, but the Expert Face Brush is so much easier. I can't recommend it enough. Of course I can't do a bit of a monthly favorites without popping the entire This Works Deep Sleep range in. I'm a self confessed worrier and during stressful times, my sleep does suffer. The pillow spray is a particular favorite, and I'm itching to get my hands on the bath soak. Usually by this time of year my hayfever is so bad I can't step a foot outside without rivaling the 7 dwarfs with my oh so attractive symptoms. Apart from the pollen developing later than usual in the UK thanks to our horrendous weather, the Prevalin nasal spray has been a bit of a life-saver. Once you get over the fact it goes up your nose (less than appealing) and give it a couple of days, its worth its wait in gold. Now everyone in the UK has been going mad over Coke's new marketing with names on bottles, but I can't for the life of me find a Jessica. I wouldn't mind but it's such a common name! I'm a woman on a mission. I've read two books this month which I've absolutely loved, nothing too hard going. Bridesmaids and Chelsea Wives are perfect easy-reading chick-lit. Rita Ora's cover of Somebody I Used To Know (my favorite song) has been on repeat on my IPod, and isn't getting old fast. I'm not actually a Rita Ora fan and was scared she was going to murder my favorite song, but I love it. The song is exactly what I'm going through at the moment with an ex so its been my soundtrack. Television wise I am slowly working through all 9 seasons of One Tree Hill. I'm a bit late to the party with this one but I am getting so into it! Vicious turned out to be a massive disappointment for me, but The Job Lot is hilarious (a good one if your into irony) so definitely worth a checking out. Also, my Sunday nights would not be complete without Catchphrase, now that is good telly.

I've been really disheartened with my blog for the last month and a half. I've had a lot on my plate lately, a degree to get. 1st and 2nd years start getting organised now, 3rd year is a bitch for your blog and social life. I've heavily relied on scheduled posts from before the madness began so its not like posts haven't been regular, and I've tried to keep you all update on Instagram and Twitter but I'm still a bit miffed. I think its down to the mix of posts that have been appearing. I aimed thecrownwings to be a beauty, fashion and lifestyle blog, and at the moment it feels like its more a beauty blog with a bit of lifestyle thrown in for good measure. Its not that I've had no inspiration for the other areas, in fact I've got a Word document two pages long with potential posts. I wish I could say it was even that I was lazy, but its not. I've just had other things that have been a bigger priority than whether my blog is well balanced. In all honesty some posts are faster to knock out, especially when you have a to-do list that resembles an Argos catalogue.  Product reviews are relatively faster to write up, but its left me being totally bored of what I'm producing. If I'm bored of writing it, chances are you lot are bored of reading it. 

So I'm not going to shoulda woulda coulda anymore ( Got to love a bit of Beverly Knight). All I am going to do is fix it. So starting from now, I'm going to pay attention to what type of posts I schedule and try and get the balance back! I am going to start doing outfit posts sometime this summer, when I buck up the confidence to, and step up to the plate. A room tour has also been highly requested, so once the builders are out of my house and its been decorated I'll whip some photos up. I'm going to do more features on my adventures and hauls, and even try and do some empties once in a while. I've also missed doing my old editorial pieces. They took ages, but they were the ones that I used to get the nicest feed back on and quite frankly the ones I enjoyed doing the most, so those will be making a more regular appearance. This week I've gone back to my old three posts a week, with posts being usually scheduled on Monday's, Wednesdays and Fridays. Chances are there may be a few extra thrown in if I'm feeling particular articulate, but I'm trying to get into a routine of a  three minimum. If you do have any suggestions or requests please let me know either through a comment, twitter or an e-mail.

It would mean the world to me if you could let me know if you like this style of Instagram/Monthly Favorites post. I'm trying to present my posts a bit different to make it more interesting for you to read, so your feedback would be really helpful.

You've still got time to enter my giveaway to win an OCC Lip Tar. Enter here


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Best Summer Ever

This summer is probably my last 'summer holiday' between education years. I'm doing two post-graduate degrees next year and then fingers crossed whilst clutching lucky charms will enter either a trainee solicitor or paralegal post after I've completed that, finally joining the real world. I get a whopping 16 weeks off between now and the start of my LL.M LPC and by the time your reading this it will be just over 14. I'm determined not to waste this time like I usually do every summer and do things I've wanted to do for ages but just been too preoccupied with other things. I'm not going away anywhere, mainly for the fact I can't get health insurance at this present time whilst I'm still having treatment, I'm actually having an operation on my ankle, and my house is being renovated  so I've been roped into helping with that.  Although very cliched, I don't want any regrets and feeling like I didn't make the most of this time come September. Ever the OCD organiser, I decided to set myself a few goals to do, and each month I'll keep you updated with how I'm doing. 
  1. Get my fitness back.
    It would be a lie for me to say I'd ever had amazing fitness but it used to be significantly better than it is now. I've talked a lot on the blog about getting fitness back, but every plan has always been side-tracked due to treatment. I seriously injured my ankle in my first year of University playing in a hockey match and am having yet another operation on it to try and get it back to normal. I want to successfully complete physio and get my fitness back on track so I feel happy joining a local hockey team come the September. Be prepared for lots of moaning tweets about early morning runs and physio hell. 
  2. Read books
    I've always been a massive book worm, but reading for fun has been replaced by reading case judgments of late. I've got a pile of books I've been meaning to read, so I want to get back into lazing in the conservatory with a good book. 
  3. Sort my photos out
    I have a pile of photos ranging from my 13th Birthday to plays I've been in and gigs I've seen but haven't done anything with them! I'm a strong believer in preserving memories, so I want to do a photo book or scrapbook or something with them.
  4. Get Crafty
    I've been meaning to do some DIY for ages now. So I want to make, bake and cook. For me that seems the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Hopefully I'll post about anything I come up with on here, so keep your eyes peeled.
  5. Become a hometown tourist.
    I've moved back home now, and will be living in my family home for the foreseeable future because I'm attempting to pay for my post-grad degrees without a loan (I'm poor now). Anyway. There are so many places I haven't been to in the North West but really want to go to but never found the time. I also want to go to my favorite places, mainly Chester Zoo, which I haven't been to in so long! I really do take for granted all the amazing things close to my home. I mean, I'm 45 mins from the centre of Manchester, and hour from Liverpool and an hour and half from Blackpool, I need to start going to these places more!
  6. Placements.
    I definitely want to do some work placements in law firms. I love law so much (what a geek) and just want to use this time getting as much as experience as possible, to help me get a job at the end of next year.
  7. Parent Bonding.
    I have such an amazing relationship with my mum and dad. Obviously we have have arguments, but we have become so much closer this year and I really do love it. Because I've lived away for 3 years, I've really missed having a girly day with my mum, or doing something with just my dad and me so I'm definitely keen to plan so special days out.
  8. Blog Mojo
    I feel like I've let the quality of my blog slip pretty bad while I've been focusing on my degree, so obviously I'm keen to get it back.
  9. Geneology
    I am aware I am coming across as a complete geek in this post. I adore all those programmes about family history and I've tried to do it before but gave up fast. This time I actually want to stick at it. I have a really small family, so it would be nice to know something about where I'm from. 

So that's pretty much my Summer. Have you got any plans, or anything you want to do? 

Don't forget, you can still enter my giveaway to win 1 of 2 OCC Lip Tars. To enter click here!

Monday, 27 May 2013

OCC Lip Tar + Giveaway

OCC Lip Tar in NSFW
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics are known for their lip tars, but they are relatively hard to get hold of in the UK (especially if your outside London), with only a few places stocking them. Not only are they 100% vegan and cruelty free, the little tubes pack a lot of punch in terms of pigmentation. Excuse the annoying flicks in the above pictures (I was still getting ready at the time), but you can see even on my naturally pigmented lips, the Lip Tar is true to shade. NSFW is described as a true red, and I'd agree. It would suit anyone, regardless of undertone. Only a tiny bead of product, half the size of a pea, is needed to cover your entire lip in an amazingly pigmented, long lasting shade. Using a lip brush is essential with this product (when I purchased mine, one came with it, but I'd check in case its dependent where you buy it from). Although I've never used a lip brush before (the most neglected brushes in my collection) I have to say I wont look back. Its very easy to get a lovely smooth line, and not at all a faf as I'd imagined. Once on, its on.  Over the weekend I went for a meal out and road tested it and it was still as pigmented when I got home in the early hours as when I first applied it. There was mild transfer, but considerably less than some of my other red lipsticks, so needless to say I am definitely impressed. This is a similar story with it drying out your lips. Although it is quite drying, it didn't find it clinged to any dry patches as long as you prep your lips before hand with a scrub and balm. The finish is not a true matte, but some still may prefer adding a clear gloss over for a more satin finish. Like all red lipsticks, I'd recommend a good liner to prevent bleeding, but I didn't experience any when I carelessly forgot to use it. Overall I am completely in love with OCC Lip Tars. I'm not really a gloss girl, so the packaging kind of intimidated me. This is more like a liquid lipstick, and the most long-lasting lip product I've ever used. 

If you fancy getting your hands on one of two OCC Lip Tars in the shade NSFW (complete with lip brush), then click here and enter my giveaway!

Friday, 24 May 2013


When I was 15 I fell in love with designer bags. It was at this time Mulberry really started to appeal to me. I loved the brand ethos and what it symbolises, classic British luxury, and spent a fair few hours procrastinating  on their website. Way back then, my mum said when I graduate from University, I can get a Mulberry bag, but I've got to admit I thought this bribe promise might get forgotten over time. Speed up to 2013, and my parents hadn't forgotten. Although I don't graduate until July 11th, my parents didn't want to award me for what grades I achieve, but on what effort I put in. They said they could see how much work I put into my degree, so no matter what, I deserve my Mulberry. Meet Bernard, my small Bayswater Satchel in Chocolate. I wanted something classic and elegant, and for me, the Bayswater embodies this. I didn't buy it on the high street, I actually went to the Outlet at Cheshire Oaks (and paid quite a bit less), because even I struggle to justify the prices. However, I had fallen in love with the postman's lock and knew a Bayswater was the one I wanted. Now I know Mulberry prices are extortionate for a bag, and normally I wouldn't think it was worth it spending so much on an accessory, but I think its what the bag represents is the bigger think. University for me hasn't been easy. I've suffered from constant illness and pain, only just discovering the real cause was a small brain tumour towards the end of my second year. Having to teach myself the majority of my law degree and still have the prospects of graduating with a high 2:1 in the normal 3 year period is something I am amazingly proud of. For me, my Mulberry is the physical embodiment of everything I've overcome to get my degree, and I couldn't be happier. 

I would just like to add that I am in no way bragging about my amazing graduation present. I am extremely grateful to my parents for buying this me. A lot of people wanted to see the bag I'd chosen from Mulberry so I thought it best to do a post  on it. 

Have you got anything from Mulberry or getting anything special as a graduation present? I'd love to know.

If your from the UK and haven't entered my OCC Lip Tar giveway yet click here to eneter

Monday, 20 May 2013

Dead Sea Spa Magik Algimud Active Seaweed Mask

Dead Sea Spa Magik Peel Off Mask - £3.60

I've always loved the idea of Dead Sea Spa Magik as a brand, but never actually tried anything. I picked up this face mask on a bit of a whim, my skin needed a pick-me-up and I fancied a change from the ones I already have. Containing natural dead sea mud and seaweed and promising to detox my skin, it sounded perfect.

One of the things that most attracted me to this particular mask is its ingredients. Without getting too sciencey and out of my depth, the dead sea mineral mud is said to help purify the skin whilst the Alignates help to create a gelification process which eventually hardens. It also doesn't contain any parabens, making it the perfect radiance enhancing mask.

In one pack you get a sachet, which provides a very generous amount for a single use, and a wooden spatula. There is a small amount of preparation to be done in that you have to mix the sachet with 75 ml of cold water before immediately applying it in a thick layer to your skin, but its easy to get it into a good consistency. It is recommended that you ask someone to apply it for you, because otherwise you will get it everywhere. While I got the benefit of the mask, my mum got the fun factor in smothering my face using the spatula and nearly blocking my nostrils. Attractive. Joking aside, we never stop laughing, so this would be perfect for a girly night in! Oh, and I've spared you all the horror of seeing myself modelling the mask, I ended up looking like the Elephant Man, and nobody needs to see that.

Once applied you can feel it tighten; I love feeling like a mask is doing something. The advice given is to leave it on for 10-20 minutes. I actual lost track of time watching an episode of New Girl and left it on for 30 minutes.  When I looked in the mirror it didn't appear to have hardened any, but I decided to do a risky attempt at peeling it off regardless. Thank God I did because it had hardened. Although the appearance hadn't changed, the mask actually transformed into a type of rubber mask, a second skin if you will. For once a peel off mask did what its supposed to do and peeled off in one piece, mess free! It was such a fun process, kind of like removing a latex Halloween mask (I kid you not!). The results underneath were amazing, my skin looked so clean and glowed, and stayed like that for a couple of days! I can definitely see the purifying qualities of the dead sea mud and I am now a complete brand convert.

The cheapest place I've found that stock this mask is Amazon at £3.60, but I got mine from Holland & Barrett. For one use, it isn't the cheapest mask on the market, but it is cheaper than a facial. It was so relaxing and my skin looks so much better. If your looking for a detox, pamper and just want to try something different, I definitely recommend it.

Have you tried any Dead Sea Spa Magik products? I really want to try their bath salts next!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Is it just me or...? || Exam and Assessment Observations

On Tuesday I completed all my exams and assessments for my Undergraduate law degree. This is my 7th year of having 'proper' exams, not counting the ones that don't mean anything in the real world before Year 10 (I sat some GCSE's in Year 10, not 11), so needless to say I've become well programmed to the whole assessment period. By now you would think I'd be fed up of education, but I'm going on to do another two postgraduate degrees in one year from September. I'm not going to lie, I just want the alphabet after my name and the student discount. Anyway less of my CV, more of the post, through the years I've noticed some things I think are pretty standard across the country, probably the world, so I though I'd share with you some of my favorites. It is quite a wordy post, but I hope its worth reading. Hopefully this will make those of you who have finished with education smile and cheer up (and provide some procrastination) those of you still in it (there's a light at the end of the tunnel).

During the hectic period right before the assessment period there's pretty much four catorgories of people. There's the work-a-holics that  give up their social life, and basically any life really apart from revising/preparing. Then there's the plodders, the group that try as hard as they can, attempting to maintain a life and constantly stress when they give into guilty pleasures (Youtube, I'm looking at you) instead of revising. One group which will not be feeling guilty for remaining human is the procrastinators. Now we've all been there. When its the first proper 'summer' day, doing anything revision related isn't going to be high on your priority list, but reorganising your notes, for the seventh time, because your colour co-ordination clashed with another module suddenly seems urgent. Even printing off everything and anything that is slightly relevant to you exam (but you have no intention of reading), stapling it just so and placing each into a plastic wallet in a file feels like you've done a hard days work. Lastly, we cannot forget the night-beforers. Those lucky individuals that can spend the entire preparation period rolling their eyes at the work-a-holics and plodders before sliding out the door on yet another night out, until the night before the deadline in which they pull an all-nighter, cram like mad and still manage to get a good mark (how is that possible?!). Personally, I think I strike a nice balance between a plodder, procrastinator and a work-a-holic depending on how close to the deadline I am, but I really wish I could be a night-beforer!

Another thing I've noticed about exams is that the most unexpected people will actually engage in conversation with you. Be this through facebook, twitter, people who you wouldn't normally acknowledge in your class will now act like you've been each others rock. I'd like to take this as a compliment, but is it just me that gets the endless stream of what topics are you revising? How much have you done? Blah Blah Blah. Since when does my opinion hold such significance? It's worth noting that these same people will most likely be the same people who want to 'discuss' the exam after you've just spent 3 hours trying not to have a nervous breakdown over it. Why? Its not like your dissection and construction of the 'perfect' answer will magically change anyone's grade. The exam paper isn't like the Marauder's Map, your new improved plan will not just suddenly appear in your paper, so stop! 

Like before the exam, there are some pretty distinct characteristics of in-exam behavior  You have the uber prepared who invested in a clear pencil case (with a pink zip to add some spice) way back in 2006 and is going to get her money's worth (all of the £0.99 I paid). You have the so laid back they should be horizontal people who seem to be doing an impression of a sloth they are so relaxed rolling in 2 minutes before the exam starts. This next one is probably only relatable to University students unless they've changed the exam booklets since I did GCSE & A-Levels. Does anyone else feel amazingly self-conscious when the lick the corner of their exam to hide your name and give a glance to check if anyone watching (anonymous marking at its best)?. Not only do you feel completely drained through the stress of sitting an exam, they subject you to this social humiliation of looking like a tramp. What amazes me in exams is the extreme writer who writes so much so fast they seem like their going for the gold medal. Please tell me that it isn't just me that looks up with horror when someone asks for more paper after an hour. I think I've only ever once asked for more paper in an exam, and that was to fit an extra two words in. Finally, I couldn't finish talking about exam room behavior without a lovely mention to those invigilators. Now I understand you must be as bored as we are terrified, but please wear slippers if you insist on walking up and down. Not only will you be comfy, you won't be subjected to the many death stares your clicking most likely achieves.

Lastly (I promise this post is ending soon), is the horrible task of having to hide your notes after your exams. I've mentioned that I hate talking about exams after they have happened, and this extends to even seeing my notes in my bag or on my bed after the exam. I handle it like nuclear waste, holding it at the corners and placing it in some dark dusty corner, until a year later I discover it in a major tidy up and think why was I so terrified over the notes I've sacrificed my life compiling  And then go on to do it again in the next lot of assessments.

So that's some of my examination and assessment observations. I really hope I'm not alone in these and some of you do or have seen the same thing otherwise this is going to be pretty awkward. What things that I've missed out have you noticed? I'd love to know.

I know it takes some effort and your (a) in a rush (b) procrastinating (c) tired but it would be really really helpful if you let me know via comments, twitter, e-mail, owl, if you enjoyed this kind of post. I'm trying out new things, which will all be explained soon in my May Monthly Mash Up, and I have quite a few of these posts planned already, but if no-one fancies reading them, there's little point publishing them (except for my own amusement).

Whilst your procrastinating, if you happen to be from the UK and fancy winning one of two OCC Lip Tars, click here to enter my giveaway.

Monday, 13 May 2013

V05 Plump It Up Amplifying Blow Dry Lotion

V05 Plump It Up - £3.69
I'm really lucky in the sense that I have always had exceptionally thick hair in good condition. I've never really suffered from the dreaded frizz, even on holiday, and the only reason I had my cut into a short bob was because I wanted a change, and it took the weight out of my hair. Because of of the limited options a bob presents on the styling front, I rely on my GHD's and a good blow dry. To keep my hair healthy and sleek I depend on a decent blow drying lotion.

I picked this V05 one up way back in late September just before I moved back to Uni, and have repurchased it ever since, so its about time I did a review. V05 Pump It Up Amplifying Blow Dry Lotion is a bit of a multi-tasker. Its a blow dry lotion and a heat protection spray. I'm not usual a fan of multi-tasking products; in my experience they never fully deliver on any of their claims, just so-so on each. For the price I wasn't expecting miracles, but I really do like this. It doesn't give me the most volume and thickness I've ever had, but I wasn't that fussed about that because naturally my hair is very thick. I do think if you have thinner hair than me, this would probably have a greater effect, as it does add a little bit of volume. This is also supposed to help with frizz and fly-aways. I don't really suffer from frizz so I can't comment on that, but on fly-aways, it does help create a more polished look. The heat defence seems to be really good. At the moment I've got into the bad habit of straightening or blow drying my hair every day, and its still in really good condition. It leaves a really smooth, slightly shiny blow dry after one or two sprays. Lasting about a month with every day use, for value for money, I don't think you could do better.

I think I picked mine up at Asda, but Superdrug sell it for £3.69. What do you use to protect your hair? Has anyone got any volume tips for thick hair? Most products I see understandably cater for thinner hair, so I'd love to know any you've found for thicker hair.

P.S. Enter my giveaway and have the chance of winning an OCC Lip Tar! Click here.

Friday, 10 May 2013


A lot of you will have exams so looking good is most likely taking a back seat. If you don't have exams, no doubt you do have the odd lazy day now and again so you can relate. I don't know about anyone else, but I tend to be most productive when I'm actually happy with my make-up and outfit choices. Having 5 minutes out of my revision for my last two exams, I've come up with a few ways you can be comfortable and still stay fashionable.  I've tried to include something to suit everyone, from skirt wearers, joni jeans lovers to dressing up sweat pants! Hopefully you'll find some inspiration to keep yourself sane. I hope everyone's assessments are going well.
Revision Style

To win one of two OCC Lip Tars, Click Here

Monday, 6 May 2013

Bittersweet London

Bittersweet London Summer Raspberry Kiwi Sweets (*) - £5.95
I'm always on the look out for items I could give as gifts. Something that's nicely packaged and universally appealing whilst being affordable to be given for small thank you presents, stocking fillers etc. Bittersweet London are the perfect treat everyone can enjoy.  Offering goodies including Marshmallows, gum and mints, all products are sugar free, gluten free and suitable for vegetarians. Usually this means that the sweets will taste of nothing, but that's far from it in this case. Unless you read it on the box, you wouldn't know that your actually being 'good'. They are absolutely delicious and whats more low in calories. I can't speak for all the treats, but per 100g of Summer Raspberry Kiwi there are 239 calories. Seeing as you would only have a couple in one go, these are the perfect thing to give into your sweet tooth without compromising your healthy lifestyle. Adding that the packaging is so lovely (I am obsessed with the flower-esque top and opening) and it makes the perfect token of appreciation for any occasion.

To have a look at the full range of treats on offer visit

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win one of two OCC Lip Tars! click here

Sunday, 5 May 2013

MAC In Extra Dimension Eye Shadow

I wasn't actually very bothered about the In Extra Dimension collection until I saw it on Temptalia. I then immediately wanted needed three of their eye shadows in shades Opalesse, Triple Impact and Smokey Mauve. Together they make the most beautiful shimmering pink/lavender smokey eye and are colours I am actually missing from my collection and have wanted to wear.

Lightest first, Opalesse. MAC described this as an Opalescent White with Pink Pearl and I pretty much agree. The collection uses the same packaging as that of the permanent collection, so I may depot these three into my MAC Pro Palette. However, its the product I love look at not the packaging. How beautiful is the design. Although when I swatched the design was still there, I have a feeling it will inevitably disappear (sigh). The formula is liquid-powder allowing for the intense shimmer given by all three shadows. Opalesse is  pretty sheer, but makes an amazing highlight, especially for shades such as Girlie and Expensive Pink. Quality wise this lives up to the MAC standard. It is beautifully applied and extremely blendable. The colour can be built up slightly, but still remains relatively sheer. As lasting power goes, this hit the 6 hour mark with no creasing with no primer.

Admittedly I wasn't wowed with Triple Impact and on its on I'm still not. However, next to the other three I really does look beautiful so I'm glad I splurged. Like with the other it is relatively sheer, although there is a slight pink/purple tinge to it. MAC describe this as an opalescent lavender with a violet pearl so it lives up to expectations. I do wish this was slightly more pigmented though, on its own it does appear to be nothing special. The lasting power is around 6 hours and it is extremely workable, the only thing letting it down is its pigmentation.

This is the shade that initially caught my eye. As soon as I saw it I needed it in my life, and then naturally the two complementary shades. Described as a midtone cool mauve Smokey Mauve is breathtaking both in the pan and on the eye in the crease. It is incredibly pigmented and appears to have a brown undertone in a swatch, but on the eye blended in with the others it looks identical to the pan.  Like with all of this range it last around 6 hours before any creasing occurs without a primer, and could most likely prolonged with the use of one. I am in love with this colour and recommend it for anyone, especially those with blue/green eyes, as it really makes them pop.

The In Extra Dimension eye shadows are £16.50 each, and still available on the MAC website (on 1st May) and will be hitting counters soon.

Have a chance of winning one of two OCC Lip Tars by entering here.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

MAC Temperature Rising: Temperature Rising Eye Shadow Quad

There's differing opinions amongst bloggers about MAC limited collection quads. It's either poor shade selection, or unusually bad quality that has made a Quad a bit of a risk. Frankly, most of the time I'd say you would be better making your own Pro Palette with nearly identical shades. This time I took a chance, and it paid off.

I'm not going to bore all of you have read all of my reviews on Temperature Rising, but the packaging wins me over every time. I wish this was the standard MAC packaging actually. Its just so pretty to look at, and screams bronzed summers. Shade selection wise, its one of my perfect palettes. Neutral with a slight plum twist and ideal for a natural day look or an evening smokey eye. The shades are (top row l-r) Performance Art, Temperature Rising, (bottom row l-r) Swelter and Beauty Marked (which is actually a permanent shade) and are actually similar to those in the NARs the Happening Palette (review) but perhaps more warm toned. I would say the quality is slightly below normal MAC, but is still high. I do think the pigmentation of Swelter should be greater to make for a better smokey eye, but it easily built up and can be blended out. They wear roughly 5 hours and are extremely easy to blend. This will be taken everywhere with me this summer, definitely winning me over to MAC collection palettes.

Palettes usually stick around longer than other products such as lipsticks. On 30th April, this is still available online for £38.50, and is yet to come to counters.

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Friday, 3 May 2013

MAC Temperature Rising: Blush in Ripe for Love

Third in my shopping basket from the MAC Temperature Rising Collection was a beautiful coral blush. If your someone familiar with MAC, you will know their blushes are of amazing quality. There is also a pink blush in the collection but coral/peach tones suit my skin tone a lot better.

I adore the packaging, the burnished bronze is so elegant and summery. It feel luxurious even before I apply it. The product is a satin finish and of the usual MAC standard; high quality, high pigmentation, long lasting. The blush is pretty vivid so a little does a lot and can be easily built up. Its the perfect shade for a bronze glowing contoured look and I will definitely be pairing this with my Bronze Strobe Liquid. Coral/peachy tones really help to pop blue eyes, so this blush will stand the test of time all through the year. I can see this becoming a firm favorite.

Although sold out on MAC, they should be hitting the counters soon, so I'd be quick of the mark if you want to snap one up.

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Thursday, 2 May 2013

MAC Temperature Rising: Powerchrome Eye Pencil

After Bronze Strobe Liquid, next in my shopping bag was MAC's version of the eye pencil. I am in love with Rimmel's high street dupes and with the likes of Laura Mercier, Clinique, Nars etc. having similar products, these seem to be sticking around. Not only are they great for travelling, I find application to be fool-proof, perfect if your in a rush.

MAC's Powerchrome eye pencil comes in four shades, of which I have Polished Jet. The other shades are more golden brown, and I just feel like this has been done amazingly by Rimmel, so I'm not going to pay more for the same. The shade is a shimmering dark not-quite-black not-quite-grey shade that will work perfect in a crease blended in to make a quick smokey eye. The pigmentation is incredible, the swatch shows one very light stroke. Its very soft and creamy, and easy to work into the look you want. Stay power is around the 6 hour mark, longer with a primer, so perfect for a night out.

Packaging wise, there is an appearance on the outer box of the burnished bronze packaging associated with this collection. The actual product is a glossy pencil, with a shade indication at the end. It is not self sharpening which in a way, I'm glad about as I have had issues with some breaking. However, this inevitably leads to wastage. Its all swings and roundabouts.

Overall, I'm glad I bought this because the colour is exactly what I love and I needed it in a pencil form for travelling, but I'm not going to rush out and buy more. As I've already mentioned Rimmel and Clinique do some excellent versions in a wider shade range for cheaper, so it makes little sense to spend more on something I can get for cheaper and at a similar quality.

The pencils retail at £16 and at the time of scheduling (30th April), all four shades are still available on the MAC website, and are yet to be released at counters.

By the way, my OCC Lip Tar giveway with two winners is still running! Click here to enter.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

MAC Temperature Rising: Bronze Strobe Liquid

I'm not usually sucked into 'limited' collections. Well, actually that's a lie. I am a sucker for limited edition nail varnishes, of which Illamasqua is my weakness (I'm currently writing this on Tuesday, just after ordering Illamasqua's Paranormal Collection - the top coat and Omen to be precise). But MAC's collections rarely appeal to me, surprising since my bank sometimes thinks I am solely keeping them in business (always happy to do my bit for the economy). Whilst everyone was excited over Archie's Girls and the up-coming Ri-Ri collections, I'm a bit meh. When something happens every other month, its not special anymore. I can't afford it and I find it extremely hard to justify buying an eye shadow or lipstick that is practically identical to one in their permanent collection, that I would never have dreamed of buying in the first place but suddenly want because its 'limited'.

Rant over I am now going to be a massive hypocrite and start 1 of 5 posts on MAC's newest limited collections,  with 4 on MAC Temperature Rising, and 1 on Extra Dimension (I was weak, I was stressed. I blame exams). As far back as December I got word of this collection on the grape vine. My attention was initially sparked by the mention of MAC releasing a bronze strobe liquid. If you've been with me since the beginning you will know what a Strobe Liquid preacher I am (review) so a bronzing version seemed to be a summer must have for me.

MAC Strobe Liquid Bronze - RRP £22.50

Packaging wise it's identical to the normal strobe liquid. Its a glass jar with a pump dispenser which lets you control the amount you use and limits wastage  Most of the products in this collection have a beautiful burnished bronze packaging but this doesn't and remains the standard MAC black. I'm hoping that means this is going to stick around in the permanent collection (as Let's Skate paint pot did), but who knows.

The formula seems to be roughly the same, excluding the bronzing nature obviously. Its lightweight and can be used as a moisturiser, primer, highlight. You name it Strobe Liquid will do it. At first glance the shade is intimidating to say the least with my skin tone. However it does blend in lovely. There is a slight shimmer, so maybe its not for everyone, but if you use it purely as a highlighter, its not an issue. A little does a lot. I used one small pump for an entire hand and a bit of my forearm to test it out. Its easily buildable to use as a highlighter on your face so I'd recommend starting small and working yourself up to the shade you require. As you can see the effect given enhances your skin, reducing the appearance of imperfections and giving your skin a natural glow. This may come as no surprise but the product does have bronzing elements so obviously, if you blend it in carelessly, it will streak (as in the last picture)

Overall  I really love this product. Its perfect for summer or when I've been fake tanning. Worn all over the face, I can really seeing it enhancing the skins glow and really maximizing a tan. For when I've not got some colour, it is definitely wearable, although I do think I'm more likely to reach to the original (even just to preserve my stocks of this). I'm at my palest right now as I revise solidly indoor because of hay fever. Although it looked intimidating at the start, blended in and used minimally it gives such a lovely effect and really combats my dull, dry skin. I can imagine paired with a nice coral blush and a neutral smokey eye, it would look incredible. It can be hard to find products that don't cling to dry skin, especially ones that are tan related, but this is perfect and feels so hydrating. If this lasts me as long as my strobe liquid has (it better last me forever if its limited edition)  it is definitely worth the money.

If you fancy trying this it is still available on the MAC website (at the time of writing: 30/04/2013), or it should be coming to the counters in the next week or so.

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