Thursday, 17 April 2014

Life Update

Topshop goody bag // Den of Alyth // Krispy Kreme! // McLellan Galleries // Fried shallots // Vidal Sassoon haircut     

Where have I been? Well, I'm once again here to make excuses and let you know why I've been absent from this blog for nearly a month. I do honestly feel really bad about it, but sometimes life takes over.
I last posted in late March, and even by then life was starting to get pretty busy. As any student, or former student knows, this is the time of year when deadlines come rushing up all at once, and this year they have been kicking my ass.
In between classes, essays, presentations and dissertation prep, I have also had work placement and my actual paying job to juggle. Add to this a sharp drop in lack of available funds (and the gnawing realisation that my overdraft won't pay itself off) I've had no new products to talk about. It was around late March, stressed and underslept from juggling twenty things at once, that I realised something had to give.
It was the blog.
I love writing here - it's the fun thing I do in my free time - but it's also pretty time consuming. Daylight hours are few and far between here in Glasgow and I have few days off, so getting photos is a tricky business. I really felt I should be focusing my time on writing essays rather than blog posts.

Then, when I did have some time off, I was so exhausted and stressed that I just wanted to relax. I spent the time seeing friends, visiting a much-neglected boyfriend and reading books for fun again (the luxury!) You can see what I get up to in my off-time on my Instagram. 
In the past couple of weeks, I got my hair done at the lovely Vidal Sassoon; tried Krispy Kreme doughnuts for the first time in about ten years; took some outdoorsy trips to the Den of Alyth and Glenshee; visited a bunch of exhibitions for Glasgow International (my favourite so far - Aleksandra Domanovic at GoMA). Also, my mum bought me this awesome tub of fried shallots so I can try to recreate at home the awesome food at my favourite restaurant, Hanoi Bike Shop (seriously, go, if you are in the area.)

So all in all, it's been not much but it's been what I needed. I still have a few deadlines coming up (mostly dissertation related) so I won't be super-frequent here, but I will be back more regularly as soon as I can.
Thanks for being so understanding!
S xx

Monday, 24 March 2014

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser

I'm on a skincare mission. With the incredibly harsh weather we've been having in Glasgow these past few months, my skin's become irritated, dry, and has had frequent breakouts (that last one is probably because of some poor eating habits prompted by long study sessions in the library). So now, I'm trying to sort out my skincare routine and find the products that work for me. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

So, I went on the hunt for a cleanser. It had to be relatively budget, but not so cheap that it was essentially turpentine for the face - so no £2 face wipes, but not Emma Hardie either. A trip to Space NK, and avoiding everything rose (weirdly, although it's meant to work for sensitive skin, it makes me feel tight and itchy) and I came away with Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser (£15).

I will begin with a caveat that I do not consider myself a skincare expert of any kind - it's sort of a trial and error process for me here. However, I do know that a lot of people avoid sulfates and parabens in their skincare, so avoid this if you do since both clock in on the ingredients list.

I haven't been using this long enough for a long-term, in depth result so this will just be my first impressions: firstly, I really like that it's unfragranced, which works well for my irritable skin. The gel foams up into a gentle lather without being the kind of foaming cleanser that feels like it's stripping my skin. It leaves my skin feeling soft and clean, without being tight or itchy.

As a downside, it isn't the most hydrating cleanser of all time. That's not to say it's particularly drying, but my skin does feel a little drier post application. This, I think, is a side effect of most foaming cleansers and can be corrected with a moisturiser anyway.

And, as a bonus, the packaging is Kiehl's usual stripped back, non-fussy iteration. So I think, so far, this is a plus for me. Look out for favourites posts in the future to see if it stays in the skincare routine.

Sharing the picture above with the cleanser is a zine by a super talented illustrator friend of mine Tanya Hendrie. Check out her work, and buy prints here.

S xx

P.S. As an aside, and I feel like I say this with every post, sorry about the long between post gaps. As my masters degree finishes up, I have a ton of hand-in deadlines as well as my job, a work placement and a dissertation to start. I hope you all understand, and I should have more free time soon!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Pretty in Pink

I don't know what's come over me - maybe the sudden spots of sun we're getting, or the pastel collections dropping in stores - but I've suddenly been gripped by an urge to wear pink. If I had any pink clothes anymore, problem solved, but I don't: so makeup it is!
Of course, blush is the easiest way to provide a wearable pink flush with makeup - my favourites are mostly creams since they are easier to blend out. For a natural, glowy pink I go with Diorblush Cheek Creme in Capri (£20.40) - I reviewed it here. For a cheaper option, go for Bourjois Cream Blush in Rose Tender (£7.99)* which is less candy pink and has more brown in it (see swatches here). Illamasqua's Cream Pigment in Androgen (£17.50) is a perfect two-for-one: you can use it on your cheeks or your lips, and you can see me use it both ways here. When I want more sparkle, I'll sweep NARS Orgasm (£22.50) over my cheeks through my temples for a blush and highlight in one. I got this sample size in Paris, and you can see me wearing it here.
I have been wary in the past when it comes to pink lipstick, and I usually prefer to go more purple - but for a light, rosy pink I apply Revlon's Pink in the Afternoon (£7.49) - swatched here - and for a high-shine, long-lasting stain I apply L'Oreal GlamShine Stain Splash in Romy (£7.99): see it here.
Nails! And although I enjoy a bold or vampy pink on the nails, sometimes only soft, pastel shades will do. I enjoy either Essie Ballet Slippers (£7.99) or OPI Passion (£7.77)* which I swatched here.
Eyes are maybe the hardest to get right with pink - but I love NARS Grand Palais (£24) for an extremely wearable dusty mauve, and more recently Urban Decay's Naked 3 (£37) for varieties of rose gold shimmer. You can see the NARS shade here, and I swatched the Naked 3 here.

How do you wear pink?
S xx

Monday, 3 March 2014

BeautyMart 50% Sale Haul

A couple weeks ago, BeautyMart announced a 50% off sale that began at midnight - and obviously I went insane and wanted to buy everything. Unfortunately, a lot of things I wanted to buy were sold out by the time I got to the checkout, but I got a couple of bargains.
I'd wanted to try out the EOS Lipbalms for a while, so I snagged the Sweet Mint (£7 full price) and I've been popping it on during the day since. It's not as hydrating as the Homeoplasmine, obviously, but it's handy, portable and the scent is amazing if you like mint like I do. Another plus is that it's a matte lipbalm which is great for girls averse to gloss.
I'd also heard good things about Weleda Skin Food (£10 full price) and I've been using it on my winter battered feet, elbows and legs. On my feet it has made a big difference - it hasn't fixed them entirely, as my feet have been kind of ruined for a while - but it's made them softer and less uncomfortable. This is a really thick cream though so I'd recommend applying it at night.
Homeoplasmine (£12.50 full price) - hype followed this around for ages, so I popped it in my shopping cart, praying for some kind of wonder-gel. I get really dry, flaky skin on my forehead and around my nose - and when I applied this at night, when I woke up the next day my skin was smooth and flake free. I'm sure with extended use it might work more permanently too. It also worked wonders on a cut I hand on my hand, calming down the redness and helping to smooth over the scar tissue. For lips, I apply this overnight if I'm having a particularly dry day and it smooths everything out - it can also be used before lipstick if you wipe it off before application. Another product that takes time to settle in.
Finally, I bought the DHC Olive Virgin Oil Cotton Swabs (£6 full price). I thought these might be gimmicky, but there are 50 individually wrapped cotton buds in a pack saturated with oil that make removing eye makeup mistakes a cinch. A must have in a makeup bag for a night out, I think!

Did you pick up anything in the sale?
S xx

Friday, 28 February 2014

My Instagram Favourites Part Two | Art, Food & Fashion

 You can read part one of this post here - but in this installment I want to talk about my favourite foodstagrammers, art and museum feeds and fashion posters. This list is not the be all end all, and I'd love to hear your suggestions too, but these are some of my favourites.

The creative director at Bon Appetit shares snaps from his kitchen and farmers markets.
Dreamy minimalism, muted tones and spots of colour on Alice Gao's account that deals with fashion and interiors as well as food.
The people behind my favourite food site share behind the scenes photos and regrams of user-submitted, weekly themed photos.
Worth following for the beautifully saturated food collages alone.
Food photographer Kimberley Hasselbrink shares shots of beautiful landscapes and equally beautiful recipes.
Yes, a repost account, but for Pinteresty pics of desserts this is where to go.
Loads of pastel table settings and beautiful doodles surround gorgeous foods on this 19 year old's account (what was I doing at 19? She is so talented!)
Food and lifestyle photography, heavy on the chocolate.
Art and Museums
 The American Natural History Museum is one of my favourite places in the world. Here they share snaps of their large natural history collection.
Editors of the same titled magazine share photos of the art that inspires them.
The Barbican shares images of it's impressive arts programme and their Brutalist building.
The Brooklyn Museum show behind-the-scenes peeks of exhibitions and programmes.
One of the world's best known street artists shows pictures of his work and landscapes.
LACMA's official account shares snaps of it's current exhibitions and user-submitted experiences.
The MET posts it's impressive collection and archival photos on this feed.
Street art from around the world.
On everyone's fashion instagram radar. Funny faces and glamorous friends make up 90% of her feed.
Envy inspiring snaps of backstage at fashion week, photo shoots and jet-setting holidays.
Shoes! Charlotte Olympia shoes! Need I say more?
I love the Man Repeller blog - the Instagram feed is equally appealing.
For updates on men's fashion from the impossibly chic poster.
Nicole Richie and her brilliant hair.
More mad faces and glam model group shots from the beautiful Jourdan Dunn.

Vogue, of course. Keep up to date on new collections and fashion week snaps.

Any suggestions?
Follow me on Instagram @seonaidbee



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