Thursday, 27 June 2013

How to be a Savvy Shopper...

I'll be the first to admit that I do spend a lot of money on makeup, skincare, haircare etc... However I believe that the reason I'm able to do this is because I shop around and look for offers/ discounts. 
Obviously I do pay full price for some things as not every place/ website I visit has offers on, but the majority of the time I usually manage to find some sort of discount!

So, I thought I thought I would put together a list of my most used and loved websites and stores which frequently have offers on beauty related items, in the hope that I can save you guys a few pennies too! 

I use this website SO much, it sells mostly higher end products but it always seems to have really great offers on! At the moment it is 40% off TIGI haircare, up to 1/3 off French skincare (Bioderma, La Roche Posay, Vichy etc) and it always seems to have Clarins products on 'special price' which by my reckoning works out about 20% off! So some great savings, plus delivery is only £2.95 or free if you spend over £30, which is not hard to do lets face it! AND free gift wrapping... Can't ask for more than that! 

Everyone probably already shops in Boots anyway, but I'm guessing not everyone knows about all the offers, I generally always buy in store, but I have linked the website above as well. I rarely buy makeup from Boots unless it is on some kind of offer, because at least some point every month they have an offer on, whether it be 3 for 2, buy on get one half price, 20% off certain brands etc so unless I need something desperately I tend to wait for the offers... Same goes for the skincare and haircare! 
For example at the moment it is BOGOHP on cosmetics and haircare, 3 for 2 on Soap and Glory, 1/2 price on selected bodycare items (Garnier, Vaseline) and probably lots of other offers!!

AND don't forget to use your Advantage card, it's surprising how fast these points add up!

Generally I will choose Boots over Superdrug, but there are some makeup items that are exclusive to Superdrug, such as MUA and Sleek Makeup, and sometimes it just has better offers on so I like to flit between to two just to check I'm getting the best deal! 
The offers they do are often very similar to Boots as they are competitors, but sometimes they will have the odd offer which is better, for example, at the moment there is 1/3 off all Bronzing and Fake Tan.

Superdrug also have a Beauty card, which works in the same way as and Advantage card, but you only get 1 point per £1 compared to Boots' 3 points per £1.

This is another fantastic website for offers, pretty much all of the perfumes and aftershaves constantly have money off, so before you buy them at full price I would definitely check to see if you can get them on this website cheaper first! 
Cheap smells, regardless of the name, also does great offers on makeup, skincare and haircare too, I buy my Decleor skincare from this website as there always seems to be at least 20% off! Plus the delivery is FREE! 
At the moment there is a mid season sale on and you can save up to 85% off RRP! 

I use the Debenhams website mainly just to buy higher end makeup, as every few months or so it has 10% off beauty and fragrance offers on!
At the moment there is a 'VAT FREE PRICES' offer on selected beauty and fragrance, which includes many cult beauty classics (YSL Touche Eclat, Benefit Porefessional etc)!!
Delivery is free on orders over £30, but every now and again they do have free delivery offers on.
It's not my most used beauty related website but it is good for getting small discounts on high end makeup, plus if you have a Beauty Club card you can collect points to use towards MORE makeup!

Again this is another website I visit quite frequently, the outlet section is quite good for getting some bargains, but the main section of the website also has frequent offers on selected items! 
But regardless of the offers it is a great website for those times when you are too busy (or lazy) to go out shopping for gifts or your beauty essentials, as you can just sit in your bed and browse! It also has FREE worldwide delivery, which in my experience has been really speedy, and is great for people that are living abroad as they can get their favourite UK beauty supplies sent too them!

There are also a couple more websites that I don't use as much but I may use from time to time...

I only use this website to purchase Dermalogica, as it usually has about 10% RRP and offers FREE delivery.

Sells mostly what I class as 'professional' products, that are usually found in salons and wholesalers, so it's definitely an easy way to get hold of professional products.
This site also has some great offers on every so often, and at the moment there is a Summer Sale on which includes 20% off selected haircare, 15% of selected makeup, and 40% off selected nail colours.
Also offers FREE delivery.

ASOS has a great beauty section which sells a variety of products from cheap brands all the way up to high end brands. Every now and again they have little offers on, and again it is FREE delivery.

Cosmetic Company Outlet (CCO)

These stores can be found in most designer outlet's such as Cheshire Oaks and York Designer Outlet, they sell end of the line and old stock from high end brands, mostly the Estee Lauder Companies, like MAC, BOBBI BROWN etc, so it's a good place to visit to get some bargains as many of the brands have up to 50% off. 

Sorry it has been another rambley post, but I hope you found it useful :) 

The best way to find out about the offers these websites have on is to sign up to their newsletters, I know it fills your mailbox with junk but if you only subscribe to the ones that you think will be most useful to you, then it shouldn't be too bad!

Final tip before I bore you anymore.... ALWAYS research a product before you buy it, I like to look at blogs, Youtube and reviews before I buy anything just to make sure it is what I want, there's nothing worse than spending a lot of money on something then not liking it! 
This obviously doesn't work all of the time because other people may have a different opinion on things to you, but it's a heck of a lot better than buying something that you no little or nothing about!

You just can't beat that feeling of knowing you got a bargain, it makes you feel a lot less guilty about all that money you just spent....

A x

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Beauty of Green Tea...

I only recently discovered Green Tea, maybe about six months ago ish, I had heard of it before but it just never seemed that appealing to me at all, until now...

So, one day many months ago, when I was making myself a brew at work, I noticed that we had run out of regular tea bags (oh the horror!), and so I thought what the hell I will be adventurous and try a green tea instead... and the rest is history, it's pretty much all I've drunk since!

I had heard that it was 'good' for you but I wasn't really aware of all the health benefits, so obviously I researched into it... Now, if you are new to Green tea you
may be wondering why the heck I'm chatting about it on a beauty blog, so I will enlighten you...

Studies have shown that Green tea has a positive effect on the body and mind, and the best thing is that it doesn't just work its magic on the inside of your body, there are just as many benefits that occur on the outside too, making it the beverage of choice for many beauty junkies! 

FYI Green tea originated in China and is made from unfermented leaves, so it is all natural!

Beauty benefits... 

- It has antibacterial properties which help to fight acne bacteria, so if consumed on a regular basis it can help clear up your skin.

- These antibacterial properties can also kill the bacteria that cause plaque on your teeth.

- It also contains anti oxidants which aid the removal of toxins and free radicals, again this can help to achieve clearer healthier looking skin.

- Slows down the ageing process by preventing cell oxidisation (which damages skin tissue and leads to premature ageing).

Other interesting benefits...

- Accelerates metabolism (It is estimated that it can help you burn roughly an extra 100 calories a day)

- Aids weight loss

- Lowers levels of cholesterol 

- Improves mental alertness

- Contains cancer fighting and preventing properties

- Fights heart disease

Reading through this you are probably thinking, WOW!! But I think it's important for me to point out that not all of these benefits have been scientifically proven, and it is just information I have found through Google, this does not mean that they are not true, I am just letting you know that you shouldn't be expecting miracles....It is just a cup of tea at the end of the day!

Saying that, I have not seen any negative research about Green tea, other than the fact it contains low levels of caffeine (which in excessive amounts can cause side effects), but many teas and coffees we drink contain this anyway! So, I don't see any harm in drinking Green tea in the hope that we can reap some of the benefits, and surely the fact it contains antioxidants and antibacterial properties is enough to make it more appealing than other warm beverages?!

In my personal experience I do think that I have gained some of the benefits, I tend to drink a cup in the morning when I get up, and one before I get into bed at night, on average I will probably only have 2 cups a day. 
I find that a cup in the morning does seem to wake me up and make me feel more ready for the day, but this could just be due to the caffeine, and I figure that if it does in fact speed up the metabolism then first thing in the morning is a good time to start! I would also like to think that it has improved my skin slightly, but I guess this is hard to prove as it could be due to other factors such as my skincare... 
Lastly, I like to drink Green tea when I'm poorly or not feeling 100% as I feel that it revives me somewhat.

In conclusion, I will continue to drink Green tea as I do honestly believe that it has had at least some positive effects on me! So I would definitely recommend giving it a try because lets face it it's going to do you more good than bad (unless you drink it by the bucket load of course).

Who knew there was so much to say about tea?!

A x

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Nars Sheer Glow Foundation...

Whilst in London last week I did a bit of shopping (It would have been rude not to)...
 I mostly bought bits of makeup for my professional kit, but I did treat myself to a new foundation, Nars Sheer Glow, as I had heard a lot of rave reviews about it in the beauty blogging world!

Now, I'm sat here thinking why the heck did I not try this sooner?! It really is as good as the hype! To be honest, the reason I was put off buying it in the first place was the fact that it costs £30.50 for a 30ml bottle... which does seem a tad pricey, but I am so glad that I gave in to the temptation as it now takes its place as my new favourite foundation!

Oddly the foundation isn't what I would call 'sheer' coverage at all, I'd say its more of a medium coverage. But maybe the name refers to the fact that it looks natural on the skin, a bit like a 'your skin but better' claim... which It definitely does!

I bought it at the Nars counter in Selfridges, and asked to counter assistant to colour match me so that I was sure I was getting the right shade, we decided on the colour 'Figi' (Light 5). The lady that helped me was really nice and even gave me a few sample sizes of a darker colour to use on my forehead, which always tans more than the rest of my face in the summer! 
I noticed that she applied the foundation with her hands, and she explained that this produces the best finish with this particular foundation... Now, normally I am not a fan of applying foundation with my hands, I just prefer the finish when using a brush! But for some bizarre reason it actually does look better when applied with your fingers, how odd!!

Most of the colours did seem to be quite yellow in tone, which is ok for me as I do have yellowy undertones in my skin, but for those that have more of a pink undertone, I would guess that it would be quite difficult to get a good colour match.

There is also a 'sister' foundation, called Sheer Matte, which I can only presume is the same but aimed at oily skin types?! Saying that though, I think it's the natural 'glow' that makes the Sheer Glow foundation so nice, as it makes the skin look lovely and healthy... So, I'm not sure that the matte version would have quite the same effect?! But who knows, you will have to give it a try if you have an oily skin type!

It is such a perfect summer foundation, it makes the skin look flawless and healthy and lasts all day, the only thing I don't like is the bottle! I'm not a fan of glass bottles that you have to pour out as it's a bit of a pain, especially when you get down to the last little bit! I'd much prefer a pump, but I guess thats only a small bugbear! So, if you're on the hunt for a new foundation and you have £30 to spend... it's a no brainer in my opinion :)

 A x

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Casualty FX Prosthetics Workshop....

Last week, I attended a Casualty FX Prosthetics Workshop at the Guru Makeup Emporium in London, it was held/run by Stuart Bray, who is a makeup effects artist in TV and Film.

I had such a great 3 days and learnt so much in such a short space of time, so I thought would share a little snippet with you... I won't go into too much detail because it can get quite complex...

For those of you that are interested in the process of creating this particular type of prosthetic appliance, you first of all start with sculpting (with clay, plasticine etc) to create your desired wounds... We were given reference images to design our wounds from, and of course Stuart gave us a nudge in the right direction.

The brief was to create a laceration, a bullet wound and a burn (see below my finished sculpts)

 Once the sculpts were finished it was time to create the moulds out of silicone...

Then lastly the moulds can be filled with a softer form of silicone to create the appliances...

Once the appliances have been created they can be attached to the skin with speciality glues, we used Prosaide, then the edges need to be smoothed away so that you get a seamless transition to the skin (this is the tricky part)...

The appliance may need to be coloured to match the person's skin tone before the fun stuff begins... Making it LOOK like a gory wound, we used alcohol activated paints and artificial bloods to create the effects... 

It is so satisfying getting to see the finished results after a few days of making the pieces! Because at the end of the day the most exciting bit is seeing your piece come to life (or death whichever way you look at it) and getting to create the GORE...

I am really pleased with the final results and I can't speak highly enough of Stuart, his workshops are all 'hands on' and he gives great guidance and advice, as much or as little as you want! 
I really enjoyed it and I hope I get the chance to attend another one of his workshops in the future!

I don't think many people realise how much time and effort goes into creating these gruesome wounds for TV and Film, so I hope you guys found this interesting :)

A x

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Quick May Favourites...

Gosh! That month went really fast, and now it's time again to share with you my favourite products of the past month...

Firstly my new go to mascara Maybelline The Falsies Volum Express!
I bought this a few months ago, I tried it, but I wasn't totally enamoured so it got shoved to the back of the drawer... However, for some unknown reason I reached for it a few weeks ago, and I've ended up using it everyday since!
It gives you long fluttery lashes with a bit of volume, great for everyday when you want a natural pretty look.
It's kind of ironic that it's called 'the falsies' as I personally think it creates natural looking long lashes, but anyway it's a great mascara.

(£7.99 at Boots/ Superdrug/ ASDA etc)

Next up, Bobbi Brown Corrector, this corrector is used before concealer to neutralise dark under eye circles. This has been another go to product for me this month as I have been getting up really early and working long hours, so I have really needed some under eye brightening! 

I have the colour 'Light Peach' which I think is perfect for lighter skins, for other skin tones I would suggest using one of the other darker Peach tones, as these work best at eradicating the purple undertones that come with dark circles. 
FYI... If you get green/yellow discolouration under your eyes I would go for the Bisque colours as these are pink toned.

You only need a small amount of this corrector just on the areas where it is needed, the put your usual concealer on over the top and set with powder to avoid creasing. Some people do use this instead of concealer it just depends on the level of coverage that you are after. It is quite expensive at £18 but it lasts a while because you only need a small amount, and it really does work wonders at brightening under the eyes!

MUA Eyeshadow Shade 19
I recently bought this while on a quest for a new eyeshadow to use to fill in my eyebrows, I far from expected to come away with this beauty which set me back a whole £1! 
I admit I wasn't expecting it to be great, but figured it was worth a try, and it really was! It's a great colour for dark haired people, or those of us that just like a strong brow!
I like to use my MAC 266 angled brush to apply it, using upward strokes with a light hand, as I don't think dark heavy 'scouse brows' are a good look on me.

(£1 at Superdrug)

Last but not least NIP + FAB Dry Skin Fix Body Butter in Pistachio Sundae.
Firstly, this smells INSANELY good it is very sweet and its name is probably the perfect description, just like a super sweet pistachio ice-cream. I do warn you though if you don't like sweet scents then this won't be for you, but I would definitely try some of the other scents like Mango Smoothie and Coconut Latte, as these sound divine! 
But, regardless of scent, this is a lovely body butter, very creamy and rich! It feels so luxurious and keeps you moisturised until your next shower/bath! 
You can buy this in Boots for £8.95 but they are on offer at the moment on the NIP + FAB website for £4.95 under the 'offers' section! 

A x