November favourites

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I've started using a few great products recently that I can't get enough of, so I thought I'd share them here. Some are brand new discoveries, some are old favourites and others are products I've been itching to get my hands on for ages.

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Tired of catching sight of myself looking patchy and smudged at the end of the day, I've found myself reaching for products that help keep my make-up in place all day. Hiding in the back there is the absolutely beautiful Guerlain Metéorites Primer (by the way, check out this beautiful animation for the powder!). Not only is the packaging absolutely beautiful, but it goes on really nicely, makes a lovely base for make-up and leaves a lovely shimmer peaking through the skin.

On top of that goes Bobbi Brown's Long Wear Foundation, which I've been applying with the Real Techniques Pointed Foundation Brush. I love Bobbi Brown products, and not only for the fact that their colour range is excellent for pale skin. This foundation is lovely, with good coverage that's not too thick you feel like you're wearing a mask and it is really long wearing too. Just to make sure it doesn't budge, I spritz on Urban Decay's De-Slick Setting Spray which renders my make-up completely apocalypse proof. Perfect.

I've been intrigued by Kevyn Aucoin's Sculpting Powder for a really long time, but have always though it'd be too dark for my complexion. I bit the bullet in Space NK after trying it on and thinking I could get away with it. Admittedly, I do have to apply it extremely lightly and extremely carefully, but if I get it right - it's amazing! Give my round moon face just the slightest hint of cheekbones? Yes please. I still think Illamasqua's Hollow is a better colour for pale skin, but I prefer using powder. Hopefully one day I'll find a happy mix of the two!

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Speaking of Illamasqua, I'm loving their Intense Lipgloss in Belladonna. Beautiful colour, incredible staying power, and not too sticky with a wee bit of blotting. What more do you want in a lipgloss? For nails, I finally caved and bought OPI's Nail Envy and oh my God, my nails are so strong and hard and they make a fantastic noise for impatient tapping. Buy it. It's expensive I know, but it's that good. Colour-wise, I've rediscovered Essie's Angora Cardi. Pretty, cute, and an interesting shade of purple and it really does make me think of fuzzy cardigans. Perfect wintery alternative to dark reds and navy.

My bleached and frazzled hair has found a new best friend in It's a 10. I've seen Fleur de Force talk about it a few times and waited until I was in Kentucky last month to pick it up and amazingly, it was on offer! Hurrah. Soft, smooth manageable hair that doesn't feel like it's been to hell and back. 

As for scent, another Guerlain product with La Petite Robe Noire. It's sweet but not saccharine, and just the right amount of smoky, and the bottle looks so pretty on my dressing table. It helps that the only dresses I own are pretty much exclusively black too. 

Oh, and another favourite before I go - that tartan and houndstooth scarf sneaking in the background. It's from Zara, and I bloody love it. So damn cosy. And I love wearing tartan walking around Edinburgh!

Beauty aside, I can't get enough of this mix from Glasgow natives MermaidS;

The ideas in these articles about Lily Allen, Lululemon and bitching have been revolving in my head lately, and I have just started Orange is the New Black and am loving it!

What are your current favourites?


Recent outfits

These three outfit snaps are more or less the last of the Autumn wardrobe, as temperatures rapidly plummet and I find myself having to reach for the fur coats, chunky scarves and weather proof boots. It's getting bloody cold out, but I do love a furry accessory so it's not all bad.

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This green coat is a recent addition from Topshop. Perfect colour to combat those dull, grey November mornings. I love it, and have been wearing it with everything. Here, I'm just wearing H&M jeans, Office studded boots (wish you were Chloés), a leopard print scarf and my very favourite fur hat that makes me feel just a little bit Kitty Scherbatskaya.

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I picked this coat it up for a beautiful €20 in Zara when I was in Málaga. I love it! It makes me feel a bit like a doctor/lab rat/someone with a much more complicated degree than myself. Worn here with barely discernible burgundy leather trousers from Mango, a fluffy navy cardigan from H&M and simple black boots.

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This outfit was a rushed exercise in layering that I actually ended up quite liking. A gingham shirt from Forever 21, under a velvet patterned kimono from Goldie London, a navy wool and leather sleeve coat from New Look, trusty black knit pants form Forever 21 and shiny new burgundy brogue boots from River Island.

What have you been wearing as the temperatures drop? 


On my bedside table

I saw one of these posts a while back on Meg's fantastic blog Lips So Facto, which I'm sure you're all subscribed to, but if not be sure to hop over and check it out. Her writing's intelligent, informative and interesting and she's a fantastic source of inspiration. Clearly - here I am brazenly stealing one of her ideas.

Anyway, I really like the bedside table blog. In a similar way to 'empties' posts it shows the products that you are actually using regularly, if not religiously. So after giving my table a bit of a dust, clearing off discarded jewellery, receipts, keys and all the other rubbish that somehow ends up there, I thought I'd show you what's currently helping me get my beauty sleep.

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I'd never really considered getting a pillow spray until I was on holiday in a plush hotel and they had left little tiny bottles of pillow sprays on the beds. After a few nights of liberally dousing my pillow in the hotel's lavender scented pillow spray, I was hooked and decided to hunt down the much discussed This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray when I got home. It has a beautiful herby-lavender scent that I spritz on pillow and bedclothes before dropping off to sleep. Whether or not it actually helps me sleep, I'm not entirely sure, but it does help me relax and switch off after a long day. I'm getting perilously close to the end of the bottle now, and I'm definitely going to pick up another.

I ran out of my favourite Caudalie serum recently, and having heard a lot about Nip & Fab, I picked up their Glycolic Fix Serum when Boots had one of their amazing 3 for 2 deals on. It's early days with this product, but so far so good. My skin feels softer and smoother even in this sudden cold weather and it's a really nice product to smooth on. I do feel a slight stickiness on my skin after application, but as it's an overnight treatment this doesn't bother me. I could just be applying too much anyway!

The next two products I'm sure you've heard plenty of; Lucas' Papaw Ointment and La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo. The first I fell in love with when I went travelling. It's fantastic for blisters, cuts and insect bites but especially good for your lips, especially in this cold weather. Goodbye cracked, chapped lips! As for Effaclar Duo, this stuff has revolutionised my skin. Since using it, my skin has been clearer, smoother and brighter with much fewer breakouts. A definite repurchase!

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I've always got a couple of books on the nightstand. Recently I went to a Man Ray exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, which was brilliant. I love that era in art, and did a project on Dada in my final year, so when I saw that there was a Man Ray portraits exhibition on, I had to go. I was really intrigued by his relationship with Lee Miller, and then with her work in the fashion industry, so when I saw this book in the gift shop I picked it up. It's really interesting so far, and a great book to dip in and out of. Oh, there's an interesting article on the pair here.

I'll admit I haven't read much of Bruce Chatwin's What Am I Doing Here, but again, it's a great book to just dip into now and again. It's a selection of short stories, essays and profiles about travel and misadventures in foreign countries, that so far has me itching to up and leave, and try my hand at travel writing or gonzo journalism, or just getting myself into trouble really.

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I drink a ridiculous amount of tea, and love a cup before bed. My current favourite is Pukka's Green Chai, which was a little housewarming gift from one of my lovely friends when I moved in here. It's nice and warming - perfect for cosying up in bed with a book, candle flickering in the background. As much as I love summer, sometimes it's nice to snuggle up in bed and be all warm and cosy when it's freezing and miserable outside!

I'm gonna go pour myself a cup of tea, I think.

What are your nighttime essentials?


Favourite Smokey Eye feat. Sonia Kashuk Brushes

When I first started getting into beauty, I was baffled (and frankly, bored) by how much beauty gurus go on about brushes. I'd see blog posts and YouTube videos called "my favourite brushes," roll my eyes and click away. I was of the opinion that the products you were using were what mattered, the brushes were just... brushes. Maybe the expensive ones were softer than the cheap drug store ones, or the ones that came with the palettes, but really, they were all the same, right? 

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Somewhere along the line I got bitten by the brush bug. To be perfectly honest, it was when everyone started going gaga for Real Techniques brushes. Finally, recommended brushes that weren't crazy prices, and that I could actually buy without having to go without food for the next week. I love my Real Techniques brushes, I really do. They  make applying my face quicker, and nicer, and I can appreciate that different sizes, shapes and styles are best for different products. But I wasn't completely sold on the whole Brush Bonanza until I bought this little smokey eye kit from Sonia Kashuk.

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I picked these up in Kentucky, when Katie took me to Target. Oh my god, I could've spent all day (and all my money) in Target, it just has everything. But that's beside the point. I bought this cute little kit, chucked it in the bottom of my suitcase and didn't use it until I was back on home turf.

Now, having played about with it, and used it pretty much every single day, I thought I'd do a little review: these brushes are awesome! Really, they make applying eyeshadow so much easier. It's  a minimal effort, maximal impact kind of deal here.

My favourites are #2 Crease brush and #3 Lash line. I swivel the crease brush upside down, so I'm using the tapered tip to blend shadow into the crease. The shape of the brush means you get a much more precise application, with no eyeshadow migrating towards your eyebrow or over towards your ear. Brilliant! 

The lash line brush is pretty dense which makes it perfect for really working product into the lash line, and getting quite a strong look without reaching for the eyeliner.  I've been using it with the wider end on the outer corners, which makes creating a winged effect super easy, and - miracle - totally even on both sides! I just press the brush along the lash line, and give it a little wiggle up and down, and there we go - perfect cat-eye shadow.

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These brushes make eyeshadow application so much easier, and faster, that I've been reaching for more products on an almost daily basis. For my go-to look right now, I'm using Bobbi Brown's Long-wear Cream Shadow in Sand Dollar, which I apply with my fingers as a base. Then, with the #1 Lid brush, I swipe MAC's Satin Taupe all over the lid.

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Next, I take out the crease brush and use a Lancôme shadow in Cuban Light (which is really beautiful, and looks lovely just on its own) for a tiny hint of shimmer and just the slightest bit of definition. Then I get out the old favourite #3 lash line brush, press it into MAC's Embark and get going on a subtle, shadow cat-eye effect.  For some extra drama, I take the #4 smudge brush, go back to Embark and in teeny, tiny downward strokes, add a bit of definition to the lower lashes. Finish with a swipe of old favourite Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner in Black Ink and I'm done!

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From left to right - Bobbi Brown Sand Dollar, Lancôme Cuban Light, MAC Satin Taupe and MAC Embark. Even without these brushes, I can't get enough of these shadows individually. I know they're not exactly the most exciting shades ever, but they're all so wearable and I love them.

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Finished look:

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If you're a brush sceptic like I was, listen, it's not all bollocks. I have been completely won over by this wonderful little Sonia Kashuk kit, and I'm now excited to try other brushes to see if they can revolutionise other areas of my make-up routine. Not great for my bank balance, but hey, if it makes you happy...

Let me know what you think! And if you have any brush recommendations, go on, spill the beans.