Thursday, 15 August 2013

Review: Benefit's Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Foundation

Benefit's Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Foundation - £25.50
Stay Flawless 15-Hour Primer - Free Sample
The POREfessional Primer - Free Sample

Benefit cosmetics are notorious for being a little detrimental to the bank balance, and this £25.50 foundation is no different. I would usually not splurge this amount of money on make up, however in the pursuit of 'flawless' skin, and after reading countless reviews recommending this foundation, I thought I'd give it a go. Also, Benefit's packaging is to die for and always sways me, and the little 'O2's on the top of this product are so cute! The thing I love about the girls at the Benefit counter is they are so friendly and always test the products out on you first so you know what you are getting, and can find the best match for your complexion. I went with 'believe in me' ivory, which is the newest ivory shade, perfect for those with very pale skin with a slight pink undertone (hello Irish ancestry). I bought this foundation just before I went to Latitude, and what better place to test the lasting power and SPF of a new foundation than at a festival! It's sun protection actually impressed me, and I managed to not get any sunburn on my face! As far as lasting power is concerned, I felt like it didn't slip or melt off during the day, and my skin still felt and looked pretty good come night time. As the name 'Oxygen Wow' suggests, this foundation is really breathable, and my favourite thing about using it is my skin never gets break outs after wearing it every day. Lots of foundations I've used in the past cause my skin to look bad after, and usually feel really thick or oily on my skin, but I honestly can't feel anything when I use this foundation. And although it's very light, you can build up the coverage easily, making it the perfect foundation to wear both in the day, and for going out. The sample Stay Flawless Primer is meant to work in unison with the foundation, however I didn't really like the consistency of it and prefer to use Revlon Photoready Perfecting Primer underneath as that feels lovely and creamy, and is nice and brightening. I tried the POREfessional Primer, and although it was quite good, it was no better than my Garnier 5 Sec Perfect Blur Primer, which also reduced pores, and is under £10. Although Benefit is expensive, there are some products that are just completely worth the money, and investing in a good foundation is totally worth it! I would definitely recommend Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Foundation, it not only makes my skin look great, but feels good and lets my skin breath too! 

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Latitude Festival & Winning ShopStyle's Festival Shopping Challenge

Latitude Festival has come and gone for another year and I've been left with a serious case of the festival blues! It was bigger, better, and a whole lot sunnier than last year (hello sunburn!) and not only did I see a whole host of great bands, artists, comedians and theatre, but I spent loads of money on yummy expensive festival food and had a lovely time with my boyfriend and all my pals. Shout out to pizza club, number one girl gang, who all made it in the end, despite a few last minute ticket buying the day before! So as you may or may not know, I was announced as the overall winner of the festival shopping challenge, which was a competition run by ShopStyle and judged by Natasha at Girl In The Lens, giving bloggers the chance to win a massive £1000 towards their summer wardrobe! I couldn't believe I had won the overall prize, and it has been so nice to be able to get all those clothes that I had my eye on! Here's a rundown of my festival outfits over the weekend, which I purchased with my ShopStyle winnings, and some of my highlights of Latitude Festival 2013:

Day 1
Crop Cami - Topshop
Vintage Wrangler Shorts - Rokit
Black Leather Backpack - Topshop
Floral Slip-on Shoes - Dorothy Perkins
Flower Crown - Stall at Latitude

Thursday was absolutely scorching and featured a 3 hour car ride and putting up our tents in the middle of a field, so keeping cool was a must! I absolutely love Topshop's cute crop camis that come in a rang of pastel and bright shades, and I decided upon lilac. The material is really nice too, it feels almost silky! Vintage shorts are a great festival staple and the ones I already own which are a light denim colour, didn't really go with the top and I wanted some black ones, so I headed to Rokit in Brick Lane and picked these ones out. Sometimes it's hard to find the right fit with vintage, but I find vintage denim lasts a lot longer. Last year I opted for wellies, but with the heatwave in full swing, I knew mud would not be a problem, so I got these floral slip-ons from Dorothy Perkins. They were quite cheap, very comfy and cute and I knew they'd be good with the dusty ground you get at hot festivals. I was determined to get a flower crown, but I left it till the last minute and couldn't find anything purple or blue in shops (to go with my shoes of course) so as soon as we arrived at Latitude and the tent had been put up, I went to check out the stalls on the hunt for a flower crown, and I found this purple one straight away! The black leather backpack, which I got originally for uni, I've already had for nearly a year and was great for carrying around everything in it! As it was the first night there were no bands on, but the were a few different things to do, and after a few drinks we headed to the woods to check out the DJ sets. Alas, the long journey and early start took it's toll on us, and we decided to head back to the campsite for an early night.

Day 2

Crop Top - Topshop
Denim Pinafore - Miss Selfridge
Black Leather Backpack - Topshop
Floral Slip-on Shoes - Dorothy Perkins
Flower Crown - Stall at Latitude

Friday got off to a great start as we were rudely awaken at 7 am from the hot sun shining through the plastic of our tent creating some sort of intense oven. Never the less I was really excited as it was the first day of all the bands! I decided to go for my Miss Selfridge pinafore, which is like the one I put in my ShopStyle entry except it doesn't have leather straps, as I couldn't find that one anywhere, but this was also in the sale! I teamed it with a plain white crop top from topshop for a nice summery look. This was the day I forgot to put on my factor 50 until it was too late! There was lots of running around on Friday to see all different acts on different stages, as we got into the swing of things. Highlights for me were definitely Willy Mason on the BBC Radio 6 Music stage,  which was such a good vibe with us all sat down, especially when he sang Oxygen. We also managed to catch the end of CHVRCHES and hear The Mother We Share on the i Arena, which is tucked in the woods. I was really looking forward to seeing The Maccabees on the main stage as I've seen them live before and they are one of my fave bands, however their not-so-new album Given to the Wild doesn't translate too well for festivals, with it's atmospheric solos and Orlando Weeks mumbling rather than singing in his best inside voice. Old favourites such a Toothpaste Kisses and X Ray were great though, and reminded me why I love The Maccabees. The surprise gem of the evening had to be Japandroids, who we controversially ditched Bloc Party for. Back to the i Arena in the woods for this two piece punk band from Canada who know how to seriously rock out. The atmosphere was great, and the crowd loved them! When they played The House That Heaven Built everyone went mental and it was just a really great moment and a lovely finish to Friday. We went back to the campsite, and after the 7 am start it was off to bed for what I hoped was a better night's sleep!

Day 3
Floral Dress - Celia Birtwell X Uniqlo
Black Leather Backpack - Topshop
Black Peep Toe Flats - Topshop
Flower Crown - Stall at Latitude

It was a chillier start to Saturday and so I went for my Celia Birtwell for Uniqlo floral dress, which went well with my flower crown! I loved the Celia Birtwell collection, and actually have this dress in navy too. I brought along my old peep toe flats, which are a lot more lived-in than those brand new ones. Saturday was the day I had been looking forward to the most, as I finally would get to see Yeah Yeah Yeahs, one of my most favourite bands ever, live for the first time!! There were many highlights of this day for me, starting with Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires, who were so good live, with his amazing stage presence, dance moves and a fantastic James Brown style voice! Then we went to listen, rather than watch (it was super crowded so we sat outside the tent) King Charles who I've probably seen about 3 times before. He was good but nothing special and we actually bumped into him later on! We headed over to the comedy tent to catch Josh Widdicombe, who I think is hilarious, before watching Jessie Ware's set on the main stage. Jessie Ware was actually really good, she really worked the crowd and was refreshingly lovely and genuine, with Running, Wildest Moments and If You're Never Gonna Move being my highlights! Then came the moment I had been waiting for, as Yeah Yeah Yeahs took to the stage. Karen O is literally one of the best front women out there, and she put on a brilliant, lively show, wearing a crazy bright yellow combo complete with rhinestones. I literally loved every single song they played so it's hard for me to pick my favourites, but Date With The Night was amazing, especially as I convinced my boyfriend to let me on his shoulders, as well as Maps, Sacrilege and Heads Will Roll. Yeah Yeah Yeahs were the highlight of my whole weekend for sure. Hot Chip put on a good show too, playing classics such as Ready For The Floor and Over And Over, and then it was time for Kraftwerk to show us what the 3D glasses were all about. They actually got a lot of stick for their headline slot, but from what I watched it was pretty cool, but maybe that's due to my love of Synth and they are the founding fathers. I was gutted I didn't get to see The Model but I had to run over to the BBC 6 Music Stage to see Alt J. Another highlight of the whole weekend, Alt J played a brilliant set of their album An Awesome Wave, and they even treated us to a new song. A very very good band live, I already want to see them again! Highlights for me were definitely Matilda and Breezeblocks, which I got to go on Jamie's shoulders for both, which was just the most incredible view/vibe ever!! We returned to the campsite to down a few drinks before returning to the Arena for some night time fun, which included wearing a kimono, dancing to New Order's Blue Monday and the boys mistaking some dancing transvestites as topless women, which was hilarious when they noticed one had a moustache.

Day 4
Long Sleeve Crop Top - Ebay
Denim Pinafore - Topshop
Black Leather Backpack - Topshop
Floral Slip-on Shoes - Dorothy Perkins
Flower Crown - Stall at Latitude

The last day was upon us! I went with another pinafore, this time a slouchy one from topshop, and a long sleeve crop top as it was chilly again (I soon regretted that decision when the sun came out). Sunday was very much the men with beards and guitars day, and we started the day with Jose Gonzalez's band Julip. I must admit I found them a bit boring and so wondered off but returned to watch Tallest Man On Earth who was a bearded man from Sweden with a guitar, in keeping with the theme of the main stage, who was really good! He even did a cover of Graceland by Paul Simon. Then for some stupid reason I missed James Blake in favour of a strange peep show piece of theatre, which I am now kicking myself over because apparently he was amazing. I watched Local Natives, again men with beards, who were really good, especially when the played Breakers. Then me Claire and Phoebe ran off to the i Arena to watch Friends, who I was really excited for as I love their album Manifest! and have listened to it beginning to end hundreds of times. Therefore, when they did an Arctic Monkeys and played a load of new material and only 3 songs off their album, we were pretty disappointed. They were good songs, Friend Crush, Mind Control and I'm His Girl, however all the new songs were a bit rubbish and nobody knew them! Also her stage presence was really annoying but maybe I'm just angry because they didn't play much of their album. Anyway as that finished we had to run back to the main stage to catch Grizzly Bear who were amazing. I love Grizzly Bear and they certainly were my highlight of the day, with Two Weeks being one of the best songs you can hear live, ever. Seriously good vibes, and then we found ourselves near the front for the headline band Foals, who I also love, which is when things turned a bit sour. The crowd was so packed when Foals started playing, as they launched into My Number, it started to sway forward and backwards and I felt like I was going to be crushed or everyone would fall on me like dominoes. It was a horrible experience and after some screams of distress and a few panicked tears my boyfriend Jamie pushed everyone out of the way and got us out of the crowd. I was a bit shaken after that, but sat and watched Foals from further out, which was a bit of a shame as I love them but there we go. I got a big pepperoni pizza and a cup of churros and chocolate to cheer me up and felt much better. And that was that, back to the campsite to chill out and have one last sleep before packing everything away the next day and leaving Latitude for another year!

Day 5

Floral Dress - Topshop
Black Leather Backpack - Topshop
Black Peep Toe Flats - Topshop

It was all over and time to go home, boo! It was boiling hot again, just in time for the 3 hour car journey home, and so I put on this lovely floral dress from topshop which kept me pretty cool, and my old leather peep toe shoes. I was sad to leave as I had such a great time, and enjoyed living in our little community of tents surrounding our camp fire. We cursed the people who had stolen our fold out chairs the night before, but when it came to carrying everything back to the car we were kind of glad. I had learnt from last year's mistakes and brought a granny trolley to carry all my stuff on wheels, so the trip back wasn't too bad. Overall I loved Latitude, it's such a lovely festival with so much to do, with a really nice friendly atmosphere, the only thing I'd change is cheaper food and cheaper beer! It was so nice to have all these new clothes to wear too, thanks to the ShopStyle Festival Shopping Challenge. Here are some other lovely pieces of clothing I've purchased with my ShopStyle winnings which I didn't wear to Latitude:

White Fluffy Tee - Topshop
Black Leather Cut Out Boots - Topshop
Black Mesh Crop Top - Topshop
Cream Long Sleeve Crop Top - Topshop
Horse Earrings - Topshop
Black Tight High Waisted Skirt - Miss Selfridge
Lace Crop Top - Topshop
Scallop Detail Swimsuit - Topshop

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Boots Botanics All Bright Hydrating Day Cream, Toner & Eye Roll-on

Botanics All Bright Hydrating Day Cream SPF 15 - £3.49
Botanics All Bright Cleansing Toner - £2.69
Botanics All Bright Refreshing Eye Roll-on - £4.49

I am definitely swayed by nice packaging, and so when I saw the Botanics skincare range by Boots, I really wanted to try it! Fortunately they have an offer in Boots at the moment with all their Botanics range reduced, so of course I treated myself! First of all, as I already mentioned, I absolutely love the design of the packaging, and I think it's really nice that it's been developed with the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. The range has specific products for different types of skin, for example Radiant Youth, Ultra Calm and Shine Away. I went for the All Bright products as my skin type is normal/dull and I like to have a more brightened complexion. I don't usually use toners as they tend to dry out my skin but I thought as it's Botanics it would be less harsh, and though it is more caring than other products it's still a little drying. I only use the toner every now and then when I've used a deep scrub or face mask to close my pores afterwards, but I think it's pretty good. The refreshing eye roll-on I'm not so convinced about. I don't really have a massive problem with bags, unless I'm really tired, and they've never really bothered me before, but I've always wanted to try a brightening eye product to see if it made much difference. I can't say I've really noticed any change, but maybe that's because I don't have a problem with bags? I'm not really sure! The best product for sure is the moisturiser, and I've replaced my simple moisturiser for this! I really like the smell of it, as it's a lot more natural and light than some other creams I've tried, and the consistency is good too. It doesn't lay thick or overly greasy like some other day creams, but still feels like it moisturises as it sinks into your skin. With an SPF of 15 too, it keeps my skin safe from UV rays! I think the whole Botanics range is a great idea, but it's only the All Bright Hydrating Day Cream that I think is the stand out product! If you would like to see all the Botanics products Boots have to offer, check them all out on their website here.