Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Goodbye 2014!

So it's time for another year! I don't know about you but this one has absolutely flown over for me. It doesn't feel like it's been 12 months at all. I started this blog back in March and I am so glad I did. I needed something to keep up with my writing skills and I also needed something to keep me from being bored in between studying for my degree. I feel like I have learned a lot especially with reading other blogs and their recommendations etc.

I haven't had the best year, in fact it has been a real horrible rollercoaster for me and I know there have been some incredibly sad tragedies that have occurred worldwide too.. but I can happily say there have also been some fantastic times this year that I can look back on and think how lucky I am to have experienced such things. So I wanted to say goodbye to 2014 by showing you all just a few of my highlights:

 Leeds with two of my best friends in March (1st picture) and again in September (2nd picture). My friend lives in Leeds while she studies her degree so I went up there with her sister and each time we've had a right laugh and created some fantastic memories that I'll cherish forever. I hope to visit again sometime next year!

After the first time I went to Leeds, I also visited my other best friend who lived in Spain and Portugal for almost a year for her degree. I went in Easter for an entire week when she lived in Porto and my brother joined us halfway through the week and I can't honestly tell you another time when I've felt that happy. 

The best week of my life with the best people.

There have been some special occasions; birthdays, Halloween, and just plain old good nights out with old friends..

 (Had to get one cute picture of me and my mum!)

Not only that, I got to spend this year with some new friends too!

I also got to eat and drink some wonderful things too! Plenty of alcohol, of course..

I also won a pub quiz for the first time in my entire life and I was so proud of me and my friends that I just have to include it in this post, hahaha! 
What was the prize I hear you ask?
 A crate of beer, of course! 

I also saw amazing comedians, bands, plays, films and read some of the best books this year.
Here are a few of my favourites:

Books - The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, You're The One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher. 

Films - The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Lego Movie, The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Theatre - The Lion King, The Full Monty, West Side Story.

Writing this post makes me feel nostalgic and actually glad of the things and places I've done, seen and been to. I'm hoping 2015 will be even better and I hope it won't be as much of a roller coaster. I would love to hear some of your own highlights and what you thought of this year as a whole.

I am thankful to have started this blog and grateful to those that follow me. I hope you all celebrate the good times and bring the new year in well whatever your plans are.

Roll on 2015!

As always, thankyou for reading.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Makeup Brush Review: Real Techniques Core Collection Set by Nic & Samantha Chapman.

Hello everyone! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and Boxing Day, I know I sure did. Lots of wine, food, fab company and presents = fantastic day. If you don't celebrate Christmas then Happy Whatever-You-Celebrate! It even turned out to be a white Christmas as it snowed a fair bit last night!

Today I'm going to be reviewing the Real Techniques Core Collection by Nic and Samantha Chapman as I've had it now for quite a while and I think it's a good time to review it. Before I get into the review, I just want to apologise for the quality of the photos. The weather has been fairly dark and gloomy so the lighting isn't very good for my pictures at the moment. But let's get into the review anyway:

So like the Eyes Starter Set by Real Techniques (which I also reviewed), these are also designed by make-up artist Samantha Chapman and they're made up of synthetic taklon bristles (100% cruelty free!) and they're created to allow your make-up to be even and free of any streaks. They're non-porous and none of the product you're using, germs or dead skin cells get trapped within the bristles. Each brush head is shaped in such way that allows for precise application from thick coverage to a soft, delicate finish.

In this set there is a detailer brush, pointed foundation brush, buffing brush and a contour brush. They all come in a panoramic 2-in-1 brush case/stand as well so it's easy to travel with or keep on a table. Each name of the brushes is engraved on the handles so it is easier for you to know which one is which when creating your look.

 Detailer Brush

"Precision to cut effortlessly conceal problem areas; or use with lipstick for long-lasting shape and definition."

I use this brush for its intended use actually. It's fantastic as a concealer brush because you're more likely to get more bacteria on your face if you use the applicator that comes with your concealer like mine or even your fingers. It's easy to blend the concealer out as well into your foundation.

 Pointed Foundation Brush

"Use with liquid foundation to build custom coverage."

I don't actually use this as a foundation brush as I feel it's too flat and thin for me. However, I do use it to wipe away any streaks that may occur or to pat down my concealer around my eyes. But I would say this is my least-used brush out of the whole set.

Buffing Brush

"Ideal for full coverage application of powder and mineral foundation."

This is intended for powder but I actually use it to apply my foundation with. After a long time using my fingers to apply my foundation with, this brush is absolutely heavenly to use! It blends my foundation perfectly and I don't have to use as many layers now to cover my face. My favourite brush out of the lot!

Contour Brush

"Delicately applies highlighter to contour or create sheer, soft-focus finish."

I use this to put my powder on and also as a highlighting brush. Again it's fantastic to use and really blends in the product well to help me get that look I want.

These brushes can be a little dear if you're on a budget but they are definitely worth getting.
I did get these when they were on sale but you can usually get them from these places:

Boots - £21.99

Have you used these before? What do you think of them?

Thankyou for reading.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Film Review: Dumb & Dumber 2.

Hi everyone, so this will be my last film review before 2015 and I think I'm ending on a pretty good note with Dumber & Dumber To. Out of all the films I've seen this year, this wasn't my favourite one but it really made me laugh so it's nice to end with some Jim Carrey doing what he does best. Jim Carrey is one of my favourite actors but I did read some negative reviews on this but while I could criticise some things, I still enjoyed it and laughed so it's always worth checking a film out no matter what anyone says about it.

So as always, a bit of background. Dumb and Dumber To is a direct sequel to the 1994 film Dumb and Dumber but the third instalment overall if we're counting the god awful Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd in 2003. Written and directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly, Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey reprise their roles as Harry (Daniels) and Lloyd (Carrey) and it takes place twenty years after the events of the first film and it tells the story of the two thick characters setting off on a cross country trip to find Harry's newly discovered daughter who had been adopted.

The sequel remains true to the original, right down to cheap jokes and absurd plot line. It does take a little while to get the actual story going but once it does, it is joke after joke and it is pretty good actually. It probably isn't what you'd call a good movie if you're looking for a fantastic storyline and amazing acting but it does crack non-stop jokes although some are a little hit-and-miss at times. It's just a really fun film although Harry and Lloyd are little more mean spirited this time around as some of the jokes were a little more harsh than you would have been used to from the first film. Of course they quoted some classic lines and scenes from the first film in a new fashion and some were pretty good while others felt a little forced. The ending dragged on a little and I think the directors could've cut some scenes out to make it shorter rather than make 1hr and 50 minutes out of it.

I also felt like Carrey was more into this sequel more than Daniels despite the fact he bailed out on it in the early production of the film. Daniels just often sounded like he was just reading his lines and looking for Jim Carrey to sell the punchlines which he successfully did. Although a little hit-and-miss sometimes, it's an alright comedy to watch if you're looking for cheap laughs. I won't spoil it like others have if you're wanting to see it for yourself but just go and see it for yourself, you might love it. Being the original fan of the film, I didn't think I'd love it as much as I did plus the whole of the theatre was laughing too so it is worth a watch.

Have you seen it? What do you think of it?

Thankyou for reading.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Film Review: The Hobbit - The Battle of the Five Armies.

So I finally got to see the third and final instalment of The Hobbit! I was so excited to see it and I have to say I did enjoy it but I was a little bit disappointed at times considering this was meant to be a huge ending to the trilogy. I will try and not give anything away however I think the things I will be criticising won't ruin the film too much for you anyway but I will put [SPOILER] in parts where I think things could be a bit risky to talk about.

But here's a bit of background first. As aforementioned, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is the final film of the entire Hobbit trilogy following An Unexpected Journey (2012) and The Desolation of Smaug (2013) and it's directed by Peter Jackson, based on the novel itself The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. It picks up from the last film (The Desolation of Smaug) and it shows Smaug the dragon completely destroying Laketown by incinerating it while Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and the Dwarves watch in despair from the Lonely Mountain. Smaug the dragon still scared me as much as he did in the last film and Benedict Cumberbatch does a fantastic job of voicing him so terrifyingly [SPOILER] but eventually Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) breaks out of imprisonment and pierces Smaug's heart with a special arrow. Eventually the remaining Dwarves in Laketown join the others in the Lonely Mountain and Thorin (Richard Armitage) becomes obsessed and inflicted with Smaug's 'dragon sickness' while he searches for the Arkenstone and defends his piles of gold. To protect themselves from the folk of Laketown, the elves (led by Thranduil played by Lee Pace) and the orcs, Thorin orders the Dwarves to build a blockade at the entrance of Erebor when all hell breaks loose outside.

That's as much description as I can give without giving too much away. But here's my review of the film and I'll be as detailed and honest as possible but here's where things get a little jumbled for me as both my enjoyment and irritation with this film get mixed up. The special effects are pretty fantastic when it comes to Smaug, sweeping scenes of the lands or shots of the fight itself. It was a visually beautiful film if we ignore the storyline accompanied with incredible music that really builds up the emotion and tension of the film.

The Hobbit wasn't really about the hobbit himself, Bilbo and instead became all about the fascinating figure that is Thorin Oakenshield. Maddened by his new sense of power, the gold, the jewels and the search for the Arkenstone and not knowing that Bilbo himself has it in his possession really brings the best out of Richard Armitage. The unlikely but sweet friendship between Bilbo and Thorin becomes stretched as Bilbo struggles with keeping the precious item to himself while Thorin becomes more and more insane. The acting from Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage was absolutely fantastic, especially in the scenes with just the two of them and these are by far the most engaging and tense ones without all the action. I'd say those scenes definitely overshadow the entire battle itself. 

Armitage as Thorin was one of the best things I've ever seen as he portrayed the madness taking over Thorin perfectly. [SPOILER] Even when Thorin tries to throw Bilbo to his death after finding he has the Arkenstone, it's horribly violent and brutal because you find yourself rooting for the pair of them. Not only that, when he finally shakes off the madness and joins the others in battle and [SPOILER] ultimately dies in Bilbo's arms, we feel so emotionally invested in this character that you can't help shedding a few tears; it truly becomes the story of Thorin Oakenshield as well as Bilbo's. [SPOILER] Also the deaths of Kili (played the beautiful Aidan Turner) and his brother Fili (Dean O'Gorman) were equally jarring and horrible, I certainly cried a lot.

Luke Evans didn't get enough screen time as far as I'm concerned but his scenes as Bard the Bowman were strong especially when he reluctantly took on the role of being a leader for his people. Ian McKellan (Gandalf the Grey), Orlando Bloom (Legolas) and Evangeline Lilly (Tauriel) also strengthened the film in their own scenes but Peter Jackson gives them all very anti-climatic endings unfortunately. 

The only problem I had with one of the characters was Tauriel played by Evangeline Lilly. I enjoyed her performance as her character is a fantastic fighter but being one of the few women in this heavily male driven film, she was placed in a stupid love triangle between her, Kili and Legolas. I don't mind it too much because the scenes between her and Kili were beautiful and [SPOILER] the emotion and grief of losing Kili was heart-wrenching to watch but again, I do think it wasn't very necessary to place the only woman, more or less, in battle in a love triangle. It's been done time and time again in many films before and I'm sick of seeing it but thankfully she wasn't a damsel in distress at all. 

The ending was a little too anti-climatic for me because [SPOILER] once Thorin and the leader of the orcs died, everyone suddenly disappeared. Peter Jackson just randomly glosses over the fact there was fights going on everywhere but all of that suddenly doesn't matter when the two leaders died. I don't mind because I do love a good action film and the battle scenes were terrific as usual, there was stunning cinematography and the tragic ending did tie the Hobbit stories to the Lord of the Rings but it was just tied up a little too lazily for me. It was little underwhelming but I'd definitely it's still worth seeing to take that journey through Middle Earth one last time. 

Here's the trailer:


Have you seen it? What did you think of it?

Thankyou for reading.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Makeup Review: Barry M Natural Glow Palette 2 & Starry Eyed Palette.

Hey everyone, I hope you're all doing well and feeling ready for Christmas! Today I'm going to be reviewing two eye-shadow palettes from Barry M; Natural Glow Palette 2 and the Starry Eyed Palette. Both of these palettes are great and I highly suggest using them for Christmas nights out or for the day itself. I also used someone else's photos of the swatches because my iPad does not catch the beautiful colours very clearly so please beware that they aren't mine.

Firstly I'll be reviewing the Natural Glow Palette that is also paired with a primer. This is the sequel to Barry M's best selling 'Natural Glow' Eyeshadow and Blush Palette. It has warmer golden tones which is suitable for all skin types. 

This palette has three shimmer based eye-shadows and three matte colours with a tan coloured pimer which helps set your eye-shadow day and night. The colours are just lovely and very diverse, from left to right there is; a matte yellow based cream, a light matte grey, a gorgeous light mauve, a golden shimmery shade, a deep cool copper colour and a deep glittery purple.

All of the shadows are well pigmented but fairly soft with a bit of fall out and the primer didn't work for me unfortunately due to my oily skin. The texture was far too creamy for my type of skin but it's not a problem as I didn't think I would like it in the first place. I think if you have drier skin, it may work better for you. But the main part, the eye-shadows, blend very easily with each other, they're very soft and with my regular primer they can last many hours.

The packaging is really cute and the size of the palette makes it easy to travel with.
You can get it at Boots or Superdrug for £6.49!

Lastly and definitely not least is the Starry Eyed Palette which replaces the primer with a lovely coral blush and it's definitely my favourite palette out of the two. However, it's a limited edition palette so I don't know how long it'll be in stock for so it's definitely worth getting your hands on to try out. 

The eye-shadows are absolutely stunning and as I have mentioned before, I do love my darker tones for my eyes. From left to right there is; a light yellowish tan matte colour, a beautiful metallic blue, a reddish brown, a cool golden brown, a matte deep chocolate tone and a brown with a red base.

Again all of the eye-shadows are pretty pigmented and with a decent primer, they last for hours! The blush is really pretty and you definitely don't need a lot of it as a little goes a long way for sure. I also love the packaging on this palette as well just because it's purple and the lettering is in a lovely golden shade. Again it is light and small enough to travel with which is always handy and great to have in your collection.

You can buy this at Superdrug for £6.49 as well.

Have you tried these out? What do you think of them?
Do you have any other recommendations for me?

Thankyou for reading.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Book Review: Rose Madder by Stephen King.

So I haven't done a book review in what seems like forever due to the fact I've had to do a lot of other reading for university. But, I've managed to sneak in a bit of my own preferred reading and finished off Rose Madder by Stephen King for about the third or fourth time. Stephen King is my favourite author and his book Misery is one of my most loved books of all time so it's no surprise that another one of my favourites of his is Rose Madder. 

Firstly I must warn you, this book is pretty graphic at times and it isn't for the faint-hearted. Known for his horror, Stephen King's Rose Madder follows the same theme with elements of the supernatural and involves plenty of domestic violence as its heroine Rose Daniels suffers 14 years of violence and abuse from her husband, Norman who is a policeman. She finds the strength to leave him after she spots a one drop of blood on the bedsheets she is changing that came from another brutal violent attack from her husband. She steals a bankcard they both share and boards a bus to her new destination while her husband plans to hunt her down and kill her by using his police skills.

Although it's a very dark novel, it's a great tense game of cat-and-mouse with a relentless pace. The reader is taken in almost instantly as you become heavily involved with Rose's problems. The supernatural aspect of the book doesn't enter until quite late into the book, allowing King to build up the characters, Rose and Norman. Using horrifying imagery and unbelievable graphic details, he sets the tone for what you feel for them both; pure horror for Norman and desperate sympathy for Rose.

It's a book full of suspense, horror and fear. He takes us through how Rose begins to change and take back her identity by first of all, changing her surname back to her maiden name; Rosie McClendon which I thought was so empowering for her that I felt like cheering for her. Not only that, he shows us how cunning, smart and messed up Norman is by telling us his thoughts, plans, words throughout the book. He also introduces a new love in Rosie's life; Bill which creates even more tension because you become terrified of what Norman would do if he ever got his hands on him. I also think the paranormal element of the book wasn't really central to it and I think the novel would've worked just as well without it. But the description of Rosie's 'dream' is so beautiful and well-written that you can actually think up the scenes for yourself as well as the ending.

The only criticism I have is how fast Rosie and Bill fall in love after literally about two weeks. I wouldn't of thought a woman who'd been in an abusive relationship for 14 years would be able to move on and accept a new, fresh bond with someone so quickly. Also, she does tell Bill about EVERYTHING Norman's ever done to her and he seems to accept it without questioning very much which I don't think would be the same in reality. However, I can ignore this because the way Stephen King writes it makes you feel so happy for her and you can bypass the fact it's so quick.

However I think it's a great, thrilling book which would be a good read for you for over the Christmas period. It's one of my favourite books and I always recommend it to anyone who needs a riveting read. 

What do you think of it if you've read it too?
Any recommendations for me?

Thankyou for reading.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Makeup Review/Favourites: Kiko, L'Oréal and MUA Primers.

It's the 1st of December!
Can anyone else not believe how quick it's come around? You think you have all the time in the world and then another year has gone before you know it. I hope you've all got plans to celebrate this special time with family and friends and enjoy every minute of it.

I'm going to kick off my December posts by reviewing and telling you about my 3 all-time, favourite primers that I use on a daily basis by; Kiko, L'Oréal and MUA. I have oily skin and I do use a couple of layers of foundation to cover up my blemishes and affected areas so I always need a good primer to make sure my make-up doesn't slide off.

 First up is the Mat Base Corrector by Kiko Make Up Milano. This is ideal if you have skin like mine or combination skin and it consists of 97% natural properties with sebum-absoring vegetable ingredients. It is also hypo-allergenic which reduces the chances of you having an allergic reaction which is always a good thing.

 At first, I didn't like this primer purely because the substance was a little bit stodgy, thick and yellowy-looking which isn't appealing at all. You also have to apply it quickly because once it's out of the tube, it starts to dry quite fast. But eventually once I got to used to it, I found that my make-up really stuck to it and created my desired matte finish. It really does get the best out of my foundation and reduces any visible pores, giving my skin a smooth look and velvety texture.

I got it when it was on offer but usually it comes to £8.90 on Kiko's site which I think is pretty reasonable if you want a good enough primer to hold your make-up.

 Secondly, this is the L'Oréal Lumi Magique Pure Light Primer and the brand claims that it is "a pure light base which illuminates the skin. It may be used as a base or alone ... fresh, light and silky soft formula that provides 8 hours of hydration". They're right because it really does light up your skin and can easily be used as a highlighter for a subtle sheen.

 The product is white and pearl-like with minuscule specks of pink shimmer. The consistency is a little bit watery so you definitely don't need to use a lot in one go. One pump and you're good to go, trust me!

Despite having oily skin and normally liking the matte looks better, it doesn't leave a greasy film on my face and it absorbs very well. It gives my face a really healthy glow and wakes my skin up especially when it comes to those very early mornings for uni. It glides on perfectly, blends well, minimises my pores and allows my foundation to stay in place.

You can buy this at Superdrug or Boots for £9.99

Lastly and definitely not least, my ultimate favourite is the MUA Matte Perfect Primer and I have to say it is perfect.. well, almost. MUA Pro created this primer and claims that it balances your complexion and has "oil control". They say that it's "formulated for oil prone skin, will matify complexion and provide the perfect base for foundation. Can be worn alone, or under foundation". It is ideal for normal/combination and oily skin, so great for everyone really!

 I have to say at first I was surprised with the colour of the product but its texture is creamy and a little bit buttery. This primer lasts for ages and I mean, ages! I can have it on all day for uni and then all night for a night out, I love it. Like the L'Oréal one, I only need a pea sized amount per application to cover my entire face. It is so easy to apply as well, it glides on brilliantly and even before putting on foundation, I find that it leaves my skin feeling soft and silky while also matifying my face so you can easily wear this without anything else. 

The only problem I have with it is that it's not big enough! Also it doesn't have any tints or glowing pigments within it so it doesn't give you a glowing look if that's what you're after. Especially if you're wearing it alone without any foundation, your face tends to look flat.

However you can't complain as it really does give you a perfect matte look and not only that, it only comes to £4.00 in Superdrug! I think this is a brilliant price, especially for everyday use rather than just for those special occasions. Some have even called it a perfect dupe for Porefessional by Benefit so you know you have to give this one a try rather than splashing out £20+!

So those are my all-time favourite primers, have you tried any of them?
Or do you have any recommendations for me?

Thankyou for reading.