26 May 2016

Foundations: High End vs High Street

What's the deal with some high end foundations having such a strong scent? Not that I mind it, just wondering. I'm not particularly sensitive to scents, although there are a few that I just can't bear. Oddly, lavender is one of them, but for the most part I don't mind using scented beauty products and I love going to Lush and have a whiff around.

Of course there are certain type of scents that I like more than others but if a product smells too parfumey it sort of feels cheep to me, if you know what I mean. 
Foundations: High End vs High Street
Aside from my beloved Dior Airflash foundation I've been pretty much using drugstore foundations so it just struck me that the two high end foundations that I purchased recently should have such a strong smell.

Scent aside, they both are beautiful foundations for oily skin. They have a medium coverage and are quite long lasting. As the weather's still mild I can even forgo setting my foundation with some powder and that's pretty awesome as I'm usually such an oily mess.
Make Up For Ever HD powder
For my winter tone I prefer to go a lighter shade and use a bit of bronzer on the perimeter of the face and for the summer I need to go a few shades darker as my body gets tan so much faster than my face.
Clarins Ever Matte foundation
The Clarins Ever Matte foundation goes on beautifully with this Shiseido brush that I got when I was in Tokyo a few years ago. To be honest, I only got it because it was just 10€ but I never got round using it because it's tiny compared to my Coastal Scents flat top brush. For some reason I've been really enjoying application with this more dense brush as it buffs the foundation into the skin so smoothly and seemlessly that I haven't even been reaching for my Beauty Blender lately.
Forever Diorskin & InstaBlur primer
After hearing/reading a lot about the Diorskin Forever foundation I decided to give it a try. Of course I waited for a discount and was able to get it for 40€ instead of 50€. I've been only using it for a few days so I'm still not sure how it applies best, with a brush or with the BB. For primer I'm trying Instablur by The Body Shop, which I didn't like using with the Clarins foundation, but I'm still on the fence.
Foundations: High End vs High Street

What are your preferences, high end or drugstore?

23 May 2016

Blenders: Breville Blend Active vs NutriBullet

In January last year I decided to swap my usual tea and cookies for a more healthy breakfast. During the week I never have time to have breakfast before leaving the house in the morning so I need it to be easy to transport. Smoothies seemed the way to go for me.

After some research I decided to get the Breville Blend Active blender from Amazon UK. A year and a half later I can definitely say that it's the best purchase I've made in a long time. I've been using it almost every single day and I can really tell how much it has improved my skin.

A few days ago my mom's boyfriend came back from the UK and brought me a present: the NutriBullet blender. It had been my initial choice when looking for a blender but I'd decided that a cheaper alternative would work just as well. I haven't given it a try yet but there's a couple of things that are making me doubt if I'm going to keep it or give it back.
Blenders: Breville Blend Active vs NutriBullet
It's only a tiny bit bulkier than the Breville but not by much so that's not an issue for me. It's double as powerful though, featuring 600W but I've had no problem with the Breville crushing frozen bananas and berries.
Blenders: Breville Blend Active vs NutriBullet
The blades are pretty much the same, the Breville's are pointier and smaller but that's about it.
Blenders: Breville Blend Active vs NutriBullet
The NutriBullet comes with two kind of blades, though: an extractor blade (left) and a milling blade (right). I've had no problem with using the one blade that comes with the Breville for milling and blending. This is going to take up more space in my already crowded little kitchen.
NutriBullet blades
The large cups can hold up to 600ml (Breville) and 650ml (NutriBullet), so pretty much the same amount of liquid. The taller and slimmer bottle has a more ergonomic design to carry with you. The wider version is easier to clean up as you can fit your hand in it but I'm used to getting a spatula to press down the sponge and clean up the bottom of the Breville cup.
Blenders: Breville Blend Active vs NutriBullet
As you can see from the picture bellow the Breville cup is easier to drink from as it features a flip top lid with a nozzle, the NutriBullet sells them separately but apparently they cost a small fortune. The handle from the NutriBullet is adjustable  to any of the cups but you can't use it in conjunction with the lid what makes it a bit of a nuisance when you're on the go.
Blenders: Breville Blend Active vs NutriBullet
Of course I could use a straw to drink out of the wider cup or transfer my smoothie to the Breville cup, but that would defeat the purpose of using one container for both blending and drinking.

The NutriBullet is more versatile and powerful, it could be used to dice or chop up veggies in a second. Preparing salsas and mousse-like textures could be done with both devices, I feel, but the wider opening of the NutriBullet cups would make it easier to get the product out. Not that I've ever used the Breville for anything other than making smoothies but it's something to take into account.

What are your thoughts? Which one should I keep?

19 May 2016

Jewelry Haul from Happiness Boutique

I don't exactly recall how I stumbled upon Happiness Boutique, I suppose it was through some blog post. I liked the designs so I subscribed to the newsletter and watched out for a good deal. Almost a month ago I was sent the perfect offer: a pair of double sided pearl earrings valued at 14,95€ with every purchase over 40€.
The first item I browsed for was a pair of ear jackets as I've been seeing them everywhere and I've been loving the look.
These geometric ear jackets were 13,95€. The front part has some embedded crystals and the back side is bare. They are just the perfect size for an every day look, enough to make a statement without overwhelming your look.
The midi ring on my pinky was on sale for 9,90€ and I only chose it to get to the 40€ needed to get the free earrings. I actually love that it fits my pinky as I have trouble finding rings that small in size. 
And this is me wearing the pearl earrings and the last item to arrive: the hanging trapeze bar necklace that was 19,90€. Two years ago I purchased the same one from Forever 21 and I wore it a lot but the gold faded very quickly and I've been wanting to get a replacement ever since. Let's hope that the increase in price leads to less fading...

As for my personal experience with the brand so far:

  1. I placed my order on 22/04 and I didn't hear from them in two weeks' time.
  2. Finally I received an email to say the items had been shipped.
  3. Then another email telling me one of the items was on back order.
  4. A few days later they told me the missing necklace was on its way.
  5. Last week I received the two sets of earrings and the midi ring.
  6. This morning I finally received the bar necklace.
  7. They are based in Germany so I'm not sure why it takes 10 days to deliver to Spain
  8. The shipping costs were free though, but of course if they are using snail mail...
  9. The quality is not impressive, not bad but not overly good either.
  10. The pearl earrings showed some damage on arrival but as they were a gift I didn't feel like complaining.
  11. The midi ring is a bit chunky for it being so small in size, it doesn't look proportionate.
  12. The ear jackets are just ok, they're nice but that's about it.
  13. I love the bar necklace but I'll have to wait for a final verdict once I've used it a few more times, see if the gold doesn't fade as quickly as it's cheaper counterpart.
  14. As far as packaging goes, the items come in a polyester see-through pouch inside a sturdy white box with some added padding to prevent damage, kudos for that.
  15. You get a card with some care tips for your jewelry, a hand written thank you note, a business card and an inspirational quote from Bill Keane, the founder of Happiness Boutique, which I personally think shows how much they care for their jewelry pieces as well as for their customers.

Although my review has a negative ring to it I will most probably order from them soon. Their statement necklaces are to die for and I find they are very reasonably priced. I'll have to wait and see the quality for myself but on the pictures they look spectacular.

What do you prefer wearing? Statement of dainty jewelry?

15 May 2016

Drugstore Concealers

Despite having many "flaws", under eye circles, darkness or bags are not included in the list. I'm very lucky in that department so I could totally skip using concealer. I also almost never have any blemishes to cover up, my skin has always been pretty forgiving. I only have to deal with certain hyper pigmentation due to some sun damage from when I was young and careless but I'm not overly worried about them peaking through my foundation.
Drugstore Concealers
With everyone in the beauty world being obsessed with the highlighting trend and wanting to be the next Kardashian I was finally drawn in and went on the hunt to finding the best under eye brightening concealer.
Instant Age Rewind concealer by Maybelline
First on my list was the hyped about Instant Age Rewind by Maybelline. Many people don't like the sponge like applicator it comes with as they feel its most unhygienic but I particularly love it. It helps blend the product better than fingers or a brush. You could use a dampened Beauty Blender but I felt like it absorbs some of the product and makes for a more sheer application. Although I wouldn't repurchase it as it didn't work out for me (I couldn't tell any difference when using it), I recently recommended it to a friend and she absolutely loves it. 
Collection Illuminating Touch Brightening Concealer
On one of my visits to London I went into Boots with the idea to get the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer everybody keeps raving about but I couldn't find it so I settled for this Illuminating Touch Brightening Concealer by Collection, instead. Now that I've been able to compare the two of them, I'm absolutely sticking to this one. It's more brightening, it may not cover up darkness like the Lasting Perfection but it wears beautifully during the day and does't crease or look cakey.
Collection Lasting Perfection Ultimate Wear Concealer
A friend of mine was able to find the Collection Lasting Perfection Ultimate Wear Concealer for me when she was in the UK last year. It has great coverage and blends easily but on me it emphasizes fine lines that I can't otherwise see and it tends to look a bit cakey after a few hours' wear.
Wake Me Up concealer by Rimmel
The Wake Me Up by Rimmel is my favourite of the bunch. It isn't as brightening as the Illuminating Touch but it wears beautifully, it feels so light and imperceptible that it looks like your own skin but with photoshop.
Fit Me concealer by Maybelline
Last to arrive to my collection is the Fit Me by Maybelline. I'd tried the foundation a long time ago but it ended up being too greasy for my oily skin so I avoided getting anything else from the range. After hearing so many YouTube beauty gurus talking about how good this was I finally decided to give it a go. First time I used it I liked it better than the Wake Me Up but I haven't used it for long so I'm still undecided. It's slightly pink toned so that it helps create more brightness but I'm more used to yellow tone concealers so I need to test it out a bit more.

As for the prices, the Collection concealers are the most affordable, then comes Wake Me Up, next Fit Me and last the Age Rewind, although they are all under 10€.

Have you tried any of these? Share your thoughts, don't be shy!

11 May 2016

Cross Body Handbag by Marc Jacobs

It's been many years since I've had a black handbag, at least 15. I don't own many black clothes, it's not a color I like dressing in, although I love all shades of grey. And what better color handbag pairs with an all grey outfit? Exactly, black! Last year I couldn't find a black bag that I loved and I've been on the lookout ever since. 
Recruit Black Leather Small Saddle Bag
A few weeks ago I received my usual Forzieri newsletter along with a discount coupon code. I had been browsing for bags recently but I thought it didn't hurt to give it another go.
Recruit Black Leather Small Saddle Bag
I had decided to look for a cross body bag as all my other handbags are quite bulky and I wanted something smaller but not so small that it would only fit my house keys.
Recruit Black Leather Small Saddle Bag
The Marc Jacobs Recruit Black Leather Small Saddle Bag can fit a lot and remain compact enough to be considered small sized. Inside it also has a zip pocket and two slip pockets to fit my iPhone and car keycard, for example.
Recruit Black Leather Small Saddle Bag
There's another zipper running along the outside flap. If you open it up you can fit flat things, like your passport and boarding pass when you're traveling.
Recruit Black Leather Small Saddle Bag
On the back there's a slip pocket where I can keep my phone for a quicker reach.
Recruit Black Leather Small Saddle Bag
What I love the most is the gold hardware, they help make a pretty simple handbag stand out. It features a logo charm that can be removed if you find it a bit too much. The adjustable strap is very comfortable as it's wide enough to not bite into your shoulder.
Recruit Black Leather Small Saddle Bag
I've only used it once but I'm seeing myself wearing it a lot. It's perfect for running errands when you need your hands to be free and for those times when I don't need to carry my whole life with me. With my recent food truck obsession I've found that this sort of handbag will come in very handy to be able to eat on the go without having to hold my bag in my hand or hanging on my arm.

If you're in the market for a new handbag, Forzieri is having a huge sale right now. Shipping is very affordable and quick, I had my bag with me in less than 24 hours after it was shipped. 

6 May 2016

Spanish Delicacies: Nísperos aka Loquat

Following with my food themed posts I'm going to talk about a succulent fruit that grows in the area: the loquat. They have been part of my daily diet for the past few weeks as my neighbour keeps me well supplied.
They grow in clusters, the fruit is about 4 to 5cm, oval or slightly pear shaped and can be yellow to orange in color depending on how ripe they are. 
The skin's thin and fuzzy but smooth and is very easy to peal. Unfortunately they stain a lot so you may end up with brown fingertips if you suffer from dryness. The fruit bruises pretty easily and the ones that have brown spots are usually discarded and don't generally make it to the market.
It only bears a few pits, usually between 2 and 5 but they are bundled up together so they are easy to pick out and discard. Don't ever eat them, though, they are poisonous as they contain cyanide.
The meaty flesh is very juicy and tangy but sweet. It oxidizes pretty fast so it turns an awful brown color but it doesn't affect its taste. 
They are low in calories and rich in Vitamin A and pectin. The latter functions as a laxative and is said to lower cholesterol levels. For more nutrition facts and health benefits you may be interested in reading this article.

More on Spanish Delicacies:

2 May 2016

April Yays & Nays

There's nothing more satisfying than to use up a beauty product that you've enjoyed using, isn't there? This month's empties have been very prolific, so let's dive right in!
Two of these have really changed my game: the NYX micro brow pencil in taupe has taken the place of my Integrate brow pencil as it can mimic the brow hairs when you apply it in feathery strokes; and the Sephora smoothing primer, I can really tell the difference when using it, it makes my foundation look flawless for longer, it helps control shine and my pores are visibly reduced.

Of course I have to mention the Satsuma body butter and the Vitamin C serum by The Body Shop, they are staple products in my skincare routine and I've been repurchasing them for a long time now.

The Katari body lotion I mentioned in an earlier post and I have to update you on this because I ended up loving it. It's so lightweight but intensely moisturizing that I felt my skin was very happy whenever I used it.

I slightly burned my shoulders recently. I totally forgot to put some sunscreen on them as I wasn't going to the beach and I'm still not used to wearing sleeveless tops. My go to high duty after sun is the Balsoderm spray intensive. It really calms down the burning sensation and helps rehydrate and lessen the damaged skin.

And last but not least the Soap & Co. nail buffer that I've had for ages and was looking worse for wear. I mentioned in my Primark haul that I'd purchased a set of two so I could finally throw this one out. 
As for my Nays or Nahs I have to be a bit more specific. They aren't bad products per se I just didn't use some of them for what they were intended to. For example, the affordable Deliplus make up wipes I use them to clean off make up swatches and the Laura Mercier eye cream I ended up using as an overnight lip balm.

The Katari 90 shower gel doesn't foam up and that's a must for me. I don't like using bar soaps for the same reason. I just don't feel like they cleanse my skin properly.

I had this travel size Clarins Daily Energizer Cream lying around in my drawers and I decided to use it up before it went bad. It's just a regular moisturizer, nothing to comment on this.

My only negative review goes to the Benefit That Gal brightening face primer. I don't know what it is with Benefit's primers that they don't work out for me at all. And yes, I'm looking at you:  Porefessional