Review: Benefit Hervana

30.1.12

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I've been after a new blush for ages and was going to treat myself to Benefit's Bella Bamba, but when I noticed the new Hervana blush was available on the website I decided to order it instead. Benefit describe it as a "good karma" face powder which gives a heavenly flush of enlightenment. I don't know if I'd go quite that far, but it certainly is a gorgeous and natural looking blush which I really like. It's a very girly kind of colour and looks lovely with neutral makeup, but would also be great if applied with a slightly heavier hand for a night-time makeup look. I think it's a very versatile shade which would suit most skin tones.

The powder itself is made up of four different shades: a purple, a dusky pink, a coral, and a peachy-neutral. They combine well together to create a perfect pink 'barely-there' kind of glow. There is a slight shimmer to the powder in the palette, but once it's applied it doesn't look glittery or over the top at all. As it's such a natural looking effect, it was quite hard to photograph but trust me, it looks lovely in real life!

I also preferred the design of the box to the old style of Benefit face powders. Hervana comes in a box with a hinged lid and small mirror inside, plus the slightly angled brush is actually quite good at applying the product so there's no need to take a separate blush brush with you if you're away from home. Hervana costs £23.50, which is the usual price for a Benefit face powder, but at the moment you can get £5 off with one of the Diet Coke voucher codes. It might seem like a lot but I really do think it's worth it as they last forever and are really good quality. I've had the Dallas powder for about 2 years now and I use it pretty much daily, but you can hardly tell it's been used!

Overall, I would definitely recommend Hervana, especially if (like me) you're not really a blush person and are a bit scared of looking like you've just had a hot flush. Not a good look. But this gives a really pretty, subtle, and natural glow without looking overdone and I think it's going to fast become on of my favourite beauty products!

Have you tried Hervana yet? What's your favourite blush?

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #5

29.1.12

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You may notice something a little bit different about the blog this week...? I've made a new layout as I was getting bored of looking at the old one and fancied a change! It took me most of Friday to get it looking how I wanted but I think I'm happy with it now. I was worried there would be too much white space, but I've widened the columns a bit so I can have larger photos, and I think it looks okay. I've also finally got round to buying a domain name for the blog so you can now access it via elevatormusik.com! (If you have any links to my blog I'd appreciate it if you could update your links - thanks!). What do you think of the new blog design?

This week has been pretty unexciting (story of my life) but I've been kept busy with uni work and dissertation research. I signed up for Netflix this week, which is probably a bad idea considering all the other things I should be doing instead! I've watched a few movies and I'm working my way through Breaking Bad. I'd been meaning to watch it for ages but never got round to it - it's brilliant, would definitely recommend!

As I haven't been shopping since the end of November I decided it was time to treat myself to something and when I magically found a Diet Coke discount code in my hands, I knew I had to spend some pennies at Benefit! There's a sneak peek of what I ordered in the photo above, but I will be doing fuller reviews of all the products soon.

Healthy living-wise I've been doing pretty well this week. I've done the Shred a few times and have been trying to eat well. Although I did make an exception for some haggis, neeps and tatties on Burns Night - yum! I also ordered myself some cute matryoshka measuring cups as a lot of the recipes I've been looking at online are American ones so don't use grams or ounces. I thought using measuring cups would be much easier than figuring out how to convert things! I made some banana muffins yesterday which are so good, and surprisingly quite healthy. I came across Eat Yourself Skinny the other day which has loads of amazing looking recipes I can't wait to try out! What are your favourite food blogs?

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Review: Lush Pow Wow Lip Scrub

26.1.12

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You may have noticed this little pot making in an appearance in my latest Sunday Summary post and a couple of you asked if I could write a more in-depth review of it, so here it is! It would probably have made more sense to do this review a couple of months ago as this is a seasonal product only available at Christmas, but Lush do several other varieties of lip scrubs which are available all year (I would recommend the Bubblegum one in particular).

At this time of year I tend to get quite dry lips and I have a really bad habit of biting my lips too which makes the problem worse. The best product I've used to make my lips nice and smooth again is definitely Lush's Pow Wow lip scrub. I tested a few of these out in the shop and from what I've heard/read elsewhere I think all the lip scrubs do an excellent job - I chose this one purely because I liked the scent best. Pow Wow is a luminous green colour and I think it tastes just like Haribo Tangfastics (anyone else?!). It contains popping candy which you can feel tingling on your lips and the best part is it's not full of unnatural chemicals so you can lick it off your lips when you're done!

I find the easiest way to apply it is to purse my lips together and use my finger to lightly scrub away the rough skin. It can get a little bit messy because the 'particles' are a bit big (due to the popping candy) so I would recommend doing this before you apply the rest of your makeup. Once you wipe it off you're left with lovely soft lips due to the natural oils in the scrub, like jojoba and argan oil. I usually add a bit of Chapstick or lip balm afterwards just to make sure it lasts all day.

The lip scrubs retail at £4.95 which I think is a very reasonable price considering how long they last. I've had mine for over two months now and it's still almost full. I use it probably around four times a week - whenever my lips are looking dry or when I'm planning to wear lipstick and want smooth lips to apply it to. Unfortunately Pow Wow isn't available at the moment but I would definitely recommend writing it down on your wishlists for next Christmas, or you could try one of the other varieties. I've tried the Bubblegum one too and it smells so good, and I've heard the Mint Julip one is great too.

Have you tried any Lush lip products?

Gillian x

Outfit: Pink Bullets

24.1.12

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Dress: Peacocks
Blazer: H&M
Shoes: Schuh
Necklace: Topshop
Ring: Charity shop


So, another outfit with a black dress and sparkly shoes. What can I say, I'm a creature of habit! This outfit is brightened up bit though with the addition of my new pink blazer from H&M. I usually struggle to find blazers that look flattering on me but I actually really like this one. They had it in loads of different colours, I'm tempted to go back and get a couple more!

If you've been following my blog for a while you'll have probably seen these shoes before. They are my absolute fave! They're kind of 'statement' shoes so I only ever seem to wear them with black outfits, I think I need to branch out a bit. What would you wear glittery heels with?

Sorry the photos are still a bit rubbish, I STILL haven't got round to putting away the Christmas tree so I can't take outfits photos where I usually do. Shame on me!

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #4

22.1.12


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1.Favourite lip product 2.Cocktails 3.Laptop in bed 4.Sweet potato & carrot soup 5.Dissertation reading

Well the first week back at uni has been surprisingly not too hectic. There isn't too much work to do for my classes at the moment so I've mainly just been ploughing on with my dissertation reading. The university announced this year's graduation dates earlier in the week so now it all seems a bit more official and it's sinking in that I've got less than six months left as a student!

My parents were down to visit on Friday so they treated me to some cocktails at the Dragonfly bar followed by a lovely meal at The Grain Store restaurant in the Grassmarket. It was so good, would definitely recommend. After dinner I went to meet up with some friends for a birthday night out which inevitably ended up in The Hive! Then had to spend all of Saturday recovering in my bed so I could go out at night to the student union. I can't say no to a bit of the legendary Big Cheese - cheap drinks and 80s tunes, what more could you want?!

I've been pretty good with keeping up with my healthy eating this week, aside from going out for dinner and drinking way too much booze! I've been making a few different homemade soups which are yummy and really healthy. I tried the 30 Day Shred for the first time this week and oh my god, I was in so much pain the next day haha! Hopefully that means it's working though so will definitely be doing it again. Anyone tried the 30 Day Shred, what did you think of it?

My laptop is totally playing up at the moment and it won't download iTunes so I've been listening to music on 8tracks instead. It's basically lots of different playlists, a bit like radio but you can choose what kind of music you're in the mood for listening to. If you've got an account let me know, and feel free to follow me!

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Outfit: Skeletons

19.1.12

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Jumper: H&M
Skirt: H&M
Boots: Ebay
Neklace: Topshop

I'm off to the pub soon for dinner and a couple of cheeky pints with my friend, so I thought I'd give this jumper an outing for the first time. I bought it before Christmas but never got round to wearing it as I've pretty much lived in pyjamas for the last month or so! But now I'm back at uni I actually have to get dressed a few times a week haha. It's kind of hard to tell from the photos, but the jumper has tiny sequins sewn all over it. I think this outfit is good pub attire - not too dressy but a little bit nicer than daytime clothes. I hate feeling underdressed/overdressed when I'm out so I always try to plan ahead. I love when you go to the pub for just one or two drinks and end up, 4 hours later, doing tequila shots in a club because you have absolutely no self control - this is why you cannot wear hoodies to the pub!

These shoes are fast becoming one of my favourite pairs. They're great because they're not too high so are easy to walk in but they still look a bit more dressed up than normal boots. I was a bit sceptical about ordering cheap shoes off one of those Ebay wholesalers (I don't think that's even the right word, but you know what I mean!) but these have turned out to be really comfy and so far there are no signs of them falling apart.

This is one of my favourite necklaces but I don't wear it that often as the skeleton's little arms and legs often get caught on things! Very annoying, but very pretty. I'm not really the biggest fan of Topshop clothes as I think they're overpriced and not that great quality, but I love their jewellery. I try to stock up as much as possible in the sales as there's usually great bargains in the jewellery department.

Do you like getting dressed up for dinner or the pub, or prefer to keep it casual?

Gillian x

Brows, Brows, Brows

16.1.12


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Lately I've had a few questions about my eyebrows so I thought it was time to do a post explaining my 'eyebrow routine'. To be honest it's nothing revolutionary, but hopefully it will help someone! This isn't really going to be a tutorial, more a collection of tips and tricks that I find work well for me. To see the process itself, have a look at the video in this post (eyebrow bit starts around 1 minute in).


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Before

Routine:
After I've applied my foundation, I brush my eyebrows through with one of those comb things that are for mascara on one side and eyebrows on the other - I'm sure you know what I mean! Mine is just a cheapy one that I think came free with a magazine once, but it does the job well enough.

I then fill my brows in using the powder from the HD Brows palette. I use a combination of the two darkest shades, as none of the colours are a perfect match for my hair colour. I just use the little brush that came with the set, but any small angled brush would do. I don't think it's particularly necessary to buy 'brow powders', any eyeshadow that is the right shade is perfectly good! I used to use a dark brown No7 eyeshadow before I got the HD Brows palette in a Glossybox a few months ago.

I find it easiest to start at the part of your brow closest to your nose and work your way out. Once you're happy with the main/straight part of your brow, then move on to the tail, making sure the arch is nice and curved rather than pointy. If you have unruly eyebrows, setting them with a brow wax would probably be a good idea. I find that mine usually stay in place all day so don't bother using one.


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After

Useful Tips:

  • Buy yourself a pair of good tweezers with thin blades so it's easy to catch stray hairs (I can't recommend Tweezerman enough). It takes patience to get your brows into a shape you like, and it's best to do it gradually rather than going crazing and plucking too much at once. Once you're happy with the shape, maintain it by plucking any stray hairs you spot whenever you're doing your makeup. Don't wait until your brows are out of control before you pluck them again!

  • I once read somewhere that eyebrows are meant to be sisters, not twins. Cheesy, but it's true. You'll drive yourself mad if you try to make them look identical, as long as they compliment each other and look similar, don't worry. I think they look more natural if they're slightly different anyway.

  • I always apply my foundation, do my brows, and then apply finishing powder. I find that this helps to soften the brows a little bit and make them look less harsh without losing their shape. Just make sure to brush them through lightly with the brow comb to make sure there's no obvious dusty bits!

  • I find it easiest to fill in most of one eyebrow, most of the other one, then check to see if they're even. It's easier to even them up if you haven't finished them completely. Once you'e happy that they're even, you can go over them again to make them a bit darker and make sure the edges have clean lines.

God, I love eyebrows. If you don't believe they're important, look at this and tell me I'm wrong!

What's your eyebrow routine?
Gillian x

Sunday Summary #3

15.1.12

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Even though I haven't done very much this week, it feels like I've been really busy. I'm back at the flat now and attempting to sort myself out for going back to university next week after what feels like months of being off. My dissertation is due in at the end of this semester and the thought of writing it is making me want to vom. I've done quite a lot of research for it so far, but motivating myself to do a little bit more and then actually sitting down to write it is going to be hard. Luckily I only have one class this semester so I should have plenty of time to do it!

I've been having computer issues this week as I managed to drop my laptop and now the power cable won't plug in properly. Oops! I was planning on buying a new one soon anyway but this has made it a bit more urgent! Thankfully my parents agreed to treat me to one as my old laptop was pretty much on its last legs and I really need a working laptop to see me through my last semester of university. Can't believe I've been at uni for 4 years, in one way I can't wait to graduate but in another way I'm scared and want to stay here forever!

This week I'm trying to implement my healthy eating/living routine and have been doing relatively well so far. I've downloaded the My Fitness Pal app for my phone and it's really useful being able to record how many calories you've consumed. I'm so bad for eating just because I'm bored so having a daily calorie limit to stick to really makes me think twice about snacking when I don't actually need to. I'm going to go to the gym for the first time in months this afternoon, even if my workouts aren't particularly long/strenuous it still makes me feel better if I make the effort to go. Although this will probably be cancelled out by the huge bucket of popcorn I eat at the cinema tonight! I think we're going to see The Iron Lady, it wouldn't be my first choice of film but my flatmate really wants to see it. Hopefully I'll enjoy it anyway, anyone seen it?

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Outfit: Another Black Dress

13.1.12

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Dress: Topshop
Ring: Primark
Belt: New Look
Shoes: Ebay
If there's one thing I don't need any more of, it's black dresses. And if there's one thing I keep buying, it's black dresses. But this one also has glitter on it, so I feel like it's allowed! I've seen this dress in quite a few outfit posts/wishlists and I'm not surprised as it's so pretty and really flattering in real life (sorry about the rubbish photos, hate having to take them here rather than my usual spot!). Despite having lots of different clothes in my wardrobe, I always seem to reach for a nice black dress for a night out. It's a bit boring always dressing the same though, really need to wear something bright for a change!

I bought these shoes from Ebay a couple of months ago as I wanted purple heels to wear for a ball and I couldn't find any on the high street. When they arrived I loved them instantly but I didn't realise the heel was going to be so big. I'm used to wearing heels for nights out, but even for me these are a little bit too high! Surprisingly they're not actually that painful for general wearing/dancing but they are a total nightmare to walk in. I prefer heels with straps/zips/shoe boots as they're much easier to walk in because your feet don't slip out. My faithful old pair are looking a little sad so I really need a new pair, got my eye on these ones just now.

Do you wear heels a lot or tend to stick to flats? What's your go-to outfit for a night out?

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #2

8.1.12

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I can't believe it's Sunday again already. I haven't really be very busy this week but somehow the time has gone past super quickly. We've had various family and friends visiting but now the festive period has passed it's calmed down a lot.

I'm still visiting my parents at the moment and making the most of getting all my meals cooked for me and having central heating on all the time! I'm also making the most of all the chocolates and sweeties leftover from Christmas and am taking the opportunity to eat as many as possible. Once I go back down to my flat it's going to be healthy eating only so I'm going to eat as much as possible this week haha! I have a gym membership which I hardly ever use, so I'd like to get my money's worth out of it this year and try to go about 3 times a week. I don't want to lose loads of weight but dropping a dress size would be nice (I, however, am extremely lazy so this will probably last about 2 weeks before it's back to long lies and Doritos in front of the TV!).

It's been great being at home and just lazing about doing not very much, usually watching TV with the dog curled up on the sofa next to me! He hates getting his photo taken, but I got a sneaky wee picture of him the other day. Sadly he's not as photogenic as he was when he was a baby! His name is Moss and he's 7 months old now, so cuuuutteee. I think the majority of bloggers are probably cat people, but I am most definitely a dog person!

I've also been doing lots of reading while I've been at home. During termtime, I have so much stuff to read for my degree that the though of reading for fun doesn't even cross my mind. It's such a shame because I really do love reading but I never seem to have time for it or be in the right mood to sit down and read a good novel. The other day I finished "The Radleys" by Matt Haig which was alright but not brilliant, a pretty light and easy read although it was very predictable. I've just started another book, "Even the Dogs" by Jon McGregor, which is quite good so far. I love his previous books (especially this one, so so good!) so I've got high hopes for this one. It's a bit slow so far but I'm only a couple of chapters in, so I hope it improves! Have you read anything good lately?

I've haven't really been out and about anywhere so I'm afraid I haven't got many exciting photos for this week's post. I'm off out this afternoon to look at laptops as I'm thinking of buying a new one. My current one is about 5 or 6 years old now and although it still works, it can be pretty slow and is rapidly running out of hard drive space. I'm trying to convince my parents to buy me a new one as it will be "essential for writing my dissertation to have a good laptop". :P

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Makeup: Top 10 of 2011

4.1.12

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1.HD Brows Pallete (Foxy) 2.Bourjois Blush Pot (Rose D'or) 3.Lily Lolo Mineral Foundation (Blondie) 4.Eyeko Liptastik (Loud Mouth) 5.Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara (Black) 6.Estee Lauder Double Wear Light Foundation (shade 1) 7.L'Oreal Studio Secrets Smoothing Resurfacing Primer 8.Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers 9.MAC Lipstick (Russian Red) 10.Benefit Dallas

In hindsight it would have probably have been better to post this when it was still 2011, but never mind! If you're a regular reader of the blog then you'll have probably seen me mention pretty much all of these products before because I use them a lot and would highly recommend all of them!

Face:
I started using a primer this year and it has made a huge difference to my makeup. It makes foundation last much longer and your skin looks much smoother. I've been using this L'Oreal one which is great and not too expensive, although I'd like to try a few different ones(like the Smashbox one) to see how they compare.

As for foundation, I love Estee Lauder's Double Wear Light. I've never used the original Double Wear but to be honest, for me, this gives plenty of coverage. It looks pretty natural and stays put all day. Although it's quite expensive, it lasts for months and months so I think it's worth it. I also use Lily Lolo's mineral foundation for days when I can't really be bothered doing proper makeup. I also sometimes use it as a kind of 'finishing powder' on top of the Double Wear Light for nights out when I want my foundation to look flawless and stay put all night.

My all time favourite bronzer is Benefit's Dallas, I use it pretty much every day and there's barely a dent in it, really does last forever. It creates a really subtle glow so is perfect if you're pale like me! As for blusher, I've recently started using this one by Bourjois and I really like it. It's not too bright but it creates lovely rosy cheeks and it smells amazing too! (I always think Bourjois products smells really nice, no?)

Eyes:
Eyebrows are very important to me, if I only had 2 minutes to do my makeup I would probably do my eyebrows and eyeliner and leave everything else! I got this HD Brows palette a couple of months ago in the Glossybox and I love it. The only downside is that the colours aren't quite right for me so I have to mix together the two darkest shades, it would be a lot easier if I could just use one ready-made shade so my eyebrows always looked the same colour. Apart from that it's great though, one of the things from Glossybox which I would actually bother repurchasing.

A few weeks ago I bought myself some Shu Uemura eyelash curlers after years and years of hearing good reviews. I wasn't convinced they would actually be much different, but they curl my eyelashes so much better than my old cheapy curlers. I have about 5 or 6 different mascaras on the go just now, always on the search for the perfect one! I've used a few that I've quite liked this year but by far my favourite is Max Factor's False Lash Effect. It manages to lengthen and volumise without being clumpy and is a really black colour which is everything I look for in a mascara. I think this is the only mascara I've ever bought more than once.

Lips:
I'm really disappointed Eyeko have discontinued pretty much all of their products as I have used this lip crayon loads this year, and I'd love to purchase the other shades of it too. It's great for just dabbing on to your lips to add a tiny bit of colour, or applying more like a lipstick for bright lips. I know I'm really late to the party, but aren't MAC lipsticks amazing?! I've always been a fan of Barry M lipsticks as they've got a great range of colours and are really cheap, but once you've used MAC you'll never go back! My favourite shade is Russian Red, it's so creamy, long-lasting and easy to apply plus it's the perfect matte dark red colour. I will definitely be looking to add more shades to my collection in 2012 - what are your favourite MAC shades?

Have you used any of these products? Which products have you been loving over the past 12 months?

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #1

1.1.12

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Well, it's a new year so what better time to start (and hopefully stick to) a new Sunday Summary feature on the blog? As I haven't posted in a while this will be a bit of an extended version covering the last 2 or 3 weeks.

I didn't have any exams this semester (which means I have double the amount in May, ugh) so I've had plenty of time to relax and get myself in the festive spirit, decorating the flat and making a wee Christmas dinner for me and my flatmate, as well as having a few nights out in Edinburgh. I came back home to my parents house a couple of days before Christmas and since then I haven't really done very much at all apart from eating and watching TV!

We had some family over on Christmas Eve and had our big roast dinner then so on Christmas day we just had leftovers. I got up about 10am and had Bucks Fizz with breakfast and after that we opened our presents. I mostly got books and food, which suits me just fine! I got a couple of baking/cupcake books so have been doing lots of baking this week. I spent the whole of Christmas day in my onesie, watching TV, playing The Sims and reading, perfect!

I haven't bothered braving the sales as I've heard quite a few people say they're a bit rubbish this year. I've had a quick look online but nothing has really grabbed my attention so I think I'll just save my money for when I'm back in Edinburgh and spend it all in the new Primark! Have you got any bargains in the sales this year?

I had a very low key Hogmanay as well, we had a big meal with my grandparents and some family friends last night. Had lots of wine and cocktails and went to bed about 1.30am. As much as I love going out on any other night, New Year has never really been a big deal for me - it's always a bit overrated, expensive and difficult to organise. Staying in with the family, who provide you with food and booze, is much better!

University classes don't start up again until January 16th so I think I'll stay at home for another week or so before heading back. I love living away from home but it is nice to come back for a couple of weeks to see the family and my dogs! Was trying to take some pictures of the puppy to include in this post but he hates getting his photo taken, I'll have to try and take some sneaky ones while he's asleep!

What did you get up to for New Year?

Gillian x