So I'm back from Uni for the Easter holidays! I had a really stressful last couple of weeks as I slogged to get three 2000 word essays plus a creative writing piece done for the last Friday of term. As a result I found myself horribly stressed, not sleeping or eating properly, developed a horribly cold that I'm still dealing with and generally wrapping myself up into a little knot of anxiety about the whole thing. Then on the last day of term, having had about three hours sleep, I crawled out of bed, trudged the half an hour to my campus, printed out the 65 pages (!!!) worth of essay, handed it all in, trudged back home, threw some stuff in a suitcase and got my laundry in a bag and two hours later got back to my parents house and collapsed into bed.
Phew! The gist of where I'm going with this is that I have been in need of some serious pampering and relaxation lately and last night I got it. When I came home my lovely mama had left a little bag of treats for me in my room and this little beauty was among them. The Sweet Fluffy Cupcake bath and shower gel from Philosophy. She'd found it in TK MAXX for a few pounds and snapped up one for each of us. What a star.
I've never actually tried the 'real' philosophy products before. I'd tried a lot of imitations, almost everywhere does that shape of bottle with a similar style of branding on it and similar smells and I've used quite a few over the years, but my goodness this was something else. I ran a hot bath and swirled a scoop of this into the running water and it lathered up like a dream filling the tub with thick white foam and when I used it on a puff on my body it was creamy and moisturising and felt so luxurious.
Also the smell. The smell. It's amazing. A lot of the 'imitation' ones have a cupcake style version but it's usually a nice but pretty uninspired vanilla-batter scent. This really does smell like thick sugary frosting and is so sweet that straight out of the bottle it can actually smell a little sickly but is a joy to sink into and just lingers on the skin a little afterwards.
I've looked for this product on the Philosophy site and places that stock it, but it was a Christmas release and so I can't imagine it being out in late March. My point is, though, that I think I have been converted to buying real Philosophy products, instead of the £2.99 offerings from Tesco's and the like. There's just no comparison in quality and I'm really interested to see what other amazing scents are available, I have a feeling I'll be stocking up!
Let me know if you've tried any Philosophy products and how they compare with the cheaper versions, I'd be interested to know what you think!
>> On Repeat . Brain - Banks <<
I really haven't done much in the way of beauty related posts for quite a while now. My last truly makeup based post was all the way back in September. I think that's because, partly due to budget and partly simply due to the fact that people change, I haven't been hugely focused on buying and trying new beauty products recently. I've lost interest in drooling over the latest MAC collection or browsing beauty counters for hours on end. What that does mean though is that now my once overflowing collection of products has been condensed hugely, leaving me with just the things I really like, and that work for my skin.
In terms of skin perfecting, some people can get away with a dab of concealer under each eye and away they go, unfortunately I can't. Although I rarely get spots my skin is very uneven in colour and dryness, particularly in the colder months, means it can look dull and a bit pasty. Luckily I've discovered a few products that sort me out a treat.
After cleansing and moisturising I pat on a touch of La Roche-Posay's Effaclar Duo (Nice simple name...) It's a nice little product that works well to prime and smooth my skin before foundation and, over time, has helped to even out my skin tone. It's not bargain bin price by any means but it has become a staple in my daily skin routine so for me it was worth the money spent.
Foundation wise, despite the high end Estee Lauder, Illamasqua and MAC purchases I've made over the years I always find myself coming back to the wonderfully affordable Bourjois. This is their most recently released foundation: The Happy Light Foundation in shade 50. (again, who is coming up with these names?) This promises a light-medium coverage giving a luminous flawless complexion and, in my opinion, it delivers. It covers imperfections without giving me a 'masked' look. Applied with my new baby, the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, which buffs the product into the skin beautifully, my skin really does look naturally flawless. In fact a friend of mine complimented my skin and said that she wished she could go without makeup! Unfortunately I had to correct her but that's about as big a compliment as a foundation can have! as usual Bourjois' main flaw is that their shade selection stinks after you get past medium skin tones but if you're passing and want to try them do have a look and see if anything they offer will match you.
I do dot a touch of MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NC15 under my eyes and on a few persistent scars on my jawline and buff in with the same brush but, in my usual 'Blogging Goddess' form, I forgot to include that in my photo. Good one. But after that the overall effect is that of flawless skin with a subtle glow that I just love, particularly this time of year when everyone seems to be caked in matte, flat foundation.
So that's just a few products I would recommend. I've been sticking with this routine more or less exclusively for the past few months and I have no intention of straying any time soon. Let me know your current favourite face products if you have any, or if you'll give any of these a try.
Thankyou for reading, hope you enjoyed.
>> On Repeat . Instant Crush - Daft Punk <<
Okay so it's not getting warmer... at all... but that isn't stopping me looking ahead for when I can finally cast off the thermals and chunky boots and slip into something lighter and more fun. Even in summer, though, I'm not one for bright obnoxious colour palettes a lot of the time. I like keeping my beloved palette of greys, blues and tans but in floaty fabrics and pretty prints. These two dresses are both from a brand called Staring At Stars sold at Urban Outfitters and it may be becoming my favourite label. A lot of their pieces are in a style I can only really describe as 'Bohemian Baby - Goth' which just about sums up what I'm looking for in a summer wardrobe this year!
The bag, sandals and sunnies are all pieces that can be slung on with just about any outfit, which makes things like packing for a summer holiday or festival a million times easier. They're in shades that are easy to pair up and are interesting enough as stand along pieces but won't fight for attention within a coordinate.
Also featured is My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier, one of my literary idols. I really want to read more of her work and have found the most gorgeous editions of some of her most critically acclaimed novels. For anyone looking to expand their literary horizons from YA or Chick - lit into something deeper and more substantial I would highly suggest a bit of Du Maurier. I'm looking forward to the Summer holidays when I no longer have Uni required reading or assessments to be worrying about and can sit down and read books I want to enjoy, at my own pace.
Let me know what you've been wishing for, aside from maybe better weather if you're in the UK!