Monday, 30 January 2017

January Favourites

Wow, it feels like I haven't done a favourites post in so long... which is in fact, pretty accurate - my last one was in May last year.  Oops.  So we've plenty to catch up on.

The first honourable mention must be YSL's Mon Paris, which is a classic, romantic, and suitably Parisian smelling fragrance.  Think fruity, floral and sweet but with a deeper chypre base - somewhere between Giorgio Armani's Si and Coco Mademoiselle.  Lovely.

For my birthday in October my housemates (aren't they just the best?!) got me an Instax Mini 8 Camera in Yellow, which I have been loving.  There's nothing quite so satisfying as the clunk when you hit the shutter, the little squeal as your picture emerges, and anxiously watching the image develop over a two minute interval.  You can get them in all sorts of colours and there's plenty of funky cases to boot - like this oh-so-70s divine floral one.

I've definitely had to up my haircare game this January.  Whereas I'm usually fairly lazy, having just had another load of bleach inflicted on my ends as well as the colder temperatures, I'm lathering on all the nourishment I can.  I've recently rediscovered Lee Stafford's products, and I have to say, one of the major USPs of his products for me is their amazing smell.  I'm talking sweet, nutty, white-sand tropical island kind of smell.  Just what the doctor ordered in January, no?

I  like to whack a load of this Repair Oil onto my damp ends, and again once my hair has dried, to help seal the ends and give a glossier finish.  Paired with Ojon's Leave-in Glossing Cream, which I again use a generous dollop of on wet, brushed through hair, this combination has just about been saving my hair throughout the month.

And finally, to brighten up my reluctantly wintry looking skin, I've returned to an old favourite by Kiko - their Beam of Light Highlighter in 01 Cream.  Kiko is a brand I so rarely tend to buy from, but I believe I picked this up when I popped into one of their stores in a mall in Spain - as you do.  Anyway, it's just glorious.  Think pearlescent, shimmery, sandy gold colours; again, beaches and tropical islands (anywhere but England!).  This is highly pigmented and gives a gorgeous highlight but can be layered according to desired effect.

I like to dust along cheekbones, brow bones, cupid's bow, you name it.  Just call me shimmerball.

Ruby x


Monday, 23 January 2017

Review: Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

It was not until the release of the BeautyBlender in 2007 that blending sponges were taken truly seriously within the beauty world.  Over the past 10 years or so, the BeautyBlender concept of a pricier, but high-tech and reusable sponge which forms an integral and versatile part of any makeup routine has been adopted by dozens of other brands within the market.  I first got my hands on the original BeautyBlender sponges back in 2015, and having previously used a stippling brush, I could instantly see why everyone was going crazy for sponges instead.  Although I would still consider myself a relatively faithful member of the original BeautyBlender fan club, the price of those bad boys is not easily overlooked, at around £13 a sponge.  And so, when the time came, I began my search for a new, more affordable blending sponge.  And this is what I found...  

Real Techniques have a pretty good reputation with me as it is for affordable but good quality and well designed makeup brushes.  And their take on the blending sponge certainly does not disappoint.  Coming in at just £4.49 on Amazon for one, or £7.49 for two, these are undoubtedly miles better value than the original BeautyBlenders, yet are similar in many ways.  They expand slightly less than the BBs, which I found to grow by at least 40-50%; I would say with RT you're looking at around 25% expansion, making for a slightly denser sponge. 

Before soaking...

After soaking.
 But I actually far prefer this - I would find if I didn't rinse the water out my BB properly before using, it would dilute my foundation to only give a very light coverage.  Don't get me wrong, I don't like cakey, but there is also a reason I bother wearing foundation in the first place!  Also, I far prefer the shape of this sponge.  The flat side is perfect for under eyes and across cheeks, while the rounded end is better for nose and eyelids/browbone area.  In terms of effect, this is certainly on par with the BB, giving a similarly subtle, airbrushed but natural look that blends seamlessly with the skin.  Because of its functionality, price point and design, my vote must then go to Real Techniques' sponge over BeautyBlender.  

Has anyone else compared the two? 

Ruby x



Tuesday, 17 January 2017

New in: Formula 10.0.6

Getting together a good, solid skincare routine that uses products I love and that work for me is something I still haven't achieved, despite having been an avid shopper who also has skin for around 21 years.  I know.  On the upside, however - if you haven't already been able to tell - it does mean that I'm constantly trying new products from new brands.  Today I want to talk about a brand called Formula 10.0.6 which I picked up a couple of bits from late last year. 

Finding a good moisturiser is 100% where I have floundered over the years.  I'm a big big fan of the La Roche Posay skincare, especially their moisturisers (see this post and this post), however I find a 40ml bottle of LRP Effaclar Duo+ only lasts me around 3-4 weeks.  And at £15.50 a pop, even though I love it, that is more than my phone bill and therefore ridiculous to be spending every month.  

Interestingly enough however, Formula 10.0.6's 'Seriously Shine Free' moisturiser has a very similar visual effect to LRP's Effaclar Duo+, mattifying the skin perfectly.  It has a clean, fresh smell, slightly woody which is unusual for a moisturiser but actually quite pleasant.  Containing aloe vera and bamboo extract, it's gentle on the face and gives back moisture without a hint of shine or grease owing to its oil-free formula.  I do sometimes find myself having to put on multiple layers in order to feel that I have properly rehydrated my skin (especially after an involuntarily scorching hot shower; ours is rather erratic at the moment).  But considering it comes in at £8.99 for 75ml (I know!), a few extra layers here and there don't trouble me in the slightest.  This is an all-round great value moisturiser for oily, combination and acne-prone skin.

 The second thing I picked up was the 'Rescue Me! Blemish Care'.  This is a 25ml (also incredibly generous) product designed to clear and help prevent breakouts and blemishes.  Very similar to Soap and Glory's Dr Spot, I use this as a topical treatment for spotty areas after cleansing and toning in the evening.  Containing castor oil and salicylic acid, I find this does a pretty good job at drying out and reducing the swelling of spots (sorry if TMI).  Plus, again, it's only £6.99 for a bottle that will last me probably at least the whole of 2017 if not longer! 

So, Formula 10.0.6, upon first impressions, I'm pretty impressed.  This is a nice, more affordable skincare brand for anyone with oily, blemish-prone skin who is looking for a bit more value for money. 

Has anyone else tried anything from Formula 10.0.6?

Ruby x


Tuesday, 10 January 2017

In Check

Hello darlings!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year's.  I had a lovely laid-back couple of weeks of half-hearted essay writing and kicking back with family and friends, resulting in a rather stressful beginning to my year as I tried to finish off four assessments in five days.  However.  All is well, deadlines are behind me and I've got a few weeks now of relative peace and quiet before I begin my final term of uni.  Eeek!




This beautiful leather effect backpack is one of the latest additions to my wardrobe and was a Christmas gift from my parents.  Funnily enough, I had spotted it in the TK Maxx in Chichester way back in November, not bought it, and asked my Mum a few days later to go back and see if it was still there since I couldn't stop thinking about it but wouldn't be back in Chichester for a while.  I was pretty heart broken when she said it wasn't there anymore, so imagine my surprise when it turned out she had bought it for me and kept it secret!

This longline check shirt-jacket hybrid is also a TK Maxx find (can you tell I've got a thing for that place?).  It's from a brand called Native Youth and I picked it up for a bargain £14.99.  Wearing it in winter definitely requires an extra thermal at a minimum, although it's one of those gloriously slouchy fitting pieces meaning that you can get away with wearing plenty of layers underneath and not looking like the Michelin man.  I layered mine with a silvery coloured slinky hoodie from Zara.

The trainers are an old Adidas pair I got at least a couple of years ago.  They're still easily the comfiest pair of shoes I own, and go perfectly with casual, sportier looks.  

 T-Shirt - Zara / Hoodie - Zara / Jacket - Native Youth (TK Maxx) / Jeans - New Look
Trainers - Adidas / Bag - Fiorelli (TK Maxx)

Hope January is treating everyone well.  Wrap up warm (ironic coming from the girl who wears ripped jeans and a flimsy cotton jacket in the middle of winter)...!

Ruby x