How I Blog #2 | Taking Photographs

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I really hope you are enjoying these posts; this time I'm going to cover my process for taking blog photos. I just want to throw this disclaimer out there that i am by no means suggesting that i take perfect photos. I definitely don't, I'm always learning and trying different ways to improve but at the moment this is how i do it and how i take my blog photos.

My academic diary that i mentioned in my last post (here) plays a big part of the process as i rely heavily on this as when I'm sorting out my daily to-do lists i also plan when and what blog photos i need to take. I do my best to fit in hour sessions at the weekend and take the photos in bulk for the following week and sometimes further ahead.

My Set Up
My set up varies a lot; sometimes i use my desk for the background which has a wooden effect but other times i use a big A3 white sheet of paper as it gives a nice clean white background for the photos. I don't have any studio lighting so i rely on natural lighting - i take my photos next to a window, unfortunately the position of my window gives me limited lighting which is very annoying. I'm hoping to invest in some studio lighting within the next year - any recommendations?

My Camera
The camera i use is a Fujifilm Finepix S1000 which is a bridge camera - it's an upgrade from a point and shoot camera but it's not quite a DSLR. It's a great little camera and can take great photos, I've had it now for almost 5 years and its served me well but it think it's slowly reaching its death.

On my camera; i vary between 3 setting that i like to use and i do test shots with each setting first to see which looks best but it can differ depending on the product and or the lighting. The 3 settings I'm use is Auto (No disapproving looks, please) Natural and also Manual too. I also always make sure i put it on 'Super Macro' because it's really helps to focus the image and makes even really small details clear. My camera doesn't have any fancy settings on lens where it focuses on the product and blurs the background (a girl can dream) but for now it works well and is doing what i need. I do plan to upgrade it to a DSLR one day.

Take Lots of Photos
I take a lot of photos; even when i think that I've got the perfect one i take many more just to be on the safe side as their are many times I've thought I've taken a really great photo and then when I've uploaded it to the computer it's not so great, so taking multiple allows me to have options of which ones to choose.

I also try to vary up the compositions of my photos too and try different ways of arranging them too; I'm still a complete novice when it comes to composing my images especially adding extra fancy props in there but i just try as many different ways as possible and hope for the best. It's all trial and error, sometimes it works and other times it doesn't.

Editing
For editing my photos, i personally prefer to use Adobe Photoshop - there are many alternatives out there but Photoshop is a software I'm very familiar with and feel the most comfortable using. I don't edit my photos a great deal, it's usually a case of cropping the images and adjusting brightness and contrast too, i find that this is all i need to do. I also make a title photo for my posts which is done really easily as well. What do you think of title photos?

That is pretty much everything that i do when it comes to taking my blog photos and the process that follows - I'm still learning and always trying to find new ways to improve them. I hope this was helpful, if not i hope you enjoyed the insight into how i take my photos.

How do you take your photos?
Natalie xx

Monthly Favourites | September

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Where the heck as September gone? Like really, i know this year is going fast but September has just gone by in the blink of an eye. I actually can't believe we are practically in October - all though I'm quite excited for the dark nights and plummy lips.

Beauty

Maybelline Colour Tattoo in On and On Bronze
This is one of those products that i come back to time and time again. I really enjoy wearing this on it's own blended out over the lid. As it's a cream shadow it blends out really easily across the lid and i like to wear quite a light layer but i think it's great that it's buildable to you can build up the intensity of the colour. I love pairing this with black eyeliner in the tightline and a lot of mascara as it creates a really easy edgy eye look.

Polka Eau De Toilette Rollerball
This was a really random Primark purchase that i decided to get so I'd always have something in my bag in case i ever forgot to put on perfume. This smells incredible, i can't quite describe the scent but it is so nice and it lasts so long as well - I've received many compliments and people are always really surprised when i tell them it was a Primark purchase. It's such a handy handbag size too.

Max Factor Skin Luminizer Foundation*
First off, i just really love how this looks in the tube - the swirled design of the foundation and luminizer is just so aesthetically pleasing and it amazes me that it hasn't mixed together. This shade isn't perfect for me but i can make it work with some blending and a bit of bronzer. I've really been enjoying sing this foundation, it blends out so easily and it has a lovely semi matte finish.

N07 Moisture Drench Lipstick in Rose Berry
I had no intention what so ever of purchasing this but when i saw that N07 were doing a lip match like they did foundation i was really intrigued to see what my lip colour would be. Ill had admit the lip matching thing wasn't what i expected (Ill explain more when i do a full review on this) but either way i found myself leaving with this lipstick. It's quite a bright pink shade that has a reddish undertone and it does actually suit my complexion really well and not to sound like I'm blowing my own trumpet it does actually bring out my eyes too. The lipstick itself is really moisturising and long lasting and I've worn this a lot this month especially on nights out.

Max Factor Gel Shine Lacquer in Sparking Berry*
I actually really like all the shades i have in this range but Sparkling Berry has to be my favourite, the shade of it makes me so excited for autumn because its a really lovely deep wine red shade. The formula of these are really lovely; it coats the nail really easily and becomes fully opaque in two coats. As it's a gel shine it gives a lovely shiny gel like finish to the nail and it lasts really well too.

Bourjois Bronzing Primer
Another rediscovery for this month - i actually use this as a cream bronzer rather than a bronzing primer and I prefer to use this to add colour into my face and cheeks rather than to contour with it. In the pan it actually looks quite scary but it's actually really easy to use, blends out so nicely and looks really natural too. I apply a really light amount and just build it up until i get the look i want. It last and it smells incredible - the scent reminds me of holiday.

Collection Work the Colour Lip Butter in Cappuchino
This is not usually a colour i would ever go for as it's a nude that leans towards being a brown nude rather than a 'pink nude' which i always go for but i picked this up anyways as the lip butters were on 2 for £5. Ive worn this so much already; it's so creamy and it's become one of those lip products that i always pick up when i don't know what lip colour to wear because it goes with pretty much everything. I really like the Collection Lip butters; i actually own 3 out of the 4 in the range - I'd honestly recommend trying these.

So Susan Flutter Mascara
This mascara is unlike any other I've ever tried - it adds length to the lashes but it's subtle and natural looking. It is a complete pain for transferring onto the lids and under the lashes so i tend to use this day to day rather then when I'm going out and might have put more effort into my eye make up. Normally I'd dislike a mascara like this but theres something about this i really like, i love how subtle and natural it makes my lashes looks.

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Blogger/Youtuber Favourite:

It's was only by chance that i discovered Ginger 'n' Roses by Beth - She replied to one of my tweets and i decided to have a look at her blog and I'm so glad i did because it's really great. Her layout, photos and content is so good and I've really been enjoying reading her posts.

Links: Blog | Twitter | Blog Lovin' | Instagram

Non-Beauty

The Killing
I whizzed through the 4 season of this and i really enjoyed it. It's like a crime/murder mystery type of TV show but it really draws you in and keeps you guessing who the killer is. If you're into crime solving type of shows i would definitely recommend checking this out, i really enjoyed watching it.

Contact Lenses
I did do a post quite recently on trialling lenses (here) i actually ended up doing another trial because i wasn't 100% happy with them. The 2nd trial went much better and I'm so glad to finally have contacts lenses as it's something I've been considering for the longest time.

Caramel Macchiatos
Every so often when i do to Starbucks i like to try a new drink so i pick a random one off the menu and hope for the best. A few weeks back i decided on a Caramel Macchiato and I'm addicted - they're are so nice and tasty and even writing about them is making me want one.

Mad Hatter's Tea Pot
This has to be the cutest little cafe/tea room ever. As the name suggests it's very Alice in Wonderland based which is one of my favourite books/films - i loved everything about it; the decor was mismatched and quirky, the staff were really friendly and the cakes are freshly baked. I had 'Alice's Afternoon Tea' which was a scone and a pot of tea - it was delicious and I'm already looking forward to my next venture back there.

Music

Meghan Trainer - All About That Bass
I fricken' love this song - at first i wasn't too sure about it but then it kept playing on the radio and getting stuck into my head and now i just can't stop listening to it. It's so fun and catchy and really great to dance to.

Unfavourite
My memory card has broken and i don't know why. I spent a morning taking blog photos only to find that when i put it onto my computer the photos hadn't stored. I tried to format but it wouldn't even let me do that. Thankfully i have a spare one for now but even that's not the most reliable so it looks like I'm gonna have to get a new one.

What are some of your monthly favourites?
Natalie xx

*This item was either gifted to me or sent for review.

Life Lately #2 | September

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Sweets for the Bag It Beat It Launch in Work | Trip to Ikea | Ikea Pick 'n' Mix | Late Night Starbucks
Max Factor Sparkling Berry | Trialling Contacts | Salted Caramel Green Tea, The Killing & Doodling | Red Lip
Night out with the Bestie | Pot Pourri (It made a pretty photo) | Another Doodle | Afternoon Tea at the Mad Hatters Tea Pot

I've never done a photo diary post before mainly because i either haven't done anything that interesting or i just haven't taken any photos. I always see posts like this on other blogs and there some of my favourites to read so i decided to have a go at one. It's not overly exciting but I've tried my best to take more photos.

I've spent alot of this month going on drives to random places including Ikea and the Mad Hatters Tea Pot - which might i add is amazing, especially if like me you are obsessed with Alice in Wonderland and tea - during these drives I've developed an addiction to Caramel Macchiatos, like seriously why did i not try these before?

I went to a CΛVES gig Friday night as well in Salford at a very unusual pub - it looks like an absolute dive outside but the inside was quite unusual, especially the room that the gig was in i really liked it in there - i didn't actually take a photo though otherwise id have included it above. The band played really well as usual - id definitely recommend checking them out.

In other news, i now officially have contact lenses (yay!) however, I've not had chance to wear  them all that much as i don't want to wear them for work but I'm currently doing a heck of a lot of hours in work covering staff (I'm doing 104 hours, i normally only do 16-20 a week) so I'm very tired at the moment, a lot of the posts going up over the next few weeks are actually scheduled because i didn't want to not post but i wont have a great deal of time during the weeks.

I'm going to stop rambling now, but i really hope you enjoy this photo diary style post and please let me know i you do as i will definitely do more!

Natalie xx

Top 5 | Blush

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Bourjois Cream Blush | Nars Sin | Benefit Bella Bamba | Physicians Formula Happy Booster | Nyx Summer Peach

I'm back with another installment of my Top 5 series and this time I'm going to share with you my top 5 blush products. I absolutely love using blush because although it's never the main focus of a make up look it's what always ties it all together.

Bourjois Cream Blush in Nude Velvet
I reviewed this blush on my blog quite recently and I'm still loving it. It's a cream blush that's has a cream to powder finish which i really like - it's so natural looking and i just love the shade. It might not look like anything exciting in the pan but it really is the perfect shade as it compliments both natural and bold make up looks so it's definitely a new staple item for me.

Nars Blush in Sin
This was a blush i had on my wishlist for the longest time and i finally treated myself to it back in June and it's definitely become a firm favourite. Sin is such an unusual blush shade, it almost leans into a lilac/purple tone but it's so beautiful. Its definitely going to be an Autumn make up essential because its the perfect shade for it. It's such a pricey blush but its honestly worth every penny - i love it!

Benefit Bella Bamba
This was my very first high end blush i ever bought and it's remained a firm favourite since i bought it. It's quite scary looking in the pan but it applies a really beautiful bold pink. It is quite bright on but it gives a lovely colour to the cheeks and if applied properly you don't need to worry about it looking like you've overdone the blush either. It does have added shimmer in it because the blush is designed to give definition to the cheeks and face. Normally, I'd avoid shimmer but it actually works really well with this blush.

Physicians Formula Happy Booster Blush in Natural
This is quite an unusual blush because it's not all that pigmented but it's a really gorgeous product. The mix of shades gives a really lovely healthy glow to the cheeks with a really light hint of pink in it. I love the design of this it's so pretty - i really wish we could get Physicians Formula in the UK because id love to try some of their other products.

NYX Blush in Summer Peach
I love wearing this blush during Spring/Summer because it's one of those summery type shades; it's a peachy pink shade and it looks really lovely on, it gives the a nice pop of colour to the cheeks. It's much brighter than the Bourjois Cream Blush but it's similar to it in that it's versatile and compliments both bold and neutral make up looks.

So these are my top 5 blushes; as you can see it's quite a varied range of shades, formula's and prices and they are the ones i find myself going back to time and time again.

What's your favourite blush?
Natalie xx

Review | Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter

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I don't shop at The Body Shop too often as i think it's a little on the pricey side but when i saw this Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter pop up on Velvet Gh0sts blog - it caught my attention and i decided to try it for myself.

At the time i ordered this there was a lovely 40% discount code floating around so i did get this considerably cheaper. However, i did have an absolutely nightmare with my order and it took so long for it to arrive and the customer service was ridiculous and not helpful at all. So I'll probably be avoiding ordering online in the future.

I'm sure most of you will agree when i say that removing make up is quite a tedious task so any product that makes it much quicker and easier to remove is a must and this cleansing butter definitely fits that bill. You take the smallest amount and work the cleansing butter into the skin so that it breaks down the make up which in turn makes it much easier to remove.

It's so quick and easy to use and it's really good at removing even really stubborn product (yes, I'm talking to you mascara and eyeliner) and it requires very little effort and very little time to do so i no longer have any excuses for not taking my make up off even when i come strolling in from nights out.

It's a really pleasant to use and so gentle on the skin and eyes. I still use a face wash afterwards just to make sure I've removed everything and that my face is fully cleansed. This retails for £12.00 which is a little steep but their is often discount codes and offers floating around for the Body Shop so it's definitely worth keeping an eye out for those if you're interested in trying this out. I personally really like this and i think it's one of the best make up removers I've tried.

What make up remover do you use?
Natalie xx

How I Blog #1 | Planning & Organising

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I've noticed lately that a lot of people have been doing posts on blogging and offering tips and tricks and in some respect i guess this post is technically the same kind of thing but i thought rather me telling you how and how not to blog, i thought id show you how i blog and tell you about things that i do or use in the process. If this post offers some tips you find useful then that is awesome, if not then i hope you enjoy it as a normal post anyway getting an insight into how i like to blog. I've decided to split this into 3 separate posts; planning and organising, taking photographs and the posting process.

My first step and quite possibly my favourite is planning and organising. For me, this involves gathering inspiration, coming up with post ideas and planning when to post them.

Gathering Inspiration
I try to find inspiration in everything i do or see and hopefully that helps me to come up with some post ideas. If i need a little help i try reading blog, watching youtube videos, browsing tumblr and pinterest, reading magazines etc... as i find all these to be very helpful and inspiring. (Please note - i only take inspiration from these place, i don't copy their content or ideas) I try to use other posts or videos as starting point for ideas.

Notebooks
I use a lot of different notebooks to help keep me organised with blogging; i have one specifically for writing down post ideas - which i split into sections (reviews, lifestyle, tags, beauty, misc etc...) so i can find a specific post idea a lot easier if I'm looking for a particular one but it's also a good way for me to try and keep my posts as varied as possible. Having a notebook with all my posts ideas written in it is something i find extremely helpful because i have something to refer to when I'm looking for something to post.

I have another notebook to keep track of my monthly advertisers; things like their links and i have checklists in their too so that i know I've done what their package entails - things like individual tweets, follow Fridays or linking their blog in a post etc... I also have one that is more like an organiser than a notebook and it's split into different sections, i mostly use the monthly section as this is where i plan out my posts for the month. It's really helpful because i can see the month in full so i can plan when i want to do certain posts and i find this really useful for if i ever want to plan ahead which i usually always try to do.

Academic Diary
I only started this at the end of July which is why I'm using an academic diary rather than a normal one but i use this to organise my life. I plan everything in here from day to day things like appointments, when bills are due etc... to when i want to take certain blog photos or to remind me to start testing out certain products. I also use this to make daily to do lists in this and I've actually found this really helpful in keeping myself organised.

Highlighters
Not a planning essential but it definitely makes its more helpful (and fun) when crossing things off my to-do list or when i published post idea from my list. I find it quite satisfying when I'm able to cross something off a list whether it's a post idea or just a general to do list, it makes me feel like I've accomplished something (just me?)

That's pretty much the basis of the things i use when it comes to planning and organising myself for my blog - it may seem like a lot to some people but I've tried many different methods and so far this is what works best for me. As i mentioned earlier; this is just how i blog and the methods i choose to use - if you find this helpful then that's awesome, if not i hope you enjoyed reading it anyways.

How do you keep yourself organised for blogging?
Natalie xx

Review | Make Up Revolution Redemption Palette Iconic 2

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My collection of neutral eyeshadow palettes is growing a little out of control but what can i say - they're my weakness, i just can't resist them. The latest addition to my collection is the Make Up Revolution Redemption Palette Iconic 2*

This palette is actually a really good dupe of Urban Decay's Naked 2 Palette. I believe that all the Iconic palettes by Make Up Revolution (1, 2 & 3) are dupes for all the Naked Palettes by Urban Decay - i can only account for Iconic 2 as it's the only one i own but it's definitely worth checking out if you're interested in the Urban Decay Naked Palettes.

Unfortunately, the Make Up Revolution palettes aren't packaged/designed as nicely as the Urban Decay ones but it works for what it is - it has a very simple black and gold design and they have very sturdy cases so i think you can trust it won't break or get damaged too easy.

For as little as £4 these are really good quality eyeshadows; they have really good colour pay off and have a nice buttery formula so they blend together really nicely. I find the eyeshadows last pretty well on me but i do always use an eyeshadow base so i can't comment on how well it lasts without one. I prefer to use eyeshadow bases because not only do they help with the longevity of the eyeshadows, they also help make the colours pop and look much bolder.

I really love palettes like these (hence why i have so many of them) they are just so versatile and you can make them work for anyone. You can create so many different types of eye looks with the 12 different neutral shades - you definitely get your monies worth and i think it's a great staple to have in your collection because you can tackle pretty much any occasion whether it be a light day to day look or a very bold smokey eye.

Have you got the Iconic 2 palette?
Natalie xx

*This item was either gifted to me or sent for review.

101 Things in 1,001 Days | Update #7

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Image Source

It's taken me a while to finish another 10 items which makes me kind of sad but I'm also quite impressed that I've completed 70 out of the 101 items - it's quite scary that the challenge ends in December, the time has gone so fast. I'm actually already thinking of goals to put on another one after I've finished this up as i really enjoyed setting myself the goals and i feel alot more encouraged to try and complete them.

61. Get rid of my overdraft/pay it back
This is possibly one of the best aims I've achieved of this list. I honestly thought i would never get out of it - getting an overdraft is one of the worst decisions i made and whilst at the time it was really helpful it's been a really vicious circle to get out of and I'm so glad its no longer a worry for me.

62. Sort my photos into albums
For my 18th birthday my nan bought me a lovely photo album and it was just sitting on top of my wardrobe unloved and i had a box full of photos that need sorted. So i picked out my favourites and put them all into the album so that i can look over then much easier and i love having them all in the one album.

63. Buy a domain for my blog
I wanted to do this for so long but i got really worried about doing it in case it all went wrong and i wasn't able to do it. I absolutely love my blog being a .co.uk as even though it doesn't make a massive difference i feel like its a bit more professional looking and its so much easier to type or to tell people.

64. Redesign my blog
I get bored of my blog design quite often and ironically I'm considering changing it again as I'm just not 100% satisfied with it, I'm sure all bloggers feel this way too. This was the first time i actually paid for a template and it was really easy to do.

65. Go to Blackpool Pleasure Beach (again)
Ive been to Blackpool Pleasure Beach many times before but it had been so long and i really wanted to go back again for the day - which we did back in May and i had a really lovely day and it was so much fun!

66. Go on the Big One (Pepsi Max) at BPB
Linking into the last one, whenever I've gone to Blackpool I've always avoiding the Big One because of the big drop at the start. There's been so many times when I've queued up for it then changed my mind and ran out of the queue but this time i did it and i really enjoyed it. The drop at the start was quite scary but i was very proud of myself for going on it and id definitely go on it again.

67. Drink more water!
I was really proud of myself for this because i started drinking so much more water than i ever have done. I would drink multiple bottles throughout the day unfortunately I've not been sticking to this as much lately but i did drink more for a good few weeks - must get back on top of it.

68. Buy an Item of Make Up from Nars
I finally treated myself to the Nars Blush in Sin - it had been on my wish list for a really long time and back in June i decided to treat myself to it and I'm so glad i did because i absolutely love it.

69. Go to the cinema at least 10 times
I enjoy going to the cinema but i find that i don't go as often as id like to so i set this goal to try and encourage myself to go there more. I definitely want to try and go more.

70. Try Contact Lenses
I did a post on this (see here) - I've wanted to try contacts again for a while and i finally booked myself in for a trial and so far so good

Are you challenging yourself to 101 things in a 1,001 days?
Natalie xx

Review | Max Factor Gel Shine Lacquer Nail Polishes

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It's not often i get excited over nail polishes, whilst i genuinely enjoy painting my nails they're just not products that i find myself gravitating towards when I'm shopping. However, Max Factor have released a range of Gel Shine Lacquer Nail Polishes* and i am rather excited about them. There is 8 shades in total and i was lucky enough to be sent four of them.

Patent Poppy* is a really beautiful 'poppy' red with a subtle pink undertone and i really like it, its one of those really classic shades and i think this is quite a versatile colour as its both pretty for Spring/Summer as well as Autumn/Winter.

Lacquered Violet* is unlike any shade i own. It's a blue toned purple and it's so pretty - i usually find blue/purple shades are quite alien on me but this is really nice and so pretty on.

Sparkling Berry* is possibly my favourite and definitely one that i will get a lot of use out of over Autumn and Winter because it's the perfect Autumnal colour. It's a deep wine red shade, almost a burgundy colour and it's absolutely gorgeous. Think Rimmel 107 lipstick in nail polish form. It's shown up a lot lighter on the photo than it actually is.

Sheen Merlot* is another shade i can see being a Autumn/Winter favourite. It's a deep burgundy colour with a slight shimmer to it. Its the type of colour that reminds me of Christmas (if that makes sense?)

I really like the formula of these they are so glossy, they apply easy and are completely opaque within two coats. I think you could actually get away with one coat if you needed too. As the name suggests they have a gel shine finish and i love it; there is something about a gel finish that makes the nails look really nice and put together. I don't wear a top coat with these polishes as i don't want to take away from that gel shine finish but i find they last pretty well on my nails before chipping. Unfortunately for me, chipping is inevitable because i have quite a physical hands on job that's intent on always ruining my nails and because of that they are prone to chipping but i imagine without that it would last really well.

They retail for £6.99 which i personal would consider quite pricey for a nail polish but i do really like these and they're such good quality that i think i would actually pay that much for them. I am actually considering buying some of the other shades from the range especially Radiant Ruby because it looks so pretty!

Have you tried the Max Factor Gel Shine Lacquer Nail Polishes?
Natalie xx

*This item was either gifted to me or sent for review.

Review | Bourjois Cream Blush in Nude Velvet

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The Bourjois Cream Blush in Nude Velvet was one of the goodies that i got in the Latest in Beauty: Glamour Summer Edit Beauty Box and whilst i was looking forward to trying it out, i never quite expected I'd love it quite as much as i do.

It blends into the skin seamlessly, leaving a beautiful hint of colour on the cheeks. In the pan 'Nude Velvet' doesn't really look like anything too exciting but it's one of those perfect blush shades. It gives enough colour to give you a healthy look but its still really subtle that it's the perfect blush and shade to compliment any make up look whether it's bold or neutral. You can easily build up the shade too, if you are someone who prefers a much more intense colour but i love the subtlety of the shade and how natural it looks.

I'm not always too crazy about cream blushes but this has a cream to powder finish which i really like as it has that 'second skin' feel and it really doesn't feel like I'm wearing anything. It's so easy to work with and to blend out and it looks really natural on. It does have pretty good staying power, i find it lasts pretty well on me - possibly around 5-6 hours before i feel it needs touching up.

The packaging of this is just adorable; they are so cute and compact. It's a really pretty product and i love leaving it out on my dressing table because its such a lovely design. It's a really easy size and i love that it has a mirror in the lid, it's perfect for taking with you on the go and it really won't take up any space at all.

These blushes retail for £7.99 which i think is a reasonable price; it's a really lovely and good quality product and i find myself reaching for this pretty much everyday since i started using it.

Have you tried any Bourjois Cream Blushes?


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Review | Max Factor Skin Luminizer Foundation

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I really enjoy trying out all different foundations and i have gathered a little collection of them - probably too many for just one person but when Max Factor contacted me asking if id like to try their newest release i just couldn't resist it. The Max Factor Skin Luminizer Foundation* uses light reflecting particles and is infused with subtle skin luminizers that helps light up your skin and give it a really healthy glow - i love a foundation that is going to give me a really nice healthy looking glow especially as we are heading into the colder months and my skin tends to look more dull around this time of the year.

I actually really like the packaging and design of this foundation; it amazes me how the foundation and the luminizer are entwined together and it amazes me how they stay put and don't mix together once you use it - maybe that's just me? I also love that this foundation has a pump - i say it in every single foundation review but i much prefer foundations to have a pump dispenser, they are so much easier to use and i think less product gets wasted.

Unfortunately it doesn't have a massive shade range - it does cover the basic range of shade but how well they'll suit everyone i don't know. I have this in the shade '45 Warm Almond', ideally i think I'd be better suited to the lightest shade but i think they did a pretty good job in the shade they sent without having seen my skintone. Warm Almond is a teeny bit too dark but it's nothing a light application and some bronzer can't fix. It's not perfect but it is definitely wearable.

It's quite a lightweight foundation but it definitely has more of a medium coverage; it covers any problem areas really well and it's really easy to blend out too - i really like using this with my Real Techniques Buffing Brush. It has quite a unusual finish to it, it's not quite matte but its not dewy either - it's somewhere in the middle. With it being a 'skin luminizer' i honestly expected it be on the shimmery side but I've noticed any shimmer in it, the foundation does however brighten up your complexion and it does give the illusion of a nice healthy glow.

The foundation lasts rather well on me; i do set my foundation with powder so whether that helps i don't know but i have worn this for a full day and it's stayed in place really well - i do also reapply my powder throughout the day so whether that's what has helped prolong the wear i don't know.

This foundation retails for £11.99 which is a little more pricey than your average high street foundation but this really is a lovely product and I'm genuinely enjoying using it - i would like to try this in a lighter shade though to see how that differs. Overall, it's really good quality, easy to blend, long lasting and lightweight.

Will you be trying the Max Factor Skin Luminizer Foundation?
Natalie xx

*This item was either gifted to me or sent for review.

Lifestyle | Trialling Contact Lenses

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I mentioned in my Life Lately post that I've been trialling Contacts Lenses. I tried them years ago when i was 16 but it didn't work out too well and at the time i just don't think i was ready enough for them. I was told i had astigmatism in both my eyes and because of that i had to have lenses that had to go a specific way in my eye (they had writing on them, that had to be positioned at the bottom of the eye) and it was a lot of hassle and at 16 i just don't think i was patient enough for them.

I trialled them and even signed up to them but stopped using them within days because they were moving around in my eye and if the writing on the lens moved out of place it irritated my eyes and it was generally uncomfortable. Also, because of the astigmatism i could only get monthly lenses which really annoyed me because i wanted to have the daily disposable lenses.

So that experience kind of put me off them and i decided that i was just going to stick to my glasses... but 6/7 years later i decided to give them another go. I love my glasses but i just fancied a change; sometimes i feel like my glasses can really ruin a look or sometimes aren't very flattering and i also hate that I'd spend so much time doing my make up for it to be hidden away by my glasses. So for those reasons and others, i decided to book myself a trial and give them ago.

I'm at a completely different opticians to where i was first time round and because I'm a lot older now i feel like I'm more ready for them.

During my appointment; they checked over my eyes and i was informed that i actually only have a slight astigmatism in my right eye but i could actually get away with wearing completely normal lenses which made me very happy because i don't have to worry about placing it a certain way in my eye - which is what i think made the last time so unpleasant - it did also make me a little concerned that the last place made me believe that the astigmatism was in both. I'm also able to trial daily lenses which makes me very happy.

So far, the trial is going okay; i still find it very bizarre when i have them in and i always find myself pushing up my glasses even though they aren't there. Sometimes i worry the prescription may not be right for me because my eyes feel a little funny when i wear them but I'm still getting used to a new prescription of my glasses to so I'm wondering whether it's something to do with that but we shall see how it goes and if I'm still unsure by the end of the trial, I'll let them know at my next appointment.

So yeah, something very different to my usual beauty ramblings but i shall let you know if i decide to stick with them or whether they are just not for me.

Do you use contact lenses?
Natalie xx

Life Lately #1 | Frustrations, Changes & Saying Goodbye

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I've been wanting to start incorporating more lifestyle posts into my blog for a while now so i decided to start this series as a way of sharing some parts of my life with you and maybe some photos too, assuming that i take some. However, now that I've actually decided to do this, i don't really know where or how to start. These posts are basically going to consist of me rambling about anything; what I'm thinking or whats going on in my life and all that kind of thing.

I've been feeling a little down lately for a few reasons; some that I'm not going to go into but the main one being that one of my closest and oldest friends (16 years and counting) has gone and left me for life down under. Technically, she's only supposed to be going for a year but i know what she's like, she'll love it so much that she'll end up staying.

I've never been very good with change or with saying goodbye and having to say goodbye to Hannah genuinely broke my heart and i literally cried all the way home. It may seem a little extreme getting so upset especially when there's things like facebook, skype, whatsapp etc... to stay in contact but for me, I've had Hannah in my life for the longest time and even though we've had ours ups and downs she's been there through everything, always a text away and now she isn't. She's that one person i can really be myself around that i can tell absolutely anything too without fear of judgement and i feel like I've lost her - does that makes sense?

I'm also feeling a little deflated when it comes to my blog too; i think deflated is the right word? I love blogging a lot but at the moment I'm finding myself really frustrated with it, in particular, with the photos. There are so many factors that I'm really struggling with and are making it difficult for me to get decent photos. The biggest issue for me is the lighting, as my room is closed in between two extensions (i hope that makes sense) any light that i do get is quite limited and its really frustrating because i either end up with really shoddy photos or not being able to publish my post because they aren't good enough. If you have any recommendations for affordable studio lighting then please let me know.

I also find it difficult to get good composition for my photos and i always see the way other bloggers lay theirs out and it always makes me green with envy as they always look incredible. I'm always looking to improve my blog and i feel its my photos more than anything that really lets my blog down. I think another thing that's not helping with photography aspect of my blog is my camera, I've had it for a good while now (almost 6 years?) and i honestly think it's on it's last legs. I'd love to invest in a DSLR but at the moment it's not in my budget and it's also just not a priority at the moment. So any tips you have let me know or leave me links to any helpful posts.

In other news; I'm also trialling contact lenses at the moment, I've worn glasses for the longest time and I'm just ready for a change but i think i may do a separate post on that though and go over how it's all going - is that something you'd be interested in?

I'm hoping that next time i do this post it'll be alot more interesting for you and ill have some photos to accompany it as well. Let me know what you think of this post and whether this series is something you are interested in reading it or not?

How's your life lately?
Natalie xx

Review | Magnifibres: Brush On Lashes

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I'm pretty certain i can vouch for most females when i say that all i want is to have naturally long lashes without dealing with the hassle of false lashes. For me, false lashes are even more of a pain because i wear glasses full time and unless the lashes are a certain length i have to deal with them battering the lens every time i blink which is rather annoying.

Step in the Magnifibres Brush on Lashes - this product claims to instantly lengthen lashes by 5mm. To use this you apply your mascara as normal then apply the magnifibres onto your mascara (do this straight away when the lashes are still wet) you apply the Magnifibres exactly like you would a mascara, brushing the fibres onto the lashes. To give the fibres chance to stick to the lashes wait about 30-60 seconds and then apply another coat of your mascara to cover the white fibres.

The idea behind the brush on fibres is that it gives an immediate false lash effect - giving both length and volume and because they stick to your own lashes it looks much more natural.

The very first time i used this i wasn't all that impressed, I'd expected it to make my lashes ridiculously long and i was little bit miffed that it didn't. However, i persisted with it (i mainly only wear it on nights out) and after finding the best way to make it work for me, I'm actually really enjoying wearing it. It still doesn't make the lashes as long as i first though but it does give me fuller and more volumised lashes that looks natural and my lashes don't hit my glasses lens which makes me very happy.

Magnifibres works with any mascara at all but i do find you get different results depending on the mascara you use.

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In the photos above; I'm using the Essence Lashes Go Wild Volume Mascara* (Review here) which as the name suggests focuses more on volumising the lashes - which it does a really lovely job of doing - so using the magnifibres not only gives length, it also emphasises on the volume of the lashes. Together i think these two make a really amazing team and i absolutely love the way my lashes look - i think they resemble false lashes or lash extensions but they are still more natural looking.

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In these photos, I'm using Benefit They're Real Mascara which is famous for adding length to the lashes. So when it's paired with magnifibres it is the length that is more of a focus. The lashes are already long on before magnifibres but using it adds more length and makes that the focus of the lashes. Again, i really like pairing these two together as i love how my lashes look and i really like that you get a different result than with the other one.

One thing i will say lets this product down is that you have to be careful when applying it because the fibres sometimes fall down during the application and it's not so fun when they fall into your eye. It has only happened to me one but it's still better to be careful as it's not so pleasant.

This retails for £21 but i have found it a bit cheaper on other sites. It is a little pricey but i think i would repurchase this because it gives me the effects of wearing false lashes without the entire hassle of actually wearing them.

Have you tried Magnifibres or know of a cheaper alternative?
Natalie xx

Review | Collection Work the Colour Lip Butter in Perfect Plum

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Lip Butters are probably one of my favourite types of lip products because you get all the benefits of a lip balm but they have the colour pay off of a lipstick. I'd read a few reviews of Collections offerings that were floating around the blogosphere and decided to pick one up to try out.

I picked up the shade 'perfect plum' which i already know is going to be a favourite throughout Autumn because it's the most beautiful plummy purple shade - it's quite similar to Mac's Rebel but a lot more sheer. If you'd like to see what it looks like on, i used it in a FOTD a few weeks ago. There are three other shades in this range and I've already picked up two more of them as i think they are really pretty colours - I've picked up Vintage Rose and Cappuchino. If you are someone who is a little scared of wearing a bold lip, it's worth checking out lip butters because although it may still be a bold shade, the sheer application makes it so much more wearable, so it's less harsh and less scary to wear.

Collection's Work the Colour Lip Butter retail for about £2.99 but because they are a fairly new release I've gotten them on various offers - whether it's been money off or on a multi-buy but £2.99 is a really affordable price without the offer anyways.

The lip butter themselves are really soft and creamy; they have great colour pay off, they are really easy to apply as they just glide across the lips and they are such wearable colours too. It had decent staying power and lasts for a few hours before needing a top up - i don't know if this is because 'perfect plum' is a more bolder shade so it lasts longer but either way i reapply my lip products a lot anyway.

Even talking about this lip butter is making me so excited for Autumn as i think this will look really nice - I'm picturing a chilly day, all wrapped up with a woolly hat and this beautiful lip product. I seriously love lip butters; i just love the fact you get to wear a colourful lip but you still get all the benefits of a lip balm which is just what especially in Autumn/Winter as it's gets colder.

Have you tried the Collection Lip Butters?
Natalie xx