23 July 2013

What's In My Make-Up Bag?

I'm having one of those days.  You know the ones.  Can't concentrate, won't concentrate.  Can't decide what I want, but I know I don't want that.  Not comfortable, but too comfortable to move from my desk and do something about it.  A bit hot, a bit cold, not hungry but eating anyway.  In short, I hate everything.  

In an attempt to distract myself for five minutes, I decided to clean out my make up bag and was pleasantly surprised to find that it didn't actually need cleaning out.  It turns out that even if I don't, my make up bag knows exactly who it is and what it's doing at all times, so we might as well examine that further, for inspiration.

This is the bag that I carry around with me.  The bag itself was a Christmas present from Gap*, and seems to be no longer available, but I have found some other make up bags I like, just for your perusal.  This one, this one, this one and this one.  And this one.  Anyway.  I never re-apply make up during the day, save for lip products, which is why that is the vast majority of the contents.  I do have the good old Collection concealer for rogue spot emergencies, but they seem to be few and far between these days.

In addition to the six lip products and the concealer, I have a Chapstick (in my opinion the only lipbalm worth buying), a pocket mirror, hair ties and clips, hayfever paraphernalia and two perfume samples, both of which I *hate* but refuse to throw away before I use them because I hate waste.  Prada Candy smells like Barbie's farts and Lemon by Mary Greenwell smells like old lady halitosis, which I am really disappointed about because on paper, this should basically be my perfect scent.  But, as we know, we can't have everything, so I shall spritz away and hold my nose until it's done and be glad I didn't spend £££ on something that makes me gag and feel like I'm in a care home toilet.

For completeness, swatches of all the lip products.  Behold.

L-R: L'Oreal Caresse in 06 Aphrodite Scarlet - Sephora own brand number 9 - Lanolips Rhubarb - Revlon Just Bitten Kissable in Romantic - Pixi Vitamin Lip Silk in No. 1 Flora - No7 BB Lips in Blush Pink.

I love all these colours.  I just don't love today.

*It was a present from my Mum, which she purchased from Gap.  Gap itself did not send me a Christmas present.  We're not that close.

5 June 2013

The Reading List

Amongst all the lotions and potions and unguents and balms, you'll find a great stack of my other love, books.  I always have my nose in a book (or three) and have amassed quite the collection over the years.  Above is my current bookshelf.  I have another one filled to the brim back at my parents' house and am hoping that one day, not too far from now, I'll be able to have them all in one place so I can sit and lose myself in forgotten favourites and as-yet-unopened treasures.

I always buy my books second-hand, be they from charity shops or online, and whenever I ask for books as gifts I request that they be second-hand as well.  I don't know why; I think I'm helping the book industry but I now realise (literally now, as I type) that if anything, I'm not really helping it at all.  I'm helping charities and my own purse*.  But that's no bad thing, so second-hand will stay.
Recently I went to a book-lover's paradise for a little holiday.  Hay-on-Wye, near Hereford in Wales, is a tiny town famous for its second hand bookshops (check out the blue sky!).  There's also an annual literary festival, which has just happened, but I avoided the crowds and went a couple of weeks beforehand for three days of browsing, reading and buying books.  So.  Many.  Books.

This is the pile I came home with.  The one book I really wanted to find was Swallows and Amazons, which I haven't read since primary school.  I've started it and am so enjoying the adventures "at sea" of the four children.  I want to read the rest of the series this year as well - I had no idea there were so many.
The other book I have on the go is Human Croquet by Kate Atkinson.  She's one of my most favourite writers, and the Jackson Brodie series is completely brilliant, but I'm really struggling with this one.  I'm about a third of the way through and I haven't got to grips with the character or the story, unfortunately.  I'll persevere but it's my least favourite of all her books.

Next I'm going to get stuck into the P D James, who I've never read, and The Wicked Girls.  I do love me some light crime.

I'd love to hear what you're reading at the moment as well as your all-time favourite books.  I can never have too many on the reading list.

*I donate all books that I've read and not really loved to charity as well, so as to reduce the clutter (and justify a new purchase or two).

28 May 2013

Sample Size

No, not my waist, unfortunately, but rather all the mini tubes and sachets of goodness that I poke my way through whenever the mood takes me.  I hang on to all samples I get; skincare, perfume, foundation, toothpaste...don't care.  You can pretty much guarantee finding one or two offerings in all the monthly magazines, if not more, and lots of beauty websites offer free samples at checkout as well.  They're a great way of a) trying out products for free to see if they're worth further investment and b) saving space in your bags if and when you travel.

I've discovered some absolute gems this way, such as the Haus of Gloi perfume oils, Aesop Fabulous Face Oil, the Neutrogena Daily Defence moisturiser, Lancome Genefique serum (the sample sachet lasted me a week!), and body moisturisers from Rituals.*
It's also always worth getting samples of higher end foundations before you buy, as well.  Often the sachets in magazines won't be the right colour.  Recently, I got the two samples of Giorgio Armani foundation from a counter in House of Fraser.  There's no way I'm going to spend £30+ on a foundation that could well be awful, so I went and got colour-matched and asked if I could have a sample of the Luminous Silk, which was what I wanted originally.  The sweet girl at the counter also suggested I might like to try Maestro and produced the teeniest little sample bottle complete with miniature dropper and filled it with around 6-8 days' of product for me.  Result?  Yes.  Actual result?  I don't really like either foundation unfortunately, but at least it hasn't cost me £70 to find that out.
No matter what the sample product is, I don't necessarily go on to buy a full size version of the product so it's also a good little money saver.  I reckon, with the amount of samples I had (little pile above is the last of a HUGE one) I've had roughly three months' worth of product to play with.  All the more money to...I don't know, blow my nose with?  What?  I don't have any samples of Kleenex...

*Not so successful were the Garnier moisturisers, the No7 Protect & Perfect serum and a horrible, sticky serum from Thalgo that clogged my skin faster than chip fat down a drain.