What's Made Me Happy This Month? | August 2015

Monday, 31 August 2015

Quotebook Co

August seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye, but I'm not complaining because I'm getting a bit restless being home for the summer. It's got to the point where I'm finding really little things irritating, which is always a sign it's time to leave! My train ticket back to Wales is all booked, so I just have to enjoy the remaining weeks I've got with my family and friends before term starts and I set up camp in the library (though I may have to take a few study breaks to watch the rugby world cup in the pub  I'm so excited!)

I don't like it when small things start to bother me, because they really don't matter in the grand scheme of things, so writing this post has been a gentle reminder that life is good, and I'm lucky.

List | 10 Reasons Why I Can't Wait For Autumn & Winter

Friday, 28 August 2015

Is the end of August too early to start thinking about Autumn? I'm not sure. It certainly doesn't feel like it with all the windy, rainy weather we've been having. Yesterday I went out for lunch and because there were no seats left indoors in a gallant attempt to embrace the spirit of summer we ate our food outside, and it was freezing! And although I'm not a fan of being cold, it got me thinking about my favourite seasons of the year. 

Anyway, I'm going to fulfil several blogger stereotypes in this post, and I'm not ashamed; in fact, I love that so many of us get excited about the same stuff. It's the little things in life, right? Despite the weather, the A/W season makes me happy, and it's all the things you'd expect that brighten up those cold days and nights: tartan scarves, Starbucks, and cosying up under the duvet. Enjoy.

Skincare | Current Skincare Routine (August 2015)

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

As you may have gathered from my post on adult acne, my skin is suffering right now. Spots on my forehead, spots on my chin (although those are finally getting better) — I even get a few on my cheeks and along my jawline occasionally. Fun times. A trip to the doctor may be on the cards after all.

The silver lining, if there is one, is that having acne has made me think very carefully about what I put on my skin each day. I feel like the best thing to do is be gentle and not use any products that are too harsh or drying (those foamy, gritty washes geared towards teenage skin just make me die a little bit inside. Not that I'm a teenager, but at 21 it turns out I'm technically too young for adult acne, too. What am I?!).

Make-Up | The Lip Pencil That Divides Opinion

Monday, 24 August 2015

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl (?)

Never in a million years when I added this product to my NARS order did I think that it would prove to be controversial. But the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl has been nothing but.

It started with my nan. I asked her, quite innocently, what she thought of my lipstick. There was a very awkward pause  well, it was awkward for her, I thought it was hilarious  and then she goes "I shall be honest, I prefer you in paler colours, with your skin". Fair enough.

Then, at the charity shop where I volunteer twice a week, my co-worker told me how much she loved it. "Doesn't she look nice, with her lipstick?" she said to our manager. "No," my manager replied bluntly. "It's too dark for your skin." Again, fair enough (although when I wore it again she admitted that it looks good with an all-black outfit). But that very same day, I was complimented on it when I was at the pub.

As it happens, I love this shade, and I'm not going to stop wearing it just because a few people dislike it. It's one of those confidence-boosting colours that makes me feel like I've got my shit together, and it also has the added bonus of making it look like I've made an effort, even though the pencil shape makes application really quite easy.

Left: Wearing Dragon Girl. Right: I got camera shy hahaha, I'm such a dork

Not every red lipstick is made equal, and this one is a red shade with pink undertones, rather than a true red. I like this; I think it warms my skintone up a bit and just makes me look a little more alive.

Despite being matte, Dragon Girl isn't drying at all, and it mostly stays put. By this, I mean that it can survive me eating a slice of sponge cake, but it's not safe to eat an overflowing sandwich in public (unless I suddenly decide that 'lipstick smeared on chin' is a good look).

Have you ever worn something that people either loved or hated? What do you think of Dragon Girl? Let me know in the comments!

Review | LUSH Celestial Facial Moisturiser (v)

Friday, 21 August 2015

LUSH Celestial Moisturiser

TOASTY could easily become a LUSH fan blog, and I make no apologies for that. I love the brand's ethical stance, the vast range of products, and how open they are about the ingredients in every single thing they sell. I love that whenever I go into a store, whether I'm in South Wales or South East England, the staff are always polite, helpful, and happy to share their tips and recommendations with me  it's like going beauty shopping with a (very fragrant) friend.

Revisited | Seventeen's Brow Kit

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Not discovering brow make up sooner is a regret and a half I think nearly all of us have. As someone with fine hair and very sparse eyebrows, I remember being delighted when I first tried filling them in and discovered what a difference it made to my face; it gives it structure, definition... and just a more put-together feel. Now, if I do nothing else before I leave the house, I always make sure I've done my brows.

Treats From... | NARS

Monday, 17 August 2015

Treats from NARS

I've only really dabbled in high end beauty before. Very few pricier brands are cruelty-free so that limits my options somewhat, and I couldn't afford it anyway until I taught myself how to budget properly.

Luckily, NARS have got my back: they're cruelty-free and they sell make up that caters for a wide variety of skintones, which means I've found a base that's pale enough but doesn't wash me out. So, when I successfully completed work experience I decided to treat myself. Quite a bit, actually, but I was proud of the fact I had pushed myself (plus it all worked out, budget-wise).

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Siberia, £31
I have always resisted the temptation to invest in a high end foundation but really I've just been shooting myself in the foot because this is the best colour-match I have ever found for my pale skin  not too orange, not too pink, and not too white. As for the foundation itself, it evens out my skintone, minimizes redness (which has really helped to cover up my acne) and lasts all day, especially with a dusting of Soap and Glory's One Heck of a Blot powder. I'd say the coverage was medium to full, and buildable, and I like to apply it with a stipple brush for more of a buffed in, natural finish. One thing I have noticed with regular use is that it can cling to dry patches, but regardless, this is still the best foundation I've ever used. 

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly, £22

You already know that I love this concealer, and fully encourage the hype surrounding it: full coverage, easy to blend, a range of shades... if you're willing to splurge, then it's worth it. My previous one is nearly empty so I thought it best to stock up in one big order, since there's no NARS counter in Kent (why?!) and the idea of paying £7 for postage makes me feel a little bit sick.

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl, £19

I'm going to be dedicating an entire post to this beauty (it's proved divisive, to say the least) but basically: I love it. A pink-toned red, Dragon Girl is such a beautiful shade, and it's matte without drying out lips. You do have to be careful when eating or drinking, but the pencil shape makes reapplication easy; just keep a sharpener handy. 

NARS Illuminator in Orgasm (free sample)

A welcome freebie. At first glance I thought this bronze shade would be too dark and shimmery for me, but with a light touch and some careful blending it actually adds a really pretty, sunkissed highlight to the skin. I like to wear it along my cheekbones in the evening when the sun is still shining, paired with a red lip for some glamour or minimal make-up when I want glowy skin to take centre stage.

It's safe to say my love for NARS is growing steadily by the day; I cannot get enough of these products. I expect there'll be some goodies going on my Christmas list (oh yeah, I said it) and I may even save up for some more make up in the meantime. I feel an addiction developing...

Have you tried any of these products? Which NARS treats would you recommend? Let me know in the comments!

On My Nails | I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose

Friday, 14 August 2015

(Bonus points to anyone who understands the reference in the title)

Blue and green nail polish shades

There's just something about these kind of shades in summer. Normally, I stick to nudes, very pale pinks, plums, black, grey, and the occasional postbox red, but as soon as the sun comes out everything across the blue-green spectrum suddenly becomes much more appealing. Sky blue, baby blue, mint green, turquoise... they just suit the season down to the ground (let's ignore the fact that it's cloudy most of the time, shall we?)

Thoughts and Musings | Adult Acne is a Pain in the Proverbial Arse

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Like two-day hangovers, budgeting, and how to set up a direct debit, adult acne is one of those things that no one really prepares you for.

I was lucky throughout my teens. I got approximately one blemish a year, always in the same spot on my chin (same spot... see what I did there? Ahem). When I hit sixteen I started getting a few stress-related spots on my forehead, but they always disappeared after my exams were over, and that was that.

Review | The Body Shop Rainforest Shine Shampoo & Conditioner — Free From Silicone and Sulphates

Monday, 10 August 2015

The Body Shop Rainforest Shine Shampoo and Conditioner

What's up with sulphates?
You've heard me complain many a time about how difficult it is for me to find a shampoo I like and will stick with. After trying out tonnes of products, I'm pretty sure that the ones which contain sulphates (foaming agents, usually Sodium Lauryl Sulphate) are no good for my hair or scalp  they cause too much irritation. Sulphates get rid of dirt and grease, but they can also get rid of natural oils, which leaves your hair dry and your scalp itchy (sounds familiar...)

What's up with silicone?
The beauty world seems to be waking up alongside me when it comes to sulphates, with several brands releasing SLS-free shampoos, but I hadn't heard much about silicones until recently. Found in many conditioners and glossing products such as serums, silicones create a shiny look and feel, and give hair that post-shower slip. However, over time, some silicones create build up which weighs the hair down and makes it look dull. Dull hair is the last thing I want, so I started wondering if it'd be worth looking out for silicone-free products too.

(It's worth noting that not all silicones are bad: have a read of this very helpful article for more information.)

Review: Foreo Luna Mini

Friday, 7 August 2015

I can't pinpoint what exactly made me decide I wanted a Foreo Luna Mini.

Maybe it was the extra spots I seem to be getting these days, coupled with me wondering if my skin was getting enough of a deep clean each evening.

Whatever it was, when some extra money came my way over Easter I found myself walking into Boots and picking up the magenta version.

"You do realize how much that costs, don't you?" the woman behind the till asked me nervously.

Yep. £99. Gulp.

The Luna Mini is a sonic cleansing device. It has two sides, each covered in touch-points rather than the bristles found on similar products.

One side has smaller touch points and is more gentle, and one side has larger touch-points which are designed for a deeper cleanse.

The device has two speeds and the charging port is waterproof, which means you can use it in the shower if you prefer (and also rinse it without worrying). Once fully charged, it lasts for up to 300 uses.
Foreo Luna Mini (front)

List | 15 Beauty Problems That Prove The Struggle Is Real

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

I love beauty, but sometimes, like with everything else, it can be so frustrating when things don't go your way. I've put together a tongue-in-cheek list of all the problems that have probably plagued us all at one point or another.

In My Make Up Bag | The Summer/Hay Fever Edition

Monday, 3 August 2015

I always find myself less willing to make an effort with my appearance in summer. Couple this with the frankly violent bouts of hay fever I suffer from, and make up really is the least of my concerns. (Well, maybe not the least, but it's certainly not at the forefront of my mind.) I want a reliable, spot-covering base  my skin's not that great right now, so no glowy, tinted moisturiser for me  that still feels light on skin; I want pretty, flushed cheeks with a soft highlight along my cheekbones; I want defined brows and lips with a hint of colour. That's it. There's no eye make up, because my eyes get too itchy for that, but at least it cuts down my getting ready time.

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Siberia: Even. Easy to blend.
A not-too-matte, not-too-dewy finish. Pale enough. The foundation of my dreams.

Seventeen Phwoar Paint in Fair: A full coverage concealer that blends beautifully and covers blemishes to boot  just don't forget to set it with powder.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly: Defeating my dark undereye circles since February 2015. Also good for subtle highlights down the centre of the face.

Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot: A translucent powder that mattifies unwanted shine without making skin look dead.

My summer make up. My t-shirt is one of those cropped ones from Topshop that seem to be everywhere at the moment (I find their stuff a bit hit and miss but they do seem to do basics quite well  this is really soft and washes up nicely).

Sleek Powder Blush in Life's A Peach: Terrifying in the pan, but worry not: Life's A Peach is subtle on skin, but pigmented enough to provide a pretty summer flush.

No7 Instant Radiance Highlighter: Highlighting made easy with this chunky crayon  swipe along the top of your cheekbones for a candlelit glow.

Seventeen Brow's That! Brow Kit: Contains a pencil, a wax, a powder, a highlighter, and a brush for application. Personally, I rate the pencil/powder combination for a look which is defined but not OTT. The only thing missing from this kit is a spoolie.

ModelCo Lip Gloss in Striptease: A pretty, peachy nude shade that's shiny but just about on the right side of sticky. It's so easy to apply that you can do so without a mirror  but you don't have to, because there's a mirror on the side of the packaging.

What make up have you been reaching for lately? Does your routine change in summer? Let me know in the comments! 
Designed By Hello Manhattan