Monday, 15 September 2014

Guest Bloggers Wanted

I've mentioned quite a few times lately how I'm sad I've had to stop posting as often as I used to. I aim to be posting daily again soon, but for now it's just overwhelming. In the mean time I thought it would be a great opportunity to offer some of you lovely bloggers out there the chance to guest post on my blog. I love guest posts. I love guest posting on other's blogs, and I'm happy to host guest posters here too. It's a great way of building your audience and reaching new readers. Not only that I get to read lots of blogs I may not have found otherwise. It's win win really isn't it. 

Anyway, if you're interested in guest posting here then give me a shout. Drop me an email: tell me why you'd like to post on my blog, and let me see a sample of the sort of thing you'd like to post (this could be something you've posted on your own blog before, maybe your most popular post)

At the moment I post on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. So that leaves Tuesdays and Thursdays for you guys. You can post more than once if you want to, or if it works it could become a regular thing. 

I look forward to hearing from you. 

Brand Focus: e.l.f. - it's all about the eyes, lips, face

What blogger doesn't love elf? What's not to love? I confess, I've only very recently discovered this brand, but I'm already hooked! In case you were like me earlier this year - completely in the dark - I've decided to give you the low down on what is fast becoming when of my favourite brands. 

Their About Us section tells us that they were "launched in New York and guided by American celebrity and beauty professional Scott-Vincent Borba (the man behind Hard Candy’s cosmetics line) e.l.f. Cosmetics burst onto the beauty scene in June 2004 with the mission to provide customers with quality cosmetics at low prices. Today, revolutionary cosmetics brand e.l.f., continues to enable makeup lovers to enjoy and experiment with makeup without sacrificing their budget.

People often ask how e.l.f. are able to provide their customers with such fantastic products, most for as little as £1.50. By sourcing the best ingredients at competitive prices, and by using the internet for branding rather than higher-priced advertising media e.l.f are able to pass the savings on to their customers providing them with some of the highest quality, low cost cosmetics on the market today.

e.l.f continues to revoloutionise the beauty industry, turning heads away from more expensive brands with its unique approach. A favourite of some of the industries most influential Beauty Editors and customers alike, e.l.f.’s community and following continues to grow.

e.l.f. arrived on British shores with it’s much anticipated launch on 27th November 2007 and is run by Welsh brother and sister team, Neil Phillips and Jo Westlake from e.l.f. UK’s HQ in sunny Swansea"

But what is it that I love about them? I'm not going to lie, the prices really swing it for me. I can sneak loads of new products into my stash without spending more than £20! They regularly have flash sales of somewhere between 30% and 50% off everything - yes that's on top of their already affordable prices. Madness right? I've picked up some single eyeshadows for just 75p in the past. I mean, come on, that's cheaper than the pound shop and so much better quality! Even the boy can't argue with that - seriously, he tried.

Ethics are important to me, and e.l.f certainly have them. As you can see they are not all about the money, the products are high quality and they could charge more for them, but they don't. That's a plus in my book. Also e.l.f are widely known to be a cruelty free brand. The statement on their website states:

"Do e.l.f. Cosmetics UK test on animals?

No, e.l.f. do not test either the final product or component ingredients on animals, or ask anyone to do so on its behalf.All our formulations have been independently assessed and conform to strict European Cosmetic Regulations.The e.l.f. brand is developed in the US - - and the goods they produce are imported to the UK for distribution by our company. e.l.f. US appear in the PETA list of companies that do not test on animals - here."

In my opinion that's a great statement. It's to the point. There's no grey areas. The don't test ingredients, finished products, or ask others to do so. Sorted.

I'm not going to lie to you, when it came to online shopping I had my reservations. Especially when it came to colours - but their FAQs addresses this. 

Not only this, but they interact with customers. I've received a few tweets from e.l.f in the past, and I love that in a brand. There's other brands I'm huge fans of that have ignored every single tweet I've ever sent them. While this hasn't put me off their brand, it does make me feel a little slighted. We live in a far more interactive world than we ever used to, and e.l.f embrace this. Good on them. Their customer service is also fantastic. 

You can see a couple of my e.l.f hauls here and here - I got some fabulous bargains. Some of my favourite products this summer have included their bronzer and their gloss sticks. I also don't go a day without their brow kit.

And just in case my thoughts didn't do it for you, e.l.f have listed 10 reasons to shop on their site. And here's their Best Sellers.

Have you tried e.l.f before?

What's your favourite e.l.f product?

Do you have any recommendations for me?

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Get Ready With Me

Today I want to share with you my dressing table and the products on it. I actually love this area of my house. I've got a lot more space in this room than I used to, and I didn't always using this fantastic dressing table. In fact I usually sat on my bed to get ready. This area has made the getting ready process much more enjoyable. 

Excuse the carpet, I live in rented accommodation, so I can't do too much about it. 

I've got a chair as well - covered in my dressing gown, and can you spot my Sleep In Rollers?

But what products have you managed to spot? How about a close up:

There's a selction of Botanics range from Boots, cleanser, make up remover, and moisturiser, Soap & Glory moisturisers and foot cream, Lush lip scrub, Elf Primer, my contacts, cotton wool pads, Superdrug Hairspray, and Liz Earle eye care products. 

My tangle teezer is in the background, and behind that (not pictured) is a selection of hair donuts and another brush. The little Hello Kitty purses contain bobbles, kirby grips etc. The bag to the left is my make up, and the bag itself is from Primark.

And here we have my brushes. The little pink pot is a desk tidy from Paperchase, and the large pink bag is a recent purchase from Primark. It's actually bigger than my make up bag, but I didn't want any of my brushes to be squashed, or worse, the handles on the smaller brushes break in transit - I travel around a lot and the brushes go in the bag when I travel. The brushes are mostly Elf, and The Body Shop, and there's some Models Own eyelash curlers in there too. 

There's so much more pink than I realised! But it's my little girly haven. 

Where do you get ready? 

Do you have a dressing room?

Friday, 12 September 2014

You Beauty Discovery Box

Now this bad boy seems to be quite underrated when it comes to beauty subscription boxes. I've seen the odd mention of it here and there, but essentially it's all about the Birch Box or the Glossy Box from what I've seen blog posts talking about. Well, for me it's all about the You Beauty Discovery Box. It's cheaper - it's only £6.95 per month and that includes the postage & packaging. And you get a choice. Now, to some that's maybe a negative, but perhaps I'm a control freak, I like to know what I'm getting. Not only that, but with my cruelty free ethics, I like to know I'm getting something I can use. At the start of the month you are emailed a selection of products, I think the average is 10 products, you select your favourite 2 from the list, and it's delivered to you within 7 working days. And, not only that, but they give you a day or two's notice before the selection process begins, giving you a chance to make your mind up what you want and get your order in as soon as possible. I quite like that bit to be honest. Oh, and if all that wasn't enough you get some freebies thrown in too - sample sachets, mini perfume, tea bags, snack bars, and sometimes full sized products. 

This month was a really good box, just check out the selection of goodies:

(Couldn't get the Toni & Guy product in to the first photo)

My box included:

Pixi Tinted Brilliance Balm
Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pen
Crabtree & Evelyn Afternoon Tea
Crabtree & Evelyn Blackberry Green Tea
£25 off my first purchase at Hello Fresh
a make up sponge
and a decent size Toni & Guy Volume Plumping Whip (not cruelty free)

My choices within the box were the Pixi items. I've never used anything from this brand before, but after a bit of research I happily discovered that they're cruelty free - meaning I've found a new brand to potentially love. 

Pixi Tinted Brilliance Balm: Packed with lip-loving ingredients, this glossy gel balm protects & hydrates lips instantly. After the balm wears off, lips are left tinted with a flattering, personalised hue just for you (colour and intensity depends on pH levels of lips). Twist-up crayon requires no sharpening. 

Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pen: Waterproof, super-long wear, no smudge, no budge eyeliners. They glide on like seamless silk, and in a single sweep motion create a flawless, solid jewel-toned line. No retouching required all day - or night! Gentle on eyes, yet intensely coloured and super-silky. Waterproof. Paraben-free. Mineral oil-free. Preservative-free. Hypoallergenic. 

Can you see why I picked them? Based on the description on the website, and in the leaflet in the box they sound fab! I will follow up with full reviews once I've used them a few times, but for now here's some swatches. 

I'm looking forward to trying the tea, in particular the blackberry green tea. I've not tried any Crabtree and Evelyn tea before, so that's something else new to try. 

The Hello Fresh sounds like a really interesting concept. There doesn't seem to be an expiry date on the voucher, so I think I'm going to leave this until October when I'm at home a bit more often. 

The Toni & Guy isn't cruelty free, but it's a great sized product. The box is a birthday edition, so I suspect under normal circumstances it would have been the sponge, the voucher and the tea bags that were the gifts. I'm not going to use this, I'm donating it to a charity. 

This box is purely about discovering new brands and new products, and that's exactly why I love it. I've certainly discovered new brands, not only in this month's box. The in box leaflet also includes discount vouchers, so should you like what you've tried, or fancy trying something else from that month's selection, you can do at a discounted price. 

For the tiny price of £6.95 I think it'd be rude not to. 

What's your favourite beauty box?

What brands have you discovered through beauty boxes?

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

It's all about the brows: Elf Eyebrow Kit

Elf are fast becoming one of my favourite brands, just in case you didn't notice. My last haul post was all about elf, and you know what? So was the one before that. Needless to say elf are featuring on my face quite a lot right now. And, something else I'm loving right now, aside from elf, is eyebrows. Never saw that one coming! I was using Soap & Glory's Archery Brow Pen for a while, but I found the tip dried up a whole lot faster than the rate I got through the pencil end, so when I was putting together my last haul basket I decided to through an eyebrow kit in there too. 

The packaging is very sturdy, and the usual matte black finish of elf's studio range. I did find it a bit fiddley getting the brush out, but that could be down to my fat fingers. There's also a little mirror in the lid, but in my opinion it's far too small to actually use. The fastening is secure, and I'm yet to find it open in my bag, or that any powder has escaped. It's a lot smaller than expected too, so a very handy size for throwing in your bag.

In all honesty I wasn't sure what to expect from this. I've never used a powder on my brows before. The eyebrow kit contains a wax and a powder. The idea behind the mix is to first define your brows with the wax, and then set it with the powder. I found the wax end similar in some ways to the felt tip end of Archery, in the sense that it's very possible to draw in quite fine lines with a steady hand. I don't think the idea is to coat your whole brow in the wax though. The shade matches my colouring well, I think perhaps the wax is a little dark, but the powder is a very good match. The powder is what makes this kit for me. I know it's not natural to brush powder all over your eyebrows, but I find the finish a lot more natural looking than I have previously achieved with a pen or a pencil. I find this lasts all day too. All in all I'm quite happy with this purchase, even more so that I got it during a sale! (though it is very affordable even when not in a sale)

The Elf Eyebrow Kit comes in four shades, I opted for medium. You can grab one yourself for just £3.95