Wednesday, 28 January 2015

In-flight beauty

I'm leaving tomorrow on an impromptu trip home to New York to sort out some visa issues, which is annoying, but I also love a good excuse to visit. So no complaints. I'm staying for a month (!!), so expect to see some North American-inflected posts over the next few weeks. But to start, I thought I'd share what I'm taking with me on the plane.

Now, for someone who lived in Oz for 10 years, a short hop across the pond is child's play. So this is a slightly pared back selection. Nonetheless, once I leave Heathrow en route to JFK, the makeup will be immediately stripped using a bit of decanted Vichy Purete Thermal 3-in-1 Micellar Water. In place of a hydrating mask, I've included a dual-use product, my beloved Hourglass No. 28 Primer-Serum, which has a hefty dose of essential oils to keep my skin hydrated through the flight. I've also included the Hourglass No. 28 Lip Treatment Oil, to keep my lips hydrated without having to dip into a pot (people and things on planes are, after all, gross).

On Landing, I'll do a once over with the Vichy again, and pat a bit of the Hourglass serum into my skin. In fact, when I bought this the MUA told me the founder of Hourglass created this product specifically to revive her complexion after long-haul flights! And it really does do miracles. Score. Makeup-wise, I'm bringing along my Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation, mostly because it's in lightweight packaging, full coverage enough to double as concealer, and gives me a second option for the length of my trip. I'm being welcomed by my parents, so there's certainly no need for a full face of makeup. A bit of mascara - I'm bringing the Majolica Majorca Lash King that I got in Japan over summer, but am yet to try (if it's great, I'll let you know!), and a slick of Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Boy is my face done. Last but not least, I had a tiny bit left of the Elizabeth and James Nirvana White rollerball, so I'll finish that up too for a quick refresher.

Planes wreak such havoc on skin, so I'd love to know - what are your in-flight saviours!?

Monday, 26 January 2015

Shopping my stash (again)

A sure sign you have too much makeup is forgetting about things, even when you like them! Re-discovering of course, is part guilt, part mystique, but also really really fun.

YSL Youth Liberator Serum Foundation - BR20: I have a slight love-hate relationship with this foundation but I've concluded it's all about creating a perfect canvas, first. I was finding the longevity of this to be pretty terrible, looking patchy or non-existent by the afternoon - I kind of put it down to dry-ish winter skin.  But, ever since starting to use my Aesop Oil-Free Facial Hydrating Serum as my morning moisturiser, it's a whole other story. This serum gives the absolute perfect base for foundation - hydrated without being at all greasy, and has a slight tackiness that perfectly primes for makeup. I notice all my makeup lasting much longer with this serum underneath. Anyway though, since using the Aesop I find I also really love the finish of this foundation. My shade is a tad light- fine for winter, but that's all. I also find that a little does not go a long way - I need 2-3 pumps of this versus 1 of most of my other foundations. But once on, my skin looks clear, bright and luminous, and it gets better throughout the day. It also claims to have skincare benefits, so score. I'm not sure it's the first foundation I'd tell you to run out and get (because of the downsides), but given I have it already, I've really enjoyed reacquainting myself with it and finding a way to make it work.

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Honey: Next up is a lip crayon, which basically all brands do now. It's a format I love for easy, no-brainer, everyday lips. This formula is pigmented but also balmy and easy to apply, and feels comfortable on the lips. I had been focused on the matte version for a while, but recently pulled out the original and it's a lovely daily staple. Honey is a rosy mauve shade with moisturised balmy finish. An no mirror required.

Benefit Hervana boxed powder: Another oldie but goodie. I no longer like the packaging but I keep my small stash of these because the products themselves really are good. This one is a light pink matte blush when all the colours are swirled together. I'd say the mix of coral and violet produces a pretty neutral pink, perhaps the slightest bit peachy on my skin. It's definitely subtle, and reserved for light skintones, lest you want chalky cheeks. But it's a great non-offensive blush to give a bit of colour to the cheeks without competing with bolder eyes or lips, and it also works really well for a sort of light porcelain look.

And herein lies the reason I have so much makeup - I wouldn't say any of these products are groundbreaking per se (surprisingly few products are), but they're good, and I enjoy using them. I love them and forget them and come back to them again, and will hold on to them for that very reason. C'est la vie.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Jewellery & Glasses storage ft. Muji

January always seems like a time to get your life in order, and for many that means purging, re-organizing, etc. etc. Moving about countless times will do that too (raises hand). So, I thought today I'd share how I store my glasses and jewellery.

Now, the Muji drawers I'm sure need no introduction. They have become a beauty blogger favourite, though I myself have never adopted them for makeup storage. For one, Dean has prohibited it (as he argues, it really does just put your clutter on display!) and I also find the dimensions a bit odd and shallow for most makeup items. But, after browsing Muji's various options, I did come up with a pretty perfect storage solution for my glasses (which were previously perpetually misplaced!) and jewellery.

My favourite bit is up top, where the Acrylic Four Drawer Unit provides the perfect space for my eyeglasses and prescription sunglasses. Here they stay protected, dust- and scratch-free, and I always know where to find them. I purchased velvet in-drawer trays for extra protection and uniformity. Note that this column of 4 drawers can also be stood up vertically, and the drawers and trays fit either way. In the right-most drawer I have housed 2 of my larger bangles that I wear often but would otherwise not fit within the 3-drawer base. And herein lies a warning - if you're a jewellery fanatic, or have a large collection with a lot of bolder or bulky pieces, this isn't going to be for you. But as someone who wears accessories sporadically and has a small selection of mostly non-statement jewellery, it's great.

In the Acrylic 3 Drawer Unit beneath, I have my remaining necklaces, bracelets and watches, with another insert tray to house my rings and earrings. Muji offers a small range of different sizes so you can arrange your drawers as you wish.

A minor gripe is that their different drawer stacks all differ in size by slight amounts (whether a cm or so, in either dimension) which I really don't understand. It means you need to be careful when purchasing that you can actually stack the pieces you want, and that the inserts are the right snug dimensions for your particular drawers. A slightly clunky website doesn't do you any favours here.

But, all in all, I've had this setup since August and I really have no complaints. It keeps things contained but also visible enough to not forget what I have. I'm a bit obsessed with all things organizational - so I'd love to hear how you store your makeup or accessories!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

In & Out #2

It's a new year and while I don't have any grand life changes to report, I do have a handful of things I'm either loving, or not, at this very moment. Let the rumination begin.


Skincare: After feeling neither here nor there about my skin whilst 'using up' a bunch of half-used products and larger samples over the past few months, I've recently settled on both morning (coming soon) and evening skincare routines that I'm super happy with, and the proof is in the pudding! After a disastrous skin month in December (the last straw) my skin is now looking clearer, brighter and more even. I'm enjoying each and every step which is rare.

My Electric Toothbrush: This one is a bit random but for some reason for the better part of the last year I'd relegated my (nice, expensive) Oral B electronic toothbrush to the cabinet in favour of the old-school mechanical option. I think my initial reasoning was that after dozy evenings on the couch the electronic one wakes me up more than I'd like before bed! *hangs head in lazy shame*. But, after pulling this out again and popping a new head on, I really have been noticing how much more effective it is. It's the little things!

Gogglebox: Guys. After scrolling through the TV guide for months wondering why there was a show about google on, Dean and I finally discovered Gogglebox which just happens to be the best show ever. We're kicking ourselves over all the episodes we must have overlooked! The recent season ended around new years but Channel 4 has been playing re-runs from a prior season and I really can't get enough. I have such a huge affection for the families on the show, and it's just so bloody funny. I want to befriend them all. A tv show of people watching tv. Sounds like it's scraping the barrel but it turns out to steamroll everything else on. Go watch it.

'Date Nights': Now this is something I never thought I'd be writing. The 'date night'... the hallmark of orchestrated 'couples time' designated by a chosen calendar day, was for a long time a topic of major cynicism for me. It made me question the nature of peoples relationships... whatever happened to spontaneity? I wondered, and just like 'boys nights' and 'girls nights', it was a social practice I did not willingly partake in (of course we went out and enjoyed each others time, it just wasn't a set calendar event!). Well, a combination of things - moving to Manchester and starting the friend thing from scratch (read: light social calendars), both working from home, a penchant for cooking and TV, etc. etc. etc. and we found even though we spend a ridiculous amount of time together (no complaints) that a lot of it was 'lazy' time - we weren't putting much effort into nights out, trying new places/venues/events, planning to attend something, or putting a romantic spin on our outings. So, since the beginning of December or so, Thursday nights are designated 'date nights' and it really has been quite fun. I retract my previous judgements. :)

My PhD: This one is the most important to me, the most personal, and probably of the least interest to all of you (except maybe, the toothbrush). As of Feb 1st I'll officially be in the final year of my candidature. I'd like to say it's exciting but it's also horrifying, overwhelming, and stressful. What it does mean is that there's absolutely no time left for f'ing around, and that in itself is a huge motivator. So it's in, whether by desire or necessity. The countdown is on.


Houseguests: I'm being a bit facetious here, but only a bit. We had 3 of our 4 parents visiting us (and staying with us) for about 3.5 weeks over Christmas and New Year and while of course nice and fun, it was also extremely exhausting. One friend described it as being 'on' 24 hours a day, and he's right. My birthday was last week after everyone had left but I barely celebrated for the simple reason of not wanting to feel obligated to anyone for anything. Anyone else feel like they need a holiday after the holidays? No? Just me? Ok then.

Youtube: I'm a bit over it at the moment. I read a post by Laura from BuyNowBlogLater and she hit the nail on the head with the YT 'guru' tendency to inflate the holidays, making them seem like some personal and commercial fantasy world, available to and to be expected by all. I'm just not sure it's something I can get behind. As a viewer only, and a small-time blogger who does so purely as a hobby, I kind of relish the days where people were buying their own shiz and just telling you what they thought. The idea of 'youtube celebrity' makes me want to facepalm. There are only a small handful of girls who I feel have retained their integrity and whom I will happily click on when they put something out. The rest I increasingly consider a waste of my time. Rant over.

Unloved/unworn pieces: Last but not least, I've feeling a bit out of my element fashion-wise lately. I have a couple bags of things I need to photograph and get on ebay, others I need to donate. Even stuff I know I'm keeping hasn't been inspiring me lately. Perhaps it's the grim weather or my uber casual work life, but I just haven't been taking the time to put together outfits with any interest. Of course this isn't a satisfying 'out' so I'm hoping ridding myself of the excess and carefully selecting a few new additions may get me looking (and feeling) 'spiffy' again.

Monday, 19 January 2015

1 year of Consuming Beauty

Woo hoo! Exactly 1 year ago today I created Consuming Beauty and posted my first ever post. Time seriously flies.

After a handful of years watching by the sidelines, I've really enjoyed having this blog as an outlet for my more lighthearted thoughts and as an opportunity to share my two cents. It's also lovely to be able to collect and store my thoughts, look back on them, and have something to show for what is really just an interest and hobby of mine. I'm pretty proud of having kept it going for a full year in and amongst my work responsibilities, and an international move.

My goals for the next year are to post regularly, have more unique and interesting content, and to hopefully grow my readership but more importantly to connect more with those of you who have fallen upon these pages and continued to come back. If you're keen, please follow me on twitter and instagram so I can say hello! And, Thank you! 

Cat x

Sunday, 18 January 2015

My evening skincare routine

It's been a fair while since I last had a skincare routine I was content with. My interest and diligence waxes and wanes, but more importantly, unless something is destroying my skin I do put effort into not wasting products and 'using them up'. This has meant I've been using various deluxe samples or other less-than-noteworthy products for some time in an attempt to pare down my stash. While I've been loving some products, others have been a bit 'meh', so it's only recently that I've assembled a full line-up that I'm utterly impressed with. Let's break it down...

There are three cleansing products in the above photo, which definitely implies a more extensive ritual than I have. In reality, they differentially correspond to my levels of laziness on any given evening. I've been using a micellar or cleansing water for a good four or five years at this stage and while Bioderma continues to reign supreme, I have in the last couple months been swapping in more easily accessible options until I get my shiz together and place a proper Bioderma order. The only alternatives I've found that I'd consider adequate are the Vichy Purete Thermal Calming Micellar Solution and the even more affordable L'Oreal Skin Perfection Micellar Water. It removes makeup, is gentle on the eyes, and is neutral on my skin (I've found some other cleansing waters to leave me with clogged pores). On most days this is the first step in removing my makeup, and on especially lazy days I may do repeat swipe and call it a day.

For a more extensive cleanse a couple times a week I use a cleansing balm - my product of choice being the Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm. It is absolutely luxe - a thick balm that you massage on dry skin, which then melts to an oil before being removed with a warm muslin cloth. This cleanser removes makeup, is nourishing on the skin, but also leaves my skin feeling very clean without any trace of a greasy film. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great cleansing balm.

My newest discovery is the Super Facialist by Una Brennan Vitamin C+ Brighten Skin Renew Cleansing Oil (which is not at all verbose), which in many ways replaces the former two options. It's the second cleansing oil I've tried and the first I've liked (battle post coming soon), and it's pretty amazing. It completely dissolves and removes all traces of makeup, including waterproof mascara, and leaves my skin feeling again - nourished and clean. It's recommended as the first step in a dual cleanse, but I really feel no need for a second go when I use this. So, do you need three cleansers? Hell, no. But it's the honest rotation I have going at the moment.

Moving on... Next up I use the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads, which I've spoken more about here. A gentle chemical exfoliant in easy-to-use pre-soaked pads that leave my skin visibly brighter and clearer.

For serum I use the Indeed Labs Pepta-Bright which I've written a whole review of. Suffice to say it's great for lightening pigmentation and evening skintone - and given the price point, you get a lot of bang for your buck. It even made it into my Top 14 products of 2014.

I've moved on from super expensive night creams, choosing instead to include a serum step. For moisturizer then, I really am just looking for hydration. The Kate Sommerville Goat Milk cream is nourishing but feels surprisingly light on skin. I'm not yet sure it warrants all of the raves it gets, but at the same time I have no complaints either. I'd say it delivers superior hydration given its light and weightless formula which is not something you come across too frequently.

Last but not least, I use the La Roche-Posay Redermic [R] Eye Cream, which is another pick that punches above it's weight vis-a-vis it's price point. In terms of finelines I'm still luckily mostly concerned with prevention, but this product keeps my under-eyes hydrated and nourished, for a fraction of other effective eye creams I've used in the past. I can't say it does much for dark circles, but I'm not convinced any eye cream does. Also works well under makeup.

It's so satisfying to have a full routine I'm happy with, and after a month of angry skin in December this lineup is already doing wonders to get my skin back on track. What are your go-to skincare products for bedtime? Let me know in the comments below!

Friday, 16 January 2015

January beauty haul

Today I'm sharing with you a carefully selected group of bits (mostly from the Selfridges sale - unfortunately now over, it looks like!) which I've been dying to buy for ages! The few pounds off each item in the sale were the perfect impetus, and I couldn't resist any longer...

  • Aesop Oil Free Facial Hydrating Serum: This purchase was a bit of a blunder... I had intended to buy the Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Serum, of which I used (and loved) a travel size over the summer. So when I picked up my "click & collect" and realized the mistake was my own, I was kicking myself... However, I had remembered using this years ago in Australia when my skin concerns were quite different, and thought I'd make another go of it to see what I think. And, while I'll save my full thoughts for my upcoming Morning Skincare Routine, it's doing wonders for my skin and makeup application. Lucky mistake.
  • Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Bisque: This one is a repurchase and while it's probably my 5th pot overall, I ran out about 6 months ago and was attempting to "use up" other things before buying a new one. Well... I noticed after awhile that I was consistently unhappy with my under-eye circles, despite using other concealers I do like and recommend (I had previously been using them over the corrector). So, I bought a new one and I can't overstate how much of a difference it made. The first application was nothing short of miraculous, and I'll never be without it again!
  • Laura Mercier Honey Bath in Ambre Vanille: I've only heard good things about this and have wanted to try it for ages, so I finally treated myself post-holidays and bought it in the sales. It smells absolutely heavenly!! Am yet to try it out but I'm sure you'll see more of this beaut soon.
  • Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow: Another one I've heard exclusively positive reviews of, but was on the fence since I have so many other bronzers and highlighters. Well, as with every other Charlotte Tilbury product I've tried - this one makes me want to throw away everything else I own. It's freaking fabulous. Full review coming soon!
  • Sarah Chapman Skinesis Rapid Radiance Cleanse: I recently ran out of my Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser (which I love and highly recommend), and after 2 bottles thought I'd try something new. This one was about 10 pounds cheaper, and also clay-based so I thought I'd give it a go to compare. I used it for the first time this morning and so far so good, but I'll give my full thoughts after using it more extensively.
I'm super excited about each and every one of these! Have you tried them? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, or anything else you picked up in the sales and think I should try!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

2015 on the blog

Happy 2015! I hope you all had a wonderful, happy and healthy holiday period! These pages have been decidedly quiet for the past couple weeks, which has led me to reflect a bit on my blogging goals for the coming year.

I must say my year has gotten off to a slow start. We had 3 of our 4 parents visiting for the holidays which while lovely was also taxing, on top of a couple important work deadlines in quick succession. To say I feel like I need a holiday is an understatement, which is not really the best way to embark on a new year! At risk of sounding whingey (sorry!), I haven't really had enough peace of mind to feel that new, clean slate, motivating feel of a new year which I usually love and crave. But, I'm trying to stay chipper. Not least because I'm also now officially in the final year of my PhD which is sure to make 2015 hectic and stressful, but also hopefully productive - and if all goes to plan should culminate with a great feeling of accomplishment (fingers crossed x).

In terms of Consuming Beauty, I'm going to continue to do my best with regular posts. At the moment that means Mon-Wed-Fri-Sun, though I have no aspirations for this blog to ever become anything other than a hobby, so if I'm busy, traveling or have nothing to talk about then come find me on instagram instead :) OK - enough rambley bits from me! Check back Friday for a new high-end beauty haul to get this year rolling. Let's do this.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Top 14 of 2014

Happy New Year! Before I get started embracing 2015, I'm giving my final nod to the year that just was. My very first blog post was my Top 13 of 2013, so it's hard to believe this time of year has come around again so quickly. 2014 was full of great new discoveries, including new releases and new-to-me products. Not surprisingly, I've spoken about each and every one of these sometime throughout the year. So without further ado, this post is a round up of my very favourite beauty bits (incl. makeup, skincare, hair and fragrance!) that I used throughout the past year.

  1. Indeed Labs Pepta Bright: A highly effective and moisturising serum to counteract hyper-pigmentation. This is a great product for evening skintone and clarifying the complexion, and it's even more satisfying to find such an efficacious product in the drugstore. Works morning and night. See my full review here.
  2. Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum: A good-for-your-skin product that triples as a makeup primer, a skin treatment, and a new face in a bottle. This is fine as a primer, but it also works on bare skin or over makeup and does absolutely miraculous things for my complexion. Somehow life is immediately brought back into sallow dull skin. The perfect remedy for dry winter skin, or when stepping off a long haul flight. See the full story of how I ended up with this very unlike me product... what a great feeling to be so unexpectedly blown away by a purchase.
  3. Jouer Matte Moisture Tint: This one is a bit out of season, but this is a yearly favourites after all. And since this is pretty much the only base I wore during all the warmer months it was only fair for it to make an appearance. It's the only tinted moisturiser I've tried that doesn't slip all over my face, or provide so little coverage that it's irrelevant. I'd say this provides medium coverage with a satin finish, that is still light weight, feels comfortable, and wears well despite the hot (read: sweaty) weather. I wear shade Linen.
  4. L'Oreal True Match Foundation: A discovery I made in the latter half of the year, this has become my everyday, go-to, don't have to think about it, foundation. It's a medium coverage, blends easily, has a natural finish (neither too matte nor too dewy), and has a very good shade range. It performs just as well (or better) as my high end foundations, for a fraction of the price. Check out my base shades post to see shade matches.
  5. Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita Palette: I had heard much ado about this but didn't think much of it until I finally caved and oh. em. gee. The shadows are beautifully textured - pigmented and buttery without any fallout or caking, ever. I'd wear the champagne and khaki all year round, whilst the rust colour is perfect for Autumn, and the glitter is the best I've tried. I've been immensely satisfied by this purchase, it's almost hard to describe!! (lol!). Check out my full review and FOTD.
  6. Charlotte Tilbury Fallen Angel Palette: I nearly thought the Dolce Vita was the only palette I'd ever need again, until this one released for the Holiday collection. The shades were just too gorg to pass up and I'm so f'n happy I got it. Metallic taupe and bronze, pretty champagne, and a rich satin black. These 2 quads make me want to replace my entire makeup collection with Charlotte Tilbury (watch out, 2015). Check out further thoughts & swatches here, and a FOTD here.
  7. NARS Madly blush: This is by no means new, and I owned it well before this year. But it was only this year that I got it. I could easily wear this all year round, and I have. It's a warm-toned but neutral blush that is fabulous for warming the complexion or adding slight definition without competing with eyes or lips. It is very versatile, and plays a similar role as Tarte Exposed, albeit with warmer makeup looks. Dare I say I'm madly in love with it.
  8. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette: I mean, just look at her. Everyone loves a good palette and brands finally acquainted blush with this loveable format this year. Done in sleek packaging, with a pink, a peach and a mauve/plum, in an amazing glowy formula, I have not one complaint about this palette. It's one of my two top recs for holiday releases this year.
  9. Kevyn Aucoin The Essential Mascara: This year I discovered my favourite-ever mascara. I just wish it wasn't so bloody expensive. This product does wonders for my lashes - in the easiest-to-apply formula, it gives super volume and length, and holds a curl. Nor does it budge or smudge. And, since it's not waterproof, it's still easy to remove when the time comes. Check out a before and after GIF in my full review.
  10. Anastasia Brow Wiz: Brows certainly do not excite me, but I have come to appreciate their role in a polished makeup look, and my product of choice for a defined but natural brow is the Brow Wiz. I use this most days, and it really has changed the frame of my face.
  11. Revlon matte balm in Striking: This may seem like a random choice but I'm all about the low maintenance lip colours. Normally that means sticking with neutral, no-mirror-needed shades, but this matte balm gives the look of a bold matte lip in a super easy-to-apply crayon packaging. The colour is an orange-red similar to other loves YSL L'Orange and MAC Lady Danger, but the formula is just so much more enjoyable. See me wearing it here.
  12. Rimmel Matte Kate Lipstick 107: Another bold choice, and it's another drugstore pick. I love this mostly for the shade (a gorgeous slightly vampy plum-berry), but the formula is also very comfortable. A shade this bold can make one weary, but it's non-drying yet stays in place, and I often forget I'm even wearing this. It's one of my favourite affordable makeup bits.
  13. Armani Si EDP: This fragrance made the cut because it featured in my Top 5 S/S fragrances, and would do again in my Top A/W fragrances. This perfume has a fruitiness combined with a woody warmth that is very sexy and makes me want more. For summer I'd reserve it for nighttime, but in winter I get away with it day and night. I'm rubbish at notes, so read more about them here.
  14. CO LAB dry shampoo: This product was a late release this year, and since it's attached to Blogger Ruth Crilly, has gotten a fair amount of PR attention on Youtube. But, having bought and used the product myself, I have to hand it to her. This is hands down the best dry shampoo I've ever used and it's hyper affordable. Lightweight without the gross build-up feel, and it delivers serious volume. It made it into my November favourites, so you can read more about it there. I've already bought 2 new cans. Fab.
I'd happily use these bits without any further additions, but here's to hoping that 2015 sees just as many fruitful new discoveries. Cheers!