Wednesday, 27 May 2015

My everyday summer makeup menu

Oh summer, don't think I didn't notice you creeping in there with your long nights and slightly sweaty weather. We may not be in full season yet, but this time of year definitely calls for a switch-up in beauty products, especially when it comes to everyday wear. Here's my current makeup routine:

First I'll go in with the Maybelline Eraser Eye Concealer - this is a real stand out under-eye concealer as it brightens and hides dark circles while also not sitting in any creases or fine lines, of which I have a couple now! It's also good to dab on any scars or small spots if my skin is having an otherwise relatively good day.

As you'll know if you've ready any of my other skincare or beauty posts, I have super-duper oily skin. This means that for me hot weather is an actual nightmare. Makeup slides off all over the place and don't even get me started about wearing sun tan lotion. This is where the Garnier Oil Free BB Skin Perfector comes in. It gives a light-medium coverage, has an SPF of 20 and is moisturising enough for me to actually skip proper moisturiser and go straight for this. It stays longer than most foundations would on me and sits light enough on my face to wear on warmer, sweatier days.

I never used to be one for bronzer, until I purchased Benefit's Dallas blush/bronzing powder on a whim. I would recommend this as an investment for any girl looking to achieve a natural looking glow, as this powder is beautifully matte without a shimmer in sight. I dust it over my cheeks, nose, forehead and chin to fake a sun-kissed look. I'll then go in with a touch of Benefit's High Beam highlighter on the tops of my cheek bones and under my brow bones just to brighten things up a little.

I like to keep eyes very simple during the day. My trusty Rimmel Professional Eyebrow Pencil helps me fill in any gappy patches and neaten up my brows (thank you, black-brown, for actually being a perfect shade match), while lashings of Benefit's Roller Lash mascara help bring some impact to the table. This stuff is so good! I'm currently using up a couple of samples before I get myself a full-size version but it's the best mascara I've used yet.

I usually finish with a subtle lip, and my current favourite is the Rimmel Colour Rush Balm in Not an Illusion. It's kind of a 'your lips, but better' shade that still packs enough of a punch to be noticeable, and has a brown undertone that really compliments summer skin.

What are your everyday makeup staples for summer?

Monday, 25 May 2015

Wanderlust - My travel bucket list

I've always loved going to new countries, but it's only in adulthood that I've really learned what a privilege it is to be able to jump on a plane (after a little saving) and be able to see anywhere in the world I so wish. I have a sort of mental bucket list that I keep of places I dream of going to and aim to slowly but surely tick them off. Here they are in no particular order:

Am I cheating by including this if I'm going next week? This bustling, historic city in Morocco has been on my list ever since I new it existed and I cant wait to immerse myself in the beautiful architecture and barter with stallholders in the Souks.

While I've been to Florida three times now there's something about the more temperate, mountainous regions of the USA that have me totally spellbound. I think this is largely due to my obsession with Twilight's rural Washington landscapes as a teenager. I want to hike, immerse myself in nature and see nothing but green!

Santorini is really picking up popularity as a holiday destination, which unfortunately means it's also getting very expensive. I loved Cyprus, Crete and Corfu (Rhodes not so much) but there's something about the untouched, more traditional look and feel of Santorini's whitewashed coastline that draws me there.

The south of France is somewhere I hadn't really considered exploring until recently. I'll blame Pinterest for bringing this region's fields of lavender and gorgeous cobbled streets onto my radar.

Having seen the coastlines of Mexico I actually didn't think there could be anywhere more perfect - until I started researching Fiji. The waters seem so crystal clear and the landscape so lush and green.

I know so many people that have traveled around Thailand that if I'm honest I just want to see what all the fuss is about. I feel like the culture here will be so incredibly different from our own.

I am definitely attracted to eastern architecture and Cambodia is a top destination for this. In the last few years I've also really awakened my spiritual side and become interested in Buddhism and meditation so this would be quite a meaningful trip for me to take.

New York
The above picture perfectly sums up why this is on my list. The madness of the city that never sleeps and yet at its centre is this incredibly beautiful park that provides a little respite from the non-stop New York lifestyle. Oh and shopping, do not forget the shopping.

What destinations would make your travel bucket list?

All images collected here on my Pinterest

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Why do I go to conventions? My Supernatual Asylum story!

I have come to realise there are two types of people in this world - those who love something so much they will attend a weekend-long convention just to talk about and fangirl over it, and those who really just don't get it. Last weekend my friend Lana and I drove up to Birmingham for the weekend to attend Asylum, a bi-annual Supernatural convention held in the UK. I've written this post as a kind of Q & A as over the last few weeks I've had a lot of questions about the convention scene and what motivates me to be a part of it.

Q: Wait, what's Supernatural?
A: For those who maybe don't know me too well, I have a slight (read: severe) obsession with an American TV drama called Supernatural. It airs over here too, although a little behind, and is currently being shown on E4 on Tuesday nights. It's quite a niche, cult following kind of show and follows two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, as they fight against various evil and supernatural forces. Vampires, demons, ghosts, flesh eating monsters, you name it, it's been in the show. It's now in its 10th season and this is largely due to the strength of the show's followers, not our numbers, which makes it something pretty special to be a part of.

Q: Why do you love it so much?
A: I had watched Supernatural on and off for years, but properly got into it while at university. I would sometimes feel pretty lonely and it gave me something to focus on. I would go on tumblr and discuss it with people after each episode and it gave me a sense of community. What keeps me watching is this idea of a constant flux between right and wrong, that the Winchester brothers are fighting evil but have to make the kind of moral choices every day that would send an everyday person reeling. You end up rooting for the cause and being taken along for quite the emotional roller-coaster. There's humour, heartache and after 10 seasons a sense that you're a part of the story too.

Q: Why did you decide to start attending conventions?
A: Although while at uni I managed to get Lana into watching with me, the show is fairly small in followers and we're very widespread. Fans travel far and wide, even from Europe and America, for the Birmingham conventions, and it's THE place to be able to talk freely and excitably about something many people in my everyday life haven't even heard of, let alone watched.

Copyright Em Davey 2015

Q: What are conventions like?
A: SO much fun. Asylum conventions, like many other similar events, consist of panels with the actors in which they answer questions from the audience and get to chat with us, as well as opportunities for autographs, photo opportunities (see mine above with the lovely Jared Padalecki a.k.a. Sam Winchester) and more intimate meet and greets. Asylum 14 had I think over 2000 attendees so it was very busy, but so exciting to have people that totally get your obsession to whoop, cheer and laugh along with.

Q:  Does it cost a lot?
A: It all depends on what you want from the weekend. A standard ticket for something like this will set you back anything from £80-300, and include entry to the panels and most autographs, while top-billed guests autographs are extra as are any photo ops you may want. Some people spend thousands but I had my heart set on one extra photo which set me back £80 on top of my £108 ticket. Compared to the state-side conventions which are a bit larger, this is fairly cheap! I then had to factor in food and drink, petrol and two nights at a nearby Travelodge but I think I spent less than £300 on the whole thing.

Copyright Laura Bussey 2015

Q: Do people actually dress up?
A: It's generally referred to as 'cosplay' as people put way more effort into their costumes than they would for your everyday fancy dress, but yeah, a lot of people do! It isn't mandatory and many people just go as themselves (me included) but you'll see a large number of people dressed as characters, often with cool twists such as gender-swapping the character. I don't indulge in it but I love seeing the effort people put in. It's not expected and you definitely don't have to worry about not wanting to!

Q: I don't have anyone to go with, do people go on their own?
A: I went to my first convention on my own and it was a great experience. Most cons have dedicated Facebook groups where you can contact people who are also there alone and speak to seasoned attendees if you have any questions. I spoke to a few soloers online before I went and met up with them there. Even if you struggle socially it's easy at a con as you already have one great thing in common!

Q: Are they worth it?
A: I won't like, big conventions can be stressful. There is a timetable to navigate for the weekend to make sure you're seeing or meeting everyone you want to, and often a fair amount of queuing to do for things like photo ops. That said, the camaraderie of the whole event is just unrivalled. Supernatural attracts misfits and people just looking for somewhere to belong and fit in, and these conventions are definitely a bit like a homecoming for fans. We bond with each-other and get the chance to connect with actors who express nothing but gratitude for their fan-base. Last weekend was full of laughter and unforgettable moments, to the point that my post-con blues had me in tears the following Monday when it was back to reality.

There are conventions for so many different things across the UK and Europe. Just have a Google and see what you find. If you love something, don't ever be ashamed to celebrate that! Whether it's a book series, game universe, comics, TV show, film....anything!! Embrace the fan within you.

If you're a fellow Supernatural fan, tickets for Asylum 15 and 16 are on sale now here. Season 9 is currently airing on E4 on Tuesdays at 10pm.

A very special thank you to fellow attendees Laura Bussey and Em Davey for allowing me to use some of their fab photos from last weekend for this post to help supplement my rubbish iPhone snaps - pro-tip, do not forget your camera!!

My Little Provence Box

So last month I decided to shake things up a bit and cancel my Birchbox subscription in order to give My Little Box a go. I liked the sound of the crafty/creative element and was getting a bit tired of seeing the same old brands in Birchboxes. At £11 a month plus P&P the price tag is virtually the same, but from my first couple of My Little Box experiences I've really been so much more impressed.

Now I'll admit here that after taking a much needed but totally accidental break from posting over the last couple of weeks I let my first box, My Little Dream Box fall by the wayside - maybe I'll post a review of its contents retrospectively at some point this month as when I posted a snap on instagram everyone was so interested! Whoops!

May's theme is 'My Little Provence Box', which is oozing with odes to the classic southern-French summer (and really making me want to go on holiday, thanks for that). As always there is a gorgeous little postcard print, created by My Little Box's talented in-house illustrator, as well as the fold-out magazine.

Unlike other subscription boxes where I'll hang on to the contents card until I've written the review and bin everything else, this magazine is actually something I look forward to reading. This month there is a fab nail tutorial with easy-to-follow instructions, a craft tutorial (relating to my favourite thing in this months box - I'll get to that in a mo) and a really interesting interview with L'Occitane founder Oliver Baussan, whose brand was founded in the olive groves and lavender fields of Provence. What's more, the magazine folds out into a beautiful illustrated poster - Brucey bonus right there.

So, the first thing I opened was a little blue and while cardboard pouch, which contains a thick gold cuff/bangle and two coloured threads. It took me a minute to totally get what the point was, but then it clicked - you thread the pattern yourself! Oh, the possibilities.There are a few different patterns with instructions in the magazine and I cannot wait to spend this afternoon creating one!

Next up is the beauty bag - an adorable little canvas bag that comes each month with sample and full-size goodies inside. This one has a summery print on and is definitely going in my hand luggage when I travel to Marrakech next month! The contents are also perfect for jet setting, with a travel-sized hand cream, shower gel, body lotion and bar soap, all from L'Occitane. No 3 for 2 on extortionate Boots miniatures for me - I'm now well and truly sorted. Did I also mention that everything smells just glorious? It was also nice to see something from the company's own line, My Little Beauty - a bronze-toned eyeshadow pencil that applies smoothly and stays all day.

At the bottom of the box I also found a cute fridge magnet that's actually a paper doll - you can dress her and put a drink in her hand which I just thought was a really fun extra. I've dressed her here to protect her modesty, obviously.

As you can tell by the fact that I've just spent 400 words waxing lyrical about them, the guys at My Little Box put sooo much effort into each box. If you fancy something a little different, maybe a little more themed and meaningful, this is definitely the subscription for you.

You can subscribe to My Little Box here to get your own!

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Sunday, 3 May 2015

4 things you can do this Bank Holiday that won't cost the Earth

With the month of May comes not one Bank Holiday weekend but TWO. TWO 3-day weekends filled with opportunity to do whatever we wish. But with this extra free time there often comes a pressure to make the most of it, to get out and do something special. If, like me, you're on a bit of a tight budget (I'm trying and failing at saving for our upcoming summer holiday!), this can make you want to refuse all social activity and hole up inside with Netflix instead. It doesn't have to be that way, and if you're stuck for free or low-cost activities I've put together a little list of some purse friendly ways to spend that sweet extra day...

1. Get outside. Come rain or shine a bit of fresh air can really go down a treat. There are plenty of parks, forests and beaches all around the UK, so whether you're taking a bike ride or going out on a picnic there will always be somewhere pleasant within a drivable distance.

2. Rearrange. If you're not in a position financially to redecorate or invest in new furniture, have a bit of a clear out and a tidy and then think about rearranging the stuff you already got to bring a new lease of life to your house/bedroom. It's amazing what a good switch up can do, and if you've got a little to spend some fresh flowers or new cushion covers can totally transform a room too.

3. Attend a May Fayre or Fete. Towns and villages across the country hold May Day events on the bank holiday. If the weather is in your favour, get down to one. Usually they are free or just one or two pounds to enter and there'll be entertainment galore as well as some lovely stalls selling bric-a-brac. Our local one also comes accompanied with a car show across the road from the park it's held in which is free to walk around and features some gorgeous retro wheels.

4. Be a tourist in your own town. Don't feel like you have to spend money on travel to get to a place of interest/somewhere cool. We lived in Cambridge for months before venturing into any of its fantastic museums, and it took me a while to bother exploring the lovely area around Kings College because it's often bloody packed with tourists. You never know, you might discover something new.

5. Mega-pamper. If you're on your own and without anything to do, plan out a little home spa day for yourself. Get all your favourite products out and put together a facial routine, take a reeeeeally long bath, do a full mani-pedi rather than the usual quick Sunday night paint, sit around with cucumbers on your eyes. The beauty cabinet is your oyster.

Happy Bank Holiday-ing!

© kelly anne rist

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