theBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer | A Review

Today, I’m bringing you a review you’ve almost definitely heard before: theBalm’s Mary-Lou Manizer. Last year the reviews for this highlighter were coming in thick and fast, all singing it’s praises- but as usual I’m late to the party and instead of buying this a year ago when the hype was almost permeable, I only just got it last week. 

Amazingly, I found this in the Superdurg on Edinburgh’s High Street. I had no idea theBalm and Superdrug had teamed up, as Superdrug tends to steer clear of more high-end brands, but it’s nice to see theBalm finally being stocked in the UK some place that’s not exclusively online. I think the particular store I went into was hyper-concerned about shoplifting so unfortunately there were almost no testers and the products themselves were kept behind the till. Little cardboard boxes with the product designs printed on them were the only things on the shelves of the stall, with the idea being to take them up to the counter and exchange them for the real deal. Since I had it on good assurance from the blogging community that this highlighter was going to be a bit of gem, I didn’t mind not being able to swatch it, but it was a bit of shame I couldn’t test out any of the other products. 

The shade itself is a very neutral, champagne toned highlight with warm undertones. I infinitely prefer warm tones over cool tones- highlights with a lilac or rose gold shimmer just don’t look like natural or skin-like to me. It’s also not pale or white, which is another look I can’t really get behind for the same reasons. 

I debuted this on New Year’s Eve. When I first put it on, I was pleased to see it could be worn reasonably subtly for a more wearable look, but also built up for that NYE #highlightonfleek. That being said, it’s definitely more of a bold kind of glow. In the interests of experimentation, I put a bit of it on a slightly damped brush and patted it onto my eyelid and was impressed to see this packs a punch as an opaque, shimmery eyeshadow. Luckily, shimmery in this case does not equal glittery. If you’re familiar with my posts then you’ll know I’m uber-critical when it comes to chunks of glitter in any product, so you’ll be relieved to know this made the non-glittery cut. This offers a shiny sheen rather than relying on sparkly particles to catch the light. 

Texture-wise this product shuns all chalkiness and feels quite soft and buttery. Despite this, I’ve seen a few people saying this product has the potential to exacerbate pores and cause cakey foundation, as many powder highlights tend to do. This has never been an issue for me personally but it’s something to bear in mind if you’re considering buying this highlighter. For reference, I wear BECCA’s Backlight Priming Filter and Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation and no powder with this highlighter, leaving quite a dewy finish on my skin. For me, the packaging is perfectly functional, but feels a bit kitsch. I would have personally preferred something more sleek and elegant, but thats theBalm for you. Overall I think this is a lovely highlighter that’s worth the price tag, which is comparably smaller than some of the raved-about highlighters floating about at the moment. 


Have you tried the Mary-Lou Manizer or anything else from theBalm? Hope you all had a lovely festive season, and haven’t been swamped by too much work as I unfortunately have been. What did you do for New Year's Eve?

The Perfect Berry Lip

December is here, and that means Autumn is giving way to Winter. But I'm still obsessing over burgundy shades- on my nails, on my lips, in the form of these TOPSHOP SOCKS, which have a frilly velvet trim. How festive is that?

In between lusting over the socks (and everything else in there, let's be honest) I picked up a lip bullet from the beauty stand. After doing some swatching, I opted for the shade 'Get Me Bodied', a hue that that manages to strike the perfect balance between red and purple. This has become my daily go-to for recreating a vampy pout. The colour pay-off is great and it lasts miraculously well on the lips- perhaps that has a little something to do with the RÊVE DE MIEL lip balm I've been religiously applying every day. Mini review HERE

This shade can be quite bold and I know a lot of people shy away from intimidatingly dark colours; but the beauty of the lip bullet is that it can be worn subtly. Rather than swipe it on, I like to dab it onto my lips and then blend it out with my finger and going in with a cotton bud and some micellar water to correct any smudges. This gives quite a nice stain-like effect that enhances my lips, instead of masking them. Ironically, the shade looks best paired with a tan, but being so fair my skin looks almost transparent at this time of year. I've been doubling down on the Garnier Summer Body and applying Benefit's Hoola to wake up my complexion a bit, and wearing these together have proved to be a winning combination.

Buy the Topshop lip bullet in the shade 'Get Me Bodied' HERE.

It's my birthday in exactly two weeks! My boyfriend and I are going up to Edinburgh to celebrate so let me know if you have any recommendations  for cute places to go while we're there. 

New In: Recent Additions / First Impressions

I've been pretty unwell recently, so I thought I'd cheer myself up with a few new products that I've had my eye on for a while. It's my birthday in a few weeks as well, (gift suggestions welcome!) so I wanted some new products to wear for the celebrations. 

My skin's been looking better recently spot-wise (see THIS post for what I attribute to clearing it up) so I wanted a new foundation to wear with pride now I'm not feeling miserable about the state of my skin. Sine I started blogging, Anna, of (formerly, has been singing praises for Giorgio Armani's LUMINOUS SILK foundation. I felt like it was finally time to bite the bullet and heed her advice. This foundation is pricey, but this is definitely a get-what-you-pay-for situation. It has medium-buildable coverage with a semi-matte, semi-satin finish, but- here's what sets it apart- it goes completely undetectable on the skin. It perfects the complexion and magically manages to hold in place all day, all the while looking like real skin. No caking or settling into fine lines or pores. Good skin in a bottle, pretty much.  My shade is 4.5, which has a yellow undertone that's ideal for me, and I've been buffing it in with my Morphe 360 brush, just because that's my tool du jour. But if you're more of a dampened Beauty Blender kind of gal than I'm sure that would be more than sufficient as well.  

I'm wearing this with the BECCA BACKLIGHT PRIMING FILTER. The glow this gives is, in-keeping with Becca's famous line of highlighters, neither sparkly, nor shimmery and because this foundation isn't too heavy, the primer can shine through, leaving a healthy, dewy finish. It feels more like a moisturiser than a primer, with a light, serum-like formula, but it still keeps my foundation on lock all day.  I love the fact that it's goldeny, bronze rather than white so it doesn't leave a pasty cast in photos. I can't get over how glowy I look when I apply this!

I'm currently lying in bed, covered in moisturiser with my hair in a bun, and Nuxe's RÊVE DE MIEL slathered over my lips. This is a must for cold weather- it works amazingly overnight, healing dry, chapped lips and leaving them smooth and hydrated come morning. To be perfectly honest, I'm sure something cheaper, like Vaseline or Blistex could have done the same job, but i wanted to treat myself to this cult classic. It feels expensive, if that's possible, and has a really lovely, organic, honey flavour (or scent?). 

I'm pleased with all of my purchases, even if I am now going to have to live off pot noodles and walk everywhere rather than taxi, until my next student loan instalment. Or maybe my parents will pity me and give me a huge lump of cash for my birthday / Christmas. I've got my eye on a few other makeup bits- Tartlette in Bloom, I'm looking at you! Let me know if you've tried it, or comment any other suggestions / recommendations I should be putting on my birthday and Christmas lists.

My Three New Favourites for Acne and Scarring

I am so happy I finally parted with the money for this triad of products from Ole Henriksen. If you follow me on TWITTER, you might've seen my rants and raves about how spotty my skin has been recently, and as a result it's also dotted with pinky-red acne scars. But since using these three day and night, my skin skin is looking clearer and fresher than ever.

The 3 LITTLE WONDERS kit is appropriately named. It contains two serums and a moisturiser and I got a complimentary pot of 'sugar glow polishing mask' also by Ole Henriksen, along with it. I wasn't sure how often I'd use this manual exfoliator, as the both the serums contain a lot of AHA's which have highly exfoliating properties. The first serum is a morning 'collagen booster' that smells exactly like sweet, fresh oranges, and contains, surprise, surprise, Vitamin C. It also has rose hip and green tea to soothe and hydrate. The serum has a light, gel-like consistency that absorbs quickly and leaves a light tingly feeling behind. The second serum is a more hardcore 'invigorating night gel-firming treatment'. It has the same texture, which I adore, a questionable smell that can be easily overlooked and and a slightly more noticeable tingly sensation that lasts longer as well. It claims to contain 'botanical alpha hydroxy acids in concentrated amounts resulting in rapid cell proliferation' and 'prevents irritation with fruit acids suspended in purified algae extract, vitamins A, C and E, plus mucopolysaccharides'. Now, I don't know what 'mucopolysaccharides' are, and I won't even try to pronounce it, but I'm pretty sure my skin agrees with them. 

This moisturiser is one of the best moisturiser's I've ever used. It doesn't feel like a cream at all- like the two serums, it feels like a gel, and it melts into my skin with no heavy feeling whatsoever. It absorbs quickly, leaving a silky smooth skin surface. With liquorice, it claims to gradually reduce hyperpigmentation and increase skin cell turnover, and I can already see it's worked it's magic on my acne scars, fading them in just two weeks. Contrary to what I previously thought about the complimentary polish, I actually use it fairly often- about once or twice a week. It makes my skin unbelievably smooth, shrinking my pores evening my skin texture. 

My spots have almost completely disappeared since using these, and my skin feels softer and smoother and healthier overall. The marks have lost a lot of their colour as well. I couldn't recommend these products enough if you're struggling with acne or scarring; it's quite pricey, but totally worth it in my opinion.

Hope you all enjoy your weeks!

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder Review

It's been a long time since I got really hyped for a new product. This Hourglass offering is my new make-up bag staple and will probably be featured in countless monthly favourites posts to come. Sorry in advance.

Before this strobe powder came into my life, I'd been steering clear of highlighters, in favour of a more natural look. I feel like a lot of highlighters can look a bit glittery and don't always blend well, so they can make me look a bit overdone. On top of that, I've come to realise that highlighters aren't a one-shade-suits-all situation. Highlighters come in different shades and have different undertones the same way that foundations, blushers and bronzers do, so different highlighters suit different people. All of these factors have contributed to a general eschewing of highlighters and illuminators.

Enter, THIS strobe powder.  It's such a fine powder, it's impossible for it look cakey or uneven or even grainy on the skin, and because it's a powder, it can't sink into my pores like some gel or cream-based highlights. The powder accurately claims to 'give off a naturally luminescent highlight to the skin without a heavy metallic finish.' It can give quite a subtle sheen, or be built up to more of an ethereal glow. 

Using a BH Cosmetics cheek brush, I sweep the powder over my cheekbones and in the centre of my forehead, below the brow bone and on to the Cupid's Bow. I add another layer for when I want a more show-stopping glow. 

Have you tried this highlighter? I think it's one of the best I've used! Let me know what you think about it in the comments.

I mentioned in a previous post that I'd just transferred universities so I thought I'd let you know how that's all going! So far I'm enjoying my new university so much more, I feel like the people are much friendlier and nicer and the course is so much better. I'm so happy I took the plunge and decided to transfer.

Hope you enjoy the rest of your weeks.

Super Simple Halloween Costume

It's Halloween tomorrow! If you haven't got a costume yet this one is really easy and pretty cheap to recreate. 

The costume has some serious schoolgirl-y vibes going on, as well as plenty of blood and gore. For the outfit, I wore a check dress, knee high sock and did plaits and wore cute little clips. The glasses are optional- I feel like they take away from the wow factor of the pencil. 

So this will be first ever video tutorial! How exciting! This one has been inspired by KAROLINA MARIA. The video itself is not that high-quality, so I apologise. I haven't got a good camera to film on, because obviously I'm not sure if filming will become a regular thing.  But if you do have any recommendations for cheap cameras let me know!

Below it is a step-step tutorial if you want to try this yourself!

1. Start with normal, everyday makeup.

2. Grab a pencil. I got a huge packet from Poundland. Then snap one in half.

3. From each half of your snapped pencil, you're going to cut a bit off. This will give the illusion that the pencil is actually going through your face. Use scissors, but be careful.

4. Make a mark where you want both sides of the pencil to be. Make it where the pencil lies flat against your skin, rather than at the end of the pencil. 

5. You're going to grab some liquid latex. This bottle was only about 3 pounds and I got mine from my local fancy dress store. With some cotton buds, paint the liquid latex onto the tip and down one side of the pencil. 

6. Take some wool from a cotton wool ball and place it over all the places on the pencil that you've coated in latex. Then, place another coat of liquid latex over the cotton wool. 

7. Dab the latex onto the spot you just marked, and press the pencil on. Hairdry on a cool setting to keep it in place. Repeat on the other side, where the pencil would 'exit'. 

8. Use a concealer to go over the dry latex to make it flesh-coloured. Blend it out.

9. Take a red liquid lipstick and start going over the latex and down the pencil. 

10. I used a cheap face paint palette that I've had for ages to add some more red tones to either side of the pencil. I applied it with a cotton bud and used both the lighter red and darker red shades.

11. Start going in with fake blood. This is another Poundland bargain and it's honestly so realistic, I was super impressed by it! Try and make it drip down your face if you can.

12. Keep switching between the blood and the lipstick and the face paints. I also used the tip of a pencil to tear at the latex to make it look more real. 

13. Using an eyeshadow palette with lots of browns and neutrals, add some browny shades to the blood. 

And that's literally it! So quick and easy and it looks pretty creepy as well. Let me know if you try and recreate it yourselves.

What are you going as for Halloween? Are you using liquid latex for super scary SFX looks or are you going more sexy? Send me links to your Instagrams so I can see!


Space NK Mini Haul

Space NK is one of my favourite places to shop. They stock such high quality products, the postage is always super speedy and the packaging is always on point.

The first thing I got was the OUAI HAIR OIL. I've been excited to try this one out for ages, it supposedly makes your hair so soft and smooth. Like a blow-dry in a bottle! I've used it almost every day since I got it, and I love how manageable it makes my hair! It feels instantly healthier and looks glossier. I dye my hair religiously and this is one of the only products I own that's marked as fade-proof.  I have to admit the smell threw me a little. It smells like lavender, which is not an unpleasant smell, but it's a bit soapy and old-ladyish. I would have expected something a little more sophisticated for this hefty price tag, because the effects are just so impressive, I can live with it!

Another little something I've had my eye on for ages was the LAIT-CRÉME CONCENTRE. It's the ultimate multitasking moisturiser, so I feel like I picked up three products in one tube. It can be used under foundation as a primer, on it's own as a lightweight, everyday moisturiser, or as a super hydrating, moisture-packed mask. A little goes such a long way with this, and leaves my skin feeling so soft and supple. 

I got the DIPTYQUE AMBRE candle on a whim. These candles have become something of a blogger favourite, so I felt like it was time to start my collection, and I went with Amber. I really didn't have a clue where to start with the scents, so let me know if you have any suggestions in the comments! This fragrance is lovely though, it's quite sweet and feminine, while still being earthy and woody and a bit musky. It's perfect now we're getting into Autumn! The iconically packaged box came wrapped in cellophane and as soon as I tore it off, I could smell the amber, so it's a pretty strong scent. I love it already, and can't wait to get my next one!

I've saved the best till last- the much anticipated HOURGLASS AMBIENT STROBE LIGHTING POWDER in Incandescent light. I love this highlighter so much, I'm going to have to do a review on it soon. It's such a fine powder, it's impossible for it to look overdone or cakey, and it's not even slightly glittery. It's purely glow! Hourglass products just tick the box every time. 

I hope you enjoyed hearing about the products that have been bankrupting me recently. Space NK is great, but I dread checking my bank balance afterwards. Have you been doing any Space NK shopping recently?

I hope you all have lovely, lazy Sundays! 



Lee Stafford's Hair Growth Treatment | A Quick Review

If you've ever been on the hunt for a  product designed to make your hair grow, chances are you've come across this treatment from Lee Stafford.

I first bought this to reverse the effects of a spontaneous haircut, which I did myself with a pair of kitchen scissors over the sink hours after a break-up. Very stupid move, I know. It's marketed for 'hair that never grows past a certain length' but I just used it to get back some of the length I'd lost. It worked really well- my hair seemed to be back to it's original length in just two months. I'm no Maths whiz, but I think that works out at about two and half inches of growth per month, which is pretty impressive considering the average speed of hair growth per month is about 1-2 inches. 

Aside from being a growth-enhancing treatment, it also serves as a deep-conditonter. After using this, my hair feels super soft, looks noticeably shinier and just generally healthier, without leaving any kind of residue or heavy build-up. You're meant to apply the treatment inbetween shampooing and conditioning, but because it rinses out so easily, I just use it after shampooing as my conditioner. 

On top of everything else, it also smells amazing.  At first I thought it was a little bland-smelling; it reminded me of vanilla candles. But actually, it has a slightly Christmassy scent to it as well, like spices and cinnamon and pine needles. A lot of conditioners smell great in the shower, but the scent seems to disappear as soon as your hair's dry, but this smell really lingers in your hair, which is a huge bonus. This mask is actually not dissimilar to Lush's AMERICAN CREAM which is a firm favourite of mine. 

I absolutely love this product, it's become my staple conditioner and I've been using it every wash. Unfortunately, there's not that much in the tub so it doesn't last all too long. It's also not that cheap, considering you can only get 5 or 6 uses out of it.

With that in mind, my overall rating for this product is - 7 / 10

You can buy it HERE



Blogger Call | East Sussex-Based Bloggers/Vloggers Wanted

I've been given a University assignment- to write an article for our student newspaper about what makes a successful blogger. 

To do that, I need you guys! 

I'm looking for someone who has a reasonably successful blog from East Sussex. It doesn't need to be a fashion or beauty blog. Anything goes- I'd be really keen to hear from some music or food bloggers especially. 

If you're interested, it would involve me emailing you with four short questions that you can answer in as much depth as you like- one sentence or one paragraph, it's really up to you- and then using some pictures from your blog for the feature. If you live near enough to me we could grab a coffee as well. 

The publication would be great exposure for your blog.

If you're interested or know of someone who is, please EMAIL, comment below or TWEET me.

The £2.99 Skincare Saviour

I get through bottles and bottles of this stuff, so I thought I'd share it with you guys incase you were on the hunt for your next budget skincare solution.

Witch hazel isn't a very elegant skincare solution- it makes me think of being a sulky teenager plagued with spots, vigorously rubbing witch hazel gel onto the affected areas. But forget what you think you know about witch hazel, because it honestly works!

Witch hazel is made out of the bark of a plant that grows in North America, and has been used for centuries to treat a huge variety of ailments.  It's a very natural solution to so many problems, not just in terms of skincare. I personally use it to treat acne, enlarged pores and blackheads. Witch hazel is a powerful antiseptic and astringent, meaning it kills off bacteria and also sloughs away dead skin cells, keeping my skin fresh, exfoliated and spot-free. 

It has a slightly off-putting medicinal smell, and I think it could be too harsh on super-sensitive skin, but you can dilute it with water and then it's not quite so abrasive. I use it as toner, pouring a little bit onto a cotton pad after I've cleansed and then following it up with moisturiser. It absorbs fast which is so great! I use it once a day, either in the evening before bed or in the morning before make-up.

You can buy witch hazel in the form of gel, but I love the liquid version because it doesn't leave any kind of crusty residue on my skin. Buy HERE.

Let me know if you use witch hazel as well! Just to let you know, I'm on the lookout for bloggers (not only fashion and beauty bloggers!) living in the East Sussex/ Brighton area who would be willing to be interviewed for an article I'm writing. It's all about what makes a successful bloggers, and would feature an interview and also some pictures from blog posts so it would be excellent exposure for you. If you know anyone or you'd like to be featured yourself, you can email me or comment below!